Worth the Candle

Worth the Candle

by Alexander Wales

Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity
  • Sexual Content
  • Traumatising content

A teenager struggling after the death of his best friend finds himself in a fantasy world - one which seems to be an amalgamation of every Dungeons and Dragons campaign they ever played together. Now he's stuck trying to find the answers to why he's there and what this world is trying to say. The most terrifying answer might be that this world is an expression of the person he was back on Earth.

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Alexander Wales

Alexander Wales

Top List #50
15 Review Upvotes
Fledgling Reviewer (I)
2nd Anniversary
Word Count (18)
Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
Chapter 1 - Taking the Fall ago
Chapter 2 - Thickenings ago
Chapter 3 - Solely Responsible ago
Chapter 4 - Reaver ago
Chapter 5 - Goraion ago
Chapter 6 - Cold Comfort ago
Chapter 7 - Twenty Questions ago
Chapter 8 - Diamond and Iron ago
Chapter 9 - Making Magic ago
Chapter 10 - Sewer Rat ago
Chapter 11 - A Winding Course ago
Chapter 12 - Life of the Party ago
Chapter 13 - Time Out ago
Chapter 14 - ELEVATOR facts ago
Chapter 15 - Whys and Wherefores ago
Chapter 16 - Kindly Bones ago
Chapter 17 - Voting Blocs ago
Chapter 18 - Communal ago
Chapter 19 - Montage! ago
Chapter 20 - Desert Course ago
Chapter 21 - Cliff Racer ago
Chapter 22 - Rolling Need ago
Chapter 23 - Siege ago
Chapter 24 - Like a Glove ago
Chapter 25 - Rocket Man ago
Chapter 26 - Superman ago
Chapter 27 - Fears ago
Chapter 28 - The Impish Inn ago
Chapter 29 - Greychapel ago
Chapter 30 - Plot Relevant ago
Chapter 31 - The Loyal Elf ago
Chapter 32 - Be Still My Heart ago
Chapter 33 - Tenth ago
Chapter 34 - Weik Handum ago
Chapter 35 - Friendship is Magic ago
Chapter 36 - In Which Juniper Stares At His Character Sheet ago
Chapter 37 - Paths ago
Chapter 38 - Don't Split the Party ago
Chapter 39 - Strategic Reserves ago
Chapter 40 - The Feminine Mystique ago
Chapter 41 - Truth and Reconciliation ago
Chapter 42 - A Pleasant Interlude in Kansas ago
Chapter 43 - In Search of a Quest ago
Chapter 44 - Mairzy Doats and Dozy Doats ago
Chapter 45 - Keep Magic Weird ago
Chapter 46 - The Market of Blood and Bone ago
Chapter 47 - At Arm's Length ago
Chapter 48 - Doe or Doe Not, There is no Try ago
Chapter 49 - Math.random() ago
Chapter 50 - Copse and Robbers ago
Chapter 51 - Blood in the Water ago
Chapter 52 - Culmination ago
Chapter 53 - A Tiptoe Through the Tulips ago
Chapter 54 - Looper ago
Chapter 55 - Bond Girl ago
Chapter 56 - Vacation Vocations ago
Chapter 57 - Place Your Figs ago
Chapter 58 - Panopticon ago
Chapter 59 - All the Myriad Ways ago
Chapter 60 - Aggressive Negotiations ago
Chapter 61 - Animus ago
Chapter 62 - Drift ago
Chapter 63 - The Chemical History of a Candle ago
Chapter 64 - In Which Juniper Stares At His Character Sheet, Again ago
Chapter 65 - A Kindred Soul ago
Chapter 66 - The Long Night ago
Chapter 67 - A Helping Hand ago
Chapter 68 - Seeing Red ago
Chapter 69 - In Mutual Congress ago
Chapter 70 - Moral Agency ago
