Beowulf Panel

We chatted to the lovely Jonathan Green about Beowulf games. Check it out:

Our own BEOWULF: Age of Heroes PDF is released on the 16th of February, accompanied by a pre-order for the print book and accessories. You’ll be able to get the PDF free with a pre-order of the rulebook.

Friday News Update – February 5th

Happy Friday – and it’s BEOWULF DAY!

The saga is complete – BEOWULF: Age of Heroes went to backers in today!

Jon and the team have been working (almost) round the clock to get this finally done, and we’re over the moon with the result. Thank you to all our lovely backers for waiting, and a special thanks to those of you who said you wanted to wait, because you knew the finished product would be worth it.


We hope it is. Please do share it with us – your reactions, your likes and your games. We’d love to know how you do, as you travel the Whale Road. 

The formal launch of BEOWULF: Age of Heroes will take place on Feb 16th– look out for the full book on DriveThru. We’ll also have pre-order links in the Games Handiwork store, where you can discover our Beowulf merch. Find our Inspiration coins and real metal minis, plus the map tiles and dice trays to really bring your campaign to life!

The Spell-Thief!

And we have a FREE Handimonster this week! Head on over to to meet the spell-thief: a whisper, a rumour, a lingering shadow, a creature incomplete. He comes with full stats, and with all his background, plus gorgeous artwork and suggestions for scenarios. And top tier backers get all the extras.


On the subject of gorgeous artwork, you may have seen Ralph Horsley’s exquisite book, ‘An Art Adventure’, his career retrospective. We’re delighted to say that this backed on Kickstarter in 27 minutes flat. You can still pledge, and it’s well worth it!

Every Monday on Twitch

You can also follow the further adventures of a|state on Twitch every Monday. Join the intrepid band of characters from ‘Nicely, Done’ as they venture out into more of The City. This isn’t the official second edition – not yet – but it’s a great taster. So thank you to GM Colin for making this happen!

To keep up with, Beowulf, Handimonsters, a|state and everything else, please follow us on our Socials:

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Monster, by Jon

Friday News Update – January 29th

Happy Friday – and happy Wolf Moon!

Wolf Child Moon!

And before anything else, a thank you to our BEOWULF backers for their patience. We had intended to release the .pdf this week, but decided to err on the side of caution and ensure the work was complete and fully polished rather than rushing it. It will come to you next week, and we really hope you like it!

Those of you who didn’t back the project, you can give our intro-adventure a try, and grab a couple of sneak peeks, all up on DriveThru – plus we have some gorgeous Beowulf Zoom backgrounds, to add some adventure to your online calls and games.

Arriving very soon!

Look out for the full BEOWULF launch in February, complete with download links and details as to how you can pre-order the print copy of the book, as well as our real metal minis, gorgeous Inspiration tokens and all of the supporting merch.

Inspiration Tokens in Real Oak Box

And check out this week’s Handimonster! A personal favourite (Danie), this sly beast is not your average combat-monster. The rumourvine is subtle and filled with questions, an ideal way to weave a theme of espionage and mystery into your 5e campaign. Who planted it? Why? What do they want? What does it carry, what does it see – and what happens if you touch it? 

The Rumourvine

Our Handimonsters are not just stats. Every one comes with scenario and deployment suggestions, and with all the lore you’ll need for your game. Many overlap with other Handimonsters, or with terrain from our Map Tiles, plus there are all sorts of extras for top tier backers, including exclusive content, VTT tokens, full digital art, and discounts at the Handiwork store.

Handimonsters Extras

Start your week right – with a new Monster every Monday!

In other news, we’re delighted to be working with Ralph Horsley on his new book, ‘An Art Adventure’, a career retrospective covering thirty years of illustrations. Absolutely beautiful, and launching on Kickstarter!

Magic Chapter Spread

Plus: watch this space for news on the a|state second edition. Coming soooon…

To keep up with, Beowulf news, Handimonsters, a|state and everything else, please follow us on our Socials:

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Handimonsters: The Rumourvine

The Spymaster’s Friend!

