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->''"I can't remember the last time I saw a wizard casting magic with a fucking smile on his face. It's always a grim, half-hooded scowl of disgust, like he's shaking off some stubborn ear-wax rather than the manifested power of the Fire Spirits. 'Ooh, I had to fight in a big war because I've got mastery of time and space; meh meh meh'. Why don't you magic yourself cheerful, you gloomy spod?"''
-->-- '''WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation''' on ''VideoGame/TwoWorlds II''

Dark Fantasy is, generally speaking, a DarkerAndEdgier [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin subgenre of fantasy]]. These kind of stories can be pretty much described as StandardFantasySetting [[JustForFun/XMeetsY meets]] CrapsackWorld, as opposed to a, usually-lighthearted, regular fantasy setting. Oftentimes common fantasy elements are [[DeconstructedTrope deconstructed]] where the UnfortunateImplications presented by some of the elements of standard fantasy become AscendedFridgeHorror in dark fantasy works. So magic is real and it can be used for pretty much any application, huh? A dark fantasy setting will show just how depraved an evil magician, sorcerer, or wizard can be by using magic from BodyHorror on poor hapless muggles to straight up [[RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil Rape]] using spells of enchantment or mind control. Oh, normal fantasy settings have magical or enchanted animals like unicorns, griffons, and cute little animal familiars that magic users have? Well you can bet that a Dark Fantasy setting will go above and beyond to show that NatureIsNotNice on steroids with horrific bestiary like GiantSpiders, GiantSquid, and dragons as furious hellbeasts straight from the darkest abyss capable of destroying whole cities if not countries. What's that? heroes can call upon their patron dieties for strength to banish the great evil and restore piece to the land? In a dark fantasy setting you can bet that [[JerkassGods very few gods are all that nice]] [[TheGodsMustBeLazy nor are they all that interested in mortal affairs]] with the few that do usually operating on BlueAndOrangeMorality while believing AMillionIsAStatistic with any boon they give [[PowerAtAPrice coming at a cost.]] Some authors go beyond deconstruction and the story is played in the darkest way possible, and the best you can hope for is GreyAndGrayMorality. Wiki/{{Wikipedia}} goes a step farther, saying it's {{Horror}} [[JustForFun/XMeetsY meets Fantasy]]. It may have been originally, but now, with some linguistic drift, any remarkably dark fantasy story (it's sometimes enough if it's set in a CrapsackWorld) is often listed as a Dark Fantasy. While it's often a matter of marketing or abuse of terms, this entry assumes the latter, currently more common, definition.

DarkerAndEdgier ScienceFiction isn't recognised as a subgenre as Dark Fantasy is; however, [[{{Dystopia}} dystopic fiction]] often has markings of SF and thus gets an honourable mention here. In recent years, [[DarkerAndEdgier grimdark]] has become another name for Dark Fantasy with fans on both sides divided whether it's a valid name for it or not.

Also, if you want to write your own, [[SoYouWantTo/WriteADarkFantasy check this out]].

* MagicIsEvil and often TheCorruption, or at best relatively neutral. There is a good chance it's directly obtained through a DealWithTheDevil, powered by BloodMagic or involves HumanSacrifice and [[PoweredByAForsakenChild Forsaken Children]]. Individual wizards tend to [[WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity go mad with power]] (or just the [[MadScientist possibility of it]]) and are [[VainSorceress full of themselves]]. This is likely why BurnTheWitch is a popular pastime of the lower classes and the major religions.
* Magical weapons tend to be [[EvilWeapon evil]], or at least require a very heavy price for their use.
* If SufficientlyAdvancedMagic [[DungeonPunk enters play]], the following may happen: [[CyberneticsEatYourSoul augmentations eat away at one's humanity]] (often [[BodyHorror involuntarily]] for the sake of war and profit), [[SinisterSurveillance communication magic]] creates [[BigBrotherIsWatching new and fascinating ways to control people]], and [[{{golem}} sentient constructs]] [[AIIsACrapshoot have only contempt]] for their creators.
* Sometimes magic is kept on a low level, hard to exploit or of highly limited usefulness. This way the setting avoids the fancifulness of a StandardFantasySetting and is easier to keep gritty.

[[WMG:Politics and society]]
* There is a high chance that there is an [[TheEmpire evil, expansive and genocidal empire]], which nonetheless is a seemingly [[RepressiveButEfficient better alternative]] to the rest of the lot, if only for the fact that everyone is too afraid of TheEmperor to try anything funny. Which means that if the emperor is weak or ill, then all bets are off. When democracies and republics exist, they are corrupt and profit-driven. [[AristocratsAreEvil Kingdoms]] and [[CorruptChurch theocracies]] don't even need a description, and TheMagocracy uses magic to MindRape the people into obedience.
* {{Wretched Hive}}s of cities and TheDungAges in the countryside is what you should expect of society. The lower classes are MedievalMorons, while the upper class are [[AristocratsAreEvil Evil Aristocrats]]. The slave trade is the main source of income, both in terms of taxes and population. Expect the cute, fuzzy, WeakWilled ones to be targeted, such as PettingZooPeople or {{Hobbits}}. {{Conscription}} into the army may be present, overlapping with an ArmyOfThievesAndWhores. Often, HobbesWasRight.
* TheHorde (often [[HordesFromTheEast hailing from the eastern edge]] of [[LeftJustifiedFantasyMap the map]]) vastly outnumbers civilization. The FantasyAxisOfEvil is there, and is either [[EvilerThanThou even worse]] [[AlwaysChaoticEvil than you'd expect]], or the "good" guys aren't really better than them. Expect a lot of RapePillageAndBurn when they go raiding. Good chance someone (on either side) will say "TheWomenAreSafeWithUs."
* Of the FiveRaces, [[OurElvesAreBetter the elves]] are all [[CantArgueWithElves stuffed-up]] [[ScrewYouElves jerks]] who have either sneaked off, devolved into fancy-eared humans, are [[TheFairFolk horrifying abominations]], or have been [[EnslavedElves enslaved]] (the only kind who may thrive are the Dark Elves), the {{hobbits}} were the first to be subjugated or are just plain evil in the first place, the dwarves don't care about anyone else and thus shamelessly nickel-and-dime the other guys, and HumansAreBastards and actively persecute the rest. AbusivePrecursors, if any.
* If a FracturedFairyTale is being told, the darkest AlternativeCharacterInterpretation possible will be used. Forget three little pigs building houses out of questionable materials because mum kicked them out, it'll be a horde of Orcs trying out new fortress designs so they have somewhere to store pillage from the village vs. a werewolf knight, or perhaps Puss in Boots is a shameless ConArtist FemmeFatale [[BeastMan humanoid puma]] or cat-demon, or Little Red Riding Hood and the Woodsman are a serial killer [[UnholyMatrimony husband and wife team]].
* In terms of politics, often there's an [[ForeverWar endless]] [[HopelessWar conflict]] between the civilizations. Wars of extinction are not uncommon and entire Worlds[[note]]world, in this context, means both planets and planes of the multiverse[[/note]] are often put to the sword to ensure victory. Otherwise it is a fight to be the new figurehead of the [[VestigialEmpire old empire that had fallen eons ago]].

