Dog Days in a Leashed World

Dog Days in a Leashed World

by HighGrove

Warning This fiction contains:
  • Profanity

Life is not easy at the bottom of the food chain. And in the groundbreaking VRMMO Kingdoms of Magica, the absolute bottom belongs without question to the puppy-like lowbie zone trash known as mongrels. Born to an unfinished zone with only bored, murderous outpost guards for neighbors, the lives of these fluffy balls of hapless nuisance are short, dull, and deeply confused.  Because after all: What's the point of a mob that no one can be bothered to hunt, in a zone utterly lacking in reasons to visit, in a game that was already the height of trash fantasy nonsense?

Well it may not be much, but it's their life, dammit. And if Shh, the mongrel bearing the questionable distinction of smartest pup in his pack, has anything to say about it, they won't be on the bottom forever. Because that's the silver lining of being on the bottom: the only way left to go is up.

[participant in the Royal Road Writathon challenge]

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1st Anniversary
Royal Writathon October 2022 winner
Word Count (11)
Top List #1000
Table of Contents
74 Chapters
Chapter Name Release Date
1. Boss Yip-Yap's Big Plan ago
2. No One Pup is a Pack ago
3. The Great Hi-Hi and Shh Debate ago
4. Farewells in Azure ago
5. From Ten Fruits, an Orchard ago
6. Returns, Diminishing and Otherwise ago
7. Playing for Keeps ago
8. Changes ago
9. The Siren Call of the Status Screen ago
10. Kobolds Before Swine ago
11. What's Brown and Green and Hides in Trees? ago
12. The Proud Oaken Rangers ago
13. Raze or Claim ago
14. Placing the Final Pieces ago
15. The Battle for Home, Part One ago
16. The Battle for Home, Part Two ago
17. The Tribal Decision Tree ago
18. Old Friends, New Family ago
19. Old Rivals, New Tensions ago
20. The Home We've Never Always Had ago
21. Design-A-Deity(™) ago
22. The Less-Than-Invited Guest ago
23. The Pitfalls of Procedural Content ago
24. The Rice Cracker Council ago
25. Fishing, the Schemer Way ago
26. Progressing ago
27. The Sparkling Allure of Premium Currency ago
28. Further and Further Away From Home ago
29. The Schemer and the General ago
30. Under the Flag of Truce ago
31. The Goblins of Yesteryear ago
32. Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together ago
33. Breached Defenses ago
34. They Hunt at Night ago
35. The Wild Children of Tasan Okaa ago
36. Honor, Oaths and Swears ago
37. The Higher Planes of the Mod Chat ago
38. The Return of the Status Screen ago
39. Three Players, a Schemer and a Detainee ago
40. The Grand Gala ago
41: Operation Ruin These Guys' Lives, Part One ago
42. PVP ago
43. Operation Ruin These Guys' Lives, Part Two ago
44. The Final Fish ago
45. Mysteries ago
46. Completed Repairs, Pending Repairs ago
47. The Inside Place ago
48. The New Shinki Itten ago
49. Mithril Chef ago
50. Gregory Chambers Does Not Exist ago
51. Operation Ruin These Guys' Lives, Part Three ago
52. Operation Ruin These Guys' Lives, Finale ago
53. The Fishing Trip Episode ago
54. Summoned ago
55. Destination Confirmed ago
56. The Demon King is Dead ago
57. Anyport in a Storm ago
58: Masked and Robed ago
59. Why Does the Cutie Dwarf Cry? ago
60. On the High Seas ago
61. The Most Earthly Place on Magica, Part One ago
62. The Most Earthly Place on Magica, Part Two ago
63. The Most Earthly Place on Magica, Part Three ago
64. The Most Earthly Place on Magica, Finale ago
65. The Two Schemers ago
66. Homecomings ago
67. The Class Selection Wheel ago
68. Trolling for Fish ago
69. The Schemes of Another ago
70. The Attack on Shinki Itten Bay ago
71. Farewells in Azure, Part Two ago
72. The Value of a Little Quiet ago
73. Mysteries, Divine and Otherwise ago
74. Are You There, God? It's Me, You ago

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Commander Kane

I don't normally give out five star reviews because I don't often read stories that are just it for me, but this? This is it!

