Conpulsion in Edinburgh: Talks and more!

This coming weekend (March 30-31st) it’s Conpulsion in Edinburgh, Scotland, and we will be there with our stall, as well as taking part in a bunch of talks. We have a long history with Conpulsion, even before Handiwork Games was a thing, so it’s always a delight to be in attendance and to be able to contribute to the show!

Innovation in Games Design
Saturday 13:15—13:45:
With: Tanya Floaker and Jon Hodgson

A panel looking at how you can innovate in games design to create better and more playable games, with insights from two experienced designers and publishers.
Jon Hodgson is a games designer, artist and writer, as well as the owner of Handiwork Games.
Tanya Floaker is a games designer active in the indie gaming scene and has successfully crowdfunded several innovative RPG projects.

See and https://floaker.itch

History and Gaming
Saturday 12:15—12:45
With: Aleksandra Brokman and Malcolm Craig

A panel about projects exploring gaming history and applying multimedia approaches from two celebrated ENnie-nominated games designers with strong links to Conpulsion.
Malcolm Craig, acclaimed author of a|stateCold City and Hot War who is now a senior lecturer in history at Liverpool John Moores University. Malcolm is working with Handiwork Games as an integral part of his research work into the history of nuclear war in roleplaying games.
Aleksandra Brokman, acclaimed author of Wise Women and host of the Lamias actual play stream, has a series of Vampire the Masquerade essays on YouTube deep diving into the evolution of clans over the editions of the game.

See and and

History in Games/Games in History: Live!
Saturday 14:15—15:00
With: Jon Hodgson and Malcolm Craig

Come and be part of a live recording of the History in Games/Games in History podcast. Not only listen to Jon and Malcolm like you can on the internet, but see them live and ask them questions too.
Dr Malcolm Craig is a senior lecturer in history at Liverpool John Moores University.
Jon Hodgson is a games designer, artist and writer, as well as the owner of Handiwork Games.
Together they fight crime talk about history in games and games in history!


20 years of a|state: Ask Me Anything
Sunday 13:15—14:00:
With: Malcolm Craig and Paul Bourne

Malcolm Craig and Paul Bourne, the creators of a|state, launched the first edition upon the world at Conpulsion 2004. Now available in a beautiful, full-colour Second Edition, Conpulsion 2024 gives you the chance to ask them anything about the game and their reflections of a|state’s 20 years.


Get your tickets for Conpulsion in Edinburgh here:

KING BEOWULF Cover part two

This post follows on from the previous part here.

Part one covers the thinking behind the direction of this cover, but now let’s turn our attention to some of the things depicted in the image.
The main character we see on the cover is kitted out based on more recent recreations of Early English warrior elites. It’s not super clear if this is a man or a woman Ruler being depicted, and that’s all for the good, but let’s call them “he” for the purposes of this blog. The “King” part of the title is right there. (Check our free preview where we discuss the issue of gender, rulers and “Kingdoms”)

Continue reading “KING BEOWULF Cover part two”

The Loss of the Trials of the Twin Seas Pallet

Hello. Jon Here.

A few people have asked questions about this topic, and there are some heroes in the sorry tale which I would like to highlight. It also feels like a story that should be told definitively and in one place. So without further ado, the whole sorry tale of our missing Twin Seas pallet, in detail, for your reading pleasure. And once this story is told here, we can point to this post without having to retell the story. ever. again.

Continue reading “The Loss of the Trials of the Twin Seas Pallet”

KING BEOWULF: on playability

(Sign ups are open right now for the KING BEOWULF campaign, which launches on Tuesday 17th October)

When we first set about seriously nailing the aims of BEOWULF Age of Heroes, several themes came out:

To solve a problem for 5e players. We all liked 5e, but we knew “just another 5e book” wasn’t an option for us. It needed to identify something that players struggle with, and provide a solution. For BEOWULF, that’s duet play: the ability to have a satisfying 5e gaming session with one GM and one player.  The delight in the voices of playtesters when they realised they need only find one other player to get a BEOWULF game going will stick with us forever!

We also wanted to make use of what we were good at: adapting source material, knowing a bunch about the early medieval period and the deep influences we learned about working on Tolkien games, as well as an aptitude for the kind of art Jon is known for. 

KING BEOWULF is no different in this regard. We wanted to identify a problem and present an elegant solution, one which allows players to have more fun, and be more creative than ever before. 

Continue reading “KING BEOWULF: on playability”

BEOWULF at Bundle of Holding!

We’re delighted to announce that Bundle of Holding has an amazing deal on BEOWULF PDFs.

For just US$9.95 you get all six titles in the Beowulf Collection (retail value $44).

The collection comprises:
• The core BEOWULF Age of Heroes setting book
Four adventures:
The Elfshot
Horror at Herrogate
Seven Stones,
The Witches and the Wyrm;
• the beautiful Beowulf Art Book.

This bundle supports Direct Relief, a charity providing protective gear and critical care medications to health workers around the world, especially targeting Covid 19. Certainly an important and worthy cause.

The Bundle is only active for a short time, so get it while you can!

KING BEOWULF Table of Contents

Here’s an exclusive first look at the table of contents for KING BEOWULF, by Jacob Rodgers.

This is a work in progress, and subject to change. And of course you’ll see we haven’t slotted in page numbers yet. That’s still to come. Click the image to enlarge:


“Then Beowulf came as king this broad
realm to wield; and he ruled it well
fifty winters, a wise old prince,
warding his land, until One began
in the dark of night, a Dragon, to rage.

KING BEOWULF is the high level, realm ruling supplement for BEOWULF: Age of Heroes. Penned by BEOWULF co-creator Jacob Rodgers, in KING BEOWULF your Hero will move beyond the role of wandering mender of wrongs, and you’ll establish your own realm, just like the older Beowulf of the poem. Rather than followers you’ll gather advisors, build alliances, battle even bigger monsters, and resolve threats to your kingdom!

KING BEOWULF is coming to Kicktarter in 2023.


BEOWULF Blog: Monsters, Part One

Today we are looking at the Monsters section of the BEOWULF: Age of Heroes rulebook. This is the last chapter before the Appendices but it’s a big one so we might split it apart.

The first section discusses the subject of enemies is general, including the distinction beteen foes and monsters. In the BEOWULF rules, Monsters with a capital-M are special. They have a feature, Undefeatable, that helps keep them alive until the Hero uses a special weapon, technique or special action that does standard damage to them. This makes Monsters unique in the game and rewards players for social encounters or investigations. A player that pushes past those components of the game in order to roll dice in combat will not be very successful. This is a reflection of the poem… think of Beowulf’s intuition to fight Grendel hand-to-hand and his seeking out of the only magic sword that can defeat his mother.

Continue reading “BEOWULF Blog: Monsters, Part One”

The Three Ogre Brothers

The Three Ogre Brothers was designed to be the sample adventure for BEOWULF: Age of Heroes. Unlike some sample adventures, it is purposefully designed to be repetitive, in order to strongly establish the tropes of BEOWULF adventures and provide opportunities for a Player to experiment with the format. After an initial introduction scene that provides the Hero with enough background information to be confident in the situation, they are introduced to the Ogre Lands and given a fairly direct path to the first ogre brother, or they can travel further inland to meet another of the brothers first.

Continue reading “The Three Ogre Brothers”