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Literature / Erebos

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"Erebos is a game. It watches you, it talks to you, it rewards you, it tests you, it threatens you. Erebos has one goal: It wants to kill."

Erebos is a young adult novel written by Austrian author Ursula Poznanski. Nick, a teenaged boy, is a normal student at a school in London when a game called "Erebos" starts being passed between students. Everyone who has the game is very silent about it, and before it's passed to somebody else, said person has to promise not to tell anyone else about it. The rules of the game are very strict: Don't talk about it, only copy it when the game tells you to, and you only have one chance at playing. If you die ingame or break a rule, you can not join again.


When Nick starts the game, it at first looks like a typical fantasy RPG. However, he soon notices that the NPCs reply much more realistically than in other games, including the ability to answer logically to questions the player asks them. Aside from the ingame quests, in order to reach the next level, the player is tasked with something to do in the real world, and is unable to play until said task is completed.


Erebos contains examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Nick isn't too fond of Brynne, who has a very obvious crush on him. He is tasked to go on a date with her by the Messenger.
  • Artificial Intelligence: The NPCs and the game itself, reacts so realistically one might doubt it's all just programmed. There is, in fact, nothing supernatural going on, only some very advanced AI programming.
  • Character Level: A new player starts at Level 1. To reach the next level, you either need to battle an opponent in the arena, or do an out of game task for the Messenger.
  • Deep-Immersion Gaming: When Nick plays, the POV shifts to Sarius, Nick's ingame character.
  • Digital Avatar: The ingame character is fully customizable. One player actively models his character after Nick and names it LordNick.
  • Irritation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery: One character in Erebos is named "LordNick" and looks like Nick does out of game. In the end, it's revealed the character belongs to a boy from Nick's class who looks up to him a lot.
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  • Level Drain: Can happen by battling other players. Both decide what they duel for, usually levels and gold; the winner takes it from the loser.
  • Rare Random Drop: Wish crystals. They can be used to ask the Messenger for almost anything, and are not limited to in-game wishes.