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One of the oldest recorded stories in Western Europe, Beowulf is an epic tale of hero against monster. And the monster’s mother. And then a dragon.


BEOWULF: Age of Heroes is a setting and rules set for 5th Edition, designed primarily for duet play – one GM and one player.


BEOWULF presents a host of new and specially adapted rules to create epic and thematic adventures for your lone hero and his or her companions. Explore a mythic migration-era Europe and beyond, solve mysteries, and do battle with dreadful monsters!

With writing and rules design from hand-picked 5e and folklore geniuses, and with art from Jon Hodgson and friends, BEOWULF will be a thing of epic wonder.

 

The Hermit’s Sanctuary is a free, full-length, introductory adventure for Beowulf: Age of Heroes. We highly recommend you grab a copy and check it out. It's a really good introduction to what we're doing, and you'll get to see a whole bunch of our new rules, our art, maps and graphics.


We were delighted to learn that The Hermit's Sanctuary is nominated for two ENnies in this year's awards! Best Electronic Book and Best Free Book!

BEOWULF will be hardcover, in full colour. It will be chock full of great art from Jon Hodgson, Scott Purdy and a handpicked team of artists. Graphic design and layout is by Paul Bourne (The One Ring, Adventures in Middle-earth).

We will have Anglo-Saxon style poetry from our friendly poets John Freeman and Dave Oliver, and excerpts from the Beowulf poem throughout.

It will detail the setting of Beowulf, and a host of new rules to facilitate duet play in 5th Edition by the Beowulf development team - Jon Hodgson, Jacob Rodgers and David Rea.

We began our campaign at a minimum of 192 pages, but we've added several expanding stretch goals. The book will now be 240 pages long!

The PDF version will be fully bookmarked, hyperlinked, and delivered via DrivethruRPG coupon code, so that it will be available in your library.

As well as our simple pledge levels, you can choose whichever "Extras" you'd like from our selection.

BEOWULF: Age of Heroes is slightly unusual when it comes to extras and accessories. As well as designing, writing, making art, and testing the material for the rulebook, we’ve spent a year working on some beautiful accessories that make play even more enjoyable.    

We didn’t want our campaign get caught up in all the fiddly bits that can cause delays. So all of our accessories are ready to go! The pre-production is all done, we just need to know how many we’re making. We’ve taken on that risk so you don’t have to.

Lots of stuff is available right away as an Extra. And we’re aiming to ship all of them at the same time as the core rulebook. For your convenience, we've prepared a PDF catalogue that details the accessories. Download it here.    

NB: Nothing we’ve made as an accessory is necessary to enjoy BEOWULF: Age of Heroes. The game can be played with the rulebook, pencil, paper, a handful of dice, and some tokens like buttons or coins.

Miniatures Add-on £30

We’re delighted to be working with Richard Dickens of Cold War Miniatures to bring you a range of really gorgeous miniatures for BEOWULF: Age of Heroes.

Our pack of miniatures features 8 Heroes, and one monster, all of whom you might recognise from The Hermit’s Sanctuary and Pregenerated Characters 2.

Our miniatures are 28mm scale, will be cast in white metal, and are designed to work well with historical miniatures lines already available.  To keep things nice and simple, they are not available separately. They are, of course, supplied unpainted.

Sculpting is all done, and the masters are ready for moulding. We just need to know how many we’re making.


Miniatures STL files Extra £4 Each

We'll send you the STL files of the miniatures so you can print them on your own 3d printer. You'll be able to choose which figure files you'd like from the selection in the pledge manager. If you’d like a set of miniature STLs, then simply add the price of however many you'd like to your pledge, or choose a pledge level that includes one. There is a bundle of all the models available.

BEOWULF: Age of Heroes Compass Rose Extra £8

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.

The design and tooling work is all done for this amazing piece of treasure. We just need to know how many we’re making.

If you’d like a BEOWULF compass rose, then simply add the price of one to your pledge, or choose a pledge level that includes one. You can add as many as you like.

BEOWULF: Age of Heroes Inspiration Token Set Extra: £12

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 tokens 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!

You can play BEOWULF: Age of Heroes without any kind of special token. Just use coins, beads, or paper chits. 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 separately.

 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.

If you’d like a set of 5 BEOWULF inspiration tokens, then simply add the price of the pack to your pledge, or choose a pledge level that includes the pack. You can add as many as you like.

