'''Basic Trope''': Before mankind came to dominance, the world was ruled by evils beyond imagination.
* '''Straight''': In Heroes of Troperia, a species of EldritchAbomination known as the Chthonian ruled the planet. They were utterly amoral and everything was just a plaything to them. But the slaves --humans, elves, [[CatGirl catfolk]], and whatnot-- rose against them in planet-wide rebellion, and the Chthonian overthrown; now they slumber BeneathTheEarth.
* '''Exaggerated''':
** The Chthonian ruled the galaxy.
** The Chthonian ruled the entire universe.
** The Chthonian ''are'' the universe. Let that sink into your mind for awhile...
* '''Downplayed''': The Chthonian were terrifyingly powerful beyond human comprehension; but by human's standard, they were no more Good or Evil than humankind.
* '''Justified''': There ought to be someone to have built all those ancient ArtifactOfDoom and {{Doomsday Device}}s...
* '''Inverted''': The world of Heroes of Troperia used to be a paradise designed and ruled by the Chthonian. But their servants --humans, elves, [[AuthorAppeal catfolk]], and whatnot-- overthrew them out of plain old {{Envy}}. Ever since then, it's a CrapsackWorld.
* '''Subverted''': The now-extinct Chthonian built terrible devices that no sane person today will even think of making, but they did so out of the planet's best interest: to fight the truly terrible {{Eldritch Abomination}}s roaming the void between stars.
* '''Double Subverted''': [[TheDarkTimes And then it's revealed that the Chthonian were not even marginally better than the said void wanderers]].
* '''Parodied''': The Chthonian were a race of {{Magical Girl}}s who shape the world according to their RuleOfCool and RuleOfCute, forcing everyone to play along with them. Didn't make them any less terrifying, but if the world has always been a stage, the play back then was BlackComedy.[[note]]Sounds kinda like ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'', doesn't it?[[/note]]
* '''Zig Zagged''': The Demons said that the terrible Chthonian --who created ''them''-- used to rule the world, but Demons are {{Consummate Liar}}s. But then, you just have to wonder just what kind of people brought something as awful as Demons into reality...
* '''Averted''': Heroes of Troperia, despite being a CosmicHorrorStory, doesn't have TheDarkTimes ruled by incomprehensible tyrants.
* '''Enforced''': The author know that there's something Freudianly satisfying about kicking the arses of people who are older and more knowledgeable than you.
* '''Lampshaded''': "Hmm, I wonder just what kind of aeon made those ancient {{Doomsday Device}}s a necessity."
* '''Invoked''': A particularly deranged scientist/wizard/what-have-you engineered a race of highly-intelligent EldritchAbomination and sent them back through time so there will be TheDarkTimes, so that there will be a LostTechnology [[StableTimeLoop today for him to derive his methods from]].
* '''Exploited''': Another BigBad injected himself with the cells of the aforementioned race and threw himself to the past so he can rule in TheDarkTimes.
* '''Defied''': After a TimeyWimeyBall shenanigan, [[TheHero Bob]] [[FiveManBand and co]] made it so that TheDarkTimes --which may or may not exist-- never existed to begin with.
* '''Discussed''': Two wizards with archaeological bent discuss about what would happen when the ancient civilization whose books they are studying were vastly more powerful and vastly less moral. They believe that it would have been this trope.
* '''Conversed''': ???
* '''Deconstructed''':
** After all the crap the Chthonian put the world and its inhabitants through, the world is an utterly broken place-- even after the Chthonian were long gone. In fact, the races that overthrew them start behaving like the Chthonian because they don't know other ways of dealing with the situation.
** Taken ''UpToEleven''! It takes being a Chthonian --invoking TheDarkTimes yourself-- to keep the world from falling apart.
* '''Reconstructed''': The Chthonian provided an excellent example of how to ''not'' rule the world. The races thus make sure that the world will never be anywhere close to TheDarkTimes.
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Why would you want to go back to TheDarkTimes?
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%% Optional items, added after Conversed, at your discretion:
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%%* '''Implied''': ???
%%* '''Plotted A Good Waste''': ???
%%* '''Played For Laughs''': ???
%%* '''Played For Drama''': ???