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Mogworld is a science-fiction fantasy novel by British video-game critic Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw. It is his first published novel and the first novel published by Dark Horse Books.[1]

Mogworld
Mogworld.jpg
Front cover of first edition
AuthorYahtzee Croshaw
Cover artistMatt Cavotta
CountryAustralia
LanguageEnglish
GenreYoung adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Humor
PublisherDark Horse Books
Publication date
September 01, 2010
Media typePrint (paperback), Audiobook
Pages336 (first edition)
ISBN978-1-59582-529-2 (first edition, paperback)
OCLC200010939
LC ClassPR9619.4.C735M64 2010
Followed byJam 

Contents

SynopsisEdit

In a world full to bursting with would-be heroes, Jim couldn't be less interested in saving the day. His fireballs fizzle. He's awfully grumpy. Plus, he's been dead for about sixty years. When a renegade necromancer wrenches him from eternal slumber and into a world gone terribly, bizarrely wrong, all Jim wants is to find a way to die properly, once and for all.

On his side, he's got a few shambling corpses, an inept thief, and a powerful death wish. But he's up against tough odds: angry mobs of adventurers, a body falling apart at the seams — and a team of programmers racing a deadline to hammer out the last few bugs in their AI.[2]

PlotEdit

In the kingdom of Garethy, magic student Jim is attending St. Gordon's Magical College when he is killed during a student raid. Jim ascends to a realm of angels and love until he is suddenly brought back to life by necromancer Lord Dreadgrave along with others as part of a horde. Jim meets a fellow undead named Meryl, who is from Jim's home country of Borrigarde, and Thaddeus, a priest who constantly condemns Jim and states that he is on a holy quest. Jim also learns he is unable to permanently die: every time he dies his soul is returned to his body.

Three months later while working for Dreadgrave, Jim comes across a rogue named Slippery John. He learns from him that fifteen years ago that an event called “The Infusion” prevented anyone from dying, being born, or aging; with those dying being resurrected in new bodies at churches.

Angels from the “Dead World,” the realm where those who have died go before returning to their bodies, arrive and delete Dreadgrave, his castle and the horde. Jim, Meryl and Thaddeus manage to escape, with Jim referring to the angels as “Deleters.” They come across a vicar named Barry, also well as a group of adventurers, among them Slippery John and Drylda, an adventurer afflicted with a mysterious condition known as the “Syndrome.” Slippery John also tells Jim of the Magic Resistance in the city of Lolede, a secret group devoted to ending the Infusion.

Barry attempts to set the trio on fire, but the residents of the town of Applewheat save them. Jim and Barry are killed in the fight: Barry is possessed by Deleters, while Jim renders Drylda to a state of catatonia after touching her while dead.

Meryl and Thaddeus split from Jim, who then takes a catatonic Drylda to the city of Yawnbore. There he finds the city covered in a magic barrier, as well as the residents acting strangely. He comes across Barry again, who has been infused with magical powers and claiming to be working for a god named “Si-Mon,” looking to destroy him. Jim escapes and meets a group of pirates called the Bloated Rats, who agree to take Jim to Lolede. However, during a fight which includes Jim rescuing Meryl and Thaddeus, the Bloated Rat's ship is destroyed and Jim plunges into the ocean.

After sinking, Jim finds himself transported to a mysterious realm of Deleters, where he is soon imprinted by mysterious messages that he can recall by going into a trance. It soon transpires the messages are actually a combination of chat logs and emails from the developers of Mogworld, headed by Don Sunderland, Bill “Dub” Williams, and newcomer Simon Townshend. Don and Dub despise Simon for his irritating attitude and poor work ethic. Soon Don goes on vacation; afterward Simon takes the opportunity to seize control of the game by hacking the security systems, locking Dub out, and tasking Barry with taking over the world.

Jim washes ashore on a beach, where he is reunited with Meryl and Thaddeus once again. Now on the same continent as Lolede, Jim and his party travel through the city of Cronenburg. Jim unwittingly commits fraud by bestowing adventuring points, a type of currency. This causes him to be imprisoned and interrogated by Mr. Wonderful, a murderous elf, and Bowg, his stoic companion, on behalf of the Adventurer's Guild.

The trio are imprisoned in the dungeon, where Jim is blackmailed into working for Mr. Wonderful to expose the magic resistance. Jim eventually finds the magic resistance: headed by the former lord of the Malevolands, Baron Civious and his wife. Civious explains to Jim that they have discovered two important things: those afflicted with the Syndrome are in fact being controlled by Deleters, and their central location is hidden somewhere in the world, dubbed the “Nexus.” Jim also directly communicates with Dub through world chat.

