Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
Narrative espionage roleplaying adapted from John Wick's Blood & Honor ruleset, built to help you tell le Carre-inspired spy stories!
Narrative espionage roleplaying adapted from John Wick's Blood & Honor ruleset, built to help you tell le Carre-inspired spy stories!
918 backers pledged $41,959 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

Cold Shadows - Narrative Espionage Roleplaying project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

$41,959

918

Cold Shadows Cover - Art by Shen Fei, Logo by Robert Denton
Cold Shadows Cover - Art by Shen Fei, Logo by Robert Denton

 

Cold Shadows is a tabletop roleplaying game built on the ruleset developed in Blood & Honor by John Wick Presents and World of Dew by Woerner Wunderwerks. Cold Shadows is a narrative tabletop role-playing game where the rules are focused on telling a dynamic, personal and compelling story. The game is set in a taut world of espionage, betrayal, and drama inspired by the great spy stories of authors such as John le Carre and Robert Ludlum.

Cold Shadows is written to evoke the feeling of the Cold War era of spies both in modern and historical context. The game can easily be used to tell espionage stories in any 20th and 21st century time-frame. 

The Drop
The Drop

Cold Shadows will have the following in the core game:

  • Rules for playing as high-level operatives in an Agency
  • Rules for one player and one Narrator
  • Rules for Narrator-less play
  • A chapter on generating your Field of Operations with rules that impact your Agents
  • Chapters on fighting styles
  • Information about historical and modern espionage organizations
  • A chapter on women in the Cold War and espionage cinema
  • And much more! Expansions and stretch goals will include rules systems that allow you to tell stories like Bond, Mission Impossible, and even xXx or Get Smart.

The core-book is already written! What we add is entirely dependent upon stretch goals and more! 

The game will be illustrated by real world photographs, leveraging the beautiful and seductive nature of locations famed in espionage fiction through hand-chosen photography, legally licensed and used with permission.

Cold Shadows uses multiple six-sided dice to help determine who retains narrative control of a scene. Players will look at elements that make up their characters, such as Attributes, Advantages, Traits, and Assets to generate a pool of six-sided dice they roll. All players involved in the action will roll their pool of dice (but can withold from the pool).

Whomever wins the roll (by rolling highest on the total dice) gains "Privilege", or the ability to narrate the outcome of the action. However, players can withhold dice they would roll in an attempt to influence the outcome, by spending those dice to modify and enhance the result of the action. 

Other mechanics, such as Cover, Trust, and Assets, play into the core concepts of characters, creating fully fledged, interesting and strong characters.

By putting the control of the story in the players hands, drama unfolds driven by player insight into their characters needs, wants, foibles, and talents. 

The Narrator provides an overarching plot, and represents the nefarious outside forces that impact the Character's agency with mechanical tools they're given to keep the players and characters questioning what is true and the dramatic tension high.

Cold Shadows is a game about story, tension, bursts of violence and drama. Characters deal with ongoing issues such as betrayal inside their own agency, paranoia, suspicion, patriotism, and struggle to gain the resources they need from the Director. 

It's about telling a story with your friends, experiencing a unique narrative that can only be told by conflict, division, secrets and trust.

As the campaign goes on, we'll be providing examples of rules text from the game to help illustrate how the game mechanics will support the genre!

To add more of a item to your pledge, simply increase your pledge by the appropriate amount. We'll sort it all out in the pledge manager. If you're in the US, there's no increase in shipping. If you're international, extra shipping for add-ons will be added in BackerKit after the project! (We try to keep it as cheap and reasonable as possible.) 

  • Cold Shadows Softcover - $20
  • 10 Cold Shadows Dice - $15
  • 15 Trust Tokens - $15
  • Path of Shadows Storypath Cards PDF - $5
  • Path of Shadows Storypath Cards physical - $10 (shipping is free if you are getting a physical pledge level). If you get this add-on you will automatically get the unlocked stretch goal Path of COLD Shadow cards for free!

