LitRPG Podcast 069
LitRPG Podcast 069
September 15th, 2017
Hello everyone, welcome to episode 69 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 11 new LitRPG reviews for you.
I want to give a big shoutout to Dave Willmarth, our latest Patreon Supporter who’s pledged $18/month to help us cover the costs of the podcast. Thanks Dave!
New Releases and Reviews:
World Seed: Endgame (18:35)
Space Knight (29:15)
Mecha: A Litrpg Adventure (36:48)
(Play Music 2)
Alpha World book 3 is up for pre-order and will be available on Sept. 30th. Yaay.
Alpha Company (Alpha World Book 3) (Sept. 30th, 2017)
Travail Online: Transcend: LitRPG Series (Book 3) (Sept. 29th, 2017)
Travis Bagwell, author of Awaken Online, has started to release chapters of his latest novels on his Patreon. Awaken Online: Retribution and "A War of One" (totally new sci-fi book) are available for supporters at the $10/month or higher level.
You might think you’re a huge fan of some LitRPG series but this guy is a super fan. One guy, currently unnamed, of the Aleron Kong’s Chaos Seed series got a tattoo of the Chaos Seeds symbol on his arm. Not a tiny one either, but a huge one. Aleron has said that this guy will get free signed books for life.
New LitRPG Audiobooks
The Artificer (Viridian Gate DLC) (Sept. 17th, 2017)
Null Protocol (Omicron Sector Book 2) (Sept. 18th, 2017)
Starter Zone (The Revelation Chronicles Book 1) (Sept. 25th, 2017)
The Laboratory: A Futuristic Dungeon Core (Sept. 27th, 2017)
On the Lost Continent (AlterGame Book #2) LitRPG Series (Sept. 28th, 2017)
Travail Online: Transcend: LitRPG Series (Book 3) (Sept. 29th, 2017)
Alpha Company (Alpha World Book 3) (Sept. 30th, 2017)
Desert Runner (Puatera Online Book 1) (Oct 4th, 2017)
Emerilia Book 10 (Oct. 10th, 2017)
A Game With No Rules (Perimeter Defense Book #4) LitRPG Series (Oct. 11, 2017)
Fantasy Online Polynya: A LitRPG Saga (Oct. 16th, 2017)
The Wizard (Dungeon Core Book 1) (Oct. 16th, 2017)
Desert Born (Puatera Online Book 2) (Nov. 8th, 2017)
Emerilia Book 11 (Nov. 11th, 2017)
Shattered Lands 3 Demon Wars: A LitRPG Series (Nov. 16th, 2017)
The Twilight Obelisk (Mirror World Book #4) (Dec. 4th, 2017)
Onto New Releases and Reviews
(Play Music 3)
New Releases and Reviews
Of Myths and Legends (Emerilia Book 9)
The Emperor has spoken and the portals are opening. The Event is larger than anyone anticipated with Emerilia’s people needing to band together to survive.
The creatures of nightmares and children’s stories might roam Emerilia, but this isn’t their land it isn’t their home. The Terra Alliance will use everything at their disposal to gain strength and push back the forces that roam Emerilia.
The Pantheon moves in the shadows, the forests and across Markolm. Light, Earth and Dark’s forces only grow as they recruit those from The Event into their ranks.
Beset on all sides Party Zero prepare for a war not seen since the ancient times of Emerilia. They know that this is only the beginning.
My Opinion: 414 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
So, this is it. The beginning of the pumped up Myths and Legends invasion of Emerilia. The action in the story is front and back loaded. The action starts from the very first pages of the story and the author does a good job of capturing the frenetic energy of these first fights. Though some of these fights might be a little too long. Like 20% of the novel long.
There’s a huge chunk of the middle of the novel that has everyone preparing new tactics and weapons for the invasion. This section also updated and expands on the space stuff and on preparations for the Jukal rebellion. Cool crafting here too. My favorite parts are definitely the glimpses into the space expansion stuff.
Be aware that there’s less RPG stuff in this novel. That’s mostly due to the scale of the story. It’s shifted from being just about Dave and a small group of friends to massive battles that will determine the survival of the entire planet.
I won’t spoil the end except to tell you that it’s nice and actiony. The final battle leaves you wondering if the sacrifices made are worth it.
