"The Reliques of Tolti-Aph" by Graham Nelson
[Some commentators on interactive fiction suggest that it arose directly from the invention of role-playing games in the 1970s, when the nineteenth-century tabletop wargame collided with the potent cult of J. R. R. Tolkien in American college campuses. It is certainly true that Will Crowther, co-author of what is generally regarded as the first true work of IF, had been an early player of E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson's prototype role-playing game "Dungeons and Dragons: Rules for Fantastic Medieval Wargames Campaigns Playable with Paper and Pencil and Miniature Figures" (1974) - later, more snappily, just D&D. On the other hand, surprisingly few IF authors in the last thirty years have adopted styles of play which resemble RPGs at all closely; and the book-keeping, the randomness, the simulationist nature, the volume of detail and the open-endedness implied by a "campaign" all make the implementation of a RPG in interactive fiction something of a technical challenge. So that is what we are going to do: or at least we will work through enough of a system of RPG-like rules to demonstrate the possibility.]
The story description is "It used to be said that there are two kinds of magic-user: those who have been to Tolti-Aph, and charlatans. It used to be generally understood that the attempt to prove oneself in the unforgiving society of Tolti-Aph was a bid for rapid level advancement or else romantic, thin-young-mage-in-midnight-black-robes death. The closer you get to the wilderness island vaguely marked 'Tholtaff' on the agate globe in your great-great-grandfather's study, the better the alternative sounds: settling down in some coastal village, perhaps, a little weathermongering, some polymancy, and helping out with the nets after a bad storm. Retire at maybe level 3, with most of your experience points gained from observing rare fish-based poisons carry off those villagers careless about gutting. Publish an awesomely tedious monograph on the correct usage of the 'untangle rigging' spell. You know, the good life."
The story creation year is 2005.
Release along with cover art, the source text, a website and a file of "Collegio magazine" called "Collegio.pdf".