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Dread TridentTabletop Role-Playing Games and the Modern Fantastic$
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Curtis D. Carbonell

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781789620573

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789620573.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 24 May 2022

Worlds of Darkness

Worlds of Darkness

From Gothic to Cosmic Horror

(p.109) Chapter 4 Worlds of Darkness
Dread Trident

Curtis D. Carbonell


This chapter examines the World[s] of Darkness’s most important gametexts within the context of the move from Gothic to cosmic horror. It utilizes literary and philosophical analysis of the Gothic, especially that of Fred Botting and Noël Carroll. Botting helps by posing a question of what sort of ‘spectral return’ we might see with a reinvigorated Gothic, while Carroll views ‘art-horror,’ or the horror derived from the genre of popular culture, as a key driver in how we have come to represent horror. This chapter works through the tensions of how a Lovecraftian-like cosmic horror displaced the Gothic yet acknowledges the Gothic’s persistence. It sees in the World[s] of Darkness’s TRPGs like Vampire: the Masquerade and Werewolf: the Apocalypse attempts at a renewed Gothicism. Yet, in the New Worlds of Darkness’s, the ‘God Machine’ emerges as a novel posthuman trope, one that hints at a machinic inscrutable entity far beyond any human understanding.

Keywords:   Gothic, Horror, Fantasy, Science fiction, Tabletop Role-Playing games, Vampire: the Masquerade, Werewolf: the Apocalypse, Worlds of Darkness, Posthumanism

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