LitRPG Podcast 110
LitRPG Podcast 110
April 26th, 2018
Hello everyone, welcome to episode 110 of the LitRPG podcast.
I’m Ramon Mejia. I’m here to bring you the latest LitRPG news, reviews, and author interviews. I have 6 new reviews just for you.
A shout out to a new Patreon supporter, Conan Whalen-mckain! Hopefully he and I can schedule a nice chat soon as one of his patreon rewards.
New Releases and Reviews:
A good sequel to that Mad Mad/Fallout inspired LitRPG. Score 7 out 10
Cloud Dungeon: Fairy Wonderland (26:03)
Nice concept for a peaceful dungeon core story. But execution leaves something to be desired. Score: 6 out of 10
Total Quest: Total VR: 1 (30:15)
Author’s first novel. Good story potential but lots of technical issues. Score: 5 out of 10.
Who knew a bard to be so cool? Score: 7 out of 10
New Russian LitRPG, reminds me of the Gam3. Score: 7 out of 10
Feels write to market. RPG game stuff light and doesn’t really seem to matter. Score: 4 out of 10
(Play Music 2)
Luke Chmilenko released some art for his Ascend Online series. It looks pretty cool, if hard to put in a document. It’ll make a good desktop background.
Vasily Mahanenko released another piece of art for his character Anastaria.
Aleron meets Brandon Sanderson at an convention and he even got the guy to hold his book. OMG. Aleron titled the photo
"Kaladin and Richter just chillin"
Serious Drinking with Charles. He asks me 5 questions about problems he has with my novel Project Alpha. Don’t worry, it’s pretty friendly. It’s almost like doing an critique. He makes many good points that will hopefully help me be a better writer. Charles also did another one of these with Blaise Corvin in which they both do more drinking.
Dakota Krout, author of the Divine Dungeon series and the Ritualist made a huge announcement this week.
Huge announcement: Thanks to all of you and your support, I'm taking a leap of faith and becoming a full time author!!
There are a few things that could really help me make this work: Keep those encouraging words coming, leave great reviews on my books, and feel free to support me on Patreon if you're able; I am always in need of coffee! The second book of The Completionist Chronicles is being uploaded there with about a third of the book already up! Plus, the first 3 chapters are free for all to read. :)
Sending big virtual hugs to all of you for helping make my dream a reality!!
Fayroll 9 snafu. Fayroll 9 was released recently, but instead of getting that people were getting a version of book 8. Litworld, the publishers that translate Fayroll into english were notified about it and worked to quickly upload the correct manuscript. They’ve worked with Amazon to push an update to anyone that got the incorrect version but readers will have to go to their Amazon accounts and look under “Manage Your Content and Devices” to update the novel (www.amazon.com/mycd ). LitWorld also made a statement about the issue.
The Litworld publishing team apologizes for all problems and mistakes with the book Fayroll 9: Word and Steel by Andrey Vasilyev.
If for any reasons you haven't yet been able to get your book - send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or in the DM on our Litworld Facebook page and we will be happy to deal with the situation!
Erik Colombe, author of Reincarnation:RPG, has reported in a post on Facebook that LitRPG author David Pendleton Author of Alpha Testing has died.
“It had been a life long goal of his to be published and after I asked him to be a Beta reader for my story he was introduced to LitRPG. He began to start reading as many as he could and he saw LitRPG as an amazing experience not only to read, but to write. David started having breathing problems three weeks ago as he was finishing his novel and needed to have surgery. He published Alpha Testing before leaving for the hospital.
"I don't expect anything to go wrong, but if it does I'll at least be a published author," were the last words he spoke to me in person.
Sadly, he did not recover and after three weeks of intensive care he passed away last night.”
I’ve only corresponded with David by e-mail when he asked me to review his novel but he mentioned how much he liked the genre and that Erik Colombe was the one to turn him onto it. David will be missed.
-Author of Slime Gods
The author has 9 other fantasy novels with female protagonists. This is her first LitRPG story. The author mentioned in her correspondence to me that she used to work as a programer for an MMO.
