Dungeon Crawler Carl

by DoctorHepa

Original ONGOING Action Adventure Comedy Fantasy Dungeon GameLit Grimdark LitRPG Low Fantasy Magic Male Lead Non-Human lead Post Apocalyptic Strategy Strong Lead Supernatural
Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity
  • Traumatising content

It's the most-watched game show in the galaxy!

In a flash, every human-erected construction on Earth--from Buckingham Palace to the tiniest of sheds to all the trucks and cars--collapses in a heap, sinking into the ground. 

The buildings and all the people inside, they've all been atomized and transformed into the dungeon: an 18-level labyrinth filled with traps, monsters, and loot. A dungeon so enormous, it circles the entire globe.

Only a few dare venture inside. But once you're in, you can't get out. And what's worse, each level has a time limit. You have but days to find a staircase to the next level down, or it's game over. In this game, it's not about your strength or your dexterity. It's about your views and your followers. It's about building an audience and killing those goblins with style.

You can't just survive here. You gotta survive big.

You gotta fight with vigor, with excitement. You gotta make them stand up and cheer. And if you do have that "it" factor, you may just find yourself with a following. That's the only way to truly survive in this game, with the help of the loot boxes dropped upon you by the generous benefactors watching from across the galaxy. 

They call it Dungeon Crawler World. But for Carl, it's anything but a game. 

This is a work in progress. Editing will be done after the book is complete, so there will be egregious typos and parts that make no sense whatsoever. Please, please feel free to point any and all of these things out. Chapters WILL get edited, and that editing might break earlier chapters. I will attempt to keep readers apprised of all changes. I will attempt to update this regularly. 

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  • Overall Score

Hitchhiker's Guide & Running Man make litrpg-tastic fun!

Reviewed at: Chapter 3.B

 This story is a joy to read! Very original mixture of post apocalyptic (think Hitchhikers Guide) and litrpg-tastic adventure writing. 

I strongly urge the author consider making an audiobook edition once they're finished. 

Thank you and keep those chapters coming!

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Absolutely brilliant

Reviewed at: Chapter 19

Perfect combination of action and humor, set in a creative twist to the system apocalypse genre.

The two mcs are also perfectly crafted to fit both sides of the game. An ex soldier for combat and, of all things, a cat decorated with cat show ribbons for the showboating.

  • Overall Score

Lit RPG Done Right

Reviewed at: Chapter 29

The premise of Dungeon Crawler Carl -- that aliens have made a reality show out of turning earth into a dungeon -- is a great hook for both a legitimate delve experience and integrated humor.  And that is key - the humor here is fully integrated, meaning an inherent part of the story and not forced into it.  While other lit rpgs make the MC OP by virtue of random events or firsts, here Carl's odd circumstances fuel the humor and the story.  Carl, you see, was the first to enter the dungeon with a cat, as well as the first to enter without pants.  For all the entertainment value, the characters act in believable ways and have understandable motivations.  In short, the story pulls off the rare feet of dropping a lit rpg dungeon delve into a unique set of often very funny circumstances without hurting the integrity of the story.

The author is very clever, and makes use of the alien reality show aspect in surprising ways that feel logical.  [Very Mild Spoiler Ahead]  For instance, when the MCs finally take on a floor boss, they get interviewed by a woman that looks like a "crabtaur" -- human with a crab's lower body.  After the segment tapes, she explains that long ago in her season, she was literally cut in half.  As she lay ready to die, a gold item box miraculously held an item that allows one to bond monster parts inspiring her to keep fighting.  She explains that she got far enough and had enough follows that the producers couldn't let her just die with whimper, giving up, hence the item.  Citing her experience with producer manipulation of item drops, she warns Carl "if you ever want to see pants, stop whining about not having them."  Its funny.  Its clever and makes perfect sense.  And fits right in to the story without feeling like a forced attempt to add humor.

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Absolutely worth your time

Reviewed at: Chapter 27

Great start so far can't wait to see what else you got in store for the future of this story anyone looking for something good to read this book should satisfy your needs for reading material author does a good job with humor making it realistic even in the face of all the dangers the Mc has to deal with 

Zombie Unicorne
  • Overall Score

More Serious than you think!

Reviewed at: Chapter 34

Despite the synopsis may led you to believe this to be a funny comedic jaunt, it is anything but.

It's dead serious and treating the ridiculous premise seriously. The MC, Carl is always reminding you that this isn't a joyride, wishfullment, power fantasy story but a malevolent sadistic one. Every challenges Carl faces are just background noises as a result of unseen forces that are beyond reproach making thier moves, meaning that Carl, no matter what he do, he does not have a choice nor do they matter. Ultimately his triumph, defeat, life and death, it just benefits those that Carl cannot even grasp or even conceive. Pure hopelessness.

