Author: Pelle Nilsson
Publisher: Free League
Page Count: 48
Available Formats: PDF & Print
Print (Free League) – $21.70
Reviled and hated by the two-headed Baskalisks, four lesser-known yet mighty folk gods, the Bilkherd, the Becklure, the Old Dead, and the dreaded Silkfiend, have each been imprisoned within ancient relics known as Ikhons. Mortals daring enough to commune with and worship these gods are promised great rewards but, in return, are branded heretics and hunted for wielding an Ikhon’s power.
IKHON is the latest official supplement for the MÖRK BORG roleplaying game and is currently available for order directly through Free League’s website. This 48-page supplement is the first official supplement not part of the MÖRK BORG cult, and it expands the setting with previously unknown gods. IKHON provides simple mechanics for invoking the power of the Ikhons, brief descriptions of each folk god, and the gifts bestowed by each.
Note: Free League Publishing provided Rolling Boxcars with a review copy for this article. Please visit our Product Review Request page if you have an item you’d like Rolling Boxcars to review.
The book is essentially split into five sections—the mechanics needed to determine the gift bestowed by an Ikhon and one for each of the Ikhons. Each Ikhon is presented with little more than a short description of the Ikhon and the gifts it bestows. The four Ikhon are the Bilkherd, a vindictive and cruel god; his misguided revenge can often punish his flock. The Becklure feeds on the misery and suffering of those it lures into the water. The Old Dead beguiles the living, the dying, and the deceased. The dreaded Silkfiend is steeped in myth and mystery, believed to be part of Nechrubel’s aberrant right arm. All descriptions are short and concise, amounting to thematic flavor text—providing readers with a sense of who the god is and their personality. Most of the book is dedicated to two-page spreads for each result, numbered 1 through 10+. One page displays amazing artwork, while the other has a short amount of text explaining the effects of the gift. The gifts themselves vary widely depending on which Ikhon is being invoked. For example, if a supplicant rolls well when calling upon The Becklure, thy enemies will be ensnared in ropy, voracious water-like turgid snakes that drown the victims. Should a supplicant roll too low when invoking The Old Dead, characters might hear a horrendous tune played that will crack the rib bones of a random character and may cause permanent hearing loss.
Life and death are the opposite edges of the same blade. Invoking the Ikhons requires a sacrifice before bestowing their gifts upon a supplicant. Thy will be done. Supplicants tapping into the Ikhons’ power may hope to gain a gift, but fate, through their belief and sacrifices, may have other things in mind. Sacrifices to the cause must be willing and knowingly agree to be sacrificed. Furthermore, a supplicant willingly severing body their own body parts may also appease the god. Beware! A simple d8 roll plus the number of willing sacrifices or severed limbs determines the result. Too small a sacrifice may be seen as an insult. This means that the lower the final result, the less favorable the gift is to the supplicant.
The results of invoking a specific Ikhon may benefit the players or negatively impact them, their lives, or their ability to exist. We’ve all heard the phrase, “Fuck around and find out!” It is apropos for IKHON!
Ikhons is available in both physical and digital versions. Only the digital version was read and assessed for this review. It is a 48-page book with predominately black pages with white copy. However, a smattering of red copy pops on the black pages. Although this is not a pastiche of the MÖRK BORG core book, it does embody some of the same traits. The color palette is far simpler and easier on the eyes. The copy, like MÖRK BORG, uses a gothic-style font, inconsistent font sizing, random inverted words, and other art punk stylizations. The result is a less jarring reading experience.
IKHON will not be a supplement for everyone, but it may be one you want for what it offers—new canonical material. Each Ikhon resides within a powerful relic that can potentially have wide-reaching in-game effects. This should be tempered by the fact that players will not be easily slinging divine gifts about at will. The will of the Ikhons must be coaxed and fed through willing sacrifices. If you’re okay with that type of power in your game and your players being hunted as heretics, IKHON might be a supplement that appeals to you.
Anyone considering purchasing IKHON, you need to be aware that there is not a lot of written material within the book itself. The product is in keeping with MÖRK BORG’s art-punk aesthetic; as a result, there are copious amounts of art and white (well, black, actually) space.
I love the idea of the players being hunted as heretics, as that makes for a good story. Unfortunately, given the difficulty of bringing forth the Ikhons’ gifts and their random chaotic nature, I don’t see myself using it much. There appears to be enough inspirational material within the Ikhons’ effects that I might be able to tease out some story ideas. So there is that.
For the collectors out there, you will want to get this. It is a beautiful book with strange and ghastly artwork that drips with the theme. For you, it is a must-buy!
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