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.
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.
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!
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.
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…
Sign up for our newsletter and you’ll get extra offers, insights and snippets of info.
Step inside a world both beautiful and baroque, a sprawling urban nightmare – yes, the a|state Kickstarter launches on Tuesday 27th July.
Paul Cornell calls it, ‘An exciting, cutting edge RPG that takes on cyberpunk and noir shapes and moves them on enormously, in ways informed by the future shock we’ve all experienced in the last few years. Playable, prescient and wise.’
Based on the Forged in the Dark system, and fusing the wine-dark visuals of Dark City with the socially-aware dystopia of Metropolis, a|state is blades and backstreets, footpads and fatalities. It’s Dickensian, anti-Thatcher, sparks-and-knives SF.
Team up to defend your corner from selfish authorities, angry gangs and heartless industries. Fight off threats to your canalside home, and strive to make the grim and haunted City a safe and better place.
a|state is your story – it’s the story of how you fight back.
Our a|state sign-up page has passed 350, which is amazing. If you haven’t joined us, please do go and add your name – and tell your friends. That way, we can share everything as it happens.
Following the cult hit of the first edition, the a|state second edition will be launching on Kickstarter very soon. And it’ll be a full-colour, hardcover book with the stunning artwork and detailed backgrounds that you’ve come to expect from Handiwork Games. Hopefully, we’ll also be able to include additional art and further setting information through stretchgoals, plus appendices from original a|state co-creator Malcolm Craig.
A 132 page .pdf preview edition will be ready as soon as you pledge.
Step inside a world both beautiful and baroque, a sprawling urban nightmare, the world of a|state. Fight off threats to your canalside home, and strive to make the grim and haunted City safer and better. Team up to defend your corner from selfish authorities, angry gangs and heartless industries…
Games Expo is happening at the end of this month, and we had planned to be there again as exhibitors. We were very much looking forward to seeing everyone again. However, with the sharp rise in Delta variant, and looking at the timetable for having our team fully vaccinated with the necessary two doses, a couple of weeks ago we quietly took the decision to cancel our attendance.
We don’t want to make a fuss about this, and we certainly hope the show is a roaring success for those who choose to attend. While this will impact us financially, with many of our team living with unvaccinated teens or vulnerable older families members, with the prior cap on attendance, the recent announcement of the lifting of all COVID restrictions and safety measures, and with other exhibitors similarly withdrawing, we just don’t feel it’s a risk we can take at this time, neither financially nor for our collective health.
Hopefully we’ll see you at a show later in the year: we’re very much looking forward to sharing all our new things with you! And if you do attend the show, we hope you have a marvellous time.
We do miss events, and we do miss all of you – so please do follow us on our Socials…
This weekend sees Tabletop Gaming Magazine’s epic Spring Showcase, offering the inside scoop to the gaming community’s up-and-coming news. Find announcements, play-throughs and sneak peeks – and find Jon, on the main stage, at 3pm tomorrow (Saturday 27th March GMT). He’ll be talking everything Handiwork, and what we’ve got coming up.
While you’re waiting, you can follow the Whale Road with our trusty Hero, Bald Eadig, who’s finally reaching the end of his adventure. Jump on over to Campaign Coins on YouTube and watch the epic, double-length finale of The Hermit’s Sanctuary – where the foul beast is finally uncovered!
And, if that leaves you in the mood for slaying nasties, then grab Horror at Herrogate, our full-length BEOWULF adventure, from DriveThru. Confront the dreadful dréag, the nightstalker, the breaker of bones, unkillable by mortal hand…
The .pdf comes complete with three poster-sized battle maps, tokens for VTT, new Follower cards and separate NPC artwork.
And, if you love a good monster, and a good RPG fight, then our Handimonsters Patreon is less than the price of a coffee. Start your week, every Monday, with a brand new 5e beastie – each one carefully designed and drawn, and coming complete with stats, lore, background, and all sorts of scenario ideas.
Plus – there’s loads of bonus content, and there’s loads of FREE stuff too!
And don’t forget – we’ve got some new goodies in our RedBubble store. Two of Jon’s best-loved designs are now available as photographic prints!
