LitRPG Podcast 043
LitRPG Podcast 043
April 7th, 2017
Hello everyone, welcome to episode 43 of the LitRPG podcast.
I’m Ramon Mejia. I’m here to bring you the latest LitRPG news, reviews, and author interviews.
Before we begin I want to give a shout out to Michael-Scott Earl and Daniel Schinhofen for supporting the podcast. Michael gave $30 and Daniel gave $100 donation. Thanks you for your support guys.
New Releases and Reviews:
Valhalla Online: A LitRPG Saga (14:03)
Digital Me (18:30)
New Horizons (Emerilia Book 4) (23:34)
World Keeper: Birth of a World (28:50)
(Play Music 2)
Delvers LLC: Obligations Incurred is out this week and the author has stated that the audiobook version should be out end of April/beginning of May and will be read by Jeff Hayes. However, to celebrate the book’s release the author commissioned a rap video. :D
Delvers LLC: Obligations Incurred Rap video
Justin Miller author of a number of LitRPG novels sent a message to the podcast letting us know the audiobook version of World Seed will be ready to ship April 11th.
New LitRPG Audiobooks
Eden's Gate: The Reborn: A LitRPG Adventure, Book 1
Lion's Quest: Undefeated
Out Now, Will Review next week!
Delvers LLC: Obligations Incurred
Earth Tactics Advance Vol. 1 (March 2017)
Dominion of Blades: A LitRPG Adventure (April 11, 2017)
Critical Failures V: V is for five (April 12th, 2017)
This is Our Land (Emerilia Book 5) (April 25th, 2017)
Lost Archive: A LitRPG Adventure (Veilwalkers Book 1) (April 28th, 2017)
Ascend Online: Hell to Pay (Book 2) (May 1st, 2017)
The First Player (AlterGame Book #1) (May 9th 2017)
Stuck in an RPG (Sucked into an RPG, Book 2) (May 27th 2017).
The Eternal: Dragonborn - A LitRPG Saga (World of Ga'em Book 2) (May 31st, 2017)
Hero of Thera (June 1st, 2017)
Conquest: A LitRPG Story (The SciFan™ Universe Book 1) (June 1st, 2017)
Fantasy Online: Hyperborea (June 2ne, 2017)
Stay on the Wing (The Dark Herbalist Book #2) (June 2nd, 2017).
Onto New Releases and Reviews
(Play Music 3)
New Releases and Reviews
The Karmadont Chess Set (The Way of the Shaman: Book #5)
Mahan's ready for new adventures - just as the gaming world of Barliona thought it was about to re-enter its old comfortable rut. The winds of the Dark Forest have finally died down; Altameda has recognized its new owner while Geranika is nursing new schemes of global destruction.
Would Mahan be happy with this predictable old life? We think not! New storylines, new monsters, new dungeons and a new status: our High Shaman hates the daily grind! He wants a new apprentice? - then he'd better find someone who has no right to summon Spirits. A new ship? - it's going to be one of a kind! A new love? Well, we'll have to see, won't we?
My Opinion: 504 pages, $5.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full disclosure, I got an advanced copy to review. I did purchase the novel once it became available.
Set moments after the end of book 4 when Mahan finally takes control of the phantom castle but loses all his class abilities for letting the big bad guy steal the heart of chaos which will let him become an evil god. Mahan now has to not only manage his new castle, his guild, and figure out a way to restore his class. But he also has the task of making The Karmadont Chess Set.
This was just a fun story. In a lot of the recent books in the series there’s always some huge world changing event that puts pressure on Mahan. In this book, that’s all gone. Well, mostly gone. There’s still the global threat of Geranika becoming an evil god and destroying the world but that’s not our main characters problem. He’s been stripped of his character class and can’t even access the questline to deal with that problem. He’s literally been forced on a two month break before he can even try to get his class abilities back.
So, instead he’s clearing out his quest log and finishing up any loose quests. Remember that quest from book 1 with the wolves, or the goblins he had as workers briefly? All resolved spectacularly. And most of the book is like that, older storylines are finally tidied up.
There are still plenty of new cool things that Mahan and his crew do but there are no big guild politics stuff. Its Mahan, a couple of his close friends, and his new apprentice going on quests. Each quest is resolved before starting on the next one. There’s no hopping around the globe partially completing one quest but not another. There’s crafting, some nice city and village management stuff, even later on in the story some adventures on the high seas. Great stuff. Finished the entire book in a single sitting.
Be aware that there is a WTF cliffhanger ending. According to an interview Vasily Mahanenko did with me, he’d originally planned for the series to have five books. Then he remembered he was contracted to write a total of seven books for the series and had to come up with additional material.
