About Aetolia

What is Aetolia?

Aetolia is a Multi User Dungeon (MUD), a text based roleplaying game situated in a dark, gothic fantasy setting. The game originally opened on October 7th 2001 as a splinter game from Achaea (Iron Realms' founding MUD) and 21 years later is still here and thriving!

What separates Aetolia from other games in the genre is our commitment to deep and meaningful roleplay. The story comes first in Aetolia and while many games claim to have a living, evolving world, we make good on that promise. Our major events are second to none in this regard, often altering the world in direct response to the way the players write the story.

Aetolia boasts several hundred active users, with a typical average of 75-80 logged in at any one time. That number significantly increases during events (for instance, the War of Night finale saw 150+ players).

Meet the paid staff

Aetolia is lucky enough to have three paid staff on the development team:


Razmael: Lead Producer

Razmael joined the team in January 2012 and has been a titan of the Iron Realms coding staff for over ten years. Having recently returned as Lead Producer after some years, he is responsible for some of the game's most popular and ambitious additions such as mining, hardcore mode, and the inquisition arena game - though these are just the tip of the iceberg. Razmael is also Aetolia's resident lorekeeper, and the mastermind behind many of the game's major story events.


Keroc: Assistant Producer, Coder & Head of Combat

Keroc joined the team in October 2015 and in that time has singlehandedly wrestled with the never-ending pursuit that is combat balance - something he's doggedly dedicated to even in the face of terrible ideas from the rest of the staff! His skills as a class designer are represented in the major update to Zealot and the entire Bard class - Aetolia's most recent neutral class released in 2022. Beyond that, Keroc is also responsible for keeping all of our conflict systems fresh and up to date, having recently made major updates to every single one of them!

emellan drama masks

Emellan: Assistant Producer, Content Creation

The newest addition to the staff, Emellan joined the team in December 2022. With a great amount of Iron Realms player experience under their belt, Emellan's primary role involves content creation - from quest making and area building to script writing and everything in between. In the short time they've been here, they've spearheaded much of the "Will of the Helm" story event, built a large expansion to the Mannaseh Swamp, and toiled away at countless other things behind the scenes!


Aetolia is proud to be particularly accessible to visually impaired users with a fully operational screenreader mode which minimises the amount of superfluous text and streamlines the experience to ensure ease of use. In addition to that, much of Aetolia's colour scheme is fully adjustable, and the game offers dozens of configurable settings to customise your experience for maximum convenience and comfort.

Diversity & Inclusion

At Aetolia, and at Iron Realms as a whole, we're fully committed to diversity in our community. By its very nature, the MUD audience is a niche one, and our game world is open and inclusive to everyone.

  • Players in Aetolia can configure their pronouns to their own preference at will
  • One of our races (Arborean) is a fully non-binary race option
  • Our marriage system is fully open, including options for polygamy and multiple marriages
  • We have thorough representation of LGBTQ population across story arcs and game characters
  • Our community is by far one of the most inclusive and welcoming of any MUD online

Iron Realms also has a zero tolerance policy for hate speech or harassment - you won't find those here for long.


The Aetolia support team can be reached by email via support@aetolia.com. Alternatively, you can file an ISSUE in game for more immediate attention, or contact one of the staff directly via <theirname>@aetolia.com, e.g razmael@aetolia.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

Aetolia is a roleplaying game set in a gothic fantasy setting with a high emphasis on the roleplay side of things. 

What sets Aetolia apart from other MUDs? For starters, we have a large playerbase, and our roleplaying atmosphere is hard to beat. We have all of the quality of life mechanics of a large commercial game, and a quality of roleplay typically only seen in much smaller games. 

Creating an account is simple! You can log into the game by clicking the "Play" button on our homepage, or by connecting via your favorite MUD client at aetolia.com port 23. 

After completing the newbie tutorial you'll be invited to register your character, thus completing your account creation process!

Aetolia is a game that can be played 100% from your internet browser of choice with no additional software necessary.

If you'd prefer not to play on your browser, you can play on your favorite MUD client, or on your phone using the Iron Realms Entertainment Nexus app.

Aetolia is a completely free to play game - anything purchasable in game is capable of being acquired without spending a single real-life cent.

We do have a premium currency called Credits that can be purchased with real-life money if you're looking to speed up the process, but Credits can also be acquired in-game by using Gold (in-game earnable currency), or with our Milestones system. Milestones exist to give every player the opportunity to earn up to 20 free credits per day for completing quests, killing certain NPCs, and accomplishing certain achievements.

