By Dante Doom
When the real world is threatened, it’s up to the players in a virtual one to save it.
Van Vanyushin doesn’t see the point in ever leaving the beautiful digital world of the game he loves—and for good reason. In the industrial wasteland he calls home, it is often the only way people can experience life’s simplest pleasures. But his allegiance to the game is tested when an ambitious CIA agent named Sang Ngo calls upon him to help as she goes undercover in the game to investigate Draco—the corporation responsible for creating the massively popular role-playing game Dragon Kings of the New World.
Sang is a gifted hacker who feels nothing but contempt for those who waste their lives in what she sees as a false reality…but when people start dying in the game, she must find out why. Van, a talented gamer, is her guide to navigate the world, level up their newbie characters fast and get into some of the most dangerous areas of the game. He dreams of becoming a pro gamer sponsored by Draco one day, but his partnership with Sang threatens to expose secrets from his past that could jeopardize those plans.
Now, they will have to put aside their differences to discover whatever—or whoever—is killing players, but the truth they find is darker than either of them imagined….
The Star Dragon – LitRPG Excerpt
Sivlander and his party rushed up over the snow-covered land to find two men in leopard skin battling against a massive Ogre. The creature was nearly three times Sivlander’s size, and it was hideous, fleshy and bulbous. The yellow eyes of the massive beast glared at Sivlander as it roared out, “Feast upon the flesh of the mountain crawlers!” The scouts were quickly clubbed by the Ogre Chief’s huge wooden club and then the beast turned to rush toward Sivlander. Now, Sivlander could see that the Ogre Chief was Level 78, armed with a Club of Severe Crushing, and had a Health of nearly 1,000 hit points!
“Archer! Shoot the beast in the arm!”
“I have a name,” the archer grumbled. “It’s Kalifer.”
“Shoot it, now!” Sivlander screamed as the massive creature lumbered toward him. He braced for impact, as he was a fighter and wasn’t exactly the type to dodge a blow. Immediately, the massive club crashed against his body, but he held himself firm. Pain shot through him, but he knew it was just an illusion. The mind of the fighter needed to be steeled against all pain. Holding fast after the blow, he raised his great sword and hacked away at the legs of the Ogre Chief. He heard the swiff swiff sounds as arrows flew over him, striking the beast in its right arm and causing it to stagger and reel backwards. It tried to lift its arm to slam the heavy club down atop Sivlander, but its injuries slowed it down enough for Sivlander’s blade to block the blow and push it backward. The beast was strong, but so was Sivlander.
“Come on, men, slay the beast! Together!” Sivlander shouted. The paladin had been busy healing the two injured scouts, but he leapt up and grabbed his righteous silver sword so that he could rush to flank the Ogre. The Ogre was clever enough of a creature to see this coming, though, and while it continued to strike away with its club with one hand, it reached out its other to grab the paladin. Sivlander saw this momentary distraction as the perfect opportunity, and with a deep breath, he leapt up with as much strength and speed as he could, and climbed up to set himself atop the beast’s right arm. The creature’s height was staggering, at nearly twelve feet tall, and Sivlander held on tightly in the hopes of avoiding falling.
“I’ve got it!” the paladin cried as he leapt aside and began to slash at the creature’s massive arms. The arrows kept peppering the air, striking into the Ogre’s flesh, but Crieagg’s body was so thick that many of them didn’t even draw blood.
“Our weapons aren’t working!” cried the hapless explorer as his twin axes failed to even cut through the flesh of the beast.
“We needed something magical for this!” Kalifer cried. “I told you it would fail!”
“Enough whining!” Sivlander yelled out as he held onto the side of the creature’s arm for dear life. The Ogre Chief didn’t seem keen to be climbed, and it was violently struggling to throw the warrior off. “Ogres are dumb enough—we just have to be smart! Archer, stop shooting it in the chest and aim for the joints! Knees, elbows, eyes! Anything vital! Paladin, keep it busy while I climb it!”
“Aye, sir!” cried the paladin as he ran in front of the massive creature, throwing a stone at the thing’s head. Crieagg cried out in a rage at this taunt, and began to focus primarily on clubbing the plate-clad man to death. Even as he went after the paladin, though, more arrows flew through the air, this time striking areas that were weak and unarmored.
Sivlander used the diversion as an opportunity to hoist himself up atop one of the creature’s shoulders, as the shoulder alone was wide enough for more than one man to be stationed atop of it. The beast was far too busy fighting the others to respond in time, as Sivlander buried his great sword into the neck of the Ogre Chief. It roared as blood began to spray from it, but even this blow didn’t seem to slow it down. Instead, it bucked wildly and threw Sivlander off of it, throwing him right into the ground, which he came down upon with a crashing noise.
“Are you dead?” Kalifer shouted as he continued to fire arrows and strafe the monster.
“No!” Sivlander responded as he leapt up. He instinctively went for his great sword, but remembered that it was currently lodged in the side of the horrific Ogre’s neck. He grabbed his back-up longsword from his side and drew it. In turn, the description popped up, reading:
- Quality: B
- Damage: 144
- Durability: 87%
About the Author
Dante Doom didn’t touch a videogame or fantasy book until his 23rd year on Earth. He started working at an old-school arcade—hired primarily, he was told, because of his “badass ridiculous name”—and from then his education began.
They started him on the classics, a strict diet of Pac-Man, Galaga, Donkey Kong, Asteroids, Dig Dug, Street Fighter, and Rampage.
Freakish proficiency. Beginners luck, they said.
He was given dog-eared copies of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn, Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind and Anne McCaffrey’sDragon Riders of Pern.
Devoured in days.
Finally, he was invited up to the arcade owner’s private gaming room: Battletoads, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES), and Ghosts 'n Goblins followed.
Defeated, at last—maybe he wasn’t such a wunderkid, after all. But he didn’t give up. And that earned him a seat at the group’s D&D table. Many a happy day has passed since—he even beat TMNT’s Dam level and its health-draining pink seaweed.
Then a year ago, that same group introduced him to the new Fantasy-LitRPG genre—what Dante saw as the final stage in his education. Because, for him, it doesn’t get any better than LitRPG. The combination of an immersive fantasy world, gaming objectives and levelled progression makes for a fascinating storytelling experience.
Inspired, he took two weeks holiday from the arcade, sat down and wrote the Dragon Kings of the New World series.
On Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075RF8L83/
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