Online RPGs: An interview with Jeremy Saunders

iron realms jeremy saunders text games

by Ben Gorlick

In the late 1990's, Jeremy Saunders began playing the text-based game Achaea. His dedication and skill quickly advanced him to become "Sartan", the God of Evil and later Saunders became a builder and developer of the IRE roleplaying games Imperian and Aetolia. Today, Saunders is the President of Iron Realms Entertainment, he is truly a success story and is very knowledgeable about all sides of the text games. With over a decade of experience comes exciting stories, inspiration and new challenges, all of which he shared during our video interview. We took a closer look at the text based RPG world and the world beyond through his looking glass, we couldn’t help but pry into the what is in the horizon for Iron Realms Entertainment. As Saunders shared with us the exciting developments and the interesting challenges facing the company and current role playing games, the time flew by quicker than we could have ever anticipated. For those of you who are history buffs, we opened the flood gates about his history as the God of Evil. If you want juicy secrets, we dived right in! We even asked him what advice he’d give to a fellow God and let me tell you it is quite inspiring. For more in depth information on the interview click on link and watch the interview for yourself.

See video


@ running around and stealing people's swords

What changes were made? Or are they not uploaded yet.

I miss Sartan!

Me too


I never knew him, but I think he'd be a fun god.

I wish I would've known Sartan, that would have been amazing

I never met him

So awesome, thanks for this!

Nice to hear stuff like this from time to time.

Super good.


Playing to extremes is the funnest way to play muds

I wish I had been around for Sartan :(

me too, just missed him

Ditto! I keep hearing about the god but I never had a chance to play with him.

I approve of this message.

WTF? I hadn't heard anything abuot alchemists.

I am curious about this too


Alchemists do exist! See... Icons.

Alternative to forestals. ;) So Mhaldorians can heal properly.

Pretty interesting. Wish I could have been around in the start.

As I was telling someone the other day, most things in IRE games are only improbable, not impossible. One of my favorite Sartan moments was when he told all Eleusian women to go and make pies for their husbands. Apparently he likes blueberry?

Actually, that sounds pretty evil to me.

As I was telling someone the other day, most things in IRE games are only improbable, not impossible. One of my favorite Sartan moments was when he told all Eleusian women to go and make pies for their husbands. Apparently he likes blueberry?

The man himself :O


While I have nothing against JS, if you ever watched his streaming interviews, he doesn't seem to have any idea what's going in the games themselves. Too laissez faire for me.

You could say that it is too hands off.  But at the same time it does allow the games to do their own thing (by and large) without someone saying 'All IRE games must have X'.  I must say that as a player I'd probably prefer a bit more standardisation across the games, largely replacing a lot of legacy code with later implementations from the newer games.

I'd actually rather they were kept more distinct, rather than less. I was most distressed when tattoos were introduced to Midkemia - word for word copied from the other games. Midkemia is supposed to have its own lore, and that lore does not include tattoos.

I'd have to agree with this, the more custom made to the relevant world the better. Midkemia has a huge amount of detail to draw from without importing from other games.


Always neat to learn about the people behind IRE.

I only know the big things going on in the games. New skills, big events, etc. Knowing all of the day to day events in 5 different games would be impossible. Well, not impossible, but it would take nearly all of my time to keep up on all of it.

Which is why we have the producers of course. As I stated in the interview, I would love to spend more time doing that, but someone has to manage the sites, the advertising, the marketing, overall ire promos. Not nearly a much fun, unfortunately.

eccccchooo on that mike


I never knew Sartan. Those who speak of him do so with great reverence, however... (and fear!)

Very cool

Thanks for that.


Then we have that much more to look forward to, right?

Can't wait for ToP. :D

I'm looking forward to it too, it sounds great from what I've heard of it!

<-- Member of the 'was around for Sartan' club.


Free is always awesome XD


Gogo Sartan


Can't wait for those new things!

Don't waste time making phone clients! there are some good clients in existence already.


Really? I think the IRE phone client is already the best one I've tried. Though of course it's still far behind PC-based clients. We need mudlet for Android...

heh, we've been joking about that on IRC not long ago

Nice interview, but the echo! Yeah we get he was a God and everything but....

but credit for comment

Great stuff learning what happens behind the scene. It must be hard for some people to commit to help developing/improving a text game as a volunteer. Props to you all...

One thing Jeremy touched on that I think is crucial to IRE's success is the army of volunteers that help run the games. The folks who RP the gods in the game can absolutely make or break it. Clearly, he understands this well - his description of his time as Sartan and how he chose to RP that particular god is golden. (I remember when he was playing Sartan - he was very good at making everyone hate him! :) :)  Also, since he hired full-time RP producers (i.e., is spending money on it), its clear that this is important to the company, which is a wonderful thing

Jeremy, come make a Sentinel and be my protege.

