Ultimum is a tabletop Role-Playing Game that is built around a dramatic, science fiction story about races and peoples that are all learning how to live together in the face of survival. The setting is Earth in the far future. The continents have collided and created Pangea Ultima. New sentient species, both alien and terrestrial now populate the Earth and humanity has just returned. There are galaxy spanning threats to overcome, but for now, we need to regroup.
In Ultimum, the players determine the course of the story. In kitchens, living rooms and gaming stores all over the world, players will be playing out their Ultimum sessions from week to week. Once they're finished, they'll upload their progress to the Ultimum website. The developers will organize and trend the player data and start building the future storyline from there.
Ultimum is the first of its kind in how it is played. Ultimum will be released as a Core Rulebook (That has all rules, character creation, monsters, story and Game Mastering concepts all in one). Alongside the release of the Core Rulebook will be Apps for Smartphones, Tablets, Laptops and PCs that can be used in place of the Core Rulebook. These Apps will have all of the rules, a dice roller, combat tracker, inventory screen, character sheet and more to give the player more options. If you like to use your laptop, but love to roll dice on the table, go for it! It's all seamless and it all works together.
Ultimum is the first Paperless Tabletop Role-Playing Game. With the Apps available on all devices, players will be able to connect through the Ultimum website and use the matchmaking service to schedule and play in sessions through text, audio and video using all the tools needed to make the game immersive. Do you like your couch? Great! Get your Tablet and play with people all over the world on a Saturday night from the comfort of your couch. Are you waiting in line at the movie theater for a big release? Awesome! As long as you all have your phones, you can play while you wait in line.
The key is how the players connect to the GM's Host Server. The GM can then share the group's information, such as dice rolls, combat actions, map placements and more.
If Tabletop RPGs are the Automobile, Ultimum is the Teleporter.
Ultimum's story is player driven. Most RPGs take you by the hand and pull you into a setting and lead you through it in a linear fashion. In Ultimum, we hold your hand and show you the setting and then walk alongside you, building what you, as a player, want to see.
It's all in how we collect information and look at it. At the end of a game session, players can go onto the website and upload their progress using a series of forms built around keyword tags. We compile all the uploaded forms and begin to sort them based on where players are playing and what players are doing. Ultimum is a big world and can hold a lot of players doing a lot of things. Players will see the impact of their own tabletop group in the world of Ultimum. Wherever possible, we will use the characters you have built to write the story.
Of course, we will release modules for players to play through and we will have world events that the players can choose to respond to. How the players react to these events and modules will help shape the story even further.
Ultimum will be delivered Internationally via App Stores and Game Stores. For the Ultimum Books, we will cover the International Shipping rates. We have print shops located in Europe who can print the books for us and ship them from there, saving on international shipping. We will calculate the furthest US shipping rate and that is all that international customers will pay. We'll get the difference. We want everyone who wants to play Ultimum to have the chance. If you want an Ultimum book in the heart of the Mongolian plains, we will fly to the nearest airport, rent a horse and personally deliver the Core Rulebook to your yurt if we have to.
Ultimum's ruleset certainly shares some influences with other tabletop RPGs from the past, however, it is a completely unique system. It is refreshing to veterans and accessible for new players. We did not attempt to create a simplified system, though. We wanted something that was easy to understand the basics, but had the complexity to keep us interested. Ultimum is all about player choice. We didn't make the game complex to learn, we made it complex for players to choose their path.
Resolution is at the heart of any RPG. Ultimum's resolution is the simple part. Every character has Abilities and Skills. Each of these are represented by a die, instead of just a number. So, a character with a d12 Vigor (Strength and Constitution mixed together) is much stronger than a character with a d6 Vigor. Skills are derived from the associated Ability. For example: Athletics is derived from Vigor. To resolve a conflict a character picks up their Ability and Skill dice and rolls them. The opposing Player or Game Master picks up their two opposing Ability and Skill dice and rolls them. The players add them together and whoever rolled higher wins. This allows players to roll against a variable number, instead of a static one and allows for luck to play a much larger role in the game, while still giving a significant bonus for higher level stats.
Use Them All
We've said this before in videos and blogs. You will use every die in your dice bag. Abilities, Skills and Damage Dice all use the following: d2, d4, d6, d8, d10 and d12. (Yes, we made the lonely d12 our pinnacle stat die). The d20 is used for critical hit rolls and critical hit table rolls (There is just something satisfying about rolling a 'Nat 20). The d100 is used for mineral scanning and crafting with the RFD. Players will definitely be using the d100 a lot. Philosophically, we wanted a game that made use of all of the dice we end up buying at game stores.
