In the late '80s and early '90s, Origin did some initial work on
a pencil-and-paper role-playing system which they tentatively named
Ultima: The RPG. A number of Origin people worked on the project,
which continued on at minimal staffing through at least the end of
1996, but seems to have finally dissipated. At GenCon '95, Richard
Garriott actually demoed his paper RPG, but to date nothing has
ever come of it. One former Origin employee who was involved with
the paper RPG and other Ultima projects has provided some details
of the game as it was when he left:
Maybe someday the game will be released, either by Origin or maybe
by their friends at Steve Jackson Games. At least we can hope!
Alternatively, if someone is interested in working with me on a
public domain GURPS extension for Ultima, I think I have enough
source material to make a go at it.
- The game could be played during any time period of Britannia
or Sosaria, but as last implemented used source material for
geography, magic, etc. from the time of Ultima VII (Black Gate) or
- The demo run at GenCon was apparently set in Britannia
during the time the Avatar was on Pagan.
- There was not yet any provision for travelling to different
worlds, though they planned to include that eventually.
- Though specific characterization was not done yet, the game
as planned would include the Guardian.
- The game had not gotten far enough in design to include
plans for adventure "modules" ala AD&D, but long term plans
definitely included them.
- Originally it was planned that Ultima IX, Ultima Online and
the Ultima RPG would all use the same "rules" for magic,
characters, and so on. As time passed, though, the "rules" for
Ultima IX and Ultima Online have continued to evolve, so that will
probably not be how the RPG would end up.
- The "final" (as in, the last known) word was that a paper
RPG would definitely be published out-of-house. Where it would be
designed was also a big question. Given Origin's long-standing
relationship with Steve Jackson
Games (Car Wars, Ogre, GURPS), one could imagine SJ both
designing and publishing an Ultima paper RPG.