LitRPG Podcast 082
LitRPG Podcast 082
November 24th, 2017
Hello everyone, welcome to episode 82 of the LitRPG podcast.
I’m Ramon Mejia. I’m here to bring you the latest LitRPG news, reviews, and author interviews. This week I have 5 new LitRPG reviews for you.
New Releases and Reviews:
(Play Music 2)
Gabriel Rathweg is breaking the mold again. He’s the author the first stoner LitRPG, and now he’s changing the audiobook game too. If you’ve read the series before, you know the author includes a playlist of music that goes along with the story. Each chapter has a particular song that sets the tone. Well, when the author wanted to make an audiobook for his series he wanted to include those songs too. But Amazon is rather particular about copyrights so he wasn’t able to.
So, Gabriel Rathweg instead decided to make it a podcast. He has each song playing before the chapter and he reads his own story. Despite the unpolished nature of the recordings, it’s highly entertaining to listen to. Plus it’s FREE. We have links for Itunes and Podbean but you can also find it on spotify.
This past weekend I hosted a LitRPG author’s game session. Myself, Charles Dean, James Hunter, Dakota Krout, Blaise Corvin, and Hugo Huesca had a fun time playing games and talking to the Live viewing audience.
The Greystone Chronicles: Book 2 - The Dire Lands
New LitRPG Audiobooks
The Gods of the Second World (LitRPG The Weirdest Noob Book 3) (Nov. 29th., 2017)
Infinite Assassins: Daggerland Online Novel 2 A LITRPG Adventure (Nov. 30th, 2017)
Slime Dungeon Chronicles Book ?? (Dec. 1st, 2017)
Apocalypse Gate: Book 1- Rapture (Dec. 2nd, 2017)
-Both NSFW Author's edition and PG 16 edition.
The Land: Predators (Chaos Seeds: Book 7) (Dec. 3rd, 2017)
The Twilight Obelisk (Mirror World Book #4) (Dec. 4th, 2017)
The Starry Skies of Darkaan (Realm of Arkon Book 6) (Dec. 4th, 2017)
Emerilia Book 11 (Dec. 5th, 2017)
Desert Storm (Puatera Online Book 3) (Dec. 13th, 2017)
A Trap for the Potentate (The Dark Herbalist Book #3) LitRPG series (Jan.17th, 2017)
The Reapers (The Neuro Book #3) LitRPG Series (Jan. 24th, 2018)
Onto New Releases and Reviews
(Play Music 3)
New Releases and Reviews
The Actuator: The Last Key: A LitRPG Adventure
The Actuator, a machine capable of literally changing reality, was created to make a utopian paradise. Before it happened, a saboteur used it to transform the world into patches of every kind of genre fiction, scattering the keys necessary to put it back across the globe. Everyone alive found their lives radically altered, some living in fantasy realms with real magic and others in incomprehensible horrors. Thrown into chaos, people struggled against aliens, pirates, orcs, and vampires. Many died. Only a handful of people on the planet, called Machine Monks, even knew why it happened or how. Now they have to put it all back before humanity is destroyed.
Continuing their quest for the Actuator keys, the Machine Monks realize their cause is becoming hopeless. An army of half-machine men is rapidly spreading over the face of the earth, converting anybody they don’t kill to their cause. With superior numbers and technology, their leader will not stop until every living human is subdued and loyal to him.
Keeping the first key with him, preventing anybody from using the Actuator to change the world, the sociopath rampages. Even if they could get all the keys, the small group opposing the tyrant don’t know what to do when they get to the final one—a key they’ve never seen before. If they don’t find the answers fast, the world will be lost.
My Opinion: 368 pages, $5.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Once again for some reason the author or publisher in this series wants to tag their story as LitRPG. It is not. It seems like a blatant attempt to cash in on a hot market. The 1st book in the series was written in 2013 and when I first read it a couple years ago it had no ties to LitRPG. All the titles in the series were renamed on Amazon to include LitRPG.
The writing is not bad and the story is decent. It has the main character traveling through different lands that sometimes vaguely resemble parts of games or genre fiction. But there are no RPG mechanics in the series. Which means it's not LitRPG and it's disingenuous to say it is again and again just to try and get people pick up your story.
