Jump to content
Tigerwomble

Dark Glorantha

Recommended Posts

5 hours ago, TrippyHippy said:

It really wasn't. Lord of the Rings is hardcore dark fantasy - it's central theme is largely about death, as inspired by Tolkien's own experience in World War I and his own reflections of Wold War II. There is a central Christian-esque morality at play within the setting and characters, which contrasts with later fantasy creations, and reflects Tolkien's own conservative world views - but unlike The Hobbit, the story is not fully aimed at children nor is it a lighthearted romp. Characters die and suffer in LotR. 

Yeah I get that, but LOTR is not Dark Fantasy because of opposition and death/conflict, that's just Classic Fantasy which isn't aimed at children. However if we are talking about Tolkien's Legendium then that certainly does get a bit darker and melancholic, especially with Turin and the Histories of Middle Earth etc.

Edited by Mankcam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most British fantasy really doesn't seem to me to be...dark, at all? Tolkein is basically free of grim. It has 'dark' themes, but they're as dark as any other fantasy writer. (I.E. the Midkemia Books, Dragonlance books, Wheel of Time books, etc, are filled with death doom despair and destruction) Some of his books are a bit 'grimmer' but they're not really...Dark. Similarly, to name the other big British fantasy authors that come to mind? C.S. Lewis? Ok, maybe you got me there if you include The Screwtape Letters but not in any of his other writings. Brian Jaques' books arei filled with death but I can't imagine anyone who'd think it was grim. (It certainly wasn't intended to be grim.) Diana Wynne Jones, Terry Pratchett and J.K. Rowling certainly aren't Dark Fantasy writers. Neither is Timothy Zahn. (Though does he count as a Brit or an American? Do any of us want to take credit for that one?) The only British 'grim' writer I can really think of is Michael Moorcock. (note, I'm discounting the Urban fantasy genre as part of the point of it is to be a bit grim, for the most part. Either way British Urban fantasy tends to bias towards young adult and due to that seems to be a lot lighter than American, which tends to bias towards sex, drugs and suicide.)

Warhammer isn't really...grim as it is humorous much as humorous. Its more like a joking exaggeration of the many years rationing the Brits had, a snicker and a prod at the 'Stiff upper lip!' Of wartime Britain. Its hard to really consider it particularly, truly grim. though 40k ups itself to GrimDark, which feels at least as a Cascadian, to be more of a elaborate running gag. End Times and Mordheim are pretty grim, but they're not Warhammer as a whole, they're as core Warhammer Fantasy as Bloodbowl is. (Even then, are they grimmer than Midnight, Tribe 8, Eclipse Phase or the entire 'Weird' genre that's sort of an American staple, ala Poe, Chambers, Lovecraft, and to an extent I'd include Richard Sharpe Shaver as an example of that too. But he also ~believed~ everything he wrote so, little different.)

North American fantasy I'd even say tends to have more examples of particularly grim writing? But that's probably just due to there being a lot more Americans than Brits. The only writers who i'd say bias massively towards 'dark' fantasy, would be Eastern European.

However if you want true existential terror in an absurdly grim portrayal of a fantasy world, look at Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth books! Objectivist Fantasy!

 

As far as making Glorantha dark, its not hard to. Play up the horror present in it, defocus off heroes and onto the weaker folks and linger on things that normally get passed over. (All those people devastated by constant raiding! Sex slaves, Everything To Do With Darra Happa.)

Edited by Madrona
Derped.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Warhammer is so over the top that it provokes more laughter than feelings of dread in me. How many skulls can you fit in one piece of art? It reminds me of Spinal Tap, always turning it up to 11. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, Madrona said:

As far as making Glorantha dark, its not hard to. Play up the horror present in it, defocus off heroes and onto the weaker folks and linger on things that normally get passed over. (All those people devastated by constant raiding! Sex slaves, Everything To Do With Darra Happa.)

I'd almost argue it goes there naturally, the more you push toward realism and not magical Mary Sue heroes that solve the problems.