Every great RPG has monsters. Big monsters, toothy monsters, fire-breathing monsters, monsters that chomp you, and that claw you, and that scare you out of your armour.

But a good RPG also has something else – and that’s subterfuge. So today’s Handimonster is the Rumourvine, which manifests that subterfuge in physical form. 

The Rumourvine

Use the Rumourvine to add a creeping growth of both threat and suggestion to your campaign. Who planted it? What did it grow from? Why? Who tends it and helps it grow? What has it collected – and what form does that information take? What happens if you touch it? All these questions and more can weave a great story of espionage and tension.

To find out more about the Rumourvine, jump on over to, where Jacob Rodgers talks you through scenario suggestions, themes and imagery, and how to use a Rumourvine to its best effect.

As ever, all of our Handimonsters come with, not only a full stat block, but with professional art (this one by Scott Purdy), and all the details you’ll need to add them to your game. And top-level patrons also get full digital art, paper minis, VTT tokens (portrait and top-down), lots of exclusive content, and more.

Bonus Content

And the best thing about Handimonsters? Your PCs will never have seen them before. 

And that sounds like an adventure…

Friday News Update – January 22nd

Okay, so we’ve talked a lot about BEOWULF, and about the imminent arrival of the .pdf…

…but not as much about the story behind the game, or about the detail and attention that have gone into making it happen.

Calling the Hill Giant by Jon

Lots of this can be found on the BEOWULF page on our website. There, we talk about how we’ve used and adapted the 5e system – including character classes, abilities, alignments, and equipment. 

But we also talk about the things that make BEOWULF unique, and about how we’ve tied the game to the original poem.

Things like the ‘Portent’. Before Beowulf goes to face Grendel, he asks permission of King Hygelac, and seeks out omens of the road ahead. In the game, we represent this with a series of random rolls, each generating the next part of your hero’s journey. These Portent rolls tie in with the 5e inspiration rules – they may favour the hero, bringing them inspiration tokens, or they may give those tokens to the monster, which brings a very dark omen indeed. They also give the GM some strong ideas and imagery, which can be woven back into the story. However the Portents turn out, they map your hero’s adventure, and show them the road ahead.

Beowulf Tokens in Oak Box

We have beautiful, specially crafted tokens just for this purpose. For those of you that missed the Kickstarter, these should be available to pre-order next month. They’re made by Campaign Coins, and they’re a really gorgeous prop.

There’s also our use of ‘Followers’. Our game is specially designed for ‘duet play’, one PC and one GM (though it can be played with a group), making it not only true to the poem, but the perfect game for a new player, or to play at home. And this means, like faithful Wiglaf, your hero will have followers!

The adventure!

While those followers may only turn up rarely in the story, they’re always in the background. And in a duet game, where there’s less engine noise and no need to ‘take turns’, they offer huge potential for personal role-playing, dramatic interactions and ‘theatre-of-the-mind’ scenario development. They support your hero in times of tension, and they offer the GM a good way of feeding information or clues. If you’re playing with a larger group, the followers may not get quite as much air-time, but they can still be fun to have around!

Like our tokens, we’ve made special Beowulf minis – all eight pre-generated heroes plus one monster – which will be arriving on our website very soon.


If you’d rather not wait, then please have a look at the intro-adventure, the Hermit’s Sanctuary, on DriveThruRPG

And you can find out more about Beowulf, and how it all goes together at Handiwork Games.

And – a quick and cheeky footnote! If you’re an a|state fan, please be aware that our printers are discontinuing the staple-bound copies of the intro adventure, Nicely, Done. Instead, copies will be in ‘perfect bound’ format – but that does mean the stapled versions will soon become very rare!

Nicely, Done

Grab yours at DriveThru!

To keep up with more Beowulf news, a|state and Handimonsters, and some general RPG chat, please follow us on our Socials:

Twitter @GamesHandiwork

Facebook @HandiworkGames

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Find us on YouTube, and sign up for our (spam-free, promise) newsletter here!

Friday News Update – January 15th

Today: a MONSTER update!

