Tower of Somnus

by CoCop

Original ONGOING Action Adventure Fantasy Sci-fi Cyberpunk Female Lead GameLit LitRPG Magic Urban Fantasy
Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity

When humanity first encountered alien life, we were judged and found wanting.  

The Galactic Consensus interviewed our leaders and subjected us to a battery of psychological tests to determine our progress as a society.  They found us to be selfish, wasteful, impulsive, and boorish neighbors.  Earth was blockaded and our collective encounter with our extrasolar neighbors rapidly faded from memory.

All they left behind was a hypercomm relay and a handful of subscriptions to a massively multiplayer game that participants played in their sleep.  The Consensus said that it would let us interact with our neighbors in a controlled setting.  That it would teach us to be better members of the galactic community.

The megacorporations that controlled Earth ignored the game until they learned that the powers earned from clearing dungeons were just as real when day broke.  Magic, supernatural abilities and rumors exploded from nothing and a subscription to The Tower of Somnus became a status symbol.

Katherine ‘Kat’ Debs doesn’t have much, but it could be worse.  Born in an arcology, she was assigned a job in the megacorporation that raised her almost as soon as she could work.  Despite the stability of her corporate life, she wanted something more.  A chance to claw her way up the rigid social and financial ladder to make something of herself.

A chance that wouldn’t come naturally to someone as familiar with dark alleyways and the glint of steel as she was with office work and corporate niceties.

Cover art by Faewild

Coloring/shading by KrazeKode

- - - - - -

This story is a National Novel Writing Month/Writeathon entry.  The goal is to write it rapidly to completion as a rough draft at which point it will probably go to editing/Kindle (I.e. this story will likely disappear at some point).

[participant in the Royal Road Writathon challenge]

Given this story's nature there will be no backlog, no patreon, no editing, and no mercy.

Thanks for reading along with me!

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Almost half a novel's worth of writing done in this story and it's fantastic. I'm not usually a fan of mixing VR-like and real life in a LitRPG story, but the author went ouf of his way to make the real world interesting and relevant.

While I enjoy the VR-like/LitRPG aspect, I actually enjoy the cyberpunk street samurai corporate dystopia world even more, where their powers from the VR carry over. The world building is great and it feels like the characters are walking around in a real world.

Style: I was already a fan of the author's general writing style, so this was a bit of a no brainer for me. 

Grammar: The grammar is excellent. There are a few areas where the prose is a little rough, but there are very few, if any, grammatical mistakes. Even with that, he's writing it incredibly fast so if there were things that stood out, I wouldn't be too mad.

Story: I'm a big picture type of reader. I tend to look for the overarching plot, so without that I can't yet give it 5 stars. We haven't reached a critical point where the story turning point happens. When we get there, I'll update my review accordingly.

Character: The characters are very good. The MC is a great character. I wouldn't continue reading if she weren't. That being said, my favorite charcter is actually the one I love to hate in the story. If I can love a character that was written to be hated, you've got my vote.

Definitely give this story a shot.


Humanity lives in a dystopian future shaped by first contact with aliens decades before. As stated in the synopsis, aliens judged humans and found them wanting. However, they gave humanity access to a game called Tower of Somnus that all the other discovered peoples across the galaxy subscribe to.

Tower of Somnus isn't just a game but something more: When you sleep, you enter the game, and the power you gain in ToS carries over into the real world. Becoming a player is something that people on the lower rungs of society can only dream about.

Due to a certain circumstance, the main character, Kat, gets the opportunity to become a player.

Kat was already living a double life as a runner of goods/information while being a student. The story explores how Kat balances entering the workforce, her illegal running operations, and venturing forth with newfound alien friends inside of ToS while gaining levels/advancing through the tower's floors.

Kat is an excellent progression fantasy MC because she starts off scrappy out of the gate. She works hard, is top of her class, and is a potent fighter with a knife. When she enters ToS, it very much feels like it's a kind of setting that she was born to do well in thanks to her fighting instincts and general good sense of logic/reason.

The action scenes both IRL (people die; knife fights are legit) and in ToS are described well. Coco has a good grasp of martial arts and I think that definitely helps to add some realism to some of the action sequences.

I must also commend Coco for making a detestable yet highly realistic manipulative "friend" in Arnold. He's an antagonist done well: you can see why he's maybe doing the things he's doing, but at the same time he's pathetic, desperate, and creepy. He's the kind of person you hope you never get tangled up with.

Update: as of latest chapter is still going strong!


