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!

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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Seems interesting but I personally don't like it. 

If there if something that I hate in stories is when someone else takes credit for something that the MC did. In some xianxias I understand that sometimes it's better to hide you power, but here?? The MC is just going all over the place escaping and everyone else is getting credit for what he does (Because obviously The Fool can't do anything).

And if we follow the idea that the Fool is useless in the mind of everyone then the story will probably continue like that until the end of the story or not even that. 

So yeah, give it a try and see if you like it but if you are like me and likes to see the prowess of the MC recognized then right now this isn't for you...


Solid start and smooth as drinking water

Reviewed at: Chapter 8: The Chosen

First of all, I'm really chosy when it comes to selecting new novel to follow. It gets worse when I'm starting to get used to RR's most common troupes: dungeon cores, LitRPGs with subsystem, dungeon crawling, apocalypse (which most definitely has zombies... or more dungeons), half-assed isekai meeting this god/goddess; to mention a few.

This novel has dungeons, yes. But so far, no overboard information on it. Though it's implied that the MC will be going to a dungeon next, I will trust the author to bring difficulties and not just "a slime, kaboom! level up!" kind of overused plotting. (Also, Im biased against slime. Fite me!) 

Great powering concept as variation from the classic "hero parties" with an additional classification of "The Fool". Something that put intrigues--at least to me--as a reader to explore how the MC can cope with it. Great use of word choices and so far, the author delivers fluid characterisation without punishing the side characters' intelligence


some inconsistencies, but they can be overlooked

Reviewed at: Chapter 10: Red Eyes in the Dark


As I said in the title there are quite a few logical inconsistencies that break me out of the immersion:

1. It's clear the author doesn't know how to make the main love interest act. She just decides to go with the main character on a journey for little reason (which okay makes some sense because we don't know their previous relations too well) but then her parents are totally for it and let her go with the mc even though a second ago the father was all mad at him for being in the same room with her alone and they are also leaving. Why couldn't they just leave together? She also has a pet Cerebus who is only there to make her special. 

2. Something I find weird is that the mc was able to do magic on the first try even though it was said that Fools cannot do magic. Yes I know he is the mc and that it is possible but still at least make him work for it and not just do it perfectly on the first try, it just makes him feel like he is a Mary Sue which is not what you want.

Now some positives:

1. The grammar is very good for this site so no worries on that front.

2. The plot seems okay even though the specifics make little sense. 

Ideas that I think could go good with the story:

1. I had the idea that maybe he could learn social things very quickly with the mark. This would be very cool to see but I don't think it is going to happen because the mc needs to be a bit naive in these types of stories. The main point is anything that is not magic, fighting, or healing can be learned super quickly so imagine being very good at walking, breathing, playing cards, social activities, and things like that. I feel like he could make himself into a noble, he could also seduce a lot of people if he learned how. 

If the Fool's mark is not used to its full potential I will be very dissapointed.


Pacing inversely proportional to patreon followers

Reviewed at: Chapter 122: Rampage

Initially I rated it 5 stars, but recent chapters have been really dragging. Incredible beginning, great characters, exciting world, great magic system that is creative and believable and immersive and all that, but pacing has slowed considerably. Always a conflict between tight pacing and releasing a bunch of chapters all the time to keep your readers and p a t r o n s happy.


No really, why did the author decide that having a literal child tag along with our MC is a good thing for the story. From what I read so far she is supposed to be the adorable little mascot for our MC, but while other stories get some sort of a mythical creature like fae, dragons, cats or whatever our MC gets a sniveling child. She is basically an equivalent to a useless sidekick from anime who stands around while MC fights, and comments on the fight. But she doesnt even do that. She cries and sometimes say something smart. I honestly don't understand why she is in the story at all apart from being some kind of emotional baggage. It gets worse later on since she also gets a PTSD at some point.

Also, I am not sure if you have noticed but out MCs partner has a 'deathstalker face' and 'the great grandfather's sword'.

It's really nice that the authour decided to describe MCs partner very simply, no need for things like facial expression, emotion, appearance or any other silly things if you can just slap a deathstalker face every other chapter so readers with their smoothbrains can finally imagine her portrait. Truly a visionary.

On the positive side if you survive the first 30 chapters or so it becomes quite enjoyable to read. If I was the author I would rewrite those because compared to the rest of the novel they are barely readable.

Bumping it to 4 stars as of now.


MC is set upon a path not of his choosing, but doesn't give up just like that. He's got all these plans and he'll be damned if he's gonna let a mishap like this stop him. I loved the story so far, and let out a quiet "noooooo..." when i found i'd caught up. Highly reccomended for sure


Original Premise Forgotten

Reviewed at: Chapter 59: Group Dynamics

This is essentially a slice of life magic academy, which is a lot less interesting than the original premise of Marks and Heroes. I hoped that the Heroes or Church would chase after the MC and make the story faster paced...but MC spends all his time making friends and training. It would have been great for excitement and character development, but it feels like the author is too cautious and wants to make the MC OP first.

