A roleplaying group expels a member who seeks revenge through a cynical game of his own making.
Dungeon Party links a fantasy world and the people playing in it.
When longstanding personality conflicts erupt, the volatile Randall Keller secedes from Alan Crandall’s gaming group. In pursuit of a coveted prize at an upcoming convention, Alan replaces Randall with two female recruits who reinvigorate the campaign.
Randall chooses a darker path by spreading infectious cynicism through the gaming community while plotting his revenge. When the Middle Mirth convention gets underway, Alan's group must stop Randall and his avatar before they devastate worlds both fictional and real.
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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. This was a good, solid read. It is about a group of role playing friends and what happens to them when life intervenes and one of them feels utterly betrayed by the final death of his character. The fantasy role play narrative meshes really well with the story of their real lives................... Gastil shows promise. ~ Maria Cambra Brown (Reviewer), NetGalley
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. This book has a fun set up of combining the 'fantasy' world of the characters games into their very. real one. Explores friendships, motivations, and lots fun along the way. ~ Leah Arthur (Reviewer), NetGalley
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars................In Dungeon Party, Alan is a 30-something player of the fantasy adventure game Dungeon Lords. The tension really starts when Alan’s longtime gaming pal, Randall, is killed in the course of a game in the mythical land of Mythos. Randall nerd-rages and quits the game. In an attempt to infuse some fresh excitement into the game, Alan replaces Randall with Maya and Brianna—the first girls to ever game with this group. All seems okay, except that ex-group member Randall is out for revenge. He plots to ruin his old group’s efforts to play in a Dungeon Lords tournament, causing trouble both within the game world and in the real one, too. Do you have to be an RPG enthusiast to like this book? Nope, but if you have a love for the polyhedrals (those funky many-sided dice), you’ll probably have levels of nostalgia happening. After all, Ed Greenwood—a big name in the world of Dungeons and Dragons—said that Gastil’s novel is “a great story,” and few know D&D like Ed. ~ Ryan Van Cleave (Reviewer), NetGalley
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. As a Dungeons & Dragons fan and player, this book had me from the start. The writing, characters, and story only solidified my intrigue and this was truly a delight to read. ~ Kensley Lewis (Reviewer) , NetGalley
Dungeon Party is a fun dive into the world of roleplaying fantasy games, with a unique twist to the plot line I didn't see coming at the beginning. Very few contemporary fiction books feature 'nerds' as the main protagonists, so when I saw this title pop up, I knew I had to read it. The book starts off slow, but picks up as it goes. Over all, it was an enjoyable read. The characters were varied, and while there was one very definite nerd stereotype that left me disappointed, overall I appreciated the author's work to show off the world of roleplaying fantasy. These games have become so much more mainstream over the years that I thought some of the representation in the books to be a little hard to swallow however. This isn't a game reserved just for basement dwellers and the unfit, nor is it the type of thing to make you a social pariah in school anymore (at least not where I am from) That being said, there were lots of fun nods to different types of games and other nerdy franchises that put a smile on my face and in this time of a pandemic, the overall climax become that much more unsettling and effective as a result. I also enjoyed the opportunities to follow the characters into the world of their own characters for a story within the story. It was a fun writing choice to move the plot along and help you connect with the characters themselves. Anyone looking for a light, fun, read with lots of nerdy flavour, I would recommend this book; just don't take it too seriously. ~ Amber Thompson (Bookseller), NetGalley
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. This was a fascinating book. I am not certain that I knew where it was going in the beginning but as I read it really surprised me. This is not a Lit-RPG type book where the characters disappear in the story. Instead it was a normal, down to earth story about people who happen to play role playing games and the very human troubles that they find themselves in. It is obvious that the author has spent much time as a gamer and around gamers because unlike much general fiction that includes a character who is a gamer, these characters are not caricatures. Alan, Randall, and Carlos come together tragically and maintain that bound through a decade or more until an in game event throws the psychologically fragile Randall into a rage that sparks a conflict that comes to a head in the real world. The author writes each of the characters in the group in such a way that their motivations and actions are understandable from their own perspective. A very touching book. ~ John Adkins (Librarian), NetGalley
