- Traumatising content
An intelligent young man embarks on an epic journey through a virtual world in the first volume of this near-future fantasy/adventure series.
Declan has never cared much for VRMMO games. No matter how many times his best friend, Matt, has urged him to get into the latest craze and escape the monotony of their broken-down reality, he always finds something about the build or the engine that drives him crazy. But when an AI hacks into his Somatic Implant and invites him into a secret virtual world, he can’t resist the chance to explore.
The lush, post-apocalyptic landscape of Gaia is unlike any simulation Declan has ever encountered, and it’s only the gateway to the even grander and more realistic world known as Indiri. Soon, Declan and Matt are going on wild quests as their avatars—Dustin the Magic Myconid and Noam the Tiefling Bard—navigating a world of travelers and fighters to make their way to Indiri’s high-fantasy lands.
But Declan’s journey isn’t always smooth. And as he encounters digital gods, dangerous guilds, and powerful forces attempting to use him as a pawn, he must learn to forge his own path . . . or risk becoming an NPC in his own life.
Prologue to Adventure is an explosive start to an intricately plotted fantasy series filled with heart-pounding adventure and enchanting characters
The first volume of the hit LitRPG fantasy series—with more than 400,000 views on Royal Road—now available on Audible and wherever ebooks are sold!
Declan was but a teenager when he was invited to Gaia. It wasn't some popular VRMMO like the ones his friend keeps recommending, nor was it a 'game' in the traditional sense. Gaia was the stopgap to Indiri, a living breathing world, the final creation of a dead genius. Invited to this world by Eve, the overseer and an AI light-years greater than any that came before her, Declan was given a choice.
To join or not to join?
Well, why the hell not?
Hello, this is a pretty basic VR story which I started writing out of boredom, don't expect anything too great here, it's a somewhat unique setting but with mostly slice of life comedy shenanigans with no real 'plot' since I can't reliably include stakes in a world where respawning is a thing. I'll try to upload at least once every other week but real life stuff may get in the way occasionally.
**WARNING** Protagonist comes with an inbuilt wizard hat. Also, any mentions of chapter titles shall be met with falling rocks TPK.
**ACTUAL WARNING** Story may or may not read like the fever dream of an eclectic sasquatch with internet connection.
Do be warned, that this story has extremely slow pacing by design.
Laugh at my empty Patreon!!
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It's well made, as of chapter 2.0, and contains no small amount of, very specifically, cabbage puns. The main character hasn't had a lot of time to flesh out, but so far seems more than one-dimensional. Hope it turns into something great.
Ok, i'll try to be succinct to keep this review readable.
Starting this review with author's comment, I cherrypicked some of Sir Nil's words in the afterword of the prologue (chapter after 4.23) which are relevant in an accurate (as of chapter 4.23) portrayal of Mycology, and they are the following:
"The purpose of this story thus far, is to be purposeless, to not have a point..."
"A realistic story isn’t about consequences for your actions..."
"...a thousand events, happening outside your control."
This existential nihilism and purposelessness defines the prologue. Despite the relatively speaking quite grimdark world, both in and out of virtual reality, the story could not be accurately called grimdark as rather than focusing on the tradgedy and strife that suffuses life, Mycology sets the spotlight on the joy, fun, and general emotion which is felt in spite of a grimdark scenario without shunning it entirely. This story is probably the slowest slow burn I've read so if you dislike frankly absurd amounts of meandering this one probably isn't for you, although I emplore you to read the first 20 chapters and make your own decision.
I cannot point out any definitive flaws with the style, in fact I think it quite marvellous in how it fits so well with both the story and the MCs' personalities, but there could definitely be improvements regarding combat in big encounters. I do however understand that writing large-scale fights using text is extremely difficult without introducing monotony or having tunnelvision as a part of the scene, so this can mostly be excused in the main problem case for combat. Other than that the dialogue is used well to convey emotion or the lack thereof in some interactions, and the world is built and described in a good compromise of both breadth and depth. Being entirely objective I would probably give style a 4/5 stars, but the good far outweighs the bad in my opinion, hence 4.5/5 stars for style.
Story, as noted in the cherrypicked quotes above, is maybe kinda sorta lacking just a tad in Mycology as of 4.23, although that is noted to probably change in said prologue afterword. Plot is not entirely absent, however, as events do occur around the MCs and they do react to it, they just do not pursue the threads of said plot as one would expect in a story. A great subversion of expectations in this regard gives the story a 3.5/5 stars for story, as even without an overarching plot, plot still appears. The main detrement to this score would be the pacing, but the results are worth it in my opinion.
