Game Design By:
Writing, Art, Formatting By:
Special Thanks To:
Play Tested By:
Note on the music in this game:
We are not affiliated with, nor are we endorsed by any of the songs, song artists, or trademarked intellectual property referenced in
Welcome to THE WEIRD WORLD OF Universe Ball
Universe Ball Anthology is a series of absurd, sci-fi tabletop roleplaying games. Our goal
with these homebrew books is to provide a somewhat simplified version of tabletop role-
play in order to minimize the technical aspects of RPGs and to maximize on creative
problem-solving while being stupid with your friends.
The series is an anthology in that every book will provide two completely different stand-
alone adventures: one long, multi-chapter campaign, and one short experimental adven-
ture. The long campaigns are complete stories that will span over multiple play sessions,
while the smaller adventures are short experimental games that revolve around a con-
cept/mechanic that would probably break a longer campaign.
The worlds within the books all exist within the same universe; however, every game will
feature completely different stories that will require the creation of new characters and
the introduction to new settings. Some games will be on alien planets, while others on
Earth during a certain time period. Some games will even dip their toes into different
genres. You never know what you’re gonna get, but at their core, they will all have absurd
To stay up to date on future books, follow us on our social media pages.
Q Instagram: @universe_ball_anthology
D Twitter: @UB_Anthology
R Reddit: Universe_Ball_TTRPG
We hope you enjoy your journey...
TABLE OF CONTENTS
What is this Game? .............................................................................................
Game Assets ........................................................................................................
Make an Adobian ..............................................................................................
Welcome Aboard the S.S.O.S. ...........................................................................
Main Deck .........................................................................................................
Sky Pool Deck ....................................................................................................
Farm Deck .........................................................................................................
Engine Deck ......................................................................................................
Captain’s Deck ..................................................................................................
The Mystery of the S.S.O.S. .............................................................................
Item List ............................................................................................................
Chemical Spray Paint Effects ............................................................................
NPC List ............................................................................................................
Yep, That’s Me (Mini Adventure) ......................................................................
WHAT IS THIS GAME?
Players will play as a crew of thieves and explore a strange space cruise ship in an
attempt to heist its valuable fuel, all while dealing with an array of alien criminals and
misfits. This game’s tone is cartoonishly surreal mixed with mystery elements. It’s de-
signed to encourage creative problem-solving, roleplay, and exploration.
The game is split up into six chapters total. First, an introductory chapter, then five
sections called decks. To avoid burnout, it is recommended you split this game up
into multiple play sessions that end every time a new deck is unlocked.
• Six chapters.
• Each chapter is 1-3 hours long.
• 2-4 players. (Plus 1 GM)
What Do I Need To Play?: All you really need to play is to know how to roll dice
checks and the general flow of a basic tabletop roleplaying game (TTRPG). You will
also need TTRPG dice, or a dice-rolling website/app to play. If you don’t know how
to play a TTRPG, you can read a How To Play instruction booklet attached to the
Game Design: The game design can best be described as a dungeon/sandbox hy-
brid. The overall progression of the game works like a giant dungeon, having players
unlock areas of the ship in a specific order, however, each of these areas are open
sandboxes that allow players to do as they wish and solve problems however they see
fit. The game is somewhat Metroidvania-esque in that it’s about locks and keys. Not in
the literal sense, I mean that there will be obstacles blockading progression to the next
area that requires players to solve open-ended problems to move on. Players will start
the game in a small secluded area and the ship will slowly open up to them as they
explore more and more. As players move through the many areas, the mystery of the
game will unfold and the story will build to a climax and resolution.
How to Prepare: The Game Master (GM) should pre-read this book or at least the
outlines before each chapter to get a summary of what’s going on within each deck.
The GM should also read the NPC List pages and The Mystery of the S.S.O.S.
pages to prepare. Please read the premise to players before making characters!
In the final game, there’ll be a QR code you can scan to access printable game assets,
including character designs, the NPC List, the Item List, and maps. It will also include
simplified instructions on the basics of how to play a tabletop RPG if you never have.
World 1&2 - Super Mario Galaxy 2
Read this to players.
