NEWSLETTER 12 October 2021

It’s newsletter day! We’ve got updates for you on Handimonsters, BEOWULF, and A|State, along with news about our card game Forest Dragon Farmer. Let’s get into it:

A|State Pledge Manager Coming!

We are in the process of making final arrangements to open up the pledge manager very soon. That will allow you to make a late pledge in order to receive a copy of A|State or allow you to add on items to your existing order, like the fantastic looking Three Coins booklet:

We’ll have more information to come very soon on the pledge manager. Work continues apace, with more writers turning in their ideas to expand The City.

Forest Dragon Farmer

The Forest Dragon holds a very special place in our hearts, as Rory (one of our junior designers, then age 9) took the lead on developing, illustrating, and testing a card game of his own (award-winning) design.

The Forest Dragon Farmer is the next step in the saga of the Forest Dragon. You’re now retired from a life of adventuring and trying to succeed as a farmer. To do so, you need to collect the proper sets of seeds, fields, and helpers while avoiding setbacks! It’s a game of fun and strategy, and expect to hear more about Forest Dragon Farmer soon.


Ear of Stone is our latest adventure release, and Digital Pack 4 is the most recent release with help on BEOWULF combat, inspirational material for character creation, three new music tracks and two brand new battle maps in a variety of formats. See the BEOWULF shop for all of our offerings.

We are hard at work getting The Triple Serpent by Gar Hanrahan ready for release. It should be with backers towards the end of the month. We’re still hoping for the end of Shipocalypse any day now!


It’s now Spooky Time and the Legions of Autumn have arrived:

Visit to sign up today. You’ll gain access to our entire backcatalogue of 5e monsters and receive a new monster every monday!


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News Update – 24 September 2021


We’ve got lots of news from the worlds of Handimonsters, BEOWULF, A|State and gaming conventions, both in our homebase of Falkirk, Scotland and online. Let’s get into it!


This weekend is Carronade, right here in Falkirk! We’re excited to return to the live convention scene by going to our favourite one (and close to home). While table size is restricted, we’re bringing everything that we can and we will have special show-only pricing on some of our items.

If you will unfortunately miss out on the convention, we’re also doing a special sale on our website to celebrate. To get the discount just subscribe to our newsletter before it goes out today, and you’ll get the code in your email.

Albacon is next weekend (Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd October 2021). It’s online, so no dealer table, but you can sign up for special demo games of BEOWULF: Age of Heroes run by Jacob. The Saturday game is sold through, but there’s still space in the Sunday game. Visit to sign up or learn more.


Work continues on the core rulebook, especially in adding on all of the unlocked stretch goal materials. The Three Coins, a roleplaying game that people in The City play, is coming together nicely. The Kickstarter backers unlocked the physical printing of Three Coins (what exactly you call the game or how you write it out depends on where in The City you live) so it will soon enough become a ‘real thing’.

We also have some new art from Paul to show off:

BEOWULF: Age of Heroes

Lots of news here! We just released Ear of Stone, our fifth adventure for BEOWULF, to the Kickstarter Backers. It will be available for purchase next week and we’ll be sending out messages on all the usual channels to let you know when it is live.

Digital Pack 5 will also be out shortly; we’re working to finalise a couple of pieces and then it will be ready for release. After that, the next piece of the puzzle is Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan’s The Triple Serpent. We’re aiming for an October release for that adventure, which will be appropriate since it is horror-rific in all the right ways. 

We also just released Follower Cards in the shop . They’re pre-printed, with reference information and convenient trackers on the back side. They also come with some beautiful stickers with Follower art which you can use to organise and illustrate the cards, tokens or whatever strikes your fancy.

We also have Whale Road posters in the shop as well. Printed at A2 size on 350 gsm paper, matt laminated and signed and numbered by Jon and Paul, they make excellent display pieces, or your Player can use it to track their voyages across the Two Seas.


We’ve recently introduced a couple of new categories for our monsters, including the Wildfolk. They are actually fey creatures embodied into humanoid animal forms, with personalities inspired by local folklore.

We’re really enjoying them and hope our patrons are as well. Let us know if you’d like to see more Wildfolk, or if you’d like rules for being able to play Wildfolk characters.

Our other current series is Dungeon Constructs, a series of strange creatures made by magic but now left to their own devices. On Monday, patrons will meet the Crypt-cell:

Sign up today at to get access to these creatures and our entire back-catalogue (nearly 50 monsters and growing every week)!

Sign up for our newsletter and you’ll get extra offers, insights and snippets of info.

And please do follow us on our Socials:

Twitter @GamesHandiwork

Facebook @HandiworkGames

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ENnies Focus: a|state Nicely, Done

We’re delighted to have received two ENnie nominations this year, for BEOWULF Age of Heroes in Best Electronic Book, and a|state Nicely, Done for best free product.

You can vote here until the 27th of August.

Today we’re taking a look at some of what you’ll find in Nicely, Done for a|state.

Nicely, Done is an introductory adventure for the new edition of a|state, which we recently kickstarted with great success. a|state bring numerous developments to the Forged in the Dark ruleset, making your group of characters’ ability to care just as important as their ability to fight or sneak or steal.

