Duncarron Viking Weekend

This weekend just passed found us trading at Duncarron Medieval Village – our local recreated medieval settlement, educational facility, and movie set! It’s a really impressive site, which has been widely used in TV and film, including Outlander, Norsemen, The Bruce and many more.

This was a viking-themed weekend, for which we just about qualify with our BEOWULF RPG, and we took a gamble on whether our games would appeal to the general public attending a family viking day. And the gamble paid off! We were surprised just how many people are into D&D these days, and our dice and tokens were a big hit! We also we’re very pleased that several people invested in everything they needed to play BEOWULF, so in straight-up trade terms it was well worth the visit!

Continue reading “Duncarron Viking Weekend”


Jon here. 

I read a forum thread the other day about humans in RPGs. Do fantasy settings have to have humans? I was a little unsure about the framing of the question, but the core thought made me realise something. 

Our games seem specifically to be all about humans and the human condition. That’s expressed in a ton of different ways, but it’s a common thread running through all of them. We only make one game where there’s any possible doubt that you play a human, and that’s Maskwitches, which has an option that your characters not even real in the routine sense, but are as imaginary as the evil spirits they battle, both sides being conjured up by a community in crisis. 

Continue reading “Humans?”

Twin Seas Recovery section open on web shop!

Happy Monday! Jon here!

Here’s a thing – so a lot of people have been asking if they can help out with the loss of stock from our pallet theft. I’m not sure things like Gofundme are right for us – I’d rather work our way out of it by making and selling games and art – but! that does mean we’re happy to offer a bunch of exclusive new items on a special section of our web store which will directly go to helping out. A couple of notes on these.

1: We have the KING BEOWULF kickstarter coming up – hopefully this very month, which is a fine way to help us out. Don’t rush to spend all your silver here. It’s simply an option.

Beautiful Helmets by Wyrmwick Creations

2: Also, I don’t have any expectation of anyone’s help. These things are there specifically because I’ve been asked, and so it would seem churlish not to offer something.

3: There’s some high end items here. I don’t want anyone to feel bad if these are a bit too rich for their blood. They have a very specific purpose, and are tailored as tokens in return for the kind of support people have asked to give.

4: More original art will get added as I get it removed from the various battered and “archived”* sketchbooks in which it currently resides, and photographed. I have pencil roughs for most of the big pieces and characters found in BEOWULF Age of Heroes. So keep an eye on the site if that’s your thing.

* stored in in our loft

Here we go: https://handiwork.games/product-category/twin-seas-recovery

FiveEvil Playtest Rules Dispatched!

FiveEvil Playtesters – check your email! The first chunk of playtest content has been sent to you! The first 30 page rules PDF is with you now so that you have a chance to familiarise yourself with the concepts before we send out the short playtest adventure next week!

About FiveEvil

FiveEvil is a set of new roleplaying rules from Handiwork Games, slated for release later this year. FiveEvil is designed to evoke the horror genre via a set of clever twists on the underlying fifth edition ruleset. The primary focus is modern day horror, inspired by the work of Stephen King, and moody, character-driven horror films like The RitualThe Descent and Jacob’s Ladder, alongside mini-series like Midnight Mass by Mike Flanagan, and the scariest of Twin Peaks episodes.

Rather than seeking out evil in order to vanquish it, or investigating clues to battle malign influence, characters in FiveEvil are regular people trapped in a terrifying situation where fighting isn’t likely to help.

There are also plans afoot to cast a wider net with scenarios set in different eras: a key feature of FiveEvil is the ease with which it creates settings and scenarios woven together.

FiveEvil was created and written by Morgan Davie, features art by Scott Purdy, Jon Hodgson and friends, and boasts graphic design and layout by Paul Bourne.


Soon you’ll be able to sign up to be notified when the KING BEOWULF kickstarter goes live. In the meantime here’s some of the art you can expect to find in the book if we’re lucky enough to fund. These two pieces are by Jon Hodgson, and will underlie pages detailing the seasonal festivals during which time your people will bring their gifts to the treasure seat. How you choose to spend this wealth will be vital for increasing the prosperity of your people, and getting through the difficult winter months.

For a preview of what to expect in KING BEOWULF download the free 4 page OF KINGDOMS AND RING-GIVERS pdf:

Licensing the Trouble Engine from a|state Second Edition

It has come to our attention that the goodly folks in the Forged in the Dark community are enjoying The Trouble Engine from a|state Second Edition. We’ve had several requests to make use of this set of mechanics in other published Forged in the Dark Games.

The Trouble Engine was designed from scratch by Morgan Davie for Handiwork Games, and is not part of, nor covered by, the Forged in the Dark license. The Trouble Engine falls under regular copyright and as it stands no one can use it without a specific agreement from us at Handiwork Games. 

Until now!

We feel in the spirit of the Forged in the Dark license, and as a thank you for all the appreciative requests to use it, we would like everyone to be able to use The Trouble Engine in their own published games. We’re making The Trouble Engine SRD available for you to use in your published games. The contents of the SRD are available for use under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license.

