Book Culture in IRE Games

MMO Thief


Player-submitted articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Iron Realms, the company or its employees.


 As alternatives to the book have increasingly become the focus of intense marketing efforts from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Apple, among others, a subset of book lovers have gone into revolt, straining to express what it is about the book that they can't give up. Some point to the eyestrain from backlit screens. Others like the tactile feel of pages, or the smell of the paper. Most argue that the book as an artifact has an irrevocable place in literate culture. 


The MUD, as a digital-text-based form of entertainment, might seem at first glance to be one among many factors in the decline of the analog world of books, newspapers, magazines, and board games. Yet a closer look shows a more complicated picture. Achaea has a thriving book culture, one that honors all the book's beloved cultural apparatuses, even though these apparatuses are represented in a string of ones and zeros instead of in leather, twine, pulp and glue. 


Each House in Achaea maintains a library, as does each city. That makes for a minimum of 31 libraries, before even beginning to count Order libraries and personal and clan-based collections. Some libraries are modest, while others hold hundreds of volumes. Houses, clans, and orders, including the Crystalline Circle, the Occultists, Quaero Coelementatus, and the Order of Lorielan, pride themselves on their extensive collections. 


Visit the rooms where these collections are stored and you'll find dozens of variations on bibliophilic library fantasies. Bookcases stretch into the distance. Silent librarians maintain the shelves. Sunlight streams in through floor-to-ceiling windows--or the only relief from the dank blackness of the library catacombs is a sputtering taper. 


The books themselves range widely in subject matter, from history and theology to fiction and poetry. Most would be considered little more than pamphlets if published in the real world, but the heavy tomes that contain them in Achaea lend them gravitas. And all told, the hundreds of titles produced by players across Iron Realms are an impressive body of work, lending great depth to the worlds and adding a valuable sense of history.


I've heard that in "open world" games like Skyrim, people meticulously assemble libraries--even though the books don't have any text. It's clear that books won't disappear from RPGs, including the offerings from Iron Realms. The question is if they will come to seem as archaic as other elements of the medieval setting.


Author: Azor of Achaea

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 books in lusternia can potentialy help boost your nexus of power.

It's really quite awesome.

This is one of the best parts about our libraries, is that it isn't just for lore or fun, it can actually be for the betterment of the city in a coded way.

That sounds cool - we should steal it for Aetolia...

Or for Achaea.


If it takes more than 2 seconds to kill, I mean read, it, Achaeans won't bother.

I kill lots of things that take more than two secon... wait, reading? What's that?

You will need to do it to pass novice test after that you will enver have to read again!

resent, you mean?



Kind of tragic, but the sad truth.


for a lot of players, seems true.

pssh. Only about 98% won't bother..there's still that 2%!

Which is probably still more players then there are in the other games!

Other games are silly.  I don't know what we're talking about.

no, but Achaea sure is!

It is.








Credit, but it was funny to read that line of comments.


That's true. And it's getting smaller and smaller! Whee?

How small will it get before it stops?

But I wanna know too.


Also credit.


This. Plus smaller!


Even smaller

how small is this, I wonder?

Trippy, man!

I wouldn't dare not try!

Like, seriously.

You could not have said it any better.

Rofl. They need to change how these replies appear.

you guys are crazy.

This is crazy, call me maybe?


to more articles..


Cannot even read anymore...

Free Credit lol

this is quite impressive now


Yeah. "Impressive."

This commenting format saddens me.

Ugh. But it hides credits posts well enough



This is pretty broken.


Its fun reading this way

only read that after clicking reply

for science

odd, same.




squeezing in here!~

hi Xer

this is ridiculous

erm.. indeed.. btw, make it happen!

lllllllllllllll Heh, amusing

it never will.

Really? That's all you're going to say?

yes yes






1% maybe?

Nobody -reads- library books, they're for -culture-. Cultured people don't -read- things. Silly.

Indeed, why read if you can just admire at a distance, much easier.



says the one word reply?

The pages of the books in my library are still uncut.

And It's pointy.  Reading is the path to being cultured! Why would you go through all that effort to become cultured if you still had to read?!





I love to read! I must be uncultured..

I am glad the guilds I have been in have transferred help files into books so that players are forced to use the library.

Like Jay Gatz in the Great Gatsby. He's got mad books in his library. He hasn't read any of them - they're just there to give him prestige.


Seriously, why waste your time with reading?

Have the authors read it FOR them.

That's very untrue! Half of Perdy's family in law have written a book of some kind.



Its a mix of people, some like literature while others like to bash and not 'read'.

