LitRPG Podcast 092



LitRPG Podcast 092


Jan. 19th, 2018


Hello everyone, welcome to episode 92 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 7 new LitRPG reviews for you.


New Releases and Reviews:


War God's Mantle: Ascension: A litRPG Adventure (The War God Saga Book 1) (17:02)

Aetheria Offline: A LITRPG Saga (26:49)

Down She Falls: A Lit-RPG (The World Ingot Series Book 1) (39:30)

Dungeon Crisis: A LitRPG Dungeon Core Adventure (Glendaria Awakens Trilogy Book 2) (50:40)

Soul Reckoning: A LitRPG Adventure (Veilwalkers Book 2) (54:14)

Headshot: Two in the Head (Book 2 of a Zombie litRPG Trilogy) (52:54)

A Trap for the Potentate (The Dark Herbalist Book #3) LitRPG series (01:04:20)



(Play Music 2)


LitRPG News



A big congratulations to Dakota Krout. The audiobook version of his novel Dungeon Born made it to the top 5 of Audible’s Fantasy Audiobooks! CONGRATULATIONS BUDDY!!



Luke Chmilenko, author of the Ascend Online series, and his latest novel Legacy of the Fallen (Ascend Online Book 2) is doing great and is currently in the 100s on Amazon Best Seller ranks.


He is also doing an AMA on the LitRPG subreddit. It will be Jan. 20th at 1pm. You can go there now though and write questions on the thread.  



Vasily Mahanenko, author of the Way of the Shaman series, Galacticon, and The Dark Paladin series, has written his 2nd article on “how to write LitRPG.” The title of this article is “Game mechanics. Part 2. Designing a fantasy game world.” It gives some great world building advice that is specifically tailored to creating a believable LitRPG world.



Every year at Dragon Con, a convention in Atlanta, there are given The Dragon Awards. This is a completely fan driven award. Fans nominate and vote for their favorite authors. No fee or membership is needed. You just register, confirm your email and nominate the authors you love.


A number of LitRPG authors will be at Dragon Con this year. So, go nominate your favorite authors. Pay special attention to the rules and that you can only nominate a book in one category.


Out Now!  



Devils Demons and Dead Men: A LitRPG Thriller (Kings and Conquests Book 1)



Fragged 7 (Fragged (A LitRPG Short Story Series))

(Not reviewing, the last few entries haven’t been LitRPG)


New LitRPG Audiobooks  



The Way of the Clan 3



The Weirdest Noob

Our review of the ebook:



A Slave in the Locked Lands: LitRPG

Our review of the ebook version:



For the Guild: Emerilia, Book 3

Our review of the ebook version:



Hellions: Sigil Online, Book 2

Our review of the ebook version:

(Play sample)



Project Alpha

(Play Sample)

(Full disclosure: The novel was written by the host of the LitRPG Podcast)


Upcoming LitRPG:



The District: A Futuristic Dungeon Core (The Laboratory Book 3) (Jan. 19th, 2018)



Different Sides (Epic LitRPG Adventure - Book 7) (Fayroll) (Jan. 22nd, 2018)



The Reapers (The Neuro Book #3) LitRPG Series (Jan. 24th, 2018)



Return to Dungeon: A Monster MC LitRPG (Kobold's Quest Book 1) (Jan. 30th, 2018)


**Darkness Fallen - Greystone Chronicles book 3 (Jan. 31, 2018)**



Bushido Online: Friends and Foes: A LitRPG Saga (Feb. 1st, 2018)



Kingdom Level Four: LitRPG (Feb. 28th, 2018)



Clan Wars (Way of the Shaman book 7) (Feb. 2018)



Restart (Dark Paladin Book #3) LitRPG Series ( March 6, 2018)



Avatars Rising: SILOS I (March 12th, 2018)



Akillia's Reign (Puatera Online Book 4) (March 16th, 2018)


Onto New Releases and Reviews


(Play Music 3)


New Releases and Reviews


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War God's Mantle: Ascension: A litRPG Adventure (The War God Saga Book 1)


The gods walk again …


When Marine Corps pilot Jacob Merely crashes during a routine mission off the coast of Cyprus, he was sure it was game over.