Mr. Wonderful and company arrive to take the Magic Resistance into custody, revealing Jim's betrayal. However Barry arrives and conquers the city with his immense power. Jim flees, abandoning Meryl, and hides. He is found by Slippery John and Thaddeus, and the three return to the hideout to find the location of the Nexus. Dub possesses Drylda, and explains to Jim that he needs him to corrupt the main server in order to remove Simon's encryptions to the game, as his undead state renders him a bug that can cause other things to crash; explaining that it is what happened to Yawnbore after Simon deleted Dreadgrave's fortress. Dub also transports them to Mount Murdercruel, the highest mountain in the region, where the Nexus is located.

Slippery John freezes to death, leaving Jim and Thaddeus to climb the mountain. Mr. Wonderful and Bowg catch up with them, but Mr. Wonderful betrays Bowg upon learning Jim can end the Infusion and lets them go. Jim and Thaddeus arrive at the Nexus; Meryl is deleted by Simon and Thaddeus is atomized by Barry.

Jim locates the machine, where he spreads his corruption after killing himself. This causes the server of Mogworld to crash, resetting the game to its primary stages and erasing all other lifeforms aside from Jim and Barry. Barry and Simon confront Jim where Jim learns the truth: their world was created for a game. Simon attempts to transfer Barry to the company intranet, but Jim manages to corrupt Barry, destroying him. These actions lead to Simon getting fired.

Dub returns and apologizes to Jim: saying they had no idea the NPCs of their game had become self-aware. Dub promptly deletes Jim after confirming there is no afterlife. Feeling bad, he attempts to resurrect Jim as a warrior and a necromancer respectively, but neither work. Finally, Dub resets the timeline so that Jim's original death never happened.

The book ends with a review of Mogworld: stating NPC permadeath has been added and that players create avatars instead of possessing ones already in the world.

CharactersEdit

NPCsEdit

  • Jim: The protagonist of the novel. He was originally killed at the age of 23 while attending college, and was resurrected by Lord Dreadgrave. He is a pessimistic, jaded, sarcastic misanthrope who quests to find a way to permanently die again, and has no desire to be a hero. He is also a mage, possessing a few spells that aid him in his journey such as Firebolts and Bunny Morph.
  • Meryl: A female undead who travels with Jim. Unlike Jim she is optimistic, caring, outgoing, and generally naive. She is also extremely prideful of her home country of Borrigarde, where Jim is also from, and desires to free the land from oppression. Jim finds her annoying but she is vital to keeping his body intact as she knows how to sew it back together.
  • Thaddeus: An undead priest who burns with such religious fervor that it has left him extremely disillusioned. He constantly (and hypocritically) condemns Meryl and Jim's actions while performing them himself, believing himself to be on a mission from God. However it soon transpires he is a powerful magic user.
  • Slippery John: A rogue who aids Jim on his travels who refers to himself in third person. While coming off as creepy, stupid, smug and incompetent, it is revealed it is actually a clever facade to protect himself from the Syndrome.
  • Drylda: A female adventurer who is afflicted with Syndrome, leaving her mostly catatonic. She is "married" is Slippery John.
  • Barry: A vicar who was magically infused by Simon to become the ruler of the world. He constantly tries to dictate order and does not tolerate it when his demands are not met. Barry easily loses his patience and temper when things do not go his way, and often resorts of magical violence to silence those who oppose him. His goal is to spread the "truth" as much as possible and confine everyone to a world where only the most righteous of people live.
  • Mr. Wonderful: An elf who, in the words of Jim, is a murdering psychotic bastard, who works for the Adventurer's Guild. Despite this, he secretly abhors the post-Infusion world, since people don't die permanently he cannot get proper fulfillment out of murder. He is often seen carrying a butterfly knife and often uses the word "little" as an adjective.
  • Bowg: A dwarf who is Mr. Wonderful's companion, tying him to the Adventurer's Guild. Bowg is mainly stoic and expressionless, only stating facts taken at their literal value.
  • Baron Civious: The former dark ruler of the Malevolands, he is the head of the Magic Resistance. His attempts to come across as dark and sinister cause him to be admonished by his wife.
  • Lord Dreadgrave: A necromancer who originally brought Jim to life, along with several others to be part of his horde before he realized they possessed free will. Despite this, he is extremely compassionate towards his workers and treats them kindly. He was deleted by Simon.

DevelopersEdit

  • Simon Townshend: The main antagonist of the novel. A developer who was recently hired, he annoys his fellow co-workers with his irritating attitude and poor work ethic, being referred to as a "dickhead." He later goes on a mad power trip and tries to take over the game, having Barry create a religion under his name, hacking the security systems and locking Dub out of his admin tools.
  • Bill "Dub" Williams: A sensitive developer who discovers the NPCs have become self aware, and hires Jim to help stop Simon.
  • Don Sunderland: The head of the Mogworld project. Don is usually portrayed as angry and sarcastic, and hates Simon with a passion. He later returns as a main character in Jam.
  • Brian Garret: CEO of Loincloth Entertainment, the publisher of Mogworld.

ReferencesEdit