Chapter 1

As far as I knew nobody predicted that the end of the world would happen at four in the morning on a Tuesday. I suppose it was possible someone had made a prediction. Of course I doubted that they had also predicted how the world as we knew it ended.

The world was at a high point when the world ended. The nations of Earth had signed a nuclear disarmament agreement just a couple months before. Over those couple of months they had managed to disarm every nuke. At the same time space technology was increasing drastically and the first mars colony was predicted to be wildly successful. Humanity was at the height of optimism.

Unfortunately viewership was drastically down. The viewers didn’t want to watch humanity enter a new age of peace. What they wanted to watch was world war three. That’s right humanity was being watched by a group of aliens for entertainment. It was a show that had been ongoing for over fifty thousand years.

The aliens watching us were very similar to humans. The similarity was the reason humanity was picked for a show on the equivalent of the history channel. It was marketed as a simulation of the lost history of the aliens before they spread to the stars. Luckily humanity and the alien race were both obsessed with violence and sex. Those traits quickly drew viewers and the ratings skyrocketed.

In recent years the cost of the show had been increasing drastically. One of the primary points of the show had been that humanity didn’t know they were part of a show. The recent technological advancements of humanity had made it prohibitively expensive to film.

Originally the plan had been to liquidate all the assets of the show. Humanity would be sold off as slaves and the planet would be sold to a mining consortium. However, an enterprising employee managed to convince the executives to repurpose the assets and try creating a new show instead. I was sure it was better than slavery, but not by much.

Like the rest of humanity I woke up with a splitting headache when the world ended. It was the result of the nanites that had been seeded across the planet being activated. Specifically the nanites that had linked with the brains of every human on the planet. A screen appeared in front of me.

Hello Arthur,

Due to the cancellation of the show Evolution your species has been repurposed for a new show. This show is based on a fantasy genre of literature and entertainment that your species has created recently. From now on all technology and electricity will be replaced with magic and mana. You will be rewarded based on your actions and viewership and ratings.

Welcome to the Apocalypse show, good luck.

I stared at the message for nearly a minute before reaching out with a hand and pressing the button that said Okay. Once that screen disappeared a new screen showed up.

Character Creation – Please select a race

Warning race selections are permanent. After a race is selected this option can only be changed by using high level magic or store purchases.

The screen was currently on the easy tab and human was the first option on the list. The easy list also contained a number of other common fantasy races. I had played enough mmorpg’s to kind of figure out what was going on. The easy selections would be the races that were easiest to learn. However, they were probably also the least powerful races.

I skipped the medium and advanced tabs and immediately selected expert. This list of races was much better. There was even the option to pick god as my race. Unfortunately it was greyed out. Looking through the list I found dragon but hesitated to press it. Suddenly the option greyed out. Out of curiosity, I went ahead and tried to pick it.

Error – the number of people that can pick this race is limited. This limit has already been reached.

My eyes widened. I pressed okay and then saw that nearly half the expert options had already greyed out. Quickly I scanned the list and my eyes were drawn to a race that said Dungeon Core. It wasn’t my first choice but I quickly selected it and then confirmed.

Being a god or a dragon would have been better. Becoming a dungeon core was a risk. The biggest risk being whether I retained my personality and memories. A screen to select my appearance popped up. Since I was a crystal the only thing I could select was my color. I shook my head and selected green since it was my favorite color. Next a screen popped up for attribute points.

Add attribute points – 10 available (You gain two additional attribute points per level)

Strength – 0

Constitution – 0

Dexterity - 0

Intelligence – 25 (+15 racial bonus)

Wisdom – 25 (+15 racial bonus)

Everything was greyed out except for intelligence and wisdom. Trying to press the options told me that strength, constitution, and dexterity were locked due to my race. Basically I was a crystal and had no use for these stats.

Intelligence would increase the power of my spells and the amount of mana I could hold. Wisdom increased how quickly I recovered mana. Wisdom was obviously the better trait for me. If I was using mana to build my dungeon then mana recovery was vital. I dumped all ten points into wisdom, increasing it to 35. Then I selected next.

Select talents – 2 points available (You gain one additional talent per level)

Monster Tree:

Additional Monster Type (Each level allows another monster type to be selected. Selected monster types can be created by the dungeon in exchange for mana. Dungeon cores always start with one monster type. Current level: 1)

Increase Monster Attributes (5% per level)

Mutation Chance (10% increased chance of new monster variants per level)

Evolution Chance (10% increased chance of new monster evolutions per level)

Avatar Tree:

Designate Avatar (Allows dungeon to designate a monster as their avatar. Bosses and monsters not owned by the dungeon can’t be selected. Consciousness is split, allowing the dungeon core to control both the avatar and it’s dungeon at the same time. Avatar choice can only be changed once a week.)