[[WMG:Religions and deities]]
* The gods [[JerkassGods are all assholes]] who pass the time [[PassThePopcorn eating prayer chips and drinking soul-booze while placing bets and trolling the helpless mortals]], and {{The Legions Of|Hell}} {{Eldritch Abomination}}s are mere days away from breaking into the Mortal Realm, if they aren't there already. A GodOfEvil is probably [[VillainsActHeroesReact the only active one]], unless the point of the story is that he doesn't need to, because people will jump at any opportunity to do harm anyway. DemonicPossession is quite common. May even have DevilButNoGod, or an outright [[GodIsEvil evil supreme god]] running the show. If there are no "gods" per se, the CelestialBureaucracy[=/=]CouncilOfAngels have more red tape than a ribbon factory. Alternatively, the [[AngelsDevilsAndSquid eldritch abominations might be destroying both sides]]. In the most absolute worst, the universe is a CosmicHorrorStory.
* Any [[TheChurch organized religion]] which is not a CorruptChurch or ReligionOfEvil is a PathOfInspiration. Expect [[ChurchPolice Spanish Inquisition ripoffs]] run by [[KnightTemplar Knights Templar]], [[ChristianityIsCatholic complete with a grimdark gothic Catholic theme]], but turned up to eleven as a full-blown totalitarian StateSec. What else there is tend to be {{cult}}s (often of {{Eldritch Abomination}}s), paganic {{Scary Amoral Religion}}s, or even more radical offshoots of the big ones. Often led by a SinisterMinister.
* [[ZombieApocalypse The dead find staying buried a little boring, and resist any and all attempts to keep them buried]], short of [[KillItWithFire cremation]] or dismemberment. There might even be [[CorpseLand a region so full of undead that nothing and nobody in their right mind goes there]].

* The very best you can count on is an {{Anti Hero}}ic KnightInSourArmor. There is a high chance of (likely more than a bit of WellIntentionedExtremist, or just straight-out [[EvilVersusEvil bad guy]]) DesignatedHero, who will [[TheBadGuyWins probably]] [[ShootTheShaggyDog lose]] [[DownerEnding or end up as]] HeWhoFightsMonsters or [[AndThenJohnWasAZombie a zombie]] anyway, no matter how hard he may ResistTheBeast. If they're GivingTheSwordToANoob to [[DefiedTrope Defy]] this, expect said Noob to fail.
* Even if you don't count in the BlackAndGrayMorality of the heroes, they spend most of their respite on having sex or getting drunk and violent and have a less than amicable working relationship with their comrades.
* If any hero has a shed of nobility to them, and refuse to do any of the above activities they are often depressed loners who feel that they are the only one in the world who believes in traditional HighFantasy values of goodness. Often they are [[GullibleLemmings hated and feared by the very people they protect.]] Yet they never turn their back on their values, and try to preserve the little goodness in Dark Fantasy worlds.
* TheWorldIsAlwaysDoomed. One may be able to EarnYourHappyEnding, but EvilOnlyHasToWinOnce.

Sibling trope to DungeonPunk, which can be just as grim and gritty, but Dungeon Punk has MagiTek. See also FantasticNoir. May be the result of a disruption in, or Evil's turn, on the BalanceOfGoodAndEvil.


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Manga/CeresCelestialLegend'': Certainly one of Creator/YuuWatase's more [[SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism cynical creations]], the story follows the Japanese tradition of [[ShapeshiftingLover the swan maidens]], but full of vengeful celestial maidens, jealous husbands, ancient family curses, {{Eldritch Abomination}}s, evil corporations, incest, rape, insanity, and with that shojo twist, doomed romances.
* ''Manga/{{Berserk}}'': Part TheEpic, part {{Tragedy}}, part SurvivalHorror. A KnightInSourArmor AntiHero searches for revenge and/or redemption in a CrapsackWorld and fights sickeningly frightening demons along the way. Constant instances of human cruelty lend to the tone of the work. HumansAreBastards and AristocratsAreEvil are in full effect, with [[AllMenAreRapists not a few men being rapists]] as well. The Church is either a CorruptChurch or PathOfInspiration (details of its founding are unclear) but regardless, watch out for the KnightTemplar [[ChurchPolice Inquisition]], who can and will torture and slaughter you for being a heretic. Magic and good witches definitely exist, but are treated with suspicion and hostility by the above church. TheMagicComesBack is portrayed as almost certainly a bad thing, as the only deity shown to be active in the world is a GodOfEvil. (More benevolent godlike beings are mentioned, but haven't shown up to help out.) The MessianicArchetype is a mass murderer and a rapist who has become a demon god -- and that last bit happened as his ''very first act'' upon becoming a demon god. And so on. [[spoiler:The kicker? According to a now partially decanonized chapter that was removed for spoiling too much, said GodOfEvil and its demons are merely the answer to humanity's desire for something to be responsible for their suffering (as opposed to it being random and meaningless). The Idea of Evil only exists because, in a truly warped way, people ''need'' it to exist.]]
** ''Anime/Berserk1997'', the 1997 anime adaptation of the above.
** ''Anime/Berserk2016'', the 2016 anime adaptation.
** ''Anime/BerserkTheGoldenAgeArc'', the 2012-13 anime movie adaptation.
* ''Manga/{{Claymore}}'': monsters run amok devouring the innocent civilians while [[TheyLookLikeUsNow disguising themselves as their neighbors]] and the [[DemonSlayer only warriors who can fight them]] (all [[BrokenBird psychologically damaged young women]]) tend to live very short lives thanks to TheCorruption which will [[OneWingedAngel turn them into something]] [[EldritchAbomination much worse]] and [[spoiler:it's all just a MonsterProtectionRacket (something that the warriors are just as ignorant of as the terrorized peasants). And for what? To create ideal weapon for an [[ForeverWar Endless War]] between another continent bent on seeing them dead.]]
* ''Anime/GenmaWars'': Despite the setting taking place in a [[AfterTheEnd post-apocalyptic Earth]], it fits all other aspects: civilization has fallen and humanity is ruled by an oppressive demonic tyrant and his sorcerous race, who employ evil monsters to enforce their will. There are no actual heroic opposition against them, the only other group that defies the demons are a criminal band of reavers that steal from the demon's innocent servants, while the two protagonists are {{failure hero}}es who just make everything worse.
* ''LightNovel/ReZero'', while seemingly starting off as a HighFantasy, is slowly unraveled to be one of these by Arc 3, featuring terrifying monsters, evil cults, and good people doing horrible things when caught in the middle of it all.
* ''Anime/NinjaScroll''
* ''Manga/UbelBlatt'', in a decaying kingdom under the threat of war with its black magician neighbors, an inhuman young man is murdering the seven greatest heroes of the land. Only the truth turns out to be much worse.
* ''LightNovel/VampireHunterD'' is set in a world where monsters control the Earth, with humans as second-class citizens kept in MedievalStasis. The only hope humanity has is various monster hunters.

