Let's face it. We're nerds here at TopSciFiBooks and proud of it. And like many other nerds, we just love our RPGs. MMO or otherwise. Whether it's World of Warcraft (not a sponsor) or Star Wars: The Old Republic (again, not a sponsor), we're all about it.
And that's why it's high time we give you are top picks for the Best LitRPG Books!
And remember...If you want to check out any of these titles for free, do so with Audible's one month free trial!
The Land: Founding
- Kong, Dr Aleron (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 293 Pages - 06/25/2018 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)
This is Book One of The Chaos Seeds series.
When DangerZone Industries released The Land--the world's most immersive VRMMORPG--Jame and his friends didn't think it'd be anymore than a game. That was until the day the light came. After that, James aka Richter found himself transported inside of the actual game itself! And that's because like every human, he is a seed of chaos built to destroy everything around him including The Land.
This is Book One of The Divine Dungeon series.
Dungeons have long been a way for noble adventurers to level up, get loot, and kick monster butt. And Cal knows the reasons for all of these. That's because he's a Dungeon Core--basically the builder and living essence of the Dungeon. But when an incomprehensible new threat rears its ugly head, Cal fights back the only way he knows how. Build a bigger, badder dungeon and eat anyone that ventures in.
Sufficiently Advanced Magic
This is Book One of the Arcane Ascension series.
The Serpent Spire is a colossal tower full of traps, tricks, and deadly puzzles. It's said that whoever reach the top floor are granted a gift from the tower's goddess. Five years ago, Corin's brother attempted the challenge, but he was never heard from again. Now it's Corin's turn, and he's not coming back without his brother.
Eden Hudson and James A. Hunter
- Hunter, James A. (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 303 Pages - 07/24/2018 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)
This is Book One of The Rogue Dungeon series.
In Roark's world, he's a debonair mage with roguish guile. And one of the last of the Freedom Fighters. But in his latest attempt to unseat the Tyrant King, Roark finds himself whisked away and immersed into an ultra-intense computer game called Hearthworld. He can't log out and worse...his magic isn't working quite right. But that's to be expected when you have become a troll, one of the lowliest of the dungeon's monsters.
Dungeon Lord is Book One in The Wraith's Haunt series.
After Edward Wright makes a deal with the Dark God Murmur, he finds himself swept into the world of Ivalis as a Dungeon Lord--the most powerful servant of Murmur. However, Ed isn't anyone's slave. As a matter of fact, he's there to oppose each and every evil plan Murmur has concocted. And within Ivalis's battle of Light vs. Dark, Edward is going to prove that he can forge his own destiny.
This the first book of The Way of the Shaman.
Millions of people log into the game world of Barliona everyday to escape their ho-hum reality. And that's because Barliona has it all: gold, princesses, elves. You name it. Some people actually log in for months on end living more so in Barliona than the real world. But others... they don't have a choice. Some criminals become prisoners locked inside the game with only one thing in mind. To survive.
Awaken Online: Catharsis
This is Book One of the Awaken Online series.
Jason is fed up with life as he knows it. In desperate need of something else, Jason logs in to the game Awaken Online. At first, he doesn't quite get what's going on. He's got no quest, there's no bad guys for him to fight, and he no hero that he can recognize. As a matter of fact, it's looking more and more like he's the game's villain.
The Trapped Mind Project
This is the first book of the Emerilia series.
In an attempt to escape his high-owered life, Austin Zane turns to Emerilia. It's a VR game where he plays Dave the half-dwarf. Soon, however, Dave discovers a shocking revelation. Real life--Earth--as he knows it is a lie. Earth is actually an extremely advanced simulation whereas Emerilia is the real world.
Respawn is Book One in the Killstreak Epic Fantasy LitRPG.
Lord Kadorax Darkarrow is a man you don't want to mess with. Although born on Earth, on Agglor...he's the meanest assassin around. So much so that he's the head of the Blackened Blades--a feared assassin's guild--and has only had to respawn once. Well, that is until a group of Jackals forces him to respawn back at level one. Now, he's on a mission to regain his former glory, locate the Jackals, and destroy their gods!
Marcus and his friends log in to a brand new video game hoping to escape the dull realities of the real world. However, upon log-in, Marcus finds himself isolated from his friends and in a remote village knee-deep in goblins.
After helping the townsfolk defend their city, Marcus becomes a beacon of hope for the village. And one who must now help the troubled citizens rebuild and restock.
This is unlike any game Marcus has ever played before. He must continue to defend his new home and while doing so realizes that the goblins are the least of his worries.
This is the first book in the Perimeter Defense series.
Imagine entering a VR game and only being able to leave after expiration of your contract. That's what happened to Ruslan when he was contracted to command a star fleet inside. And he's only got one objective--survive for six months. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, after getting off to a rocky start and making a few noob mistakes. Ruslan realizes...he's gonna have to git gud.
This is the first book of the Play to Live series.
In a near-future Earth, a new pandemic has swept the globe. It's called the Perma Effect. It's where VR gamers get randomly sucked into their games forever leaving behind comatose shells of human beings. While this makes playing video games risky, it has proven useful to some. So when Max, an avid gamer, becomes a terminal cancer patient, he finds the Perma Effect to be a second chance inside of a sword-and-sorcery MMORPG.
- Kuznits, Mr Shemer (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 718 Pages - 08/08/2017 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)
The first book in the New Era Online series.
