The Translation of Shadows of Esteren is Coming out this Summer‏


Well, that was fun
Staff member
Agate RPG, Forgesonges, and Studio 2 Publishing have announced the release of the Core Book for the role-playing game Shadows of Esteren, just in time for Gen Con Indy 2012.

Shadows of Esteren is a medieval role-playing game, with an emphasis on the horrific and the Gothic. Drawing inspiration from Celtic myths, this universe has a discreetly fantastic side hidden under a bleak, realistic surface. This world is populated with humans who have to cope with tough daily lives, and face a supernatural threat lurking in the dark. With the focus of its adventures being investigation and survival, Shadows of Esteren is a game that favors an immersive mood and interactions among the Players.

This particular atmosphere is drawn from several sources of inspiration: the harshness and romanticism of Mel Gibson’s Braveheart; the universes of Tim Burton, particularly the one of Sleepy Hollow; Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and Princess Mononoke; as well as Berserk, the manga by Kentaro Miura.

Shadows of Esteren is a French role-playing game designed by Forgesonges, a collective of authors and illustrators, whose original version was published in September 2010 by editor Agate RPG. The translation of the whole series in English is planned. To celebrate the birth of Esteren on the other side of the Atlantic, the developers are currently working on the construction of a Kickstarter project with exclusive additions. It will be launched at the end of the month of June.

More information here (or the original French version here).


  • Esteren_artwork_02.jpg
    112.3 KB · Views: 190

log in or register to remove this ad


First Post
Hello everyone,

First thing, excuse me for my bad English..! I am French and i will try my best ! I reassure you, I am not the translator of this RPG :p
I am Nelyhann, coordinator for the Shadows of Esteren series. I also wrote a lot and illustrated for this game.

Morrus, thank you very much for having shared this news! I don't know if my answer is adapted in this place of the forum; please let me know if there is any problem.

For all of our team, the release of Esteren in English is truly quite an accomplishment. We are very happy and we hope you are going to appreciate our work!

I will try my best to answer your questions, if you have any. At the moment, you can read this open letter where I introduce the main lines of Esteren: Shadows of Esteren: open letter


Not sure if Nel is still checking back here, but I would like to hear a bit more about magic in Esteren. Are there specific spells or does magic work some other way?


First Post
Hi Kravell!

We were attending Comic Con the last 4 days, it was great but very exhausting!

Now we are back ; about magic, i will call one of our main translator. He will be able to explain you all of that in a far better english than me.

Thanks for your interest,
Last edited:


First Post
Well, it's true that a Flash website may not be the most handy kind for a visitor, but for us, it was among the simplest and most straightforward way to create our website. Apologies for any inconvenience it may create; I hope it won't discourage too many potential visitors from checking it out!

As for your question Kravell, there are three types of magic: the Demorthèn's druidic arts, the Elect of the Temple's Miracles, and the mechanical wonders of the Magientists. The latter is not really a type of magic, but it is important and potent enough to be mentioned on the same level as the two others.

Regarding the system, without going into too much detail, the same mechanics apply for both the Demorthèn and the Elect: the Player chooses which "spell" he wishes to perform, and gets a set Difficulty Threshold according to how significant he wishes the results to be. For example, a moderately experienced Demorthèn might be able to stop a drizzle, but only the wisest and most seasoned may halt a rainstorm!

The difference is that where the Demorthèn rely on Ogham (runic stones), the Elect pray their God to call upon Miracles.

Also, I would like to stress that in Esteren, there are no easy wonders: magic does exist, but it remains something which only a select few are able to wield, and which must be used with moderation and caution. More generally speaking, supernatural phenomena are something unfamiliar and unsettling in Shadows of Esteren, and paranormal events are by no means commonplace.

However, any GL is of course free to adjust such principles as he wishes, according to the mood he wants to give his sessions.

There! I hope I answered your question adequately. If you have anything else to ask about or point out, don't hesitate!
Last edited:


First Post
Sounds like an interesting game. I am especially intrigued by the character creation system with Flaws and Traits. I pledged $15 on the Kickstarter, so I'm looking forward to trying it out later this summer. :)


First Post
This sounds like an awesome game. I've pledged U$ 15, but I'm considering raising it to U$ 65 (so I get a hardcover book).

Is there any free preview anywhere? I would like to know more precisely what the rules system is like.

The video is great and I'm in love with the illustrations. Congrats to you French dudes!


First Post
Hi guys,

Thanks for your message :)
Prosfilaes, Normally the site is in a simple HTML, only music player is in flash. Video works well on my iphone, it is one Kickstarter's widget. I hope that it won't discourage you from discovering our book!

Dragoslav and Messygamer, thank you for your support!

About the rules system, here a paste from a thread. A guy there seems to know very well our work :
In the french version of the game :
290 pages (counting 21 "miscellaneous" pages throughout the whole book)
- 163 pages about the universe
- 106 pages of game system

From those 106 pages :
- 7 pages of general "running a SoE campaign" tips and advice
- 12 pages of pre-generated characters (6 characters with actual names, not just a role, and background linked to the other characters and various NPCs)
- 34 pages of character creation, including 9 pages of items, weapons and equipement
- 8 pages with the basis of the system
- 3 pages of physical combat rules
- 5 pages for the health system
(mostly used in combat but also includes illness, drugs and aging)
- 24 pages about the three great "magics" in the Tri-Kazel peninsula, the Demorthèn traditionnal rites (communicating with spirits through sacred stones, most effects being environnement-related), the Temple's miracles (powerfull manifestations SA miraculous healing, crowd control, unleashing ice storms, and even ressurection) and the Magientist's Science (steampunk technologies and high level medicine, based on a mysterious liquid (called "Flux" in french) drained from everything around with a high impact on the environnement). Other forms of magic ("bad Demorthèn" rites, witchcraft, bohemian cult of the ancients...) exist in this world but are not yet fully described.
- 22 pages about the mental health system.

