What I Write – Nobledark

So what do I write?

It is a mix of things, of fantasy and urban fantasy, a little bit of sci fi, and others along those lines and sub-genres of them. Some short stories, some novels, some webfiction.

Also some RPG related material.

Well, there will be when it gets finished.

There are a few projects that have been started, and more with notes and ideas that have been made.

In style, it is what I would call nobledark.

If you haven’t heard of that name before, it may not be surprising, as it is fairly recent.

It all grew out of the grimdark descriptor, the origins of which comes from Warhammer 40K, and its tagline – ‘In the grim darkness of the far future there is only war.’

As one can imagine, it was not a pleasant setting.

But some people began to wonder what the polar opposite of WH40K would look like, a noblebright version of it as it was called.

And that in turn spawned a spectrum made of two axis – the noble/grim axis and the dark/bright axis.  The gave us four descriptors – grimdark, nobledark, grimbright and noblebright.

The Noble/Grim Axis

The noble/grim axis describes how much agency characters have upon the world and how much they can change it.  This refers not just to heroes, but villains as well.

A noble world is one where the actions of a single person can change it, for good or for woe.  A hero can save the world or a villain may destroy it.

A grim world is one where, no matter what you do, you have little to no impact upon it.  The world keeps right on going, ignoring your efforts.

The Dark/Bright Axis

The dark/bright axis describes the state of the world, the tone of it.

A dark world is a horrible place of misery and death, of schemes and backstabbing and often a big bad lurking in the wings waiting to wipe out all life.

A bright world isn’t one where bad things and death don’t happen, but it is one where people go adventuring for the thrill of it, to see the Crystal Caves, to explore the Elven Forests, to visit the Dwarven Holds, to see the wonders of the world.

Putting it all together

By combining the two axis, you come p with the four types of settings.

Grimdark worlds are places of death, destruction, despair and misery that will never change, no matter what anyone does or tries.  The universe will just chew you up and spit you out and roll on without noticing.  Warhammer 40K is the perfect example of it, though not the only one.  Game of Thrones is often considered to be it as well.

Nobledark takes place in worlds that, while a nasty and brutish place at times, there is a glimmer of hope, where people can make a difference, to make the world a better (or worse) place, but it takes much blood, sweat and tears, not to mention sacrifice, to do so.  If they fail then the world falls.  The Lord of the Rings is actually a good example of this.  If Frodo fails in his quest, then Sauron takes over the world and brings in an age of darkness.  As does the work of one of my favourite authors, David Gemmell.

Grimbright world are an interesting, and rare ones, where there are amazing vistas and people to see and meet but that your action have no impact on the world.  The best example of this would be Neil Gaiman’s Sandman.  

And lastly, Noblebright, worlds of wonder and high adventure, where heroes abound and perform great deeds, where good triumphs over evil.  Think Star Trek, Narnia, the Belgariad and the like.

So my work falls into the nobledark side of thing.  Hard worlds to live in, harder to change, but it can be done.

At least, that is the way I see things.  Others may have slightly different views on how to categorise things or the descriptions of the various categories.

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