For the last eight years, your galaxy has been in a gradual decline after the arrival of a large, destruc-
tive space creature known by its victims as the dreaded Duddel Pa. Duddel Pa has caused all life in your
galaxy to go extinct… all except for a tiny population on your planet, Adobe, who barely survived the
creature’s clutches after a local scientist discovered a substance that fended it off. Although the monster
was thwarted, your planet was left in apocalyptic ruins with no proper resources to rebuild. Society even-
tually crumbled, the government fell, and Adobe became a dangerous wasteland riddled with crime.
The conditions of your planet have turned you into a small scale grifter, stealing food and clothing to
You’ve only survived the apocalypse this long thanks to the help of a retired, elderly jewel thief named
Jem Dreamweaver who’s spent her entire stolen wealth to care for you and a few other bandits. Togeth-
er, you have formed a band of thieves led by Jem herself. She’s taught you everything you know about
thievery. Unfortunately, Duddel Pa has left Jem in a life-threatening condition in desperate need of a new
heart. Your crew has made it their mission to get her a new one, however, hearts are very expensive, and
Adobe no longer has anything worth stealing that’ll afford the organ.
For what feels like ages, you’ve been down on your luck with dreams of a chance to save your beloved
Thesandof your fallenplanet
isstill looseinyour shoes...
You will be playing as an Adobian. Adobians are a
race of lizard-like aliens who’ve endured an apoca-
lypse that wiped all life from their planet besides a
small group of survivors. Without resources, their gov-
ernment has fallen, and society has completely broken
down. Those who didn’t go insane have succumbed to
thievery and other criminal activity in an attempt to
The main characters of the game are small-scale grift-
ers who’ve been taken in and cared for by an elderly
jewel thief (Jem Dreamweaver).
Players will start making a character by choosing an
archetype of criminal that they are, and will then
mold it to be more personalized. The group’s shared
goal of the game is to save Jem Dreamweaver, but
they can also each have smaller personal character
WHAT IS AN ADOBIAN?
First, you will pick a class. Classes determine what
unique skills a character has and ensures differentia-
tion between players.
If the players do not like the listed classes or skills, they
can edit or change them with the mediation of the
Each class comes with a customizable Bonus Skill.
Bonus Skills give the player an opportunity to be cre-
ative and invent a unique skill related to their charac-
ter. Get as weird as you want without making said skill
overpowered. If players do not wish to create a bonus
skill, they do not have to.
Players can each use one skill per turn and two per
-Planning (+2 wisdom on perception checks)
-Quickthinking (use to retroactively dodge an attack)
-Deduction (roll advantage when trying to deduce if
someone is lying)
-Intimidation (+2 charisma on intimidation rolls)
-Athletics (+1 strength on attacks)
-Flex (only take half the damage from a hit)
-Deception (+1 charisma when lying)
-Persuasion (+2 charisma when persuading)
-Performance (+2 charisma when performing)
The Cat Burglar:
-Stealth (+2 dexterity on stealth rolls)
-Pickpocketing (roll advantage when pickpocketing)
-Acrobatics (+3 dexterity on acrobatics)
-Surprise (distract a character by doing something
shocking and get them to roll disadvantage)
-Catchphrase (Say one for +1 charisma on any type of
-Joke (command attention by telling a joke)
The New Guy:
-Prove worth (do something noble to have a +2 charis-
ma when interacting with teammates)
-Coffee break (get everyone coffee to make your team-
mates roll advantage)
-Small talk (distract NPC’s with vapid small talk)
Now it’s time to really make your character...
First, pick a name, along with an alignment for the
type of character you will play as. Look online for
alignment charts if you do not know what this is.
Then give your character a short, personalized de-
scription of the type of person they are, from per-
sonality to pre-apocalypse occupation, hobbies, and
background. It might also be beneficial to give them
a thing that they personally want unrelated to saving
Jem. Maybe they wanna open a bakery one day, or
own a beach house. The more that this want relates to
acquiring money, the better it will fit into the game.
If you want to expand your character and connect
them to the game even further, then you can invent
something that Duddel Pa took from your character
when the creature attacked the planet. Maybe a family
member was murdered, or a dream went unfulfilled.
