The Dungeon Traveler
I spent most of my life trying to get by with whatever happiness I could, that included alcohol, food, and porn.
My death was unpleasant and humiliating. However, death is something we all need to go through. A bit like a proctology exam; necessary but never anything one wants to go through while it's happening.
However, death was supposed to be the end of it. Either way, the pain, suffering, and failures were supposed to be over. I was supposed to wink out, or perhaps take a trip to a lovely afterlife!
No, I ended up as a small stone, strapped to a table, while a pimple-faced teenager rubbed my facets and told me how 'lovely' I was. Last time I checked, birth wasn't supposed to be as embarrassing as death!
Life as a dungeon core isn't all bad. I like watching lizard love triangles and snooping on militaristic dwarves; though there is that issue where I'm trying to free myself from the entanglements of the Gods....ok, yeah that last one is a bit of a problem.
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This is supposed to be a reincarnated dungeon story, but it really isn’t. There’s a bit of a bait-and-switch going on here as the author seems much more interested in writing about the gods of the fantasy world than they are in writing a dungeon story.
There is a reincarnated dungeon, sure, but the things that are typically in the genre are missing. The reincarnated individual doesn’t learn from the mistakes of his previous life, he doesn’t grow in power or think up clever solutions when presented with problems, and in fact isn’t driven to improve in any way until the story is practically over. He starts out as a lazy asshole content to rest on his laurels and remains that way throughout.
The magic & menu systems is vague and ill-defined, the kingdoms the dungeon can “travel” to are bare sketches, and the gods, which are the driving force behind the story, have vague motivations and their personalities range from mysterious to mercurial.
And nothing the gods do, no matter how horrid, is ever challenged.
It’s fast paced, sometimes to its detriment as in the final few chapters, but it remains quick read. So, if you just need something to fill the time you can certainly do worse. But know what you’re getting into.
This story opens great, and if it were given room to breathe and perhaps LATER EDITED for a print release, I could see this story going far!
Unfortunately, the author is like a movie director who put two hours of film in the camera and says "when we run out, we're done!"
The back third of this book is both rushed and crammed to fit a word count target, and the quality of the characters, story itself, and the writing all suffer for it. Plans moving forward discussed in the comments and author post-chapter-box-thing make the future sound grim - the main character Dale the dungeon is going to get a "second main character" story roommate, and that's after the author heads off to write something else entirely in the meantime.
This story may not be orphaned in the sense that the author abandoned the work - in his eyes, the first volume is complete. But in casting aside or killing off many of the characters with potential, and being dismissive of what should be the main protagonist as just a means to an end, the functional effect for the reader is very similar to the other orphaned works on the site - the story remains unpolished and I would argue unfinished/incomplete in even the first arc itself, and there's no telling when the author may get around to producing more, or tightening up what he's given us already.
If you're a fan of ongoing RR serials, this is not the book for you. Maybe if you're completely burnt out on dungeon core tales, reading this will bring some form of inspiration - there are a lot of cool ideas/nuggets with potential here... Mostly still unused. If you're a dungeon core story author, you should definitely read this tale for bits and pieces to steal for your own nefarious purposes. For everyone else... Well... The first half or so is really good, and there is probably a way to salvage the rest should the story continue... But until you see a second volume appear here, the only reason to read the first is that the author has declared that he will take the first book down at some point in the future.
It's a reincarnated dungeon core story, that's it. Other than what i don't like that's pretty much it. Not too drastically different from what you'd expect.
The first problem i have with this story is one i have with other fantasy stories that have gods. Namely, the way they mess with people for the sake of their own goals. Now here it's not blatantly evil like in other cases but it still works to the detriment of the main character dale as it makes him a clear target for people and gods who now want to murder and or enslave him. The definition of a dick move.
The second and more aggravating problem i have is with dale himself. He's a lazy asshole who grossly underutilizes the almost godlike power given to him and instead tries to be a one trick pony who is heavily outclassed by literally every other gods champion. The author literally stated that dale is pretty much just a vehicle to move the story forward to somehow justify how lazy it is.
Edit: Too bad i can't skim through old chapters to edit this and make it more accurate. I was going to delete the rest of my review except this edit as a joke but i need to leave this up for anyone thinking of buying this on amazon. Don't, vol 1 at the very least is not worth whatever price it's put at. The whole story would have to be rewritten drastically for it to be worthy of any monetary value.
You actually wrote half a story, with no plot besides the main character reacting to different things. Theres so little character development. Normally I wouldnt have a problem with this, but your planning on selling it as a full book online. Like what??? This is like maybe half a book at best.
I really love this take on the dungeon genre.
It's something else besides the typical reincarnated person stumbling through the system building their dungeon. While there is moral dilemma it isn't the typical "I need to overcome my inner human/dungeon instinct" in regards to killing.
