About this project
Floating to the farthest still
unto the winter's heart
Motionless, bereft the will
but - where did we all start?
There is no thing without beauty at all...
Empyrium - The Turn Of The Tides (2014)
"Shadows of Esteren: Dearg is the gothic fantasy RPG you've always wanted," says Geek & Sundry, "clearly, Dearg is tailor-made for gamers who love deep narrative roleplaying."
Welcome to the page dedicated to Dearg, the campaign book for the role-playing game Shadows of Esteren: a story of love, despair, beauty and death. The main purpose of this Kickstarter is to finance the release of the campaign book in English in a deluxe edition.
If you are a newcomer to Esteren, you will find Pledges specifically designed for you, so that you can get started.
First, some important information to read before getting started:
Starter Pack. The “Varigal,” “High Varigal,” and “Varigal Master” pledges are for newcomers to the Esteren adventure. They include the Standard Editions of the books, in addition to many bonuses and all the unlocked stretch goals, all at a bargain price. Answer the call of the Shadows! “Varigal Master” includes more than 30 items, including many limited edition ones. Grab yours while you can!
- Veterans. Have you been following us for some time now? The “Tri-Kazelian”, “High Tri-Kazelian”, and “Farl Collector” pledges include all the new content: the Limited Edition of the new book, all the exclusive game aids, and, of course, access to all unlocked stretch goals. With “High Farl Collector,” you can pledge for both volumes of Book 3 Dearg at a bargain price.
- Summary of the Pledges. Clicking here (or on the image below) will take you to a spreadsheet summarizing each reward tier as well as the unlocked stretch goals.
- Did you miss a previous KS? During this campaign, we will offer some options, including items from previous Kickstarters. Once the Kickstarter has ended, the Backerkit phase will start. For a limited time, some of the items from previous campaigns will be available. If you have a special request, please contact us and we will do our best to fulfill it.
We have been getting quite a lot of requests for options, notably books and other items from previous Kickstarter campaigns. Here are the first options available:
More options will be made available in the course of this campaign.
How to add options?
Click « Manage my pledge » and add the amount corresponding to your option(s). You don't need to change your chosen reward tier; just edit the amount you are pledging to account for any add-ons you want. When we send you the survey at the end of the campaign, you will tell us what option(s) the extra amount is for.
Backerkit is an after-Kickstarter management website. Through Backerkit, you will be able to let us know of your delivery addres and all your options but also to add extra options to your pledge. This is also during this phase that shipping fees will be calculated, in accordance with your package’s final weight, and your place of residence.
Kickstarter's Guide for Items and Options
To learn more about the game, the books, as well as the main add ons and items, here is a PDF guide for items and options. You can download it here.
Shadows of Esteren is a medieval role-playing game with horrific and gothic overtones, in a dark, low fantasy setting. Drawing inspiration from Celtic myths, this universe has a subtle fantastic side hidden under a bleak, realistic surface.
This world is populated by men and women trudging through tough daily lives, while also struggling with a supernatural threat lurking in the dark. With the focus of its adventures being investigation and survival, Shadows of Esteren favors immersion and interaction 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 that of Sleepy Hollow; Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and Princess Mononoke; and Berserk, the manga by Kentaro Miura.
Shadows of Esteren is a multi-award winning dark fantasy RPG from France. Since 2012, the series has received about a dozen awards, including four Gen Con ENnie Awards for its art, production value, and cartography. In 2013, the Shadows of Esteren core book earned a silver ENnie Award in the Product of the Year category.
Feel free to watch the videos below if you want to learn more about the game (in French with English subtitles). The first one is a 5 minutes documentary about our poject:
And here are three videos to learn more:
- A 10 minutes full review from No Pun Included. Discover the basics AND the french accent of the main writer of Dearg :p
- Nice unboxing video of one of our very first Kickstarter made by Grognard Games.
You can discover Esteren through the PDF of Book 0 Prologue, freely downloadable here on DriveThruRPG or here on Dropbox. It contains an introduction to the universe, a summary of the system, 6 pregenerated characters, and three scenarios. We've been able to make this PDF is available thanks to the staunch support from the backers of Shadows of Esteren. Kudos to them!
