Character Queue: Blaedswith

Character Queue is an ongoing series where we dive deep into our pregenerated characters that we made as part of our introduction to our BEOWULF:Age of Heroes roleplaying game. We were fortunate enough to fund sculpting and casting these characters, so not only do they appear in character sheet form but as professional miniatures as well.

Our character today is Blaedswith.

“Just like Bald Eadig from last week, Blaedswith is another example of a character who believes strongly in their alignment. Of course, she is opposite from Eadig, taking faith in the tried-and-true wisdoms of the Old Ways.” – Jacob Rodgers

Blaedswith, A Karelian Witch

Born into a community of witches from the East, and wise in the ways of copper amulets, charms and talismans, and the speech of animals and ways of medicine, the beliefs of her people were changed by coming of the new faith. Blaedswith viewed this as a grave mistake on the part of the newly converted, as a great deal of old wisdom was scattered and forgotten.

The copper mines and smithies now make crosses bearing the outstretched arms of the new god, which hold no magic against monsters. Abandoning her home in disgust, she has set sail in search of a more useful life.

Blaedswith knows that there is no lasting victory against the darkness, and in the great weave of time, the age of people will suffer a great and permanent defeat before oblivion. It can only be held back, but that is her Wyrd, and the fates demand that as the last of her witch clan she continue the fight against the old horrors that will inevitably eat the world.

Her youth and training in magic make her a both charming and powerful follower of the Old Ways.

Available as a single STL file or as part of the precast miniatures set.

Play as Eadig in The Hermit’s Sanctuary, our ENnie-nominated introductory scenario for BEOWULF: Age of Heroes, available for free (PDF version) or in print!

HANDIWORK NEWSLETTER, 17 December 2021

Wow, what news we have for you. More details on the forthcoming Handimonsters 2021 Annual, a sneak peek at a|state accessories and lots of details on BEOWULF Age of Heroes!

BEOWULF: Age of Heroes

We’re almost done getting all the BEOWULF rewards out, BEOWULF hits the top ten best sellers, and Digital Pack Seven is almost ready, and you can order the Art Book in both PDF and the Print Edition.

Kickstarter US Shipping Wrapping Up

It’s been a big task getting the books to the US during the global shipping crisis, and a challenge while we waited for them to get through customs, and of course fulfilling any successful kickstarter has a lot of moving parts, but we’re almost there! We’re wrapping up the last few backer orders and starting to get the preorders into the process. Most backers have got their rewards now and we anticipate the great majority of those still in progress will arrive before the end of this coming week.

BEOWULF hits the Top Ten!

We were delighted to learn that BEOWULF Age of Heroes was in the top ten best selling Historical RPGs of 2021! Find out more at Geek Native.

Digital Pack Seven Coming Soon!

Our next BEOWULF Digital Pack will release before the end of the month. It will bring some new Followers and some new Gifts and Burdens to the game, present some more monsters to challenge your Heroes and more!

Art Book Available Now!

The BEOWULF Art Book in PDF form is now available for everyone. If you are located in the US and backed the BEOWULF: Age of Heroes kickstarter, then check your email/spam folder for a free coupon for this PDF as a thank you for your patience.

The BEOWULF Art Book print edition is a compact and beautiful 32 page booklet in full colour. It’s 210mm x 210mm square, and packed to the brim with BEOWULF art and commentary.

The free PDF will be sent to you via DrivethruRPG coupon within 24 working hours of ordering, and the print book will be dispatched in the new year 2022 – it is at print right now. We are sending books from both the UK and the US, so it should arrive very early in the new year.

Please note: If you are a US-based BEOWULF backer we have sent a discount coupon for you to use on this book as a thank you for your patience during the global shipping crisis.

a|state Video Review of Accessories, Late Pledge Window Extended

We’ve received the very first samples of the Compass and Coins from our friends at Campaign Coins – check out the video:

We’re keeping the pledge manager open just a little bit longer… we realise how busy this time of the year is and we want to make sure everyone who’s interested has a chance to put an order in.

Handimonsters 2021 Annual, Preview of Mad Man Jack

The pre-order for the Handimonsters annual will open in the new year!

A full colour 64-page softcover book covering a range of monsters that we released during 2021 along with bonus material, this print edition will cost £10.95 ($15.99 US), plus shipping. Preorders open next week, and we will print in both the UK and US for fast delivery.

A devilish sort of fellow, Mad Man Jack is quite dangerous, with his abilities to leap over moderately sized buildings and do horrendous damage with his claw-hand. Fortunately, he’s only found in cities. You’re not planning to visit one any time soon, are you?

