LitRPG Podcast 102
LitRPG Podcast 102
March 16th, 2018
Hello everyone, welcome to episode 102 of the LitRPG podcast.
I’m Ramon Mejia. I’m here to bring you the latest LitRPG news, reviews, and author interviews. I have 11 new reviews just for you.
New Releases and Reviews:
Dead Man Gaming: A LitRPG Series (25:00)
(Play Music 2)
Episode 101 - An author interview with Dakota Krout about his novel.
Perma-Death Online: A LitRPG adventure: Book 2 (March 15, 2018)
Came out mid February but I never saw it in my LitRPG amazon searches. Only noticed it as a recommend.
-Some series sexual themes in this one according to the authors disclaimer. Currently #1 in Fantasy Erotica.
New LitRPG Audiobooks
Our review of the ebook version: http://litrpgpodcast.com/litrpg-database/2018/3/15/fizzlesprocket-everybody-loves-large-chests-vol2
Our review of the ebook version: http://litrpgpodcast.com/litrpg-database/2018/1/17/a-trap-for-the-potentate-the-dark-herbalist-book-3-litrpg-series
Our review of the ebook version: http://litrpgpodcast.com/litrpg-database/2017/10/6/on-the-lost-continent-altergame-book-2-litrpg-series
Akillia's Reign (Puatera Online Book 4) (March 16th, 2018)
Warden Nova Online (March 19th, 2018)
*Publisher Portal, founded recently by Taran Matharu, author of the Summoner series. *
Ghost in the Game (Dream State Saga book 3) (March 19th)
I’ll be talking to Christopher Keene this weekend for an author interview.
The Land of the Undying (Dark Elf Chronicles Book 1) (March 30th, 2018)
Betrayal: A LitRPG Adventure (Monsters, Maces and Magic Book 2) (April 4th, 2018)
Absalom’s Fate: A LitRPG Quest (The Everlands: Book 1) (April 10th, 2018)
Countdown (Reality Benders Book #1) LitRPG Series (April 23, 2018)
Blind Gambit: A GameLit LitRPG novel (May 10, 2018)
World of Karik 2: (The First Crusade) The LitRPG series (May 17th, 2018)
God Mode (AlterGame Book #3) LitRPG Series (May 24th, 2018)
Kingdom Level Five: LitRPG (May 27th, 2018)
The Dead Rogue (An NPC's Path Book #1) LitRPG Series (May 30th, 2018)
Onto New Releases and Reviews
(Play Music 3)
New Releases and Reviews
Jerry, God of Morn'a Doon: A LitRPG Adventure (Hellraisers of Morn'a Doon Book 1)
Death had changed.
Dying used to be simple and straightforward, with your avatar crumpling to the ground, trembling a few times, then expiring, often with an arm across the forehead. It was clean and basic, and you spawned back at your binding point immediately and did a corpse run to pick up your gear.
This, though –
This was pretty sick.
My Opinion: About 30 pages, $0.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
A complete waste of time. Not LitRPG, though it is set in a game world. But it’s basically two jerks that hurt other players and NPCs complaining that they can’t log out suddenly.
Score: 4 out of 10
Fizzlesprocket: Everybody Loves Large Chests (Vol.2)
Things are not well within the Lodrak Empire. An entire city goes up in smoke and ash, and an entire province is slowly being consumed by an ever-expanding cloud of death.
But while the humans rally to contain the fallout of this disaster, they are much quicker to pin the blame for it on their elven neighbors to the north. With centuries’ worth of strife and bad blood between the two nations flaring up, all out war is rapidly becoming an inevitability.
Powerful figures are already on the move. Some wish to unravel the mystery behind the dead city in order to bring the perpetrators to justice. Others are more than content enough to use this ‘act of terrorism’ as an excuse to further the Empire’s agenda. A select few are even planning on somehow turning this cataclysm into a weapon for the sake of their ambitions. The elves of the Ishigar Republic are hard at work undermining and sabotaging their old enemy while the international community watches the ongoing situation with a critical eye. Even the Gods themselves are closely monitoring the situation, ready to intervene should they deem it necessary.
