Online Text RPGs: The Undercover Achaean - Imperian
By Rio Rivera-Young
Ah, welcome to another installment of Undercover Achaean! This time, we are venturing to the world of Imperian, to discover what delightful twists, tricks, and features the staff of Iron Realms Entertainment have armed this text based role-playing game. As always, I’ll start with the impression that the introduction gives, hoping to entice some of you to try it out for yourself.
Race selecting within Imperian is interesting from the very start – the standby races from the other Iron Realm games are no more! Replaced with original races such as the scorpion-like Akrabi, the wolf-like Lycaean, and even the stone-crafted Xiur, the creators of Imperian definitely risked a lot with it, and instantly start off the immersion into the game by dispelling many of the common ways that an adventurer can enter the game with preconceived notions of how to act.
The races do, however, give some familiarity to beginners, with each race having a subtitle, of sorts, so you know that Tanari are basically another name for an adaptation of a human. Another interesting note is that with Imperian, statpacks return! While there are starting suggested statpacks for each race, the other options enable races to be roleplay choices rather than conformities for combat advantages.
The tour itself is equal parts epic and tragic. You are back in the land of Caanae, a land which you are introduced to by warning that Orcs will ravage its borders, murdering and enslaving all whom you are to meet. With that gentle introduction, your initial guide gives you instructions and leads you to learn game mechanics and explore the world around you. After a few trials, some humiliating, some informative, you reach the end of the tour. After a thrilling climax, you prepare to enter Imperian proper, and you learn of the various guilds which you may choose.
Similar to every other Iron Realm game, Imperian has its own unique axes of conflict. Specifically, there is the Magick vs. Anti-Magick axis that is of particular interest. The breaking of the moon into three various moons, each with its own temperament and associated title, wreaked pain and terror upon the lands. As magick flowed from the moons, some early adventurers grew to fear it, others grew to depend on it – such, a conflict arose between those who seek to wield it and those who believe that it leads to an inherent evil when wielded. This twist of conflict is rich in the rarity of the concept – magic not being universally accepted in a land where it runs rampant offers for compelling avenues of roleplay that most other text-based adventures cannot boast.
Another interesting feature for Imperian is multiple measurements of levels. The only experience you see in most games is general experience, where a quest nets you a certain amount of experience, and killing another adventurer or a non-player character will gain you experience to the same gauge.
In Imperian, however, there are separate gauges for bashing, questing, and player-killing all together, in addition to the overall level which is a combination of the three. This opens room for multiple play styles, for those radicals who truly enjoy roleplaying pacifists, or those combat-enthusiasts, who can’t help but cherish watching their PK level rise kill after kill.
Another interesting facet of Imperian is the Death system. In other text adventures, you often have to wait through a previously scripted series of events that takes a preordained amount of time, where you merely appear alive on the other side of it. Imperian differs in this regard, however, for you actually have the option to quest yourself back to life. By helping (or hurting) the various people in the underworld, you can gain tokens to get passage from the Ferryman, the mythic Charon himself. Similar to the other Iron Realms games, after death, you gain a grace period where, should you accept the grace, you cannot be harmed as you return to safety.
So, if you want a completely isolated immersion into roleplaying, come try the fantastic twist on the modern MUD in Imperian!
Give Imperian or any of Iron Realms's text RPGs a try today!
Rio Rivera-Young is a text game enthusiast and currently plays games from http://www.IronRealms.com