The Daily Grind

by argusthecat

Original ONGOING Action Adventure Comedy Contemporary Supernatural

A terminally bored IT guy finds a sub-dimension in the back stairwell of his office building.  It escalates from there.

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Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
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Chapter 108 ago

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  • Overall Score

This series has several positives:

---The viewpoint is written clearly and fluidly, making what is happening easy to follow and understand.

---Even though the premise isn't new, it is an interesting variant.

---The character's actions and reactions are consistent with what we know of him and his motivations.

---It handles suspension of disbelief nicely by having a clear demarcation between 'real world' and 'here be dragons'. It looks like that might blur as the story progresses, but the initial separation makes it easier to get the story going.

---The balance and timing of action versus the character thinking about and reacting to what just happened is good.

On a 'could be a plus, could be a minus' note, the protagonist looks like a slow developer, as opposed to immediately OP or quick growth. I personally like stories either way, so this isn't a negative for me.

So, overall a solid start. It is an open question as to whether this has a plot / larger theme or is more slice of life, but it looks like it could do well with either.


  • Overall Score

Derp Derp Derp Derp Derp, Living Staplers.

Reviewed at: Chapter 108

Its top quality. There is nothing else to say. It's unique, well written. Has no grammar issues. The Author is really interactive, and the discord is a blast with all the theoretical possibilities this universe has to offer. The characters are well built and the universe feels ever-expanding. All in all its a fun unending read. the chapters are infrequent but huge so each release is satisfying. Read It.

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Must read for lovers of quirky dungeon/growth mechanics and good worldbuilding

Reviewed at: Chapter 107

Disclaimer: Despite this review's title, this story is completely unreadable and not worth your time... if you're a bigoted homophobe. Many reviewers and chapter commenters hurl ridiculous accusations of being "bait and switched" or complaints about things tangentially related to the romance in this story to mask their actual homophobia; they're not fooling anyone.

Any way, moving onto the important, happy stuff for the people who matter.

I first heard about The Daily Grind from fantasy author John Bierce on reddit. He said that it's one of his favorite progression systems in Progression Fantasy due to the ridiculousness of the orbs in the story. I was a bit skeptical (because "ridiculous" or "random" aren't really things I look for), but I gave it a try. Even before falling in love with the progression system, I fell in love with the main character, his silly nerd humor, and the way the dialog is written. If you enjoy snappy banter, referential humor, and existential dread, this is absolutely the story for you.

I've written a review for another story on this site in which I stated that it was the first story to ever make me fall in love with a Mimic. Well, The Daily Grind one upped it by making me fall in love with a stapler. This is a really bad segue into me talking about how great the worldbuilding is in the story. For example, the dungeon's ecosystem is well realized and believable, despite being populated by "Life" instead of life (read the story and learn the distinction!).

That's enough gushing. If you love interesting and unique fantasy mechanics/settings and are not averse to nerd/gamer/anime culture, read this story. DO IT.

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Solid Premise, But Story Goes in a Suboptimal Direction

Reviewed at: Chapter 058

The Daily Grind is a decent story with an interesting premise and magic system that starts strong but makes some suboptimal story choices.

The basic premise of the story is that an IT Call Center employee discovers an office-themed dungeon dimension, and begins to explore it, eventually getting his friends involved and delving as a group.

The early plotlines where the focus is more on discovery and exploration is the strongest part of the story, with the novelty of the magic system and setting really shining. 

Eventually, the plotting of the story gets a bit too slow, with the story arcs feeling somewhat cyclical. A serious missed opportunity in the story is that the characters get skills and the story subsequently forgets about them. While a lot of the skills are seemingly useless, having the characters find creative ways to utilize or apply them would have been much better than just completely neglecting them. This leads into another issue I have. While I understand why the author paced the story the way they did, I think it took way too long for any cool or exciting skills to appear, resulting in skill gains being something just to glance over since the reader could expect that none of them would be story-relevant.

The characters in the story are a bit two-dimensional and simplistic in personality, and their interactions get very repetitive and lack depth. The intelligence of the characters and quality of their planning and strategizing seems to widely fluctuate based on the needs to the story. I personally have no issue with the MMF relationship that appeared in the story, but it came out of nowhere, and the lack of significant depth to the characters and their interactions makes it hard to care about.  

