The Abyssal Dungeon

by TheDeepDarkReef

Original HIATUS Adventure Fantasy Anti-Hero Lead Dungeon Female Lead GameLit High Fantasy Magic Male Lead Multiple Lead Characters Non-Human lead Reader interactive Slice of Life Strong Lead
Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore

The world of Vol, a huge, bountiful plane where the only constant is life, in its many, many forms. One such form is a dungeon core, a peculiar little gemstone, and the focus of our attention. Watch as this otherwise unremarkable gem awakens in one of the most resplendant places in Vol, an aptly named Mana Reef, and how it turns its simple hole in the ocean floor into something truly unique, all while the rest of the world is forced to deal with its growth.


This is my first venture into writing for fun, and I'm hoping to keep this running until I run out of juice. With that said, I very much enjoy dungeon core novels, and wanted to do one a bit outside the norm. Hope you enjoy!

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Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
Prologue: Birth ago
Chapter 1: Fumbling ago
Chapter 2: Meeting ago
Chapter 3: Learning ago
Chapter 4: Invasion ago
Chapter 5: The Dive ago
Chapter 6: The Cleanup ago
Chapter 7: Returning Home ago
Chapter 8: The Star of the Show ago
Interlude: To Mourn ago
Chapter 9: Growth ago
Chapter 10: The Little Things ago
Chapter 11: A Polite Visit ago
Rok Chapter: Crocodile Tears ago
Chapter 12: To Recuperate ago
Chapter 13: Montage ago
Chapter 14: Fruit ago
Rok Chapter: Bureaucracy and Memories ago
Chapter 15: A Day in the Life ago
Chapter 16: Open Seas and Frozen Reefs ago
Chapter 17: With a Bang ago
Chapter 18: Musings of an Idle Muse ago
Rok Chapter: The Big Day ago
Chapter 19: Larks and Lures ago
Chapter 20: Many ago
Chapter 21: Changes ago
Rok Chapter: The Teams ago
Chapter 22: Land and Sea ago
Chapter 23: Preparations and Surprises ago
Chapter 24: In Review ago
Rok Chapter: The Discussion ago
Chapter 25: In the Spirit of Change ago
Interlude: Word Spreads ago
Chapter 26: A Wyvern's Curiosity ago
Chapter 27: Tentacles, Tendrils, and Trials ago
Chapter 28: Crystals and Scales ago
Chapter 29: The Serpent's Quest ago
Rok Chapter: Discovery ago
Chapter 30: Partners ago
Chapter 31: The Murky Mustang ago
Chapter 32: Mysteries ago
Chapter 33: Riding ago
Chapter 34: Deeper ago
Chapter 35: Crystallized Consequences. ago
Chapter 36: Irritation and Explosions ago
Rok Chapter: Surprises ago
Chapter 37: The Changes of a Drake ago
Chapter 38: Night-Life ago
Interlude: The Fae of the Surface ago
Interlude: The Fae of the Sea ago
Chapter 39: New Life and New Changes ago
Rok Chapter: Live Updates ago
Chapter 40: A Proud Man ago
Chapter 41: Sharks, Floors, and Spawning ago
Chapter 42: A Reptilian Rivalry ago
Chapter 43: A Clash ago
Rok Chapter: Jrake's Day ago
Chapter 44: Crabs and Sails ago
Chapter 45: Minding its Matters ago
Chapter 46: Sela's Misfortune ago
Chapter 47: The Noisy Night ago
Chapter 48: Shells ago
Chapter 49: Hatching ago
Rok Chapter: Questions ago
Chapter 50: Creations ago
Chapter 51: To Pass Time ago
A Map and Some Art ago
Rok Chapter: The Visit ago
Chapter 52: Singing and Searching ago
Chapter 53: Night Learning ago
Chapter 54: A Drake's Pain ago
Chapter 55: Bonding ago
Rok Chapter: Questions and Answers ago
Interlude: Payment ago
Rok Chapter: Closing Shop ago
Interlude: Introductions and Farewells ago
Chapter 56: The Guilds' Worries ago
Chapter 57: Teamwork ago
Rok Chapter: Growing Pains ago
Chapter 58: Homecoming ago
Rok Chapter: Invitation ago
Chapter 59: Impressions ago
Chapter 60: The Visit Begins ago
Chapter 61: One-Sided ago
Chapter 62: The Dive Continues ago
Chapter 63: The Descent ago
Chapter 64: Is This... Victory? ago
Rok Chapter: Revelations and Obfuscations ago
Chapter 65: Creation Therapy ago
Sentiments Remembered ago
Interlude: Court is in Session ago
Chapter 66: Sela's Dark Tale ago
Chapter 67: When Many Become More ago
Interlude: Losses and Gains ago
Chapter 68: An Uneventful Day ago
Rok Chapter: New Worries, New Goals, New Friends? ago
Chapter 69: A Night of Newcomers and Names ago
Chapter 70: Of Kin and Knuckers ago
Prologue: Birth (Not a full story rewrite) ago
The Aby Survival Guide ago
Interlude: Meetings in the Now, Shadows of the Future ago
Chapter 71: Snakes, Snowflakes, and Snakes that are Fake ago
Rok Chapter: Steps Forward, Seething Friends ago
Chapter 72: A Breach of Trust ago
Interlude: Anger ago
Chapter 73: The Rage and Rest of a Dungeon ago
Rok Chapter: Snap Decisions ago
Chapter 74: A Wyvern's resolve ago
Rok Chapter: Mounting Concerns ago
Chapter 75: Born a Star, Always a Star ago
Chapter 76: Answers, and the Questions they Raise ago
The Aby Survival Guide, Chapter 2 ago
Interlude: When Sirens Hear the Sirens ago
Chapter 77: A Sadistic Stallion ago
Chapter 78: A Poorly Chosen Game ago
Interlude: The Golden Child ago
Chapter 79: All Claws on Deck ago
Chapter 80: Setting Trends ago
Rok Chapter: Tooth and Nail ago
Chapter 81: Wings and Wounds ago

