a|state Kickstarter Launches Today!

The Brit-indie classic, dystopian SF RPG, a|state, updated for 2021 with a unique iteration of John Harper’s Forged in the Dark rules set goes live on Kickstarter today!

The game features amazing and inspiring art by Paul Bourne, Jon Hodgson and Scott Purdy, an evocative updated setting by Malcolm Craig, and wonderful rules work by Morgan Davie and Gregor Hutton.

The game is written, the art and design are done. We need your help to see how much better we can make it in print.

The Kickstarter goes live at 5pm today (UK time): https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jonhodgsonmaptiles2/a-state-rpg-second-edition

Morgan Davie on System, a|state and Vomit


a|state second edition is coming to Kickstarter on Tuesday July 27th. Jon recently interrupted Morgan Davie’s work on the new edition to ask him some questions about the system, having already bothered Malcolm about the setting last week.

Yo Morgue. 

Kia ora Jon! 

Let’s get right to it:

So you’re in charge of the system side of things on a|state. Tell us about Forged in the Dark games. Why are they good? And if I’ve never played one, what is it like?

Continue reading “Morgan Davie on System, a|state and Vomit”

Friday News Update – BEOWULF arrives!

It’s loose and in the wilds!

And it’s a wonderful thing to see – our BEOWULF rulebook and other treasures all arriving on UK doorsteps! Fulfilment has been completed in the EU, and they’ll be with US customers soon (curse that damned Pond).

We look forward to the pictures, the insights, the comments… and (duh) the gaming. Now you’re getting your hands on the finished product, please do let us know how everything goes!

Three Ogres Map

In celebration, you can download our second pack of BEOWULF digital extras from DriveThru. This includes: – 

Reskinned Follower Gifts .pdf 

VTT tokens for the second batch of monsters from the BEOWULF rulebook

Poster map for the Three Ogre Brothers scenario 

More atmospheric music for your games

A video tutorial for the Social Encounter worksheet (available free here)

The merefixa – a brand new foe!

Digital Pack Two

And if you missed the first pack, you can find that here.

And amazing news! Just in case you missed it on Twitter, our a|state page has now passed the 250 mark, which is awesome.

a|state is coming

Thank you to all who’ve signed up, and if you’d like to join in, please do go and add your name – then we can tell you when the kickstarter launches.

If you’d like to know more about the project, check out Jon’s interview with Malcolm Craig, the co-creator of the a|state campaign setting.

Art by Paul Bourne

We’re also anticipating the summer hols! When you’ve got kids at home, it can be challenging finding stuff for them to do – so we’ve knocked £2 OFF our FOREST DRAGON GAMES until the end of July. 

Enter the code ‘Summerdragon2’ to get £2 OFF The Forest Dragon or The Forest Dragon Bang and Twang. (One coupon per purchase, applies only to core sets, but will apply to the bundle of both, because we’re good like that).

NOM

Winner of the Imagination Gaming Gold Young Einstein Award and the Family Game Silver Award, The Forest Dragon was designed by Rory, aged 9. Both games are great, family-friendly creative games, full of wonderful characters and things to discover and find. And there are lots of add-ons, too!

Plus: Jacob has given us a quick glimpse of next week’s HANDIMONSTER!

The Penny-Snatcher

Meet the PENNY-SNATCHER, a greedy monster that likes to pick pockets. When found out, it hurls coins back at you with supernatural fury – and the more valuable the coin, the more it hurts. Join our Patreon for a new monster every Monday!

We’re sorry not to be making the Expo (though you’ll probably catch us at Albacon – more details abut this soon). To keep up, please do follow us on our Socials…

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Malcolm Craig on the Joy and Pain of a|state

Malcolm Craig, co-creator of a|state, took some time to chat to Jon about the game and his background in RPGs. To those in the know, it was a pleasant surprise to see Malcolm back working on a game, since he’d formally retired from RPG work to concentrate on his career as a lecturer in history. Somehow Handiwork, with the help of Gregor Hutton and Morgan Davie, managed to lure him back to revisit his very first game, a|state.

Jon: You’ve written a bunch of RPG games. What do you like about rpgs in particular?

Continue reading “Malcolm Craig on the Joy and Pain of a|state”

Friday News Update – July 9th

a|state is coming!

