ESTEREN - GENCON 2012: The Video is Online!

4:10 AM Esteren 0 Comments

Video of our trip to the GEN CON for the launch of Esteren in the USA! Unforgettable moments ...!


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65k for the Esteren Kickstarter!

10:11 AM Esteren 0 Comments


The second Shadows of Esteren campaign is over... What an adventure, my friends!
Kickstarter is really an amazing tool; once more, we got to go through a wonderfully thrilling experience with you.

And what a success too! Thanks to you, we have been able to go beyond the results of the first Kickstarter, which is quite an achievement!

This journey with Yldiane was a blast, with several exciting challenges to take up! We hope that you had as much fun as we have!

The Esteren Team


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“Gratisrollenspieltag” in Germany

8:42 AM Esteren 0 Comments

Thanks to our current Kickstarter campaign, we hope to be able to support and take part upcoming Gratisrollenspieltag in Germany!

The idea is simple: if we reach 50k of financing, we will be able to participate in “Gratisrollenspieltag”, organized in Germany by Moritz “Glgnfz” Mehlem. You can read the announcement here.

What is Gratisrollenspieltag? The principle is the following: an editor gives prizes (role-playing books, goodies, etc.) to the staff of Gratisrollenspieltag, who will then distribute them among the 150 shops and institutions taking part in this great gaming day, which will take place in Germany on February 2nd 2013. The goal is to promote the game and let it be experienced freely by both enthusiasts and neophytes in new games. You can check the official website here:

Kickstarter will allow us to gather the necessary financing to participate in this event. In this regard, Kickstarter is truly an excellent system since in addition to financing a project and offering nice rewards to the backers, it allows us to use the funds gathered to back up this kind of initiative. This way, role-players from the entire world will make it possible to support the existence of role-playing games in Germany, while allowing Shadows of Esteren to be more widely known. Such a cooperation would be something wonderful to behold! This sharing is in the spirit of the “Kicking It Forward” program. This program has planned that part of the money gathered will be redistributed to help other projects come to life.

This state of mind is also in the continuity of the project of Shadows of Esteren, which was originally led by the Forgesonges associative collective, very active in France for the promotion of role-playing games, particularly through the “Démiurges en Herbes” (“Budding Demiurges”) contest, and the support of young role-playing game authors.

Thank you all for your support!
Yours truly,
The Shadows Team


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Back From Essen SPIEL 2012

1:43 AM Esteren 0 Comments

The Essen SPIEL 2010 was a great time, thank you all for the welcome!
You can check the photo album here.

The signed book for the FINSTERLAND team! Great to mett you! And please check their website here.. a really cool German Steampunk RPG.

Nel, Gawain, Chris and the MALMSTURM team. Very nice people and a beautiful book about dark fantasy, metal and Fate system! You have to check that here: Malmsturm - das Fate Fantasy-Rollenspiel

A signed book by Gawain...
And a special thanks to Ingo, who helped us a lot on the booth. DANKE Ingo !!!

Let's meet at the next Essen SPIEL!


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New Kickstarter Campaign for Shadows of Esteren

11:33 PM Esteren 0 Comments

Hi everyone!

We are very pleased to announce the start of our second Kickstarter campaign for Shadows of Esteren!

The link:

This Kickstarter was designed for people who do not know about this RPG as well as for the backers of the first Kickstarter. You will have the possibility of acquiring the last remaining items created for the first campaign (Book 1 Universe Limited Edition, artworks, leader screen), but also of participating in the funding of a hardcover Limited Edition for Book 0 Prologue.

Thanks so much tou our first backers...! In less than two days, we already over $20.000. Your support is amazing, thank you!

And here is the new video:



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Meet us at Essen SPIEL 2012!

5:31 AM Esteren 0 Comments

After the U.S. GenCon in Indianapolis, here is another great date for our “Esteren Tour”. We will be out in force at the upcoming Essen SPIEL 2012. The Spiel is probably one of the biggest shows dedicated to the game world, if not THE greatest! You can find more information here.