You can also create a drawing of the character you’ve
created if you’re feeling creative!
The base amount of health points a player starts with
is determined and scaled based on how many people
are playing the game. Use the chart below to figure
out everyone’s base HP.
-2 players= 40 HP each
-3 players= 30 HP each
-4 players= 25 HP each
Once the base HP has been determined, you can add
or subtract 5 points from each player’s base HP de-
pending on how strong or weak their character is.
If they chose The Muscle class for instance, they
might add 5 to their base HP to represent that
strength. If they chose The New Guy, they might
subtract 5 from their base HP due to being weaker.
There are four stats in this game. Strength, Charis-
ma, Wisdom, and Dexterity. (We have combined
Intelligence and Wisdom and did away with Consti-
tution all together for the sake of simplicity. Feel free
to change this if you see fit, but don’t forget to invent
stats for all of the NPC’s that need it).
When fighting, players will roll a 4 die to attack until
they find weapons.
Each player starts with a base 10 for each stat, and has
7 extra points to disperse across them to make cer-
tain skills stronger (add these 7 points to the base, not
the modifier). Use the chart below to figure out how
changing the base stat affects your stat modifiers. If
you wish to weaken a skill, you can also subtract points
and invest them in another skill. Players don’t have to
use all of their points if they don’t wish to.
Players get 5 inventory slots from the start of the
game. Each player starts the game with a walk-
ie-talkie in their inventory and should not
start the game with weapons! These are import-
ant to the game’s design.
In addition to inventory slots, players also have a sep-
arate bag slot used to carry any inventory expanding
items that they find (like backpacks, or pouches). Each
player can only hold one bag at a time to prevent
Finally, players will need an armor slot. Any wear-
able items that protect a player from damage are
considered armor. They should not start with armor
unless agreed to do so by the GM.
Players can also start the game with any items from
the list below that they wish to fill their inventory with.
-Duffel Bag (Increases inventory by
-Pair of Gloves
-Notebook & Pen
-Music Chip Player (No music
-Box of Matches
When you’re done, your character sheet will probably
look something like this…
WHEN YOU’RE DONE
Read this to players.
Just when the fate of the Adobe people seemed to be at its bleakest, a mysterious
golden cruise liner appeared from the heavens and claimed to be a rescue that was
sent to fly your remaining population to the nearest habitable galaxy. With no other
options, the remaining Adobians have agreed to teleport on board...
WELCOME ABOARD THE S.S.O.S.
Song Title - Artist or Origin
NPC NAME= character summary
Location of NPC
STR: 10 (0)
DEX: 10 (0)
WIS: 10 (0)
CHA: 10 (0)
This is a room name box. Look for it to
quickly find the information on any room in
This symbol of Jem jamming to some tunes
is a suggested song icon. We picked out
songs you can play in certain areas to set the
mood. You can find easy links to these songs
in the Game Assets.
When you see a general check icon, it will
provide a bulleted list of additional visual
details about the room players are in. Most
rooms have general checks, however, not all.
When you see this symbol, it means a fight
has been triggered and players have entered
battle mode. These are always accompanied
with a new suggested song to play.
These are stat boxes. When players meet an
NPC, you will probably need to use stats to
interact with the players. These boxes do
not have the NPC’s personality within them,
however, they each have 2-3 word summa-
ries of the character’s personality as well as
alignments to remind you how to play them.
For more info on each NPC, you will need
to turn to the NPC List page.
These are item boxes. Certain rooms and
NPCs will have items with them that play-
ers can acquire (either by finding them in
a room or doing a quest). If items have the
initials (IL) beside them, it means that there
is necessary info relating to how the item
works that you can find by turning to the
Item List page.
SYMBOL KEY This chapter is designed to introduce the
game’s world and tone. Roleplay is always
an awkward thing to dive into, so it is nice
to have an introduction to help get you past
those first few minutes of asking “uh… what
do I do?” This is the most linear part of the
game and is designed this way to ensure
players encounter the inciting incident of
the story. Once players get past this intro,
the real game will begin.
