This weekend sees Tabletop Gaming Magazine’s epic Spring Showcase, offering the inside scoop to the gaming community’s up-and-coming news. Find announcements, play-throughs and sneak peeks – and find Jon, on the main stage, at 3pm tomorrow (Saturday 27th March GMT). He’ll be talking everything Handiwork, and what we’ve got coming up.
While you’re waiting, you can follow the Whale Road with our trusty Hero, Bald Eadig, who’s finally reaching the end of his adventure. Jump on over to Campaign Coins on YouTube and watch the epic, double-length finale of The Hermit’s Sanctuary – where the foul beast is finally uncovered!
And, if that leaves you in the mood for slaying nasties, then grab Horror at Herrogate, our full-length BEOWULF adventure, from DriveThru. Confront the dreadful dréag, the nightstalker, the breaker of bones, unkillable by mortal hand…
The .pdf comes complete with three poster-sized battle maps, tokens for VTT, new Follower cards and separate NPC artwork.
And, if you love a good monster, and a good RPG fight, then our Handimonsters Patreon is less than the price of a coffee. Start your week, every Monday, with a brand new 5e beastie – each one carefully designed and drawn, and coming complete with stats, lore, background, and all sorts of scenario ideas.
Plus – there’s loads of bonus content, and there’s loads of FREE stuff too!
And don’t forget – we’ve got some new goodies in our RedBubble store. Two of Jon’s best-loved designs are now available as photographic prints!
Written by Marco Rafalà (The One Ring, Star Trek Adventures, Lex Arcana, How Fires End) and illustrated by Jon Hodgson, Horror at Herrogate is a full-length .pdf adventure for BEOWULF: Age of Heroes.
Nightmare lingers at the small fishing settlement of Herrogate, threatening the people and the treasure seat of the lord Thorfinn. Dare you confront the dreadful dréag, the nightstalker, the breaker of bones, the creature unkillable by mortal hands…?
But you’re a Hero. Seriously, how else would you spend your weekend?
The scenario comes with three poster-sized battle maps, tokens for VTT, new Follower cards and separate NPC artwork to show to your players.
A month after the game’s publication, we ask Jon Hodgson and Jacob Rodgers how they think it’s all gone…
It’s been a month since BEOWULF was loosed to the public – were you nervous before the release?
JACOB: Yes, I certainly was. It felt like we had done the best job we could, but you never know what others will think of it. I’m glad that it has had such a positive reception.
JON: Gosh yes. This is a really big one for us. While our first book as a team was the Creature Collection for Scarred Lands, which we made for Onyx Path Publishing, this was the first one that’s truly “ours”, and there’s always that fear you’ve just done it all wrong. Somehow.
You and the team have poured a great deal of love into BEOWULF – can you estimate how many hours’ total work has gone into the setting?
JACOB: It was a gleam in our eyes back in 2018. It took a good long time to hash everything out, between other work and the challenges of 2020. The good news is that we feel very confident in the direction we’re headed.
JON: I think I’d prefer not to guess at that in case my accountant is reading. Too many hours. We seem unable to just bash stuff out. Every part was worked within an inch of its life. Which is good in the end. BEOWULF feels very complete and whole.
What did you find hardest? And what was the best fun?
JACOB: Jon and I have mentioned before that the Followers system took a lot of work. But it also led into the thing that “clicked” the most for me — burdens and gifts. Once we had a consistent presentation, I knew that we could use the concept for any space in the game where we wanted to present options to the Player.
JON: I think the bit for me that was hardest was what became the Alignment Die: we wanted a mechanical system for alignment, which tied into the outlooks of the two faiths represented by Alignment in BEOWULF. It was really hard, and certainly not one where inspiration struck and things fell into place easily. We got there though – thanks to Jacob coming in with a wholly different approach. The most fun thing was drawing all the swords. Love a sword. I did a little cry when I got to stand near a Ulfberht sword in the National Museum of Finland back in the before times. I am that much of a sword nerd.
