Friday News Update – New BEOWULF Products and a Cool New Spin for Handimonsters!

You asked, and we listened.

So, this week, we have brand new Follower cards! In a game crafted for one GM and one Hero, your Followers are not only your combat-support, they’re advice and lore from your Games Master, a layer of tension and humour, and a wonderful opportunity to role-play. And now, you can keep track of them, their gifts and burdens, with our brand new cards.

Follower card – back

There are 50 in a presentation pack (so you’ve got plenty of opportunities for adventure) and they have spaces for everything you’ll need to record. They also come with stickers, to help your visualisations, and to keep track of the cards themselves!

We also have this absolutely beautiful BEOWULF Whale Road poster – A2 size, 350gsm paper, gorgeous matt laminate finish. Each one will be individually numbered and signed by Jon and Paul. Keep track of your travels, show off your journeys, or just stand back and admire.

Whale Road poster

And LOTS of BEOWULF games! If you’re looking to face the Horror at Herrogate, our trusty Hero Blaedswith returns to her adventure this week. With thanks to the Campaign Coins team, this is episode six, The Unwelcome Guest…

Don’t forget to grab the adventure for yourself from DriveThru!

Or, if you’re looking to actually play BEOWULF, co-writer Jacob Rodgers will be running The Serpent of Glinnredin at AlbaCon, on the 2nd and 3rd of October. Sign up to the Con via EventBrite, and head over to the Events Schedule. The Saturday game is fully booked, so jump on the Sunday slot – quick!

BEOWULF at AlbaCon

And our Handimonsters have a new look!

When is a Random Encounter not a Random Encounter? When it’s part of a theme! Many of our monsters now will now belong to a ‘family’, adding plenty of opportunity for a GM to create themed attacks, or whole scenarios and the settings to go with them. We’ve had Phase Elementals, and you’ve seen examples of both Wild Folk and (this week) the Dungeon Construct.

Dungeon Construct: Flammifier

What else would you like to see? Jump on over to our Socials, or let us know on the Discord!

And keep your fingers crossed for the ENnies tonight, 8pm EDT. We’re up for two – for Best Electronic Book for BEOWULF itself and for Best Free Book for our a|state primer, Nicely, Done

ENnies tonight!

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Stickers!

Friday News Update – and BEOWULF is loose in the wilds!

On Saturday September 25th, we’ll be at our first public event since… well, since before BEOWULF, and since before we had our Map Tiles (and that was a while ago). We’ll be at Carronade 2021, the Falkirk District Wargames Club’s annual show – and we’re really looking forward to it.

The Show will be observing Covid safety rules, and we will have LOADS of stuff for you to buy – not only BEOWULF treasures, but maps and mats, dice and minis. Do pop along and say hello!

New banner – how cool is this?!

You should also find BEOWULF arriving at your local retailer. It has adventured its way out to (among others) Forbidden Planet and Leisure Games. And we’re really pleased to see it stretch so far. Please do drop by and show them (and us) your support!

If you are a retailer, you can find a load of assets on our website here.

BEOWULF: Age of Heroes

And great news: US copies have almost landed! Thank you, everyone, for being so patient, they will be with you soon. And please post your parcels and goodies to your socials when they arrive.

All the loot!

If you’re looking to actually play BEOWULF, co-writer Jacob Rodgers will be running The Serpent of Glinnredin at AlbaCon, on the 2nd and 3rd of October. Sign up to the Con via EventBrite, and head over to the Events Schedule to book your game. Anyone can take part and all proceeds go to the mental health charity Penumbra.

Join the adventure – at AlbaCon

And if you’re <still> looking for BEOWULF adventures (honestly, there’s no stopping you) you can jump on over to DriveThru, where there are five individual scenarios to keep your Hero/es out of trouble (or possibly to get them into it), plus packs of digital extras, and .stl files for 3D printing minis.

Travel the Whale Road!

And don’t forget our Handimonsters – this week’s is the first of a series of Wild Folk, the Sly One. With its fox-like frame and twinkling black eyes, its both charming and flamboyant. But we wouldn’t trust it too far…

The Sly One

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Thanks, Lou!