RQ combat is brutal, and it wouldn't take much of a group of broo to turn your average bronze-age village - even one somewhat alert to the dangers - into a horror scene that would make HP Lovecraft or George Romero blush.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My favorite dark fantasy works are Raymond Feist's Faerie Tale and The Talisman by Peter Straub and Stephen King.  All American authors.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, jajagappa said:

My favorite dark fantasy works are Raymond Feist's Faerie Tale and The Talisman by Peter Straub and Stephen King.  All American authors.

 

I've often considered how well RQ would work in the Malazan setting.  I thought they beautifully (and rather darkly) illustrated the intersection of normal people and astonishingly powerful heroes. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/29/2018 at 7:41 AM, Mankcam said:

Tolkien was a Brit, and Lord of the RIngs is pretty hopeful and shiny

I disagree. I think LOTR was actually quite grim. Tolkien described himself as a pessimist.

Frodo failed. He had every intention to keep the ring. It was only luck that the ring was actually destroyed.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, manfriday said:

I disagree. I think LOTR was actually quite grim. Tolkien described himself as a pessimist.

Frodo failed. He had every intention to keep the ring. It was only luck that the ring was actually destroyed.

Technically it was actually the literal God of middle earth (Eru Illuvatar caused Gollum to trip) and not luck but Frodo still accomplished his purpose of getting the ring to the mountain.

Edited by Richard S.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, manfriday said:

I disagree. I think LOTR was actually quite grim. Tolkien described himself as a pessimist.

Frodo failed. He had every intention to keep the ring. It was only luck that the ring was actually destroyed.

Not luck, but Gollum.  Ironically, the vertically challenged sociopath Tolkien fans love to hate was the Savior of the Universe.  Does he ever get any credit for it, my precious?  Never!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, seneschal said:

Not luck, but Gollum.  Ironically, the vertically challenged sociopath Tolkien fans love to hate was the Savior of the Universe.  Does he ever get any credit for it, my precious?  Never!

Exactly that - the idea being that we should tolerate the selfish and wicked, like Gollum, because their obsessive greed and blindness to others, leading to their own downfall essentially provides salvation to the rest of us. 

Lord of the Rings is a tragedy more than anything else, even in reference to the 'far shores' which a load of characters go on to at the end, which is also metaphor for death. The notion that the story is shiny and hopeful, is fundamentally misreading the themes.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Richard S. said:

Technically it was actually the literal God of middle earth (Eru Illuvatar caused Gollum to trip) and not luck but Frodo still accomplished his purpose of getting the ring to the mountain.

After many years of reading LotR, it wasn’t until listening to the BBC radio adaptation that I figured this.  After Gollum attacks on Mount Doom, Frodo, as ringbearer, says:

“Begone, and trouble me no more! If you touch me ever again, you shall be cast yourself into the Fire of Doom.”

and, of course, he does, and he is.  Since we established long ago that the ring has power over Gollum, you could argue that it was the power of the ring over Gollum that caused him to fall.  So, depending on your point of view, either Frodo destroyed the ring, or it destroyed itself. 

Sorry to add to the continued derailing of the thread, but I just had to share that. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/29/2018 at 12:07 PM, Tigerwomble said:

So, can a darker Glorantha be presented without harming the essential character of the game?

The Kingdom of War.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/29/2018 at 12:07 PM, Tigerwomble said:

So, can a darker Glorantha be presented without harming the essential character of the game?

Yes I play Glorantha by WOD rules, and bring personal horror themes into the game.

However its an aspect or take on Glorantha and playing that way you will get a subset of the whole gloranatha feel.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/1/2018 at 5:23 AM, manfriday said:

I disagree. I think LOTR was actually quite grim. Tolkien described himself as a pessimist.

Frodo failed. He had every intention to keep the ring. It was only luck that the ring was actually destroyed.

Just because it has some grim elements, doesn't mean LOTR isn't overall hopeful. Although that sense of hope certainly sits side by side with melancholia at times, including the final chapter.