BEOWULF is designed for duet play, and to follow the mythic feel of the original poem – hence it’s seen a significant tweak to the 5e rules. Do you think this has been well-received?
JACOB: 5e is often seen as an inflexible system, with its adherents expecting a certain style as well as mechanics. However both of those are actually very mutable within the system. Player response has shown that folks will go for pretty extensive changes to the core assumption if you tell them the whys and hows of the new mechanics.
JON: Playtesters, backers and then early adopters have definitely reported enjoyed the ease of setting up a “group” for BEOWULF. You literally phone a friend. And much of the feedback we’ve had to date has been very grateful for a complete, grounded “Dark Ages” 5e. We have a couple of groups playing it multiplayer too, and really digging it.
You’ve had a lot of critical acclaim, from authors and gamers both – including other creators of BEOWULF settings. Do players need to know the legend to be able to play the game?
JACOB: Absolutely not. We provide a tremendous amount of setting info and opportunities for research. However, at its core, all you need to know is that a Monster is threatening the people over there and that you’re a Hero who’s going to go make everything right. It can be very simple and straightforward.
JON: Yup, as Jacob says, this was a key point. We wanted a framework into which you can slot your own knowledge, whether that’s the first two episodes of Vikings, or knowing the poetry of the Finnsburgh Fragment off by heart.
Recently, Jon, you won a poll for best gaming artist – beating some very well-known names indeed! Where does the inspiration for your BEOWULF art come from?
Jon: Yes that was all rather weird, although jolly nice of people. I’m very lucky to live in a place which allows views of some truly epic scenery – The Ochil Hills and the Trossachs here in Scotland. It’s just so moody and melancholy, with ever changing light and an ever-changing quality to the air, that it’s hard not to be moved by it. I’m also just a history nerd, and I love reading and researching this stuff, and trying to spin gaming gold out of some quite dry straw.
BEOWULF already has some gorgeous accessories – dice and dice trays – and it has a whole treasure hoard more incoming – Inspirations tokens, and real metal minis. Do you feel these are necessary to play the game? Or were they just something you needed to do?
JON: We’ve made sure you don’t need anything other than dice and a pencil. Maybe some paper would be handy. I think that’s a really core thing to RPGs in my mind – they are very accessible to those of us without the budget for all the fancy toys. And as has come up on line lately, we as creators often aren’t in the bracket to get all the toys. So it matters that they’re not necessary. You can get a great gaming experience making your own tokens. Of course we also want our accessories to be really, really nice, so that if you do drop some pocket money on them, they’re good value.
When it was released, BEOWULF made the Top Ten bestsellers on DriveThru – no small achievement for an indie company. So what’s next, what additional adventures are waiting for us as we travel the Whale Road?
JACOB: We will be releasing our first digital expansion pack to backers and that will include an adventure alongside other new materials. If you didn’t get signed up for that, the adventure itself, Horror at Herrogate, will be available for purchase on DriveThruRPG.com. That’s just the first one, and there will be many more.
Jon: Yes! There is plenty more where that came from!
Find these in the Handiwork Games store and on DriveThru, and this includes all of our big Tiles Bundles, to bring every kind of adventure to your tabletop. And don’t forget, our Digital Map Packs – ideal for your VTT games – are still on SALE.
Next up – congratulations!
This goes to Simon H J Williams, who’s won himself a print copy of The Hermit’s Sanctuary, complete with original sketch by Jon. Which is winging its way, even as we speak.
If you didn’t win this one, worry not – there will be more competitions soon…
To follow The Hermit’s Sanctuary adventure, join the Campaign Coins team, over on Twitch. This week, the fifth instalment sees our Hero, Bald Eadig, get to grips with ‘Baleful Grief’ – and we hear rumours that the Eadig/Thormund/Saewine love triangle may be heating up…
Stat a Hero of your own, with this week’s podcast! Those all-round-renowned RPG geniuses (genii?) Jon and Jacob talk you through the first part of creating your Beowulf Hero character, so they’re armed and ready to… erm… break benches.