In lusternia you can have the bookmaker trade and then your trans skill works like a SoA.

We definitely need to do this in Achaea.

you guys really should.

Would be nice to have.

+ 1 internets for your avatar, and I just preferbooks for the lore.

Steal steal steal

Yeah, I'm not loving the Aetolian library system.


I hear that. But what can you do, short of a rewrite?

I am Bill Nighy, and yay to stealing good ideas!

or just play the better game. Oh no he didn't.

the corresponding ideas in the better game.

wow that is epic yes plz


That's pretty neat

That's pretty cool about Lusternia!

to add to the  lore, though!

We play a text based game, so naturally there should be libraries!

you have a firm grasp of the obvious, sir.

How do libraries and the nexus of power work? It sounds interestinga

It truely is.

Yes, this aspect is really a great incentive to publish works and it would be awesome to see it incorporated into the other IRE games in some way.








Yeah, man, dang ol' beer bluhbu, man, dang...Boomhauer, man.


Also, yes. Agreed.

Nah mate, all dat and a bag of chips and that yeah gov?

Uh huh.

if the other ir games wanted insentive for writing.  I'm not sure this idea hole would work.  our insentive is more power for our nexi of power.  What would work inthe other games. I don't think any other ir has nexi?

I have seen some books that should not be in a library, and the only reason why they are in there is to help push culture... or feel it important to be seen as an author.

That's true, but I can't help but think that most librarians will want to get anything they can to a publishable state and publish regardless of quality simply because they get so few submissions.


we need more of this



that's what i love about lusternia. i hate that it's so overwhelming, though, hence, I haven't given it as much time as it deserves. but it's definitely a great game.

Libraries and books in Lusternia really are an excellent way to encourage people to write for the games, as well as read the literature and history of the games. It's interesting to read some of the things that have been published in the game during my free time, and it's even more interesting to see the thing that people write actually contributing to the growth of their city or commune in a large way.

i'm actually writing a book in Achaea that will hopefully be my character's legacy. Its going to take a long time to put together but its really fun so far because it provides ton of RP during the research.







Nobody ever told me that....TO THE PEN WITH ME!! AWAAAAAAY!

I spend days (in realm) In my house and city libraries, I love how people actually take the time to write the books. It also is quite nice to read a journal rather than a HHELP/HELP scroll. Something just feels better about it from the roleplay perspective, and they seem better formatted, more time put into them. Just my two cents.

I do and feel the same way. It's a lot more interesting to read what someone else has written in a friendly way. 







The files are nice but there's definitely something nice about having some things that need to be looked up in books, and something pleasant about doing it.

Playing detective or researcher is always fun.

It's the best part of the game!




I agree, but it's so much information at times that it can easily be overwhelming, but you have to love it!




I agree! I love sitting in libraries reading books. They tend to go into much more depth than help scrolls and it just feels better for RP.

you're hot

Between refrences to reality to the very creations of art, poetry and depth of lore.  There is SO much that fans love to develop in game and in world dedicated to the place the love to be.

It's this very aspect of customization and being able to add to the world and lore yourself that, among other things, draw me to MUDs!

Midkemia Online does not have many readable books, though they have some huge libraries with room descriptions saying there are a lot of books. And books to write in cost a small fortune. However I have RPed doing research in libraries (about mages trying to fly).

with midkemia you have the actual books as backstory, so it'd be a bit of a different dynamic.

I really love the whole atmosphere of MKO; the mechanics, too, and the RP, but... having it be based on someone else's intellectual property does have its drawbacks. :/

Indeed. Although there are certain advantages as well: Ready-made world with deep lore, large fanbase to tap into, reputation, etc. 

As you mentioned, one of the draw backs with having the world set out so clearly means that deviations have to be carefully done, so as not to completely undermine the established lore. It's doable but perhaps not as easy as in some of the IREs.

As for books: I don't think they are going to become a rarity just yet. There will come a time, but not anytime soon. 

I haven't read any of the books, though. It gets confusing at times.

If you are interested in reading any of them, the Riftwar Saga pretty much brings you up to speed entirely with where we are in the timeline. 

I finished it just the other day, and while I was reading it, I thought to myself, "I don't really feel I need to read this to play in MKO but I'm still really enjoying it."

Matters aside I checked out the Lord of the Rings from my local library the next day.

and everyone knows LOTR needs a good MUD!

There's only one ring...

I don't in general like Feist's work, but I found Pug's journey to become a master magician pretty engaging, and the Valheru are just awesome!

hi vanna!

I actually submitted something to my House Library.