It’s the news you’ve been waiting for: the BEOWULF: AGE OF HEROES .pdf will be finished this month.

And it really is a monster. It’s 256 pages of glorious gaming goodness, featuring breath-taking artwork and a fully detailed setting, both steeped in Anglo-Saxon lore, plus all the characters, encounters, monsters, locations, maps, treasures, traps and tables that you’d expect from a top-quality RPG manual. It’s truly been a labour of love, and the finished product is pretty stunning (even if we do say so ourselves).

A sneak peak at some of the artwork, from Jon Hodgson, Scott Purdy and Jan Pospisil…

Fight Like A Girl. By Scott and Jon, this is one warrior that’s ready for battle.
The Sacred Grove. A chapter opening, by Jon.
A Dragon of the Air, by Scott.
Followers, by Jan. How beautifully detailed are these!

And have a peek at Jon’s painting!

If you backed the project on Kickstarter, then there’s a full update over on the site

Or, for a taste of BEOWULF: AGE OF HEROES, have a look at the intro-adventure, the Hermit’s Sanctuary, over on DriveThruRPG.

Explore the Standing Stones of the Hermit’s Island – but beware!

And don’t forget – our Handimonsters! This week’s 5e monster is The Screamer, featuring art by Scott Purdy, and (as ever) a full set of stats and skills, and all the necessary lore and background – enabling you to drop him straight on top of your unsuspecting PCs.

Join Handimonsters on Patreon for a new beastie every week, and sign up to our top tier for all sorts of extras – including additional content, digital art prints, VTT tokens (portrait and top-down) and paper minis.

Meet the Screamer!

Find all our treasures at Handiwork Games.

To keep up with Beowulf, Handimonsters, and some general RPG chat, please follow us on our Socials:

Twitter @GamesHandiwork

Facebook @HandiworkGames

Insta @HandiworkGames

Find us on YouTube, and sign up for our (spam-free, promise) newsletter here!

We couldn’t resist a last image – spooky tall boi, by Scott!

Friday News Update – January 8th

Welcome back, from Handiwork Games!

We’ve taken a short break over Christmas and New Year, but we’re back, we’re beautiful, and we’ve got all sorts of new projects on the go…

Quicksilver Troll

First up: Handimonsters! This week’s 5e monster is FREE over at our Patreon page – go have a nose at the Quicksilver Troll. He’s fast, he’s clever, he’s an alchemical creation, and he’s ready-and-waiting for your campaign.

You can also discover the Glass Spider, the Blazedog and the Bog Bug, our Patreon patron the Knacker, plus a host of additional content. And if you sign up to our top tier, there are all sorts of extras!

Beowulf: Age of Heroes

In BEOWULF news, the first part of the book has now gone to our Kickstarter and Crowd Ox backers. Thank you, all of you, for your support on this – the BEOWULF project is very close to our hearts and we’re over the moon with the finished product. We’ve had some really positive feedback, as well – Pandatheist calls it ‘the best hack of 5e ever made’. Which is fantastic to hear!

If you weren’t a backer – fear not! All of our BEOWULF treasures, including the manual, the coins and the compass, and the real metal minis, will be available for order on the website very soon.

In the meantime, grab couple of sneaky peeks over at Drive ThruRPG!

Hall for Heroes

And don’t forget – we also have Zoom Backgrounds for BEOWULF and a|state both…

Beowulf Art on Zoom

…some fantastic poster-sized maps for your VTT game…

Dare you risk… THE CHASM!

..and some help for freelancers, while you’re there!

a|state Character Generation

Speaking of a|state – the second edition is looking absolutely incredible! Offering gorgeous new artwork and layouts from Paul Bourne, the setting includes a fascinating mix of technologies, of places and peoples, and of towering, crumbling concrete. And the game is very much character-driven, giving you the chance to defy The City’s oppressive powers, and to explore and defend your hard-won corner of territory.

While you wait, you can grab the free primer and intro adventure, Nicely, Done.

Characters for Nicely, Done.

Find our store at Handiwork Games.

Find us on RedBubble and DriveThruRPG.

