An Honest Review: MÖRK BORG

MÖRK BORG is quite a unique and intriguing addition to the tabletop role-playing game (TTRPG) scene. It’s known for its grim and dark aesthetic, which sets it apart from more traditional fantasy RPGs. Here are some of the points I found while reading it and trying it out at my table:

Art and Aesthetic

MÖRK BORG‘s art style is absolutely stunning. The dark, almost psychedelic illustrations create a haunting atmosphere that’s perfect for a grimdark campaign. The book itself is a work of art, with its unusual shape and layout. While stunning to look at, the book is virtually unusable as designed. It is so artistic that you must first interpret the will of the book before being able to make any meaningful use of it.

Rules Simplicity

It’s a TTRPG that doesn’t overwhelm you with rules. If you and your players are looking for something rules-light and fast-paced, MÖRK BORG delivers. The system can be easy to pick up, if you can get past the design of the book making it difficult to discern where to start. I would recommend grabbing the artless Bare Bone Edition online, even if you own the book.

Setting

The world of MÖRK BORG is bleak, strange, and full of bizarre creatures. It’s not your typical high-fantasy setting. Then again, I don’t think we see anything here that isn’t done better elsewhere. It’s like a an attempt to win edge-lord RPG contest, with baby killing and cannibalism thrown in to shock rather than any meaningful purpose. Games Workshop has done darker, if not as simple.

Themes

This game is not for the faint of heart. It embraces themes of death, decay, and despair. If your group enjoys exploring the darker aspects of storytelling, this could be a great fit. If not, the is an impossible sell as the book almost exclusively dresses the game in this type of thing.

Modules

MÖRK BORG offers a large amount of modules and supplements and some are highly imaginative and well-crafted. They are filled with inspiration and tools often more than actual campaign guidance.

Community

The MÖRK BORG community is active and passionate. There are plenty of resources and fan-made content available online, which can enhance your gaming experience.

Accessibility

The dark and surreal aesthetic might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Some players and GMs might find it too grim or confusing.

Lack of Depth

While the simplicity of the rules is a pro, it can also be a con for those looking for more mechanical depth and complexity in their TTRPGs. This is especially true for players who want to have any power or agency at all, as the game largely leaves them very weak initially with only meager gains through progression.

Swinginess

Our experience with this game was all over the map. Because it relies on a d20 to resolve every roll can be any value, this often meant that the players failed many things in a row. Because all rolls are player facing, and failing to attack an enemy can mean the enemy hitting you, this gives the effect of the game seemingly deadly in a silly way. The default difficulties and combat rules as written did not seem to be very engaging for my players.

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