1. Players will first arrive in the crowded
lobby of the ship which they will be
encouraged to rob. There are four valu-
able things that players can steal here.
Each of these four items possess their
own unique challenge that introduce the
absurdity of the ship.
2. As the players are thieving, Jem will be
harassed by three punks who will pick a
fight with the players. It will be an easy
fight that players should not lose.
3. After fighting the punks, the lobby’s
service robots will punish the players for
their violent, unethical behavior by tele-
porting them to a brig where their hands
will be confiscated. If players are violent
prior to this fight, the robots will react in
the same way. This establishes that the
service robots will be an obstacle in the
4. In the brig, players will meet an ancient
pirate who introduces them to the main
goal of the game: the fuel heist.
• Jem Dreamweaver
• Service Bots
• Tershiav Bon
INTRODUCTION SUMMARY 5. Players then must break out of the brig
by getting their stolen hands back from
an alien guard.
• In the east end of the lobby is a
potted plant with a single, seductive,
luminescent fruit that appears highly
sellable. Coiled around the plant is
a snake-like alien who is suspiciously
encouraging passerby’s to pick the
3. LUMINESCENT FRUIT
4. CLOCK HANDS
TOBEEP FIGHT1. CHANDELIER CRYSTALS
2. WINE BOTTLES
Whisper Fate - Kuedo
Let the players scope out the room for
valuables. Rolling for a perception check is
mostly unnecessary in this part. There are
four visibly valuable things that players can
If players walk on this floor it will creepi-
ly encourage them to keep stepping on it.
The GM does not have to act this out if
they don’t want to, they can simply describe
the event. Once players pick up the wine
bottle(s), the tiles of the floor will vibrate in
ecstasy causing the players’ balance to be
thrown off. They must roll dexterity and
beat a 12 to not slip. If they slip, they’ll drop
the bottle and the soul inside will spill every-
where and stain their clothing. If a player
is stained with soul, the stain will whisper ad-
vice to them that contradicts their alignment
until they remove said clothing.
Players will have to find a way to retrieve the
crystals. This may require dexterity rolls to
Jem starts getting harassed by a crew of
three middle-aged punks named Tobeep,
Sanitizer, and Tobeep (Tobeep is a common
name on Adobe). If the players brought Jem
along with them to loot, then she needs to go
missing when they aren’t paying attention to
Note: If players behave violently prior to
this fight, the robots will send them to the
brig early and the fight can be skipped.
This is meant to fool the players into assum-
ing the fruit is a trap, but in reality, there
are no consequences to doing so. It turns
out that the snake creature just really likes
to share and has always been self-conscious
about his suspicious tone of voice.
After all the players have attempted
their acts of thievery...
The three men (who call themselves the
Tobeep’s) pick a fight with the players like
Gear Getaway - Super Smash Bros.
TOBEEP= Cocky Hooligan
In the Crowd
STR: 8 (-1)
DEX: 9 (-1)
WIS: 6 (-2)
CHA: 7 (-2)
By noticing the clock, players will literally
just forget what they were doing and walk
• A dented pole is erected from the
center of the floor and up into the
ceiling through a half-shattered
chandelier. The chandelier is made
up of hundreds of expensive-looking
crystals ripe for the snatching.
• You see a rack of classy wine bot-
tles from all over the universe. The
bottles are not labeled as being filled
with wine, but with the bottled souls
of ancient spirits that have been
collected in a liquid form. There is
a square of red tiles underneath this
rack, and propped on top of these
tiles is a yellow, bifold sign that reads,
Caution, Horny Floor!
Your crew and Jem are currently stand-
ing in the ship’s large, circular lobby sur-
rounded by your fellow refugees whose
murmurs echo a mixture of excitement
and confusion. The room would look
elegant was it not for the harsh indica-
tions of aging. The walls are made out
of a rusted golden metal. Little robots
dressed in scratches are whizzing about,
The ship seems excessively luxurious...
like the perfect opportunity to pocket
some trinkets to raise the money for
Jem. What to loot first?
• On the wall is a clock with shiny,
emerald hands ticking in every
direction. As you stare at the allur-
ing hands of the clock, you find the
linearity of time begins to vanish.