However, though all these entities have different reasons and methods, they all have the same objective - to find the mastermind responsible for setting all this in motion.
The same ‘mastermind’ that is far too busy figuring out how wagons work to notice the world is stirring.
CONTENT WARNING: Profanity, gore, violence, explicit adult content
My Opinion: 306 pages, $3.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited
*Graphic sex at the beginning of the story. More cursing too.*
Again, this is a slice of life story where the protagonist is a monster. A mimic that in book 1 became self aware and absorbed class abilities, spells, and powers from the adventurers it ate. Now, it’s free of the dungeon it lived in, and is exploring the larger world.
The beginning part of this story is not my favorite. It’s a little aimless and is mostly just the MC killing and exploring his powers. Which is fine, but there’s also graphic and frankly brutal sex that just made this part unappealing to me.
The story in general only really gets interesting about the 38% mark, when the mimic MC goes into the big city and disguises himself as an adventurer. He goes on quests, earns loot, XP, and even learns some crafting skills. The story takes some rather interesting turns towards the end even develops something approaching a plot. I know, I was surprised too.
Overall, I liked the novel, but I was really turned off by the graphic sex. It fits in the nature of the demons that the MC summons but doesn’t work for me and I ended up skipping whole early sections just to avoid it.
Score: 7 out of 10
Threadbare Volume 3: The Right to Arm Bears
Threadbare has reunited with his little girl, even if it didn't go exactly like he'd hoped it would.
But war still rages through the kingdom, and the fluffy heroes must stop the tyrant king and restore peace to their home. Celia, Threadbare, and the rest of their allies must join the final resistance, to fight for the fate of everyone within Cylvania.
It's a daunting task. Fortunately, they're not alone. Doom comes for the tyrant king, on soft, fuzzy little feet...
The epic conclusion to the new litrpg saga!
My Opinion: 378 pages, $4.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited
I wanted to like this one as much as I did the first two novels in the series but just couldn’t. It’s not that anything really changes, there’s still all the skill gains from the most cuddly looking murder teddy bear golem and his crew. But I just couldn’t get into the premise of the novel, which is to beat the bad king and the conniving demon lady. I mean really, why? The focus in book 1 was an introduction to the world, the mechanics, and to set in motion the reason for the MC to continue gaining power, to save the little girl that owned him. Book 2, set something like 10 years later is the MC fulfilling that goal, which he does. So, if the teddy bear golem has accomplished his goal, getting his person back, why beat the bad king? Why not just leave and live somewhere else. They’re all golems that don’t eat or drink, so they could live in a far off desert or on a deserted mountain. Like I said, I just couldn’t get into the premise this time.
That doesn’t mean this story is bad. It’s still well written. It has plenty of RPG advancement, crafting, and fighting. It all just never landed this time with me.
Score: 6 out of 10
Dungeon Guild: A LitRPG Dungeon Core Adventure (Glendaria Awakens Trilogy Book 3)
The long-awaited conclusion to the Glendaria Awakens Trilogy!
After their Dungeon Core was stolen, Devin headed out of their dungeon, searching for those who had taken it. Initially confused on where it could be located, he followed a vague feeling in his chest toward a distant destination.
Finding help from a guild of players who also wanted to return the Core, they embark on a mission to reacquire and return it before time runs out.
My Opinion: 174 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
This is the conclusion to this series. It brings together many of the loose threads in the series. The romantic issues with the two main characters Devin and Krista, are figured out by the end of the story. The storyline with the dungeon core being stolen is ironed out by the 30% mark. After that it’s back to dungeon level making, monster mashing, and dungeon diving from other players. Much of the same stuff that the other two novels had. There is the introduction of a couple new aspects, 1) the ability to make a dungeon town above grounds adds a minor scene with town conquest, 2) That a guild sides with Devin and the dungeon brings expands the cast of characters making the story a little less lonely.
