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.
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.
Right now, all my attention is on shipping books, and if you’re following the world of international games shipping you’ll be aware that’s quite a challenge. But it’s important to look up from our daily trials and see the wider picture.
BEOWULF was one of our very first projects as a company. We assembled a small team, and pondered what we were best at, and what we wanted to make. We knew we all loved that mythic early medieval/migration era stuff. And we knew we loved 5e, and felt we could provide something that brought both together.
We’ve spent a lot of time trying to remember exactly how the idea of a single Hero in 5e came about – which is silly because we could just look back at the Discord logs. But let’s keep to the appropriately mythic story that its origin is a mysterious one, but absolutely a stroke of inspiration (weak pun intended).
Playing with one player and one GM, with a system lots of people already know, modified to shine for just two, makes gaming really easy to arrange. And we made a game that you can pick up and put down with minimal effort. You can run a campaign, one on one, for your whole gaming group and get huge value from the scenarios, and continue them with whoever is available when the squad can’t all meet up. It’s really smart.
It’s amazing to think back a year, and remember wondering how we would get on. Would anyone back us? Were we barking up the wrong tree entirely? I’m happy to say that with over a thousand backers/late pledgers and pre-orderers we were not. And hey, with their support we made miniatures, beautiful tokens and accessories, and now even a dice set from Q Workshop, no less. There’s a wealth of adventure material available now in PDF. I was just hoping that we could make a book with a bit more art than we could really afford.
At the risk of utter cliche, it’s been an amazing ride to this point, and while the story is far from over we’ve made so many friends along the way I consider it to be an unmitigated success so far. We have a lovely community of BEOWULF players, we have enjoyed working with so many new friends and partners, who have been staggeringly supportive and kind, and I really couldn’t have asked for more. And it’s incredible to think that it’s all down to the support of you – gamers.
It all turned out alright. I’M NOT CRYING YOU’RE CRYING!
While BEOWULF was crafted for duet play (one Hero and one GM), in this episode, Jon and Jacob talk about how it can be played by a full adventuring party.
And you’ll need full adventuring party for this week’s Handimonster! Additional content for the Clatterbones is now available to our patrons – a desert-based scenario for a party of 4th– 5th level. We’ve all seen skeletons before, but not like these…
And in a|state news…
We’ve updated our pages with some info on the game’s history. From its earliest notebook appearances, to its first hardback manifestation at Conpulsion in 2004, it’s been an amazing project. And it returns very soon with a retooled system and all of the original creators still on board!
“Bringing the wine-dark visual vibes of Dark City and the socially-aware dystopia of Metropolis, a|state delivers Dickensian anti-Thatcher sparks and knives sci fi.”
There’s no feeling like it – to get your hands on the thing you’ve made, to realise it’s fully real. Many of you have shared this journey with us, from Kickstarter all the way to completed article, and we’re delighted to have had you on board. It’s been an epic Whale Road of it own!
So – a great big mead-thumping thank you, to you our readers, and to our lovely and supportive friends:
‘An epic tale deserves an epic game system. This is that system’ – John Kovalic
Breathtaking… staggering… atmospheric in the extreme. It’s as if you were stepping into 6th Century Scandinavia and boarding a longship’ – John Gwynne
‘Really magical’ – Will Hindmarch
‘A vast treasure hoard’ – Francesco Nepitello
‘A magnificent accomplishment’ – Lou Anders
‘Brimming with brutal authenticity’ – Snorri Kristjans
We’re almost ready to lose ourselves in the ultimate adventure – orders for the book will replace pre-orders in our SHOP very soon. Whether you’re a follower of god, or of the old ways, whether you’re a lone Hero with your trusty companions, or part of a party of intrepid and courageous adventurers, this is a world of great legend and old lore, of mysteries and monsters, and of true, high-hearted heroics…
So join us, as we journey in the world of BEOWULF!
This weekend, we’re celebrating the return of round-the-table gaming with a SALE on our RPG accessories.
Sign up to our newsletter for your SALE code, and you can save precious gold on mats, maps, dice trays and our award-winning family card game, The Forest Dragon. Almost everything you need to get back to dungeoneering (apart from the biscuits).
Signing up for our newsletter will also give you regular extra peeks from Jon and the team – including exclusive info, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and early warnings when cool new stuff hits our stores.
If you haven’t yet ordered your copy, the book is available to pre-order in our STORE. In the meantime, you can download the .pdf from DriveThru, and have a good look through our BEOWULF scenarios and adventures!