After surviving the crash and pulling himself onto the sandy shores of a long-abandoned island, however, Jacob unwittingly stumbles headfirst into the ancient ruins of a dead city. Unfortunately, he also stumbles into an age-old battle between good and evil—and he is now its newest recruit.


The island once belonged to the Amazons, daughters of Ares, the God of War, and stood as the final bastion between the human world and the monstrosities of the Great Below. But Jacob’s arrival has awakened the old gods and disturbed the seal holding the ravaging darkness at bay.


Now, with the help of a sacred gem containing Ares’ power, Jacob must recreate the Amazonian defenders of humanity and fortify the island stronghold. And if he fails, Hades will unleash his army of the damned and the world of men will fall, giving rise to an age of walking nightmares.


My Opinion: 345 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited


The first 14% of the story is a little rough. It’s very military action oriented but once you get past that and into the RPG game mechanic stuff, the novel really picks up. The novel then starts to feel like a mix of the Wrath of the Titans (1981), Wonder Woman, God of War, and a good RTS game.


This greek mythology themed LitRPG story tries to balance an action adventure story with city building, RPG leveling, crafting, and resource management.


There are great battles between Amazonian women against monsters sent by Hades himself with the stakes being no less than mankind's survival. The action combat is definitely a highlight of the novel.


The RPG leveling of the main character is detailed. There are multiple graphics devoted to showing the three skill trees that are available to the main character (MC) and there are multiple other game mechanic options to show progression for him and the Amazonians. The only tiny complaint here would be that some of the levels seem to come a bit easy for the MC. But that may be because, outside the few character sheets, no XP is shown gained for killing monsters, crafting, or completing quests. That lack of detail in the narrative, along with no levels for monsters, is a missed chance to tell the reader how powerful/difficult the monsters are relative to the MC who has a level.


The RTS aspects, like creating Amazonians, repairing and upgrading buildings, crafting weapons, and collecting and managing special resources is a nice addition to the story. It provides a great break from the action and adds another layer of interest for litRPG readers. Though, again, occasionally there are a lack of consistency in this resource management. Sometimes the resources used are detailed in clear numbers. Making an Amazonian general for example, costs 3-4 divine essence points. On another occasion, the MC magically plants and grows multiple fields of crops, and summons herds of cows and chickens, all for the vaguely defined cost of ‘some divine essence and a splash of Thymos Crystals’.


These tiny inconsistencies don’t take away much, if anything, from the enjoyment of the story and are likely just a result of two authors combining their work. But it does reflect the less RPG gameness, especially in the combat scenes, of this story compared to Viridian Gate Online.


Still, this is a good story with plenty of numbers and detailed information to satisfy most LitRPG fans. The action, though less game mechanic detailed, is fast paced and thrilling. Especially the last 15% of the story. Woah, those battles are great and a bit over the top in a God of War kind of way.


Overall, I had a good time reading the story and personally loved the Mountain Dew jokes.


Score: 7 out of 10

War God's Mantle: Ascension: A litRPG Adventure (The War God Saga Book 1)


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Aetheria Offline: A LITRPG Saga


The Aetheria server has come to life!

Join the Lost Legion and the Knights of Aetheria as they wage war against the forces of the Unseeing.


With each installment, one reader will be selected to join an ever growing character cast. They must create their own character, whose progress will be tracked throughout the story with a character sheet. Such characters are not entirely under the control of the author; the author will ensure that each reader's character behaves according to settings provided by the readers, as well as feedback provided in further reviews.


Readers who are part of the cast will be given the opportunity to vote on important decisions such as the direction of the story and what quests to pursue. In other words, the story is not set in stone.


My Opinion: 138 pages, $0.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited


The Author has over 30 Minecraft based game stories that target the 7-12 year old age groups.  The author claims to have been writing stories with RPG elements for years but this is the first title that I could find tagged as LitRPG.