NPCs gaining sapience is always a lovely trope/genre/whatever for me and I especially love how it's portrayed here. The characters are natural, their loyalty to the pack and humurous culture is very fun to read. I'll warn you that the humor might not be for everyone. There are quite a lot of pee jokes (although they disappear by the end of arc 1).

The characters in my mind feel realistic. They have their own goals in mind and have very distinct personalities. Not one of them falls flat, each living their own lives in their own ways. (Hi-Hi can shove it tho)

The grammar and style is pretty good. No flowery prose, but it doesn't need that. No major flaws to my eyes which is saying something. I don't know if the author is new at this, but they've done a great job with their writing techniques.

There are a few criticisms I have but, as they fall mostly later in the story, i'll put them in the spoiler below

1. I wasn't a big fan of the evolution. For one, "humans with animal ears/tail" is a pretty lowbar fantasy race for me. At least it was the case for both sexes?

2. Shh's first interaction with Mo-Mo and Gert after their evolution was...poorly handled in my opinion. I don't really get why he was only suddenly noticing their sexual features after their evolution as he would've been perfectly fine noticing them as a mongrel. This isn't to say that he becomes a horndog all of a sudden but his blushing over Mo-Mo's nakedness and Gret's new noticeable freckles are eh. Why was he not noticing anything about them before?

3. Their mongrel culture kinda got lost after their evolution. It's understandable as their new kobold forms changed their way of thinking and being Big is no longer as important but they just kind of feel empty now? There's nothing that makes them truly Kobolds, if you know what I mean. They're just humans with animal features now.


Besides these criticisms, the story is still pretty fun! I'm looking forward to see where the story goes and hope it lasts for a good long while. Long live Boss Yip-Yap!

blackwhite alternance

I never thought that I'd be wanting or willing to read about the trials and tribulations of a bunch of puppy-adjacent monsters with collectively not enough brain cells to use as bait on a fish hook, not if you are expecting to catch anything, anyways. But fun fact! After reading this I realized that I did, and that it was good enough to remain invested even after they become no longer so intellectually challenged. Jokes aside, the story is great and there are a lot of good times to be had by following the shenanigans of the characters, with one of the selling points for me being how most of them do have a lot of character and aren't some simple cardboard cutouts.


A promising, fun first chapter! I love these silly furballs NPCs just trying their best in the backwater lowbie zone of The Kingdoms of Magica. What does the future have in store for Shh and his low stat companions? I can't wait to find out. Hopefully we see more from the author real soon. 


A Funny and Clever Take on Monster Evolution

Reviewed at: 28. Further and Further Away From Home

Although it has a simple starting pretense, this story quickly evolves into a clever take on Monster Evolution. The dialogue is clever and witty yet character-appropriate, and the individual characters are charming. Also, they're puppies – how can you not like puppies?

Certainly one of the better new stories I've read on Royal Road in quite some time.



  This novel is amazing, plots are intelligent, characters have personalility and matter ( if you see a character in one chapters you will see them again if they can be able to be in the story ) and the MC doesn't make dumb moves.

  An amazing read 10/10 would recommend. Also anything not explained will be answered in later chapters.


"Woof." says so much for such a great story.

Reviewed at: 48. The New Shinki Itten

It feels weird to give this story an advanced review when all I'm doing is giving it five stars in all four sections, anyway. But it deserves them. In a sea of stories that are stiltified, difficult to read, overly complicated, and at times modestly squicky in some disturbing fashions, Dog Days begins sweet and cute, grows to fun and interesting and exciting, and as of chapter 48 is in-depth, amazing, and with realms of space to grow and only get better.