Score: 4 out of 10.
The Conduit: Book One: Epic Online
Alex Collins steps into a brand-new virtual reality world, Epic Online. There he meets allies and enemies, gains power, and has his ass handed to him a few times.
This is the author's take on the emergent genre, LitRPG. For those familiar with the genre, this novel incorporates village building, leveling, spellcasting, statistics, crafting, and other elements one might find in an RPG game. I try to keep things moving at a brisk pace, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!
My Opinion: 166 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
There are two well developed and interesting parts of this novel.
The first is the technology behind the ability to fully immerse someone in a game, the conduit. It’s well described, seems scientifically plausible, and even takes into account possible social stigma for getting an elective surgery to play games. Nice.
The second well done bit is the magic system the author created for the main character (MC). It uses a language like system that has core words and modifiers that change spell effects. I enjoyed seeing what the next magic word the MC learned was and how he used it.
Unfortunately, beyond those to two things the rest of the story feels very undeveloped. Only one character felt like they had personality, everyone else was a bit flat and had no background to inform who they were.
The RPG game mechanics existed but had little detail. There are levels, but they seemed to be handed out after every fight the MC had. There aren’t small informational details like XP notifications, damage notifications, monster/player health. Not that those details are needed for the story to be litRPG, but those small things show relative strength between opponents and give that sense of progression in a game system.
There’s also an attempt at town building in the story but it felt forced and out of place. The MC helps save a tent community from orcs and within a few sentences is suddenly just in charge of the village. Except there’s no text or game notification saying he was giving ownership of the village. Nor was there some village meeting where the NPCs decided to put him in charge. One paragraph he’s saving them, the next he’s upgrading buildings and scouts are reporting to him like he’s in charge. There just wasn’t development for the situation.
It’s the same with much of the story, event’s occur without any real setup. Player refugees appear and are just apart of the story suddenly even though no detail about where they come from is given. I get that it’s a setup for later twists in the story but the lack of development or setup for it makes it feel awkward.
Even though the story takes an interesting sci fi twist near the end it doesn’t do much for the story. A lot of the story just wasn’t interesting for me because nothing felt important or developed. This isn’t a bad story, it has good potential but much of it felt flat to me, especially the game mechanics.
The scifi end, the tech, and the magic system keep the story from being ‘meh’ but it’s not enough to bring it to a ‘good story’ score.
Score: 6 out 10
Bloody Crucible: Lone Wolf (LITRPG Series)
Richard 'Wolf' Mikall was a member of the US Special forces. The key term is 'was'. When his last mission to stop and destroy a new type of weapon goes awry he finds himself in a new world. Forced into a new world reminiscent of a video game he often played with his team, he must decide what he will do. Gods, factions, an Empire hunting him. Who, why, where, and how he decides to fight will determine his fate while the scars of the past continue to plague him.
My Opinion: 315 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Ok. Right off the bat, this story just doesn’t know what it wants to be and that becomes very boring. The game mechanics are detailed but later you can tell the author decided to change them.
Overall, those things just made the story unentertaining for me and I lost interest. For more specific details continue to read.
The first 8% of this novel is almost future military fiction with the main character (MC) fighting in a far flung future where the US is at war with China for the 2nd time. It doesn’t have any RPG stuff. Even if the author was trying to let it serve as backstory, it genuinely doesn’t matter since it turns into portal fiction LitRPG when the MC, Wolf, is transported to a new world because of some weapon and he never returns to our world.
At the 9% mark, the MC is in this character creation plane where he has to make an avatar to enter this new world that has RPG mechanics. Till the 17% mark, this is a survivalist story where the MC is figuring out how the world and the game mechanics in the world work. He’s also crafting tools, making shelter, fighting beasts in the forest for XP, trapping.
At the 17% point, it shifts into this quest to stop slavers from taking a town. The MC kills the entire army in this Rambo style, gorilla tactics, battle.
At the 23% mark it shifts again to helping a 50,000 year old woman reconnect with her people and some vague quest to get her to a temple.