I don't think any other RPG Apocalyptic story has even come close to the feeling hopelessness that this series brings. Most premises of lit-Rpg apocalypse are akin to natural disasters but here, it's a well oiled machine that has intent and purpose, that will continue to run even when you die and billions of years after the fact.

The only Silver lining is Princess Donut who doesn't care for all that but the fame and glamour. Someone who (despite her intelligence being the highest shown so far) doesn't over think things and just enjoy the good and ignore the bad. A foil to Carl and ultimately his purpose to keep on fighting in this game where everything doesn't matter.

  • Overall Score

There is some flavs, but if you like good humor, you should favorite this immediately.

My "red flag" is characters, and they are good. Some side characters are cliche, but there is hope, they will die fast. What is good - we have only two MC, no harem, go heartbroken drama, just kill childrens, survive, and Goddamit, @DoctorHepa, where is next chapter?!


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Hilarious survival show in a dungeon

Reviewed at: Chapter 32

(as of chapter 32)

Like the blurb on the story main page says, Earth is suddenly turned into a subterranean dungeon where people have to survive and progress down the floors, all this done by aliens for a game show. Those participants that gain a following among the show's viewers might receive gift boxes that improve their survival, so you need to pimp up your "stream". Now the MC, Carl, is just a regular guy who is strong enough to beat a monster, but he has Princess Donut with him, his ex-girlfriend's prize-winning cat. Can the two of them survive against the many monsters? And what will prevail, the acting of a spoilt cat or Carl's sanity? Enter to find out...

Style/Grammar: The story is told in first-person style by Carl. The word choice is okay with a normal level of prose quality. Descriptions are mostly limited to the necessary stuff. There's a large amount of LitRPG elements in this story: monster/item descriptions, some stats and skills (later we'll also see classes), and loot boxes which are received from defeated monsters or by gaining an achievement. Especially the descriptions are written in a funny way (they like to kick people when they are already down, so Carl doesn't laugh). Grammar is good, with very few typos.

Story: We've seen many stories on RRL where people are in an apocalypse or in a dungeon and there are also some stories where the protagonists are unwilling participants in a survival game show. In the case of Dungeon Crawler Carl, those themes are combined in an interesting way and, most importantly, with a large dose of humor (though Carl doesn't like it so much to be the recipient of the jokes). The author also uses pop culture references in a clever way. The way the game show's dungeon is built doesn't allow for much rest, so Carl has to hurry from one danger to the next; this gives the story a rather quick pacing but it is not hurried. Everything about how this story is written fits effortlessly together. It is not just a collection of funny jokes, the premise itself is rather serious and treated appropriately.

Characters: Carl is a normal guy with strengths and weaknesses, he's taken by surprise by becoming a Dungeon Crawler but manages to bumble about okay. How he acts and thinks is written in a believable way.
Princess Donut is a cat with a cat's delicate (read: lazy, self-centered, arrogant) personality. While I personally don't like that kind of character, she's excellently written and adds a large amount of humor to the story. Other people haven't had much screen time yet but they fill a large variety of characteristics.

Other rating categories:
Suspense (higher is often better, but it depends of the type of the story; can be tied to predictability): 3.5
Predictability (lower is usually better but too low is bordering on madness): 2.5
Fun (do I laugh out loud while reading or at least chuckle? A low score is not bad, just different): 4.5

All in all, this is a hilarious story with the interesting "survival show" theme added to the "dungeon crawler" genre, written in an excellent way. I'm having a good time reading it.

  • Overall Score

Good job. MC not so much..

Reviewed at: Chapter 22
Spoiler: Spoiler


I understand and don't understand the many beyond excellent reviews. The story plot? I love it! Characters?not so much.. the cat just ruined it for me. Too much of a cheat, and instead of funny it comes off often as obnoxious. Making your pet cat talk? This, you either do good writing it or fail. Besides I went in thinking the owner is the MC but all along the cat is the MC. It can talk, it has higher intelligence than MC, orders MC around, gets better rewards than him, she's a "Princess" and he's a peasant -.-, surprisingly he's stupid in comparison to his cat, the cat only lacks common sense! Wow why do we need the human here? Anyways just my opinion, author you can at least tone down the cat. But anyways I'm pretty sure some people will like this, as evident. It's a good story but not so much on characters.. besides you get rewards/achievements  for even moving your leg forward. It devalues the worth of rewards and achievements..

  • Overall Score

I tend to love "system apocalypse" which is a genre that I would give this story so far. It pulled me in within a paragraph, and I'm hooked. Can't wait to keep reading this story!

human 000
  • Overall Score

I like this story so much and it is one of those stories whe n I read I couldn't get my head out of it, the charecters and everything is awesome.  Wright now at this moment I am craving this novel