A unique aspect to the story is its ‘interactiveness’.


With each installment, one reader will be selected to join an ever growing character cast. They must create their own character, whose progress will be tracked throughout the story with a character sheet. Such characters are not entirely under the control of the author; the author will ensure that each reader's character behaves according to settings provided by the readers, as well as feedback provided in further reviews.


Readers are supposed to submit their characters as reviews of the story on Amazon and then they can help determine the course of the story on a special Discord channel.


This artificially inflates the review count.


So the author takes characters and story ideas given by readers and incorporates them into their own work. Some reviewers accuse the author of stealing these kid’s ideas and characters but reading the reviews where kids submit their characters, they seem happy to do it.


The actual novel is six short stories that are loosely related and marginally LitRPG. There story takes place in Minecraft, a game, there are things like levels, abilities, and character sheets but there’s no actual RPG progression. But that’s sort of the nature of stories that are sometimes only a couple pages long.


There’s a lot of information thrown at the reader that likely relates to a specific Minecraft reference but it’s never explained. For example, the first story for Elric notes he’s a Knight 10/Initiate of Eight Winds 10/ Wayward Swordsman 3/ Purifier 15/ Retainer of Icehollow 6/ Disciple of the Silver Flame 15/ Twilight Shepard 1. Only there’s no explanation of what any of those classes mean or do.


The stories themselves are sort of boring. At least for me, a grown up. The story is very clearly geared towards 7-11 year olds and it may be more entertaining to someone who loves minecraft. For me, most of the stories fell flat. There’s rarely setup for plot or foreshadowing. Characters have no background so it’s hard to care for them.  Also, most of the stories just describe stuff happening and nothing else.


1-21% Elric. Just a combat scene with very loose and unexplained backstory. Fight between Elric and Underlord.


22- 27 % Kolb (Player) who dates an NPC. They eat pizza together a rare item that has to be crafted while the method is lost to players. (Actually kind of cute)


28- 41% Faolan (NPC), magician and humanoid wolf. Tries to cure the Mayor of a level 25 poison. When a player looking for a secret quest interrupts, things get crafty. (Cute actually)


42-46 % Becca (Player) supposed to unlock a black box. (Really that’s it)


47- 55 % Kae (Player) provides a key for the box. They get some items. (Yup, that’s it again)


56- 63 % Rubinia (Player) gives out enchantments.


63-70% Cobalt. Conversation with a noob player new to the guild. Introduce several players with character sheets.


71-81% Author explaining the rules of the story game and how reviewers can get a character added to the novel in future versions.


81-100% Glossary of items.


Overall, an interesting experiment on collaborative storytelling. Except the part where the author keeps all the money from sales. Also, note that a good 30% of the novel is just the author explaining the rules for submitting characters and stories to readers. The nature of the stories themselves and the vaguely exploitive way the author is coming up with the stories left me not liking the product.


*Note: The author has sent me a couple messages saying he thinks the review is unfair. Beyond arguing about semantics, he was upset I didn't talk about his prose and that he disagrees with the use of the word exploitive in the review.

-The way the story is written doesn’t matter to me if the story is not entertaining.

-The author actively solicits characters and story ideas from kids, writes this novel using those characters and ideas but keeps all the money.  Yup exploitive.*


Score: 4 out of 10.

Aetheria Offline: A LITRPG Saga


(Picture 3)

Down She Falls: A Lit-RPG (The World Ingot Series Book 1)


Solace Online, a game world where the rich excel and the poor are tasked with proving themselves. On the outside it may seem like an escape from life in the Stations, giant skyscrapers that loom above the landfills suffocating Earth. Unfortunately, a system defined by class exists in both realities. Deaun, a girl from the bottom rung, must prove herself not only in Solace Online but also in the Stations. Mydon, a boy from the top tier, will do all he can to stay under the radar; especially a particular person's. The emergence of a Quest Chain will affect both sides; Solace Online and the Stations will have their hopes resting on a small group of Players. Will the Players be able to prove themselves?

Welcome to Solace Online, where realities collide and quests are king!


