Light Novel / The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor

"Through grinding, nothing is impossible"
— Weed
Just another average day for our Moonlight Sculptor
The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor is a Korean light novel written by Nam Hi-Sung (남희성). Due to its incredible popularity, it was then adapted into a manhwa, illustrated by Kim Tae-Hyung. At the moment, the series has over 45 volumes that are being translated by a variety of different translation groups on and off.

Lee-Hyun, the protagonist of the story, is a stingy, greedy, but hardworking young man that is suffering from a life of poverty and debt. Forced to work throughout his childhood and adolescence, he's gone through a rough lifestyle that has made him completely devoted towards making money to take care of his sister and sickly grandmother. His dedication towards making a profit was reflected through an immensely popular game known as "Continent of Magic", where his in game character known as "Weed" is unrivaled and is indisputably the most feared player. When he decides to focus on working legally, he sells his character online, and sparks a bidding war that concludes at 3,090,000,000 won (about 3,000,000 usd). Before he can celebrate however, most of his earnings are taken by debt collectors whom he's had a bad history with ever since his parents passed away. With newfound resolve to make more money to get them off his back for good, Lee-Hyun jumps into the new virtual reality game known as "Royal Road" to build up the legacy of "Weed" once again.

Weed's initial plan to get rich again is focused solely on picking an amazing hidden class that will reap the most profits. When the opportunity arrives to obtain such a class, Weed initially disregards the title of "Moonlight Sculptor" due to sculptors being a wasted profession. As destiny would have it however, Weed would eventually end up receiving the same class (much to his initial horror) but learns to cope with it and begins his never ending grind of becoming a famous sculptor.

Thus begins the adventures of Weed, The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor.

A character sheet is currently being made that needs some help.

This series provides examples of:

