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Forum Explorer
2011-10-17, 01:59 PM
I've been reading more fan fics lately and I've noticed that I really don't agree with their definition of GrimDark. So I decided to ask everyone what they think GrimDark means.

I think its a universe that is brutal unforgiving and that the odds of success are so low and the cost is so high you have to question if its worth it. However there is still hope and a good ending is possible just severely difficult or limited. That even in a good ending you're only going to make things a little better.

Ravens_cry
2011-10-17, 02:05 PM
Nope. No hope.
What you are describing is "Earn your happy ending" at the higher scales.
Grimdark is when there is so little hope, so much unrelenting grim darkness that it almost (or does) feel ridiculous.
Here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=11556558&postcount=2) is a description I gave for a similar tread.
It still applies.

Okizruin
2011-10-17, 02:07 PM
No empathy. No victory. No justice. No mercy. Only the negative things exist; cruelty, sociopathy, pointlessness, agony, and pain.

Forum Explorer
2011-10-17, 02:16 PM
Nope. No hope.
What you are describing is "Earn your happy ending" at the higher scales.
Grimdark is when there is so little hope, so much unrelenting grim darkness that it almost (or does) feel ridiculous.
Here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=11556558&postcount=2) is a description I gave for a similar tread.
It still applies.

the only problem with that without any hope it loses impact and becomes dull. Love that quote though.

Eldan
2011-10-17, 02:20 PM
The thing about Grimdark, really, is that it's not just a dark and cynical setting, but one that is taken to extremes and beyond.

Warhammer 40k was the original Grimdark setting, and where it got its name: "In the Grim Darkness of the Future, there is only war...", as the tagline goes.

Our technology doesn't just kill people. It's powered by the souls of abandoned babies shot through a cannon into hell. 40k is, really, a setting that isn't to be taken entirely seriously. And neither is anything that's really Grimdark. To be Grimdark, something has to be, really, ludicrous.

But yes. Humanity's options are being exterminated by killer robots, being eaten by intergalactic locust, or having their souls eaten by demons, even if they survive their own inefficient, soulless murder-engine of an empire. The point is that there is no hope.

Joran
2011-10-17, 02:20 PM
the only problem with that without any hope it loses impact and becomes dull. Love that quote though.

That's why "grimdark" is frequently used as a pejorative.

Yora
2011-10-17, 02:21 PM
That's the problem: It only really works when you just want to have fun with gore and slaughter. And then you're very soon in parody territory.

Worira
2011-10-17, 02:21 PM
In the Grim Darkness of the Dark Grimness, there is only Grimdark.

byaku rai
2011-10-17, 02:26 PM
The definition I usually give to my friends is "everything maybe used to be ok, but now everything sucks, and it just keeps getting suckier." I agree that fanfics usually mis-use the tag.

Ravens_cry
2011-10-17, 02:45 PM
the only problem with that without any hope it loses impact and becomes dull. Love that quote though.
Yes, and that is exactly why I never play grimdark or have any interest in universes that play it straight.
Even Wh40k usually only plays the grimdark perfectly straight in the fluff for large scale battles, in the the wargame.
The fiction on a more intimate scale tends to be more human.

hamishspence
2011-10-17, 02:49 PM
The Cain books have little snippets of it "Soylens Veridians", hints that a world for shell-shocked veterans is also the biggest source of combat servitors in the sector, and so on.

Without actually letting it take over the books.

Pokonic
2011-10-17, 03:19 PM
To put it in a moral perspecive:

Optimistic worlds: At worst, a light shade of gray.

Realistic worlds: Average is gray, but there are more good people than bad.

Noir: A dark shade of gray, but with a occasinal true point of light.

Dark worlds: The average man in power is never lighter than a dark grey. Most are pulled down with them.

Grimdark: The few people who could register as good guys are most likely the worst kind of pich black.
The others are light consuming black holes from which no light come out, only sucked in.

Ravens_cry
2011-10-17, 03:22 PM
The Cain books have little snippets of it "Soylens Veridians", hints that a world for shell-shocked veterans is also the biggest source of combat servitors in the sector, and so on.