The handmade bags, the physical print of The Black Book supplement, and the deluxe hardcover are limited rewards and only available in the appropriate pledges!

Everyone will get a PDF of the Black Book (NPCs, enemy agencies and more), but only The Honourable Operative pledge level gets a physical copy. We know The Honourable Operative pledge level does not say they get a PDF, but they will. Unfortunately, it was an oversight, and we can't change it once that pledge level has a backer!

Moscow at night
Moscow at night

THE MAKE/100 Initiative

We are participating in the make/100 initiative from Kickstarter. As part of the Honourable Operative pledge level, they will receive copies of unique communiques written by our team. These will only be produced for those pledge levels as part of this Kickstarter, and will be useful as props, adventure seeds, and handouts to players. 

Cold Shadows Dice (by Chessex)
Cold Shadows Dice (by Chessex)

 

Prototype Book (the cover will match the image at the top of this page)
Prototype Book (the cover will match the image at the top of this page)

 

Cold Shadows Handmade Bag!
Cold Shadows Handmade Bag!

 

Trust Token Front
Trust Token Front

 

Trust Token Back
Trust Token Back

 

Path of Shadows Cards
Path of Shadows Cards

 

This game is being written by Alan Bahr and Ben Woerner, with a talented team of freelancers aiding the primary writers. At the onset, we have Tobie Abad and Elizabeth Chaipraditkul writing on the project with us. As we unlock stretch goals, we'll be adding more talent and authors to this game!

The Publisher of this game is Nocturnal Media, which recently bought out Gallant Knight Games, and will be distributing and publishing Cold Shadows! The Kickstarter was already prepped and built on the Gallant Knight Games account, so we decided to launch it from here. Nocturnal Media does own Gallant Knight Games, so this imprint will bear the Nocturnal logo and have access to all those resources!

We'll be adding images, bios and updates here throughout the campaign!

Our stretch goals revolve around expanding the shadowy world of espionage! We'll be adding new pages to the book, detailing cities around the globe, appendices to expand Cold Shadows to explore the world of espionage cinema and fiction, and so much more.

Each chapter will reveal a new location, written in detail by someone who has lived or experienced the culture there. Each city will have adventure hooks, NPCs, and more, designed to help the Narrator evoke the feeling of that city and it's vibrant, yet shadowy espionage stories!

 

 

$6k UNLOCKED: Cairo in Shadows by C.A. Suleiman! A bonus chapter for Cold Shadows detailing Cairo! 

$7k UNLOCKED: Path of COLD Shadows Storypath Expansion! All backers will receive a PDF of 6 cards designed to expand the Path of Shadows Storypath Deck! All Secret Operative and Honourable Operative pledges will receive a physical version too, as will anyone who adds on a Path of Shadows deck!

$8k UNLOCKED: Tel Aviv in Shadows by Shoshana Kessock! A bonus chapter for Cold Shadows detailing Tel Aviv!

$9k UNLOCKED: London in Shadows by Ryan Schoon

$10k UNLOCKED: +3 Path of COLD Shadows cards! We'll increase the bonus cards by three, for a total of nine cards!

$11k UNLOCKED: Gadgets and Gear by Drew Wendell. A chapter on classic spy Gadgets and Gear, designed to help tell stories like Get Smart, Bond and more!

$12k UNLOCKED: Paris in Shadows by Jean-Baptiste Perrin. A bonus chapter for Cold Shadows detailing Paris! 

$13k UNLOCKED: +3 Path of COLD Shadows cards! We'll increase the bonus cards by three, for a total of twelve cards!

$14k UNLOCKED: Beijing in Shadows by Wendy Reischl. A bonus chapter for Cold Shadows detailing Beijing!

$15k UNLOCKED: Manila in Shadows by Tobie Abad. A bonus chapter for Cold Shadows detailing Manila!

