Panthea Online

by SJhartman

Original ONGOING Action Adventure Fantasy Sci-fi Dungeon GameLit LitRPG Magic Mythos
Warning This fiction contains:
  • Profanity

The blood was still wet, the words "Find them." dripping slow warm drops to the floor.

Vailen Wolfe, can't remember his real name, the list of names in his hands the only clue to who he might be.

James Wolfe just wanted to play Panthea Online the new VRMMO with his brother and friends, but blunders early on in the game may have cost him more than he knows.

James, now Vailen in the game, must track down his brother and friends, summon his courage to find the mysterious Soulwell and its guardian deep in the realm of death. The rag-tag band of heroes hopes of recovering Vailen's memories before its too late, and he can never return to his body, but do they have the strength? 

* I will be shooting to update this at least once a week. Thank you for sticking with me. 

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SJhartman

SJhartman

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Tana Nari
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Invitation to the Game meets Dothack meets Total Recall

Reviewed at: Chapter Ten: Ice Traps and Escape.

For those that remember that thirty year old book. It's a good one, well worth hunting down. But I digress. If you liked any of those titles, I think you'll like this story.

The writing is clean, crisp, and spends just the right amount of time describing the scenery before getting to the action. Usually. With some effort spent to edit out the semi-frequent punctuation errors, clean up runon sentences, and fix the occasional wall of text paragraph... it's not far from being professional quality. Personally, one of the more annoying aspects of the writing is a lack of contractions in dialogue. It makes characters feel awkward at times.

The intro blurb in particular is in desperate need of cleanup (though that doesn't impact my scoring system.)

The characters are interesting enough... if a bit on the stereotypical geek side. MC is trying to make it as a superhero comic writer, tall skinny geek, geek who needs to work on hygiene, cute glasses geek girl dating the alpha geek... I'd say it's playing to stereotypes, but, well, I am a geek and those stereotypes exist for a reason. The MC feels like a real gamer taking his first steps into a new RPG... if that RPG was Kenshi or Dwarf Fortress. Let's just say the tutorial is not newb friendly.

The story- in the first chapter, which I'm okay with spoiling- doesn't just explain Brain Dive VR, but actually takes the time to show the setting is *thinking* about that tech, and what it means not just for gaming, but for education and job training and the very future of humanity. Including Martian colonization, it seems.

Bit of an info-dump, but it's a good info-dump that feels relatable and believable (I know I'd geek out about the world-changing nature of knowledge downloading tech if it ever existed), it just needs a little cleanup. Especially Chapter 2- of the 2800 word chapter, only about the last 500 of them seem slightly important.

Yet, even then, it's far better than average.

Chapter 3 and 4 really pick up the pace, add layers of mystery and suspense, set down both short and long term goals that go beyond the simplistic "quest system" RPG they're playing and make it easy to want to see what the future holds. More than that, the RPG mechanics are integrated into the story in a way that feels like what real programmers would really include in a real game, rather than some tacked on gimmick without effort or logic (lookin' at you, Sword Art).

This trend of "real story" and "game story" running in tandem continues on and feels incredibly natural. Discovery, Danger, Consequence, Growth, Discovery, Danger... while the hints of greater mysteries keep the reader going forward. There's also a fair amount of light snarky humor to enjoy that, like the game elements, manage to enhance rather than harm the experience.

All the story needs is a good editor to fix the grammar and trim the useless material (also an ending worthy of the storytelling seen thus far- we're 10 chapters in as of this review, there's no guarantees at this point) and it could be comparable to the 90th percentile of professional works and become the standard for what LitRPG could become when talented writers start to take it seriously.

Chris Avaci
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LISTEN COULD I STAY LONGER THEN JUST TWO YEARS?

Reviewed at: Chapter Ten: Ice Traps and Escape.

Story is immersive and unqiue in the aspect of what our minds would really experiance in the event of taking a point of damage in a game.

I know i have said time and time again i wish i lived in a video game..... im starting to rethink that statment after reading this WIP Great read over all.

The Characters feel real and some you feel a connection to at the point you wish you were playing D&D with them as your npcs. or maybe pcs if your groups are as bad and annoying as mine lol.

HRJohnson
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Heavy RPG Elements with strong characters! Love it!

Reviewed at: Chapter Nine: Sew and Tell

Panthea Online sets itself apart from its counterparts by having one of the best casts of characters, very well written by the author. I truly felt like part of the group and loved every minute of it. The chapters are heavy on the RPG side of LitRPG stories, but none of it was a detrement. It was very well done and the story flowed smoothly. Can't wait to see what happens next!

Highly recommended for people who love very well written characters, companionship, and heavy on the RPG. =)

Azaken
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Interesting and eyecatching!

Reviewed at: Chapter Nine: Sew and Tell

The story, style, and characters are really well done, and overall it was just really fantastic!  Although I did find some really blatant grammar issues that gave me a headache, it was well compensated for by the depth of the characters, the world, and the story!

 

Cant wait for more!

Long Tail Writing
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Two Year Contract; Yes please!

Reviewed at: Chapter Eight: Lost...

In a lot of stories in this genre, there is a difficult decison to make. Do you make it one life or do the players get multiple lives?  Only doing one life sets up "plot armor" for the MC. Multiple lives doesn't usually have the same tension. This story elegantly walks around that with immediate temporary de-buffs and longer term "god-seed" slivers. I also like the multiple success conditions. Overall, this is a fun adventure and is pretty crunchy in terms of stats given (which I like). Looking forward to reading more!

Krahie
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Fun and interesting story in need of editing

Reviewed at: Chapter Seven: Beyond the Wall.

Panthea Online is a good story, and I enjoyed reading it. However, the grammar could be improved quite a lot for a better read.

I thought the story was, overall, quite engaging. It starts off slow, but once Vailen gets into the game, things quickly pick up the pace and become pretty exciting. The characters are your typical gamer squad -- nothing groundbreaking, but a realistic dynamic that works nicely. My only complaint about the characters is that sometimes their dialogue can feel stiff, because -- as noted in another review -- the lack of contractions used in their everyday speech can make them feel very formal, even when they're just hanging out and getting hyped for the release of a new game. With this said, a couple early plot elements struck me as strange (minor spoilers for early chapters):

Spoiler: Spoiler

Not devastating plotholes by any means, but it did make me raise an eyebrow here and there.

Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier, the grammar mistakes were highly distracting. I noticed several sentences that could use a rewrite or some editing at the very least, since there are many punctuation mistakes throughout the text. There are commas missing where there should be one (and vice versa), some fragments and run-on sentences, and many areas where a period or semicolon could effectively split sentences up. Overall, the paragraph length is somewhat above average; most are a fine length, but every now and then you'll be hit with an exceptionally large block of text that could certainly be trimmed down for easier reading.

But for some good: typos and misspellings are minimal. The writing style itself can be eloquent and professional at times, and it would really shine if the grammar was improved. Something I highly recommend to any author struggling with grammar is Grammarly: a site that you can plug your writing into, and it will quickly point out most technical errors for easy fixing. Going through each chapter with that program would very easily improve the overall grammar score, and I think Panthea Online could become a great story once those issues are fixed.

PS: The author mentioned he would be rewriting one of the chapters sometime. If there are many improvements made to the story at a later date, I'd be happy to come back and revise my review.

Hypecat
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I was cooking while reading this, i was so immersed with chapter 3. that well... im calling dominos to see if they deliver and trying to turn off the smoke detector 10/10

eiato senpai
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what makes this book so powerful tho is the mind set we don’t think about when we think of living in a game and the scary part is our kids may have the opportunity to experience this kind of gaming soon. Great read!