Wildcards: Book One - The Dread Pirate

by James Northman

Warning This fiction contains:
  • Profanity

At the District One Invitational, a rookie eSports team defied all odds and reached the finals. Their underdog story and humble beginnings elevated them to worldwide acclaim. Media corporations dubbed them, The Paragons. With their main competition eliminated from the tournament during the semifinals, the rookie team sailed through the live finals and won by a landslide. Their prize was to become the first ever players in the most exclusive VR game yet, Abidden

The Paragons never celebrated that semi-final victory. They lost a friend in that match, who never appeared online again. Ten years later, the gaming landscape has changed and Abidden with it. Helena is the last remaining Paragon. Her team now consists of celebrities, influencers and musicians. Abidden has been reduced to a shadow of its former glory, but is the most streamed and viewed game in the world, despite having only a handful of players.

None of this matters to James Sylvester. Finally out of hospital, things aren't good for James. He's found himself crippled with medical debt, his gaming licence has been revoked and he's permanently lost his place in society. He now spends his days competing in illegal slum arcades to manage the repayments. When a high-profile job comes along, James gets temporary backdoor access to his blacklisted gaming account. After reactivating it for the first time in ten years, James receives an invitation that could change his life forever.

Disclaimer: This story is in no way or form associated with the works of George R. R. Martin and has no link to the popularised series, Wild Cards. This is a LitRPG story of my own creation that shares that name.   

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James Northman

James Northman

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Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
Chapter 1: Every Credit Counts (Revised Version) ago
Chapter 2: State of Play ago
Chapter 3: Enter the Villain ago
Chapter 4: Always Pay Your Debts ago
Chapter 5: A Platinum Opportunity ago
Chapter 6: The Truth of Travesty ago
Chapter 7: Reunion ago
Chapter 8: Building A Team ago
Chapter 9: Fall From C-Class ago
Chapter 10: Fire Meadows ago
Chapter 11: New Digs ago
Chapter 12: Evictor ago
Chapter 13: The Briefing ago
Chapter 14: The Rig ago
Chapter 15: The Jackal ago
Chapter 16: The Chessmaster ago
Chapter 17: Meet The Sponsors (Part 1) ago
Chapter 17: Meet The Sponsors (Part 2) ago
Chapter 17: Meet The Sponsors (Part 3) ago
Chapter 18: Entering Abidden - Character Creation ago
Chapter 19: The Dread Pirate ago
Chapter 20: Demonic Partner ago
Chapter 21: Villainous ago
Chapter 22: The Follower ago
Chapter 23: The Trial ago
Chapter 24: Raid Night ago
Chapter 25: Prime Evil ago
Chapter 26: First Reveal ago
Chapter 27: Press Conference ago
Chapter 28: Realisation ago
Chapter 29: Blessing of the Vampire God ago
Chapter 30: Welcome to Rayth ago
Chapter 31: The Butcher ago
Chapter 32: Establish the Lair ago
Chapter 33: A Moment of Clarity ago
Chapter 34: Industry in Motion ago
Chapter 35: Paragons in Action ago
Chapter 36: Relativity ago
Schedule Update - Christmas Break ago
Chapter 37: That's My Ship ago
Chapter 38: New Direction ago
Chapter 39: End Scene! ago
Chapter 40: Dread Faction Advances ago
Chapter 41: You have Chosen... Legendary! ago
Chapter 42: A Kraken Plan ago
Chapter 43: Discovery ago
Chapter 44: Remember Me? Part 1 ago
Chapter 45: A Night to Remember ago
Chapter 46: Remember Me? - Part 2 ago
Chapter 47: Remember Me? - Part 3 ago
Chapter 48: There Can Be Only One! ago

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Excellent So Far, desperately awaiting more!

Reviewed at: Chapter 22: The Follower

The pacing so far has been excellent, opening with a fight that gives you a taste of how the action is going to be written in the story to come (spoiler alert, very well), going into some very well-written world building, revealing the nature of the futuristic dystopia the story is set in. Intersperse that with some spectacular character introductions, clearly outlining the stakes that our character finds himself in, and finally gets our protagonist into the game itself at the perfect moment - I feel like I, as a reader, understand the basics of James, the basic motivation of his allies, just enough about his enemies, and am eagerly awaiting the true start of his journey, when his "protection" would expire.


I wouldn't be suprised if thos ranked in the top 20 of RR. interesting storyline that explores the darker side VR games and the sponsors controlling everything.

A good MC that is quite intelligent with all the side characters being interesting and unique in their own way. Good grammer and I haven't spotted any spelling mistakes yet and I'm intrested to see where the story goes


I'm usually too lazy to write an actual review, and this is no different! I am bot37 here to give a review! It's okay... jk. Back to actual review. It gave that giddy feeling of oh boi a book, ya know, the one without all that backstabbing and family murdering (spoilers?). It has smart characters with some huge... personality. The world building is fantastic! So yeah, give it a read.


Something about this story just sucked me into the characters, normally ill skip over some of chapters i read if its too monotone but this story has just made me read every word and loved it and we haven't even made it to the gameplay yet! i look foward to where this story will end up and hope it does not become another lost cause on here anyway give it a read if you got the spare time its worth it.


As of chapter 17 (Meet the Sponsers 2) this story has proven to have an amazing start, and even while it hasn't hit VR yet, the setup has been absolutely phenomenal. The main character has character flaws beyond the obvious, and other characters have distinct personalities. Very much looking forward for more chapters in the future.


Ezra Irehearth

James, you have shown me the light. 

Jokes aside, this here is some got shit. It's no new concept, we can all agree. But the style, the characters and the drive were all executed splendidly. I tasted the ambrosia and now I wait patiently for my next meal.


Caught up here & went straight to Patreon

Reviewed at: Chapter 33: A Moment of Clarity

Grammar is basically perfect, haven't seen any mistakes or typos.

Formatting of the story is very well done, I would recomment reading it on Royal Road in a Dark Theme.

Battles are extremely well written, story and characters feel planned and thought through.

Description of the environmnets and few smaller details really help along imagining the worls, hopefully, close to author's intention.

Ther is also a character I read in Arnies voice the moment I saw his line, see if you can spot the one I mean ;)

The main character is fun to follow, lots of interesting personal interactions that grip you into the story even more.

Also quite a few interactions between NPCs and can subtly lead you in to believeing they are actual people, but author has a good way of bringing you back to reality that only add to the reading experience.

There are some profanities as author rightly warns, but these are well placed adding an element of realism, so a few "F" words won't make a negative influence on a younger readers. It's a necessary "evil".

I would say most chapters end with some sort of a cliffhanger and a lot of those won't let you continue the story at a later point (consider yourself lucky if you are only getting into this now.. you can binge read this).

Thanks for writing this.


The first chapters captivated me. A story of a former pro getting back on track, and who doesn't like a journey where you are powerful?

The style is on par with the best on the site: you will find no boring descriptions or info-dumps. All necessary information is introduced in-action, without stuttering the flow.

And most importantly: finally there's an author that uses lie/lay correctly! And most of the time at that!

Akal E

The story doesn't get bogged down with just in-game drama. That's what's amazing about this.

This is the best story with a game setting that I've read to date.

The story is clean and writing is immersive. The story doesn't immediately start off with the MC jumping into the game. Instead the character and the world is built, tension is created before James (the MC) even logs into the game.



The user KOOR described this story as the Count of Monte Cristo in a dystopian society with vr and that review is spot on.

I am writing this review after reading up to chapter 21. The author has done a great job of developing the characters so far. I am really looking forward to seeing how the main character's vr adventures unfold now that he has re-entered the game.