My Opinion: 212 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited


This is multi narrative story that switches between characters every few pages. It’s hard to invest in some of the character when you spend so little time with them at any one section.


The stand out character is of course the one on the cover, Deaun. She’s really the only one, besides the squirrel, that I even mildly liked. She’s from the slums and is unjustly imprisoned inside a VR game but thanks to a weird quirk doesn’t become a monster that rich players kill repeatedly. Instead, she’d dropped off somewhere else and has a chance to level, craft, and be drawn into a big plot.


That’s sort of the only good thing about the novel. Everything else is pretty bland. Not bad or anything but not particularly interesting either.


The real world is described in the first 10% of the novel as this dystopian colony where everything has been stratified. Tech, wealth, resources, and power. The only way to move up in society is to do well playing the VR game Solace Online. Only the folks at the bottom, who literally live in trash, never get a shot at getting the expensive VR gear needed to play. Except when they break the law or even just annoy a guard. Then they’re thrown into a VR world as monsters for players to kill, feeling every wound and death.


Honestly, that description I just wrote is much clearer and more understandable than the entire first 10% of the novel. It’s honestly a bit of a mess. On the technical side, the writing is awkward and there’s a constant mix of present and past tenses.


Some early examples,


“The people that went against the Enforcers and are succumbed to this are called the Helmed…”

“Not even one of them is without their gas-mask on.”

“Their stomachs grumble as they sprint down the spiral staircase, a wrapping of DNA.”


The writing improves as the novel gets to the game world and the descriptions become simpler and more fantasy based. However,  there were still awkward moments where I was left scratching my head wondering what the author meant.


Something that doesn’t improve much as the novel goes on is the logic of the story and game system. The explanation for divided social and economic systems aren’t well described nor is much of the plot to get three of the characters in game as criminals. A lot of the plot generally devolves into wand waving as a way to move the plot forward. For example, three characters are dropped into VR as prisoners. How did they get there? Guards found them. Why were they imprisoned? No reason. How did the guards find them? No explanation. It just happened because the plot needed them trapped in the game.


The game system itself doesn’t follow a logical path. Yes, it’s an RPG system that uses stats, character sheets, skills, items, etc. Yes, it’s LitRPG. The characters level and increase in power. However, the fundamental logic of some of the things the characters do just doesn’t make sense. For example, at level 1, Deaun is dropped in an area described as ‘a high level monster area’. Yet, she’s able to kill multiple wildlife including a baby cub, rabbits, squirrels, and cats with little trouble. Not a particular problem except her stats for most of this are set at 1 or 2 each and these creatures are supposed to be high level. Another easy math example of this lack of logic is that during this same kill fest, she gets a variety of XP rewards, yet no matter what she kills or the XP, she always levels. 200XP = level, 75 XP=level, 75 XP=level, 150 XP = level, 150 XP = level.


It’s very clear from the skill descriptions, item descriptions, crafting system, and character sheets that the author took a lot of time to make a RPG system for the story. It's equally clear that it’s thrown to the side when the author wants the plot to go a certain way. And there are multiple more examples of this kind of wand waving with the story itself. Whether it’s a character magically discovering a needed clue or a unique ability, there’s no logical justification for many events. Except that’s what the story needs to move forward.


Overall, between the early problems with the writing, the lack of logic throughout the story, and lack of connection to most of the characters, I was never invested in the story. Some places were fun and interesting. I’m always a sucker for crafting. But most of the story was not entertaining for me and the lack of logical explanations in some places was genuinely frustrating.


Score: 5 out of 10.

Down She Falls: A Lit-RPG (The World Ingot Series Book 1)


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Dungeon Crisis: A LitRPG Dungeon Core Adventure (Glendaria Awakens Trilogy Book 2)


When Krista and Devin first started playing Glendaria Awakens, they had no idea that they would end up in charge of operating a dungeon. Now, after leveling up, they have a crisis on their hands.


