Mark of the Fool: A Progression Fantasy

Mark of the Fool: A Progression Fantasy

by UnstoppableJuggernaut

Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity

After his parents died, Alex Roth had a plan: become a wizard. Through hard work, he was accepted into the world’s greatest university of wizardry—but fate had another plan.

On his eighteenth, he is marked as one of his kingdom’s five Heroes, chosen to fight the land’s great enemy. But his brand is 'The Fool', worst of the marks.

Rather than die or serve the other Heroes like Fools in the past, he packs up his little sister, his childhood friend and her cerberus, then flees for the university in hope of refuge, magic and to unravel the truth about his land’s evil.

There’s one small problem: The Mark tries to ruin magic while enhancing skills outside of divinity, combat and spellcraft.…

…that is, unless he can learn to exploit the hell out of it.

*****

This the first time I am writing a web novel type story, and I hope you like it. I like progression stories and I've always wanted to try and write one like a few of the web novels that inspired me.

Updates Tues-Wed-Thur-Fri-Sat.

There are currently 20 advanced chapters on my patreon as a thank you to patrons.

Join us on discord! https://discord.gg/A4M3CzfWBn

Chapters will be roughly 2000-2500 words.

[participant in the Royal Road Writathon challenge]

***

Rating: This story is kind of like a PG-13 movie. There'll be gore and some swearing but not much beyond that. If that changes, I'll warn you. 

Tone: Tone will be a mix of some action-adventure with excitement, comedy, slice of life elements and mystery. I won't be going too dark with this story. There will be mentions of war, some death, grief and violence.

MC: MC is analytical/rational with emotions. He is mostly in control of those emotions. MC will progress in power, eventually becoming very strong. When that happens, I'll add the Strong Lead tag.

Fights: Fights will be detailed.

***

Stuff this story won't have:

- Extreme grimdark content

- Murderhobo plots

- Edgy, anti-hero MC 

- Pacifist MC

- Harems

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Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
Chapter 1: Fools and Inheritance ago
Chapter 2: Uldar's Legacy ago
Chapter 3: The Mark's Mocking Grin ago
Chapter 4: Departure and Dogs ago
Chapter 5: The Coins and the Priests ago
Chapter 6: Coin Tricks and Fire Light ago
Chapter 7: Good Dreams and Bad Luck ago
Chapter 8: The Chosen ago
Chapter 9: Telling the Truth ago
Chapter 10: Red Eyes in the Dark ago
Chapter 11: The Goddesses' Wrath ago
Chapter 12: The Traveller's Magic ago
Chapter 13: Walls and Keys ago
Chapter 14: The Sanctum of Doors ago
Chapter 15: The Hive-Queen ago
Chapter 16: The Core ago
Chapter 17: Out into the Light ago
Chapter 18: Using What You Have (Interlude) ago
Chapter 19: The Red Siren ago
Chapter 20: Cookies and Dances ago
Chapter 21: The Spear-and-Oar Dance ago
Chapter 22: Tests by Moonlight ago
Chapter 23: The Nightwatch ago
Chapter 24: Other Dangers ago
Chapter 25: The City at the Center of Creation ago
Chapter 26: Wonders in the Sky ago
Chapter 27: Negotiations in the Hall of Magic ago
Chapter 28: Welcome Home ago
Chapter 29: Selecting One's Path ago
Chapter 30: The Means of Survival ago
Chapter 31: The Chancellor ago
Chapter 32: Responsibility and Paths Forward ago
Chapter 33: The Beastarium ago
Chapter 34: A Clash of Beasts ago
Chapter 35: The Beginning Fruits of Failure ago
Schedule going forward (Today's chapter right after this) ago
Chapter 36: Dummies and Forceballs ago
Chapter 37: The Spell-Joust and the Second Spell ago
Chapter 38: An Endless Forest (Interlude) ago
Chapter 39: The Beginning of Baelin's Test ago
Chapter 40: The Plain of Dust ago
Chapter 41: Predators ago
Chapter 42: Ambushing the Ambushers ago
Chapter 43: The Escarpment ago
Chapter 44: The Bonedrinker ago
Chapter 45: Lessons and Gods ago
Chapter 46: A Pie Party ago
Chapter 47: The Path of Potions ago
Chapter 48: The Art of Asking Questions ago
Chapter 49: The First Classes ago
Chapter 50: Familiar Encounters ago
Chapter 51: Help Wanted ago
Chapter 52: Manipulating Mana and Mind ago
Chapter 53: The World Opening to the Senses ago
Chapter 54: Safety in The Cells ago
Chapter 55: Reflecting on Different Paths ago
Chapter 56: Naming and Sculpting Futures ago
Chapter 57: Terrain and Entourages ago
Chapter 58: Planning Around the Mana Vents ago
Quick Announcement: Patreon Chapters Increased for Higher Tiers ago
Chapter 59: Group Dynamics ago
Chapter 60: Wrangling the Herd ago
Chapter 61: Trust ago
Chapter 62: Glyphs and Quicksilver ago
Chapter 63: Unsafety in the Cells ago
Chapter 64: Benefits of the Talented ago
Chapter 65: Armwrestling Wizard's Hand ago
Chapter 66: The Summoning ago
Chapter 67: Beyond the Material World ago
Chapter 68: The Devil that You Know... ago
Chapter 69: Expanding Perspectives ago
Chapter 70: Different Paths in Life ago
Chapter 71: Gains in Mass and Mana ago
Chapter 72: For and Against Pride ago
Chapter 73: A 'Handy' Breakthrough ago
Chapter 74: Ghosts of the Past I (Interlude) ago
Chapter 75: Ghosts of the Past II (Interlude) ago
Chapter 76: The Path Alone ago
Chapter 77: Fire and Coils ago
Chapter 78: Many Hands Make Light Work ago
Announcement: Final Patreon Tier and Top Web Fiction ago
Chapter 79: An Elemental Battle ago
Chapter 80: Pack Tactics ago
Chapter 81: Fire and Midterms ago
Chapter 82: Challenge ago
Chapter 83: A Mana Monster ago
Chapter 84: Growing Bonds ago
Chapter 85: Chancellors, Ships and Priests ago
Chapter 86: Pirate Tales and Dances ago
Chapter 87: A Fine Evening and Anxious Morning ago
Chapter 88: The Interview ago
Chapter 89: Honours ago
Chapter 90: Isolde's Pressure ago
Chapter 91: The Rally ago
Chapter 92: The Demons ago
Chapter 93: The Chancellor's Power ago
Chapter 94: The Weight of Secrets ago
Chapter 95: The First Meeting of the Cabal ago
Chapter 96: Taking a Chance ago
Chapter 97: Ram's Forceful Guidance ago
Chapter 98: The Cleansing Movements ago
Chapter 99: Family Time ago
Special Announcement: Discord Server! ago
Chapter 100: The Masks that are Worn ago
Chapter 101: Nostalgic Recipes and Warnings ago
Chapter 102: The Festival of Ghosts ago
Chapter 103: Opportunities and Exams ago
Chapter 104: Golem Sculpting and the Sky-Ship ago
Chapter 105: Dryads ago
Chapter 106: The Stand-Off ago
Chapter 107: Haste and Lateness ago
Chapter 108: Secret Analysis ago
Chapter 109: Essence of Dungeon ago
Chapter 110: Preparing to do Horrifying Things ago
Chapter 111: Direction and Redirection ago
Chapter 112: Beneath the Barrens ago
Chapter 113: The Skeletal Ruins ago
Chapter 114: Names Left Behind ago
Chapter 115: Traps ago
Chapter 116: Creeping Doom ago
Chapter 117: Gateways and Redesigns ago
Chapter 118: Unreliable Lateness ago
Chapter 119: The Core's Properties ago
Chapter 120: Design Improvements ago
Chapter 121: Hunt-mania ago
Chapter 122: Rampage ago
Chapter 123: The Opportunist ago
Chapter 124: Lances, Cries and Shock ago
Chapter 125: The Impetus of Death ago
Chapter 126: Consultation and a Leap of Trust ago
Chapter 127: The Chancellor's Reaction ago
Chapter 128: A Proposition ago
Chapter 129: Allies ago
Chapter 130: Forging a Body and Plan ago
Chapter 131: Stealing the Enemy's Weapon ago
Chapter 132: The Forging ago
Chapter 133: The Hunters (Interlude) ago
Chapter 134: The Nest ago

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Reviews
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CastleBravo
Overall

Ch. 26 at time of writing, and for me this deserves to be in the "promoted" or whatever it's called section of the site. MC has a real problem, but adversity has taught him the correct lessons to "think, adapt, survive" in any situation.

Lots of room for conspiracies, action, magic, and I like what I've seen so far. 

RedPine
Overall

Better than synopsis suggests, relatable.

Reviewed at: Chapter 36: Dummies and Forceballs

MC and crew aren't evil. Not perfect, not by a long stretch, but they try.

