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[Goblin Cave] is a perfectly average Dungeon that becomes unsatisfied with its work.

(Updates Monday through Friday with ~2k words each chapter.)

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xaphiriron

xaphiriron

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AqueousSolution
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

A Fresh Take on Dungeon Core

Reviewed at: 14: Contact

After years of mindlessly building, a dungeon core has an existential crisis. It is extremely bored of the drab dungeon it formed over time, and desperately desires change. It wants to make something so outside of the ordainary that the system governing dungeons is unable to classify it. It wants to expose the artificial nature of it's creations to the world. 

The story itself is purely a core tinkering with it's creations, seeing how far it can bend limitations without anything breaking. It could easily be described as a slice-of-life, albiet with artificially created life. The style is intentionally slow paced, and without much tension, which suits the narrative perfectly. There are understandable rules and mechanics that are followed strictly, and everything makes sense. 

On a technical level, writing is superb, with flowing prose and an expansive vocabulary. I haven't seen a single error, and formatting is done properly. No grammar or sentance structure issues have been found. 

Overall, this is the most unique dungeon core story I have read. I'm immensely enjoying it so far, and hope other readers do as well. If you haven't read this yet, I reccomend giving it a try, as I believe it is worth it. 

Solipsis
Overall

This dungeon story feels like hard sci-fi

Reviewed at: 19: Meeting

This is not your usual dungeon story. Liking the genre is no guarantee that you will like it (but you will) - and if, like me, you find the genre stale, this may just become your new nugget.

Don’t expect power leveling or optimization: that’s passé. Goblin Cave (our protagonist and dungeon core) has a breakdown. The exact kind where your job, your life, suddenly feels constricting, and you find yourself deep in metaphysical thoughts while starting to hate all that made your life up to now. The difference with a normal breakdown, of course, being that our protagonist is stuck ruling as a god over fifty floors of dungeon.

Besides the very relatable character - a tour de force given that it is not and does not feel human at all - I particularly liked his meandering, contemplative reflexions. The narration hints at a very rich, "hard" set of rules - meaning here the analogue of physics, math, chemistry... And our protagonist doesn’t hesitate to run tests that reminds me of nuclear physics experiments: ambitious, insanely expensive and just as awesome, and all in all rubbing my technobabble feels in just the right way.

Draddock
Overall

Different from Expectations

Reviewed at: 13: Light

" If the adventurers that delved it were analogues of its goblins, what did that say about the larger world? Certainly nothing good. It was all meat to be fed into the grinder: raw resources to be exploited to continue a cycle. Where in all that was the meaning? Its goblins had desires, maybe, and they were crude and childish ones. Were the adventurers all that different? Grinding their starting levels in its dungeon, before moving on to greater things — but where were those greater things? Higher-level dungeons? A ceaseless upward climb, to what? To have the largest numbers? To make oneself secure against any other with higher numbers? Surely there must be some meaning beyond that."

As you can see from above, [Goblin Cave] is having a bit of a mid-"life" crisis. There's a theme about existentialism throughout, and a bit of making fun of we, the readers, often want to see 'numbers going up'.

 

It doesn't want to be the same bland dungeon it's been for decades. It's time to explore, and create new things. To diverge from the systems or gods or whatever defines the boundaries of the box it's stuffed in.

 

Goblin cave wants to create actual life, not just the normal dungeon spawn. It wants to see what the world actually is, and not just the shadows projected on its' dungeon walls.

 

I'm pretty interested in seeing how it evolves.

Flashadows
Overall

A rare and refreshing kind of dungeon core story.

Reviewed at: 18: Flame Wisps

Goblin cave is a well crafted and fairly unique take on dungeon core fiction. Light on blue boxes and mechanics, it nonetheless gives the sense of a well-organized version of a system-fantasy world, with the added bonus of the purpose and origin of the system not being ignored by the main character. The story this reminds me most of is the sadly abandoned Dungeon Engineer story, with the clear distinction of having a protagonist who has never been anything but a dungeon core. I love the premise of a dungeon core who, after a long and productive pereiod of being a dungeon, starts to question it's life, purpose and choices, turning the vast powers of being a dungeon to the intertwined goals of introspection and scientific inqueiry. Who am I? How does the world work? Why does it work that way? I've immensly enjoyed the experience of reading the expeience of an alien entity grappling with these familar questions.