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”

ENnies focus: BEOWULF Age of Heroes

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 BEOWULF Age of Heroes.


BEOWULF is a supplement and setting for 5e, which centres around duet play – one GM and one player. It presents a host of new rules to facilitate that, including the Hero class, Followers, the defeated condition, and a wealth of setting material. It’s all wrapped up with a ton of beautiful atmospheric art and layout.

Today we’re looking at some selected spreads from the book.

First up, we have a foreword by star of all things Beowulf, Maria Dahvana Headley. Maria was kind enough to provide us with an introduction to our book, since we share some themes, and clearly a subject matter. The foreword is a great read all on it’s own:

Next up, let’s look at the map. BEOWULF’s setting of “The Whale Road” is a highly flexible place. Based on the myths and stories of the people we commonly refer to as the historical Anglo-Saxons, this is a highly modifiable, unreliable map. Each adventure takes place just where the Hero needs to be, every Hero has their own ship, and we don’t spend a lot of time tracking distance travelled. But a map that shows the reader the scope of the lands known to the characters in the game is certainly useful for inspiration, and a useful bridge into the setting for us moderns.

From BEOWULF Age of Heroes:

On Maps
A good look at a modern day map of the North and Baltic seas is highly recommended for inspiration. The boundless archipelagos of islands that throng these waters are very inspiring. It is rightly called the Mediterranean of the North! If we mentally remove all modern national boundaries, and consider the possibilities of countless fiefdoms, the avenues for adventure are endless!

The people of the Whale Road have no clear idea of geography in the way we do in the modern world. They lack satellites and planes, and indeed accurate means of measuring distance. They navigate by the stars and by lodestones, and with information handed down over generations, knowledge kept safe in place names rather than in bird’s eye view maps.

And so it is we can explore a shifting, unreliable geography without fear of contradicting any tyrannical map. The mysterious island fiefdoms in need of a hero’s help are always right where they need to be.

The Whale Road is measured less by miles and more by the skill of the sailor, and the craft of the shipwright, and the needle of the sailmaker. A sailor of average skill might cross from one point to another in three days. A famed Hero, deft in the ways of sail and swell, might be able to shave that travel time to just a single day and night. This is something to be encouraged. Heroic voyages are best not measured by modern day means nor modern ideas.

Next up, here’s one of our favourite spreads from the book. It just looks so crisp in the flesh. The compressed jpeg here doesn’t really do it justice. BEOWULF Age of Heroes presents a raft of unique backgrounds for your Hero characters. Noble’s Blood is probably the most traditional and most like “Prince BEOWULF”. There are many others, including Adrift, Avenger, Chosen One, Foundling and more!

BEOWULF also presents the unique Hero class, that enables duet play – one GM and one player, which is at the heart of the supplement. There are subclasses built around each ability score. In this spread we see the Council Caller and the Honey-Tongued. There’s also two of our favourite pre-generated characters – Blaedswith, the Karelian Amulet Witch (now appearing in Campaign Coins Twitch stream!) and Ibn Uthman, who routinely wins any popularity contest among BEOWULF fans. You may recognise his inspiration from either The Travels of Ibn Fadlan or the movie based upon those travels, The Thirteenth Warrior, which brings Ibn Fadlan into the world of the Beowulf poem.

Perhaps because we’re known for our artwork, we hear a lot about the art in BEOWULF. But there’s so much more to the book. There’s a whole appendix of really useful tools for the GM and player, enabling you to create backstories for Monsters, tables to generate the appearance of background NPCs, useful setting appropriate names and more. Don’t tell anyone, but while BEOWULF superficially appears to be about monster slaying, really it’s about the human beings that surround the monster, and how they relate to it, and the Hero who appears to save them.

The Hero needs some skill at arms to defeat the inevitable beast at the heart of a BEOWULF story, but without some smarts and people skills they won’t get far in unravelling how to defeat it.

The Foreground NPC Generator provides a system for generating an interconnecting web of NPCs in which to hide the clues of how the Monster can be defeated:

You can buy BEOWULF in PDF here, and order the book here. It’s also available from selected stockists.
You can vote in the ENnies here until the 27th of August. BEOWULF is nominated in Best Electronic Book and we’d really appreciate your vote!