Score: 7 out of 10
Legends of Tarthirious : Book Four of Kylia's Story (Legends of Tarthirious (A LitRPG) 4)
After surviving an attempted bombing and watching her informant, Bishop, get murdered on live television, Kylia feels like she's got a target on her back, a target that she thinks even the MPs can't shake off of her.
Things aren't all bad for Kylia though, and as things progress well with her boyfriend, Gerald, she starts to see that maybe there's hope for her in the fast and ever-changing world she's stuck in.
In this, the second last part of the Legends of Tarthirious saga, Kylia's life starts to get back on track despite the veritable plethora of curveballs that have been thrown her way.
My Opinion: 309 pages, $0.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
I’m happy to get an update on what’s happening with the characters in this series. Kylia’s story started out as a tale of a government that had stripped its people of citizenship and forced them to pay ‘their fair share’ of the national debt to get it back. If they didn’t they’d be deported. Kylia and most of the nation used online gaming to fund this debt payback. This is where the LitRPG stuff comes in as Kylia tries to find the most lucrative quests and money making opportunities and still level up her character.
Then it took a turn towards the thriller, with anti-government agents using Kylie to show that it’s a rigged system and that no one really gets to pay off their debts and get citizenship back. There were explosions and assassinations.
Now, Kylia is just trying to gain a sense of normalcy as she’s shepherded by the police into protective custody along with her boyfriend. The two game as a form of escapism and for the most part, the entire debt/deportation thing has been lost. The gaming stuff feels like just short stories that are inserted into the real life narrative. They’re good little short stories but they don’t have any meaning to the story except to show that the MC still games.
Still, the relationship stuff is cute and there’s plenty of snark. However, while reading this you kind of feel like you're waiting for something big to happen this novel. It does, but not till the very end (90%). The rest of the story might be called filler by some people but is emotional developments as Kylia and her boyfriend try to work out where their lives and relationship is going. Not a bad thing but the fact that you can just read the first 5% and the last 10% of the novel and feel like you read all the important stuff, tells you that the middle part is not super compelling.
Score: 6 out of 10.
World Seed: Endgame
The fourth and final installment of the World Seed series. Join John Hulett as he faces new enemies, the likes of which he couldn't imagine. Fighting against a hidden trauma and a conspiracy that goes beyond anything he can believe, discovering the ultimate truths behind the events of the universe, what will be the final outcome for him and his family?
My Opinion: 652 pages, $3.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited
The story begins with a 5 year leap into the future and catches up on what happened during those years. Once done with the catch-up, John and his group are almost assassinated as they try to celebrate one of the kid’s birthday. It turns out there’s a new threat to the universe, The New Human Empire, and they’re not above blowing up a planet or two to achieve their goals. Now, John, his crew, and an alliance of fantasy aliens have to stop the threat. Except things are a heck of a lot more complicated than anyone realizes.
My favorite space druid and his friends finally end their story. You know how Firefly ended after one season but they made the movie Serenity to give the crew once last adventure to go on? That’s what this feels like. It’s one last adventure for John and all the people you care about. There’s plenty of new skills and powers that everyone develops. There’s some crafting and magical spell development too. But it’s mostly just one last adventure. It has a good ending that I can honestly say I didn’t see coming and for the most part wraps everything up nicely.
If you’re a fan of the series, you don’t want to miss the end.
Score: 7 out of 10
Pixie Dicks (Caverns and Creatures)
All you need is faith, trust, and pixie dust.
But I'm going to throw in blood, shit, vomit, piss, and amniotic fluid. That's the Caverns & Creatures difference.
My Opinion: 45 pages, $0.99, Not available on Kindle Unlimited
What happens when you piss off a pregnant mischievous pixie? Some fairly good entertainment. Entertaining enough. I liked the dungeon like aspects of the story.
Score: 6 out of 10.
Tris the Tinker: A Veilwalkers Short Story
One night. One item. One last heist.
After searching the world for clues and ingedients, Tris is one item away from crafting the Veil’s most powerful artifact: an Infinity Potion. Good thing she knows just where to find one.
The annual Flower Festival is coming up, and the guards protecting the Crystals will be celebrating as well. All she has to do is go to the festival, make some small talk, then slip away to grab the Crystal. Easy, right?
When Tris’s plan goes awry and a forgotten evil attacks the Festival, Tris must choose: the ultimate prize, or the lives of those around her.