Overall, it was an ok story. Not bad, but nothing really new. It was definitely nice to see the romance come together but it’s still the same story with dungeon making and dungeon diving. Different monsters, and different divers, but basically the same.
Score: 6 out of 10
The Slaver: VirTim LitRPG Episode 2
In this VirTim LitRPG episode, Reyn and Mianne gain a new party member. They also meet a slaver named Airoc who takes a fancy to Mianne. And Reyn has a strange experience that might help him to understand a little more about what's going wrong with the virtual game world.
My Opinion: 31 pages, $0.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Ok. I was interested enough in episode 1 to give episode 2 a try but there’s really no advancement of the story. The story starts off with a new trio of players getting ambushed by a slaver who takes two of the girls. The guy feigns death, until he’s found by the characters from episode 1. There’s another hint that the game is going wrong and a couple of fights. That’s kind of it. Not enough to draw me into another episode unfortunately.
Score: 5 out of 10
Dead Man Gaming: A LitRPG Series
New LitRPG! Ex-safecracker Jimmy Stanislavsky was just trying to help an old friend stay alive when the FBI framed him. But rather than send Jimmy to prison, the Feds have an interesting offer: play the world's largest virtual reality video game MMORPG as an Undead Rogue. Infiltrate the Russian mafia, who have set up an in-game crime empire while masquerading as orcs. And do it all within three weeks.
Now Jimmy is racing against the clock - and the FBI's threats to put him behind bars for life. With the help of an elf, a druid, and a goblin he befriends in the game, he might just have a shot at completing the quest... or get killed by the Russian mob in real life.
He got framed to play the game.
My Opinion: 624 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
This story has one of the more silly premises I’ve read. A fresh out of jail safecracker is entrapped by the FBI and recruited to infiltrate the Russian Mafia, inside a fantasy VRMMO. Only this criminal seems like he’s never played a video game his entire life. The beginning of the novel is really quite frustrating and yet, somehow, it won me over and I had a good time reading the story.
The first 7% of the novel is this convoluted backstory about how the main character (MC), Jimmy, got into crime and how we went in and out of prison. A bunch of stuff that isn’t important to the story at all. All you need to know is that the day he gets released from a 6 year prison stint, the MC is convinced by his best friend to do one last job to save his little brother’s life. Instead, the MC is captured by the FBI and forced to do this virtual infiltration thing.
The next 30% of the story is a noob’s tale. In this game world, basically WOW focusing on the Undead race, the MC constantly asks question after question about every single gaming term, ability, concept, and action. It’s genuinely the most frustrating part of the story. It’s an accurate representation of the noob experience playing an MMO for the first time but there’s a really good reason why not everyone wants to shepard noobs around while playing games.
If you can get through this part, there’s actually a good story here. Once the MC hooks up with a group willing to put up with his questions and whining, then things gets interesting. The quests, combat, and world are well described. There’s loads of good group banter and ‘that’s what she said’ jokes. All the noob stuff gradually peters out until the 50% mark when the story returns to the actual premise and becomes a combination plan to infiltrate the Russian mob and a bank heist. Though don’t expect to see the actual heist stuff till the 80% mark.
The group dynamics, and humor (if it lands) in the story are it’s highlight. There’s really good character development as well. The action is good. Though the fundamental premise of the story doesn’t really make sense, somehow it works out. Though I’ll warn you there’s a huge cliffhanger that doesn’t make sense logically at the end of the story.
Overall, if you can get past all the noob question frustration, this is a good story. If you can’t ignore that stuff, then don’t pick up this novel, you might end up throwing your kindle across the room.
Score: 7 out of 10
Tales of the Gemsmith - Chapter 01: A LitRPG Adventure Series (Aldaron Worlds)
Could a Mere Crafter Be the World’s Savior?
All Dean Winters ever aspired to was to be left in peace and make a living of his passion as a jewelsmith.
Fresh out of College, he managed to open his shop to sell his creations and get a toehold in the business. But like most people who start out in life, the beginnings were rough and he had to struggle. Still, he wouldn’t want it any other way.