Merch on Redbubble

And to keep up with what’s going on, please follow us on our Socials:

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Facebook @HandiworkGames

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You can also find us on YouTube, and sign up for our (spam-free, promise) newsletter here!

2020 a Year in Review

What a year, eh? Jon here, with my look back at 2020 at Handiwork Games.

It is always useful to reflect on the year gone by, so here are my thoughts on what we’ve done in year two, 2020. (It’s sort of year two. More like 18 months but let’s call it year two for easy maths and a good story!)

The headline is (predictably) that while Covid has put plans on a slightly different footing than expected, we’re doing really well. 

Year one accounts came in and I was flabbergasted by our turnover. With my head firmly in projects at the time, I genuinely had no idea we’d done as well as we did in 2019, and that shook me into taking the accounts a bit more seriously! The day-to-day can be a procession of fires to put out and rocks to roll uphill. It’s easy to lose sight of just how much we’ve achieved as a team. 

Things we did in 2020:

Map tiles 2 Kickstarter. Map Tiles was an unexpected project we just tried out to see what would happen, thinking it might fund, and the two Kickstarters to date have raised about £40k, and Map Tiles have become “a thing”. They’re very popular on our web store: Dungeon tiles in particular have proved to be a really good seller. Shamefully they’re out of stock right now! We’ll need to fix that in January!

We faced some Map Tiles challenges early on in the pandemic with printers closing, and shipping becoming briefly impossible. However, I take heart that these were only physical delivery delays, rather than delays in making the things on our side. Shipping delays seem to increasingly be a fact of life, and we’ll need to account for that heading forward. 

It was great to find a UK printer to complement our US side of things. I’ve been very happy with Drivethrucards, and they’re incredibly helpful to us. But the Atlantic is not kind when it comes to shipping, so being able to print on both sides of the ocean is a win. Thanks to working with a UK printer on Map Tiles 2, we also have a printer for our miniatures boxes (which turned out really well!) and future games. Nice!

Speaking of Map Tiles, one of the first things we did in lockdown was refocus on providing tools for online play. If we had to be stuck inside, then some useful virtual scenery seemed like a cool thing to provide.

We delivered the Creature Collection for Onyx Path. I’m really proud of that book. It’s a great collection of some high-quality content from a solid team. I’ll be forever grateful to Rich at Onyx Path for letting us loose on the book. It really allowed us to flex what we can do. 

We did tons of other stuff as a studio in 2020, much of which has to remain unsung – some secret things forever!

The Hermit’s Sanctuary for BEOWULF came out as a free pdf and then by popular request a print book. It was nominated for two ENnies which was truly unexpected and really welcome. We didn’t win any, but for once I can genuinely say that didn’t really matter. Being “there” was amazing. And the timing for the BEOWULF Kickstarter was impeccable. 

We spent a great deal of time designing, writing and making art for BEOWULF. And when we took to Kickstarter, it hit my “happy” number (insider info: £30k was the minimum for acceptable funds, £40k was “happy”, £50k was “awesome”). We got well into awesome with late pledges, and we’re a whisker off 1000 backers. That’ll do!

We made miniatures! How cool is that? I’m still somewhat amazed we achieved this, but it all came together so nicely. It is great to be working with old friends on this. I’m really happy we made everything in the UK too. 

Of course we still enjoy working with colleagues further afield. We had a really great time working with our friends at Campaign Coins in 2020. Mark and Andre are so madly supportive, and I love working with them. We’ve made some truly gorgeous things and I can’t wait to ship them in this coming new year. The BEOWULF tokens and compass are really gorgeous, and represent exactly what I want us to be producing. 

We also helped out some friends behind the scenes, and that felt good. There’s a loose little grouping of companies in the UK who just help each other out when they can and all ships are definitely rising as a result. And I really like the people involved. A special shout out to Fil, Paul and David of All Rolled Up/Just Crunch Games. We’ve done loads of projects with these folks and it’s always a pleasure, whichever direction the help is flowing. 

