Mork Borg / Cy_Borg and Vast Grimm
I think I’m all full up on Mork Borg now, lol. After reading all three of these books, I’m burnt out, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t love the journey here.
Mork Borg and Cy_Borg have intrigued me since I first started seeing people talk about the books, but all I knew was that they were pricey, pretty books with an edgy, grimdark aesthetic. For a long time, I didn’t see the point of them. Just more basic, independent RPGs hashing out familiar territory, right?
No. Not at all.
When the price on Mork Borg dropped suddenly and sharply in June, I picked up a copy to see what all the fuss was about. Probably predictably enough, I wasn’t even halfway through Mork Borg when I popped back online and bought Heretic, Cult Feretory and Cy_Borg. I was eating up that first book in the evenings and while sitting outside on the cool weekend mornings and I knew I needed more. These books are still pretty and pricey, but most of the contents are lore and setting in the edgiest, most punk format I’ve ever seen from an established industry publisher. The saddest thing is that I had to get them in my hands and really look at them before I realized that they were worth the asking price, if only for the quality hardbound format, the artistic ribbon bookmarks, the art and the lore within the pages. The little bit of marketing done for these and the tiny amount of interior art they show online really undersells the books. I ran into the same thing with UVG, (which I love and will totally review once I finish it.) In a sea of decent (at best) D&D hardbacks, these books are built like grimoires, tough as trucks, gorgeous as paintings, and you’d never know it until you hold one.
Now Mork Borg is good, and I think it would have been a real hit with my first group in my early college years, but Cy_Borg really gets my blood pumping. Now, I’ve read a lot of Cyberpunk RPG setting books in the last twenty years, but nothing captures the subgenre with the grittiness of Cy_Borg. It amplifies the “punk” in Cyberpunk. It hits all the tropes and expands them in a way that feels genuinely near-future again, instead of just retro-future. It’s a fresh take on a genre that can sometimes feel flat and stale. I’d love to see it expanded into multiple books this gorgeous.
Vast Grimm is also good, and I think it could make for some fun games. It’s kind of like if Firefly were reimagined by H.R. Giger and John Carpenter a la Alien and The Thing. It’s gross, desperate, intense and beautiful. Hilariously enough, it was the last of the three I found out about. I saw it only as a recommended product on Amazon, and from the title and tiny thumbnail on my phone, I thought it was some kind of Brothers Grimm fairy tale version of Mork Borg, which I had no interest in. I’m glad that I took the time to actually look at it closer and read the back cover, because I really enjoyed this dark take on the misfit crew trying to “keep flying,” in that Five Parsecs From Home kind of trope that I love so much. Also, the clay art in the book is wonderfully terrifying. Really adds to the grossness factor.