Sign up to our Kickstarter page to be updated with all the launch details!

a|state second edition cover

Following the cult hit of the first edition, the a|state second edition will be launching on Kickstarter very soon. And it’ll be a full-colour, hardcover book with the stunning artwork and detailed backgrounds that you’ve come to expect from Handiwork Games. Hopefully, we’ll also be able to include additional art and further setting information through stretchgoals, plus appendices from original a|state co-creator Malcolm Craig.

A 132 page .pdf preview edition will be ready as soon as you pledge. 

By Paul Bourne

Step inside a world both beautiful and baroque, a sprawling urban nightmare, the world of a|state. Fight off threats to your canalside home, and strive to make the grim and haunted City safer and better. Team up to defend your corner from selfish authorities, angry gangs and heartless industries…

Download our primer, ‘Nicely, Done‘, for free!

Nicely, Done

And a word from Jon about the UK Games Expo:

Games Expo is happening at the end of this month, and we had planned to be there again as exhibitors. We were very much looking forward to seeing everyone again. However, with the sharp rise in Delta variant, and looking at the timetable for having our team fully vaccinated with the necessary two doses, a couple of weeks ago we quietly took the decision to cancel our attendance. 

We don’t want to make a fuss about this, and we certainly hope the show is a roaring success for those who choose to attend. While this will impact us financially, with many of our team living with unvaccinated teens or vulnerable older families members, with the prior cap on attendance, the recent announcement of the lifting of all COVID restrictions and safety measures, and with other exhibitors similarly withdrawing, we just don’t feel it’s a risk we can take at this time, neither financially nor for our collective health. 

Hopefully we’ll see you at a show later in the year: we’re very much looking forward to sharing all our new things with you! And if you do attend the show, we hope you have a marvellous time.

We do miss events, and we do miss all of you – so please do follow us on our Socials…

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Friday News Update – July 2nd

All the monsters you can handle!

Our HANDIMONSTERS Patreon has been steadily gathering followers since we launched it last year – and is still bringing you a new and completely original monster every single Monday. (Best way to start your week, seriously). It’s now up to THIRTY individual beasties. And that’s a full menagerie, right there!

Glass Spider

Created by the Handiwork team, Handimonsters come in every size and shape, in every alignment, and to suit every adventure, setting and level. They’re made for the 5e system, and they come with all sorts of scenario ideas and suggestions, with gorgeous artwork from Scott, and with all their stats, background and lore. They’re not just for fighting, they’re for your whole campaign.

Join up, and you’ll get the FULL beastie backlog – every monster we’ve made!

Heartwood Guardian

And next Monday, you get to meet the AMORPHIC, a magical creature that holds its physical form by force of will alone… but is always look to spread.

And what do monsters need, but LAIRS?

Featuring art by Jon, we have a brand new VTT Barrow Builder up on DriveThru – which includes a grassy base map and full set of .png tokens. Tunnels, chambers, pillars, niches, cists, altars and bones – everything you’ll need to bring the place to life.

Barrow Builder Kit

Just add your monster of choice!

And – just to prove we haven’t forgotten – a little more amazing a|state art. The Kickstarter is coming very (very) soon, so hang onto your pocket money… because it’s going to be gorgeous.

The City

Get yourself in the zone by downloading our free primer, Nicely, Done.

Find us at:

Twitter @GamesHandiwork

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Friday News Update – June 18th

Map Tiles special offer!

Sign up to our newsletter for a cheeky, subscriber-exclusive special on our Map Tiles!

Evil Forest Tiles in use

Featuring art by Jon, these come in packs of thirty, with or without a grid, and with digital files included. There are maps for every scenario – underground, overground, adventuring free. There’s fantasy and SF, indoors and outdoors, hillforts and backstreets, dungeons and caverns. Plus we have linking sets, so your adventures can always continue.

The newsletter is the best way to keep up with everything we’re doing – and there are always extra glimpses, previews and offers. Make sure you don’t miss out!

Big thanks to our friend Gareth Hanrahan, author of the Black Iron Legacy series, for this fantastic BEOWULF cover-quote:

‘Hail their work, those tool-forgers and saga-scaffolders, 

Rules-kenners, at ease in the dice-hail, 

Not meagre their talent, those makers of maps and monsters, 

A host of hairy legends on the road of whales, orþanc geweorc!’ 

