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Compatible with MÖRK BORG
Resources for making things dark, depressing, and weird
With the release of the MÖRKTOBER prompts, I thought a MÖRK BORG third-party content resource might be helpful!
Comment with any other tips or resources you think should be included!
MÖRK BORG (“dark castle” in Swedish) is a dark fantasy tabletop roleplaying game by Pelle Nilsson and Johan Nohr, published by Free League:
MÖRK BORG is a pitch-black apocalyptic fantasy RPG about lost souls and fools seeking redemption, forgiveness or the last remaining riches in a bleak and decaying world. Who are you? The tomb-robber with silver glittering between cracked fingernails? The mystic who would bend the world’s heart away from its inevitable end? The world is dying. And you with it.
Some of the key mechanical features:
Four stats called Abilities: Agility, Presence, Strength, Toughness
Tests performed with d20 + Ability vs. a Difficulty Rating (DR).
Magic in the the form of Scrolls with limited uses per day.
Combat using DR tests; critical hits on natural 20.
Three Armor Tiers: Light (d2), Medium (d4), and Heavy (d6)
Death is quick in this OSR style roleplaying game. Have a backup character ready.
The book contains all the rules and an intro adventure called Rotblack Sludge. It’s a work of art, horrible beauty, and experimental design.
If you’d like a plain text version, the Bare Bones Edition has almost no art, but still includes everything you need to play the game. And it’s free!
The MÖRK BORG Third-Party License has ten basic rules cover Content, Branding, and Legal requirements. Read the whole thing.
The key legal requirement is to include the following text somewhere visible in your publication and on the website or storefront where you promote the product:
[Product name] is an independent production by [Author or Publisher] and is not affiliated with Ockult Örtmästare Games or Stockholm Kartell. It is published under the MÖRK BORG Third Party License. MÖRK BORG is copyright Ockult Örtmästare Games and Stockholm Kartell.
You are allowed and encouraged (but not required) to use the MÖRK BORG compatibility logo on your product.
For a more detailed discussion of using the third-party license, read The Mörk Borg Third-Party License & You published by Liber Ludorum.
Art & Design
Johan Nohr’s design work for MÖRK BORG set the standard for third-party content: blackletter fonts, text at strange angles, woodcut art, and splashes of yellow and pink. See also: What makes a MÖRK BORG module good?
Some resources to get you started:
MÖRK BORG Design Primer: Hex and CMYK values for the signature yellow and pink, suggested typefaces, links to art resources, and software suggestions.
9 Public Domain Art Resources: A few of my favorite resources and some tips, previously featured on Skeleton Code Machine.
I am not paying Nohr for the cover art: A large collection of links and resources for art, each with a helpful pro/con summary.
How to photobash art for your zines: Chaoclypse has great video tutorials, but this one stands out. I’ve seen some impressive results using this method.
Studying the art of MÖRK BORG & Johan Nohr: Another video from Chaoclypse, this time dissecting the art of MÖRK BORG.
TTRPG Art Asset Jam: Many of the 70 jam submissions are available for commercial use, and would fit with a MÖRK BORG theme.
Rabbits & Demons: My own collection of woodcut tracings, available for use.
MÖRK BORG Color Palette: There’s a three color MÖRK BORG color palette, giving you rich black, yellow, and pink.
The Met and Rijksmuseum are the primary sources for the public domain art I use, especially Albrecht Dürer’s stuff. The art available to Perplexing Ruins patrons also fits well (e.g. Invitation to a Dark Masquerade).
Clicking on generators can be a good way to get over some writer’s block or get some ideas going:
SCVMBIRTHER: One-click NPC generator using core rule content or (optionally) MBC content.
DNGNGEN: A quick dungeon concept generator that will give you a title, dangers, inhabitants, a plot hook, and a few rooms.
SCVMATORIUM: A third-party character generator for MÖRK BORG that uses only unofficial content.
The Monster Approaches: Generates short descriptions of horrible monsters with MÖRK BORG stats.
One Page Dungeon: Instantly make a dungeon with rooms and points of interest.
Denizens of a Dying World: Another character generator, with bit of background information and stats.
Mass of Skin: It might hint at the lifespan of a MÖRK BORG character that this generator allows you to make a hundred at a time.
Settlements of the Damned: A Perchance generator for town names with brief descriptions.
If you want to browse for inspiration, start here:
Johan & Pelle’s MÖRK BORG Inspiration Board: A Pinterest board of inspiration for the “pitch-black doomsday fantasy” of MÖRK BORG.
Glumdark: Supplies “random tables of the macabre and mundane” for dark fantasy settings that fit right into the MÖRK BORG world.
Also check out the Inspiration category of channels on the Discord server below.
Here’s where to find other creators and players:
Discord: Has a #general-morky-borky channel as well as ones for everything else, including CY_BORG. There’s even a #MÖRKTOBER channel!
Reddit: I’ve found r/MorkBorg to be a nice mix of inspiration posts, new third-party content, and discussion.
I’m not as active on Facebook, but there are quite a few MÖRK BORG groups over there as well.
MÖRKTOBER began as a personal challenge, trying to make something for MÖRK BORG every day of October. Inspired by similar prompt activities (e.g. Swordtember), I wanted something that could get me in the habit of being creative.
It turned out that many people wanted to do the same! So each day in October, make something for MÖRK BORG inspired by the prompt list and share it: an item, scroll, weapon, class, dungeon room, or anything else. Tag it #MÖRKTOBER.
This year’s prompts were released as a preview last week, but there’s no rush. MÖRKTOBER starts October 1 and runs through October 31.
Some things to think about:
Use the third-party license: The MÖRK BORG core rules can fit onto a single page, and (in general) just a small license blurb is required in the project.
Free resources are available: Using public domain art, free versions of rules, and open fonts can allow you to be creative at minimal cost.
Monthly prompt challenges can be fun: Participating in a month of creativity was energizing. I improved my workflow, found new resources, and felt better about creating than I did at the beginning. It’s worth a try!
Thanks toof Shouting Crow for suggesting this topic!
Are you planning to make things for MÖRKTOBER this year? What are you favorite resources to share? Any tips for people who are new to MÖRK BORG?
See you next week!
— E.P. 💀
🍄 P.S. I’ve made some MÖRK BORG things you should check out.
🎲 Micro-game: Roll 3d6. If the sum is less than 20, you should subscribe to Skeleton Code Machine (free!) to receive new posts about tabletop games every week! 🐍