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Summary – Level 1:

Delve is an isekai litrpg that follows an average guy who just happened to wake up in a forest one day. He wasn’t summoned to defeat the demon lord or to save the world or anything like that, at least as far as he can tell. The only creature there to greet him was a regular old squirrel.

Soon enough, he meets other people, only to discover that he can’t speak the language, and that not everybody immediately trusts random pajama-wearing strangers they met in the middle of the wilderness. Things generally go downhill from there, at least until the blue boxes start appearing.

Delve is a story about finding your way in a new, strange, and dangerous world. It’s about avoiding death, figuring out what the heck is going on, and trying to make some friends along the way. It’s not about getting home, so much as finding a new one.

Did I mention that there will be math?

 


 Summary – Level 2:

 Okay, but what are you in for, really?

Well, this story is supposed to be realistic, or at least, as realistic as a fantasy litrpg can be. The main character doesn’t instantly become an all-powerful god and murder-hobo his way across the universe. Delve is, at its heart, a progression fantasy, but that progression is meant to feel earned. The numbers in this story actually mean something. Everything is calculated, and if you find a rounding error, I expect you to tell me about it. That said, if math isn’t your cup of tea, there is plenty more that the story has to offer. Characters are meant to feel real, and progression isn’t only about personal power; it’s also about allies, connections, and above all, knowledge. Figuring out how the system works is a significant theme.

 

...

 

What, you want more details? Okay, fine, but this is going to get a bit spoiler-y. Are you sure?

 

Yes!

 

Really sure? I mean, this summary is practically half as long as the first chap–

 

Now!

 

Okay, okay!

The main character becomes a magic user, but he takes a route that is not very popular in adventurer culture, namely that of a support. There is a full magic system with various spells, skills, and abilities, but our MC decides that aura magic is the way to go, and that the only stat worth investing in is mana regeneration. Most people at the Adventurer’s Guild think that this makes him a bit of a dumbass, but he’s playing the long game. We’ll see how that works out for him, won’t we?

Because of his build, the MC levels up fast, at least compared to normal people. There are no cheats, though, and he is limited in other ways. There are some clear and pretty obvious downsides to his build. That’s what makes it fun, no?

Morals? Our MC has them. Again, we’ll see how that works out for him. Realism, remember? Would you be okay with killing someone and looting their body? I sure hope not.

POV? The focus is on the main character, but there will be occasional varying perspectives from people around him, or involved in the events related to the main plot. It isn’t going to jump all over the place.

Tech is standard medieval stasis. No smartphones, but the MC does have a technical background. Computers and their programming might be involved. There might even be a bit of uplifting down the road, who knows? Anyway, it isn’t the focus. He isn’t going to invent the gun in chapter 1 and change the face of warfare.

Is there romance? Not so much, or at least, not as a major theme. Friendships are more the name of the game. Building relationships and knowledge about the world, not a harem. Definitely not a harem.

There is exploration, though not as much of the geographical nature as you might expect. It is more about exploration of the system and the culture.

The pace is slow and detailed, sometimes verging on slice-of-life. The action is meant to be realistic and grounded in the numbers, and it is intended to have meaning beyond simply punching things until they stop moving.

The general tone of the story is grey, and some parts can get quite dark. People die. Sometimes, people with names, but not anywhere near GoT level. There is plenty of light, too, though, to balance the darkness. The world is dangerous, but overcoming that danger is why we’re all here, isn’t it?

Anyway, if you’ve made it this far through the summary, you clearly like words. I hope you enjoy the story!

