LitRPG Podcast 124


LitRPG Podcast 124

July 13th, 2018


Hello everyone, welcome to episode 124 of the LitRPG podcast.


I’m Ramon Mejia. I’m here to bring you the latest LitRPG news, reviews, and author interviews.  I have 7 new LitRPG reviews just for you.


New Releases and Reviews:

Restart (Level Up Book #1) LitRPG Series (09:50)

Real World LitRPG, no combat, still interesting.

Score: 7.5 out of 10

Game Breaker (17:50)

Not LitRPG

Score: 4 out of 10

Nightworld: A LitRPG adventure (20:16)

Scattered story and wand wavy combat made it a bit boring.

Score: 5 out of 10

Steam Whistle Alley: An Adventure in Augmented Reality (25:11)

Steampunk and AR, not my thing but you may like it.

Score: 6 out of 10

Fateweaver's Quest (36:18)

Uses the Fate system well

Score: 7.5 out of 10

A Mage Prepared: (The Chronicles of Herst 1: A LitRPG Novel) (42:14)

Didn’t work for me. No purpose to story.

Score: 6 out of 10

Earth Tactics Advance Volume 2: Welcome to the Second Stage (44:47)

Turn based LitRPG done well.

Score: 7.6 out of 10


(Play Music 2)


LitRPG News



Stephan Morse is having a sale on the first book in the Continue Online series. It will be $0.99 until July 25th. The series is going wide, which means it will be available in a lot more places than just Amazon. Go pick it up if you’ve never had chance to read it.



Dave Wilmarth was nice enough to release some art work he had commissioned for his character Brick from the Greystone Chronicles.



Dave Willmarth, author of The Land of the Undying and The Greystone Chronicles, did an interview with Game Reads. They talk about Dave’s novels, and cookies.



This week, LitRPG Author Andrew Seiple’s book Threadbare was one of the books featured on the nationally syndicated television show The View. It was shown in a segment called The Ladies Get Lit, where this week Whoopi Goldberg talked about some of her recommended summer reads. Huge Congratulations to Andrew for getting this well deserved press and recognition. There’s a link to the exact moment in the show where the book is talked about.


Note: I thought it was super funny how Whoopi kept saying, “It’s not for kids.” Lol.


Out Now!  



The Last Warrior of Unigaea Box Set



The Station Core: A Dungeon Core Epic (Station Cores Book 1)



Life Reset: EvP (Environment vs. Player) (New Era Online Book 2)


New LitRPG Audiobooks  


Awaken Online: Evolution

Our review of the ebook: 7.5 out of 10



Akillia's Reign - Puatera Online Series, Book 4

Our review for the ebook: Score 4 out of 10



The Hobgoblin Riot -Dominion of Blades, Book 2

Our review of the ebook: 7 out of 10



The Cost of Survival: A LitRPG Apocalypse

The System Apocalypse, Book 3  

Our review of the ebook: 7 out of 10



Desire: A LitRPG Adventure, Book 2



Adventures on Terra - Book 3: Rescue


Upcoming LitRPG:


Warrior Academy-Episode 4: Tournament of Hiroes Part 2 (July 15th, 2018)



Regicide (The Completionist Chronicles Book 2) (July 16th, 2018)


**Monster Hunter NYC 2 (July 20th, 2018)**



External Threat (Reality Benders Book #2) LitRPG Series (July 23rd, 2018)



Sleeping Player (Project Chrysalis Book 3) (July 31st, 2018)



The Curse of Hurlig Ridge: World Tree Online: 1st Dive  (Aug. 1st, 2018)



Death March (Euphoria Online - Book 1) (Aug. 7th, 2018)



Raven Vex: A LitRPG Saga (The Binding Book 2)

(Aug. 30th, 2018)



Freehaven Online:  Lady Thunderlord, Into Hades (Book 2)

(Sept. 26, 2018)



Kingdom of the Dead (An NPC's Path Book #2) LitRPG Series (Oct. 8th, 2018)



Freehaven Online:  Winter Dungeonland (Book 3) (Nov. 21st, 2108)


Onto New Releases and Reviews


(Play Music 3)


New Releases and Reviews


(Picture 1)

Restart (Level Up Book #1) LitRPG Series


At thirty years old, Phil is an unemployed gamer who struggles to make ends meet. His only source of income is freelance writing (when he feels inspired enough to add another article to his less-than-popular blog). His wife has just walked out on him, leaving him without money, purpose, or food in the fridge.


On the day his wife dumps him, Phil receives a mysterious piece of wetware. A game interface seems to have been implanted in his brain which allows him to see the world through the eyes of an RPG player.