We did the Slay the Spire livestream on Steam, and it was amazing seeing our company name on the front page of Steam! Thanks so much to Tomas for inviting me, and Anthony for being so cool. 

That opportunity came about because of the BEOWULF Kickstarter, and it’s very reassuring to see some other people working in related fields recognise what we’re doing. I also did a bunch of podcasts, and I must make time to do more. I love it, actually. It’s a nice way to break out of working invisibly on stuff, and I sometimes forget there’s a lot to talk about. 

We started work on a 5e setting we haven’t announced yet, with a partner company. We’ll get to work on that in earnest in the new year but it’s already looking pretty cool!

We’re also helping long time friend and colleague Ralph Horsley with his art book. More on that in 2021!

We’ve been working on the new edition of a|state. There’s a really great team on that one and it’s really coming together. We released “Nicely, Done” as a free PDF and lovely print book that includes a gorgeous primer to the setting. A new round of a|state playtest will happen in the new year, with the new edition itself is almost entirely complete. There’s still a bit of artwork needed. Bit of extra setting stuff. But it’s “there” at the core as a playable new edition. It’s been a very smooth process, and I’ve been delighted to be in a solely admiring, occasionally overseeing role. 

We worked with two projects that use games to involve the community in history and environmental issues. Covid scuppered the first, with no chance of doing workshops in the community, but the second has advanced to the next stage of funding.

Similarly, we attended no events this year. That was a challenge, given how much we’d invested in stock and equipment for shows for 2020. We were fighting fit and ready to go for a super convention season. Which never happened. Ah well. 

On a vastly more positive note, we brought Danie on board to help with marketing and social media. That’s worked out really well, and if you’re reading the his you’ll have seen lots of Danie’s work online. It’s been incredibly helpful to have another brain able to focus on social media and marketing. And one with so much experience!

We also moved from my now-way-too-small home office to a much larger garden office, which includes dedicated areas for stock storage and mail order processing, as well as a photography booth, reference library and creative work areas. 

Moving everything was hard work, and getting it built in the first place was a trial for us and the builders during a global pandemic. But it’s done, we’re in and I love it. It’s brilliant. 

In December we launched Handimonsters. This is a subscription service that offers new monsters every week, along with something free each month. Based on prior experience, that won’t hit its stride as a patreon for a couple of months – the back catalogue patrons gain access to is currently building to a nice collection of stuff. From a process perspective that’s been great. Absolutely zero drama in that project. 

Right at the end of the year we sent out the first chunk of BEOWULF to backers. It’s been very well received, which is lovely. You just never know how things will fare once they head out into the wide world, but BEOWULF has been an absolute labour of love, and that seems to be communicating. 

We managed, through some amazing timing and me managing to be extra brave, to secure a foreword from Maria Dahvana Headley, who’s so hot right now in the world of Beowulf translation. I’m still a bit boggled by that too. What an honour. 

As ever, pulling this ad hoc list together I’m reminded why I was pretty tired at the end of the working year. But looking back for the first time in a little while, it’s heartening to see how much we’ve done! There are some notable absences from this review – Hellenistika is something we get asked about a lot. It’s going to be one of those projects that happens when it happens because you just can’t rush magic. 

We have two new Forest Dragon games ready to print. We just need some time to tell people about them, and maybe do a cheeky Kickstarter to gather the faithful once again. Both Hellenistika and FD games are still very close to our hearts, even if they don’t have news headlines to share from 2020. 

Overall, we have faced the same challenges as any company in startup in 2020, and it certainly hasn’t all been a bed of roses. There’s been plenty of sleepless nights along the way, and we’ve made our fair share of missteps. Such is life! Looking back on what could so easily have been a disastrous year, I think our whole team can be very proud of what we’ve achieved, and we’re coming into 2021 with a lot of… “2020 experience” under our belt. 

And so, from everyone at Handiwork Games, I’d like to wish you a very happy new year, and hope that 2021 brings good things for all of us. 


Useful links:

Map Tiles

The Hermit’s Sanctuary


Nicely, Done for a|state




Friday News Update – December 18th

Happy Friday, and it’s a WEEK ‘til Christmas.