 


Cover by Miha Brumec

Summary Updated: 2020-06-14

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SenescentSoul

SenescentSoul

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Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
001: Woodland ago
002: One on One ago
003: Pothole ago
004: Statistics ago
005: Alone ago
006: Skill ago
007: Slime ago
008: Clarity ago
009: Commerce ago
010: Broke ago
011: UX ago
012: Class ago
013: Party ago
014: Math ago
015: Mine ago
016: Cleanup ago
017: Return ago
018: Rescue ago
019: Succor ago
020: Outcast ago
021: Smith ago
022: Search ago
023: Paralysis ago
024: Answers ago
025: Clay ago
026: Gratitude ago
027: Hunted ago
028: Plan ago
029: Practice ago
030: School ago
031: Gear ago
032: Well ago
033: Reunion ago
034: Kin ago
035: Dream ago
036: Focus ago
037: Modded ago
038: Geography ago
039: Arrival ago
040: Lair ago
041: Maze ago
042: Guesswork ago
043: Fall ago
044: Beast ago
045: Signal ago
046: Light ago
047: Core ago
048: Crucible ago
049: Downtime ago
050: Baggage ago
051: Completionist ago
052: Specialization ago
053: Forward ago
054: Adventure ago
055: Armored ago
056: Noble ago
057: Restored ago
058: Charge ago
059: King ago
060: Snow ago
061: Spree ago
062: Complication ago
063: Assessment ago
064: Exposition ago
065: Ring ago
066: Encounter ago
067: Footrace ago
068: Departure ago
069: Hangover ago
070: Skating ago
071: Perspective ago
072: Preemption ago
073: Inflamed ago
074: Elevation ago
075: Adaptation ago
076: Meeting ago
077: Chill ago
078: Heatsink ago
079: Slumber ago
080: Trapped ago
081: Breakdown ago
082: Intent ago
083: Boon ago
084: Entry ago
085: Guide ago
086: Explosion ago
087: Pet ago
088: Casualties ago
089: Consequence ago
090: Buried ago
091: Essence ago
092: Fracture ago
093: Tomb ago
094: Illusion ago
095: Pressure ago
096: Sanctuary ago
097: Arrested ago
098: Stability ago
099: Calm ago
100: Storm ago
101: Fireside ago
102: Reaper ago
103: Illumination ago
104: Mind ago
105: Connection ago
106: Imprint ago
107: Interface ago
108: Handover ago
109: Inception ago
110: Logistics ago
111: Pickup ago
112: Revelation ago
113: Inauguration ago
114: March ago
115: Camp ago
116: Squall ago
117: Trust ago
118: Frost ago
119: Worry ago
120: Choice ago
121: Restraint ago
122: Composition ago
123: Turbulence ago
124: Engage ago
125: Vestvall ago
126: Industry ago
127: Staredown ago
128: Finally ago
129: Confiding ago

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Reviews
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Adam2502
Overall

Lack of world experience

Reviewed at: 111: Pickup

The story starts great, I loved the math, the litrpg was great, the real problem started around chap 50

When he level caps

This becomes a problem because it then just becomes a shit ton of theory crafting, but a while jack shit amount of doing. The MC doesn't grow as a person, he actually degreases and then gets back to where he was, so it looks like progress, my real problem though, is the whole book has been one town, and he's done fuck all there

Literally has killed 3 types of enemies, in 80 chapters. It's been explained that dungeons are a great way to power. You know what he doesn't seek out? Dungeons. Naa, instead of practically increasing your strength your going to theorycraft your build for 5 chapter, planning progress that the current you isn't strong enough to do. MC skyrocketed in strength, and then just stagnates, like a dead fish. doesn't move an inch for 40 chapters, like what? And the plot armor man. Don't get me started on plot armor.

Edit as of 110: stil garbage, be kingdom building and he's spent more time level capped at 18 than he has leveling, it's dumb af at this stage

Pimelea
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

What shines so well in Delve is the stats!

I love the system and details that SenescentSoul has put into all the stat pages and mechanics. So many original ideas on how a system could work and keen attention paid to the details of the math. It's no coincidence that there's even a whole fandom creating google sheets with the details!

In addition, the skill trees are great. This isn't just a matter of creative magics and physical mechanics, but also the pacing of new skill introduction. Where some might see boring, I see actually measured introduction of skills and power levels, which let the MC show off his ingenuity in maxing his efficiency. It also lets the author explore tier 1 and 2 skills, not just jump to tier SSS because wish fulfilment.