A new item, a Dungeon Core, is now the target of every guild in the game. If the Core is stolen and kept away for a length of time, they will cease to exist. Devin must find enough powerful monsters to put into the dungeon while Krista has to build the perfect floor to keep them away from their only hope of surviving.


All of this and they have to try to co-exist with their new guardian.


My Opinion: 157 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited


This is a dungeon master story. The two people trapped in the game must use their skills to build and run a dungeon  and defeat the hordes of players looking to take their dungeon core.


The first half of the novel is completely preparation as Krista and Devin create new dungeon levels, plan out new traps, lure in monsters, and experiment with new monster placements and monster hybrid creations. Lots of cool dungeon building stuff.


The last half of the novel is the dungeon being run by a variety groups with a various degrees of success.


There’s a love triangle thing going on between the two trapped people who grew up together and the newly released guardian, a hot chesty witch with a major case of crazy. However, other than that variation there’s not much more to the novel.


If you like dungeon master stories, this is a fun read.


Score: 7 out of 10

Dungeon Crisis: A LitRPG Dungeon Core Adventure (Glendaria Awakens Trilogy Book 2)


(Picture 5)

Soul Reckoning: A LitRPG Adventure (Veilwalkers Book 2)


Winston Beckett is a man of two worlds. There’s the one he lives in, and the parallel game universe called The Veil.


His adventure is far from over.


When remnants of The Veil start leaking into everyday life and causing universe-rending Tears, Winston may be the only one that can save Earth. But can he rescue his friends and stop the Tears before it’s too late?


Join Winston as he solves new mysteries, makes new friends, and fights for the very existence of both the game world…and their own.


My Opinion: 270 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited


In book 2, our hero Winston/Cael sees his friend Laurie kidnapped by a monster and taken through a rift into the Veil. The story shifts between both characters as it moves forward. Laurie is forced into a gnome character and has to figure out where she is and how to survive. Winston/Cael magically finds some other way into the world and looks for his friend. Together they have to figure out why The Veil is acting so weird and stop whatever The Author has planned for them.




My biggest issue with book 1 was that the hero never felt like he earned anything. Everything seemed handed to him. Including his power and the advancements of the plot.


Some of that still exists in book 2 but there’s less of it. There are still a couple of groan inducing moments where the story seems stuck and then someone just happens to find the magic clue that tells them what’s really happening, thus advancing the plot.


The single biggest and most welcomed improvement in book 2 is that the hero can and does fail in the story. There are several instances where Winston/Cael just flat out fails a quest and in one case it’s kind of a sad loss. But it also makes the story more interesting. It informs the reader that the hero may fail the big quest to save the world, and that adds stakes.


The ending of the story has a nice puzzle dungeon dive aspect which was a nice break from the fights with the one kind of monster in the story.


Overall, the improvement in the story makes up for the some of the flaws and I had a good time. I was especially happy to see Tris, who’s short story i really like.


Score: 7 out of 10

Soul Reckoning: A LitRPG Adventure (Veilwalkers Book 2)


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Headshot: Two in the Head (Book 2 of a Zombie litRPG Trilogy)


Last week was equal parts action-packed thrill ride and waking nightmare. Ryan's plan to save himself from the server wipe may have succeeded, but at what cost. He's willing to sacrifice a lot to get even with the people that betrayed him, but when a larger, darker and far more complicated world opens up before him, will he make his own destiny or frantically attempt to log out for the final time?


And once he decides, what happens when he isn't in control either way?


My Opinion: 308 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited


This is a very different story from book 1. Readers are either going to really like the changes or not.


The Game:


This is not the same zombie MMO story you read about in book 1. In book 2, the main character (MC) from book 1, Ryan is stuck as a ghost who follows an antagonist character from book 1, Sasha. This novel is mostly about her. It’s more introspective and much less combat oriented than the zombie action fest of book 1.


As a matter of fact, you don’t see a zombie for the majority of this story. Instead, it takes place on Survivor Sunday, a day where all the zombies are kicked off the server and the human survivors get a chance to grind skills, gather resources, and prepare for when the zombie return. There’s PVP and the human survivors can kill each other but permadeath is turned off for the day too.