But fear not! We’ll be taking UK orders, for Christmas delivery, all though the weekend – our last posting date is Monday 21st. If you’re Questing for presents for yourself, for your family and friends, or for your gaming group – we have a whole treasure-chest full of beautiful and original gift ideas.

Including dice

Viking Dice

Dice trays

Keep Those Maths Rocks Where I Can See ‘Em!

And map tiles!

Create Your Own Maze Mayhem!

We’re also running December Daily Deals – each day, every day, a new chance to grab a bargain. Today (Friday 18th), it’s £10 OFF our 36” SPRING BATTLE MAT. Each deal is only active for the day – so don’t miss out!

Banana Not Included

PLUS – more bonuses for Handimonsters Patrons!

Handimonsters is our brand new Patreon, bringing you a whole menagerie of monsters, all ready for your adventure. And every one is original, designed and illustrated by our RPG experts, coming with artwork, a complete run of stats, and a full outline of its background and lore. Add some surprise to your 5e campaign!

If you head on over to our Patreon page, you can grab your FREE monster, plus some extras for patrons only. Including the Bonus Bog Bug Battle Map – complete with a rotten surprise…

Bonus Bog Bug Battle!

And some BEOWULF news! The Hermit’s Sanctuary, the intro-adventure to our 5e BEOWULF setting, is once again available as a print book, over at DriveThru. Rooted firmly in the Anglo-Saxon legend, and rich with artwork, tables, characters and content, it’s the ideal escape.

Background Generation for The Hermit’s Sanctuary
Beowulf on Zoom

You also can find our BEOWULF Zoom backgrounds on our DriveThru page, plus a load of other RPG goodies…

…a choice selection of BEOWULF and Handiwork-branded merch at RedBubble

…and the rest of our dragon’s hoard at Handiwork Games!

And just for this week, we’re offering an extra-special sneak peek at one of our favourite ongoing projects. If you subscribe to our newsletter (spam-free, we promise), we’ll give you a behind-the-scenes glimpse at something we’re VERY excited about…

Wishing you a very Happy Christmas from the team here at Handiwork. Stay safe, play games, and enjoy the break!

Friday news Update – December 11th

Happy Friday, and it’s Handimonsters week!

If you haven’t seen Handimonsters, it’s our fantastic PATREON service bringing you brand new, completely original monsters every single week. It’s got various subscription tiers so you can spend as much as you like, and, each week, you’ll get specially created, 5e beasties that your PCs will NEVER have seen.

Every monster comes with full artwork, with a complete set of stats, and also with all its own background and lore – so you can fit them to your game, campaign and setting. Designed and illustrated by RPG experts, they’re just waiting to chomp your party.

Head on over to our Patreon page for your FREE monster, and to find out more!

Your FREE Monster Awaits!

While you’re there, you can also catch game- and monster-designer Jacob Rodgers talking about the project and its folio of fiends.

Plus: our December Daily Deals are still continuing. Every day, over on our Socials, we’re offering a discount on one of our products. Today, (December 11th) we’ve taken 20% OFF our digital Map Tiles bundle – so you can get to dungeons, hillforts, caverns and backstreets, all without leaving your home.

Find the deal at DriveThruRPG.

Dungeon Tiles

And follow us on our Socials, to make sure you nab the rest:

Twitter @GamesHandiwork

Facebook @HandiworkGames

Insta @HandiworkGames

Please note: these offers will continue over the Christmas period, and right up ‘til the end of the year. If you’d like to order something, please don’t miss our FINAL POSTING DATES.

If you’re looking for original Christmas gifts, don’t forget that we have a whole array of BEOWULF merch at RedBubble, and some Handiwork branded treasures too.

a|state Zoom background

Find our gorgeous a|state and BEOWULF Zoom backgrounds over at our DriveThru page, plus a load of other RPG goodies. 

And find the rest of our dragon’s hoard in the Handiwork Games store!

And please do follow us on YouTube, and sign up for our (spam-free, promise) newsletter here!