The Ancient Core: A Progression Fantasy

The Ancient Core: A Progression Fantasy

by Buller

Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity
  • Traumatising content

The title of [The Ancient One] is bestowed upon an unassuming, forgotten Core. Hidden deep underground, it lies in wait, biding its time as it learns the rules of its surroundings. Roaming beasts and unknown threats surely threaten the little rock as it sticks to the darkness, its one true refuge.

This is a slow-burning Dungeon-Core fiction with a LitRPG-System. You can expect an extreme amount of kingdom-building, an more in-depth Mana-System, and a Evolution-System.

Chapters are between the length of 2-4k words, though the first 50 will likely be closer to 4k. Anything after will have the average be 2.5k.

I personally like explaining how things work a lot, so do have that in mind if you decide to read this fiction.

Cover is credited to [Asviloka] who can be found on this thread: 

[participant in the Royal Road Writathon challenge]

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Table of Contents
130 Chapters
Chapter Name Release Date
Chapter 1: Awakening ago
Chapter 2: The System ago
Chapter 3: Skills and Titles ago
Chapter 4: The Understanding of Color ago
Chapter 5: The Mystery of Lost Health ago
Chapter 6: The Wonders of [Appraisal] ago
Chapter 7: The Unidentified Entity ago
Chapter 8: Dungeon-Born ago
Chapter 9: System Modifications ago
Chapter 10: Increases in Power ago
Chapter 11: Sending them to their death ago
Chapter 12: The Unstable Variant ago
Chapter 13: Rejuvenation of the Weak ago
Chapter 14: Restrictions in Surveillance ago
Chapter 15: Secrets of [Cultivation] ago
Chapter 16: An Attack from the [Wild] ago
Chapter 17: Dedication to Progress ago
Chapter 18: Pain and Arcane ago
Chapter 19: Overview of the Domain ago
Chapter 20: The replenishment of [Stamina] ago
Chapter 21: Secrets of Stamina ago
Chapter 22: Remodelling of Screens ago
Chapter 23: Desperate Times ago
Chapter 24: Increases in Power ago
Chapter 25: Ideas of Evolution ago
Chapter 26: Theory-Crafting ago
Chapter 27: The Factors in Play ago
Chapter 28: Black and White ago
Chapter 29: Upgrades in Senses ago
Chapter 30: Temporal Distortion ago
Chapter 31: White and Black ago
Chapter 32: [Infested] Fights ago
Chapter 33: Mana-Veins ago
Chapter 34: The Will of the Wild ago
Chapter 35: Manipulation of Density ago
Chapter 36: Show of the Surface ago
Chapter 37: The Voice of the Hollow Queen ago
Chapter 38: Ideas of Expansion ago
Chapter 39: Ignorance is [Bliss] ago
Chapter 40: Replacement of Workers ago
Chapter 41: Alternatives ago
Chapter 42: The Answer to Everything ago
Chapter 43: Optimizing [Death] ago
Chapter 44: Mastery of Light ago
Chapter 45: [Willpower] and [Wisdom] ago
Chapter 46: Manipulating the System ago
Chapter 47: Making Rocks Explode ago
Chapter 48: Using Panels to the Extreme ago
Chapter 49: Optimization of Space ago
Chapter 50: Holding Back the Charge ago
Chapter 51: Fuel for the Dead ago
Chapter 52: Refusal to Fall ago
Chapter 53: A Battle to the Death ago
Chapter 54: Issues of Defence ago
Chapter 55: [Battle of Wills] ago
Chapter 56: The Death of a Beast ago
Chapter 57: Anger of an Army ago
Chapter 58: Striking Back ago
Chapter 59: Another View of the World ago
Chapter 60: The Talk with an [Ancient] ago
Chapter 61: Dungeon-Boss ago
Chapter 62: Analysis of Changes ago
Chapter 63: Buying the way to Power ago
Chapter 64: Comparisons of Decreases ago
Chapter 65: Thoughts about Increases ago
Chapter 66: Cutting [Space] ago
Chapter 67: Disconnecting the Energy ago
Chapter 68: [Evolution-Screen] ago
Chapter 69: Commendable ago
Chapter 70: Expanding to the Surface ago
Chapter 71: Discovery of [Enchantments] ago
Chapter 72: Defending the Domain ago
Chapter 73: [Sensational Overload] ago
Chapter 74: The Benefits of [Purification] ago
Chapter 75: The Executions of [Subjects] ago
Chapter 76: A look at [Runes] ago
Chapter 77: [Electrum] ago
Chapter 78: Building the [Outside] ago
Chapter 79: The Outside Completed ago
Chapter 80: [Forced Evolution] ago
Chapter 81: Making Trees Explode ago
Chapter 82: Aftermath ago
Chapter 83: A new [Plant] ago
Chapter 84: The Fruit was a Lie ago
Chapter 85: An [Otter] ago
Chapter 86: [Movement-Speed] ago
Chapter 87: Evolution with Class ago
Chapter 88: [Otter] vs [Tree] ago
Chapter 89: Buck the [Druid] ago
Chapter 90: The [Relic] ago
Chapter 91: The Cave ago
Chapter 92: The Desire to Live ago
Chapter 93: Justice in [Karma] ago
Chapter 94: [Warden] ago
Chapter 95: [Mind-Manipulation] ago
Chapter 96: A Sea of [Darkness] ago
Chapter 97: [Will of the Mad] ago
Chapter 98: Spotted Madness ago
Chapter 99: Interrogation ago
Chapter 100: The lowest of [Laws] ago
Chapter 101: Ranged Theory ago
Chapter 102: A Small Price ago
Chapter 103: The [God of Monsters] ago
Chapter 104: Torn Flesh ago
Chapter 105: Hunger of the [Maw] ago
Chapter 106: Monster Materials ago
Chapter 107: Death of a Monster ago
Chapter 108: A New Medium ago
Chapter 109: The Core of the Dungeon ago
Chapter 110: Out of Sight ago
Chapter 111: The Royal [Bastard] ago
Chapter 112: Revival of the [Rejected Dead] ago
Chapter 113: [Force Experience] ago
Chapter 114: Elf Brutality ago
Chapter 115: Ten Meters ago
Chapter 116: [Skill Stones] ago
Chapter 117: Miners Must Move ago
Chapter 118: Death from [Acid] ago
Chapter 119: Hardships of Sleep ago
Chapter 120: [Arcanium Runic-Path] ago
Chapter 121: True Runes ago
Chapter 122: [Dark Variant] ago
Chapter 123: Moshu the [Merchant] ago
Chapter 124: Coin ago
Chapter 125: Self-Made ago
Chapter 126: [Loot-System] ago
Chapter 127: Mercy of the [Merchant] ago
Chapter 128: A new Turn ago
Chapter 129: Preparations ago
New story! ago