You start to see time as a single en-
tity with no beginning or end. Your
thoughts jumble and are no longer
organized in any particular order.
When you were younger, you consid-
ered learning how to play the piano,
and without the framing of time,
you confuse this past thought for one
you just had and decide to do that
You hear Jem shouting through the
crowd in distress. You look over to find
three middle-aged men dressed like high
schoolers statured over her. They seem
to be giving her a wet willy.
The three men suddenly disappear into
the crowd. As this happens, five robots
rupture through the busy room and
surround your gang with mechanical
claws raised at your faces. One speaks
Robot: “Violence is strictly prohibited
on this ship. You have behaved unethi-
cally and shall now be punished.”
World 6 - Super Mario Galaxy 2
SANITIZER= Wildcard Hooligan
In the Crowd
STR: 8 (-1)
DEX: 9 (-1)
WIS: 6 (-2)
CHA: 7 (-2)
TOBEEP= Sensitive Hooligan
In the Crowd
STR: 8 (-1)
DEX: 9 (-1)
WIS: 6 (-2)
CHA: 7 (-2)
Do not let the Tobeep’s die! They’re
meant to be very easy to beat, but once
they’re roughed up, have them slip away.
Don’t let their HP reach 0.
The service robots on the S.S.O.S. have
all been built with ethical chips, meaning
they are designed to oppose violence. They
police the ship, and if players are caught
being openly violent, the robots will use their
mechanical claws to touch and teleport-
them to the brig.
The players cannot evade the robots’ cap-
ture no matter what they try. If they try to
attack or escape, it must be established that
the robots are too quick. They will be tele-
ported away even if they comply.
If players avoid getting involved in this fight,
have them get attacked by the Tobeeps.
The robots will still count this as them being
As punishment for attempting to rob the
ship, the players along with Jem are teleport-
ed into a brig with their hands confiscated
from their bodies. The room has a single
door which is unlocked, but the knob is pro-
ducing a saliva-like lube so that it cannot be
opened without hands. The lack of hands is
pretty much the only obstacle keeping them
Once players arrive in the brig, they will
meet a friendly, alien pirate (Gloogon) who’s
imprisoned as well. He’s been trapped on the
ship for centuries and has grown lonely over
the years. He was captured after his pirate
crew robbed the ship’s fuel and escaped
Gloogon will tell players about the ship’s
valuable fuel (the Universe Balls) and en-
courages them to heist it. He is the source of
information that establishes the goal of the
game, so make sure players understand that
the fuel can buy Jem a new heart.
Gloogon is enamored by Jem and the two
will hit it off.
GLOOGON= Lonely Ancient Pirate
STR: 12 (+1)
DEX: 10 (0)
WIS: 12 (+1)
CHA: 8 (-1)
• Who are you? or Why are you here?
Gloogon needs to inform and nudge the
players into heisting the ship’s fuel.
If players don’t ask these questions, Gloogon
will tell the players about where their hands
are and how to escape the brig on his own.
• Where’s the fuel on the ship?
Gloogon: “The fuel is in the engine
room on the way lower decks. You’re
gonna need maps before heading down
or you’ll certainly get lost. I can’t re-
member much else, it’s been so long.”
Jem tries to wink at Gloogon, but her
eyes are already sealed shut by the dry
layer of crust.
THINGS PLAYERS MIGHT ASK
Your entire crew is teleported into a
warm cobblestone room with walls
covered in thousands of tick marks. As
you try to regain your balance post-tele-
portation, you see a wrinkled, crusta-
cean-like man ahead of you. As soon as
he notices your presence, a warm smile
breaks loose the dry flakes of his crusty
face. He lunges forward to shake your
hands only to pause and realize you all
don’t have any.
Gloogon: “Oh, right. I forgot about
the hand thing. Welcome to the brig.
What are ya in for?”