Now that Phil discovers his real-life stats, he can see they're far below average. With 4 pt. Agility, 6 pt. Strength and 3 pt. Stamina, his most advanced life skill is predictably gaming.


Luckily, real-life stats can be leveled up just like virtual ones. But will it help Phil get his wife back? Can he stop being such a couch potato? Would the new game help him become fitter? Or more successful? Can his gaming skills finally come in handy in real life?


Last but not least, can he find out who could have uploaded the mysterious game to his brain? And how is he supposed to deal with this unknown but apparently omnipotent force?


My Opinion: 413 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited


Full disclosure: I received an advanced copy for review. I purchased the novel when it became available.


This is a slice of life, real life LitRPG. The premise: what would you do if you got RPG powers? That’s the question Phil asks himself the day he sees his first notification and skill increase. Soon after, his wife leaves him because he’s devolved into a lazy gamer sponging off her. It’s the last straw for him. He realizes that he needs to make some changes in his life and now he has an mysterious system in his brain quantifying those changes and even giving him information he would never have otherwise.


Game mechanics wise, the notifications are mostly informational. Giving the main character (MC) information about the skills he’s improving. He doesn’t get any magic, or any super powers, rather bouts of euphoria everytime he levels or improves himself enough to achieve a sense of happiness. There are things about the game system that give him a unique power that he uses to advance himself and solve problems, but it’s nothing fantasy like. Still, it’s consistent and I really liked seeing the progress and how the MC tried to find the boundaries and cheats in the game system and completed quests generated by himself and others to level.


Story wise, it’s slice of life. There’s no combat at all in the story. Yet, it’s still a compelling tale. I’m not sure if it’s the social commentary about self improvement, the fleshed out relationships between interesting characters, or the social and economic conflicts the MC faces that makes it so interesting. But it is. It’s really fascinating to read about how the MC uses his RPG powers to not only address his personal issues but also aid others. The twists with where the RPG system comes from is equally interesting and I honestly didn’t see it coming.  There’s plenty of gamer humor here too, my favorite being the debuff he gets for not getting laid in a while, ‘sexual frustration’ which includes random erections as a side effect. Lol.


Overall, a good read. The story is grounded in reality and even though it’s slice of life, it’s not a fantasy adventure. It’s really about the MC making a decision to be better using system that appeals to his gamer nature.


Score: 7.5 out of 10

Restart (Level Up Book #1) LitRPG Series


(Picture 2)

Game Breaker


Breccan has struggled to adjust to his new life after a tragedy that cost him more than just his arm. To help him cope, his cousin introduces him to the Edge, the virtual reality world teenagers plug into when their bodies are sleeping. Avatar battles, mind-blowing levels, and a girl with a secret challenge his perspective. But when the security in the Edge begins to kill off avatars, Breccan finds himself caught up in a virtual battle that will impact their entire world.


My Opinion: 300 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited


While there’s no mention of LitRP in the novel description, it is being advertised as LitRPG in several Facebook groups by the author as their first LitRPG novel.


This isn't LitRPG. It's set in a VR world, there's a gladiator like combat scene, but there aren't any actual game mechanics in the story. There's mention of XP and levels, but nothing is done with that. They're just kind of words that don't have any real meaning to the story. It's more cyberpunk gladiator intrigue set in VR. Which just isn't the same thing as LitRPG.


I’m not sure if the author understands what LitRPG is. It could just be a misunderstanding on the author’s part, but either way, not LitRPG. Even as a normal cyberpunk story, it wasn’t good. Combat was very wand wavy and while the bits of intrigue were mildly interesting the story on the whole felt very forced and didn’t really make sense.


Score: 4 out of 10

Game Breaker


(Picture 3)

Nightworld: A LitRPG adventure


Derek is an old school gamer and refuses to play in the increasingly popular virtual world.


One stormy day with nothing to do, his sister talks him into trying the online horror role playing game Night World for one hour. He agrees but when Derek goes to log out and discovers that he can’t.


Now he’s trapped in a world not his own with new rules and stranger sights and threats to be discovered. He must learn how to play and more importantly who to trust as he looks for a way out.


Welcome to Night World.


My Opinion: 94 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited


At less than 100 pages, it’s really overpriced at $2.99.


A teen gets trapped in a VR game after his little sister blackmails him into playing even though he’s afraid of VR. What follows is are meandering slice of life adventures with little to no connections. It kind of feels like a series of even shorter stories that were stuck together. Some adventures are decent and have interesting fights, but as a whole story it just feels like the main character (MC) pops from place to place without rhyme or reason.


