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!
And just to reiterate, our BEOWULF late pledges are ending very soon! If you’d like to grab the game at Kickstarter prices now is the perfect time.
Now’s also the perfect time to have a look at our BEOWULF intro-adventure, The Hermit’s Sanctuary. Nominated for two ENnie Awards, this has been specially adapted for one player and one GM, meaning it’s the perfect place to get a game going.
Enjoy a new (old) adventure, based on one of the most timeless tales of all.
And – IT’S A SIGN!!!
Yes, we have moved office, meaning we have dedicated spaces for creative work, storing stock and processing your orders! Jon put up a magical sign this week, guaranteed* to keep dragons and bandits out, and our treasures safe from harm.
*We think. We haven’t seen a dragon yet. Or any bandits, come to that.
And a quick reminder that we’ve got some awesome settings for your next Zoom call. Journey to The City with our a|state backgrounds, two of them animated. Pay what you like, over at DriveThruRPG.
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…
Each week, we’re going to take a moment to let you know what’s happening at Handiwork Games.
We’ve got a great deal going on – Jon and the team work very hard behind the scenes to keep on top of everything, and more treasures arrive with every day.
This week, we’re delighted to offer one of the best treasures of all: the Dylexie font on our website (just click the ‘D’ tab in the top right-and corner of the Homepage). The inclusivity of gaming is always in our thoughts, and with one of Jon’s sons diagnosed with dyslexia, we want to be as supportive as we can.
We’ve also got some fantastic news: our Award-nominated, free .pdf download of The Hermit’s Sanctuary has done so well… that we’re offering it as a print book. From DriveThruRPG, this book will be a beautiful, full-colour, lavishly illustrated introductory adventure to our BEOWULF: AGE OF HEROES setting. It’s designed for 5e, for one player and one GM, and it’s the perfect way to escape!
In more BEOWULF news – tokens and compasses have now arrived in the office and they’re looking pretty good, even if we do say so ourselves. More about these particular shinies as they’re unveiled. (Hey, we might even do an unboxing)…
And spice up your tabletop with our special offer mat-and-dice tray bundle! Buy one of our gorgeous 36” square battle mats and get a matching dice tray at a bargain price. Choose from spring, summer, autumn and winter shades, and from mats either gridded or ungridded. Get some colour into those fights!
Last but not least, we’ve got you covered for the very best in tabletop accessories. Yes, Wave 2 of our Map Tiles are now available – perfect for any and all adventures. We have utopian and dystopian SF tiles, tiles for moor and hillfort, and tiles to take you deeper into the forest than you’ve ever been before. We’ve also got linking tiles and tile bundles, just to make sure that your party can get into every <bit> of available trouble.
Every dungeon, every adventure, every table, every player – there’s something for everyone at Handiwork Games.
Sign up to our newsletter here, go tell all your mates, and look out for more updates this time next week!
As part of our upcoming Kickstarter campaign for BEOWULF: Age of Heroes we have some marvelous accessories on offer. These both level up your BEOWULF game, and will prove useful in other games. None of these are essential to play the game, (we don’t believe in that kind of thing!) but we think they’re things you’ll find useful and beautiful to own.
One of the very first products we made at Handiwork Games was dice trays! Partnering with our friends at All Rolled Up, we’ve brought a wide range of different dice trays to market.
All Rolled Up make fantastic trays that simply clip together at the corners. When unclipped you can fold or roll them very easily for transportation.
For this Kickstarter we’re offering an exclusive new design! Here’s the mock up:
These are GORGEOUS. We went to town on these, with our friends at Campaign Coins. A set of 5 weighty metal coins, in an antique gold finish featuring beautiful BEOWULF designs by Paul Bourne, inset with gems. Ok the gems aren’t real gems. But they look amazing!
These token can of course be used for any 5e game, or indeed any game at all that requires meaty, gorgeous, knot-whorled coins worthy of HEROES!
And you can play BEOWULF: Age of Heroes without any kind of special token. Just use coins, beads, the skulls of the giant worms you slew before you dove into the mere. But for the special BEOWULF game nights we’ve played? It was worth going the extra mile.
The tokens are 39mm across, and 4mm deep. They each weigh 25 grams. They come in a set of 5. Which gives you 4 for the Inspiration Pool and 1 spare in case your character wins Inspiration seperately.
The work on these is complete, we have the first coins on hand. All that remains is to find out how many we’re making.
