I've been in this noir DnD game, for... I dunno. Maybe 20, 24 sessions now.
And it's getting hard.
Not that it isn't fun -- but it's hard to endure it.
Because the world I exist in when I go there is such an agonizing moral vacuum. and even though my character has such great power to kill and to endure suffering, I can't make things better.
I don't have anything I can punch that will make a better day rise.
Because in noir, there are no good decisions.
And my only power is violence.
I'm constantly trapped in cycles of violence, and I can't escape them. I can't resolve them.
Your Obedient Serpent:
The secret in noir is to play the Hard Boiled Detective: do the best you can, help who you can, and maintain your own integrity in the face of a hopelessly corrupt world, because, if there's any moral dimension to that existence at all, it's what you bring to it.
Your quest is noble because it's futile.
The difference between Philip Marlowe and Don Quixote is that Marlowe knows that he's not going to win in the long run, and that even his little victories are often Pyhrric. But he keeps pushing on, because there's an important difference between "Not Winning" and Giving Up.
When you give up, you've lost.
If you keep pushing, and fighting, and striving, then even if you haven't won -- you haven't lost.
If you were playing in a Gothic-Punk game like the old World of Darkness, that would be part of it. Part of playing that game is embracing the Emo. Noir isn't too far off from that. You're a Tragic Hero, and you know it -- and that's what gives you strength. You're standing in front of the tank in Tiannamon Square, and flipping it off.
The Hard Boiled Detective doesn't back down, doesn't compromise, and if he gets the shit kicked out of him or gets killed, he does so knowing that he did it on his terms.
The people who look at an "agonizing moral vacuum" and decide it doesn't matter what they do, that they can kill and torture and do whatever it takes to accomplish their goals?
They've already lost.
The people who curl up in despair because they're not Saving the World? They've lost, too.
...and somewhere along the line, I think I might have stopped talking to Eggshell about his game.
And no, I didn't realize the inherent pun in advising "Eggshell" to play a "hard-boiled" character until I was almost ready to post this. Observing this in the Comments is both redundant and unnecessary.