Gore in D&D

Ravenbrook

Explorer
The categorization of horror stories can get quite complicated. Lovecraft introduced the "cosmic horror" genre, although his narrative style is still very gothic in tone. By contrast, modern writers of Cthulhoid stories seem to prefer a more visceral horror style.
 
The categorization of horror stories can get quite complicated. Lovecraft introduced the "cosmic horror" genre, although his narrative style is still very gothic in tone. By contrast, modern writers of Cthulhoid stories seem to prefer a more visceral horror style.
No he didnt. He was the first author who almost exclusively wrote cosmic horror. He was actually the second in that lineage, the masters of cosmic horror. The first was poe. Poe started multiple genres. Case in point hp considered poe a major idol. Poe was not just the father of the horror genre and the short story genre. He was also the father of several subgenre. One of the ones he was father of was definitely cosmic horror. As a matter of fact he also did it purer. Less relience on gore in the relevamt stories. More reliance on the otherworldly and incomprehensible.
 
An example of how poe's cosmic horror is actually purer (usually). Cosmic horror is primarily metaphysical. When poe writes cosmic horror the horrific element is almost entirely metaphysical. Hp's is usually materialistic. Mysterious due to the variety of "physicality" being beyond human comprehension but none the less more often than not, merely physical. Exotic physical dimensions are still merely physical btw. Sometimes its strictly metaphysical. But not as often as with poe when poe is actually writing cosmic horror.
 

S'mon

Legend
The categorization of horror stories can get quite complicated. Lovecraft introduced the "cosmic horror" genre, although his narrative style is still very gothic in tone. By contrast, modern writers of Cthulhoid stories seem to prefer a more visceral horror style.
I'd say William Hope Hodgson definitely wrote Cosmic Horror - The House on the Borderland, The Night Land et al. William Hope Hodgson - Wikipedia
The Boats of the Glen Carrig is a great Survival Action Horror novel with some great monsters, notably the oozes.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
I feel Lovecraft was innovative in articulating the failure of the rational to comprehend the power of irrational negative forces.

To some degree, this is a Post-World-War-1 crisis of the failure of the Enlightenment.

It is the rational that obsesses on the materialistic phenomena, while the irrational is utterly beyond it even when it affects the materia.
 

Coroc

Adventurer
What is your approach to gore in D&D, and in violent RPGs in general?

Are you someone delights in describing bloody scenes, and when might this cross the proverbial 'line'?

What is your method for describing gore in D&D, and do you recommend and forms of description, especially of violence.

If this varies by campaign, why is that, and how so?

Generally, what is your approach to gore and gory imagery in RPGs?
I wish I could do it as good as @Shemeska in his story hour but my skills on that are quite meager and I fear that for at least some of my players @Shemeska 's style is a bit above their threshold.

But I take pride I forced three of my group to eat the meal made from slaughtered halflings to not blow their cover when last session they infiltrated the orc town - with the help of a mighty illusion spell disguising them as orcs - on a mission for the greater good.
The groups paladin made mental notes of vengeance tasks to be performed on the orcs when opportunity is given.
 

Ravenbrook

Explorer
No he didnt. He was the first author who almost exclusively wrote cosmic horror.
I never claimed otherwise. I wanted to emphasize Lovecraft's difference to modern writers and their frequent focus on visceral horror. But Lovecraft's tone and many of his tropes are definitely in line with gothic and "gothic revival" styles, e.g. his fixation on creepy old houses, degenerate families, witchcraft, etc. Poe, of course, added a deeply psychological element to horror stories, as did other writers such as Dickens with his A Confession Found in a Prison.
 
I never claimed otherwise. I wanted to emphasize Lovecraft's difference to modern writers and their frequent focus on visceral horror. But Lovecraft's tone and many of his tropes are definitely in line with gothic and "gothic revival" styles, e.g. his fixation on creepy old houses, degenerate families, witchcraft, etc. Poe, of course, added a deeply psychological element to horror stories, as did other writers such as Dickens with his A Confession Found in a Prison.
Fair. But for the record. Poe created cosmic horror as an actual genre.

Also on a side note. Most of the time people say hp said something stupid (as seems to be fashionable to claim these days) really what hes saying is just flyong over their head.

Example: noneuclidian geometry

Know it all: that just means curved and not straight or angled

Actual understanding fan: have you ever seen a ceazily curved building that is at all functional? Hmmmmmmm. Rethink what very many things he might be trying to say about this strange object. There are a lot of them.

I love lovecraft.
 

Aebir-Toril

When life gives you Lenin, make Leninade!
Fair. But for the record. Poe created cosmic horror as an actual genre.

Also on a side note. Most of the time people say hp said something stupid (as seems to be fashionable to claim these days) really what hes saying is just flyong over their head.

Example: noneuclidian geometry

Know it all: that just means curved and not straight or angled

Actual understanding fan: have you ever seen a ceazily curved building that is at all functional? Hmmmmmmm. Rethink what very many things he might be trying to say about this strange object. There are a lot of them.

I love lovecraft.
It is a tad off-topic for this thread, but I would argue that, while Poe was the originator of modern Cosmic Horror, the genre really stretches back into ancient myth as, perhaps, the purest and mos mythological type of horror.

Consider Beowulf: A monstrous, man-eating Giant stalks the night killing people in a town. Our hero slays the fell thing, whose ancestry stretches back into time immemorial, and discovers that its dark and evil mother lives at the bottom of a lake, waiting where the eyes of mortal men cannot see her.
 

