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Graham Hart

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  1. I think there should be a new Holdfast gamebook every couple of years, with each volume a little larger and more complex than the last. The mere mention of Volume 2 sends me into a tizzy.
  2. Well, we shall be all the more hungry for them when they arrive, I suppose; and to be honest, a succession of funded gamebook projects on Kickstarter has meant that this has been an expensive summer of numbered paragraphs for me, so I at least won't complain if I have to wait a few more months before the vast and glorious bulk of Holdfast 2 comes thundering over the horizon.
  3. Ah, an acknowledgement, and all is right with the world. On the subject of a changelog, this is my opinion, for what it's worth: if, at some future time and by whatever means, a revised print edition becomes available, then there's no problem, but otherwise, an old-schooler like me who still adheres to printed books would be grateful to know what exactly the changes and corrections are.
  4. Well, that's good news. I was going to plead for a definitive (or at least up-to-date) list of errata and corrections to be published, but if a corrected hardback edition of Volume 1 is eventually made available, even if only as a KickStarter reward for Volume 2, then so much the better.
  5. Will the pdfs be revised at all, to correct the few bugs and ambiguities that have since been pointed out? Also, will they now credit everyone who contributed? You know, everyone?
  6. In section 105, we find some Godsjade, of which it is said: "You fill your pockets to overflowing, but there's still more. There's no way you can carry it all. You try anyway." Does this mean that you can, if you choose, fill all the available item slots in your backpack with Godsjade? In other words, that you would be staggering away with anything up to ten items-worth of Godsjade stuffed into your backpack?
  7. As I've said before, I like the combat system in Holdfast; in fact, as a reward for those readers who have wrestled it into submission I think you should actually throw in some additional details for Volume 2. For example, I think the boon system should go up to d30. Holdfast would almost certainly then be the first gamebook to invite the use of d30 dice. But that's not the point of this post, which is to look in the opposite direction and suggest a very simple alternative for those who find the combat system altogether too fiddly. I don't much like the idea of operating with two parallel combat systems, although I think it has been done before in gamebooks (I vaguely recall that the Tolkien/Middle-earth Quest gamebooks offered both the full rpg system and a simplified system for the books themselves), so what I was wondering was whether, on each occasion when combat is an option, the reader might be offered two or three other options, e.g. Run Away, or Sneak, or Evasion... with a range of outcomes that would not be fixed but determined by dice rolls (e.g. roll 1d6: if you roll 1-5 turn to xxx, if you roll 6 turn to yyy). A successful Evasion would not offer as great a prize as winning in battle, but you might be able to grab some small treasure on your way through. The idea of a dwarf who never fights but always either runs away or tries to sneak past admittedly goes against the spirit of the book; it would also multiply the section-count (no problem, just use a smaller font), but I see two advantages. You would effectively be creating a book within a book: the full epic might not be available in the simplified approach, but there would be some storylines that a reader could pick up and follow without bothering about combat. The alternative options would also be additional options for anyone using the full system, thus offering even more choice. You could then advertise Volume 2 as providing both a more sophisticated system and a simplified system, and thus keep everyone happy.
  8. Ah... with reference to point (5), then, I might slightly have misunderstood the direction in the introduction: "You can carry one spare weapon strapped to your back" isn't telling you that you can carry only one spare weapon (and that, incidentally, "strapped to your back" is where it goes), but that "strapped to your back" is a slot specifically available for a spare weapon, regardless of what else you're carrying? The weapons in sections 156, 217, and 235 are described as being attached "to your belt".
