LitRPG Podcast 118
LitRPG Podcast 118
June 1st, 2018
Hello everyone, welcome to episode 118 of the LitRPG podcast.
I’m Ramon Mejia. I’m here to bring you the latest LitRPG news, reviews, and author interviews. I have 9 new reviews just for you.
New Releases and Reviews:
Not LitRPG but a close cousin and still a good story.
Good balance of everything I like about the series. Score: 7.6 out of 10
Ariair Online: A Piece of Legend (19:04)
Slow start but get good after the first dungeon dive. Score: 7.4 out of 10
Action RPG story, emphasis on the Action, light on the RPG. Score: 7.2 out of 10
Martyrs: LitRPG Book 1 (Legends of the Great Savanna) (28:44) Eventual MOBA and town building elements. Score: 7.2 out of 10
Glitch Hunter (32:42)
Dark Fantasy of Witcher 3 and Detective mechanics of Batman Arkham Asylum. Score: 7.8 out of 10
Bad Cover good story. Score: 7.4 out of 10
Not much dungeon in this dungeon core story. Score: 6 out of 10
Slice of life undead rogue story. Score: 7.1 out of 10
(Play Music 2)
As of 5/29/18, which is good. Still scary not being in KU. Usually the novel hits top 200 so there’s a loss of readers because it’s not in KU but that’s to be expected.
Novel is doing well, it’s been an interesting
I will be at the Claremont Packing house in Claremont CA, Sunday June 3rd, 2018.
Aleron Kong, author of the Chaos Seeds series, is giving away bumper stickers if you email him at: Richter@litrpg.com
However, if you but it for $5, all proceeds will go to Books for Africa a charity with a 100/100 score on charitynavigator.org
-According to a Facebook post, LitRPG supporters raised over $400 last month this way for the charity.
Just as an update, the Author’s for St. Jude charity auction finished but $2590 was raised. Thank you everyone that took the time to donate and congrats to anyone that won the amazing collections of signed books.
Volume 2 is also out.
New LitRPG Audiobooks
The Right to Choose (Fayroll Book 10) (June 5th, 2018)
Killstreak Book One: Respawn: An Epic Fantasy LitRPG (June 14th, 2018)
End of an Era (Project Chrysalis Book 2) (June 26th, 2018)
Restart (Level Up Book #1) LitRPG Series (July 10th, 2018)
External Threat (Reality Benders Book #2) LitRPG Series (July 23rd, 2018)
Death March (Euphoria Online - Book 1) (Aug. 7th, 2018)
Onto New Releases and Reviews
(Play Music 3)
New Releases and Reviews
Forever Fantasy Online (FFO Book 1)
A thrilling new novel for fans of SWORD ART ONLINE and WORLD OF WARCRAFT!
In the real world, twenty-one-year-old library sciences student Tina Anderson is invisible and under-appreciated, but in the VR-game Forever Fantasy Online she's Roxxy—the respected leader and main tank of a top-tier raiding guild. Her brother, James Anderson, has a similar problem. IRL he’s a college drop-out struggling under debt, but in FFO he's famous—an explorer known all over the world for doing every quest and collecting the rarest items.
Both Tina and James need the game more than they’re willing to admit, but their escape turns into a trap when FFO becomes real. Suddenly, wounds aren’t virtual, the stupid monsters have turned cunning, and death might be forever. Separated across a much larger and more deadly world, their skill at FFO is the only thing keeping them alive. But as the harshness of their new reality sets in, Tina and James soon realize that being the best in the game is no longer good enough.
My Opinion: 498 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
*Full disclosure: I received a advanced copy for review. I purchased the novel when it became available.*
Authors of Nice Dragons Finish Last (Hearstrikers series). They are fans of SAO, .hack//sign, Log Horizon, The Gamer. They wrote the story without realizing there was already a genre for it.
This is an entertaining story where everyone playing a VR game gets transported to the game world of their favorite MMO. Only the rules of the world change. All the quest givers and other beings of the world awaken angry at being trapped in endless cycles as NPCs. Player abilities, powers, and gear all works differently now and many of the game features they were used to don’t work at all. It’s a good story that focus on a separate brother and sister who are both trying to survive in this new world while figuring out how it works.
Game mechanic wise, this is a mixed bag. For players, only some abilities and skills are carried over from the game. Old questlines still exist to some extent, but everything takes on a more grounded function. It’s like a real physical reality is imposed on everything. No more infinite ammo or mana. If an ability uses a physical component and that component runs out, that ability no longer works. Also no game UI. This includes no health bars, mana bars, of macros. All of the existing game stuff is hidden from the reader and is treated more like extensions of a new magic system. For example, Tina, one of the main characters (MC), can use her taunt ability but instead of pushing a button or activating a macro, she has to physically stomp on the ground and channel her energy into it. That taunt also has an impact on physical reality destroying the ground around that stomp. Stats sort of carry over in that their apart of the being of the players but the reader never sees them. No character sheets, no item descriptions. Just players being kind of supermen in different ways.
The story is definitely the highlight here. Following the journey of both Tina and James as they struggle with their inner demons and issues while fighting the freed monsters of the world. Tina’s side is about her leading a bunch of potential guild recruits against an army of monsters and trying to keep everyone safe and alive. James's story is more about how the relationships between NPCs and players have changed and how players will now have to interact with a group of beings that feel like they were trapped for decades and abused by players. There are betrayals, sad moments, triumphs, and great failures. All really good stuff.
Possibly GameLit, but not LitRPG. There’s simply no RPG progression. There’s stuff that any MMO player is going to feel familiar with. But no RPG progression. No one levels, no one gains XP, no skills are raised. The most that happens is that eventually someone gets new gear and gains a vaguely defined sense of improvement about a stat or can wield the new mana system a bit easier. The story essentially transports everyone to a fantasy world and translates all the game stuff into kind of new magic system. It does all that well mind you.
Overall, a good story. But the authors were very clear in that they wrote the story without ever knowing exactly what LitRPG was. They wrote a good story based on the trapped in the game fiction and anime they had. Like Sword Art Online and Log Horizon, but definitely skewed their story towards a fantasy world bent.
They are also not advertising as LitRPG so no bad review or anything. Heck as portal fiction or even GameLit it would get a score of 7 out of 10
Defenders of the Realm (Greystone Chronicles - Book 4)
The kingdom is expanding! More land, more resources, and surprising new allies. Fibble gains some interesting stats, a new set of skills, and a patron deity of his own. Elysia is prospering.
But Alexander and his Elysians are forced to defend their lands against an invading orc horde from the north, and the dark army of demons and undead that has escaped from the caverns where Alexander imprisoned them.
At the same time, the Dark One is somehow still working with the drow wizards to subjugate more lands and expand their evil influence.
Join the Greystone Guild and their Elysians as they battle armies to defend their lands and their people. They fight for freedom and their very survival, facing a ruthless enemy bent on destroying the world. But is the cost too high for Alexander to endure?
My Opinion: 450??, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
*Full disclosure: I received a advanced copy for review. I purchased the novel when it became available.*
A good balance of character building, group banter, action, large but still detailed battle scenes, dungeon diving, and a smig of town building.
The novel didn’t get too big this time but focused on the core group with a few other characters added in. This allowed for a good deal of comradery and left me feeling like I was hanging out with my friends.
Additionally, there are some well done kingdom building moments. I don’t mean the building part, there is that too. But some scenes in the story where it feels like the main character is really becoming a leader of men, instead of a guy who fell into the job. Places where it really feels like the people in the city are starting to become a community.
Overall, good stuff. I think a couple scenes near the end may bother some people but I stayed up all night just to read one more chapter and finished the whole novel in a single sitting.
Score: 7.6 out of 10
Ariair Online: A Piece of Legend
Ariair Online, the latest in massively multiplayer online gaming, and was hyped to be the first fully immersive virtual reality game on the market. To Jasper, an old hand at online gaming, it was simple, he needed to buy it.
But what started as a simple game purchase for Jasper and his friends to pass the time, became an obsession. Jasper began his journey finding that Ariair Online has more secrets hidden away than he could have imagined.
Only time will tell how deep Jasper goes into this new world.
My Opinion: 250 Pages?? or 61K words, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
This is a slice of life novel has a rather slow start but once it gets going it is full of action, adventure, and RPG leveling.
The first 3% of the novel reads like a straight fantasy novel, but don’t be fooled. It’s just the amazing trailer for VR game in the story. Still, even in that trailer, there are story elements that get played up later.
Storywise, this is a slice of life story that tries to be more. The story introduces you to the main character, his school, a few other real life characters and then he logs into a full immersion VR game. The real life stuff storyline has potential long term but most of it in this novel is setup and the in-game storyline completely over shadows it. In game, the MC goes on adventures, gets some interesting powers, clears some dungeons, and levels up. It’s actually rather an exciting journey once he gets to the first dungeon (25% mark) and the series plotline with the orbs of power has good story telling potential but is only really seen at the beginning and at the very end of this novel and is used more as a hook for the next book.
On the topic of game mechanics, this is relatively detailed. You have full character sheets, items descriptions, spell descriptions, ability descriptions, explanations of the magic system, and some good varied build choices. You definitely get enough info to plan your own character. Though some people will complain that there’s too much info since a good 6% of the novel is dedicated to just the character creation section. While you don’t get damage notifications after a certain point, combat never feels wand wavy and even when the MC helps defeat a boss that’s a much higher level it doesn’t feel unreasonable since he’s helping and not soloing it.
Overall, I like the story. There’s lots of places it can go in the real world and in the game world. The beginning is slow and a little bit of an info dump but once you get to that first dungeon, the pace and the action really pick up. I look forward to reading book 2.
Score: 7.4 out of 10
Goblin King: A LitRPG/GameLit Adventure (Monster Slayer Online Book 1)
To earn a second chance at life, Devrim Bains must die and enter a virtual world of monsters and mayhem. Let's just hope one death is all it will take, because he can't afford another.
When Devrim Bains reaches his twenty–first birthday, he's finally punished for a crime that was never his fault–being born. In a world of strict population control, his life's been decided for him, and it's about to end. But a stroke of luck gives him opportunity to have his consciousness uploaded into a simulated-reality game world with the promise of paradise.
Except paradise always comes with a cost.
Monsters of legend and myths of old come to life in Lorian, needing to be slain or tamed for Devrim to have a shot at enjoying freedom. It'd be easy enough if one of the fiends hadn't raised an army hellbent on conquering everything. The Goblin King has his sights set taking the lands of Lorian in his iron grasp, and Devrim Bains' only chance is to quickly learn what it means to be a slayer.
To make sure his new lease on life isn't cut painfully short, he's going to have to embody the greatest rule in Monster Slayer Online:
Hunt or be hunted!
Goblin King is the first novel of the Monster Slayer Online LitRPG/Gamelit series. If you loved The 100, the Monster Hunter game franchise, and Dragon's Dogma, you'll enjoy this fast paced, hard-action monster-slaying novel.
My Opinion: 398 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
This is an enjoyable action oriented novel with light RPG mechanics. The big focus in the story is on combat, which is written well. The fights are frenetic, visceral, and there’s an good amount of variety among the bad guys.
On the game mechanics side, things are pretty light. There are no combat, health, or stamina numbers. The most common mechanic are the notifications and skill uses. There’s a mention of leveling increasing health and stamina, but the main character only levels once, near the start of the story. Instead the main progression mechanic are skill points. After beating a group of opponents or finishing a quest, the MC is awarded skill points as a reward. These skill points can be used to buy new abilities or upgrade existing ones. The are supposed to be a variety of abilities available but the reader only ever sees what the MC actually purchases.
Which brings me to the thing I thought could be improved the most about the story. The game mechanic variety. While there are plenty of places where game notifications appear and give details about monster races, or specific abilities the MC uses. There isn’t a lot of explained variety of choices for RPG powers. There are no details about the other powers or items available to the MC, just the stuff he actually chooses. It would have been nice to see even the names of the other powers or purchasable items and get an explanation about why one was chosen over another. It would have added depth to the game side of the story. Also, crafting doesn’t turn out to be an important thing, rather something merchants do.
Storwise, this is kind of slice of life. Even though you get introduced to the Goblin King in the first few pages, it’s mostly a vague motivation for the MC to improve. Instead, you follow the MC as he and his group go from fight to fight, increasing their skills, and accomplishing quests.
Overall, it’s good read if you’re in the mood for an action heavy story. If you want something with lots of RPG mechanic details, this probably won’t fit the bill.
Score: 7.2 out of 10
Martyrs: LitRPG Book 1 (Legends of the Great Savanna)
After being approached by the military with a contract he couldn't refuse, JAMES winds up uploaded into a virtual reality game as a beta tester. Waking up in the Great Savanna, James struggles with a less-than-useful interface before he comes across two creatures locked in battle. The shoulder high grass allows him glimpses of a lion-esque creature fending off a torrent of scales and claws. Sneaking up to steal a better look at the surreal situation, James discovers two things.
1. Getting hurt in the game.... well hurts!
2. This noble race of lion-men, named Martyrs, have almost been decimated by the scaled lizard creatures.
By unwillingly saving the life of a Martyr cub, James is adopted into their village. He grows to love the beauty of the Great Savanna and his adopted game brother, whose life he saved... That is until PATRICK arrives, and the tranquility of the game is shattered.
James embarks on a mission for answers to his steadily increasing list of questions. On the top of that list,
"What the hell happened to the human race, and where is my damn brother!?"
LitRPG Categories = Town Building & MOBA
My Opinion: 305 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
This is a slice of life LitRPG story. Though it starts out with a trapped in the game premise, it feels more like it’s transported to the game world. The NPCs each have unique personalities and the larger world have full fleshed out histories and culture. The story follows the main character (MC), James, who’s uploaded into a full immersion game on what he thinks is a 6 month job. James has to figure out how the game mechanics in the world work and how to survive. Thankfully he’s helped along by a tribe of lion-men who eventually look to James for help in return. Most of the story just follows James around as he fights, levels, learns the RPG mechanics, and adventures.
The game mechanics in the story start out pretty light but more detail is gradually revealed as the story goes on. By about the 20% mark you get full on details about just about everything including build theorizing, how stats work, how to increase skills, a little bit of crafting, and level advancements. Eventually, town building mechanics are introduced. As is a MOBA style game play with monsters running down lanes and the MC and his team having to beat them. It’s a thing.
Overall, a pretty decent read if you enjoy slice of life stories. I do so I had a good read. Though, I did notice that towards the end of the novel much of the RPG parts seemed to become less prominent.
Score: 7.2 out of 10
Do you love hunting monsters? Dark worlds? Swords and Sorcery?
Alex is a Glitch Hunter, member of a house of monster hunters that possess mysterious bracers allowing them to see the world with the interface of a video game. Even with the edge that offers most Glitch Hunters die young, thrown by quests into areas of deadly conflict. Alex's first quest draws him to a city with a grisly past, and unless he can discern truth from lies in time an even darker future.
My Opinion: 604 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
*Warning: there is a semi-graphic sex scene near the beginning of the story, but that’s the only graphics sex scene.*
This is a good story that combines monster hunting, a detective story, and RPG elements. Thematically it reminds me of the Witcher 3 and is set in a dark fantasy world where monsters and supernatural creatures roam the land. The only people capable of hunting them down are a strangers summoned from other worlds that are imbued with RPG power capable of absorbing the unnatural essences of these monster and using it to become stronger. Add to that a good mystery that is solved using tools that remind me of Batman Arkham series. The action and detective elements work well together.
Game Mechanic wise, there’s lots of familiar stuff here. XP, levels, upgradable powers, damage notifications, and item and power descriptions. However, a more original concept that the author brings are the multiple kinds of XP or essence that can be absorbed to increase specific kinds of abilities. Black XP used to upgrade the analysis mode of the Glitch Hunter or abilities associated with killing. Green XP can be used to upgrade speed or health. Loads of choices given to the characters bases on a whole spectrum of essences. Other game mechanics that I haven’t seen in LitRPG stories include Analysis mode, which reminds me of a mechanic from Batman Arkham Asylum. It’s a kind of augmented reality overlay which highlights clues and gives special information about monsters. It doesn’t start out super useful but can be upgraded and eventually becomes a key element in the mystery solving part of the story. There are lots of other nods to other games but I’ll leave them for you to discover.
Overall, this a good story that is set in a well fleshed out world. I had a really good time reading it and look forward to reading the next story.
Score: 7.8 out of 10
Goddess Watch: A LitRPG/GameLit Adventure Novel
He's lost everything in our world. He's not going to let the same thing happen here.
Daniel's new life in Aelterna was supposed to be easy and relaxing, but instead of the sleepy shopkeeping job he planned on, he's dumped in a swamp full of feral monsters, lost gods and savage lizard people! He's up against ancient civilizations, power-hungry players and a serious case of culture shock, and he's got nothing but his barrier magic to face these challenges. Worse, the company that runs the game might have motives that don't have Daniel's best interest at heart; how's he supposed to survive when the masters of his new reality are against him?
If you're looking for an exciting fantasy LitRPG novel, this is your book. Goddess Watch is full of surprising allies, deadly enemies, monsters and magic. Adventure with Daniel as he's tested in ways he never imagined. Will he survive unchanged, or will the harsh demands of Goddess Watch turn him into something he doesn't recognize?
Buy Goddess Watch today and live another life in Aelterna!
My Opinion: 273 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
The cover art on this does a disservice to the novel. Not only does it not seem to have anything to do with the novel, the main character is a dude and he hangs out with lizard people, it makes it look like a romance novel.
This is a good action oriented story that reminds me a bit of dances with wolves if it were a LitRPG.
The author does a good job of establishing sympathy for real life Daniel, the main character (MC), and creating a situation where he’d be ecstatic to live full time in a full immersion game. By the 10% mark, the MC is dropped in the game and he has to figure out a way to survive in a swamp when all he really wanted to do was live the quiet life of a crafter and tradesman. Instead, he’s taken in by native lizard people and must learn their customs and earn a name for himself. This is my favorite part of the story, the stranger in a strange land part where the MC comes to appreciate this culture.
Shortly after though the story pivots and it becomes a bit more standard. The game company has plans for the MC that don’t involve him living a peaceful life. I won’t spoil things but the tone shifts from the MC learning from the lizard people to saving them and improving their lives with his advances civilization tech and game powers. Not bad, but not as awesome as where I thought the story was going.
Game mechanic side, there’s nothing particularly special. There’s loads of detail and customizable skill sets but you see the standard stats and skill progression systems. There is a little bit of crafting and I did like the new bonecrafting concept.
Overall, a good read. Loads of action after the 30% mark and even though the story didn’t go where I thought it was going to, it was still entertaining.
Score: 7.4 out of 10
Dungeon Boss Player: The Beginning
In the near future, gaming changed quickly and now a real Virtual Reality was created and games soon appeared and one of the newest was Dungeon King World, a game where the player is a Dungeon Boss and has the full control all over the dungeon domain of how to make it grow and how it will interact with the outside world.
Inside a dungeon, the boss is the King, or Queen, and the monsters inside will follow their command without questioning it.
My Opinion: 300 pages??, $3.25, Not on Kindle Unlimited
*Warning: The writing in this novel is challenging to read. An example: “You did a great choice, don’t kill child that come unarmed…”*
This is a story that is setup as a dungeon master novel. The main character (MC), Daniel, plays a VR game that puts him in the role of the boss of his very own dungeon. He gets to decide how to build his dungeon, what monsters to spawn, how to evolve them and his own powers.
Only there’s very little actual dungeon creation or even dungeon diving. There’s a good bit of monster evolving and a bit of story involving a local NPC village. But only one test of the MCs dungeon and one scene where the MC tests someone else’s dungeon. Those are also the only combat scenes.
The story has a certain anime charm and there are some funny moments. However, it’s honestly a little hard to read sometimes and that combined with the dungeon master story expectations that just aren’t fulfilled made it hard to really connect to the story.
Score: 6 out of 10
The Dead Rogue (An NPC's Path Book #1) LitRPG Series
Virtual worlds are places of boundless freedom. Anyone can become an elven mage or an invisible rogue, join a clan and go on raids, fight, develop their characters and most importantly, escape from the daily grind.
However, a game is only a game if you can quit. This is something I learned the hard way. I just wanted to let off some steam in virtual reality and ended up getting murdered and imprisoned in the body of one of the undead—slow, clumsy and cursed to die at the hand of other players over and over again.
The only way out of this awful predicament was to find the legendary Scroll of Rebirth, but the helpless plague-ridden corpse would need to be turned into a real killing machine. If only people knew what it was like to level up a dead rogue...
My Opinion: 275 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
*Full disclosure: I received a advanced copy for review. I purchased the novel when it became available.*
This is a trapped in the game LitRPG story. The introduction to the main character (MC)and the way he gets into the game are brief and he’s there by the 3% mark. From there it’s actually an interesting exploration of what it’s like to be an undead monster in the game. The MC can’t talk to players due to a low intelligence score, can’t go outside during the day, and is constantly being killed by players.
Unfortunately, this unique aspect of the story is dulled as the MC eventually starts to improve his character and finally talks to other players. From there on, it gets to be a more and more standard slice of life MMO playing story. The MC’s goal to get out of the game is always there but he never really makes any progress towards it. There are still some interesting questlines that the MC follows but as he progresses, he feels more like the other normal players. There are still aspects of his undead nature that are problematic, but it stops being about him a monster class and treats it as another player faction.
What is interesting about the story is how the MC uses his undead traits, which expand and are leveled like a new class, to overcome the odds and accomplish his goals. There’s good detail about skills, racial abilities, class abilities, game mechanics, items, and quests.
Overall, this ends up feeling more slice of life story since there’s no real resolution of any big goals presented. But that doesn’t mean the story isn’t interesting. The action is good, game mechanic stuff is detailed, it was interesting to see how the MC built his character, and there are several good story arcs. The antagonist in the story is a decent foil. I particularly like the late storyline companion that adds a balancing weakness and vulnerability to the character. It has the potential to develop into a touching relationship. But again, most of the story is action, adventure, and questing.
Score: 7.1 out of 10
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