The book opens with a series of spreads about the setting of The City. Since the PDF is free, the best place to see this is in the PDF itself. But we’ll run through some of the highlights.

Continue reading “ENnies Focus: a|state Nicely, Done”

We’ve Been Nominated!

Handiwork Games has been nominated for TWO Awards in this year’s ENnies.

The ENnie Awards are an annual celebration of excellence in tabletop role-playing games. They are peoples’ choice awards, voted upon by YOU, our online gamers, and they give well-deserved recognition to designers, writers and artists.

Handiwork Games’ campaign setting BEOWULF: Age of Heroes has been nominated for BEST ELECTRONIC BOOK, and our a|state RPG primer, Nicely, Done, has been nominated for BEST FREE GAME/PRODUCT.

In 2020, Handiwork Games’ The Hermit’s Sanctuary, a free sample adventure for BEOWULF: Age of Heroes 5e campaign setting, was nominated for two ENnie Awards – Best Electronic Book and Best Free Game.

Based on the Blades in the Dark system, and with its second edition now funding on Kickstarter, cult hit a|state has also seen previous success – the first edition was nominated for Best Game and Best Graphic Design in 2004.

Handiwork owner and team leader Jon Hodgson says, “I’m bowled over that we’ve been nominated for more ENnies. It’s a real testament to the hard work and creative commitment that everyone working at Handiwork Games puts in, and we’re really delighted to be nominated. All our games are an absolute labour of love, and it’s wonderful to see that recognised. Congratulations to our fellow nominees, and thank you to the judges and ENnies organisers. We really appreciate it.”

Congratulations to all our fellow nominees, and a great big thank you to all of our GMs, players, followers and supporters – you’ve all helped make this happen. Voting open on the 18th!

ENnies Nominee!

Morgan Davie on factions in a|state

a|state second edition is kickstarting now! We funded in 78 minutes and we’re now blowing through stretch goals which expand the book and give you free PDF adventures!

a|state second edition is powered by a custom iteration of the Forged in the Dark rules. Developer Morgan Davie talks about factions within the game:

Let’s talk backing factions in a|state! (This is a juicy one because you’re about to get an exclusive look at something that isn’t included in the preview rules hat every backer gets access to…)

Every troublemaker has a special relationship with one faction, called their backing faction. This means the alliance of troublemakers brings together a whole set of different priorities and interests. They all want to save the corner, and they all want the alliance to succeed, but they want other things too. That can sometimes make things tricky! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

As a troublemaker, why do you want a backing faction anyway? What do you get from them? To start with, they keep you going. If you ever lose your backing faction you’ll need to start working hard just to get by. But you don’t need to worry about that, right? Why would you ever lose their support? It will never happen to you, and you might as well cross those rules right out of the book, right? 🙂

You can also tap the backing faction for favours. They can loan you equipment or cohorts, let you use their claims, help you gather information, even assist on your action rolls. Thanks, backing faction!

Of course, this relationship is a two-way street. The backing faction will sometimes tap you for favours. Often these will be small jobs you can fit in around your troublemaking life: check in on some friends of the faction, put up some posters around the corner, give a speech at an important wedding.

But sometimes the favours will be more substantial. We call those Hidden Agendas. When you get a hidden agenda, the backing faction is asking you to do something significant for them. Every agenda has a clock ticking down, so you can’t put it off too long. Maybe they want you to cause some trouble for a rival, or secure some new resource for their exclusive use. How will you get this done? That’s up to you. Just find a way. And sometimes those hidden agendas aren’t just quiet jobs to help your backing faction; sometimes they are actively aimed at the backing factions of other troublemakers. What are you going to do when your backing faction tells you to find blackmail material on one of your fellow troublemakers, “just in case”?

Trust between troublemakers is an important part of the game. The backing factions ensure that nothing is ever easy in the fight for your corner. The City is a complex place, and you will have some tricky decisions to make. Watch your back, and place your trust wisely.

a|state second edition is kickstarting now!

Friday News Update – and THE THREE COINS is unlocked!

Our £29k a|state stretch goal, THE THREE COINS, is a game within the game, an in-situ RPG played by the denizens of The City.

If you’ve ever been a concept gamer, or if you love old gaming ‘zines and their style, or if you really want to uncover how your characters think and feel and react, how they interact with the City, and what the setting reflects about the characters themselves – then this is your moment of insight. Fully existing within the a|state campaign setting, THE THREE COINS is our RPG Inception.

The Three Coins
Continue reading “Friday News Update – and THE THREE COINS is unlocked!”

Jon Hodgson – a|state and The Three Coins

We asked Jon some questions about a|state, which is fully funded and blowing through stretch goals right now on Kickstarter.

Hi Jon, so you’re basically the person in charge of Handiwork Games – what brought you to a|state?
Hello! Yes! It’s a roundabout story that goes back many years, which includes some amazing coincidences and crossings of paths! So way back in the early 2000s, hanging out at, I became aware of this Scottish game developer called Contested Ground Studios. They had a very slick website, and presented a really interesting and weird game called “a|state”. I liked how gutsy they appeared, and how different what they were doing seemed to be – it seemed really high end, and I can recall wondering who these mysterious people were.

a|state first edition
Continue reading “Jon Hodgson – a|state and The Three Coins”