Chapter 71 - The Soul of Discretion ago
Chapter 72 - Tripartite Talks ago
Chapter 73 - Amaryllis ago
Chapter 74 - The Mouth of a Long River ago
Chapter 75 - Stats for Nerds ago
Chapter 76 - Date Night ago
Chapter 77 - Lies and Damned Lies ago
Chapter 78 - The Sacrifice ago
Chapter 79 - Rule Zero ago
Chapter 80 - The Princess and the Pea ago
Chapter 81 - Musings on the Elder God ago
Chapter 82 - Aboard the Lion's Tail ago
Chapter 83 - The Familiar and the Foreign ago
Chapter 84 - The Party Line ago
Chapter 85 - The Great Train Robbery ago
Chapter 86 - Headwater ago
Chapter 87 - Down And Out ago
Chapter 88 - The House of Solitude ago
Chapter 89 - The Face of a Place ago
Chapter 90 - Head of House ago
Chapter 91 - An Open House ago
Chapter 92 - Shades ago
Chapter 93 - Bottle Episode ago
Chapter 94 - Grayscale ago
Chapter 95 - Time Enough ago
Chapter 96 - A Portrait of the King as a Young Man ago
Chapter 97 - Rapping at my Chamber Door ago
Chapter 98 - Letter 15 ago
Chapter 99 - Enough Rope to Hang Yourself ago
Chapter 100 - Immanentizing the Eschaton ago
Chapter 101 - PPROM ago
Chapter 102 - The Adventures of Valencia the Red ago
Chapter 103 - Contract ago
Chapter 104 - Consolation ago
Chapter 105 - Notes ago
Chapter 106 - The One-Hand Warder ago
Chapter 107 - Name of the Beast ago
Chapter 108 - The Dream That Skewers ago
Chapter 109 - The Veil of the World ago
Chapter 110 - Bubblegum ago
Chapter 111 - Peer Pressure ago
Chapter 112 - Egress ago
Chapter 113 - A Hell of a Time ago
Chapter 114 - The Meeting of Minds ago
Chapter 115 - Communicative ago
Chapter 116 - Therapy ago
Chapter 117 - Beast of Burden ago
Chapter 118 - Breaking Loose ago
Chapter 119 - Depths ago
Chapter 120 - Deceptions ago
Chapter 121 - Maddie ago
Chapter 122 - Raven ago
Chapter 123 - Medieval Stasis ago
Chapter 124 - Fight Club ago
Chapter 125 - The Remnants of the Past ago
Chapter 126 - Ever Onward ago
Chapter 127 - Full House ago
Chapter 128 - An Open Book ago
Chapter 129 - Schemata ago
Chapter 130 - The Abject Despair of an Uncaring World ago
Chapter 131 - A Cypress Waits ago
Chapter 132 - Uskine Nervedah ago
Chapter 133 - The Critical Path ago
Chapter 134 - Safe Mode ago
Chapter 135 - Holding ago
Chapter 136 - Krinrael ago
Chapter 137 - Darili Irid ago
Chapter 138 - Stats for Nerds II ago
Chapter 139 - Piece of Mind ago
Chapter 140 - Commingling ago
Chapter 141 - Monty Haul ago
Chapter 142 - Sound and Silence ago
Chapter 143 - Manifold Paths ago
Chapter 144 - Skewered ago
Chapter 145 - Freshman ago
Chapter 146 - Terrors of the Black Age ago
Chapter 147 - Good Vibrations ago
Chapter 148 - Sing For Your Supper ago
Chapter 149 - I Have to Hand it to You ago
Chapter 150 - Than One Innocent Suffer ago
Chapter 151 - The Mind's Eye ago
Chapter 152 - The Time to Talk ago
Chapter 153 - The Temple ago
Chapter 154 - Above From Below ago
Chapter 155 - Mome Rath ago
Chapter 156 - Mome Rath II ago
Chapter 157 - The Bird on the Fence ago
Chapter 158 - OP ago
Chapter 159 - The Dome Away From Home ago
Chapter 160 - On the Merits of Oblivion ago
Chapter 161 - Reimer ago
Chapter 162 - Deus Ex ago
Chapter 163 - Level Heads ago
Chapter 164 - House of God ago
