If you’ve ever played Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, Dark Heresy, or any of the Witcher games, you know there’s a distinctly grimdark, gritty tone to those games. By concentrating on certain themes, you can evoke some of that depth and despair in your own games—and raise the stakes of the campaign in the process. If you’ve enjoyed grimdark books and are looking to expand into that genre, you can adapt this advice to your fiction projects as well.
But GM beware: it’s a fine line to walk between simply punishing your players and making a game with greater challenges and rewards. The key is to keep the pendulum swinging between light and dark, hope and fear. And to keep your players coming back, they’ll need to have seductive opportunities to succeed or make a positive impact on the world, even if they can’t save all of it.