This is the set-up for Psalm IV:I, a scenario for Mörk Borg, the Swedish pre-apocalypse Old School Renaissance retroclone designed by Ockult Örtmästare Games and Stockholm Kartell and published by Free League Publishing. Published by Storeywood following a successful Kickstarter campaign, Psalm IV:I is a short, vile and bloody scenario that interprets ‘Psalm IV:I’ of the Two-Headed Basilisk’s prophecies, enabling the Player Characters to explore its revelations and both its ramifications and those of their actions as events in and under the church of the Two-Headed Man play out. Thus, it is designed around a specific timed event in the pre-apocalypse of Mörk Borg, although the Player Characters—and even the players—will not be aware of this. Alternatively, Psalm IV:I can simply be used as a short encounter in the Game Master’s campaign, easily slotting into that or any one of the various hexcrawl adventures published for Mörk Borg as a singular encounter of its own.
Psalm IV:I includes several hooks to get the Player Characters involved, including a local priest—the Father—beginning to flay and crucify the local townspeople, the Church of the Two-Headed Basilisk hiring them to suppress the Father’s heresy, a priest escaped from the Order of the Two-Headed Man asking them for their help, and their hearing rumours of a Two-Headed Man promising to save them. It provides a detailed background and backstory to the situation at the single church dedicated to the Order of the Two-Headed Man, including a lengthy timeline. Motivations are given for the quartet of involved in the story—the Daughter/Queen of the Darkest Chamber, her son, her Father, and the Seamstress—so that it is possible to interact with them and even side with them depending upon their actions and attitudes. Ways are suggested how such interactions might play out as are the possible effects of the Player Characters’ choices.
As a place to explore Psalm IV:I describes three distinct areas. These consist of the Courtyard with the Father’s crucified victims and the blood-trailed church; the Undercroft, the cramped crypts which have been twisted into the service of worshipping the Queen of the Darkest Chamber even as the Seamstress lurks, and ‘The Darkest Chambers’, where no light can reach or shine, and the Son wails and whispers piteously… The maps to each location are clear and Psalm IV:I adheres to the Mörk Borg format of keying maps and locations and their descriptions on the same page.
Psalm IV:I only introduces the one monster, the ‘Undead Courtier’, drawing primarily upon those in the Mörk Borg rule book. It does provide a guide for handling fear in the Undercroft, which includes exploiting the possible phobias of the Player Characters, which can be accrued either during character creation or through the result of trauma during play. There is also the means detailed to overcome the phobia as well. These phobia rules are optional though.
Physically, Psalm IV:I is a small book. It is mostly done in black with its artwork almost scratched into the pages in white or crayon-like colours. The effect is weird and creepy and adds to the gloom and sense of darkness that pervades the whole book.
Psalm IV:I is a solid scenario for Mörk Borg. The Game Master will need to make sure that she grasps the motivations of the four NPCs in the scenario, but otherwise Psalm IV:I is easy to add to a campaign, drop into a hexcrawl, or run as a one-shot, serving up a helping of spurned love and double heresy.