ENnies focus: BEOWULF Age of Heroes

We’re delighted to have received two ENnie nominations this year, for BEOWULF Age of Heroes in Best Electronic Book, and a|state Nicely, Done for best free product.

You can vote here until the 27th of August.

Today we’re taking a look at some of what you’ll find in BEOWULF Age of Heroes.

BEOWULF is a supplement and setting for 5e, which centres around duet play – one GM and one player. It presents a host of new rules to facilitate that, including the Hero class, Followers, the defeated condition, and a wealth of setting material. It’s all wrapped up with a ton of beautiful atmospheric art and layout.

Today we’re looking at some selected spreads from the book.

First up, we have a foreword by star of all things Beowulf, Maria Dahvana Headley. Maria was kind enough to provide us with an introduction to our book, since we share some themes, and clearly a subject matter. The foreword is a great read all on it’s own:

Next up, let’s look at the map. BEOWULF’s setting of “The Whale Road” is a highly flexible place. Based on the myths and stories of the people we commonly refer to as the historical Anglo-Saxons, this is a highly modifiable, unreliable map. Each adventure takes place just where the Hero needs to be, every Hero has their own ship, and we don’t spend a lot of time tracking distance travelled. But a map that shows the reader the scope of the lands known to the characters in the game is certainly useful for inspiration, and a useful bridge into the setting for us moderns.

From BEOWULF Age of Heroes:

On Maps
A good look at a modern day map of the North and Baltic seas is highly recommended for inspiration. The boundless archipelagos of islands that throng these waters are very inspiring. It is rightly called the Mediterranean of the North! If we mentally remove all modern national boundaries, and consider the possibilities of countless fiefdoms, the avenues for adventure are endless!

The people of the Whale Road have no clear idea of geography in the way we do in the modern world. They lack satellites and planes, and indeed accurate means of measuring distance. They navigate by the stars and by lodestones, and with information handed down over generations, knowledge kept safe in place names rather than in bird’s eye view maps.

And so it is we can explore a shifting, unreliable geography without fear of contradicting any tyrannical map. The mysterious island fiefdoms in need of a hero’s help are always right where they need to be.

The Whale Road is measured less by miles and more by the skill of the sailor, and the craft of the shipwright, and the needle of the sailmaker. A sailor of average skill might cross from one point to another in three days. A famed Hero, deft in the ways of sail and swell, might be able to shave that travel time to just a single day and night. This is something to be encouraged. Heroic voyages are best not measured by modern day means nor modern ideas.

Next up, here’s one of our favourite spreads from the book. It just looks so crisp in the flesh. The compressed jpeg here doesn’t really do it justice. BEOWULF Age of Heroes presents a raft of unique backgrounds for your Hero characters. Noble’s Blood is probably the most traditional and most like “Prince BEOWULF”. There are many others, including Adrift, Avenger, Chosen One, Foundling and more!

BEOWULF also presents the unique Hero class, that enables duet play – one GM and one player, which is at the heart of the supplement. There are subclasses built around each ability score. In this spread we see the Council Caller and the Honey-Tongued. There’s also two of our favourite pre-generated characters – Blaedswith, the Karelian Amulet Witch (now appearing in Campaign Coins Twitch stream!) and Ibn Uthman, who routinely wins any popularity contest among BEOWULF fans. You may recognise his inspiration from either The Travels of Ibn Fadlan or the movie based upon those travels, The Thirteenth Warrior, which brings Ibn Fadlan into the world of the Beowulf poem.

Perhaps because we’re known for our artwork, we hear a lot about the art in BEOWULF. But there’s so much more to the book. There’s a whole appendix of really useful tools for the GM and player, enabling you to create backstories for Monsters, tables to generate the appearance of background NPCs, useful setting appropriate names and more. Don’t tell anyone, but while BEOWULF superficially appears to be about monster slaying, really it’s about the human beings that surround the monster, and how they relate to it, and the Hero who appears to save them.

The Hero needs some skill at arms to defeat the inevitable beast at the heart of a BEOWULF story, but without some smarts and people skills they won’t get far in unravelling how to defeat it.

The Foreground NPC Generator provides a system for generating an interconnecting web of NPCs in which to hide the clues of how the Monster can be defeated:

You can buy BEOWULF in PDF here, and order the book here. It’s also available from selected stockists.
You can vote in the ENnies here until the 27th of August. BEOWULF is nominated in Best Electronic Book and we’d really appreciate your vote!