Hermit’s Sanctuary now on Tabletop Simulator!

Thanks to our friend Bill, you can now play The Hermit’s Sanctuary using Tabletop Simulator! Which is rather handy if you’re stuck indoors!

Download the free scenario: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/306721/BEOWULF-The-Hermits-Sanctuary

And here’s what you need for Tabletop Simulator: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2030201409

Tabletop Simulator itself is here: https://steamcommunity.com/app/286160
Content is still being added, and it’s playable now.

Of course, the scenario works fine without Tabletop Simulator too!

The Hermit’s Sanctuary for BEOWULF 5e: out now!

We’re delighted to bring you The Hermit’s Sanctuary
a FREE, full-length, introductory adventure for the forthcoming BEOWULF: AGE OF HEROES for 5e!

Designed for one player and one GM, BEOWULF provides unique rules and support for single player games. Take to the Whale Road as a monster-slaying hero! Voyage to the island of the hermit, and investigate the cause of its woes!

Lavishly illustrated in full colour, The Hermit’s Sanctuary includes:

  • a complete, 52-page adventure for one GM and one Player
  • optional poster-sized PDF battle maps for all locations
  • optional VTT-friendly battle maps for Virtual Tabletops
  • 4 pre-generated characters
  • printable accessories: inspiration tokens and inspiration pool
  • blank character sheet
  • rules reminder sheet
  • handy adventure flowcharts


One of the oldest recorded stories in Western Europe, the poem Beowulf is an epic tale of hero against monster. And then the monster’s mother. And then a dragon.

BEOWULF is a setting and rules set for 5th Edition, designed for duet play – one GM and one player. Set in the world of Anglo-Saxon myth, no deep knowledge of history is required – the themes are eternal and instantly recognisable, adventures occur in the story-world of the Saxons, and we’ve done all the historical reading for you!

BEOWULF presents a host of new and specially adapted rules to create epic and thematic adventures for your lone hero and his or her companions. 

BEOWULF features a unique new set of subclasses: The Hero, with subclasses for each ability score. It has BEOWULF specific backgrounds, and unique rules for sea voyages, inspiration, alignment, followers, a new condition and more!

Explore mythic, migration-era Europe and beyond, solve mysteries, and do battle with dreadful monsters.

With writing and rules design from hand-picked 5e and folklore geniuses, and with art from Jon Hodgson and friends, BEOWULF will be a thing of epic wonder. It will arrive on Kickstarter soon!


The Hermit’s Sanctuary!

We’re making preparations to deliver you the free introductory adventure to BEOWULF! Layout is almost complete!

The Hermit’s Sanctuary is a full-length, free adventure for BEOWULF, showcasing its unique new 5e rules for play with one player and one GM in the world of dark age myth and adventure!
Full of encounters, characters, maps, and locations, it’s an exciting introduction to the monster-slaying Age of Heroes!

Don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter to get the link to download first!

Hermit’s Sanctuary for BEOWULF map preview

Our latest newsletter went out today, and it included a sneak peek at the map for the forthcoming “The Hermit’s Sanctuary for BEOWULF. Check it out:


Set in a world of Saxon myth, BEOWULF lets you play 5e with just one player and one GM, in a hellbeast-slaying world of ship voyages, meadhalls and monsters! Find out more here.

Beowulf Sample Adventure

We’re working hard to bring you a taste of BEOWULF! We’re making a free introductory PDF, currently titled “The Hermit’s Sanctuary”. Here’s a look at the cover by Paul Bourne and Jon Hodgson!

In BEOWULF, one player and one GM set sail to explore mysteries and defeat monsters, with specially designed additional rules, a new class and subclasses, backgrounds, flavourful setting info for a world of dark age myth, and of course tons of gorgeous art.

We’re also working on some really beautiful accessories. Our friends at Campaign Coins have helped us with these inspiration tokens and a fantastic compass rose! Underneath them, you can see the prototype of the Inspiration Pool mat, made by our friends at Patriot Games. All our accessories are entirely optional. A piece of paper, a pencil, some coins, and some dice are all you need to play.

Find out more about BEOWULF here.
Grab BEOWULF dice trays, All Rolled Ups and Art Trays here.
Grab a variety of cool BEOWULF merch here.

Design Diary: BEOWULF

Religion in BEOWULF

The world described in Beowulf is one of long ago, written down somewhere around 800AD, that harked back to an even earlier mythic time. 

Scholarly opinions differ about many aspects within that original Beowulf text – the old fashioned or traditional view is that it is an ancient “pagan” tale given a Christian gloss. 

More recent theories suggest it was produced for pay by clerics working for Christians of Nordic heritage who paid for such flattering tales of their ancestors. Others yet suggest the deeds of Beowulf were an allegory of Christ: We know that Beowulf was read by Anglo-Saxon Christian clerics in a religious context, since their contemporaries complained about it in surviving written sources.