My Opinion: 27 pages, $0.00, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited
Tris is trapped in a world where RPG rules apply to the world. She only needs one more rare ingredient for a powerful magic potion. Unfortunately, during the heist evil monsters attack and she has to decide between stealing the last ingredient she needs and escaping unnoticed or revealing herself to help the innocent’s escape.
It’s likely a promotional piece to advertise the authors LitRPG novel Lost Archive and get people to sign up for the author’s newsletter.
Still, it’s a good short story, available for free. I actually liked this more than I did the larger novel. The short story is concise but doesn’t sacrifice the RPG mechanics. The action is well written and there’s enough new exploration of the Tinker class that I wanted to play the class myself. Plus, it’s free.
Score: 7 out of 10
Gamer Girl in the Orc King's Harem
In the Player vs Player MMORPG game Battle for Glory., it is kill or be killed. As the wizard's favorite apprentice, Carly is kicking butt and taking names. She is besieging a castle when her old company comes to her foe's rescue. The up and coming warrior-mage is quickly cut off from her troops, killed, and sent to a new respawn site insanely far away.
Carly is now not only trapped in the game forever, but stuck on the other side of that virtual world as well. She's determined to get back home to her friends, but wizards, kobolds, drow, and the Orc King stand in her way. King Raax is the biggest, baddest orc she's met, and his castle-dungeon stand between her and success. What is an ambitious elfmaid going to do, but accept all challenges!
This LitRPG book is adult themed, both bloody and sexy. Prudes and the squeamish should avoid lest your hold on sanity be shaken.
My Opinion: 100 pages, $0.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
A sex story with some potentially interesting adventures between romps. Super light on the RPG mechanics but enough to qualify as LitRPG. Though the actual game mechanics don’t always make sense. Outside of sex, the MC mostly wonders around a new port city until she’s captured by orcs while trying to rob them. Then she’s a sex slave. The very end is a decent twist but doesn’t really make up for the rest of the lackluster story.
Score: 5 out of 10.
In a universe where technology and magic co-exist, Nicholas Lyons desires one thing: to serve his queen as a Space Knight in the Royal Trident Forces. But when his final mission as an Academy cadet goes horribly wrong, Nicholas discovers he possesses illegal magical abilities that grant him power far beyond that of a normal man, knight, or mage.
When a clandestine assignment lands Nicholas on the worst starship in the kingdom’s fleet, he finds a motley crew of warriors hiding their own terrible secret. Death and betrayal lurk around every corner, and Nicholas finds himself torn between his loyalties to his new crew, or the oath he swore to his queen.
And death no matter which choice he makes.
My Opinion: 395 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full disclosure: I received an advanced copy for review. I did purchase the novel once it became available.
Written by Michael-Scott Earle (Lion's Quest) and Samuel E. Green
Nicely priced at about $0.012 cents per page. The Amazon book description doesn’t describe the novel as LitRPG but rather as a Sci-Fi space opera that incorporates magic tech into the universe.
On its surface, the novel seems to be trying to satisfy the author’s two major reading groups. The LitRPG community who loves Lion’s Quest and the community that loves his space opera series Space Justice.
I’ll admit, right off the bat that the novel doesn’t have enough LitRPG elements to satisfy the audience that loves detailed number filled descriptions of how everything in the world works.
However, for me, there are just enough RPG elements in the story that it does qualify as a LitRPG story. There is a ranking system that replaces Levels. Characters go from cadets to squires to knights to specialty knights. Additionally, all weapons have item descriptions straight out of an RPG. Weapons can either be traded in or broken down for their arcane dust, which in turn can be used to create more magic based weaponry. A Kingdom Point system acts as both currency and a type of XP replacement since you need a certain amount of it to try to increase your rank.
While personally not thrilled with the light RPG mechanics, I did really enjoy the Sci-Fi space universe that the novel describes, once it got to the Sci-Fi stuff. Which for the record took a little too long (23% mark). The space knights remind me of Warhammer 40K with their combination of tech and magic. In this universe, the use of magical melee weapons is justified by the development of personal shields that deflect ranged weapons fire but still allow slower melee weapons through. The magic rune system gives each weapon and armor piece a seemingly infinite number of possible magical power combinations and is based on alien rune tech.