Each Race has a set of basic Ability stats and a list of unique Talents. Here is an example of how a Race Page looks.
Each Race also gets to roll or choose a Background that gives the character some fluff and a Skill Bonus.
Each Race has 42 Talents. These 42 Talents are split into 3 groups of 14 Talents each. Players receive 1 Talent per level, making each play through of Ultimum different than the last. Here is an example of some Class Talents.
The Talents above are colored by their Tier and shaped by being either Active or Passive. In the case above, the Archon has Elementalist (Offensive nuker), Arcanist (Buffer and Debuffer) and Ghana Mastery (The Archon's semi-sentient, robotic cube pet gets better at stuff). Tier 1 and Tier 2 Talents are baseline and expert level Talents, while Tier 3 Talents are powerful and game changing.
Combat is Ultimum's most divisive feature. We have shed the time (honored?) trope of everyone rolling and then taking turns around the table. Ultimum uses a speed system, whereby all actions, whether through the use of Skills, attacks with weapons, Talents or movement, all have an associated speed. Our reasoning for this system was to engage the players during combat. Too often players who roll last in the Initiative order simply get up and leave the table until their turn comes up. This system is so dynamic that players need to pay attention because their turns will coming sooner and more often than before. (With a lighter rule system in general, less time is spent each turn looking up the obscure rules for specific abilities). Example below.
A Warlord (Red) armed with a Longsword has rolled his Initiative Skill dice (d8 Dexterity + d8 Initiative) with a result of 12. An Archon (Green) armed with his Ghana Cube has rolled his Initiative dice (d6 Dexterity + d10 Initiative) with a result of 11. The Warlord goes first.
The Warlord is 8 Hexes away and must move into Melee Range to attack with his Longsword. 8 Hexes is within the Warlord’s Basic Move range, and thus costs 3 Initiative Ticks. The Warlord moves and attacks. The Warlord is now at Initiative Tick 6 (3 for Movement and 3 for the Attack). The Archon remains at Initiative Tick 11.
The Archon decides to use Bolt against the Warlord. Bolt has a Charge Up speed cost of 4. The Archon also wants to use her Talent: Potency, and spend 2 additional Ticks to raise her damage. This means the Archon must wait until Initiative Round 5 before the Bolt is unleashed.
The Warlord decides to attack the Archon with his Longsword. The Longsword has a Cool Down speed cost of 3.
The Archon is now able to let loose her Bolt. The Archon attacks with the Bolt. It is now the Archon’s turn again, immediately. This is the inherent advantage to Charge Up attacks. This essentially gives an Archon the ability to use a Charge Up ability and then follow it immediately with a Cool Down ability. We call this “Chaining.”
Charge Up and Cool Down
In Ultimum, Talents and Actions either Charge Up, meaning they start casting on the current Initiative Tick and execute at the end of the Speed Cost. OR, they activate Instantly and Cool Down, meaning they cannot be used again until after the end of the Speed Cost.
Charge Up: Wait and then Go.
Cool Down: Go and then Wait.
Ultimum is a game that prides itself on practical tactics used as valued game mechanics. With its fair share of Firearms, we strove to balance the game in a way that both ranged and melee could work together with spell like effects. First, to balance Firearms vs Swords, all character have access to Energy Shields. These Energy Shields act like point defense lasers that detect high velocity objects on a trajectory towards the wearer and then 'zap' the projectile out of the air. However, these Energy Shields only work against high velocity objects and will not stop an arrow, thrown weapon or melee attack. This allows a character a moment of safety from a hail of fire in a tight spot. This does NOT allow a character to stand out in the open and attempt to rush a Machine Gun wielding character with a sword. Which leads us to Cover. Cover is extremely valuable in Ultimum, just as it is in reality. Cover turns Ultimum's combat almost into a Chess match, with character using Cover like Pawns for defense while they advance.
As combat veterans and HEMA instructors, Ultimum's developers have placed the most practical and legitimate combat methodologies into a balanced, thinking-man's combat system for depth and danger.
Risks and challenges
We learned much from our first Kickstarter for Ultimum. We've streamlined our team, added new talent, art and design to our project that have removed obstacles from our ability to deliver the best possible experience with Ultimum.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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