The one interesting aspect of the story is that because the MC is stuck in the game during server downtime (which honestly doesn’t make sense, being that the server should be off), he can steal and do whatever he wants. Though there may be some mad players when the server comes back online. Unfortunately, this is only used once in this story and ends up being more of an excuse to make the level 2 vampire seriously overpowered. I mean, seriously. He steals some level 25 armor that makes him immune to damage.


Overall, while there were some interesting aspects to the story, it just failed to entertain. The main character goes from whiny coward to overpowered and unkillable in an instant. It felt like the MC never earned his rewards and that there were no stakes to the ‘stuck in the game’ aspect. That coupled with the meandering story, just left me a bit bored.


Score: 5 out of 10

Nightworld: A LitRPG adventure


(Picture 4)

Steam Whistle Alley: An Adventure in Augmented Reality


An exciting new entry into the emerging GameLit genre, Joshua Mason's Steam Whistle Alley is a thrilling tale which explores what is possible in augmented reality. Everyone on the street that day saw a lunatic wearing strange brass goggles, swinging an invisible sword on the sidewalks of downtown Seattle. But Jacob recognizes what the man is really doing—playing a game in augmented reality. When the game’s creator offers him his own goggles, Jacob enters a city he thinks he knows. But towering monuments of Victorian architecture have replaced the skyscrapers. Airships float between the buildings. Fearsome enemies, from steam-powered rabbits to clockwork werewolves lurk in every shadow.


But with the game comes a quest, and to the victors go the deed to Steam Whistle Alley, the social and financial heart of the game. Jacob, his biosynthetic monkey Banjo, and the rest of the team must face off against foes who want the alley for themselves. Some of his adversaries, however, aren’t playing games. They don’t want the alley. They want the company, and the death they bring is not the kind Jacob can respawn from.


My Opinion: 488 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited


If you like Steampunk, you’ll love this LitRPG story. It combines that genre with an augmented reality system that transforms Seattle, Washington into a steampunk paradise. The author goes deeply into details about all the steampunkified things. Victorian clothing, steam powered machines, magic, and Seattle landmarks with steampunk looks. There’s even a talking monkey with a fancy vest and a monocle.  


Unfortunately for me, I don’t like Steampunk. So, while I appreciated the use of augmented reality (which overlays the game over real things in the world) instead of virtual reality (which creates a whole new independent world), the theme just wasn’t my cup of tea. Also, on the whole the augmented reality aspect, while original, didn’t really add anything for me. Just made things overly complicated.


The Story is a bit slow in the first 20% with lots of exposition and setup but improves once you get to the first action scene at the 30% mark. There are good characters, good character development, but the story is definitely more adventure than action. There’s also a little bit of romance, and a nice bit of mystery and puzzle solving for the game contest.


A few issues I had with the story: The author breaks a few established world rules for the sake of an interesting character or to move the plot forward. The end is pretty wand wavy and the big problem isn't resolved by the MC. There is also a bit of a cliffhanger ending. Relatively minor things but they did lessen my enjoyment of the story a little.


Game Mechanic wise, the story doesn’t have particularly deep game mechanics.The RPG game mechanics exists in the story but they’re minimized intentionally. You have a fairly standard stat system, automatic stat point distribution, but the characters have the option to specialize some abilities with skill points. Crafting is also not that detailed, though I did like some of the original designs and creations. Things like quest announcements, level ups, etc mostly come from statements from the MC’s pet monkey. I think the author’s philosophy on the subject comes through in early dialogue from the MC:  “It was the experience that was my whole reason for gaming, the escape - not the stats.”


Overall, the Steampunk theme of the story just wasn’t my thing. Because much of the first third of the story is just descriptions about how amazingly steampunk the game made Seattle, it was a bit boring for me. This absolutely changes with the first fight, as the story becomes smaller and more focused on the core group and their adventures. But the end, which felt very wand wavy, lost me again. On the whole, the novel just misses being good for me. By no means is it a bad story, it’s neither boring or poorly written. Steampunk just isn’t my thing. If you like Steampunk and litRPG, you’ll love this story.


But for me, it gets a 6 out of 10.

Steam Whistle Alley: An Adventure in Augmented Reality


(Picture 5)

Fateweaver's Quest


Construction starship Silver Hart has been captured. Miles wakes up in contact with aliens who've kidnapped his crew, read their computer files, and stolen his friend's lucky dice. Now he's forced into an alien edition of Fate, a game in which die rolls and luck-bending rules override physics. He's offered unique magic, a word of divine might... but the gamemasters decide that the word should be "Cloth."