Our interview with Vasily Mahanenko and his apologies for making people mad with book 5 (cued to 20:55). Warning, the interview has SPOILERS: https://youtu.be/2knw1Z0_YaA?t=1255
Score: 8 out of 10
Eyrth Online: The Memoirs of Lawrence Wrath (1st Playlist)
My name is Lawrence Wrath, and these are my memoirs. Why do you care about me you say? Well, I am one of the most famous players in EYRTH ONLINE the most popular VRMMORPG in existence. Come join me on a magic carpet ride that is limited only by your imagination!
If you love action, adventure, romance, nerd love, and snarky comedy you've come to the right place. This is a monthly serial that will take between 1 - 2 hours to read. The next episode will come out on the 1st of each month.
I have an attached playlist that needs a Spotify account to use.
My Opinion: 97 pages, $1, Available on Kindle Unlimited
An interesting experiment to have a set Spotify playlist for your novel. Each chapter has a particular song that you’re supposed to play with it.
Normally, I read in a quiet, well lit room, with a cup of tea. Or I have a speech to text program read to me as I work. So this was a very different way to experience a story. I got how each song, which I’d never heard before, was thematic of the chapter but the process didn’t really work for me. It was hard for me to enjoy the music and the story at the same time. But it was still a cool thing to try out.
If you’re the kind of reader that can do both, then maybe this experiment will be enjoyable for you.
The story is told in 1st person perspective and the main character has no problem breaking the fourth wall and talking directly to the reader. The story has a lot of the MC describing what he’s thinking in the moment. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it just feels random. There are a lot of grammar and punctuation problems. Sometimes one thought interrupts another thought in a sentence. You can tell the main characters thoughts tend to go in many directions at the same time.
It also takes a while to get into the game world.
The first 10% of the story has the main character telling the reader how awesome Eyrth Online is.
The next part of the story (Up to about the 52% mark) has the MC in the VR pod going through a series of tests that setup the system for him. Each scenario is more entertaining than that last and as each finishes the MC is rewarded with a unique title that confers a series of bonuses that I assume he’ll be able to use in the game. For example, for finishing the Ninja Warrior course in record time to the song “Weapon of Choice” the MC gets the title I’m a Legend in Japan which confers +10 to dexterity and wisdom. Plus he gets the Parkour skill.
Then character creation in which all 13 possible races are described in detail, each race’s history, and their racial benefits. Honestly, too long a section when the MC is only going to chose one of them and the rest of the races bonuses don’t matter to him.
Then MC chooses a difficulty setting with various bonuses associated with each.
You don’t actually get to the game world until about 80% into the novel and even then it’s just the MC’s first few minutes in the game
Even though there are stats used in the story, they don’t mean anything since the little time spent in the game world doesn’t reflect their use. Unfortunately, the story isn’t LitRPG but the author promises more stats, levels, and crafting in the next story in the serial. I look forward to reading the next story.
Score: 4 out of 10 as LitRPG but an entertaining, trippy, story.
Valhalla Online: A LitRPG Saga
More than just a game, Valhalla Online was designed as a permanent repository for the uploaded minds of mortals afraid of death. An artificial afterlife.
Samantha’s world is turned upside-down when she arrives in Valhalla - because as far as she knows, she isn’t like the other people uploaded there.
She isn’t dead. At least...she hopes she isn’t.
Now Sam must solve the mystery of her own abduction - or murder! - while trapped inside a virtual world, cut off from communication with the outside. To do this she must do more than simply survive Valhalla - she needs to win the game!
My Opinion: 285 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
The main character, Samantha, is in the military as an MP but one day finds herself trapped in an expensive full immersion VRMMO. The kind of game people that are dying pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to have their brains uploaded to. Only she wasn’t dying and can’t remember how she got there.
Samantha, is a appealing character. She rides a fine line between strong and emotionally appealing. She actively searches for a solution to finding out what happened to her and kicks some butt. Yet, there are also moments when she reveals her worries and concerns about being trapped against her will in this game world.
Combat takes a realistic approach. Shields break during combat. Armor doesn’t protect every area but plate mail protects from arrows better than leather. Group tactics matter. Combat doesn’t have a bunch of damage numbers pop up from each strike. However, the player can bring up a damage log if they want to.
A lot of the game mechanics are like that. They exist but only pop up when the main character actively thinks about them or wants more information.
The game mechanics in the story aren’t anything special. Skills have to be learned by using them or taught by a master but can be upgraded when a player levels. There are the standards stats, health, stamina, and mana bars. The only sort of unique game mechanic are the points players get for killing each other, capturing castles, holding castles, and conquering dungeons. They can use them to upgrade their character or to travel to the next level/map (total of 9) of the game.
The novel can be divided into two parts: 1) MC is introduced to the game world which at first glance seems to be more a capture the Viking castle game. 2) The MC is forced to conquer a dungeon by herself or face an infinite respawns until she does.