Credits can also be earned by leveling up in game, or by earning them through your organizations.

MUDs are made up of rooms, most of which you can see using the MAP command in game. Further rooms appear in the cardinal directions; if you see a room to the north, simply type north to move into that room - the same goes with every other direction.

One of the biggest benefits of MUDs is their open-ended nature and the numerous possibilities for interaction within them. To interact with the game world, simply type what you'd like to do. 

Example: You see a Goblin in the room with you. You can type:

  • Say hi to goblin
  • Wave goblin
  • Punch goblin

...and so on and so forth. Just be aware that the game is a living one, and your actions may have consequences - don't go around just punching every Goblin you see!

Aetolia has a vast history with lots of lore that has been established over the course of its 15+ year history. You can get a general overview of many pieces of it from our lore hub.

In a nutshell, Aetolia is set in a gothic fantasy setting where Gods, mortals, and vampires alike fight and struggle for power. The discovery of another continent, Albedos, and their own pantheon of Gods has led to conflict innumerable as mysteries are unraveled as to who they are, and what claim they may hold. 

As a text-based game, Aetolia's economy and crafting system is 100% in the hands of the players. Our game has over 20 different crafting skills and talents ranging from fletching bows and arrows, to brewing beverages and ales for other adventurers.

Our robust crafting system allows for the creation of nearly anything your imagination can come up with, and the addition of new talents and tradeskills on a near-yearly basis ensures no shortage of things to make.

If a setting-appropriate item exists that players would like to make, and it fits within one of our existing tradeskills or talents, players may submit ideas to the administration at any time to request their addition.

Finally, players can own and manage shops to sell all of these crafted items to other adventurers if they so desire. Player shops, much like their crafted wares, can be whatever they can come up with - from taverns to boutiques, there's a place for every aspiring entrepreneur. 

As a living and breathing world, Aetolia is a place where roleplay is always on and constantly happening - you respond how your characters would in situations and plots.

To participate in the game's roleplay and storylines, simply show up and interact! An entire 3-month event (the War of Night) was a result of players deciding to act.

Speak to other players you see, interact with the mobs in rooms you encounter, and create a place for your character - you might just start the next near-apocalypse!

The major factions in Aetolia tend to be broken down into 3 primary categories:

  • Cities
  • Orders
  • Guilds

While cities and guilds are fairly self-explanatory, Orders are organizations devoted to the worship of a particular God or Goddess in Aetolia. 

You can read more about the game's player-run cities here, or more about the game's Gods here.

When creating a new character you'll be given the option to choose your city straight away during the character creation process. For most classes (there are a few exceptions), you'll also be given the opportunity to select a guild.

If during playing you realize you don't like the organizations you're part of, you may quit that organization and seek out a new one. Doing so is as simple as checking HELP <org> and seeing who can induct you, or in the case of guilds heading to Esterport and visiting Aaranu.

Every character class in Aetolia has different strategies for combat based on the skills they have access to. Engaging in combat typically comes down to finding a reason to do so and jumping in!

Due to the number of classes in the game, and the intricacies of each class, a primer on fighting is a bit beyond the scope of this FAQ, but you're bound to receive support in this area either in our Discord, or in-game!

As a roleplaying game in a dark and perilous setting, social norms can vary depending on the city you're a part of. 

Generally speaking, some social norms and etiquette for playing as a whole would include:

  • Always be in-character - it's a roleplaying game after all!
  • If you need to chat with somebody out of character while in the game, make sure to get permission first. The NEWBIE channel exists to ask questions out of character if you can't find anyone to ask.
  • Have a reason before attacking other players
  • Gods within the game are there for roleplay purposes - administrative questions should be handled by messaging Ictinus, or by filing an issue

Aetolia has a thorough bug system - simply type BUG followed by your message in the game to report a bug.

If you feel that the bug is one that's game-breaking, has affected something you've purchased, or is otherwise an emergency, you can ISSUE ME followed by your message to create an issue, which is typically reserved for higher-priority issues.

Depending on the nature of your problem, you have a few routes:

Problems with purchases: Message Ictinus, email support, or file an issue in game.

Encountering a bug: BUG the issue, or submit an issue if it's an emergency.