New LitRPG Audiobooks
Catmaster Online: A LitRPG Series (April 29th, 2018)
You're in Game! Book #2 (Моre LitRPG stories set in your favorite worlds) (April 30th, 2018)
Prison Quest: A Sci-Fi LitRPG Adventure (April 30th, 2018)
Eden's Gate: The Arena: A LitRPG Adventure (April 30th, 2018)
**The Ruins of Majesta (May 2nd, 2018)**
-Written by LitRPG community member Taj El
Questmaster: A LitRPG Novella (May 8th, 2018)
Blind Gambit: A GameLit LitRPG novel (May 10, 2018)
Monster Hunter (May 10th, 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)
Pangea Online Book Two: Magic and Mayhem (May 31st, 2018)
Restart (Level Up Book #1) LitRPG Series (July 10th, 2018)
Onto New Releases and Reviews
(Play Music 3)
New Releases and Reviews
Apocalypse 2020 - Look to the Skies
After the final confrontation with Orion, Scarlett finds herself separated from her friends and becomes the leader of a small group of survivors. Meanwhile, Bran has a strange new character who starts far away from Dallas. As alien spacecraft roam the skies, and new frightening creatures attack in the night, everyone must work together to defend themselves from this new threat.
Outside of the game, Scarlett and Bran are now going to the same college and live only minutes away from each other. They have been happy all summer, but their separation in the game is beginning to cause conflict between them in the real world.
The first expansion for Apocalypse 2020 - Look to the Skies introduces new survival mechanics, a base-building system, along with tons of new weapons, vehicles, enemies, and NPCs.
This is a LitRPG / Gamelit novel that blends storytelling with game mechanics. The events in this story immediately follow the first book, Apocalypse 2020: A Wasteland LitRPG, so reading that book is necessary to understand what is happening here.
My Opinion: 327 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full disclosure, I received advanced copy for review. I purchased it when it became available.
I know it’s hard to tell from the cover, but this is the sequel to the Apocalypse 2020 the Mad Max /Fallout inspired LitRPG story. It starts off almost immediately after the end of book 1.
There is a little bit of recap telling you what happens but fewer callbacks to individual characters and their relationships. This is definitely one of those series where you should probably read book 1 first. Even if you have, it might take a little while to remember who everyone is. Also remember that IRL the story takes place in the 1997. So lots of 90s references like X-Files or final fantasy 7 just being released.
The story takes place in a game world that just had their first expansion adding aliens, new player race selections, new player classes, survival game mechanics, base building mechanics, and of course tons of new quests to save the world.
I like the idea that each book is a new expansion to the game which causes an upheaval in the storyline. It’s a great justification to change things that may not be working in the story or just to add cool stuff to it. Heck there’s even a ‘game manual’ for the expansion at the end of the story that gives a ton of details about all the changes and additions.
In this novel, the two biggest game mechanic changes are the survival mechanics and the base building. Now characters have to satisfy needs like thirst, hunger, and discomfort and if they don’t, they start losing the health. So a good bit of the story ends up feeling more post apocalyptic now with characters having to scavenge or figure out ways to produce the stuff they need. Which of course leads to base building, which also takes up a good portion of the early story. It’s nice but I feel like more could have been done with it. Still it’s a nice tie in to the survival mechanics.
Storywise, the real life part is pretty simple but cute. It’s mostly relationship stuff between Bran and Scarlett. In game, the alien stuff is pretty neat. I don’t want to spoil anything but there are definite references to alien movies of the time.
My only tiny complaint, is that the story is told from multiple perspectives. Which isn’t my favorite narrative structure. It does allow for stories to be told from characters in different places and it’s a great way to see different perspectives of the same events. But, at the same time any big revelations need to be repeated for all the characters which can get repetitive.
Overall, I had a good time reading the story. There were enough changes to the story and game mechanics to make the novel feel fresh but familiar. The IRL storyline is cute, if simple. In game there some pretty good story surprises.
Score: 7 out of 10
Cloud Dungeon: Fairy Wonderland
In the many parallel worlds filling the universe, earth is a rare world which possessed the largest amount of 'interference' from other worlds. The most common interference is the summoning of heroes and reincarnation. This story is no different except that in the process of calling the desired people, the efforts of three goddesses were messed with causing the summoned to not be the older brother or the father. Instead a four year old child was summoned.
