Saturday, February 27, 2021


 So, I played in my second session of Mork Borg last night. What a blast!

For those of you out of the loop, Mork Borg is a Swedish OSR style rules lite art house RPG.

It is more art book and inspiration than rules compendium, but has  a flavour in both the art and random tables that is very Nordic death metal. Think Death Frost Doom but better illustrated and less slavish to OD&D.

My esoteric hermit, Jotna, and his small but vicious dog Tiddles (created from a random generator HERE) awoke to find themselves in some dark hell dimension, with they and their traveling companions under attack by bloody skeletons. Battles ensued, paths were walked, traps were sprung, and goblins and fishmen were slain. In addition, undying prisoners breathed cryptic clues before jumping into lava, and grotesque or cursed magic items both helped and hindered the party in their quest to recover the lost monarch, his crown, or the way to call the spring.

All in all, it had the most OSR feel of wonder and terror I have ever experienced. At the end of the session, when we determined only two of us could return to the land of the living, Jotna nonchalantly offered to stay and meditate, as it was no worse than his mountain cave.

Anyway, give it a gander if you haven't already.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Emergent Storytelling - Crayon Shinchan vs Alien

So, I just started watching this Crayon Shinchan vs Alien movie (short version available HERE) with my little boy on our Japanese satellite TV.

It is a masterclass in emergent storytelling, and has lots of implications for RPGs.

Basically, the Crayon Shinchan family wakes up in the cryosleep booths from Alien on an unknown spaceship

Their annoying cuddly couple neighbors are there, as well as three unknown characters - an old lady, a scarfaced tough guy, and a skinny hysteric fellow. They get dressed and are attacked by a strange alien-robot.

From then on the show spirals between comedy, tension and paranoia. Without giving too much away, there are encounters with other mysterious characters, hidden rooms, betrayals, weird alien technology, and hidden alien infections.

Basically, the amnesiac in cryosleep chambers plot device is perfect for emergent stories, and the tongue in cheek tone keeps the action fun while the reversals and dangers are genuinely exciting.

Definitely, give it a watch.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Stormbringer Redux #1 - Regional Weapons & Troops

After re-reading the game, I realized that it doesn't really have many mechanics modeling the larger struggle of Law and Chaos, the Champion Eternal, and the Multiverse / Thousand Spheres. I've put out a request on the I'm Begging You To Play Another RPG Facebook page for suggestions tackling these larger issues, and will get to them when I have ideas.

For my first foray into re-designing Stormbringer, I thought I'd start with something small.  One thing I always loved about the old game was the combat rules for Beggars.

This is a wonderful rule both for its inherent flavour, as well as its creation of a reason for the same 'class' to adventure together, in direct opposition to D&D's varied party model. It is a shame they didn't have more of this type of rich mechanic for the game, so I've decided to adapt it for my re-creation to give a bonus for regional weapons and units consisting of them. This is not only flavourful for the Young Kingdoms, it also echoes real-world regional troops like the Gherkas of Nepal and Swiss pikemen, to name a few.


If you wield the weapon of the region from which you come, you get 10% to skill and +1 to damage. Obvious examples are a Melnibonean wielding a bone bow, a Filkharian using a pike from his homeland, a Weeping Waster with a desert bow,  and a Lormyrian with a local ax. To this I would add Nadsokhorians with daggers, Oinish or Yurits with spears of local make, and Orgish with hatchets from their homeland.


In addition to these individual bonuses, for every member past one of the same nation fighting together and using their home weapon, they get +1% to their weapon skill. This is doubled if they are all Warriors, to reflect their training and cohesion as a unit.

For example, if three PCs travelling together are from Lormyr and all wield axes, they each get +2% to their skill. If they are all Warriors, this is doubled to +4%.

It might seem a small bonus in modern game terms, but fits well with the Old School aesthetic of small advances, is in keeping with the pre-existing Beggar rules, and just feels right.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Making Good Enemies With The Nemesis System

This is a great video of how the Nemesis system in the Mordor games creates stories.

Basically, it does this in a few ways that a game master can steal:

1 Let the gameworld use the character's actions against them. If they run from an encounter with orcs, the next encounter may start with taunts of "Coward!" If they kill a 1 HD mook, their 2HD brother will come looking for blood.

2 Brings back enemies who are better or stronger. Wipe out a group of 1HD mooks? As noted, their brothers will be 2HD and geared for a revenge quest.

3 Give each major enemy a unique trait. They may have a mutant power or magic weapon, which they boast about and use in combat.

Side note, I remember one of the first D&D games I played, we pooled our money and gave the ranger a composite bow. It didn't help us, and we suffered a TPK. We rolled up new characters and went to their stronghold, but now had to face orcs with a composite bow, forcing us to be stealthier.

4 Let memorable enemies cheat death, then reappear at inopportune times. Maybe they feigned death and are now back immune to what supposedly killed them, or else they have a smoke bomb or knowledge of hidden doors needed to get away. This smacks of Quantum ogre a bit, but I think it is necessary in terms of engaging story.

Video is HERE