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By Jabberwocky Media
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About this project

Barbarians of Heavy Metal (BoHM) is a Table-Top Roleplaying game set in the post-apocalyptic 31st century where sonic technology and centuries of warfare have created the Metalsphere: a series of interstellar feudal empires based around the veneration of the Rocktagon: the Eight Great Schools of Rock.

Players take on the role of Metalheads, knights of the 31st century who roam the Metalsphere in pursuit of fame and glory. They are sonic warrior-wizards who possess  rare and powerful Superstring Manipulators, sonic weaponry in the shape of musical instruments that can vibrate the underlying structure of the universe, bending it to the whim of the virtuoso musician.

The most elite Metalheads are granted the privilege of 'Riding the Heavy Metal': Titans! These giant robot combat vehicles tower over the battlefield and possess the power of an entire tank battalion. The nobility of headbanger society, those who possess these massive behemoths are, by definition, more metal than everyone else: the rock stars idolized by a society of rock stars.

BoHM is a conversion of the very popular BoX system found in Barbarians of Lemuria by Simon Washbourne. It is a simple game with a lot of variety in character and adventure types. You can be a wandering Sonic Warrior, a Titan Rider, a Soldier, Groupie (31st century courtesans), Manager (the officers of the 31st century), Space Cowboy, Warp Rider, Inquisitor or any mix of 28 different careers. Add to that 8 attributes, eight different Schools of Rock and a wide variety of musical instruments to specialize in and equipment to outfit yourself with, and you open up a universe of possibilities.

BoHM also adds new rules systems for using music as a tool and a weapon. Metalheads can win fame and fortune by playing to crowds and dueling with other Metalheads (which can be lethal with the safeties off). There are also rules for the sonic manipulation of reality: create a musical shield around your band; summon flames in the shape of ravening dogs and send them after your opponents; or drop the equivalent of a small nuke in the center of a battlefield. Your only limits are your virtuosity, the size and virtuosity of your band and time to play out the complex songs necessary to warp reality to your will.

BoHM will also introduce rules for Giant Robot Combat into the BoX system. Create your own custom death machine with a plethora of system and weapon load outs. You can even arm them with a massive superstring manipulator, turning them into towering Gods of Rock who can destroy everything around them with sonic wizardry. Add in heavy armored vehicles, Aerospace fighter-craft, orbital bombardments from Warp Ships and the odd infantry platoon, and you've got yourself the tools for battles on a massive scale.

Visit the Barbarians of Heavy Metal Design Diaries to find out more about the evolution of the game from initial concepts to the current state of play.


What will  set BoHM apart from other RPGs is that it will usher in a new paradigm in RPG publishing. While we will be doing a print version of the game, we are also going to be releasing it as a Digital Boxed Set. What, exactly, is that?

Back in the day, RPGs used to come in boxed sets that included everything you needed to play the game. D&D, Top secret, Star Frontiers, you name it, the typical RPG came with a book for the players that contained the basic rules, a GM guide with all the tools necessary to create adventures, a full starter adventure, dice, character sheets, and sometimes paper miniatures or even an entire wargame, as was the case for the Star Trek Deluxe Set. A few modern games embrace this 'play it right out of the box' mentality (including one the designer of BoHM has worked extensively on, Doctor Who: Adventures in Time & Space) but most rely on selling you an individual book (followed by a series of splatbooks) and then expect you to go around gathering up everything you need on your own.

BoHM is going back to that Boxed Set mentality, but we're taking advantage of modern mobile technology to make that boxed set digital. The BoHM app will contain everything you need to play the game, from rules to character generators, to GM tools and even a map based wargaming function for playing out battles, all in one easy to use package.

No more carrying around a backpack full of books, a bag full of dice, a case full of minis and a bottle of ibuprofen for your strained back. No more dice rolling off the table, or being limited to a room with a big enough table (or computer access) to run the game. You will be able to take BoHM and play it anywhere: in your living room sitting in comfy chairs; in the park on a blanket in the grass; or even on the road to your favorite gaming convention (NOTE: we do not suggest that the driver attempt use a tablet while driving. That's not metal, that's just stupid).

