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You want it darker?

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  • You want it darker?

    You want it darker?
    We kill the flame.

    How dark do you go with your World of Darkness games?

    How tragic do you want the games to be? How much despair? How violent? How cruel?

    As a player, or a storyteller, how dark do you go?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post
    You want it darker?
    We kill the flame.
    And then you awaken it again, you Hollow One.


    • #3
      It's tricky. I mean, the medium of RPGs is such that dark content doesn't really correlate all that well to impact. Further, because it's imaginary, contrast tends to have a much more visceral impact.


      • #4
        The darkest scene of one of my chronicles was pretty cruel, with a Thallain slave camp in the Dreaming, where the slaves (mostly Kithain, but also a few humans) gut either reworked as Dream-Cyborgs by some crazy Goblins, raped and tortured in many other ways. Most of it wasn't described in detail. Most of it was implied. Most of it.
        Although, no player characters were involved (they had to see the camp and try to figure out what to do, though).

        My chronicles tend to have a theme of hopelessnes and despair, mixed with some kind of depravity that's found in all stages of society.
        Most NPCs tend to be rather "normal", but there are still those who would do anything to reach their goal. Contrast is most important, so I try to balance out the dark depravity of the world with normalcy in most times.


        • #5
          Note: I'm a Mage player which I already feel is one of the more hopeful settings.
          In the 90s and 2000s I felt able to do a dark world of darkness where the Technocrats were trying to ruin everything but it's very much shifted over the last few years. I've spent more personal time in local government (at the city level I've found it very satisfying) and working on community issues and such. Running a game where that would largely lie in ruin wouldn't be enjoyable to me.

          I start with the presume that the draw of decay is strong and that people need to work to just stay in place against the bad guys in whatever system it is. The second point of darkness is that the bad guys are generally unified and cooperative with each other and the good guys are generally diffuse and quarrelsome. This has lead to my players being kind of the exceptional of the exceptional in that they are both mages AND try to exist above the fray of politics.


          • #6
            I'll go as dark as my players are willing to go, so I always ask them outset what they are/aren't comfortable with. I'm currently running Wraith and I really emphasize the emotional darkness there. As far as specifics, I once ran a VtM game that had a Nagaraja PC (I quickly realized that player goes for edginess). Anyway, I did a separate feeding prelude for each character and that one chose to lure a beggar child into an alley and graphically describe eating him.


            • #7
              First I do realistic darkness instead of edgy darkness that means there is light , a small hope for a happy ending or something to loss , without it defeat isnt painful becuase you didnt have to win or loss just to acept your destinity as another martyr in a crapsack world.

              Second I just donĀ“t hold my punches becuase If i were to feel unconfortable with an idea I would transfer that anxiety to my players , when darkness hits it does hard as a hammer

              I also like to make my players ask themselves Did happen what I think? kinda like what happened in the killing joke with certain scene , the unknow is scary.

              Hunger pool


              • #8
                I go about as dark as I think the real world happens to be--which is pretty dark. As I see it, there is no evidence whatsoever that the moral arc of the universe curves towards justice, and there is little or no limit to the depths of human cruelty and depravity, particularly where we do not believe there are real consequences to our actions. In other words, I strive for a sense of realism where "darkness" is concerned. My answer to the claim (in case someone wants to mention it) that the WoD is supposed to be a darker version of our own world is that, when that was written, I think the idea was probably to go darker than more conventional narratives, which I believe skewed (and still skew) more sanitized than reality.



                • #9
                  The beginning of the end for my MtAs game, which lasted four years and saw them grow from starting-level characters to archmasters, began when the cabal of PC's unlocked the tenth sphere, control over Paradox itself. The asteroid belt itself was the shade realm of Paradox, sealed and hidden by ancient archmasters of the Mythic age for reasons that had long been forgotten. Those reasons were quickly remembered when mages across the world suddenly found themselves no longer bound by the Consensus, and in fact the stronger the Consensus the better since Paradox became, in effect, Quintessence itself.

                  Mass Awakenings happened, with millions of people suddenly developing godlike powers they couldn't control. The Bygones returned, all the angrier and more powerful because they were vulgar. Old and ancient archmasters returned to settle old grudges. Barriers between Umbral realms vanished, and spirits and ghosts were able to navigate the world completely unfettered. The Technocracy pushed the button, and the nukes flew. Some were stopped by mages, others were made orders of magnitude more powerful, others would detonate and cause no casualties because the major metro areas they targeted were already gone.

                  In a matter of hours, everything human civilization had ever been and would ever be was completely and utterly annihilated, save tiny pockets of humanity guarded by mages who had been able to use their magic to see them through the global cataclysm. But because those pockets of humanity had seen the worst case scenario of all possible worst case scenarios through and now lived in a world in which anything was possible, the Consensus was forever broken and the power of the tenth sphere vanished from the Earth as quickly as it arrived. A second Mythic age dawned through the ashes of a broken world.

                  Or so everyone thought. The reality was unleashing the tenth sphere, the final breaking of the Consensus, all the chaos and horror of those few hours, and the magical reawakening of the world triggered the Paradox backlash to end all Paradox backlashes in the form of a planet-killing asteroid heading directly for Earth, and nothing that could be done would stop it.

                  Mages who were capable of the feat fled the Earth. Void Engineers and Etherites staged last-moment evacuations of the humans who were still left and took to the stars. Verbena hid their flocks in the Paths of the Wyck. Akashics retreated to the Astral Realm. Choristers prayed for divine intervention. Ecstatics drank, shot up, and fucked their last hours away. Others dealt with the end in their own way, but the Nephandi...the Nephandi laughed. Descent was nigh, and they had succeeded beyond all reason.

                  The asteroid struck Earth, killing every last being on the planet instantly and condemning those beyond to eventually degenerate into spirits. The Great Wheel turned...and everything was made anew. Those in the Umbra became the first generation of spirits to inhabit the new universe, the sleepers reincarnated, and the mages that remained to face the end with dignity would go on to be the Avatars of the next cycle.

                  How's that for dark. Everyone and everything fucking dies and an instant and painless death is your best hope. But hey, better luck next time.
                  Last edited by Theodrim; 01-06-2019, 08:21 PM.