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Good quality writing but so very boring

Reviewed at: Chapter 56: The Death of a Beast

This will not be a 'nice' review but it is not in any way meant to be insulting. Knowing that you can't write a story that absolutely everyone will enjoy. This is my review.

I can totally understand making a more realistic dungeon core story and was even a bit excited when it didn't go from 'birth of sapience' straight into creating a bunch of monsters and understanding the world without explanation. However, there is a point where realism becomes too much. That limit has been reached and breached.

The writing quality is good. The story itself is the slowest of slow burns. I went all the way to chapter 56 and the best that happens is -> spoiler-ish ->

fighting an intelligent ant queen who is also a necromancer? And while that might sound interesting, it ends up falling flat for me. I just imagine a human standing nearby watching them fight and then just stepping on them both. Hard to feel any tension in the battle after that.

I was literally bamboozled when a

mysterious memories

element was added in. It just felt weird for such a slow story to have that tossed in.

Anyways that's all I got.


So I'll say it as it is: This story is boring. 

A slow-burn is meant to simply mean that the 'premise' of a story emerges slowly as part of the narrative, as opposed to being there from the start. Essentially 'reaching' the promise of the title or setting becomes a major part of the story itself, and while this story certainly does appear to be taking ages to reach the promise of a dungeon core story... its also failing to do anything else in the meanwhile. 

Style: 2 

The writing style is meandering to the extreme and repetitive to boot. Things are explained once, twice, discussed, explained again, done, reviewed, and only they moved on from. Every single thing which could be considered plot progression or action is looped over again and again with minor variations in such a way which made me want to simply start skimming so I could move onto something new rather than having to slog through another variation of whatever had already been discussed. It bloats the word-count massively, and is what turns this story from a self described 'Slow Burn' into a 'Boring' story. There isn't much joy to be found in the act of reading this, simply because its so repetitive and overly focused. Dialogue is non-existant, its just one long sprawling monologue for thousands of words. There is not attempt made to concentrate the writing or form a flow of words. 

Story: 1

I've spent several hours reading so far to get to chapter 16 and there isn't a story yet. I'm not sure how much I can say without getting into spoilers so read the spoilered section at your own (low) risk. 

10s of thousands of words and not much has happened, but the story has still failed to stick to its own 'promise'. The Core supposedly is motivated by wanting to learn all about mana forever, and yet after awakening from thousands of years of zen-like meditation in the first few chapters apparently the Cores attention span can barely exist outside of a few minutes, and after making some ants and thinking about farming moss... not much happens. There's supposedly some experimentation with the healing spell, but its done is such a slap-dash and haphazard manner its hard to take it seriously. This being which has spend eons literally building its own mind out of tireless logic and self-reflection can't be bothered to take the time to repeat its own experiments, and after just remarking that each time it makes an ant it becomes easier, only does 3 different heals, finding each successive one easier than the last and concludes that the last method is the best... because its not like repetition ever helped it be better before. It only does each method once to 'save time' measured in literal minutes compared to years before and that's just one example of something which took a whole chapter to do. There are no real objectives for the Core, or motivations, or conflicts, or anything. No characters, no nothing. There isn't a story yet at 16 chapters and 50k words in. Thats half the length of most novels. 


