What makes a bad litRPG?

Discussion in 'All Things LitRPG' started by Yuli Ban, Jan 5, 2019.

  1. Brian Foster

    Brian Foster Level 8 (Thug) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    I mostly agree with your assessment, but, in the author's defense, it is written well. It kept me turning pages, but, every time I stopped, I was like, "What the crap did I just read? Did that really just happen?

    As to how I got through five books, I bought and read the first four of these as paper copies as this was just prior to my conversion to ebooks. To be honest, I had such a hard time finding books I wanted to read at all, I tended to stick with stuff that I wasn't enjoying for way too long. Nowadays, with all the choices available instantly, I'm much quicker to abandon a book/series if it's not working for me.
     
  2. WaywardDreaming

    WaywardDreaming Level 6 (Footpad) Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    I've been trying to think of anything useful to put in here for a few days because, honestly, I find that what can absolutely drive me nuts about Book A will be completely OK for me in Book B. Sometimes it depends on the quality of writing or what I'm in the mood for. Buuuut that's not what this thread is really about.

    There have been a few things I've noticed about the books in the genre I couldn't entirely get into, and the running theme seemed to be "power fantasy featuring a potentially sociopathic character which the narrative wasn't in the least interested in discussing." I'm not going to name names, but such highlights included MCs that were jokey and fun one second, and literally torturing minor characters without mercy the next, without a single twinge of remorse or self awareness. Which could be fine, IMHO, for a villain. As the series hero, well...definitely not my cup of tea. (To be clear, I don't mind so long as the point of the story is that they're kind of a monster. I've actually read several books where "the hero was the villain all along" and found them to be incredible. They just weren't in this genre.)
     
  3. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 12 (Rogue) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Reminds me of an old post long ago about the pillars of Character, Setting, and Plot. It said something along the lines of, "The readers will open the book if one is good. They will read to the end of the book if two are good. They will remember the book if all three are good." (A great saying IMO. I really wish I could find the source on this, but it had to be ten years ago now.)
     
  4. Allen White

    Allen White Level 7 (Cutpurse) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    I'd add prose. I sometimes do a prose check if I'm unsure whether to read a book. If I don't like how it's written, I won't read it. There's some crap writing out there (I'm looking at you, Ernest Cline).
     
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  5. Kidlike101

    Kidlike101 Level 17 (Theurgist) Citizen

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    @Allen White

    You can do a lot worse then ready player one... like the poem he wrote!

     
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  6. Bigmohunter

    Bigmohunter Level 4 (Warrior) Citizen

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    My biggest pet peeve is when they have a harem theme and all they have is bad porn with no plot. I am all for harem but I grab a book and it has no plot. The other thing that drives me nuts is when the character has a ridicules nonsensical amounts of knowledge. By this I mean they know the perfect mix of saltpeter, sulfur and charcoal to make gunpowder. They also know how to wield a sword and are a expert in unarmed combat. If there is a problem they have the perfect obscure information for solving the problem.
     
  7. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 12 (Rogue) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Makes me think of the anime trope when someone sees a shoe on the ground and is like, "There are only 12,123 people who bought the 2023 edition of Nike ultra-blacks in Japan and this one has a custom gold aglet. There are only three cobblers in Sapporo that could have made it and only one sells that Nike. Our suspect must be a regular of the shop or went there in the last 3 months. Etc..."
     
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  8. Bigmohunter

    Bigmohunter Level 4 (Warrior) Citizen

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    That's the one. Nobody even remotely human would know that unless it's specific to them on a daily basis.
     
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  9. Viergacht

    Viergacht Thunderdragon Roleplaying LitRPG Author Beta Reader Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    For LitRPG, with it's specific genre conventions, what turns me off are:

    Meaningless mechanics
    For example, a character that puts absolutely no points into Charisma yet is still the party leader, manages to interact well with NPCs, and has several women lusting after him. Why bother including a stat if it makes no impact on your character?

    Boring Worlds
    One of my great pleasures in reading is being introduced to interesting creatures, ecologies, cultures and characters. LitRPG tends to recycle video game tropes, which are recycled D&D tropes, which were ganked from various fantasy novels over 50 years old . . . and that's a genre convention, OK, but try to do a something a little unique with your fantasy world.

    Goofy real world plots
    You expect me to believe a world economy will depend on a single video game? That's a little too much suspension of disbelief. If you're gonna halfass the real world part, just don't bother.

    Dialog that's trying to be funny or flirty and reads like it was written by a robot.

    Suddenly inserting graphic sex scenes. I don't want to pay to read someone else's wank material. Same goes for extreme torture or creepy bigotry.
     
  10. Joshua Bender

    Joshua Bender Level 5 (Veteran) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Yea, have to admit the whole "single game" world economy is pretty damm stupid, though if a company has a monolopy on the gateway tech to the game world, it's possible that the game could overshadow more popular ones. I really don't buy the idea that everyone will want to play a game simply based around a fantasy world because it's the only one around, but more along the lines there is something in that game that is impossible to find anywhere else.

    I also really find the "quickie" sex scenes inserted simply for fluff to be very annoying. I don't mind reading mature content, but there are ways to write it where the scene isn't set like a corny porn script. Harem books in general are just in my eyes, lazy writing. There are ways to write in love or romance without resorting to that paticluar trope constantly, and I find that the tension and suspense within romance makes for better writing than just giving the main character token sex, then only using danger to the harem, etc as the only tension. I's just pathetic.

    Mechanics are a tricky thing, personally I find learning about magic systems to be very interesting, though it is frustrating that authors often don't use their own systems very well. I'm not sure if it's just by poor mechanic design or if the authors concentrate more on the action, but sometimes the best parts of the world are left behind in favor of fixations on the generic parts of their systems that are quicker to write content for.

    There are some really good examples though, of well written magic systems that I truly envy. Garth Nix had a really good one in his use of magic as a great charter, something that I drew inspiration a bit from, in my references to the "Great seal" In something that is part of the very fabric of my world's reality, and works as part of the magic and separate from it with it's own designs and purpose. It can also, like the charter in Garth Nix's books be manipulated for things like truth stones, blood oaths, and tries to prevent any path towards highly destructive knowledge.

    The biggest issue is trying to describe entry level into the system from the ground up, when your developing a new character. I've finally started to get the hang of my own system and it's limits after I've started my fourth character development. It's not an easy thing to do. You can see the same sort of progression in other authors as they also explore their own world mechanics. Piers Anthony is a very good example that comes to mind. If you read the series, both his writing and his world mechanics mature through the course of his Xanth novels. So yea, I don't always expect wonders from the first book, or other early parts of a writer's world building, but the ones that have the best development early on are ones that have written intricate work before, and are good at it.
     
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