* ''ComicBook/BlackMoonChronicles'', a French series of comic books is essentially this as the tale is set in the war-torn quasi-medieval world where [[CorruptChurch corrupted priests]], [[BloodKnight misguided paladins]], demons and indifferent mercenaries vying for power while an impeding doom looms on (or rather above) the horizon.
* ''ComicBook/RequiemVampireKnight'' is this in spades, and the world of Resurrection is as crapsack as they come.
* ''Tales of the Dragon Guard'': [[OurDragonsAreDifferent Dragons naturally radiate]] TheCorruption, which only [[VirginPower virgin women]] are immune to. Entire villages are mutated into slavering, insane monsters, and if the dragon knights fail, a FantasticNuke is detonated, which turns the countryside into a wasteland. Some peasants are convinced that nailing a virgin vaccinates them against the corruption, so [[RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil you can guess what happens]]. [[VideoGame/{{Stalker}} The dragon knights are followed closely by prospectors looking for dragon gastroliths and scales, who often won't wait for the dragon to be killed before prospecting]].
* Some albums from ''ComicBook/{{Thorgal}}'' series are set in definitely bleak and corrupted fantasy settings (especially ''Three Ancients of the Realm of Aran''/''Bottomless Lake'').
* ''ComicBook/TalesOfTelguuth'' from ''ComicBook/TwoThousandAD'' is an anthology comic series set in a HighFantasy CrapsackWorld where monsters, demons, and tyrants roam the land, and life is generally short and brutal.
* French comic ''ComicBook/{{Arawn}}'' is set in a dark fantasy realm loosely inspired in Celtic legend and has a EvilOverlord as a protagonist.
* The original ''ComicBook/LadyDeath'' comics qualified as ReligiousHorror, however they turned into straight-up dark fantasy under Creator/AvatarPress: they story was rebooted, most biblical elements were ditched and it took place in a afterlife realm that wasn't necessarily {{Hell}} in the strictest sense, but it was it was populated by monstrous demons that lived alongside native humans, with no shortage of {{omnicidal maniac}}s trying to purge it of all life.

* ''Film/ArmyOfDarkness''
* ''Film/TheBeastmaster''
* ''Film/TheBrothersGrimm''
* ''Film/CarnageForTheDestroyer''
* ''Film/CastADeadlySpell''
* ''Film/TheCompanyOfWolves''
* ''Film/{{Conquest}}''
* ''Film/{{Gallowwalkers}}''
* ''Film/HanselAndGretelWitchHunters''
* ''Film/{{Maleficent}}''
* ''Film/SolomonKane''

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'', just like the books it is based on.

