Prophecy Approved Companion
Qube is an NPC in an AI-driven VR-RPG who avoids her scripted death and blithely continues following the Player, trying to make sense of the normalised nonsense of Fantasy RPGs and accidentally glitching out the world in stranger and stranger ways as she seeks to be the very best Childhood Companion ever.
It’s a loving parody of old school RPGs, high fantasy, and every gamer who has ever thought “what happens if I do this...”
Updates Tuesdays and Fridays.
This is essentially a first draft, so I welcome grammatical corrections etc.
Cover by: https://www.instagram.com/pengwen.l/
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I've always liked stories from the perspective of the NPC charactors, and Prophecy Approved Companion is no exception. Qube provides an interesting and funny perspective on many of the strange things that are in video game worlds, while also showing hilarious acceptance of other aspects since she is an NPC who has always lived in that world.
THe player charactor creates a fantastic contrast to this by being a gamer that we all know about, but rarely ever see as a main charactor in a gamelit, or VR story. A player who likes to exploit glitches and bugs, mess around with the world, and pretty much try and break the game.
THis creates a hilarious chemistry between the charactors, as one is pretty much breaking the world, while the other believes he is saviour of the world and trys to find the logic in his actions.
THe story is also a fantastic parody of video games, with so many good game logic jokes. I've already had a few belly laughs reading.
All in all a unique, interesting, and funny story. Can't wait for more chapters.
In a single-player VR-game there is an NPC, Qube. The game's backstory says that she is the Chosen One's (= the player character's) childhood friend and the plan is that she dies at the end of the tutorial when the main storyline starts. The rest of the game will be the usual adventure for the player, with fights and riddles and quests. But this copy of the game is played by somebody who likes to create glitches and abuse exploits for shits and giggles; that leads to Qube somehow surviving the scripted event and she follows the Chosen One on his adventures. After all, she trained all her life to be his 'prophecy-approved companion'.
Style/Grammar: The story is told in third-person style mostly from Qube's point of view, with some scenes and side chapters from other people's POVs. The descriptions of the game world are rather superficial but that's enough, most of the readers should know what a medieval town or the magma level (fiery magma everywhere except on one winding path, even on the walls!) of a video game looks like. Word choice and the general literary quality are okay, but not exceptional; the story is about fun, not about big words. Grammar is fine and there are very few typos.
Story: We all know video games from the player's perspective and RoyalRoad is full of stories where people play in full immersion or are transported into a game-like world. There have even been stories centered on NPCs gaining sapience but those are rather rare (3% of my "follow" list) and this one is going the way of parody. The world is a rigidly programmed one with triggered events and all those things that really make no sense when you analyze a video game logically (Why are torches burning where nobody has been for years? Why does a wolf drop a sword as loot?) but which are accepted by players for the sake of fun or convenience. Qube smartly notices (and thus points out for the readers) all those things. As the world is real for her, she tries to find explanations and this gives her no small headache. For the readers, who know about video games, this is hilarious.
With such a premise, this story is not meant to be taken seriously and that's okay. It's written for enjoyment, not for reaching some elusive literary "heights" where professional critics analyze the vocabulary and sentence structure for correlation with the author's childhood traumata. And that enjoyment is easily provided.
Characters: Qube starts out as a normal NPC doing her simple programmed tasks, not questioning her unusual surroundings. After meeting the prophecy-foretold Chosen One (the player) and being subjected to his glitch-exploiting actions, she starts to think for herself and her personality becomes more complex.
The Chosen One is an unnamed player who gets his fun from breaking the game, enjoying himself without any regards for the storyline; he hits the jackpot when he manages to keep Qube, who is now considered nonexistent by the game but can still act in it. His characterization is kept deliberately vague, because while he might be the MC in the game, he's not the MC of this story. Later he slowly notices that Qube is not acting like the usual NPCs he knows. He hasn't accepted her as a real person yet but his beliefs of what he sees in this game are getting shaken rather hard as the story goes on.
There are other NPCs in the game, both the three designated party members for the player and those that are important for the storyline. They all are scripted characters, with one-dimensional programming to keep the game simple. For some of them, contact to Qube breaks them and they slowly become a little more complex as well.
In total, this is a light-hearted GameLit story, leaning heavily into parody. The glitch-exploiting theme makes it unique and funny and the confusion of the NPC-MC makes it even better. Everybody who has ever played an RPG/adventure video game - and had fun doing so - should read it.
I'm almost positive that this story will hit trending. Granted, most stories with good grammer and dencent characterization will if they're dedicated enough, but this one is great!
I haven't found a single grammer error while reading! The characters feel like actual humans, which is funny for a story about a.i., but still a plus! Both characters have goals and drives while also being relatable.
