A choose your path Gamebook of Dwarves, honor, glory and war! Playable on tabletop, mobile, Mac, and PC. Pathfinder compatible add-ons. Read more
This project was successfully funded on May 30, 2013.
About this project
By popular demand, Niels' Bank has opened their legendary treasuries, and many fine add-ons are now available to discerning patrons.
To claim an add-on, you must first pledge to a Tier. Once you have done so, you can choose to overpledge by an amount equal to whichever add-ons you want - see the FAQ for an example. At the conclusion of the campaign, we'll send out a backer survey in which you can specify the add-ons you wanted. And now, here are the treasures, won by axe and blood from the Deeps:
Add-Ons: OGL/Pathfinder Supplements
- $15 - Taken from the Vault: a Dwarven Armory. A digital copy of the OGL/Pathfinder Compatible equipment and item catalog, the wonders of the Upper Deeps and a crafting sourcebook. Contains a unique Holdfast Adventure and crafting rules for the gamebook.
- $15 - Drunk, Broke and Bloody: A Holdfast Tavern Special. A digital copy of the OGL/Pathfinder Compatible ale, beer and spirits catalog and Inn & Tavern registry. Contains a unique prologue and epilogue for the Holdfast gamebook, which tells the tale of the celebratory nights before and after the main story.
- $15 - Workings of the Blessed: the Deities & Demigods. A digital copy of an OGL/Pathfinder Compatible sourcebook containing the dwarvish pantheon, a legend and temple catalog, and divine boons and blessings tables. Contains a unique Holdfast Adventure, and chances to please, or displease, the gods.
- $15 - The Deep Market. A digital copy of an OGL/Pathfinder Compatible sourcebook concerning cities, trade guilds, black markets, and the tools, legends and lore of the Dicemaker's Clans. Contains a unique set of Holdfast Trade Missions, and rules for trade, both legal and illegal, in your Hold.
Add-Ons: Holdfast Campaign
- $5 - A bookmark bearing Dwarven sayings on one side, and Dwarven curses on the other, so that you can be wise or bitter at your whim. Nicknamed by the Team: Pagehold. Truly epic, if for no other reason than the name.
- $15 - Encounters upon the Deep Roads. A digital set of encounters for the Holdfast gamebook, which expands the possibilities of who and what you might meet on your journeys. Includes new foes, new allies and new treasures.
- $75 - You may create an Adventure which will appear in an Add-On supplement ($90 for the Orc Campaign). You will gain a copy of this Supplement as well. This Adventure will be at least 25 sections, and you may provide guidance, writing or just the idea, at your whim. The Adventure must be suitable for the setting. The Team implores you only to select this if you really want to create an Adventure, as the amount of writing & editing time needed for these is not trivial. Thanks. :)
Add-Ons: The Orc Campaign
- $15 - The Rending. A digital copy of the OGL/Pathfinder Compatible orc sourcebook, orcish pantheon and order of battle of the tribes of the Upper Deeps. Contains a unique Orcish Campaign Adventure and minion rules. In order to play this Adventure, and use these rules, you will need to own a copy of the Orc Campaign.
- $30 - War-drums of the Long March. A digital copy of the 100 section Orcish Campaign. This campaign is separate from the main gamebook, but tells a story which intersects at a key moment with Holdfast. Depending on your decisions, you can give your Dwarf orcish treasures, make things a bit easier, or...make things much more difficult, according to your whim. Contains new illustrations, starting careers and skills for Orcs, and an...interesting artifact.
Add-Ons: Black Chicken PC Games
- $15 - Academagia: the Making of Mages. A complex simulation of the first year at a University of Magic. It's full of choice, events and characters.
- $15 - 1931: Scheherazade at the Library of Pergamum. A world-traveling story about a young archaeologist. It pays homage to the great movies and books of the '30s, and has history and a little romance in its gameplay.
- $25 - Both Academagia and Scheherazade. For the gamer with hundreds of hours to kill.
What is this?
Holdfast is an adventure gamebook for Print, Android, Mac and PC, following in the tradition of the old '80s and '90s greats: Lone Wolf, Fighting Fantasy, Tolkien Quest and Fabled Lands. Taking up your ancestral weapons, you'll choose your path to reclaim your homeland through orc-legions, hidden grudges, and nameless horrors from the Deeps. You will delve, expand your fortress and confront a mighty army, if you have the mettle it takes to hold the realms of old.
With over 600 sections, you'll discover many different mysteries, threats and resources to aid in your rule. The book will be printed in soft and hard covers, black and white, with over 50 illustrations. We have partnered with Tin Man Games to use their excellent platform to provide the Android, Mac and PC versions of the gamebook.
"You’re not the first person to enter these halls since they fell. There are gold coins scattered around the floor – on top of the fallen mantlestones, not crushed below. The blood on the walls isn’t centuries old, either.
There’s one handprint in particular. Someone stumbled, tried to catch himself, or herself, or whatever. Someone taller than your kind – it could have been human, or gray lord, or one of those things that live too deep down to have any name you’d know. Whatever it was, and whatever its friends were, you reckon they’re all gone now. Enough blood spilled here to stain the stone, though...