  • Anti-Hero: Weed walks the thin line between this and being a Pragmatic Hero.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Averted. While there are a number of girls crushing on Lee Hyun (even though they are aware he's a money grubbing miser and a scammer), the reason they like him is because they also know that under all that he's the ultimate family man who always looks out for his family and is always ready to help his friends in a pinch.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: In-Universe; his fame as Weed and notoriety as Lee Hyun give way to this:
  • Artificial Intelligence: In a rare example, AI control each and every NPC in the game, and yet this trope is not a plot device. AI is merely to create a world that is as real and living as possible. The concept is non-intrusively explored at many moments.
    • Weed treats the AIs just as he would any other player... whether with a silver tongue as a Manipulative Bastard, or with a rough hand as The Dreaded.
    • The entire game's contents are run exclusively by the game's goddess-like AI. Unicorn does not even manage the game directly, as the AI does this for them. The AI is not shown to have any agenda other than the game and AI's creator's goal: to find/create an emperor of the game's continent. This may explain why many different barely mentioned characters and Weed himself are given quests that oddly steer them towards creating or aiding an emperor ship no matter their previous playing background, for example, sculpting.
    • Multiple times, the game, because of its AI, is remarked as allowing any skill or play style to become a player skill; the game's overarching AI seems to allow or sometimes aggressively drive players towards enhancing their capabilities, even when the player's behavior would otherwise hurt their chances at progress.
      • Seoyoon is a mute solo-player which would otherwise hurt her chances of leveling. Instead, she finds herself with the berserker class, which combined with her play style enables her to play alone. At some point her lonely play style and odd sense of empathy for both monsters and animals leads her to be given a skill to talk with animals.
      • Weed is a solo-player who is overly-suspicious of all other players. He won't join a guild for help in completing truly large quests, but the game seems to leave hidden ways for players like Weed who take complete advantage of everything the game has given them to succeed in these quests.
  • Back from the Dead: As a reward for completing an epic serial-quest, Weed unlocks the Necromancer class for players, and is rewarded with a high-level, as of yet unknown power called "The Power to Reject Death" "What it does", you ask? 
  • Badass Crew/ Badass Army: Geomchi's group.
  • Badass Normal : Lee Hyun is this in real life due to extensive martial arts training. Weed starts out as this in the game until he gets his unique profession with its extra perks. Also, Geomchi.
  • Battle Cry: Lion's Roar, a skill Weed gains from completing the Beginner Training Hall. It is decent for scaring off weaker monster, but it really shines in large-scale battles, where it boosts his comrades and pushes Weed's leadership stats through the roof, allowing him to command entire armies.
  • The Berserker : Seoyoon, it is her class. She plays alone and has grabbed the highest level gear.
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: Most, if not all of the portrayed battle sequences.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing : If Lee Hyun/Weed is being nice to you, and you are not his family or one of his close friends, you better get ready for being ripped off, exploited and then discarded at his earliest convenience. And the worst part? You probably won't even notice until after the fact.
  • Blood Knight: Weed and Geomchi's group are the most prominent.
    • Even Cha Eunhee, a psychiatrist, and Seoyoon, an actual berserker think they are abnormal.
  • Cult: An organization named Grass Porridge Cult that has an oath to blindly follow Weed
  • Cute Mute: Seoyoon
  • Determinator: Weed, full stop. He spends a month bashing scarecrows at level 1 for the free stat points just to get a leg up on other players, regularly fights enemies way stronger than him in solo for the extra experience and does so while at critical health for even more free stat points.
    • His companions to a lesser degree; you have to be one to hunt with a Blood Knight willingly and on regular basis.
  • Dramatic Irony : Most of Weed's adventures count.
  • Drama Bomb: A lot of it. Such as when Seoyoon find Lee Hyun "dead" in the living room, minutes after she mourned and cried he suddenly wakes up; he's just sleeping on the floor after eating too much
  • The Dreaded: Several, examples include:
    • Bard Ray and his guild "Hermes", a bunch of PK Jerkasses who gang up on every one who doesn't bow to them; just like most big guilds, but theirs is the largest/strongest.
    • Seoyoon becomes this for Weed; it's all in his head, ironically, as to her, him being her only friend, protecting him becomes one of her highest priorities.
    • Weed was this in "Continent Of Magic".
      • In Royal Road however, he tries to keep a low profile, which is helped by the fact that multiple people register with the same name as him. Once that fails, his actions before and after being discovered make him highly respected, almost to the point of worship.
  • Dreadful Musician: Weed has several times shown that his singing will make enemies of all his listeners, no matter how much sweet talking he has done. When posting one of his battles on the internet while transformed into an orc people think it is a parody of how the they have no culture. He is completely unaware of how bad he is.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good : Weed isn't so much evil as really greedy, but he can't understand Seoyoon at all
  • Glass Cannon : Weed considers his non-combat title-class to be this, he calls his class a "glass sculptor" as his unique attacks do a lot of damage, but because he is a crafter class, he cannot equip heavy armor, and does not receive the ordinary damage reducing skills of, say, a warrior. Until his persevering, has the game award him with the occasional defensive ability; the new abilities just allow him to place himself in even more precarious situations.
  • Greed : Weed's main motivation, as a means of security after a childhood of poverty.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power : Sculpting is this. Once at high enough levels, masterpieces can not only grant long-lasting buffs to anyone in the vicinity, they can literally change the world around them, such as permanently weakening monsters in the area or stopping rivers from flooding, and that is all before taking all the other perks Weed's unique class provides him with.
  • Hilarity Ensues : A lot of Weed's schemes work like this because of his bizarre single mindedness.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats : Weed is like this with the basic stats (dexterity, strength, wisdom, vitality, intelligence) and several more stats that are normally class related (art, fighting spirit, endurance, sustenance, faith, charm, charisma.)
  • Jack-of-All-Trades: Unlike most (if not all) players that specialize in one field of expertise and try to master it to perfection, Weed has become proficient in numerous professions through sheer grinding that defies common sense. Whether it be cooking, tailoring, blacksmithing, sculpting, or fishing; he's close to mastering them all and has also gained numerous benefits from expanding his repertoire (such as the blacksmith passive that lets him wear top gear armor at a lower level).
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold : Lee Hyun/Weed in a nutshell. He's scamming/ripping off practically everyone, but he does so for the sake of his sickly grandmother that needs money for proper healthcare and to fund his sister's education.
    • He even cares for the elderly people in his neighborhood
    • He takes a commission for 1 copper coin out of empathy for parents who lost a child. He works on it for a month and in the end walks away lamenting his lack of skill and embarrassed that he could not do the father's request justice, and chooses not to name it, thus losing the ability to gain credit and stats for the work. The work ends up a mythical sculpture. The first person who saw it after Weed was given a title and the ability to gain audience with any noble or king on the continent to talk about the discovery of a mythological work.
  • Loan Shark: Lee Hyun's family have been hounded by them ever since his parents died.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Weed and his sister, of course.
    • In the Blood: Apparently they can both be outsmarted by their grandmother.
  • No-Damage Run : His stream-of-conscious narration states that he is perfectly capable of this in ordinary battles due to his training in martial arts and developing top notch sword skills, his use of dodges and parries are not in-game mechanics... however, he will allow his health to be in the red the entire time he fights as fighting in the red is the game' condition for raising the endurance stat (endurance reduces incoming damage).
  • Oh, Crap! : A lot of times for Weed.
    • And a few times for other people or his minions/slaves/pets, because he is The Dreaded.
    • Sometimes some of Weed's minions/slaves/pets manage to get away from Weed for awhile because their contracts ended or Weed ran off somewhere else on a quest. And while they are happily enjoying themselves away from their evil master, sometimes they find some random guy trespassing on their newfound territory. And sometimes that random guy might just be Weed. Cue frantic backpedaling and failing that, the Suspiciously Specific Denial about who they are.
  • Parental Abandonment : Averted, it is speculated early on that Weed is all alone with his grandmother and sister and in debt with loan sharks because of his parents, and it's true, but that's because they died in a car crash after taking the loan. They would have otherwise been able to pay it.