Heroes of Errand
- Sexual Content
This is a D&D inspired story. So if you are looking for the tabletop feel then you've come to the right place.
[participant in the Royal Road Writathon challenge]
Every person is unique and each carries different skills and talents that others lack. These skills and talents add their flavours into the lives of others to make it something truly remarkable.
Embark on a journey with a bunch of adventures, who will try their best to make sure everyone has a story worth retelling.
When a body appears at a celebration held in their honour, the Jellybeans are forced into a murder investigation. As the political tension rises and a need for immediate answers looms ever closer, the odds of them getting a noose around their necks tighten by the second.
Book 1: Fallen Blade Chapters 1-17
Book 2: The Cursed Blood 18-Present
Cover art is done by Jack0fHearts
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[This is part of a review swap]
Overall: If you are into party-based adventuring in a D&D style world, this is worth reading
I think Chapter 13 is where the style and grammar of this story start to work really well and support the story. Towards the beginning there are awkward tense changes and paragraphs contain multiple things happening. But it seems like the author is working hard to improve and the action sequences in particular stand out as well done in CH13.
Apart from that the depiction of the world and characters is pure D&D, I can imagine this party as a group of friends around a table. They come up with clever plots, solve problems and fight tactically in battle, as well as argue.
Interesting so far. The plot is heroic and light, there is danger but the party are enthusiastic about getting into trouble and going on adventures. The world-building is classic DnD style with hunts for bounties, Lords and loyal retainers. I would like to know more about how this world is different from other fantasy worlds though.
Something that has improved. Hypothetical tenses are still a bit off. I think adjectives are over-used, and sometimes descriptions of characters don't fit in with the situation. It makes it harder to follow the story sometimes.
This is the strong point of the story, they bounce off each other like a true adventuring party.
I liked seeing their abilites and tactics in combat, and I like Gene's disguise skills. Hints of backstory have come up, the hallmark of any good PC. I think if you are going to get drawn into this story it will be because of the characters.
For good or for ill this feels like a tabletop rpg. There's some fun banter and character development and the struggling of a newbie party as it gets thrown into a political fight over its head. I do think that the story is worth giving a shot to, but it does have some flaws (detailed below). If you have a problem with any of said flaws, you should probably stay away as I could see you not enjoying the story.
The story moves quickly which is a plus, but at times it moves too quickly. The plot does advance from time to time so fast that you are getting bare bones details on some nefarious plot and it can feel a bit like an action log on an RPG. Additionally, although some of the dialogue is good it can feel noticeably wooden from time to time and the story isn't afraid of exposition dumping on you. That said, although I have stylistic problems with the story I am hopeful they can be cleared up with editing and they don't reach the level of a 'hard no' from me.
This story needs proofreading and grammarly. It's not awful (and doesn't read as a foreign novel run through google translate or anything like that) but there are noticeable tense/pov changes that knocked me out of immersion from time to time.
The party is naive and makes mistakes, this is fine. Unfortunately, it keeps happening. The story feels like it is on rails (the party is thrown from quest to quest by powers outside of their control- and sometimes you can't help but feel like the party could have taken more agency by just not making dumb mistakes earlier). That said, it feels like we are getting introduced to a web of deceit/lies etc and I am hopeful that the currently published chapters are just being used as an 'intro' to that. If the story continues with 'mandatory quests given because the party didn't tie up loose ends' I would have to knock the story score down further.
The story is at its best when it is a slice of life. The party dynamics/interactions are more fun than the nefarious plots and combat if you ask me. At times, characters are weirdly sexualized which is a bit offputting (and again some of the characters can slip into 'wooden plot device puppet advancing the story'), but by and large I like learning about the characters and how they interact with each other. I will note that the author keeps adding characters which while fun very well might dilute these dynamics in the future.
This here shows off so many traits from the tabletop games that so many people enjoy. Characthers are shoved into the different placements that we all know well and love, while also having all those things to them that make them special. It feels like a real game, even if there is perhaps some plot-protection at times(might change later on. Havent read that far, after all).
World building is this one's strong suite. Really describes everything in a nice way that I enjoyed very much. Loved it. And with a style and grammar that's absolutely terrific, I have nothing bad to really say. 5/5 from me.
