Johan Nohr

Johan Nohr



🧵 One thing we do a lot with the writing of MÖRK BORG is trying to add microdoses of flavor into as many places as we can; in particular the random tables. Entries that would normally be quite business-as-usual can help set the tone if you just add a word or two. Some examples:

The first example from the core book is the weather table. It's kind of a joke that it only includes bad weather, but it helps paint the picture of the setting. And it's never just windy, it's -piercing- wind. It's not rain, it's -hammering- rain. Avoid adjectives? No way, sir.

In the equipment list, the needle is specifically 'sharp', the chain is 'heavy', there is a 'large' iron hook. These descriptors might seem unnecessary but they help sell the idea that things in this world are just more... hostile to the user. Heavier and sharper.

Equipment lists, I believe, encourage a way of playing. If a thing is listed, it's an invitation for you to buy it and use it. That's why we added things like a muzzle, manacles, a meat cleaver and two kinds of poison. We want MB adventurers to buy and use these things.

I think we're the only game with 'preserved corpse' in the equipment list--the idea is that MÖRK BORG PCs are probably depraved and desperate enough to try to sell these. Times are tough and there are interested alchemists and necromancers around with more silver than scruples.

Also, by adding the price for different bribes, you say something about the game world. This is a common practice, just as common as paying for a night's rest, a drink or a steady meal at a tavern.

This is the "nothing happens" entry in our wilderness travel module Roads to Damnation. It didn't -need- to also say "the world is grey" but we want to take any opportunity we can to add that flavor. The players should never forget that in this game, things suck.

The same thing here. "For once." doesn't necessarily add any new information or game mechanics. It's only to hammer in that mood.

Here's some more examples of how minor additions to a table entry can add flavor and possibility of memorable play moments, from our d100 items and trinkets table (found here

"Flute, tastes horrible." If the PCs find a flute they will play it. And being MB, it won't be pleasant. Inspired by medieval manuscript marginalia. "Bloody drill" is concerning and when randomly rolled, depending on the situation, can add a haunting twist to the presumed owner.

"Well-used belt", "recently sharpened scythe", "ball and chain (and a foot)" and "tankard with a needle in it" are other examples from this list. The tankard is a favorite of mine; a very subtle and cruel trap, much like the "fish hooks at eye level" one in the core rulebook.

And of course, the last entry, "child-sized iron maiden", because it's just a horrible string of words (could also be a cover band name).

The same goes for room descriptions, where a single seemingly inconspicuous word can help inspire fun situations at the table: The cages are 'rusty', and thus probably easily broken, letting these dangerous beasts and monsters loose which can solve a problem by creating another.

"Dining and torture" are never expanded on, it's just an odd pairing that says... something about the terrible inhabitants of this floating churchlike vessel and hopefully catches the reading GM off guard for a second.

Our hit location table has unconventional locations that just feel like they would hurt a lot when someone slams a war hammer there. Teeth. Collarbone. Solar plexus. Knee. Pain flavor.

In general, we try to keep things as short as possible while still giving these mood descriptors and additions priority. Because flavor, in a way, is the fuel that keeps the game running. It's something the GM can riff on at the table. A direction to follow along.

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