Ascend into an avatar of violent chords and righteous solos in Gods of Metal: Ragnarock, a new tabletop RPG from Hunters Entertainment, publisher of Kids on Bikes and Alice is Missing, that glorifies the emotion and aesthetic of heavy metal music in as many of its elements as possible.
Developed by Ivan van Norman, Gods of Metal: Ragnarock uses a d4 system of skills and abilities that girds a foundation of collaborative storytelling and combat mechanics. Players embody normal people from the plane of Mundania - which sounds an awful lot like our planet - until they are plucked from this existence by the eponymous Gods of Metal and forged into something much more befitting the wicked and awesome music in their souls. These avatars exist in service to one of the several patron gods of Ragnarock and battle against demons, liches and even other avatars in an attempt to stave off The Silence.
Character creation eschews race altogether, and classes have been rebranded as Positions in your party’s Band, such as Chordmaster, Blüdgaard, or Amplord. Ragnarock persists in a state of constant turmoil - or at least raucous partying - so much of the game consists of combat encounters where the members of the Band are encouraged to work collaboratively. This is helped by a mechanic that pools successful rolls of four, called tributes, in a shared resource that any Position may draw upon to unleash their sonic fury. Understanding each other’s capabilities and when best to give someone a solo is key to coming out alive.
Both successes and failures cascade into each other, either giving the players or the GM narrative fiat to bend the course of events to their respective will. Failure also harms the player avatars as Feedback - earn enough and your soul is sent back to the land of bills and day jobs until the gods see fit to restore your ascendant form.
Reading through the campaign gives the impression that van Norman and the team at Hunters Entertainment hold heavy metal in fairly high esteem but understand that the culture and style is wonderfully melodramatic. Everything in Gods of Metal: Ragnarock has been (if you’ll excuse the Spinal Tap reference) turned up to 11, from the style to the menagerie of horrors to the description of weapons and environments. This is a game for indulging in all the sketchbook daydreams and band symbols carved into your high school desk but doesn’t seem to slip off into pure parody.
The Kickstarter for Gods of Metal: Ragnarock includes plenty of accoutrements to go along with the core rule, which prints with everything needed for a group to begin wreaking havoc. The vinyl album, with songs from Motörhead, Fozzy, Gygax and more, doubles as the GM screen and features a three-panel splash art of the realm of Ragnarock.
Gods of Metal managed to surpass its crowdfunding goal of $20,000 in less than five hours and will continue to accept backer donations through February 22nd. Those interested can grab a digital copy of the core rulebook for $20 (£14.60). The physical edition starts at $50 (£36.50), with options to upgrade or add luxury items including metal dice, miniatures and more.