Backed by her love of fairy tales and folklore, we shall see how this young child with the help of her lazy best friend and pet cat will change the very face of the world starting from a tiny cloud and becoming a dungeon filled with any and all fairy tales she had heard of and watched.
My Opinion: 315 pages, $4.50, Available on Kindle Unlimited
This story has an interesting premise that ultimately was a little disappointing. Instead of a traditional dungeon that kills the adventures that come in with traps and monsters, this story is pretty peaceful. It’s run by this reincarnated four year old girl that wants to create a fairy wonderland without any of those scary ‘ugly’ monsters. It’s a very interesting premise and an opportunity to get creative with storytelling. I mean, how do you create conflict without fighting? What motivations are there for the dungeon to expand? What monsters will the dungeon create if combat isn’t a focus?
However, the actual result of the story was a little disappointing. There really isn’t much fighting, maybe five small scenes in 350 pages. Much of the early part of the story revolves around expanding the dungeon and making many varieties of fairy and sprite creatures. It’s an interesting exploration of what dungeon powers and a child imagination can come up with. There really is a huge variety of well detailed creatures with several evolutions for some.
Where the novel really drops is in the conflict department. I don’t just mean fighting. I mean conflict in a larger sense. Whether it’s ideological, political, personality, moral, or any other kind of conflict. There really isn’t much here. Things just go too smoothly for the dungeon. There is some conflict. But what’s disappointing is that there’s a big setup of a big conflict between this floating peaceful fairy dungeon and a rival normal monster spewing dungeon, and then the novel just ends without any kind of resolution.
Overall, I like the concept. Lots of potential. But the execution left me wanting more and I was definitely disappointed by the things left unresolved at the end.
Score: 6 out of 10
Total Quest: Total VR: 1
Total Quest, a “full immersive virtual reality game” is releasing to the public. As the beta players prepare for new release, Ken suits up for the first time unlocking his personal AGI, Vera. The technology offers more than a “good time” online. The public release of the game brings a new opportunity, get paid to play. When you’re the best, companies want you to play for them. Corporate obedience strains friendship and loyalties, as the virtual game becomes a real life nightmare when players’ minds become the prize.
My Opinion: 210 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
*For the Podcast only: I’m going to be a little more critical on the technical writing issues in the review because the author asked for a hard honest review. I actually sent him a detailed report with loads of notes on the story, again at his request. The author said he really wants to improve his writing and is willing to take all the criticism.*
This is the author’s debut novel and you can tell, especially early on. There are a lot of grammar, tense, and structural issues. The most noticeable are the mixing of past and present tenses in the same sentence.
The story is a mix of action raid battles in a full immersion MMO and an awakened AI sci-fi story. It’s told from multiple perspectives. I believe there are six POVs used, five players and an AI.
The beginning of the story is one last raid battle for the beta version of the game organized by three gamer friends. It then shifts to a long real world storyline where each of the players is either setting up equipment for the full version of the VR game, setting up their personal AI assistants, or being offered odd jobs to play the game full time. Outside of a brief scene where one player levels, it doesn’t return to the game until the 56% mark. After that, it stays in the game and all the players and the AI come together. It’s an interesting story from there and is a lot of MMO raid combat and exploration of various NPC towns. There are neat sub plots about AI going out of control and trying to escape any way it can.
Game mechanic-wise, it’s pretty light on the RPG progression. There’s lots information about how combat works, spells, skills, and classes. There are even some original ideas about using physics, chemistry, and wave patterns to determine class abilities and how they progress. But actual RPG progress only takes place in two places at the 34-38% and 72-74%. That’s it. In the entire story, one guy increases his skills and gains levels. This is despite lengthy fights that occur involving multiple characters. I liked the information provide and I think it has potential, but it’s not applied to the majority of the players. Instead, the game time mostly focuses on raid battles with good descriptions of formations, strategy, and tactics. The scenes use spells and abilities in good combos but there’s no progression of skills or abilities for the characters in the fights. It’s kind of odd.
