This an anthology collection of Dungeon Core stories created by authors both new and old.
It is in the dungeons where adventures begin and end. Where brave adventurers, orphaned children with grudges, shady protagonists, and fools dive into seeking power, wealth, and sating their blood thirst. Dungeons come in many shapes and sizes, with each holding their own adventure within and stories of past glories. Here, some of the stories can be found, taken from the deep, dark depths of imagination and horror found within us all.
Welcome, to the dungeon. Good luck escaping.
My Opinion: 204 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
This is a collection of stories that revolve around a dungeon in some way or form. Some are dungeon dives, others dungeon core, others are dungeon adjacent. Some are also LitRPG, but not all. Like many short story collections, not every story is going to be a favorite, but over all the collection was entertaining. Individual reviews below.
Core Laws by Michael Harrington
The last stand for the remaining dungeons against a crusade against them. There are some decent fights and traps but I never really cared about either side. The big twist in the story is about how several dungeon rules came about as humans and dungeons negotiate for peace. Kind of a miss for me.
-Score 6 out of 10
Depths of Buzzing by Damion Spearman
This one was a bit hard to read because of some early technical writing issues mixing present past tense alot. Other than that it’s a pretty straight forward dungeon run by a group.
-Score: 6 out of 10
Ficklehook's Revenge, Part 1 by Anthony W.F. Chow
A defeated goblin dungeon core reincarnates as a human and seeks his revenge, gaining a class, training, and leveling skills to do so. He runs into a small goblin clan while on his way to the city.
It's a pretty good story that has a nice mix of world building, character development, and action. Plus there are plenty of story threads to develop later.
-Score: 7.6 out of 10
The Human Dungeon by Stuart Grosse
A short story about a bard/rogue falling for the enticements of a trio of hot ladies and ending up the sacrifice to make a dungeon core. It’s funny, and while there is a little sexuality there’s no graphic sex, but there is some rather interesting world and character building.
-Score: 7.5 out of 10
Nature vs Nurture Necromancy by Raymond Johnson
The absolute best short story in the collection. It starts as a kind of good buddy dungeon story that has humor, plenty of summarized monster evolutions and then a twist that makes it great.
-Score: 8 out of 10
Proving Grounds by Nick Tesauro
The longest of the short stories, it’s really a very long water themed dungeon dive. Nice variety of monsters and each adventurer gets at least a few paragraphs for backstory. Not amazing, but decent. It also reminds me why I never liked water levels in video games.
Sword and Claw: The Lost Dungeon by Miles Trombley
Two girls playing an MMO get an early lead on a hidden dungeon but end up helping an NPC villager get revenge on the demon that destroyed his city. I’m not sure if there is even an actual dungeon here. More of a straight adventure with a couple of traps and a fight with an end twist. Dialogue a bit stilted sometimes. Nothing bad and it had a few cute moments but didn’t do anything to keep me engaged.
-Score: 6 out of 10
The Space Within a Space by Zachary Ude
The shortests of the short stories in the collection. I'm not sure what this one is. However, it’s definitely not a dungeon core story or a dungeon dive. I suspect it may be the start of a dungeon core novel that was submitted. It’s entertaining, but feels like a tease for a longer story.
-Score: 7.1 out of 10
Ghosts of the Past by Jeffrey “Falcon” Logue
This one also feels like the start of a longer story. It has good world building and action but no actual dungeon here either. Still, I’d like to read the longer story this belongs to.
-Score: 7.4 out of 10
Overall Score: 7.2 out of 10