A Hero, of course, needs an adventure. Make your awareness checks for Horror at Herrogate, a new full-length BEOWULF scenario coming up at DriveThru – very soon!
If you backed the original Kickstarter, your Hero gets their Horrors for free – we will send you the .pdf next week.
In the meantime – all you painters! We’re delighted to share the skills of the wonderful Sonic Sledgehammer Studio, making a gorgeous job of our white metal minis. Chosen by Sonic’s fans, the Hero Ibn Uthman is first for the brush. Once a trader and writer, he was exiled for using his prodigious ability with words – and returning to Baghdad was no longer an option.
Check out Sonic’s awesome painting…
Pop over to our friends at GeekNative for a chance to win our Bang & Twang card game. It’s fast and fun and easy to learn, great for kids and an ideal family game – but look out for the Forest Dragon!
Keep up with all the news, when you join us on our Socials:
Grab yourself a cup of tea (or a mug of mead), because it’s been a packed week at HandiworkGames …
First up – join our World Book Day Twitter giveaway. Follow us at @HandiworkGames and RT our tweet to win a print copy of The Hermit’s Sanctuary, our BEOWULF intro-adventure, complete with an original sketch from Jon.
Thanks to our friends at Campaign Coins, you can follow the live play-though of The Hermit’s Sanctuary over on YouTube. This week, Bald Eadig meets… the SEA RAIDERS!
You can also follow Pellam’s Wasteland on YouTube for a solo play campaign.
And, of course, you can join Jon and Jacob over on our own YouTube channel, for our BEOWULF podcast. This week, it’s all about the 5e rules!
Gaming for good, and launching Tuesday 9th March – a fantastic charity offer, sold in aid of The Trussell Trust. This mini-deck and map pack will fuse Jon’s bestselling Map Tiles with the fantastic RPG encounters of Venger’s Decks, offering you the perfect backstreet package, ideal for any campaign.
And every sale is for a good cause. Find out more, here.
In more news: Handimonsters! Our 5e monster Patreon is now at a new price, with easy-to-understand tiers. And this week’s monster is FREE! Add some giantish romance to your adventure with the Hölingean, tattooed and magical. They like summers of idle dalliance, and keep human mages as pets.
And catch Jacob, talking Handimonsters, over at d20 radio!
And finally – we’re very pleased to be involved withHeinzcon! Offering a wonderful programme of gaming related events and panels, this will take place in Twitch – and you can catch Jon (again – he’s been a busy fella) talking everything from BEOWULF to a|state.
Keep up with all the news, when you join us on our Socials:
Launching Tuesday March 9th, the Streets mini-deck and map pack is a co-production of Venger’s Decks and Handiwork Games, sold in aid of the Trussell Trust.
There are always big machinations happening in your game, but it’s in the backstreets where you’ll see their consequences. Victims of inequality and greed, of conflicts they didn’t sign up for. And what happens next? How do those victims react? Are they lying down, do they need the party’s help, or are they planning to rise and retaliate?
Inspired by the amazing work of the Trussell Trust, this mini-deck and map pack will take your party to those backstreets, to their shadowy doorways and secrets and pockets of darkness. Laden with encounters, it adds flavour to your setting, and gives you the opportunity to fill every every half-forgotten corner.
Even better, every penny generated goes to the Trussell Trust, which works every day to stop hunger and poverty in the UK, its network of foodbanks providing emergency food and support for people in crisis.
• A .pdf of encounter ideas from Venger’s Decks.
• A set of Jon Hodgson Map tiles taken from The Backstreets set.
• Upcoming we have music tracks from Filip Melvan of the awesome Tabletop Music Bazaar which will be added as they are completed, and will be made available to anyone who has purchased this product.