Dungeon Tree:

Traps (Allows dungeon to use mana to create traps)

There were a bunch more greyed out options. I ignored them for now though. I had a bad feeling that this was a race against time. Those that finished creating their character first would have an advantage in this new life. At the same time I couldn’t go too fast since an early mistake could be disastrous.

My first choice was easy though. I picked Designate Avatar. It may not be the most powerful option but I couldn’t imagine being stuck in the body of a crystal. It had been one of the things I had worried wouldn’t exist in the dungeon core race. It opened up some new options to increase the power of my avatar but I ignored them for now.

I hesitated on my second choice. Increasing monster attributes and unlocking traps were sure bets to increase my power. On the other hand depending on the system an additional monster type or increasing evolution or mutation chance could be either useless or extremely important.

Finally I choose to unlock traps. It was a sure bet, and I couldn’t imagine that at some point I wouldn’t end up purchasing the talent. After confirming yet another window popped up.

Racial powers:

Dungeon Core – Is the core of a dungeon.

Untiring – Does not require sleep

Crystal Body – Possesses a body made of crystal. As such it is difficult to damage. Damage inflicted will heal at a much slower rate. Will not age. Immune to disease and poison. Counts as an inorganic sentience and does not require food, water, or air to survive.

Additional Powers:

Designate Avatar - Allows the dungeon to designate a monster as their avatar. Bosses and monsters not owned by the dungeon can’t be selected. Consciousness is split allowing the dungeon core to control both the avatar and it’s dungeon at the same time. Avatar choice can only be changed once a week.

Designate Boss – Allows the dungeon to designate one monster per a level as a boss. Boss monsters get a 100% increase to attributes.

Trap Creation - Allows the dungeon to create primitive tier one traps using mana.

There were no options to select anything on this page. Still it was useful to know that I was basically immortal, didn’t need sleep, and didn’t even need food or water to survive. Dungeon core was looking like a better choice all the time. I clicked next again.

Select Monster Type(s):

Animal – Monsters of this type breed faster than average. They are weaker than other monsters. Starting monsters have minimal intelligence.

Demon – Monsters of this type are summoned instead of being created. Defeating the monster will banish them and they will need to be summoned again. They are stronger than other monsters. Starting monsters have human level intelligence.

Elemental – Monsters of this type are stronger than other monsters. This monster type breeds slowly. Starting monsters have minimal intelligence.

Goblinoid – Monsters of this type are average in both strength and breeding speed.

Plant – Monsters of this type breed quickly. They are weaker than other monsters. In addition most of these monsters are immovable. Starting monsters have minimal intelligence.

Slime – Monsters of this type breed faster than average. They are more likely to evolve and mutate than other monsters. They are weaker than other monsters. Starting monsters have minimal intelligence.

Undead – Monsters of this type are created from the bodies of the dead. This monster cannot breed. Selecting this monster as your first monster will move the dungeon to a graveyard. Starting monsters have minimal intelligence.

Oddly enough I spent more time thinking over this decision than any of my previous ones. Some options were obviously out. Undead and demons may be powerful but I wasn’t willing to risk dealing with either. If I started with those monsters, anyone I met was likely to think I was evil.

Next I eliminated everything that said it started with minimal intelligence. It made sense that the starting monsters for things like animals, plants, elementals, and slimes would lack intelligence. They probably all acted based on instinct.

I was a bit surprised when I realized the only option left was goblinoid. I hesitated for a moment but what eventually decided me was my avatar talent. If I picked goblinoid I suspected I’d end up with orcs eventually. I could stand having the body of an orc. Besides, I could always invest a talent to get a second monster type later.

I selected next and a confirmation window popped up. It just told me that if I pressed accept I wouldn’t be able to go back and change my choices. I pressed accept and everything went black.

A note from AaronStorm

This was the last chapter of this arc of The Swarm. The second arc is in the works, but it will be awhile before I start posting it. Meanwhile I do have a sneak peak of the first couple chapters on my Patreon.

If you are enjoying reading this please make sure to rate, review, and/or leave a comment. Part of my reason for joining royal road is because I have multiple projects I've been working on. As I post more that will help me prioritize what I spend my time on. You can see a list of all my posted fictions below. Thank you.

Creation Multiverse:

Cultivator on Earth

Dimensional Originator



The Swarm (additonal chapters on my Patreon)

Support "The Apocalypse Show - Dungeon Core"

About the author


Bio: On a short hiatus right now. Found out that my grandmother has stage 4 cancer and doctors think it's likely she has less than a month. Going on a trip to visit her and other family members. I will be back from that trip at the end of the month and plan to start posting chapters again on October second or third.

I'm almost certainly addicted to reading. For decades I've read at least a dozen books a month. I'd say getting close to ten thousand over the course of my life. For the past few years I've been writing as a hobby. I created an account on royal road in order to get feedback on the projects I've started.

Log in to comment
Log In

Log in to comment
Log In