No, this blog isn’t about peanut butter. Sorry to disappoint!
We love a good spread as much as the next person, but no… we’re talking about LitRPG!
Haven’t heard of this game-lovers subgenre? Check out our other blog >
“Crunchy” and “creamy” LitRPG refer to how role-playing elements interact with the rest of the story.
“Crunchy” and “creamy” LitRPG refer to how role-playing elements like stats, leveling up, and inventory interact with the rest of the story. LitRPG can be smooth and silky for lovers of light reading or chock full of data for those who like a little more to chew on. No matter what type of gamer or reader you are, you are sure to find a LitRPG story that you’ll want to sink your teeth into!
First, let’s talk more about all things creamy in the LitRPG world…
Creamy LitRPG titles are perfect for newcomers to the genre!
Role-playing storylines with this… texture… give the reader less data and more context when it comes to progression. Creamy LitRPG titles are perfect for newcomers to the genre and even non-gamers alike! Since there’s little to no need for the reader to be familiar with tabletop or computer gaming, it’s easy to pick up a creamy LitRPG and step right into a brand-new world.
A great example of this is the debut science fiction novel turned Spielberg action film, Ready Player One.
In that story, the main character must collect clues that lead him and other players to an Easter egg, hidden by a larger-than-life game creator. Each character levels up organically as they move through this increasingly difficult challenge, but stats and figures aren’t the focus. This makes it super easy for anyone to pick up a series like this without being an expert gamer!
If this sounds like you’re kind of adventure, check out The Nameless Restaurant by Tao Wong.
Narrated by Emily Woo Zeller, this cozy fantasy puts the reader in the heart of Toronto where a magical restaurant hides in plain sight. This title is the creamiest, offering the listener no data whatsoever while introducing characters in a magical realm – much like the popular cozy coffee game, Coffee Talk! Learn more about this creamy LitRPG >
What if you enjoy a heartier narrative? Read on, Player One. (See what we did there?)
Crunchy LitRPG titles are data-heavy and perfect for seasoned gamers!
On the other side of this literary PB&J, you have the crunchy LitRPG subgenre. Stories that fall into this category are data-heavy, giving the reader plenty of stats to let you know how the characters are progressing through the story. With each interaction and challenge, stats like strength, constitution, and HPs (hit points) increase or decrease depending on what is happening to the character. They are key plot points that help to push the story along and give stakes to every level until the climactic end.
A popular example of this is the ever-popular LitRPG saga, The Land series by Aleron Kong.
Arguably one of the most stat-heavy role-playing storylines you can enjoy, this series follows a hapless main character who is tricked into a world of banished gods, demons, goblins, sprites, and magic. Opening with him and others playing a virtual RPG, the narrative is gamer-centric from the start. After he awakes in the new world, scenes mimic the dynamics of the virtual game he left behind… but with way bigger consequences!
Storylines like this one demand at least some knowledge of game mechanics and lingo as they are both used heavily to show progression and damage as the adventure continues.
If you want to listen to an audiobook that’s more for the gamer at heart, we would suggest the Arachnomancer series by Dustin Tigner.
Starting with Wrong Divinity, this portal fantasy series features dual narration (Qarie Marshall and Reba Buhr) and an adventure that perfectly balances comedy with heavy themes. Recently, we released the second installment of this series, Stray Shadow!
There you have it!
From crunchy to creamy and everywhere in between, the LitRPG genre is full of stories that will transport any listener to exciting new realms… no game console required.