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A Dungeon Core which is Actually about the Dungeon

The Abyssal Dungeon is entertaining read, which does several things better than any other dungeon core novel I have read.  First, the author keeps the focus on the dungeon and its evolving creatures, and does not let the chapters about adventurers take away from the fact that this is a novel primarily about a dungeon.  Second, the dungeon is shown as truly alien: it is not a reincarnated human, it has no gender, and it has only the loosest grasp of language and talks as little as possible.  Finally, the author avoids giving his dungeon the immediate ability to transform its creatures however it likes; the dungeon has to let its creatures fight to evolve, and its tentative experiments with deliberate changes are largely unsuccessful, which helps to slow down the pace of the book.

There are also a few ideas which are either completely or almost unique in the dungeon core genre.  There are several chapters in the dungeon from the perspective of the dungeon's creatures; there are chapters where not only adventurers but also wild animals invade; and

Spoiler: Spoiler

There aren't many flaws to point out.  If you need your stories to have ongoing character development, or a engrossing plot which spans the entire book, you may not like this book.  There are a few grammatical mistakes, including a rare few which leave a sentence completely unreadable, but these are few and far between.  I have pointed out the unique parts of the book, but there are also some of the same repeated tropes common to all dungeon core novels: D(?) to A ranked adventurers, a dungeon with a few major advantages, a dungeon fairy, etc.  Basically, if you are growing tired to the premises of the dungeon core genre, you may or may not like this book.

This has been a hard review for me to write, (because it is much easier for me to point out flaws than to list things an author does right), but at the risk of sounding hyperbolic, this is now, bar none, my favourite dungeon core novel, and I highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys LITRPG or dungeon core novels.


great idea, loving dungeon-building, bit unfocused

(as of chapter 56)

"The Abyssal Dungeon" tells the story of the dungeon core Aby that is the first ever underwater, more specifically in a mana reef. This special location not only gives Aby unlimited mana but also a unique range of creatures and also makes the whole world turn its sight on it when discovered. We follow the creation of vastly different water-themed floors, the arrival of adventurers that look for this dungeon's invaluable treasures and see Aby's monsters evolve along interesting ways. There are also glimpses of antagonists that want the dungeon for their own evil goals...

