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Webcomic: The Gamer

"Is grinding my job now?"
Han Jee-Han

What would happen if your world suddenly turned into an RPG? What if you could level up, raise your stats, and embark on a lifetime of adventure, loot and genre tropes galore?

Enter Han Jee-Han, an 18-year-old Ordinary High-School Student. He's recently broken through The Masquerade and discovered that the world is full of dangerous monsters and people with supernatural gifts hiding in plain sight.

He is no mage, martial arts master, or monster summoner. His own power is meager in comparison, but it is unique: A lifetime commitment to gaming meant his gift manifested in him becoming a living RPG character. Whenever he looks at people, he can see their titles, level, and stats. He can tangibly and immediately raise his skills and overall stats by performing tasks and gaining experience. Monsters that everyone else considers a dangerous nuisance inexplicably drop equipment he can use. His injuries recuperate by consuming ordinary food or resting overnight. He is able to learn skills way above his apparent Power Levels by allocating his stats correctly. And he is prepared to take on this brave new world through grit, Genre Savvy, copious amounts of Level Grinding and the fact that none of his opponents can figure out how video game logic works.

A Naver webcomic. English translations can be read on most major manga websites and on the recent official Naver translations

This webcomic provides examples of:

  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Part of the comic's appeal is Jee-Han figuring out not only how do his powers work, but also how to min-max them to gain an edge.
    • His 'A Gamer's Mind' ability allows him to be this, making him able to keep calm and think logically in dangerous and stressful situations (like combat) and making him immune to psychological status effects.
  • Balls of Steel: The ogre's panties are nearly indestructible and negate damage below a certain threshold, they have also been worn by an ogre already. Protection of his sensitives makes Jee-Han consider wearing them anyways, but ultimately decided to sell them.
  • Battle Aura
  • Black Market: The Abyss Auction used to trade through one.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Played with: Abilities can be used to make money in the Muggle world, but only as long as is doesn't threaten the Masquerade. Using discrete abilities to -for example- make your wares more eye-catching, appealing, or just plain better is perfectly fine even if all of your clients are Muggles. Being too overt however (like making yourself win the lottery) will make the world itself kill you.
    • Jee-Han also gives the Random Drops to Shin Sun-Il to sell them (or extract the magic out of them), netting him large amounts of money.
  • Deflector Shield: The Mana Shield ability works like this. With a little grinding, Jee-Han might be able to make it permanent.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: Gnome, obviously; Jee-Han provides the MP, while she takes care of the actual casting. Gaining the ability to summon Gnome also gave Jee-Han the 'Earth Element Affinity' status, improving his own use of the element.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: The author's answer to make sure that Jee-Han doesn't become such an obvious Game Breaker thanks to his Gamer ability is to make sure that his Wisdom stat remains relatively low so that Jae-Han doesn't make the necessary, or completely correct, decisions regarding how to power up his abilities. For example, his lack of Wisdom causes Jee-Han to rush into things without fully thinking the process through such as suddenly dumping all his extra stat-points into Intelligence despite knowing that it would help build his judgement, and thinking-process, if he put points into Wisdom.
    • Somewhat justified though; Since Jee-Han has already put a lot of points into Int, it's very difficult to get extra Int points by doing regular actions or training. Meanwhile, Wisdom, Strength, and all his other stats can be increased relatively easily by grinding related actions. So, since he can't effectively grind Intelligence anyways, he dumps all his stat points into it to artificially raise it. The problem comes in with how difficult it is to grind Wisdom, since making intelligent decisions requires a good Wisdom to begin with.
    • The problem is starting to be addressed with Jee-han investing points in Wisdom as of chapter 66.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: It's possible for people to develop abnormal powers through training. Jee-Han realizes that one of his longtime best friends is like this based on his title and unusually high level.
  • Gay Option: In the What If? extra where the main character's life becomes a dating sim, Shin Sung-Il is on the list of datable characters.
  • Foreshadowing: As expected, a few chapters after Jae Han is warned about the possibility of Mana Farms coming after him in order to exploit his powers, a pair of people from the Abyss who capture people and sell them to the farms appears and comes after him.
  • Hidden Depths: Jee-Han can't see his mom's level. This is indicative of very powerful characters; the only others he can't see are Badass Grandpa Shin Sun-Oh and Sung Ma-Hyun, one of the big cheeses in the underworld's Black Market.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: The first few issues mostly deal with Jee-Han learning how his new abilities work.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Justified and Lampshaded. Food heals HP, so the main character responds to a particularly damaging attack by immediately pulling some bread and milk out of his Hyperspace Arsenal and frantically stuffing them down his mouth as fast as possible... in the middle of a fight.
  • It's a Small Net After All: It takes less than an hour of research for Jae Han to find the website that the Abyss Auction works through.
  • Irony: Despite how Jae-Han's obsession with games is mocked, along with his gamer ability (before they realize how much potential it has), some of the characters who appear later do look like RPG characters.
  • I Want Them Alive: In chapter 34, a pair of what are essentially human traffickers with superpowers appear with the intent of kidnapping Jae Han and selling him to a Mana Farm.