There are three simple rules we ask you to follow if you would like to use The Trouble Engine your published game:

1: If you use the Trouble Engine directly, add this line to your credits page:

“This game uses The Trouble Engine designed by Morgan Davie for Handiwork Games and licensed for our use under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)”

2: If you create something consciously derived from The Trouble Engine, add this line to your credits page:

“This game uses rules inspired by The Trouble Engine designed by Morgan Davie for Handiwork Games and licensed for our use under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)”

We kindly ask that you do not use your own wording to indicate use of this agreement on the credits page – please use the wording provided in order to avoid any confusion. 

3: It is very important that you agree not to use any names or information from the setting of The City found in a|state second edition. The place and character names from The City of a|state are not included in this license.  

This is an agreement which specifically allows you to use the mechanics of the Trouble Engine in your own setting. The City and a|state remain the sole property of Contested Ground Studios and are not part of this license.

Defining The Trouble Engine

When we say “The Trouble Engine” what precisely do we mean?

For the purposes of this agreement, “The Trouble Engine” comprises the rules and mechanics which first appeared on pages 148 to 160 of a|state second edition.

To assist you in making use of The Trouble Engine, we have prepared a text document with all the a|state setting material removed: The Trouble Engine System Reference Document.  Think of it like the Blades System Reference Document but for The Trouble Engine. 

The Trouble Engine SRD contains instances of terms in square brackets, which you will need to adjust for your setting. The terms in square brackets are: [character] and [location]. The precise terms you’ll want to use are likely dependent on your setting.

What Does The Trouble Engine Do?

The Trouble Engine keys into the Forged in the Dark system and allows GMs to steadily generate new problems and difficulties at a pace that reflects the current situation in their game. If you haven’t used it as part of a|state, we highly recommend you see it in context within that game to fully understand it.

The Trouble Engine Logo

You have our permission to use The Trouble Engine logo in your work if you want to. You can download a variety of versions here.

A Note on Copyright Law

We are, of course, aware that game mechanics do not fall under the auspices of copyright law. Only the written expression of a game rule is protected. This means that should you be so inclined you could simply rephrase Morgan’s work and make use of the underlying mechanics without any license or blessing from Handiwork Games. We have no argument with that – that is how copyright works. You could do the same with any game system or mechanic. 

With the ethos of licensing, sharing and crediting that underpins Forged in the Dark and its collegiate spirit, we know it saves our fellow designers a lot of time and energy if they know can use our mechanics with permission and without the need to file off any serial numbers. 

We very much appreciate how John Harper has shared Forged in the Dark with us, and we want to do what we can to give back to the Forged community.

We also very much look forward to seeing what you can do with The Trouble Engine in your own games!

Thank you

Thank you for all the emails asking to use The Trouble Engine in your games – we appreciate both the enthusiasm and the respectful manner in which everyone has communicated. We hope you enjoy using The Trouble Engine – please let us know how you get on, and by all means send us a link to what you make with it!

Strange Little Girl vs Cheesed off for a|state is out now!

OUT NOW at DrivethruRPG: Strange Little Girl vs Cheesed Off. Two scenarios for a|state adapted to second edition by Gregor Hutton (3:16 Carnage Among the Stars, Remember Tomorrow) from first edition material by a|state co-creator Malcolm Craig.

Strange Little Girl

Who is the girl? 
Is she the same little girl who disappeared years ago, and has now come back in the same dress, clutching the same doll?
Or is this a cruel trick played upon her still grieving parents?

Cheesed Off

People on your corner are being poisoned. The first victims are the weak and the infirm, but within days even healthier sorts are falling ill. The blight grows in severity and soon leads to loss of life. Can the source of the poison be found and the mysterious plague stopped? 

Get your copy of Strange Little Girl vs Cheesed Off here


Art from Strange Little Girl vs Cheesed Off

Strange Little Girl Vs Cheesed Off for a|state releases next week! (a|state backers already have it!) This is a double feature of two scenarios penned by Gregor Hutton, based on some original first Edition Malcolm Craig goodness. And it of course features more amazing art by a|state co-creator Paul Bourne.

Paul’s artwork really brings The City to life, and makes it the unique setting that it is.

Out now: A free introduction to KING BEOWULF

Download the intro to KING BEOWULF: Of Kingdoms and Ring-Givers free at DrivethruRPG now!

KING BEOWULF is coming to Kickstarter soon – just as soon as we’ve dispatched the last few rewards for our long-suffering US Twin Seas backers. In the meantime you can grab this 4 page introduction to this supplement of Kingdom stewardship absolutely free.

We’ll also have some print copies of this booklet available to attendees at Tabletop Scotland this weekend in Perth, Scotland.

KING BEOWULF empowers your BEOWULF character to take the step from Hero to Ruler. They’ll inherit, found, or conquer their own kingdom, and take up the treasure seat, becoming the ring-giver responsible for their land and people.

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(Helmet shown by Wyrmwick Creations, Fuller brooch by Glitterbeard Viking crafts. Both used by kind permission.)