Beowulf Compass Rose
Ok, let me break character a little bit here. When I first saw the very first metal one of these, I cried a little bit. It’s absolutely beautiful. The team who made it, and the motto on it mean a great deal.
Sorry, back in character. Ahem
So every journey needs a way-finder. Keep your battle maps pinned down, and North at the top with this absolutely STUNNING, unique Compass Rose.
Designed by Paul Bourne, and made by the geniuses at Campaign Coins, this is something to truly treasure, and is a worthy souvenir of the campaign. Measuring 50mm in diameter, and weighing in at 40g, this is a beautiful chunk of metal. I can safely guarantee this will be the one reward that we will hear about for years to come, especially from people who didn’t get one.
It is finely worked with interlaced hounds, the central rondel features a dragon, and the outer rim reads: “Sea cliffs shining/Steep high hills/Heathlands broad/Their haven was found”, taken from the Beowulf poem, where Beowulf and his crew arrive safely in Denmark having made the crossing from their home in Geatland.
The same design appears on both sides. There is no flat, boring side.
The design and tooling work is all done for this amazing piece of treasure. We just need to know how many we’re making.
Inspiration Pool Mat
This is a bit of a luxury. As part of the BEOWULF: Age of Heroes ruleset, each Hero has access to a pool of Inspiration. These are divided into tokens they can use for their Followers, Tokens they can use any way they like, and there is also a deadly pool of dread GM tokens.
How the pool is divided up is determined by the Portent at the outset of the adventure.
To track the Pool you can use chits of any kind – coins, beads, ancient Dirrams from old Baghdad you found buried in an Anglo-Saxon pot in your garden… and three bowls, or three spaces drawn on a piece of paper.
OR, since you’ll be able to run the same scenario for everyone you know, one on one, you can indulge yourselves and get this Inspiration Pool Mat. With graphics by Paul Bourne, expertly printed by Patriot Games on 3mm neoprene, with whip stitched edges, (Not shown in the image above, which is a prototype) this is the perfect setting for your Inspiration Tokens. Trust us, it’s worth it!
The work on the Inspiration Pool Mat is all done. We just need to know how many we’re making!
We also have a set of miniatures. We’ve covered these separately, and you can find out more here.
The Wolf Child
Alys, a princess
Born of royal blood, but fostered to a far away land across the sea, Alys found she did not fit in with the other princesses. More interested in learning to read and write, and the wonders these skills revealed, she spurned the traditional crafts of hospitality and needlepoint and the wifely duties expected of her.
Teaching herself to fight with a sword, she escaped the Nunnery where she had felt so trapped. Now she wanders the world, seeking to help others and uncover the mysteries of this ‘middle earth'.
Alys is a neither follower of the Church, nor a follower of the Old Ways.
Blaedswith - A Karelian Witch
Born into a community of witches from the East, and wise in the ways of copper amulets, charms and talismans, and the speech of animals and ways of medicine, the beliefs of her people were changed by coming of the new faith. Blaedswith viewed this as a grave mistake on the part of the newly converted, as a great deal of old wisdom was scattered and forgotten.
The copper mines and smithies now make crosses bearing the outstretched arms of the new god, which hold no magic against monsters. Abandoning her home in disgust, she has set sail in search of a more useful life.
Blaedswith knows that there is no lasting victory against the darkness, and in the great weave of time, the age of people will suffer a great and permanent defeat before oblivion. It can only be held back, but that is her Wyrd, and the fates demand that as the last of her witch clan she continue the fight against the old horrors that will inevitably eat the world.
Her youth and training in magic make her a both charming and powerful follower of the Old Ways.
Cwenhild The Widow-Matron of the House
When her husband was slain, Cwenhild mourned for a year and then set about putting the affairs of her hall to rights. Ruling wisely and cautiously, she waited for her three sons to come of age and rule her lost husband’s kingdom. Yet, one by one they were taken: as they flowered into men so they were cut down by war or taken away by creatures left over from ancient times. Now she is alone, with no one else to fight the growing abundance of monsters that herald the end of days and the snuffing out of all good things.
But no straw-death for Cwenhil. No longer the spinning wheel nor the pots of the hearth for her. She has bade broken open the barrow and taken up her husband’s mail and his spear. Too long has she spent weeping and awaiting tidings at the edge of the battlefield. Now she will be the bringer of bad tidings to those who take sons and husbands.
