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Shadows of Esteren – eerily beautiful gothic horror

Shadows of Esteren – eerily beautiful gothic horror

by Tuesday 16 February 2016
ShadowsOfEsteren-1UniverseIn February 2016 we presented the Shadows of Esteren Bundle, a new collection featuring one of the most beautiful and striking fantasy roleplaying games ever published, Shadows of Esteren. Originally published in French in 2010 and presented here in an elegant English translation, Shadows of Esteren is a medieval roleplaying game with a horrific and gothic influence. The setting, inspired by Celtic myth, has a discreetly fantastic side hidden under a bleak, realistic surface. On the Tri-Kazel Peninsula, ordinary humans cope with tough daily lives while facing supernatural threats lurking in the dark. Their stories involve investigation and survival, strong character interactions, and an immersive mood. The Shadows of Esteren game system, though somewhat rules-light, has enough crunch to reward good tactics. But in Esteren story is king.

Since its first, spectacularly successful Kickstarter in summer 2012, publisher Agate Éditions has run six crowdfunding campaigns for Esteren rulebooks and supplements, raising a total of US$500,000. Collectively the Esteren RPG series holds the crowdfunding record for a French creation.

ShadowsOfEsteren-BlackMoonHandbookThe Shadows of Esteren line is instantly recognizable for the stunning full-color artwork that ornaments nearly every page of each book. Few RPG lines in the history of the field have enjoyed such brilliant presentation. In September 2013 Shadows of Esteren Book 1 – Universe won three ENnie Awards for Best Interior Art (Gold), Best Production Values (Gold), and Product of the Year (Silver). Really, you want to see this artwork. Get a taste of it at the official Esteren website, or download the free Book 0 – Prologue from DriveThruRPG.

ShadowsOfEsteren-HauntingsThis collection of game material, fiction, and music presented everything you need for a complete campaign fighting the Feondas on the Tri-Kazel Peninsula. There were five titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $45):
  • Shadows of Esteren Book 0 – Prologue (free): The ideal introduction to Esteren, with a rules summary, template characters, three linked scenarios, and handouts.
  • Book 1 – Universe (retail price $25): The core rulebook that conjures the gothic horror setting with a system that emphasizes story without sacrificing tactics. Includes handouts, character sheets, map, pronunciation guide, and character creation guide.
  • Hauntings (retail $5): A fiction collection of five short ghost stories set in the world of Esteren.
  • Of Men and Obscurities (retail $10): Shadows of Esteren is a multimedia project. This collection of .MP3 audio tracks contains ambient music written especially for Esteren.
  • Cartography Kit (free): Six stunning maps of the lands of the Tri-Kazel Peninsula.
ShadowsOfEsteren-2TravelsThose who paid more than the threshold (average) price r0se in Discipline and also got our entire Bonus Collection with four more game supplements (retail value $47):
  • Shadows of Esteren Book 2 – Travels (retail $25): Explore the Tri-Kazel Peninsula with a hundred noteworthy places, 18 personalities, more creatures, and five short adventures. Includes handouts with maps, character portraits, and more.
  • Monastery of Tuath (retail $10): The clerical Temple faction in the world of Esteren — monastic life, the Six Vows, and an investigative scenario inspired by The Name of the Rose. Includes handouts with clues, maps, portraits, and stunning artwork.
  • Black Moon Handbook (retail $10): This supplement explores ghosts, hauntings, and exorcisms. Includes notable occult NPCs, new creatures, and four scenarios.
  • Game Leader Kit (retail $2): Handy charts and tables.
That’s a US$92 value for a fifth the price, which (as any Magientist would tell you) is a bargain to preserve your sanity when you’re facing a bloodthirsty Morcail or getting swallowed by Loch Snìomh, the sea wyrm — though you may have other concerns than sanity while being swallowed. Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) went to the charity selected by Agate RPG, the Environmental Defense Fund.