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WIP The Wandering Inn by Pirateaba - M - Original Fantasy

Discussion in 'Other Review Board' started by Glimmervoid, Aug 28, 2017.

  1. Glimmervoid

    Glimmervoid Seventh Year

    Dec 21, 2011
    Title: The Wandering Inn
    Author: Pirateaba
    Rating: M (no official rating, so I'm basing this on the violence and coarse language. Mostly it is T but I think some of the later chapters push it into M)
    Genre: Action/Adventure
    Status: Work in Progress
    Fandom: Original Fiction
    Published: July 27, 2016
    Pairings: None
    Link: Here, First Chapter
    Summary: An inn is a place to rest, a place to talk and share stories, or a place to find adventures, a starting ground for quests and legends.

    In this world, at least. To Erin Solstice, an inn seems like a medieval relic from the past. But here she is, running from Goblins and trying to survive in a world full of monsters and magic. She’d be more excited about all of this if everything wasn’t trying to kill her.

    But an inn is what she found, and so that’s what she becomes. An innkeeper who serves drinks to heroes and monsters–

    Actually, mostly monsters. But it’s a living, right?

    This is the story of the Wandering Inn.

    Updates every Tuesday and Saturday.


    Who's heard of a litrpg? A litrpg is a genre were people from Earth end up in a world that runs on RPG rules. This can be VR or, as is the case with The Wandering Inn, it can be another world. Often it is an excuse to give the main character super magic/martial powers with no effort. Not so in this story.

    In The Wandering Inn, Erin Solstice, a girl from our world, ends up in a stock fantasy land in which classes, levels and skills are a real thing. Unfortunately a fantasy world isn't a safe place for a modern girl and she almost dies several times. Through chance she stumbles upon an abandoned inn, in which she takes shelter one night. As a result she gains the [Innkeeper] class and ends up opening an inn.

    The story chronicles her trials attempting to run an inn in a world full of monsters (many of who are also her customers). She's also something of a chess prodigy and, while not world class in our world, in a fantasy world where chess is new and without modern chess theory she is among the best in the world.

    And it is really great. The first few chapters are mostly Erin running from things and surviving in her abandoned inn. It's well enough written in its own right, but once she gets off the ground, the story comes into its own.

    The world becomes deeper and more developed, with non humans like drakes, gnolls and insect people taking center stage. We find out about plots, plans and history and learn how Erin is helping and hindering them just by being herself. Who thought teaching a goblin or an insect worker chess could change the world? Not Erin but it very well might.

    As the story pulls back from daily survival, we also get more characters. Perhaps the most important is Ryoka Griffin, another girl from our world, who has become a Runner. A Runner is a kind of delivery person who carries messages and items between cities. She's incredibly well realized and an utter bitch to just about everyone she meets. But she's written well enough that you don't end up hating her.

    Grammar and spelling is top notch as far as I noticed. Updates have been long and regular and the web serial has been going since July 27, 2016, so there's a lot to read.

    A cool non-standard premise, a deepening world, interesting characters and the occasional really good fight scene means I really can't recommend this story enough.

  2. oakgem217

    oakgem217 First Year

    Nov 30, 2014
    I read this before. I eventually stopped, however, because I just lost interest. I simply got bored with the plot as it was. However, Up until that point, this was a fantastic story, with no grammatical errors that I can remember. 4/5
  3. cucio

    cucio First Year

    Aug 13, 2016
    High Score:
    I've been following this serial on and off ("on" meaning when I haven't anything better at hand for some light reading before going to sleep) since the author published an interesting Erfworld fanfiction,The Last Turn. The Wandering Inn is, okayish, I guess, but I don't understand its popularity in topwebfiction.com.

    You have, of course, the usual what-if interesting ideas that stem from Connecticut-Yankee-type plots, but these days the trope is a bit overdone. Also on the plus side, strong, flawed, non-2D female characters abound.

    However, Pirateaba is still cutting her teeth as a writer, and the "Wandering" in the title does the story justice: it contains a lot of meandering, an unhealthy amount of self-inserts (which, after all, are to be expected in this particular "Jane Doe from Arkansas goes to Dragonland" situation) and a good number of cringe-worthy moments. As an unedited work, almost every instalment contains typos (to the point that the author always opens a thread in the comment section for readers to report them), naming mistakes (lots of characters to keep track of) and continuity errors (lots of side plots to keep track of). There doesn't seem to be any semblance of an overarching plot, it reads mostly as sandbox playing.