Chapter 165 - Politics, blah, blah, blah ago
Chapter 166 - Brownian Motion ago
Chapter 167 - Beached ago
Chapter 168 - Hollow ago
Chapter 169 - The No Sleep Club ago
Chapter 170 - On Treating With Dragons ago
Chapter 171 - Blood is Thicker Than Water ago
Chapter 172 - Respec ago
Chapter 173 - Passions ago
Chapter 174 - The Blade of the Self ago
Chapter 175 - High Concept ago
Chapter 176 - Warrens ago
Chapter 177 - The Erstwhile Manor ago
Chapter 178 - The White Room ago
Chapter 179 - Hilbert's Paradox ago
Chapter 180 - Dumbest Entad ago
Chapter 181 - To Sleep, Perchance to Dream ago
Chapter 182 - Painless ago
Chapter 183 - Transgressions ago
Chapter 184 - The Further Adventures of Valencia the Red ago
Chapter 185 - Mirror Room ago
Chapter 186 - Paladin ago
Chapter 187 - Penndraig's Rules of Order ago
Chapter 188 - Common Law ago
Chapter 189 - B-Side ago
Chapter 190 - To Know One's Onions ago
Chapter 191 - Overwhelming Violence ago
Chapter 192 - Cooldown ago
Chapter 193 - Coda I ago
Chapter 194 - Coda II ago
Chapter 195 - Family ago
Chapter 196 - Notes II ago
Chapter 197 - Second Degrees ago
Chapter 198 - Prurient Interest ago
Chapter 199 - Nearest and Dearest ago
Chapter 200 - Feeling Blue ago
Chapter 201 - The Aviary ago
Chapter 202 - Star Pupil ago
Chapter 203 - Where the Streets Run Red ago
Chapter 204 - Open Veins ago
Chapter 205 - A Bloody Mess ago
Chapter 206 - Parallel Lines ago
Chapter 207 - An Elevated Monologue ago
Chapter 208 - On the Merits of Eternal Suffering ago
Chapter 209 - Orison ago
Chapter 210 - Push and Pull ago
Chapter 211 - Gilding the Lily ago
Chapter 212 - Spilled Ink ago
Chapter 213 - The Endless Toil ago
Chapter 214 - Glass Houses ago
Chapter 215 - Post ago
Chapter 216 - Bureaucratic Melees ago
Chapter 217 - A Dragon's Roost ago
Chapter 218 - A Grueling Calm ago
Chapter 219 - Homecoming, Part I ago
Chapter 220 - Doecent ago
Chapter 221 - Targets of Opportunity ago
Chapter 222 - Clerical Errors ago
Chapter 223 - A Lost Friend ago
Chapter 224 - We're Here, We're Deer, Get Used to It ago
Chapter 225 - Runination ago
Chapter 226 - Fires of my Heart ago
Chapter 227 - Homecoming, Part II ago
Chapter 228 - The Fel Seed Incident ago
Chapter 229 - The Road ago
Chapter 230 - The Palace ago
Chapter 231 - Hellfall ago
Chapter 232 - Department ago
Chapter 233 - Tartarology ago
Chapter 234 - Heck if I Know ago
Chapter 235 - Interval ago
Chapter 236 - More Dakka ago
Chapter 237 - Long Story Short ago
Chapter 238 - A Certain Kind of Longing ago
Chapter 239 - Old Sins Cast Long Shadows ago
Chapter 240 - The Long Haul ago
Chapter 241 - Long Shot ago
Chapter 242 - A Long Row to Hoe ago
Chapter 243 - Long Memory ago
Chapter 244 - Long Pig ago
Chapter 245 - Long Live the King ago
Chapter 246 - Reflection at the End ago
Epilogue 1 - The End of the World ago
Epilogue 2 - Princess! ago
Epilogue 3 - There's No Knowing Where We're Going ago
Epilogue 4 - The Ongoing Adventures of Valencia the Red ago
Epilogue 5 - It All Depends On What You Mean By Home ago
Epilogue 6 - The Narrator, the Angel, and the Devil ago
Epilogue 7 - Multitudes ago
Epilogue 8 - Nevermore ago

