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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Faber Write
Overall

While this story utilizes the same old protagonist-with-disadvantage-takes-advantage trope, it does so in a fashion surprisingly different and enjoyable from the rest. I find that the power creep is always in check, and the reader is always made aware of Alex's viewpoint on whatever comes to him, whether that includes his desires or fears. I enjoy that, unlike others, Alex manages to progress according to the theme of Fool-is-bad-mark, even if there is a bit of deus ex machina.

Vitaly S Alexius
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

This story reached top twenty fictions on RR in only a week so you know it's amazing, for it was chosen by the reader masses for greatness, uplifted from countless other works that have been submitted this week to Royal Road. Within it lies great, incredible potential that I can't wait to enjoy more of it whenever UnstoppableJuggernaut releases more chapters, rising even higher. I believe that this novel will 100% will be number one of this month's trending! Being an avid reader of the author's previous novels I know that this book will not hiatus and will keep giving us more chapters to enjoy until it is done.

The best thing about this book is its core and its heart - a rational protagonist that hooks you in and makes you fall in love with the world. It's not an easy task to write believable, rational protagonists with feelings that don't turn out to be machine-like and UnstoppableJuggernaut handles it with skill of an established, talented writer!

This novel reminds me of the Shield Hero manga as it explores similar tropes, but in an original fashion.

In the Mark of the Fool, its hero Alex Roth is a boy who wants to be a wizard. He is studying hard to get to but alas he is blessed with the attention of the gods - earning him the Mark, which changes his life. Alex Roth does not enjoy the Mark as it comes with a flaw which doesn't allow him to do magic and also shoves him into a Hero's quest as the most useless of the hero's group - the fool archetype, the one that’s treated with a fetch-boy by the heroes and disdain by the people of the world.

However, as he is a rational, determined hero he does not give up, instead choosing to find loopholes and exploits within the power of the Mark of the Fool. His motto "Adapt, Overcome" resonates with me as a reader as I am often faced with life challenges myself and have to adapt and overcome to solve whatever problems life throws at me.

Give this book and chance and you too will fall in love with it!

CatVI
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

A foolproof read for a bad Tuesday

Reviewed at: Chapter 17: Out into the Light

At first, looking at the cover picture I thought it was some sorta villainous lead grimdark story about a murderhobo clown. The 'A progression Fantasy' part made me think it was something like progression as in levels and stats like LitRPG. I had enough of both, so I skipped this for a while.

Then some guy on a discord almost begged me to give this a chance, and oh boy am I glad I did.

I hadn't even read the synopsis at that point, and only saw this on trending. Reading it told me I was wrong about my first impressions from the cover photo and name.

The clown stands for a magic sigil and by 'progression', the author means systematically getting stronger utilizing more brains than brawn (at least the MC is).

Now for the general stuff,

Storytelling, grammar, and Style, are top-notch. I don't have to second guess almost anything the author wants to convey. Sentences are short and understandable, grammar is impeccable. Prose, exposition, blah blah and all the other technicalities don't get in the way of enjoying the story. Many showings, and not much telling. Only telling information that the MC himself has known and that is it.

HOWEVER, I am dissatisfied with the Mark of the Fool. It, as some sort of life-ruining plot device of a cheat for the main character, does not do what it was supposed to do. The cheat makes sense in a way that Cigarettes are useful because they help keep the population low. I just expected it to be more... life-ruining? Right now it's just a cheat. Even if it can hamper during magic and combat efforts, that is not much of a bother (for the reader) if the MC does not need it in combat anyways. Sure, it would make everything else a LOT easier if it was only a plus point with no side effects, but then again without those so-called side effects, the MC would have been dead by now. Hence, the side-effects don't feel like negatives at all and everything feels like an advantage. However, the exploitation mechanics are interesting, so I'll just take half a star for story score.

Characters, are well thought out. The MC gave off a feeling of the brainy nerdy type with a pinch of recklessness (as all novels with nerdy MCs do. Have to make nerds look cool somehow lol). Yet in this case, he stays TRUE to his character. There are some measures of character development. But it doesn't change a duck into a horse. Only adds more to what is already there.