Grab yourself a cup of tea (or a mug of mead), because it’s been a packed week at HandiworkGames …
First up – join our World Book Day Twitter giveaway. Follow us at @HandiworkGames and RT our tweet to win a print copy of The Hermit’s Sanctuary, our BEOWULF intro-adventure, complete with an original sketch from Jon.
Thanks to our friends at Campaign Coins, you can follow the live play-though of The Hermit’s Sanctuary over on YouTube. This week, Bald Eadig meets… the SEA RAIDERS!
You can also follow Pellam’s Wasteland on YouTube for a solo play campaign.
And, of course, you can join Jon and Jacob over on our own YouTube channel, for our BEOWULF podcast. This week, it’s all about the 5e rules!
Gaming for good, and launching Tuesday 9th March – a fantastic charity offer, sold in aid of The Trussell Trust. This mini-deck and map pack will fuse Jon’s bestselling Map Tiles with the fantastic RPG encounters of Venger’s Decks, offering you the perfect backstreet package, ideal for any campaign.
And every sale is for a good cause. Find out more, here.
In more news: Handimonsters! Our 5e monster Patreon is now at a new price, with easy-to-understand tiers. And this week’s monster is FREE! Add some giantish romance to your adventure with the Hölingean, tattooed and magical. They like summers of idle dalliance, and keep human mages as pets.
And catch Jacob, talking Handimonsters, over at d20 radio!
And finally – we’re very pleased to be involved withHeinzcon! Offering a wonderful programme of gaming related events and panels, this will take place in Twitch – and you can catch Jon (again – he’s been a busy fella) talking everything from BEOWULF to a|state.
Keep up with all the news, when you join us on our Socials:
What a year, eh? Jon here, with my look back at 2020 at Handiwork Games.
It is always useful to reflect on the year gone by, so here are my thoughts on what we’ve done in year two, 2020. (It’s sort of year two. More like 18 months but let’s call it year two for easy maths and a good story!)
The headline is (predictably) that while Covid has put plans on a slightly different footing than expected, we’re doing really well.
Year one accounts came in and I was flabbergasted by our turnover. With my head firmly in projects at the time, I genuinely had no idea we’d done as well as we did in 2019, and that shook me into taking the accounts a bit more seriously! The day-to-day can be a procession of fires to put out and rocks to roll uphill. It’s easy to lose sight of just how much we’ve achieved as a team.
Things we did in 2020:
Map tiles 2 Kickstarter. Map Tiles was an unexpected project we just tried out to see what would happen, thinking it might fund, and the two Kickstarters to date have raised about £40k, and Map Tiles have become “a thing”. They’re very popular on our web store: Dungeon tiles in particular have proved to be a really good seller. Shamefully they’re out of stock right now! We’ll need to fix that in January!
We faced some Map Tiles challenges early on in the pandemic with printers closing, and shipping becoming briefly impossible. However, I take heart that these were only physical delivery delays, rather than delays in making the things on our side. Shipping delays seem to increasingly be a fact of life, and we’ll need to account for that heading forward.
It was great to find a UK printer to complement our US side of things. I’ve been very happy with Drivethrucards, and they’re incredibly helpful to us. But the Atlantic is not kind when it comes to shipping, so being able to print on both sides of the ocean is a win. Thanks to working with a UK printer on Map Tiles 2, we also have a printer for our miniatures boxes (which turned out really well!) and future games. Nice!
Speaking of Map Tiles, one of the first things we did in lockdown was refocus on providing tools for online play. If we had to be stuck inside, then some useful virtual scenery seemed like a cool thing to provide.
We delivered the Creature Collection for Onyx Path. I’m really proud of that book. It’s a great collection of some high-quality content from a solid team. I’ll be forever grateful to Rich at Onyx Path for letting us loose on the book. It really allowed us to flex what we can do.
We did tons of other stuff as a studio in 2020, much of which has to remain unsung – some secret things forever!