At ease in the dice-hail…

And the next time we get to a public event, we may well have ‘tool-forgers, saga-scaffolders and rules-kenners’ on our t-shirts…

Plus, coming next week, a brand new scenario for our BEOWULF setting!

The Elfshot – cover

Giorsala’s hall stands empty; her warriors’ gear still in their racks; childrens’ toys scattered on the playfield. All the people are gone but still it feels like something is watching you…

The Elfshot is written by Jacob, with art by Jon and design by Paul. It’s for fourth to fifth level characters and will be going to backers very shortly, and available on DriveThruRPG soon.

Take a look at more a|state artwork!

a|state – The City

Plans are afoot for the launch of the second edition, but here’s another sneaky peek at what’s in store (images by Paul)…

a|state – The City

For a taste of The City, try the free Primer, Nicely, Done.

And this week’s HANDIMONSTER is the STONEROOSTER, a strange creature that may be an alchemical mistake or some god’s epic jest… but it’s a creation that picks two round rocks and sits upon them, until slowly, slowly, they look more like eggs.

Just DON’T go near it while its nesting…

The Stonerooster

Find out more about this odd beast – or indeed a menagerie of odd beasts – when you join our patreon. Team our monsters with out Map Tiles, and you’ll never lack for adventures!

And finally! If you haven’t signed up to Ralph Horsley’s ‘An Art Adventure’ – late pledges are open. It’s 140 pages plus of career-spanning artwork, and its absolutely beautiful. Find the backerkit, here!

Late pledges are open!

For more, please do follow us on our Socials…

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a|state – downtime

Friday News Update – June 11th

a|state – the first overview!

Yes, it’s the news you’ve been waiting for – we’re bringing the second edition of a|state to Kickstarter. A cult hit, built on Forged in the Dark rules, it’s written by Morgan Davie, Malcolm Craig and Gregor Hutton, with art by Paul Bourne, Jon Hodgson and Scott Purdy. And it’s gorgeous

The City

Get your first full overview of the The City, here.

And if you’d like a taste of what it’s all about, grab the free primer, ‘Nicely, Done’ from DriveThruRPG

Nicely, Done

It’s an astonishing setting and we’ve got lots more to share – can’t wait for this to happen!

This week has also seen the anniversary of the launch of BEOWULF: Age of Heroes – and what a massive adventure it’s been!

From warriors and meadhalls to the foam crests the Whale Road, from followers and faithful to monsters and lairs… we’ve battled our way from The Hermit’s Sanctuary right up to facing the fearsome Stoor Wurm – and we’ve lived (hopefully!) to tell the tale.

BEOWULF!

Jon had a few words to say on the project…

A big mug-thumping thank you to those who have sailed with us – and the physical copies of the core campaign book will be with us very soon.

In the meantime, you can grab the .pdf , and a host of surrounding adventures, from Drive Thru. And there’s a brand new scenario, The Elfshot coming very soon.

The Meadhall of Goirsala

Watch this space…

And this week’s HANDIMONSTER is another freebie (honestly, we’re so good to you).

Thallian Scout

Meet the Thallian Scout, a visitor from another reality, securing its safety with a metallic shell and engraved in runes and wards. It wants information, and beware – it may not take no for an answer…

Our HANDIMONSTERS Patreon starts at £2.50 a month, and brings you a brand new 5e beastie every Monday, complete with full stats, artwork, background and lore. Plus loads of additional info including scenario ideas, maps and a dozen ways to add our monsters to your campaign.

And the best bit? Your players will never have seen them before…

Thallian Scout with Extras

Plus, upper tier backers get paper minis, VTT tokens and all sorts of additional extras!  

For more, please do follow us on our Socials!

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a|state Second Edition – an Overview

We’re gearing up to bring a|state Second Edition, built on the Forged in the Dark rules, to Kickstarter. There’s a wonderful free primer to the setting here in the form of Nicely, Done.

Today we thought we’d share the opening overview, since it clearly lays out what the new edition is all about. The following text is from the now-completed second edition, written by Morgan Davie, Malcolm Craig and Gregor Hutton. Art is by Paul Bourne, Jon Hodgson and Scott Purdy.

The Game

a|state is a game about a circle of troublemakers drawn together to bring hope to one small corner of The City, a dark and threatening place full of strugglers, gangs, chancers, and powerful warring factions. We play to find out if their alliance will bring a better future to the people on their corner.

Continue reading “a|state Second Edition – an Overview”