It’s the 2nd part of the story that won me over. There is action, magic, and dungeon exploration. Additionally, it explores the emotional toll of being killed repeatedly takes on the MC and her gradual acceptance of world she is now forced to live in.
Score: 7 out of 10.
Shawn Bradshaw has made a desperate gamble. To save his life he risked it all in an attempt to become digitized. Knowing almost nothing about the greater Digital community or if he will be allowed to join, how Digital existence is experienced, or even if he will be relegated to a Digital zoo.
Shawn's success in obtaining immortality is but the start of his journey. Thrust into the kingdom of Loson's political intrigue, friends become enemies, allies manipulate and control, Shawn must decide how much assistance he is willing to let his allies provide and if he wants to count them as enemies instead.
Oblivious and ignorant of the culture, manipulated, reveling in his new found freedom even as he is chained socially, Shawn must decide on his long term goals and what he is willing to give up to achieve them.
The Immortal Wizard must decide what kind of legend he will leave behind.
My Opinion: About 210 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
The first 10% of the story does some world building that doesn’t end up meaning much besides motivating the main character.
The story is set in a future where humanity created truly self aware artificial intelligence (A.I.). These digital entities quickly evolved past the physical limitations imposed by their human creators. So much so that brief war on the A.I. was averted within moments by key assassinations of the world leaders involved in the plot by robots. Since then the digital citizens, AI, have kept separate from us humans. Ony humanity has lost out on the staggering number of advancements the AI have created including unlimited clean energy, miraculous medical treatments, and even intergalactic travel.
The main character, Shawn Bradshaw, has cancer but though a well planned plot found a legal loophole to become a digital person himself. He’s sent to a virtual fantasy world created by these advanced digital beings to learn how to expand his mind and move beyond the infantile thinking and processing of his physical being. This world is a fantasy world governed by RPG like rules but fully real to it’s citizens. Shawns only advantages are the he can never truly die and only respawns at his last save point and can use magic as long as he concentrates. He is bound by one rule: Don’t lie. Since Shawn is planning to be in this world for 700,000 years or so, he has plenty of time to learn the rules, right?
Initially, this story is almost a science fiction treatise on the possible effects of true artificial intelligence on humanity. While fascinating, it’s not LitRPG.
One the story progresses into the game world, you see the use of levels and newly learned magic spells as a means of showing the MCs growth. So this story is LitRPG, but only technically.
The beginning portions of the game world are nods to other LitRPG, with a fairy guide and the first monsters killed being horned rabbits.
The main character finds his way to a beginner town and has to work with them to get himself some levels and help the town. It’s here that he realizes that this is not a game, but a fully functioning simulation of a world with a few game mechanics. Each person has a full life, including motivations, fears, a past, and are subject to all the cultural trappings of a feudal society.
After finding his bearings in a beginner town, the main character is whisked away to the kingdom's capital and while there are a few parts in which the main character levels up in a dungeon, the story shifts to one of political intrigue and an exploration of the unintended consequences of introducing an immortal wizard would have to a kingdom where power is secured by might.
The political intrigue stuff was realistic and in line with the logic of the world and the historic cultural traditions and social constraints inherent in a patriarchal medieval society.
While, it was quite interesting to read, it was only LitRPG in the most technical sense. Once the political intrigue started all the RPG stuff was relegated to an occasional paragraph or two where the main character gained a level or developed a new spell. The focus was very clearly on the macro level speculative fiction portion of the story.
The story was well written, logical, and the few combat scenes were interesting.
However, personally I’m not a bit fan of this type of political intrigue fantasy. I understand that politics and intrigue exists in the real world and has existed in every real social structure in man’s history but I find it all very tedious.
I read LitRPG as a form of escapism and based purely on personal tastes this story didn’t have nearly enough action and adventure.
Additionally, while the novel is technically LitRPG since it meets my only two qualifications for the genre, most of the story is focused on the non LitRPG aspects of the world and the few game mechanics described almost feel incidental to the story.
The two LitRPG qualifications: 1) Set in a game world or world ruled by obviously stated game mechanics, 2) The main character progresses according to those obviously stated game mechanics.
Score: 6 out of 10.
New Horizons (Emerilia Book 4)
Alliances and enemies are made, but the Stone Raiders keep their promise. They swore to themselves they would bring the Aleph back to Emerilia.
Secrets, powerful creatures and a hidden civilization wait for the Stone Raiders in the abandoned Aleph facilities and cities.
Will they be able to clear the Aleph facilities and complete their quest? Or will they be fated to fail?
One thing is for sure, the Stone Raiders won't give up easily.
