Ambition is a dieselpunk action adventure TTRPG about a group of misfits in massive debt exploring the frontier in an alternate 1930s. They travel through scenes of industrial progress and sublime landscape, meeting memorable over-the-top characters, and taking on odd jobs as they pay their debts and start to set their own goals in the new world.
The Ambition TTRPG draws inspiration from the American West, the Roaring 20s, pulp novels, travel posters, and early 20th century propaganda.
The game uses a resource management skill system, class-based tactical combat, and evocative worldbuilding to imagine a new experience continuing the spirit of the frontier through the heart of the of the 20th century.
Download the alpha core playtest manual here.
SOLVING PROBLEM SOLVING
Instead of an exhaustive list of skills and modifiers, Ambition uses a breadth of unusual skills that still cover a variety of situations
Loosely grouped into categories of knowledge, knowhow, and capabilities, these skills use simple stepped dice to resolve only the most heroic challenges. In Ambition, things generally work out and what matters is the degree of complications that emerge.
A static success threshold minimizes the need for adjudication. At peak investment, players gain access to skill abilities. Skill abilities are powerful limited resources that allow for significant alteration and definition of the world.
Through these limited resources, players must engage in collaborative lateral thinking in deciding how to use and manage their skill abilities. A well placed skill ability - or stronger yet, the synthesis of two - can solve encounters entirely by themselves.
SMOOTH TACTICAL COMBAT
Combat is designed to be quick to resolve, and designed from the beginning to be well suited for table play. Fast rulings reduces the need for adjudication and leaves the most time available to being making important choices.
Ambition uses a class based design to give players a framework and skeletal identity to approach the game.
Class identity is independent of any kind of occupational role - instead focusing on tactical approach. Every team member has the opportunity to contribute and make meaningful decisions over the course of an encounter.
The classes are derived from three core combat principles - inflicting damage (stress), preventing damage, and manipulating the encounter. From these three, and the three hybrids, six core mechanical identities form the basis for the rest of class design.
Each class has a clearly defined niche, ensuring everyone has something to do during an encounter. Within each of the asymmetric roles, the classes are further numerically balanced to possess an equitable level contribution with respect to each of the approaches.
The hybrids realize both adjacent approaches through internal synergies - Resolute is able to prevent damage by inflicting status effects, Daring is able to deal more damage by moving and aggressively using cover, etc.
The abilities and traits of each class work together within each role and between the entire team. The included mechanics within each class promote a unique and compelling form of gameplay, easing players into playing well and thinking together.
Over the course of a game or a campaign, the building blocks of a class lead players into making the best usage of their kit and explore diverse and satisfying methods of resolving encounters.
Efficient and straightforward layout makes the important information quickly available to players. At a glace, each of the specialized traits and abilities are quickly visible.
Further inspection reveals commentary describing the intended usage, possible synergies, and weaknesses that they will need to rely on their teammates to address.
A player never needs to be in the dark about what is baseline optimal, and can instead focused on responding to each individual encounter in thoughtful ways.