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WIP Seaborn by Captaink-19 - T - Original

Discussion in 'Original Fiction' started by Blorcyn, May 17, 2020.

  1. Blorcyn

    Blorcyn Minister of Magic DLP Supporter DLP Silver Supporter

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    Title: Seaborn
    Author: Captaink-19
    Rating: T
    Fandom: non - it’s its own fandom I suppose.
    Genre: LitRPG
    Status: WIP
    Library Category: General
    Pairings: None as yet.
    Summary:
    Domenic is a sailor who just wants a life at sea. A brewing war between nations turn the already dangerous seas into something perilous. Domenic is forced into an untenable position, one he escapes with his life – though there is a greater cost he’ll have to pay after his deal with the devil.

    Join Domenic as he explores the meaning and cost of both servitude and freedom!
    --------------------------------

    Updates on Sundays, US of A time. I think this is my favourite of the four, I'm gonna give it a 4.5/5. And let this be a lesson to us all, of how important and engaging and capturing a first chapter can be. A first chapter of sufficient hook will get your readers coming back to every update.

    This story follows Domenic Seaborn (last name taken by himself, as he's a bastard), who is a sailor in a LitRPG world. What does this mean?

    Well for one, it's not an 'isekai', SI, drop-in, or whatever you'd like to call it. This man was born in this world, he understands the system, he doesn't learn it alongside the reader, but instead there's a cabin boy introduced who he instructs, and from whom we get some of the more important details that we can't just get from inference and inspection. As a LitRPG, everyone has classes, points, skills and professions. They have HP and levels.

    As a good story, every bit of the above is in service to the character, and the story the author wants to tell. He's not wanking numbers for its own sake. That's probably the key sign of quality in any story like this, and vanishingly rare.

    Plot:
    We join Dom as he crews one of four rowboats and goes whaling. I like my sailing novels, I won't lie, and I can tell this man does too. He's got his jargon down pat, he stamps his authority on the page from the very first moment. His first chapter problem, as alluded to before, is sublime and immediately understandable. It's got a problem - the whale - a goal, dead whale and lots of money, and a ton of danger. We see who he is in the first moment, and what the world is like to an extraordinary degree in the first moments. We learn his essential character immediately, it's like you know him. I learnt more about Dom in this first chapter than I did about whichever MC you'd care to name in any fanfiction of more than 1M words.

    That said, the first act was the most engaging to me, and I think we're in the second now. The first act is like a story in brief. He hunts the whale, sure, and then that lands him in a position to take a job with a ship that's going to sea immediately again. It's a secret mission, definitely a bit dodge, and there are soldiers on the ship pretending to be petty officers over the real sailors, and not fooling anyone.

    It's a good mystery, and as Dom unravels it we learn a lot more about the world, its magic system, its geography and its politics. It culminates in a satisfying resolution, and a real gut-punch if I'm honest, before we move into the second arc, and learn the consequences of this first arc to the world, which are sure to be profound.

    It's about 22 chapters in at present. Each chapter is maybe 5k (if I had to guess) so there's a decent whack at it there, and he's pretty consistent in terms of quality, and pacing. Excepting a slightly saggy opening to the second act where I think he has so much to explore, of a matter that is profoundly interesting to Dom, that it slows noticeably. Happily, at time of recommendation we're picking up again, and a new major problem has presented itself that's put the pressure back on.

    Characters:

    Of the four, this has my favourite MC. Dom is likeable, intelligent, charming and hard-working. He's competent and cares about his job. It's a weird mix for a story, right? But in a fantastical world like this (and it does get fantastical, even though it starts out pretty 19th century sailor [not to say it loses that, but it gets more fantastical, as well]) it makes things understandable and relatable. He wants to be at sea, and be paid, and support his mother.

    The supporting characters are well-crafted but, as yet, transient. We get to know a good number of them, but there's no story-length side characters yet. The nature of being an itinerant sailor, I suppose. We get long enough with the important ones though that we bond to them, definitely. I'm sure it will be all the more rewarding when some of the bigger ones return.

    Characterisation is on point, there's a definite voice. Dialogue is generally well crafted, without annoying accents or anything like that.

