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If you buy one thing for Prime Day, make it the Mörk Borg TTRPG

The end is nigh. Smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em.

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Image: MORK BORG a skeleton stands with a simple shield against a stark yellow background Image: Ockult Örtmästare Games/Stockholm Kartell
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Players have been blessed this last decade by the tremendous resurgence of tabletop gaming. Not just board games, mind you, which have been humming along for the better part of 15 years or more. No, we’re experiencing a renaissance of tabletop role-playing as well. Lead by the pop-culture phenomenon that is 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons, the global marketplace is full to bursting with independent creators who have been inspired to drop incredible experiences seemingly every other week. None stands taller among its peers than Mörk Borg, a rules-light TTRPG from Free League Publishing. For this October’s Prime Day, it’s on sale.

Designed by Pelle Nilsson, Mörk Borg is an 80-page hardcover book wrapped in a garish, electric yellow cover. Inside it, you’ll find a riot of chrome fonts and bright pink demons surrounded by Old School Renaissance mechanics, also known as OSR. It’s a movement among TTRPG creators to streamline the role-play experience, paring it down to its most basic elements. The biggest difference by far is that gameplay sessions are invariably nasty, brutish, and short. It’s the perfect antidote for campaign fatigue — the malaise that tends to creep in at the midpoint of a longer, more scripted storyline.

But even if you never roll a die in anger using the Mörk Borg system, simply flipping through the book can be an inspiration. It’s a seemingly endless cycle of bizarre imagery and daring layouts, with loads of randomized tables rendered in obscure fonts, all used for telling stories on the fly. It’s a good reminder that the game master is more than just a living computational engine hiding behind a cardboard screen. They’re another living, breathing player at the table.

Of course, there’s a gimmick as well. During every Mörk Borg campaign, however long or short it is, the world that your characters exist in is always hurtling toward its end, being ripped apart at the seams by demonic forces well beyond the player’s control. The apocalypse is literally happening all around you, and eventually, one bad roll of the dice will bring about its end.

“The game and your lives end here,” reads The Calendar of Nechrubel. “Burn this book”

According to the publisher, its grimdark, heavy metal adventures can even be repurposed for “most of the editions of the world’s largest role-playing game.”

Mörk Borg is available from the Free League website as well as on Amazon and at your local game store. There are also two spin-offs, the cyberpunk-inspired Cy_Borg and the piratical Pirate Borg.

Looking for more deals? Check out all of Polygon’s favorite Prime Big Deals Day 2023 deals right here.

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