Book 3 – Dearg is a major Shadows of Esteren release. It covers a campaign spanning 500 pages, which will be released in two volumes, through two separate Kickstarters. The current Kickstarter will finance the translation and printing of the first volume, as well as a limited edition with many exclusive game aids. Currently, the campaign has been fully written, and about half of it (which corresponds to the first volume) has been illustrated and translated.
Should you be interested in pre-ordering the two volumes right now, you can do so at a special rate with the High Farl Collector Pledge. Your rewards will be delivered separately, each after the end of their respective campaigns. This pledge also includes all the stretch goals unlocked during both campaigns. The Kickstarter campaign for the second volume will take place around the summer of 2017.
Dearg is the result of nearly ten years of work. It depicts the full extent of the themes related to Shadows of Esteren. Through 21 scenarios, it takes the Player Characters closer and closer to dark secrets, and puts them face to face with their inner demons. Its main objective is to put the PCs at the heart of the narrative and to turn their personal stories into critical components of the dramatic tension. To that end, Dearg introduces several new game mechanics, including two new types of scenarios: Focuses and Modular scenarios.
- Narrative arcs
At the start of the campaign, each player defines a Narrative arc for their character, which will be their recurring theme. Love, Ethics, Guilt, and Adoption are the main themes. Dearg also includes everything you need to design your own Narrative arcs, run the campaign with preexisting characters, and handle the death of a PC.You can learn more about Narrative arcs by reading this blog post.
Although the PCs are all involved in the same quest, each member of the party has their own history and motivations, which are expressed through their Narrative arcs. Among the campaign's 21 scenarios, 6 are Focuses that will explore each PC's intimate story. These particular scenarios follow a pattern different from a regular session: only one Player plays their Character (the one whose Narrative arc the Focus is about), while the other Players play as important people in the PC's life, helping the Game Leader steer the story. You can discover how this system was built on the SoE blog. It all started in a kitchen!
- Modular scenarios
Modular scenarios work according to the same principle as the modular scenes system used throughout the Shadows of Esteren series. Each Modular scenario is comprised of several modules exploring various facets of a theme or Character, and offers the Game Leader several ways said scenario can evolve. For example, the modular scenario “Thoir's Ogre” introduces three ways (modules) that the character Mac Snòr can be involved in the campaign. Each module is symbolized by a tarot card representing it, drawn from Dearg's tarot. By connecting the modules together, the Leader can create a story of their own.
In addition to the Standard Edition (Tri-Kazelian) and Limited Edition (Farl Collector), our intent is to also release a Kickstarter Special Edition of both volumes. Regardless of the Edition, the content is the same, with the cover being the only difference. Here are the covers of the Standard and KS Special edition of Dearg PART 1:
The Limited Edition hasn't been revealed yet, but will be similar to this one from the very first Kickstarter:
The Limited Edition of Dearg also includes the following exclusive items:
Printed Game Aids. A set of about 30 printed game aids, to help the Leader prepare and run the campaign: summaries of each scenario, cheat sheets about the NPCs, etc.
Map of Dearg's Vale. A large map in A2 format (420 x 594 mm/16 x 23 in).
Red Box. A red box with the same dimensions as the green box previously included in the Limited Edition of Book 2 – Travels. The box can contain both of Dearg's volumes, in addition to all the game aids.
- The “Dearg” OST. Dearg's original soundtrack was composed by Jure Peternel and played by the Hungarian symphonic orchestra, under the direction of a French conductor, François Rousselot, who designed the original soundtrack for Mr Hublot, which earned an Oscar for best animated short film in 2014. This Kickstarter campaign will see the release of a new batch of CDs for this OST, several excerpts of which are available below.
This campaign is an opportunity to fulfill an old dream and offer you a very special and complete Shadows of Esteren collection in 3 volumes, with each volume spanning between 400 and 500 pages. The first volume combines Book 0 Prologue, The Monastery of Tuath, Occultism, and The Black Moon Handbook. The second volume combines Book 1 Universe and Book 2 Travels. Finally, the third volume combines Parts 1 & 2 of Dearg. Each book will be handmade by a professional French craftsman, traditionally bound, with a real leather cover engraved with tools specially designed for this very special edition. These are unique collector's items, intended for patrons and lovers of beautiful books.