  9. What with one thing and another, I haven't been able to give the gamebook concentrated attention over any extended periods of time, and I haven't even yet advanced very far into it, though I hope soon to make up for that... but that in itself has brought one issue to my notice. I actually enjoy the mechanics: all the fiddly stuff with dice and tables is my sort of thing, and I don't think it's really all that complicated once you get into it; however, "getting into it" does require some effort. I've found that when I've been away from the gamebook for a while, on returning I have to put in some serious study of the combat instructions in the book, along with Appendix 11 of the Campaign Guide and the "Combat for dummies" thread here, to remind myself of how the system operates. No offence intended, but I think that's mainly because the mechanics are not set out as transparently as they should be. To reiterate: I don't think that the combat system itself is hard work; I think that understanding the combat system is hard work. It needs to be better explained, which you might bear in mind for Volume 2 (there will be a Volume 2, right?). Some other specific questions and comments: (1) I think that the Backgrounds listed in section 251 ought to be in the introduction. This is information that the reader has to keep referring back to (unless they copy it out by hand on the notes sheet). (2) I think that "Damage", as self-explanatory as it might seem, ought to be described in the list of Effects in the introduction, given that it is the converse of "Guard" (which is described). (3) Why does the Character Sheet have a box for Wounds? As I understand it, the reader suffers a Wound when their Defence drops to zero in combat, whereupon Defence is rebooted with a reduction of 1d4 and the reader takes +1 Glory, but they would be recording those consequences anyway, so what is the point in separately recording the number of Wounds? (I realise that this might relate to circumstances later in the gamebook that I haven't yet encountered.) (4) Healing Kits: are these single-use items? i.e., the reader uses a Healing Kit once and then it's gone? Common sense would suggest that must be the case, but I thought I'd check. (5) The introduction states that "You can carry ... one spare weapon or shield ... strapped to your back". Does "strapped to your back" signify the Belt Slot on the Character Sheet?
  10. Fair enough; and that has at least saved me from the guilt of masterminding a glorious campaign only to realise at the end that I've been inadvertently cheating all the way through.
  11. Another question: in the introduction, it states, with reference to combat, "You can choose not to perform an action, if you don't have any good choices." Does that mean that if the Combat Table indicates the opponent's special attack (Claw), you can avoid it by choosing not to perform an Action? This seems to be implied a couple of paragraphs previously, in explaining the combination "Attack, Claw": "That would mean that you could use an Attack Action from some piece of equipment -- but at the same time your enemy would land one of its special attacks." Or does it only work like that if the Claw is shown in the table specifically as the second (not the first) of the two symbols?
  12. I could be in a minority of 1 with these impressions... but I can only say it as I see it.
  13. Section 92 gives the option "If you won, you can move cautiously on 44", but 44 is the section you've just come from, so that doesn't seem right.
  14. It was a while before I got my hands on the physical copy of Holdfast, and I've only just started reading it properly, and glancing down the list of topics it's obvious that many members here will be way ahead of me; but still, a few initial thoughts... Bigger is better for this type of gamebook. It is an epic achievement. However, if Holdfast were to be picked up by a commercial publisher, I think the introductory rules section might need to be rewritten. I have no problem with the level of complexity (epic rules for an epic gamebook), but there seemed to be a little too much that I had to work out for myself. I could foresee that putting someone off who wasn't already committed to reading the book. So, for example, in reading the combat rules I promptly find reference to a Results Table, which doesn't exist in the book. It becomes apparent that it refers to the bookmark, but that has no key for the symbols. Eventually I find it in the form of the Combat Table in the Campaign Guide. The introduction also mentions a Combat Sheet, which doesn't seem to exist, but I assume that would just have been for noting down the stats relevant to each combat, which I can do on any scrap of paper. I progress, start the adventure, and get to section 251. Leadership gives "+1 Morale": should Morale have a space on the Character Sheet? The introduction mentions that it otherwise starts at 0, so it's obviously a stat to be recorded. Anyway, I potter on, and my first fight is at section 92. I get through it, with Claw and Attack coming up as Actions in each round. The significance of the Claw and my opponent's special attack is described in the introduction, which is clear enough; for my attack I use my right fist, which causes "+2 Damage" (according to Appendix 7, which the introduction doesn't mention), presumably knocking two points off my opponent's Defence score. It might have been a good idea as well to define what a "slot" is; it evidently refers to the categories on the character sheet of items either worn or held at any moment (i.e. not in the backpack), with "1H" standing for "one hand" (left or right) and "2H" standing for "both hands", but again this was something I had to work out. Maybe this terminology is familiar to readers with a roleplaying background. I shall raise any further issues as I encounter them. I would be interested to know if anyone else had to think about these points.
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