Agate RPG has just broken through yet another first-day-fund on Kickstarter with their newest project: Shadows of Esteren: Dearg. This new book offers a campaign that spans over 500 pages and introduces players to the Esteren world like no other chance they’ve had before. So far, Shadows of Esteren has spread over several books that each build upon a world wrapped in Celtic mythology and lore. Book 0: Prologue introduces players to the Esteren world, its inhabitants, characters, and scenarios to get their feet wet. Book 1: Universe opens up Esteren’s world to fill players with knowledge on what motivates Esteren’s peoples. Book 2: Travels focuses on locations in Tri-Kazel, including more than 100 different locations to explore and offers new personalities that players can meet during their adventures. Finally, Book 3: Dearg offers a campaign for players to explore, containing 21 different scenarios to play through.
Dearg is the result of nearly 10 years of hard work, according to Agate. Through the 21 scenarios locked within its pages the book takes players closer to dark secrets and forces them to confront their innermost demons. Dearg aims to put PCs in the limelight, allowing them to become the heart of the narrative and to turn their personal stories into critical components of the dramatic tension. How does it accomplish this feat? The book adds several new features that are key to Shadows of Esteren’s overall gameplay:
- 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.
- Focus – 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.
- 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.
I’m totally excited for the Focus aspect of Dearg. I really want to let my PCs experience something truly unique, and this is a feature that will do just that. This helps make the PC feel more a part of the world around them and less like a visitor. The Dearg campaign has already funded and knocked out a few stretch goals. It’s got 20 days to go and several pledge levels to choose from. If you’re a veteran Shadows player you can get a copy of Dearg for $50, and there are pledge levels to choose from if you’re new to the Shadows universe. Check out the campaign and pick up a copy of Dearg – it is slated to be delivered by July of 2017!