Solid grammar. It's an interesting premise: I love the idea of aliens testing humanity, and an intergalactic VRMMO is one of the more creative and believable models for LitRPG I've ever heard. The corporate villains are well set up and I have a pretty good sense of what the world is like. The characters have personality. All told, this seems like a good start to a promising premise!!


Great start so far.  Good grammar.  All we've seen so far is coorporate dystopia.  The litrpg is  just being introduced and I'm looking forward to it.  Characters seem believable enough and 3 dimensional.   

Can Kat escpape corporate slavery?  This story has a ton of potential.  

Adding to the review at chapter 25.  Still only a little bit of RPG, but I don't care.  This is a very character centric novel and Kat is a really good character.  The real world action is all really well written.  


Wonderful character growth !!

Reviewed at: Chapter 23

This is a fantastic story by CoCop. In a dystopian future were everyone is a dept-slave we follow the amazing Kat. 

 What is very nice in this story is that Kat has two lives. One is in the fantasy tower  where she can win Litrpg powers while meeting alien. And there is her everyday live where she is a student working as a runner for a gang. Those two lives are fully used and interconnected. This is not a VR story where the real world has no importance. Those two worlds make this story much more complexe and interesting.

The second thing that I love in this story is characters. The plot is driven by the characters personality. We have Arnold a riche and stupid student, he often chose the stupid option. I hate him, really. So yes this character is really well made. Every character has a distinct personality. And there is a lot of characters growth at the start of the story that make you love (or hate) the characters.

For the grammar 5/5. But English is not my first language.

The style is good but I think the combat scenes are too small. 


Thanks you CoCop for this wonderful story.


This story is fantastic. The characters are real, the situation is terrifyingly relatable, and the LitRPG aspects are excellent. The concept is pretty cool, and while it isn't a terrifbly unique idea, it is well-executed and deserving of a read. 

Note: This review is scaled to RR standards. 

Style: 5/5

The author's style is not terribly distinctive, but they write well. Descriptions are evocative and emotions and actions are shown, not told. The flow is natural and overall the author has a very grounded style. 

Story: 5/5

It's fantastic. The ideas aren't the most unique but they are strung together with complete coherence and make for a very compelling read.

Grammar: 4.5/5

As the summary says, this story is a rough draft with no editing, and that shows sometimes. That being said, it's only distracted me from my reading twice. I'd argue that even without editing this story boasts better grammar than most stories on this site. 

Character: 5/5

Fantastic characters. They all feel incredibly real. The MC comes from the same scrappy, hard-working character mold as Rick from Street Cultivation, but she has a distinct personality. She isn't perfect, but her flaws don't feel like an occasional afterthought. The other characters are also real - the almost-boyfriend, the sister, the mom, even the rich girl has depth and rationality in her character design. I particularly like the aliens - they don't really mold to stereotypes without reason, and they're actually really interesting. 

Give the story a read. It's fantastic and it's so very binge-worthy. It's also great to slowly savor and re-read. There is nuance and depth to interactions that can be easily skimmed over by accident. Hihgly recommend, 10/10. 

Daoist Enigma

The more we learn about the vast and endless space, the more we realize that the chances of us being the only form of sentient life out there is infinitesimally small. The story has my attention from the begining, as the alien overseer sent to judge planet earth is subject to attempted 'examination' (not the voluntary kind) by different corporations, offered bribes and tried to sway an entity whose powers they do not know the full extent of.

It feels laughably real, and in all honesty hits too close to home. 'As a whole, their race considers altruism to be a weakness'  (Chapter 0- prologue) beautifully sums it up and sets a very realistic setting for a litrpg, a feat that few stories manage to accomplish. 

Style- Witty, snarky at times and easily digestible. The author's style transitions well and there are almost no instances where I found jarring or immersion breaking scenes. The combat scenes are great fun to read as well!

Grammar- Excellent. Considering this story is for Nanowrimo and it's objective is to be written as fast as possible to completion, it's honestly stupefying at times how the author maintains such a rapid pace while having very few (if any) grammatical errors per chapter. And I say this as a Royal Road author myself. 

Story- I prefer not to delve too deeply into the story as part of the review, as I tend to get carried away. But, as I mentioned earlier, the realistic setting is a big plus right off the bat. The setup has you diving into Tower of Somnus, while the powers you get can be carried over to the real world. The final nail in the coffin is the corporate overlords set up as heartless, purely mechanical existances that seek the greatest gain. The MC too finds herself trapped under the thumb of corporate control. The question is, can she escape? If so, just what will it take to do so. 