The action in the novel is pretty gritty and fight scenes are pretty bad ass. You not only get your standard alien threat that the knights face but a more subtle intrigue between kingdom factions that the main character Nicholas gets caught right in the middle of. So, this leads to some nice fights between magic weapon wielding space knights too.
Overall, the novel is rather light on RPG mechanics but the constant action makes up for it. If you’re looking for an action packed world full of magic tech and space battles, this is for you. If you want a crunchy LitRPG novel, this isn’t it. Personally, I had a good time on the space adventure.
Score: 7 out of 10.
Mecha: A Litrpg Adventure
Chris never planned on being a hero. Of course, he never planned on being quite possibly the last human left alive either. He watched the Earth die from orbit as a virus swept across the globe. All that survives of the human race now resides in the totally immersive video game known as Ki-land. However, that virtual world has been infected by a digital version of the virus that left the Earth in ruins. Chris and his team of fellow Mech pilots must find a means of stopping the virus inside Ki-land before the legacy of humanity is erased forever and all that remains are the giant monsters that the virus created in its wake.
My Opinion: 110 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Not LitRPG. No actual game mechanics or RPG elements. Just a Sci-Fi story of mechs versus demons set in VR.
Score: 4 out of 10
Arcane Survivalist: Apocalyptic Fantasy LitRPG
After experimenting with dark matter, Dr. Benny Aitken inadvertently opened a portal into another dimension. He found himself in a world called Rapto, a place where he was given magic powers, and killing stuff made him stronger.
A dark mage guild soon discovered the portal and found a way to get through it. Dr. Benny Aitken, self-proclaimed genius, had unwittingly visited a fantasy apocalypse upon earth.
It’s starting point? A small town called Pasture Downs.
In a fit of desperation Benny sends blue orbs back through the portal in the hope that a few heroic residents of earth would find them and absorb their powers, granting them magical skills that they can level up by killing things.
Who are these heroes of legend to be?
Unfortunately, one of them is Ash Hobbes, a conman and self-confessed ass. After stumbling on an orb he becomes a blood mage. Together with a companion called FF, who lives in his head, Ash must learn to stop being such an ass and find the strength to save the world as a blood mage.
My Opinion: 317 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
From the author of the dungeon LitRPG story Monster Spawn.
*Warning: There are fairly regular spelling and grammar errors in this story. If that bothers you please skip this story.*
I’m not sure if this is an anti-hero story or a reluctant hero story. Either way, Ash, the main character (MC) starts the story out as a total jerk con artist trying to escape from the small town he swindled. Then the magical RPG apocalypse starts and he finds this blue orb that makes him a blood mage (fuels spells with his own health points). In a weird change in personality, he returns to the town he just swindled to warn and help them out. He’s aided by other people with these RPG powers and together they try to help people and try to stop the bad interdimensional being from releasing more monsters.
Mostly, this is a series of action scenes strung together by a loose story that has fantasy monsters invading from another dimension and evil RPG interdimensional beings trying to take over earth. The magical apocalypse has also knocked out all the electronics on earth, introducing a minor thread about survivalism.
Overall, a good story if you can ignore all the spelling and grammar errors. There’s a lot of action and interesting skill and magic ability increases. There’s not much else to it but it’s still a fun action fighting story.
Score: 7 out of 10
You're Not Allowed to Die (The Twenty-Sided Eye Series Book 1)
Joe’s body is failing him. In order to make his last weeks of life more palatable, he goes into full digital immersion. This new process will allow him to play in a virtual environment with a fake, but healthy and strong virtual body. As soon as he steps into this new environment he meets his virtual assistant, an Evolving Intelligence (E.I.), who takes the form of someone close to him and goes by the name, Spooky. After explaining how the game will function, she gives him his first items.
Before Joe and Spooky can begin playing the game, they are both summoned to a reality where magic is real. Due to the coincidental timing of this event, Joe believes this is all just part of the digital immersion. He is unaware that the summoning has healed his real body, making him now truly young and powerful. As he still believes that he's dying, he lives every moment to the fullest, unaware that he is now a near immortal. What will happen to his assistant, the E.I., once placed in this new reality? Will they survive their new environment or will the myriad of dangers swallow them up?
