Street Cultivation - a modern wuxia/litrpg hybrid

by SarahLin

Original ONGOING Action Adventure Fantasy GameLit LitRPG Male Lead Martial Arts Supernatural Urban Fantasy Wuxia Xianxia
Warning This fiction contains:
  • Profanity

In the modern world, qi is money.

The days of traveling martial artists and mountaintop masters are over. Power is controlled by corporations, modernized martial arts sects, and governments. Those at the bottom of society struggle as second class citizens in a world in which power is a commodity.

Rick is a young fighter in this world. He doesn't dream of immortality or becoming the strongest, just of building a better life for himself and his sister, who suffers from a spiritual illness. Unfortunately, life isn't that easy...

(Higher resolution version of the cover:

Author's Note: I'm aiming to do something a little different here, with cultivation and LitRPG elements in a modern setting that has developed around them (so not system apocalypse). The story will have one foot in realism, so don't expect the protagonist to be handed immense power immediately. There's a longer note at the end of the first chapter, but the plan is to upload a new chapter every three days until the story is complete.

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  • Overall Score

A juicy truffle for us mud slogging pigs.

I never took the time to write a review before, so hear me out, please.

I read a shitton of wuxia/xianxia, but honestly, the genre is saturated with so much garbage that most of the time I feel like a goddamn pig slogging through mud and shit trying to find a truffle. Thing is, this story is a goddamn truffle. A juicy one with earthen and smoky tones.

The characters feel real, the problems are relatable, MC isn't OP, at all. It's wuxia without all the bullshit.

This a truffle, people. Enjoy it while it's here.

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Kung fu wageslaves?!? What?

Awesome and enjoyable.

Street Fighter, Big Trouble in Little China, Kung Fu Hustle come to mind thinking about this story.

The Will of Heaven is there for the taking, and it can be yours for 5 small payments of $99 each!

Modern urban setting, cultivation with litrpg style tracking of ones progress - the better for the corporate overlords to quantify you with, my dear.

This story possesses a wonderful mashup of elements, and solid character building rooted in street level, understandable struggle.

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Though only one chapter has been released so far, this seems like a really promising story! It's well written, and a welcome fresh take on the cultivation genre.

Keep 'm coming! 

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Command of the English language is strong and writing skills are high.  Characters have depth and the author understands how to show instead of telling.  The premise is interesting and relatively unique.  Definitely worth a try.

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Unique concept, interesting story, good grammar

It's only at 13 chapters so far, but hopefully it goes for many more.  So far I haven't noticed any egregious grammar errors, which is actually hightly unusual for this site.  The story so far is good - the 'orphan with sick sister' trope is a little overdone, but it works as motivation.  I only hope that his sister becomes more badass or that her personality at least progresses past just being motivation for the main character.  Same with the 'wealthy rival' character.  However, this is very early in the story and there is plenty of time for character development.  Pacing/flow is good too, and I like that the background information and world details are naturally given out through the story rather than in paragraphs of exposition.


Anyway, you should read it.

The Loon
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The story reads and flows well; and the way it's written is clear and concise. The author also avoids info dumps which is nice, though there are some cases where a little more info would be nice. Lastly, the dialogue reads like it's actual people talking, which is incredibly refreshing. Bad dialogue is probably my biggest reason for dropping novels. I give the style a score of excellent.


In a sea of poorly written webnovels, Street Cultivation stands far above most everything else I have read on Royal Road. Truly, the orthography in this novel has been great. I can't remember off the top of my head coming across any mistakes.


Finally, something different! It's great finding a martial arts story that isn't just a pile of regurgitated crap; It's like finding a glass of cool refreshing water in a scorching desert. That isn't to say the author doesn't rely on some tropes, but there is plenty here that breathes some life into the genre. Thank you Sarah Lin for delivering something unique.


I have really enjoyed most of the characters thus far. Ricks determination, Jimmys surliness, Granny Whitneys malevolence, Algers eccentricity, the author has done a good job introducing us to a host of interesting and entertaining characters.

Final Thoughts

A real gem in the rough this story is. I'm really glad I picked it up, and I'm eagerly awaiting more chapters. Keep up the great work Sarah!

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An Aversion of Xian'xia isn't necessarily better

To be honest, I tried liking this story, but I really couldn't manage. Basically this story is set in a "modern" Xian'xia setting where the rich are cultivators and cultivators are the rich. The middle class also gets to cultivate and has power and the poor get fucked. A bit like real life in that way.

Now the protagonist starts out as an "undeserving poor" as the author calls it. But as I said, starts out, as the story progresses he does everything to deserve his poverty. He has no wealth, more pride than a king, a sister that's very sick and a healthcare system like the US. Basically he starts out rather fucked.

The thing is this is an aversion of Xian'xia. Meaning instead of heavenly encounters or just plain luck, he's got encounters with assholes, bad luck and bad decisions. I don't think there's one chapter after the first where he doesn't get fucked over. Being beaten up, inheriting his parents debts, joining an underground fighting ring, getting crippled, ending up effectively a slave, then gaining a billionaire heir as his personal enemy.

Honestly that's the latest chapter and where I stopped caring about this story. The MC is an overly prideful fuckup machine and the story so far has been how he stumbles from bad encounter to bad luck to fuckup to bad luck to bad encounter. Basically the MC is a classical authors chew toy. Where a normal Xian'xia protagonist would be an author avatar that has more luck than brains this one is the very opposite.

And to be honest, where classical Xian'xia gets boring because you just know the character will get the next OP thing for certain, this one gets boring because you just know a new chapter a new torment. And it won't get better because the MC is just the kind of never-do-well that has enough intelligence to fuck himself over where a dumber or smarter person would have just done nothing and coasted along.

Herp Derp
  • Overall Score

So far, from the first 10 chapters that have been read I'm pretty sure this is a pretty promising novel. It has a clear system of how things work for the levels its at, and hopefully it will stay consistent with said system through all the levels of cultivation. So if you like wuxia or litrpg its a good novel to read! Keep up the good work.

  • Overall Score

I generally won't read a wuxia novel, not because they're bad, but because they are bland and repetitive. This story is neither of those things; it's well thought out and varied to the point that the characters only repeat words necessary to the current discourse they are involved with.

There are few typos, and mentioning one often results in it's correction.

The characters aren't fully developed as of yet, but only because the main character doesn't know everything about them.

All in all it's a good story thus far, and I can only see it getting better.

Toke Eriksen
  • Overall Score

I saw this on my Reddit front page and checked it out on a whim. I haven't read any cultivation stories before (I kinda had to look up what it even means), but I'm familiar with LitRPGs and kung fu movies, and I dig this a lot. So much that I ended up binging all 13 current chapters in a couple of hours. It's well-written and edited with no spelling or grammatical errors at all as far as I could tell. It has cool world-building and a clever "magic system". The fight scenes are vivid and well done, and the plot has me hooked wanting to see more.  Fantastic stuff author, keep it up! :)