With this dubious blessing, Miles sets out to find his crewmates and pry answers from Hart's captors, before they decide humans have ceased to amuse them.


Part of the "LitRPG" or "GameLit" genre combining game logic with fantasy and science fiction. This story is unusual for using a real tabletop RPG system called Fate.


(Fate™ is a trademark of Evil Hat Productions, LLC, and its rules and logo are used with permission.)


My Opinion: 230 pages, $3.49, Available on Kindle Unlimited


This is a LitRPG story that uses the tabletop game rules from the Fate system.


Those game rules come through very clearly and the system is explained clearly throughout the story as it is used. It comes through so clearly, that the story itself feels like a recorded tabletop experience.  All the parts of the Fate system are explained as they are used. There are conversations between the main character (MC) and the alien GM just like there would be in a tabletop game with both player and GM justifying their use of fate points. There is still good RPG progress: gaining new stunts (special abilities), modifying new powers, and organizing and gaining skill points for better rolls. The downside of this is that very little seems to happen without a conversation between the MC and the GM, which sometimes feels like it interrupts the flow of the scene.


Storywise, it’s pretty slice of life with a nice bit of magical crafting thrown in. The MC goes through a variety of scenes with little hints given by NPCs and the GM about what he and the rest of the crew need to do to advance the story. Combat isn’t bad, but it’s not great either. It’s the one place where the conversation between the MC and the GM regularly feel like it interrupts the flow. During the other story moments, those conversations add a nice explanation about the MCs thinking as a player. There are a good variety of game situations ranging from puzzles, to straight combat, to social situations, to crafting opportunities.


Overall, I enjoyed the story. It takes a risk trying out a RPG system not everyone is familiar with, but does the work of explaining the system to newcomers well. It also does a great job of highlighting one of the core parts of the Fate system, which is the ability to cooperatively storytell and shape the story with fate points, aspects, and stunts.


Score: 7.5 out of 10

Fateweaver's Quest


(Picture 6)

A Mage Prepared: (The Chronicles of Herst 1: A LitRPG Novel)


Yanked across the universe to the land of Herst, Vol Adare must learn his place in it. Or carve out one for himself. It is a world of swords and sorcery, slavery and violence. Here actions have consequences and often, might is right. Vol must build his strength to survive against those that wish for his fall. If he fails all he works for could be taken, along with those he comes to care for.


My Opinion: 322 pages, $3.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited


This quite simply a transported to an RPG game world slice of life story. It’s the main character, Vol, killing monsters, completing quests, leveling up, improving skills, and getting loot. That’s all there really is. Sure, the MC meets some neat people that he kills things with and gets a couple pets to raise, but it’s really mostly just adventuring. There’s no save the world story or reason for him to be on the game world.


There are some technical writing issues like awkward sentences, missing words, and mixed tenses that some readers will find distracting. This is especially true in the first part of the story, though that does improve as the story goes on.


Overall, not a bad story but it doesn’t quite hit good for me either.  I liked the magic and class progression. The MC chooses a mage class, profession, and subclass, so it was nice to see a caster fight. However, the writing had some technical issues that distracted from the slice of life story too much.


Score: 6 out of 10

A Mage Prepared: (The Chronicles of Herst 1: A LitRPG Novel)


(Picture 7)

Earth Tactics Advance Volume 2: Welcome to the Second Stage


Life, love, quirky musical numbers, there has never been an apocalypse quite like this one. Return to the world of Earth Tactics Advance. Beset by the rules of a turn-based tactical survival horror dating sim, witness the efforts of the hot new rising faction 'Team Badass' as they try to find their place in the new world order. Life lived one-turn at a time can be hard on the best of days, but a new light shines in the darkness. Can they make the hard choices to ensure their survival?


Welcome to the Second Stage!


My Opinion: 231 pages, $3.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited


One of the only turn based LitRPG stories. Scottie Futch does something few writers could, and makes even waiting between turns entertaining.


The story is slice of life, but that doesn't detract from all the good action and leveling. New town building aspects are introduced and the MC gets a new unique class that adds some new ways for him to upgrade. While the storyline gets a little harem at the end, there is no sex in the novel, though there are sex jokes.


Overall, a good read if you’ve read book 1. If you haven’t, go read book 1 it’s good too.


Score: 7.6 out of 10

Earth Tactics Advance Volume 2: Welcome to the Second Stage


That’s it everyone!


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Thanks for hanging out with me today. Until we can hangout again, remember to go read some LitRPG!  


(Music 4)


Music Credits

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

Kevin MacLeod (

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License