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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Nope. Not I.

Books ig for a long time were a major aspect of rp. Now they are dead in Aetolia :(

It's a sad day when the crowd of a text game, don't want to read


Can they do that?  you have to read a text game.

I think he or she means reading books and such in-game, not day-to-day MUD life.

Cat in the Hat

I'm sure at one time I had that entire book memorized, including what was happening in the pictures.

Green Eggs and Ham

Really dislike them.

You can just ignore them, there are loads of other things to do.

- I read a lot less books since I started playing Achaea.

- I prefer paper books, but I have done a fair share of e-book reading.

- Libraries in Achaea are not user-friendly. Looking for a book in them is horribly slow and trial-and-error.

Books in Achaea are essential for me to get into it. If all I'm reading are help scrolls about requirements and general guidance, I get bored extremely easily.

I need to figure this out, one day. Haha, it keeps saying how people who criticize successful books have their reputation tarnished.

go against the mainstream and they'll declare you a terrible person

Isn't that an universal truth.

Books definitely won't go out of style in our lifetime. Perhaps Verne's "The Time Machine" will come true in a few thousand years and books will become nothing more than rotting artefacts. But not now. There's just something about being able to sit down with a REAL piece of paper and a pen or pencil and write something, or crack open a paper book and read, especially if you're up in the mountains and your battery runs out, or you're at work and they don't allow very much in the way of personal electronics.


I recently started my own collection of Discworld from B&N, and told some folks about it elseMU*. They wondered why I couldn't just get an eletronic version for $3 instead of this paperback for $7. I didn't have a good counter, mostly because my desire to have a real book was just that: a desire. Electronic might be more efficient a reading medium than books, but for some of us they sure aren't BETTER.


As for IC, they DO happen to be our only way of really writing down stuff. The news and (c|h|o|cl)help systems might cut it, but the concept of being able to write something in your own personal 50-page book is just plain appealing. Especially when they give us so many different styles to choose from. I often buy journals in-game just for the novelty of having a really cool design!

Paper books are better, but yes, ebooks cost less, and sometimes you get the chance to get some total free with classes and special offers. Really nice

i need me some verne!

Should we consider books in IRE games ebooks? ;-)


Yea, why not?


Good article.

I'm pretty new to the game

Many written by the admins but also lots of good stuff that players composed.

You need to find a library first and then checkout few of them (books)

I read the actual overarching lore and such, but find most of the time I pass on the other books. Part of it is I have no idea which ones I like, whereas I know the author of the mythos for Lusty writes something that I do enjoy.

Achaea combat books can be fun read

Also fun to write, it can be challenging to talk about some mechanics in an IC way.

Lore vs game mechanics does create some issues in MKO, but overall, they add a nice touch to the depth of the game's storyline, I think

I really like the power of writing in IRE games and the layers it can add. I hope MKO adds a great way to take advantage of it personally siilar to Lusternia.

What would Achaea be without books.

It would be Achaea without books :P

Pretty much the same.

Anyone want to mention a favourite author or two?

Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman did some pretty cool stuff back in the day. Roger Zelazny, Stephen Brust, and C.S. Lewis are interesting... Can't think of any other fantasy writers that I like off the top of my head.

Jasper Fforde, Terry Pratchett.

I like David Eddings and Robert Jorden.  Those are 2 other good writers besides those you mentioned.


Hell yes David Eddings. Belgarion series? Awesome


I was a huge fan of Weis and Hickman (the Dragonlance novels at least) when I was a little younger. They didn't wear well, for me, but happy times...

Christine Feehan, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Tolkien, Rowling, Dara Joy, G.A. Aiken, and Paolini, among various others. Their books are all amazing.

I need my artie quiver. I'm so tired of going dormant for 2 months and each time I come back my arrows are gone. :/



p.s. Good post. We need to steal the Lusternia thing. 

artilce. I think that Lusternia has a vcery good book system


I agree, Lusternia should use kindles.

Would be nice!

Not all of them are good, but some of them are worth it.


Need more scholarly books for me to read. Or longer ones. Or more, longer ones.

If there are any known writers playing and testing stories here.

Without books Occultists would be short of Karma muahha! Ok new article please.

I second the motion for a new article

This one is going stale.



ever used a lib/book in game.

You should.  they're a great thing.  so much neat stuff to read.