During four days, come meet us at Hall 6, booth 6-313

These are the people who will be present on site:

  •      Valentine Agate RPG game publisher
  •      Nelyhann, author, illustrator and editorial coordinator of the SoE series
  •      Gawain, illustrator
  •      Chris, illustrator

We will propose signing sessions but also previews for the upcoming Kickstarter!
We will also have with us a few copies of limited editions if Book 1 Universe and different items that were proposed for the first Kickstarter last summer.We will also have copies of books in French of the Shadows of Esteren series.

See you soon!


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The end of the first Kickstarter ... and again soon!

2:53 PM Esteren 0 Comments

We hope to complete the package for the Kickstarter backers this week. Over 500 parcels... wow it was hard! We have done our best and we hope that you will be happy when you get yours...

By the way, we hope to send the scenario and the Book 0 Prologue in PDF version before the end of the month. Again we will do our best and we thank you for your patience!

We are so pleased to announce that we are preparing a new Kickstarter for the Book 0 Prologue printed version. For those who missed the first KS, this is also an opportunity to get the latest copies of the limited edition of Book 1 Universe and the latest copies of special items such as artwoarks or character sheets... Stay tuned! 


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Back from Gen Con US 2012!

11:49 AM Esteren 0 Comments

Hi everyone!

It has now been ten days since we got back from Gen Con US 2012, the time for us to take a modicum of rest and take stock on everything we have experienced. We attended the event in partnership with Studio 2 Publishing, and we truly had a blast during the four days of this mythic event. We will make sure to come back next year!

Valentin of Agate RPG and Nel, lead director of the Esteren series

This event was the opportunity for us to meet the backers from the Kickstarter campaign and thank them for their support, but also and mainly to introduce Shadows of Esteren to the American community in person. We were delighted that newcomers such as us got very positive opinions, even from people who did not know of the game beforehand. It encourages us to always outdo ourselves and aim for the best! 

During the convention, we also got to make the acquaintance of the fine folks from the Wizards of the Coast staff, and of the makers of the Neverwinter MMORPG. It was almost dizzying to receive the praise of such professionals, which is something like a consecration for a role-playing game. We met lots of nice people, very enthusiastic, thank you all...

Finally, our thanks go to the French fandom who followed us on Facebook and backed us through this whole adventure! You can check out the complete album of the event here.

See you next year!

Thank you everyone for your great support !


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Meet Us at GenCon US, August 16-19!

6:15 PM Esteren 0 Comments

On the occasion of the release of Shadows of Esteren in the English language, we will be at GenCon US August 16-19, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. You can meet Nelyhann, author, illustrator, and coordinator of the series; Clovis, Esteren's head translator, and Valentin, the French editor from Agate RPG.

It is a great moment for us to come to this mythical event, a landmark of role-playing!

You can come and meet us at the Studio 2 Publishing booth, Exhibitor Hall, booth #419. However, that is not all: for all the backers of this Kickstarter campaign, it will be the opportunity to come and directly collect all your rewards, including the limited edition of the book!

Signing and talking session

We will be glad to talk about role-playing with you. Valentin can tell you about how the role-playing game market exists and spreads in France.

Nelyhann will propose a signing session during the four days. However, he draws watercolor illustrations, which take time, and of which he can only do a limited number. Here is what these illustrations look like:

See you soon!


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Kickstarter: That's it!

1:05 AM Esteren 0 Comments

That's it, the Kickstarter campaign for Shadows of Esteren is over, we will now be going back to a regular activity...

We are very happy but sad at the same time. It was an incredible month, very intense. Kickstarter is a very strong human adventure. This is the opportunity to THANK YOU once more, because thanks to you, we have been able to finance very nice bonuses, and a limited edition that all the authors are eager to hold in their hands!

Let us meet at Gen Con in a few weeks for the first printed copies, and for all the others, from the end of August, our partner Studio 2 Publishing will start sending the PDFs and all the rewards.

Sincerely yours,
The Shadows Team


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Kickstarter: Shadows of Esteren

4:12 AM Esteren 0 Comments

Today, a Kickstarter will be launched in order to introduce exclusive content for the English release of Shadows of Esteren. For this very special occasion, we wish to offer you the best edition possible! This Kickstarter will be accessible to all role-players throughout the world, and will last until the end of July.