MusicMan
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

A Brilliant Deconstruction

Reviewed at: 16: Spawns

This is shaping up to be a seminal work, in the same vein as Beware of Chicken and Worm. Not because it shares much in genre, tone, or style with either, but in the way that it approaches its genre in a new light, and how I can see it changing it entirely.

This is a story about a dungeon that has an existential crisis. It is also a critique of the genre, an examination of all the tropes and assumptions built into almost every dungeon core story, and an argument for the beauty of creation and exploration.

It asks questions about why we write and enjoy these stories, puts the nature of power fantasy and vessels for "number goes up" on trial, and makes a compelling argument for why art is beautiful.

Now, is this all intentional? Is this all something the author planned from the get go? I have no idea. I could reading too deep into this. But I think that regardless, this will be a milestone in the genre.

Beyond all this, it is also deeply engaging and interesting to read. It has an analytical and introspective style, and some turns of phrase still resonate with me. This is incredibly well-written, is what I'm saying.

The story is also, as I've been gushing about, unique and interesting. I think I covered it all above, but just to be clear this is a breath of fresh air. I especially love the levels of meta-creation, the musing on whether the gods are just a more advanced dungeon core, and if the goals adventurers pursue are fundamentally different to those of any lvl 1 goblin.

There are very few characters of note. Mostly, it's the dungeon so far in 16 chapters. The almost-puppets that inhabit it rightfully cannot be considered characters, but the new life sprouting, and the adventurers that are starting to explore it are interesting so far. The dungeon, however, is strking. It really feels like someone discovering themselves after a mid-life crisis or shift in circumstance. The way it thinks reminds me a lot of artists and curators I know, and I look forward to seeing how it develops in future.

Grammar is fine, some spelling mistakes here and there but nothing too much.

I will end this review on that anticlimactic note, as I think that, just like this story, conventions in reviews can be questioned and my own desire for narrative flow even in a review is something to be

sicksock
Overall

Dungeon has an existential crisis

Reviewed at: 22: Experience

You know the premise, dungeon digs hole, spawns monsters, kills adventurers, levels up, repeat. But to what end? 

From this question springs the thoughly entertaining tale of a dungeon which begins to question its lot in life.

So far this story has delivered on its premise and overdelivered with an impeccable writing style, dry humor and grounded yet fantastic worldbuilding.

If you like stories about curious creatures trying to pry apart the logic of a game-like world, dungeon stories in general or well written stories in general then give this one a shot.

TriggerSad
Overall

One of the most interesting story I've find on this site recently. Great stroy, grammar, style and main character.

The main story so far is about the dungeon core mc experimenting and discovering what it can do and starting to interact with those that are delving it, unique and interesting perspective of mc thats native to the world and not some reincarnated soul, looking forward to see where this goes.

telesto
Overall

Solves a Narrative Issue in Dungeon Core Lit

Reviewed at: 19: Meeting

So, I very much enjoy dunneon core novels. However, there is a structural issue with many of them, if not all: how do you make a story about a wish-granting god interesting? I have seen: life or death struggles with other equal powers, slice of life to bring the story down to earth, or shared PoV with human protagonists to give the story relatable goals.

 

Here we see another take which solves this conundrum admirably: the protagonist Core is facing an internal conflict that is relatable on a human scale. Why do I exist? What is my purpose? Why are things the way they are? Why do things be... like they is

This is a conflict that can be resolved or examined in as many chapters as the author wishes. Importantly, it is a conflict that a human audience can appreciate without the core conceit of dungeon core lit (the protagonist is a wish-granting god) getting in the way, because despite its powers, it cannot grant its own wish: no magic crystal or soul-growing machine can tell the protagonist what its purpose is. 

Pius Isaksson
Overall

dungeon focused dungeon novel

Reviewed at: 13: Light

i like the concept. it is kinda fast-paced. its a story about an already established dungeon and I like that it does not focus on the adventures or humans at all. the dungeon has become bored of its simple way it has been doing to grown stronger and the System, so it starts experimenting in cool ways.

crazy_dwarf
Overall

Self reinventing is hard

Reviewed at: 8: Reincarnation

After reading so many dungeon core stories this one shows a truth of what a dungeon truly is

At first an almost boring narration of a board dungeon core's slowly through the chapters transformers to a dungeon core fully inventing a new concept for his dungeon

I personally think that's a cool idea