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The BEOWULF Art Book is For Sale!

Yesterday we announced the BEOWULF Art Book and gave away coupons for a free PDF our very patient US backers. Today we have opened the PDF for general sale and the print edition for preorder. Let’s talk more about each in turn:

The Art Book PDF

The BEOWULF Art Book in PDF form is now available for everyone. If you are located in the US and backed the BEOWULF: Age of Heroes kickstarter, then check your email/spam folder for a free coupon for this PDF. The book is full of beautiful art, informative detail, and inspiring ideas for BEOWULF games.

BEOWULF Age of Heroes Art Book, PDF $3.99

The Print Edition Art Book Preorder

The BEOWULF art book is a compact and beautiful 32 page booklet in full colour. It’s 210mm x 210mm square, and packed to the brim with BEOWULF art and commentary.

The free PDF will be sent to you via DrivethruRPG coupon within 24 working hours of ordering, and the print book will be dispatched in the new year 2022 – it is at print right now. We are sending books from both the UK and the US, so it should arrive very early in the new year.

Please note: If you are a US-based BEOWULF backer we have sent a discount coupon for you to use on this book as a thank you for your patience during the global shipping crisis.

The BEOWULF Art Book

Our very patient US-based kickstarter backers are taking delivery of their BEOWULF Age of Heroes books about now, with the last round of packages heading out from our US dispatch centre. As a thank you for their amazing patience we’ve decided to put together a BEOWULF art book, which they’ll be getting free in PDF, and at a reduced price for the print version.

The PDF will go on general release this week, and we will open pre-orders for the print version soon. The booklet is 32 pages long, in full colour. It’s a cute square format, 21cm (~8 inches) square.


Each spread features a piece of art from BEOWULF Age of Heroes, along with some exclusive commentary about each piece, and how it might inspire your adventures.

The BEOWULF Art Book is now available for US Backers! Once they’ve had a chance to redeem their PDFs and get their discount codes, we will open up the PDF and print books for orders. The books are being ordered in short run batches in the UK and US, so the wait for the print book will be a short one.

CHARACTER QUEUE – BALD EADIG

Character Queue is an ongoing series where we dive deep into our pregenerated characters that we made as part of our introduction to our BEOWULF:Age of Heroes roleplaying game. We were fortunate enough to fund sculpting and casting these characters, so not only do they appear in character sheet form but as professional miniatures as well.

Our character today is Eadig.

“Bald Eadig is a character that represents one extreme of our alignment system. He is a true believer in the new church and its message and vocal about those beliefs. But he exists in a world where he’s often the exception rather than the majority and his confidence often provides excellent roleplaying opportunities as others react to him or he has to negotiate a situation among those who feel differently.” – Jacob Rodgers

Bald Eadig, Wrestling Hero

There are a great many dark places in the world, and the Book teaches that the faithful should bring the light, and with it burn out evil wherever it may be found. Blessed with the barrel-chested strength that comes with middle-age, a distinct lack of hair, and a devotion to the word of the Book, Bald Eadig means to carry the news of the saviour far and wide, and in doing so battle the forces of darkness as an example to all. Where he can’t bring the benefits of writing and contemplation, he will bring his big stick.

Possessed of a simple knowledge and an earthy goodness, Bald Eadig is a fearsome enemy of the darkness. He has helped build priory walls, defended pilgrims, and guarded monks. Now he is setting out on the swan road to find the greatest enemies of the Church – the very devils of hell and the sons of Cain.

Available as a single STL file or as part of the precast miniatures set.

Play as Eadig in The Hermit’s Sanctuary, our ENnie-nominated introductory scenario for BEOWULF: Age of Heroes, available for free (PDF version) or in print!

Why 5e? why Beowulf, why duet?

Hello – Jon here.

Nerd loves this book

The three questions we get asked whenever we talk about BEOWULF are why two players, why 5e, why Beowulf?

Let’s talk about it!

So the duet play feature at the heart of BEOWULF Age of Heroes is really the driver behind everything we’ve added to the 5e rules. And the reason we decided to develop a duet play mode is tied up with the other two aspects – looking back it’s a bit of a tangled knot!

So, why 5e? This gets asked even more now we’re also doing a|state with Forged in the Dark. Why are we even in that over-populated, “uncool” 5e space? Primarily, believe it or not, because we just like it! (We like a lot of different stuff!) 