The funds gathered will be used for the publication of the limited edition, and will help us finance all the goodies. Stay tuned!


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FAQ - Esteren in 20 Questions

9:48 AM Esteren 0 Comments

In 20 questions, this FAQ aims to give precise answers to the various questions you may have about Shadows Of Esteren 
  1. What is Shadows Of Esteren?
  2. What is the style of your game?
  3. What are the themes of the game?
  4. What makes your game horrific?
  5. What do you mean by “low fantasy”?
  6. What is the setting of the game?
  7. What are your main sources of inspiration?
  8. How are Celtic elements included in the game?
  9. Who will be the Characters?
  10.  What types of Characters can be played in Shadows Of Esteren?
  11.  Can fantasy races–such as elves, dwarves, or gnomes–be played in Shadows Of Esteren?
  12.  What is the content of the core book, “Book 1 – Universe”?
  13.  What will the Game System be?
  14.  How about Shadows Of Esteren’s “secrets”?
  15.  Is Shadows of Esteren an ongoing series?
  16.  What will the style of the scenarios be?
  17.  How about the “modular scenario system” of Shadows Of Esteren?
  18.  What are the creatures of Esteren’s bestiary? Are there orcs, dragons, or trolls?
  19.  Who are the “Feondas”?
  20. Will Shadows of Esteren extend to other media than role-playing?

      1. What is Shadows Of Esteren?
Esteren is a harsh medieval world where the Characters will face horror and multi-faced threats. That said, they are not doomed to perish; their survival will depend on their ingenuity and courage. The Gothic tradition can be found in awe-inspiring landscape where the forces of nature rage; an ideal setting for tragic and passionate stories. It can also be found in the Characters who are animated by violent emotions–such as love, hatred, or jealousy–and in the way madness, which plays a major role in the game, is treated. As for horror, it is dealt with in a classical and literary sense: a feeling of fright blended with admiration in front of a vertiginous reality. 

      2. What is the style of your game?
Shadows Of Esteren is a game related to the “medieval fantasy” genre. More precisely, it can be described as a “low fantasy” universe, with horrific and gothic influences. There is a supernatural aspect, but it is rather underlying and will not be systematically involved.

      3. What are the themes of the game?
The main themes of our game are hope and despair. Its other favored themes are survival–both physical and psychic–moral dilemmas, fear, courage, and its match, cowardice. The horrific aspect is present, but in an underlying way, like a threat lurking in the shadow. Although the universe is harsh and deadly, hope for a better future is allowed…

      4. What makes your game horrific?
For Esteren, the literary definition of horror has been kept: a feeling of fright mixed with admiration in front of a vertiginous reality. A particular overtone was put on the very moment of this confrontation, since for the shock of this revelation to occur, one must first start with depicting an environment which first appears as a commonplace one. Thus, Esteren's universe may appear sober at first; this is on purpose. That way, and at least at first, this concept puts supernatural elements, and everything which could be linked to the gore genre, in the background. However, little by little, uneasiness will creep in this day-to-day life, and upset it…

      5. What do you mean by “low fantasy”?
In Esteren, there are no fantasy people like elves or dwarves, nor magicians armed with devastating spells. The occult is far from being absent, but its manifestations are relatively hidden, and give way to a down-to-earth and realistic universe… or so it seems.

      6. What is the setting of the game?
Shadows Of Esteren’s setting is a peninsula inspired by medieval Great Britain, with elements from Celtic legends, "steampunk" technologies, and religious beliefs from a faraway Continent. Esteren's landscapes bear witness to the power of natural forces: abrupt mountains, cliffs beaten by the waves of a tumultuous ocean, steep-sided misty valleys, vast forests where daylight hardly pierces through…

      7. What are your main sources of inspiration?
Mel Gibson's Braveheart, with its ruggedness and romanticism, gives a good idea of the daily life in Tri-Kazel's peninsula. Tim Burton's universe, especially Sleepy Hollow, as well as the movie Dark City, have inspired us regarding the technological aspect of the game.
Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaä of the valley of the wind and Princess Mononoke represent two major manga inspirations. For other aspects, Berserk by Kentaro Miura and the Final Fantasy saga are important sources of inspiration for our game. As for literature, Lovecraft and Masterton are the major references, as are Anne Radcliffe, Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley's Gothic novels.
Regarding role-playing, Shadows of Esteren would be somewhere between Ravenloft and Call Of Cthulhu.

