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Literature / Threadbare

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"Once upon a time, there was a teddy bear. An old man bent with tragedy, but still daring to dream, made him into a thing that could think and feel."

Threadbare came into the world as a failed experiment. A toy golem, but not powerful and intelligent like his creator Caradon wanted. Before he could be recycled for resources, however, the little girl Cecilia assumes he is a present and adopts him as her own. Caradon sees no harm in it, and allows her to take him.

But Threadbare is in fact a success. Not a genius, not a super-golem, but a golem that can learn and grow.

It takes time, but Threadbare begins to understand the world around him. He understands the strange words that make him stronger, and he understands how to make friends with those around him. Most of all, he understands that Cecilia is his little girl, and it is his job to make her happy.

Unfortunately, Cecilia's life is more complicated than either she or Threadbare realizes. Conspiracies surround her, the king and his daemon servants are hunting her, and her mere existence could start or end wars. As she grows older, she begins to understand that she will have to mature, to put aside her childish things and do what is necessary.


Threadbare, as one of those childish things, disagrees with that notion. She will always be his little girl, he will always be her teddy bear, and there is little in the world that cannot be solved with friends at your side.

The Threadbare books are a LitRPG outing by Andrew Seiple, started in Fall 2017, and then released to online stores. His Small Medium series is set in the same world but following a different protagonist in a different part of the world. The prequel series Blasphemy Online explores more of the "real world" and how Generica Online got to where it is now.

The conceit of the setting is that the world used to operate on classic D&D paper-and-pencil RPG rules, but now operates on something closer to a MMORPG with skills leveled up by use, and classes unlocked by performing specific tasks.


The books consist of:

The Rebellion Trilogy

Set some forty years after "the change" that gave people jobs instead of THAC0, Threadbare finds himself thrust into the heart of the rebellion against King Melos.
  1. Stuff and Nonsense
  2. Sew You Want to be a Hero
  3. The Right to Arm Bears

The Sequel Trilogy

Set three years after The War, Threadbare learns that politics can be even more deadly than dungeons or dragons.
  1. Friends With Bunny Feets
  2. The Phantom of the Lop Ear

This series exhibits the following tropes:

  • Affectionate Parody: Being a Lit RPG, a huge chunk of the trilogy is an adoring rip off of traditional RPG elements.
  • Animated Armor: This is one of the forms of animation used in the series. Emmet is an example of Greater Golem version. Later, Reason, Celia's armor, becomes a more sinister version later in the books after a demon begins to animate it.
  • Badass Adorable: The main character is a teddy bear. He even has an Adorableness skill. Just don't mess with his girl.
  • Cap: This is an inherent limit in the universe at the start of the trilogy. No one can get past Level 25 in a job, you can only take a limited number of jobs, and you can't switch them without the help of a Guild Master, which no one has unlocked. As it turns out, this Job has been unlocked in the past, but can't be used due to the unique state of the world as a Dungeon.
  • Cargo Cult: Raccants are a potential evolution of raccoons. Their culture is based on the concept of becoming adopted by humans by becoming their pets, which they approach by aping the trappings of human society, and wearing crude masks and signs indicating that they're supposed to be cats, dogs, humans, etc.
  • Combo Platter Powers: Usually averted, as people can pick and choose what Jobs they have, but Threadbare, having only recently become sapient, doesn't know this. He accepts every single Job offered to him the moment it's offered to him, giving him an odd assortment of Skills.
  • Darkest Hour: The end of the first book. Threadbare's alone, he's been trapped for years, and he has an impossible quest ahead of him.
  • Golem: Lesser Golems have fixed stats. Greater Golems, like Threadbare, can acquire Jobs and improve their skills.
  • Hope Spot: A few times, usually followed by a very brutal Mood Whiplash. The ends of the second and third book each have one.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Pun-Based Title for all three, and Crafting-based Theme Naming for the first two books: Stuff and Nonsense, Sew You Want to be a Hero, The Right to Arm Bears.
  • Interspecies Romance: Or at least interracial. They don't even get a raised eyebrow, really. Canon couples include human Mordecai and half-orc Zuula, half-orc Jarrik and dwarf Beryl, and dragon!vampire Madeline and minotaur!half-orc Garon.
    • The sequel trilogy introduces a new form of racism/speciesism against the golems and doll haunters. It's gotten to the point that the Council has passed a law that humans can only legally marry humans (because the nobility don't want their titles passing to these newly immortal beings).
  • Killer Teddy Bear: Threadbare is a cute cuddly teddy bear. His hug restores health and exercises his Cuteness score. His Claw Swipe skill manifests razor-sharp blades from his hands with which he can and does eviscerate enemies...
  • 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 by both of you becoming dead to the world for 10 hours as you share a dream of teaching the Job.
  • 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.
  • Living Toys: Technically speaking, Threadbare is a Greater Golem, as are several of his future compatriots, but due to his background, and skills, it turns out to largely be toys who are animated.
  • Luck Stat: Luck is one of the traits that Greater Golems start with very low scores in. This results in near pratfall levels of calamity happening to them after they've been brought to life. The need to have a decent luck stat is a common enough problem that a card game named Grindluck is started at an early age to ensure children survive childhood.
  • No Biological Sex: Golems, and by extension Doll Haunters, have no sex characteristics, and that tends to lead to them becoming asexual, although some of them still engage in romance.
  • Oh, Crap!: Happens a few times. Like at the end of the second book, during the fight with the Inquisitor. Threadbare immediately realizes what it means that he levels up multiple skills every time he lands a blow on it.
  • The Old Gods: They are largely absent from the world, but are the subject of worship by one branch of Cultists. One book includes a shallow pastiche of H. P. Lovecraft in the form of Reverend Hatecraft.
  • Powered Armor: This is something that Steam Knights can use as a class feature. It offers extremely good bonuses at the cost of the various health stats not regenerating naturally.
  • Punny Name: Holy hell, does the world seem to live on this trope. The Catamount dungeon seems to be particularly egregious, but we find it everywhere. In the Catamountain, there's:
    • Wight Tigers
  • Revive Kills Zombie: For Threadbare and Missus Fluffbear, this means that they can hug undead to death.
  • RPG Mechanics 'Verse: Several references establish that this universe used to run on AD&D rules (THAC0 and AC decreasing as armor class got better are mentioned), but at some point in the past, this changed to a Job System where skills are increased by doing them over and over again.
  • Sequel Hook: The trilogy ends with Asheluxem (the demon that had been using Amelia's body) being summoned once again by a mysterious group with near perfect control of the demon summoning process that wants information about Cylvania... along with who knows what other goals.
  • Tragic Monster: Surprisingly common. Starting with the first book, we get Raccants, raccoons who evolved into more powerful forms that want nothing more than to be adopted by human homes but have no idea how and keep getting killed. As the trilogy proceeds, we get more examples, like the Gribbits and the Mediocre Old God, monsters who don't want to murder and kill, but who are targeted for being different. Given this is (trans)Cylvania, that should perhaps be expected.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Melos, the primary antagonist of the series, is a former cultist and current king of the realm, who consorts with demons, kills without mercy, confiscates all magic items found by adventurers, and has brought the country a state of perpetual war. The method used to seal the kingdom away from the empire outside requires a constant supply of reagents and dungeon cores, and when Melos is forced to sleep, his avatar as Dungeon Master is taken over and run by the dungeon as the Complete Monster you would expect to find running a dungeon.