Character- Kat is not a MC that is not averse to risk. The kind I personally like. She's competent, not one to shy away from the darker side of society (illegal information broker) and good at fighting. That being said, if you like good antagonists, you're in for a treat. 



Have been reading for a week, made account to review because Its just so good. Also: to say that certain character who has since gotten kicked out of tower deserves a heavy bapping or a punch to the face.

Loving the style and direction, am really curious to see how things go outside of the game with her increasing powers.



Real World as Interesting as the Game

Reviewed at: Chapter 19

This is the first story by CoCop I've read, (though I've been meaning to get to Blessed Time.) This story, completely unedited from what I've gathered, is head and shoulders about 90% of all other game world stories out there.

The concept isn't the most original but as we all know, the execution is what counts. An alien conglomorate gives humanity access to a gameworld for "reasons." Like I said, you've probably seen this before. The setting is what sets it apart from the rest though.

This story is set in a future world where humanity has become quite a bit harsher than it is now. Arcologies rule the world and at first I felt like this story had poorly established its hook. The first two or three chapters set up the real world before the dive into the game begins and when it does it picks up fast with a wonderfully satisfying character change happening right off the bat. 

Style is golden. You won't find purple prose here, but you equally won't have any trouble following along. Almost rated a tad lower because paragraphs tend to be on the longer side which looks a little funny on my computer, but thats more my problem than the stories. It tells a grand tale and tells it well, which leads me to:

Story: The plot takes about two chapters to draw you in. If you skim until the game stuff, then you're like me, but you'll do that and then you'll start getting interested in the real world setting and backtrack to reread the opening because as the review states, the Real World setting in this story is every bit as interesting as the game world. Both work wonderfully with each other. 

Grammar? What's there to say? I think I found maybe one error in 50,000 words? I'm no perfect proofreader but I was never once pulled out of the story by grammar or spelling errors. And this is friggin unedited? Easy 5. Eaaaasy 5.

Character. The MC is surprisingly deep. A product of her society and the world built around her. There is a subtle difference between the humans in this story and normal people that I think is actually intentional. A certain... company-man attitude thats shared by the entire race. An almost indoctrinated feeling of "This is the best we can get, so lets try to be happy anyway." It's sad and its visible through the attitudes and word choices that come from the MC and her family, as well as other sub characters, all in the same hopeless situation, just at varying levels. Its nuanced and its perfectly subverted with nights spent in the game where the pressure is off and the only thing Kat needs to fear is dying.

Its a great story with plenty of meat to sink your teeth into already and a frankly maddening update pace. I'm looking forward to opening Blessed Time already.


The best of society in the worst of circumstances

Reviewed at: Chapter 31

When you consider this story is being written for NaNoWriMo, and written at double the speed at that - it's hard to believe the end result could be so polished and professional, a few understandable typos aside. Very few writers could pull off the speed alone, let alone the quality. Tower of Somnus is testament to why author CoCop is one of the biggest names on Royal Road.

Billed as a cyberpunk VR LitRPG, Somnus is so much more. To the downtrodden residents of this grim capitalist dystopia, to play in the titular Tower represents a near-unattainable dream reserved for those with power and influence. In a kinder world, protagonist Kat would have had a bright future ahead of her, but Somnus brings home the crushing realities and sheer unfairness of entrenched class discrimination, glass ceilings and rampant corruption. When characters turn to crime to obtain the same opportunities afforded to the fortunate few, you feel their struggles, even if they don't necessarily fit the classic mold of 'sympathetic'.

Somnus is one of those rare stories with something for everyone, seamlessly blending action with page-turning mystery, espionage and character drama within a well-structured LitRPG frame, as well as bringing sci-fi and fantasy together in a believable blend. Events which happen within the game affect those outside it, and vice-versa. Kat's life outside the game progresses every bit as much as it does within - and arguably more excitingly. As a result, you're constantly aware each action she makes has deep, life-altering consequences not just for herself, but for the people around her.

The quality of the writing is superb - to reiterate, I still can't get my head around 90,000 words of this quality being written in under a month - and it would not be out of place on a shelf of books by my favourite published authors. For a story with 'Somnus' in the title, it's certainly a sleep-killer.

Despite the undeniably grim backdrop of this corrupt future trajectory, the underlying message of the story is not one of despair, but hope. Above all, Somnus is about tenacity through tough times, cooperation with one's neighbours (alien and human alike), and overcoming prejudice, distrust and past mistakes in pursuit of a better world. It's what makes it so relatable, it's what makes its characters endearing - even, in a way, its villains - and it's why I'm absolutely loving it.

This is one not to be missed.