LitRPG Podcast 035
Hello everyone, welcome to episode 35 of the LitRPG podcast.
I’m Ramon Mejia. I’m here to bring you the latest LitRPG news, reviews, and author interviews.
New Releases and Reviews:
We’ll begin with LitRPG news
(Play Music 2)
Luck Strategy: Secrets of the Old Ones Audiobook is out now. It’s narrated by Jeff Hays who we recently interviewed. It’s $13.08 as of this broadcast, and is 4 hours 45 minutes.
I enjoyed the e-book version and I like Jeff Hays’ many voices. I’ll play you a small sample so you can decide if you’d like to pick this audiobook up.
You can of course listen to a longer sample of the book at audible or by clicking the link in the shownotes.
New Audiobooks- found by listener Ihab Laachir
Read by Guy Williams, 2 hours 57 min. $5.95; I’m not a big fan of e-book version of this story.
Aleron Kong’s 1st book, The Land: Founding, is available for free currently. Go pick it up if you haven’t already.
The second annual LitRPG Gala will be happening 9/2/17 in Atlanta, GA. The Saturday of DragonCon! It will be hosted by Aleron Kong at the Sidebar, in Atlanta from 5-8pm. Check the link for all the details and to RSVP.
How would you like to see a Critical Failures as a digital series? Well there’s an Indiegogo campaign looking to make that happen. Gabriel Kaunitz, optioned the film rights to Critical Failures a few months ago and it currently trying to raise the money to produce an episodic digital series for the property.
The campaign is currently at $2,135 of their $50,000 goal. There are some cool rewards including art, t-shirts, a skype call. But if you want the best rewards you’ll have to shell out $3,000 and you’ll get a dinner with the Robert Bevin and the producer of the digital series at The Olive Garden. Flight and hotel included.
Edward Castle has a stated on his patreon page that he should be done with the 2nd book in his Unbound Deathlord series in about a month. He’s also changed the title from Warmonger to Unbound Deathlord: Obliteration
Mitchell Jacobs, author of the World at War Online series will be releasing a new LitRPG novel called Soul Link: Origin, sometime in March.
Elle Kirkland wakes up to find herself trapped in a strange new world alongside a hundred-thousand others, with no memory of how she got there. Dumped into an isolated valley with few resources at their disposal, the newcomers must quickly find a way to survive this harsh new reality that mimics so many games they have played before.
You can read the first 5 chapters of the upcoming novel at
Matt Dinniman is the author of The Grinding, a zombie apocalypse novel and and The Shivered Sky a heaven and hell novel. He has written his first LitRPG story and has released the cover art of his first book Dominion of Blades. He says it will be available in April once his editors are done with it. I’m a sucker for good cover art and think his cover art is very pretty.
Alpha World Book 1: Gamer for Life by Daniel Schinhofen author of the Last Horizon series if finishing up the the last edits on his latest novel and plans to release it Feb. 28th, 2017. No pre-order available.
The Glitch Fiends (LitRPG): Part 1 (Hell's Glitch Book 2)
2nd book in Hell’s Glitch up for pre-order and out March 1st. This is the LitRPG story that reminded me of Dark Souls.
Press X to Loot: The Scout of Artemis; by Gregg Horlock, the author of the Difficulty: Legendary series.
In the story Chris joins the latest VR game for a chance to win the money he needs to save his family business. All he has to do is find one little item. Only he’s competing against hordes of other players, fighting vicious monsters, and has to survive all that the game throws at him.
Out now, up for review next week.
For The Guild (Book 3 in the Emerilia series) (Feb. 27th, 2017)
Spetsnaz: A Permadeath LitRPG LitFPS (Feb 28th, 2017)
Alpha World Book 1: Gamer for Life (Feb 28th, 2017)
Galactic Fist of Legend Volume 2. (Feb. 2017)
The Glitch Fiends (LitRPG): Part 1 (Hell's Glitch Book 2) (March 1st, 2017)
The Crystal Sphere (March 10th, 2017)
Shadows of the Great Forest (Realm of Arkon, Book 4) (March 14th, 2017)
Awaken Online: Precipice (March 31st, 2017)
Delvers LLC: Obligations Incurred (March 2017)
Earth Tactics Advance Vol. 1 (March 2017)
Soul Link: Origin (March 2017)
The Karmadont Chess Set (The Way of the Shaman: Book #5) (April 2nd, 2017)
Dominion of Blades (April 2017)
(Play Music 3)
New Releases and Reviews
Ok. Full disclosure I got advanced review copies of Travail Online, and Viridian Gate Online: Crimson Alliance. Honestly, I’m glad I did. I’m not sure I would have been able to review them all if I hadn’t gotten them early. I purchased them all once they were available on Amazon.
Dungeon Madness: The Divine Dungeon Book Two
Both Cal and Dale have become stronger, each in spite of the other.
The dungeon - Cal - knows exactly how much their strength has increased, and is working hard to become exponentially more powerful. His schemes are becoming more complex, and his dungeon - his body - more deadly.
