Knights of the Road: 1920s Hobos battling monsters – review and custom character sheet

I recently received my Kickstarter copy of Knights of the Road, the OSR fantasy RPG from Bordercholly. It’s a hack of the Into the Odd / Bastionland system. I haven’t run it yet, but it’s a cleanly written, fun little system.

It’s set in the Western States – a thinly disguised fantasy version of the western US of the early 20th century. The players are members of the International Brotherhood of Itinerant Sellswords, a band of homeless adventurers who roam the railways of the Western States fighting monsters for pay. Imagine if the Wobblies were knight-errants.

The Books

The game consists of three books. The first is the main rulebook. It has the character creation rules, combat rules, and equipment lists. One of my favorite bits is the random table to generate hobo names.

The Conductor’s Guide is for the GM. It’s got quest generators, encounter tables, and general GM advice. The third book, Monster of the Rails, is the fun one – the monster manual. It has 15 Western American folklore themed monsters – Bigfoot, Chupacabra, Jackelopes, etc.

The books are all quite small – 2.75″ x 4.25″, each about 20 pages. They’re nice and portable, but for convenience’s sake I printed out the PDFs to zine-style half letter booklets.

The Rules

The rules are similar to Into the Odd. All players have 3 stats: Vim, Sense, and Wits. They’re generated with a 3d6. For any test, including combat, a player needs to roll their stat or below on a d20.

The players also have Dumb Luck, a D6 stat that will soak up any damage from injuries. After they lose their dumb luck, players start to lose Vim. When Vim is below zero, the character dies.

The Character Sheet

One page in the main book has a simple character sheet, but I wanted something a little larger so I made a custom sheet.

It’s fillable, will create check boxes for Vim and Dumb Luck, and allows you import a character image. I’ve added it to my master list of character sheets for different RPGs.

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