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.

Note that this work follows a slightly different update schedule than most, posting several chapters at once every month or two in big batches, which helps me maintain quality and not burn out trying to push out words about as fast as I can.

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Alexander Wales

Alexander Wales

Word Count (17)
Top List #50
1st Anniversary
Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
Taking the Fall ago
Thickenings ago
Solely Responsible ago
Reaver ago
Goraion ago
Cold Comfort ago
Twenty Questions ago
Diamond and Iron ago
Making Magic ago
Sewer Rat ago
A Winding Course ago
Life of the Party ago
Time Out ago
ELEVATOR facts ago
Whys and Wherefores ago
Kindly Bones ago
Voting Blocs ago
Communal ago
Montage! ago
Desert Course ago
Cliff Racer ago
Rolling Need ago
Siege ago
Like a Glove ago
Rocket Man ago
Superman ago
Fears ago
The Impish Inn ago
Greychapel ago
Plot Relevant ago
The Loyal Elf ago
Be Still My Heart ago
Tenth ago
Weik Handum ago
Friendship is Magic ago
In Which Juniper Stares At His Character Sheet ago
Paths ago
Don't Split the Party ago
Strategic Reserves ago
The Feminine Mystique ago
Truth and Reconciliation ago
A Pleasant Interlude in Kansas ago
In Search of a Quest ago
Mairzy Doats and Dozy Doats ago
Keep Magic Weird ago
The Market of Blood and Bone ago
At Arm's Length ago
Doe or Doe Not, There is no Try ago
Math.random() ago
Copse and Robbers ago
Blood in the Water ago
Culmination ago
A Tiptoe Through the Tulips ago
Looper ago
Bond Girl ago
Vacation Vocations ago
Place Your Figs ago
Panopticon ago
All the Myriad Ways ago
Aggressive Negotiations ago
Animus ago
Drift ago
The Chemical History of a Candle ago
In Which Juniper Stares At His Character Sheet, Again ago
A Kindred Soul ago
The Long Night ago
A Helping Hand ago
Seeing Red ago
In Mutual Congress ago
Moral Agency ago
The Soul of Discretion ago
Tripartite Talks ago
Amaryllis ago
The Mouth of a Long River ago
Stats for Nerds ago
Date Night ago
Lies and Damned Lies ago
The Sacrifice ago
Rule Zero ago
The Princess and the Pea ago
Musings on the Elder God ago
Aboard the Lion's Tail ago
The Familiar and the Foreign ago
The Party Line ago
The Great Train Robbery ago
Headwater ago
Down And Out ago
The House of Solitude ago
The Face of a Place ago
Head of House ago
An Open House ago
Shades ago
Bottle Episode ago
Grayscale ago
Time Enough ago
A Portrait of the King as a Young Man ago
Rapping at my Chamber Door ago
Letter 15 ago
Enough Rope to Hang Yourself ago
Immanentizing the Eschaton ago
The Adventures of Valencia the Red ago
Contract ago
Consolation ago
Notes ago
The One-Hand Warder ago
Name of the Beast ago
The Dream That Skewers ago
The Veil of the World ago
Bubblegum ago
Peer Pressure ago
Egress ago
A Hell of a Time ago
The Meeting of Minds ago
Communicative ago
Therapy ago
Beast of Burden ago
Breaking Loose ago
Depths ago
Deceptions ago
Maddie ago
Raven ago
Medieval Stasis ago
Fight Club ago
The Remnants of the Past ago
Ever Onward ago
Full House ago
An Open Book ago
Schemata ago
The Abject Despair of an Uncaring World ago
A Cypress Waits ago
Uskine Nervedah ago
The Critical Path ago
Safe Mode ago
Holding ago
Krinrael ago
Darili Irid ago
Stats for Nerds II ago
Piece of Mind ago
Commingling ago
Monty Haul ago
Sound and Silence ago
Manifold Paths ago
Skewered ago
Freshman ago
Terrors of the Black Age ago
Good Vibrations ago
Sing For Your Supper ago
I Have to Hand it to You ago
Than One Innocent Suffer ago
The Mind's Eye ago
The Time to Talk ago
The Temple ago
Above From Below ago
Mome Rath ago
Mome Rath II ago
The Bird on the Fence ago
OP ago
The Dome Away From Home ago
On the Merits of Oblivion ago
Reimer ago
Deus Ex ago
Level Heads ago
House of God ago
Politics, blah, blah, blah ago
Brownian Motion ago
Beached ago
Hollow ago
The No Sleep Club ago
On Treating With Dragons ago
Blood is Thicker Than Water ago
Respec ago
Passions ago
The Blade of the Self ago
High Concept ago
Warrens ago
The Erstwhile Manor ago
The White Room ago
Hilbert's Paradox ago
Dumbest Entad ago
To Sleep, Perchance to Dream ago
Painless ago
Transgressions ago
The Further Adventures of Valencia the Red ago
Mirror Room ago
Paladin ago
Penndraig's Rules of Order ago
Common Law ago
B-Side ago
To Know One's Onions ago
Overwhelming Violence ago
Cooldown ago
Coda I ago
Coda II ago
Family ago
Notes II ago
Second Degrees ago
Prurient Interest ago
Nearest and Dearest ago
Feeling Blue ago
The Aviary ago
Star Pupil ago
Where the Streets Run Red ago
Open Veins ago
A Bloody Mess ago
Parallel Lines ago
An Elevated Monologue ago
On the Merits of Eternal Suffering ago
Orison ago
Push and Pull ago
Gilding the Lily ago
Spilled Ink ago
The Endless Toil ago
Glass Houses ago
Post ago
Bureaucratic Melees ago
A Dragon's Roost ago
A Grueling Calm ago
Homecoming, Part I ago
Doecent ago
Targets of Opportunity ago
Clerical Errors ago
A Lost Friend ago
We're Here, We're Deer, Get Used to It ago
Runination ago
Fires of my Heart ago
Homecoming, Part II ago
The Fel Seed Incident ago
The Road ago
The Palace ago