Dale has a nasty surprise waiting for him as he works to thwart the plans of the devious dungeon. Hearing a voice in his head that distracts him in critical moments, he must fight his mind as he battles deadly creatures.
Unbeknownst to both, they are in for the fight of their lives as madness threatens the land...
My Opinion: 346 pages, $3.99, available on Kindle Unlimited
Dakota Krout’s 2nd book has had amazing success online. Garnering three #1 positions in different categories on Amazon and breaking into the top 100 of Amazon’s paid books. I had a chance to talk to Dakota a couple weeks ago and you can see our interview with him on our site.
This is a wonderful sequel to Dungeon Born where a human was killed and became a dungeon core. With the help of a dungeon wisp named Dani, Cal creates a dungeon for adventures to delve into. If they survive the traps and monsters, these adventurers get treasure, if they don’t Cal gets more essence to live and grow. In this 2nd book the town that has sprouted up around the dungeon continues to grow and Dale the guy who owns that land is forced to take a more direct role in its management.
I loved the new relationship between Dale and Cal in this story. One of the few flaws in book one was the limited dialogue options for the dungeon. He only ever had Dani to talk to. Now he has Dale and another person to banter with. The expansion of the dungeon is interesting and so are Dale's new responsibilities and abilities. It’s just fun. The final battle in the story was very exciting and felt like a believable consequence of unbound experimentation. I devoured this book in a couple sitting. It was that good. I give it a 8 out of 10.
Travail Online: Soulkeeper (Book 1)
Welcome to Travail, where hard play makes fun work.
When an overpowered NPC goes off the rails and starts killing players — even in safe zones — Coral, Daniel, and their friends are given an impossible quest: Stop him. At all costs.
Coral joined the immersive MMORPG Travail Online because her job, like so many others, was finally automated. She starts the game as a Seamstress, hoping to craft elegant clothing in-game to sell for real life cash. The game, however, pushes her to make some truly horrifying designs. And the worst part is, if she dies at the hands of this madman she’ll lose all of her inventory and gold, destroying her chance at a livelihood.
Daniel has played for longer, but the game changes him to a new class that doesn’t actually seem to exist. How can he maximize his skills when his class is completely uncharted? Can he, Coral, and their friends stop the murderous NPC before Travail comes crashing down, taking the world economy with it?
My Opinion: 236 pages, $2.99, available on Kindle Unlimited
Coral has been fired from her job and replaced by a robot, just like just about everyone else in the U.S.A. To make ends meet she starts to play Travail Online, where she can convert in-game gold earned to real world dollars. She chooses to be a crafter, a seamstress, and on her first day lucks into a group of high level players looking for a 4th to run an instanced raid. There she lands the killing blow of the boss, somehow gets all the XP and jumps to level 18 and gets a new quest to design armor that will protect the army from a magical artifact that’s perma-killing both NPCs and Players.
The premise of the story is interesting. In a world gone robotic, you have to game to make a living.
This story has charm. I liked reading about Coral and like the fact that she didn’t chose a combat oriented class. I sort of like Dale and his group of high level players, even though he’s kind of a jerk. The relationships between the characters are the highlight of the story.
There are some serious logic problems with the story. 1) The exchange rate of gold of 10 gold = $1 isn’t constantly followed. Sometimes 50 gold is referred to as $0.50 and other times a $5, 2) Why is a high level “raid” in the beginner zone?, 3) Why would high level players grab a level 1 to group with? Isn’t there a group finding feature in this advanced game? 4) A raid is not a group of four people. 5) Carol gets all the XP from the boss kill? Either group experience distribution was turned off or she not in a group with everyone. How else did she get in the dungeon?
To be honest the game logic issues almost made me put this story down. But I persevered for you folks at home. After the 30% mark when the story setup is finished, things improve a little. It turns into a, sometimes meandering, story of four friends just going on odd adventures to complete the quest they were given. This is an ok story. It has its flaws but it has its gem moments too. With the exception of the unique character classes, most of the game mechanics don’t seem well thought out and there are big logic issues in the beginning of the story. Overall, the game world feels a bit boring. What really shines are the four characters in the story. There were lots of cute or funny interactions between them that are endearing.
Travail Online: Soukeeper gets a 5 out of 10.
BladeDust Online: A LitRPG Adventure (Book 1)
When Cody signs up for the first fully-immersive virtual MMORPG, he is amazed at how real the game world is. Unable to pay rent, Cody and his best friend join BladeDust Online as a job replacement. But, they quickly realize it is much more than just a job. It's a world full of magic, mystery and adventure.
In a world where you can be anything, Cody decides to be everything. But, Cody soon finds out all is not right in BladeDust Online. A glitch has trapped the players in the game, and something dark is going on behind the scenes. Cody must grow and become more powerful in this unforgiving game world. Who can he trust? How powerful can he become? And will he ever find love? Only time will tell. Enjoy this LitRPG Adventure.