    Can't really recommend it, unless you enjoy the genre to the point that you can overlook the story's many flaws. I'll go with 2/5, but I am convinced the author has the skill and imagination to do much better if she takes time to actually plan and develop a story. I liked The Last Turn better.
  4. Silly

    Silly First Year

    Oct 12, 2015
    High Score:
    I started reading this a little bit ago. I'm halfway through the posted chapters and it's been pretty great so far.

    The story does have its flaws, as some other reviewers have already pointed out, but the amount of worldbuilding work that has been put into it is pretty incredible. The plot feels like it is moving at an incredibly slow pace, but so far I'm reading each chapter eager to just learn more about how this strange RPG world works. I find that most of the recurring characters are reasonably interesting as well, which really helps drive the story along.

    I'd give this story a 4.5/5, rounded down. I have similar feelings about this story as I do about Worm. It's not perfect and parts of it definitely remind you that you're not reading a professional work, but it's incredibly long and pretty engaging, and I think the upsides of the story heavily outweigh the downsides.
  5. Thaumologist

    Thaumologist Chief Warlock

    Jun 27, 2011
    Chester, England
    I started this in late November, and got through a good chunk of it in a few days. Going by napkin maths, around 100k into it. And at that point (2.21) I sort of stopped reading it, and haven't picked it back up yet, even though I was really enjoying it. It was more... The minor things that had bothered me finally were enough to make me stop.

    Specifically, at this point, it was Erin's decision to hire staff.

    At the same point, I know I've stuck with stories that bothered me more, but normally when that tipping point comes after the subscription, which makes it effort to drop the story (I suppose I could just ignore the emails), as opposed to just Xing out.

    The story is long, engaging, and (mostly) reasonably well-written, which puts it miles ahead of most of the competition. Characters feel consistentish (although Erin being overly kind/naive is, as mentioned previously, irritating), and it appears there's been a lot of thought going into building the world up.

    I want to finish reading this, so I'm heading back in soonish, which means I might revise up/down later, but for now I'm confident in giving this a 4/5
  6. Nemrut

    Nemrut The Black Mage Prestige

    Aug 9, 2009
    Department of Post-Mortem Communications
    High Score:
    I started reading this a while ago and was blown away. I really, really loved it. It started strong and it stayed strong. Then, late in the second book, came the two chapters of the antium wars, which, at the time, I wasn't really prepared to read, not because they were bad but because they kinda interrupted the momentum, even if they included bits of information that were both, interesting and gave needed context to characters and plot developments that had happened and were going to happen.

    Still, I kinda took a break for a few months, mostly because I just wasn't in the mood for much reading in general, until today, where I finished reading book 2 and am close to starting book 3. I will, of course, add my thoughts once I have fully caught up.

    But I felt confident in sharing my feelings for this work right now, as they are unlikely to change unless some alien takes over the authors mind and finished the story for her.

    I guess we should get the flaws out first. Yes, there are a few too many povs or interrupting segments. The story does wander a bit and it can rob the story of momentum. To its defense, I haven't read a bad chapter so far, or a plot that I haven't enjoyed on some level, but when I started something new or the plot flashed to someone that wasn't Erin or Ryoka, I did frown and thought "man, I want to get back to Erin" but then the new segment won me over.

    They always do.

    The weakest section were the chapters about the jester dude. First part was solid, the second was, for me , the low point of the story. And while in general there are no bad long running povs, I have to say, for some reason that I honestly cannot explain, is that I don't quite like the Rags chapters. I don't understand, by all accounts, I should be loving them, but I am only lukewarm on them. Maybe there will be something that will truly pull me in.

    Then there are some story decisions that weren't quite my cup of tea. Like the King of Ruin's entourage, I kinda wanted them to be the Phantom Troupe from Hunter x Hunter, you know? Badasses who would do horrible things but were the best of friends who loved and respected each other but instead the king is the thing that is holding them together and they are rivals for his attention of sorts. That was disappointing as that is the usual take on these things. So yeah, there were small bits like that sprinkled over the story.

    Similar with Lady Magnolia, I don't dislike her or her role, but yeah, just very minor nitpicks that rub me the wrong way personally or that I would have liked to be handled differently.

    There are also aspects of the plot and where it goes with regard to the level system that I am not too hot about, admittedly.

    But the story does so much right. So the great two strengths of the story are the characters and the world-building. I love both.

    The world-building is just pure joy, for me. There is such creativity and imagination pumped into this world and it feels like the author has as much fun building the story as I do reading about it, probably more. The world is vivid, populated with interesting figures, races, places, history and rules. They are all explored and developed organically and I have fallen in love with piratabeas take on several races and the antium are just awesome and I love to explore them.