Initially, we will be programming the App for Android based tablets, with an eye towards developing for other platforms in the future. If we reach our first Stretch Goal, however, we will immediately begin programming it in for iPads, to be released at the same time as the Android version.Check out some screen shots of the app interface, below:

Character Generation Panel
Character Generation Panel
Action Panel: Where the game is largely played...
Action Panel: Where the game is largely played...
Music Screen - Headcutting: For musically dueling Metalheads...
Music Screen - Headcutting: For musically dueling Metalheads...

While BoHM is striving to start a digital revolution in RPG publishing, we also love a good book. The feel of it, the smell of one being opened for the first time, and all the great art that serves to build the world and inspire us to play in it. As such, we are doing Print and PDF versions of the book as well.

As BoHM is really our love letter to the gaming and music of our youth, we are partnering with an industry legend from that period, Jeff Laubenstein, to bring the Metalphere of the 31st century to life. Jeff has defined the look and feel of many famous game worlds from the eighties, nineties, right up to the modern day, including Battletech, Shadowrun, Earthdawn and Magic: the Gathering.

We are extremely proud to have Jeff on board. Here are just a few examples of his genre defining work (you can find more here):

At the Groupie Level, you will receive a Backstage Pass to the play-testing process and be able to lend your voice to the product. As a thank you for your service, you will receive a text only PDF of the rules. You won't get the art or any sort of fancy-schmancy layout, but you will get the full rules.

The Headbanger level is the electronic game level. You will receive a Backstage Pass as well as your choice of either the Full Game App, or, for those who don't have a compatible tablet, a PDF of the fully realized rulebook. Everything you to adventure in the Metalsphere.

UPDATED REWARD! BoHM UNPLUGGED! By popular demand, we have created this special level for those of you who are really old school and want a solo 'acoustic' set of BoHM! No electronic versions, no swag, just a single copy of the softcover rulebook.

UPDATED REWARD! BotA BONUS! Everyone who pledges at the $30 or higher level will also receive a free PDF of Barbarians of the Aftermath, our post-apocalyptic supplement for the Barbarians of Lemuria game!

Metalheads score a copy of the Barbarians of Heavy Metal: Rocktagon game soundtrack in addition to the rewards listed above. This is a set of 8 MP3s, one song for each School of Music on the Rocktagon.

Metalmasters get to show off their Metalocity by donning an official Barbarians of Heavy Metal T-Shirt, emblazoned with our logo. All we need from you is a $45 pledge and your shirt size. One color fits all: black as the blackity-black of a black hole.

Metal Lords are graced with an App, a PDF AND a softcover print copy of the full 160 page rulebook, illustrated by Jeff Laubenstien, with layout and graphic design by the man who brought you Barbarians of the Aftermath, Doctor Who: the Eleventh Doctor Edition and the Time Traveller's Companion. My Lords will also be privileged to have access to Stretch Goal number 2, should it be reached.

Legends of Rock can keep their heads warm and their eyes shaded with this totally metal BoHM ball cap embroidered with the icon of the School of Rock you bear allegiance to. You also gain access to two more Stretch Goals, numbers 3 & 4.

All hail the Ayatollah of Rock & Rolla and his massive haul of metal swag! Multiply Stretch Goal 2 eight times, as you will be the proud owner of one set of Rock & Rollers for each School on the Rocktagon. You will also receive every stretch goal that comes up over the course of this Kickstarter. 

GO GO ROCKZILLA!!! You are to be immortalized  as an iconic character in the game. Working with the game designer, you will create a character who epitomizes one of the schools of the Rocktagon (1 per School, first come, first serve), and a vehicle for that character, using the BoHM rules. Your face and description will then be used to create a custom illustration by Jeff that will then grace the pages of the main rulebook. Finally, you will receive a signed print of your character suitable for framing.

You have reached the pinnacle of Rock Godhood and will be canonized as a Lesser Saint of Rock & Roll, with an entire house devoted to your name in one region of the Metalsphere (1 per School, first come first serve). You will work with the designer and the artist to create an illustration and special rules for those who follow your Saint in the main rulebook.

UPDATE!!! NEW REWARD UPGRADES!!!

Due to popular request, we a re offering the following optional upgrades for every level!

+$20 - Upgrade your BoHM Softcover Book to a Hardcover!

+$20 - Add a BoHM Metalmaster Screen to any level, including a 32-page adventure module: War Pigs!

+$20 - Sinners & Saints: a limited, Kickstarter only set of prints featuring the 8 Patron Saints of Rock and 8 Iconic Characters from each school, numbered and signed by Jeff Laubenstein and packaged in an illustrated envelope.

