Friday 11 September 2020

Dead Girls In Sarkash Forest - a Mork Borg Project

 Here's a project I'm working on. It's a lil' adventure for Mork Borg. 

The hook is this. You are all dead girls. You've woken up at the edge of the Graven-Tosk cemetary, and would quite like to not be here, please. But to go anywhere else - home, perhaps - you'll need to get through the Sarkash forest that surrounds the cemetary.

The book essentially has two parts. One is an adventure, a depthcrawl where you explore the forest. Similar to Ynn, but simplified some. Depth, Locations, Events etc. If you get a high enough result (24+) you reach the other side of the forest, so if you just keep pushing through you'll find the other edge of the forest eventually.

The other half is a set of new character options. Some modifications to the normal rules for if you're playing a dead girl, and a set of six classes for dead girls. Each class is a specific way you died - the exsanguinated doll, the sacrificial waif, the pyre-borne witch, the doomed lover, the assassinated princess and the silenced one - or if you want to have died of something else, you can play a default, classless PC.

Being dead, they take damage differently; rather than broken at 0 and dead at -1 or less, they go Torpid if they hit 0 or less HP. Fall inert for a while, lose a memory or bit of their humanity (and 1 maximum HP) and then awaken and continue. So they've got a bit of undead resilience to 'em. However, they also regain Omen's differently (being dead, fate has lost interest in them) and only get them back when they fall Torpid.

I'm taking things in a slightly more storygamey direction to core Mork Borg. Memories are a big theme. You ruminate on the memories of your life, or they slip away. When either happens, its up to the player to describe it, meaning that your dead girl's tragic backstory gets filled in incrimentally as you go - what's in doubt is how much she'll still be herself when she reaches the other side of the forest. 

My intent is that its a bit modular. You can use Dead Girl PCs in a normal Mork Borg game, or run a party of alive PCs through Sarkash. But the two are designed to complement each other.

I'm working to keep the mechanics and such more minimalistic than normal. Locations are a single paragraph, a few at most. Things are sparce. It's an interesting shift in writing style compared to my normally florid prose.

Anyway, here are some location previews. It's still early in the writing process, but I think it's working alright.

20: A little cave, barely more than a hollow in the bank of a creek. Writing scrawled at the back of the cave; a prophecy mentions you by name. Ask the players what it foretells. Reading it for the first time refreshes your Omens.

21: A hollow, the ground swampy. Lilies and violets grow here. Rest immersed in the bog, and you dream of romance. Describe a romantic memory while you do, and you heal 2 more HP.

2:    A brook blocks your path. Touching the water causes amnesia, -1 Presence. Drinking it, -d3. Tell the player what you forgot.

3:    Corpses strung from trees. Roll for LOOT for what’s in their pockets. Reanimate as STRANGLEMEN when interfered with.

12: A Unicorn Graveyard. Scattered with bleached-white unicorn bones. Aura of tragedy. Healing is doubly effective here. Violence done here carries greater weight; you feel the unicorns judging you. Every time you deal damage, reduce a random attribute by 1 until you leave the graveyard.

13: A stone table, split in two. Engraved with foul text, covered with old black bloodstains. Read the text, and you can perform sorcery. The table is like an Unclean Scroll, but harder to carry with you.

10: A clearing, at the centre an eternally-burning bonfire. Anything you put in the flames is destroyed. Anything. You can put fears, curses, trauma, or fates in the fire. DC 8 Agility when you do to avoid putting an important bit of yourself (a finger, memories of your first kiss, sense of smell, that sort of thing - decide what) in the fire too, reducing your HP by 1 permanently.


I'm poor, so the art is gonna be mostly public domain stuff, sometimes hacked up and photoshopped to work better. Here's something I'm probably gonna use, by way of an example:


  1. I fucking love it. How would you let the players know they could leave fears and other abstract stuff in the fire?

  2. "default, classless PC"

    What would this look like?

    1. so in mork borg, cgen by default is:
      -roll stats
      -roll HP
      -roll weapons/armour/other gear
      -roll cash and omens
      and then you're done. Its effectively a classless system, with characters diferentiated by gear.

      Classes are basically modifications to that, altering your stats, or giving you different gear, or a new capability that default characters don't have. Each class has upsides and downsides, and is roughly balanced with a default character.

      So, a Dead Girl PC uses the same deal: you roll stats, hp, gear etc. There's just some modifications to how you heal and take damage to represent being dead. If you have a class, it just modifies the normal cgen procedure.

  3. Oooooh, this is so cool. Evocative, dark, romantic. I want to use some of these locations in my current MB game.