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!

Friday News Update – July 2nd

All the monsters you can handle!

Our HANDIMONSTERS Patreon has been steadily gathering followers since we launched it last year – and is still bringing you a new and completely original monster every single Monday. (Best way to start your week, seriously). It’s now up to THIRTY individual beasties. And that’s a full menagerie, right there!

Glass Spider

Created by the Handiwork team, Handimonsters come in every size and shape, in every alignment, and to suit every adventure, setting and level. They’re made for the 5e system, and they come with all sorts of scenario ideas and suggestions, with gorgeous artwork from Scott, and with all their stats, background and lore. They’re not just for fighting, they’re for your whole campaign.

Join up, and you’ll get the FULL beastie backlog – every monster we’ve made!

Heartwood Guardian

And next Monday, you get to meet the AMORPHIC, a magical creature that holds its physical form by force of will alone… but is always look to spread.

And what do monsters need, but LAIRS?

Featuring art by Jon, we have a brand new VTT Barrow Builder up on DriveThru – which includes a grassy base map and full set of .png tokens. Tunnels, chambers, pillars, niches, cists, altars and bones – everything you’ll need to bring the place to life.

Barrow Builder Kit

Just add your monster of choice!

And – just to prove we haven’t forgotten – a little more amazing a|state art. The Kickstarter is coming very (very) soon, so hang onto your pocket money… because it’s going to be gorgeous.

The City

Get yourself in the zone by downloading our free primer, Nicely, Done.

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Friday News Update – June 25th

BEOWULF is on the move!

On the move!

Our BEOWULF books have travelled the Whale Road and have arrived at Handiwork Games. All eight hundred and fifty KILOS of them!

We’ve already sent a shipment to the US. If you’re in the UK, it may take us a little while to pick and pack your orders, but fear not, the task is underway. 

Full details here.

Them’s a lot of books

If you’re in the EU, there’s a little more useful information up at our store.

To keep you going, have another fantastic BEOWULF cover quote, this one from the mighty John Gwynne!

Thanks John!

And have a brand new scenario!

The Elfshot is written by Jacob, with art by Jon and design by Paul. It’s for fourth to fifth level characters and it’s now available at DriveThruRPG.

Pages from The Elfshot

‘Giorsala’s hall stands empty; her warriors’ gear still in their racks; children’s toys scattered on the playfield. All the people are gone but still it feels like something is watching you…’

An entire settlement has gone missing. Can your Hero/es discover the truth?

Pages from The Elfshot

We’ve also got some sneak info about next week’s HANDIMONSTER!

This coming Monday, journey to the Caverndeeps and discover the Deepsail, a subterranean creature that absorbs heat from geothermal vents, subsists on fungi, and is well-equipped to defend itself against other underground monsters. 

HANDIMONSTERS is our creature-feature Patreon, and EVERY new beastie comes with all the things you’ll need – stats and background, art and lore. The monsters are a huge assortment of sizes and shapes, alignments and levels (not to mention fun and games), and they come with scenario and setting suggestions, sure to keep your PCs hopping.

Half a dozen Handimonsters

If you’d like to give them a try, there’s a free sampler on DriveThru. And the VERY best bit – your players will never have seen them them before. So every monster is a new adventure, and every adventure a new discovery. 

Also coming up next week, we’ll have a cheeky extra from Jon’s Map Tiles. Watch our Socials for our Barrow Builder Kit!

Barrow Builder Kit

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Some more of Paul’s fabulous a|state art. Because we can.

Friday News Update – June 18th

Map Tiles special offer!

Sign up to our newsletter for a cheeky, subscriber-exclusive special on our Map Tiles!

Evil Forest Tiles in use

Featuring art by Jon, these come in packs of thirty, with or without a grid, and with digital files included. There are maps for every scenario – underground, overground, adventuring free. There’s fantasy and SF, indoors and outdoors, hillforts and backstreets, dungeons and caverns. Plus we have linking sets, so your adventures can always continue.