• The room has a single door who’s
knob is dripping with a viscous, sali-
Gloogon: “Used to be in a gang of pi-
rates. My crew raided the ship’s fuel but
I… I was too slow. Here I am rotting
in a cell for eternity while my crew got
out, set for life. See, the fuel on this ship
isn’t the normal stuff. It’s special. I’m
talking billions of credits on the black
market special. So who’s the peach in
Jem tells the man her name and blushes
with what little blood flow she can mus-
ter to her face.
HAND TORTURE CHAMBER
The room is cramped with hundreds
of disembodied hands chained up
along the walls by their wrists. They’re
squirming about in terror like frantic
spiders. In the corner of the room is
a three-eyed alien guard using a tiny
whip to flog the imprisoned hands. She’s
slowly moving across the back wall to
ensure every hand receives it’s fair share
You finally open the lubed door to find
nothing but a silver wall behind it.
Gloogon: “Just step through and you’ll
be teleported back into the lobby.”
Captain Flash: “Hello, animals. This
is your captain speaking. Before we take
off, I’d just like to make some things
clear. Don’t break shit. Seriously. And
try not to piss everywhere. The robots’ll
clean it but still. I don’t conceptually
want that. Basically I’m doing you a
huge solid here so just try not to screw
things up for yourself. Just relax. Play
shuffleboard. Go for a swim or some-
thing. And remember... our motto here
on the S.S.O.S. is you can’t spell refu-
gee without fug, which when translated
from the dialect of the people of Hor-
nox means fun.”
You can feel yourself traveling through
an expansive void. As you’re phasing
back into the lobby, you hear a short,
muffled arrangement of bells sound on
WHEN PLAYERS GET HANDS
The guard is distracted while whipping the
hands. Players can deal with her as creatively
or violently as they wish.
• Why don’t you escape with us?
Gloogon: “This room works like a
stasis cube. You can’t die in here and
I’ve been trapped for centuries. If I walk
out now I’ll just turn to dust. Jem can
keep me company though. I mean if she
Jem folds her arm nubs over her heart.
You can’t tell if she’s flattered or having
a heart attack.
The remote on the guard’s waist can unlock
any hand by turning the knob like a combi-
nation lock. The correlating combinations
are tattooed onto the chained hands.
TERSHIAV BON= Unfriendly Guard
In Hand Torture Chamber
STR: 14 (+2)
DEX: 8 (-1)
WIS: 13 (+1)
CHA: 8 (-1)
• Where are our hands?
Gloogon walks over to a loose brick
in the wall and skillfully uses the nubs
of his arms to wobble it out, leaving a
hole just wide enough for bodies to fit
Gloogon: “If you want them back,
you just gotta go through this tunnel.
There’s a guard who keeps watch of all
the captured hands in the room over. If
you can get to the remote hanging on
her belt, you can set them free.”
Gloogon smiles at Jem causing her to
giggle in-between spurts of wheezy
The tunnel will lead players to the Hand
Jem is incapable of crawling through the
tunnel and will not follow the players.
• In the corner of the room on top of
a crate are a stack of four medical
Jem refuses to leave the brig with the play-
ers because she’s too old and sickly to heist
anymore. She’d prefer to stay with Gloogon
and will communicate with players using a
walkie-talkie for the rest of the game.
Once players step through the door...
With their hands back, they can now open
the exit door back in the brig. Entering this
doorway will teleport the players into the
When players get back to the brig and
open the lubed door...
Players do not have to take their own hands
back, they can steal someone else’s. Let them
tell you what kind of hands they want. The
only limitation is that the hands can’t be
weapons of any sort.
• Hanging on the guard’s waist is a
small silver remote with a single red
Your SAMPLE JOURNEY HAS COME TO AN END
This was only the introductory chapter of the first of two games in the book. There are
still five more chapters and a secondary one-shot game to explore.
If you’d like to experience the book in its entirity or just help us reach our goal in funding
the printing of 1000 softcover copies, you can support us on Kickstarter and get the book
for yourself (PDF and physical copies available).
To stay up to date on our Kickstarter, follow our pre-launch page at:
Universe Ball Anthology
Or join our email list at our website:
You can also follow us on our social media pages:
Q Instagram: @universe_ball_anthology
D Twitter: @UB_Anthology
R Reddit: Universe_Ball_TTRPG