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Interesting and Well Thought Out

I'm not very far along in the story as I write this but what I've read so far is excellent. The story is an eclectic mix of genres so far and it's interesting and makes me want to keep reading to find out more. Grammer, spelling and prose are excellent. The characters are well done and the author makes good use of "show, don't tell". I'll keep reading along and unless something drastic occurs I'll be upping my review to 5 stars after I get further along.


I've been following this for a while. It's nice to see it on another platform where it can get more exposure.

This is a pretty neat story. If you are a fan of DnD and other such dice-rolling adventure games that require a game master, you will probably really enjoy this. 

I think by far what keeps me reading this story is the characters. These are some of the most authentically crafted characters I have read in a fantasy story. This genre usually is more known for plot and worldbuilding than it is for nuanced characters. Not so with this story! I would argue that the characters are the real shining stars of this story.

The world building is good, don't misunderstand me. It can become a bit cluttered at times due to how complex the world is set up to be, but that is ok because it is merely the stage and props with which the characters bring the story to life. 

Continuity is good. Logical coherence is also good, and of critical importance considering the premise of the story, so kudos to the author on that.

This story has authentically portrayed romance with a twist that I will not spoil for you.

There is abundant action and adventure into new and interesting lands. There are a seemingly limitless number of species. So if you only want the classic human, elf, dwarf trio with maybe an allowance for a few others, this is not for you. All the races in this story are original to the author except for humans. So I hope that interests you. There are creatures inspired by those in other fictions, but none copied directly that I have found so far. 

Also, I know some really hate stories with a "person pulling strings behind the curtain" character that guides the journey of the MC, and this story does have that, BUT it does it in a way that I personally think adds to the story and is very directly and consistently addressed by the main characters such that it is a valuable plot point as well as a character development tool. 

I don't want to give too much away. It's a good story. I say give it a shot.

It does deal with some heavy and unsavory topics like canibalism, suicide, etc. So be ready for a not so light-hearted read. I personally do not reccomend for those under the age of 10.

You can find this story on https://archiveofourown.org/works/11478249/chapters/25740126


Interesting and generally well written story, though darker and more meta than I expected. This is easily one of the best completed works on royal road. The characters and some of the themes felt very young adult, but there was at least some self awareness and plot related rationale. The ending is odd but better than I expected.


THE best novel I've ever read on royalroad, bar none. Probably better than most paper books. Thanks AW for this masterpiece :).

Pacing is great, plot is substantial and well-placed, and the ending is really well done. A lot larger than most novels, but in this case that is a good thing.


Great but for one flaw

Reviewed at: A Kindred Soul

So one of the best stories I have read in a long time.  My one complaint and reason I stopped reading for a while is they sometimes get stuck discussing what ifs and theory to the Nth degree.  I'm all for it but it just got to be too much for me.


After dropping the story for some months(again!!!), i come back and still find myself skipping multiple paragraphs to the extent that i spent less than 5 minutes on a chapter, and i could still get the gist of the chapter.

Lots of pointless inner monologues and SJW b***********t, and my earlier love of the story can no longer keep me going.

I guess it's time to delete my bookmark and leave the story for good, but it was definitely worth the read especially for the earlier chapters and that's why I'm giving it 4 stars. 


Some very strong good points, but a big weak point

Reviewed at: The Remnants of the Past

I'm kind of torn on what rating to give this. On one hand this story is written extremely well. I derive great pleasure from works that have words that are new to me. The plot contains fantastic twists and turns, the ideas within are very creative (a main thing I look for in stories). All of this would be an easy 5 star rating in almost every other situation.

But... I keep getting caught up something and I know this isn't a fair criticism: it's nonsense to most people, but it's a slight irritation of mine so I can't give this story 5 stars even though it really deserves it.

What slight aspect of this story do I find irritating? The characters are too well-spoken, too immediately-clever. They're not smart. I know many people think the characters in this story might be "above average" intelligence, but as someone who is a tier or two above that myself I find these kind of characters... childish.

I think to many, the conflicts and inner turmoil of these characters might be intriguing or full of "depth" but to me all I see are basic ethical dilemmas anyone with half a brain is used to tangling with and it creates a disconnect. On one hand I see characters with a good breadth of knowledge and a vocabulary to match, and on the other I see what are essentially kids struggling with basic ethics. The fact that the MC is a self-proclaimed "utilitarian" just means that he's going to have all the predictable and fallacious ethical dilemmas that all utilitarians have: and oh hey look that's exactly what happens.

Ironically, a story about someone with a passion for world-building has a well-built world itself. And this part deserves high praise. I found the A.C.S.L. part executed very well and it was incredibly humorous.

This really is quite a good story, and I enjoy the writing style and the language used. I just find fault that the characters speak kind of same-y (the same verbosity, the same vocabulary) and their inner-struggles are rather trivial. The characters themselves are rather distinct and the quest arcs they go through are very creative, just the emotional issues they deal with are things I was better at when I was their age.


This review is a waste of time. The story is near-perfect. The author is Top 5 material. This is the best pure LitRPG story I've ever read. It takes crunchiness to an ultimate level. Honestly, I doubt I will ever read another story that betters this one in terms of defining what LitRPG means. 



In terms of its place in history it should rest securely at just behind Mother of Learning. Yes, I know, horned bunnies. Dakota has his place. But Dakota's place is in the LitRPG as fun fantasy domain. 

This story is a meta take on the story told by a Dungeon Master and narrative structure. The only downside here is, um, the occasional wall of text. The author does tend to wax on, and I'll admit to skimming here and there was began to get the gist of their thinking. Story is character and action , and the lengthy philosophical discussions were at times too much. But overall, damn, this story is quite simple a seminal work of the subgenre and demands recognition. 