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First I'll say that this novel is my fav. across the 100s I've read. I'm a big fan of meta-narrative stories and this one does a really good job. A lot of stories fizzle out when seen from the perspective of the narration making the plots sometimes irrelevant but not this one.  
Also, this novel falls in the category of what they are calling rational-fiction and this novel seems to be the apt example of the genre. I've not seen a better world building done in any of the recent novels. There might be some minor plot holes etc but the world build around just forces me to keep reading forward.
The fav. part of the novel is the conversations b/w the friends. I'm exactly like the two main friends who love to argue/debate/discuss and reading it was a delight. 

Jim Woodlock

Love this story. Great detail, world building and a great sense of humour 


Favourite story - should be a fully published novel series

Reviewed at: Moral Agency
Spoiler: Spoiler

 This story is fantastic. Right from the get-go, it captures you with it's intriguing world, interesting characters, and well thought out action. I wish he would write more. 

Sam Williams

Incredibly well written, with some large flaws

Reviewed at: Sewer Rat

 I stopped reading when he got raped by a house

That wasn't my only problem with this fiction, but before I say anymore negative aspects I'll address what this fiction does well. It is incredibly well written, not just the grammar but every aspect, the author is truly talented. I also thing it is an excellent and unique take on a common trope.

I had two main problems. Firstly the characters power levels, I think the biggest example of this is the house. Giving a character that large of a gap in power between it and the rest of the party was a mistake. I'm aware it was used to explore power dynamics but it completely drew me out of the story, especially when the power gap was highlighted by showing how easily the house could have killed raven, a character from Uthers original party. (Also I think the way the author dealt with the consequences of the protagonists rape was wrong, the idea that the house and the protagonist could eventually come to trust eachother again seems like a strange avenue to explore, and while ot could just be me, i have no intererest in exploring it along side the author)

My second complaint is how much of the story is consumed by the protagonist being in situations where nothing can be trusted. This took up so so much of the story (at least a significant amount upto where I stopped reading) It is well written so I'm far more lenient but it still gets tedious relatively quickly. I think my problem with this is the pacing of the story is relatively slow, yet the author maintains these long periods of tension that (at least when binge reading) mentally drain the reader.


A quasi harem story with a cuckold protagonist

There are good things about this fiction namely the setting and its variety of magical systems.  If you want an elaboration on those elements then go read one of the many glowing reviews. 

