The following is a collection of memories and thoughts about Dark Ages gathered around the 20th Anniversary of the game. It is an effort to gather these things into an archive that will stay online long after the game is over and done with.
This is an ongoing collection and will be added to over time. Please check back in the future. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or AccidentalPancakes#4036 on Discord if you have something to contribute, we would love to share your memories in either screenshot or paragraph form.
I can’t tell you how surprised I was this morning to encounter your messenger dressed in the purple livery of Loures. Here a letter is more likely to come in the beak of a crow than the hand of a man, and we had a delightful chat before I sent him on his way with this reply.
I thought myself long beyond the reach of Temuair - here where the grasses wave in the dust-scented breeze, so different from the swamp-salt tang of the rich fog forests of Mileth where I was born.
Has it really been 165 Deochs since I awoke in Riona’s inn with the spark of Insight in me? I was barely out of girlhood and now here I am, an old woman, living far from Temuair in the great plains of the West beyond the sunsets of Undine. My memories of the old country are as fresh as ever - mixing beothiach deum and hydele deum in the gardens of the East Woodlands, standing and chatting in long lines among the snakes, bees, and mantis while we practiced our spells, exploring the crypts and the Cthonic Realms for the first time. The many, many, many hours spent with Kedian, chatting in the Kasmanium Mines, where I gathered infinite Conix stones as a reward for a long-forgotten quest. I remember the first invasion of Sgrios worshippers and fragile chrysalises in the doorways and needed to be shunted out. I remember the terrible scandal that ensued after I ascended to the political position of Demagogue and declared it illegal to sell Red Potions, the elixir of life. I remember the days when thousands of Aisling wandered Temuair and when Monks developed their forms for the first time. I remember Pashura’s widely attended Cail masses - a community coming together in the spirit of Balance, even for a Gliocan such as myself.
The lessons of my time in Temuair have never left me. My research into my Library entry, An Aisling’s Guide to Fairies I say without exaggeration, completely redirected the course of my life. In researching the Fae I learned about the worship of the Goddess for the first time, and to this day I continue to anoint myself in Glioca’s holy oils and mind the Mercy of the Mother. The time I spent getting to know my cousin Kedian, also, lead me to his great halls of study and subsequently the arms of my husband. Even today, a hundred Deochs later, my dreams still take me to those well-trodden paths of the Eastern Woods - even hovering winged in the waiting room of Nyarlathotep.
I thought this morning that I would be able to travel back to Mileth for this gathering, but it appears my transportation has fallen through in the last few minutes. It is far to travel for an old woman, and sadly I will not be able to attend - my dachaidh no longer extends so far over the seas.
Attached please find two small portraits from many moons ago. Many have been lost, including the few I had of the long, long-forgotten time known as the “8-way”. I am sure some day I will find them, but for now these are all I have to offer.
I hope this letter finds you well. Please give my regards to Blaise and let him know that I still intend to return my copy of A Witch’s Guide to Faery Folk just as soon as I am done with it. Surely there is a grace period for late fees after 165 Deochs?
Cliona Malkier al’Fae
|Spellbook||Balloons through CR|
In my archives, I haven't found an image from Temuair that I hadn't shared.
I found a few images that other Aislings shared. These are already linked to the Dark Ages website. Yet I would like to underscore their meaning:
|I'm proud of the discourse of experience in the Mileth college.|
|The initiative of Aislings to agree on policies for Mileth.|
|And teamwork to complete cooperative quests, such as The Pentagram.|
|A Typical Mass||Crashing Cail Mass||Temple Meeting|
|Another Mass||My Last Mass||My Last Mass 2|
|Carnaugh Plans||Matching With Albrea||Kamina Holds Mass|
|Half Sister Mieri||Manipulator Gambles||Guarding Gramail Temple|
|Vaillaire Cura Gathering||Monoloth Euphemisms||Manipulator Speaks|
|Rucesion Gathering||Roommates||Angelic at Sgrios Mass|
|Tully's Authority||Pashura's Mass||Guards Guarding|
|Show And Tell||Tisiphone's Mass||High Priest Gathering|
|Conspiracy Is Considered||Landon And Lybrae||Jaxta And Kaervex|
|Anaman Avatar||Duplico's Mass||Landon Mentors|
|Shadows Sendoff||Agus Araile Meeting||Flyss gives a reading|
|Beated severely||Boon Debate||Sarc Heard That|
|Flyss and Landon Wedding||Sandoza excuses herself||Sandoza and LightMerlin|
|Sandoza teaches||Manipulator and Mismom||Valvalis has an excuse|
|Landon meets Bentic||What element?||Eulogy Ceremony|
|Random encounters||Estara buys pirate blouse||Weird Priests|
|Krenos has a choice||Best Wizard?||Grenfor and Trinia's mass|
|Deksar will not go quietly||Landon is stubborn||In that spot we like|
|Desin's wedding||Drinking with friends||Damiel's mass|
|Shalena steals a spot||Tuatha guild meeting||Hotaru is a bell|
|She can't escape it||Omner's theatre opens||Too bright for Sarc|
Mechanically speaking, this game didn't have very much that was worthy of renown. Clunky controls, opaque mechanics and questionable balancing combined to ensure that the game would never become well known as 'sharp' or 'smooth' or any of those other s-words that got tossed at MMOs that took off during the same time period. Nevertheless, Dark ages somehow managed to capture a spark that transcended any notion of game mechanics. Within its threaded web of constructs, both real and imagined, It caught a dream. It caught MY dreams.
