When Joe Sharkey woke up, it was to a world turned black and stifling hot. There was something over his head. A pillowcase, maybe? His mind raced to make sense of his surroundings. He was lying on a floor, cold, rough concrete underneath him. Thick ropes were knotted tightly around his wrists and ankles. Wherever he was, it was obvious he wouldn’t be leaving anytime soon…if at all.
As the pounding in his ears lessened, he could hear low whispers nearby. He wasn’t alone. Sharkey cleared his throat. “Somebody wanna get this thing off me?” he rasped.
The sound of heels on concrete. A blinding light as the covering was yanked from his face. Even before his eyes adjusted, he knew it was her; the smell of her perfume was unmistakable.
“Well, well, Detective Sharkey,” Jasmine Kinkaid all but purred. “You don’t look so hot.”
He was in a warehouse. Jasmine, as severe as she was beautiful, towered over him, a handful of hired goons nearby, ready to rush to their boss’s side if needed. Sharkey ignored them and focused on Jasmine. He laughed. “A guy can't be expected to look his best after getting worked over by your thugs, Jasmine. Y’know, if you wanted to get me alone, you could’ve just asked.”
"Those diamonds are mine, Sharkey. You should've stayed away from this case."
"My captain's probably gonna say the same thing at my funeral." Play for time, he thought to himself. Just play for time and wait for backup.
As if reading his thoughts, Jasmine sighed audibly. “Your partner isn’t coming for you. My boys have already taken care of Detective Carter.” Her "boys" smiled at one another, nodding their mutual appreciation for one another’s handiwork.
Just then, Brock Carter’s metallic blue Challenger crashed through the warehouse’s corrugated metal doors amid a cacophony of twisted steel and squealing tires.
“Yeah, I don’t know about that,” Sharkey said, grinning.
URBAN KNIGHTS is a roleplaying game set in an action-packed world inspired by 1970s cop and detective television shows. It’s a “rules lite” game, which means that it has very few mechanics to master. URBAN KNIGHTS is a stripped-down, minimalist RPG designed to capture the gonzo action and bad one-liners of a very distinctive genre, and the mechanics of the game are as simple as the pleasures of the genre itself, engineered to facilitate over-the-top action with a minimum of muss and fuss. All you need to play are these rules, a handful of six-sided dice, poker chips or other counters, and a few friends (the game plays best with 2-4 players and a GM). A classic funk playlist is probably a good idea, too.
Now, to be totally honest, URBAN KNIGHTS isn’t a 100% "accurate" emulation of 1970s crime shows. Instead, it emulates how we remember such shows—how we still picture them in our imaginations—and how cool they could’ve been had they not been hampered by tight shooting schedules, limited budgets, and network censors. URBAN KNIGHTS is an awestruck kid’s perception of these shows filtered through years of memory and translated into a tabletop roleplaying game. The game certainly evokes the style of 1970s crime shows, but in the game, the action is bigger and bolder, the stunts more frequent and more fantastic, and the one-liners…well OK, the one-liners are pretty much the same.
Basically, URBAN KNIGHTS is completely awesome, and you know you want to play it.
THE BASIC MECHANICS
URBAN KNIGHTS is rules-lite, so it's easy to learn and play. At the heart of the game's mechanics is a simple task resolution system based on rolling a pool of six-sided dice and counting the number of fives and sixes rolled. Each five or six is a success; match or exceed the required number of successes, and your action succeeds. Roll too few successes, and your action fails. It's as simple as that! There are some other variables to consider, of course--mostly situational modifiers--but those are the basics.
The dice do more than determine successes and failures. Along with every dice pool, players roll the Hassle die. If a one turns up on the Hassle die, it adds plot-thickening complications to the scenario! This can add nuance and depth to the players' successes and additional challenges to their failures.
Don't think that players are totally at the mercy of the dice, though. They have pools of Luck they can use to front-load an action's chances for success, or to take some control over the narrative. The game allows players a great deal of freedom in interpreting character traits during play, too, empowering creative players to stack bonuses to their advantage as long as they can justify it all in narrative terms.
The rules will feel intuitive and comfortably familiar to most veteran gamers, yet are simple enough to enable first-time roleplayers to dive right in with the vets and start bustin' some perps.
URBAN KNIGHTS is a rules-lite game presented in one slim, self-contained book. It's a squarebound 8.5x11" paperback with black-and-white interior artwork, and will run between 72 and 96 pages (the final page count is still in flux; see our stretch goals below). The book will retail for around $16 or $17, but we're charging only $15 for this campaign. We're after a real beer-and-pretzels gaming experience (or soda-and-pretzels, if that's more age-appropriate for your group), so we're keeping the book small and inexpensive.
