Online Text RPGs: The Undercover Achaean - Aetolia

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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.


Reading this article, or these types in general, makes me happy. I like to see those who actually see the work behind these games and thanks to this I may be joining the Aetolia worlds one day. For now though, it's back to Aetherspace!

Might have to give Aetolia a try.

May give it a try - the dark twist to it is kind of appealing. :)

I am Bill Nighy, and you really should try Aetolia.

Seconded! Do it!

This actually makes me want to go back and try Aetolia again.

Very much agreed! Unfortunately... Not much of a fighter here.

Can't believe this article didn't get more attention. I tried Aetolia once when i was around 16, but never stayed long past the intro. Reading this makes it sound so interesting, I'm tempted to give it a real try.

It does sound pretty interesing, I've never tried Aetolia before...and now I might.

Eager to try Aetolia now...


It surely tempts you to try Aetolia.I have never been into the vampire thing, but teens addicted to twilight should really go for it.

Yeah, so they can get a taste of -proper- vampires, none of that twilight crap. Put them on a forced diet of classic vampire movies and books while at it, their poor miseducated minds need cleansing.


Good article, but the point about Achaean versus Aetolian races is no longer quite true. Achaean races have become much more versatile than previously with the introduction of racial specialisations.

i'd actually love to see this implemented in Imperian. Statpacks seem limited, I think. Though, they are the inspiration for traits/race specs in Achaea, I'd have to say.

Another great thing about Aetolia is the roleplay - of all of the IRE games, Aetolia has a huge focus on roleplay. Check out our forums and read some of the logs there to get a sense of what kind of interactions you can stumble across.

It's really nice, every time I log on for longer than just quickly dropping by, I seem to get some interaction beyond the usual greeting people one way or another. Love it.

I'm not playing the cool kid's goth cousin.

Yeah, Jiraishin pointed out that Achaean traits made things a bit more standardized in Achaea.  But this is a nice article and good food for thought in regards to giving a solid RP experience.



Aetolia is the bestest.

No, try Lusternia instead!



I barely have time for Achaea...

If only there were more hours in the day...

I thought there were elements of Achaea in there when I tried it out but still, I may have to give it another shot.


Sounds cool.

Just to note: Achaea offers stat packs now as well for the various races.


might try it

I've tried Aetolia, Imperian, and that other one, I could never really get into like achaea.

it's funny hearing people's experiences about which games stick with you and which don't.

The mighty weresloth.