Mycology has exemplary grammatical structures which are not always present in stories on most webnovel sites, thus 5/5 stars.
Character score is probably the least objective in terms of my review, as I just 'feel' these characters and could see them being people I know with ease, thus 5/5 stars. The characters, both side and main, are sometimes hyperrealistic to the point that it is kinda uncanny, although this isn't always portrayed in the shorter interactions. Some characters are kinda two-dimensional, but it is explainable in the 'path' (levelling system terminology) they follow, i.e. a god of history is focused primarily on history.
Overall, this gets a big ol' 5/5 stars from me because as while the average of Style, Story, Grammar, and Character scores is 4.5, the positives definitely outweigh the detrimental bits. Again, this is a very slow burn so if you arent hooked by the first 20 chapters it is probable you wont be hooked for a while longer. Keep up the great writing, Sir Nil, we appreciate it.
[EDIT: upon re-reading could not locate unnecessary comma previously noted in grammar section, thus mention of it removed from review]
This is one of the best stories I have read here on RR. The writing style, the story plot (both in game and out), the character development, and the grammar/spelling are all top notch.
This is fantasy game-based far-future sci-fi Earth storyline so you get the best of both the medieval setting while in game and the best of Earth-centric sci-fi (no aliens mentioned thus far but high-tech) in one read. It appears as though the Author is an Aussie as there are references relating the character to that area although there is not as much slang/specific word choices one would expect from someone native to that area. Although, there are a few UK spelling choices for words that Yanks like myself might be able to catch.
This is on my Follow list and will be staying there as long the author does not drop it or go on a really long hiatus.
Reviewed at: interlude part 5
normaly i would not do this but i believe i should this time (english is not my first language)
Personally i believe this story to be a potential and unique masterpiece in the making while i really have to point out that all the small side stories are frankly annoying in how they are made and placed the rest are something special.
The way this story is made is frankly something i have never seen or heard of before and while most would consider this a bad thing in this story it's a wonderfull thing, why it is so i will not tell as that would be a down right shame to do as it is something for you to understand and appreciate.
the vast majority of you who read this will read a bit and leave it aside forever and forget it's existance just like throwing away an uncut diamond as it's just another stone.
For those of you who are determined or just like to use your brain a bit to much like me this is a story i hope you will give a long and serious read as thats truly what it deservs.
Well thats enough out of me to you all and the last bit is for sir nil.
What you have written here contains more than even you seem to realise yourself it contains many things only the best writers in this world have been able to contain in their books.
While you are sadly not on their level how close you come is frankly frightening and you can come closer still as you have already sowed the seeds of their possibility, the reason why i won't say them is beacuse you are so close that if i do it will all go down the drain therefore i wish you luck and i truly from the bottom of my heart hope you will turn this into a masterpiece just as this story deservs to be.
Officially the greatest story I have found on RR to date. Action-packed fights interspersed with slower character and world building moments keep you interested and invested in what the next chapter will reveal. Ranging from pretty damn funny lighthearted interactions between characters to psychological horror that had me avoiding the reflection in my TV for a whole arc, you will often be pleasantly surprised by where the story goes. All of this is skilfully delivered to you with a developed and well-utilised vocabulary that makes it a joy to read.
I don't normally leave reviews like this but I hope that this gets across how highly I rate this novel. Seriously, just read it already.
what is gold but a fleeting concept in the vastness of non-existence and the guarantee that we’ll all die eventually? -- a hawker trying to swindle some mercenaries
I've not yet caught-up to the latest chapters, but I feel I have read enough so as to be able to write a review of the story so-far.
Let's start with a disclaimer. This is not a "traditional" hero's journey kind of story, where the MC/... has an overarching goal.
The character progression is the story.
The tite is to be taken literraly. It's a story about the inner workings of a mushroom.
If that's not your cup of tea, pass this one, or you'll find it has "slow start" or actually no start at all.
The grammar is kinda weird. The words are correctly written but sometimes a sentence will lack a word or has words inverted. But the style is great. The only fault I could find is the over-use of acronyms (PUG, CC, CtH, ...) without having them being fully written first in the chapter. (But around the end of 5.xx CtH was being correctly fully expanded on the first use).
The world building is stellar. It is done in a way that compels you to know more about the world(s), with just enough unknowns (either unknowns from the reader perspective or the character perspective) to keep you hooked / asking for more.
