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$1,437
pledged of $12,000pledged of $12,000 goal
52
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Mar 22 2019

METAL WORLD: the heavy metal RPG (Canceled)

A heavy metal-themed tabletop roleplaying game

METAL WORLD: the heavy metal RPG (Canceled)

A heavy metal-themed tabletop roleplaying game

$1,437
pledged of $12,000pledged of $12,000 goal
52
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Mar 22 2019

About

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.

Composite sketch of one Angus Mac Chainsaw Hands; subject is currently at large [credit: Shawn Magee]
Composite sketch of one Angus Mac Chainsaw Hands; subject is currently at large [credit: Shawn Magee]

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.

Artist's rendering of a centron [credit: Adrian Day]
Artist's rendering of a centron [credit: Adrian Day]

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.

A glamshee, freshly risen from the grave [credit: D.J. McCullough]
A glamshee, freshly risen from the grave [credit: D.J. McCullough]

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.

Print copies will be via at-cost POD coupon from DriveThruRPG.
Print copies will be via at-cost POD coupon from DriveThruRPG.

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.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1

    Roadie

    This tier is for if you just want to help out by nominally backing METAL WORLD without receiving anything. Sometimes a metal miracle needs a hand!

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Mighty Barbarian

    Once the art's all in and set into the layout, you'll be able to get a PDF copy of METAL WORLD from DriveThruRPG. We'll update the file as typo, layout, and clarity demons present themselves in battle and we slay them mercilessly, but you'll get to adventure in the wild world of Ferra as soon as all the art's in and put into layout!

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    Dwarf with Chainsaw Hands

    Ach!

    At this tier you'll get not only a PDF of METAL WORLD when the layout is finalized, but once we've hunted down and slain the straggler typo and clarity demons in typographical Ragnarok you'll get a coupon for an at-cost print-on-demand copy of METAL WORLD from DriveThruRPG.

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    • Color hardcover
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    Robot Wizard

    You get to insert yourself into one piece of artwork. You'll provide a few reference photos for the artist to work from and they'll work their magic within the overall vision of the piece you get put in. I can try to work with you on figuring out where to fit you in, but it'll **probably** be a "wherever we can put you" kind of thing. Multiple people may be in one illustration depending on art needs, such as a group shot of the MegaDevil and his demons tormenting people.

    You'll also get a PDF and color hardcover.

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    • PDF version
    • Color hardcover
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    Vision Seeker

    You get to provide input on the artistic direction on the illustration of one of the character templates, subject to approval. Essentially, it'll be a police-style lineup of two versions of each template, spread across five pages. You'll also get a PDF and color hardcover.

    It'll be first-come, first-served (with method of determining that TBA) to determine who gets to direct what, so have a few ideas in mind. You'll probably want to have looked over METAL WORLD: The Rough Cut to see what templates exist.

    Note that what The Rough Cut called "lizard man" is now called "reptiloid."

    Includes:
    • Character template illustration concept
    • PDF version
    • Color hardcover
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    Techromancer

    I'll host an online session of METAL WORLD for your play group (up to six people). We'll have to work out scheduling and the art doesn't even have to be done, so the estimated delivery date is pretty much because I have to have something there and it'll bother me if it doesn't match. It could be sooner, it could be later. You also get a PDF and a color hardcover.

    Includes:
    • E-session of METAL WORLD
    • PDF version
    • Color hardcover
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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    Shaman of the Traveler

    I'll come to you and run a session of METAL WORLD in person, even internationally (location subject to approval)! We'll of course have to work out scheduling. As with the e-session, the estimated delivery date is only because I have to have something there. Our schedules will of course determine when it happens and if I have to go international I'll need to get a passport, which I understand takes some time. You'll also get a PDF and color hardcover.

    Note that the cost of this tier DOES NOT include my travel expenses. You and I will need to work out accommodations together.

    Includes:
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    • PDF version
    • Color hardcover
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    Cosmic Oracle

    You'll get a PDF and print copy, PLUS you'll learn the end of METAL WORLD's initial metaplot, at least to the extent it's been nailed down so far. I'll keep you posted on significant changes to the storyline. I'll also run an e-session for you.

    NOTE: This will require signing a nondisclosure agreement.

    Includes:
    • PDF version
    • Color hardcover
    • Endgame reveal
    • E-session of METAL WORLD
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Funding period

- (30 days)