BEOWULF: Age of Heroes Inspiration Pool Mat Extra: £10

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 anyway they like, and there is also a deadly pool of dread Monster 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, and since you can club together with your players, you can indulge yourselves and get this Inspiration Pool Mat. With graphics by Paul Bourne, expertly printed by Patriot Games in the UK on 3mm neoprene, with whipstitched edges, this is the perfect setting for your Inspiration Tokens. It's 21cm/8.25 inches square. 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! If you’d like an Inspiration Mat, then simply add the price of one to your pledge, or choose a pledge level that includes one. You can add as many as you like, but you only need one for a game of BEOWULF: Age of Heroes.

BEOWULF: Age of Heroes Dice Tray Extra: £12

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! If you’d like a dice tray, simple add the amount shown to your pledge, or choose a pledge that includes one. You can add as many as you would like.

BEOWULF All Rolled Up Extra: £30

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.

We're making a special design for the campaign, and the image above is an example of one of our existing ARUs, available on our web store, but it should give you an idea of what to expect.

The BEOWULF All Rolled Up is ready to… roll. All the work is done, we just need to know how many to make. If you’d like one, simply add the price to your pledge, or pick a pledge level that includes one. We'll collect your choice after the campaign in the pledge manager.

BEOWULF Art Cards Extra: £3

A set of 5 beautiful, heavyweight, glossy art cards, featuring the Beowulf graphics of Paul Bourne. 

The BEOWULF Art Cards are already printed. If you’d like a set, simply add the price to your pledge, or pick a pledge level that includes one. We'll collect your choice after the campaign in the pledge manager.

Extra Book - Add-on £36

This one is self-explanatory! To get a another copy of the rulebook it's £36.


At the heart of the game is duet play. One GM, one player. A lone hero exploring the world, uncovering mysteries and battling monsters.

Duet play means a few things for your game, as our playtesters have discovered to their delight:

1: It's really easy to set up a game. You only need to sync schedules with one person!

2: It's really easy to play with two online.

3: You can focus on the motivations of just one character, and that central character drives the story, and sets the tone. It's easy to make it very much about them, and to explore that one character. 

4: It's very easy to choose how your Hero approaches the world, and create a consistent feel. We're writing our scenarios so that they can be explored without combat, as investigations, and riddles to explore, or as straight-up "whack the monster" combat fests.

5: Given the breadth of playable characters, as the GM you can re-run a scenario many times - even once for each of a larger group. Each time you get better at it, and each time you can explore more of the scenario's possibilities.

6: BEOWULF provides between-session activity not just for the GM with their prep work, but for the player - their group of followers is developed by the player's downtime creativity!

BEOWULF: Age of Heroes is certainly not meant as a replacement for group play. We love our group games! But duet games done right are a surprisingly easy way to get an engaging, in-depth, single-character-driven game going. And keep it going. Whether you find it easier to get two people together once a week, you want to introduce a younger friend or family member to rpgs, or if you just use it as a fill-in for when you can't get the whole gang together, there's a lot of advantages to duet play!

And, if everyone ends up loving BEOWULF as much as we do, there are some suggestions in the rules for how to add additional players to the game.  

The world of BEOWULF and the Whale Road is a mythic one. It's "history-adjacent" but it's not meant to be an accurate reflection of historical Europe. Your adventures take place in a half-remembered land of Anglo-Saxon ancestral stories, just like Beowulf the poem. Many of the place names are familiar, which gives it a certain magic. But the Northern Seas are filled with many, many small kingdoms in need of a hero's help, where almost anything can happen! 

You'll be able to discover and create it as your story unfolds, with a host of tools to help the GM get the right feel, without being constrained by a need for a degree in Early Medieval studies, and allowing each campaign to be very different.

In the original Beowulf poem, Beowulf, a hero of the Geats, travels to Denmark and fights the terrible monster Grendel in King Hrothgar’s hall, tearing off its arm. He must then hunt its mother after she attacks the hall in retribution for Beowulf’s mortal wounding of her son. The poem then tells of Beowulf’s successful turn as a king before he is forced to fight a dragon at the end of his life.

The poem is one of the finest epic poems of its kind, the northern equivalent to the Iliad or The Odyssey, and a tale told around fire-sides for centuries.

Beowulf himself is an epic hero, larger than life, with the strength of thirty men and the ability to fight monsters on land and sea with scant weapons or even his bare hands. He sails his ship to wherever there is trouble, leads his band of followers in pursuit of what is right, and busies himself fighting monsters.