Maybe we should have all books in help files for organizations..etc so you can ready from anywhere

Agreed! ^

You should try 'em. Makes the writers happy to know they've been read.



think that lusternia has one of the better libary systems

love the books




It's a pity that more people don't write books in Aet. At least we get our fix from bardic works. 

There is a given Irony to going online to read virtual hard-compy books

I really do like the concept of books in Achaea. They feel much more real and IC then help files

I don't mind reading big tomes but I'm not going to write an essay in game to gain any enjoyment, I write enough stuff in RL.

Of course, different people enjoy different things.  However, in the game that is based on words, stories and fantasy, all put into the game package, people who do not find enjoyment in putting words together to weave the stories alone or with others are missing a lot, at least that's what I think.

Fair point. Ideally it'd be an optional advancement path.

I agree this is overdone. Unfortunately the powers that be are balancing quite a few factors, and there has yet to be a system satisfactory to all.

There's a ton of knowledge to be gained about the world in Achaea from the various libraries.

are a bit hard to do.. since there's not much information to base on.

But you can always make stuff up.

I love not having a single written piece in the novice curriculum. The interaction gained from discussion and personal theorising is far more enjoyable than receiveing giant letters


I don't mind written items for advancement provided they're optional.

Even cracked a book in the game yet.. I might just do that.

The Aetolian libraries seem rather nice so far.

I'm happy that Lusternia rewards its players for writing good, thoughtful literature. I think it's a great way to help encourage the creative process.

I still find it hard to sit down and write.

Yes books and letters yay!

Yes, yay!

For stealin!

I find it funny how long these threads go

I love scholarly IG texts. Lit, not so much.

I'd hardly call it a book on  a game

I would


Definitely enjoy the concept of books. I do wish people would take time to write more fictional stuff than just essays after essays.

Very much agree with this.

The more practical books can often be outdated but it can be nice reading about what was.

Credit where credit is due.




indeed indeed

I wish IRE muds had it's own share of in-game popular fiction. Something like a Harry Potter-esque craze in Achaea.

Why? It only turns out half or pure OOC and is more or less horrible.

I wish Achaea had books like Lusternia did

Oh? howso?





And I think we all know what that reason is...

I like the books in Achaea. But, to some extent, I wish that there was an easier system for reading the books. I'd like to be able to find and read many of the books that were worked so hard on but it's very difficulty to find a particular book or topic. 

Aye, but the same's true with a real bookshelf

Really is!

is amplied for electronic sources though I feel. Reading an ebook (or text on a screen) is just not the same as having the book in your hand.

The amount of book culture in Achaea is great.

nah. you should see lusternia's.

Reading hurts

Reading doesn't hurt at all, Its the thinking that hurts!   :>/

simply the ability to archive information in a game is incredibly useful. I really don't know what I'd do without books in Lusternia.



I like to read books with mountain pictures and dinosaurs

Speaking of books... I think IRE should release a book series, preferably downloadable. The events are fun to read, but sometimes, I'd like it to be a bit longer than a short story/post.

IRE ebooks, more than just the Seleucarian Empire histories, would be pretty cool. Even just having a professional author expand and tell the full stories surrounding events posts could be pretty entertaining.


Yeah, another project to put IRE money into

Nothing like Lusternia's libraries

the whole system is really well done.

Lore > Mechanics any day.

I have a library full of empty journals! Achaea needs bookshops where people can actually BUY books! What is the point if we cannot buy published books hmm? Cmonnnnn Achaea make book shops! Or at least one, perhaps there in Thera now that the pet shop burnt down

I just found out in my house that I don't have to read many books, yey! Because I don't feel like reading all those books! I might die.

good for you.

Ebooks do kind of suck..


They're a great resource!

I'v always wanted to have one HUGE library.

I still think that there not being any book shops sucks, my opinion has not changed since my previous comment.

I love books. Antares and I assembled the Sylvan Guild's library back in the day. It was one of the more exciting times playing. We had a "by any means necessary approach", even tipping a Serpent who had infiltrated to record all literature found within the guildhalls he had access to :)

i enjoy a good journal in the house library.  

Love ingame books.  Such wonderful wonderful fluffy goodness.


I always wish we had something unique to our mud like I don't know maybe hologram candles.

I spent quite a bit of time reading in the libraries... I'm hoping to build a good library myself when I ge tmy own house.

older books from the beginning of the games was pretty interesting

Pretty crazy to see how things used to be. Almost surreal.

I love reading the e-books in IRE games.