So for a very basic overview, it's classical fantasy Dungeons and Dragons. I'm not super familair with the world or game myself, but it feels like classic fantasy.
In terms of quality, it starts rough and gets better. The writer is very clearly trying to improve and it shows from chapter to chapter. The story starts at about a 3, and ends at like a 3.75. I'm sure I'll check back in soon and bump that up to a 4.
I'm going to talk about this first because its my favorite part.
On a very basic level, the characters are fun and distinct without being amazing; however, the author constantly finds different situations to put them in and interact, which gives us variety in a very impressive way.
I'm not even saying its quantity over quality. I think just think (compared to a normal story) that the way the writer engages with the characters fleshes them out to a degree you normally don't see with pure prose.
It's like a comfy blanket. I liked all the classic fantasy, and the story has a very organic feel to the structure. Problems arise, and we deal with those problems. And honestly, I feel that's the stronger suit than the overarching plot ideas.
Its the kind of fun, comfy story where you don't need an overarching plot, and I'd be perfectly happy without one. As long as the chapter to chapter stories are solid.
Now with all that said, these elements aren't perfect, especially early on. There are some structural problems here and there and the author could really punch things up from time to time.
But honestly, for what it is, I'm really happy with it. And also, it feels very gamey. But like, not in a bad way. I imagine if you're in to the game, this will hit a sweet spot. And that game quality fits into the organic structure/ feel very nicely so it doesn't feel out of place or janky.
STYLE and GRAMMAR
Now we have the week point. Like I (and a lot of other people have said), there's a grading curve here. It starts off weak. Very weak. But the author improves and gets better in terms of technique.
I read to chapter 11, but I went ahead and checked out the most recent chapter just to compare the style and see how the writing has come along. And boy is it a big difference.
I do think there is an element of diminishing returns here. Chapter 11 is far closer to Chapter 17 in quality than it is to the prologue, but I don't really think that's the point.
The writer has improved and is trying very hard to improve, and you very much get the sense of that in their writing and you want to root for them.
So in many ways, this isn't the kind of story in my wheelhouse. I'm not a D&D guy, BUT I really do appreciate a lot of whats going on here. And like I said, it's like a nice comfy story to sit down and read.
I guess the real thing I would point out to anyone, is that if you read these reviews and it sounds like something you would enjoy, just know that the first couple of chapters aren't necessarily representative of the whole quality. The characters and story will be similiar, but those elements will be delivered in a much more satisfying way.
If you're willing to put in a little work at the beggening, you'll find something you like.
Personally, I'm fond of the concept. It reminds me of a DnD campaign, except in writing. You've got your character interactions between party members, NPCs, and so on. No dice rolls, tho :(
That said, there are many things that can be improved. The dialogue is a little bit stilted at times, and could use a bit of polishing to flow more naturally, because right now there are instances where dialogue does nothing to advance the plot or develop the characters (such as the merchant thanking the monk as he's walking over to the plot), and it really does feel at times like the characters are just belting out exposition. Also, the descriptions of characters (based on what I've seen in the first chapter), can get a bit wordy and unwieldly. It would be better to stick to simpler and shorter descriptions.
Oh, as an aside, it would also be nice if there werent such large spaces between paragraphs. Maybe it's just me because I've been reading this on the mobile version of this site, but the large chunks of empty between paragraphs does get a little bit annoying.
Admittedly, it can be a bit tough to write about multiple characters. I mean, this is a DnD setting, but perhaps it would be better if the story was centered around an MC, and the people he meets.
Oh, and I suppose it would be nice if dice rolls were included, if we're going with the style of a DnD campaign. Dosen't have to be in every action, but it would be nice to highlight character stats more and dice rolls during important plot moments. Maybe, like, use the blue boxes that LitRPGs use for system messages?
You like D&D? Get over here. You like Murder Mysteries? Get over here!
Unfortunately, there are several places where the tense changes and point of view shifts in the early chapters. This, combined with overstuffed paragraphs, can leave the reader confused as to what is happening and who is doing what.
That said, this is very much a D&D world, with all the tropes and expectations you would want from that. If you like D&D, D&D fiction, or settings that adhere to that aesthetic, you will like this one.
Unfortunately, there are many grammar errors. It's not the worst, by any means, but it could definitely use another pass by the author or maybe Grammarly. However, they are receptive to comments about this and to making changes, which is great.