My Opinion: 312 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Dave is back and the Stone Raiders guild are still trying to clear and prepare the cities for the Aleph race to come back to. The final section is the Aleph college where a wicked and dug in Arch Lich resides.
Good action scenes, minimal crafting, introduction of new alliances with the Aleph, Beastmen, and Demons. But all that has been talked about in previous books.
This the serie’s upkeep and maintenance book. It happens with large stories like this where there are so many people, quests, events, and location. It’s happened with the Way of the Shaman series recently too.
This is the book where loose storylines are resolved, updates are given on places and people that were introduced in first few books but became less important to more recent plotlines.The author is cleansing the reader’s palette for upcoming stuff.
There are still some new things that happen but they’re mostly glimpses into upcoming content: the war with demons at demons crater and some economic warfare.
Score: 7 out of 10
Galactic Fist of Legend: Volume 2
In a reality beset by pop-culture related parodies, can one man survive against all odds? Welcome back to the madness that is Galactic Fist of Legend!
In this latest installment of the Galactic Fist of Legend LitRPG series, Scott Davidson must contend with all manner of ridiculous shenanigans while dealing with the horrors of the underworld, fruit baskets, and the most disturbing sock puppet in history. Death awaits around every corner, and perhaps even fates worse than death...
Come gather round! Grab a comfortable scarf. Fancy a proper sock puppet. Revel in the ridiculous glory of it all...
Galactic Fist of Legend is a science-fiction and fantasy LitRPG series created as part of the core multiversal character concept known as 'Project Scott', This project features a similarly named protagonist existing in many different worlds, largely without knowledge of each other. They are the same soul reflected in different ways, and partaking in different adventures.
My Opinion: About 200 pages, $2.99, Not available on Kindle Unlimited
Scottie begins this book flush with XP and credits looking to upgrade his gear. He runs into Samus...err I mean Samantha. He finally makes her a companion and just as she’s being introduced to the multiverse, Scott gets a new world to unlock. He’s whisked away to a dark fantasy world filled with the souls of the undead. If he can conquer the quest for this place he’ll unlock a new land to farm XP.
It’s a fun novel, full of video game and pop culture references. I always have a good time reading Scottie Futch’s novels.
Score: 7 out of 10.
World Keeper: Birth of a World
Join Dale Mitchell, your run of the mill truck driver. Until one day, he accidentally runs someone over. Now, through a series of strange and unforeseeable circumstances, he has become anything but normal.
A story of magic, of a history that never was, and of a man trying to go through the day to day life while managing the affairs of an entire world. Join Dale Mitchell on his journey.
My Opinion: 589 pages, $3.99, Not available on Kindle Unlimited
Are you a fan of Civilization, Topia, or Banished? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to really create your own world from scratch and influence the people that live there? If so, then this is just the novel for you. Justin Miller takes those ideas and applies an ever loving dose of LitRPG goodness to it.
The main character of World Keeper, Dale, accidently kills the creator of our world and takes up the mantel of World Keeper. He designs and creates a new fantasy world that has elves, beastmen, humans and of course magic.
Eventually, he’ll compete with other world keepers that have created their own worlds in realm on realm battles but for now he’s focused on his worlds development.
Occasionally, Dale, descends to his world to build up his own strength and unlock features the regular sentients haven’t yet. Though this is a risky move because while he can directly help the people of his world this way, this is also the only time he can be killed.
Justin Miller’s writings are among my all time favorites and he never fails to explore some of the more interesting aspects of gaming culture and the logical places these wish fulfillment stories would go.
This is a specialty novel, you have to really like city and world creation games for it to appeal to you. There’s very little fighting. Instead, it’s a story about resource management, the development of civilization, and the unintended consequences of a creator’s decisions on the development of a world.
Score: 7 out of 10
Primal Gaming - The Murder of Timothy Smithton: Part One
A satirical LitRPG erotica crime thriller novella. A lot of genres for one story, huh?
Shaun Winter, a detective in the real world who is just trying his best to stay off people's radars, and a Lady of the Night in game, and no, that wasn't his choice. Shaun hates the game, but when Timothy Smithton, a dear... acquaintance of Shaun is murdered and the only lead available is in Primal's 50s America mode 'Golden Age' he has to suck up his deep disdain for the game and pull on a corset and heels.
My Opinion: 127 pages, $0.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Priced ok but real simply not LitRPG. It’s not bad erotica but the VR mostly serves as a medium to explore sexual fantasy. A male detective goes undercover online as a female sex worker to get close to the bad guys. The extent of game stuff is that the story exists in a VR world. No game mechanics, no levels, no stats, no XP, nothing. It’s just a place the story takes place.
If you want to read some LitRPG erotica, I’d suggest reading Scottie Futch’s Galataea series and Freelance Saga.
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