At the 38% mark, the author suddenly retcons the story and introduces gods claiming they brought the MC to the world.
At the 54% mark, out of the blue, the author completely abandons that entire storyline and just seems to want to start over and the MC gets branded a traitor, murderer, and spy then kicked out of the village he saved. From there it’s just him killing things.
Near the end of the story the author even seems to abandon the MCs perspective and shifts to other character’s point of views, introducing new characters right before the story ends.
As far as the game mechanics go, for the most part they’re detailed. But they change as the author realizes that he’d limited himself with how they were originally setup. At the beginning of the story it’s very clearly stated that the only way to improve stats or skills was through use of stat points and skill points that are gained by leveling. Then later (at the 30% and 50% mark), the author introduces ‘Progressive’ skills/magic that improve with use and ‘Conditioning’ which lets stats be improved with training suddenly. Not a big thing really but it again reflects that this story just went its own way, even if that way contradicts what happened previously.
Overall, the story just didn’t know what it wanted to be and I got bored with it when the author abandoned the only big quest in the story. I still finished it but it was a slog.
Score: 5 out of 10
The Airship: A Futuristic Dungeon Core (The Laboratory Book 2)
The core has been transferred to an airship crashed deep on the Rim. There Emma and Anna will encounter feuding factions, terrifying monstrosities and new powered foes in need of becoming research experiments. With a badly damaged vessel they must steal, scavenge, and fight for what they need to upgrade to survive.
More upgrades, more insults, more SCIENCE.
My Opinion: 235 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
This is a fun ride. It has all the dungeon expansion, research, and action of the first novel. Only now it’s set on a flying ship so E.M.M.A, the main character (MC), now gets to explore the larger galaxy. There’s also new characters for the MC to experiment on and learn from. My favorite being Amy, who gets three personalities for the price one.
The only thing that might bother some people is the story swerve at the 90% mark. For some reason the author decided to drop the main storyline and put the characters in a RTS resource management mini game. It’s something that you saw a lot in the author’s Crucible Shard series. These little mini adventures that incorporate some new game system into the RPG story. You’ll either find it annoying or you’ll like it. I liked it but I’m weird.
The end is also left pretty open. So if you’re looking for a novel with a definite resolution to it’s plot, this is not that story.
Overall, this novel is an RPG adventure story. Don’t expect more and you’ll have a good time. I did.
Score: 7 out of 10.
Viridian Gate Online: Imperial Legion (The Viridian Gate Archives Book 4)
The Imperial Legion marches, and war looms on the horizon ...
Jack Mitchel and his misfit crew of rebels never wanted a fight with the Empire, but the time for diplomacy has passed.
Ruthless tech-genius Robert Osmark is coming, and trailing behind him is a vast army determined to wipe the Crimson Alliance from the face of Eldgard. Impossibly, Jack has united the warring Murk Elf clans under his banner, but even with their aid, the Alliance is still badly outnumbered, and Osmark has some nasty tricks up his sleeves.
And while the long-awaited battle unfolds, an ancient evil stirs in the heart of Viridian Gate Online—one that will change the game forever.
My Opinion: 400 pages?, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Yaaay. Book 4 is out. I have to say I think this one is the best in the series. That’s partially due to the fact that I understand more about the villain in the series, Osmark. The side story, The Artificer, tells Osmark’s origin story. So now he isn’t just this megalomaniac bond villian to me anymore. He has depth I can almost empathise with.
Additionally, there are great new characters that I instantly loved. Jay Taylor becomes a character to my unending amusement. But my favorite new character is Joseph the Gravemonger. I won’t spoil who he is exactly but I suspect his inclusion will lead to another cool side story with different game mechanics than VGO.
There’s still all the RPG action and adventure you’ve come to expect from the series and new bad guys too. But some of the mechanics in the story are also changing, which I’m on the fence about. Still, a good action packed story with plenty of nice surprises.
Score: 7 out of 10
That’s it everyone!
You can follow us on
If you enjoy the podcast and want to support us you can also find all the other ways to support the podcast at www.litrpgpodcast.com/support
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