Oren was one of the game's most powerful and influential players--until a very rare and bizarre spell reverts him back to level one. And as a goblin nonetheless! Now, Oren's sworn to regain his power and wreak havoc on those who cursed him. If he can survive being a low-level fodder monster that is.
The Weirdest Noob
This is Book One of The Weirdest Noob series.
In Second World, the globe's foremost MMORPG, strange happenings are occurring. What should be a low-level mining area has become a hotly contested battleground between some of the game's strongest groups. This leaves all low-level players and NPCs as easy targets of brutal, violent assaults. But there's a reason behind this all. One which leaves the game's strongest players searching for the weirdest noob in the history of the game.
What are LitRPG Books?
LitRPG is one of the more unique subgenres of the Sci Fi/Fantasy genres--and that says a lot.
LitRPG stands for Literature Role Playing Game. So the book layout is like that of an RPG whether it's a video game based (like World of Warcrat, EverQuest, Diablo, etc...) or a tabletop game (i.e. Dungeons and Dragons or Warhammer 40k). And more often than not, the setting actually takes place between "reality" and a game world.
While within the game world, the protagonist or main character goes through the motions of gaining experience and leveling up. And that includes stat boosts for character development, weapons, and armor being incorporated into the writing.
For instance, you may see stat tables in the page layout describing + or - boosts in LVL (Level), EXP (Experience), STR (Strength), DEX (Dexterity), WIS (Wisdom), INT (Intelligence), etc. After receiving these stat boosts, you find that the main character will be able to utilize more techniques, skills, or magic in order to progress through the storyline.
The inclusion of stat tables can make LitRPG audiobooks rather polarizing. Either you love the audiobooks or you hate em. Plain and simple.
Commonly Used Terms in LitRPG
When reading through your first LitRPG, you may become a bit confused with some of the acronyms or terminologies used. Here is a list of some of basic terms and definitions to help clarify any confusion.
- RPG (Role Playing Game)- This is a game where the player becomes fully immersed in a particular role. For example, you can play the game as a different species, race, or class and perform specific occupations or talents in accordance with each.
- MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online RPG)- This is an RPG played online simultaneously with thousands and thousands of other gamers and characters. Many times you'll have to group up with other players in order to finish certain quests or vanquish powerful bosses.
- VRMMORPG (Virtual Reality Massive Multiplayer Online RPG)- Same as the MMORPG above but this time it's done in Virtual Reality.
- DPS (Damage per Second)- DPS is a standard to how hard your character hits. It determined how much damage is done via the use of weapons, magic, or skills to an enemy combatant.
- Tank- A tank is a game character designed to take the brunt of the damage--particularly when in a co-op party--during combat. Traditionally, tanks imply taunts and gain "aggro" to make the foe focus solely on them. This provides a single target for the party's healer to make it damage mitigation easier.
- Healer- Think of the healer as the combat medic of the group. Often healers are magic users found using healing spells or totems.
- STR (Strength)- This is a measure of how hard your character hits. This is a determining factor for many classes on physical melee damage or the amount that can be carried in the character's inventory.
- DEX (Dexterity)- Dexterity is often used to calculate a character's maneuverability through the game whether inside or outside of combat. It is also commonly used to help determine a character's ability to hit--particularly with ranged weapons--or chance to dodge incoming attacks.
- INT (Intelligence)- This stat is primarily used to determine the effectiveness in executing or learning non-magical skills. For example, INT would be important for lock picking or crafting abilities.
- WIS (Wisdom)- This is perhaps the most valued stat for Magic users. Wisdom often increases your mana pool and spell effectiveness.
- VIT (Vitality)- Vitality is a basic measure of your character's health. Increase this and you'll be able to last longer in fights. It also helps keep up your stamina outside of battle allowing you to run or perform other strenuous tasks for longer.
These are far from the only things you'll see too. Check out this glossary for more RPG terminology!
World Building and Storytelling in LitRPGs
World building and storytelling are important for any body of work, but for LitRPGs... They're absolutely crucial.
Storytelling quality has been a staple of RPG for the longest time now. How many of you D&D players out there just love it when you find a top-notch DM? Honestly, a great story does wonder for a campaign. And tabletop RPG isn't the only place full of great story. Recently, James Gunn of Guardian of the Galaxy and Scooby Doo fame claimed that Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic had some of the best story elements he's seen.
World building is doubly important in LitRPG as well. And that's because the author has to build two separate realities. One of the "real world" and the other of the "game world". Often these two worlds are so different as to give one an escape from the other. And it takes real tremendous talent to be able to construct each without caving in.
The Elements of a LitRPG Book
Taking a look at different LitRPGs, you'll see many common similarities. But there are 2 that really stand out to make a book truly part of the genre.
- There must be some type of overtly stated stat progression. This can include leveling, item upgrade, skill point gains, etc. If your character isn't leveling up in anyway, it's difficult to call your book LitRPG.
- A LitRPG needs to involve a game-type world or at least game mechanics WITH the main character having meta knowledge. This means that the protagonist needs to know that they're in a game and can bend the rules in accordance with. There is some infighting amongst fans of the genre as to what really constitutes this. However, the genre's still relatively new so it's still establishing its own boundaries.
You'll see other commonalities, but for me.... These two really set apart LitRPG from other genres of fantasy and science fiction.
Looking for More on the LitRPG Genre?
Get These Best LitRPG Books for Free!
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