Age of Darkness
The Age of Darkness, sometimes referred to as three separate Ages of Darkness, refers to the time period of the first trilogy of Ultima games (Ultima I, Ultima II and Ultima III). This is also thought to include the events of Akalabeth (sometimes known as Ultima 0), Richard Garriott's first published game.
This age revolved around a time of political turmoil in Sosaria, with the land comprised of warring city-states which lacked a unified leader. Monsters and murderous humans roamed the countryside and attacked unprepared travellers and known major dungeons and towers swelled with horrors. Portions of this time were later rewritten to form historical continuity, as the deaths of both Mondain and Minax were carried out in realms of the distant past, such as that events of the future were radically transformed.
During this era, the Eight Virtues had not yet been established by Lord British, with day to day existence frequently consisting more of basic survival between warring minions and kingdoms. Due to Mondain's connections with the mysterious "star-walking" race of the void and Minax's later alteration of the time stream, technology, such as time machines, space ships, and advanced weaponry often mingled with the medieval component of the feudal fiefdoms. All life in this era was darkened by the shadow of evil known as Mondain, Minax, and Exodus.
- The Stranger
They are also known as the "Triad of Evil".
The titles that comprise the Age of Darkness are Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness, Ultima II: Revenge of the Enchantress, and Ultima III: Exodus. Although comparatively primitive computer RPGs by modern standards, they were pioneering for the genre. Their gameplay consists of dungeon crawls, hack-and-slash combat and a series of linear quests that end in a final battle between the Stranger and an evil entity.
It was not until Ultima IV and the Age of Enlightenment that the Ultima series explored dilemmas of moral consequence and presented more nuanced goals and themes. As the Ultima series progressed and grew more elaborate, the events of its first chapters were frequently retconned to establish a natural continuity with later storylines, often ignoring the more absurd or incongruous elements of these early installments.
The games of the Age of Darkness were predominantly written and programmed by Richard Garriott himself, with the aid of what was usually a fairly small development team.