A Player in the Greenwood: A LitRPG Novella

Who I am in real life doesn't matter; who I am in the game is what counts.

Before it happened, I bumbled my way through the virtual reality massively multiplayer online role-playing game "The Greenwood," made crap builds and wasted my time.

Then I got murdered. A shadowy figure took my hard-accumulated possessions and left me to die. I admit, I did a rage quit and deleted my character.

Then I wondered what kind of person that rage quit made me? Maybe I was a quitter? And maybe I really was someone who would let a bully get away with disrespecting me?

But then again, no: I respected myself too much for that. I rolled a new character, I vowed to get good and re-entered The Greenwood.

I took on the name Barcud and the profession of ranger. I vowed to rise through the levels, hone my skills, hunt down the shadowy figure, and grind his face in the dirt.

My Opinion: 147 pages, $2.99, available on Kindle Unlimited

Written by Galen Wolf, author of the sci-fi Wolf Cyborg series.  

This is the story of an inexperienced player hanging around a PVP zone in a fantasy VR MMO. He gets killed and is forced to give up his hard earned gear. At first he rage quits then he instead decides to roll a brand new ranger and become powerful enough to get his revenge against the unknown assailant and solve a mysterious easter egg quest.

This novella does a really good job of introducing and explaining the game mechanics of the VR game world succinctly. Both with direct explanation and through actions of the characters. You can tell the author has spent time playing actual MMOs.

Personally, I’m not a big fan of ‘I have to get strong to get revenge’ premises but I understand that every story has to start somewhere and the main character has to have some flaw to improve by the end of the story.

The beginning of this story reads like fan fiction for the MMO Dungeons and Dragons Online. A lot of the game mechanics,  adventure settings, classes, and their abilities are direct pulls from that game. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I really like that game and have spent many hours playing a drow sorcerer and warforged artificer there. It injects a type of nostalgia into the story.

From there the story creates its own gaming mechanics and skill sets that make it feel more unique.There are some interesting game mechanics provided by a variety of poisons and counter poisons that are used in PVP combat that highlight the human skill involved in that type of fighting. While I’m not a big fan of the over powered poison that makes you follow one order from the poisoner, I understand it’s use in furthering the plot.

Eventually there are guilds, PVP experiences, guild battles as the main character levels and tries to solve the easter egg puzzle and get his revenge against the guy who keeps killing him. Towards the end there are a couple places where the main character levels and gets just the right ability and weapon to accomplish his task but you find that kind of stuff in a lot of stories.

This is not epic fiction but is an enjoyable story that’s reminiscent of watching someone play an MMO.  

A Player in the Greenwood gets a 7 out of 10.