French translation of the Blue Book - Donjons et Dragons


According to reports, the English language Holmes Basic Set was imported in France in the late 70s, but no translation was available. So by 1980, one game publisher, Jeux Descartes ("Descartes Games"), produced their own translation to include in Holmes Basic Sets sold at their Parisian game shops (named Descartes or Descartes Relais). We can guess they made this translation to facilitate sales and happy customers.

This translation was coverless, 32 pages in length, and titled Donjons et Dragons at the top of the first page. One purchaser was delighted to find it folded in two in the Blue Book in a Holmes Basic Set also including B1 and polyhedral dice. The translation is of the 2nd edition (Nov 1978) rather than the later 3rd edition (Dec 1979), although the differences between these printings is minor. It's essentially a straight translation in terms of content, except that it lacks all illustration, including the cover, the alignment chart and the Sample Dungeon map (despite including the text for this dungeon). Presumably the illustrations were left out because the translation was intended only for purchasers of the Basic Set. There's no publishing information listed in the translation other than the name of the city
(Sannois, outside Paris) where it was printed at the bottom of the last page. The translated Blue Book was also placed in Moldvay Basic Sets until the translated Moldvay set was available around November 1982.

Jeux Descartes was founded in 1977-78 and continued until 2005. See here (English) and here (French, translated via Google Translate) for more information about this company.

The above information was originally posted on the Zenopus Archives blog, and was gathered from the following sources:
Holmes was translated into French! (OD&D Discussion forums)
French Basic Set (Acaeum forums; has nice photos of French Moldvay & Mentzer Basic sets).
Questions boites Holmes (Le Donjon du Dragon; in French, translated via Google Translate)

Thanks to snorri, kabuki, le Rahib & lookiwookie for information.

Further notes on the translation:
One interesting twist is that "Halflings" are translated as "Gnomes", but the "Gnome" in the monster listing is unchanged, so Gnomes completely replace Halflings as a character class.

The French translations of the monster names:
(Use them to throw off your players. "A Charognard What?!?")

Bandit
Basilic
Berserk
Black Pudding
Chien Intermittents (Blink Dog)
Ours De Cauchemard (Bugbear)
Charognard Rampant (Carrion Crawler)
Chimere
Serpent-Coq (Cockatrice)
Puma Demenageur (Displacer Beast)
Djinns
Doppleganger
Dragons - Blanc, Noir, Rouge, Cuivre (White, Black, Red, Brass)
Nains (Dwarves)
Elfes
Scarabees En Feu (Fire Beetle)
Gargouille
Cubes Gelatineux
Goules
Geants (Giants) - des monts (Hill), de pierre (Stone), de glace (Frost), de feu (Fire), des nuages (Cloud), des tempetes (Storm)
Fourmi Geante (Giant Ant)
Mille Pattes Geant (Giant Centipede)
Rats Geants
Tique Geante (Giant Tick)
Gnoll
Gnome
Gobelin
Cendre Gluante (Gray Ooze)
Boue Verte (Green Slime)
Griffon
Harpies
Chien D'Enfer (Hell Hound)
Hippogriffe


Some monsters have different translations in the Wandering Monster table:
Hobgoblins are Farfadets, Stirges are Oiseaux-Vampires, Wights are Etres, Dopplegangers are Mutants, and Blink Dogs are Chien Dresses.

Magic-user and Cleric Spells:

SORTILEGE DES MAGICIENS (Magic-User Spells)

Livre des sortileges du premier niveau (Book of 1st Level Spells)
Personne Charmee
Lumieres Dansantes (Dancing Lights)
Detection de la magie
Amplification (Enlargement)
Porte retenue (Hold Portal)
Projectile magique (Magic Missile)
Protection contre le mal (Protection from Evil)
Lecture des langages (Read Languages)
Lecture de la magie (Read Magic)
Ecran (Shield)
Sommeil (Sleep)
Disque flottant de Tenser (Tenser's Floating Disc)
Ventriloquie (Ventriloquism)


Livre des sortileges du troisieme niveau (Book of 3rd Level Spells)
Clairaudience
Clairvoyance
Dissipation de la magie (Dispel Magic)
Runes explosive
Boule de feu (Fire Ball)
Envol (Flying)
Protection/Mal 10 mn (Protection/Evil 10')
Protection/project. normaux (Protection/Normal Missiles)
Corde magique (Rope Trick)
Charme de ralentissement (Slow Spell)
Suggestion
Respiration dans l'eau (Water Breathing)
Ralentir le temps (Haste Spell)
Immobilisation (Hold Person)
Infravision
Invisbilitie, 10 mn
Anneau d'eclair (Lightning Bolt)
Appel des monstres (Monster Summoning I)


SORTILEGES CLERICAUX (Cleric Spells)

