This Used to be About Dungeons

This Used to be About Dungeons

by Alexander Wales

This Used to be About Dungeons is a comfy slice-of-life adventuring story that occasionally features dungeons. Updates Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Mostly it's about walking in the woods with a friend, looking for mushrooms to put in your soup, or haggling with the guy selling squash, or taking care of a neglected garden. It's putting some jam on shortbread biscuits. And yes, sometimes you go down into the dungeons with your friends, and you kill monsters there, or disarm traps, but when you come out, you realize you've found the perfect magic item to give to one of the local kids that helped you out when your cat was sick. Look, the dungeons are always going to be there, and sometimes you need to make a journey to one of the Spirit Gates, or make a pilgrimage with the local Cleric of Symmetry to a holy shrine. Your tour through the local dungeons can wait. You'll have rivalries with other groups, and find some dungeon eggs that need to be carefully incubated in case they turn out to be something valuable, and help a friend to build a fishing weir. There's a big world out there, a mostly tame place with lots of magic, and even more to do and see. Join me, won't you?

The cover image is Morning Sunlight Effect, Eragny, by Camille Pissarro.

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Alexander Wales

Alexander Wales

Top List #50
Royal Writathon October 2022 winner
Word Count (20)
30 Review Upvotes
3rd Anniversary
Royal Writathon October 2021 winner
Fledgling Reviewer (I)
Table of Contents
165 Chapters
Chapter Name Release Date
Chapter 1 - The Fig and Gristle ago
Chapter 2 - Big City Energy ago
Chapter 3 - Venison and Honey ago
Chapter 4 - Three Raccoons ago
Chapter 5 - This One is Actually About a Dungeon ago
Chapter 6 - Henlings ago
Chapter 7 - Songbird ago
Chapter 8 - Late Meals in a Quiet Kitchen ago
Chapter 9 - An Unwanted Civics Lesson ago
Chapter 10 - Second Breakfast ago
Chapter 11 - Agates Among the Stones ago
Chapter 12 - Overgrowth ago
Chapter 13 - The Nature of Travel ago
Chapter 14 - Cracked Tiles ago
Chapter 15 - Good Next Steps, I Suppose ago
Chapter 16 - Notions from Elsewhere ago
Chapter 17 - The Blacksmith's Apprentice ago
Chapter 18 - The Next Day's Weather ago
Chapter 19 - I Suppose You're Wondering Why I Gathered You Here ago
Chapter 20 - Temple Politics ago
Chapter 21 - Sitting in a Song ago
Chapter 22 - The Journey More Than the Destination ago
Chapter 23 - This One is Actually About Dungeons Too ago
Chapter 24 - 10% Dungeons by Volume ago
Chapter 25 - A Post-Dungeon Pickle ago
Chapter 26 - Liberfell ago
Chapter 27 - Too Much Talking ago
Chapter 28 - It Takes Two ago
Chapter 29 - Historical Revisionism ago
Chapter 30 - Noodles ago
Chapter 31 - Delicate Arrangements ago
Chapter 32 - A Tree From A Stone ago
Chapter 33 - Possibilities ago
Chapter 34 - Woods Witch ago
Chapter 35 - Alumni of the Junior League ago
Chapter 36 - E7 Report ago
Chapter 37 - Cartier ago
Chapter 38 - Jockey ago
Chapter 39 - Holy Numbers ago
Chapter 40 - Post Mortem ago
Chapter 41 - Meddling ago
Chapter 42 - Singing Slow ago
Chapter 43 - Temple Day ago
Chapter 44 - Care Package ago
Chapter 45 - Visitors ago
Chapter 46 - Both Sides ago
Chapter 47 - Down the Dungeon ago
Chapter 48 - Dungeon Denizens ago
Chapter 49 - Dungeon Drudgery ago
Chapter 50 - Escape! ago
Chapter 51 - Mother ago
Chapter 52 - Teamwork ago
Chapter 53 - Siege Songs ago
Chapter 54 - Hatching ago
Chapter 55 - Carving a Path to Dondrian ago
Chapter 56 - The Family Vault ago
Chapter 57 - Street Food ago
Chapter 58 - Mixed Up Meals ago
Chapter 59 - Dressing ago
Chapter 60 - Opera ago
Chapter 61 - Concessions ago
Chapter 62 - A Night on the Town ago
Chapter 63 - Curation ago
Chapter 64 - Outside Help ago
Chapter 65 - Lonesome ago
Chapter 66 - Private Affairs ago
Chapter 67 - Resolve ago
