BEOWULF at Redbubble

You can grab a bunch of cool BEOWULF merchandise at Redbubble. We sporadically add new designs, so keep checking back. The various designs are available of a ton of different items, including large desk mats, art prints, drinking bottles, T shirts and loads more!

UK Games Expo in 2 weeks!

We’re off to the first big event we’ve attended since before the pandemic! UK Games expo is on in Birmingham from Friday 3rd of June until Sunday the 5th. 

We’ll be there with a stand in the trade hall. 

We’re in Hall 1, stand 228. That’s on the left hand side of the hall as you come in. 

We’re bringing a curated selection of our favourite things. Here’s the planned list of what you’ll be able to grab at the booth. 



Various Awesome Stuff

Here’s a list of what WON’T be there:

a|state Second Edition: it’s not printed yet. The PDF is out now, and printing begins this week! Pre-orders are open now.

Trials of the Twin Seas: it’s not printed yet. The PDF is almost done though!

Map tiles. We’re due a reprint of several sets with only one or two copies in stock, Bringing along a less than complete range seems like a lot of weight to bring. You can get them on our web store. 

Battle mats. They’re 36” square and once you’re dealing with more than a couple they weigh a ton. We’ll happily send you one through the post though!

BEOWULF inspiration mats. We’re down to just a couple left. We might bring those along in Jon’s suitcase but they won’t be “in stock” as such. We’re printing a new one for the Twin Seas campaign. 

Posters: These are too tricky to transport and display well, and much easier for you to mail order than carry around Expo!

Jon will be be at the booth all weekend, with various helpers popping by too. We’d love to see you for a chat after such a long time away from shows, so please do swing by and tell us all about your adventures!

The Silver Road

At Handiwork Games we all talk about games all the time. One strand of that chat for the longest time has been about indie, minimalist story games: the things we like, the things we don’t. The Three Coins for a|state grew out of that very conversation. 

And suddenly out of that same chat the potential for an entire new game appeared. 

(This is Jon writing by the way) While we waited for the Twin seas Kickstarter funds to arrive I had a bit of spare time, and so I started writing and testing. 

The Silver Road is the result. 

When playing The Silver Road, you and some friends can get together and tell stories.  

This is an unashamedly minimalist story telling game. It has a simple core mechanic that is applied any time there’s uncertainty about what happens next.

For the most part in this game you’ll succeed in whatever you narrate your character is doing.

Even where you don’t succeed, if your character is good at doing the thing you’re attempting, you’ll succeed on your next turn. 

The obstacles which you face in the game will have a chance to provide a consequence for your characters, which add to the story, and then they’re overcome, and the story moves on. 

For a long time I’ve mentioned in passing that I tend to run games in a very loose way, and I thought it was about time I made that into something other than a slightly awkward confession. I like running a loose game where everyone throws in their contribution on what happens, and where we don’t get hung up too much on the finer points of system stuff. 

And don’t get me wrong – get this – I can like several things at once. I do also enjoy it when we play crunchier games “properly”. I certainly don’t object to tracking arrows, and facing challenges based on the specifics of what my character owns and precisely how good they are at skills.

I also have a special place in my heart for very light games that rely much more on improvised creativity. And that’s The Silver Road. 

I also wanted, as is our eternal mission, to make a beautiful thing.

The game is illustrated by Mike Franchina, an old friend and incredible artist. Each page has a unique illustration.

For this game Mike has made use of Midjourney, an AI art creation tool. It (in the hands of Mike) is brilliant at creating the kind of startlingly weird and evocative imagery you’ll find in The Silver Road.

We’ll release The Silver Road in PDF (and pre-order with free PDF) next week. We’re hoping to have some advance print copies of The Silver Road at UK Games Expo. 

The Silver Road Important Game Facts

  • 24 pages long (plus cover)
  • 21cm x 21cm full colour book (portable, loveable)
  • Rules-lite, minimalist story telling game (if you like rules this might not be for you)
  • Setting agnostic (bring your own)
  • Written by Jon Hodgson
  • Art by Mike Franchina
  • Layout by Paul Bourne
  • Releasing May 24 to preorder with free PDF

a|state is out now as a pre-order with free PDF

You can now pre-order a|state second edition, and get the PDF free!
The PDF is also available now via DrivethruRPG!

