Dungeons & Dragons is equipped to be so complex, it has inspired an entire movement of streamlined tabletop roleplaying: OSR (Old School Revival/Renaissance).
OSR relies on a can-do mindset with looser rules to handle more situations faster while making violence and antagonism a high-risk choice for players (D&D defaults to a combat-first approach). The world is the players’ oyster, if they are clever-, brutal-, or lucky-enough!
Mörk Borg (i.e. “Dark Fortress”, shorthand Mork Borg) is OSR in the best sense: deadly consequences, simple rules, fast play, random world generation, and an award-winning aesthetic to leave no guessing at the game intends to do!
OSR Mörk Borg and BITS are both related intimately to D&D, so time to convert BITS of Mörk Borg to show both promote Mörk Borg and show-off BITS’s (darker) strengths!
The Core Mechanic
Like D&D, Mörk Borg uses a d20 (1 20-sided die) plus stat bonuses at or over a target number. It is not too drastic to suggest D&D can equate to Mörk Borg, from there to BITS.
Checkout the “BITS of D&D” post for more depth on the conversion to 2d6 BITS uses (what I would suggest is a better judge of difficulty). Yet, if we want to stick closer to Mörk Borg math, we need to change up the equation a bit:
|Difficulty||D&D d20||BITS 2d6||MB d20||BITS 2d6|
|Godly, Near Impossible||30||15||18||11|
Concepts of who rolls, advantage/disadvantage, and criticals echo D&D – BITS explains at length on this in “BITS of D&D.”
Respectively, only players roll to resolve any fictional conflict, duplicate high or low dice for any (dis)advantages, and double faces count as critical results.
The End of the World
I would be remiss not to touch on what is arguably Mörk Borg‘s most nifty mechanic: at the dawn of each day, roll to see if a catastrophe has entered the world, bringing it all one step closer to extinction, the game to close. Rolls of 1 bring a misery, the seventh misery brings the end of the world.
At the beginning of a campaign (play the same game of Mörk Borg over multiple sessions), the time that remains is determined by picking either higher- or lower-faced dice. Higher dice mean longer life as 1 will be less likely to show.
The miseries themselves are on a 6×6 table, perfect for BITS’s 2d6 to roll like a d66 (one die for column, the other for row or entry). Only the timespan needs a conversion:
|Length||Mörk Borg Die||BITS Math Equal||BITS Only-2d6|
|“Years of Pain”||d100||2 on 2d6||2 on 2d6|
|“A Bleak Half-Year”||d20||2 or 12 on 2d6||2 or 3 on 2d6|
|“A Fall in Anguish”||d10||2 or 3 on 2d6||2 to 4 on 2d6|
|“A Cruel Month”||d6||d6||2 to 5 on 2d6|
|“The End is Nigh!”||d2||d2||2 to 6 on 2d6|
Side note: This ‘dying world’ is a cool game-ending mechanic (TTRPGs tend to have no definite end). Expect to see more of this in future BITS products!
Mörk Borg needs only Strength, Toughness, Agility, and Presence, these stats adding to the rolls they apply to. How they are used becomes BITS’s Body, Insight, and Thought:
- Body – Average of Strength and Toughness.
- Insight – Agility.
- Thought – Presence.
Nearly the same as D&D (min-maxing at a bonus of 3 vs. a possible roll-add of 4)
|2d6 Roll||Stat Bonus|
|2 to 3||-3|
|6 to 8||+0|
|11 to 12||+3|
Roleplaying character traits and functional gear comes from rolling on tables, which is largely able to be done ad hoc. No biggie! (BITS would create a table of 36 items to use, but that goes beyond the scope of this post.)
Unlike D&D but much like BITS, Mörk Borg has little in the way of classes (these are largely optional, being tacked on to the system). Since classes may come with special abilities, BITS removes these specialties and instead expects players to choose or (in OSR-fashion) roll for them on a table.
Hit Points! MB uses a d8 plus the Toughness of the character to determine how long a character can survive harm and ill.
A bit of averaging gives 6 HP as the standard for any BITS of Mörk Borg character based on that math. Alternate options remain for variability:
- Roll 2d6 for HP. That’s it. Increased survivability vs. 6 HP as the average 2d6 is 7, but may leave the character much weaker too – a gamble!
- Sum the absolute of all BITS together to a minimum of 1. E.g. a B+1 I+3 T+0, 2-Skill character has 1+3+0+2=6 HP. (Summation of stats taken from the game Age of Sigmar: Soulbound, discussed in an upcoming post!)
Magic, Wealth, and No Good Deeds
MB lets anyone do magic, though failure is very and randomly disastrous. BITS can get behind that 🙂 BITS would otherwise have critical magic failures target the user and do harmful or opposite effects.
MB wealth comes in silver coin – BITS abstracts this to tiers of wealth and abstract treasure (another post coming in September 2022).
Accomplishing things (a la ‘good deeds’) in Mörk Borg allows for improvement, but also punishment of the player character. This leveling may give you treasure, magic scrolls, or nothing. It may make things better or worse. When leveling with the BITS system:
- HP – Roll 2d6. If higher than the current health, increase HP by 1. If less, or if rolling 1-1 snake eyes, decrease HP by 1. (0 is death from natural though mysterious causes!)
- Stats – For each, roll d6. If greater than the stat, increase it; if less, decrease it. Always decrease on a roll of 1. (Max stats for MB swing from -3 to +6 – BITS can accommodate a +/- 6 swing for simplicity!)
I am skipping armor and weapon interaction here since BITS has sets of rules for damage and damage reduction.
Also skipping pregenerated characters, dungeon creation, and a few other tidbits, but not many – Mörk Borg expects player flexibility in the face of context, and rules act more as guidelines than anything (the “rulings, not rules” principle).
With the few tweaks above as they are though, you are set to play Mörk Borg using the BITS 2d6 TTRPG system (if you dare 🔥💀🔥).
Any areas you would like advice or clarity on? Say so – your messages are welcome! Cheers to your end of the world ~ 🎲🎲