$16k UNLOCKED: +3 Path of COLD Shadows cards! We'll increase the bonus cards by three, for a total of fifteen cards!

$17k UNLOCKED: Moscow in Shadows by Dan Waszkiewicz. A bonus chapter for Cold Shadows detailing Moscow!

$18k UNLOCKED: Washington D.C. in Shadows by Ben Woerner. A bonus chapter for Cold Shadows detailing Washington D.C.!

$19k UNLOCKED: Final +3 Path of COLD Shadows cards! We'll increase the bonus cards by three, for a total of eighteen cards! This is the last time this stretch goal will appear!

$20k UNLOCKED: Seoul in Shadows by John Kennedy. A bonus chapter for Cold Shadows detailing Seoul!

$21k UNLOCKED: Warsaw in Shadows by Dan Waszkiewicz. A bonus chapter for Cold Shadows detailing Warsaw!

$22k UNLOCKED: Mexico City in Shadows by Miguel Angel Espinoza. A bonus chapter for Cold Shadows detailing Mexico City!

$23k UNLOCKED: Vienna in Shadows by Jean-Baptiste Perrin. A chapter for Cold Shadows detailing Vienna!

$24k UNLOCKED: Bogota in Shadows by John Kennedy. A chapter for Cold Shadows detailing Bogota!

$25k UNLOCKED: Hong Kong in Shadows by Ben Woerner. A chapter for Cold Shadows detailing Hong Kong!

$30k UNLOCKED: Metal Trust Tokens! All backers with physical trust tokens will have their tokens automatically upgraded to metal!

$35k UNLOCKED: Cities in Shadow! Our City chapters will be gathered into a second print and PDF book, allowing us to expand both the Cold Shadows corebook with extra text, and the City chapters with extra material! This PDF and print book will be provided to all backers with no additional charge! 

$40k LOCKED: "Then Along Came a Patriot" - New York Times bestselling author Dan Wells and Nocturnal's Alan Bahr will be co-writing 5 linked adventures that form a short campaign, tentatively titled: "Then Along Came A Patriot". These scenarios and adventures will tell a story of conspiracy, betrayal and patriotism over a decade, and be easily insertable into your home campaigns! 

These 5 adventures will be delivered to all backers in PDF format, and will be delivered after the core books of the project are done (meaning late 2017/early 2018 for these). 


Risks and challenges

Q: Can Nocturnal Media handle this project?
This is Alan's third Kickstarter, and he learned a lot from the first two. Previously, on Tiny Frontiers, he delivered the digital rewards over 5 months early, and the physical rewards over 3! This is a more complicated project with more nuances, but we're prepared to handle them, and we're shooting for the same exceptional success we've already had! His second Kickstarter is fulfilling right now, and the PDF was 2 months early. Alan's track record of on time fulfillment is one reason Nocturnal hired him to serve as a project manager. Nocturnal has a few tardy projects (due to translations), but there are no concerns about projects not being fulfilled.

Q: What if the text isn't finished?
A: The draft text of all the rules is 100% done and will be made available for backers after the Kickstarter funds and closes (generally we wait until we have the funds, and we've done a close edit). The only text we're waiting on will be the stretch goals and as we depend on the backers to determine what needs to be written, those will come throughout and after the Kickstarter. However, everyone we're working with is a professional and we have no concerns.

Q: What if the complexity of the project overwhelms Nocturnal Media?
A: We have straight forward pledge levels to make it easy to manage, and we've budgeted our stretch goals up to our cap. In order to keep the project manageable for our small team, we've elected to minimize our stretch goals to text increases, and we've set a finite limit of page count.

Q: What about delays in art?
A: We'll be using real world photographs for art, so there should be minimal delays in gathering the art we need for the game. In fact, we've already begun to source it.

Q: Increase in shipping costs?
A: Shipping costs constantly rise, and while we've projected them to the best of our abilities, there's not a lot we can do if they change. However, due to the limitations on the size of our product, we're confident this won't be an issue.