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. The novel begins with tragedy: one mistep on the road and several members from two families wiped out. An odd way for a new set of bonds to emerge, yet it does: the children grow up to become dedicated gamers of something here that looks to be something very similar to Dungeons and Dragons..................This novel and its commentary on social realities proved to be a lot more engrossing and enjoyable than I originally imagined. Gamers too especially, will surely love it! ~ Lynda Stevens (Reviewer), NetGalley
This is a book for those who actively role play gaming or have fond memories of doing so in the past. Told from the 'real world' while alternating the story with the fantasy world of Dungeon Lords (DL), the author weaves the tale of long time gamers Alan and Randall with that of newcomers to the gaming group and world. Alan and Randall are bound by a shared history of a car accident that killed Alan's father and traumatized them both, just before they left for college. Both are still playing DL, even though they're in their early 30s.................... Alan, Randall and the others are well conceived and written. They are presented with humor, pathos and a real empathy, as is Randall. ~ Ruth McWilliams (Reviewer), NetGalley
Dungeon Party reminds me a good bit of the 1982 Tom Hanks movie Mazes and Monsters—in both tales, the world of RPG (roleplaying games) interacts meaningfully with the real world, though that’s perhaps an unfair comparison since the Hanks movie is pretty lousy and far more dark than Gastil’s novel. Well, maybe only sort of more dark than Gastil’s novel. In Dungeon Party, Alan is a 30-something player of the fantasy adventure game Dungeon Lords. The tension really starts when Alan’s longtime gaming pal, Randall, is killed in the course of a game in the mythical land of Mythos. Randall nerd-rages and quits the game. In an attempt to infuse some fresh excitement into the game, Alan replaces Randall with Maya and Brianna—the first girls to ever game with this group. All seems okay, except that ex-group member Randall is out for revenge. He plots to ruin his old group’s efforts to play in a Dungeon Lords tournament, causing trouble both within the game world and in the real one, too. Do you have to be an RPG enthusiast to like this book? Nope, but if you have a love for the polyhedrals (those funky many-sided dice), you’ll probably have levels of nostalgia happening. After all, Ed Greenwood—a big name in the world of Dungeons and Dragons—said that Gastil’s novel is “a great story,” and few know D&D like Ed. Ryans Rating: 4 Out of 5 ~ Ryan G. Van Cleave, http://www.scenesarasota.com/magazine/literary-scene-fun-and-eclectic/
A tabletop role-playing group faces its greatest foe yet when a former member seeks revenge for his character’s death in this slow-paced, slice-of-life novel. Gastil (Gray Matters) explores the drama of a Dungeon Lords group led by the reclusive 30-something Alan Crandall, splicing the group’s interpersonal politics with their in-game adventures in the fictional Mythos. After Alan kills off the character played by narcissistic and unkempt Randall Keller, Randall quits the group and plots to ruin their chances at a Dungeon Lords tournament. Meanwhile, Alan recruits the group’s first female members, Maya Washington and Brianna Langdon, to replace Randall; the pair breathe fresh life into the world of Mythos and make the group a major contender in the tournament...Gastil successfully captures the feeling of long gaming sessions and explores the diverse world of tabletop gaming... ~ Publishers Weekly, https://www.publishersweekly.com/9781789045000
Great stories are the adventures of people we care about. This book gives us time with colorful, compelling people - gamers, and their adventures, both in the real world and, through their characters, in the games they play. And this is a great story. Gamers will love this tale. If you want to really feel what gaming is about, not to mention what life is about, you should devour it. I did, and I want a sequel. In the meantime, I’ll read it again. ~ Ed Greenwood, creator of The Forgotten Realms
In Dungeon Party, Gastil has woven a delightful, decadent, and often dark tale of loyalty, bravery, and friendship among some of society’s most socially dispossessed—fantasy role-playing gamers. It offers a celebration and critique of gaming culture, pointing to the power of games to both hurt and heal. Dungeon Party is about the stories we tell—to ourselves, to others, and to the communities we call home. With subtle nods to Tolkein, McCarthy, and Le Guin, Gastil moves us to consider what might happen when we stay in a game long enough with others. I recommend it to role-playing enthusiasts, pop culture fanatics, game scholars, or anyone who believes in the transformative power of play. ~ Katie Salen, co-author of Rules of Play
Every aficionado of D&D or other fantasy role-playing games will enjoy Gastil's inspired take on the genre. This big-hearted, imaginative satire brings all the thrills, chills and feelings from the best campaign you have ever neglected the obligations of life and work to play. Once you start reading Dungeon Party, you will not want to make your saving throw! ~ Paul Witcover, author of The Watchman of Eternity
Nerdliness is finally having its moment, but Dungeon Party speaks to the timeless themes of friendship and bravery that transcend popular culture. ~ Bruce Worden, author and illustrator of Woodstalk: 3 Days of Peace, Music, and Zombies
Gastil toys with readers who can't be sure what is and isn’t real until the last page. Dispensing with gamer stereotypes, Dungeon Party is intelligent, sly, but most of all fun. ~ Jonathan Amsbary, Dungeons & Dragons veteran and author of Cyberblood