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The Knife XE
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The Knife XE

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Welcome to the Urban Fantasy and Steampunk sale! From now through April 18th, this digital title has been marked down by up to 30%! For more values, visit our Urban Fantasy and Steampunk sale page.

Renaissance gundam steampunk with vampires, fusils, clockwork armors, and body modification.

"It's crunchy ... without being a complicated system. Plus the setting of steampunk biohacking is unparalleled." - Sean F. Smith

Keep both eyes on the Sharps of the Knife.

You will use rules based in the tradition of Fighting Fantasy, Troika!*, and Tunnel Goons to play "Sharps," characters defined by their cultures, occupations, and formative experiences.

The only mechanic: Roll two six sided dice (plus an additional die if your sharp's occupation is relevant, and another if your sharp makes an extra effort) and pick the two best dice. Add bonuses for experience and gear. Compare to a Difficulty Score (DS). If you beat the DS, your sharp succeeds. If you miss the DS, your sharp fails. Matching the DS gives a mixed result.

Here's a sample player character:

Nuraida: a Jugalian Mercenary. Luck 12, Breath 9.
She has adopted a pup from the white wolf's hidden den, survived a bear's embrace, been a mercenary at the gate of Thelav, and been taken a prisoner of war. 
She's equipped with a greataxe and a chain byrnie, and a bag of copper solars.

Here's a sample combat:

Nuraida crouched with her axe held two-handed, ready to attack or evade the massive clockwork scorpion. Its iron-plated body bore numerous dents; this was not its first affray. She heard the hissing of steam as it moved, its essence-fired engine operating in a closed loop. Waves of heat rose from the cooling fins around its body.It sprang forward. Nuraida leapt aside and swung her axe: 3d6k2+4 = 10. She avoided the scorpion's pincers and tail, but it kicked her square in the shoulder with one of its legs, and she stumbled. -2 Luck = 10.

The setting: In and around the decadent, diminishing Royal City of Thelav, called by its inhabitants "The Knife." Thelav sits at the edge of desert highlands to the east and open sea to the west, marsh and farmland to the south and forests to the north. It is a center of culture and trade. It is under threat of colonization by the militarist Onderban Empire, which already has come over the sea and established settlements in what used to be Thelav's southern provinces. In the provinces, Thelavian dragoons and clockwork armor squadrons frequently skirmish with regiments of Onderban pikers and fusiliers. In the city, the sharps of the Knife carry on daily life in full awareness of their culture's contingent existence. In the palace, the Queen of the City sits tied to her throne by alchemic life support equipment, dispensing wisdom and favors.

The game revolves around rumors and favors asked and granted. It is principally an urban adventure, although random tables and a listing of dangerous creatures are provided for expeditions into the forested mountains or the desert highlands.

*This game is an independent production neither affiliated with nor endorsed by the Melsonian Arts Council.

Game includes:

  • Rules (28 pages) and Setting (28 pages)
  • Making a sharp
    • Luck, spending it for re-rolls, and running out of it
    • Breath, spending it for extra dice, and investing it to carry stuff
    • Culture and occupation
    • One hudnred eight formative experiences
  • Taking action
  • Fearless fighting 
  • Firing fusils
  • Archery
  • Running out of stuff
  • Currency and commerce
  • Bonecarving and medical treatment
  • Clever contraptions
  • Clockwork armor piloting
  • Extraordinary elixirs, salves, and essences
  • Honing your sharp
  • Moving through Thelav
  • Weather in Thelav
  • Mood of the Knife
  • One hundred eight contraptions
  • Eight hundred sixty-four rumors
  • Two hundred sixteen citizens
  • Four hundred thirty-two locations
  • Eight hundred sixty-four favors
  • Exploring the farmlands around The Knife
  • Exploring mountains
  • Exploring walled ruins
  • One hundred eight greater guardians and one hundred forty-four greater treasures
  • Two hundred sixteen lesser guardians and one hundred forty-four lesser treasures


Check out a range of 2d6-based games from Tibbius:

The Knife XE || Goons of the Tombs || Running Luck || Atlantean Hobos || Goon Squad || Sigils RPG

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Discussions (2)
Customer avatar
Sean W March 02, 2021 8:28 pm UTC
Hi, will there be a POD option eventually ?
Customer avatar
Tibbius G March 02, 2021 11:03 pm UTC
Goodness I'm lazy. Yes, eventually I intend to upload a print-ready file. I know a lot of people love Affinity, and I'll agree it's a powerful product, but I find it quite challenging to use.
Customer avatar
colin T January 24, 2021 9:20 pm UTC
Does this replace the old version of the Knife? I bought the old one, but see it’s no longer available. Do purchasers of the original get this as an upgrade, or is that what the bundle discount is for?
Customer avatar
Tibbius G February 10, 2021 9:15 pm UTC
The bundle is intended to let original purchasers upgrade without paying more than full price for the new one + old one. In the bundle I priced the original at $6 and the new one at $3 so you only end up paying an additional $3 if you already bought the original.
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File Last Updated:
March 02, 2021
This title was added to our catalog on January 23, 2021.