  • Knowledge Broker: Along with goods and lives, the Abyss Auction deals with information.
    • They also deal in rare objects that can be found in the Abyss. Poong Sae-Young warns Jae Han to be especially careful after hearing about him because if they discovered more about his ability, they might want to abduct him for it, or for a Mana Farm—where Ability users are held prisoner and have their mana siphoned to be bought and sold.
  • Level Grinding: Han Jee-Han does this constantly, both to increase his overall level and the levels of individual skills.
  • Level Up
  • Magic Missile Storm/Rain of Arrows: Spinning Mana Arrow becomes cheaper and creates more projectiles the greater its level grows, and it's really fast, too. It's no surprise that it becomes Jee-Han's most used attack.
  • Masquerade: Enforced. If you break it, the world itself will kill you. But you can use it to make a living off of it.
  • Mana Shield: Shin Sun-Il suggests that Jee-Han learn this ability, saying that it's common among western ability users. Thanks to Jee-Han's Int-based build, focus on defense, percentage-based MP regeneration, massive MP reserves, Summon Magic, and low-cost Deflector Shield, it would help to make him even harder to kill.
  • New Transfer Student: Kwon Shi-Yun suddenly transfers to Han's class not long after he encounters her, along with Hwan Sung-Ah. For extra comedy, Hwan Sung-Gon transfers as a teacher.
  • Obstructive Code of Conduct: The Interference Law prevents those with powers from affecting the real world with the penalty of death. The extent of the law is rather vague but it basically boils down to 'don't do anything too obviously supernatural'.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: They come off as the typical slow zombie. They're actually spirits of the dead given shape inside an Illusion Barrier. Meaning that they don't have physical bodies and simply dissolve after being destroyed leaving nothing behind.
    • Except when they're destroyed by Han, they drop items due to his ability.
  • Phantom Zone: All ability users have the ability to create 'Illusion Barriers' where they can fight without affecting the real world (or breaking the Masquerade.)
  • Power Glows
  • Rank Inflation: Chapter 29 introduces two ranking systems - there's an A-E system used by Hwan Sun-Gon and his summons, and also a high-mid-low system used by Chunbumoon.
  • Rainbow Pimp Gear: One piece of powerful equipment Jee-Han finds is a pair of ogre's panties. The description even helpfully notes that it's been worn by an ogre before. He declines to wear it.
  • RPG Mechanics Verse: The Gamer ability turns Jee-Han's life into this. It's a weird example, since the setting as a whole apparently isn't one; it's more that his superpower is to interact with the world as if it were a game.
  • Rule 63: In-universe for a What If? extra.
  • Shout-Out: Half-Life, Tower of God and - of course - Dungeons & Dragons are referred to by name.
  • Ship Tease: Of varying degress:
    • There's been some slight teasing with Shi-Yun, even though she's been mostly Out of Focus. Her strait-laced manner actually broke when she unintentionally said something potentially suggestive to Jee-Han. note 
    • There's been comparatively more with Sae-Young. Since she and Jee-Han are more or less Childhood Friends, Jee-Han can't help but notice Sae-Young's growth into quite an attractive young woman. Her skimpy choice of attire certainly doesn't help, and neither does her provocative manners or habit to tease Jee-Han for all its worth.
    • By far, Jee-Han has had the most Ship Tease with Sung-Ah. Jee-Han immediately sympathizes with her plight, and realizing that his ability can help her and even potentially save her, he wonders if he was born just for the purpose of helping people like her. Sung-Ah's normally sullen personality and her condition serve to make scenes featuring her very poignant, and Jee-Han always, without exception, does his utmost to be nice to her and help ease the burden of her curse every time they meet. He strives to allow her to experience things normal girls get to do all the time that she can't because of her extremely frail body and because of her father keeping her close to protect her. Most blatantly, when she offered to repay a favor and he thoughtlessly asked for a date, she accepted. note  And later, Jee-Han vows that one day he will save her, and Sung-Ah is moved to tears.
    • The Witch of Carnage, aka Lolikiano Mistream took an instant liking to Jee-Han, openly flirting with him in the way an older woman would with a younger man and even giving him her number. After the battle with the Black Rock clan, she "marked" him by stealing his first kiss. Talk about coming on strongly.
  • Something Only They Would Say: Jee-Han convinces his best friend, Shin Sun-Il, of who he is... by making a ridiculously bad Star Wars joke while Shin Sun-Il is choking him and demanding to know his real identity.
    • The same happens a bit later with Sae-Young, under basically the same circumstances. He convinces her that he is the real Jee-Han by...revealing he knew she wears black lace silk panties since several years ago,note  something only he would know since he went into her room once without her permission.
  • Sudden Game Interface: The Trope Codifier.
  • Summon Magic: Black Summoner is Hwan Sung-Gon's ability.
    • Later, Jee-Han gets into it by summoning Gnome.
  • Time Stands Still: Illusion barriers can have this effect, though they don't last long.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Shin Sun-Oh wants to make sure that Jee-Han averts this. He wants Han to come train with him even though Han insists that he's already figured out how to become exponentially stronger by exploiting his ability. Shin then rebukes him by stating that raw power is useless without skills and experience.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Both Hwan Sung-Gon (summoner guy) and Kwon Shi-Yun (red haired girl) transfer into Jee-Han's school as a teacher and a student, respectively, but no one besides Jee-Han feels that anything is amiss. Especially egregious is how no one seems to care about Hwan's MIB style attire.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Illusion barriers. The Chunbumoon's training area has a time flow ratio of 10:1.