The sense of achievement is disproportionate.

the games are big books trematode







All the books in Skyrim have text, actually - there's quite a bit of IG lore there that some people go nuts over.


I actually quite like that about Skyrim. The books were fully readable. Which is not something you come across often.

Fancy that! Shows what I know.

Do some research beforehand, it makes you look a bit silly as the way you wrote it has it appear as stating a fact.

It was presented as hearsay.










Really, all these IRE articles need to just stop mentioning Skyrim altogether, it's never NOT embarrassing.

Trying to rope in Skyrim players, I guess...

If it works, they should do it. I doubt it works, though.'d have a flood of new players. Guaranteed.





Aye the books in Skyrim do have text, ranging from a little in a page or two to fairly long books, including several which are a series with 1-5 or the like.  Also the Crown Merchants have a rather decently sized library as well.  The library in Twilights' obelisk was really neat as well with quite a few books and rather interesting ones at that - that is until the Shallamese ruined it and destroyed it.

Damn Shallameseseseses!

Love that about Skyrim.

Very true..

I was going to mention this.


That about sums it up.






Nice conversation we have here

I really think everyone who plays these games started out as an avid reader. We read the words and SEE them. Books stir the imagination unlike any other medium. Within our game we tell a story. Also I am impressed by the quality, time and effort that people put into their writing. You all are amazing.

The amount of time to scour for some books is also fun as well!



This is about what I would of said.



Although I wasn't an avid reader prior to first playing Achaea. But I would have to agree that the love for reading that the verbose room descriptions eventually developed played a role.

I certainly was. I think people who'd just as rather read as watch a movie are inevitably gonna be the ones who give text games a chance. People who only watch television and movies'll most likely just write them off as some kind of joke. Which is unfortunate, because they'll never discover how deep they can be.

I'm only reading this because there's a commercial.

I disagree.

What's the best game to novel book you've ever read?

How does having books and libraries in a MUD (text based game played on a computer) is a counterpoint to efforts to promote e-books as an alternative to paperbacks.

I think the author means that MUDs are paper book killers, because they're a digital medium. Then the rest of the article seems to be about proving that MUDs have books in them. Still, the original point is a bit funny. Paper books may be nice, I love seeing books on a shelf, but on the other hand it's cumbersome when moving.

Sometimes I like to sit in my chair and pretend I'm a pair of shorts... wait what?


confused what? did this make any since to anyone?  if a joke I'd like to be let in on it.  otherwise I'm not sure what  this ment in refering to the artical.

Is to have my own personal library in game

Collect books and scrolls.

You can!

Come to us and you can have one in your own pocket dimension (aethermanse)!

hope MkO has this too!

Hahaha, we do!



I love IG libraries and books, both in Lusternia and TES games. Years ago I maintained a library of rare books in Morrowind. And yes, there was text in them.

No idea how many times I forgot what I actually wanted to do in a dungeon just because I found an interesting book and read it.


Anyway, back to IRE games. I really enjoy that people can actually write books and even start their own libraries, just wish those weren't so expensive.


True! Hopefully they'll adopt the same in MkO without the expensiveness.

I'd like to learn to start reading the books again. I mean... find time to study IC stuff

There's something so much more permenant and substantial about real books.

Yep, I loooooove real books

it would be cool if there was a "Publishing" company start up in one of the ire games

and informative. Copies can be duplicated in Thera, if that was what you meant!

After this virtual goods lawsuit is over, we should prepare for the patent troll who takes on the e-book market.


The Lusty Argonian Maid was one of the best books ever.


I wanted to find out if she ever got around to polishing that doorknob


Wasn't it a spear?

Yeah, it was a spear. In Skyrim there is a second volume. Not quite as good as the first in my opinion but it is still funny and worth stealing. ( At least thats the only way I've ever encountered it)

If I remember correctly it was possible to get a copy of it in Morrowind through at least 1 quest.

Those Crystalline and Sylvan fools be tripping if they think their collections compare to the Occultists. We'll crack your spines, you paperbacks! Dog-ears! THUG LIFE

You can't play an Iron Realms game without reading, so most of the people they attract really enjoy reading books. Having in-game books makes Achaea seem deeper and more complex, and a lot of players enjoy having that aspect of the game.

gotta agree. been reading a lot of history lately with my achaean char.

And it's actually fun :D

to read books...HRRRRM

to read books...HRRRRRM

Well, to be fair you're playing a game with consists entirely of reading as it is

Some people can't write for shit!


Damn! and such..


As clearly evinced by many of the argumentation skills presented in this response thread.

