Steamtown Chronicles 1: The Dark Market (An NPC Gamelit Novella)

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Delmen MacDougall lived a relatively comfortable life compared to most. He had his enchanting shop, his flat above it, and his health. He even had a friend. Not everyone could make that claim. All he had to do was follow the mandates given to him by Governor Law, Steamtown's infamous steward. Non-citizens of Steamtown, called travelers, didn't make sticking to the mandates easy. They robbed him. They killed him, forcing him to resurrect. They hurled insults at him for being a dwarf or calling him an "NPC," whatever that was.

But when one traveler attacked his only friend in the world, Delmen eagerly abandoned his mandates and fought back. He earned himself a bounty that forced him to hide underground. Now a fugitive, Delmen must do everything in his power to gain his freedom again, and that means clearing his bounty by whatever means necessary. The alternative, being captured by the guards and locked up in Steamtown Stockades for the rest of his life, was not an option.

 

My Opinion: 104 pages, $1.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited

This is an story told from the point of view of an NPC who goes beyond what he’s prescribed to do. His restrictions aren’t programmed but social, and when he breaks them he is forced to become more than he thought he could be.

The game mechanics are going to be familiar with mechanics pulled from games like Thief and Elder Scrolls. There’s a little bit of crafting thrown in too. But where the novella shines is in the exploration of the main characters (MC) search for his missing friend and the gradual revelation of what the world really is and who he is. It’s done really well, but doesn’t ignore the action and adventure readers expect either.

Overall, this is one of my favorite reads of the week. Partially because I had almost no expectations going in, so all the good bits were surprising. But also because it’s just hits that sweet spot of being just long enough to do a bit of world building and character development without being so long that it drags things out.

Score: 8 out of 10

Steamtown Chronicles 1: The Dark Market (An NPC Gamelit Novella)

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