International Talk Like A Pirate Day is today, September 19th. Like many silly Internet holidays it has slowly become a day for companies to put out products that fit the theme of the holiday. Of the many pirate theme games released today, Pirate Borg is one of the standouts.
Pirate Borg is the latest member of the Mork Borg family from Free League Publishing. It’s a stand alone game that takes players into a dark reflection of pirate history where monsters are real and humans are somehow worse. The company sent along a review copy to check out for its release on this momentous holiday.
What Is Mork Borg?
Released in 2020, Mork Borg is a tabletop roleplaying inspired by heavy metal music. The combination of simple system, dark imagery and striking graphic design made it stand out in the industry. These elements have combined to inspire a lot o third-party content, some of which Free League has chosen to publish on their own.
This includes games like Death In Space which puts a strange spin on space horror inspired by films like Alien or Event Horizon. CY_BORG puts an emphasis on the punk in cyberpun k that many other games in the genre lack. Pirate Borg ran a successful Kickstarter last year and caught the attention of the publisher.
What Do You Do In Pirate Borg?
Pirate Borg is set in the Dark Caribbean where the Golden Age of Piracy took a strange, dark turn. Something apocalyptic washed over the islands, raising the dead, making monsters real and slaughtering countless sailors over the course of a single solstice. The imperial powers carving up the area might have retreated home, were it not for the discovery of the hallcinatory power of eating the bones of the dead, a substance known as Ash.
The game uses a simple d20 system familiar to anyone that’s played Dungeons & Dragons. Characters determine their abilities randomly and choose a class, though players who want a better chance at better abilities can choose to play a landlubber. The other classics hit all the right notes for fantasy pirate adventure: brutes, swashbucklers, priests, thieves, sorcerers and snipers.
There are also two classes for those who don’t want to play a human pirate. The first is the haunted soul who has already died once and still takes to the high seas. The second is the tall tale allowing a player to take on the role of a legend from the sea, such as a mermaid or a sentient animal.
There’s a lot of ideas packed into Pirate Borg including naval combat, treasure maps and locations full of awful people to plunder. The book is also jam packed with dozens of random tables built to inspire adventure and horror. The game is complete but also functions well as a companion to generate ideas for any pirate themed game in the game master’s library.
The book ends with The Curse of Skeleton Point. Rather than a linear introductory adventure, the game offers a sandbox style exploration of a specific part of the Dark Caribbean. There’s even advice on how to set the length of the campaign ranging from a simple one shot to a full game.
Pirate Borg is my favorite riff on Mork Borg since the original. It’s out now at local gaming stores everywhere and directly from the publisher.
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