Mörk Borg, the immensely popular apocalyptic-fantasy roleplaying game from creators Johan Nohr and Pelle Nilsson, swept the Gen Con Ennie Awards four years ago, and it’s little wonder as to why. The RPG was innovative in its layout, design, and writing, making the game a draw to old and new RPG fans alike.

A few weeks ago, Severed Toys and Nohr and Pelle’s Stockholm Kartell teamed up to launch a Kickstarter to bring to life four action figure variants of character from the game: read Risen (Standard edition), Blood Drenched, Glow-in-the-Dark, and Cursed (Fully Blacked Out edition). In addition, each of the figures will be paired with an original zine by Nohr and Nilsson. The Kickstarter has already more than doubled its funding goal, with 10 days left to back the campaign.

Recently, Severed Toys owner Justin Sirois interviewed Nohr and Pelle about creating Mörk Borg, as well as their careers and inspirations. FreakSugar has been given an exclusive transcript of the interview with each member of the Stockholm Kartell team, which you can read below in their entirety.



Interview with Pelle Nilsson:

Justin Sirois: Can you tell us about your early and maybe some recent influences?

Pelle Nilsson: When I was a young kid, like 10 or so (back in the 80s), there really wasn’t much to do except playing outside, some Commodore 64 computer games and every now and then watch a movie (VHS – and that felt like a luxury). I also read Bilbo and the Fellowship of the Ring trilogy at that age.

So, we were often out in the woods, fighting with sticks etc. Some of my older neighbor friends brought home a box of the game Drakar och Demoner (now known as Dragonbane by Free League) and the 80s was a golden age for role-playing games in Sweden. I got hooked very fast and we played several times a week for some years. I wrote my first adventures then, but also full games (already rather rules light). So this game, but also the first version of Mutant, was an enormous source of inspiration.

When I was in my 20s and I quit playing all together and was more into various kinds of music genres; especially death-, black- and doom metal. This really stuck with me and bands like Napalm Death, Carcass, Entombed, Darkthrone, Mayhem and Cathedral (UK, the Lee Dorrian band) really became a part of my DNA – which shows in a game like MÖRK BORG.

When I started to play rpgs again, but more often READ and WRITE, in like 2010-2012, I was a tired guy with small kids and strived to find and write games that was easy to ”get to the table”. The OSR (Old School Revival/Renaissance) was a perfect fit for that and I really liked games like Labyrinth Lord, The Black Hack, Maze Rats etc. But when it comes to the game MÖRK BORG, the mentioned music was what mostly inspired me.

Were you encouraged to be creative as a young person? If yes, by who and how? If no, how did you come to drive yourself? Answer both if you’d like too. 

Nilsson: Naah, not much. I think it might be more in my genes (both parents are scientists), I have always enjoyed writing and playing, and had a rather vivid imagination as a kid. But I was always supported with my outlets – be it a “satanic” death metal band or writing poems or role-playing games.

Tell us about your creative routine. Any tips for creators who might be stuck? 

Nilsson: I am blessed with both the possibility and ”morale” to sit down and write whether I want it (like writing MÖRK BORG) or not (like too many tables full of random stuff) and in either case the result is equally good/bad. I have been a bit lazy since the release of the MB core book; I felt both very satisfied and very tired after that. Which is not a good combination! Luckily I am back writing now and it is really fun again.

My tips for stuck writers is to write whatever anyway, it doesn’t even have to be a project. I think many writers make projects with often imaginary deadlines, and after a short time it’s not fun anymore.



Interview with Johan Nohr:

Justin Sirois: Were you encouraged to be creative as a young person? If yes, by who and how? If no, how did you come to drive yourself? Answer both if you’d like too. 

Johan Nohr: Oh yes, my parents would patiently listen to me explain every tiny detail of my drawings, and no matter how messed up my art later became when I got into underground art and more extreme music, they were always supportive and encouraging. My teachers were maybe a little less happy about me focusing more on doodling monsters than the actual class. But I couldn’t help it. I guess both ways of encouragement work: positive feedback and attempts at stopping you.

Tell us about your creative routine. Any tips for creators who might be stuck? 

Johan Nohr: I’m a hoarder when it comes to inspiration and reference material, both physical and digital. My Pinterest boards are full of mood-boards for various projects or just ideas I wanna steal someday when that one special project comes along. And on my shelves are zines, art books, comics and a plethora of books on subjects such as art, typography, map making, tattoos, folklore, color theory, layout grids, illusions and street art.

Whenever I get stuck I try to pick some of them up and flip through, hopefully to restart my creativity and reignite the flame. Or I force myself to sit down and draw something, just to get lines and shapes on a page. The idea is to spend fifteen minutes drawing, even if I don’t have the inspiration or energy for it, and then post it online when done. This, in theory, lowers the threshold to create something and reduces some of the pressure I feel at times that everything I do has to be my Best Thing Ever. It’s good to have ambitions and want to push your limits but it’s also very dangerous to set the bar too high.

Other than that, I always have music when I create. Music and coffee. I used to have music and beer but I soon realized that it’s a bad routine so I’m sticking with another poison now.

You recently published an art book [link here]. How did that feel, assembling artwork and curating an experience for the reader? 

Johan Nohr: I had a moment when I looked back at the things I’ve made since we released MÖRK BORG and I couldn’t believe just the sheer amount of artwork I had done in that relatively short time. I don’t think I’ve ever been this productive before. There were so many pieces for published, official titles, but also unfinished ones or things for scrapped projects that I was still fond of. Or third-party commissions that maybe had a smaller reach, or just random doodles and such for Twitter shitposts that still held some artistic merit. And I wanted to gather it all and publish it in a book before I forgot about them or they vanished in some dusty hard drive. Curating these things was a daunting task too because of the scale of it—there are almost 400 illustrations in this thing. I had to put my foot down at some point and stop adding new stuff too, because while I was working on the book I drew more art that I was happy with and wanted to include. It’s already thick as a brick and heavy as one too. But I’m super happy with how it turned out. It’s really a high-production coffee table book and I’m honored to have people that want to support me by buying it.

What’s brewing now? 

Johan Nohr: Unfortunately, it is top secret! But I can say that it is a couple of things for MÖRK BORG, and also a new game. I was also a ”stretch goal” in the new edition of Zweihänder RPG, so I will do a one-shot adventure for that.