One evening, while he’s busy in his workshop, three men in balaclavas break in and he’s violently assaulted. That burglary will leave him crippled and traumatized. And after weeks of rehabilitation, he will finally have to accept that he’ll never again be able to use his fingers with enough dexterity to pursue this meticulous occupation.
Dean is devastated. What will he do with himself now?
In the unit where he’s treated, a glimmer of hope will emerge when he’ll be introduced to a virtual world that erases your limitations and where no dream is big or wild enough.
He will join Aldaron as a Mage Artificer and he will soon discover that, by drawing from his real life skills, he can progress through the levels much faster.
Going from one adventure to the other, Mage Winters will meet legendary players and formidable foes. But right when he thinks he’s found a new purpose, he will learn of the ominous danger that threatens everything he’s come to cherish, and that his peculiar skills might be the only hope to save them all.
My Opinion: 469 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
With a title like “Tales of the Gemsmith”, I picked this story up thinking it would be a crafting story. I mean the main character (MC) is a jeweler in real life and an artificer in game. However, I couldn’t have been more disappointed. In the entire 469 pages there are only a couple instances of any type of crafting.
Storywise, the entire thing feels forced. The MC gets his hand broken in a robbery and so he should use a VR game as physical therapy? Then once he’s in game, he gets an apprenticeship with a level 28 dwarf artificer who happens to die the next day and he inherited the dwarf’s entire lab and shop. Then the MC is suddenly swept along on a adventure to find the Rings of Power...sorry, I mean Ouroborax Crystals. I lost interest very quickly in the predictable and forced storyline.
Game mechanics wise, it’s a toss up. Much of the story is written like straight fantasy, with an occasional notification. Then in combat or the rare crafting scene, things get a bit more detailed. You see crafting skill trees, class skill trees, and loads of detail about spells and items. But that’s pretty rare in the novel. This a litRPG story. There’s levels gained, and other RPG mechanics but they often feel forced or unimportant. For example, at one point, when his dwarf mentor dies. The MC and him are facing two orcs. The mentor, level 28 bites the dust, but our hero, level 1, out of magic, beats both the monsters using only his starter quarterstaff. Then the MC jumps from level 1 to 5 after just crafting his first rings without out any training in how crafting works in the game. It just doesn’t make sense, and I quickly lose interest when I feel like the game stuff is just there for show and doesn’t actually matter to the story.
Overall, I was bored reading this. I liked the little crafting and RPG game details I read about but the MC comes off as whiny, cowardly, and unlikable. Yet, for the sake of character advancement he’s forced into a hero role where everything works out for him even though the math says it shouldn’t.
Score: 5 out of 10
Outpost: A LitRPG Adventure (Monsters, Maces and Magic Book 1)
Glenn, a college sophomore, has a Sociology 102 paper that requires spending time with an unfamiliar group or culture. Luckily, two hot girls from his class have the same idea: Attend the university’s game club to get reaction material for their papers.
A creepy game moderator shows up, ready to start a game of Monsters, Maces and Magic. Glenn doesn’t fret over the GM’s disturbing vibe, figuring it’ll lead to potential fodder for his paper.
Moments after rolling up his character and beginning the adventure, Glenn, his two classmates, and three other players are drawn into the game, literally. How and why they got trapped in the game, transformed into their RPG characters are important questions, sure. But simply surviving a world filled with horrific creatures, unknown magic, and perilous roads is first on the list.
My Opinion: 230 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full disclosure: I got an advanced copy of the novel for review. I purchased it when it became available.
This is one of the lightest RPG of any LitRPG novels I think I’ve ever read.
Essentially, the novel takes the same premise that Critical Failures does, a DM that transports the players to the game world, but leans more towards traditional fantasy. There’s an older series that isn’t LitRPG called Guardians of the Flame that this reminds me of that does something similar.
The game mechanics in the story are heavily front loaded. Before being transported to the game world, everyone sitting at the game table makes their characters and you get details about how stats, abilities, races, and classes work. Everyone describes their characters and what rolls they made and what they chose for their classes. After the 9% mark, the players are trapped in the game.
