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The Eight-Bit Bard: A fantasy novel set to the tune of classic computer role-playing games.

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The evil sorcerer Ssor Ssorensen must have attended the "freeze them with perpetual winter" school of villainy, because when he and his minions conquered the town of Noresha, the first thing he did (after taking a nice, hot bath) was encase the city in ice. Then he laid out a thirteen-dungeon obstacle course challenge, filled with mind-twisting riddles, fiendish traps, and The evil sorcerer Ssor Ssorensen must have attended the "freeze them with perpetual winter" school of villainy, because when he and his minions conquered the town of Noresha, the first thing he did (after taking a nice, hot bath) was encase the city in ice. Then he laid out a thirteen-dungeon obstacle course challenge, filled with mind-twisting riddles, fiendish traps, and a bevy of the most monstrous guardians a conqueror's shoestring budget can afford, because that's what the best of the bad guys do. Strife inevitably brings resistance. A band of heroes led by Yorel the paladin, calling themselves the Phoenix Dragons, are the front runners to challenge the sorcerer and put an end to his menace. This is not their story. This is the story of Endrew the bard, a fallen hero and humiliated former Phoenix Dragon, who has to team up with a pack of misfits just to make it through the week. His companions include an untrained rogue, an unusually sophisticated half-orc mage, a misplaced pixie, a dwarven monk full of unlikely theories, and a halfling warrior who wants more than anything just to be tough. Endrew and his unlikely crew set their sights on surpassing the champions and saving the city from evil, but before they can do that they must surmount their shortcomings just to survive. For a mismatched group that can't even settle on a party name, that may be a tall order indeed.


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The evil sorcerer Ssor Ssorensen must have attended the "freeze them with perpetual winter" school of villainy, because when he and his minions conquered the town of Noresha, the first thing he did (after taking a nice, hot bath) was encase the city in ice. Then he laid out a thirteen-dungeon obstacle course challenge, filled with mind-twisting riddles, fiendish traps, and The evil sorcerer Ssor Ssorensen must have attended the "freeze them with perpetual winter" school of villainy, because when he and his minions conquered the town of Noresha, the first thing he did (after taking a nice, hot bath) was encase the city in ice. Then he laid out a thirteen-dungeon obstacle course challenge, filled with mind-twisting riddles, fiendish traps, and a bevy of the most monstrous guardians a conqueror's shoestring budget can afford, because that's what the best of the bad guys do. Strife inevitably brings resistance. A band of heroes led by Yorel the paladin, calling themselves the Phoenix Dragons, are the front runners to challenge the sorcerer and put an end to his menace. This is not their story. This is the story of Endrew the bard, a fallen hero and humiliated former Phoenix Dragon, who has to team up with a pack of misfits just to make it through the week. His companions include an untrained rogue, an unusually sophisticated half-orc mage, a misplaced pixie, a dwarven monk full of unlikely theories, and a halfling warrior who wants more than anything just to be tough. Endrew and his unlikely crew set their sights on surpassing the champions and saving the city from evil, but before they can do that they must surmount their shortcomings just to survive. For a mismatched group that can't even settle on a party name, that may be a tall order indeed.

30 review for The Eight-Bit Bard: A fantasy novel set to the tune of classic computer role-playing games.

  1. 4 out of 5

    Chris Moyer

    Clever wordplay, a fun story, and nostalgic dopamine hits make this a real page turner. In the grand tradition of fantasy novels written out of games, this reminded me of several parts Ready Player One and several parts Gord the Rogue or Forgotten Realms. Unlike many of those, this tackles the game head-on, putting the protagonists smack dab in the middle of a computer role-playing game, with a lot of fun puzzles to solve with the characters and tongue in cheek jokes and references. A+, would re Clever wordplay, a fun story, and nostalgic dopamine hits make this a real page turner. In the grand tradition of fantasy novels written out of games, this reminded me of several parts Ready Player One and several parts Gord the Rogue or Forgotten Realms. Unlike many of those, this tackles the game head-on, putting the protagonists smack dab in the middle of a computer role-playing game, with a lot of fun puzzles to solve with the characters and tongue in cheek jokes and references. A+, would read again.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kalaivani

    If you are a gamer or closely related to one, you will know why it deserves the 5 stars and some more....

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kris Schnee

    I can kind of see what the appeal is supposed to be: LitRPG with the assumptions of an oldschool game in the sense of grid-based mazes and strict levels and respawning rules. There's also the unusual element that the main character is basically a former player-character who's been abandoned by the mysterious Player because the game's rules let the Player ditch party members and create new ones out of nowhere. That's interesting. But the style was trying to be clever in a way that repeatedly rubb I can kind of see what the appeal is supposed to be: LitRPG with the assumptions of an oldschool game in the sense of grid-based mazes and strict levels and respawning rules. There's also the unusual element that the main character is basically a former player-character who's been abandoned by the mysterious Player because the game's rules let the Player ditch party members and create new ones out of nowhere. That's interesting. But the style was trying to be clever in a way that repeatedly rubbed me the wrong way. I put it down in annoyance when I reached an early chapter title with a name like "Street Fighters and the Double Dragon". Other readers might appreciate the humor style more.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alberto Martín de Hijas

    An entertaining book for readers with experience playing old CRPGs (especially The Bard's Tale) but I have my doubts that the reader who is not well versed in them will be just as amused. An entertaining book for readers with experience playing old CRPGs (especially The Bard's Tale) but I have my doubts that the reader who is not well versed in them will be just as amused.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

    Fun gimmick, but it goes on for far too long. If it was half the length I would have absolutely loved it, but it gets rather repetitive and saggy in the middle. Still, I enjoyed it overall, and definitely recommend it to fans of old 80s/90s CRPGs.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Clump

    This was reasonably entertaining. Lots of fun references, and an interesting, on the ground perspective of D&D character life. It kind of bogs down as it goes along, though, and the secondary characters are really poorly developed.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alex Clark

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lim Seng

  9. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Tamboli

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mike

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jesus Ron

  12. 5 out of 5

    Steve

  13. 5 out of 5

    Wolkenfels

    Couldn't get into the story - too much clever word plays for my taste. Couldn't get into the story - too much clever word plays for my taste.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Lamastus

  15. 5 out of 5

    Karen Parker

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sam Tomkinson

  17. 4 out of 5

    David Evans

  18. 5 out of 5

    John Burrows

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tom Beaumont

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

  21. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

  23. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Gillespie

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jacek

  25. 4 out of 5

    DustinRip

  26. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Hill

  27. 5 out of 5

    Steve Reckelhoff

  28. 4 out of 5

    Greg Chatham

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brad

  30. 5 out of 5

    Blair

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