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Pen actual songs about a post-apocalyptic UK in lyric-writing RPG Punk is Dead

Be Like a Crow creator’s game riffs on Mörk Borg with a tour to play music and slay capitalist vampires.

Image credit: Critical Kit Ltd.

Fancy yourself a regular Bob Dylan, Taylor Swift or Kendrick Lamar? A new tabletop RPG will give you the chance to prove your affinity for penning a catchy tune by writing actual songs while you explore its post-apocalyptic world.

Punk is Dead comes from designer Tim Roberts, creator of single-player crow-sim RPG Be Like a Crow, who riffs on the mechanics of Mörk Borg to allow characters, items and more to be directly pulled from the heavy-metal Scandi-folk fantasy game into the standalone RPG.

Adding an original melody to that driving bassline is a new song-writing mechanic devised by Roberts, which tasks players with recording their experiences in the form of song lyrics in reward for creativity points. Whether individual or shared among the band, the points can then be spent to help modify dice results and up the chances of success on future rolls.

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There should be plenty to write about too, as players venture across the five realms of an Un-united Kingdom left devastated by nuclear war, pandemics and nightmarish monsters - be they vampires, evil faeries or capitalists and fascists - from an otherworldly dimension. Along the way, they’ll be looking to meet surviving locals, play gigs (rolling skill checks to see how it goes down with the crowd) and earn the money they need to keep the music playing. Oh, you’ll need to kill baddies and save the world, too.

In true rock band fashion (or a musical Scooby-Doo, if you prefer, which Roberts namechecks as an influence), you’ll be able to travel around the wasteland in a beat-up van upgradeable with your earnings, with the party - including roles such as vocals, guitar, bass, drums, keys and roadie - led through their campaign by a BM. Band Manager, of course. Despite the musical inspiration, there’s no need to have any musical talent - or even lyrical prowess - to play. Good news for those of you looking to invite Ed Sheeran to the table.

Image credit: Critical Kit Ltd.

Punk is Dead’s 90-plus-page physical book will be crammed with the vibrant graphic design and illustration familiar from Mörk Borg and its various spin-offs, with the whole lot contained in a hardback square measuring seven inches in homage to 45 singles. On the front and throughout will be splashed pink and yellow in tribute to the Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks, with included Clash-inspired adventure London Calling pitting the players’ group against capitalist vampires before a gig.

Punk is Dead is currently crowdfunding over on BackerKit, where its already blown far past its £2,000 goal and is sitting at over £30,000 raised with three weeks left on the clock.

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Punk is Dead

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Matt Jarvis avatar

Matt Jarvis

Editor-in-chief

After starting his career writing about music, films and video games for various places, Matt spent many years as a technology, PC and video game journalist before writing about tabletop games as the editor of Tabletop Gaming magazine. He joined Dicebreaker as editor-in-chief in 2019, and has been trying to convince the rest of the team to play Diplomacy since.

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