Friday, August 28, 2020

Mörk Borg and I

I played my first session of Mörk Borg this week and enjoyed myself greatly. I played Prince Hirmot, of the southern empire of Südglans, now unfortunately sunken beneath the sea. Hirmot awakened to discover himself trapped inside a pitch black catacomb after having been kidnapped by persons unknown. He was bereft of his possession and, more importantly, his companion, Albrecht, who, as he kept explaining to anyone he met, "had been with me since boyhood – my one true friend." Albrecht is a human skull and not of the talking variety, at least so far as anyone else knows. Nevertheless, Hirmot was quite distressed to find Albrecht missing. 

I generated Hirmot using SCVMBIRTHER, an online tool for just this purpose. Consequently, I went into the session (refereed by Necropraxis) without much sense of Hirmot's personality beyond what the random generator provided. The notion that he is, or rather was, a prince owed to a combination of the fact that he belonged to the optional class of Wretched Royalty and that, when he first awoke, he discovered another person was in the same chamber, one who contemptuously addressed him as "princeling." The other person turned out to be a Heretical Priest of a goddess whom he called Thel-Emas.

The pair then formed an alliance to escape from the catacombs, exploring it and looking for a way out. Along the way, we found a pot from which emanated a small voice claiming to be "the genius of the pit" and vowing to help us if Hirmot let him out of the pot by means of an invocation involving a small amount of blood. Hirmot complied, but soon discovered that the genius that emerged – a strange being with a variable appearance – was not nearly as powerful as he had implied. The genius alleged that his weakness was due to his regalia having been taken from him. If Hirmot helped him find the regalia, his full powers would be awakened and he could be of greater help.

After wandering the catacombs for some time and encountering some strange sights, as well as a brief combat with some blindfolded priestesses, Hirmot and the priest recovered their lost possessions – including Albrecht. More poking around led them to the surface, where our first session ended. It was at that point that the referee determined which Misery will next befall the world: "And the earth shall shake and be riven. And from the cracks shall rise a poisonous mist, and in ten days it will shroud the world." Play will resume next week with additional players (several had to cancel at the last minute, unfortunately).

An outsider reading this will no doubt wonder what the big deal is and why it was that Mörk Borg so captured my imagination, since little or nothing that I described above couldn't have happened in any fantasy roleplaying game. That's absolutely true and somewhat beside the point. The truth is that what so impressed me about Mörk Borg is that it's clearly the product of a particular vision, unconcerned with pleasing anyone but the creators themselves. While beautiful and well made, Mörk Borg isn't slick or polished in a way calculated to appeal to the largest number of gamers. Instead, it's a work of palpable passion and fury and that comes through on every page. I found this infectious and inspiring and that is why I love this game.  


  1. Fuck yeah, James! Glad to see you blogging.

  2. Welcome back! And yes this game is awesome, just got my copy as well.