The Hermit’s Sanctuary for BEOWULF came out as a free pdf and then by popular request a print book. It was nominated for two ENnies which was truly unexpected and really welcome. We didn’t win any, but for once I can genuinely say that didn’t really matter. Being “there” was amazing. And the timing for the BEOWULF Kickstarter was impeccable.
We spent a great deal of time designing, writing and making art for BEOWULF. And when we took to Kickstarter, it hit my “happy” number (insider info: £30k was the minimum for acceptable funds, £40k was “happy”, £50k was “awesome”). We got well into awesome with late pledges, and we’re a whisker off 1000 backers. That’ll do!
We made miniatures! How cool is that? I’m still somewhat amazed we achieved this, but it all came together so nicely. It is great to be working with old friends on this. I’m really happy we made everything in the UK too.
Of course we still enjoy working with colleagues further afield. We had a really great time working with our friends at Campaign Coins in 2020. Mark and Andre are so madly supportive, and I love working with them. We’ve made some truly gorgeous things and I can’t wait to ship them in this coming new year. The BEOWULF tokens and compass are really gorgeous, and represent exactly what I want us to be producing.
We also helped out some friends behind the scenes, and that felt good. There’s a loose little grouping of companies in the UK who just help each other out when they can and all ships are definitely rising as a result. And I really like the people involved. A special shout out to Fil, Paul and David of All Rolled Up/Just Crunch Games. We’ve done loads of projects with these folks and it’s always a pleasure, whichever direction the help is flowing.
We did the Slay the Spire livestream on Steam, and it was amazing seeing our company name on the front page of Steam! Thanks so much to Tomas for inviting me, and Anthony for being so cool.
That opportunity came about because of the BEOWULF Kickstarter, and it’s very reassuring to see some other people working in related fields recognise what we’re doing. I also did a bunch of podcasts, and I must make time to do more. I love it, actually. It’s a nice way to break out of working invisibly on stuff, and I sometimes forget there’s a lot to talk about.
We started work on a 5e setting we haven’t announced yet, with a partner company. We’ll get to work on that in earnest in the new year but it’s already looking pretty cool!
We’re also helping long time friend and colleague Ralph Horsley with his art book. More on that in 2021!
We’ve been working on the new edition of a|state. There’s a really great team on that one and it’s really coming together. We released “Nicely, Done” as a free PDF and lovely print book that includes a gorgeous primer to the setting. A new round of a|state playtest will happen in the new year, with the new edition itself is almost entirely complete. There’s still a bit of artwork needed. Bit of extra setting stuff. But it’s “there” at the core as a playable new edition. It’s been a very smooth process, and I’ve been delighted to be in a solely admiring, occasionally overseeing role.
We worked with two projects that use games to involve the community in history and environmental issues. Covid scuppered the first, with no chance of doing workshops in the community, but the second has advanced to the next stage of funding.
Similarly, we attended no events this year. That was a challenge, given how much we’d invested in stock and equipment for shows for 2020. We were fighting fit and ready to go for a super convention season. Which never happened. Ah well.
On a vastly more positive note, we brought Danie on board to help with marketing and social media. That’s worked out really well, and if you’re reading the his you’ll have seen lots of Danie’s work online. It’s been incredibly helpful to have another brain able to focus on social media and marketing. And one with so much experience!
We also moved from my now-way-too-small home office to a much larger garden office, which includes dedicated areas for stock storage and mail order processing, as well as a photography booth, reference library and creative work areas.
Moving everything was hard work, and getting it built in the first place was a trial for us and the builders during a global pandemic. But it’s done, we’re in and I love it. It’s brilliant.
In December we launched Handimonsters. This is a subscription service that offers new monsters every week, along with something free each month. Based on prior experience, that won’t hit its stride as a patreon for a couple of months – the back catalogue patrons gain access to is currently building to a nice collection of stuff. From a process perspective that’s been great. Absolutely zero drama in that project.
Right at the end of the year we sent out the first chunk of BEOWULF to backers. It’s been very well received, which is lovely. You just never know how things will fare once they head out into the wide world, but BEOWULF has been an absolute labour of love, and that seems to be communicating.