The size of each volume will be US letter: 8.5 x 11.0 in (215.9 x 279.4 mm) but the final design and color of the covers have yet to be decided. We are only providing the picture above to give you a general idea of the design (Photo by David Flores & Sandrine Neel).
Since the beginning, music has been a very important part of our project. We have released three albums so far. Each album is very different from one another: each artist offers his own vision of Esteren.You can listen to several excerpts here:
Here are the stretch goals unlocked during this campaign. With your help, we can improve the books and produce new content:
We obviously can’t stop here and leave your generosity and enthusiasm unrewarded! As a finishing line to this campaign, here are several small Stretch Goals that we will call “Trádáil Trinkets.” You see, there is an antique shop in Osta-Baille where one can find many things…
Dearg is a big project. We actually started working on it from the very start of the Shadows of Esteren adventure, back in 2006. This official campaign draws from the backstory of several of the Core Book’s pregenerated Characters, and is the continuation of the triptych of scenarios included in Book 0 – Prologue.
Below, two graphics to sum up the progression on Dearg’s two volumes:
We are confident that we will be able to deliver Volume 1 on schedule, as the book is almost complete. The only thing that could delay the delivery would be this subscription campaign being insanely successful. At any rate, we are prepared! For example, the original soundtrack has already been recorded by the Budapest Symphonic Orchestra.
As for Volume 2, though the writing has been taken care of already, there is still a lot to be done, mainly as far as the translation and illustration are concerned. However, we will do everything we can to have it ready by the end of 2017.
In our previous Kickstarter campaigns, the shipping fees were included in the Pledges' amounts. We endeavored to make our estimates of these fees as accurate as possible, but inevitably, our predictions sometimes turned out to be inaccurate, or some backers found themselves paying more than others, depending on where they lived. For this new campaign, in order to guarantee the safety of the project and follow a fairer system, shipping fees will be added during the Backerkit phase (during which you can also add options).
For USA-based backers, the packages will be sent from the USA, while for Europe-based backers, the packages will be sent from France. This way, if you live in the USA or in Europe, you won't have to pay for custom charges or international shipping fees. Our estimate is that shipping fees will amount to between $10 and $30 for the biggest rewards, depending on your place of residence and your rewards. We will cover the price of the packages' preparation and that of the packages themselves (box, protections, etc.), which means that only the postal fees are at your expense. Note that if you live outside the USA or Europe, shipping fees can be hefty ($30 and more), which we regrettably have no control over.
For your digital rewards, you will also receive a Dropbox link to download all your books, music and games aids.
The visual atmosphere of Shadows of Esteren is a very important aspect of the project. Since 2012, Esteren has won several awards for its illustrations, including a Gold ENnie Award in 2013! Here are the four pictures of the main Narrative arcs (Love, Ethics, Guilt, and Adoption) :
Landscape and characters...
Risks and challenges
In 2006, we started the great adventure that was creating Shadows of Esteren. Four years later, the core book was released in France. We translated it ourselves, and it became the first French role-playing game to earn three ENnie Awards in 2013. Since then, the series has kept growing, and the adventure has gone on. Several books have been published, three music albums have been produced, and the tour numbers more than 170 dates all over the world.
Since 2012, we have launched and successfully completed 5 Kickstarter campaigns for more than 4000 backers. Book 3 – Dearg is currently fully written, while the translation and illustrations are half complete. The Dearg album has been recorded and is ready to be released. Of course, unexpected delays can always occur, but we are confident that we will be able to deliver your rewards on schedule. Note, however, that unlocking several stretch goals might also delay the final delivery.
Crowdfunding has offered us new perspectives. The ultimate goal is the professionalization of the project and the birth of an actual French creative role-playing company, to ensure the perenniality of Esteren and keep delivering quality content. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but year after year, we get closer to our dream.
There's nothing left to say now except thank you for your attention, trust, and support!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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