Q: What if something happens to the principals?
A: If something were to happen to Alan, or another writer on the project, we've identified our backups, and our team is spread all over the world. It'd take a really big asteroid, zombie apocalypse or alien invasion to wipe us all out. The files and plans have been communicated to the whole team, and a new project lead (who has been identified and has exceptional experience) will step up.

Q: What is this make/100 thing?

THE MAKE/100 Initiative

We are participating in the make/100 initiative from Kickstarter. As part of the Honourable Operative pledge level, they will receive copies of unique communiques written by our team. These will only be produced for those pledge levels as part of this Kickstarter, and will be useful as props, adventure seeds, and handouts to players.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Digital Operative

    All you need to play the game in a digital package!

    Includes:
    • Cold Shadows PDF
    • The Black Book PDF
    • All digital stretch goals
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    333 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    In from the Cold

    Just the book and PDF! Basic, to the point, and effective. Just like a Walther.

    Includes:
    • Cold Shadows Softcover Corebook
    • Cold Shadows PDF
    • The Black Book PDF
    • All digital stretch goals
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    211 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Tinker, Tailor, Backer, Spy

    You've been to training and back. You've seen the world, and the dark underbelly of the spy trade. You know you need more tools to get the job done.

    Welcome to the agency.

    Includes:
    • Cold Shadows Softcover Corebook
    • 10 Cold Shadows Dice
    • 15 Trust Tokens
    • Cold Shadows PDF
    • The Black Book PDF
    • All digital stretch goals
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    105 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    The Secret Operative

    If you want all the gear needed to tell your own espionage stories in high fashion, this is the pledge for you.

    Note: Martinis not included

    Includes:
    • Deluxe Faux Leather Cold Shadows Hardcover
    • Cold Shadows Softcover Corebook
    • 10 Cold Shadows Dice
    • 15 Trust Tokens
    • Cold Shadows PDF
    • The Black Book PDF
    • All digital stretch goals
    • All physical stretch goals
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    109 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    The Honourable Operative

    The Honourable Operative edition is a limited version of Cold Shadows.

    The purpose of the Cold Shadows dicebag is two-fold. First, it's a great storage and transport case for taking Cold Shadows to cons, events, or game night. The dicebag will hold your Cold Shadows softcover, dice, tokens, and The Black Book.

    Secondly, it comes hand-packed with espionage goodies, secrets and more. You'll get The Black Book in print, and some of the surprises we have up our sleeve.

    Includes:
    • Deluxe Faux Leather Cold Shadows Hardcover
    • Handmade Cold Shadows Dicebag
    • The Black Book in Print
    • Cold Shadows Softcover Corebook
    • make/100 - A unique packet of communiques from "The Director"
    • 10 Cold Shadows Dice
    • 15 Trust Tokens
    • All digital stretch goals
    • All physical stretch goals
    • Cold Shadows PDF
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 100 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    A Backer of Quality!

    The Backer of Quality edition is a limited version of Cold Shadows. This is just like the Honourable Operative level, but you do not get the limited make/100 communiques!

    The purpose of the Cold Shadows dicebag is two-fold. First, it's a great storage and transport case for taking Cold Shadows to cons, events, or game night. The dicebag will hold your Cold Shadows softcover, dice, tokens, and The Black Book.

    Secondly, it comes hand-packed with espionage goodies, secrets and more. You'll get The Black Book in print, and some of the surprises we have up our sleeve.

    Includes:
    • Deluxe Faux Leather Cold Shadows Hardcover
    • Handmade Cold Shadows Dicebag
    • Cold Shadows Softcover Corebook
    • The Black Book in Print
    • 10 Cold Shadows Dice
    • 15 Trust Tokens
    • All physical stretch goals
    • All digital stretch goals
    • Cold Shadows PDF
    • The Black Book PDF
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    51 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (30 days)