Without actually letting it take over the books.
Well, yeah. It's Warhammer 40,000, it has to keep up appearances.
:smallamused:

GolemsVoice
2011-10-17, 03:29 PM
Even Wh40k usually only plays the grimdark perfectly straight in the fluff for large scale battles, in the the wargame.
The fiction on a more intimate scale tends to be more human.

And that is what makes, for example, Dan Abnett's work so great. The characters are human, with human flaws, drives and needs, and they never do anything execcively ridiculous, but you still see that in any universe but the one they're in, they would be considered supreme monsters. But the grimdarkness enters by forcing people to to bad things as the best possible action. All alternatives, even the ones that look merciful at first glance, would be worse.

Ember_Glow
2011-10-17, 03:33 PM
Look up the fan-fic cupcakes, you will have your definition.

Mystic Muse
2011-10-17, 03:46 PM
Look up the fan-fic cupcakes, you will have your definition.

If you like My little Pony: Friendship is Magic, I advise not doing this. A friend of a friend of mine can never watch or even enjoy the show again after that fanfic.

Axolotl
2011-10-17, 03:49 PM
I disagree with the people saying grimdark needs to be either a parody or dull. Look at Blood Meridian, it has all the classic grimdark signs (no hope, an abundance of violence and nobody who isn't evil) but it's still manages to be an amazing book and I don't think many people would call it dull.

Pokonic
2011-10-17, 03:50 PM
If you like My little Pony: Friendship is Magic, I advise not doing this. A friend of a friend of mine can never watch or even enjoy the show again after that fanfic.

Now, Cupcakes is not that bad, realy. Its just that the fandom likes referancing it so much that it is almost required reading!:smalleek:

Mystic Muse
2011-10-17, 03:51 PM
Now, Cupcakes is not that bad, really. Its just that the fandom likes referencing it so much that it is almost required reading!:smalleek:

Never read it, not going to. I'm just giving the OP a fair warning. And, it apparently is that bad, or the one friend would still watch the show I would think.

Pokonic
2011-10-17, 04:00 PM
Never read it, not going to. I'm just giving the OP a fair warning. And, it apparently is that bad, or the one friend would still watch the show I would think.

Oh, it not for the fainthearted by any means, its just that its not written well at all and kind of takes away any horrer that one would be feeling at the time. And sorry for your friends refusal to wach the show. I am sure a 10 second clip of Fluttershy could clear up that issue.

Tengu_temp
2011-10-17, 04:02 PM
WH40K works best when you're not taking it seriously - which is why Orks are the best faction and Ciaphas Cain novels are the best books set in that setting. And the Guardsman's Primer.


If you like My little Pony: Friendship is Magic, I advise not doing this. A friend of a friend of mine can never watch or even enjoy the show again after that fanfic.

How old is that friend? Because if someone above the age of 15 lets a single darkfic ruin the enjoyment of a show for them... then I really, really suggest growing thicker skin. Much worse things lurk all over the internet, and real life.

Kindablue
2011-10-17, 05:05 PM
Noir: A dark shade of gray, with few truly "good" people.

There are usually a few characters in noir fiction who you can call good without an asterisk or a qualifier. Including, of course, the good guy:
In everything that can be called art there is a quality of redemption. It may be pure tragedy, if it is high tragedy, and it may be pity and irony, and it may be the raucous laughter of the strong man. But down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. The detective in this kind of story must be such a man. He is the hero, he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor, by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world. I do not care much about his private life; he is neither a eunuch nor a satyr; I think he might seduce a duchess and I am quite sure he would not spoil a virgin; if he is a man of honor in one thing, he is that in all things. He is a relatively poor man, or he would not be a detective at all. He is a common man or he could not go among common people. He has a sense of character, or he would not know his job. He will take no manís money dishonestly and no manís insolence without a due and dispassionate revenge. He is a lonely man and his pride is that you will treat him as a proud man or be very sorry you ever saw him. He talks as the man of his age talks, that is, with rude wit, a lively sense of the grotesque, a disgust for sham, and a contempt for pettiness. The story is his adventure in search of a hidden truth, and it would be no adventure if it did not happen to a man fit for adventure. He has a range of awareness that startles you, but it belongs to him by right, because it belongs to the world he lives in.

