Online Text RPGs: The Undercover Achaean - Aetolia
By Rio Rivera-Young
Greetings, my fellow text-game enthusiasts, I am an undercover online text adventure veteran, coming to you with an investigation. As a bit of background; I started my foray into online text RPGs with Achaea, Dreams of Divine Lands. Unsure of what to do or say, my first character, a Shaman in the Guild Era, elegantly introduced himself by announcing over the House Novice channel, “Lol so what do I do now?”
Needless to say, I was in for an abrupt education on how things were done in online text games. For the following seven years, I have grown to adore the community of players and staff that are involved in making Achaea; however, I grew to wonder. If Iron Realms Entertainment could do so well on Achaea, and they offer so many other online text games, surely they must be as in-depth, intriguing, and immersive as Achaea?
So, I set off on a mission! To explore the other text adventure games that Iron Realms has to offer with nothing but my keyboard, Mudlet, and an inquisitive mind to my name. I aimed to get the basics of each game, it’s story and culture and interesting features. I had four destinations – the lands of Lusternia, Aetolia, Imperian and Midkemia Online. I decided to start off with something a bit closer to home: the world of Aetolia.
In the world of Aetolia, after a brief character selection sequence, the introduction quest takes you through the escape from a prison on Slaver’s Isle. Instantly, the scene is set much more dark and sinister than the world of Achaea, as the jail break comes to fruition. They throw you right into the fray, slaying a centipede first (a traditional small enemy the likes of which you slay in most RPGs), then a prison guard just as soon as you turn around. In the chase to catch up to a comrade, you see him brutally slaying a helpless guard, and the tone of the game solidifies to the scene set before. Before long, after a few more unsavory deeds, selecting a guild and city, and learning game commands, you are off, onto the vast world of Aetolia.
The World of Aetolia, such as the world in every Iron Realms text RPG, is rich with detailed history and intrigue. The history from before the game even began, years ago, is absolutely compelling and an amazing read if you have time to sit down and be sucked into the unparalleled story-telling behind the betrayal of the God, Severn (who only destroyed an entire order of mortals, then wiped the memories of the remaining mortals and the Gods themselves) and the punishment for his betrayal. For an Achaean, it speaks of the treachery of Khalas, though their motives are markedly different.
Now, let’s talk about the important part – what a player can expect that Aetolia can offer. Achaea has stereotypical conflicts; Good Vs. Evil and Creation vs. Chaos being the major axes of the game. Aetolia, however, has a different dynamic: Life vs. Undeath. The forces of good are fighting off against those who undergo rituals to maim and mutate their very souls, turning into undead who plague the land, wreaking havoc where they may. Aetolia is a land very similar to Achaea, they have the addition of but two new races (Kelki and Imps). A difference from Achaean races, though, lies in Aetolia’s statpacks. No longer must each troll be a strong idiot, each Rajamala naught but a slippery glass cannon, or each Siren a... contributing member to specific fertile cultures. With statpacks, races are merely roleplay devices rather than combat considerations.
Aetolia can also boast the introduction of brand-new creatures – werewolves or werebears (the fearsome Atabahi and Bahkatu, bitter rivals despite, or more precisely because of, morphing similarities), and the blood-wielding sanguine. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, Aetolia can boast a dynamic conflict system with vampires. And let me be the first to warn you, there are no sparkling Cullens in sight: the sanguine in Aetolia are serious, deadly creatures with a bite to exceed their bark. The vampire houses in Aetolia have rich role-play-intensive introductions, demanding a lot of their novices and getting high-quality interaction because of it. Think Victorian England, but with the possibility of being torn limb-from-limb for using the wrong title. Yeah, it’s that intense.
So, if you’re looking to try a new text-based role-playing game with a dark twist, come over to Aetolia: The Midnight Age.
Give Aetolia or any of Iron Realms's text RPGs a try today!
Rio Rivera-Young is a text game enthusiast and currently plays games from Iron Realms.