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Literature / Small Medium

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The Small Medium series is a trilogy of LitRPG books by Andrew Seiple, set in the same Generica Online setting as his Threadbare trilogy, where a few decades ago, the world transitioned to MMORPG mechanics where statistics and skills are visible and able to be improved by discovery and repetition.

Chase Barrymore is a female Halven, a race whose members are short, stout, and generally averse to trouble of any kind. Chase despairs of the boredom of life in the village, and yearns for excitement, which inevitably finds her again and again as she begins to unravel the mystery of the seemingly immortal Playas, as well as her role as an Oracle to Hoon, god of travel and trade.

The books are:

  1. Big Trouble — Chase looks for adventure, and finds it, with a necromancer threatening Bothernot and the discovery of a prison near the town that contains Playas.
  2. At Large — Chase travels to Arettzi, country of crafts, and gets hired to stop a plague of werewolves.
  3. Well Done — Chase travels to Gnome, where a dragon attack causes massive power shifts in the city.

This work exhibits the following tropes:

  • Almighty Janitor: Vitale introduces himself as a "custodian" and is in the middle of cleaning up the rubble after the dragon's attack. He is one of the twelve custodians of Gnome who are tasked with its defense.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: The Muscle Wizaard disdains weapons for the special abilities of his Wrestler class.
  • Beast Man: One of the races in the world are beastkin.
    • Dog beastkin: Cagna is a beastkin, specifically a dog-woman. And yes, the Doge Fedalta is also one, specifically a corgi.
    • Cat Folk: Carmina
    • Bear beastkin: Yubai is a panda beastkin
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Pwner, to the point where when he tries to make an alliance with Chase in Well Done, she simply points out that they've given him every chance and they cannot afford to get stabbed in the back again.
  • Crystal Ball: Chase gains the ability to use this to scry as one of her Oracle skills.
  • Advertisement:
  • Death Dealer: The Gambler class offers various card-based attacks.
  • Doomed Hometown:
    • Discussed in the opening of the first book between Chase and Greta.
      "Next you’ll be finding a sword meant for a prophesey’d hero, and revealing an old birthmark, and then FOOMP, the village will get burnt down and it’ll all be your fault Chase Berrymore."
    • Bothernot survives the first book, but it's a close thing, and in later books, she encounters members of the town which been displaced as more trouble finds it.
  • Foreign Cuss Word:
    • The necromancer is named Vaffanculo. While this may fly over the head of some readers, in-universe, this is noted as an obscenity (with Chase not realizing Thomasi was calling out to his party member, not cursing). In-universe, this is justified because Vaffanculo is a "Playa" and probably chose the profane, but reasonably "fantasy-sounding" name as a joke.
    • Later, Greta gets a chance to call the Camerlengo a sporca fica, causing Chase to react strongly despite being mid-battle.
  • Fortune Teller: While Chase's Oracle job already lets her tell the future, her Medium job allows her to do more traditional Fortune Teller things like scrying through crystal balls, holding seances, and stacking the deck when telling fortunes.
  • Hobbits: Halven are essentially Hobbits. They are short, constantly eating, naturally low in Perception, but carrying a bonus in Fate, and naturally good at throwing things.
    Smaller even than dwarves but nowhere near as sturdy, halvens normally hate excitement and love regular meals. As such, normally only the weirdos among them go adventuring.
  • Humans Are Cthulhu: "Playas" are more like Fair folk, seemingly immortal, advancing far more rapidly than natives, and often extremely amoral, killing and stealing without abandon and treating the world like their plaything.
    Doge Fedalta: "They are monsters akin to demons or old ones. Things from outside this world that wear bodies of flesh. But unlike such ‘dark’ creatures, the players are chaotic, disorganized, and lack a universal goal beyond the pursuit of their own individual pleasures. They have a method of rebuilding their bodies after death, although it is limited or painful in some fashion."
    • They're actually trapped in the world of Generica Online now, and they have a limited number of respawns, after which they suffer in the simulated hell of a chatroom filled with sensorily deprived players begging for a respawn.
    • In the third book, we learn why one of the antagonists hates Playas so much. Her father was a player, and when his real-life wife objected, he killed and destroyed much of his virtual possessions as a symbolic sign of his commitment to the real world, including the antagonist's mother.
  • Inside a Computer System:
    • Perhaps. The "Playas" were jacked into a virtual reality interface for the MMORPG of Generica Online, and then one day, they realized they could no longer log out. It's ambiguous whether the game tapped into a pre-existing world, which the game no longer connects to, or if artificial intelligences seized control of the game. Also, one of the players muses that it's entirely possible that no one is actually trapped here, but that they are all NPCs based on their players.
    • Part of the reason the Camerlengo is obsessed with locking Playas away is that she believes that the game will not be shut down if they're still logged into the system.
  • Interface Screw: Both Cultist and Detective classes allow you to change what people see on your character sheet, and the Wrestler subclass makes non-lethal Stamina damage to show up with red coloring, making them look like lethal damage against Health.
  • Job System: Jobs are generally unlocked by performing a specific set of actions, which may be as easy as cooking something to gain the Cook job, or require a specific series of actions (the set of actions needed are disclosed to the person offered the job, which makes them potentially repeatable) or for someone to "montage" the Job to you. Bothernot is under the rule of Lady Gloria and the Camerlengo who enforce the Law of Decades where only one job may be added per decade of life, or heavy fines are enacted.
  • Level-Up Fill-Up: Leveling up in a Job refills your Spirit and Moxie. Some characters exploit this by accepting unlocked jobs mid-combat entirely for the purpose of refilling their levels with easy level gains.
  • Mechanical Lifeforms: Vitale is revealed to be one of the twelve legendary custodians of
  • Necromancer: Vaffanculo, a Playa who serves as the primary antagonist of the first book as he raises an army of undead to take over Bothernot. Later, Corinthia in the third book, who manages to raise Cymbal, a god, to defend the city.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": In the second book, the crew go to a casino. The password is "pesce spada"... "sword fish".
  • Real Money Trade: Mister Yubai, in the third book, is a (somewhat) uplifted gold farmer bot. He knows enough to harvest resources and then to sell them again. Or possibly he's a foreign worker whose life and employ was playing to game to farm gold who went a little crazy.
  • RPG Mechanics 'Verse: At some point in the past, the world gained a Job System where skills are increased by doing them over and over again. Residents are also aware of their levels of Health, Sanity, and Moxie.
  • String Theory: One of Cagna's Detective skills creates one of these as clues and evidence are described in front of it. It's limited by the fact that bad information leads to bad conclusions.
  • Tarot Motifs: Chase inherits a Fortuna deck from her grandmother, which synergizes with her Oracle powers. Trump cards include The Noob (an analog to The Fool) and The Griefer. Evidently, suits are different too, since cards like the Page of Warriors are drawn (complete with a lampshade comment that they were wondering if the deck had any Minor Arcana in it), corresponding to the main RPG classes of Warriors, Clerics, Wizards, and Rogues. According to Speranza, a Playa who dabbled with Tarot cards before, there are three extra major arcana that don't map to Tarot cards: The Lag, The Elemental, and The Dragon.
  • Time Stands Still: Happens when Hoon decides he needs to have a conversation with Chase.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: The Muscle Wizaard has the Wrestler class, which forces people fighting him to adhere to genre conventions, and makes his stamina attacks look like they're targeting hit points.