Style: The story is told in third-person internal style, usually from the dungeon core's view but there are also chapters and interludes following some of his main monsters, adventurers (often their last moments) and others. A bit too many of them in later chapters though.

Story: Like in many dungeon core stories, we have a core, a sidekick, dungeon monsters, floor building, fighting against trespassers... but the underwater location changes a lot of that in an unusual way. There is a great variety in scenery that we are able to see. In later chapters there is too much focus on the people outside the dungeon for my liking (just a personal preference).

Grammar: A few typos. Sometimes the sentences are a bit long and thus unnecessarily complicated but that gets better.

Characters: Most of the characters can be seen having their own personality, making them likable. A noticeable flaw is that many of the "prey" adventurers don't have any sense of self-preservation, entering deeper into the dungeon even though they are clearly too weak against their opponents, instead of fleeing.



Reviewed at: Chapter 66: Sela's Dark Tale

A very interesting Dungeon Core story that manages the feat of making the dungeon look like something that could actually exist in a natural enviroment. The way Aby develops and grows feels organic and life-like, quite unlike the more comon mechanical game-like feel that is the norm to the genre.


A very refreshing take on the Dungeon formula. I recomend it.


Interesting, creative and well written

As of Chapter 24, I have caught up to the latest chapter and I have to say that this novel has stayed true to my first impression in that it is really good, like, really good for a dungeon novel. I found myself connected to the characters, I found the grammar to be very decent, I found myself on the edge of my seat, I found myself interested in the world. The part I enjoyed the most was progress, as with any other dungeon novel, I loved reading about how the creatures changed, what they thought they could do better and how they went about doing just that, I loved reading about how the creatures socialised, how some competed for dominance over the other, how the creatures trick each other, this novel brought me back to LLS and how the main characters changed (A creature evolution story), and that's a good thing considering it's my favorite novel out of the 400-ish that I have read on various sites, even after a year of having read it.

I really have no problems with the novel as a whole, not even minor issues. I would recommend this novel for anyone looking for an interesting and fairly unique dungeon creation story, especially if you like to read about how creatures evolve from a common fish or eel to something too scary to put into words.

The only problem, which I could see being rectified at some point, is the cover. I am going to be honest, the only reason why I clicked on to this novel was because I had gone through 50 pages of the recently released novel chapters to find a good regularly updating novel, I only clicked on this one because I couldn't find anything else to read, but I am very glad I did. Also, I would recommend you alter the description slightly to make it known that this is a water dungeon, before reading the first chapter I had assumed this novel was about a dungeon in some kind of black void or a black abyss, or space, not the ocean.

In conclusion, a really good novel so far, I hope it stays that way, also this novel has a really good release pace, better than quite a few novels that have shorter chapters than this one.


What is 'The Abyssal Dungeon': It's about a dungeon, duh. Unlike most stories, this one doesn't have much of a system, nor pre-existing knowledge. Neither the dungeon or its companion are reincarnators and they are figuring things out as they go. 

The creatures living in the dungeon, at least the important ones, are characters. Yes the dungeon can give them orders and they'll obey without question, but some don't like one another, some are lazy, moody etc. which is a very nice change from all the happy family dungeons out there.

Quite a few delvers, or rather divers, also get fleshed out, it's not just faceless fodder going around. And the adventurers are quite realistic as a whole, which is usually one of my pet peeves. They share information, they prepare, tey've got a way out and, most importantly, they are there to make money and call it quits when things get too dangerous to their taste. Such a delightful change! The dungeon just doesn't understand why there aren't more people trying to reach the depths of its home, instead happily chipping away at its 'decorations'.

