Luke Stratton on His New TTRPG

It’s an extremely busy day at Gen Con—the annual tabletop gaming conference held in Indianapolis—and the Pirate Borg desk is stuffed with books, cube, and, off to the aspect, a galleon figurine. The galleon is suitably manned by skeletons, half-dead pirates, and I suppose I noticed a shark or two shadowing the water.

Pirate Borg is a tabletop roleplaying game primarily based on the Mörk Borg system by Stokholm Kartel. It was originally an indie Okayickstarter earlier than Free League—the big writer and distributor backing Mörk Borg—gave Luke Stratton, the author-creator, a name. Free League was so impressed by what it noticed in the course of the Kickstarter it supplied to assist Stratton out.

io9 received an opportunity to take a seat down with Stratton and chat Pirate Borg, pirates, and what it’s like being at Gen Con as a vendor amid what was reported to be the most important crowd the conference has ever seen. The next interview has been edited for readability.


Linda Codega, io9: How’s your con going? What’s happening with Pirate Borg?

Luke Stratton: It’s going very properly! Pirate Borg is delivery on Speak Like a Pirate Day, September 19, and going by means of Free League, who’s offering worldwide distribution. However it’s been out for a yr now, for a few yr now. I used to be simply on the Free League Showcase speaking about it, and it’s like… I’m releasing a roleplaying guide with my favourite roleplaying recreation firm, like what am I doing up right here? So the con goes nice.

io9: It’s been an attention-grabbing journey for you guys—Pirate Borg didn’t begin as a Free League recreation.

Stratton: No, we Okayickstarted [the game]. Free League took discover—and that’s, from my expertise, distinctive. They went to Mörk Borg and requested them if it was good to take us on earlier than they reached out to us, they usually mentioned sure. So I really feel very honored to have been thought of. And I feel I’m like the one American they’re publishing, so it’s all fairly unimaginable.

io9: What’s it like engaged on this recreation as a solo creator? Do you go artwork first, then writing?

Stratton: It relies on the unfold. I feel it’s concept first, after which some writing after which some artwork. All of it relies upon. Just like the lessons [which include Brute, Buccaneer, Zealot, and Sorcerer], I began with the writing. However I additionally do a variety of maps. I begin with the map concept and that’ll flip into a bigger journey module. However generally it’ll be extra like, I wish to draw one thing cool, after which I’ll write for it, or… “Oh, I want this rule. What can I draw on this one?” So it goes each methods.

I draw and write every thing in InDesign; it feels extra pure. I’ll take phrases out to suit the web page, I’ll draw extra to offer extra space. My editor requested to see the unique doc and I simply laughed as a result of [the writing] was by no means there. Perhaps among the longer stuff is, however most is simply… riffing. I’ll get a hook and simply write. However it’s a really art-forward guide.

io9: Do you will have a favourite illustration?

Stratton: This unfold on web page 28 is one in every of my favorites, impressed by Dan Mumford. He has a particular daring palette, that was actually enjoyable. Lots of people just like the ASH unfold. We even did stickers. A variety of the monsters are “Darkest Dungeon” type, very Monkey Island, 1996-inspired.

Image for article titled Pirate Borg Is a Grimdark Undead Nightmare Fueled by Sea Shanties

io9: Have you ever all the time been into pirates?

Stratton: Sure! I feel it began after I rode the Pirates of the Caribbean experience after I was perhaps 5. I had Lego pirate units rising up. I’d all the time costume as a pirate for Halloween. After which in 2005 I gained a Gen Con match enjoying Pirates of the Spanish Primary—a punch-out whiz child’s recreation. I used to be in a band for some time and we might do reveals on Speak Like a Pirate Day. So this complete factor began as operating a 5e pirate marketing campaign. I used to be drawing ships for it. So I believed, “I can begin a Patreon doing this.” After which it went to… instead of doing 5e, we mentioned, “Let’s hack Mörk Borg.So it’s positively me expressed by means of a guide.

io9: What’s it prefer to play this recreation?

Stratton: I’d say it’s fast to desk. You may craft a personality, however most individuals will roll them randomly, and we’ve a random generator on-line. However you can begin with one hit level. It’s rather less squishy than Mörk Borg, however you’re more likely to be fragile like an actual particular person. And magic is harmful and there are undead in all places.

I like the concept that when you’re enjoying this recreation, you’re enjoying it as a participant who may need a number of characters and also you’re discovering the world as these characters. However there can be plenty of laughing. The primary unfold within the first web page is the carousing desk. And, there’s probability that you just all use that desk rather a lot. That desk may give you a ship, it might probably make you wealthy, or it might probably kill you.

I feel it’ll break a variety of expectations of a task enjoying recreation when you’re used to extra trendy stuff, however it additionally has a humorous strategy with grimdarkish vibes. Our GMs are infamous for having the loudest desk within the room at all these cons, as a result of persons are all the time laughing and singing shanties on the desk.


Pirate Borg can be accessible worldwide on September 19, Speak Like a Pirate Day. There can be a worldwide presale occasion the place individuals will be capable of play in retailer and there can be free swag at collaborating retailers.


Need extra io9 information? Try when to anticipate the newest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s subsequent for the DC Universe on film and TV, and every thing that you must learn about the way forward for Doctor Who.

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