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Isles intro graphic from original 1996 website.

The Isles is a fictional world in which players portray various characters in an on-going, dynamic political environment. The Isles takes place in a world involving various factions, companies, organizations and guilds that are all competing or cooperating on various levels. As a novice player, reading the Introductory Guide will be beneficial when adjusting to this, perhaps new, concept. The key issues of the game are its setting, politics, atmosphere and advancement. The Isles runs on the NiMUD codebase.


The map of Rygor Isle drawn by Foerlin the Cartographer (Herbert Elwood Gilliland III).

The Isles takes place on Rygor Isle, one island in a small archipelago south of a larger land mass called Tyselorrd, the mainland and the only continent in the "known world." The game itself does not physically expand beyond Rygor Isle, but occasionally there are references to events occuring in the north (Tyselorrd) which affect political, economic and physical factors related to the game.

Currently, Tyselorrd is being united under an oppressive Empress named Tiktui who is conquering the lands with great armies and vast resources. She controls the second most powerful navy in the known world, next to the Royal Rygorian Navy, which is the single savior of Rygor Isle.

Rygor Isle itself is far removed from the happenings north, and is a highly-detailed microcosm of a fantasy world. On Rygor Isle there are four major cities: Kess, the capital, Cape Red, the trader's hub, Keveg, the wine-country, and Ostinbrun, the farmer's haven. Characters can travel between the city by crossing the countryside, which involves traversing various types of terrain (forests, rivers, mountains, foothills, desert, marsh and wastelands).

On The Isles exist four groups: thilonenne (also known as the Itiak or Alvaki), who worship an ancient, esoteric wisdom, kltarians, the noble citizens of Rygor's sovreign, the heveti, a group of grey-skinned mountain dwellers, and the dakonenne, or Githranyr's children, who are a violent, bastardized form of thilonenne.

In addition to these four groups, there are many smaller groups which provide occupations and opportunities for characters to get involved in the political spectrum that exists on the The Isles.


The act of playing a role is imperative to the ongoing success of the game. The Isles is a fictional fantasy world, and the persona you create and shape should act appropriately in that setting. Roleplaying is a fun way to escape into the game, and provides hours of interactive enjoyment. When you play the game, you create a character, which acts a role out in the 'virtual novel' -- this character is of your choosing, but should be geared toward a suitable role. Every character has depth, personality, history and agendas which affect the day-by-day political and social interaction.

Trading and Occupations[]

During your journeys through your character, you will discovered that, as in real life, money is a powerful force in the lands. In order to make money, you must find a way to provide goods or services at a profit. There are many organizations which are hiring traders, travelers and adventurers. These organizations provide the capital by which you can invest in your own profiteering ventures. It is important to keep food in your stomach and water in your canteen -- without it your character may perish. In the game it will be your first task to find your economic niche -- you must discover what organizations exist and how you can service them. Some, such as guilds and orders, pay for service in food, shelter and training.

Skill Enhancement[]

When you begin play for the first time, your character is narrowly skilled and not very learned in wise ways of the world. Over time, as you discover new concepts and techniques, your character's abilities improve. At first, you will not be a very adept fighter -- but as you practice and spar, you will notice your skills improving and your options increasing. Many things can be mastered and should be pursued to enhance your character's effectiveness and utility. Return to the Table of Contents.


The goal of The Isles is to provide a place to interact in ways that you can't interact in Real Life. It is a place designed to simulate a fantasy pseudo-medieval environment. What are Characters?

Characters are alternate personas played by users of the game. Characters do not act like real life people, instead they are supposed to act and react as citizens of Kltara or natives of Rygor Isle. Players must realize that they are not playing a mere arcade game, but instead should consider themselves actors in a real-time play. What is OOC and IC?

"OOC" stands for "out-of-character," which refers to things that do not pertain to the game in actuality. For instance, the public "OOC" bulletin board is a good example of an out-of-character object. On this bulletin board are posted notes about game questions, administrative announcements and person-to-person communications that are not related directly to "in-game" phenomena. These notes may not be "in-character" -- this means that they are not actual communications between actors in the play, instead they are the communications of real people who play the game, and not their characterizations.

"IC" stands for "in-character" -- which is what players are expected to perform as the majority of the time. In-character communications, actions, et cetera reflect the emotions, reactions, responses and choices of the character you have chosen to design and develop. Is this Roleplaying?

Roleplaying (the act of playing a role) is the foundation of a successful game when playing The Isles. Roleplaying creates interesting, creative and spontaneous interaction between players, offering a way to immerse one-self into the virtual world and participate in things like political movements, assassinations, trade, etc. For more information on how to better yourself as a roleplayer, and a guide to what happens if you are a good roleplayer on The Isles, check out The Official Roleplayer's Handbook. Character Goals

As a player, you should formulate and set goals for your character, and then work to achieve them. For instance, you may wish to buy a house or own a shop. Your character should work to achieve this goal by talking with merchant houses, meeting other shopkeepers and investigate guilds. Eventually, you may find an investor or adequate employment, and then be able to open the shop. If you are adventurous, it may be your goal to become a well-known warrior and be paid for mercenary tasks. The possibilities are limitless, so choose whatever suits you and your character best.

