A Portrait of Death – MÖRK BORG GM Screen

MÖRK BORG GM Screen

Author: Pelle Nilsson and Johan Nohr
Publisher: Free League Publishing
Available Formats: Print
Print – $20.95

Gamemaster screens, or shields as they are sometimes called, are a standard accessory for many roleplaying games. Physically they may either be portrait or landscape orientation. One side contains quick reference charts for the Gamemasters, while the other typically features artwork to inspire players.

We have all experienced the disappointment of opening a Gamemaster’s screen for the first time only to find it lacking. Whether it be an unfriendly layout, a lack of necessary and helpful tables and charts, its physical form is unwieldy, or any number of other issues that seem to plague screens.

On rare occasions, a publisher creates a Gamemaster screen that is not only beautiful but finds the balance between form, function, and usability. Behold the MÖRK BORG GM Screen! Created by Pelle Nilsson (Ockult Örtmästare Games) and Johan Nohr (Stockholm Kartell) and published by Free League Publishing.

Note: Free League Publishing provided Rolling Boxcars with a review copy for this article. If you have an item you’d like Rolling Boxcars to review, please visit our Product Review Request page.

The MÖRK BORG GM Screen is advertised as “a five-paneled portrait wall of death, printed with gold metallic ink on one side and vivid neon yellow on the other.” The player-facing artwork features scenes of locales and important characters from the Dying World. The artwork is stunningly beautiful, embodying the game’s themes; it also serves as a thought-provoking source of inspiration for players. As beautiful as the player-facing artwork is, the real magic of the screen is on the opposite side.

Gamemasters are treated to a smorgasbord of tables and charts. In addition to the core elements to effectively run a game, there is an assortment of miscellany to further flesh out a game on the fly. Across the five panels are some of the tables found in the core book, such as equipment on page 25; rest, reaction, and morale on page 31; unclean and sacred powers on page 35. These are accompanied by other tables taken from the core book along with new tables like “forty city events” and “traps,” to name but two.

Getting the most out of the available space does not stop with the five dense yet readable panels. No, they have gone one step further and expanded it out to what amounts to nine panels. Removable double-sided cards on the first and last panels add more tables for the Gamemaster. These are each held into place with two plastic “corner holders” on the panel’s upper left and lower right corners. These moderately heavy cardstock cards are easy to remove and replace. No space is wasted; along the top margin of each of the five panels are little notes for the Gamemaster. These include “only ever roll when failure is interesting,” and on the equipment panel is “stores may be understocked” and “some will try to scam the PCS.”

The screen itself is constructed of heavy-duty A5 (digest size) panels. I am confident in asserting that when folded up, the screen could double as body armor. The arrangement of the tables and miscellany has an organic feel to it. By that, I mean the most needed information spans panels two, three, and four. At the same time, the tables and miscellany that might be referenced less are on panels one and five and the two removable cards. Black copy on the neon yellow paper, and when needed, white is used to highlight important tables or information. The result is a clean and easy-to-read layout. I will note that the two removable cards are darker yellow, distinctively different from the neon yellow used for the other panels.

I love the MÖRK BORG GM Screen! It has everything I need or didn’t know I needed until now. Its small compact size makes it easy to shelve with the core book. The short height of the panels makes it easy to stay engaged with the players and see what’s happening on the table while still allowing me to reference its contents easily. My only issue with the screen is that it needs one additional panel that folds inward. The fifth panel and its removable card face outward when the screen is folded up. There is a good chance the removable card would easily be damaged.

All told, this is the best thought out, arranged, and most practical Gamemaster’s screen I have in my collection. If you run MÖRK BORG games, this is a must-have!

~ Modoc

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Read our MÖRK BORG and adjacent reviews.
Mörk Borg: A Döôm Metal Review
Rise! Receive The Unclean Sacraments – A Review of MÖRK BORG CULT: HERETIC
A Review of The Unclean Leporello of the Foul Wizard Baum [MÖRK BORG]
Rest Your Feet and Have a Seat — The Lonely Throne [MÖRK BORG]
In Support of BLM- A Review of Dissident Whispers
Ducks in A Grindhouse Fantasy Game – A Review of DUKK BÖRG
Chewed Up and Spit Out – A Review of the Vast Grimm Quickstart Rules

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