Chapter 68 - Undone I ago
Chapter 69 - Undone II ago
Chapter 70 - Undone III ago
Chapter 71 - Hair of the Dog ago
Chapter 72 - Frink Fruit ago
Chapter 73 - Corridor Squeeze ago
Chapter 74 - Off Tempo ago
Chapter 75 - Constrained ago
Chapter 76 - Misgivings ago
Chapter 77 - The Day Of ago
Chapter 78 - Law and Order ago
Chapter 79 - Sleepover ago
Chapter 80 - The Sunken House ago
Chapter 81 - Beruchald's 6th ago
Chapter 82 - As Easy as Falling Down ago
Chapter 83 - Oeyr's Hand ago
Chapter 84 - The Spare Lute ago
Chapter 85 - Seeker ago
Chapter 86 - The Unexpected Past ago
Chapter 87 - Composition ago
Chapter 88 - Stewing ago
Chapter 89 - Theater of Mind ago
Chapter 90 - Cloister ago
Chapter 91 - Liferaft ago
Chapter 92 - Frank Discussion ago
Chapter 93 - Catching Up ago
Chapter 94 - Bridges ago
Chapter 95 - Thinking Outside the Box ago
Chapter 96 - Square Meals ago
Chapter 97 - Flight of Fancy ago
Chapter 98 - Deals ago
Chapter 99 - Moving Mountains ago
Chapter 100 - Universal Truths ago
Chapter 101 - The All-Seeing Eye ago
Chapter 102 - A Bowl of Tea ago
Chapter 103 - The Waiting Game ago
Chapter 104 - The Pucklechurch Gardening Club ago
Chapter 105 - The Summer Dungeon ago
Chapter 106 - Strange Moods ago
Chapter 107 - Testing ago
Chapter 108 - The Warehouse ago
Chapter 109 - Dung ago
Chapter 110 - Slop ago
Chapter 111 - Swift Death ago
Chapter 112 - Stones and Tones ago
Chapter 113 - Weird Pot ago
Chapter 114 - Plating ago
Chapter 115 - Autem Mort ago
Chapter 116 - Wedding Bells pt. 1 ago
Chapter 117 - Wedding Bells pt. 2 ago
Chapter 118 - That Sort of Thing ago
Chapter 119 - The Brave Knight Gave ago
Chapter 120 - The New Normal, pt 1 ago
Chapter 121 - The New Normal, pt 2 ago
Chapter 122 - Brief Bars ago
Chapter 123 - The Sea and the Breeze ago
Chapter 124 - Bulrushes ago
Chapter 125 - Putting Up ago
Chapter 126 - Dungeon Dreams ago
Chapter 127 - Dungeon Dreams II ago
Chapter 128 - Dungeon Dreams III ago
Chapter 129 - Dungeon Dreams IV ago
Chapter 130 - Commiseration/Celebration Brunch ago
Chapter 131 - A Herd of Children ago
Chapter 132 - Lutes ago
Chapter 133 - The Last Days I ago
Chapter 134 - The Last Days II ago
Chapter 135 - The Last Days III ago
Chapter 136 - The Last Days IV ago
Chapter 137 - Demi ago
Chapter 138 - Overguard ago
Chapter 139 - The Wildlands ago
Chapter 140 - Foundation ago
Chapter 141 - Ecology ago
Chapter 142 - Spies ago
Chapter 143 - Songs of the Past ago
Chapter 144 - An Interlude on the Island at the Edge of the World ago
Chapter 145 - Allies ago
Chapter 146 - Meetings ago
Chapter 147 - Making Moves ago
Chapter 148 - Bellies ago
Chapter 149 - Diplomat ago
Chapter 150 - Wild ago
Chapter 151 - The Rayedhcraft School ago
Chapter 152 - First Steps ago
Chapter 153 - Setting Records ago
Chapter 154 - Roads Go Ever On ago
Chapter 155 - Wanderings ago
Chapter 156 - Searching ago
Chapter 157 - Cool Cave ago
Chapter 158 - Performance ago
Chapter 159 - Finding Joy ago
Chapter 160 - Dungeon Wide and Dungeon Vast ago
Chapter 161 - The Empty Dungeon ago
Chapter 162 - False Starts ago
Chapter 163 - The Sermon ago
Chapter 164 - Collegiate Daydreams, pt. 1 ago
Chapter 165 - Collegiate Daydreams, pt. 2 ago

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tim possible

Epic heroic fantasy, but by the chimney fire.

Reviewed at: Chapter 136 - The Last Days IV

This is the kind of writing which gives its street credibility to fantasy.
The characters are so damn bloody fleshed out, I want to hang out with them, no need for dungeons and stuff, just hang.

While in Worth the candle (previous work of the author, don't go read it, nearly every heroic fantasy will seem shallow, generic and bland afterwards ) i feel a big part of the focus was on the chiseled, intricate, and throrough worldbuilding, here, while the world seems extremely well conceptualized in the author head, the focus seems to be more on the psyches of the team members and their interactions.