I'm sure the interview is very interesting, but the sound quality makes it just impossible for me to listen to it. 

I'm curious to see what the new changes will be in the future.

Good article

Wish I was around during that time.

Clever use of a youtube video instead of having to write it all out! Nice interview. :)

Very interesting.

Always good to hear things admin side

Strange interview format imo, but he seems like a cool guy and offers some insight into what goes on behind the scenes--clearly there's a lot that I take for granted as a player.


Out of curiosity, what was the name of the first ever MUD he played?

Nice video.

Good insight into Jeremy's history.




I really enjoyed listening to this. It gives you some really good pointers on becoming a God

Wow, impressive story there!

Die, Degar!


Love it, well done Jumpy.

Jeez, what kind of dedication must it have took to -quickly- advance to becoming Sartan?

The idea of Jeremy as an accomplished griefer has me loling in real life.

I regret not being active during the time when Sartan was the Patron of Mhaldor...

nice interview

Thanks for posting the interview. It's always nice to see stories from other's points of view.

Very interesting to hear the progression from player to god to running the business.


Especially funny that most of what he did was to try and piss as many people off as possible.

We need more articles/videos like this, maybe of some more gods.  It is super interesting!

Its so interesting to see that you really can go from player to god to running the business.

I hope the new class in Achaea ends up being great. Can't wait to hear more about it.


Haha very nice. Very nice.

Looking forward to it!

I love alchemy on Lusternia

Great interview and video


I don't think I've ever really tried playing to extremes. Might be interesting, but part of the fun for me is crafting multi-dimensional, complex characters to control.

I guess I've always thought that being a God in a game was hard. I was an Admin in a small MUX once, and even that was a lot of work. Has to be terrible in Achaea. But hey, if you like to run games for people, it's probably pretty great. I just can't imagine getting away from my player addiction :)

Sartan was a badass and his antics kept Achaea interesting.

Oh interesting

Awesome. I love to hear insider information. 


Sartan sounds like a fun god. I would've liked to have played when he was around.

You guys rock! Keep it up!

I love this.

So Jeremy is the big boss?

Wicked echo! And interesting interview =)
Keep it up!

Never met him but pretty cool article.

The echo in the video makes Saunders sound larger than life!

Saunders sounds like the typical yuppie nerd: computer games, college educated, martial arts instructor. Go Saunders!


hadn't heard of that... o.o

Keep up the great work Jeremy, 13 years and still going strong!


Sartan's old posts make me smile.

Cool, Alchemist could be interesting and different. I was hoping for an alternate type of Magi or a non-sword weapon user, personally.

I love the Youtube interview, also all the changes sound great I cant wait to see them implemented. Sartan was an evil god, but He was sooooooo good at

Disenchanted with Achaea, but still its interesting to see and hear about these things, and compare them in my mind to what I already have in Lusternia

Can't wait to see what it is. Keep up the good work, Jeremy & Co.

I really liked how he explained his goal when playing Sartan as making people at angry at his character as possible.  I can see why Achaea (I can't vouch for the others) became such a fun game; probably the only thing really lacking is the ability to, as a player, "go overboard" like he described (such as attacking characters who violate one's own character's moral code) without facing more than IC consequences.


nice article

I've been in Achaea since May 2003. I was such a newb back then I honestly don't remember if Jeremy was still Sartan when I joined, but people still talk about him 8 years later! There are so few seriously long-term God/desses anymore due to the workload and politics that we don't really get that level of impression left on us at this point. I hope that changes soon!

It was extremely enlightening as to... something or other, or something.

From regular run-of-the-mill player, to President of the company. That's just awesome.



I was such a terrible roleplayer when he was Sartan.

Nice article and interview.

I really like how they do these interviews/ustreams. Very informative, and it's nice to put a face to the people who run these games - despite the irony of that statement.

7-10 months to godhood. Spectacular.

Two thumbs up Jeremie. Had a friend pass recently and its hard to find enthusiasm or motivation for anything these days. Great to hear success stories though, definately helps.

I am very excited by the new alchemist class. No one had announced that yet. Should greatly facilitate factions being able to attack Nature, drawing them into conflict. Awesome!

surprisingly enjoyable!

Thanks for this.

Alchemists sounds fun. Can we toss out BM or bard while were at it?

Kudos for all your efforts!

Interesting to learn, that you don't even remember the Seven Truths

Give me the secrets to godhod, gimme them!