->''"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 [[XMeetsY meets]] CrapsackWorld, as opposed to the usually-lighthearted regular fantasy setting. Oftentimes common fantasy elements are [[DeconstructedTrope deconstructed]] or 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}} [[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 DarkFantasy. 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 DarkFantasy 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 DarkFantasy 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 [[TrainsRunOnTime 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. 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 morals]], and {{The Legions Of|Hell}} {{Eldritch Abomination}}s are mere days away from infesting into the Mortal Realm, or are 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 nothing in its 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 is most of their respite on having sex or getting drunk and violent and have a less than amicable working relationship with their comrades.
* 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/{{Ayashi no Ceres}}'': 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/{{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.]]
* ''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, AllMenAreRapists, and AristocratsAreEvil are in full effect. The church is either a CorruptChurch or PathOfInspiration (details of its founding are unclear) but regardless, watch out for the KnightsTemplar [[ChurchPolice Inquisition]]. 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. And so on.

* ''Tales of the Dragon Guard'': [[OurDragonsAreDifferent Dragons naturally radiate]] TheCorruption, which only [[VirginPower virgin]] [[AManIsNotAVirgin 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]].
* ''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.
* 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/RequiemVampireKnight'' is this in spades, and the world of Resurrection is as crapsack as they come.

* ''Film/CastADeadlySpell''
* ''Film/{{Conquest}}''
* ''Film/TheCraft''
* ''Film/HanselAndGretelWitchHunters''
* ''Film/ArmyOfDarkness''
* ''Film/{{Maleficent}}''
* ''Film/{{Warlock}}'': An evil warlock from the 17th century travels to the future to destroy the world.

[[folder:Forum Role-Plays]]
* ''Roleplay/MarkedRP''

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'', just like the books it is based on.
* ''Series/TheVampireDiaries'', it started fairly standard fantasy and it slowly became darker and more cynical.


* ''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.
* ''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.
* 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.
* ''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.
* ''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 and WarIsHell. Even [[TheMagicComesBack the Magic Coming Back]] seems to just make everything [[FromBadToWorse more dangerous]].
* The ''Literature/BlackCompany'' cycle. The military kind of dark.
%%* All novels written by Feliks W. Kres, especially the ''Szerer cycle.''
* Creator/MichaelMoorcock's ''[[Literature/TheElricSaga Elric Saga]]'', focusing on a doomed albino emperor with [[ArtifactOfDoom the mother of all]] {{Evil Weapon}}s.
* ''Literature/{{Phenomena}}'' starts of as a fantasy and starts showing hints of becoming a DarkFantasy 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/TheEyeOfArgon'' is an attempt at a gritty Conan-style tale of blood, sex and violence.
* ''Literature/TheFirstLaw'' trilogy. With plenty of gore, torture and violence, it's generally categorized as dark fantasy, though it adds a lot of comedy to lighten the tone.
* 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/TheChildrenOfHurin'' could be one of the earliest examples, if only Professor Creator/JRRTolkien had'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.
** Much of "The Silmarillion" feels like this, [[UnbuiltTrope amusingly enough]]. Tolkien even wrote that most of his tales were tragic.
* ''Literature/MiserereAnAutumnTale'': the purpose of the World is to hold off {{Hell}}.
* In ''Literature/TheActsOfCaine'' it's one half of the setting. The other half is classical {{Dystopia}}.
* The ''Literature/SecondApocalypse'' series is unrelenting in its darkness. The world is in a constant struggle involving religious zealots, insane immortals, ruthless sorcerers and intergalactic sex-demons. Humanity's best chance of survival might rest in the hands of a manipulative, pitiless sociopath.
* 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.
* 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/TheZombieKnight'': Thanks to a vein 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]].
* Joe Abercrombie's ''Literature/TheFirstLaw'' series definitely qualifies as well. [[{{TheKingdom}} 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.
* ''[[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.
* ''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/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/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/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/RedRoom'' by Creator/CTPhipps follows the adventures of MenInBlack 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 be is less evil than the next guy.
* 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.
* ''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/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.

* 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/{{Warhammer}}''. As of 8th edition, the only thing on the list ''Warhammer'' lacks is evil cults monopolizing all organized religion. Sigmar and Ulric have reasonable priesthoods.
* 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 regigion (provided you remember the Imperial Cult is the lesser of two evils).
* 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 overall theme in ''TabletopGame/{{Planescape}}'' is it's moral ambiguity, and the bizarre settings only increase grim mood.
** 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.
** The ''TabletopGame/DarkSun'' setting takes place in a desert fantasy world where the Forces of Primordial (or whatever bad, bad guys the writers feel like throwing in an edition) won the war and the heroes ([[IDidWhatIHadToDo if you can call them that]]) fight out of necessity, not idealism.
* ''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/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).
* ''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.
* ''TabletopGame/TheWorldOfDarkness'' games are practically the trope codifiers for [[UrbanFantasy urban]], DarkFantasy.
* ''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.
* 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.
* 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.
* ''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 [[BaconAddiction 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.

* ''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]]
* ''Franchise/TheWitcher'' - see literature explanation above.
* ''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]].
* ''{{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]].
* 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.
* ''Franchise/{{Drakengard}}'', which later jumps feet-first into a CosmicHorrorStory.
* ''{{VideoGame/Overlord}}'' series are both a pastiche and a parody of this genre.
* ''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.
* ''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/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.
* Despite the sometimes terrifying enemies and morbid nature of the setting most of the ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}'' series is too idealistic to be this trope see [[GothicHorror Gothic Horror]]. The AlternateContinuity [[ContinuityReboot Reboot]] ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaLordsOfShadow'' and its sequels however, dive right into this.
* ''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 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.
* ''VideoGame/{{Bloodborne}}'' pretends to be this for the first half of the game, being set in a Victorian setting, with the plague of lycanthropy, silver bullets, the works. However, it is later revealed to be a science fiction story along the lines of H. P. Lovecraft's novels.
* ''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.
* ''VideoGame/DwarfFortress'' moved from LowFantasy into this genre in its 2010 edition. Staying outside at night is tantamount to suicide by hordes of bogeymen, other evil creatures casually kidnap and murder people, and [[DugTooDeep Hidden Fun Stuff]] occasionally breaks free to take over religions and civilizations. The 2012 edition, with its necromancers, divine curses such as vampires and werebeasts, and evil {{Death World}}s [[RainOfBlood nastier]] [[BodyHorror than]] [[ZombieApocalypse ever]], cements its status as Dark Fantasy.
* 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.
* The ''Under the Burning Suns'' expansion for ''VideoGame/BattleForWesnoth''.
* 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.
* ''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/SoulSacrifice'' is based around Sorcerers in such a world, and filled to the brim with BodyHorror and WasOnceAMan.
* ''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.
* ''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.
* The original ''VideoGame/{{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.
* The ''VideoGame/FallFromHeaven'' mod for ''[[VideoGame/{{Civilization}} Civilization IV]]'' is explicitly described as DarkFantasy by its creators. Convenient, since the mechanics of ''VideoGame/{{Civilization}}'' heavily encourage a [[ThereCanBeOnlyOne rather brutal]] and [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder cynical]] gameplay.
* [[VideoGame/GargoylesQuest Demon's Crest]], the final game in the 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.
* [[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]].

* ''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/{{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.
* ''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.
* 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/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/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]].

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''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/AboveGround''
* ''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.