Having all worked extensively on Adventures in Middle-earth in our previous jobs, and through that to some degree rediscovered “the world’s favourite roleplaying game”, we wanted to go further and do even more with it, and the team were very keen to get back to that system.

Speaking for myself, I find 5e is a collection of quite clever parts, which can be modded tremendously easily. I love stuff like inspiration and advantage – I think they’re really smart. And sure, game historians out there will know that 5e isn’t the first rules system to use these things. But all wrapped up together with a bunch of core assumptions already dealt with? It’s a really interesting space to play in. 

And hey, I get it that for some people there are sacred cows within that game set up which are just too unpalatable. That’s ok! But I think it’s a fun ruleset to play around with, and it’s by and large very easy to play, and very easy to get a game together.

Talking of which, this is one of the big drivers behind the choice to make BEOWULF duet – one player and one GM. The look of delight on so many playtester’s faces when they realised they need only find one other person in order to run a campaign was proof we were onto something good. We’ve all struggled to schedule a game, and being able to call one other person and fix a time to play is really powerful.


There’s also a less obvious benefit – you can run the same adventure for several players. So if you have a group of players, BEOWULF makes an excellent pick up game if you can’t run your usual session. Each time you run it is different, but as GM you get more and more familiar with the material, and it gets better and better. There’s a lower cost to generating those good times, given the ease of re-running BEOWULF adventures.

And of course, BEOWULF also works for group play. Everything we built onto 5e to make duet play simple lifts right out.

So why BEOWULF at all? Right at the beginning of Handiwork Games we sat down and chatted about what we’d like to make. The idea of an early medieval/low fantasy/dark ages setting just kept coming up. It’s an era I find really fascinating, and have been interested it most of my life. There’s detail there if you want to study, and it’s readily available at your local library or bookshop. But equally it works as “dark ages-flavoured” heroic fantasy, without any need to read anything.  

I don’t like to harp on too much about other games we’ve worked on and that are clearly other people’s babies, but it’s key to the existence of BEOULF –  working on a Tolkien RPG for the best part of a decade, and being a key player in imbuing it with that dark ages flavour, you inevitably find your way to Beowulf, and I wound up having a lot of knowledge that couldn’t easily be used in a Third Age Middle-earth setting. It had to come out somewhere!


I also think my art style which, however weird I feel about saying it, was a big tick in the plus column of things we had to work with at the birth of Handiwork Games. My style, and the style that Scot Purdy brings, work well for these subjects.

And from a different angle, if you cook it down in game terms, the lone hero who seeks out monsters and slays them, fits together with the 5e rules in a really interesting way. Making that inevitable combat a real set piece, and the unashamed climax of an adventure is just cool.

Somewhat surprisingly, the poem prompted us to bring a level of mechanical focus on social interaction and investigation to 5e. The poem has a lot to say about how people and life are affected by interactions with the various monsters, and that was important to bring to the table. I’m really proud of those sections of the game that bring huge mechanical support to interacting with NPCs to unravel the mystery of the Monster.


BEOWULF Age of Heroes for 5e is available now* from selected UK and EU stockists, and from our webstore. It is also available with a range of adventures and additional digital content at DrivethruRPG.

*Please note that BEOWULF stock for US backers is currently being shipped. Once caught up with this process we will have more information about US shops and direct orders.

CHARACTER QUEUE: Cwenhild

Character Queue is a new series where we dive deep into our pregenerated characters that we made as part of our introduction to our BEOWULF:Age of Heroes roleplaying game. We were fortunate enough to fund sculpting and casting these characters, so not only do they appear in character sheet form but as professional miniatures as well.

So let’s explore our first character, Cwenhild:

“Cwenhild is a type of character I don’t feel we see a lot of in roleplaying games – a more mature woman of more generous proportions. Whereas in real life I see a lot of people who fit this general mould. It seems a shame that we don’t have many heroes of this broad type. Cwenhild has lived, raised a family, and lost a family. One hopes that through her vengeance-inspired adventures she might find some happiness!” – Jon Hodgson

Cwenhild, the Widow-Matron of the House

When her husband was slain, Cwenhild mourned for a year and then set about putting the affairs of her hall to rights. Ruling wisely and cautiously, she waited for her three sons to come of age and rule her lost husband’s kingdom. Yet, one by one they were taken: as they flowered into men so they were cut down by war or taken away by creatures left over from ancient times. Now she is alone, with no one else to fight the growing abundance of monsters that herald the end of days and the snuffing out of all good things.