Also released today is The Three Coins in pre-order with free PDF, and in standalone PDF!

About a|state

Step inside a baroque urban nightmare, the world of a|state.

In The City you’ll fight off threats to your canalside home, trying to make this grim and haunted place safer and better, somehow.

a|state brings a new, hopeful approach to the much-loved Forged in the Dark ruleset. Your ability to Care counts as much as your ability to Fight.

Create Troublemakers such as the deft and deadly Ghostfighter, the caring and curious Lostfinder, the persuasive and passionate Activist, and the striking and stealthy Sneakthief. If they can trust each other they might have a chance.

Defend your corner from selfish authorities, angry gangs and heartless industries, and deal with the spiralling consequences of your own actions as you struggle for a better tomorrow.

Bringing the wine-dark visual vibes of Dark City and The City of Lost Children, a|state delivers Dickensian anti-Thatcher sparks and knives sci fi.

Here’s a glimpse of some of what you’ll find in a|state second edition, in chapter order:

  • A smooth, powerful iteration of Forged in the Dark
  • Seven character playbooks with many more variations to explore
  • Rules for creating your own threatened corner of The City
  • Guidance for going on missions as you struggle to bring hope to your community
  • New rules to bring downtime between missions to life
  • A toolkit for exploring the unknown reaches of The City beyond your home
  • Focused assistance for the GM to create missions, support players and manage the whole struggle
  • The Trouble Engine, an innovative creation system that will throw problem after problem at the corner and those who defend it
  • A vibrant and instantly usable guide to life in The City
  • Playable details of 20 locations (or more, depending on stretch goals!)
  • Full descriptions of every major faction in The City and how they will make life difficult for the corner
  • Insights into the deepest mysteries of The City and the strange beings known as the Shifted
  • And throughout, there will be songs, poems, folk tales, advertising, and ephemera that vividly bring to life the world of The City.

This is the story of how you fight back.

Written by Malcolm Craig, Morgan Davie, and Gregor Hutton with Tanya Floaker, Brian Nisbet, Gareth Ryder Hanrahan and KC Shi.
Illustrated by Paul Bourne, Jon Hodgson and Scott Purdy.

First Stretch Goal Down!

Each day during our current Kickstarter campaign to print Trials of the Twin Seas, we’ll share updates here.

Hello! Welcome new backers!

It’s going alright eh? 🙂

So this morning UK time we broke through our first stretch goal – all print books will get a spot UV design on the front (and we’ll probably pick out some other bits and bobs to make shiny too). If you’ve never seen spot UV on a book take a look at this video. 

It’s quite hard to replicate in 2d, but here’s an artist’s impression of what the book might look like.

And here’s a look at the design we’re planning to add:

Coming Up…

Coming up next, and we’re closing in on this one fast, we’d like to commission Dave Oliver of to write us three poems for the book. You might have seen his work in the free intro adventure to BEOWULF The Hermit’s Sanctuary. It’s very good stuff, and I think it’ll really add to the overall magic of the book.

Would you like to help?

Over at the backer discord I’ve mentioned just how helpful your shares of the campaign, or discussion of the adventures, or BEOWULF Age of Heroes, truly are. It really, really helps us carry the word to people who are unaware of BEOWULF and this campaign. Thank you in advance for any shares you can give us, or conversations you can start in your own RPG circles. We’ll keep updating and promoting across the internet, but nothing beats word of mouth. 

Book Club

Today’s book is:

The Meadhall by Stephen Pollington

This is a book which I wish I’d picked up much earlier in the process of creating BEOWULF Age of Heroes. It really sums up so much of what we gleaned from a wide variety of sources about the importance of the Meadhall in historical Anglo-Saxon culture, and focuses it in one place. Pollington’s work in general is very good, and well worth your time. 

The text is well referenced and pleasingly digestible despite it’s level of rigour.

Like many academic style books this is a Lightning Source print-on-demand title, so is of a relatively basic production quality. But that’s splitting hairs – the text is excellent, and all the diagrams and illustrations are very crisp.