      8. How are Celtic elements included in the game?
Esteren's universe is highly impregnated with Celtic myths, the cult of the spirits of nature, and its legendary stone circles. Therefore, the Demorthèn have a very important role in Esteren's traditional culture. They are inspired by the classic druids, and in the game, they embody the link between humans and natural spirits.
Although the game strives to display a credible and coherent setting, it does not have a historical purpose. The codes of the Celtic genre have been modified and combined with other inspirations in order to create Shadows Of Esteren's specific atmosphere, with no pretension for historical accuracy.

      9. Who will the Characters be?
The Characters will be ordinary humans confronted with the harsh world of Esteren. In the long run, they may become heroes, in the classical sense of the term: able, at a more or less large scale, to change the world they know through the force of their ideals.
The system of rules will make advancement possible so that the Player's choice may eventually bring his Character to become a true expert in a field. He will nevertheless remain a normal human being; not an invulnerable superman. This principle applies to Characters embodied by the Players as well as those controlled by the Game Leader.

      10. What types of Characters can be played in Shadows Of Esteren?
The Characters will be inhabitants of Tri-Kazel's peninsula. At creation, though young and beginners in their fields, they will be skillful enough to practice a trade. Therefore, it is possible to play a professional fighter, a young Demorthèn (druids specific to Esteren's world), an herbalist, a Varigal (message-bearers), an investigator, a bard and so on. Similarly, they can be born in a slum or in silk sheets; they may have lived in the highlands, in the seedy parts of a city, or in the castle of a feudal lord. Whatever their origins, the Characters can embrace Tri-Kazel's traditions as well as be influenced by the ideas from the Continent. The Players can for instance embody adepts of Magience, which technology relies on Flux–an energy extracted from animals, plants and rocks–or faithful of the monotheist religion of the Temple, determined to save humanity by gathering it under the One God's banner.

      11. Can fantasy races–such as elves, dwarves, or gnomes–be played in Shadows Of Esteren?
No. All Characters are human, but from sometimes very different cultures. The Tri-Kazelians are a majority on the peninsula, and are as attached to traditions as open to new ideas. Their remote cousins the Osags keep living according to the ancient customs, and do not mingle with foreigners. The Tarish nomads have uncertain origins, and travel all over the peninsula. Finally, the descendants of emigrants from the Continent are generally very close to the ideals their ancestors passed down to them. This cultural, social, and ideological blend will be a source of diversity and exchanges, but much more often of antagonism and conflicts.

      12. What is the content of the core book, “Book 1 – Universe”?
Intended for the Players as well as for the Game Leaders, Book 1 – Universe is composed of two parts. The first part describes the world according to its inhabitants' point of view–through letters, short stories, testimonies, etc.–structured around a detailed table of contents and index, so that a reader may easily get his bearings. The second part contains a complete Game System, as well as six sample Characters, and several player aids for an optimal preparation for the first gaming sessions.

      13. What will the Game System be?
Shadows Of Esteren is a game of atmosphere where the interactions among the Players and immersion are sought before any “simulationist” aspect. The Game System was thought to be intuitive and easy to handle, stressing aspects like sanity or the creation of a Character, rather than the resolution of actions or combat. Shadows Of Esteren can be played with one ten-sided die. The whole Game System can be found in Book I – Universe, and takes about a hundred pages out of the 280 of the book.

      14. How about Shadows Of Esteren’s “secrets”?
Undeniably, many mysteries hover over the world of Esteren. Behind the daily life and the rumors hides a reality that the Characters will be led to discover in the course of their adventures. We have decided to bring precise answers to the major mysteries of Esteren's world. Everything will be compiled within a special book exclusively for Game Leaders, The Book of Secrets. Finding out about these secrets does not mean the end of the game, but rather a fresh look on it, as well as new stakes.