The other 3 main characters are the same. The sister feels and talks like a kid with a traumatic past and a protective tendency towards her friend and older brother. The childhood friend (and the love interest), is the capable woman who can keep the MC in check, but not a damsel in distress. A huntress with far better capabilities in outdoor survival than the MC. And the three-headed doggo who refuses to play fetch. Superb.

The only complaint I have about the MC is that sometimes the 'Improvise, adapt, overcome' (or was it just Think and adapt ;P ) gets a tad too much. I understand how it sets the mood for tension, but the other parts of your writing do just fine. But that is just me. Also, for Theresa, we only get the initial impression of what she wants or who she is. In my opinion, even the sister with fewer sentences is more fleshed out. But don't get me wrong, Theresa is fleshed out. I just felt like there were a few missed opportunities. Like when the MC was talking to Cedric, or MC was hatching up the coin plan to distract the priests, I half expected her to do something more. But that's just my opinion. So only half a star removed.

Overall, I vastly enjoyed this work and encourage my fellow readers to give this a try.

OceanBreeze
Overall

This is a fun, heartwarming story,  with magic and all sorts of awesome stuff.  I'm no deep reader who can point out all a stories strengths and weaknesses, but this is fun and nice.

I have become invested in the characters, and I am excitedly following their progress. I want them to succeed, excel, and do well.

That's about as deep as I can get. 

Thank you for a beautiful story.

Turora
Overall

Enjoyable Magical School Story with Solid Stakes

Reviewed at: Chapter 59: Group Dynamics

The story so far is solid and enjoyable. Much of it is taking place in a magical school, but the classes and professors are interesting. The stakes are high for the protagonists, but not so high that you can't appreciate their time in school as their problems are half a world away.

The author does a good job of priming the magical solutions offered in the story, and rarely does it feel like the MC has invincible plot armor, his successes are plausible and realistic.

The author's prose is good and overall the story is worth a read if you're into progression type fantasies, with a charming protagonist.

Fauxpas
Overall

A really great and well paced progression story. The main character struggles and persists against challenges for gradual long term gain. It's not stressful to read, there's not ALWAYS something going wrong as soon as the last challenge has been defeated. Alex gets to enjoy his victories and we with him.

With occasional chapters from the POVs of supporting characters the world and situations they find themselves in feels fleshed out and understandable. The characters are easy to empathise with and fun to learn about.

A very refreshing pace.

nanidafaq
Overall

Bit of a rollercoaster in terms of quality so far

Reviewed at: Chapter 31: The Chancellor

This is clearly a story that has been worked on for a long time, where plot points weave together seamlessly. 

I call it a "rollercoaster in terms of quality" because one of the arcs is very slow and confusing. I think the author had the idea mapped out in his head, but it doesn't translate very well to paper. Perhaps in a more art-based form of literature like manga or anime, the arc would've been more compelling.

(I'm gonna rate it 5 stars anyway as I expect great things and I want more people to read it)

However, the part after it is well worth the read. You can tell that the author is setting up various plot points and a setting for the future (note to the author, I believe a map even a rudimentary one would go a long way and would mesh well with the plans you have in the future).

Definitely worth the read, I look forward to the future of this piece.

 

Elgore
Overall

A well written story. It has great grammar, good characters and an intriguing world.There's no LitRpg system, rather it feels more like a DnD setting which is great. One thing I'd nitpick though is that while it starts off fairly fast paced, it slows down significantly soon afterwards.

When they get to Generasi

This isn't too bad, but it feels like the story lost a lot of the tension present in the first phase of the story, as the antagonist basically faded into the background and are not really pressing/driving the story forwards.

Saku
Overall

Absolutely love the story. Nice ideas overall, I'm anticipating every release and it just gives me the kind of feeling I have missed long ago after reading lots of stories on RRL and other platforms.

I can only recommend everyone that loves magic/adventure to have a look and don't be put off by the "Fool" part - I don't like it at all when authors try to hinder the MC's magic or combat potential and despite some intial worries the first few chapters already show that that won't be an issue.

baelrath
Overall

Brilliant story telling. Amazing world building. Superbly believable and alive characters. An MC you want to be friends with purely for the adventure and laughs.

Story is well crafted, theres hints of where it could go, and hints of where it thankfully DIDNT go.

MC isn't OP, or at least not yet. And not without some clever thinking. Can't wait to see where this goes.

For being part of Writing challenge, its mechanically sound. No glaring errors.