IKHON Expansion Review for MÖRK BORG TTRPG
February 28th, 2023, saw the release of the IKHON expansion for the acclaimed TTRPG MÖRK BORG. If you don’t know what MÖRK BORG is let me be the first to tell you, it is not for the faint of heart. First released in 2020, MÖRK BORG burst its way onto the tabletop roleplaying scene and made a splash immediately. The game designers aim to provide a game that is light on rules but a brutal challenge in every other facet. The game’s core rules fit on one page and character creation should only take a few minutes. This is good because a few minutes is also the average life expectancy of your character. MÖRK BORG takes place in a dying world, where a two-headed Basilisk prophesied the end of the world is on its way. The world is now riddled with apocalyptic calamities for players to contend with. MÖRK BORG went on to win multiple awards at the ENNIES and even picked up silver for the game of the year.
Long ago Nechrubel the blasphemous god of pain and suffering forged the unholy IKHONs. Tales of these mysterious IKHONs have been whispered about for generations, becoming myths. The stories speak of the boons and burdens bestowed on those that would meddle with these cruel gods. Those who consort with the IKHONs are named heretics and burned for their sins. The IKHONs are a myth no longer. Dare you and your friends attempt to curry favor with these mysterious beings?
What comes in the IKHON expansion?
The IKHON expansion is available in two formats. The physical edition comes in a black A6 cardboard box, with 4 printed booklets inside, one for each IKHON. The digital PDF is available as a single 48-page document. The 4 IKHONs are The Bilkherd, The Becklure, The Old Dead and The Silkfiend. Each of the gods has ten potential curses or blessings to bestow upon player characters. It also comes with a small amount of background lore and basic rules on how to implement these tricksters into your game. Almost every page features grim dark illustrations by artist Samuel Araya. Samuel shows off his range as an artist in this expansion. The pictures vary in style throughout the content but all keep the gritty feel that MÖRK BORG fans love.
What does the IKHON expansion add to the game?
As I mentioned before, the expansion contains content based on 4 gods. The Bilkherd views his devotees as his flock, he can be cruel and vindictive but also generous. He will dish out gifts and punishments in equal measure. The Becklure feeds on those it can lure into the waters in which it resides. The Becklure cares not where its victims come from, it only seeks to satiate itself on the suffering of the drowning. The Old Dead is the jester of the IKHONs, she deceives mortals for the thrill of it. She is quick to bless but savage in her punishment. Finally, there is the Silkfiend. Old stories say that Nechrubel tore his limbs apart and then scattered them throughout the world. The Silkfiend is Nechrubel’s severed arm given unnatural life. The lore primers for each of the gods are short and provide enough info for GMs to install them into their games. How the players come into contact with the IKHONs is vague. Creative GMs running a session using IKHON expansion can have a lot of fun tempting their players with rewards and downplaying the consequences. The entire content of this expansion is essentially one giant random table. You roll to select which IKHON is invoked and then roll to see what good or bad thing happens. The characters can increase their chances of a good result, by using willing human sacrifices or if they have severed limbs.
In typical MÖRK Borg fashion, the bad results are very punishing. For example, if you roll a 1 on the Silkfiend table the last person who spoke to you dies. No saving throw, no nothing, that person just dies. On the opposite side, The Old Dead’s result of a ten+ causes the evil god to stand next to you and follow you at all times. She follows you until you point at someone and say “Expunge.” She will then kill that person and drag them away whimpering. Death isn’t the only thing on the menu in the IKHON expansion though; hearing loss, summoned monsters, gifts of food and scars that mark you as a heretic are a small portion of what could happen.
Should you buy MÖRK BORG IKHON?
Whether IKHON is for you is something that needs to be decided on an individual basis. IKHON retails for $21.89 on the Free League Publishing official website and digital copies retail for $9.99. There is not much content in this expansion and saying it is a rolling table with extra steps, is a fair assessment. If adding the chaos of these gods sounds fun to you and your players. Well, this is the content you are looking for. If you are a completionist and love everything about the MÖRK BORG setting and its zany artwork, this is a must-buy. This expansion won’t change your opinion on the core game, if you hate MÖRK BORG this will not save the game for you. Personally, I won’t be adding this to my games very often if ever. This game is chaotic and brutal enough for my tastes, even without the threat of the IKHONs gifts.
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