      15. Is Shadows of Esteren an ongoing series?
Yes. It will be divided into three cycles exploring the three aspects of the universe. Book 0 Prologue and Book 1 Universe are to be released in 2012. Book 2 Travels, and The Monastery of Tuath, along with the CD album Of Men and Obscurities, are to be released in 2013.

      16. What will the style of the scenarios be?
They will be varied, but the two main types of scenarios will be investigation and survival. More generally, the scenarios will have a psychological dimension, with a particular attention for the atmosphere. Fighting is a liability, and very often, it will be inevitable to resort to force… or to flee! The Game System depicts a quite deadly and ruthless combat style, and each confrontation must be carefully thought through.
That stated, the Characters will still have substantial means (Ogham, Magientist inventions, Objects of Power, influence, ties...) which will enable them to truly act on the oncoming events.

      17. How about the “modular scenario system” of Shadows of Esteren?
In the official scenarios proposed, it will be up to the Leader to decide on the degree of horror, suspense, psychology, or even supernaturalness he wishes to display, according to his tastes and his sensitivity in the matter. This modular scenario system, used in the Prologue, gives the Leader several game options, according to which aspect of the horrific genre he wishes to stress. Such options are presented in the form of asides introducing optional scenes and advice for the atmosphere.

      18. What are the creatures of Esteren’s bestiary? Are there orcs, dragons, or trolls?
No. In Shadows of Esteren, there are men and creatures lurking in the forest's depths. Humanity calls these beasts “Feondas”; literally “the enemy” in Gaelic. Fortunately, they do not clash with them much, as they protect themselves from them and do not wander carelessly into the wild… but it happens that a community suddenly disappears, swallowed by a Feond hord.

      19. Who are the “Feondas”?
The Feondas are beings whose origin and nature are still controversial. Some seem to be animals or plants gone through abnormal transformations; others put on much more surrealistic, or even disturbing, forms. Some of them parody humanity in atrocious ways, going as far as to wear funeral masks, stolen from the bodies of desecrated graves. Some particularly heinous crimes even lead people to believe that Feondas can possess the spirits of the weak, or take a human guise and infiltrate the heart of towns. Much more dreadful, there is word of Feondas said to animate the corpses of men or beasts in order to strike at the living.

No one knows the exact intentions of these creatures, which neither build cities nor exert power over a territory, as the old clan chiefs used to do. The Demorthèn consider them to be the expression of death and destruction, unleashed by chaotic natural spirits. The adepts of the One see in them demons deserving only sword and torch. As for the Magientists, the rational thinkers from the Continent, although the majority sees in them natural predators that must be neutralized by humanity, they are divided between more or less far-fetched theories. Still, the Feondas are there, and have always been.

      20. Will Shadows of Esteren extend to other mediums than role-playing?
From the beginning, Esteren has been conceived to exist simultaneously on several media echoing one another. The aim is to heighten the immersion of the reader–and Player–in this universe, while offering him a range of different experiences.

Role-playing holds a particularly important role in this idea of offering the reader a rich interactive experience: it makes it possible to enter Esteren’s universe and to embody Characters in order to live brand new adventures. Other mediums complete this experience, notably:

- Music. The Of Men and Obscurities album, composed by Delphine Bois, will introduce you to a mysterious atmosphere, sometimes delicate, sometimes dreadful. The album was released on February 2011 and you can find several extracts of it online. The album will also be included in The Monastery of Tuath supplement.
-Video Game. Following the tradition of Point-and-Click games (Monkey Island, Broken Sword, Runaway, etc.), this video game has you follow the adventures of Yldiane the Varigal. The first episode, The Mac Lyr’s Legacy, takes place in Melwan’s vale, adjacent to Loch Varn and Dearg’s, found in the Prologue book.

- Internet. Shadows Of Esteren’s portal ( will allow you to go on with the exploration of the universe, mainly via the official forum which gathers an active and impassioned community, offering scenarios and player aids.


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The First Articles on Esteren!

12:58 AM Esteren 0 Comments

We are very proud to see the publication of the first articles about Esteren! It sure feels strange (in a good way!) to see Esteren on English websites... and even German, Brazilian and Polish ones!

