Originally published in French in 2010, presented here in an elegant English translation, Shadows of Esteren conjures a subtle, moody atmosphere inspired by Nausicaä, Princess Mononoke, Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow, and the Kentaro Miura manga Berserk. And wait until you see the breathtaking artwork that adorns nearly every page of Esteren. Few RPG lines 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).
Esteren is a multimedia creation. Members of the Esteren creative team, Forgesonges Collective, not only design and illustrate the RPG books; they also compose and perform atmospheric music, such as a live symphonic concert in the Grand Temple in Lyon, France, November 30, 2013. There’s even a licensed Esteren pixel-art puzzle game for iOS and Android (Esteren: Clutches of the Sorcerer Lord) and a board game.
Since its first, spectacularly successful Kickstarter in summer 2012, publisher Agate Éditions has run six crowdfunding campaigns for Esteren rulebooks, supplements, and music, raising a total of US$500,000 from more than 4,000 backers. Collectively the Esteren RPG series holds the crowdfunding record for a French creation. These two offers presented practically everything those campaigns funded — the books, music, and more — even recipes!
1. Shadows of Esteren Bundle [revived from Feb 2016]If you’re new to Shadows of Esteren, start with the books in this revived collection. There were five titles in this offer’s Starter Collection (retail value $40) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:
- Shadows of Esteren Book 0 – Prologue (free): The ideal introduction to Esteren, with a rules summary, template characters, and three linked scenarios, and handouts. Want to try before you buy? Download the free Esteren prologue on Dropbox.
- Book 1 – Universe (retail price $25): The core rulebook, with handouts, character sheets, map, pronunciation guide, and character creation guide.
- Hauntings ($5): A fiction collection of five short ghost stories set in the world of Esteren.
- Of Men and Obscurities (retail $10): This collection of .MP3 audio tracks presents ambient music written especially for Esteren.
- Cartography Kit (free): Six beautifully drawn maps of the Esteren setting, including the Nine Dukedoms, Osta-Baille, Reizh, Gwindre, Taol-Kaer, and the whole Tri-Kazel Peninsula.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
2. Esteren Bundle +2 [all-new]The all-new Esteren Bundle +2 companion collection marked the public debut of the long-awaited Book 3 of the Shadows of Esteren series, Dearg. Funded in a spectacular October 2016 Kickstarter campaign, Dearg, the massive Esteren campaign book, puts your player characters at the heart of a story of love, despair, beauty, and death. This offer also included recent Esteren titles from the December 2014 Occultism Kickstarter.
There were three titles in this offer’s Starter Collection (retail value $30), including Cartography of Tri-Kazel (retail price $15), with detailed full-color maps and heraldic arms for five major cities; the RISE soundtrack of atmospheric music (retail $10) in both .MP3 and lossless FLAC audio formats; and Esteren Culinary Journey (retail $5), a three-course menu with actual recipes for a delectable Tri-Kazelian meal.
This offer’s entire Bonus Collection had three more titles worth an additional $50:
- Esteren Book 3: Dearg (retail $20): At long last, the epic Esteren campaign book. (Note: The current beta version of Dearg lacks the first eight pages — the title page, credits, and introduction. We’ll post the complete version before this offer ends, and all customers get the updated version automatically.)
- Occultism (retail $20): A sourcebook of Tri-Kazel’s esoteric mysticism and a long investigation, “A Tidy Room.”
- Dearg soundtrack (retail $10): Fifteen .FLAC tracks of symphonic music composed especially for the Esteren campaign.