If there were enough like him, I think the world would be a very safe place to live in, and yet not too dull to be worth living in.

--Raymond Chandler, The Simple Art of Murder

Whiffet
2011-10-17, 05:09 PM
Never read it, not going to. I'm just giving the OP a fair warning. And, it apparently is that bad, or the one friend would still watch the show I would think.

It depends. I read it and thought it was so ridiculous that it was funny.

Which is common with Grimdark. It's hard to try and find that point where the most people can take Grimdark seriously. If it goes too far, it's hilarious. If it doesn't go far enough, it isn't really Grimdark.

Soras Teva Gee
2011-10-17, 07:18 PM
And that is what makes, for example, Dan Abnett's work so great. The characters are human, with human flaws, drives and needs, and they never do anything execcively ridiculous, but you still see that in any universe but the one they're in, they would be considered supreme monsters. But the grimdarkness enters by forcing people to to bad things as the best possible action. All alternatives, even the ones that look merciful at first glance, would be worse.

Within the Ghosts maybe this makes sense. If memory serves isn't one of the firsts things that happen in the series that they get attacked by another Imperial Guard unit as a result of rivalry. Then there's the number of times they've been sold out or misused by their superiors.

That's beyond simply the horrors of war, even their own side craps on them in malicous ways

When even the best turns of events must be wrenched from infinite jaws of disaster... that's probably the closest I can find to grimdark.

Dienekes
2011-10-17, 08:10 PM
Personally I don't think Grimdark needs to be dull, just look at the Joe Abercrombie's work. It's not as Grimdark as 40K for instance, but the first series it seems to fit Ravens Cry's criteria rather well.

Forum Explorer
2011-10-17, 08:45 PM
Look up the fan-fic cupcakes, you will have your definition.

cupcakes hold a special place in my heart as the only piece of fiction I wish I could utterly destroy. :smallfurious: I seriously took cupcakes as a personal insult until I read Silent Ponyville.

I also disagree with with its GrimDark tag. Its simply Gorn. I maintain that GrimDark has to inspire emotions in the reader beyond "why am I even reading this?" and "Well that was a waste of time"

You know what I view as a good classic GrimDark story? Oedipus the King.

Grif
2011-10-17, 09:34 PM
cupcakes hold a special place in my heart as the only piece of fiction I wish I could utterly destroy. :smallfurious: I seriously took cupcakes as a personal insult until I read Silent Ponyville.

I also disagree with with its GrimDark tag. Its simply Gorn. I maintain that GrimDark has to inspire emotions in the reader beyond "why am I even reading this?" and "Well that was a waste of time"

You know what I view as a good classic GrimDark story? Oedipus the King.

Want a true MLP Grimdark story?

This (http://www.ponychan.net/chan/fic/res/58801.html). Very well written too, and not pointless gore like Cupcakes, Rainbow Factory or the assorted gore fics which come out of the blue and serves only to shock the readers.

Ravens_cry
2011-10-18, 12:29 AM
You know what I view as a good classic GrimDark story? Oedipus the King.

The Ancient Greeks did love their "Can't Fight Fate." morality tales. Lots of Norse myths are like that too.

Connington
2011-10-18, 12:48 AM
I also disagree with with its GrimDark tag. Its simply Gorn. I maintain that GrimDark has to inspire emotions in the reader beyond "why am I even reading this?" and "Well that was a waste of time"

GrimDark isn't supposed to be a positive tag, although I suppose some people are into those sorts of stories anyways. You seem intent on turning the GrimDark label into a descriptor of something you would actually want to read, but I don't think that's true to it's common usage.

EDIT: And to clarify, you could have a GrimDark story without the blood and guts of Gorn, so they aren't synonyms, just overlapping genres of really dark stuff I don't usually want to read.

