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 He's found himself crippled with medical debt, his gaming licence has been revoked and he's permanently lost his place in society.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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I have read/listened to many litrpgs in the past couple years and I have found this story to be one of the best. The exchanges which take place between characters is one of the things which make this story stand out. Loved it in its entirety and I wish I had more to read as of this moment. It is a new story and I know it will continue to be a hit. 


The story starts strong and doesn't stop. The main character is likable and easy to root for. it can pull yyou in and keep you reading.


Okay, I grabbed this on a whim.  The synopsis didn’t grab my attention like some others, but it was interesting enough to add to my read later list. OMG i was wrong.  This story is amazing.  Good grammar, excellent storyline, and characters that aren’t two dimensional.  I even love the fact that the MC is an analyst.  If you haven’t read this yet DO IT. 

And Northman..... keep writing, don’t make me start sending crying puppy pictures 


19 Chapters in and we've hardly seen anything of the World. Which is in this case actually awesome.

Loving it so far, great work on working the 'real' world into the story. Can't wait to see where this is going.

Writing style is nice and clean and some awesome characters so far. This might grow into one of the better stories here on RoyalRoad. It just needs more chapters. Lots and lots of more chapters writtin with the same skill as displayed in the first ninetheen chapters.



J. Rod.

Listen, i barely ever do reviews but this deserves one. I usually come to this site for the litrpg stories because they scratch a gamer itch, a power leveling fantasy itch, and they're generally fun to read. Those types of stories are mostly unique to this site. However, THIS story goes beyond that bare minimum. It actually reminds me of reading young adult novels that have fully fleshed out worlds and characters past the gimmicks of their genre. This novel is simply More and manages to scratch the good read itch so kudos. Hat's off. Well played lol. 


Really enjoying the story. The main character is engaging and the secondary characters have enough depth that you want to learn more about them. The action scenes are well written and the world both in and out of game is interesting. I look forward to seeing where the series goes. 


Overall I really like this story it isn't perfect but it's a damn site better than most of the stuff on this site. I'm giving it a 5 because of this, not because it's perfect (if I make an advance review I might bring it down a trade as I go into detail on the criticism). For now I can just say it's a solid read with no major shortcomings, the only flaw (if you can call it that) is that the pacing and structure seem better suited for a fully published book and/or longer chapters as they can feel a tad unsatisfactory one their own with a weekly schedule (which I'm sure is at least partially responsible for the high quality).

So I recommend you read it, but keep in mind the limitations of its format.

Dragonsune Of Legend

I am glad they didn't just dump straight into the VR bit. It feels like a more solid, coherent world. The characters are good. The story's great. The author goes back and rewrites bits that don't make sense to better increase the flow.

The ONLY complaint I have is that sometimes it's hard to keep the characters straight.  I have sometimes mixed one character with another and had a bit of trouble seperating them.


But this story is AMAZING, and so far, I have cackled out loud at several of the jokes and the reactions of various individuals to events unfolding around them.  Excited as hell for the next chapter, and many chapters after.


A good story from James about James

Reviewed at: Chapter 21: Villainous

It's really good so far, well written with cool characters! Reminds me of the kings avatar, but I like this one better so far. I hope it continues as brilliantly as it started!


(I like that you named the main character after yourself!)


I have enjoyed reading this piece of fiction to chap 19 as of today. The world building and character building is at a professional level.  The editing is also top notch. Please give this a look! I promise it will be worth your time.