Buy Kriegsmesser – because I say so. If that isn't enough:
Kriegsmesser is a gritty and sometimes raucous look at the "long sixteenth century somewhere in Europe" designed by Gregor Vuga. Think no/low magic; 'scientists', mercenaries, merchants, and spies; gritty and dark humor. Think careers not race/class, and d6s not d20s. Think about what the baby of Troika and 1e Warhammer with about 90% less goofiness and fantasy would look like. Think about running away if someone points a pistol, or even a nice sword at you!
Kriegsmesser can be played with Troika (Fighting Fantasy, Jackson & Livingston) or with Gregor's own, onboard system that seems to be about 50% Lasers and Feelings (John Harper) and 50% Dungeon World (LaTorra & Koebel).
I backed Kriegsmesser during Zine Quest 3. Here we are, just 2.5 months later, and I have both a PDF and a physical copy in hand. There was roughly one update a week between successful funding and delivery - just the right amount. I got the Preview 3+ weeks ago, the PDF over a week ago, and the zine this week. So, congrats on a clear, well run KS campaign go to Gregor Vuga and his team! This is what a really professional KS feels like - not too aloof and not too chummy, no gratuitous stretch goals or messy piles of digital files, clear expectations were set and then delivered upon.
The zine packs a lot into it. A bit about the implied setting is followed by a short page of character creation rules and 36 careers, one of which each player's character gets at random. After that comes a basket of goodies: a rules base that's a good alternate to Troika, optional rules for combat that makes it a bit more mechanical and/or more likely to cause scars than death, some thoughts on running the game, a whole system for creating flavorful NPCs, a method of generating towns and adventures, some flavorful pre-generated scoundrels for encounters, more info about the 'long sixteenth', and a final thought on playing the game in other times or places.
And in case I have done this zine a disservice, here are Gregor's own words from DTRPG.com:
Kriegsmesser is a tabletop RPG zine that was created for #zinequest 2021. It was inspired by history (cca. 1453-1630) and roleplaying games named after medieval weapons.
"Its focus are 36 backgrounds compatible with Troika by Melsonian Arts Council, but it comes with a set of custom rules and can be played standalone.
Also includes some essays, GM tools, random tables, rules for horrible injuries, recommended media and a bunch of historical woodcut art.
What is it not?
• It's not a historical game as such, it's fairly anachronistic and sparse on detail.
• It is not high fantasy with evil gods and orcs and wizards and pirate elves on lizard mounts."