Oedipus is a classic tragedy, and has the same sense of inevitable doom as a GrimDark story, but it lacks the "Everything is always going to get worse and there's no hope for anyone." attitude

Feytalist
2011-10-18, 01:38 AM
There are usually a few characters in noir fiction who you can call good without an asterisk or a qualifier. Including, of course, the good guy:

I do love that Raymond Chandler quote.


This is just an idle thought that popped into my head while reading this thread: where would a setting like Ravenloft fall on this scale?

Axolotl
2011-10-18, 01:58 AM
This is just an idle thought that popped into my head while reading this thread: where would a setting like Ravenloft fall on this scale?I guess that depends on your interpretation of the dark powers. If they have some motive beyond just tormenting people for fun then I don't think it would count as grimdark. Of course it's hard to think of any other motive that would seem plausible.

Forum Explorer
2011-10-18, 05:54 AM
GrimDark isn't supposed to be a positive tag, although I suppose some people are into those sorts of stories anyways. You seem intent on turning the GrimDark label into a descriptor of something you would actually want to read, but I don't think that's true to it's common usage.

EDIT: And to clarify, you could have a GrimDark story without the blood and guts of Gorn, so they aren't synonyms, just overlapping genres of really dark stuff I don't usually want to read.

Oedipus is a classic tragedy, and has the same sense of inevitable doom as a GrimDark story, but it lacks the "Everything is always going to get worse and there's no hope for anyone." attitude

Well I did want to hear the different ways GrimDark could be viewed. I'm actually mostly baseing my definition off my view of the 40K universe.

Oedipus gets the "Everything is always going to get worse and there's no hope for anyone." attitude when you look at the pretty much all of Greek stories. The gods use mankind as playthings and the afterlife is standing around in utter boredom with nothing to do. Mankind exists only to suffer and to obey the gods. Humans will never get a lasting reward and to the gods whims kill us by the thousands.

GolemsVoice
2011-10-18, 06:50 AM
Well I did want to hear the different ways GrimDark could be viewed. I'm actually mostly baseing my definition off my view of the 40K universe.

If done well, it would be something I actually want to read. Violence for the sake of violence wouldn't be Grimdark, in my opinion. GrimDarkness isn't achieved mainly through violence, in my opinion. Of course, fights in a Grimdark unvierse will be bloody, that's part of the package, but it needs much more than just random acts of torture and misery. It's a kind of outlook, a bit like many WoD settings, or CoC. Whatever you may achieve is only one spot of hope in an universe that, on the large scale, is just grim and dark, and none of what people do will ever change this.

Moff Chumley
2011-10-18, 10:09 AM
If you like My little Pony: Friendship is Magic, I advise not doing this. A friend of a friend of mine can never watch or even enjoy the show again after that fanfic.

To put things in perspective, Cupcakes is, at worst, a mediocre Saw ripoff, and is nothing the average internet-dweller would bat an eye at if they'd spent more than, say, thirty seconds on /b/. I, for one, found it hilarious.

...on the other hand, this forum is hardly "average internet dwellers". :smalltongue:

Forum Explorer
2011-10-18, 11:49 AM
To put things in perspective, Cupcakes is, at worst, a mediocre Saw ripoff, and is nothing the average internet-dweller would bat an eye at if they'd spent more than, say, thirty seconds on /b/. I, for one, found it hilarious.

...on the other hand, this forum is hardly "average internet dwellers". :smalltongue:

Off topic but I really can't understand the Saw series or its popularity.

Eldan
2011-10-18, 12:49 PM
Off topic but I really can't understand the Saw series or its popularity.

Well, to quote my mother:
"And it was sooo gory! It was great! You could totally see all the bits!"

Soras Teva Gee
2011-10-18, 03:38 PM
To put things in perspective, Cupcakes is, at worst, a mediocre Saw ripoff, and is nothing the average internet-dweller would bat an eye at if they'd spent more than, say, thirty seconds on /b/. I, for one, found it hilarious.

