[Goblin Cave] is a perfectly average Dungeon that becomes unsatisfied with its work.
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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.
" 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Maybe someday I'll write a more involved review of this story, but it deserves the 5 star rating. To keep it short, the story is well thought out, with a thought provoking setting being constructed and layed out at a reasonable pace. It's the kind of writing that makes you excited to learn more about the world and characters the author has constructed. Up to this chapter, it's been kind of the holy grail of web novels where too many books have a great idea but boring/bad writing.
This is a dungeon building story, but more importantly it is a coming of age story. At least, that is what it seems like so far. This story takes a different approach to dungeon building than many. Rather than a new dungeon struggling to survive, it is an established dungeon trying to find its purpose. Or make its purpose. Or maybe it is just having a midlife crisis?
Regardless of its purpose the dungeon seems to be on its way to discovering the mysteries and truths of the world around it, and the author does so in a way that is engaging and enjoyable for the reader. There are plenty of hints and potential future plot threads laid out, but none of them are enough to be called plot holes at this point.
That being said, the dungeon is the only character of real note at this point, though this MIGHT be changing in the next few chapters (I am currently around chapter 18). Their drives and motives have been clear and relatively consistient, any change being caused by external sources or increased self-awareness. I would likely increase my character score if additional characters are even close to as well written as the dungeon itself is.
The main issue I have with this story is that it is slow paced and dense. That give it plenty of time to flesh out the worldbuilding, but the densely packed information is a bit tiring. I will likely check back in awhile to continue, but for now I am halfway through what is currently written and feel a little tapped out. Despite this, I barely noticed when pressing "next chapter" until I realized how tired I was getting.
I am very impressed by the update pace the author has been setting, dense interesting chapters every other day or so. I will be grateful for as long as they can keep it up, as I am sure it is taxing for them even if it is also rewarding. I have noticed few if any issues with their grammar, once again impressive.
Overall, I have followed this piece and plan to continue reading it in the future.
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
This is a great overall story so far and the meta deconstruction and commentary is great. This is a dungeon that has dungeoned before and doesn't really give a care anymore.
Highly recommend if you have read dungeon stories before and always wondered why the dungeon, if it really wanted to just be safe, didn't just make mile long empty corridors made of razorblades with no rewards.