MC is a great balance. He is good at noticing his flaws, but he struggles to figure out what to do about his flaws.  This applies to both social interactions, and trying to fight with his "blessing".

So far the authors biggest flaw is a poor description of choreography, scale, and distances.  I can piece together how the imaginative fight went down after the fact, but it doesnt flow well enough for me to follow allong during the scene.

Fight choreography is a difficult skill that takes practice.  Other stories i enjoy, including Salvos, steadily improved over time. 

The best choreography ive ever read is Shadow Of The Conqueror, by Shad Brooks aka Shadiversity, a sword/dragon/castle youtuber.  His fights had a lot of setup.  By the time a fight even started, the personality, most abilities, scenery, and fighting style had been seamlessly established by normal interactions.  This let the actual fights be extremely complex with minimal exposition, as the reader already had a firm vision of the surroundings and physics involved.

Now, i dont recommening getting THAT ambitious. Start slow and small. Have the characters interact with scenery to bring it into the foreground.  Have Brutus demonstrate the scale of distances by running until he looks small, demonstrate the scale of brutus when he shoulder checks a horse, demonstrate the size of a fighting ring by having Alex practice his dance inside it, etc.

Lastly, the main appeal here is the dialogue, internal monologue, problem solving, and magic building.  Dont neglect those, fights are cool but only 10% of a story.  The trick is to sneakily weave the buildup and choreography Into mundane interactions to set up the fights later.  You already did that a bit for the mana vampire (which is why that fight was way better than the traveller finale).

Breelik
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

This stories protagonist isnt the MC not by design

Reviewed at: Chapter 1: Fools and Inheritance

The story and characters are good for the most part. Most other reviews cover the weird plot contrivances. I will be talking about where they come from as most reviews seem to not mention it.

Spoiler :
The character theresea makes all the decisions and is pretty mmuch a hero in shining armor getting the mc out of trouble. it seems super forced and honestly makes me feel that shes the mc , and we get to watch from the eyes of some childhood friend who just like any good coat hanger harem member just goes along with it. The character Theresea is the main source of the plot contrivances. Example shes the one who conveniently saves mc with bug repellent idea that just seems far fetched but not only works ,but is a serious plot point that saves their asses several times. Even when the mc is given a moment to shine her character is always there to remind you that NONE of it would work without her because some how she always ends up playing a key role in so the fact mcs idea didn't really do anything other than provide her an opportunity to do whatever it is she does best case scenario for mc. Example when mc has the idea to destabilize the portal so lava or whatever can fall on spider lady forgive me I don't quite remember the details ,but point is it didn't really do anything somehow ,and Theresea after having seemingly resigned to their fate pulls of some real grade a wuxia protagonist bs and finishes the spider queen lady. I was very hopeful when it seemed like the mc was about to separate from the protagonist Theresea and his sister ,but again she steers the plot away from such a wonderful Theresealess story. Never have I read a story that is so good at evoking the negative emotion that I can only describe as what it would feel like to be cucked as this one for lack of better words!
All that being said Im going to attempt another crack at it for all that I might accomplish will just make me seem like a masochist.

 

Coerb
Overall

Respect to the author for putting out a basically readable, engaging story at a fast pace.  

As of yet, fairly light on plot and worldbuilding. The story is pulled along by likeable characters, natural engaging dialogue, and the mark. The Mark is tough to balance. It very rapidly makes you good at anything that isn't fighting or magic.  The author seems to be constantly throwing things at MC so he doesn't sit down for a week and 'break the game'. 

Alex and Theresa have a fresh dynamic but the romance seems a little clunky.  They work well as teammates and friends and have a she-knows-I-know-she-knows thing going on with a mutual crush. I think it might have been more interesting to have the develop over time, rather than being presented with two characters that wanna bone from chapter one. In romance readers want the chase not the ever after.  The sister is actually handled okay, you can see the author going out of the way to make her contribute rather than be dragged along.  

Right now I think the story is floundering a bit because the author is trying to make it a destined heroes vs demon king and a Hogwarts story at the same time.  The plot feels pulled in multiple directions.  You lose some of that 'demon king about to destroy country' tension when the next chapter the character is worried about his student loans. 

Scesce Scesce
Overall

the story overall  seems quite cool, the settings, seems quite interesting.

my only issue is the romance subplot ,the author went through the cliche route, childhood friend, who force herself into mc party (who basically seems the archetype of young noble woman  who want adventure etc)

the author has basically  used the most boring possible route, it would have been more interesting  to see mc just escape with his sister... but nope....

this reinforce my idea, that short  of the romance, being interesting or important to the plot it is to be  avoided.

