Mörk Borg (2019)

This is Mörk Borg (2019), by Pelle Nilsson, with illustration and layout by Johan Nohr. It purports to be doom metal album of a game and I’d say that is a pretty accurate description.

The world is ending, which on the one hand is good, because it is an awful place, but on the other hand is bad, because you live there. Mörk Borg (Dark Fort in English) is sort of about what you do in the last days – speed them up, try to stop them, or just try to get rich and enjoy yourself before the lights go out. This is facilitated by an atmosphere rich, rules light system of the extremely stripped down D&D variety.

The setting, naturally, is very dark. A Mörk Borg campaign lasts only as long as it takes for seven prophecies to come true, at which point the world ends (and you are encouraged to burn the book, which, not happening). The world is awful. Nothing worth saving. Filling with horrors, primary among which are a pair of two-headed basilisks that are marching the world to its end. Everything is blackened. I want to play because I want to see what it would be like to welcome the apocalypse, because that really does seem to be the only sensible option. So inevitable is this that the game is pretty wishy washy about whether you should even bother to name your character. I’ve not encountered a game quite so delighted at its own nihilism.

Which is not to say this is a joyless affair. The book itself is sublime. The layout and design work is…aggressive. Every spread is visually rich, with chaotic font choices and gnarly art. Even the ribbon book mark has text. It feels good to hold. The cover is debossed and I find that I want to trace the contour of that screaming creep on there with my finger. There are mirrors and different types of paper. It is an intense book on the physical level, beautifully ugly. They had a ton of fun putting this together and you can tell.

How sturdy is all this in terms of playing? Hard to say. Honestly, I am not sure that is the point. It is well worth beholding – at the very least, there is plenty of material for you to repurpose. Hits stores February 28!

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