Overall Tolkien's Middle Earth Legendium is a mixture of heroism, hope, and tragedy. The tragic elements really come through much more in The Silmarillion, and the Histories of Middle Earth, etc although LOTR itself often doesn't place the same emphasis on deep tragedy, except for Gollum, that figure remains quite tragic.

But the point I was making is that it would be hard to categorise LOTR as a 'dark fantasy' as opposed to 'high fantasy' or 'classic fantasy'.

Although this in itself is a bit off-track from the initial query regarding whether Glorantha can be a dark fantasy. I would pose that Glorantha is a 'gritty fantasy', which can be quite dark in some areas, if one wants to follow that path.

Edited by Mankcam
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Mankcam said:

Overall Tolkien's Middle Earth Legendium is a mixture of heroism, hope, and tragedy.

On a tangent, The One Ring rpg captures this mixture quite well. And can be quite dark at times.

Coming back to Glorantha, I think also that the tone of the game is also a matter of color palette. Middle Earth is a Nordic-Celtic fantasy inspired by the Germanic and Celtic roots of the Britain.

Glorantha is vast, but prevalently Mediterranean, Middle-Eastern, Indian, Mesoamerican.  Lunars look somewhat like Roman-Palmyrene, while Sartarites could be stout and stubborn Illirians (Albanians' ancestors!) or southern Celts (Celt-Hiberians or Insubrians from Northern Italy).

If we compare the art of the One Ring with that of RQG (both beautiful books!) the difference in the palette is striking. Mists and subdued hues vs. sun and bright colors.

       

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 29 May 2018 at 1:41 PM, Mankcam said:

Well those analogies are very broad, and well..incorrect

Yeah they work in the fact that D&D is from USA and very shiny, whereas Warhammer is from the UK and very 'muddy'. But that's about it.

Tolkien was a Brit, and Lord of the RIngs is pretty hopeful and shiny. Perhaps the main famous fantasy novelist ever. Same goes for Lewis's Narnia (if not a bit childlike).So two big Brit names not involved in the dark grime and mud. And not all American stuff is John Wayne. George R.R.Martin is an American, and A Song of Fire and Ice gets very mature and dark at times. Frank Herbert was almost just as dark, and he was an american sci fi/fantasy author. Also Howard's CONAN series was just as much about a rogue-almost antihero. 

That was one of the most shallow analysis of LOTR I ever seen. It isn't grimdark, no, but the price everyone pays for winning is hardly shiny ... And no I wont argue the matter further, but it is quite a bad example. Even Narnia isn't that positive if you read a bit between the lines (and are able to dodge the disgusting christanity propaganda).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Hteph said:

 (and are able to dodge the disgusting christanity propaganda).

Your ability to distinguish propaganda from allegory is as strong as your spelling skills.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Hteph said:

That was one of the most shallow analysis of LOTR I ever seen. It isn't grimdark, no, but the price everyone pays for winning is hardly shiny ... And no I wont argue the matter further, but it is quite a bad example. Even Narnia isn't that positive if you read a bit between the lines (and are able to dodge the disgusting christanity propaganda).

I don't want to get into a huge argument here, Narnia is a weird thing. But to back up the allegory statement...
If you followed Narnia's 'teachings' as Christianity... You'd be a gnostic henotheist (Or monolateralist) non-trinitarian No-Heller who believes in karma and reincarnation, has no idea what transubstantiation is, wouldn't need any concept of Christ-Sacrifice (this is just a magic spell), has their Christ as a living god in the sense of a immortal physical entity, and due to some really shaky passages that would totally get some interesting interpretations put to them, likely a sex/pleasure cultist. Which would transform Christianity into a religion so different I don't think it would be recognizable as Christian.

Edited by Madrona
Wrote statement instead of argument. What is words?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, Madrona said:

I don't want to get into a huge argument here, Narnia is a weird thing. But to back up the allegory statement...
If you followed Narnia's 'teachings' as Christianity... You'd be a gnostic henotheist (Or monolateralist) non-trinitarian No-Heller who believes in karma and reincarnation, has no idea what transubstantiation is, wouldn't need any concept of Christ-Sacrifice (this is just a magic spell), has their Christ as a living god in the sense of a immortal physical entity, and due to some really shaky passages that would totally get some interesting interpretations put to them, likely a sex/pleasure cultist. Which would transform Christianity into a religion so different I don't think it would be recognizable as Christian.