...on the other hand, this forum is hardly "average internet dwellers". :smalltongue:

There's also the consideration of the source material. I wouldn't bat an eye at a 40k fic using this more or less Cupcakes' plot in the frame of a chaos cult on some Imperial planet.

Its more ummm... clashing I think suits this best... with the My Little Pony franchise that injected a large adrenalin-like shot of rainbows and happiness straight into the heart of the internet's wretched hive of scum and villainy.

It is not at all suprising though.

And I'll loosely agree Gorn is not Grimdark persay. Grimdark should be an more universal and existential I think. Which may involve Gorn in it but alone Gorn is insufficient.

Yuki Akuma
2011-10-18, 03:45 PM
I would like to object to the statement that there cannot be hope ni a Grimdark setting.

Tzeentch, one of the four Ruinous Powers of the Warhammer 40k setting, is explicitly a God of Hope.

That is, being hopeful is worship to him and makes him stronger.

Mewtarthio
2011-10-18, 04:07 PM
There's also the consideration of the source material. I wouldn't bat an eye at a 40k fic using this more or less Cupcakes' plot in the frame of a chaos cult on some Imperial planet.

Its more ummm... clashing I think suits this best... with the My Little Pony franchise that injected a large adrenalin-like shot of rainbows and happiness straight into the heart of the internet's wretched hive of scum and villainy.

It is not at all suprising though.

Says the person whose avatar depicts an insane, grinning pony whose neck is apparently broken.

Aotrs Commander
2011-10-18, 04:22 PM
Says the person whose avatar depicts an insane, grinning pony whose neck is apparently broken.

I feel obliged to say, for any non-bronies reading, that said image is a screen-capture from the actual show...!



Never been a fan of Grimdark (or often even "dark" for that matter) myself, the whole "everyone in the universe is the puny playthings of the gods/chaos/the old ones/etc" that is usually the bottom line in such things to be inherently antithetical.

(I'm also not a fan of 40K at the best of times. While it has it's moments, they are only moments, and often rare at that.)

Pokonic
2011-10-18, 04:38 PM
I would like to object to the statement that there cannot be hope ni a Grimdark setting.

Tzeentch, one of the four Ruinous Powers of the Warhammer 40k setting, is explicitly a God of Hope.

That is, being hopeful is worship to him and makes him stronger.

And this, ladys and gents, is why no side can win in Warhammer 40k.

Ravens_cry
2011-10-18, 04:39 PM
@Yuki Akuma:
That, that just makes things worse.:smalleek:

Orzel
2011-10-18, 06:33 PM
Back in high school, a friend and I wrote a story about pair of human transformed into baby predatory animals in a weakened pack.

Because of the screwed up morality structure of the pack, the harshness of nature, and her crazy idea of the animals having conditional regeneration and it got to grimdark territory fast.

Crank Nature up to eleven and put yourself in certain animal's shoes err... paws...claws... hooves. Now that is some grimdark.

Soras Teva Gee
2011-10-18, 06:45 PM
Says the person whose avatar depicts an insane, grinning pony whose neck is apparently broken.

Watch the episode and see how it turns out..... JOIN THE HERD

I'll stand by my point.

Moff Chumley
2011-10-18, 07:14 PM
You have to grant, that episode is a rather vast departure in character from season 1. Doesn't look quite as jarring next to the first two of season 2, but I think we're digressing a tad. :smalltongue:

Soras Teva Gee
2011-10-18, 08:15 PM
Yes the point would be that MLP generally ends on a happy note despite varying degrees of sweetness and light in between all is generally forgiven by the end of an episode.

Without that universal aspect its dubious to call anything in it Grimdark.

Which I think is something critical, that even if you win things are generally hopeless.

Darthteej
2011-10-18, 11:48 PM
There's also the consideration of the source material. I wouldn't bat an eye at a 40k fic using this more or less Cupcakes' plot in the frame of a chaos cult on some Imperial planet.


I think you've hit upon a key aspect of GrimDark, which is about expectations. GrimDark is setting up a universe where horrible things become commonplace and therefore tolerable. Creating GrimDark is a continuous process, otherwise the story's hopelessness becomes boring. You either make it more hopeful or worse off, and 40k has done both to keep itself interesting.