* In ''Literature/TheActsOfCaine'' it's one half of the setting. The other half is classical {{Dystopia}}.
* ''Literature/TheBlackCompany'' cycle. The military kind of dark.
* ''Literature/ClandestineDaze'' by Creator/TimMarquitz follows the adventures of a cannibal shapeshifter who hates what he does and who he is but needs to continue on in order to keep peace between humans and Aels in the modern world.
* ''Literature/CruelSisters'' is a short story with dark fantasy while retelling the ballad "Twa Sisters," showing RealityEnsues when a harpist [[BodyHorror makes an instrument out]] of a dead girl's body.
* ''[[BlackguardsTalesOfAssassinsMercenariesAndRogues Blackguards: Tales of Assassins, Mercenaries, and Rogues]]'' published by Creator/RagnarokPublications gained a surprisingly large Kickstarter following by promising to be nothing but this.
* The ''Franchise/CthulhuMythos'' along with the CosmicHorrorStory genre in general have evil cultists galore, and a whole plethora of incomprehensible {{Evil God}}s. Magic or any reality-warping abilities are generally not used, as one wrong word results in [[GoMadFromTheRevelation Insanity]] or MindRape by an EldritchAbomination. Success will usually either drive you insane(r) or get you eaten by an EldritchAbomination. That said, if a wizard is mentioned, you can bet your ass he's a villain or will meet a tragic end. The only notable exception is a guy who reads a spell book For Lulz, and accidentally teleports himself to an EldritchLocation.
* ''Literature/DemonRoad'', by Derek Landy of ''Literature/SkulduggeryPleasant'', is pretty dark, as it features demons, a DealWithTheDevil and the main character's parents attempting to use her blood in order to fulfill a blood pact.
* ''Literature/{{Dirge}}'' by Creator/TimMarquitz is a novel about an assassin trying to deal with the ZombieApocalypse which has pushed her LowFantasy world to the brink of extinction.
* ''Literature/DraconianSymphony'', is about an abuse victim that gets roped into doing Hell's dirty work after getting a demon's help in revenge against his abuser.
* Creator/MichaelMoorcock's ''[[Literature/TheElricSaga Elric Saga]]'', focusing on a doomed albino emperor with [[ArtifactOfDoom the mother of all]] {{Evil Weapon}}s.
* ''Literature/TheEyeOfArgon'' is an attempt at a gritty Conan-style tale of blood, sex and violence.
* All novels written by Feliks W. Kres, especially the ''Szerer cycle.''
* Joe Abercrombie's ''Literature/TheFirstLaw'' series has a feudal society in which the upper classes [[AristocratsAreEvil scheme and intrigue while caring nothing about the common man]] and [[SecretPolice the Inquisition]] is a very powerful, feared and merciless force...bordered by a vast and totalitarian [[TheEmpire slave-keeping empire]] to the South and a barbarian kingdom of savage killers from GrimUpNorth on the other side. Said Southern empire being controlled behind the scenes by a cabal of crazed cannibal mages...and non-cannibal mages being little better [[spoiler: (if not worse...)]]. Oh, the little matter of any form of magic being, at its source, a demonic power in this setting. Lots of violence, grittiness, grime and death. It's saying something that one of the (comparatively) ''more sympathetic'' characters is a cynical, crippled TortureTechnician for the aforementioned Inquisition.
* The ''Literature/GentlemanBastard'' series has thieves as its protagonists, who are kept sympathetic by the fact that the whole world is cutthroat and corrupt.
* ''Literature/JillKismet'' is an UrbanFantasy series set in the seedy underbelly of the WeirdWest, starring a foul-mouthed monster slayer who started as a teenage prostitute and whose mentor was murdered by an {{Apocalypse Cult}}ist. That should give you some idea.
* Believe it or not, Creator/JRRTolkien actually wrote a fair amount in this genre. He even wrote that most of his tales were tragic.
** ''Literature/TheChildrenOfHurin'' would be one of the earliest examples if only Tolkien hadn't held it in DevelopmentHell until his death. TheHorde vastly outnumbering human civilization? Check. Isolationist elves and shameless dwarves? Check. The gods [[PassThePopcorn passing the popcorn?]] Check, as this is set before Eärendil's voyage. The GodOfEvil is the only one not passing the popcorn? Oh yes, check. The main hero is an AntiHero [[KnightInSourArmor in sour armor]]? Frickin check. Pile on the incest, genocide, bleak war against the forces of an evil god where humanity's on the losing side, and a tragic DownerEnding, and it's almost hard to believe it's in the same universe as the Hobbit.
** Much of ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'' feels like this, [[UnbuiltTrope amusingly enough]]. The entry just above is but one story in a list of several darker losses and tragedy, set within a world of astounding beauty and wonder, but also in a world where the wisest know that the old glory cannot last and fate is doomed to taint the world with evil. Most elves in the story are genocidal, racist, and on a path of bloodshed and revenge for the Silmarils, doomed by their own oath to get them back or fail beyond any help from the gods and by fate itself. Promises are SeriousBusiness, after all. Humans either die heroically in a war they have no chance of winning, betray their kin with promises and seduction by the dark god Morgoth, or simply try to survive against all odds. Dwarves are either greedy or isolationist against all the suffering around them, and the war is going so bad that both men and elves are on the brink of apocalypse. Things do get better, but their Numenorean descendants bring their triumph down to a PyrrhicVictory.
** Even ''Literature/TheHobbit'' could be considered an example, albeit a downplayed one (especially since it's for kids and has a lot of comedic elements). The whole story is motivated not by the balance of the world, but by greed and self-interest on all sides. There are very few real heroes -- even Bilbo is an apathetic ClassicalAntihero a lot of the time, and Gandalf is a trickster who shanghais Bilbo into the quest and comes and goes capriciously.
* ''Literature/LadyofGems'' series has a lot of dark fantasy elements,the first book deals with BodyHorror and not to mention the fear-feeding creatures that keeps people in at night.
* The ''Literature/MalazanBookOfTheFallen'' takes typical WarIsHell conventions and applies them to fictional wars in a fantasy setting. Some of the atrocities the characters bear witness to (or go through themselves) are genuinely shocking.
** ''Literature/TheKharkanasTrilogy'', a prequel to the ''Literature/MalazanBookOfTheFallen'', while LighterAndSofter in structure, manages to be even darker in tone and story.
* ''Literature/MiserereAnAutumnTale'': the purpose of the World is to hold off {{Hell}}.
* ''Literature/{{Mortis}}: The Blood 'n Flowers Series's'' first book, ''Demon Meat for Dinner'', progressively gets darker with each passing chapter, ultimately leading to the [[spoiler: the graphic torture and butchering of the antagonist.]]
* ''Literature/{{Phenomena}}'' starts of as a fantasy and starts showing hints of becoming a Dark Fantasy in the 2nd book, by the 7th and the spin-offs is it really a dark fantasy with BodyHorror, terror, [[SlasherSmile Slasher Smiles]] and more. Of the characters only the two main characters seem like genualy good, most of the others have GreyAndGrayMorality. Most of the characters treat murder as "necisary", at times, people sell them out, lie, and have slaves. One elf that never was a slave thinks it's okay to kill the race that mainly keeps elves as slaves. There's canibalism, strong implications of rape (one even bragged about seemingly doing it), FantasticRacism, magic is seen as evil, implied incest, and it goes FromBadToWorse. It's a good series because it's well written, interesting story, and the characters are great, but it's still feels wrong that it still has a [[WhatDoYouMeanItsForKids 9+ rating in Norway]], which might be because of the lack of [[ThinkOfTheChildren swearing and implications of nudes]], even though it's [[DoubleStandard allowed on Norwegian children's TV]].
* ''Literature/RedRoom'' by Creator/CTPhipps follows the adventures of TheMenInBlack Derek Hawthorne and Shannon O'Reilly as they work for AncientConspiracy the House in keeping humanity in the dark about the supernatural. There are no heroes and the only thing a person can aspire to o be is less evil than the next guy.
** The author does a more traditional fantasy version in ''Literature/WraithKnight'' which is essentially a DarkFantasy sequel to ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' with a cynical {{Deconstruction}} of the Fellowship and the Witch King as the protagonist.
* ''Literature/ReturnOfTheReaper'' would be a clear example, with the "hero" being the same demon who enslaved all the sentient races in the world and who is acting more for revenge than for the well being of those sentient races.
* Craig Schaefer's ''Literature/RevancheCycle'' follows the struggle for to control a parallel-Renaissance papacy. BlackAndGrayMorality is in full effect; decadent nobles, witches, poison, and back-stabbing galore. The one truly good character in the saga, an aspiring knight who seems to have wandered in from a much happier fantasy world, [[spoiler:is an AxCrazy psycho who's just been drugged and brainwashed into acting that way]]. It's that kind of story.
* The ''Literature/SecondApocalypse'' series is unrelenting in its darkness. The world is in a constant struggle involving religious zealots, insane immortals, ruthless sorcerers and [[ItMakesSenseInContext intergalactic sex-demons]]. WarIsHell, and is described in horrific detail. Plagues, infighting, wide-spread slavery, casual cruelty and rape are so common they become background scenery. The setting's already been brutalized in the past by a world-ending apocalypse that came dangerously close to driving humans to extinction, and all the warning signs for the second are already here.\\
Humanity's best chance of survival rests in the hands of a manipulative, pitiless sociopath Übermensch who reads the emotions and minds of people with disturbing ease. He's the only one who has the single-minded focus to manipulate the self-interest and infighting of the population into one common goal and prepare for the return of [[EldritchAbomination Mog-Pharau, the No-God]]. The sorcerers of the School of Mandate, who are aware of the Unholy Consult's existence by way of dreaming of the First Apocalypse every night, are derided and mocked by society as madmen who have damned their souls. [[FromBadToWorse Additionally]], later books state outright [[spoiler:that the threat of damnation is completely true, and thousands are doomed to suffering in a literal interpretation of the Christian hell]], and those that remain are in for a full-scale CosmicHorrorStory.
* ''Literature/TheSilerianTrilogy'': A people as occupied with killing each other as winning liberty, versus a brutal empire which rules them, fairly ruthless "heroes" leading them, and evil wizards who extort others for the simple use of ''water''. The chosen one [[spoiler: dies at the end of the first book]], and once the empire leaves, the newly free country falls into civil war.
* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'': Creator/GeorgeRRMartin goes the full mile in trying to show his readers [[TheDungAges how dark]] the [[MedievalEuropeanFantasy Dark Ages]] truly were. AnyoneCanDie, morality is a subjective thing, WarIsHell and the tangled politics with its socio-economic lessons in self-defeat makes the whole war thing look like the easy (or just plain lazy) option towards speedplaying your way to disaster. Even [[TheMagicComesBack the Magic Coming Back]] seems to just make everything [[FromBadToWorse more dangerous]].
* The works of Creator/StephenKing often travel into fantasy territory, depending on how far the supernatural elements are elaborated upon. ''Franchise/TheDarkTower'' series and related works like ''Literature/TheStand'', ''Literature/{{IT}}'' and ''Literature/{{Insomnia}}'' are this.
* ''Literature/TalesOfTheBlackRaven'' by Seth Skorkowsky is a work following the adventures of the titular Master Thief in a dark and dreary Renassiance-meets-Hyboria setting.
* ''[[Literature/RobJHayesTheTiesThatBind The Ties That Bind Trilogy]]'' by Rob J. Hayes is another example. It is a bleak setting of cynical mercenaries with a ruthless Inquisitor out to save the lands from a demonic invasion.
* ''Literature/WeAreAllCompletelyFine'' is about a support group for traumatized heroes who are all suffering from their various ordeals with the supernatural, [[spoiler: some of which, like the Dwellers, are real and still after them]]
* ''Franchise/TheWitcher'' cycle, particularly in the later books of the Saga, [[CerebusSyndrome when it began accumulating grimdark]]. The game and earlier stories are quite gritty, but lighter than late Saga.
* Creator/RoaldDahl's ''Literature/TheWitches'' is a strange mishmash of Dark Fantasy, UrbanFantasy, DefangedHorrors, and ConspiracyThriller.
* Literature/TheYoungElites by Marie Lu features a {{crapsack world}}, {{fantastic racism}}, {{black and grey morality}}, while Adelina Amouteru, the protagonist, becomes darker [[ProtagonistJourneyToVillain as the books progress.]]
* ''Literature/TheZombieKnight'': Thanks to a high amount of humor throughout, this story might not have the same sense of hopelessness and/or pessimism that many other entries here have, but even so, this story is still ''very'' dark. The "magic" in the story comes from [[TheGrimReaper grim reapers]] who [[TheUndead resurrect corpses]], and while the [[ShrinkingViolet protagonist]] is actually quite noble-hearted and wants to protect the people of [[CrapsackWorld Eleg]], [[FailureKnight his success]] is [[AnyoneCanDie never guaranteed]].
** That said it slides more towards the idealistic side of the scale. The protagonists win as much if not more so than they lose and they are all likable and heroic. The fact that is takes place in a modern setting means {{values dissonance}} isn't at play. There are score of good people who capable and willing to stop the numerous villains that inhabit their world. Their may be tons of {{omnicidal maniac}}s in Eleg but not all is lost.There is always a sense of hope throughout the story that makes you want to read more to see if things get better.
* Caitlyn R. Kiernan is known for writing short stories and novels in this genre. ''Literature/TheRedTree'' either falls into horror or dark fantasy, depending on your interpretation of what happens. If you choose the latter, it is a subversion of the story of a girl that finds a magical tree less than 100 yards from her house that grants wishes. Instead, according to the manuscript Sara finds in the cellar, the tree has a history of sinister urban legends, tales, and local folklore that becomes fascinating to the protagonist, an author named Sara. Needless to say, the massive red oak starts to take an interest in her too. Some events are not entirely explained by the suggestion that she was [[spoiler: slowly going insane and losing touch with reality.