Overall, I was kind of bored for several sections of the story. There doesn’t seem to be a plot, so it feels very slice of life. Only it’s following 6 different lives so the story gets scattered. Most of the stuff that happens in the real life part is not needed and doesn’t develop anything that advances the story. At most it does some character development, helping you to appreciate each player’s personality. The raid battles were well described and I could visualize the battles well. I also feel like the sci-fi aspects of self-aware AI were neat, but for much of the story nothing really happens with it and the story just peters out instead of getting a solid resolution for many of the story threads.
Score: 5 out of 10
The Wayward Bard (World of Chains Book 1)
Daniel's Guide to Early Retirement:
1: Intercept illegal money transfer from mafia boss.
2: Hide out in super exclusive Full Immersion Virtual Reality game until the heat is off.
3: Roll a bard. Max out charisma. Live it up.
With all the pesky planning out of the way Daniel set out to realize his ultimate dream: gaining enough money to buy a tropical island and spend his days playing the violin and RPGs. What could possibly go wrong?
Disclaimer: There shall be no harems in this series. Overpowered, perfect protagonists will not be tolerated and excessive cursing will result in donations to the swear jar.
My Opinion: 350 pages??, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
**For the Podcast only: -Written by community member Lars. He’s writing under the obfuscating pen name Lars M.**
Full disclosure: I received advanced copy for review. I purchased the novel when it became available.
From the moment you read the novel’s witty description and disclaimer, you can tell the author put lots of time and personality into the novel. The novel itself does not disappoint.
It starts off just like the description says, with the main character (MC), Daniel, on the run from the mob after stealing millions from them. While I’m a tiny bit disappointed that it doesn’t play a big part in the story once the MC gets in the game, it’s one of the more interesting ways to justify spending all your time in a full immersion VR game.
The MC is in the game by the 5% mark and stays there the rest of the story.
I liked that the MC doesn’t have anything handed to him and suffers for his stupid mistakes. He dies, pretty regularly, but learns from each death and adjusts how he does things so he dies less. Another interesting aspect of the story is just how many great stories can be told without combat. The MC is a bard with a min max strategy built towards charisma. So, he’s combat challenged. At first I thought this meant that there was not going to be any combat, but I’m happy that I was mistaken. The MC just has to adjust how he deals with people/creatures trying to kill him.
But some of the most interesting parts of the story have absolutely nothing to do with fighting. There’s music, storytelling, lore gathering, crafting, world building, game theory, and most importantly mystery investigating.
That’s right, the big plot of the story revolves around solving this mystery and a lot of the other seemingly unrelated quests and adventures ultimately end up being clues for the bigger mystery.
Overall, I had a really good time reading the novel. It’s a good mix of adventuring and mystery solving. But there’s still all the great RPG character building I love about the genre. The author not only creates a great main character but a full rich world.
Score: 7 out of 10
Countdown (Reality Benders Book #1) LitRPG Series
At long last, an extraterrestrial civilization reached out and made the First Contact. However, no one on Earth took their communique for the genuine article. In a similar vein, very few people appreciated just how little time our new suzerains had promised to keep our planet safe. Regardless, the end of their message showed humankind how to access a mysterious game. The objective of this game is unclear. No one can say where its servers are located, and its inner workings are beyond comprehension. But the game slowly gained momentum, pulling in more and more players. Soon enough, it became impossible to ignore the fact that things that happened in the game had a direct impact on our reality. And not only ours...
But as people figure out this mysterious game, the countdown timer ticks away. And no one can say exactly what will happen when Earth’s safety is no longer guaranteed.
My Opinion: 459 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full disclosure: I received an advanced copy of the novel for review. I purchased a copy once it became available.
The premise of the story is very similar to the Gam3. Humanity has been contacted by an alien civilization. We now have a limited time to enter a reality bending game and prove ourselves worthy to enter the larger galactic system. If we can’t, once our safe time runs out, we’ll be fair game for the more aggressive species in the universe. At least, that’s the bigger macro storyline for the series.