- :
- Obskures :
- Gryfabularne's blog :
- Roleplayer Chronicles :
- RPG Parà :

Thanks to the webmasters, it sure was nice of them!

 Photo by Stephan Geyer


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Shadows of Esteren: Introduction for a Horrific and Gothic RPG

9:40 AM Esteren 0 Comments

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.

Here is more about the four main themes of the game:

o A Dark Universe. Esteren is a harsh, medieval world where the Characters will be confronted with horror and multi-faced threats. However, this does not imply they are doomed to perish; their survival will depend on their ingenuity and bravery. Gothic tradition can be found in awe-inspiring landscapes where the forces of nature rage, a perfect setting for tragic and passionate stories.

o Low Fantasy. In Esteren, there are no fantasy peoples such as elves or dwarves, nor are there fireball-casting wizards. Although supernatural elements are far from absent, they manifest in a subtle manner, giving way to a gritty, realistic universe.

o An Intuitive Game System. Shadows of Esteren is a game of atmosphere, where immersion and interactions among the Players have priority over any kind of simulative gameplay. This is why the game system was designed to be intuitive and easy to become familiar with.

 You can download the Book 0 - Prologue for free on DriveThruRPG.

Learn more with this FAQ.


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Welcome to the Shadows of Esteren blog!

9:05 AM Esteren 0 Comments

We are very happy to open this blog for the English version of Shadows of Esteren. For its inauguration, here is an open letter from the General Coordinator of the Shadows of Esteren series, Nelyhann.

“Dear all,

It is not without emotion that I am writing this letter today! The opening of this blog is a very important and very special moment for the project that we have been working on through thick and thin for several years now. Before I get to the heart of the matter, let me tell you about the origin of our adventure...

The Forgesonges Collective


Shadows of Esteren is essentially–although not exclusively, as you will see–a role-playing game project conceived and imagined by the Forgesonges collective of authors and illustrators, which was created in 2006, and of which I am one of the founders. The purpose of our collective is to gather artists with a passion for fantasy universes and focus their talents around a common project. Shadows of Esteren is Forgesonges's first project, and no less than twenty people are involved in its development. Most of them are professional illustrators and graphic artists, authors who have worked for other series, etc. The associative dimension of this adventure can be seen in the passion and the boundless energy displayed by the whole team to produce books of the highest possible quality; a heartfelt homage to the imaginary universe that inspires us so much.

A Little Bit of History


Initiated in 2006, the first book of the series was released in French four years later, in September 2010. The ensuing success went well beyond the expectations of the team and of our editor, Agate RPG. From the very beginning of the conception of this universe, conventions and play-testing sessions have been the opportunity to meet dedicated, enthusiastic people who have been included in the original team. That is how the project of a Point'n'Click video game inspired by the Broken Sword series saw light, as well as the composition of an original soundtrack, the first opus of which was released in France in February 2012. This multimedia aspect is at the heart of the Shadows of Esteren project, which aims to offer its readers and players an experience as rich as possible.

The Translation Project


It was during one of these play-testing sessions, when the core book had not even been released, that I met the one who was to become the first translator of Shadows of Esteren... Thus was born the crazy project of translating the whole of the core book–which amounts to nearly 300 pages–in Shakespeare's tongue by ourselves. Once more, it became a wonderful adventure. We got the support of more than a dozen proofreaders, most of them native English speakers, from everywhere in the world: the United States, Canada, Portugal, French Polynesia... Such an outburst of dedicated participation is something heartwarming to behold. After nearly two years of work, the core book, called “Book 1 – Universe”, is ready to be introduced to the great community of English-speaking Players. In the meantime, the translation team has increased, and we have also translated and copy edited “Book 0 – Prologue”, the digital version of which you can download for free here.

We Will Meet This Summer...


We are currently going through the last lay-out steps before we send the books to our printer. The release is planned for the upcoming summer, and we even plan to come in person to GenCon in order to show you our work. It will be a great moment, very rich in emotion. We are currently working on the construction of a Kickstarter project with exclusive additions to celebrate the birth of Esteren on the other side of the Atlantic.

Until then, we will give you news through this blog.

Yours truly,


Coordinator for the Shadows of Esteren series


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