I'm sure a lot of people enjoy it nevertheless, but personally it feels like a let down - too boring for my taste.


Turtle Wars

Looks promising , a new premise

Reviewed at: Chapter 54: Safety in The Cells

It may be a bit too early to properly review this novel, having only covered around 50 chapters by now. I might revise it later.

Overall this is a novel I am invested in now and to which I look forward to seeing each new release. The story has a good premise and I would really want to see where it goes.

The first arc ( traveler) was exciting and has been the best so far. The current arc (growth/academy) unfortunately has not been that great so far and has started to lag a bit. I am following two novels which are coincidentally going through an academy arc and unfortunately both are not shining. 

I believe the problem for this particular arc is that there is  no opposition and hence no tension in the current part. Also the author is struggling with the side characters and seemingly not sure what to do with them.

I sincerely hope that the author has a good plan at hand and that the story would go on to a good finish.

My recommendation is that this is a good story to pick up and read. 


Quick warning, I will not be restraining myself from spoiling a few bits. You have been warned.

I found this story a few hours ago and have already finished everything currently posted. The chapters are not particularly short but they fly by along with the hands of the clock.

The story starts off introducing the MC. He is a rational guy, and is regularly does stuff that makes sense. Not once through the 20 chapters have I regarded his actions as stupid. Here is the kicker: other characters are also not morons. important organisations are not generically stupid.

So, we find out that he lives on an island kingdom where every 100 years 5 people are blessed by their parton god to defeat the monsters of some evil entity that seeks to kill people. It is presented in a slightly more complicated manner, but that is the gist of it. One of the people that is blessed is considered to be worthless as a hero. The Fool. The Fool's blessing lets them learn fast. But it makes anything that the other heroes much, much harder. To the point that it is considered impossible. As the runt of the heroic litter, the Fool also has a gigantic mortality rate (1/2), and will always be viewed as inferior to the other heroes.

Our MC plans to go off the island to the best mage college, while escaping from the more dangerous situation the island kingdom is about to be put in. The night before leaving, he recieves the mark of the Fool. He is scared. The average Fool dies on the heroic mission. The average Fool never gets the oportunity to do magic. He does not want the life of a Fool. He wants the life of a wizard. Something he has been preparing for years for, relentlessly. So he still goes to learn magic.

On the way there, they are attacked by some monster. They fend it off, with difficulty, when here comes one of the other heroes. The Chosen One (is what it sounds really) has been evading the priests by going to town on the local monster populace, killing a lot of the bad guy's monsters (those come from stereotypical fantasy dungeons). He commends the MC for his magical ability and talks about how the only hero not yet found is the Fool. The MC fishes for information and gets a big fat fish: There is some circle set up around the island by priests that would detect heroes if they cross it. I will put a stop to the storytelling because I am not going to summarize everything the author has written.

The point I was trying to make before I devolved into the storytelling was that characters are not idiots. None of them are. He reminds himself many, many times to think whenever he panics or is about to do something that is plain stupid. He is not a fool. Not the dictionary definition, in any case. The girl who joins him wishes to leave and to adventure, see the world. Why not go with him while at it, since they are childhood friends? They probably also have a crush on each other but that is just headcannon. They are just on the same wavelength. His sister wants to be with her brother. After becoming orphans, her wanting to stay with the family she has left makes sense. She is also more mature than her young age would suggest, most likely due to traumatic experiences. She has been a voice of reason, pointing out stuff that the other two missed or simply did not think of. Sadly, she has not gotten much screentime yet, mostly due to the other two being protective of her. We get to see more of her once they are out of immediate mortal danger, and I expect the trend to continue.

Something that keeps me away from many stories that I would have otherwise liked is grammar. If nothing else spotty grammar gives me an uncratchable itch. Very annoying, is what I am trying to convey. This is a problem I have not encountered in this story. There are no grating problems in this regard, and if there were minor occurences, then I was too absorbed by the story to notice. I am so glad that this is the case, because it really is a make or break point in my opinion. A great story can't have shit grammar. The wonder of a story would be shrouded by the distracted grammar. Let me say it again; no issue sticks out to someone that really cares about that stuff. You will not be distracted by such problems

I have taken enough of your time. Enjoy the book.


This story is fun to read! The characters are well written and well rounded, and the adventure (short as it is for now) is genuinely gripping! If you think a Fool must be an unwitting companion and cause of chaos, then prepare to be proven wrong. Take a spin with the smartest, least chaotic, and most likely to succeed Fool you will ever read!