    Dom is definitely on a journey to something, though to what, I can't guess yet. I think we're only just starting to see the shape of what he's going to struggle against now.

    Setting:

    The setting is top-notch. The pirates of Tulisang, the Median Ocean, the Salvage company, the Galleon. There all memorable details, and the world promises to be rich. It's a multi-race world, but we're not entirely deailing with Orange and blue Moralities. More like a colonial period kitchen-sink fantasy. Something like LOTR with more tea related politics.

    The RPG doesn't get in the way, it makes sense, and it a facet of his motivations, goals, concerns, but not overwhelmingly. It's like his bank balance in a way, it motivates him, it's present underneath everything (just like with everyone else you meet) but it's not crass. He wants to be 'rich' in the abstract, but he's got concrete goals and problems ahead of him, and I am now convinced that any challenges will keep up with his progress, for sure.

    This would be my must-read of the four, I suppose. Though the next two are also really strong, and it probably depends on the type of MC you'd like.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2020
  2. Thaumologist

    Thaumologist Dark Lord

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    I first picked this up a week or two back, and quite enjoyed it - for once, it's a LitRPG where every character lives in that world, and doesn't treat the system (as a gift from a well-endowed goddess) as the most useful thing ever. It's just a fact of life, and has benefits much like any other facet of civilization. As Blor mentions, it's treated like it's just part of life, and which makes sense, and we don't get chapters filled by Dom sitting in a tavern with a notebook and pencil, filling out spreadsheets to calculate maximum growth of all his skills.

    Dom feels much more real than a lot of characters - he's got some relatively simple goals, (and in act one) not much else he needs to act upon. Life is, if not great, then tolerable.

    The problem here is that all these are good points, but only when comparing to other LitRPGs - a good story should be good by itself, not just when compared to trash. The writing's alright, nothing jumped out as wrong or an odd choice, and definitely set the scene well.

    After the potential tone shift from accept Davy Jones' offer, I'm wary of where this could end up going. I don't think it will end up being a grimdark villain protagonist story, but at the same time, I feel there will be an inevitable slide downwards, and I'm not sure I'm going to really enjoy it

    Honestly, I think it's an easy 3/5, and I'd tend to 3.5/5; rounding up to 4/5, with the assumption that if it's not for you, don't keep going.
     
  3. Otters

    Otters Third Year ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I read this in a single sitting and got the compulsion to write both a LitRPG of my own and knuckle back down on Salt-Breaker.

    Anyone on the fence should definitely check this out. It's wholesome fun, with a generic setting and a light hand on the RPG elements. This is a good thing, because pushing too hard on either would have made them clash horribly. The praise given to how the gamification fits into the world above is on point, and I second it. The world almost reminds me of a novelty map design from Age of Empires, which I enjoy. Can't say that the non-human races are memorable or that I remember a single detail about them, but they're not shoved in your face, just left as filler detail, so it's never irritating.

    The shark-jumping moment with Davy Jones was built up to well, but I can't help but feel that things have teetered a bit since. It's slipped into the typical snowflake protagonist tinkering slooowly with abilities and window-shopping through lists of future skills that he can't afford. I'm getting strong tutorial level vibes, which is fine for a 2-3/5 forgettable story just kicking off, but until this point it was a 4+/5 story which seemed on the verge of the main plot unfolding.

    The first act had some solid moments. Redmund's role especially shone, and was a wonderful way to show the character choice to advantage - Dom isn't an absolute beginner like most protagonists, or the endgame tier opposite like many others. He's decently skilled, beginning to come into his own with a skill level reminiscent of a journeyman enjoying his first tastes of seniority and leadership. I like this position for the balance of responsibility over others and pressures from above creating potential for conflict.

    The other characters knocking around are too much like NPCs - friendly barkeep, trainer wizard, suspiciously-little-old-asian-lady-caricature gnome tailor, etc. It feels like the MC is very far removed from other real characters at the moment and living in a little bubble away from the story we were meant to have.