Our MC has a limited skill set but the author goes into wonderful elaboration that a skill is not just a skill, it's a part of a system of interactions, both with other skills and the environment. This is really great! Finally, a story that doesn't think 'fireball' is limited to throwing it at someone's face. I do hope to see more unorthodox skill combos and creative misuses of skills, please keep it up!

There are some hints at other characters skill trees, which are generally quite interesting. I wish there was a bit more detail, since we rarely get into anything like maths, but I think that's coming, considering so much foreshadowing around the light based magic skills we've seen, as well as the fact that the MC is 'buying' access to the skill trees' information (pushing back the shroud).

Characters

I'm giving the characters a fairly low score... I do appreciate the range of characters and they are overall consistent. In addition, the cast is pretty decent, and there are some memorable ones too.

However, there's both a narrow range of behaviours and emotions as well as a number of major secondary characters that appear and disappear somewhat jarringly. Even the 'bad guys' all seem too benevolent, and their negative actions come from childish tantrums, rather than conflicting interests or ruthless ambition.

Because the main cast changes, the MC feels a bit whimsical and lost sometimes, which harms the overall pacing and direction of the story. I guess all I can say is, don't forget those side characters and friends, keep bringing them back. Make a few more dramatic scenes, with conflict and manipulation, rather than focusing on reasonableness and candidness of all people. Then again, maybe don't just listen to me, some readers probably will enjoy the relaxed atmosphere more!

Edit: Upping the character score a bit because we've actually seen recently some old friends reappearing, like the miners and the merchant and daughter. Great to see those touches. Please keep some drama going!

Edit 2: We're finally seeing the cast come back, so boosting the score yet another half star. Seems like the plot might get back on the rails too!

Story

The story isn't bad. It has a carefree, upbeat isekai mood which is very readable, with some decent, if not stand-out, worldbuilding that gives a good touch to the otherwise cookie-cutter litRPG world (guilds, nobles, adventurer parties, dungeons).

The story and setting reminds me a bit of Azarinth Healer, both in the good and the bad. Bad, because both Delve and Azarinth have what some other reviewers are calling 'naive OP' or 'colorless' traits. I actually think that is better for younger audiences anyway, to be honest, but don't expect gritty, dramatic or tense moments... and do expect monologuing.... Also, the scene transitions are sometimes a bit jarring, but knowing when to capitalise on suspense vs ride tension or when to switch POVs isn't something that can come with anything but more experience, and is also perhaps a matter of each reader's taste (cough, Delve is much better overall than Azarinth imo).

Highly recommend for the skill and stats progression! Looking forward to more!

esk477
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Chooses to be a single-player game rather than decent fiction

Reviewed at: 046: Light

Delve starts off fine as an isekai/litrpg. There is some tension and worldbuilding but as soon as Rain reaches the town it turns into a slice of life. Except the protagonist and the world are uninteresting. Game elements become the focus to the detrement of the story. Rain kills slimes and all tension evaporates. The biggest consequence becomes getting dirty and Purify takes even that away. What was the purpose of that arc? The slime killing arc is a microcosm for the rest. If you enjoyed that continue reading, else you know what you are in for.

DocteurNS
Overall

It's... kind of dull?

Being realistic can be a good thing, but a story still needs a plot and interesting characters. Here, the feeling of novelty wears off after chapter 6, and at chapter 15, I still struggle to find a reason to care about the protagonist.  You shouldn't have to wait so long for a hook. And with no stated goal beside general survival, there's very little to look forwards to.

Lone
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Very Entertaining And Feels Real

The title says it all. I rarely read on RoyalRoad, but this story here has firmly grabbed my attention and refuses to let go.

This story earns the slothy seal of approval.                                                                                  

manhw
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Not sure why this is so popular

I want to be honest here, I've read up to chapter 23, however I still fail to see the reason for this fiction's popularity.