The Meadhall by Stephen Pollington is published by Anglo Saxon Books ISBN 9781898281542


Don’t forget to swing by the discord for a chat! We have a nice friendly community and it’s not too fast moving, so it’s easy to join in. If you’d like to join up, point your browser at Give Jacob or me a shout out when you land that you’re a Twin Seas backer, and he’ll give you the keys to the super secret awesome backer channel.

Thanks as ever for your support. Let’s see how far we can take this one!

The Trials of the Twin Seas is now fully funded and unlocking stretch goals on Kickstarter:


We’ll be sharing updates from our kickstarter Trials of the Twin Seas for BEOWULF Age of Heroes here, occasionally adapted to be as up to date as possible.

Update One: YOU DID IT

[Jon speaking]
It never ceases to amaze me when a project funds. I know that for many folks Kickstarter has become the norm, or even a bit hum-drum. But for me, the magic is all still here. We’re going to print a book! it’s going to be so lovely!

THANK YOU, and thank you for being here early. Later backers can read this, and know they also have our heartfelt thanks. But YOU get early thanks, you glorious early adopters. We really appreciate your support on day one.

I guess this means we need to talk about stretch goals? The next stop is Spot UV on the cover, to match the BEOWULF core book.

And beyond that we’d love to add some poems by Dave Oliver of Rattlebox Theatre to the book. You may have seen his amazing work in our free introductory adventure for BEOWULF, The Hermit’s Sanctuary.

Add Ons

I wanted to dive right into a key point of this campaign. We have a ton of add ons available. A lot of them are things we have already made, which are useful for BEOWULF in general, including the core setting book.

But in amongst those things are some new stuff, and I dont want you to miss it.

(and hey – I want to be clear – we don’t expect you to grab everything, or indeed anything!  But I want to be super sure you don’t miss anything you might actually want and enjoy.)

So fresh for this campaign, alongside the main Twin Seas book are:

Beowulf Story Cards in print. We have these all proofed, and Jacob has a copy and I have a copy. (Although mine has… issues… as ver 1.0)   We thought this was an ideal opportunity to get those in bulk and allow everyone who wants a printed deck to get one!  You can read how they work here.

There’s also the new and exclusive Twin Seas Inspiration Mat – the prior design from our first campaign is all but sold out, so a new one seemed in order!   

The Twin Seas Dice Tray is much the same situation – the previous campaign tray is sold out. If you have one take care of it! It’s more precious than a monkey NFT (is it? Maybe? I dont know)  

And the Twin Seas Art Book is another new thing for this campaign.

There’s a bunch of stuff that has been released between our last campaign and this one – we like to keep BEOWULF well supported. I’d draw your attention in particular to the BEOWULF Annual and Art Book. They’re cool.

Book Club

If you backed our last campaign you’ll hopefully remember I like to use updates to make some reccomendations for inspirational reading. And this campaign will continue the tradition. 

Our first book club entry for this campaign is:

The Word Hord, Daily Life in Old English by Hana Videen

This is one of those books that’s a pleasure to just dip in and out of. And there’s loads of inspiration for the Old English mindset and world, which is always a help when it comes to writing your own BEOWULF adventures, or just running NPCs.

Presented as a very portable but portly little hardcover, The Word Hord is just packed with fascinating info into historical Anglo-Saxon life. Each section examines an aspect of life and language and gives you lots of historical and cultural info, alongside a bunch of Old English words. I really enjoyed this one.

The Word Hord, Daily Life in Old English by Hana Videen, is published by Profile Books, ISBN 9781788166102


Don’t forget to swing by the discord for a chat! We have a nice friendly community and it’s not too fast moving, so it’s easy to join in. If you’d like to join up, point your browser at Give Jacob or me a shout out when you land that you’re a Twin Seas backer, and he’ll give you the keys to the super secret awesome backer channel. 


Right that’s it for now. Thank you once again for joining us on this voyage into ADVENTURE (oh my days how brilliant was that voice over on the video? Owen Staton. Time Between Times Storytelling – look him up.)

The Trials of the Twin Seas is now fully funded and unlocking stretch goals on Kickstarter:

BEOWULF Digital Packs

We produce a range of additional material for BEOWULF Age of Heroes in bite-sized digital packs. They began life as a stretch goals on our original BEOWULF Kickstarter campaign, and have delivered regular new content to our backers for a year!