So where are all the bodies?"
The Story, so far...
Down in the deeps of the Stormwall mountains lay vast kingdoms of worked stone, jeweled lanterns and polished axes. Gon Durul, Halsond and the Westerdeep...their proud halls are no more: their great treasuries laid bare, their warriors slain at the gates, and their crowns hidden away in Seven Helms.
Clanless though you may be, the fires of anger against those that have stolen from, shamed and injured your people burn as hot in you as in any dwarf. Now, the tale can be told of how a chance discovery in a forgotten tomb will lead you to a ruined fortress, and how, through courage, battle and cunning you will carve out a Holdfast of your people in the Deeps!
"Well, there’s only one thing for it. This is a proper dwarven stronghold, even if there are no dwarves beside yourself inside its walls. Courtesy demands you announce yourself to your hosts..."
Desperate Combat in the deep places of the world
Black Chicken Studios, inc., will be bringing our trademark deep world-building, lore and adventure, along with an innovative tactical combat system, to help you light the darkness below. Like many of its predecessors, Holdfast uses a d10 to resolve combat, but unlike them, luck is not the dominant factor. Instead, the weapon you’ve brought to the fight and how you use it determines success and failure. You can turn even the most lopsided battle into a legendary victory with a bit of fortune and the right strategy.
Even if you are defeated, it’s not necessarily the end- you can take a Wound and get right back into the battle. Wounds do lower your stats permanently, but on the other hand they are highly regarded by the Dwarves as a sign of toughness, strength and the will to triumph. Some of the best improvements in your Holdfast can only be obtained by having Wounds, so you’ll have to balance the pros and cons.
"You take a deep breath and shout, “I don’t give a goblin’s bleached backside who or what you are, but this is a dwarf’s house and a dwarf is here to take it! You either come out and face me, or you run off to someplace that’ll have you!”"
Staking your claim
As you progress through the gamebook, you’ll gather items, discover resources, command improvements to your fortress, and prepare it against a vast army. The enhancements you make can grant you powerful boons, equipment and unlock new adventures. Your fortress can also lead to different endings, depending on your foes, alliances and choices.
Holdfast upgrades include walls and defensive weapons, such as traps, economic and crafting buildings, such as inns and forges, and personnel, including your personal guard. You can choose to go it alone, too, and dwarven history is filled with desperate last stands, ending in legendary, but inevitable, sacrifices...
"Your words echo against the good, dwarven stone. At first, there’s no response. Then there’s a groan.
It sounds like it might be old iron doors moving when they don’t want to move, but it picks up in pitch and you know it’s a living thing roaring – and it must have lungs like bellows.
You can’t help but smile. You’d been getting bored."
Thank you, noble Patrons!
The records of the ancient Dwarven kingdoms tell many stories of bravery, battle, gold, glory and victory over impossible odds. We trust you’ll take up your axe, gird for war, and help us tell this one!
The gates have opened, the Deeps wait expectantly, and the call goes out to all true dwarves to pitch in and help us craft this sturdy tome of deeds. Browse the tiers available, and choose the one right for you- you’ll have our sincere thanks and admiration, not to mention a gamebook.
At your service, and your family’s,
Tracking Progress & Helping Us Spread the Word
You can track our funding status via Kicktraq:
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Risks and challenges
We have the passion, the book, the writers and editors, a print deal and an agreement with Tin Man Games. Barring sneaky kobolds or orcish attack, we'll have this tome into your library, where you can accord it a place of honor with your other relics of the 4th Age.
In all seriousness, with the funding to bring Holdfast to press, we've more or less locked this up. Our biggest challenge will be layout, and we have the tools and the talent to solve that!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
A gamebook is a cross between the Choose Your Own Adventures and D&D. You read through the book, making choices by turning to various sections, and break out the dice to battle monsters, winning (or losing) treasure (or your life) based on your decisions. Gamebooks were huge in the '80s, and we want to bring them back into gaming culture. They are fun, offer more choice than most video games (sadly), and are surprisingly easy to play.
That depends on how well you hold your adult beverage of choice. Holdfast has a drinking game embedded right in the text (you provide the drinks!), and you'll have to struggle against your own inebriation, as well as orcs, trolls and goblins, if you decide to accept the ultimate immersive experience.
It's extremely complex, and a part of Dwarven history which may, or may not, be true, depending on who you ask. It's rumored that Weresheep may appear in the gamebook if certain add-ons are chosen...
First, you have to know how many add-ons you want, and what they cost. Next, pledge (or choose manage your pledge) and adjust your pledged amount by however much the add-ons you want cost. Then complete your pledge as normal.
Your end pledge should be the amount of the Tier you selected plus any add-ons. So, if I decided I wanted Route-Breaker at $50, and an add-on for $15, I would pledge $65, and choose the Route-Breaker Tier.
After the campaign concludes, we'll send out a backer survey so you can indicate which add-ons are yours.