The game mechanics of the story are also completely different because they’re from the human survivor side. The mechanics are a combination of stuff from Fallout and Elder Scrolls. During character creation the survivors get to choose characteristics that give bonuses to particular skills, they can choose classes that give them a set of initial skills, there are stats, and all the normal RPG stuff. However, there are no levels. Instead, everything has a skill based percentage to succeed or fail. These skills can be increased from practice or by reading special books. All items either have to be found through salvage or crafted if a character has the skills.


So, lots of good new game mechanics.


The Story:


If  you’ve seen the movie Ghost (1990) the main character takes a Patrick Swayze kind of role as a ghost that can not interact with the physical world but is instead forced to passively watch Sasha as she creates her latest survivor character. For most of the story, the MC narrates and gives the reader insight into her thinking and gives glimpses of her past. The story is really about Sasha as she plays the game, tries to deal with traumas from her past, deal with loss, and take her revenge on the game company that wronged her.


Outside of the end of the novel, there are only a handful of action scenes in the story. Instead the novel focuses on the survival aspects of game for humans. Scurrying around scavenging for resources. Finding a safe place to practice skills. Trying to avoid PVP players who want to take what you have. There’s also the thread for Sasha of finding ways to hurt the game company and the company's counter moves. There also lots of introspective moments where the MC gets glimpses into Sasha’s thinking and even gets glimpses into her past. It’s a lot of character development.


Overall, I enjoyed the story. However, because it’s so different from what book 1 presented, not everyone will. Folks that can appreciate a slower, introspective story with less action and almost none of the zombie stuff from book 1 will like this. Anyone expecting the same zombie MMO stuff from book 1 will be disappointed.


Score: 7 out of 10.

Headshot: Two in the Head (Book 2 of a Zombie litRPG Trilogy)


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A Trap for the Potentate (The Dark Herbalist Book #3) LitRPG series


The great hunt is over. In the end, Timothy managed to keep his invaluable prize. A victory? Perhaps. But glory and adrenaline are very powerful narcotics, and tolerance builds quickly. Once deprived of them, life immediately becomes gray and bleak. What’s more, his beautiful lover (to be more accurate, both of them) is beginning to transparently hint that she could find herself a more interesting beau.


What is a talented player to do in this case? The solution suggests itself: rush headlong into the most dangerous adventures, taking risks and walking the blade of a knife. Timothy must do everything in his power to survive in places where making a clean escape is entirely impossible, delighting the viewers with his utterly unique playing style and proving decisively to his lady (to be more accurate both of them), that his previous success was no mere coincidence.


Will it be hard?




But old reliable friends are still by his side, and that means victory is possible!


My Opinion: 291 pages, $5.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited


All I have to say is, “Woah!”. This is easily the best novel in the series so far.


Book 1 in the series felt fresh and interesting with it’s non-human main character and unusual combination of class as an herbalist. The main character (MC) was forced to think and solve problems in a very unique way. He needed allies to help shore up his deficiencies and it was that clever problem solving that made him a unique character.


Book 2 felt like it drifted away from that a little and focused more on straight combat and action. Not bad but not what I loved about book 1.


Book 3 returns to those great out of the box problem solving skills and outside of a few large battles there’s almost no combat in the story. Instead, each problem or plot thread is resolved in other creative ways. I really loved seeing our goblin hero figure out the solutions to problems, whether they be IRL or in game.


I won’t spoil any of the great plot twists in the story (there are some really good ones) but there were multiple instances where I ended up saying to myself, “Oh, that’s cool! I didn’t see things going that way.”


There are a couple places where there’s some magic wand waving to move the plot in a specific direction but the resulting stories were so interesting I didn’t mind.


Overall, a great read. Even if you didn’t pick up book 2 in the series you can still read book 3. It does a good job of recapping things.


Score: 8 out of 10

A Trap for the Potentate (The Dark Herbalist Book #3) LitRPG series


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Music Credits

"Blip Stream" "Mighty Like Us" "Big Shift" "Vivacity"

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