World View[]

Intro graphic from [1]

The world map, as originally planned for The Isles, was to take place in an area limited physically no larger than the island itself, but this encompasses several large cities and small towns, as well as a plethora of interesting locations and secret areas.

Updated later versions included a small section of the mainland, Tyselorrd, as well as sea-going adventures on galleons and pirate ships, that often lead back to the island in one way or another.


The economy of Tyselorrd and The Isles is ruled by overland and sea trading. Spices, rare luxury goods, unique wines, grains and minerals are the primary source of revenue for various kingdoms. As a player, various merchant 'houses' rule the various markets in each city. Each city or province offers its own fare to global trade, selling items available locally for widespread consumption.

Keveg, a city surrounded by vineyards, sells mainly wine products and other agricultural goods, while Kess, surrounded by orchards and farmers, is a major agricultural region. The seaports of Kess and Cape Red bustle with activity during the harvest seasons, bringing in rare spices and taking away some of the vast mineral resources from the Ottenraud Mines.


On the northern mainland of Tyselorrd, many small fiefdoms have splintered from the original Great Uniting, the Era of the Warlord Vlattensintri and his mighty empire which returned the lands to peace ten-thousand years ago. Recently, these various fiefdoms have been taken over by the armies of the Empress Tiktui and another uniting has occurred. The imperial seat is in Kyrinn, the capital of the known lands and home of the Galad-Ur-qon Adi, or the gemmaster's guild. The largest kingdom still under independant rule is that of Lord Coranos Rygor, king of the lands of Kltara. This is where The Isles takes place.

Inside the cities on Rygor Isle are many different merchant houses, royal orders, rich families and other organizations which interact constantly in an ever-shifting political climate. Each group has its own agenda and works for or against the others in various situations. Some players never involve themselves politically, while many find their ways into elaborate political conspiracies.

Most kingdoms are run as huge city-states or manors. Both despotism and feudalism are the political systems of choice in most civilized areas, save a few monarchies and some republics.


A typical scene during a bountiful harvest from the Kltaran plains south of Kess, the main city in The Isles.

The economy of Kltara and Tyselorrd is run mainly by trade and agriculture. While the cities are highly developed, the main base of the culture is agrarian in nature. Without crop cultivation, there would be few industries remaining. Mining is a laborious but profitable industry, as is fishing and shipping. The majority of the population of both Kltara and Tyselorrd are farmers or labourers, who work long hours with very little pay or reward. Huge complexes sprawl along many areas in Tyselorrd that provide large scale production facilities for ore refining and metallurgy. The industries of Tyselorrd are owned by families or friends of nobility in many city-states, but Kltara has a greater distribution of ownership amongst its middle class of craftsman and merchants.

The 'middle class' of Tyselorrd and The Isles are the intellectual elite and successful traders. Most characters will find themselves dealing with this class when roleplaying, as they are the "movers" and "shakers" of this time. Shopkeepers, craftsman, traders, bankers, nobles and intellects all find themselves in this class, save the upper nobility.

Technology: Weapons[]

Weapons and Armor in The Isles

The law of the land is enforced with hardened steel and powerful hammers of war. On the Isles, it is not uncommon to see folk brandishing various weapons, and in some cases, it may be important for you to employ their use as well. While some tend to find paths that lead to more academic arenas, weapons-masters can sell their skills at a high price to those who need protection. With all the trading and mercantilism that goes on, there are seedier elements who take to the dusty roads to find riches in the back of a long line of caravans. Bandits are often found outside lawful zones, and these folks are known for their quickness of steel.

The selection of arms: Weapons range from the crudest of wooden clubs to the most exquisitely smithed blades. Various studies in weapons also occur -- from the sly, secret ways of assassins to the blunt but effective use of berserker tactics. There are even legends about particular blades possessing hidden qualities which can aid or hinder a warrior. The weapons trade is not entirely without profit itself, and therefore offers many ways of sustaining even the most foolhardy merchant.

The various types of weapons encountered in these lands include hafted weapons -- clubs, axes, and the like -- edged weapons -- swords, daggers and sabres -- as well as many types of semi-exotic weapons and polearms.

Often, one might find oneself out-matched in battle with needs that supercede that of traditional hand-to-hand combat. In those cases, a good set of armor always aids one in battle, helping to protect soft, pliable flesh from the sharp, flashing blades of an opponent. Even the hunters who seek the fauna of the Viedrad forests find need of hardened leather, and a good traveler always keeps himself prepared for the worst of situations. Often, good armor does not come cheaply. Though looting an opponent may prove profitable, one must first best that opponent in a final dance before collecting any rewards.

Metal resources are not all that scarce, with the plentiful mines in the west, but the skill in crafting of weapons varies from smith to smith and is often the main determinant in cost. The finest, cleanest steel makes better blades but costs far more to produce and hone, and few skilled craftsman know how to do it properly.

External links and further reading[]