The dungeon itself is non-linear, so the map occasionally kindly provided by the author is incredibly useful and something I enjoy. Each area/floor receives a description to help you imagine how it looks and gives everything a unique flavor.

The occasional grammar or spelling issue aside, the story reads quite well. There are frequent switches in perspective which can be a little hard to follow, but the author pulls it of very well indeed.

The story itself reads mostly like a slice of life with some blood added in. There is an overarching plot with enemies to the dungeon who, unlike most, really are after the core, but development there is quite slow. My only issue is that, with the slow pace and many PoVs, it can be hard to remember who is who when a side character finally comes around again.


If one of the dungeon bosses will actually be defeated, permanently, and have to be replaced it would push my respect to new levels and possibly make the novel completely unique from any that I've read so far

The Defenestrated Typewriter

The story's okay and it got some interesting ideas but it's also somewhat repetitive and lacks a degree of excitement. It doesn't' really feel like the dungeon is actually being challenged.

A lot of time is spent detailing the dungeon creating or modifying its levels or detailing how its creatures are constantly spontaneously evolving but after a while, I just found that repetitive and confusing to keep track of.

There are some plot elements and the suggestion of an antagonist but none of them have really had an impact on the story so far, it just consists of the dungeon getting annoyed at how far people are progressing and then another round of modifications to fix that


Absolutely stellar dungeon core story

Reviewed at: Chapter 67: When Many Become More

I'm a sucker for dungeon core stories, in part for the sense of progression and growth, and in part due to the amount of artistry that can be done with absolute control over life and matter. This is one of the stories that has that in spades. The world outside is neatly developed without taking focus away from the dungeon, and the dungeon itself is portrayed reasonably as a sapient being that cheerfully kills anyone that attempts to crawl inside it without being bloodthirsty. Striking a balance to create a non-human character that seems completely reasonable in its actions is a difficult enterprise and one that is remarkably well-done here.


My favorite part of this story and the reason why I want to recommend it so highly, is the care and detail that goes in to the development of both the floors and the creations. Intricate biomes are carefully crafted with unique spins on sea life that manage to create a sense of both beauty and incredible danger. Evolutions aren't just bigger and badder, but unique twists on the organisms to pull them in-line with the environment, as well as adding elemental shifts that feel entirely natural within the written world. It's this sense of building a (deadly) fantasy world, within a fantasy world, that adds so much to the foundation of the dungeon core story. As interested as I am in seeing where the story and plot go, I could honestly be happy just reading about the ever-growing depths and expanding biomes. Where the danger increases as a natural function of larger beasts moving downwards when their home can no longer contain them. It's like a particularly vicious nature documentary and I love it.


Interesting ideas not compelling

review as of ch27

The style is fine.

The story is practically non existent beyond

Dungeon: "I want to grow, turns out it's really easy" Adventurers: "this dungeon is weird and dangerous, better let my gaurd down"

Grammar is pristine.

The story fails to present any characters in a sympathetic or relatable manner. The dungeon and his monsters are inhuman with arbitrary goals due to their total lack of experiences or meaningful struggles. Every adventurer character seems to only be motivated by fear of monsters and/or love of money. There is one character that is an exception to this rule.


Been a very enjoyable read so far

Very enteraining with an interesting premise. An interesting and intriging take on a dungeon novel. Looking forward to reading more of the future chapters. Keep up the good work.


Succeeds in being what it wants to be

Reviewed at: Chapter 81: Wings and Wounds

Ever want a non-human protagonist with a non-human way of thinking? This is it, many things have an alien mindset.  Ever want a "villain antagonist" that doesn't seem like they are obviously overpowered or barely making it? This is it, and the power differences are understandable. Ever wonder how the world would react to a strange new dungeon that they are unable to communicate with? This is it, as you see a nearby island make accomidations for the titular dungeon.

This story knows what it wants to be, and succeeds in doing so. Give it a try, you may enjoy it.