Pledge $5 or more
Of the Clan: one code for the Holdfast Gamebook App by Tin Man Games in your choice of Android, Mac or PC.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $10 or more
Forge-Lighter: the rewards of Of the Clan, a digital PDF copy of Holdfast, and access to the beta PDF copy prior to release.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $15 or more
Gate-Ward: the rewards of Forge-Lighter, and a digital copy of the setting, annotated artwork, appendices and maps, for your archives.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $20 or more
Tunnel Guard: the rewards of Gate-Ward, and a perfect bound Paperback copy of Holdfast for your library.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $25 or more
Adventurer: the rewards of Tunnel Guard, and an oversized bookmark with the full combat table on one side, and the boons table on the reverse, to help organize and speed play. You'll also get a set of 3 wallpapers, adapted from the game's artwork.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $35 or more
Pathfinder: the rewards of Gate-Ward, and a digital copy of the Holdfast OGL/Pathfinder Compatible sourcebook, rogue's gallery and bestiary for your tabletop gaming enjoyment.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $40 or more
10 backers All gone!
Treasure-Seeker: the rewards of Adventurer, and you may name a historical Dwarf and provide their biography for the appendices. The name and biography must be suitable to the setting. If possible, these Dwarves will be referenced in the gamebook's story.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $45 or more
Delver of the Deeps: the rewards of Adventurer, and a digital copy of the Holdfast OGL/Pathfinder Compatible sourcebook, rogue's gallery and bestiary for your tabletop gaming enjoyment.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $45 or more
2 backers Limited (3 left of 5)
Known to Taverns: the rewards of Pathfinder, and you may provide a brief saying, proverb or curse, as well as its background. This saying must be suitable to the background, and will appear in cultural notes in the appendices. If possible, these sayings will be employed in the book.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $50 or more
Route-Breaker: the rewards of Adventurer, save that you're upgraded to a sturdy Hardback copy of Holdfast instead of paperback. The hardback version also contains one additional illustration.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $65 or more
5 backers All gone!
Cartographer: the rewards of Route-Breaker, and you may name a historical fortress, city, monument or natural feature and provide its history for the map and the appendices. The name and history must be suitable to the setting. If possible, these locations will appear in the gamebook.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $70 or more
Lore-Keeper: the rewards of Delver of the Deeps, save that you're upgraded to a sturdy Hardback copy of Holdfast instead of paperback. The hardback version also contains one additional illustration.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $75 or more
Goblin's Fear: the rewards of Delver of the Deeps, and a glorious poster-sized illustrated and annotated flowchart, guide & walkthrough of the game, so you'll never get lost.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $100 or more
Orc-Reaver: the rewards of Goblin's Fear, save that you're upgraded to a sturdy Hardback copy of Holdfast instead of paperback. The hardback version also contains one additional illustration.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $115 or more
2 backers All gone!
♦ Reclaimer of the Halls ♦ The rewards of Orc-Reaver, and you may create an adventure for the gamebook. This adventure will be at least 25 sections, and you may provide guidance, writing or just the idea, at your whim. The adventure must be suitable for the setting.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $125 or more
♦ Hero of the Upper Deep ♦ The rewards of Goblin's Fear, and a game pack, containing a set of 16mm dice, a pencil, an eraser, character sheets, play aids, and an exclusive collection of weapon and equipment cards.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $150 or more
♦ First Captain ♦ The rewards of Hero of the Upper Deep, save that you're upgraded to a sturdy Hardback copy of Holdfast instead of paperback. The hardback version also contains one additional illustration.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $175 or more
1 backer All gone!
♦ Chronicler of the Saga ♦ The rewards of First Captain, and you may name a historical Dwarf and provide their biography, to be used in an excerpt of their epic saga. We'll create at least 10 stanzas about this Dwarf's deeds, which will appear in the appendices. The name and biography must be suitable to the setting. If possible, this Dwarf's saga will be referenced in the gamebook's story.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $200 or more
0 backers Limited (10 left of 10)
♦ Hammer-Lord ♦ The rewards of First Captain, and a copper plate/zinc alloy core 16mm d10, so that when you roll, you roll with the thunder of the mountain.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $250 or more
♦ Master of the Hall ♦ The rewards of First Captain, a paperback version of the Holdfast OGL/Pathfinder Compatible sourcebook, rogue's gallery and bestiary, and a printed map set containing every map in the game lovingly annotated and illustrated so that you can track your campaigns as your progress.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $500 or more
♦ Warlord ♦ The rewards of Master of the Hall, and a custom hand-made cloth Dwarven dice bag, so that your dice can be safely stored when on campaign.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $1,000 or more
♦ Crowned ♦ The rewards of Warlord, and a set of brass plate/zinc alloy core 16mm dice, so that you can deal with chance with authority.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $2,500 or more
♦ Battlesmith ♦ The rewards of Crowned, and you'll a custom made Dwarf miniature, depicting the Player on the cusp of their rule, by the master smiths at Hammer and Anvil.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $5,000 or more
♦ Named in the Old Tales ♦ The rewards of Battlesmith, and a custom made drinking horn, emblazoned with the sigil of Seven Helms, so that you may enjoy a beverage according to your high station.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
♦ Maker of Laws ♦ The rewards of Named in the Old Tales, and a custom made, leather bound copy of Holdfast. This version has clasps and a unique illustration.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
- (30 days)