November 22 2016

Book Spotlight from Stile Teckel

I had recently done a review on the book “Dungeon Born” by “Dakota Krout”, as a book, I would recommend, found a bit unusual from the norm, and just really enjoyed overall. Gave me some great ideas for an RPG system or how I would alter one of my own to run in the future as well.

Having enjoyed it, I decided to try out a similar novel called “The Slime Dungeon” by “Jeffrey “Falcon” Logue.” This one is a two part series (at the moment), and I did read both of them.

I have to report back that I both enjoyed and was disappointed in this series.

Taken objectively it was an enjoyable read. Being that the “slime” was one of my favorite “mobs” in the Ultima Games and Shroud of the Avatar, to read a book in which the dungeon setup revolves around slimes was very enjoyable for me. In fact, some guild members and I were just killing slimes in Serpent’s Mine in SotA a few nights ago!

On the other hand, these books were VERY familiar. To the extent that if someone told me it was the same writer under a pen name, or another writer trying to copy one and change it just enough to get away with it, I would not be surprised at all. That is where the disappointment came from. In some ways it was unique, but in many ways, it seemed very much like a remake… That was not done quite as well.

While I did not enjoy it as much as Dungeon Born, to give it it’s fair due, taken on its own I am glad I read it. I would have preferred to have read these two first, then Dungeon born but you cannot go wrong with any of them!


I hereby dedicate this article to all the slimes I have killed in Ultima over my life!

ultima-online-slime_full

Ankh Quill

November 16 2016

Book Reccomendation by Stile Teckel – Dungeon Born

Many of you have seen me mention I have been reading a lot of books in the LITRPG genre over the last few years (do not worry, though, I do not ignore other genre’s!).

One that has passed across my screen as I have ben looking for something to read, many times is “Dungeon Born” by Dakota Krout.

I passed it up many times, not because I did not feel it would be good but after reading the description, it was not a taste I was in the mood for.

Finally felt like this would “hit the spot” recently, grabbed it, read it, and am now talking about it because it was fantastic!

It has the feel of a Pen and Paper RPG but unlike some LITRPG, does not present the story as a game, or use game mechanics to describe things.

The concept is that Dungeons are born as a gem and that the dungeons are an extension of themselves. Or to give it a vibe I liked, you could picture you being the GM in a game, playing the dungeon.

What was fun about this story is it did give a lot of plausible thoughts to the things your party always cry about. You know things like, why is the gold mine always by the entrance? Why is the entrance not hidden? Why does it continually respawn!!!!

All in all, it was an enjoyable read combined with the willingness to let my disbelief go for a bit.

What I would very much like to see, if it’s not already done (I haven’t checked yet so there may be!), is a RPG pen and paper version of this. I think it could make for some great gameplay and ma fun mechanics system for the GM!

Ankh Quill

November 5 2016

Should MMORPG Developers Draw Inspiration from LITRPG?

LITRPG stands for Literature or Literary (varies from person to person), Role Play Game. The most prolific example of this type of work would be Ready Player One by Earnest Cline.

In fact, while this article is not about Shroud of the Avatar, the developers of that game did, in fact, work with Ernest Cline somewhat and using some inspiration from him and Ready Player One put some elements in the game. This is how Row Housing came about.

If you go further back in time with the same company, Portalarium, they also worked with Ernest Cline during the beta stages of one of their games “Ultimate Garage Sale Collector.” While that particular game did not work out, I do remember taking place in the game elements that revolved around a Ready Play One Contest.

Reading Ready Player One myself lead me to my interest in the LITRPG genre. When I say I have read a lot of it, believe me, I have read a LOT. From horrible to amazing I have read just about anything I could get my hands on while the market catches up with me from time to time.

I recently started “Ascend Online” which I am enjoying enough I am willing to say “yeah, go read this.” I can tell it’s going to be fantastic even though I am only midway through the first book.

It is important to understand that the LITRPG genre has a broad range of styles in the genre. The primary theme, of course, is that the feel of the book, in some way, is as if the characters are playing an MMORPG game.

This can vary from only a character perspective, story and plot tone, and scene is presented so as to create the feel that the characters are in some video game. Here is a prime example of that style.

Alternatively and more commonly, the characters themselves are playing a video game, and know they are doing so. This can be from a low level of VR technology all the way up to brain transference and any other number of things in between.

So as I have read and continue to read this genre I have found myself concluding that the books I often enjoy the most, often present game mechanics and gameplay that make me feel like I would enjoy the hell out of the game!

This leads me to wonder how much inspiration developers may get from the LITRPG genre and if they even try to utilize that opportunity. Keep in mind, the LITRPG had only recently broken ground and gained a lot of popularity. Books are coming out now at extremely fast rates by authors being able to self-publish them. It would be very understandable for this to be an untapped resource.

It would be impossible to pursue them all, but putting the biggest sellers on your reading list and pulling inspiration from what people “like” seems like a solid development resource.

So I say yes, most definitely. I think it is reasonable that developers should keep eyes on some of the novels from this genre as a resource for improving their games. I also feel caution has to be taken though as programming and computers are not capable of all that the imagination can provide, and so realistic inspiration is necessary!

Ankh Quill