Oh, and at a rough count, I've caught less than a handful of errors. A similar number of times I've reached for a dictionary. Not literally. This is the 21st century. But the bastard definitely has access to a thesaurus. 

Also, character is generally a strong point BUT not within dialogue. Almost universally the characters sound the same: wordy and long-winded. Nevertheless, the characters have their own agency and one or two have something of their own voice. 

All in all, I'm already looking forward to a reread in the future. 

Happy reading!


Better that expected, still could have been better

Read -> Ch. 26 Superman 


I'm gonna start saying that this novel is a really good novel and every person that read Fantasy based on tabletop RPG (D&D, Pathfinder,...) should read it.

On why you should read it is pretty easy to say:

1) The description of person, items and places in done in a profesional way, if you are more of a dreamer when you read you could immagine easly places described in the novel.

2) The system is unique for what we saw until now (Ch. 26/Superman, latest Ch. in RR), it's easy to understand, but still have a layer of mystery of what will the protagonist unlock.

3) The world bulding is done right, you know for the most part what the protagonist know and most places, items and even some magics systems have some sort of flavor text, to know why they are there, what they do, or why they exist.

For most part those are the really good points without a doubt, the another part like unique style or good grammar that most novels would be plus in this novel is kind of expected because you know in 4-5 Ch that this novel is not like most of anothers in RR, it's set a standart that most people would expect in published book of some big publisher, so saying those are good points it's true, but that does not make justice to this novel.

Because of that standart i'm gonna be pretty harsh, but i would like to say that some of those defects could easly begone in future Ch or for some of the reader those could be not even be classifed as defects.

1)The narration need to be slow in more descritive moments, but eccentric and fast in combat situation or stressed situation. The author is pretty spot on the first part, like i said he/she is really good at describing stuff, but for the second part the novel is lacking in those situations, in some situations the author does a mix of description or action that slow the fight to becoming a slowmotion of what is appening, in anothers the author throw the protagonist in situation where the mosters does an ambush and it's a run for your life moments, the author tend to skip every bit of description and tend to do a full action moment, but even then those moments are short because the author is fully focused on the fast part without caring of the more "eccentric" narration, the reader should fell tension and not knowing what would append, that is why the more eccentic narration is in there to make the run/fight a little longer, little example is trying to write what everyone is doing in a fights with a simple phrase making the reader think the fight is going much faster that should be, but slowing down the narration of the fight and at the same time creating tension. Another easy example is creating "false" sense of urgency in the reader when the protagonist is fleeing for a monster but it's "forced" to change route of escape because there are more enemys in the front or the pursuer have created a wall to slow down the protagonist.

2) The characters in the novel are 2 dimentional, in the 26 Ch i read the characters are the same at the start when they are described and still the same for what we have read, this can be easly changed in future Ch (right know the novel in another site have 100+ Ch.). Writing a backstory of a character does not mean that character is realistic, writing a somewhat bipolar character does not mean it's not 2 dimentional. To make a character not 2 dimentional is writing something small or something that explode, everyone have a personality, but we have limits and defect. Stress is the most basic way to try to make a character "true", writing small tick in the face, not stoping to walk, whispering something, making the same question over and over, or in some cases full rage because of too much stress. Insecurity, agitation, and a bunch more. A person is not only the good stuff, and for what i read (Ch.26/Superman) the characters are pretty much robots that have bad luck, most of the times when they screw up is bad luck and there is no emotional mistake, no exitation, and in this novel that seems like realism seems an important point, this is a pretty big defect. 


Spoiler: Last point


There would be more difect, but those are more personal that another, so i will not write it since are more dislike of the style that somewhat objective "mistakes"

Like i said at the start, this novel is worth reading for fantasy readers, and i really hope the future Ch are even better that what we have right now.

I will update this Review when more Ch are publised in RR.

First take (11/06/2019 European date format - latest Ch. 26/Superman)


Love the story, pity the characters

An excellent LitRPG. I don't have much to add that others haven't said already, but be warned this is not a"happy" story.  There's plenty of darkness and sadness in the world Juniper built and nothing is held back. It's an absolute top notch story but if you're going to get sucked into it you should know ahead of time that it will definitely not always be a fun ride. There's been at least two or three times I've been tempted to stop reading but I keep finding myself coming back. Right now - ch160 - things look like they may be trying to not suck so hard, so I'm betting it's able time for the other shoe to drop again

I don't need a story to shoot rainbows in my face nonstop but dayum can the council get a break already?