My Opinion: 358 pages, $3.99 until 2/28/17 normally $4.99, available on Kindle Unlimited
Two guys, Cody and his roommate Tommy are unemployed students that can’t make their next rent payment. So they decide to try to make some money playing a popular full immersion game BladeDust Online. They jump into the game ill prepared and find themselves trapped when a glitch removes the logout button and they become trapped in the game.
I’m going to divide this review into two parts. I’ll describe and comment on the first half of the novel and then I’ll talk about the second half.
The first 50% of the book is bad.
The premise itself isn’t bad. I’ve read it before but the story quickly veers away from that and turns into Bill and Ted’s not so Excellent LitRPG Journey.
The entire 1st half of this novel is a series of events that happen to the unusually dumb main characters. They’re led around by their noses by a series of players that take advantage of them and occasionally explain a game mechanic or two. Speaking of which, most of the game mechanics don’t make sense. For example, the odd death system that turns players into ghosts that have to get other players to resurrect them with an expensive potion. But if they don’t get resurrected then bad players can harvest their souls and send them to a virtual soul work camp or something.
The author says that he intended to slowly reveal the game mechanics to the world as if it were a hardcore survival game. Make the players learn as they go. Unfortunately the game world in the story is set up like a fantasy RPG so there are different expectations. There’s also a big difference between slowly revealing the game mechanics and not revealing them or explaining them at all. For example, it’s never explained what the character stats do or why sneak and persuasion are there as stats instead along with strength but something like constitution isn’t. At one point the main characters are advised to raise an army of NPCs but it’s never explained why this is important. There are classes listed but they don’t seem to do anything and are never explored. I could go on but I think you get the idea. The game world isn’t really fleshed out.
Last 50% of the book: It’s not bad. Pretty decent actually.
I feel like the story comes into it’s own in the last half of the book. Cody is separated from his roommate Tommy and sold off as a gladiator on some island. The story turns into a revenge seeking gladiatorial battle as Cody becomes determined to gain power and strength to kill the player that betrayed him and sold him into slavery, Cosmo. The quests after this point are at least more entertaining and feed into the revenge plot and Cody is actually doing something instead of letting things happening to him.
I give the 1st half of the this novel a 4 out of 10. The 2nd half gets a 6 out of 10. If you average it out that’s a 5. However, I have to advise you, if you want to try out this story please skip the 1st half and just go directly to the 2nd half.
Viridian Gate Online: Crimson Alliance
Three days ago, Jack Mitchel saved his life. By dying.
He dodged a world-ending bullet—in the form of an extinction-level asteroid cannonballing toward Earth—by successfully uploading his mind into the brand-new, ultra-immersive, fantasy-based VRMMORPG, Viridian Gate Online. Unfortunately, he’s also stumbled headlong into a secret conspiracy that will transform V.G.O. into a new feudal dark age.
Jack expected to live out his new fantasy life in peace, but now he and his misfit crew of rebels are the only ones preventing a tyrant emperor and his regime from taking power. Thankfully, everything isn’t quite as hopeless as it seems—Jack has a plan. Sort of. With only a handful of supporters, he’s going to get the jump on the bloodthirsty empire by snatching one of their key cities right from underneath their noses. In order to pull off the impossible, however, Jack’s going to have to develop his formidable Shadowmancer powers, raid some ridiculous dungeons, and make some shady allies—allies who may be more dangerous than the empire itself.
My Opinion: 272 pages Author says the novel is actually 90K words and closer to 349 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Book 1 in the series is a smaller, individual story about the main character Jack. We followed his journey through the word as he became a shadowmancer and gained the ability to bend the powers of the shadow-world itself.
In addition to an introduction into the world of Veridian Gate Online, we a peek at a shadowy conspiracy. That conspiracy if fully revealed and implemented in book 2.
In book 2 of the series the real world is finally ending and the larger city/faction building elements of the world are being revealed. The faction seal that Jack and his friends stole is finally used and he establishes his own group, the Crimson Alliance. Unfortunately, as the world ends the larger conspiracy to take over the game world is implemented and many other player run factions are also established. All of whom have their sights set on the Crimson Alliance.
Jack uses his new city building and faction powers to give his ever growing group a fighting chance against these looming powers.
One of the few complaints I had for book 1 was that no place in the world felt fleshed out. At the end of the story I couldn’t remember anything about the game world. I knew about Jack, his class, his friends, the conspiracy, but not much world building had been done.
That has been resolved in book 2. There’s more lore, each city and faction is presented memorably and since much of the story revolves around city and community building there’s a chance to learn about how crafting, diplomacy, and commerce work in VGO.
I enjoyed the expanded scope of the story a lot. Viridian Gate Online: Crimson Alliance gets a 7 out 10.
That’s it everyone!
Thanks for hanging out with me today. Until we can hangout again, remember to go read some LitRPG!
"Blip Stream" "Mighty Like Us" "Big Shift" "Vivacity"
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License