In the game world, there are no character sheets, no notifications, no item descriptions, no spell or ability descriptions from pop ups. Instead, additional game mechanics are explained by the players talking to each other or as someone thinking about them. The world and actions of the characters around the players are described strictly as fantasy. Though their behaviors seem to still follow any game rules established. Ie: the hot girl in the group having a high appearance score being treated a lot better than the half goblin with low charisma. Or the gnome healer missing a lot of his attacks because he has a low attack score relative to the fighter classes. Another drawback is that no one in the group levels or ranks up in this novel. I messaged the author and he confirmed that won’t happen till book 2. So that even that RPG feeling of progression isn’t hit in this one. The author also messaged me saying in book 2, the character dream their character sheets to make changes when they level.
The story itself, felt like a decent table top adventure and dungeon crawl. The group has a goal, of earning enough money to afford a resurrection spell to bring back a group member. All their adventures in town or in the dungeon work to further that goal. Ultimately, things feel like they often come down to a die roll, for good or ill. None of that is shown or referenced but that’s the overall impression I got. But despite that vibe, much of the story is delivered like a fantasy story. Which is what the author has written in the past.
Overall, the story just didn’t do it for me. The decision to minimize and mute the mechanics honestly made the story less interesting. It might be a plus for other readers but one of the big things I love about litRPG is that there’s a freedom to put all the UI and notification information that gamers and tabletop players are used to seeing in the story. It’s one of the ways they relate to LitRPG, seeing the same stuff they see while gaming.
You might enjoy the story if you don’t like notifications or character sheets in your LitRPG story.
Score: 6 out of 10
Archaic Venture: The Myth Of Cerberus (A LitRPG Adventure) (Fantasy MMORPG LitRPG Series Book 1)
Step inside a new reality... A Virtual Reality
A Reality that Could Change Michael Forever!
Archaic Venture, a brand new virtual reality video game, is hot off the press and it is selling like hot cakes. However, the creator of the game, Soto Akiyama has thrown in a twist. The game will no longer function correctly until someone defeats the evil spirit plaguing the lands of Archaic Venture. Along with returning Archaic Venture to normal, there is a cash prize that goes with it.
For Michael Maddox, a sixteen-year-old that suffers from Cerebral Palsy and a dysfunctional home life, this game, and that money, could turn his entire life around.
My Opinion: ?? 100 pages, $0.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
The first 20% of the novel is character development for the main character (MC), Michael. It’s not bad. The real life story of a teen with cerebral palsy who feels like a burden to his parents. The costs of his physical therapy are creating both a financial and relationship strain on his parents. The MC buys a VR system with his after school job money hoping to just escape his life and feel normal. It a well written section, that makes the small town the MC lives in feel fleshed out. The judgmental attitude of others, the MCs frustrations with his life and his parents. Empathy for the character is established.
However, once he get into the game world, the writing takes a serious nose dive in terms of both quality and content. The game world isn’t described well, the dialogue feels forced and awkward.
(Excerpt: “‘Excuse us, do you mind give us a second to talk privately?” Komodo said politely.” ) Not only that but there’s a lot of technical writing problems. Missing words, wrong words used (Through instead of threw), and bad sentence structure.
On the game mechanics side, there’s not really one. The story is definitely set in a VR game world. The word “level” is used, but it doesn’t mean much. In his first fight, at level 2, the MC kills a character much higher level with a single attack. He then skips ahead in the space of a paragraph to level 30. There’s no other game mechanics in the story. No character sheets, stats, health bars, ability descriptions, item descriptions. None.
The game story itself is also weak. There’s a contest to defeat this bad monster. Honestly, not even worth mentioning. Fairly boring.
Overall, outside the decent real world beginning, the story was boring. The almost non-existent game mechanics and repeated technical errors knocked it down another point for me.