Should we exceed our initial funding goal, you can look forward to the following:

All international orders will be charged shipping based upon the level of Reward chosen. Items will be sent as cheaply as possible, but if you really want it the next day and in a lead lined box, let us known and, if you're willing to spend the extra the money, we'll work something out.

Risks and challenges

The game design is currently underway for a late August playtest and the app is being programmed as we speak. Art is being created (you will see some art samples popping up over the life of the Kickstarter) and layout will begin in October. Both the app and the print book should be ready for distribution in April of 2014, a full three months before the game is debuted at Gencon.. The Mothership Connection expansion will follow shortly thereafter, both for the App and as a softcover splatbook, other rewards will be shipped with the core rules.

Obviously, things happen, but we are determined to finish this project and avoid financial hassles, and we are doing that by portioning out funds as work is completed, so we can absorb personnel upheavals and other financial problems. Angelo Lombardi, one of the co-owners of Jabberwocky Media, is a seasoned businessman who runs a multi-million dollar corporation when he's not working on games so your money will be used responsibly.

Delivery dates may slip, that is always on the cards when you're talking about print production and software programming, but we at Jabberwocky Media promise to keep you informed of delays and insure you know exactly where we are in the development process at any time.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    • GROUPIE •
    Due to your most excellent support, you are granted backstage access to the playtest and a text version of the final rules when they are completed. (all levels above Groupie gain access to the playtest, as well).

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    • HEADBANGER! •

    Set yourself apart from the average fan. Score your choice of either the BoHM App or a PDF copy of the rulebook. Add $15 if you want both.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    • METALHEAD!!•

    Arise Sir Headbanger! In addition to the rewards of the Headbanger Level, you are going to score a copy of the Barbarians of Heavy Metal Soundtrack!

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    •BOHM UNPLUGGED• By popular demand, we have created this special level for those of you who are really old school and want a solo 'acoustic' set of BoHM! No electronic versions, no swag, just a single copy of the softcover rulebook.

    Those who want the PDF as well, add $5.

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    •METAL MASTER!!!•
    Score the Metalhead rewards while showing everyone your superior Metalocity in a BoHM T-Shirt.

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    •METAL LORD•
    You are the definition of Metal! You score a Backstage Pass, a copy of the App, the rulebook PDF, a BoHM T-Shirt, and a Softcover copy of the BoHM Rulebook, which will bear your name in the credits. You also gain access to Stretch Goal 2 once it is reached.

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    Pledge $120 or more About $120

    •LEGEND OF ROCK•
    You've seen a million faces and rocked them all! Besides the full rewards of a Metal Lord, you gain a BoHM Hat featuring the symbol of your preferred School of Rock, and access to Stretch Goals 3 and 4.

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    Pledge $240 or more About $240

    •AYATOLLAH OF ROCK & ROLLA!•
    No mere mortal can question your far-reaching authority and supreme Metalocity! You get a copy of the App, the rulebook PDF, the Softcover Rulebook, a BoHM T-Shirt, a BoHM Hat, access to all Stretch Goals and, should Stretch Goal 2 be met, you will receive 1 set of BoHM dice for each School of Rock.

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    Pledge $600 or more About $600

    •ROCKZILLA•
    Your ability to rock transcends mere mortal metalocity and is a powerful force of nature against which all resistance is futile! Besides the mere mortal rewards of an Ayatollah of Rock & Rolla, you get to immortalize yourself as an Iconic Metalhead from one of the eight Schools of Rock. The game designer will work with you to create a custom character and vehicle which will then be illustrated by Jeff Laubenstein You will receive a signed copy of the rendition of your character and vehicle as well as a custom T-Shirt depicting them. Only 1 per school. First come, first serve.

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    Pledge $900 or more About $900

    •GOD OF THUNDER AND ROCK & ROLL•
    You have taken your place amongst the Saints of the Metalsphere! Besides the mere mortal rewards of an Ayatollah of Rock & Rolla, the game designer will enshrine you as a lesser Saint within one of the Eight Schools of Rock, with an entire House or Rock devoted to you in the game. You receive a signed copy of the artist's rendition of your Saint, as well as a custom T-Shirt commemorating your Sainthood. Only 1 per School. First come, first serve.

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Funding period

- (30 days)