Through the poem, we learn of the customs of the Anglo-Saxons, of hospitality and honour, of wide-gabled mead halls and heirloom swords, pattern-welded, bearing ancient names. We learn of the wisdom of kings as gift-givers, and queens as peace-weavers, and how loyalty and bravery are highly prized. It's amazingly atmospheric stuff, and a genuine glimpse into another world.

This is the perfect material for a highly evocative, one-GM, one-Player RPG, exploring the myths of migration-era Europe, and beyond!

We've adapted the 5th edition of the world's most popular roleplaying game to promote exciting choices and a strongly thematic feel. Created by a big chunk of the team who created the award-winning adaptation of The One Ring Roleplaying Game to 5e, you know you're in safe hands. We've taken everything we learned there, and built on it for BEOWULF. 

We've published a series of articles about BEOWULF: Age of Heroes on the Handiwork Games website. If you head here, and click on the tabs you can get a more in-depth run down of how it all works.

We've added a layer of new material onto the basic 5e rules to enable duet play, and to make the game feel like you're the hero in a "dark ages" epic.

First and foremost there's the new Hero class, and six unique subclasses based around attribute scores.

We also have a bunch of setting-specific backgrounds. We've rolled the options that usually come with so-called "race" into backgrounds - all Heroes are humans, and their characteristics don't vary by where they're born.

We have migration era equipment, weapons and armour, which draws on the nature of duet play to introduce some awesome rules features that would be less cool in a multiplayer game. No one wants to spend three-quarters of their game watching other players decide whether to break a shield with their beaked axe, or hook a shield with their winged spear. But with one player? Those kinds of extra tactical choices make for exciting and thematic play!

Another huge innovation we've spent a long time developing (a really long time. It was really hard!) is Followers. Each hero has a band of companions. Each has a selection of gifts and burdens, which they can use before becoming spent. Like Beowulf's band in the poem, they only come into the spotlight when they have something to do, and then retreat again into the background when they've done their part. Followers are a little bit like spells, and you have to choose carefully when to deploy them, and when to hold them back.  

We've expanded on inspiration, providing a pool of tokens, tied to a portent created at the outset of any adventure. This system allots tokens to different pools, making them available to the Hero, their followers, or even to the GM to use. Just like basic 5e, you can still only have inspiration or not - you can't stack the tokens. But there's a reserve there to draw from in times of need! It's this fickle hand of fate that marks out a hero!

Another key element of the BEOWULF is the "defeated" condition. This allows scenarios to set the parameters on when a monster or adversary will no longer fight. Being immune to the condition is what powers most large adversaries, and the hero must find out how to remove that immunity in order to defeat the monster.

This also means not every foe needs to be robbed of all their hit points - some lesser foes will be defeated if their shields are smashed, or their leader is wounded. And inflicting the defeated condition on a giant monster might not involve killing it - a wily Hero might be able to inflict the defeated condition with a riddle, or by using the scenery in a location. Although there's always room for just whacking the heck out of the baddies like Beowulf himself does.

There's also the concept of player journaling. While the DM is busy creating the next adventure, the player can optionally journal the adventures of their followers, and thereby develop their abilities for good and ill! 

BEOWULF: Age of Heroes is both a setting for adventures and a set of additional rules for 5th Edition. It has been created using the Open Game License. To play, you’ll need at minimum the basic rules, which are available free here. We highly recommend ownership of the core rule books for 5th Edition.

BEOWULF is firmly embedded in 5th Edition, and so we can't claim compatibility with "Old School Roleplaying" (OSR) systems. You will of course find a ton of ideas and insights in BEOWULF, but conversion to OSR will take work. 

The Deluxe version of the rulebook has a faux-leather effect cover, embossed with a beautiful piece of iconography. The image above is one of several designs we're working on. It's going to be absolutely gorgeous, and something utterly envy-inducing! We'll only make enough to fulfill the kickstarter, plus a handful of copies for ourselves. We won't make any more after that, so it's guaranteed to be limited in number. 


Handiwork Games was founded in 2019. Owned by Jon Hodgson, former creative director at Cubicle 7. He's joined on the team by Paul Bourne, the super-talented  layout and graphics genius behind The One Ring Roleplaying Game 1st edition. Also on the Handiwork games team is Scott Purdy, who is our in-house artist. Scott has worked for almost every company in the industry!

On the writing and rules development side we have Jacob Rodgers, a veteran of 5e design. David Rea, another 5e expert, has helped out tremendously with the conception of the game and a number of rules sections. 

We are hoping to be joined by further friends should we unlock some stretch goals - we have a selection of diverse names you will doubtless recognise, and some new names we're wanting to help to bring to a wider audience.