The newsletter is the best way to keep up with everything we’re doing – and there are always extra glimpses, previews and offers. Make sure you don’t miss out!

Big thanks to our friend Gareth Hanrahan, author of the Black Iron Legacy series, for this fantastic BEOWULF cover-quote:

‘Hail their work, those tool-forgers and saga-scaffolders, 

Rules-kenners, at ease in the dice-hail, 

Not meagre their talent, those makers of maps and monsters, 

A host of hairy legends on the road of whales, orþanc geweorc!’ 

At ease in the dice-hail…

And the next time we get to a public event, we may well have ‘tool-forgers, saga-scaffolders and rules-kenners’ on our t-shirts…

Plus, coming next week, a brand new scenario for our BEOWULF setting!

The Elfshot – cover

Giorsala’s hall stands empty; her warriors’ gear still in their racks; childrens’ toys scattered on the playfield. All the people are gone but still it feels like something is watching you…

The Elfshot is written by Jacob, with art by Jon and design by Paul. It’s for fourth to fifth level characters and will be going to backers very shortly, and available on DriveThruRPG soon.

Take a look at more a|state artwork!

a|state – The City

Plans are afoot for the launch of the second edition, but here’s another sneaky peek at what’s in store (images by Paul)…

a|state – The City

For a taste of The City, try the free Primer, Nicely, Done.

And this week’s HANDIMONSTER is the STONEROOSTER, a strange creature that may be an alchemical mistake or some god’s epic jest… but it’s a creation that picks two round rocks and sits upon them, until slowly, slowly, they look more like eggs.

Just DON’T go near it while its nesting…

The Stonerooster

Find out more about this odd beast – or indeed a menagerie of odd beasts – when you join our patreon. Team our monsters with out Map Tiles, and you’ll never lack for adventures!

And finally! If you haven’t signed up to Ralph Horsley’s ‘An Art Adventure’ – late pledges are open. It’s 140 pages plus of career-spanning artwork, and its absolutely beautiful. Find the backerkit, here!

Late pledges are open!

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a|state – downtime

Friday News Update – June 11th

a|state – the first overview!

Yes, it’s the news you’ve been waiting for – we’re bringing the second edition of a|state to Kickstarter. A cult hit, built on Forged in the Dark rules, it’s written by Morgan Davie, Malcolm Craig and Gregor Hutton, with art by Paul Bourne, Jon Hodgson and Scott Purdy. And it’s gorgeous

The City

Get your first full overview of the The City, here.

And if you’d like a taste of what it’s all about, grab the free primer, ‘Nicely, Done’ from DriveThruRPG

Nicely, Done

It’s an astonishing setting and we’ve got lots more to share – can’t wait for this to happen!

This week has also seen the anniversary of the launch of BEOWULF: Age of Heroes – and what a massive adventure it’s been!

From warriors and meadhalls to the foam crests the Whale Road, from followers and faithful to monsters and lairs… we’ve battled our way from The Hermit’s Sanctuary right up to facing the fearsome Stoor Wurm – and we’ve lived (hopefully!) to tell the tale.

BEOWULF!

Jon had a few words to say on the project…

A big mug-thumping thank you to those who have sailed with us – and the physical copies of the core campaign book will be with us very soon.

In the meantime, you can grab the .pdf , and a host of surrounding adventures, from Drive Thru. And there’s a brand new scenario, The Elfshot coming very soon.

The Meadhall of Goirsala

Watch this space…

And this week’s HANDIMONSTER is another freebie (honestly, we’re so good to you).

Thallian Scout

Meet the Thallian Scout, a visitor from another reality, securing its safety with a metallic shell and engraved in runes and wards. It wants information, and beware – it may not take no for an answer…

Our HANDIMONSTERS Patreon starts at £2.50 a month, and brings you a brand new 5e beastie every Monday, complete with full stats, artwork, background and lore. Plus loads of additional info including scenario ideas, maps and a dozen ways to add our monsters to your campaign.

And the best bit? Your players will never have seen them before…

Thallian Scout with Extras

Plus, upper tier backers get paper minis, VTT tokens and all sorts of additional extras!  

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