My Opinion: 242 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
The majority of the story is world building, character development, game mechanic exploration and explanation. While it’s all well done it takes a long time to even get to the first fight scene (40% mark) and there are only a few fight scenes in the entire novel.. A good portion of the story focuses introducing the main character to the world, him developing the first members of his new kingdom, and small stories about other beings that exist in this RPG world. Good stuff, just not the most action oriented story.
Overall, I had a good time reading about the different magical choices available to the MC and learning about the game mechanics implemented in this world. Gotta love a magical learning skill based on empathy.
The few combat scenes were good. Unfortunately, there are lots of game mechanics that are introduced but never developed. Including castle/kingdom building, dungeon diving, and large scale fighting with other kingdoms. It would have been an 8 if the story had developed those mechanics. But it’s still good. Hopefully they’re things we'll see in book 2.
Score: 7 out of 10.
Bushido Online: the Battle Begins: A LitRPG Saga
Seth Kinnaman’s dream has always been to become the best fighter the world has ever seen. After spending his entire life training, he’s finally ready to test his skills in the biggest tournament on Earth where hundreds of the fiercest competitors vie for the supreme title.
In the semi-finals, Seth is getting the upper hand when his opponent uses an illegal blow to take him out. Upon waking up from a coma, Seth finds out he’s lost his sight. He’s become blind and he’s completely devastated. All his dreams are now shattered, and he soon falls into depression. What is he going to do with his life?
That’s when he’s introduced to Bushido Online, a game that promises to keep his skills sharp while he figures out what his next move is going to be. Set in feudal Japan, this VRMMORPG is the land of ninjas and samurai. A world where the most honorable warriors meet the vilest bandits, and where mythical creatures roam free. When he’ll enter that new reality, Seth will discover that while it’s easy to make friends there, one doesn’t have to try very hard to get his fair share of powerful enemies.
Soon, he’s going to have entire clans hunting him down as he struggles to learn the ropes and regain a sense of normalcy. Thankfully, Seth has a few things going for him: his extensive knowledge of combat, and a never-say-die attitude.
“Bushido Online: the Battle Begins” is the first book in the Bushido Online series, a work of litRPG fiction.
My Opinion: 371 pages, $3.99, Kindle Unlimited
A lot of the reviews on Amazon really like the novel. It has a lot of 5 star reviews but for me the only thing that made this mildly interesting is the setting. Instead of a western sword and sorcery setting, the game is set in a feudal Japan with samurai and ninjas. The monsters are pulled from a completely different mythos so you get creatures like lizard wolfs, clothe monsters, and spirits.
While on the surface this makes the novel feel new. The reality is that besides the monsters all the game and class mechanics are standard MMO stuff. The knight ability ‘power strike’ is replaced by Samurai ‘focused strike’. Ninjas have ‘assassin strike’ instead of ‘backstab’. The basic UI and character sheets still have all the normal parts. Health, Energy, levels, class, inventory. There’s PVP and PVE. Nothing bad or poorly described but nothing really new or unique either.
Story: The main character (MC) , Seth, goes blind after a cheap shot from his opponent in a martial arts bout. He then logs into the VR game Bushido Online using experimental equipment and finds that he can see and move just like he used to. Since he was never a gamer, he has to learn all the rules of this world.
That sounds like a pretty good premise to a story but it ends up being ‘a newbs daily adventure in a VR story’. The MC stumbles through situation after situation learning about basic game stuff while using his martial arts skills to gain levels. He has random adventures that he’s pulled along by the random players he meets. But that’s kind of it. It’s very much a daily adventure kind of story. Which is not bad, but it’s not particularly compelling reading either since it doesn’t add anything new. (Better daily LitRPG adventure stories: Life in the North, A Healer's Gift: Adventures on Brad)
There are a few logic problems in the story too. Like why doesn’t the MC ever logout? How does his body survive his long term immersion. If the MC is just blind, why doesn't’ the use the equipment that lets him see in game, in the real world with like a computer and cameras? Small details that would have only taken a few lines to address.
Overall, the setting of the story felt like the Oriental Adventures rules book. Which attempted to adapt D&D rules for adventures set in the far east. There were a bunch of new classes and monsters but at it’s core you could still feel that it was just an adaptation. In those campaigns, it was the story the GM created and not the game mechanics that made the game fun and interesting. Only in this novel, the story isn’t that compelling.
Score: 6 out of 10.
That’s it everyone!
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