And I alway find everithing I want. I am talking about IG library of course. I remember the first time I went into a library...I could not believe it. Thanks to everyone. Libraries make the game even a deeper experience.

crazy and stuff

and stuff..

With many small books inside it. It is like living in a never ending story book and writing books within that book.



Yes...this is why I love it :)

Do you think achaea is bigger than the bible? Most probably yes! And way more interesting!

That's my thing. I love having an actual book in my hand, the scent of yellowing pages and the excitement in turning a page, wondering what'll happen next when you do.

For me, books are not only for reading, I guess.. It comes to the point of a collection, and I get stressed whenever anyone else handles one of my books..

I love books.

Books will always exist.

There will be a time when everything will be on a more mechanical information format

Its opnly a small step from people writing books to other people putting the reading of books in as a novice requirement.  Ban books!

I love the books, and it's a cool aspect to the game. I intend on having a personal library in my house in the future. One of many goals!



I rather like Cyrene's. I wish more cities had them, rather than just in house estates.

Books and libraries and one of the things that keep me coming back

Literacy is a great thing to encourage. It's nice that libraries have actual benefits to organizations, too.

And more books.

Good read.

I've spent on one character as a librarian, almost a million gold collecting them for his guild.


I loved the Lusternia library system. It was really engaging.

The pictures in those books...suck.

don't really think muds have got much to do with the decline in people reading.

The libraries add alot to the game, as do letters, journals, ect.. And furthermore, a book is a book no matter if it is writtern on paper or an electric screen.



I like the feel of paper over tablet, that's something that will take a while to get used to.

I have not spent a lot of time in any of the libraries in Achaea but I know they are there, after all you have to use them to some extent when you are going through your learning phase. I think it is much better to imagine yourself reading a book while sitting in a dusty library than a help file on a computer screen.

I really like going through old historical records of past events, since at times I'll find many occurances or details that didn't make the news.

Do your research a little better, Skyrim's books ALL contain text, and a lot of it.

Most of it bad!

but that hardly excuses giving blatently false information.

This is silly!  I need a new news post to comment on.

has a great library system


Haven't tried it in years

Where's the slash fiction? (I jest! I jest!)

Oh there's plenty of that just not in the libraries (or none I know of).

Wyst found a journal a long time ago containing memoirs of one person's...personal exploits. Reading just two "events" in it made my eyes bleed and gave me nightmares. Promptly mailed it back to them and got 50creds for it heh.

That's kind of awesome.


Must have been some good reading. At least with the 50cr maybe you could afford to get rid of the awful memories.

Obviously, Achaea needs arti Goggles of Eye Gouging.

If I wanted to spend my time reading books I wouldn't be here.


... this makes me miss the little corner of Aetolia I got my start in... what seems truly like lifetimes ago. There was a keen focus on instilling an ideology, true teaching, and learning, moreso than simple 'tasks' or base memorization of material (while not at all lacking in those things either, of course). There was a structure behind what was expected, and it did an amazing job of dragging me in, so much so that I actually remember the historical events, the key figures, and their triumphs and failures in the 'books' I poured over back then...

A similar book made me like achaea even more when I first started.

I still prefer physical books over text on a screen when it comes to literature. It simply feels more natural and manageable, but perhaps that's just because that's what I'm used to.



doesn't count.  -1


Sadly, however, Aetolia's library system seems nearly dead. I haven't seen orgs really adding books for ages. Would love some kind of boost like Lusternia has to encourage new input.

I'm not sure if aetolia's just older and less or nothing to write about or if you all just need a system where writing and publishing books  has a tangable reward. you'd not get power to a nexus  but, I'm sure you all could come up with something needed ofor the orgs.

I went crazy buying books for the bard's guild. Spent 500,000 gold, sadly not too many people seem to care now.


I stopped reading them when I started mud-ding more often. Much better than them at times, really!

I haven't really had that experience.

yay skyrim

I really loved some of the books in Morrowind. They suffered a bit from being infodumps, "Here's the game's lore in textwall format, read it or don't," but they generally weren't too long, and they were well-written.

Also Boethiath's pillow book. There are no words for what you see. Or what you think you see.

it'd be interesting to read some of the lore from these other games.

Want a library system for MKO. I know we sort of have a (really cool!) one with a bookcase and some books, but something that everyone can use would be very awesome.

Bit of a complication that Midkemia is a book series itself, eh?

like yeah

Glorious books!

Speaking of books, does anyone else here use Goodreads?

I tried it, didnt' really get into it.

I'm addicted :x