* European myths, whether they are [[Myth/ClassicalMythology Greek]], [[Myth/LusitanianMythology Lusitanian]], [[Myth/CelticMythology Celtic]], [[Myth/NorseMythology Norse]], [[Literature/TheKalevala Finnish]], [[Literature/{{Kalevipoeg}} Estonian]], [[Myth/SlavicMythology Slavic]], [[Myth/RussianMythologyAndTales Russian]] or [[Literature/TheBible Judeo-Christian]], tended to vary about this. Regarding tropes...
** The treatment of magic varied a lot. For most of recorded history, it was either [[MagicIsEvil bad]] or [[OutgrownSuchSillySuperstitions ignored]]. Recently, this has started to get subverted, thanks to popularity of fantasy works and the good PR that Neopagans have.
** Politics part mostly depends on your interpretation of (mostly real) history. On FiveRaces, that trope didn't exactly exist back then, and TheFairFolk were mostly just annoying tricksters. A ForeverWar thankfully never truly occurred.
** On JerkassGods, see that trope. Myth/ClassicalMythology was the worst offender. A total CosmicHorrorStory was averted though in all myths. (On that, see Myth/AztecMythology.)
** The classical heroes were often the [[AntiHero "anti-"]] sort. Averted in the medieval times, which trusted more in the KnightInShiningArmor.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Atmosfear}}'' (AKA Nightmare), which has the players at the mercy of an angry, petty demon-god called the Gatekeeper. The players roleplay his minions, either his Herald, a monster beholden to him, or a "soul ranger" attempting to steal a key from a herald.
* ''TabletopGame/DontRestYourHead'': A group of insomniacs are slowly losing their minds, and gain access to a city built out of insanity, and populated by corporeal nightmares, which they fight off with PowerBornOfMadness. And, as the title suggests, if they ''do'' ever get to sleep, they are in deep shit (If they live long enough to wake up again, they lose their superpowers untill sleep deprivation drives them crazy enough to use them again).
* Some ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' settings (''TabletopGame/{{Ravenloft}}'' and ''Heroes of Horror'' spring to mind), and it really depends on the player's CharacterAlignment and the DM's mood when he cooked up the campaign whether it stays HeroicFantasy too.
** The ''TabletopGame/DarkSun'' setting takes place in a desert fantasy world where a psychotic EvilSorcerer named Rajaat taught the art of Defiling[[note]]the setting's take on arcane magic -- everyone else uses psionics -- which is basically BlackMagic fueled by [[WalkingWasteland sucking the life out of the land around you]][[/note]] to a bunch of humans and lead them on a [[FantasticRacism genocidal world-war that annihilated a number of sentient species]], devastated the cultures of those races not driven extinct, and burned the world to a dying desert. When those humans realised that their boss wasn't human and, in fact, planned on wiping out humanity once it had killed off the other races, they turned on him. Then the most powerful of them all turned into a monstrous dragon-monster and ever since the others have ruled as undying sorcerer-kings whilst slowly trying to advance themselves in the same way. Slavery is the norm, cannibalism a fact of life, family members will kill each other over a mouthful of water, and any heroes ([[IDidWhatIHadToDo if you can call them that]]) fight out of necessity, not idealism.
** The ''TabletopGame/{{Midnight}}'' setting takes place in a rather generic fantasy world where the Forces of Evil won the final war and the protagonists are [[LaResistance guerillas]] or simple folk trying to delay the inevitable. Imagine ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' if Sauron had won. Add in the fact that the gods created the world as a prison ''for'' the BigBad and screwed up the bindings that were supposed to keep only the BigBad trapped, so now they can't get in and sort things out, and it gets worse.
** The overall theme in ''TabletopGame/{{Planescape}}'' is it's moral ambiguity, and the bizarre settings only increase grim mood.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'': Creation has pretty much been on a declining spiral since it was created, with one or two temporary exceptions. The Gods are corrupt, lazy, and/or addicted to games which are worse than crack, heroin, nicotine, and bacon combined. The world is threatened by no less than three sets of {{Eldritch Abomination}}s, any of which would be happy to corrupt, unravel, or utterly destroy existence. The greatest weapons with the capability to fend off these enemies are humans stuffed with way more power than humanity was built to handle, suffering from a curse that causes them periodic psychotic breaks. The average mortal can expect either a long life of drudgery and toil or a short life of terror and pain. Oh, and those weapons? Two of the three sets of Abominations have their own versions working for them. Pretty much the only thing keeping the setting from being a Cosmic Horror Story is that the PC Exalted are fully able, if they act with wisdom, to actually confront and, potentially, solve the problems that face Creation.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Gemini}}'' is set in dying world that succumbed to [[TheNightThatNeverEnds eternal twilight]] and the people are harassed by the demonic forces looking for hiding Prophet believed to be a Saviour of Man.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Kult}}'': Humanity used to be immortal super-entities, but a jealous deity known as the Demiurge took away our powers and sealed them off, and imposed "mundane reality" on us. People who we think to be crazy are actually seeing through this veil.
* Although the game itself has very little in terms of setting, the rules and artwork in the ''TabletopGame/LamentationsOfTheFlamePrincess'' core books present a world filled with sex, black magic and the most gruesome violence imaginable.
* Palladium Game's ''TabletopGame/{{Nightbane}}'', where you must save a modern-day Earth that has *already* been taken over secretly by monstrous shapeshifters- often by being one of them.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' hits pretty much every trope except evil cults controlling all organized religion and CyberneticsEatYourSoul. How dark is it? When the setting was rebooted the justification was that all the prophecies about TheEndOfTheWorld came true simultaneously and everything was destroyed in horror despite everything the various heroes and factions tried.
** A few of the tropes it meets:
*** Magic really is intrinsically tied to [[TheCorruption Chaos]] but not using it simply isn't an option.
*** Every religion and power structure has been infiltrated to some extent by Chaos worshipers.
*** Any and all actions that a sentient being performs directly feed the forces of Chaos. Fighting against the Champions of Khorne, for instance, empowers Khorne because that just increases the violence. Not fighting just means you will die, which also furthers Khorne's goals.
*** Since the coming of Chaos all forms of life in the world have been at least slightly corrupted by it. The elves lost their compassion and turned into haughty manipulators, xenophobic cannibals, and vicious slavers. The lizardmen, the chosen race of the original gods, have gradually lost their SuperIntelligence and the lesser ones have become partially feral. Dwarves once formed firm and long lasting bonds of friendship but now obsess over grudges and ancient hatreds instead.
** The off-spring game Mordheim is set in the world of Warhammer Fantasy and fits the bill even better than its progenitor. In the ruined city of Mordheim, the pious become zealous, the tough becomes weak and the good become corpses hung above the streets. It says something that the only irrevocally "good" faction is a small group of fanatic warrior monks who *everyone else* think are evil.
* Its more popular spinoff ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' can be summed up as ''Warhammer'' [[RecycledINSPACE In Space.]] And it does have everything on the list, even the evil cults monopolizing all religion (provided you remember the Imperial Cult is the lesser of two evils).
* ''TabletopGame/TheWorldOfDarkness'' games are practically the trope codifiers for [[UrbanFantasy urban]], Dark Fantasy.
* By Creator/{{Chaosium}}, the very early game ''TabletopGame/{{Stormbringer}}'' and its 90s temporary successor ''Elric!''.

