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Grim Dark or Noble Dark?

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  • Grim Dark or Noble Dark?

    I am just curious how people prefer to play.

    I think we can all agree that anything Bright is wrong for WoD, but there's a couple of different ways of doing dark.

    Noble Dark - Bad things happen on a regular basis. There are true horrors and true atrocities and depraved creatures or individuals are common. However, the way the main characters deal with it is mostly noble and they avoid "ends justifies the means" tactics and attitudes. There are things worth protecting and it may be mostly the characters' situation and position that make the world seem dark as they are in position to see most of the darkness.

    Grim Dark - It is hard to tell the good guys from the bad. Both sides use similar tactics and the things that set them apart are mostly ephemeral things such as their intentions. It is harder to find things that are worth defending and vengeance or survival is often the most frequent motivation.

    I personally prefer Noble Dark as Grim Dark gets wearisome and unappealing rather quickly.

  • #2
    Well, I don't agree with such differentiations.
    In any case, at least in my games, I leave the players to choose their own tactics.


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    • #3
      Consider there are also such classifications like Grim Derp (when you took it so far it's too grotesque to take seriously) and Noblebright (which does not mean that things are all rainbows and sunshines, but that things are improving and there is hope in spite of problems that are still present).


      “I am absolute, I am perfect, I am supreme. I shall be eternal. My tragedy, is that there is no other fate for me. My powerlessness was that I couldn’t subjugate my journey to the gods, while dreaming of rebirth at the end of distant time, like other pharaohs.” Ramesses II, Fate/Prototype: Argent Fragments.

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      • #4
        Alright, in any case, I think WoD is very much (at least VtR, since that's what I play, mostly) about your own choices and how you choose about it. Going through it nobly is usually the harder path, but good things are hard, aren't they? So at least I like my games where this choice matters, where you explore what it means to take the easy way out (the Grim Dark, or so what you're calling it) and how hard it is to keep on the "Noble" path.


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        • #5
          I'm just asking which a person prefers to play in, not whether they force it on their players or not.

          As to other distinctions, a character in my own setting separated the perceptions of the "worlds" he was aware of as follows:

          The "First World" where the people who either don't believe in the supernatural or else what they know about the supernatural is total drek. The every-day people who are also, in general, far from any sort of violence.

          The "Second World" where the supernatural and non-human sentient beings are common, but they are still distant from any real danger or violence and are, in general no more dangerous than the average person. A werewolf who generally only changes on family outings in the local national park, an exorcist who mostly deals with naturally occurring curses and has never faced a deliberate attack, a demon or god whose never received any military training or experience in all their long life.

          The "Walled World" where there are the guardians who have seen the violence of the world and exist as a wall between the First and Second Worlds and that violence. This includes both the supernatural and soldiers who focus on more mundane skills.

          The "Ragged World" where people are mired in violence every day, even if they are, themselves of good intentions, they can rarely escape the Ragged World and see it around every corner.

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          • #6
            With such perspective on the thread, I can say that I prefer what makes sense for the character the most. If the person is "noble" just because the world type (game type) is "Noble Dark" it's as bad in my opinion, as someone committing atrocities just because it's "Grim Dark".

            If a PC is committing atrocities because that's what his character would do - so be it.
            If a PC is being noble despite stuff - so be it.


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            • #7
              Every once in a while I enjoy playing a truly evil character, but mostly I stick with noble ones. I quite enjoy playing an idealist in a cynical world.

              This question also made me think of two of the new players in my chronicle. They were sceptical about joining the chronicle at first because they had some bad experiences with WoD. Apparently everyone they had played with in the past were grimdark-players and seemed to be competing in who could be the most evil. A lot of those people were apparently of the opinion that "you can't play a good person in the World of Darkness". I managed to convince them to give my chronicle a try and after their first session they said that our group is the best WoD-group they've played in. Apparently we were the first group that didn't try to force grimdark on them.

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              • #8
                I prefer a mix of the two. The World of Darkness should never be a 'nice' place, actualy, but if you dont give the players a point of referance which is grounded somewhat in the mundane normality of the setting, the supernatural horror elements will be drowned out in a homogenous blur of constant grim all the time.
                Value is derived by how much the line wavers, not by where its at. You need some peaks and troughs to make the peaks stand out all the more.

                One of the only scenarios I've played which can actually be said to have been 'horror' in its actuality, instead of just kinda trying to be horror, was a scenario which started out as a happy-go-lucky heroes-here-to-save-the-day-and-claim-the-treasure kinda thing, which by the third session had a forth of the group killed, and half of the group trapped in the lair of a now-dead cannibal occultist, together with his half-eaten victims of which only one was alive, though in a state of catatonic panic, and the Perhaps-Real Eldritch Abomination he claimed in his diary to have locked in his basement, same place we were at.
                After that, it went back to the relative peaceful baseline that the story is grounded in, which just made the entire thing seem all the more horrid, as everyone went about their business as if our characters hadn't just experienced a waking nightmare literally right underneath the pavement of the streets the children played upon. The fact that the world continued relatively undisturbed made even the peaceful baseline seem surreal and alittle freaky, since we now know what horrors lurk just at the periphery of sight.

                Many of my friends try to do horror and the Grim-Dark setting you describe, but I think the best option is to do both. The more tightly you can weave them, and the more in contrast you can make them seem, the better.

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                • #9
                  Destroy tvtropes now.

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                  • #10
                    I prefer a mix of the two. The World of Darkness should never be a 'nice' place, actualy, but if you dont give the players a point of referance which is grounded somewhat in the mundane normality of the setting, the supernatural horror elements will be drowned out in a homogenous blur of constant grim all the time.
                    Value is derived by how much the line wavers, not by where its at. You need some peaks and troughs to make the peaks stand out all the more.
                    There should be possibility for characters to have their happy ending, but they must carve out it themselves with effort. Nothing handed on a platter.




                    “I am absolute, I am perfect, I am supreme. I shall be eternal. My tragedy, is that there is no other fate for me. My powerlessness was that I couldn’t subjugate my journey to the gods, while dreaming of rebirth at the end of distant time, like other pharaohs.” Ramesses II, Fate/Prototype: Argent Fragments.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Leaper View Post
                      Destroy tvtropes now.
                      For the terminology of 4chan?

                      I agree with the destruction of websites, but check which is the guilty party.

                      As for me, noble with some of the moral ambiguity of grim.


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                      • #12
                        @Katsura: I am slightly opposed to having a definitive 'ending' at all, actually. Even more so because "happy ending" is alittle hard given the usual material of a WoD game. "We stopped the insane serial butcher and cannibal" is more along the lines of "Its finally over..." than a real happy ending, in my opinion.

                        @Leaper&Leliel: I assumed she had accidentally posted in the wrong thread/wrong website. 4Chan? Is there a story worth hearing behind the comment?

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                        • #13
                          She hates TvTropes. That's about it.


                          Kelly R.S. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
                          The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
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                          • #14
                            It's not the terminology that bothers me so much as the subculture of breaking human imagination into variables and documenting them as though a piece of art can be made by mixing and matching narrative convention without examining why it is being used, which contributes to the alienating, post-sincerity hell that we all live in.

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                            • #15
                              It's Leaper. Just acknowledge, giggle & move on.


                              - If you must be ridiculous, I must ridicule you.
                              - Those that can give up essential liberties in exchange for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. -- Benjamin Franklin

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