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Dungeonpunk is an aesthetic of Sword & Sorcery settings that treats magic as a sort of commonplace technology and/or uses it as a way to peek into the innerworkings of societal problems such as a metaphor for the corruption of power, in short it utilizes the Cyberpunk ethos of using sci-fi technology as a way to reflect on society's problems but switches the sci-fi for fantasy and technology for magic. It is typically used in dark and grim Low Fantasy settings such as The Witcher and Berserk.

The now commonplace setting of a dark miserable medieval world in a low fantasy dark setting is a key part of the modern aesthetic and is generally an adaptation of The High Tech Low Life philosophy of Cyberpunk for use in Fantasy settings which can be seen in books such as A Song of Ice and Fire, The Chronicles of Amber and The First Law Trilogy.

History[]

The history of Dungeonpunk begins, not in the '90s as most people think but in the 1960s and 1970s with The Chronicles of Amber, Elric of Melbinoné, Dungeons and Dragons and the Conan the Barbarian comics. The genre was relatively slow to pick up speed, however in many countries the 'Dark and Brooding' fantasy setting was beginning to pick up in the mid-to-late 80s with one of the originals being The Highlander.

Though it wasn't as dark as the new wave of Grimdark Fantasy that emerged in the 1990s pioneered by George RR Martin, the 1990s was a time when Grimdark Fantasy thrived as cult classics with series’ such as The Witcher and Farseer Trilogy.

Visual[]

Dungeonpunk typically uses the stereotypical germanic fantasy setting full of green overgrown 'wastelands' outside the cities and concrete jungles surrounded by stone walls with gothic architecture being the typical appearance of the average house. Magic in general tends to be (relatively) scientific like in Berserk and Dying Earth, which lands the aesthetic at a halfway point between Science Fantasy and Sword & Sorcery. A typical portrayal of the genre's aesthetic in the modern day can be seen in media such as The Witcher or Game of Thrones and is almost purely European in nature just like most fantasy works in existence, though traces of stories resembling Dungeonpunk can be found through cultures and religions throughout history and geography.

Fashion[]

The fashion is what you'd typically expect of a fantasy setting. It's not anything necessarily interesting or unique but tropes are tropes for a reason sometimes. If you want to know more about the fashion just look through any Dungeons and Dragons character art and you'll get a good idea.

  • Plates
  • Stitches
  • Leather quilting
  • Boiled leather
  • Half-plates
  • Ringmail armor
  • Cloaks
  • Tunics
  • Robe-like jackets

Media[]

(Things that are inappropriate for children will be marked as '18+'.)

Literature[]

  • The Witcher Series (18+)
  • A Song of Ice and Fire (18+)
  • The Chronicles of Amber (18+)
  • The First Law Trilogy (18+)
  • Malazan Book of the Fallen (18+)

Film[]

  • Pan's Labyrinth
  • Conan The Barbarian
  • The Wolves of Kromer
  • Nimona
  • The Highlander

Television[]

  • Berserk (18+)
  • Claymore
  • Gargoyles
  • Delicious in Dungeon

Video Games[]

  • Dungeons and Dragons (Greyhawk and Dark Sun)
  • The Witcher Series (18+)
  • Dark Souls
  • The Legacy of Kain (18+)
  • The Arcana
  • God of War
  • Paladins: Champions of the Realm

Cultural Context[]

Dunegonpunk was originally inspired primarily by the punk movement and especially the cyberpunk literature movement that, while being explicitly created in the 1980s, had origins in dark speculative sci-fi in the 70s and 60s but rose to cult classic status with the help of the goth movement in the 90s with many of the Grimdark protagonists having studded dark leather armour resembling that of trad goth fashion and actually had some authors that seem to have been active in the goth movement.

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