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Grim Dark or Noble Dark?

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  • Thrythlind
    started a topic Grim Dark or Noble Dark?

    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.

  • RickmanUK
    replied
    In Terms of the Actual Conversation I Prefer Both.... Noble Dark for the PC's But the GM Making the Setting Grim Dark... If Done right it can lead too better Stories

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  • Thrythlind
    replied
    I dislike playing evil myself, so I will generally play noble dark. My vampires, for example, have a legitimate sense of responsibility rather than a self-important sense of noblesse oblige. If a character starts arrogant, the end goal is to have them mature. My basic belief is that nothing is created evil, that evil is a result of bad choices which are as ultimately unhealthy for the perpetrator as it is for the victim.

    As to the use of labels. No label can express the whole of a concept. Even relatively simple terms like "cat" have been expanded over time by slang to include people or even behavior.

    However, without labels, it becomes difficult to discuss concepts. Even when there is some disagreement over which concepts are included within a particular label, such as the many personal ideas as to what exactly "evil" is, there at least presents some common ground through which those in a conversation can use to at least gauge that differences in conceptual application at least exist.

    As to TVtropes it doesn't make an attempt to codify the creative process. In fact, some of its articles outright state that trying to do so is foolish. What it does provide is a vocabulary combined with a host of examples through which a discussion of past works can be had. It also provides some level of analysis as to the expectations related to particular trends and symbology. However, as said, it is limited to providing an analysis of past works and their receptions among some of the public. Within that limited framework it is an excellent tool and can be used as a way of generating story seeds by juxtaposing works you might not have considering aligning previously. But an encyclopedic understanding of tropes and common reactions to them is only a tool. Just any tool, trying to use it outside what it is best used for is a fool's game.

    Primarily I see tropes as useful in post creation analysis. Writing with tropes in mind tends to produce a noticeably artificial feel to a story. Writing just what seems to make sense for the story works better. Likewise I don't write a scene thinking "this represents X deeper symbolic/abstract thing" I write thinking "what would X do in this situation?" Afterwards I will analyze my own works to see if I can identify elements of deeper meaning to it, but such things largely change from reader to reader. To one reader Gollum falling into the volcano is a poignant reference to the self-destructive nature of evil as it was the ring that corrupted Gollum leaving him vulnerable to the Command placed on him by Frodo early, a Command made with the Ring and inspired by the Ring's growing hold on Frodo. Thus, the Ring destroyed itself. To another reader, the scene has no particular meaning. To a third reader the scene might represent how blind luck rules everything. To a fourth it might be the will of Eru/God working itself out. (My view is obviously the better thought out one. I haven't given the same time to the other views.). Trying to inject deeper meaning is pointless when at least 50% of the meaning is from reader interpretation as influenced by the reader's personal history.

    All that said. That's relating to fiction. In Roleplaying games things are significantly less flexible than in the case of fiction and labels become more than just a tool of discussion and analysis for things already completed. In a Roleplaying game, labels have actual concrete mechanical effects related to them which are hard coded by the text and can thus be used in the sort of recipe manner some people think tropes can be used in. Granted, I was using labels that arose from a conversation which were based on the aforementioned WH40k joke which itself was based on the rather old use of "dark" as describing a story having elements related to horror or pointing to the more negative aspects of humanity. But that was why I bothered to define the terms as I knew them when I posed the "which do you prefer" question.

    I'll stop on the tangent now.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jan Paparazzi
    replied
    Ok, I think the game should really offer dillema's to players and let them choose. Just like the VtM Bloodlines PC game did. I think instead of using grim dark and noble dark you can better use gothic horror and (dark) urban fantasy. In gothic horror the tone is very dark and so are the PC's. They get tainted from their experiences. In dark urban fantasy the tone is dark as well, but the main characters walk away from most things without mental scarring. Think Angel from Buffy. Usually the PC's are occult investigators seeking out the weird and unexplained. The world they live in is dark, but the horror is more external.

    Personally I am a fan of the latter. It isn't the way you are supposed to be playing the game, but all the moping gets old hat pretty quickly. I like gothic in books and films, but I just don't think RPG's are the right medium for it. So my players and I usually play "noble".

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  • nofather
    replied
    It's hard to answer that. Noble dark, as you've described it, depends on the players acting nobly. And grim dark, as you described it, depends more on how the Storyteller runs things.

    Maybe a better question would be, 'How dark is your world of darkness?' But now that I think about it, it seems like something that may have been asked before.
    Last edited by nofather; 09-30-2014, 06:10 PM.

