The Dark Times
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Basic Information

The Dark Times is a Horror Trope. Far back in primordial aeons, before the birth of man, the world was a wild and terrifying place. Fearsome demons or bizarre Eldritch Abominations walked the earth. Dark forces and Evils Beyond Imagination dominated the planet. If the setting features Abusive Precursors, then this is probably when they were in charge.

Depending on how the back story played out, such evils might have defeated each other, grown decadent and collapsed, or been put down by the early heroes of mankind's prehistory. They may also have been stomped down by benevolent or neglectful precursors (the main difference probably being how well they cleaned up the UXO afterwards). The horrors things may be gone forever, but it's really more likely that they are merely sleeping, and they might actually be plotting their eventual return. Quite often this process may be part of a creation myth, where the gods triumph over primal chaos and defeat, drive off or bind the ancient evils, and the compromises they made here may have a bearing on the end times in terms of what is left to return/rise again/break loose.

In the Cosmic Horror subgenre, the end times may have passed only due to a random natural disaster that drove them Beneath The Earth, or an alignment of the stars that suppressed their influence. Should that situation reverse, modern man would be incapable of resisting the ancient evils.

The opposites of the Dark Times are the Golden Age (a past era where everything was perfect) and the Bad Future (a future where things are terrible).



Game and Story Use

  • The Big Bad Evil Guy might hail from such an era, being a weakened manifestation of a once-great devourer of worlds.
  • An insane villain might be trying to return the earth to the Dark Times, hoping that his arcane skills (or the favor of a dark god) would make him a king among those men who survive the coming of such an era.
    • Likewise, villains with a Darwinist bent might try to return the earth to the Dark Times, believing that humanity has grown soft without monsters preying on it. (Like with all such villains, a delusion that they are "strong" enough to survive is common but optional.)
    • Other villains might believe that the return of the Dark Times is inevitable, and just hope to be eaten first and spared their horrors.
  • A game set in such an era could be exciting (though bloody). This could be set in murky prehistory, with proto-humans or wizardly (and not yet fallen) Atlantis. Alternately, it might be a post-apocalyptic nightmare landscape where the previous season's Big Bad already won, with the action set among the ashes of modern society.
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