Cwenhild is a traditionalist of the old ways. The evidence of the inevitable end of the world is all around her.
Bald Eadig, Wrestling Hero
There are a great many dark places in the world, and the Book teaches that the faithful should bring the light, and with it burn out evil wherever it may be found. Blessed with the barrel-chested strength that comes with middle-age, a distinct lack of hair, and a devotion to the word of the Book, Bald Eadig means to carry the news of the saviour far and wide, and in doing so battle the forces of darkness as an example to all. Where he can’t bring the benefits of writing and contemplation, he will bring his big stick.
Possessed of a simple knowledge and an earthy goodness, Bald Eadig is a fearsome enemy of the darkness. He has helped build priory walls, defended pilgrims, and guarded monks. Now he is setting out on the swan road to find the greatest enemies of the Church - the very devils of hell and the sons of Cain.
Ibn Uthman, The Wandering Warrior-poet of Baghdad
Once a trader and writer, Ibn Uthman was exiled from the lands of his birth for using his prodigious ability with words most unwisely: a tangled financial dispute with a Northern King means that returning to Baghdad and his old life is no longer an option for Ibn Uthman. Resolved to explore the North, Ibn Uthman has found himself far from home.
Telling a tale or two seemed to please the people of these freezing Northlands, and they enjoy his melodious, strange-sounding voice, and his songs from afar. His ability to spin a story has grown with the miles he’s travelled.
Uthman is faithful to the One God, though his version seems somewhat different to those of the Northerners.
Waelfwulf - Doomed Monster-Fighter
When Waelwulf drinks a door is opened in his mind and Tiw, the god of war steps in.
One baleful night, when Waelwulf was barely out of boyhood, roving bandits visited the hall. These false guests demanded the hospitality of the house, and called for drink. As some men will, these fellows commanded all present to keep them company in their cups. Waelwulf did his best to refuse the mead and ale, but as a beardless boy he could not stand up to these men. Not when he was sober at least.
But when he was drunk? Many died. Friend and foe alike fell to his axe. And when his axe broke he used a sword. And when his sword broke he used a knife. And when his knife broke he used his hands.
Cast out by his frightened kin, along with two of the cowed brigands who survived that dreadful night, his secret wish is to die. But it seems he is yet to find a worthy foe capable of doing the deed. It seems he is doomed to battle monsters until at last one overcomes him.
Múthbona the Eater
A hulking brute, with corded muscles bulging under a pale, leathery hide. Its face is flat, with beady red eyes, and great broken tusks protruding from its blood-stained mouth.
Across its back and shoulders can be seen dozens of broken spears, javelins and arrows.
During the long ages spent slumbering in its cave, the troll’s skin has lost all colour, and its flesh is now bleached bone white. This presents a terrifying apparition by torchlight. Despite its size it moves almost silently, looming out of the dark like a hulking blood-mouthed ghost. The Monster primarily wants to feed, after centuries of hungry sleep.
Ham Anfeald, Hero-Sailor
Ham was always too busy ducking and diving to stay long in one place. An orphan from nowhere, he now lives everywhere. By a quirk of fate, Ham discovered that a great deal of treasure is to be found in the lonely dwellings of monsters, and that the good life comes easy when you’re a monster slayer. He gave up his life of trudging the whale-road, carrying cargo for merchants, in favour of the life of a Hero.
No more shaving off a little bit here and there to keep the ship and crew together for Ham. He’d always been a great sailor, and surviving life on the whale-road meant being able to fight. As a Hero he could help people by slaying beasts and get rich.
With his hand-fasted best friend, the mute Bald Haeri, Ham plys the swan-road, turning trouble into gold. Ham is always accompanied by Haeri, as a follower.
Ham has traveled from one end of the Whale Road to the other, and hasn’t seen anything to make him believe in one faith over another.
The Wolf Child
She came out of the Forest in the company of her family. Her wolves. No one knows anything about her. She speaks little, and only at need. Her friends are the wolves. The Wolf Child is always accompanied by her three wolves and her bird-friend.
BEOWULF All Rolled Up
To keep your game-gear safe you need an All Rolled Up! These unique and wonderful dice bag/card holder/pen holder, dice tray holders were designed by Fil of All Rolled Up, and once you’ve used one it’s hard to imagine not owning one. When Fil saw our BEOWULF art, she immediately suggested making All Rolled Ups with some really attractive matching fabric.