* ''Theatre/McQueen'' - an exploration of a journey "down the rabbit hole" of a distorted London with two suicidal fashionistas waiting until morning.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Amea}}'' features a world overrun by zombies, yetis, and darkness. And by the end of the game, [[spoiler:Amea, Inglor, and Garrik are shown to be the only good guys, and Garrik gets killed fairly early]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Avadon}}'' totters on the edge of the trope without quite falling off, allowing for both humor and heroism in a totalitarian, ends-justify-the-means society that's one broken treaty away from bloody ruin.
* The ''Under the Burning Suns'' expansion for ''VideoGame/BattleForWesnoth''.
* ''VideoGame/BerserkAndTheBandOfTheHawk'': See entry for ''Manga/{{Berserk}}''.
* ''VideoGame/BerserkMillenniumFalconHenSeimaSenkiNoSho'': See entry for ''Manga/{{Berserk}}''.
* ''VideoGame/BrutalLegend'' has elements of it (Humans opressed by demon overlords and both sides under attack from TheUndead), but it's mostly masked by the sheer awesome.
* Despite the sometimes terrifying enemies and morbid nature of the setting most of the ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}'' series is [[GothicHorror Gothic Horror]]. The AlternateContinuity [[ContinuityReboot Reboot]] ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaLordsOfShadow'' and its sequels however, dive right into this.
* [[VideoGame/DarkestDungeon The Darkest Dungeon]] toes the line between this and CosmicHorrorStory. After the Narrator spent the family fortune on uncovering the secrets of the family's ancestral home, he DugTooDeep and found an eldritch portal that let ''something'' out. Now the once stately manor has become an abomination, and it's up to the player to send teams of adventurers into those [[EldritchLocation maddening corridors]] to investigate. Not all of them come out alive, and those that do are [[GoMadFromTheRevelation often changed irrevocably]].
* The ''VideoGame/{{Deception}}'' series tends to be set in a world that invokes this feel. Though as the main character is usually limited to a small area, it's mostly shown in outside cutscenes and enemy descriptions.
* ''Demon's Crest'', the final game in the ''[[VideoGame/GargoylesQuest Gargoyle's Quest]]'' series, is one of the bleakest games on the Super Nintendo, taking place in a realm of demons and with a main character who wants to gain ultimate power to rule the world.
* The ''VideoGame/DeptHeaven'' series in general. As if the mortals [[HumansAreBastards weren't bad enough by themselves]], all mortals are by design stuck in the middle of the war between [[OrderVersusChaos gods and demons]], both sides of which will actively screw you over in the name of their own victory. Defectors from [[FallenAngel either]] [[AscendedDemon side]] generally don't get very happy endings either.
* ''{{VideoGame/Diablo}}'' has elements of it. Moreso in ''Diablo II'', where TheLegionsOfHell have TheHorde of {{Undead}}, mutant wildlife, lesser demons, and DealWithTheDevil types Vs. a [[BlackAndGreyMorality morally dubious]] {{Necromancer}}, a VainSorceress, or a {{Paladin}} who belongs to a CorruptChurch. [[ItsUpToYou And it's all up to that one person]], plus any minions [=s/he=] may [=hire/summon=]. Heaven won't help out because of a strict non-interference policy, except for one Angel who sells goodies and resurrects dead party members to pay rent -- [[spoiler:and who, in the third game, finally gets fed up and decides to become a mortal in order to help humanity directly]].
* ''Franchise/DragonAge'' is completely this. The entire world is almost always at war. Mages constantly fight against the whispers of demons from the dream world/afterlife of the Fade trying to [[DemonicPossession take them over]] (little wonder many of them choose to be [[EmptyShell magically lobotomized]]), and every so often, one succumbs and becomes a HumanoidAbomination, or [[DealWithTheDevil makes a deal in order to learn]] BloodMagic. Demons are thus a constant threat. Because it's so easy for a mage to be possessed or go rogue, they're imprisoned and kept under constant watch by [[CrystalDragonJesus The Chantry]]. Mages who resist this are hunted down and either captured or killed. Elves are a SlaveRace distinguished from humanity only by their long ears, who were once the dominant species but were soon hunted down, and are now second-class citizens in a society dominated by humans (the only exceptions being the Dalish, who are nomadic and desperately hold on to the last shreds of culture they once had). The Dwarves are a politicking race with a brutally restrictive FantasticCasteSystem, who cower in their last two remaining fortress-cities, with the rest of their once-mighty empire being overrun. The resident [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy Proud Warrior Race]] (though it's technically a religion, not a race, and anyone can join) called the Qunari are almost impossible to understand by the other races, and are constantly threatening invasion. One of the world's major powers is built on slavery, and the rest are filled with everything from [[DeadlyDecadentCourt Deadly Decadent Courts]] to constant infighting. To top it all off, every hundred years or so they all come under attack by [[TheHorde Darkspawn]], which the Chantry's god figure, The Maker, [[TheScourgeOfGod cooked up as divine retribution because Humanity tried to invade heaven]] - [[UnreliableNarrator according to the Chantry, anyways]].
* ''Franchise/{{Drakengard}}'' features Caim, a protagonist who gleefully slaughters enemies with his dragon, who is also having a jolly old time with all the murder. One of the party members is a cannibalistic serial killer who targets children. Another is a pedophile. At least there's Caim's sister, who seems like a decent enough person. [[spoiler: Except for the fact that she wants to bang her brother, and kills herself when she finds out her brother is disgusted by the idea.]] Perhaps unsurprisingly, the story morphs into a CosmicHorrorStory by the end.
** ''Franchise/NieR'', Drakengard's spinoff, is closer in tone to a traditional fantasy narrative...at first. Things are post-apocalyptic, sure. Magic is blood-based, I'll grant you that. Humanity may have done some awfully unpleasant things in the past in the name of saving themselves. And yes, your daughter ''has'' been kidnapped by [[DarkIsEvil the resident king]] [[TheHeartless of shadows.]] But [[PapaWolf you]] [[TrueCompanions and your friends]] are good people...right? [[spoiler:Maybe you are, maybe you aren't. However you view yourself, you still just thoughtlessly murdered [[BalefulPolymorph the last of the original humans.]]]]
* ''VideoGame/DwarfFortress'' moved from LowFantasy into this genre in its 2010 edition. The gods are at best silent, and at worst curse mortals into monsters or help demons take over civilizations, the angels are terrifying creatures that are brought into the world to help the former demons, the vampires and werewolves are bloodthirsty/savage monsters, the Night Creatures take a page from TheFairFolk and abduct and/or eat people, or try to kill anyone who's out alone at night... And strictly all of the giant monsters raid settlements to steal, kill or plunder. Oh, and the only magic users are necromancers, who reanimate beings anathema to all life (which secrets are revealed by death gods) except them because they are scared of death. Most human "deities" and goblin leaders are demons, and the elves are man-eating ecoterrorists. In short, not unlike ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'', life as a peasant must be short and brutal.
** However, AWorldHalfFull is a force too. The elves are rather friendly if arrogant and if you don't offend them they'll be good trading partners, the vast majority people will adhere to SacredHospitality, the dwarves are generally pretty decent people, the humans are varied but generally friendly, and there needs no grim antihero : you can play an IdealHero, forge an utopia for your dwarves, and triumph over all the nasties with just bravery, dwarven ingeniosity, and good steel.
* The ''VideoGame/FallFromHeaven'' mod for ''[[VideoGame/{{Civilization}} Civilization IV]]'' is explicitly described as Dark Fantasy by its creators. Convenient, since the mechanics of ''VideoGame/{{Civilization}}'' heavily encourage a [[ThereCanBeOnlyOne rather brutal]] and [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder cynical]] gameplay.