I also love how absurd the world is (and the chapters start that emphasis that). It's a perfect blend of absurdism and grimdark.
The characters are the main focus of the story, particularly their internal progression. The focus is first-person, and this is integral to the story.
The characters are very well written. They are imperfect, flawed, broken, but as the focus of the story is the characters (I put Matt as MC too, so it's plural) and their internal progression, this is what makes the whole thing work.
I do like that the cast of characters will often have opposing positions on subjects, with those positions being sensible and well supported.
The story in itself is pretty difficult to rate once you've removed the world building and the characters. I guess the themes of the story are mostly nihilism, absurdism, utilitarianism (or actually *ism) and some pretty difficult subjects (mostly death and what it means to be alive). And it's all well done.
I am not doing an advanced review, simply because I couldn't be bothered to, but I can state with authority that not a single category would be five stars. Why then is the overall score five stars? Because it all comes together perfectly.
My favorite part of any sci-fi or fantasy story is the Magic System, and so that is what I will primarly review. Beware minor spoilers.
Fundamentally, the magic system is a Soft-Rational system based around Belief and Equivalent Exchange. Of the two, Equivalent Exchange is an newer rule, and there are artifacts and constructs that formed before it became Law. However, since the implementation of that rule, EVERYTHING follows it. Unfortunately, we have yet to get indepth on the Belief aspect of the system, but I can see it coming in either the second or third book, probably third. Together, these effects come to something like Karma or Narrative Weight; for a hero is a story you belief in, or some such rot.
When I say everything follows the system, I do mean everything. This is a VRMMO story, so there are "players", right? And those players have a "system" to let them tell their stats and level and such? And they are able to revive infinitely, with only a short cooldown before they respawn? Well, all these things balance out with a more restrictive class system than the Natives have, and a lower innate power (at lower levels, at least).
As to all the other stuff that you might want to know about the novel: The main characters each have interesting backstories and their own voices, wih the new characters being introduced to finish off the "Five Man Band" and the "Green Ranger" slowly revealing their own, though the party is still focused on the "Dynamic Duo". Grammar/spelling/all that is decent with no obvious mistakes I saw. Style I never know how to talk about, so you are out of luck with that. Story has fits and starts, where things have been obviously contrived; but most of that contrivance has been dealt with in-story with the Narrative Weight effect.
Perhaps the worst and best thing I saw was recent, and thus a severe spoiler.
Earlier in the story he managed to cheat the system and get more power than he had "earned" with equivalent exchange. By the end of the story so far, he has "earned" two extra powers but has four, so he sacrifices three and claims a new power.
This is the worst thing because there was a lot wrapped up in the powers he sacrificed, complimenting his greatest strengths. He was very obviously building into a potent mid-ranged support mage and battlefield commander, with minions, status effects, DoT, AoE, battlefield observation, analysis, and prediction. Just the whole package for a really potent team lead. Combined with his Melee-DPS/Off-Tank partner he was good for small engagements, and tossing in basically any Healer, Main-Tank, and Ranged DPS would allow for a perfect five-man party. Now that is all gone.
This is the best thing because it is explicitly designed to avoid the "always a bigger fish" trope, and also kinda circles around to the start of the story again. He tricked/convinced Eve to remove that which prevent sharing the secret, and now he is a Keeper of Secrets that gains power from not revealing things. His build has shifted from the Support/Commander role to a Support/Skill-Monkey role, with each "skill" coming from a "secret" he keeps. I can see how this change will help with Decs' character arc, though.
Okay the writing is gold the story is gold and my only complaint is that I ran out. I love this story and I recommend anyone to read it for themselves. Masterful usage of worldbuilding and characters and making them important. The pacing is good, and the most important thing is that there is an actual threat from a vrmmo story. The game world is actually able to effect reality and vice versa. And it all makes sense... somewhat.
As the author said, this is definitely a slow burn book, so if that doesn't interest you, turn back.
Also, while I feel it is a good story so far, there hasn't been much mystery or thought provoking content. Something for us to be questioning along the lines of "Why did X happen? Where did Y come from?" Maybe that'll change later, but for now I feel its kinda one track.
Besides that though, I only have a couple nitpicks, everything else is well put together and well worth some time reading it! I felt quite immersed! And also I have a bias toward Mushroomish characters, so maybe that's why this piqued my interest!
I felt compelled to review this as it has none currently. I can’t tell what makes a good book or a bad book but what I can tell you is that this entertains me and I want more.
I am and a sucker for unique and weird things and as it turns out mushrooms.
Give this a try yeah.