Actually books do not require any text to be books.  Few blank pages between the covers stitched together make a book.

Text contained on the pages though it's a different story altogether.

My House in Aetolia has quite the library collection. It's really nice.


Until we have a public bookshop, the book culture is not quite there yet.

Woooo Libraries

The Maldaathi actually didn't have a library until August of last year - only had access to the Scriptorium in Mhaldor itself. (I'm biased, as I made the library myself, a ridiculous task in and of itself that I spent way too many sleepless nights on). So I don't thinks its incredibly fair to say that there's wide-spread a huge draw, it fits in with some in-game cultures and not with others (though I've gotten a lot of cudos and support from older guildmates on the library, which we're intending to expand more because I'm obviously self-harming or something).


Totally pride myself on that library, actually I hold it as probably my biggest achievement in game to-date. 120 books that bear my mark? No one can say that's not dedication toward teaching.

wow, congrats!

Annnd plus another 26. I have a problem.

Wow, nice.

Merci :)

Its taken a lot of work (and I've done this over two stints in the Maldaathi and gotte HR4 out of it both times because thankfully people actually understand it is pretty tedious and time consuming) but I've always had a thing for book culture in Achaea because there's really some gems out there if you can manage to find them so making sure our little Grunts are just as educated as everyone else seemed worth the effort!

That's some dedication right there.

Wow! Writing over 120 books! That has to be some kind of a record!

is power!

Midkemia needs a proper library system!!

I think its cool that players can write books and add them to the libraries in Achaea. I also think bookshelves in houses are cool.

Can make the universe implode!

Still hoping I can get free credits

why wouldn't you get any?

They truly make cultures richer. They make the world go round. The hard part though, is writing them without stealing from somewhere else!


It can be done though.

WooWoo Books

I prefer real books to ebooks, though I started buying on my tablet's Nook. I have a horrible habit that I've had since I was a kid of ruffling the pages while I read (usually don't even realize it), but it drives the hubby crazy, heh. I also like the books ig. I've written numerous myself between Achaea and Aetolia, usually most Houses/guilds require some writing so I've just made my stuff into books to add to the respective libraries.

Can not stand reading on tablets, I'll cave and read on Achaea since I can't get it in person obviously, but there is just something you can't replicate about holding a book.

Wait did I write this yesterday or today...


Sometimes double posts are sincerely annoying, stop that internet, stop that.


Never really new books around that are very interesting

Credit comment

books are so awesome

I dunno, I don't read that many ingame books.


books are cool

chronicling my work, putting it in a book, and maybe 5 RL years later, some newbie will read it and do some more work on what I've already done.

I like that aspect about it as well, Xer. I should do more in that regard.

Wanted to keep a book of my history, just for fun, then I realised you could write it in another way so there goes a book I wanted to write. Then again, I forgot to keep track of it and aborted the project... :P

...should be turned into popular works in-game.

Books are okay...


books are awsome



To read a book on a game where you're basically 'living a book', to me, is kind of paradoxical. The books can still be great, but still odd. Heh

how the book culture in aetolia is.

I think aetolia is pretty bad for book culture, if you write a book and try to enter it for the montly contest you have to wait between 1 real month to several real months for your book to even be looked at. Your only other option is to have your book placed in a house or city library and then you are at the whims of players to can just remove it and destory it.


has a nice system

For that reason we have very few, but the ones that are out there are nicely put together (usually) and it helps give a sense of worth once you complete one.



Just here for the credit *doff*

Soooo many texts in one houses library alone.

Credit comment.


Good article I enjoyed it. I think it is somewhat correct but I thought the article was going to be about how muds are made around books like Midkemia Online is.


The book series is awesome, some of the best books ive read. Much better storyline than lord of the rings...

Books weren't fading in to history. I love books... I want my own personal library one day.

About to read an article about reading in a game about reading





Books are a part of the player-made culture and history that makes Achaea so deep.

I appreciate a good book now and again, but I don't read much for the most part

the great part about books is that you get to go back and look at the source materias for many ideologies

It'd be nice if there were more quest hooks and such like there are in the bookshelves in Achaea's Istarion. Books and reading that isn't required for a quest, but can either help you finish it or fleshes the story out a bit.

You could always write some.

Aye, I love Istarion and how the history is fleshed out within it's library.