* ''VideoGame/FallenLondon'' and ''VideoGame/SunlessSea'' are set in a version of Victorian London that was "stolen by bats" and is now run by the Masters of the Bazaar. Players can commit murder and cannibalism, go mad, become possessed, have their eyes stolen by spiders, sell their soul and be sank beneath the strange waves of the zee by enemies.
* ''Creator/FromSoftware'':
** ''VideoGame/DemonsSouls'' takes place in a kingdom completely overrun with demons, and it's up to you to feebly try to destroy them.
** In ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'', Where to begin? The games are classed as SurvivalHorror by way of fantasy ActionRPG by a good amount of people. The game takes place primarily in the Kingdom of Lordran, which has been completely run into the ground. The only thing that remains are the decaying buildings, it's inhabitants have all either died, or become hollowed, crazed and undead. In addition to it being host to dozens of different types of horrific forms of demons, twisted animals and grotesque monsters. Lordran is also just the worst of the Kingdoms and nations in the souls universe. Many other states are implied to be decaying and faltering. That's just the setting. The world is actually ending to the Plague of Undeath. The morally ambiguous protagonist, along with most of the world's population have been cursed by the Darksign. A curse which grants its bearer technical immortality, but at the cost of eventual complete loss of sanity. (death is also not any less painful when you're immortal in the souls universe). The gods have either all left or are too bothered to do anything about the situation. Many of the [=NPCs=] you meet along the way eventually lose themselves to the curse and you are forced to slay them in self defense. The "hero" is tasked with relighting the First Flame, which even then, would only temporarily cure the curse, as it is forced to resurface every couple of centuries. Or, the hero can choose to let the flame die ushering the world into the ambiguous "Age of Dark". An age of freedom? or simply another word for the dark and nothingness consuming the world? Even the quest givers who task the hero with the final goals of the game are not entirely trustworthy and may be manipulating the player character as an unwitting pawn for further ends.Then there's Manus and the Abyss, if there's anything the Souls series needed to make it the crappiest of crapsack worlds, was an eldtrich abomination trying mindlessly to obliterate all known existence. There isn't much hope in the Dark Souls universe, indeed.
** ''VideoGame/DarkSoulsII'' is even darker than the first game, with up to four kingdoms crumbling due to the shards of Manus influence. While there were many characters who claimed to be undead in the first, even after going crazy they appeared to be normal. In ''II'', [=NPCs=] can be varying levels of hollow, from appearing vaguely zombie-like to almost falling apart - just like the player.
** You think Dark Souls 2 was bad? [[Videogame/{{Darksouls3}} Dark Souls 3]] leaves the series at it's WORST, civilazation has fallen, the Age of Dark is practically upon mankind, all the Lords who kindled the flame before have abandonned their thrones, and now it's up to you to decide what is the true fate of the world, and this is not necesarily a good thing, all that remains is ember indeed......
** ''VideoGame/{{Bloodborne}}'' is a mix of this and GaslampFantasy for the first half of the game, being set in a Victorian-Gothic setting, with a lycanthropy plague, quicksilver bullets, witches, magic and other elements of the subgenres. [[spoiler: However, it is later revealed to be a [[CosmicHorrorStory science fiction story]] along the lines of [[Creator/HPLovecraft H. P. Lovecraft's]] novels.]]
* ''VideoGame/HeroesOfNewerth'': Maliken's betrayal has caused many Legion strongholds to fall to the mercy of the Hellbourne forces who plans on destroying it so they can bring forth their Sacrificial Pit.
* ''VideoGame/MiddleEarthShadowOfMordor'' and its sequel ''[[VideoGame/MiddleEarthShadowOfWar Shadow of War]]'' lead towards this direction rather ''Franchise/TheLordOfTheRings'''s HighFantasy: instead of an epic adventure where the heroes travel to several lands in search for a magical artifact to defeat the [[EvilOverlord Dark Lord]], the games take place entirely inside {{Mordor}} where evil is everywhere and the forces of light have no power. The main protagonist derives [[BadPowersGoodPeople his powers from a dark source]] and has to do very morally ambiguous deeds like raising his own army of brainwashed minions, and said source is not completely well-intetioned either.
* ''VideoGame/NightsOfAzure'' is set in a world had been showered by a demon king's blood, leading to [[WasOnceAMan transformed fiends]] plaguing the night. The only thing protecting humanity is an untrustworthy, BurnTheWitch-happy church who [[HumanSacrifice sacrifices a designated Saint]] every ten years to prevent the demon king from returning and [[WeHaveReserves who employs agents that get transformed into fiends if they're exposed to too much demon blood]], unless if they themselves are one of the rare half-demons that retained their humanity. Don't feel too bad for humanity though, as a common theme of the game is [[HumansAreBastards how humans could be comparable, if not worse, than demons]].
* ''{{VideoGame/Overlord}}'' series are both a pastiche and a parody of this genre.
* ''VideoGame/PathOfExile'' is set in a continent-sized CorpseLand-cum-PenalColony (think "fantasy [[LandDownUnder Australia]]") under siege by [[ANaziByAnyOtherName Fantasy Nazis.]] All summoning runs on {{Necromancy}}, and even ''[[ThePaladin Templars]]'' do this.
* The original ''[[VideoGame/{{QuakeI}} Quake]]'' featured this as the main setting. Eldritch horrors, dark magic, gothic and occult architecture, and an overall bleak atmosphere permeate the entire setting of the game. The major difference? You kill the enemies with MoreDakka.
* ''VideoGame/SoulSacrifice'' is based around Sorcerers in such a world, and filled to the brim with BodyHorror and WasOnceAMan.
* ''VideoGame/SwordOfTheBerserkGutsRage'': See the entry for ''Berserk'' in the Manga folder.
* ''VideoGame/ValkyrieProfile'' is an example of one. Slavery, war, and general atrocities is the order of the day. More often than not, humans succumb to the worst part of themselves. [[JerkassGods Not to say that the gods are any better]]. Ragnarok is just around the corner, and things are falling apart. Your job is to recruit the soul of worthy mortals to fight in that final battle, and there is no shortage of death and despair to make it very easy and guilt-free for you.
* ''Franchise/TheWitcher'' - see literature explanation above.
* Most of the games of Yasumi Matsuno (''VideoGame/OgreBattle'', ''VideoGame/TacticsOgre'', ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics'', ''VideoGame/VagrantStory'', ''VideoGame/CrimsonShroud'') fall under this category. War-torn lands, oppressive governments, {{Corrupt Church}}es, and vengeful gods abound.
* ''VideoGame/BlackGuards'' and its sequel, has your band of thugs, madmen and junkies dealing with enemies much worse than yourselves, as you try to prove yourself innocent of a murder in the first game and go on a dark quest for revenge in the second.
* ''VideoGame/GrimDawn'' has a steampunk fantasy world where humanity is pushed to the brink of extinction by an invasion of other-dimensional beings and the undead. The situation has become so bad that gold has become worthless, it's useful iron that's the currency.
* ''VideoGame/LegacyOfKain'', the world of Nosgoth is rotting away when its guardians became corrupted. Demons and undead roam dark forests and swamps while bandits are free to murder as they please. And these are the good old days!!! Because the vampire messiah who was supposed to save the world didn't. Instead he raised a horde that reduced humanity to cowering behind a single fortified city while his vampire minions cloud the skies with toxic fumes, as the world is dying even more rapidly. And then an EldritchAbomination decides to get into the act...