Style: The writing style in this story is glorious. It always feels loose and easy to read, without being dumbed down or uncritical. The scenes grasp the whole 'the main character is riding this by the seat of his pants and trying not to get anyone killed more than they have to without having his entire race massacred or worse' sensation.

Grammar: The story reads at about a 9th grade level, but covers in-depth concepts and ideas while being easy to read and not offering any words that the average reader should have any trouble with. The speech is very modern and moment to moment, instead of involving any higher grammar cases, making it easily digestible and uncomplex from moment to moment.

Story: The idea of an upjumped level Nothing mob procedurally finding a way to Not Suck and what that looks like is fantastic and I adore it. Even from the start of the story I was rooting for the little puffballs and every chapter on has just made the tale better.

Characters: I love love love love love love dog kobolds so much and every character is so great. I love Shin's 'I'm an asshole, but I'm not a murderer, and I'm The People's Asshole' vibe, I love Momo's 'hi yes I am squeaky and little but I will hit you with a holy lazer if you screw with me' attitude, I love Gero's bruiser chick chic, I love Bex's not-quite-in-tune-with-the-race-but-getting-there Player vibes, I love Higen's scum**** backstabber thing, and all of the more minor side characters all have unique aspects and concepts that are great. I want to play a dog kobold now.

In the end, I'm gleefully awaiting more of the tale, and to see if the Kobolds evolve into Dog Soldiers or something similar at higher levels. The worst part is having to wait for it to all be written down!  Ten out of Ten, would be an amorphous glowy ball of light again.


Reality Called, they want a check in. Woof.

Reviewed at: 74. Are You There, God? It's Me, You

Hands down this is a must read. Overall, this might be one of the best written fictions I've read in a long time. Let me break it down for you:


Enter you, a newb this story. Well you're about to have an emotional rollercoaster and a couple reality checks as you gain experience through this story. Don't say I didn't warn you.

The crux of the story, and the reason it has a 5/5 is because you don't always know what's coming or how the mischievous and heartwarming little characters are going to solve each problem. You don't get to know every thought that goes on, BUT if you're extremely mischievous and clever yourself, there's almost always just enough clues to hint at what might happen.

In terms of grammar and style, I haven't seen/noticed any grammar issues whatsoever. It's flowed well to me and made sense throughout. And the style is just as flowing. The system snark, the meta of two real not real realms and all of it is really well handled and showcased where it makes you think yourself.

Lastly, we have the stars of the show. The characters. Their growth is top notch, getting a seat in there where every character, even those we only see a little of, is enough to feel the joys and pangs of sadness as things progress. Their success is our delight, their pains are our sorrows. They're so well written that I can't stop my eyes from flying across the pages, and you won't be able to either.

(Take it from me who had to take half a day off to recover from being unable to sleep until finishing what available chapters there were).


All in all, if you don't read this, you're missing out. *mic drop*


Few takes on RPG immersion have as strong and original character development, while keeping a reasonably interesting story free of pointless drama. The narrative smoothly ties the birth of conflicts to inevitable, and not necessarily initially antagonizing, interactions between the world (ever dynamic) and the characters traits (more consistent), all the while allowing for a (rather peculiar) amount of behavioural reflection by the main characters. Such mechanism leads to an unexpectedly natural development of relationships and personal characteristics, extending to problem resolutions (usually trough a conundrum of "scheming" and luck) that keeps the character's invulnerability doubtful without outright use of Deus ex machina, bringing to the scene notable actors whose depth and evolution goes far beyond your regular character sheet. 

On the other hand, the sheer scope that the overall story comes to, brings far more into scene that could realistically be explored as thoroughly as the first few dozen chapters. The whole situation kinda reminds me of when G.R.R. Martin splits his storytelling between the two continents, so as to preserve some semblance of the outstanding descriptions showed in the first volumes of a song of Ice and fire and keep developing the truckload of reasonably important characters he ended up introducing by that point. So far, no compromise to the quality of world building and character development has occurred that was deep enough to be a significant issue, but the way this situation (which is steadily growing in importance) is handled by the author might (or not) define this as a great story.