The Ringworld RPG Box Set is jam-packed with the resources to run an exotic sci-fi RPG campaign set in Larry Niven’s Known Space setting. So full of information in fact, that some material had to be excised before publication. Ergo, the Ringworld Companion book.

If all of its original material had been included, the cost of the Ringworld game would have been astronomical. We were forced to sift the text, choosing those entries most directly connected to Ringworld and those entries best explaining the relation of Known Space explorers to that fabulous structure. A lot got chopped. Most of it appears here: it is as authoritative as anything in the boxed game. View the Companion as a fifth book for Ringworld, the inclusion of which would have driven the game’s price into hyperspace.

Sherman Kahn and Lynn Willis in the RC Introduction

Chaosium used thin boxes at the time for their RPGs. The Ringworld core set contents filled that box, so they literally ran out of space. The Companion (“book 5”) could have fit, but only if they’d omitted the dice. Or used a larger box, but that would have increased cost.

See my post on the core set: Ringworld: Roleplaying Adventure Beneath the Great Arch (1984)

The following two accessory supplements were announced in a 1984/85 Chaosium catalog, but never saw print, alas.

  • The City and Jungle – An unfallen Citybuilder City surrounded by a vast rainforest – intrigue and adventure!
  • Known Space – The galaxy outside of Ringworld!

Ringworld Companion

1984 … John Hewitt & Lynn Willis & Greg Stafford & Sherman Kahn & Charlie Krank & Sandy Petersen & Lisa Free & Mike Blum & Theresa Griffin Savoy & Rudy Kraft & Steve Perrin … 80 pages … Chaosium 2502

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A RC book, signed by Larry Niven, that passed through the shop in Feb 2014.

One of the challenges of the Ringworld RPG is the vast scale of the setting. Look at the picture of the Great Oval Ocean. Note the little archipelagos. Those aren’t islands. They are continents! Each grouping represents a 1:1 scale “map” of various worlds in Known Space. I can’t think of another RPG setting with more square kilometers in one place, unless you count one of the infinite planes of AD&D.

A Ringworld Campaign will inevitably involve a lot of mechanized travel. The Companion has many articles with creatures and cultures, vehicles, plus two adventures to help GMs.

See Also:

Ringworld: Roleplaying Adventure Beneath the Great Arch (1984)

DICE from classic Call of Cthulhu box sets: Some reference pics (1981-5)

RPG Cover Graphics (part 2 – consistency)