* ''Webcomic/ArkTheImprobable'': The main characters are an Elf and a FrankensteinsMonster belonging to a {{Bounty Hunter}}s guild, fight hideously mutated creatures, developed from TheVirus working it's disgusting magic on mundane animals, plants, humans, and fantastic creatures, including Werewolves and Zombies.
* ''Webcomic/BasketsOfGuts'': Despite the fact that magic is quite common and basically doesn't require any evil activities to use it, most of the wizards empower their spells with [[OurHomunculiAreDifferent homunculi]]-based batteries. Said homunculi are supposedly artificial powerful wizards, doomed [[PoweredByAForsakenChild to serve as energy sources]] for their [[AndIMustScream entire life]]. And then there are [[MadScientist paraanatomists]] who promote [[PlayingWithSyringes "medicine"]] over healing magic. And TheMafia, lots of it. So it's not [[CrapsackWorld the world that is dark]], but rather the creatures who populate it. It even makes the whole [[FeudalFuture goverment]] [[StateSec tyranny]] thing [[HobbesWasRight somewhat justified]].
* ''Webcomic/BlackRose'' features a grimy corrupted empire with Steam Punk technology versus an underdeveloped country where magic users are being wiped out, a lack of fantasy races other than humans, and a continued emphasis on how while things might seem bad at present, the protagonists will doubtlessly be going through worse. Said underdeveloped magic using country also has magic users capable of MindRape, with the military of said grimy corrupted empire being their only true means of protection against them (for a fee)...provided they don't just [[RapePillageAndBurn "vacate"]] their settlements and take over their land if they don't buy in.
* ''Webcomic/DraconiaChronicles'', although it's more of the "Society is in the toilet, none of the races can get along or see their so-called "allies" are about to stab them in the back, and there's constant, unceasing warfare, atrocity, and bloodshed" sort of dark.
* ''Webcomic/{{Drowtales}}'': Murder and DemonicPossession are very common. One character whose life is in danger comments that she doesn't want to end up Undead (and another has her zombified little sister as a bodyguard). Cannibalism is completely legal due to a resource shortage, as is rape, incest, pedophilia, and JackBauerInterrogationTechnique. Schools don't mind the students killing each other, as long as they do so quietly and dispose of the bodies themselves. And those are the "[[DesignatedHero good]]" guys. On the surface world, nobles [[BloodBath bathe in elven blood]] because they think it'll make them immortal. Magic is fairly neutral though, but some are allergic to BloodMagic.
* Parts three and four (and possibly part 5, we're not sure since it hasn't been posted yet) of ''Webcomic/AModestDestiny'', although they manage to inject some humor. It also seems to be getting better (due to one character, a frost-elf Vampire/ Necromancer, being stuck in the HeelFaceRevolvingDoor.)
* ''Webcomic/KillSixBillionDemons'' is set a [[TheMultiverse multiverse]] built upon [[GodIsDead the suicide of its creator YISUN,]] which was once a place of grandiose warrior-gods and civilizations of wise philosopher-kings, but no more. After an apocalyptic Universal War swept away the multiverse in a deluge of fire, seven mad [[GodEmperor Demiurges]] now rule over creation, [[MultiversalConqueror visiting ruin and oppression upon their subjects.]] Crime and rot are rampant and unchallenged. The closest thing to Heaven, the Red City of Throne, is a gigantic WretchedHive built from the corpses of the gods and angels that once inhabited it, controlled by decadent [[TheMafia Guilds,]] [[OurDemonsAreDifferent devils]] and ruthless slavers. [[OurAngelsAreDifferent Angels,]] the keepers of order and justice, have either stepped on [[FallenAngel the Path of Thorns,]] lost their way and became glorified mercenaries, or spend their time philosophying in [[VoidBetweenTheWorlds the Void]] while the material world tears itself apart. If that wasn't enough, the central religion of the setting, Atru, preaches that all of creation is built on violence and lies, and worst of all, seems to be ''right.''
-->''"YISUN said: Let there be no genesis, for beginnings are false and I am a consummate liar."''

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''Literature/AboveGround''
* ''WebOriginal/TheArknMythos''
* ''WebOriginal/DemonsDue'': An illustration based web series where an evil sorceress unleashes all kinds of evils upon a local lordship. Magic is fairly neutral here, too, but dang is it can't be misused for all kinds of horrors in this one.
* ''Literature/DisAcedia'': a dark fantasy web serial set in an interdimensional magical prison, crafted by an ancient, utterly demented deity. Magic is extremely dangerous and feared, death is never an escape, and the entire dimension is divided into fiefdoms waging an eternal war.
* ''Literature/TheIronTeeth'': A dark fantasy web serial set in a world full of dangers and monsters. Human civilization hangs by a thread and yet people still war and fight among themselves. Magic is neutral but limited and hoarded by guilds that use it for personal power. And of course, everything wants to kill goblins...