It's quite different in the way that it is (as of c.29) less about how the dungeon discovers new things and grows its level/monsters but more about its impact on the Environment and the people around it.
That said, I'm looking forward to some actual harder, more complex dungeon/challenge building. I like the cool concept of space magic, but like the story itself acknowledges its pretty much a one trick pony, and since the beginning, nothing really new and exciting has come about in terms of dungeon abilities or magic.
It definitely has a place on my Fav and Follow Lists
PS. Ok I'm a little disappointed that this is supposed to be it, this felt very much like a long prologue we didn't even get into the real meat of a Dungeon story.
I was expecting the Dungeony part to go take off at any point but it kept going with the Politics both of the Gods and the empires.
So I have to agree with Brians' review that the Dungeon is more of a front for the politics.
Pretty disappointing, I was having high hopes but the story didn't deliver.
I would say I have high expectation for the next volume, after the ending of the first, but besides the fact that I had that feeling the whole time and it never paid off.
The author doesn't even have a definitive plan to continue this story any time soon.
there is dungeon element in this story but not the main one!
i think it will more suitable if the title is changes to something about god,cause the main story of this book about gods(mostly)
I think it had potential, at least until it disappeared to Amazon Unlimited.
Found this on Royal Road and then I saw author moved over to Kindle. My evaluation of the first book was it had an interesting premise, MC is reincarnated as a dungeon core and then employed by the local gods as 'dungeon of challenges'. The modern perspective of pitting your mind against unusual fantasy world classes in designed challenges is awesome and sparked my interest, but it didn't happen ENOUGH. The dungeon moves every month, and it seems like it should be prime focus of the novel.
Most of the words are about the local gods doing political manuevers which obliquely mention the dungeon, or from the perspective of locals reacting to the new dungeon entrance that just showed up. Then there are direct perpsective of the adventures themselves in the challenges, which aren't interesting compared to the dungeon's own thoughts. The more I read, the more I realized I only like the characterization and growth of the dungeon core, and that isn't a high percentage of the novel. I read the first book here, and reviewed the second from kindle unlimited.
This was almost a great series, but ended up mediocre.
I've read all of book 1 and half of book 2. So basically the dungeon has two components to it, overly easy challenges that offer large prizes for what basically amounts to a game of hopscotch. And the dungeon's serious death maze which can kill high tier enemies on it's first attempt. Finally the plot mainly revolves around the protagonist watching alien cultures like he's watching a soap opera and every 30 days, he changes the channel.
Note I had to delay writing a review for this because Amazon won't let me write a review for some reason despite me owning and reading the books.... So a few of the details are foggy in my memory.
Honestly, dungeon fictions get off too easy on this site. People want them, but no one's really made a good one yet so the bar is set to rock bottom. I've read too many of them trying to find one I actually like, so I may be a bit harsher than others would think it deserves.
In the former, each challenge is ranked from low tier to high tier. The low tier tests the absolute minimum level of a stat like agility. Agility's challenge is basically jump across the platforms. These get harder at higher levels, but almost no one actually attempts anything but the weakest challenges. I gave up in the second book reading about these dog people who seemed to be completely ignoring all the challenges.
The expectation from the author seems to be more focused on exploring unique cultures since the dungeon can spy on the cities of all these towns he's visiting with his dungeon. Honestly, this element just doesnt work since there's no real plot development in it. It's more like the author is saying "hey, look at this cool culture I made up. It's got dog people and they get attacked by monster waves and they got really cool pit traps to fight them off." Honestly, I don't care about your made up cultures. I'm here to read cool plots and well developed characters.
For the second "serious death maze" parts are where the storyline actually happens. And honestly, I wasn't too moved by it. (minor spoilers) I wasn't too convinced with the "decent into madness" because the reasoning seemed weak. And the idea that one failed attempt on the dungeon's life makes it unbeatable...
Because of the above, you've basically just told me that there's no point reading further. Any further attempts on the dungeons life are going to involve bs plot twists like "a magic device that lowers all defenses" or that all future plots are going to revolve around external events like a world war that blows up everything and the dungeon needs to play the noble hero. Neither plot line sounds very fun to me.
The external plot is pretty dull. The protagonist has an OP scry spell that lets him peer anywhere in the world that he wants only with no sound. Every 30 days he moves his entrance to a different city then watches the cultures below like a soap opera. Out of the 6 towns I've seen him monitor, the mages tower was pretty interesting, the kobold and 2 human towns were okay and the rest were pretty dull.
I mainly don't like the above because nothing happens in most of these towns. They play out like a kid showing off his imaginary creations in a silent movie. As in no one has dialog.
The story is enjoyable. It's novel enough to be interesting, and the untranslated lizard love triangle was fascinating. Though the actual love triangle itself was unpleasant in some ways.