Livre des sorts clericaux du premier niveau (Book of First Level Spells)
Soigner une blessure legere (Cure Light Wounds)
Detection du mal (Detect Evil)
Detection de la magie (Detect Magic)
Lumiere (Light)
Protection contre le mal (Protection from Evil)
Purification de l'eau et de la nourriture (Purify Food and Water)
Anihilation de la peur (Remove Fear)
Resistance au froid (Resist Cold)









Some Magic Item names
:

Potions
1. Croissance (Growth)
2. Diminution
3. Force de geant (Giant Strength)
4. Invisibilite
5. Forme gazeuse (Gaseous Form)
6. Acceleration (Haste)
7. Voler (Flying)
8. Impression (Delusion)
9. Poison
10. Soin (Healing)
 
Anneau (Rings)
1. Invisibilitie
2. Controle des animaux
3. Controle des plantes
4. Faiblesse / affaiblissement (Weakness)
5. Protection + 1
6. Trois souhaits (3 Wishes)
7. Regenerations
8. Marche sur l'eau (Water Walking)
9. Resistance au feu (Fire Resistance)
10. Inversion / contraire (Contrariness)



                Excerpt from the French translation of the Blue Book
                                           (click on the image for larger view)























Hobgobelins
Cheval (Horse)
Hydre
Kobold
Homme (Lizard Man)
Lycanthropes - Sanglier-garou (Werebear), Rat-garou (Wererat), Ours-garou (Werebear), Tigre-garou (Weretiger), Loup-garou (Werewolf)
Manticore
Meduse
Minotaure
Momie (Mummy)
Ocre Suintant / Gelee Ocre (Ochre Jelly)
Ogre
Orque
Ours Huant (Owl Bear)
Pegase
Pixie
Ver Pourpre (Purple Worm)
Rouille Monstrueuse (Rust Monster)
Ombre (Shadow)
Crieur (Shrieker)
Squelette (Skeleton)
Spectre
Araignees (Spider) - Grosse, Enorme, Geante
Stirge
Troglodytes
Troll
Licorne (Unicorn)
Vampire
Espirit (Wight)
Revenant (Wraith)
Moisissure Jaune (Yellow Mold)
Zombie












Livre des sortileges du premier niveau (Book of 2nd Level Spells)
Hallucination auditive (Audible Glamour)
Lumiere Continue (Continual Light)
Obscuritie (Darkness)
Detection du mal (Detect Evil)
Vision de l'invisible (Detect Invisibility)
Perception ESP (ESP)
Invisibilitie
Sesame (Knock)
Levitation
Localisation d'object
Image (Mirror Image)
Bouche Magique (Magic Mouth)
Forces phantasmatiques (Phantasmal Forces)
Pyrotechnie
Rayon d'affaiblissement (Ray of Enfeeblement)
Force (Strength)
Tolle d'araignee (Web)
Verrou de sorcier (Wizard Lock)



















Livre des sorts clericaux du second niveau (Book of Second Level Spells)

Benediction (Bless)
Detection des pieges (Find Traps)
Connaissance du caractere (Know Alignment)
Immobilisation d't personne (Hold Person)
Resistance au feu (Resist Fire)
Buile de silence de 15 pieds (Silence: 15' radius)
Charme des serpents (Snake Charm)
Parler avec les animaux (Speak with Animals)

SORTILEGES  DES MAUVAIS CLERCS (Evil Cleric Spells)
Causer des blessures legeres (Cause Light Wounds)
Detecter le bon (Detect Good)
Obscurite (Darkness)
Contaminer l'eau et la nouriture (Contaminate Food and Water)
Provoquar la peur (Cause Fear)
Malediction (Curse)



Baguettes et batons (Wands and Staves)
1. Baguette de detection de la magie (Wand of Magic Detection)
2. Baguette de detection des portes secretes et pieges (Secret Door & Trap Detection)
3. Baguette de peur (Fear)
4. Baguette de froid (Cold)
5. Baguette de paralysation
6. Baguette de boule de fue (Fire Ball)
7. Baton de guerison (Staff of Healing)
8. Baton Serpent (Snake Staff)
9. Baton Frappeur (Staff of Striking)
10. Barreau de conjuration (Rod of Cancellation)

Objets magiques divers
1. Boule de cristal
2. Medallion E.S.P.
3. Sac porteur / Sac de portage (Bag of Holding)
4. Manteau d'elfe (Elven Cloak)
5. Balais Volant (Broom of Flying)
6. Casque de telepathie (Helm of Telepathy)
7. Sac devoreur (Bag of Devouring)
8. Casque due bien et du mal (Helm of Evil/Good)
9. Corde de montee (Rope of Climbing)
10. Gant d'ogre (Gauntlets of Ogre Power)

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