Grading the Mörk Borg System

How Do You Feel About the Mörk Borg System?

  • I love it.

    Votes: 10 13.0%
  • It's pretty good.

    Votes: 9 11.7%
  • It's alright I guess.

    Votes: 6 7.8%
  • It's pretty bad.

    Votes: 2 2.6%
  • I hate it.

    Votes: 2 2.6%
  • I've never played it.

    Votes: 45 58.4%
  • I've never even heard of it.

    Votes: 3 3.9%

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
I have run Mörk Borg a lot and really enjoy it. The mechanics are all player facing and fit on two A5 pages.
Yeah, there's a two page print-out that comes with the Pirate Borg PDFs and those two pages (really four columns across a single landscape print-out) manage to squeeze in an entire column on how to run naval combat. It's a very slim system.

The only thing it really lacks, compared to standard D20, IMO, is meaningful character advancement/creation rules, but you're going to be losing one or more characters in every adventure, so spending an hour building one from scratch would be a terrible waste of time. Much better to quickly generate one, either manually or with the random generation pages that seem to exist for most or all Mork Borg games.
 

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overgeeked

B/X Known World
I will say that, in Pirate Borg at least, the bleakness goes so far around the bend that it comes back around to comedy. If you played the Dark Caribbean straight, it's basically the Cthulhu Mythos endgame, coupled with everyone being coked-up to their eyeballs on the remains of the undead in the ruins of a previous zombie apocalypse.

But in practice, there's slapstick, gross-out horror and more deflating that ton. (I mean, you can play an alcoholic parrot with a pegleg as a PC. There's a lot of humor baked in.)

From what my player has told me, his group plays Mork Borg in a similar fashion. It's cartoon fatalism, not true nihilism.
Exactly. It's a goofy cartoon send up of grimdark. It's so over-the-top you can't take it seriously.
 

Aldarc

Legend
I will say that, in Pirate Borg at least, the bleakness goes so far around the bend that it comes back around to comedy. If you played the Dark Caribbean straight, it's basically the Cthulhu Mythos endgame, coupled with everyone being coked-up to their eyeballs on the remains of the undead in the ruins of a previous zombie apocalypse.

But in practice, there's slapstick, gross-out horror and more deflating that ton. (I mean, you can play an alcoholic parrot with a pegleg as a PC. There's a lot of humor baked in.)

From what my player has told me, his group plays Mork Borg in a similar fashion. It's cartoon fatalism, not true nihilism.
That is good to know, and I appreciate you telling me this. I still don't think that Mork/Pirate Borg is quite my thing. That is more of a personal preference about the tone. Like with video games and board games, not every good game on the market is meant for every person.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
That is good to know, and I appreciate you telling me this. I still don't think that Mork/Pirate Borg is quite my thing. That is more of a personal preference about the tone. Like with video games and board games, not every good game on the market is meant for every person.
I hear you. I had similar concerns about Mork Borg myself and started a thread asking about the tone. But Pirate Borg tempted me and it, at least, is definitely not terribly dark.

It would be extraordinarily easy to not use the Dark Caribbean setting at all and just use it as a ruleset for the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. I think all of the "monsters" from those movies are in the corebook, including the extremely silly* shark skeletons from the fifth PotC movie, which cannot be a coincidence.

As someone who's been looking for years to find a good, non-crunchy system to run fantasy pirate adventures, Pirate Borg hits the mark. The Buried in the Bahamas adventure is basically a riff on a PotC movie: It opens with a battle at sea with undead pirates, moves to a shipwreck on a desert island that's home to a species of nocturnal monster, the crew eventually escapes on a raft attacked by another supernatural monster, and they either head to a den of scum and villainy for more recruits or go straight to an island beset with the undead to plunder a tomb for fabulous treasures. The tone never gets darker than the second PotC movie, unless the referee really works hard to do so.

* Sharks don't have bones and their cartilage without flesh doesn't look anything like what was in that movie. They would be unrecognizably weird if there really were animated cartilage sharks "swimming" around.
 
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I'll give it an "it's pretty good", but this is really mostly on the basis of:
a) the original Mörk Borg, which delighted me with its wild, but skillfully crafted design (with bonus points for having one of the most scary-looking skeletons I have seen in a while)
b) the already mentioned Pirate Borg that IMO adds the right amount of crunch to the rather slim mechanical foundation of the Borg family, and also seemed the most playable to me (among others, the included sandbox scenario is pretty solid)

Aside from these two, I have to say that the novelty of the wild design wore off pretty quickly and that many of the spin-offs and supplements I ready are both a bit too random and bleak for my taste.
 

Mork Borg is very comical as well. Some samples from the character generator I linked to earlier

You pray to Gnost, Queen of Impotence.

Resentful and gullible. Eyelids marked with charcoal, always. You whistle while trying to hide. You will deny this. Whistle when 5, 7, 9, 11, or 13 is rolled on a d20.

Hegelian Owl

This philosophical beast is a bitter, reluctant and hypersensitive assistant — persuaded with a DR12 Presence test. After two acts of aid it regards you with mute contempt.

Endlessly aggravated and pedantic. Corpulent, ravenous, drooling. Snores like a dreaming troll. Others must test Toughness to sleep.

A nihilist. You insist on telling everyone you are a nihilist and explaining why.

Do these bits of game design fit together perfectly? No. They may or may not come into play, and they are grimly silly. But I've found they are perfect keys to getting into a randomly generated character for a one shot, especially one that might not live that long.
 

Weiley31

Legend
I like how the basic skeleton of the system itself ALLOWS you to pretty much jack stuff from its various 3PP books/settings and pretty much import them over. And it will still pretty much work/give you more options that you can add to your Insert Borg games. And even then, you can pretty much choose what to use and cut out what you don't want/need. So you can make it as much rules-lite(or not) as you want.
 

Weiley31

Legend
The system itself is fantastic. My favorite iteration is Pirate Borg. This game is head-and-shoulders above the rest of the Borg family as far as I'm concerned.

Cy_Borg, which sounds like a great Matrix-style deconstruction of the genre.

the already mentioned Pirate Borg that IMO adds the right amount of crunch to the rather slim mechanical foundation of the Borg family, and also seemed the most playable to me (among others, the included sandbox scenario is pretty solid)
According to a number of people, Pirate Borg and Cy-Borg are perhaps the two versions of the Borg system that feel the most completed/like a whole thing compared to the skeleton basis frame of Mork Borg itself.
 



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