Take Cupcakes. It started off a shocking and unique fanfic that is immortalized because it was the first. Then came the derivatives, the Cupcake subgenre. People writing such fanfiction are enaged in the GrimDark arms race by making it much more shocking(Sweet Apple Massacare), or taking a different tone(Party of None).

Eldan
2011-10-19, 02:24 AM
@Yuki Akuma:
That, that just makes things worse.:smalleek:

Yup. Specifically, the four chaos gods are:

Nurgle, god of life and evolution (also death and disease)
Khorne, god of bravery and honour (also bloodshed and slaughter)
Slaanesh, god of love and devotion (also depravity, sex and corruption)
and, as mentioned before:
Tzeentch, god of intelligence, planning and hope (also secrets, treachery and magic).

Engaging in any of those things makes them stronger. Which, as mentioned, is why there is no chance of improvement in 40k.

Killer Angel
2011-10-19, 04:22 AM
Which, as mentioned, is why there is no chance of improvement in 40k.

Well, you can always hope in a huge WHAAAAGH on galactic scale. At least, someone will have a lot of fun. :smallcool:

(edit: thinking on it, orks' approach to eternal war is too much unconventional, for a grimdark setting... :smalltongue:)

Shadow of the Sun
2011-10-19, 06:47 AM
This is just my personal opinion, but using the setting that inspired it...

GrimDark, like in Warhammer 40K, is where a setting is so over-the-top dark, violent and Kafkaesque...to the point of parody.

Warhammer 40K is amazingly tongue in cheek. I'm not going to deny that there is a level of darkness in it, or that it can have an affect, but the authors are obviously having as much fun as possible making the world always doomed, and you can see that they're purposefully doing so- the GW folks are evidently making a setting that parodies the typical darkness of a number of sci-fi settings, like Aliens.

A setting like HP Lovecraft where the world is always doomed and any headway humans make is only a pyrrhic victory is not grimdark. Nor is Hellblazer, which has a similar premise. Those are horror, existential or cosmic horror for the first, and basic supernatural horror for the second.

Kafka's work, where everything is hopeless and the hero never wins, is not GrimDark, although a number of his works have a darkly comical tinge, such as The Trial; however, they are still meant to be seen as a serious examination of the topic.

Warhammer 40K, where the world is so doomed that the various ways it is doomed are fighting each other and where the darkness is pushed so far that it is ludicrous is GrimDark. The darkness of it has been pushed so far that it no longer has a real emotional effect, and becomes somewhat comical- the authors didn't intend the readers to take it seriously, even though some do.

By these standards, Cupcakes isn't GrimDark, although it is gore. It's supposed to be a somewhat serious examination of: "What if this happy-go-lucky character was really a psychopath?"

If you're reading something and you get the reaction to the mood of it that is legitimately disturbed, it's probably not grimdark. If you're reading it, and after a series of plot-twists you start to think "Okay, this is ludicrous, how are they gonna top this one?", then its grimdark.

As a rule of thumb: if it could be used for The Aristocrats joke, it's Grimdark.

Leliel
2011-10-19, 11:47 AM
Truth is, Black Crusade even removes some of the GrimDark from Chaos to play up the tragedy of the whole thing.

The average Chaotic in the Screaming Vortex is not a morally-depraved berserker, he's just a man fed up with the absolute waste of bureaucracy called the Imperium government, and he wants to actually live in a world where he gets appreciated for his hard work. Hell, the Hereteks come off as being on slightly higher moral ground then the Adeptus Mechanicus if you go by the vanilla write-up; They're not cackling mad scientists who all desperately want to be apprenticed to Fabius Bile, they're normal researchers who pissed off Mars by daring to resort to experimentation and original research.

Darthteej
2011-10-19, 05:37 PM
It seems like we're limiting examples of GrimDark to one setting and one setting alone-WH40k. I don't think anyone doubts that it's a masterful example, but I don't think it's the only one, and I don't think it's always written in parody.

