Austen interviews Johan Nohr & Christian Sahlén about their new Kickstarter for Cy_Borg, a futuristic hack for the critically acclaimed game Mork Borg. Below is a transcribed version of some of the questions from the interview, all of which are edited for clarity and space. To hear the whole interview, please check out the podcast interview below.
Austen: So first of all, congratulations on the big first week for Cy_Borg as it went above and beyond its target goal, as I and so many people in the rpg community are super excited for this to come out. In creating this game, obviously, the genre is different, and the book will be longer, but what mechanically has changed since Mork Borg, how much new content in terms of not the setting or theme, but structure and mechanics-wise will there be as Johan has said in another interview that this is definitely not just Mork Borg in neon colors.
Christian Sahlén: Rules-wise, it might just be Mork Borg but in neon colors, because we aren’t changing much, of course, we are adding rules for automatic fire, because Mork Borg didn’t need that, and we added one new ability for tech use, otherwise, it’s closely the same. We’re adding cybernetics, a bunch of cool gadgets, hacking, and nano powers.
Johan Nohr: It’s also made to be backward compatible with Mork Borg and all the third-party releases.
Austen: Gavriel on Facebook asks, how would you name Cy_Borg”s genre? Is it cyberpunk or something else? Is there going to be a stance against corporatism?
Christian Sahlén: *Laughs. It’s a very political game. And I think that if you, for example, glance at our Spotify or music, the inspirational playlist that we released, there is a reason why the first track is called shock treatment against corporate control. And I guess we can call it cyberpunk. We’re trying to do cyberpunk with a focus on the punk part, I guess.
Johan Nohr: There’s a lot of body horror in it, but that goes with the cyberpunk genre. I’ll definitely call it cyberpunk.
Austen: Johan, your art is what makes Mork Borg and now Cy_Borg one of those games that it would be a disservice to have only a pdf on. And its unique stylization is a huge part of what makes Mork Borg Mork Borg. I feel all artists have a point where their style comes into fruition, be it when they find their filmmaking style, writing voice, or in this case the stylization behind your art. When and where was this born within you do you think?
Johan Nohr: What a question. I think it actually might have been with my boy that I found this sort of style, or that I felt confident enough to sort of pursue it and, and not sort of, you know, fiddle with all the details and finalize too much because this sort of raw, sketchy style seems to work. It’s like the cover, say the cover image of the first book was not even supposed to be the cover image. It was just one of the sketches that we used for marketing material. And then people liked it so much. And they said, Oh, nice cover, and then we put it on the cover. And that sort of became the standard for the whole, the whole artistic style that I used. And I think I’ve had sort of a creative boom with this thing, which is very fulfilling and fun. For me personally.
Austen: And this is kind of a side question to cyborg talked about Mark Borg. I was just looking at the books I have for Mork Borg today, and I just love the bright canary yellow, why did you guys pick that? I love that. I’m wondering how you guys came up with that unique color.
Johan Nohr: It’s kind of an odd color actually for like a doom and black metal-themed game. Because we wanted it to be like a punk scene almost, and have that sort of aesthetic. So it was like a mix of this metal and punk vibe. I just wanted to experiment and try to make a book that was very loud. And so I use the most obnoxious colors that I could find the most screaming colors. And it just kind of worked.
Austen: Christian, when DM’s run your game next year, what would be the ideal setup to put the players into the world of Cy_borg? Any recommendations on music, sound effects, or what they should read, watch or play to kind of get their head in the mindset to run cyborg?
Christian Sahlén: Music-wise, we have a pretty solid playlist on the Kickstarter. I’m a lot of into noise and industrial and that sort of thing, or just experimental weird, electronic, or acoustic noise and stuff like that. But there’s more to it than that, as well. There’s synth wave and all sorts of things. And I think that the world of Cy_borg is really varied. I mean, if you can just travel one door away and you go from some kind of alley where people are fighting into the nightclub with whatever is going on in a nightclub. And then the next door over is some fancy restaurant with maybe a string quartet or something. So I mean, all of that can be in Cy_borg and I think that that mix and juxtaposition and variations are important to get right but you should probably start out with some heavy industrial or something like that and be angry at the state of the world that we are currently in because that’s a lot of what Cy_borg is about because your PCs have it even worse in the Cy_borg future.
Austen: Something also that I really like about Mark Borg is that it allowed people with a third-party license to hack their own modules, monsters, items, weapons, that sort of thing. Which is led to some really, really cool incredible creations. I assume, but maybe not. Is that the plan to carry over to Cy_borg? And if so what are you guys hoping to see out of the third-party community for this game?
Christian Sahlén: Absolutely. There will be something and it’s going to be very, if not an exact copy, it’s going to be very, very similar to Mork Borg for sure. I limited myself on the amount of Cybertech I put into the game, just because I didn’t want to cover everything. Which will leave space for others to come up with cool stuff for it.
Johan Nohr: I think there are a lot of spreads and random tables. So like Cybertech is one spread and you know, you have weapons and drugs and whatever. So I think you could basically pick any of those spreads and just expand it and make your own thing. Or pick whatever from your favorite you know, sci-fi or cyberpunk media, you know, movie or whatever, and add that and sort of stat that for Cy_borg. So I’m hoping that we’ll see our community continue to create cool stuff.
Austen: Going back to the Kickstarter, so what’s going through your heads right now? Because of its huge first day? And is it true that right now the plan is going to come out fairly early to the middle of next year?
Johan Nohr: That’s the plan right now. The last couple of days have been wild. It has far exceeded our expectations for this.
Christian Sahlén: Very grateful. And I mean, the goal is to release it in the summer. And that is mostly because of pandemic related like shipping delays and stuff just to cover that. Because we are, we’re not done completely with all the things but we could probably have fulfilled it sooner had enough been for the state of the international shipping right now.
Johan Nohr is raising funds for CY_BORG on Kickstarter! Nano-infested doomsday RPG about cybernetic misfits and punks raging against a relentless corporate hell.
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The Beer and Pretzel Podcast comes out every Tuesday and Friday at 10 am. Reviews, interviews, and our spin-off podcasts on Tuesday, with our main actual play podcast on Fridays.
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