Yay, books! Yay, IRE! :)

Finding books such as 'the theoretical application of timequakes' within MKO are the kind of things that keep me playing. Book lore can be so incredibly imaginative it's mind boggling.

short stories, at best. even the long ones..

the quality of these posts has gone way down

I want my credit





I've been thinking of writing something for my House too..




More books?

The suggestion shouldn't come as a request for other players, but a request from within.

Books that give credits.... thanks

Im a terrible writer, but I love reading books people right.





I love books.

people gather textless skyrim books?! Whay?

It'd be pretty hard to hate books if you can keep up with the large amount of text in a MUD.

MKO is getting libraries, finally. Now if only that includes lowering the gold cost for books.

...if more information were located in books rather than scrolls. It'd give people a reason to hunt them down, and maybe see other books on the shelves they may be interested in.

If its online its not books


Books in Achaea are a good way to learn history and things you cannot learn elsewhere in the game.

but they are still that, short stories, not books.

Credit comment.


I made a literary piece on Lusternia which got published, and that itself is very rewarding. Not mechanical rewards, mind - it just gave me these warm fuzzy feelings that I have, somehow, contributed something a bit substantial to the game. :)

One of the better writen articles.

if this was a forum thread it would be so closed

books are far less prevalent in game then they are irl

so many gratuitus credit posts

Moar books, please!

book culture?

moar? maybe bad spelling

Don't take them for granted.



Event news, the best IC books!

I can see why the long ones should not exist.. the migraines you'll get from one..

Lusternia has a cool way of dealing with libraries, otherwise for Achaea, its more an IC way to store scrolls, without saying, read HHELP WHATEVER. Or, as I've seen, emoting that you hand them a scroll named HHELP SOMETHING. Seems somewhat awkward but far more accessible.

My characters do peruse on occasion, but the idea seems to gather the most attention on Lusternia. I can say that I do far more other things than reading IG books, though many are well done throughout the IRE MUDs.

It is fun making a library in the Elder Scrolls games. Maybe I'll do something similar...


I really like discovering libraries and the books they hold in Achaea. Eventually, I see Eilona having her own library.

I was delighted when a book of mine got published in Lusternia. 

Having spent some time in every IRE game except really Midkemia, I must say that libraries and books allow an awesome opportunity to add to each game's world.  Lusternia probably does it best though the way it goes beyond the standard competitions offered in other games.

I might try and amass a library of sorts in-game.






im not much of a reader

need moar books


Commenting credit to get a credit is not only annoying for the people reading the comments but also insulting to the author of the article, anyways back on track I do think books in Achaea are very underused and that is because most of what is written is either art, already accesible through help files, or heavily outdated, so yeah I don't use many libraries in Achaea

This has inspired me to make an in-game library, Elder Scrolls like.

are awesome. The Sylvans wouldn't be the same without books.

like books.

The library system is pretty cool - I should use it more often.



so reading is good

I like curling up to a warm bonfire with a few books...the more books the bigger the fire!

Credit coment.

Lusternia has plenty of books. A private library might be nice.


There're lots of scholarly organizations that would have RP uses for books, but as it is they're reliant on scrolls. If more quests required things like ransacking a decrepit library for old tomes of power and the like, people would have more appreciation for the books around them and would try reading them for any missed details.

Aye, the book structure in Achaea is incredibly complex - too complex for me, for I feel that once I get started, I shall never stop. There is just so much to know about in these MUDs, it's quite hunbling.

get on a text game to read text books...hrmmm

Who has the time?



such an old article

wtb new article

oldie but a goodie

Credit comment.




MKO needs better libraries :(

Comment formatting is really weird

free credit

Credit comment.

I don't like commenting without any content but I don't feel very well so free credit.

I was fascinated when I found out how many book there are out there (in Achaea I mean). I've read a few and plan to read a lot more...

free credit

I love the act of reading for roleplaying's sake. I love to read in the real world, and if you think back to table top RP what did you use to make your character and to enhance the experience but books, I would like to see some kind of system in Achaea like in Lusternia, maybe not a nexi type of thing but I am sure with Achaea being in flux the way it is right now and so many things changing that something could be worked into it where reading and authoring books can help your character in some way shape or form

Serenwilde struggles to keep a good librarian, been that way for years, and not sure why.

Credit comment.

In Achaea atleast, many houses have large libraries, full of usefull stuff. Though some is just for fun as well.






I've tried using the book system to encourage a person I know who likes reading and writing to play text games. So far, no luck!

Credit comment.