Long after the Halloween when I had the privilege of Game Moderating the grimdark OSR Mork Borg tabletop roleplaying game, I share with you what went on, the changes made, and how I made it fit the BITS RPG ruleset!
Right to it:
What is Mork Borg?
MB is a grimdark rules-lite game that takes place in a dying world. As mentioned in a post about RPG modes of play, this game “lets players know and know often that their fumbling is pathetic” when compared with the horrible troubles of the world.
There is great strangeness in MB. There are great monsters and great despair. All of these are included in the sample dungeon-delving scenario provided with Mork Borg – Rotblack Sludge.
This is the game I (Game) Moderated on the all too appropriate Halloween 🎃🔪
Other than myself as GM, there was only player C who knew nothing of TT RPGs. Because the starting scenario didn’t include an estimate of how many player characters should be involved, I delved into other plays of the scenario posted online.
It came down to about six randomly created characters were needed to have just a few survive the adventure.
Because C had no experience with RPGs, I’d create characters they could choose from, including based on character types they’d be most interested in playing as. Further, to be kinder for a first-time experience with RPGs, I made it my duty to make these characters heroic:
- The Cat – Based on the the large cat from Dungeons & Dragons, this character was a fury of claws and teeth and too many hit points, especially considering their special ability included a number of lives they could be reincarnated by!
- The Untouchable – A magician with three spell powers: Broil (control any fire in a room), Bubble (untouchable so long as the spell is maintained, but doesn’t stop momentum while in the bubble), and the overpowered Blink (no cap on the number of uses with this spell; as a free action, teleport anywhere you can see instantly).
- The Invisible – Just that. Invisible at all times, anything swallowed also disappearing. However, picking up or wearing items, leaving footprints, and any sounds or smells could be detected. Delicate with the least number of hit points and of course, no gear.
- The Gunslinger – Carries two revolvers (similar to the MB pepperbox pistolet) and knows how to use ’em. While each gun has 6 rounds inside, there is only one box of bullets that could deplete after critically failing any reload.
- The Space Wizard – A personal favorite. Heavily armored environment suit and a cut-anything energy sword (treated as a magic item). Powers include a gravity gauntlet to push/pull a target and a hologram projector. However, any damage taken is doubled (the suit is punctured) while the suit being destroyed or removed is instant death!
- The Everyman – A randomly generated ‘meh’ person. No bonus, no nada (though perhaps I would include the best of the random gear available 🙂 ).
Since these folks had a touch-better abilities than a randomly created character would and they would be united in intention under the control of one player, C, only three were allowed to be chosen. (The rest were saved as backups if the adventure really went to pot.)
Adventurers on this mission: The Cat, The Untouchable, and The Invisible.
As will be covered, this trio was perhaps a bit too heroic for the horrors soon faced 💀
The three characters share a cell together in the Shadow King’s prison. Soon to be executed for dealings against the King, a personal representative, Magistrate Sleeker, offers a deal the prisoners cannot refuse:
Raid a buried complex where comes a potent drug – Rotblack Sludge – that, more importantly than its horrific side effects, goes untaxed. Further, rescue one of the King’s favorite spawn, Aldor, who seems to have gotten involved, disappearing some days ago into the underground abode. Failing any of these things, the prisoners best not leave Rotblack Sludge, joining all the other agents sent, none who have returned 🔥
After an armored carriage ride, Sleeker lets the characters know it has done them a minor justice: they have waited until the couriers for the Rotblack drug have left, therefore it is suspected the chambers below will be fairly empty this time.
On that note, Sleeker releases the characters to tread down underneath the mounds of falling ash that bury the world. There, the adventure begins…
Quickly Cat, Untouchable, and Invisible explore their surroundings. The way behind is locked by Sleeker who will kill them should they emerge empty handed. The ways tangent lead off into dark tunnels, but each is barred by gates or rubble. The only way ahead is an ornate door on the left, a ruddy door on the right.
Through the latter they go, sad violin music playing for them somewhere far off.
A library is found with skeletal bodies about. Nothing is investigated, but through the next door they go without pause.
How rude. Or so the four guards inside find it. The first battle is brought!
Cat mauls many while Untouchable – hereafter known as Bubble Guy – has both armor and shield smashed apart. Invisible runs away to go pick up bricks from the collapsed entries seen earlier. It is here that Bubble Guy learns how to use the Blink power to pop behind enemies every turn to get a surprise attack on their backside.
Together, after taking a little punishment from the guards, the trio murders all four found. Finding on the bodies and in the room a key, a mysterious urn of powder, and all the swords of the guards, they follow bloody footprints farther down into places clearly excavated more recently.
The first room holds nothing but bloody chains, a wedged and handleless door, and a hole.
Through the hole is a cave glittering with jewels and a sharp drop into sulfuric mists. Blinded by greed, gems are torn from the wall, but not without notice.
Behind, from the depths, rises a magnificently immense worm. Rows of teeth like blades in a maw as wide as a man, body pale as pus, the hissing thing creeps upon the trio.
Taking the wiser route and acting fast, Cat, Bubble Guy, and Invisible squeeze through a crack in the cave before the worm can smash its face at the gap behind them.
Crawling along, the trio emerge into a greenhouse choked with exotic plants underneath a sooty glass ceiling where dim sunshine makes itself known.
Exploring, Cat and Bubble Guy meet mysterious girl Lesdy at her fire and bubbling caldron. Lesdy offers rest and refreshment, but the offer is repeatedly declined. There is only one concern: Where is Aldor?
Lesdy does not know and the trio leaves. But, as Invisible remained hidden and is the last to traverse back into crack, they look back to see other people staring at the departed from the bushes…
In the crack, there are bolted-on handholds up to a spring door. Through it the trio comes into a dark corridor with dim paintings. Following one direction, they enter a grand chamber meant for feasting, but where guests would be and feed, only an unresponsive old man sits.
Reconnoitering the location, the trio is in the place behind the first ornate door they found, along with the connecting guard room. Nothing else of value but the man remains.
They take the old man away down the corridor. To where? The trio does not know. Only death waits for them above… at least if the King’s spawn is not found.
Careful to avoid the spring floor door, Cat and Bubble Guy and Invisible march through the corridor to a light at the other end and… a surprise.
Gah!!! What is going to happen??
Look for Part 2: Meat and Statues next week 🙂
P.S. I totally forgot to introduce a random encounter in the room full of chains… this will be corrected 😈