If Gary had known he'd get trapped in an RPG with his real-life stats, he’d have tried harder in gym class.
Gary Burns just wanted to create the greatest RPG campaign of his gaming career. But a freak magical accident sucks him into the very world he created—as himself.
Surrounded by heroes who look and sound like his friends, Gary is forced to play out the story he wrote. Worthless in a fight, Gary must prove himself valuable even if it means feeding the team insider knowledge.
Because he needs keep his friends close—and himself alive—until he can solve the puzzle he never designed: how to get everyone back home.
My Opinion: 349 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Trapped in a tabletop game, slice of life story. I think it’s important to note the slice of life part because I went into reading this expecting some 4 act structure involving this trapped gaming group working together to try and escape the game. It’s not.
Instead, the group is transported to the custom made/home brew tabletop game world. Everyone arrives as their characters and doesn't remember being anything else. That is except the Gary, our main character (MC) and the DM that designed the game world. He’s transported into the game wearing his normal jeans, shirt, and sneakers. He’s the only one that sees the dice rolls, gets game notifications, and sees his character sheet.
The first half of the story just follows this group as they adventure and begin the quest lines the MC had planned out. The MC feels like he’s just tagging along as a non-combat bard. It’s not really until the 50% mark that the MC starts to feel like he believes he’s living in the world and not just an observer who gives out hints to his team about questlines. At that point the MC starts to use his knowledge about the game world he created for his own benefit. All that knowledge becomes a kind of superpower that he tries to exploit to survive. It’s a much more interesting story to read about a guy trying to game his own rules than a guy almost just watching others play.
Game mechanic-wise, it’s an interesting mix. The gaming elements you see are only through the MCs eyes and he only sees his info or stuff that applies to him. Standard stats, XP, levels, etc. No health or mana info. A few custom advancement mechanics and custom class stuff. But I’ll say that I like seeing the dice rolls. Everything from bluff checks to damage rolls are shown. Including the formulas for bonuses. For example an actual roll for convincing a guard not to arrest the MC. D20: 18+ (Persuade +4) = 22. There are also some very bad rolls that actually seem to impact the flow of the story to some degree. Though I don't doubt there’s a little fudging if the author needs the story to go a certain way or just not murder the MC. Still, the dice rolls feel like they matter.
Overall, the series has potential to be really good and interesting. I liked it once I adjusted my expectations and the MC started to be interesting and not just a passive observer who played the lute. Also, there’s a good metal ending.
Score: 7 out of 10