The micro storyline is much simpler. The main character (MC) Kirill, or Gnat as he’s called in game is blackmailed into joining this game to help his faction progress. It’s his willingness to break the rules imposed by his superiors and play the game like only a veteran game junkie can that lets him progress faster than anyone thought possible and have lots of impactful adventures. The story is mostly a slice of life adventure that’s well organized and you see recurring antagonists come back again and again to make trouble for our MC. Unlike the Dark Herbalist, there is very little real life story.
Game mechanic-wise, there’s a standard Str, Con, Agi, Int, Wis, Cha, Luck stat system. There’s the addition of the stat Perception which plays a major role for the MC and his ability to notice things. There’s a class system that applies firm restrictions on things non-combat related classes can do. Though there isn’t a restriction on skills players can learn, other than the number of total skills at any given level. Skills increase as you practice them and overall usage + general actions increase a players level. If you’ve read the author’s other novel, the Dark Herbalist, a lot of this will feel familiar.
Overall, this is a really good story. The sci-fi adventuring of the MC is never boring, and the RPG game mechanics always feel important and impactful to the story.
Score: 7 out of 10
The Iron Veil: A LitRPG OmniWorld Adventure
Westworld meets Game of Thrones in this thrilling, exceptionally-realistic game world.
It’s not a game. It’s a nightmare.
25 year-old Justin Boone has been waiting his entire life for an adventure like this.
Breakthrough technology developed at a government sleep study program allows participants to interact with each other in OmniWorld, a shared dream state that resembles an online role-playing game.
2.3 million people applied to participate in the first public test. 5,000 were chosen. And Justin is one of them.
But he soon finds that he’s not one of the lucky ones. Not by a long shot.
Now he must face legendary monsters, murderous assassins, and other players bent on his destruction--as well as a diabolical AI game controller who has plans of its own...
Enjoy this sci-fi fantasy LitRPG, GameLit, adventure book free as part of your Kindle Unlimited Prime Reading subscription. You can read the ebook on your Amazon Kindle Fire, on a computer via Kindle Cloud Reader, or on any smartphone or tablet with the free Kindle reading app.
The OmniWorld Adventures are featured in a number of Kindle Unlimited categories, including: fantasy, epic fantasy, fantasy books, fantasy adventure, new fantasy books, sword & sorcery books, science fiction, cyberpunk, fantasy adventure quest, action adventure, men’s adventure, fantasy superhero, heroic fantasy, historical fantasy, humorous fantasy, and kindle unlimited books.
My Opinion: 394 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Just from the novel description the story feels like a write to market LitRPG story. There are like over 20 keyword plugs including: sci-fi, fantasy, LitRPG, GameLit, adventure book, fantasy, epic fantasy, fantasy books, fantasy adventure, new fantasy books, sword & sorcery books, science fiction, cyberpunk, fantasy adventure quest, action adventure, men’s adventure, fantasy superhero, heroic fantasy, historical fantasy, humorous fantasy, and kindle unlimited books.
The rest of the story, while entertaining sometimes, is not only frustrating in it’s mystery about the plot but also makes me feel like the game stuff doesn’t matter. You can tell because besides getting some details about the death mechanics in the beginning, you don’t get much detail about abilities, skills, or even what the heck combat action or combat opposition are. These things are listed on the MCs character sheet, but no explanation is given about what they mean, just that they go up at some point.
Honestly, that’s fine. Because the game mechanics don’t ultimately feel like they matter. The story is more about a rogue AI changing the game for its own purposes and huge mystery about what that means. For me, a lot of the plot is just drawn out way too much. There are so many instances where someone hints that something is wrong in the game but no one actually says what it is.
However, my biggest issue with the story is that I was never given any reason to care about any of the characters. They all felt flat. Which is a note in several of the other reviews on Amazon. At the end of the story, I don’t have any background about the main characters or why they’re even there. There are hints, they signed up for some kind of contest to win a million dollars and are supposed to be stuck in the game for a year. But there are also glossed over statements that when they die in the game their memories are wiped. The author intentionally draws out the mystery of what the plot and premise of the story is.
Overall, this feels like a cyber thriller with some added in RPG mechanics that don’t really matter to the story. It just didn’t work for me.
Score: 4 out of 10
That’s it everyone!
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