But no straw-death for Cwenhil. No longer the spinning wheel nor the pots of the hearth for her. She has bade broken open the barrow and taken up her husband’s mail and his spear. Too long has she spent weeping and awaiting tidings at the edge of the battlefield. Now she will be the bringer of bad tidings to those who take sons and husbands.

Cwenhild is a traditionalist of the old ways. The evidence of the inevitable end of the world is all around her.

Available as a single STL file or as part of the precast miniatures set.

Play as Cwenhild in The Hermit’s Sanctuary, our ENnie-nominated introductory scenario for BEOWULF: Age of Heroes, available for free (PDF version) or in print!

BEOWULF Dice Trays

We have an exciting variety of dice trays, that feature the style of BEOWULF: Age of Heroes. Check them out below!

Dragon Knot

The Dragon Knot was inspired by www.Asgard.scot jewellery and features a stylised dragon motif.

Garnet Amulet

The Garnet Amulet features a brilliant multicolour design by Paul Bourne.

Hawk Triskelle

The intricate Hawk Triskele design was inspired by www.Urweg.com jewellery.

Serpent’s Cross

Our final design to show off today is the Serpent’s Cross, by Paul Bourne.

Order yours today!

Newsletter – 2 December

Howdy! We’ve got some late-breaking news for you and lots of fun stuff for BEOWULF, Handimonsters and a|state. Let’s get into it!

a|state

The pledge manager for late pledges is closing on 15 December, just a few days away! This is your last chance to get in to the ground floor of The City, after this you’ll be able to preorder the game at retail pricing.

Step inside a baroque urban nightmare, the world of a|state. In The City you’ll fight off threats to your canalside home, trying to make this grim and haunted place safer and better, somehow.

a|state brings a new, hopeful approach to the much-loved Forged in the Dark ruleset. Your ability to Care counts as much as your ability to Fight.

Create Troublemakers such as the deft and deadly Ghostfighter, the caring and curious Lostfinder, the persuasive and passionate Activist, and the striking and stealthy Sneakthief. If they can trust each other they might have a chance.

Defend your corner from selfish authorities, angry gangs and heartless industries, and deal with the spiralling consequences of your own actions as you struggle for a better tomorrow. 

Bringing the wine-dark visual vibes of Dark City and The City of Lost Children, a|state delivers Dickensian anti-Thatcher sparks and knives sci fi.

Pledge for it now!

Handimonsters

We have just officially announced the Handimonsters Annual! This collects the monsters that we have released over the previous year into a stunning professionally-printed full-colour softcover book! We will soon be opening this up to preorder, with our current plans being to ship from both our UK and US warehouses, in order to give you the best possible rates on shipping.

BEOWULF: Age of Heroes

US shipping has resumed after the Thanksgiving holidays. We expect another week or so of mail processing. Packages are coming from our warehouse in Georgia and travelling via Priority Mail so we hope that almost everyone will receive their packages in short order (some packages, like APO/FPO, necessarily take longer).

For your patience, we will be sending all US Backers a PDF of the BEOWULF Art Book, which features our favourite BEOWULF art pieces, commentary from the artist and notes for including the imagery and situations represented in your BEOWULF games.

This book will also be available in print, at a vastly reduced price to US Backers.

We recently announced a forthcoming Kickstarter project to collect the already-released digital adventures in a printed format. We’re also decided that we will be collecting the material from Digital Packs 1 to 7 in a book format. This project won’t be a Kickstarter, but a preorder that will release very soon.

Links

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

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Small Seasonal Gifts

Here at Handiwork we produce lots of economical products that support our larger offerings. Here’s a few things we offer that make quick and easy gifts for anyone on your holidays list.

Huge Dice

For BEOWULF: Age of Heroes we produced a series of extra-large dice to work with our Wyrd alignment/advantage system. But they’re impressive enough to use for any d20-based game!

BEOWULF Dice

Miniatures

Another bonus item we unlocked during the BEOWULF Kickstarter was a series of professionally sculpted miniatures. If you’re looking for unique Migration Era/Viking minis, we’ve got a fabulous set for you! Available in cast white metal and STL files for printing (resin machine highly recommended).

BEOWULF Miniatures

The Forest Dragon Games

We’ve been talking about The Forest Dragon Farmer and Pie Man’s Apprentice recently, but our original games are excellent fun, with lots of expansion opportunities.

Check them out here.

Dice Trays

We also have a set of foldable dice trays featuring art from our games and some historical art pieces from former products.

Learn more about the dice trays here.