P.S i admit that the romance has pissed me off , so i rated this while being triggered, maybe i will increase it of half a star o maybe i won't not sure tbh.

Cerynix
Overall

I don't usually take the time to review stories. This one though, is very well written with an intriguing premise, believable characters,  and an enchanting world. It seems like the author has put a lot of time in building out the world the story takes place in; I can't wait to see where it goes from here!

Nomad1791
Overall

It's really good, very well written, characters have personality and stand out not flat in anyway. World building is solid and every chapter has a great length to it no short quick posts. Now for the negatives: it has 10 chapters right now and that's it so a afternoon read and your caught up but it is definitely worth reading and following. 

Csuite
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

With a title like Mark of the Fool, you would be forgiven for expecting this story to contain plenty of lighthearted fun. And it does!

The plot of MotF is characterised by a cyclical evil doomed to be continually defeated by five legendary heroes. Four of said heroes are blessed with amazing powers, fame and fortune. 

And then there's the Fool, who society does not look kindly on. Or as we might know him, our main character Alex.

Unsurprisingly, Alex does not want to be the Fool, especially since its 'gift' interferes with his life's dream. So he gives destiny the finger (politely - this is Alex, after all) and goes off to wizard school instead. And of course, because no story with fools in the title would be complete without it, things go wrong.

From the very first few paragraphs, I immediately fell in love with Alex's character. Far from inept, he is in fact studious, wise and quick-witted, unfailingly kind-hearted and polite. Uncertain, humble and relatable, he has to use his wits to overcome the challenges thrown at him by the downsides of the Mark and the expectations of his prophesised role in legend. Honestly, I'd take life advice from this guy any day.

Accompanying Alex are his young sister and badass best friend, also well-realised characters who each promise to have plenty of development ahead of them. Selina's depiction is particularly satisfying as a curious, resilient child equally as intelligent as her brother. Young children in fantasy are often sidelined as props to be rescued or protected, but Selina bucks the trend by holding her own as a valuable member of the group. This is typical of this fiction as a whole, though - you'll find all its characters, even the bit-part ones, are treated with dignity and respect in their depictions, and are just a joy to read.

In evading capture by the authorities, the party are thrown into a series of thrilling dangers and adventures escalating in directions I didn't see coming. I absolutely loved this aspect of the story. That said, I do think the story is so far the weakest aspect of Mark of the Fool for me. It's fun; it's very fun - but it doesn't have much of a driving motivation behind it as of Chapter 30 other than 'learn things while hiding from the authorities'.

'Weakest' is, of course, relative. The strength of MotF's charming characters, fascinating lore and intriguing moments of discovery make the pages fly by, and there are powerful hints the plot will find its way to Alex despite his best efforts. There is certainly plenty to keep you entertained in the meantime.

The grammar is near-impeccable with just a few occasional typos. Style-wise, it's clean and fun with light-hearted flair. In fact, the prose is quite unobtrusive, I'd say; professional enough that you don't notice its quirks most of the time in favour of seamlessly shining the spotlight on the characterisation, action and events. It works very well.

In the end, the three aspects standing out the most to me about Mark of the Fool are its wonderful and well-developed characters, its thrilling discoveries, and the sheer levels of fun present throughout. An easy five stars, and I'm looking forward to more!

Arthur  Penn
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

So, I started this story solely because of the ratings, not even going as far as to read the blurb or anything.

the first chapter was...alright?

the second chapter got better, then the third was even better, and so on and so on.

I'm not gonna lie, The first few chapters were kind of lame, boring to the point I contemplated dropping it because I felt like the premise had been used too many times. 

Alas, I trudged on, still believing that this story was a bust. Then, it happened. The single moment that made me fall in love with this story. Two characters sat down, and talked, that was it.

the two dimensional characters that I laothed suddenly grew into three, and the void of emotions and failed humor was gone. Replaced by things that made me laugh, gave me goosebumps, and at one point caused me to hold my breath while reading.

 

If you can make a reader do that, you have won. Especially if you do it without pacing issues, AMAZING ACTION, and little to no grammar errors. 

bravo, and I look forward to more. Please give it a shot like I did, you will not be disappointed.

hobbes319
Overall

THIS. THIS right here. A protagonist given en overwhelming disadvantage and working around it and with it to devastating effect. And all of that is on top of the smooth dialogue, promising world building, interesting characterization, and exactly the kind of protagonist I like to see. Resourceful, not OP (yet? i don't know), not completely cold blooded, and determined, not for some grand purpose but to carve out a place for himself and his sister.