Question about the game: You can ask questions on the newbie channel, or visit our Discord to ask other players.

While the game has a wide variety of rules as to what constitutes valid cause for killing players as outlined in HELP PK in game, the general rule of thumb is simple: if a player has given you a valid roleplay reason to kill them, you may kill them.

Actions in Aetolia have consequences, and player-killing is one of them.

With that being said, we have no place for griefers or trolls; if you find that you're being repeatedly killed for no reason, make sure to file an issue in game to have the situation looked into.

It wouldn't be a living world if you couldn't communicate with other players in the game! Communication can be broken down in several different ways:

Says and emotes: These are visible only to the other players physically in the room with you. Simply SAY <what you want to say> or EMOTE <what you want to emote> and other payers in the room will see it.

Tells: Consider these similar to whispers, or DMs - tells can be sent to any player on the same continent as you by typing TELL <player> <message>. 

Channels: Most organizations have a dedicated channel, whether they're cities, guilds, orders, or clans. Each of these have a specific command to communicate to that particular channel, but these messages will go out to every other member of that particular organization.

Remember: Interacting in these ways is all to be done in character! If you need to speak out of character (OOC) with another player, get permission first, and then try to limit it to a tell so that others don't have their immersion thrown off.

You can find the game's forums here, but most players tend to spend more time on our Discord.

You can find a link to join our Discord here.

Outside of a handful of paid staff, Aetolia's administration is made up of volunteers called Celani. Celani help to create world events, control NPCs and plots, create and release new areas, and eventually even (if desired) take on a God role!

Celani calls, open periods where players may apply to be a Celani, are held periodically as need demands. If you'd like to become a Celani, keep an eye on the game's announce posts for the next opportunity!

Aetolia has an idea system specifically for the purpose of suggesting new features - while in game, simply type IDEA followed by the idea you'd like to present.

Other players can then see that idea, and support it if they agree. 

Ideas are regularly gone through and implemented by the administration, so make sure to make your voice heard!

Feedback can be given either by messaging or emailing the game's administrators, or by chatting on Discord.

We're expanding the lore section of our website to include more information - this can serve as a starting point as it grows!

Aside from that, the game's HELP system while in game can help you find much of what you need. You can also find books, or ask other players - both of these are easy hooks to find yourself some roleplay while you're at it!

Gaining experience in the game is primarily accomplished through a few different routes: questing, killing NPCs (usually referred to as hunting, or bashing), and killing other players.

Advancing your skills, for the most part, is done with lessons. Different skills require different amounts of lessons to progress them, and lessons are acquired by leveling up or converting credits to lessons.

The vast majority of items and equipment you'll use in the game are created by other players via the use of tradeskills and talents, thus acquiring these items can be accomplished by asking other players, or purchasing them in a shop. 

Unique among roleplaying games to MUDs, Aetolia's political system is entirely player-run - as a result, expect some politicking! 

It's not abnormal to experience campaigning for city leader positions, tales of intrigue and drama among city leaders, and more. 

Getting involved in politics in game is as simple as starting conversations with the people in charge and making the right connections, making yourself useful, and making a reputation for yourself! 

Aetolia has over 1,000 unique quests scattered throughout the world with more being added every month. 

While some NPCs will alert you to an available quest when you enter their room, others require a bit more digging - generally speaking, GREETing and interacting with the game's various NPCs will be your best bet for discovering quests.

Once you've discovered a quest it'll be added to your quest log. When in game, take a look at HELP QUESTS for more information.

Aetolia's closest parallel to achievements would be considered honors lines - you can HONORS <player> while in the game to take a look at that particular player's general information and fame lines. Honors lines can be acquired by completing certain quests, participating in story events, and killing certain difficult NPCs. 

As far as leaderboards go, Aetolia has a RANKINGS system that's broken down into multiple categories ranging from experience to exploring. HELP RANKINGS while in the game will expand on the different leaderboards available in this regard!

To purchase your own house within Aetolia you'll want to reference HELP CASTLES - these typically cost credits, and require an initial administrative process to place. Once your initial house is placed, housing additions are as simple as inputting a few commands in the game!

If you're not looking to spend credits for housing, some cities have apartments available for rent using gold - check out your city's help files to see if this amenity is available to you.

Finally, Havens exist as a private space similar to a house that become available upon reaching level 100. Receiving experience beyond level 100 awards players with haven points that can be used to further expand your space if so desired.