    And then she breathes such humanity in the characters who live in this world. Erin is, to me, one of my favorite protagonists that I have read in quite a while. Honestly, reading about her, her way of looking at the world and the way she interacts with it is just delightful and brightens my mood. She is, in her core, a genuinely good and kind person, a person who would enrich the life of anyone who knew her. A person to respect and like.

    These types of characters are hard to pull off, without them becoming boring or preachy or insufferable or just unrelatable and unlikeable but Erin is never any of these things. She is not perfect, not by a longshot and she makes mistakes, she has shortcomings but Erin has never been anything but a fascinating character to follow.

    It's such a positive experience and seeing her explore this crazy new world and interact with its inhabitants has just been such a delight and has been one of the most fun experiences in reading that I had in quite a while.

    Ryouka has been a fun character too. I guess she is the more relatable character overall, being a more cynical and common sense type of character and I quite like her and her journey and development as a person. I find her fascinating as well. Initially I feared the bare feet thing was going to be a lame gimmick but it fit quite organically with her character. Similarly, I thought the * thing was going to be annoying but it never was and instead lend her an original and distinguishing charm to an already distinguished character.

    There are others and they are mostly fun. I quite like Pisces, Klbkch, the skeleton, the faeries and the rest. There are quite a lot but so far, I haven't really been disappointed.

    The story itself is fun and interesting. Room for improvement, sure, but I am enjoying the ride and excited where it leads me and I am in no hurry to there. There is no urgency for me, and that may be a good or a bad thing for some, but I am enjoying this more leisurely ride. I guess a tighter, more focused story is technically better, but I am enjoying the journey too much to be cross at all the detours we are taking.

    And lastly, let's talk the litrpg elements. When I saw there was leveling I immediately had the gamer flashbacks. I think Lungs said something like the gamer having victimized so many fandoms and I completely agree. While I won't deny that there is an appeal to it, usually those stories lead to the shmuck of a protag grinding the whole time and curbstomping his enemies and just focus on getting stronger.

    Not so in this story indeed. Personally, I think it was handled perfectly so far. Gaining a skill feels like an honest to god achievement. It feels rewarding, especially when Erin gains something special in those rare few instances. It is equally interesting that Ryoka is not engaging at all with it. Similarly, it was a great idea to not just give it to the main characters or the human characters in general but that almost everyone living in this world is able to gain levels and in fact, their whole societies and way of life is based on that.

    Now, I admit, not yet sure how I feel about them discovering new things about this system because of their unique "knowing games and stuff" perspective, but so far, I quite enjoyed the creative and fascinating take on things.

    So, all in all, yeah, it has flaws and it is not for everyone but if you like adventure and exploring new worlds with good characters, magic and fantasy in general then yes, this story is well worth checking out and the author deserves all the support she can get for sharing this great piece.

    I am just having a blast reading it and I want to kick myself for kinda falling out of it for a while, which again, was not due to the story but more being not in the right mind to enjoy it.

    So yeah, check it out. It is flawed, but to me, an easy 5/5. It is just satisfying and fun to read, at least to me.

    There are apparently plans to release this as both, ebook and eventually as actual books and I certainly know I will pick them up once that is the case.
  7. Andrela

    Andrela Plot Bunny DLP Supporter

    Apr 19, 2012
    Holy hell this story is addictive as fuck!

    I've started reading after I saw this thread and I can't put it down.

    Erin is a very compelling character to read about.

    I'm only on entry 11, but so far I rate it 5/5
  8. Sorrows

    Sorrows Professor Prestige DLP Supporter

    Jun 17, 2008
    High Score:
    It took me a few chapters to get into this but once you do it's very more-ish. The charecters are well realised and they stay true to themselves for the most part. When it comes to multi pov stories I always find myself wanting to skip some perspectives but that rarely happens in this one. It does seem to ramble, the plot operates on a continental scale so the actual charecter stuff mostly just feels like people getting on with their lives. Still I've been enjoying watching the charecters do that. 5/5 Totally worth the uninspiring start.
  9. Nemrut

    Nemrut The Black Mage Prestige

    Aug 9, 2009
    Department of Post-Mortem Communications
    High Score:
  10. Koalas

    Koalas The Chosen One DLP Supporter

    Sep 3, 2007
    Lol'd at the Wildebeast name drop. You know you're niche prolific when you have to be mentioned in an interview.