Finally, while the editing is good, it could be improved, specifically with regards to spelling and phrasing. 

Overall, if the premise intrigues you, give this story a shot, but don't hold your breath for solid plotting or complex characters.

(As of Chapter 60)

  • Overall Score

Excellent.  It's existential Dungeons & Dilbert.  Something is profoundly wrong with reality, and the protagonist is well aware of that, but then again when wasn't something wrong with reality?  Anyway, there's money and candy.  Strange candy.

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A Kaleidoscopic Trip Of Wacky Fun

Reviewed at: Chapter 108

I like a lot of stories. Some are terrible, but I like them anyway; some are good and a few are even great. Some make me think; some make me feel; others open my eyes. But none offer as much mad, raw enjoyment as this one. The Daily Grind is a kaleidoscopic trip of wacky fun, even when it's being serious.

It's packed to the brim with gloriously wierd and original ideas, any one of which some other authors would use as the sole and core premise of their entire stories. Here, however, the self-described "magical bullshit" is everwhere and comes in more flavours than you ever knew you wanted.

  • Overall Score

Presented Without Context

Reviewed at: Chapter 108

I'm just going to list out of context some of the things that occur in The Daily Grind (very minor spoilers obv):

  • A literal ocean of printer ink.
  • A pen that only writes in cursive.
  • An iPhone that is also a millipede.
  • "Plot twist I'm Bi" causes a major combat powerup.
  • Ambulatory Staplers.
  • A non-Euclidean vending machine.
  • Accidentally giving a building a second basement in the same physical location as the first one.
  • A man who can duplicate himself by stealing liscence plates.
  • 2 skill ranks in Templating>Phone Book>New York.
  • Spontaneous acquisition of the Rank of Second Lieutenant in the US air force, despite not being in the military.
  • A 25 hour a day diner.
  • Stealing a human heart, but it's fine because they give 31 hearts back a few hours later.
  • A magazine with an infinite number of pages.
  • A dog made out of magnetic fields.

A story that features all of these things simply cannot be criticized. It's against the law or something.

  • Overall Score

The story has grown.

Reviewed at: Chapter 108

Note: I'm a Patreon supporter. There won't be any Patreon spoilers in the review, but my impression is informed by some things that happen in the Patreon chapters.

This story has grown and evolved a lot. That's not to say that it wasn't good in the beginning - it had a strong sense of intrigue that made me want to keep reading, to find out more about the world and the nature of the dungeon; it made me wonder how the main character would grow, and how what he obtains might change the world. 

And now... well, looking back, all of those questions - if not explicitly answered - are in the process of being answered. Avoiding spoilers, James is far more than a simple office worker, the dungeon itself is far more complex, and the characters that have been introduced so far are each unique in their own way. The story explores aspects of philosophy and politics and future-building that give me hope for humanity as a whole, and isn't that a heck of a thing to get from a book?

Anyway, it's great. Read it. Unless you're homophobic, like the last reviewer (Really, dude? I'm a gay dude and I read stories about straight MCs all the time. Suck it up. Christ, who even says 'as a straight dude'. Reading a story with a gay MC doesn't make you gay, have some security in your own sexuality).


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Best comic dungeon delving ever

Reviewed at: Chapter 057

This is without a doubt one of the best stories on Royalroad. I've only ever read one other office-themed GameLit story, and The Daily Grind beats that one.


The puns are on point. The story and the world develops slowly, but surely. The characters are complex and awesome


Read it!

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Eldritch made Easy

Reviewed at: Chapter 108

While I would state that the strength of this story is, without a doubt, the world building, The Daily Grind does a good job and not making it all about that. I would strongly recommend giving this a read if you are interested in a setting that leaves you with a lot of questions, with answers that are almost just out of reach yet not. 

Overall, while the start migh feel slow, the pacing (and increase thereof) feels consistent and natural. In fact, this story (the first 'book' in particular) is a pretty good example of what a decently executed 'Heroe's Journey' would look like.  In addition, the first 'book' set up the broadening in scope of this story very well.

Very seldom would Style and Grammar jump out at me (although, I will admit I am the kind of reader who tends to be forgiving on this matter), and many of the characters feel like they could be real people that you have met or known. They archetypal information is presented effectively but not used as a crutch upon which the entirity of a character is based. 

Would definitely recommend that at least giving the first couple chapters a read.