Jon: As part of The Hermit’s Sanctuary, the free introductory scenario for BEOWULF, we wanted to include a bunch of battle maps. It’s worth mentioning here at the outset that BEOWULF doesn’t rely on battle maps. Theatre of the Mind works just as well. Like in any 5e game, they’re purely optional.
But we love a good map hereabouts, and painting miniatures is something that’s been a very useful diversion in these times of lockdown.
I’ve been running a Patreon for almost 2 years now, supplying painted battle maps for people’s games. I also made a load of them for our recent collaboration with Onyx Path Publishing on the Scarred Lands Creature Collection. And so it seemed like a good idea to include some with The Hermit’s Sanctuary.
I specialise in really big maps, mostly because… I can! Digital delivery and virtual tabletops make these really accessible. But I also like to print them out and use them in the traditional way with miniatures. Today I’m taking a look at how that’s all shaped up.
So here’s the map of the Sanctuary itself.
For my games, I went to town and picked up a bunch of animal minis from Warbases. They’re just across the Firth of Forth from Handiwork HQ, so it’s nice to shop local! They do a great line in farm animals, so I’ve added some geese, Jacob sheep. I already had a couple of pigs for a BEOWULF Hero concept I’m working on – a seer who has oracular pigs as her followers. Must get on with that! As you can see, I’m no master painter, and I gave these a very quick paint job, but they’re a nice addition to the table.
For the main NPCs in the scenario, I needed some quite particular figures. These ended up coming from a wide range of sources.
The Housekeeper is a personal favourite, from Gripping Beast. She’s a cracking miniature.
The Builder is a really lovely figure from Perry Miniatures. He’s one of their First Crusade Pilgrims, which makes him a bit out of period, but civilian clothes don’t change tooooo much in this era, so I think it works.
The Provisioner is from Gripping Beast – he’s the attendant in their Saxon bishop set, who is perfect for that NPC.
The Hermit himself is a monk from Perry Miniatures. He’s not a perfect fit for the NPC description, but it’s a nice model.
The Boy was the trickiest match to find. I couldn’t find any early medieval children figures that fitted the bill. It was wonderful that an old friend Matt who runs Knucklebones Miniatures volunteered to sculpt me one. If you fancy getting your own, I’m sure Matt will send you one for a reasonable payment!
While avoiding spoilers, the Sanctuary map might feature two or three times in the scenario, depending on how it plays out, and the details of the scenery add quite a few options to the potential second and third usages.
Next up is a map for the Battle at the Standing Stone, which may or may not occur in the adventure, depending on the actions of your Hero. This is a nice big open map, set on the moors of the Hermit’s island home. Again, no spoilers, but I can imagine some running around on this one… Our Monster here is robustly played by a Red Box Games troll.
In this playthrough, we’re using the regenerated character Alys (who I always considered something like an early medieval, welsh Hermione Grainger).
We’re using a Footsore Miniatures Shield Maiden for her figure. Footsore also provided one of the followers. I highly recommend their work. Their new range of Anglo-Saxons is gorgeous.
For additional followers, Victrix Vikings and Anglo Saxons and Anglo-danes are perfect. There’s also a character model from Bad Squiddo in there, who I highly recommend! (I expect we’ll use her model for a Hero at some point in my games)
There’s an additional variant map included for another optional battle, which I haven’t set up, since I didn’t need it for this play-through, but it’s worth mentioning – it’s a flexible map that could easily see use in other games.
The Walled Graveyard map created a lot of nerves for the player in this run through! Can’t say any more than that! Physically, this is the smallest map, and I don’t know if that added to their worries?
The Ruin is a personal favourite location. It’s based on a ruined broch, not that the characters in the scenario know this. There’s one of the very few lowland brochs close to Handiwork HQ, in the form of Tappoch Broch, and we’ve very much taken it to heart, making dice trays featuring it! The broch ruin is another map that might come in handy for other adventures, It’s a nice big one!
In this image you can see the Inspiration Pool at work – you get a printable one, along with some tokens, as part of the Hermit’s Sanctuary. There will be neoprene mats and really gorgeous metal tokens available as part of the BEOWULF kickstarter.
The map of… this location, let’s call it, is filled with spoilers, so there’s not much to say. I just hope that your Hero ends up seeing this one when they’re well prepared! The stones here are from Warhead Studio.
This is probably the most useful map to use in play, even if you’re doing theatre of the mind. Printing it on A4/US Letter and using counters might come in handy, as one of the potential climactic battles is something of a mini-game to itself. This is a common feature of scenarios in BEOWULF – the battle against the big Monster always has some kind of cool twist to make it really memorable.
We have our own range of miniatures being designed right now by our dear friends at Cold War Miniatures, and the initial range includes all the pre-generated characters from the Hermit Sanctuary. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the renders!
We’re very close to having pre-production examples on hand – the last piece of character art is heading over to be sculpted today! We showed him in progress earlier in the week – here’s the more or less finished art. He’s a doomed hero archetype, searching for an enemy worthy enough to gift him a heroic death.
The Hermit’s Sanctuary is available absolutely free here. It includes all the maps in this article, as PDF posters, jpeg versions for VTT, and sliced up easy-to-print versions.
There’s a Tabletop Simulator package for it here.