Grammar: 4

Grammar is mostly good, some spelling errors get through and are repeated. In chapter 16 or 15 there is repeated misspeling of 'Giant' as 'Ginat' for one example. Its fluent English, but by no means flawless. 

Character : 1

There is 1 character, the main character, and that's not an exaggeration. I'd love to say that the supporting character were flat, to 2-dimensional, but that would require supporting characters to exist, and they don't. The main character has no real characteristics, perhaps because it hasn't actually managed to interact with.... anyone... yet. Not much else to say here. The monologue is flat, and motivations are self-contradictory. Sometimes the core is said to be exploratory and wise and interested in learning, when all we're shown is a short-sighted, core who doesn't really do... much. 


The first few chapters are pretty interesting, they focus nearly entirely on the development of consciousness and its easy to tell the author put a lot of thoughts into them. I really enjoyed essentially everything up to the system introducing itself. Before that everything felt very self-consitant, but soon after the author lets their own bias colour the core's supposedly ' first' thoughts on things and introduces assumptions which have no reason for existing. One example is this: 

In the first few chapters the Core comes to a few pertinent conclusions for this: 

1. There are other entities outside it. 

2. It wishes to communicate with them to share information.

3. Information shared is not lost so it makes sense that everyone learns from everyone else. 

So when the entity first encounters skill 'rarity' it makes sense that assuming rarity means how many other entities have these skills, then assuming all the core's conclusions are correct... the more common a skill is the more valuable it would be! Afterall, wouldn't that mean the skill is worth more entities pursuing? A Rare skill would only be rare because its not worth acquiring. 

Instead the Author lets their own bias creep in and the core's first conclusion is that the rares a skill is, the better. Which makes no sense with what the core already knows, and is in fact the opposite of the logical conclusion. 

The 'ultra-rational' narrative breaks down pretty conclusively after that.

So whats the point of all these super slow chapters which examine everything from multiple angles again and again? There isn't a point. 


"Slow burn" is the truth. The first four or five chapters deal with learning to think. A few typos per chapter don't seriously detract, and the writing is perfectly serviceable. Looking forward to the point when our new (or apparently ancient) dungeon core can get outside of its own head and a better review will be possible.

Metaphorically speaking of course- this core doesn't have the concept of "head" yet, even if it had one.



It's not a Dungeon story, its a Core story with dungeon elements.

If you like World and magic system crafing its for you. i read till chapter 42 but it was just.. a lot of nothing. Good system\ magic\science system... but so slow that it gets to boring for me.

Still i read 42 Chapters, because the system is interresting...



Well, it's good that a book has a solid foundation, but the author is overdoing it.

It's just to solid that you can't create anything on it.

Whole time I was just skimming and skiping pages because there was no harm in doing so, every few page there might be 4 to 5 thing that worth reading and you can skip everything else without losing anything.

Literally a waste of time, I don't recommend this book at all.

But to be fair idea is good.


Needs a lot of spell checking, but doesn't get it

Reviewed at: Chapter 65: Thoughts about Increases

The story is slow, but that is ok. We get to know the system bit by bit and it explains nicely why a dungeon looks like a dungeon.

It even has some action in between and keeps you hooked.

But there are some typos and spelling errors. Which is okay as well. You point them out while reading and help the author out... Except, the corrections in the comments are ignored. Two month old errors are still present.

And then you stop pointing out errors... Cause why would you? And then you reach chapter 65 and suddenly every other sentence has errors.


I tried to give the story a chance but every time I tried to start reading I found it too easy to get distracted. There just isn't enough going on and there is barely even one character much less enough to have what I would consider to be a story.

To me this feels more like a series of lab notes rather than a story with a plot. Things happen but they feel like they take a back seat to the Core doing its experiments and slowly (so slowly) learning more about the environment. Even that didn't feel engaging to me. I can understand the point but I feel that the execution is lacking in that everything feels dry and more like something an author could use to write a story around rather than the story itself.


Tautological navel gazing the story. 


I guess if you like that kind of thing you might find it interesting?


Also the story is prepared with spelling and grammar mistakes. Not the worse offender, but more than are easily ignored.


Perhaps it gets better later on, but I wasn't compelled to slog though anything past the first five chapters.




Interesting premise, boring read

Reviewed at: Chapter 10: Increases in Power

I read the first ten chapters, and they are well written, and have a good style.  The overall premise is interesting 

The problem is that everything is done a hundred times.  The author spent 10 chapters on learning to manipulate mana by looking at mana.  Nothing has happened, and the story doesn't seem to be progressing.  The details that the author goes into for world building are to be applauded, they lead to a deep layered system and world, which is much better than "it happened, because!".  But there needs to be a balance between the exposition on how things work for ten long chapters, and having something interesting happen.  

I get the feeling that if I could stick it out for another 20 chapters or so the story would pick up, but the general style if a very slow build up with repetitive detail being shared is likely a trend.


So i read the first seven chapters. It was just full of what if "a dungeon core woke  and was sorta a philospher as well."


The nupext seven chapters went into excruciating detail of how the dungeon perceives the world and gaining skills to manipulate it and see better, but in the most boring manner possible.