This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Mon, April 15 2019 5:00 PM UTC +00:00.
METAL WORLD (properly written in all caps) is a tabletop RPG that's basically what you'd get if Ronnie James Dio had written Dungeons & Dragons and if Mister Torgue from Borderlands ran it. Inspired by classic fantasy and sci-fi artists— the aforementioned Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell, Frank Frazetta, etc.— as well as a desire to be as metal as humanly possible in the spirit of the inspiring image, METAL WORLD determines if something belongs in it by establishing a world where it doesn't have to make sense; it just has to be awesome. At the same time, the book is written in such a way as to be an enjoyable read as well as an enjoyable game, which means a fair amount of humor as well.
This is a world with seven Atlantises. There's a demon-possessed lawman who rides a rocket-powered robot horse. An undead ship sails the seas, killing sailors to assimilate into itself. The MegaDevil rules Hell, which in Ferra (the name of METAL WORLD's planet) is— in addition to an afterlife— also a continent you can go to just like Walmart or the DMV, but probably with less suffering on your part. The most awesome part? There's a volcano made of dragons.
You can find all sorts of elements in Ferra ranging from pseudo-medieval fantasy all the way to dystopian cyberpunk. It all coexists to the point where you can have a modern-day office building within sight of some barbarian's hovel while the futuristic assassin droid LD-50 tries to poison said barbarian's wine. A robot wizard can go adventuring with a 'shroom-chomping shaman and a mad scientist gnome. Fitting the breadth of heavy metal as a genre, the only restriction on what you can do is the tone of game you feel like running.
METAL WORLD uses its own original system. I've tried to keep it stripped-down and simple so that you don't need to worry about the narrative without having to bog yourself down with tedious minutiae like "Can I kill this thing and move in the same round?" and "Wait, I need to make sure I buy a lantern and some oil!" while you instead concern yourself with the most insane way you can kill that centron that's thundering at you.
There are five main stats:
- Death — health and hardiness
- Power — physical strength and force of presence
- Prog — mental ability and awareness
- Speed — coordination and general movement
- Thrash — combat ability
You have the gear your character concept would reasonably have. Add your Good Things (advantages), Bad Things (disadvantages), and skills to flesh out your metalhead. You can apply a template (the METAL WORLD equivalent of a race) like dwarf, cyborg, undead, ge-nome, or graveborn to spice up your character a bit if you like. Then you're ready to go forth and create some meaty and/or explosive sound effects! Oh: everyone gets the Rock skill for free. This is metal, after all!
Many concerns tend to get abstracted to be easily dealt with if they don't get flat-out ignored or handwaved, such as travel times. The primary metric in METAL WORLD is "As _____ [far, heavy, etc.] as it needs to be." The whole idea is that the system gets out of your way as much as possible so you can have the kind of experience and tell the kind of story you want, whether it's a power metal-style quest of high heroism played completely straight, a fraught-with-danger-and-darkness doom metal-style affair, or even Metalocalypse- or GWAR-style parody.
I GMed at a local con for— among others there— a 12-year-old kid who'd never done any roleplaying before. When he and his uncle got to spend Metal points to pull the arms off an evil dwarf before finishing him off by putting a sword through his face and giving him a good low boot, the kid jumped up and down with excitement, declaring that he needed to use the bathroom before we did any more or else… well, let's just say he was really pumped. :)
I've also appeared on some podcasts, namely Bonus Experience, Havoc Cast, and Strange Murmurings. I ran the latter two through real play (starting at approximately 44:30 in Strange Murmurings) and everyone had a good impression, as you can hear. I've also had interviews posted on Thoughty and Games, Brrraaains, & a Head-Banging Life.
Here's what some people have said about METAL WORLD:
- "[METAL WORLD] reads like it was written by a madman with a law degree." — a playtester from Florida, United States
- "METAL WORLD is an exciting dive into lurid fantastic adventure! Taking the works of the likes of Boris Vallejo & Julie Bell and making them a roleplaying experience is worth the time, and METAL WORLD does it with bulging muscles and red and orange sunsets abound." — Brie Beau Sheldon of Thoughty
- "Bypass the difficulty of a heavy metal tabletop reskin for D&D or Pathfinder that sinks the campaign before it even starts. Just play a canny system lovingly built for the explicit purpose of thrashing through a heavy metal fantasy world." — BearEclair of Strange Gods podcast
- "Whats better than METAL? An entire METAL WORLD! The creative use of imagery and terminology of different genres of metal is brilliant, and creates a setting that is unique and fun. At times dark and at times hilarious, it will have you rocking out as you adventure through your favorite metal landscapes. Break out your finest studded leather, strap on your axe and face the music. METAL WORLD is an awesome game! I give it two devil horns up!" — Dan Gomez, The Lonely Havoc
- "The worlds of Heavy Metal and tabletop roleplaying have always bled into one another. METAL WORLD removes any doubt that they are in fact one and the same. Whether you are old school or just beginning, METAL WORLD is a great way to put two of your favorites together, and get to what is important instead of other overly complicated systems. Just remember to follow the rules... Heavy Metal Rules!" — BusPass of GhettoRadio.us
I've got METAL WORLD written and I've got the layout done, both pending any revisions. I've had METAL WORLD: The Rough Cut up on DriveThruRPG as a pay-what-you-want preview edition with placeholder art (the cover and page border mock-ups as well as the logo concept are my own "art") since last Halloween so people can know more or less what they'd be getting with the final product of METAL WORLD as a game. However, there are some things I outright suck at and art is one of those.
That's where Kickstarter comes in. I want to have a wide variety of artistic styles like old-school Magic: the Gathering did and this will let me deliver on that vision. I need to be able to pay talented artists who can take the wild concepts I've come up with and turn them into things you'd actually want to look at. I mean, I can describe a volcano made of dragons all day long, but it's another thing entirely for you to see a volcano made of dragons. In fact, I have my good friend— and Star Wars artist!— Fredd Gorham on deck to do a fully-painted cover prominently featuring the Dracano as well as some internal illustrations. I've been building artist contacts to prepare for showing off METAL WORLD in all its mad, raging splendor.
It's the visuals that will make METAL WORLD really come to life and there's no way I can pay for all that I need without crowdfunding— not without doing it slowly over a decade or so, at least, so the more funding I get the better I can make it look.
For every $2,000 above the goal (up to 200% funded) I'll add four entries or four pages— whichever I hit first on a given stretch— to Chapter 666: The Number of the Bestiary. If the campaign hits $25,000, I'll add in an appendix called The Liner Notes, annotating the jokes and references in METAL WORLD, of which there are many. Further stretch goals will be announced as the campaign hits that milestone and others.
Risks and challenges
Again, I've got it written, I can do the layout myself and have in fact pretty much already completed it. I just need to fill in the placeholders with real art, which I already have space for blocked out. The only major limit, then, will be how long it takes to get all the artwork in, the final editing and proofing done, and so forth. About the only risks that come to mind are hangups in acquiring art.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter