Shovels In Spades

by Lone

Original ONGOING Action Fantasy Romance Tragedy LitRPG Magic Male Lead Non-Human lead Secret Identity Strong Lead Supernatural
Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity
  • Traumatising content

We all have dreams of becoming powerful, becoming the cool mage that rules the world, living as the dashing rogue who can steal a kingdom's entire royal treasury undetected, or perhaps, the valiant knight whose prowess on the battlefield is unmatched by all. 

However, when the apocalypse strikes, you can only use what you have at your disposal, be that guns, baseball bats, your fists, or maybe, just maybe, a shovel.

One young man who goes by the name of Darenzo has just had his world altered into one that is now the focal point of some sort of experiment.

Just at the end of his shift at the skip site, a worldwide announcement was made, that not only changed Darenzo's life, but also the lives of all of the Earth's inhabitants.

Can Darenzo survive and thrive in this changed world? Or will his growing madness best him? The answers to these question can only be revealed with time.

(The new cover art is a courtesy of the very kind and talented ssddx and was designed using the fanart cover of cthulupillar as the base.)

This novel is a participant in The Writer's Pledge

[Image: SSyXrQz.png]

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Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
Book 1 Prologue: Change and Shovel ago
Book 1 Chapter 1: Building and Fusion ago
Book 1 Chapter 2: Traps and Rage ago
Book 1 Chapter 3: Merits and Sleep ago
Book 1 Chapter 4: Base and Clothes ago
Book 1 Chapter 5: Status and Jewel ago
Book 1 Chapter 6: Rimmy and Robbing ago
Book 1 Chapter 7: Seal and Platinum ago
Book 1 Chapter 8: Temptress and Confusion ago
Book 1 Chapter 9: Faith and Offer ago
Book 1 Chapter 10: Poison and Charisma ago
Book 1 Chapter 11: Question and Return ago
Book 1 Chapter 12: Stupid and Restored ago
Book 1 Chapter 13: God and Crippled ago
Book 1 Chapter 14: Smash and Suspicion ago
Book 1 Chapter 15: Princess and Anacusis ago
Book 1 Chapter 16: Respect and Perks ago
Book 1 Chapter 17: Citizen and Buffer ago
Book 1 Chapter 18: Court and Motivation ago
Book 1 Chapter 19: Wall and Earthquake ago
Book 1 Chapter 20: Cabin and Lighthouse ago
Book 1 Chapter 21: Suggestions and Requirements ago
Book 1 Chapter 22: Upgrade and Charity ago
Book 1 Chapter 23: Exhaustion and Note ago
Book 1 Chapter 24: Box and Safe ago
Book 1 Chapter 25: Syringe and Return ago
Book 1 Chapter 26: Baseball and Event ago
Book 1 Chapter 27: Respect and Transfusion ago
Book 1 Chapter 28: Crocs and Rash ago
Book 1 Chapter 29: Ring and Mithril ago
Book 1 Chapter 30: Leader and Food ago
Book 1 Chapter 31: Conical and Enfield ago
Book 1 Chapter 32: Hamson and Return ago
Book 1 Chapter 33: Matt and Dorian ago
Book 1 Chapter 34: Consumption and Life ago
Book 1 Chapter 35: Rimmy and I ago
Book 1 Chapter 36: Choice and Changes ago
Book 1 Chapter 37: Jesters and Fort ago
Book 1 Chapter 38: Fiona and Villain ago
Book 1 Chapter 39: Fun and Crafting ago
Book 1 Chapter 40: Failure and Levels ago
Book 1 Chapter 41: Pride and Split ago
Book 1 Chapter 42: Cube and Table ago
Book 1 Chapter 43: Tome and Stress ago
Book 1 Chapter 44: Graveyard and Cecil ago
Book 1 Chapter 45: Pala and Gods ago
Book 1 Chapter 46: Candle and Reality ago
Book 1 Chapter 47: Jorden and Harvesting ago
Book 1 Chapter 48: Trench and Volunteers ago
Book 1 Chapter 49: Crusher and Plan ago
Book 1 Chapter 50: Og and Denied ago
Book 1 Chapter 51: Gravity and Tide ago
Book 1 Chapter 52: Illusion and Damage ago
Book 1 Chapter 53: Confidence and Cyanide ago
Book 1 Chapter 54: Fear and Danger ago
Book 1 Chapter 55: Wound and Vine ago
Book 1 Chapter 56: Towel and Smile ago
Book 1 Chapter 57: Mave and Dream ago
Book 1 Chapter 58: Crushed and Conclusion ago
Book 1 Chapter 59: Absolute and Return ago
Book 1 Chapter 60: Punishment and Thanks ago
Book 1 Chapter 61: Mini and Endearing ago
Book 1 Chapter 62: Questions and Luck ago
Book 1 Chapter 63: Design and Past ago
Book 1 Chapter 64: Rankings and Changes ago
Book 1 Chapter 65: Loyalty and Speech ago
Book 1 Chapter 66: Laws and Request ago
Book 1 Chapter 67: Agreements and Butterfly ago
Book 1 Chapter 68: Size and Walls ago
Book 1 Chapter 69: Upgrades and Guesses ago
Book 1 Chapter 70: Mayor and Miller ago
Book 1 Chapter 71: Girly and Knife ago
Book 1 Chapter 72: Departure and Condo ago
Book 1 Chapter 73: Survivors and Soldiers ago
Book 1 Chapter 74: Acquisition and Rearming ago
Book 1 Chapter 75: Kabatay and Demands ago
Book 1 Chapter 76: Shark and Snipers ago
Book 1 Chapter 77: Sentence and M939 ago
Book 1 Chapter 78: Shock and Thoughts ago
Book 1 Chapter 79: Ahab and Threat ago
Book 1 Chapter 80: Relationship and Exchange ago
Book 1 Chapter 81: Barrier and Gab ago
Book 1 Chapter 82: Gloves and Roger ago
Book 1 Chapter 83: Mansion and Rose ago
Book 1 Chapter 84: Warning and Information ago
Book 1 Chapter 85: Emotion and Hindsight ago
Book 1 Chapter 86: Stats and Resistances ago
Book 1 Chapter 87: Training and Database ago
Book 1 Chapter 88: Trust and Hug ago
Book 1 Chapter 89: Guilt and Pipes ago
Book 1 Chapter 90: Meeting and Four ago
Book 1 Chapter 91: Line and Lasers ago
Book 1 Chapter 92: Ease and Phases ago
Book 1 Chapter 93: Plan and Deadlift ago
Book 1 Chapter 94: Defeat and Slice ago
Book 1 Chapter 95: Tears and Hope ago
Book 1 Chapter 96: Struggle and Madison ago
Book 1 Epilogue: Puzzle and Dream ago
Book 2 Prologue: Aila and Punishment ago
Book 2 Chapter 1: Beater and Titan ago
Book 2 Chapter 2: Gestures and Broken ago
Book 2 Chapter 3: Watermelon and Whiskey ago
Book 2 Chapter 4: Cute and Tower ago
Book 2 Chapter 5: Lightning and Need ago
Book 2 Chapter 6: Rebuilding and Status ago
Book 2 Chapter 7: Barracks and Smithy ago
Book 2 Chapter 8: Quests and Announcements ago
Book 2 Chapter 9: Useless and Bullies ago
Book 2 Chapter 10: Dungeon and Medals ago
Book 2 Chapter 11: Pursuer and Replacement ago
Book 2 Chapter 12: Books and Bonus ago
Book 2 Chapter 13: Teens and Cages ago
Book 2 Chapter 14: Bravery and Captives ago
Book 2 Chapter 15: Rocky and Vincent ago
Book 2 Chapter 16: Storybooks and Deranged ago
Book 2 Chapter 17: Citizens and Peace ago
CHARACTER TABLE SHEET as of Book 2 Chapter 17 ago
Book 2 Chapter 18: Passion and Underwhelmed ago
Book 2 Chapter 19: Reika and Hamson ago
Book 2 Chapter 20: Rankings and Moustache ago
Book 2 Chapter 21: Stats and Arrest ago
Book 2 Chapter 22: Changes and Chicken ago
Book 2 Chapter 23: Titan and Chips ago
Book 2 Chapter 24: Foot and Bank ago
Book 2 Chapter 25: Changes and Entertainer ago
Book 2 Chapter 26: Food and Concoction ago
Book 2 Chapter 27: Humvee and Smoke ago
Book 2 Chapter 28: Benjamin and Trench ago
Book 2 Chapter 29: Crater and Edward ago
Book 2 Chapter 30: Scouts and Bunker ago
Book 2 Chapter 31: M1 Abrams and Bonus ago
Book 2 Chapter 32: Rebirth and Hand-cannon ago
Book 2 Chapter 33: Snapping and Deal ago
Book 2 Chapter 34: Departure and Return ago
Book 2 Chapter 35: Sister and Parents ago
Book 2 Chapter 36: Barbarossa and Resolve ago
Book 2 Chapter 37: Brother and Anger ago
Book 2 Chapter 38: Evolution and Status ago
Book 2 Chapter 39: Chains and Rage ago
Book 2 Chapter 40: Bonfire and Friendship ago
Book 2 Chapter 41: Citizens and Growth ago
Book 2 Chapter 42: Vibrations and Feeling ago
Book 2 Chapter 43: One Monster and Bound ago
Book 2 Chapter 44: Hollow Victory and Great Loss ago
Book 2 Chapter 45: Newfound Grief and Warranted Guilt ago
Book 2 Chapter 46: Funeral and Phoenix Heart ago
Character Popularity Poll ago
Book 2 Chapter 47: Aila and Text ago
Book 2 Chapter 48: Pondside Talk and Lizardman Attack ago
Book 2 Chapter 49: Slap and Absorption ago
Book 2 Chapter 50: Terms and Distraction ago
Book 2 Chapter 51: Fusion and Voice ago
Book 2 Chapter 52: New Citizens and Bob ago
Book 2 Chapter 53: God Facts and Heat ago
Book 2 Chapter 54: City Lord and Rimmy's Core ago
Book 2 Chapter 55: Morte and Shen Mu ago
Book 2 Chapter 56: Magical Skills and Laughing Skull ago
Book 2 Chapter 57: Lovers Duel and Shovel Arts ago
Book 2 Chapter 58: Ellie Richie and The Watching Gods ago
Book 2 Chapter 59: Mountainous Eruption and Greater Telekinesis ago
Book 2 Chapter 60: Cleaning Up and Second Wave ago
Book 2 Chapter 61: Battle Plan and Death Magic ago
Book 2 Chapter 62: Multicoloured Skull and Diving Titan ago
Book 2 Chapter 63: Reinstated Advisor and Disgruntled Mu ago
Book 2 Chapter 64: Future Project and Useless City ago
Book 2 Chapter 65: Base Upgrades and Keep ago
Book 2 Chapter 66: System's Displeasure and Mu's Arrival ago
Book 2 Chapter 67: Negotiations and It's Not Over Yet ago

Leave a review

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My main issue with the novel is the MC's decisions of how to use his points, the way he acts, his personality and the nonsense that goes throughout the whole story.

Spoiler: Spoiler

 I understood that you got quite offended by my review, it was never my intention to offend you so i apologize for that. I tried to soften my message to be less offensive and added a few things I actually liked in the story, good luck.

  • Overall Score

When I read the first few chapters of this story it was pretty fun. And I was really looking forward to how it would develop and how Daz would adapt to his new world.

But as the story goes on I am starting to have the same issues with the MC that I do with the MC's of the other storys by this author. They dont react in a way that I feel a real person would in the same situation. And while it could just be that the MC is very unique.... I just dont see it.

Normally when reading a story of any kind I want to identify something with the MC. Have some kind of connection. And this story just doesnt have that connection.

A story to read while waiting for others to get updated but not something I would go out of my way to recommend to anyone. Definitely not something I would Patreon with how hard he seems to push it.


  • Overall Score

Everyone likes apocalypse stories

Fun read, if still a bit short at this point.

I look forward to future chapters.



Even if the MC's name does make me feel like it should belong to a muppet.


Not that I'm really criticizing. It's seriously hard to come up with names that are somewhat original.

I mean, I read this one story with a MC named Randidly.I couldn't help but think that the poor kid's school life must have been hell.  

*Stares hard at random space*

That's right, I'm talking about you Ghosthound.

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First off, the intent of this review is primarily to analyse what I did not like about the story as I enjoyed a good deal of it and would like to see the author improve. Also understand that my only credentials are a healthy addiction to books and my own views. I am on chapter 40. This review contains spoilers.

That said, what truly kills this story is character development and world balance. 

By 'WORLD BALANCE' I mean the degree that the rules of the story's world affect everyone else compared to the degree they affect the main character. I.e. How much plot armor the m.c. has. Mostly, this imbalance is displayed through the distribution of merit points. For example, the mc constantly attracts the attention of gods which nets him about 50k merit points every time. This is fine by itself, but he usually catches interest of said gods by doing very little. The god of madness, for example, is interested in him because he talks to a clearly intelligent and actively communicative golem. This is a problem because, as of ch.40 no one else has caught the attention of gods. One dude stabbed a wooden dummy until exhaustion and uses a syringe as his main weapon not to mention his fanatical loyalty and the god of madness doesn't care. 

Another issue along the same vein is that the 40 survivors lead by the red haired lady "just barely" had enough merit points to buy the zombie cure at a cost of 1500. As evidenced by Ger's merit screen, simply surviving for 12 hours is a reward of 3000. Not only had those survivors lasted 24 hours, but they had done so under constant strain and even successfully killed several of the monsters. The red haired lady alone should have had thousands of points simply from extended resistance of the zombie virus while fighting zombies AND leading survivors the entire time. 

The issue is that Dez's returns indicate that the system is incredibly generous with merit point and rewards basically everything, so it SHOULD be giving a lot of points to a lot of survivors. In a world where you can buy a permanent summon with enough strength to tear a bank vault door off its hinges for a paltry 7k, that means almost every survivor should be basically at Dez's level or at least close and have their own unique powers. They are not, and do not.

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT is the other major failing of this story. It has many tie-ins with the issue of balance, but many characters have little to no depth. I think this is perfectly demonstrated by our main man Rimmy because he is actually VERY WELL DEVELOPED at this point in the story. RImmy is a huge crystal golem with a couple of slits for a face. Despite being completely unable to speak, Rimmy demonstrates through casual actions like giving the mic a thumbs up not only how he feels about complicated issues like murder, but also reveals that he both emphasizes with the mc's pain AND is familiar with social norms on how to cheer up a friend. It's brilliant. Add to that the novel idea of using identification to give characters a quick backstory and we basically know everything about a seven foot mute statue. If every side character was like that it'd be perfect.

Unfortunately, many of the other side characters feel forced. Ger, for example, at one point looks at his daughters interacting and says something along the lines of 'she likes to tease others but can't handle being teased herself'. This is a violation of that old adage 'show don't tell'. We'd already seen the daughter blushing at being teased so the information was useless. It would be like if Ger had seen Rimmy give Daz a thumbs up and monologued 'he is supportive of his friend'. 

As a quick last example of the issue with character depth is the scene with Daz throwing the red haired woman into a door. The woman later forgives Daz immediately after he apologizes with some line like who couldn't forgive you in this situation? I apologize for being blunt but that makes absolutely no sense. Imagine if you were thrown into a door hard enough to take half your health. In the real world that might be equivalent to being grabbed by the hair and thrown hard enough to break ribs and perhaps cause internal bleeding. Would you just hop up and say 'oh no worries it happens every Sunday can we all go stay at your place?' Of course not. This woman is in charge of not only her own saftey but also 40 other people. She wouldn't risk those lives for some clearly violent stranger simply because he killed some mons. Daz had shown his strength so maybe she wouldn't demand compensation but she would be far more likely to simply thank Daz for his help then attempt to find he own base with the other survivors, especially since they apparently had someone with a skill to reinforce barricades. Why risk their lives with some apparently insane, violent stranger? On top of that, why would 40 other people want to follow someone who introduced himself by nearly killing their leader? These aren't a bunch of goblins who only follow the strongest but a scared group of day to day citizens who already had some semblance of confidence they could defend themselves? 

overall I did like your story and especially in how thorough and creative you were with the system I was pleased, but I need more depth to my side characters yo.


EDIT:: I've read past chapter 40 a bit and was pleased to see that my review was somewhat premature. The author does much better on world balance than I thought.

  • Overall Score

Solid and fun to read litrpg

Enjoyable and a monumental improvement over his other works.

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Fun story, bad characters

The premise is good and the story is fun, but all of the characters feel half-assed and they don't feel like real people. Grammar is pretty good with few errors.

If you like litrpg, you're likely to enjoy this, just don't go into it expecting too much.

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Some pointers and a review - As of Chapter 91

Grammar: It is good but could use some polish. 

Style: The writing style is good but the dialogue is subpar so far and could be improved.

Story: Has a good premise and works well enough. (Gods' interest might be a little OP but that is what story requires.)

Character: Some characters feel like a papercut. Two dimensional if you will and could be improved.

Overall: It is a good story that could be enjoyed on boring nights or days. 

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Review title says it all.  Sometimes you just want to read some brain candy.  The real world is filled with complications and mirky grey areas.  You don't always want the same thing in your entertainment.

Thankyou for providing some pure unadulterated entertainment.  This has been added to my book shelf and I wil read it as you write it.  You seem to have a good grasp of the genre. THanks for your effort.

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Fun, Different, Interesting and Entertaining

I'll be honest, I'm no English major so my take on things is just opinion with no "hard knowledge" other than being addicted to reading for over 40 years. That said, I really enjoy this story.  The main character and major supporting characters are not what you'd expect from the "standard template" of MC's. Just like everyone IRL has their own quirks and faults so too do these characters though they seem magnified if you will because of the situation and the focus being on them. Think of how you would react if you were placed in the same situation, would you calmly rationalize your way through an apocalypse or would you sometimes go with your "gut" or first impulse due to shock and having to adopt a whole new world view?

Others have complained about the pacing, my view is ... so what? I'm not reading this story in a race to get to the next part. As long as the story interests me and keeps my attention I don't care if it covers a few days or a few years. I'm not cramming for a final here, I'm being entertained. If the story stops entertaining me then I'll simply stop following it and move on to something else.

We are getting hours of entertainment here for free and these authors are spending their own time putting their work out there to see if we like it. I'm all for encouraging them to continue. If you don't like something make a comment on the chapter that contained it. It's actually surprising to me how many authors personally address just about all their comments and this author is one of them.

Anyway that's my two cents. It's an interesting story with a "fun" take on the system, good main characters with quirks and hang-ups like any of us (but magnified) which will likely get better fleshed out as the story progresses, a cool mix of genres (fantasy, current Earth, sci/fi) that surprisingly works well and an author that responds to their readers.

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Story is an interesting concept.

Characters tend to be relatively plausible. MC is interesting. Author is attempting to add more nuance to other characters, including their motivations and thoughts.

Grammar and spelling are good. Overall I applaud the author for actually ensuring the sentences are readable and polished, something lacking in many others.


Story has at least one plot-hole I spotted. Although, it is possible that hole may end up being a plot point later on.

The author has been trying to convey side character thoughts in order to add addition frames of reference to the plot as well as to flesh out their personalities. Unfortunately these internal monologues are a bit exaggerated, like an anime character. An example would be how the military grunts think or speak about their general. I think the author had the right idea to attempt this, but this dialogue / monologue needs a little attention.

Below addresses the perceived plot-hole, potentially spoiler issues, as well as addressing another review’s issues.


Spoiler: Spoiler