Ravenbrook

Explorer
Also on a side note. Most of the time people say hp said something stupid (as seems to be fashionable to claim these days) really what hes saying is just flyong over their head.
But I wish he didn't like to use the word "ululating" - it's such an ugly word! Here's a rather humorous look at Lovecraft's sometimes odd vocabulary:
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
It is a tad off-topic for this thread, but I would argue that, while Poe was the originator of modern Cosmic Horror, the genre really stretches back into ancient myth as, perhaps, the purest and mos mythological type of horror.

Consider Beowulf: A monstrous, man-eating Giant stalks the night killing people in a town. Our hero slays the fell thing, whose ancestry stretches back into time immemorial, and discovers that its dark and evil mother lives at the bottom of a lake, waiting where the eyes of mortal men cannot see her.
I would go with a different position.

In far back times, there was no cosmic horror, as the universe was essentially unknowable; life was cruel, short, and often arbitrary.

Cosmic horror can only truly exist post-enlightenment, and, arguably, with the industrial and scientific revolutions; you have to have a baseline of believing that the world is rational and "solvable" for the ineffable and irrational to be horrific and drive you mad.
 

Aebir-Toril

When life gives you Lenin, make Leninade!
I would go with a different position.

In far back times, there was no cosmic horror, as the universe was essentially unknowable; life was cruel, short, and often arbitrary.

Cosmic horror can only truly exist post-enlightenment, and, arguably, with the industrial and scientific revolutions; you have to have a baseline of believing that the world is rational and "solvable" for the ineffable and irrational to be horrific and drive you mad.
I like this.

My position was also based on certain elements of myth which are inherent to cosmic horror, such as, when what is holy takes the place of what is scientific.
 
It is a tad off-topic for this thread, but I would argue that, while Poe was the originator of modern Cosmic Horror, the genre really stretches back into ancient myth as, perhaps, the purest and mos mythological type of horror.

Consider Beowulf: A monstrous, man-eating Giant stalks the night killing people in a town. Our hero slays the fell thing, whose ancestry stretches back into time immemorial, and discovers that its dark and evil mother lives at the bottom of a lake, waiting where the eyes of mortal men cannot see her.
I should clarify that im talking about the modern idea of the genre.

I completely agree with your post. Cosmic horror has some of the most ancient and thick root systems of any literary form if we are to consider myth from the mysts of time. Beowulf indeed. Consider also dusty elder gods like herms, whos origins stretch back all the way into the age of animism. One of the first "gods" to emerge from the nebulousness of animism possibly. A god of unfathomable mysteries and prophesy. Untouched nature, indifferent and uncaring to man yet sometimes playful with interlopers of our race who found themselves lost in the woods. Play that could kill. Play that could drive mad. Dreams that could show the future and prophesies of nature cataclysmically swallowing up a future nation you dont recognize as yet existing.

Or quite a bit later, stories of fey whisking you away only to release you in what feels like a day but the world you return to is one in which your family and all its descendants died out long ago and some of the events from your own lifetime seem not even to have happened the same way. (Fey are time travelors perhaps? Or fey are time?)

Lots of weird stuff in mythology of yore if you dig for it.
 
But I wish he didn't like to use the word "ululating" - it's such an ugly word! Here's a rather humorous look at Lovecraft's sometimes odd vocabulary:
tbh the term ululating makes my skin feel weird. It hits my ears the wrong way.
 
I would go with a different position.

In far back times, there was no cosmic horror, as the universe was essentially unknowable; life was cruel, short, and often arbitrary.

Cosmic horror can only truly exist post-enlightenment, and, arguably, with the industrial and scientific revolutions; you have to have a baseline of believing that the world is rational and "solvable" for the ineffable and irrational to be horrific and drive you mad.
I disagree. I think that for as long as there has been myth humanity already recorded and contemplated the cosmos with what tools they could muster and more importantly with what reasoning skills they couls muster (which i dont think have been elevated much). I think cosmic horror's actual nethermost core is fear not of the unknown but fear of the recognized fact that something, even if percieved, can still be truly unknowable. Incomprehensible. Fear of the acknowledged fact that our senses could lie. As long as there have been halucinations, dreams, and delusions, fear of madness or that there is no way to know if sanity is really just overly consistant shared madness has always been a fear. Fear of the potential ineptitude of our perceptions and mind and that the world may not even care and that no one (the gods?) out there cares enough that we cant see its true self to correct us or know we are out there.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
I disagree. I think that for as long as there has been myth humanity already recorded and contemplated the cosmos with what tools they could muster and more importantly with what reasoning skills they couls muster (which i dont think have been elevated much). I think cosmic horror's actual nethermost core is fear not of the unknown but fear of the recognized fact that something, even if percieved, can still be truly unknowable. Incomprehensible. Fear of the acknowledged fact that our senses could lie. As long as there have been halucinations, dreams, and delusions, fear of madness or that there is no way to know if sanity is really just overly consistant shared madness has always been a fear. Fear of the potential ineptitude of our perceptions and mind and that the world may not even care and that no one (the gods?) out there cares enough that we cant see its true self to correct us or know we are out there.
I disagree. You're extrapolating modern views backwards.

For example, "madness" and "hallucinations" were at various times considered gifts of the gods.

Moreover, your statement, 'I think cosmic horror's actual nethermost core is fear not of the unknown but fear of the recognized fact that something, even if percieved, can still be truly unknowable" happens to be what I wrote.

You know- "ineffable." It's not that it's unknown; it the concept (post-enlightenment) that it CANNOT be known, it cannot be grasped, and it will forever be beyond our ken.

But hey, opinions are just that! Keep on truckin'! :)
 

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