All the various rules additions are designed and well tested, which we regard as the majority of the work. The draft of the rulebook itself is currently at 75% written. We have a lot of art already made, and the graphic design/layout template is done.

At this point we're looking for your support to help us concentrate on the final round of writing and art creation.

Our art team and layout team are in-house and full time, and our writers are closely-connected freelancers, with whom we have long-established relationships.

Hopefully the Hermit's Sanctuary adventure (available free here) gives you a good idea of how far progressed we are with BEOWULF: Age of Heroes. 

We undertake to provide shipping at cost, but want to be sure we're not stung by any sudden fluctuations in shipping costs. That protects us, but more importantly you.

We've given ourselves plenty of time to finish the project, and as my other kickstarters hopefully demonstrate, I'm committed to transparent communication, on a regular basis.

Shipping will be EU and US friendly. Most rewards will be shipped in bulk to our partners in the EU (if necessary) and the US, to be sent on to you from there. Some rewards, like the art cards are easier for us to deliver via international mail, and some items will be fulfilled by our suppliers. So we'll do that - but all of that is for us to worry about - we aim to keep it as simple as possible for you.


The era on which this setting focuses is sadly one that has been sporadically co-opted by some deeply unpleasant and unimaginative extremist groups.

And so we have taken some pains to avoid certain symbols that we do feel are now lost to reasonable people.

For example, we have reworked fonts to remove the lightning S. It is simply too distasteful to us. And while migration-era peoples made use of the swastika as a decorative symbol, we certainly will not.

However, we are not content to let this fascinating and engaging period of history and myth be entirely taken over by, and abandoned to, racists.

Where we use the term “Anglo-Saxon” it refers to the varied, historical group of migrants who came to the British Isles in the migration era. It is not intended to refer to, nor is relevant to, any later, outmoded notion of “race”.

(Isn’t it curious how a group of economic/climate migrants, establishing a middle-eastern religion in the British Isles are so beloved by racists?)

We’re also keenly aware that the more we read of history, the more we learn that modern concepts of “race” are heavily informed by historical financial interests that relied on transatlantic slavery.

It is wrong to assume that these views were shared by people in the distant past, and we resoundingly encourage others to read and learn as much as possible about these issues.  Recent works like “Origins of the Anglo-Saxons” by Jean Manco, shine a light on the sheer ridiculousness of modern-day racism.

We intend that a portion of each sale of BEOWULF:Age of Heroes once launched, will be donated to anti-racist causes. 


£1 10 claimed

I Just Want Extras

With this pledge you can choose from Add-Ons/Extras and build your own set of rewards.

Pledge £1
£15 14 claimed

BEOWULF PDF Rulebook

You’ll get the PDF rulebook of BEOWULF: Age of Heroes when it is complete. You'll also get any digital content unlocked. You can also up your pledge to include any add ons you fancy! The PDF will be delivered via DrivethruRPG.

Pledge £15
£30 4 claimed

BEOWULF Miniatures

An Easy way to pledge for just the BEOWULF Miniatures.

Pledge £30
£36 33 claimed

BEOWULF Rulebook + PDF

You’ll get the physical BEOWULF rulebook and the PDF.You will also get any digital content unlocked.You can also add additional funds for any add ons you’d like.
Pledge £36
£75

BEOWULF Retailer

This reward is a bit different — you'll make a minimum deposit of £75 and we'll verify you as a retailer after the campaign. You can then use your deposit (and additional funds) to order copies of the standard rulebook and accessories at a retail-friendly discount.

We will contact you directly to arrange an order and delivery.

Pledge £75
£100 2 claimed

BEOWULF Deluxe Rulebook +PDF

The beautiful deluxe, limited-edition rulebook, and PDF.You will get all the unlocked digital rewards.You can also add additional funds for any add ons you’d like.
Pledge £100
£136 4 claimed

Everything

You'll get the physical rulebook, the PDF, all unlocked digital content and all the accessories: Miniatures Set, STL files, Compass Rose, Inspiration Tokens, Inspiration Pool Mat, Dice Tray, All Rolled Up, and Art Cards. 

Pledge £136
£193

Deluxe Everything

You will get the Deluxe Rulebook, the PDF, any unlocked digital content, plus all the accessories: A Miniatures Set, STL files, Compass Rose, Inspiration Tokens, Inspiration Pool Mat, Dice Tray, All Rolled up and Art Cards. 

Pledge £193
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