Your reception of this story will depend upon how much you’ve read and what you’re looking for in a protagonist.  At first the story comes across as dynamic and fresh but as things proceed the plot becomes bogged down in a repetitive cycle of tedious debates, forced exposition, emotional diarrhea and unresolved relationship issues.  This pattern repeats ad nauseam and as a result the reading can become quite tedious at times.

Apart from that the main character “Joon” is the embodiment of the standard beta male.  His only accomplishment in life was the creation of a detailed series of tabletop campaigns which he played with his friends.  Conveniently the story revolves near exclusively around this detail and rewards him for it excessively with riches, companionship, super powers and good looks.  But this is never enough to stop him from being an emotionally damaged doormat which contrasts starkly with his unearned prowess in battle.  In fact, outside of combat, I would say that the typical gender norms are swapped between him and Amaryllis, which becomes more obvious as the story progresses.

Joon has a distinct lack of self-respect and conviction, except for when it comes to social justice and game mechanics, and you’ll frequently find him apologizing during the many bouts of pseudo psychoanalysis that litter the story.  (Imagine a character who constantly whips himself while trying to play counselor, especially whenever he talks to one of the women who surround him.)  While this attitude may be fitting for the character as he was, at the start of the story, it becomes exhausting 100+ chapters in when you realize that he seems incapable of developing any sense of self worth and independence as a man.

This weakness and subordination to those around him is novel in a genre littered with lone super humans who generally do as they please but in this case the author went too far in the opposite direction. In fact you will rarely find him apart from his “companions” for more than a few pages before they’re reunited and the status quo of constant interrogation, debate, relationship/sexual tension and apology is restored.  

Things didn’t improve with the introduction of the “DM” who’s literally controlling the game world so that Joon can advance through his “campaign”.  This further compounds the difficulty of taking the characters and their world seriously when coupled with their endless and tiresome social issues. 


Richard Dain

I don't write overly long reviews, but I know getting a review helps the authors so there. This story is very good, sometimes the desciptions of scenes or surroundings can get a bit long, but a good thing about books is that you can skim parts you're not interested in. The story does get very dark at points, and even made me feel quite bad for a period in the middle of what's available. Regardless, if you can get over the trigger warnings at the top, this is worth a read.


Unique and Self-Aware

Reviewed at: Reaver

Worth The Candle. When I first read this, binged from start to finish, I was hyped and excited. It is very different to a lot of LitRPG but has frequent nods to what is expected from The Narrative. Indeed, The Narrative is almost a character, and there is arguably no fourth wall in a weird sense. It IS slow though. It updates FAIRLY slowly and the pacing is very gradual. You can expect to come to know the characters very, very well, like your own friends, they will have secrets, and they will have moments of deep emotion, confusion and self discovery. Take your time reading this, I think. Savour it. It is no cheap flick. Don't sign on for that. 


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)


Worth the Candle is probably my favorite piece of web fiction. AW blends excellent character writing and fantastic worldbuilding in his classic style, delivering a fantasy story that alternates between keeping you on the edge of your seat with its wonderful action and constantly thinking with its intrigue and deep characters.


Basically, READ IT!! The first book leans heavily into the game stuff but as it goes on the character writing just gets better and better. If you have the time I heavily recommend you read to the end of book 1 even if the game stuff isn't your thing, because the story is so much more than that.


The Best Character Writing in Webfiction

I have so much love for so many facets of this story.

The character writing is phenomenal. The entire cast is littered with unconventional yet interesting characters of wildly different races and backgrounds and the author gives everyone one of them the upmost care and attention to detail. 

The worldbuilding is unrivaled in all the ways that matter (to me). Is there a gigantic world filled with myriad races, cities, magics, history? Well, yes, there is actually, but more importantly these aren't window dressing; the facts and realities of the world actually effect and shape that world and the people in it in a believable way.  

The plot is fantastic. Every arc believably follows on from the next and every conflict feels unique. Twists and subversions, both minor and major, are all believable and all strike the right notes. There's a number of powerful scences that pull on the heartstrings and a resolution or two that leaves you pumping your fist.

The people are more real than any other webfiction i've read. I've already touched on character but fuck me the character writing is just so good. I genuinely may not ever read another story i enjoy as much as this.