When first loaded up the game, just a short time after its release, I wandered for quite some time, just trying to figure out what I was supposed to do. The number of possible things just seemed to grow with every place I explored. The sheer open-ness of what I could do continued to slip beyond my inquisitive grasp, like a butterfly leading me on. The true magic of it all, for me, was the impact that the players were implied to have. I recall ideas for new elements of the game rumbling through my imagination; outlandish ideas such as a 'Hall of Music' wherein player-created music might be made available. Sheer potential abounded.
As time passed, and I continued playing, I discovered that the thing I enjoyed most in the game had almost nothing to do with improving my character. My delectation came from assisting other, new players in seeing some portion of what I saw when I started. Teaching them the basics of how to navigate the world, principles that made it more enjoyable and some portion of the possibilities and dreams that had bedazzled my impressionable young mind. Shaping the world into something imagined, something not-yet tangible that might one day be so.
And the world could indeed be shaped, though it proved to be notably more limited in nature than I had first surmised. We could write our own in-gamelaws, and see the travails that came of attempting to enforce the poorly written ones. We could create art and literature, and attempt to graft it into the larger whole. And, most accessibly, we could create fantastic stories about our own characters, and interweave them with the stories envisioned by others, creating an entirely new tale. Layers of tales, all folding together and overlapping; bubbles in sea foam.
As years marched on and focuses changed, that spark gradually faded. Never fully vanishing - it couldn't, so long as it was remembered - but certainly not at the fore. It was as if another game had been created and grown to replace the one I remembered. A chat forum with adjustable avatars and backgrounds. A repeating series of events strung loosely together by fragments of an old story, but neither developing it nor adhering too closely.
Still, I dream.
Silmarillion / Melaine
|Daranian's reminder||Kittykatkat||Update caused problems|
|Under the floor||Giant ogre thing||Fun silly quest|
|Better than Shakespeare||Better than Shakespeare 2||Big hunt|
|Adoration of Danaan||Creant fight||Gido eats petals|
|Warrioth meeting||Guild gathering||Damiel appears|
|Backstage with Omner||A Chrysalis!||Oren Ball|
|Sil's legend 1||Sil's legend 2||Sil's legend 3|
|Sil's legend 4||A picnic||What can go wrong|
|Top rogue||Meda and Palit||Anaman Avatar|
|Easy money||Large guild meeting||Group hug|
|Sgrios summoning||Old Mileth||Character Creation|
|Update sendoff||Manipulator's Story||Story Part 2|
|Story Part 3|
Wow, it's been 20 years since Dark Ages had it's release? What's even more shocking is that the game is alive and kicking where old MMOs have vanished and died! As for me, I was originally known as Starza; but I was also known as Kahlan, Verna, Antheia, and Leane. I mostly played a priest and I met some wonderful people back then. My best friend, who is Apoc in the screenshots below, has been my friend thought my time with the game and we still talk and even met up with each other in real life after knowing each other for so long! What's funny is that I actually still had all these screenshots, even from back when we had the old stone gray UI. While there were some not so nice moments; I'm sure I made as many enemies as friends and I still look back at my time in DA fondly.
|Kobold Hammer||Law vs. Cedric||Oren Ball|
|Damiel Sermon||Apoc And Starza Wedding||Apoc Holds Wedding|
|Hanging Out In Pravat||Memory of Medenia||Rucesion Hangout|
|Enterance To Chaos||In The Lover's Glade||Light vs. Dark|
|Kick The Kolbold||Damiel||Walk to CR 54|
|Dark Aisling Attack|
Tuatha de Deo*
|The Succubi Slayers||Zombies With Flowers||Simple Greed, Play|
|Angelic, Valis, Morrigan||Etienne Was Always Busy||Gwyneth's Kind Words|
|Scary Katrionah||Hello, Duplico||Race Through Undine|
|Etienne: Died of Poem||Mantle Of Master||True Dat|
|Chaos Before Me||The Future||In The Glade|
|Fortune Teller Flyss||Lockindal gets excited||The flower ritual|
|Glioca & Glioca||Gwyneth's Mass||Pashura's Sermon|
|Sungam's Dirty Mind||Fair Memories||Sungam Reads Poetry|
|Inner Fire||Master Valvalis||Congrats!|
|She Sells Seashells||Innoruk And Minako||Black Bikini|
|Before The Ball||Come On Down!||Lothe Is King|
* Denotes memories gathered from the web.
Feena's screenshots via archive.org to http://www.angelfire.com/realm2/fiosachd/
Tariny's screenshots via archive.org to http://www.geocities.com/tariny_priest/glioca.html
Tuatha de Deo Guild screenshots via archive.org to http://www.undergrunden.cc/tuatha/news.php3
Valvalis's screenshots via archive.org to http://www.omegaflare.com/omegaflare/valvalis/wind/
There are several screenshots I could not recover from these sites, if anyone happened to downloaded them in the past and still has them, please let me know!