: Before mankind came to dominance, the world was ruled by evils beyond imagination.
- Straight: In Heroes of Troperia, a species of Eldritch Abomination known as the Chthonian ruled the planet. They were utterly amoral and everything was just a plaything to them. But the slaves —humans, elves, catfolk, and whatnot— rose against them in planet-wide rebellion, and the Chthonian overthrown; now they slumber Beneath the Earth.
- 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 Artifact of Doom and Doomsday Devices...
- Inverted: The world of Heroes of Troperia used to be a paradise designed and ruled by the Chthonian. But their servants —humans, elves, catfolk, and whatnot— overthrew them out of plain old Envy. Ever since then, it's a Crapsack World.
- 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 Abominations roaming the void between stars.
- Double Subverted: 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 Girls who shape the world according to their Rule of Cool and Rule of Cute, 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 Black Comedy.note
- Zig Zagged: The Demons said that the terrible Chthonian —who created them— used to rule the world, but Demons are Consummate Liars. 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 Cosmic Horror Story, doesn't have The Dark Times 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 Devices a necessity."
- Invoked: A particularly deranged scientist/wizard/what-have-you engineered a race of highly-intelligent Eldritch Abomination and sent them back through time so there will be The Dark Times, so that there will be a Lost Technology today for him to derive his methods from.
- Exploited: Another Big Bad injected himself with the cells of the aforementioned race and threw himself to the past so he can rule in The Dark Times.
- Defied: After a Timey-Wimey Ball shenanigan, Bob and co made it so that The Dark Times —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: ???
- 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 Up to Eleven! It takes being a Chthonian —invoking The Dark Times 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 The Dark Times.
Why would you want to go back to The Dark Times