It is lovely.

The characters just are. Sometimes they get stuff to do, sometimes they don't. When you feel 'oh, it might get slightly too calm if this goes on for an other chapter' there is always a perfectly timed dungeon. Sometimes because the characters were  getting slighly bored as well.

It is fucking mellow, and i love it.

it gets also bloody, unfair, slightly traumatizing at times, and i love it.

Don't read me writing about it, read the stuff, am not a writer. I am just here to write 200 words to give the man a well deserved advanced review.

And I am having a particular love interest with how clever and creative the pantheon is as well.



Exploring meta-concepts in a cozy setting

Reviewed at: Chapter 88 - Stewing

The ratio of the word dungeon to other words in the title is bigger than the ratio of dungeon scenes inside. That's not a bad thing, as there are enough wild dungeon stories here on RR. This story is a very slow-burn story about a handful of people interacting with each other (and rarely visiting a dungeon). There's a large slice-of-life part, but it is less about actions or scenes and more about talking. Talking about interactions, talking about everyday stuff, talking about nothing important, talking about talking. Important parts are weird magic items, cooking, relationships and meta-analyzing anything. In short, it's a very different story from most others. The prose is okay, but everything is long-winded. Grammar is good. The depth of the characters' personalities is explored extensively. All in all not a bad story, but don't read it if all you want is action. This is cozy, like snuggled in a blanket on the couch in front of the fire on a winter day, with a hot drink in your hands.


A review too short to be advanced.

Reviewed at: Chapter 28 - It Takes Two

I don't leave a lot of reviews, but I really enjoy this story, and I guess the guy who writes it appreciates the heads up.

Flawless style, that really implies an author who understands the promises they're making to their reader.


Clear indications the story has firm foundations.


Good grammar, I guess.


Characters!  Memorable! Good names!


A pleasant story with a weird but seemingly uncomplicated, well thought-through world that makes a good background for a focus, it seems so far, mainly on characters. Dungeoneer slice of life / coming of age (well, for new adults) it seems so far.

Complicated people are more likely to be available.


The characters and world building are outstanding. The grammar and spelling are very solid. An excellent fantasy slice of life with a fair amount of action. It is occasionally a little slow, but never to the point that I was bored enoughto consider dropping it. Give it a try. One of the better stories on the site.

Glen Bergo

Thoughtful and thought provoking

Reviewed at: Chapter 65 - Lonesome

A thoughtful, well paced exploration of the formation of an adventuring party. Characters actually interact as young adults would with one another, something you hardly ever see if fantasy fiction. Each character provides their own perspective and has their own voice, fleshing out the details of this uniquely designed fantasy world in a natural way. Come for the dungeon diving, stay for the philosophical discussions about the motivations of gods representing mathematical concepts. 


cozy and fun with a dash of action and adventure

Reviewed at: Chapter 82 - As Easy as Falling Down

This Used To Be About Dungeons is one of the best at Slice of Life and Adventure stories on RR. I very much enjoy the structure of daily life with interspaced adventures into dungeons. The world building is rich and there is quite a lot of depth to the history and why society is the way it is in the story.

In the story the "real" world sometimes seems tame, which is also one of the themes explored through our main characters. There is I guess ground for critique regarding the pace of the story, but my main defence to that is that it is a slice of life story first and progression adventure second.

Wales succeeds in bringing daily life in a fantasy world to life, and it is a joy for me to see these young characters interact and grow. I suggest you give it a read :)


One of those novels that is simply fun to read.

It has plenty of Charismatic characters.

The writing evokes Emotion.  All kinds of different emotions. You care about the heroes and their challenges.

The right amount of surprises

A world with fun tropes and ideas.

The theme is Fantasy but in a relatable way.





Very high quality. Character driven and slow-paced

Reviewed at: Chapter 101 - The All-Seeing Eye

This story delivers on its promise. Excellent worldbuilding and characterization, with a slow burning but well structured plot. If the author reads these, even though the dungeons are not the meat of the story, describing the dungeon crawls really adds to the fiction for me. Also, I normally do not like stories with multiple PoVs, but the PoVs here are so closely connected I actually like it.


Slice of life with a mix of Fantasy

Reviewed at: Chapter 88 - Stewing

This story is really a joy for me to read, because the characters are so lifelike and real. The switch in viewpoint that the author employs emphasizes that, with each character clearly unique in their way of thinking and speech.

The story is set in a fantasy world, with monsters and different races, magic and classes, dungeons and a consistent setting that makes sense of all that, but for me, the story is about the relationship between the characters. I can say for sure that I learned some things about navigating social interactions with others.

In summary, read this story, it's awesome!