    This is a common pitfall for serial writing, and one I've landed in before myself. There are hints of movement like the owl and men asking about Dom, though, so I'm hopeful it won't drag on for too long.

    I'll give this a 4/5 for now - I feel the best of it is over, but am eager to be proven wrong.
     
  4. Sauce Bauss

    Sauce Bauss Minister of Magic DLP Supporter

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    @Paradise mentioned this in passing to me on Discord, and while clearing out my tabs I happened upon it again and gave it a shot. I proceeded to read the entirety of what was written in a single sitting, and was disappointed to see that it had updated earlier that day so I'd have to wait a week for the next update.

    I'll echo both the praises and concerns above. The early sequences are among the best in the LitRPG genre, and the lack of Isekai tutorial level spoon-feeding was much appreciated. The shift to the second arc has hints of being a misstep on that front, but I'll extend the benefit of the doubt given what's written so far.

    Even if not another word was written, I'm glad I spent the time to read it anyways. An easy 4/5, though where it goes from here is up in the air.
     
  5. valrie

    valrie Third Year

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    Another story that I've been following for a few weeks already and like a lot.

    I like the MC here. He's interesting and relatable. Makes fairly good decisions but also some mistakes and questionable things (deal with DJ).

    Even at the point where he is right now, he cannot deal with even just normal fighters unless he is able to trick them or get some sort of advantage. So, there's plenty of room for development. I also like how the character focuses mostly on short-term problems but we can already see parts of the overarching plot with regards to his boss and his enemies.

    The only con in my opinion is that the more recent chapters were a bit less interesting than the early chapters. But I think we just need the MC to get more acclimated to his new situated for it to improve again.

    I'd give it 4.5/5.
     
  6. Ceebee

    Ceebee High Inquisitor

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    There has been a lot of praise in the reviews here, and Seaborne has absolutely earned it with its early chapters.

    However, as many other reviewers have brought up the inflection point of the story massacred the strong momentum the story had built up. I think it feels like a testament to the great writing in the first section, that when the negative thing happens to the MC, Dom, we all like, many people go immediately cold on the story.

    It felt to me that the inflection point came too early in the story. It felt like something that should've happened at chapter 115, not chapter 15.

    I'm currently putting Seaborne on a break, as I've generally found that many of the LitRPG style stories fall over if you follow them update-to-update, building up a decent bundle of chapters and reading them for an afternoon.

    4.5 / 5 for the first section.
    3 / 5 post story inflection.

    4 / 5 overall
     
  7. Mutton

    Mutton Unspeakable

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    I think part of why the early parts worked is that it wasn't your standard "start from lvl1 with a shopping list" garbage. Here was someone who was living in a world that ran on certain rules and they were well embedded within it. The sudden change literally took it all the way back to the point where it might as well be an isekai.
     
  8. Sauce Bauss

    Sauce Bauss Minister of Magic DLP Supporter

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    After my review, I caught up with the recent chapters. It's a good thing I wrote it exactly when I did, because the backslide into mediocrity was so sudden and so complete that I would not have been nearly so effusive with my praise.

    I dearly hope that this intro level arc is completed quickly, because if it's not then I'll be dropping it. There are plenty of other mediocre isekai in the world, and those won't be stained by wasted potential.
     
  9. Dryops

    Dryops Second Year DLP Supporter

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    Seaborn has been recommended to me many times over the last couple of months, but I finally sat down and read it. I really, really enjoyed this one. It's probably my favorite LitRPG to date, because there is no high level system that the protagonist is fighting against, no cheesy "and then the system appeared", but it is casually integrated into the world from the start.

    This is extremely well written, although as @Sauce Bauss said, it felt like the last few chapters were a little lacking. From those I've spoken to with access to the upcoming chapters, it does sound like this will turn around, so I'll hold judgement until then.

    Overall, I'd rate this at 4.5/5, rounded up to 5.
     
  10. Blorcyn

    Blorcyn Minister of Magic DLP Supporter DLP Silver Supporter

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    I will say, from what I hear of the current Patreon chapter onwards, I am optimistic once more. My understanding is that the author has heard the concerns, and the Tulisang arc ends with a new and extreme sense of urgency, which made the first arc so good.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2020
  11. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Seaborn is my great-grandfather's first name. As far as I know he never went to sea but I've always loved the name (the rest of his name was badass as well).