Score: 4 out of 10
[New Life+] Young Again in Another World: Volume 1
When death tapped Renya Kunugi on the shoulder, he smiled and went willingly. After enjoying a nice, long life of 94 years, he was looking forward to shutting his eyes for the last time. He was, therefore, understandably upset when he woke up again in an empty space, devoid of memories, with a young girl in a tunic rambling on and on about how she’s God. So, he did what any reasonable person would have done under those circumstances: he sent the girl flying with a kick to the face.
It turned out that the girl was indeed God, and she was in a pinch. She urgently needed someone to do some interdimensional Resource smuggling, and Renya fit the bill.
His mission: cross the boundary into another world, then chill for a few decades. God would handle the rest.
To sweeten the deal, she offered him an eighteen-year-old body and a whole laundry list of ludicrously powerful skills, yet he remained hesitant. Then, she mentioned the food — an exotic world comes with exotic delicacies — and this sealed the deal. The next thing he knew, he was standing in a foreign land, younger, stronger, and more clueless than ever. Will he survive this world? And more importantly, will the world survive him?
My Opinion: ???200 pages, $6.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited
A translated work, this novel incorporated RGP mechanics with a transported to a fantasy world story. There’s good action, a little innuendo, but it’s mostly slice of life. What I was surprised to see, was the humor element to the story. The first 20%, is a comedy scene where a goddess tries to convince a soul she pulled from earth to be reincarnated into this RPG fantasy world (notifications, ranks, levels, item descriptions). If you’ve seen anime or manga, the type of humor used here should be familiar. While I thought it was funny, the humor may not land for everyone.
The novel is a bit pricey at over 3 cents a page (estimated, no actual page count as of this review), but translating anything and publishing it in english is an expensive proposition and the price is the same as other translated light novels.
Content wise, this is only the first volume, about equivalent to maybe the first two episodes in an anime series. Not a lot happens here. There’s some world building, character development, and a bit of action. But it’s again like the beginning of an anime series in that regards, lots of setup for hopefully something good down the line.
Overall, I liked the novel. I thought it was funny and entertaining. It felt fresh compared to the normal LitRPG I read weekly. However, for the price, it may not work for everyone. I’d suggest downloading a sample to see if the humor works for you.
Score: 7 out of 10.
Ritualist (The Completionist Chronicles Book 1)
The decision to start a new life is never an easy one, but for Joe the transition was far from figurative. Becoming a permanent addition to a game world, it doesn't take long to learn that people with his abilities are actively hunted. In fact, if the wrong people gained knowledge of what he was capable of, assassins would appear in droves.
In his pursuit of power, Joe fights alongside his team, completes quests, and delves into the mysteries of his class, which he quickly discovers can only be practiced in secret. Ultimately, his goal is to complete every mission, master every ability, and learn all of the world's secrets. All he has to do is survive long enough to make that happen.
My Opinion: 323 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
I liked this novel so much, I was already like 10% into it before I remembered I was supposed to be taking notes for the review. Lol.
This is mostly a slice of life story that puts an injured field medic in a fantasy VRMMORPG. He’s in the game by the 8% mark, taking virtual tests to see what classes he’ll be eligible for during character creation. During testing he gets an opportunity to get a rare class with some unique benefits. In the game, he’s pretty squishy and uses this restriction to research and develop different ways to advance. And think that’s what I like most about the story. That the main character (MC) doesn’t become this overpowered murder machine, wiping out monsters left and right. Instead, because of his class, he has the possibility to become very powerful late game, but early game he’s pretty weak. He has low strength, low constitution, and low dexterity. Making even running for an extended period a real challenge.
Instead, the MC relies lots of research and experimentation to figure out how to even use his class powers. Then more time, to figure out how to use that information to expand his spell repertoire. It’s fun to follow the research.
There’s still questing, monster killing, and other XP grinds. But even then, the MC can’t hunt alone so he has to find a group and eventually a guild to work with. That brings in PvP, and even Guild versus Guild conflict into the story.
There are hints of a larger plot line for the series but this one is mostly slice of life, until at least the 73% mark when it shifts to dealing with the exclusive mages guild.
Overall, I had a good time reading the story.
Score: 7 out of 10.
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