Monday, April 08, 2013

G is for Grimdark


If you've ever encountered the word "grimdark" in relation to gaming, and wondered at its provenance, then wonder no longer.

"In the Grim Darkness of the Far Future, there is Only War" - that's what 40K has promised right from its first edition, and it delivers it in spades. Our main point of identification and "way in" to this universe is through the viewpoint of the Imperium of Man, a totalitarian, human supremacist, superstitious, ignorant star empire. They are the closest we get to "good guys". Everyone else is against mankind, either through direct antagonism or total disinterest. It ain't Star Wars.

Having said that, the original team managed to put a lot of '80s British humour into the 1st edition (aka Rogue Trader), with such examples as the dark planet of Birmingham (whose inhabitants speak a language incomprehensible to all outsiders), the Inquisitor Obiwan Sherlock Closeau, and space biker dwarves. A lot of the humour has been eliminated over the last 25 years, and the canon has become more fixed and in many places is completely incompatible with what was published in sourcebooks and novels in the late 80s and early 90s.

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