About the Trussell Trust
The Trussell Trust supports a nationwide network of food banks and provide emergency food and support to people locked in poverty, and campaign for change to end the need for food banks in the UK. There are more than 1,200 food bank centres in their network, about two thirds of the food banks in the UK. They support these food banks to provide a minimum of three days’nutritionally-balanced emergency food to people who have been referred in crisis (for instance by advice agencies, GPs, social services and schools), as well as support to help people resolve the crises they face. More than 14 million people in the UK live below the poverty line. The Trussell Trust understands that every person’s struggle with poverty is different and that it takes more than food to end hunger. So we bring together the experiences of food banks in their network, and their communities, to challenge the structural issues that lock people in poverty, and campaign for change to end the need for food banks in the UK.
Jump on over to DriveThruRPG, where our JON HODGSON MAP TILES are 20% OFF. These include our best-selling Dungeon Tiles, plus SF Tiles (Uptoian and Dystopian), and Tiles offering Forests, Caverns, Desert, Hillforts, and everywhere else you can escape to roll dice. And all of these come with free digital files.
You can also find all of our digital scenery packs, featuring everything from walls and posts and logs and sticks, all the way up to fireplaces and furniture.
Perfect backgrounds for all your lockdown gaming adventures!
And, taking you down the Whale Road this week, we have two brand new BEOWULF videos. Join Bald Eadig in the third instalment of The Hermit’s Sanctuary adventure, presented by our friends at Campaign Coins. This week, The Search…
Join Jon and Jacob, discussing the first chapter of our BEOWULF setting in this week’s podcast, over at our YouTube channel.
YOU DID IT! The day after its release, BEOWULF: Age of Heroes was an instant Top Ten bestselling title on DriveThruRPG. Give yourselves a good round of table-thumping and a big ol’ flagon of mead!
Needless to say, we’re over the MOON – really, really pleased to see our Hero doing so well.
But the tale doesn’t end there!
In the Handiwork Games store, we have all our beautiful BEOWULF accessories for pre-order – so if you missed these on Kickstarter, you can place your orders now. Find our Compass and Inspiration Tokens, both from Campaign Coins, plus the real oak box.
And find our specially-made, white-metal minis, along with wolves (who doesn’t need wolves), and the full digital minis pack that allows you to print your own.
And don’t forget to place your pre-order for the print book version, coming very soon – because books are always the best. (You’ll get your .pdf download free as well).
And still, the tale continues…
Jump on over to our YouTube Channel to find our newest RPG panel. In this one, Danie talks to Jon about BEOWULF, and to author Lou Anders about his Viking Age 5e Kickstarter Norrongard, Thrones and Bones. Jon and Lou shed their insights on the recent rise of role-playing, on adapting the 5e system, and on who they’d like to game with, if they could.
You can also catch Jon and Jacob Rodgers in the first of our BEOWULF podcasts!
And it’s LOOSE! The BEOWULF: Age of Heroes .pdf is now available, at DriveThru RPG!
Francesco Nepitello, designer of The One Ring RPG, describes it as “…a vast treasure-hoard that shows how you can hone the rules for 5e to make them cut like the edge of a long-seax and sing like a Scop.”
Called by Lou Anders ‘a magnificent accomplishment’ and featuring a foreword by Beowulf translator Maria Dahvana Headley, BEOWULF: Age of Heroes is 276 pages of breath-taking, mythic artwork, of potents and tables, of fables and folkore, of meadhalls and monsters, all carefully crafted to evoke a legendary age.
And find our of our beautiful BEOWULF merch at our Handiwork store! Now available for pre-order are our real metal minis, and our Compass Coins and Inspiration Tokens, plus we have dice trays and ARUs featuring artwork by Jon Hogson and designs by Paul Bourne. All so you can immerse yourself completely in the BEOWULF story.
To find out more about the BEOWULF experience, The Hermit’s Sanctuary, our ENnie-Award nominated intro-adventure, is available for download.