a|state Kickstarter Launches Today!

The Brit-indie classic, dystopian SF RPG, a|state, updated for 2021 with a unique iteration of John Harper’s Forged in the Dark rules set goes live on Kickstarter today!

The game features amazing and inspiring art by Paul Bourne, Jon Hodgson and Scott Purdy, an evocative updated setting by Malcolm Craig, and wonderful rules work by Morgan Davie and Gregor Hutton.

The game is written, the art and design are done. We need your help to see how much better we can make it in print.

The Kickstarter goes live at 5pm today (UK time): https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jonhodgsonmaptiles2/a-state-rpg-second-edition

Morgan Davie on System, a|state and Vomit


a|state second edition is coming to Kickstarter on Tuesday July 27th. Jon recently interrupted Morgan Davie’s work on the new edition to ask him some questions about the system, having already bothered Malcolm about the setting last week.

Yo Morgue. 

Kia ora Jon! 

Let’s get right to it:

So you’re in charge of the system side of things on a|state. Tell us about Forged in the Dark games. Why are they good? And if I’ve never played one, what is it like?

Continue reading “Morgan Davie on System, a|state and Vomit”

Friday News Update – BEOWULF arrives!

It’s loose and in the wilds!

And it’s a wonderful thing to see – our BEOWULF rulebook and other treasures all arriving on UK doorsteps! Fulfilment has been completed in the EU, and they’ll be with US customers soon (curse that damned Pond).

We look forward to the pictures, the insights, the comments… and (duh) the gaming. Now you’re getting your hands on the finished product, please do let us know how everything goes!

Three Ogres Map

In celebration, you can download our second pack of BEOWULF digital extras from DriveThru. This includes: – 

Reskinned Follower Gifts .pdf 

VTT tokens for the second batch of monsters from the BEOWULF rulebook

Poster map for the Three Ogre Brothers scenario 

More atmospheric music for your games

A video tutorial for the Social Encounter worksheet (available free here)

The merefixa – a brand new foe!

Digital Pack Two

And if you missed the first pack, you can find that here.

And amazing news! Just in case you missed it on Twitter, our a|state page has now passed the 250 mark, which is awesome.

a|state is coming

Thank you to all who’ve signed up, and if you’d like to join in, please do go and add your name – then we can tell you when the kickstarter launches.

If you’d like to know more about the project, check out Jon’s interview with Malcolm Craig, the co-creator of the a|state campaign setting.

Art by Paul Bourne

We’re also anticipating the summer hols! When you’ve got kids at home, it can be challenging finding stuff for them to do – so we’ve knocked £2 OFF our FOREST DRAGON GAMES until the end of July. 

Enter the code ‘Summerdragon2’ to get £2 OFF The Forest Dragon or The Forest Dragon Bang and Twang. (One coupon per purchase, applies only to core sets, but will apply to the bundle of both, because we’re good like that).

NOM

Winner of the Imagination Gaming Gold Young Einstein Award and the Family Game Silver Award, The Forest Dragon was designed by Rory, aged 9. Both games are great, family-friendly creative games, full of wonderful characters and things to discover and find. And there are lots of add-ons, too!

Plus: Jacob has given us a quick glimpse of next week’s HANDIMONSTER!

The Penny-Snatcher

Meet the PENNY-SNATCHER, a greedy monster that likes to pick pockets. When found out, it hurls coins back at you with supernatural fury – and the more valuable the coin, the more it hurts. Join our Patreon for a new monster every Monday!

We’re sorry not to be making the Expo (though you’ll probably catch us at Albacon – more details abut this soon). To keep up, please do follow us on our Socials…

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Malcolm Craig on the Joy and Pain of a|state

Malcolm Craig, co-creator of a|state, took some time to chat to Jon about the game and his background in RPGs. To those in the know, it was a pleasant surprise to see Malcolm back working on a game, since he’d formally retired from RPG work to concentrate on his career as a lecturer in history. Somehow Handiwork, with the help of Gregor Hutton and Morgan Davie, managed to lure him back to revisit his very first game, a|state.

Jon: You’ve written a bunch of RPG games. What do you like about rpgs in particular?

Continue reading “Malcolm Craig on the Joy and Pain of a|state”

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!

For more, please do follow us on our Socials…

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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!  

For more, please do follow us on our Socials!

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a|state Second Edition – an Overview

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.

The Game

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.

Continue reading “a|state Second Edition – an Overview”

Friday News Update – May 21st

The first copies of BEOWULF!

Yes, they’re real – we finally got out mitts on the very first copies! And just have a LOOK at this artwork:

Muthbona by Jon Hodgson
Battle by Jon Hodgson

With huge thanks to our friends, supporters and heroes…

‘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

‘Ingenious, beautiful, epic, enormous’ – Angus Watson

And to Maria Dahvana Headley for our foreword.

Thanks, John!

In more BEOWULF news, catch our latest podcast!

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…

Clatterbones!

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!

Downtime

“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.”

For more, please do follow us on our Socials!

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It’s real!

A Brief History of a|state

a|state 2e is shaping up really nicely. And we’re hoping to launch the Kickstarter for the Second Edition in June. For those in the know, the game is a well-loved indie classic from the British Invasion of the turn of the century, but for those who don’t, what is a|state?

A brief history

a|state began in the early 2000s in the notebooks of Malcolm Craig. Inspired by the layers of built history in cities like London and Edinburgh, and a sense of gloomy science-fictional possibility, he created memorable locations like Mire End and Folly Hills and a game system to explore them. The project gained enormous momentum when Paul Bourne joined. His vivid illustrations rapidly drew attention in the UK gaming community, and soon a|state games regularly featured at UK conventions.

Interest continued to grow, so Malcolm and Paul developed a|state into a beautiful hardback book.

This debuted at Edinburgh gaming con Conpulsion in 2004 and went on to find an enthusiastic audience around the world. The production values of first edition were way above what any indie publication of its size had any right to be.

Further books with more contributors followed over the next few years, and the audience for a|state was still hungry for more when Malcolm and Paul eventually moved on to other projects. Now a|state returns, with a retooled system and all the original creators on board.

You can find out more at a|state’s own page. And grab the free introduction to the setting and a complete scenario here.