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Cold Shadows
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Cold Shadows

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Welcome to Cold Shadows, an espionage roleplaying game of secrets and betrayal.

Cold Shadows 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. Deliberately engineered to emulate quiet, dramatic stories, where conflict is handled with words rather than violence, Cold Shadows focuses on the consequences of espionage action.

Cold Shadows is a game where the rules are focused on telling a dynamic, personal and compelling story, utilizing new mechanics to measure the trust that agents have with each other, while providing mechanical applications to guide the dramatic stories that betrayal in the ranks can inspire. Agents all serve in the same Division as high-ranking officers, working with (and sometimes against) each other to accomplish their goals.

Using a player-first narrative system, stories of secret deals and unauthorized operations are commonplace here. Players will determine the outcoming of their actions, rolling for the right to narrate the scenes and actions they participate in, rather than worrying about success and failure being outside of their control.

Throughout this book, you’ll find call-outs and suggestions for adapting the game for different genres. When writing this book, our primary focus was on rules that supported suspenseful and dramatic tension, over action thriller espionage and other forms. With rules for single player, GMless, and standard troupe play, Cold Shadows is an espionage RPG for all groups!

Cold Shadows is based on the excellent ruleset by John Wick laid out in Houses of the Blooded and Blood & Honor. Additionally, we’ve also leveraged material from Woerner Wunderwerks’s wonderful expansion: A World of Dew.

Cold Shadows is a standalone game.

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Reviews (3)
Discussions (8)
Customer avatar
Sean R February 24, 2021 12:59 pm UTC
Alan B & others - Currently working through the missing info from the game / mistakes (referring to blood and honor) to create a fan generated errata 2 / log mistakes in the original. It's a great game and be even better with a little tape and sticking plasters.

Customer avatar
Arturo P December 03, 2020 12:47 am UTC
This is not a standalone game: it's missing some necessary pages in the Seasons chapter.

I've sent you a lot of emails through your website's contact form asking for the missing pages in the Seasons chapter. Your errata file does not cover them.

I'm rather sad that I paid for a game that I cannot play because it's lacking some necessary pages. I had to buy a House of the Blooded book in order to fill some of the gaps, and even that could only partially solve it.

I don't want to ask for a refund because I love your game, but your claim of being a standalone game is simply false until you acknowledge that it's missing pages.
Customer avatar
Alan B December 03, 2020 1:40 am UTC
Hi Arturo,

First, I apologize that you're frustrated with the content of the game. The game went through a difficult birthing period and it's apparent that there are holes and things we could have done better. We'll look into taking some time in 2021 to look at and address some of these issues.

As for your emails not reaching us, I am again, sorry. We'll look into our website. I can't find any submission there, but we'll see if there's an issue.

Thanks for taking the time to comment.
Customer avatar
Arturo P December 03, 2020 3:47 pm UTC
Thank you a lot for your quick reply. Yes, I'm afraid your website's contact form might then be broken. GKG's twitter account also sent me a Google Forms in order to register errata from your products that they said it was official. I sent you quite a few comissions with that tool too.

Thanks for your honesty and humility, I'm aware of its difficult birthing period and I'm actually happy that I backed the project because it features a lot of awesome content. I'm looking forward to borrow a Blood & Honor book from a friend soon in order to finally try your game for the first time!
Customer avatar
David J April 23, 2020 7:22 pm UTC
Confusing why the softcover book is actually cheaper than the digital-only PDF.
Customer avatar
Alan B April 23, 2020 7:24 pm UTC
It's been corrected.
Customer avatar
Steve S October 21, 2018 4:08 am UTC
Is a PoD version still on the cards?
Customer avatar
Alan B October 21, 2018 4:53 am UTC
Customer avatar
Steve S October 22, 2018 10:17 am UTC
Now that's service!
Customer avatar
Nathaniel C January 21, 2018 5:26 pm UTC
May I first say that this is the kinda game I've been looking for my whole life, a narrative Le Carre "Simulator".

Will this game ever have a print run, and will some of the other physical products that were shown during the Kickstarter be available for purchase?
Customer avatar
Alan B January 21, 2018 6:33 pm UTC
Hey Nathaniel!

After the Kickstarter is fulfilled, Cities in Shadow and the Cold Shadows book will be available in Print on Demand! Dice and tokens will also be available through other avenues!
Customer avatar
Alan B October 21, 2018 4:53 am UTC
Print is live here!
Customer avatar
Michael B January 08, 2018 5:20 pm UTC
This is showing that I have purchased the product, but a download option is not appearing, and it is not showing up in my Downloads Library. Please assist.
Customer avatar
Alan B January 08, 2018 7:46 pm UTC
@Michael - Unfortunately, we can't help with that. You will need to reach out to DriveThruRPG Support:

I'm really sorry we can't easily resolve this for you.
Customer avatar
Michael B January 08, 2018 11:51 pm UTC
I contacted them, and this is the reply I received:


We are very sorry for the inconvenience.

For both of the products on order 13001025, we are showing that you purchased the printed options only. We were not able to locate an order in your account for the PDF versions.

Thank you for your business and please let us know if we can be of any further assistance.

Jeff Montgomery
Customer Service

Clearly, there is a problem from your end because I purchased the Print & PDF option through Kickstarter.

Mike Brislawn
Customer avatar
Alan B January 09, 2018 12:01 am UTC
Hey Michael!

Message incoming with two PDF links.
Customer avatar
Petr K December 23, 2017 11:29 pm UTC
Some questions:
1) p29 "Less then 10" - if nobody beat target number Narrator gets privilege? If so, how with PC vs NPC - Narrator gets privilage with total fail and with win of NPC
2) p56 "Resources" - do i understand correctly, that Agency gets Resources only if it have Slush Fund?
3) p56 "Agents and Resources" - "We assume all Agents are well-paid", but in p58 "Equipment and Resources" we have "If an Agent has any Resources, then we assume they have enough Resources to pay for any mundane needs". Also "Agents are well-paid" and "A Resource represents enough money to supply, pay and care for an Agent" don't compine - Agents either don't need Resources for living, or need.
4) p60 "Escalation" - "increase the War Rank with that Province". What Province?
5) p63 "Waging war" - all players are from the same Agency - there is no reason to use secret orders.
Customer avatar
Alfred R November 28, 2017 9:12 pm UTC
Are there any plans to give this another editing pass? Currently the Equipment & Quartermaster system are full of contradictory information. The Quartermaster asset says everyone gets Normal gear and then contradicts that to say Quartermasters can only make normal gear up to their Rank; but the Equipment section says everyone always has normal gear and that Quartermasters make gear above Normal rank, saying Good is Rank 1, Fine is Rank 2; then finally we're told on the next page Normal is Rank 1, Good is Rank 2, and Fine is Rank 3?

It's a total mess right now. Please, sort this out. I would love to play this, but right now this is a problem.
Customer avatar
Alan B November 28, 2017 9:39 pm UTC
Thank you for the feedback! We will get that corrected in the near future.
Customer avatar
Alfred R November 29, 2017 4:00 am UTC
Thanks, Alan! Sorry if I came off overly harsh -- I'm liking what I'm seeing in here, and I'm excited, just struggling a little. Thank you for the game!
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File Last Updated:
January 08, 2018
This title was added to our catalog on November 09, 2017.