Our funding goal is so small--only $1200--because, as was the case for our other tabletop games, we're able to do everything in-house, from the development to the art to the layout and graphic design. This goal will enable us to print the game, ship it to our storage facility, then package and ship it to backers, as well as pay our Kickstarter fees. We've got an excellent printer willing to do short runs for us, so we're able to produce a professional-quality book even in small numbers. Of course, if demand warrants it, we're ready to print mountains of these books, but either way, we'll be happy just to get URBAN KNIGHTS into your hands and on your table.
Here's how to get the game, either in print or in PDF format.
Pledge $1 or more: INFORMANT
Hey, we'll take all the help we can get! This reward level earns you our hearty thanks and a mention on our website and in the book. Estimated delivery: Oct 2016
Pledge $10 or more : ROOKIE
This level gets your name on the website and in the book, and gets you a PDF copy of the game, plus PDF copies of any stretch goals we hit. Estimated delivery: Oct 2016
Pledge $15 or more : VETERAN
This level gets your name on the website and in the book, and gets you a PDF copy of the game, a print copy of the game, and PDF copies of any stretch goals we hit. Estimated delivery: Oct 2016
Pledge $25 or more : CRIMEBUSTER (Limited to 40 backers)
This level gets you the PDF and print versions of the rulebook and your name on the website and in the book, PDF copies of any stretch goals we hit, and a limited-edition set of printed collectibles available only through this campaign: a color 8.5"x11" mini-poster and a three-pack of beautiful 5"x7" black-and-white art prints. These are EXCLUSIVES, so act fast! Estimated delivery: Oct 2016
Pledge $60 or more : THE CHIEF (Limited to 20 backers)
This multi-pack is perfect for the Game Master who wants to provide his whole group with copies of the game. Get five (yes, five) print copies of the game for the price of four! Plus you'll receive a PDF copy of the rulebook, PDF copies of any stretch goals we hit and, of course, your name on the website and in the book. This price is so good that we're limiting the number of packages that can be bought at this discount rate! Estimated delivery: Oct 2016
Pledge $150 or more : THE COMMISSIONER (Limited to 5 backers)
Want to see yourself turned into a gritty 1970s crime-fighter, rendered in the style of the art shown in this campaign page? This reward level gets your name on the website and in the rulebook, a PDF and a print copy of the game, PDF copies of any stretch goals we hit, and a one-of-a-kind drawing of yourself in the game's graphic, moody style! You won't just receive a print of the art...you will receive actual, hand-drawn original art straight from the game's creator/illustrator! This reward level is really something special--Mike typically draws using only digital tools these days, so getting physical art from him is a genuine rarity. This is an only-during-this-campaign opportunity! Estimated delivery: Oct 2016
If you have backed the game at the Veteran, Crimebuster, Chief, or Commissioner levels, you may purchase an additional copy of the print edition rulebook at the discounted price of $12. Just add $12 to your pledge total.
If we pass our $1200 funding goal, we've got some great stretch goals in mind. Each stretch goal in this first batch will be added to your reward at no additional charge as we cross its mark!
If the campaign is a runaway success, we'll be offering additional, add-on stretch goals as the campaign progresses.
URBAN KNIGHTS is the creation of designer, writer, and artist C. Michael Hall, who recently transitioned from the comic book industry to indie gaming with two successful Kickstarter games, Vampyslvania and Pickle Pickle Pepper. He lives in Portland, OR.
Connect with us on the URBAN KNIGHTS Facebook page!
Risks and challenges
We're not attempting to create some 400-page monster of a hardcover gamebook. Those are great (we've even backed some right here on Kickstarter), but that's just not what we do. We're a producer of modest, niche-audience indie games, and we like it that way. URBAN KNIGHTS is a standalone product, affordably priced, and absolutely no bigger than it needs to be. This campaign makes no hard-to-live-up-to promises. You pledge your support; we'll deliver a quality gamebook. No reinvention of the wheel here!
The best thing about URBAN KNIGHTS (apart from its general awesomeness) is that it's already just about complete. Because Mike generates all the art and design in-house and doesn't have to finance an art and design team, there's no need to hire freelancers. The visual aspects of game publishing are among the most expensive, but for us, that's not an issue. Literally all we're funding with this campaign is printing and delivery costs.
This is an easy-to-produce self-contained game, so we're not faced with any unusual manufacturing challenges. We've sourced our exclusives from a manufacturer we've used before, so there shouldn't be any surprises there, either. Though every game runs the risk of complications during the manufacturing phase, we're as prepared for that as can be, having built lots of "cushion" into our production/release timetable. We've already run two successful game-related Kickstarters, so by this point we feel pretty confident we've got a good grasp on what we're doing. We are mindful of the risks of ANY production run, and take them very seriously, but our experience has prepared us to deal with those risks. And while this may be our first RPG, it's not the first product we've published (Mike's comic book publishing experience goes back almost 20 years).Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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