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Many fantasy games, if not all of them, follow the lead given by Dungeons & Dragons, and rapidly become superheroic parodies of themselves. This has been especially true of the newer editions, since AD&D Second Edition. It’s great, but it’s not for everyone.
At least not all of the time.
There are many kinds of fantasy, and Dungeons & Dragons’ increasingly sanitised, fluffy, generic, high-escapist fantasy - dripping in magical weapons and character invulnerability, isn’t necessarily what people want.
A Grimdark game is in part made from difficulty. In this context, that has to come from encouraging the players to play tactically and carefully. To do everything they can to swing advantage in their favour.
It’s also as much about encouraging players to deal with difficult and horrifying role-playing and decisionmaking consequences, all with less resources and power than they might be used to. It also encourages them, when necessary, to run away.
We need to take that, lustrous, heroic, ‘fantasy-Portland’ edge off 5th Edition’s default rules-set, to amp up the difficulty and make people play more carefully. At the same time, we don’t want to just turn it into an unfair meatgrinder.
So why not a game designer, literally known as ‘Grim’, to do it?