But there is little doubt that an older pagan world wrestled with the newer Christian faith within the text. 

And so it is that the game BEOWULF includes both monotheistic, Christian and polytheistic Pagan* characters. And indeed, those whose philosophical allegiances lie somewhere in between. 

We’ve taken up an idea most clearly expressed by JRR Tolkien in his seminal essay “The Critics and the Monsters”, that Beowulf attempts to encompass two competing world views:

The older, more melancholic, Nordic pagan tradition believed that the world was doomed to be devoured by monsters, and all a hero could do was hope to be remembered in tales after a glorious death. Personal strength, honour, and heroism in defeat were pagan ideals. 

This contrasted with the more hopeful message of Christianity. That with the help of the Christian god, monsters could be ultimately defeated. This was a new and radical idea, which was heroic in a different way. 

These two philosophies can both be attractive to the heroes of BEOWULF, the game. And our mechanics reflect this. 

In BEOWULF, 5e alignment is replaced with the alignment of a hero’s faith, whether it is Pagan, Christian or something in between: for example, at one time the Anglo-Saxon King of Kent was known to keep both a Christian and a Pagan altar in his place of worship, and indeed the famous Sutton Hoo ship burial is full of both Christian and Pagan artefacts. 

We’ve taken great pains to avoid the obvious cliches around this topic – the neo-pagan ideas that spring from the hippy movement and Victorian Romanticism, and the cliches arising from  later stages of sword-point Christian conversion and much later obsession with hellfire and damnation. 

We’ve really focused on what we regard as a more interesting time that predates both these cliches. Our focus is about understanding these two philosophies and why people believed them, all in the service of heroic, storybook tales for your character. 

Mechanically, Pagans in BEOWULF can expect a boost when things are going wrong, and there is a chance to exercise awesome doomed heroism. Conversely, heroes of a Christian persuasion benefit from their positive attempts to overcome the dark, and the communal nature of early Christianity. 

Where and how each faith gains inspiration is different, and built to reflect their nature. Playing the same scenario as a Pagan, a Christian, or someone who’s faith is pragmatically undecided will give a different feel, and a different result. And we hope you’ll want to try out all the options. 

We’ve tied our alignment to the advantage and disadvantage mechanics, in what we think is a really integrated way, giving each type of character a different feel in play. In BEOWULF generally, inspiration plays a much larger part than the typical 5e game, and really drives heroic play. 

Religion is, of course, an important and sensitive topic in the real world. In our game, and all faiths are depicted as “storybook” versions of real-world religions, with the purpose of creating great mythical characters that feel like those we find in the poem Beowulf, both Pagan and Christian. 

And so, you may choose to play a traditional pagan hero who is testing their personal strength and doing their best to win a famed and glorious death worthy of being remembered in song.

Or perhaps a muscular Christian traveller bringing light to the dark places of a mythical Northern Europe, battling the Children of Cain with their bare hands?

But the world of BEOWULF is a tangled one. Sometimes Christians will find themselves in places of great Pagan power and vice versa, and they may not be able to rely on… well, anything. 

Our design team are neither Christians nor Pagans, but have been greatly inspired by the dualistic spirit of this fascinating poem, and how it reflects the tangle of changing faiths in the mythic world of long ago. 

Through careful research and a firm belief in giving you the tools to create your own adventures faithful to the spirit of Beowulf, we really hope you’ll enjoy the mythical and story book world we’re creating for one player and one GM, using Fifth edition. 

*we recognise that the term “Pagan” can carry negative connotations, and indeed was originally a term of disparagement. We use it here as an atmospheric and thematic term, and without any inferred judgement on historical or contemporary faiths

BEOWULF Dice Trays now in stock

We’re very proud to launch our latest range of dice trays, produced with our friends All Rolled Up and Patriot Games. This collection of seven designs features the gorgeous iconography of BEOWULF made by Handiwork Games’ graphic designer Paul Bourne. These all look absolutely fantastic!

Be aware they are only available in small quantities right now. So if you want one, get in quick!

Check them out at the Handiwork Games store right now: https://handiwork.games/product-category/dice-trays

BEOWULF Layout Design

Work continues on BEOWULF, our two-player game set in Anglo-Saxon myth for 5e, and we’ll have a new designer diary for you soon.

Meanwhile, here’s another look at a sample page layout by graphic design wizard Paul Bourne:

You can download the PDF version here for a closer look!

And if you like the look of those icons and emblems, you can get them on a variety of sweet, sweet merch here.

Beowulf Graphics

While we prepare our next Designer Diary about BEOWULF, how about we tease you with some really beautiful graphics by Paul Bourne? This book is going to be gorgeous.