The story begins as a murder mystery, where the characters are trapped by circumstance and forced to follow leads that take them from one adventure to the next. If you've ever played rpgs, you know the gist. Unfortunately, I didn't buy that the characters would be the main suspects in the situation, so the initial hook felt weak. They also occasionally seem to make bad choices that further the plot rather than seeming like something an experienced adventurer would do, but that just could be characterization we've not delved into all the way yet.
The story has a diverse cast of characters. They are instantly recognizable by their rpg tropes. Some of them have a very strong 'voice' and characterization, others could use some beefing up. A few of the female characters are described in a cringingly 'male-gaze' fashion. But the interactions between the characters is interesting and pops.
Overall, Heroes of Errand is a fun read that moves quickly. I found a few elements lacking, but it all comes together to make a great story.
In the beginning of the novel, it is possible to tell that it was began in first person, rather than third. The author has done a decent job at changing this fact, but with various tense change issues, the problem is still there. I do not believe this takes much away from the reading experience though, as I expect most people to have to really focus to notice the issue. The dialogue can get weird sometimes, as I found myself confused as to whom was speaking a few times. This does not happen often, though. Overall, the style is still pretty good.
There is a good story behind the Jellybeans. Each character has a different background, and they come together quite well. I did find that some of the issues that the group runs across tend to be solved a little too easily, with not much tension. I chalk this up to one of the character rolling a nat-20.
There's nothing much to nitpick about the grammar of the story. A few missed commas here and there, and an occasional misspelling, but overall, the grammar is quite good.
The character development is getting better as the story progresses. At first, it was very basic, but as I read on, small bits of each character's personality began to show. I expect all the MCs to be fully fleshed out by the end of the novel.
This has a very pure dungeons and dragons feel to it. Usually, when an author writes a dungeons and dragons themed story they use it more as a vague directive and don't really stay true to that origin, but in this case it’s different. This feels committed to that clean table top ethos in a rather unique way to Royal Road.
Story: There’s been a murder, a twisting tale ensues. Always a fun way to start a story, the following choices by the characters do feel a bit chaotic at times but that I suppose might be a reflection of the dice table top genre and its nature. The auspicious (or not so) beginning of a band of famed adventurers and their journey to greatness.
Style : Like the approach to genre it’s clean and straight forward. The prose feels very work-man like and steers clear from anything flowery or purple, which is good, that is why people like Brandon Sanderson’s style after all. The clarity of communication makes reading easy and fluid.
Worldbuilding: This is DnD-esque so the worldbuilding does not stray far from the envelope with races or monsters with one or two exceptions although I do think they do a good job of presenting the world in a realistic hard lit manner which can be tricky for this genre.
Grammar: No complaints, I’m not a master of grammar but this seems to have no mistakes that I can see.
Character: The characters are good and varied (as are the interesting races) but as is to be expected with DnD they are initially defined by their tropes, not a bad thing as it makes characters feel naturally comfortable and quick to get into. As the story develops they grow and flesh out and become increasingly fuller characters which makes for quite an enjoyable process.
If you are into playing DnD this story is worth picking up and given well deserved attention.
Overall 4.5/5: If you’re looking for D&D style adventures, you came to the right place. We have a well-rounded party trying to figure out a mysterious death, and there are several plot twists that keep things lively.
Style 4/5: There are a few lines that cracked me up: “That line was so thin it would give parchment a run for its copper.” I think the author could work on tightening up the dialogue, and avoiding over-explaining. For example, one character says: "Fern and I will go meet Shield. I decided this because I excel in unarmed combat and Fern can change into a bear.”
Story 4.5/5: I feel like there could be more to the story, and I feel like the plot that is shown doesn’t quite click. There was a murder, but none of the main characters seem emotionally invested or connected to the death—they are just adventurers curious about a recent death. As the situation develops, I was glad to see that the plot becomes more personal for the characters.
Grammar 5/5: This is well-edited, and there are very few grammar mistakes.
Character 4.5/5: In many ways, it is hard to start a story with so many main characters. The first chapter gives meaningful descriptions of them all, but really, it is hard to form an emotional connection with this many different characters. Also, while the differences between their skills and physical appearances are clear, it is not clear early on how their personalities are different.