This mental health system is one of the great assets of the system. Unlinke games such as Call of Cthulhu you don't lose sanity, you gain madness.
The mental arrangement of your character (the attributes) makes him prone to develop one of the 10 listed disorders with 4 steps for each one.
A character with a high score in combativity or a low score in empathy will turn in a brutal and frenetic maniac, even if he's a weak scientist to begin with, but only in steps where he will first begin to be less responsive to the others emotion and more and more impulsive, and turn more and more berserk.
An 11th disorder is phobia, which can be taken at character creation to get a lot of points but that you develop in parallel with your first disorder.

The 12th is "The Empty Forteress", a character withstanding sucessfully a lot of horror tests will develop this special disorder and become psychically stronger and stronger, gaining bonuses to deal with horror, but will gradually become colder and colder, less and less human, until he turns into an almost souless being with little contacts with the outside world. <3
And this is from the KS page :

Shadows of Esteren: the Game System

The game system of Shadows of Esteren has been designed to support the atmosphere and encourage interactions among the Characters. Therefore, it relies on simple, intuitive mechanics so as not to burden the narration, particularly during combats, which are meant to be quick and violent. A particular importance has been given to the creation of the Characters, and the evolution of their mental condition. In Book 1 Universe, the game system takes about a hundred pages on the 280 that make up the book.

Here are the main characteristics of this game system:

- A Detailed Character Creation. The creation of a PC goes through ten steps. The Characters are designed “inside-out”: you determine his psychology with 5 Ways that define how the Character sees and affects the world. Thus, there are no attributes such as Strength, Dexterity and so on, but there are Combativeness, Creativity, Empathy, Reason, and Conviction. By default, all the Characters are equally strong, fast, good-looking, etc. However a Character can purchase Advantages and Disadvantages to flesh out some of these physical attributes (“Strong”, “Weak”, “Hawkeye”,etc.), or provide him with allies, extra funds, etc... Skills are then picked according to several stages of his life (youth, professional training, miscellaneous activities).

- The System of the Ways. The Ways are characteristics that determine the major traits of the Character’s personality: the Player allocates the scores 1,2,3,4,5 among the 5 Ways. Ways are rated from 1 to 5: 1-2 is considered Minor , 4-5 is considered Major. Therefore, a Character will have 2 Major Ways, 2 Minor Ways and an average one. This makes it possible to roughly determine the way he thinks, his emotional tendencies, etc...

Additionally, there are five Faults, one for each Way: Passion (Combativeness), Subversion (Creativity), Influence (Empathy), Doubt (Reason), and Guilt (Conviction). The main aim of these characteristics is to give references for role-playing, but the Leader (GM) can ask a Player to make a Test roll in one of his Character's Major Faults to see if his Fault gets the better of him in a heated situation.

Also, a Character chooses 1 Flaw and 1 Quality based on his Major or Minor Ways (a Major Way can imply both a Flaw and a Quality). As shown in the example below, a Major rating in Combativeness can result in an Optimistic behavior, but also an impulsive one.

Example for Combativeness
Major Rating: combative, optimistic, dynamic, brave, pugnacious, etc.
Minor Rating: calm, phlegmatic, cool-headed, peaceful, etc.
Major Rating: impulsive, presumptuous, prideful, stubborn, arrogant, boastful, etc.
Minor Rating: pessimistic, spineless, sad, weak-willed, fearful, self-conscious, coward, etc.

- A Resolution System Based on a D10. When a resolution roll is required, the Player adds the Character's rating in the appropriate skill + his rating in the associated Way + 1d10, and must beat a given Threshold. The margin determines the quality of success or failure. There are critical successes and failures as well. This resolution system is used for every aspect of the game, from fighting to using skills and calling upon mystical powers.

- Quick and Violent Combats. Combat is clearly deadly. Fighting attitudes have been designed to define how the Character fights. Moreover, the amount of Health Points defined at the creation of the PC (which is most of the time the same for every Character) does not increase as the PC improves in the various skill fields. The basic principle is that the human body is fragile: for example, close combat remains dangerous, no matter how good a PC is in a given domain.

- A Complete Sanity System. Dying is not the only danger that threatens the PCs: their psyche can be sorely tested, and they can even sink into madness. This is an important aspect of the game: where the combat system has been summed up in only three pages, the sanity system plays a much more important part and provided several tools to embody a psychically unstable PC. From the creation of his Character, the Player chooses a latent pathology for him, which may come to light if mental traumas become too heavy.

- Three Types of "Magic". Although Shadows of Esteren is defined as a low-fantasy universe, supernatural elements still exist. Magical powers are meant to be most often rare, but powerful, and their use is never without consequences. The game system details the Demorthèn arts (druidic/animistic tradition); the Miracles of the Temple, granted by the One God to the Elect; and Magience, a science using “Flux”, a fuel harvested from nature.
Hope it will be helpful :)


Remove ads