We managed, through some amazing timing and me managing to be extra brave, to secure a foreword from Maria Dahvana Headley, who’s so hot right now in the world of Beowulf translation. I’m still a bit boggled by that too. What an honour.
As ever, pulling this ad hoc list together I’m reminded why I was pretty tired at the end of the working year. But looking back for the first time in a little while, it’s heartening to see how much we’ve done! There are some notable absences from this review – Hellenistika is something we get asked about a lot. It’s going to be one of those projects that happens when it happens because you just can’t rush magic.
We have two new Forest Dragon games ready to print. We just need some time to tell people about them, and maybe do a cheeky Kickstarter to gather the faithful once again. Both Hellenistika and FD games are still very close to our hearts, even if they don’t have news headlines to share from 2020.
Overall, we have faced the same challenges as any company in startup in 2020, and it certainly hasn’t all been a bed of roses. There’s been plenty of sleepless nights along the way, and we’ve made our fair share of missteps. Such is life! Looking back on what could so easily have been a disastrous year, I think our whole team can be very proud of what we’ve achieved, and we’re coming into 2021 with a lot of… “2020 experience” under our belt.
And so, from everyone at Handiwork Games, I’d like to wish you a very happy new year, and hope that 2021 brings good things for all of us.
In this week’s news: Scarred Lands goes out to backers!
Backers of our Scarred Lands campaign, your Creature Collections are now winging their way! In true Monster Manual/Fiend Folio tradition, this book of beasties contains the 5e stats for such wonders as the Berserker Wasp, The Bitter Tree, the Dream Shadow and the Marrow Knight. And our favourite quest dispenser, the Sage Camel.
All coming soon, to a postbox near you.
Last night, we were delighted to see our own Jon Hodgson taking part in Steam’s DIGITAL TABLETOP FEST. Jon was chatting to top game designer Anthony Giovannetti, as Anthony played through the smash hit Slay The Spire. If you missed it don’t worry, we’ll have the link very soon!
If you love a bit of DriveThruRPG, our a|state primer, Nicely, Done is their top choice of FREE .pdf download this week. The setting is incredible, the artwork amazing, and the adventure complete. You’ll need the basic rules for Forged in the Dark, but otherwise, THE CITY is ready and waiting – you only have to lose yourself.
And let us take you back… back… back… back to the world of The Forest Dragon. Designed by nine-year-old Rory, and winner of two Awards upon its release, The Forest Dragon is a creative and fun, family card game that takes you to a world of adventure. Find Swords, Coins and other treasures, find Sticks and Acorns and helpful characters to set you on your way. But beware The Forest Dragon!
And, while we know that we’re not supposed to mention Christmas ’til Hallowe’en is over… if you <are> thinking about gifts, we’ve got a whole merchant-load of gaming-related goodies, great for keeping you and yours entertained. And not only for the festive season!
First up, BIG NEWS: we will be taking part in Steam’s DIGITAL TABLETOP FEST! Join Jon, chatting to top game designer Anthony Giovannetti, as Anthony plays through the smash hit Slay The Spire. Our event takes place at 11pm UK time, on October 22nd, but the Fest will be going on all week.
In BEOWULF news, our Award-nominated intro-adventure, released last week as a print book, is coming soon with an original sketch from Jon Hodgson. We know that quite a few of you had been asking about this, so we’ll fed Jon all the tea and make him start drawing.
The results, as you can see, should be pretty spectacular!
We’ve also had our first look at out gorgeous, real oak display boxes for the BEOWULF tokens and compass coin. These will go on our site very soon, and we should be offering them both with and without the shinies. And big thank you to D Taylor Woodworking for a beautiful job!
In MORE news, our a|state primer, originally released to attendees at AlbaCon, is now available to download from DriveThruRPG. The .pdf is free, the artwork beautiful, the setting rich with nuance and character. Let us take you to The City, and to the introductory mission ‘Nicely, Done’. You’ll need the Forged in the Dark system to play the scenario – but all other info is included. And hey, it could just be time to take that urban vacation…
While you’re packing – so to speak – do come find us on REDBUBBLE. We have lots of tees, homewares, merch and other treasures, from Beowulf to The Forest Dragon, all just waiting to be liberated. They make perfect and original gifts, for others and for yourself. (Go on, you deserve it, you know you do).