BEOWULF Digital Packs are released monthly, apart from months where we have big projects on, which sometimes pause the flow, like March where we’re building up to the Trials of the Twin Seas Kickstarter plus Jon got Covid!

Digital Packs are eminently affordable, and expand your game options with inspirational material, new Followers, monsters and weapons, battle maps, atmospheric background music, VTT tokens and more!

At the time of writing there are Eight Digital Packs in the wild for you to explore. Let’s take a look at their contents:

Continue reading “BEOWULF Digital Packs”

Art Print in aid of Ukraine Appeal

We are selling a limited edition of 50 of signed prints in aid of the Ukrainian people.

All proceeds will be donated to the  Help Ukraine Emergency Appeal organised by The Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB). We feel that organisation is well placed to directly support Ukrainians in danger.

The print is A4 in size to facilitate easy shipping. It is printed on 200gsm Matt laminated stock and signed by the artist.

The image features heroes from BEOWULF Age of Heroes, and the text “To those who battle monsters”, which appears as the dedication from the BEOWULF core rulebook.

We are expecting the prints to arrive 2nd March, and will dispatch them as soon as we get them.

We have ordered and paid for the prints, and will pay any taxes on the purchase ourselves, so that 100% of your purchase will go to the charity.

Let’s talk about Scenery Monsters!

5th Edition seems to be a hot topic right on social media and forums right now, and we’re seeing frequent reference to what a great implementation of 5e BEOWULF is, often paired with Adventures in Middle-earth, which we all worked on too! Which is really cool – thanks folks!

We’re continuing our experimentation with the 5e framework with our current series of Scenery Monsters over at

Scenery Monsters are something adjacent to Lair Actions, but separated from a location, and expressed as a kind of lesser monster. Scenery Monsters are a stripped down kind of background creature that can spice up a location, without requiring the GM to deal with a whole stat block.

Scenery Monsters never make attack roll, have no hit points, and function a little more like traps, or obstacles, but embodied as creatures. Some can move around, some are static features, others are more abstracted.

One of the real strengths of the subscription model of Handimonsters is that we’ve been able to experiment with the core idea, and develop it week on week. Now that we’ve released a handful of Scenery Monsters we’re more able to cook down exactly how we design them to a list of questions:

• What is the saving throw the target makes, and how that can be interesting? For example, this week’s monster requires a Wisdom saving throw to avoid a condition. This means you can involve less able fighters as being key to resolving an encounter.

• What is the effect of failing the saving throw? We’ve avoided HP damage for the most part, favouring the infliction of conditions – disadvantage, poisoned or prone for example are all interesting conditions to wield during a battle, and can become a bit more interesting and varied than glancing at how many HP you have left.

• Why cant a PC run up to the Scenery Monster and do HP damage to it? Because Scenery Monsters don’t have a full stat block, and we don’t want the GM to track HP, this aspect needs to make sense, and be intuitive to the monster. We’ve used creatures that automatically flee, or become prone when approached. We’ve also used plant-like creatures that can’t be killed by attacking them with weapons. Any time a Scenery Monster would stand and fight toe to toe? It’s probably not a Scenery Monster.

• Why is “the attack” not an attack roll? Scenery Monsters do not make attack rolls. And this needs to make sense very quickly. It could be its “attack” is a barely-directed cloud of gas, or because it’s a volley of rubbish thrown very general direction by unskilled civilians. The “attack” of a Scenery Monster becomes more about the Player Characters’ resistance to it than skill in combat.

If the monster doesn’t have HP, how is it overcome, or can it indeed be overcome? Sometimes it’s ok to deploy a creature that must just be avoided, or which makes a part of a location less favourable to traverse. But sometimes that can be an unsatisfying feature of an encounter. And we all know how some players want to attack everything. It is also important to give the players some kind of agency in being able to do something to affect the Scenery Monster. Shutting it down for a number of rounds is a nice outcome of specific actions on the part of the players.

We’re coming to the end of our first run of Scenery Monsters – and you can grab the entire back catalogue of all of our monsters when you sign up at – but we’ll be back with more!

You can also get all of last year’s handimonsters in the 2022 Annual!