    As for TWI.. ehh. I like the concept but 10 chapters in nothing had grabbed me. Slice of life doesn't work when I'm completely uninterested in the mc.
  11. throwaawy

    throwaawy Third Year

    Apr 26, 2014
    binge-read this just last week and i'm really enjoying it so far. nemrut has already said much of what i feel about the fic so there's not much to else i can say, but i will add that i'm really glad Erin is not a straight example of a Incorruptable Pure Pureness. she's a friend to living things, she's naive, but sometimes she’s just plain wrong. she has clear breaking points and they happen just enough to keep her human, while not happening so much as to make her unstable.

    i particularly liked the whole arc with with a certain associate of hers so far. how some of her assumptions have really bitten her in the ass and had significant impact in the world around her. at first we get the naivety front and centre, or at least the insistent belief of a misunderstanding somewhere, but as soon as she gathered enough information and was in a position to do something about it, she was fairly decisive in resolving it (at least as far as she knows).

    i'm giving this a high 4-4.5/5 for now. as said earlier some povs work whilst others dont, but i really enjoy slice of life and the world building is great. i'm really liking how things continue to get deeper and the world expands without having to toss in seemingly new things out of nowhere since a lot of it has been background information for so long
  12. Stealthy

    Stealthy Fourth Year

    Feb 21, 2014
    Finished the first Volume.

    Everything about the premise is something I don't like. Gamer elements, Connecticut-Yankee stuff, the fact that this genre is filled with shitty Mary Sue self-inserts, etc. What made me give it a shot was, well, the Innkeeper bit. It's a sign that the author is going for something more humble, and that there's a real chance of the author completely dodging around those common pitfalls. And she does. Or at least Erin does.

    Didn't take long to figure out where the Mary Sue was hiding: In the secondary protagonist. Meet Ryoka Griffin. She can run like a Kenyan, is an expert martial artist, has perfect memory, and can also do parkour because why the fuck not. She's walked into this world a prodigy. Erin out-strategizing the strategist at chess is one thing, because it's highly specific, easily explained, and isn't used to bulldoze her way through life's problems. It instigates plot rather than resolving it. But goddamn, Ryoka can outrun all the professional Runners, she can go toe to toe with a moderately high level Adventurer, and can out freerun an Assassin. And that's without any class levels or skills helping her, which of course she makes a point of. "Because it feels like cheating" she said.

    Her one drawback is her personality, as she's kind of a cunt. At first, it's blunted by how hateable the people around her are - you really can't blame Ryoka for wanting to punch Pursua in the ovaries - and the people who aren't so hateable? They like her anyway, but at least the author eventually went full tilt into Ryoka's shittiness. It salvages the character, but even so, Ryoka's OP. Realizing that really soured me on her character and plotline.

    Some flaws with the writing as well. Definitely mediocre at first, and a lot of the talking-to-self bits are grating. Either use italics to show that they're thoughts or just blend it into an internal monologue. Those things exist for a reason. Author definitely has an aversion to dialogue tags for whatever reason, which gets confusing. Oh, and is it that hard to stick with one perspective at a time?

    I also really don't like plots where the powers that be fixate on the dimension hoppers, as it's rarely done well and the locals tend to insensibly over-invest. Magnolia gets half a pass because Ryoka, but still pushes too hard. Hell if I know why the King is so inspired, or why Gazi's so interested, or what the Gnolls could possibly see in Erin to make her so special. The Antinium, who are overall great, are the exception here because their interest in Erin has fuck all to do with the world she came from. What makes Erin so special is Erin herself and the effect she has on the Workers. She makes individuals that aren't violent Aberrations. Overall I really don't care about anything that happened outside of Liscor. I suppose it's unsurprising. I came to this story because the Innkeeper focus intrigued me, while getting away from that story trended towards the standard litrpg bullshit I don't like.

    But goddamn, that ending was good shit. I was ready to put this thing down before then, though now I'm unsure. That and how the author handles Erin are the high points of the story. Erin struggles. Ryoka makes ice cream perfectly, then cut to Erin not being able to figure it out. Ryoka turns out to be a talented mage, but Erin lacks the gift. She's nice and good (perhaps too much) but not incorruptible, and the author emotionally punishes her for it. She gets the occasional lucky break, but even when that happens she pays a price. Klbkch, Pisces, and others are good characters as well (and hell, even Ryoka's well written if you forgive her being overtalented), but where so many stories fail pirateaba knows how to treat a main character: like shit.

    While this review was mostly criticizing, I'm going with a 3/5 here. Fact is that the main Erin plotline is pretty solid, and it'd be pretty easy to cut out the weaker bits of the story (dungeon crawling excepted) without losing quality.