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  • xiongrey
    replied
    We don't really have a specific type of "Dark" my group goes all over the place.

    Our Changeling game was very Neutral Dark where there are realy bad things out there and bad things happen all the time and most characters are all very grey, but the PCs were always in a noble feeling.

    Our Sineater Game was the opposite. The Player characters are very very grey and bad things happen but not necessarily because of Bad People.

    Our Demon game is a whole nother beast entirely. Everything seems dark because of the paranoia. Everything around the characters seem good or bad depending on the situation but no matter what, something can turn very bad if the Demon isn't secretive enough. (but of course that's no way to live (or tell a story))

    Leave a comment:


  • Papa Bear
    replied
    Dang it, and I was just gonna drop a joke bomb on TVtropes. Oh well.

    Leave a comment:


  • PenDragon
    replied
    Today in the weather there is an Extreme Thread Capping advisory. Top threadologists recommend refraining from further attacks on TV Tropes and Leaper.

    Leave a comment:


  • Kat
    replied
    Destroy tvtropes now.
    tvtropes


    Realtalk, Tvtropes is one of most unreliable sources ever and I refuse to touch it with 10 meter pole.





    Leave a comment:


  • Leliel
    replied
    Originally posted by Leaper View Post
    I'm sorry.

    It's okay. We (hopefully that wasn't royal) forgive you.

    Leave a comment:


  • Leetsepeak
    replied
    Originally posted by Papa Bear View Post
    It's Leaper. Just acknowledge, giggle & move on.
    That sort of dismissal seems really rude, patronizing and unnecessary, regardless of how you feel about one another.

    I really think there can be an issue of confirmation bias with the poppy nature of the terms that tvtropes has popularized. When you're trying to fit every world that has darker components into grim dark or dark grim or grim grim or dark dark, there's something lost in discussion. That said, it also provides a lot of folks with frames of reference that they didn't have previously, so I suppose it's just a matter balancing between those two issues.

    I think that the terms in question are particularly unhelpful in the realm of pen and paper and the World of Darkness though. Rather than risk players coming in with strong preconceived notions based upon your usage of grim dark, try to discuss the themes and tones of a game in a more detailed fashion.

    This is definitely a case where your mileage may vary, but it also feel that in Roleplaying games, there's a certain level of ore-determination when you think in terms of grim dark and it's associate words. I think it's better to work with an open mind towards player action, and to establish t he tone of your game in-game without just relying on a grim dark shorthand.

    Thems just my opinions, though.

    Leave a comment:


  • Leaper
    replied
    I'm sorry.

    Leave a comment:


  • ArcaneArts
    replied
    Originally posted by Krobeles View Post
    @Leaper: I'm afraid you just described a major part of literary analysis, which in itself is a pretty big part of the Humanism field of study.
    This is important.

    TvTropes didn't codify narrative trends and aspects of the creative process. It just popularized it.

    Leave a comment:


  • Leliel
    replied
    Originally posted by Krobeles View Post
    @Leaper&Leliel: I assumed she had accidentally posted in the wrong thread/wrong website. 4Chan? Is there a story worth hearing behind the comment?
    Well, that's where the term comes from.

    Grimdark originally referred to "mood evocative of Warhammer 40K", which is to say "dark, crappy, and damned proud of it, thank you."

    It is not a literary trope, but a joke about a mood.

    And Leaper: Please give context next time? You have a right to your opinion and philosophy, but suddenly hopping into a thread to paste the forum equivalent of a bumper sticker with no warning or explanation is confusing and irritating.

    [smartarse]One might even say the it is part of subculture of people who think that a single sentence will immediately be understood as though a philosophy can be reduced to soundbites without examining the internal assumptions and how people react, which contributes to the alienating, post-sincerity hell that we all live in.[/smartarse]
    Last edited by Leliel; 09-30-2014, 12:51 PM.

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  • ArcaneArts
    replied
    In this case she does have a point. It's only half of the discussion, but it's not like she isn't right about some of the big consequences.

    It's a toolbox, and a useful one, but it's not a process nor is it a replacement for artistic inspiration and free-voice.

    That said, it is a useful toolbox when used correctly.

    EDIT: and for the record, while I would never call it noble dark(Seriously, sounds like a middle schooler's webcomic hero), I tend towards "The million mad shadows makes it easier and more important to see the thousand points of light" sort of mentality.

    Leave a comment:

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