And DON’T miss it – the battle-mat and dice-tray bundle is not going to be available for much longer! Our battle mats are three feet square (seriously, they’re huge), and in a variety of atmospheric shades. They come with or without grids, and every one comes with a matching dice tray, so you can control your manoeuvres, and your maths rocks, all at the same time.
Or, if you don’t fancy the mat, try the map. Our second batch of map tiles feature floor plans for both utopian and dystopian SF scenarios, plus all sorts of features from hillforts to moors to evil forests (hey, who doesn’t love an evil forest?). They come in packs of thirty, double-sided, and can take you and your party on any adventure you can dream up.
Handiwork Games – helping you get out the house, without, y’know, actually leaving the house…
Welcome to the Friday news update from Handiwork Games!
Each week, we’ll be giving you a quick round-up of what’s going on in the office – what’s in, what’s new, and what’s coming up.
This week, we’re really pleased with our beautiful, full-colour print version of The Hermit’s Sanctuary, the ENnie-Award nominated intro-campaign for our BEOWULF 5e setting. Offering rules specially adapted for one player and one GM, The Hermit’s Sanctuary comes with full maps, backgrounds and NPCs. All you have to do is imagine.
And to help with the imagining, we’ve just taken delivery of our gorgeous BEOWULF miniatures. From The Hermit’s Sanctuary adventure, they’re all real metal, each carefully sculpted by artist Richard Dickens. They’re a full set of eight characters and one monster, and they come in a really cute box!
We’ve added the extra two figures as a free thank you to our backers. And, just so you know, the price of the box will go up once the late Kickstarter pledges have been delivered.
So, if you haven’t backed us yet, don’t miss out – our smash hit BEOWULF Kickstarter is still open. To get your miniatures and a great deal more, get those late pledges in on Crowd Ox.
In other news, if you were at AlbaCon you should have downloaded your copy of our a|state primer, ‘Nicely, done’. If you missed the Con, don’t worry; we’ll make the FREE .pdf readily available, very soon.
You can find out more about a|state on our Games Page
Coming shortly: our brand new Patreon! It’s called Handimonsters, it’ll be a monthly subscription, and it’ll be the ideal way to shock your players… no, wait… to get some fantastic new beasties for your 5e campaign.
Watch this space for more info!
And we do still have SALE BUNDLES left. Make out like a bandit when you grab one of our three-foot-square (seriously, they’re enormous) battle mats, along with a matching dice tray. With artwork by Jon Hodgson, it’s a deal any rogue would be proud of.
Thank you for being here with us at Handiwork games. We’re role-players too, and we get it – we understand how the game goes together.
Very good news for a|state fans, and for everyone attending AlbaCon this weekend (3rdand 4th October)…
We’re giving AlbaCon attendees FREE early access to the .pdf Primer for our a|state setting that uses the Forged in the Dark rules. This is a full-colour, 32-page introduction to The City, featuring some absolutely gorgeous, highly atmospheric artwork, a full description of The City itself, character sheets for a suitable slink of local wheelers, dealers, stealers and NPCs, and a FREE mission scenario, ‘Nicely, done’.
About Nicely, done
Mire End is a forlorn place: miles of brick and concrete tenements, all slowly disintegrating. Water covers the streets, the drainage systems destroyed long ago. The damp and rotting lower floors of most buildings are left empty.
Reports of child slavery in Mire End have led the group to investigate a woman named Hosanna Nicely…
If you’re attending AlbaCon, your membership will include access to the AlbaCon Discord, where you’ll find the download link for Nicely,Done.
A sepia tone world lit by guttering gas lamps and flickering electrified filaments. Stinking canals radiate out through The City, thick with the detritus of untold millions of lives. Dank alleys wind between corroding concrete tower blocks, wide boulevards swarm with peddlers, traders, thieves, and marks…
First released in the early 2000s, a|state was a cult hit. Now it’s back.
Welcome to the city. You will never forget the city. But the city will forget you.