Yikes. Good thing narnia was just a children’s fantasy story with some (admittedly clumsy) christian allegory, and wasn’t christian teaching!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/2/2018 at 1:27 PM, Mankcam said:

Just because it has some grim elements, doesn't mean LOTR isn't overall hopeful. Although that sense of hope certainly sits side by side with melancholia at times, including the final chapter.

Overall Tolkien's Middle Earth Legendium is a mixture of heroism, hope, and tragedy. The tragic elements really come through much more in The Silmarillion, and the Histories of Middle Earth, etc although LOTR itself often doesn't place the same emphasis on deep tragedy, except for Gollum, that figure remains quite tragic.

But the point I was making is that it would be hard to categorise LOTR as a 'dark fantasy' as opposed to 'high fantasy' or 'classic fantasy'.

Although this in itself is a bit off-track from the initial query regarding whether Glorantha can be a dark fantasy. I would pose that Glorantha is a 'gritty fantasy', which can be quite dark in some areas, if one wants to follow that path.

Put it this way, in an interview about the ending of his Game of Thrones series, George RR Martin said: 

Quote

“I’ve said before that the tone of the ending that I’m going for is bittersweet. I mean, it’s no secret that Tolkien has been a huge influence on me, and I love the way he ended Lord Of The Rings. It ends with victory, but it’s a bittersweet victory. Frodo is never whole again, and he goes away to the Undying Lands, and the other people live their lives. And the scouring of the Shire — brilliant piece of work, which I didn’t understand when I was 13 years old: “Why is this here? The story’s over?” But every time I read it I understand the brilliance of that segment more and more. All I can say is that’s the kind of tone I will be aiming for. Whether I achieve it or not, that will be up to people like you and my readers to judge.”

Now people can debate the exact definitions of various fantasy categorisations, but all that really just boils down to semantics in the end. The real point, however, is that it is simply a misrepresentation of Lord of the Rings to suggest it is shiny and hopeful. It isn't. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, TrippyHippy said:

The real point, however, is that it is simply a misrepresentation of Lord of the Rings to suggest it is shiny and hopeful. It isn't. 

 

I think that’s true. It has shiny things and hopeful things in it, but that doesn’t make it shiny and hopeful, any more than it having dark and sinister things in it makes it dark and sinister.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/3/2018 at 5:26 PM, Hteph said:

That was one of the most shallow analysis of LOTR I ever seen. It isn't grimdark, no, but the price everyone pays for winning is hardly shiny ... And no I wont argue the matter further, but it is quite a bad example. Even Narnia isn't that positive if you read a bit between the lines (and are able to dodge the disgusting christanity propaganda).

I think my post has been taken out of context.

I was merely trying to reinforce that not every fantasy from the UK is 'dark', and not every fantasy from the USA is 'bright'. Lord Of The Rings vs A Song Of Fire And Ice is a reasonable example. Tolkien's book is rarely referenced as Dark Fantasy, whereas Martin's series often is. 

I was pointing out an overall flavour, so it was intended as such. It was not an analysis of Tolkien's body of literature by a long shot, nor was it intended as such. It was a broad brush stroke, I think that's easy to see.

Tolkien's material is not new to me. Over the last 30 years I have collected the majority of his legendium, and slowly getting thru it all. I am just waiting to get The Story of Kullervo, and The Fall Of Gondolin (when it is released). I know his work can be tragic. That wasn't what I was referencing. Nor was I wanting to discuss Tolkien's work in depth, so lets not start.

But it seems to have derailed this thread a bit, so now I have justified myself, I won't keep it going. This was, after all, about a Dark Glorantha, not Middle Earth. 

Edited by Mankcam
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...