Dark Ages by Brandon Kraemer

Dark Ages is the high fantasy workplace comedy I never knew I needed. Hell, I didn’t even consider the possibility of that being a genre in the first place. Think “Nicholas Eames writes The Office” and you have a good idea of what to expect.

When the Dark Lord is finally summoned back to the world after nearly a thousand years, the first thing he wants to do is to wear his Shadow Crown and regain his former powers.

There’s only one problem: his goblin minions lost the crown.

Somehow, the Rivercliffe Museum of Mostly Natural Histories got their hands on it for their newest exhibit. Due to some rather ironclad legal work by the museum’s demonic lawyers, there’s no way the crown is leaving the museum any time soon. So the Dark Lord is stuck hanging out at the museum while he charges up his power from the crown.

There’s a stuffy high elf head of the museum, an unlucky thief who’s cursed to work as the museum’s janitor for 500 years, a senile dwarf warrior, and so much more. If you’ve ever read The Lord of the Rings and wondered what it would be like to smoke a blunt with Sauron, well… now’s your chance to find out.

The Dark Lord (or DL, as his friends call him) spends his days reluctantly attending staff meetings, smoking weed with the museum employees, and sending forth his goblin minions to find the perfect latte. All in all, not a bad life. You might even say he has it easy compared to some of the other museum employees.

The comedy ranges from blunt hilarity to subtle satire. One moment, I was laughing at the museum’s tour golem learning how to colorfully swear, and the next I was left with some smart commentary on the victors of war rewriting history to be more comfortable.

And while the humor is fantastic, what really brings Dark Ages together is the characters. Each episode is devoted to a specific character, diving deeply into their backstory and personality. The horde of goblins even get their own episode as they apply for unemployment benefits. Each and every character is distinct and dysfunctional in their own special way.

If I have one complaint about the show, it’s that the episodes don’t release fast enough for me to binge the entire first season. Though given that each episode is fantastic and often over an hour long, I think it’s well worth the wait. If you’re looking for a new comic fantasy audio drama, Dark Ages might be just the thing.

Dark Ages is a free comic fantasy audio drama created by Brandon Kraemer. This audio drama is available through iTunes or wherever you find podcasts. Check out its website for more information or listen to the trailer right now:

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