In proud celebration our Scots language and people, Jon and Paul bring you BEOWULF Scots portent tables:
If you’re not a native speaker, then have fun looking these up on Google!
We also have a new BEOWULF quest coming very soon! This one is written by Elaine Lithgow, comes complete with Jon’s always-gorgeous maps, and is suitable for a Hero or Heroes of 4th/5th level.
From the opening paragraph: Our Hero is approached by a desperate young woman who begs them to come with her and save her village from a gargantuan sea serpent known as the Stoor Wurm. The village lies on a rocky peninsula blasted by frigid winds to the farthest-north. Here, people have lived in fear of the Stoor Wurm for generations…
The next stage of the a|state second edition is complete!
Our intro-adventure Nicely, Done was played by fully forty playtest groups. Incorporating their feedback, Morgan, Malcolm, Gregor and Paul have created a complete and fully illustrated, 132-page preview edition of the a|state rulebook.
This will go to Kickstarter backers AS SOON AS you back the project – so keep your eyes peeled for more news!
With your help, we can unlock a whole swathe of game and setting expansions, detailing more of The City.
Here, line developer Morgan Davie gives us a sneaky glimpse into some of the new rules. They’re built on Forged in the Dark foundations, so we can best present a|state’s location, feel and gameplay:
Now available at DriveThru, The Witches and the Wyrm sees your Hero face the serpent undying, in the hope of restoring time…
And, to go with new scenario news – our BEOWULF page proofs have arrived!
Jon and Paul have a good look through them, and we should have the finished article very soon. If you’ve got one on pre-order, then your wait shouldn’t be much longer.
In the meantime, the .pdf is also available from DriveThru, and we’ll update you about the physical book as soon as we can.
And a huge thank you to the mighty John Kovalic!
And, just in case, you haven’t heard us shouting – we have DICE. Gorgeously coloured, proper outsize, click-clack d20 maths rocks, made by Q-Workshop for BEOWULF. We still have a few of the limited edition sets left, so grab yours quick!
For more adventures, try this week’s HANDIMONSTER!
The Flesh Fungus is a larder keeper… but it’s not going to hang about until you die of natural causes. You can find out all the gorgeous, gruesome facts, plus full stats and lore, when you join our Patreon. Starting at only £2.50 a month, it’ll give you a whole manual of monsters and all sorts of suggestions for adventures, including maps and scenario outlines.
And this week’s bonus content takes you to Magisterio College, Kardoshevk City, where you can learn all about the Primordial Realms…
Sign up for our newsletter and you’ll get extra offers, insights and snippets of info.
To keep up with BEOWULF and all our other news, please follow us on our Socials!
It’s happened: print proofs of BEOWULF Age of Heroes have arrived!
We’re almost there – our print proofs have arrived and Jon and Paul have given them that all important read-through. They’re looking absolutely beautiful (as you can see).
We’ll be despatching your pre-orders in a couple of weeks’ time – ready for you to lose ourselves in the ultimate 5e adventure!
In the meantime, you can grab the .pdf on DriveThru!
Whether you’re a follower of god, or of the old ways, whether you’re a lone Hero with your trusty followers, or a part of that party of intrepid and courageous adventurers, this is a world of great legends and old lore, of mysteries and monsters, and of true, high-hearted heroics…
Find out everything you need to know about the world of BEOWULF!
YOU DID IT! The day after its release, BEOWULF: Age of Heroes was an instant Top Ten bestselling title on DriveThruRPG. Give yourselves a good round of table-thumping and a big ol’ flagon of mead!
Needless to say, we’re over the MOON – really, really pleased to see our Hero doing so well.
But the tale doesn’t end there!
In the Handiwork Games store, we have all our beautiful BEOWULF accessories for pre-order – so if you missed these on Kickstarter, you can place your orders now. Find our Compass and Inspiration Tokens, both from Campaign Coins, plus the real oak box.
And find our specially-made, white-metal minis, along with wolves (who doesn’t need wolves), and the full digital minis pack that allows you to print your own.
And don’t forget to place your pre-order for the print book version, coming very soon – because books are always the best. (You’ll get your .pdf download free as well).
And still, the tale continues…
Jump on over to our YouTube Channel to find our newest RPG panel. In this one, Danie talks to Jon about BEOWULF, and to author Lou Anders about his Viking Age 5e Kickstarter Norrongard, Thrones and Bones. Jon and Lou shed their insights on the recent rise of role-playing, on adapting the 5e system, and on who they’d like to game with, if they could.
You can also catch Jon and Jacob Rodgers in the first of our BEOWULF podcasts!