Let's get the good out of the way first. The style of writing is pretty decent, and the grammar is also pretty good. So there aren't any technical issues in the writing. But that is as far as the positive aspects of this story goes.

 

And on the negative aspects, first of all, story is very boring and dull. This can be tolerated however, only if the characters were actually good. Unfortunately, MC and his actions cause me to want to repeatedly bash his head in against the nearest hard object. And there are basically no other characters, as the MC can't speak the local language. The language part was an interesting idea that was executed pretty horribly.

MC also has no personality, no agency, and acts on his whims instead of from a rational perspective. He has no goals, and spends his time doing stupid shit instead of bettering himself. His inner voice is also cringy to the extreme, displaying the immaturity of the MC.

To give an example, there is a point in the story where MC joins a party where no one wants him, and where he will not get a part of the reward from the quest (basically free labor). His reasoning for this is very flimsy, that he wants to "make friends", with people he can't even communicate. These people also, in no uncertain terms, tell him that they don't want to associate with him. His skillset also isn't geared towards party battles but more as a solo adventurer, as his main means of attack is an indiscriminate AoE skill.

 

He also isn't a very bright fella, instead of spending his limited mana on his offensive aura and increasing it's level(skill levels go up with mana use), he instead spends it on a skill that is basically a glorified mop.

If he were to increase his offensive potential, he can take on higher leveled quests and kill monster easier, which in turn can increase his level and strenght even more. Instead of going this route, he meanders around with his skills. In the beginning of the story, he proclaims himself as a Dungeons & Dragons min-maxer, however he lacks even the most basic awareness for any sort of coherent build.

 

Overall, this story needs a rewrite that either completely alters the MC or the worldbuilding.

The true Narrator
Overall

Lots and lots of math, too much in my humble opinion takes up to much space and wastes  (or fills in otherwise empty spots) valuable word space.

The math is everywhere! it does help establish that the protag is a math wiz but it just feels a bit excessive and like the writer is flaunting his maths skills just a little.

Aside from this, the story looked like it had potential but that look was a sham, the story fails to be interesting or inventive and honestly has no legs of any merit to stand on.

(this story is another case of mediocrity gone viral)

The story is just bland and boring and I no longer consider the story worth reading.

Ooh and I almost forgot, the story really needs a direction or goal beyond surviving and making friends, some sort of plot, anything really as it certainly lacks in drive or direction.

New post: Yep, it's getting kinda boring now, the story is too slow.

Elorie
Overall

Too Typical Isekai

Reviewed at: 59: King

Decent amounts of math, very little character. Almost textbook Japanese weak-minded beta-male transportee.

The system is interesting, but there's no real story or background. Protagonist is content to bask in his ignorance.

Bobbert
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

First off late me say that I think this is a good story.   That being said it is currently rated a bit too high for my taste (3rd best story on this site). 

As of the first 27 chapters it is off to a good start, but I don't see much which differentiates it from other good litRPGs.  That isn't to say it is bad.  It just doesn't have anything about it which makes it unique as of yet.  This is a world that we have seen before many times. 

It is still early in the story though, so hopefully as more time passes it will become something truly special.  I think it has a chance to.

zetas
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

I hope you like MATH! Or can skim.

Reviewed at: 096: Sanctuary

Characters are absolutely a strong point of this series.  Though, to date, most characters aside from the MC seem to be temporary or on and off companions, each one has a clearly defined personality character, and some even have solid arcs.

Story so far is... slow, I can't deny that, but there are hints of things coming, and I enjoy watching the MC grow into his role.  

And lets be real, if you're reading Delve its for one thing above all else; the litrpg system.  Incredibly well-defined and internally consistent, it has been extensively mathed out and the MC serves as a math teacher for the reader. He explains the logic behind mana regen, physical and mental stats, and how EVERYTHING works.  

If you don't like that... you will get less out of Delve, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy it.  Some chapters will be completely skimmable for you, but there will still be a damn solid and fun story under that.

In conclusion... give it a try, and don't worry too much about the math if you can't understand it or just want to turn your brain off for a bit.