The fact that they have different goals and drives make interactions feel both genuine and entertaining.
Most of the jokes, (and plot) revolve around video game culture and glitchy a.i., so you may want to avoid this work if those aren't your proverbial cup of tea. Nevertheless, the rest of this story has been so good that i'm sure he'll (or she'll) slip in some good content that dosen't depend on gaming every now and then!
I haven't been this excited for a new work since that one that started off as a system mc story that devolved into bad p0rn, or that one that has a mc get a green system and only get being a unlikeable jerk as a character trait.
Hmmm, maybe I'm not the best at judging early stories, but trust me when I say that this one is a banger. (So far, at least.)
I kinda got bored. Read up to chapter 49 and I quite like the overall concept of the story, but found it.. I dunno.. Same-y? As in, it's really just the MC watching the player break something over and over. Every time the MC starts to 'see outside the box' (phrased to not give the story away), it's like the author goes "look over here! ", and moves on. Every time I think we're finally going to get more into what I see as the most interesting part of the book, the author changes the direction of the thought /conversation.
It's well written and definitely funny in places, but it's just dragging on too long without moving on to some of the more important parts of the story.
This is a hilarious story of a NPC who was supposed to die at the end of the tutorial, but due to the game-breaking antics of the hero manages to survive. Qube is an incredibly humorous narrator who regales us with her theries on such topics as what save points are, why dungeons are designed the way they are, the inner workings of prophecies, and why the world seems unable to acknowledge her presence. The game-breaking that goes on due to their party is uproariously funny and never ceases to amuse me. Read this RIGHT NOW!
There is a lot of fun and potential. The writing is solid and mostly interesting and the dialog feels good. There are plenty of game culture references. At the moment, the story is mainly just exploring the what-if scenarios with some silliness.
Id say the downside is the characters don't really get a chance to interact much yet, since none of them understand each other. Hero thinks they are just scripted npcs, and they think he's someone from the world, so the interactions are all pretty superficial. There are some hints that that may be changing in future chapters.
As of writing this, Chapter 4 is the latest entry and this is an on-going series.
I just wanted to drop a quick and brief review to say how much fun I'm having reading this! After the pain I'm sure so many people have experienced with scripted companion deaths in RPGs, the premise of the story is really intriguing and I can't wait to see where the author takes it! I love the satirical take on old school game worlds (that darn prophecy magic!!) and have really enjoyed Qube's characterisation. Her attempts to rationalise the shenanigans she's already had to endure thanks to the Chosen One feel very much like what I'm sure NPCs in my own gaming experience have to go through. Just a few chapters in, she's already so endearing and I want nothing but the best for her. For anybody interested in a story that's going to break the mold of your favourite retro RPG, this novel is going to be right up your alley! And we're just at the beginning. I'll end this here, but I do have one more thing to add.
Chosen One, please… please KEEP breaking the law of physics.
Excellent story. It's a great perspective on the uncanny valley of intelligent NPC's and the application of A.I., right in the mental uncanny valley.
It has the fundamentals down (proper grammar and description, significant plot and plot developement happening within each chapter, and a clear general direction forward with suspense in the details).
Also, lots of excellent munchkinning which is always entertaining in the right doses.
Some of the npc character interactions can be a bit repetitive (spider lady being flirty, npc wondering about pockets, main character skipping/screwing with things), but perhaps that's the point.
This is both hilarious and deeply horrifying. Definitely recommended.
I really want to see how this all turns out.
It's very strange to see a video game played by an inquisitive munchkin who is determined to ignore all the quest descriptions, names characters bizarre things, and does his best to break the game... from the viewpoint of an NPC who has to deal with him.
TL;DR: This story is a hot mess. I love it.
Long version: Anyone who has played ANY fantasy roleplaying game on a digital device (console video; computer, whatever) will love this story, for taking apart the possible graphic glitches and the nauseating clichés in the most brutal way I could imagine. Yes, the story narrative is cliché in itself, but parodied in a style that fully earned five stars.
The characters are portrayed in their whole glitchiness; and yet they don't really get boring. I love how we have no names of any party members except Qube, the MC who is portrayed perfectly as an utterly naive, bright genius, never willing to not trust the player character who is abusing the game in the most horrifying manner possible. So again, five stars.
The grammar is decent, with only the rare occasional typo or bad expression.
All that said, I'm doing all my reviews on an absolute scale, where only the very best perfect story gets all stars. And this is a story that basically just started. It is not finished, and the in-story twists are widely telegraphed. There are regular hints that Qube is right now breaking her Level-5-limit, but so far nothing has really come out of it. What the meta-twist will be, is still unclear. There is still the faint possibility that the story gets ruined.
But I trust the author not to disappoint. This piece has been a marvelous ride.