    I'm a fan of sailing stories. I loved Horatio Hornblower when I was in my teens. I tried the Aubrey-Maturin series around the same time but couldn't get into them - I keep meaning to try them again, but my reading list is so long. I even have a (very) rough outline of a 4-novel series about sailing I want to write.

    And I like LitRPGs in general, so this was as no-brainer to check out at some point.

    I like it a lot - easy 4/5, pushing towards 5/5 but I need more of it before I decide to bump it up. For now it's a 4.5/5 in my view, hovering between the two ratings.

    I can see why so many of you were 'meh' on the more recent parts, but I didn't mind them as much. I think the real issue might actually be a simple one at heart - once Dom signed his soul over to Davy Jones and was tasked with 'causing chaos' he never really spent any time thinking on how he was going to do that, and that's jarring because up until now he's had a lot of focus on being a generally nice dude who prides himself on how many lives he's saved from drowning.

    I think half of the jarring character issues that came from that would have been solved if he'd sat down and used introspection (or later meditation) to figure out how he could stay himself and still fulfill his duties. Chaos doesn't have to mean murder - he could become a prankster who still tries to keep good men from drowning. And at one point I think that was implied in the story text, but he doesn't really give it thought. So we're left feeling like he's walking down a path taking him pretty far from himself without him fighting it much at all, and that's annoying - and it wouldn't have taken but a few paragraphs to sort most of it out.

    Renshaw is awesome, new favorite character. Thanks for this rec, it's one I'll follow.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2020
  12. soczab

    soczab Seventh Year

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    Hmm. That was pretty good. Ill also give it a 4/5. I was actively dissapointed when i reached the end. I normally lose interest with these lit rpg fics but so far this one has held me. More of a focus on characters then some of them which is a plus. As someone else noted, maybe because its not an earthling transported to this realm as folks often do with these stories, it actually seems more like a genuine STORY. Just a character in an unusual fantasy world not a SI. Which is kind of refreshing for the setting.

    Similar to Ched I didnt really mind the recent chapters either. Lol i didnt even realize that was the 'twist' people were complaining about until i reached the end and there was nothing else there! While i liked the low key pace of the opening, I thought it pretty clear from the get go the story wouldnt be staying there.

    Overall, we're still early in the story, but so far one of the better ones of this genre
     
  13. Otters

    Otters Third Year ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I think it still would have felt a bit flat, but this would have definitely been a great addition and assuaged some of my worries.

    Hell, there's a perfect ready-made argument for Dom - he could choose to sow chaos by upsetting destiny or fate or whatever by roaming around saving the lives of sailors who were about to drown.

    It would spread his myth (and therefore that of Davy Jones) as well as conflicting with the narrative of Davy Jones in a delightfully chaotic way. I don't know if this is one of the settings using the mechanic of a being's influence affecting their power, but I can see how Jones could accept this as a successful outcome. Even if he's a murderous bastard himself, the fickle nature of the sea lends itself well to a heroic lieutant serving under him.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2020
  14. valrie

    valrie Third Year

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    Author just posted on Patreon that the story will soon be on hiatus until the end of 2020. He'll try to finish the current arc but won't be able to finish the whole thing before the hiatus. He does plan to start writing again once he has access to internet again after 2020.
     
  15. soczab

    soczab Seventh Year

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    Not that he has to give one, but any reason given? Is it just this story or all of them? He seemed pretty prolific.
     
  16. Sauce Bauss

    Sauce Bauss Minister of Magic DLP Supporter

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    Military deployment. I'm guessing Navy or CG.
     
  17. Otters

    Otters Third Year ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Just caught up. The author has definitely tidied up a lot of the issues I was concerned with, and it's back on track as a solid 4/5 with a slight dent around the fillery tutorial section.

    Shame to hear that it's going on hiatus, but I'm grateful to have it so clearly signposted and hope that he comes back to it with lots of worldly experience to channel into his work.
     
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