I still maintain that the qualifier is an arms race+dark tone. Consider a GrimDark game of Dungeons and Dragons- it would pit players first against rapist ogres, then against torturous nagas, then against demon cultists, then Vile Magic users, then abberations, then Demons, then obyritths, then Farspawn, and FINALLY end the game with the world being destroyed by an Elder Evil. Against each and every threat the DM would have villians do awful things to get the players blood boiling, and make it abundantly clear from abberations on that each threat could destroy/ruin the world.

That's GrimDark.

Soras Teva Gee
2011-10-19, 06:38 PM
I'd say the discussion can't be separated from 40k because its the trope namer and ultimately if it begs whether Grimdark exists.

I think say 40k is parody is a bit much. It began that way but definitely (for better or worse) has started taking itself seriously. For when 40k was parody one needs only to dig into what it was when it started.

GolemsVoice
2011-10-19, 06:52 PM
Against each and every threat the DM would have villians do awful things to get the players blood boiling, and make it abundantly clear from abberations on that each threat could destroy/ruin the world.

Ah, but many D&D games already ARE like this. The higher up you move on with the CR, the more incredibly vile and evil the monsters get, until you can decide to smack the lord of Hell itself, if you so please. The problem with D&D is that the players are supposed to be at least on par with what they are fighting, they are supposed to win, AND they are supposed to be rewarded with XP and treasure.

I'd say WoD is a better example of GrimDarkness. In Hunter, you go alone against the darkness, risking your life and sanity for a world that will, in the end, never know what you did for it. In Vampire, you're a superhuman in many regards, but you're a slave to your curse as well as to the machinations of the thousand different entities that control you, etc... most of these settings offer hope only on a very individual and momentary level. You might win THIS fight, you might avoid THIS plot, but the next one is just around the corner, and it's only a matter of time until your luck runs out.


I think say 40k is parody is a bit much. It began that way but definitely (for better or worse) has started taking itself seriously. For when 40k was parody one needs only to dig into what it was when it started.

I actually think much of 40K can be taken seriously, when you keep in mind what kind of universe you play in. Some people use the GrimDark descriptor to automatically label anything from 40K some kind of childish or only usable as a parody etc.

Moff Chumley
2011-10-19, 07:33 PM
Grimdark, in my opinion, is something that you can only appraise if you're sufficiently removed from the subject. If one's completely absorbed in 40k, they'd have a hard time appreciating how truly absurd it is; likewise, if you buy into Cupcakes rather than appraise it for what it is, it's harder to judge whether or not it qualifies as "grimdark". Obviously "taking things too seriously" is a pretty central aspect of nerd culture, which is why the topic is as hard to discuss as it is...

The reason Lovecraft comes off as a bit grimdark, to me, and Kafka doesn't, is because any silliness present in Lovecraft's writing is fundamentally light-hearted, but nonetheless dark; whenever Kafka's humorous, all it does is add to the weirdness and discomfort of the thing. Perhaps that was Lovecraft's intention, and I don't think anyone would dispute that Kafka could write circles around him; just my interpretation, here. :smalltongue:

Kindablue
2011-10-19, 10:29 PM
The reason Lovecraft comes off as a bit grimdark, to me, and Kafka doesn't, is because any silliness present in Lovecraft's writing is fundamentally light-hearted, but nonetheless dark; whenever Kafka's humorous, all it does is add to the weirdness and discomfort of the thing. Perhaps that was Lovecraft's intention, and I don't think anyone would dispute that Kafka could write circles around him; just my interpretation, here. :smalltongue:
Lovecraft? Silly? Ridiculous. (http://www.hplovecraft.com/writings/texts/fiction/se.asp)

Dsurion
2011-10-24, 10:37 AM
Personally I don't think Grimdark needs to be dull, just look at the Joe Abercrombie's work. It's not as Grimdark as 40K for instance, but the first series it seems to fit Ravens Cry's criteria rather well.While I wouldn't really call Abercrombie's books Grimdark, they are very, very dark and I love them for it.