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Surviving the Game as a Barbarian

Surviving the Game as a Barbarian

Fantasy ・ Science Fiction

Jung Yoonkang


Hansu Lee is a twenty-nine-year-old game addict who has devoted almost a decade of his life to beating the notoriously difficult game Dungeon & Stone. When he finally reaches the boss monster, a status window appears with the message “Tutorial Complete,” followed by a blinding light. Suddenly, Hansu is transformed into a barbarian named Bjorn Yandel inside the world of the game—but it’s no longer just a game, it’s actually real! With nothing but the weapon in his hand and his prior knowledge of the game, Bjorn must fight for his life in a world full of deadly monsters—and conceal his true identity to avoid execution—in a real-life battle for the survival of the fittest. WARNING: This story contains depictions of violence, gore, and/or graphic depictions of death, profanity, and strong language that may be upsetting for some readers.

Translated Fantasy/Sci-fiLitRPG/GameLitHigh/Epic FantasyFantasyTransmigration

Chapter 1: Prelude

I'd loved games ever since I was little. The reason was simple. Because I spent all of my days in a hospital, I naturally had nothing to do other than play games. And as time passed, gaming became an integral part of my life. But when you did anything for long enough, you were bound to get tired of it.

“Fuck… is this AI for real? Why are you healing that bastard?”

At some point, I found that no matter what game I played, it wasn't as enjoyable as it used to be. It wasn't a matter of genre, whether it was AOS, RPG, FPS, etcetera. The problem was that all of the games that were released every year were trash. The plots and universes were pretty much copy-pasted, and the systems lacked depth.

I wanted a game with something more unique. That was when I discovered Dungeon and Stone.

Click, click.

The genre was single-player RPG. It was a foreign indie game. There was no Korean language support, and it featured 2D pixel art graphics, which was rare these days. To be honest, the game was far from my taste. Still, it was free, so I installed it to give it a try. And it wasn’t long before I fell in love with it.

“Wow, we almost died at the end because of that fucking priest.”

It was an unusual game in many ways. When a character died, they had to be trained up again from scratch. NPCs were essential to the progress of the game, and the degree of freedom was also extremely high for a vertical-scrolling game. The skill system and worldbuilding were charming, and the story was interesting even in English. Most importantly, there was a strange distinct quality to this game.

Tap-tap. Ta-ta-ta-tap.

A social service agent who had just been assigned to work in the subway as an alternative to military conscription, I delved into the world of Dungeon and Stone and hit the ground running. It wasn't easy. Combat in this game was not simply decided by HP/MP. Even with full stats, a single mistake could mean that the character that I had been painstakingly playing for three months was gone.

“Let's get it...”

Two years into playing the game, I hadn’t even reached the halfway point. Swallowing my pride, I combed the internet for a strategy guide. Since I couldn't find any information on Korean websites, I had to translate from English to read anything. Even so, the sites I found weren’t much help. There weren’t many users abroad either, so there were very few relevant articles and no useful tips. Unlike the people who had played it for only a month or two before writing it off as a failed game, I, who had been seriously exploring this world for two years, had a much better understanding of it. So, I stopped looking for a walkthrough.

“Three up, four to the left, one down, two to the left, then six up again, and four to the right. Finally, avoid the trap and... nice.”

This game had come to me at a time when I was desperately looking for a new game to play anyway. No matter how long it took, I decided I wanted to progress forward on my own. And...


Just like that, I made it to where I was now.

[Gate of the Abyss.]

My current character was standing in front of the portal connected to the final boss’s lair. But of course, I wouldn’t be seeing the end until I revisited this place several more times. This was not a game where you could defeat the boss in just one try. Even so, my stiff fingers were a telltale sign of how nervous I was at that moment.

“The final boss…”

It might mean nothing to some, but it took me nine years to get here. It would not be an exaggeration to say that this game had been with me for the entirety of my twenties. When I was discharged from social service, when I returned to school after years away, and even on the day I received a letter of acceptance from the job I wanted after graduation—I had been playing Dungeon and Stone the entire time.

[Will you enter?]

As my character approached the portal, I was asked if I was willing to enter. Of course, I clicked [Yes]. However, since it was the final boss’s room, another pretty ominous message popped up right after.

[You may never return.]

[Are you still willing to enter?]

From the player’s point of view, this was an unnecessary prompt. Why wouldn’t I enter this place?


Once I clicked [Yes] again, the screen changed to a loading screen. Staring at the darkened monitor, I focused all of my attention on the game.

How many attack patterns will this guy have? What are its attributes? It definitely has an instant kill move. Mm, I should forget trying to succeed on the first try and just gather as much information as possible, because I may have to completely overhaul my leveling method or class combination.

My brain, stimulated with excitement and anticipation, was filled only with thoughts of the final boss—which was why I noticed what was going on a moment too late.

[You have reached the abyss.]

[Tutorial complete.]

Tutorial complete? No, wait. Why is it suddenly written in Korean? Wasn't Dungeon and Stone only available in English?

[The transmission will now begin.]

At the same moment, a bright light burst into existence. The light was so intense that it was hard to believe it was coming through a screen.

“Ugh— Fuck! My eyes!”

In an instant, everything turned white. There was a ringing in my ears, and a strange heat touched my skin. My mind quickly grew hazy, like someone had just injected anesthesia into my veins. I was normally confident in my ability to handle crises, but at that particular moment, I had no idea what was going on.


I lost consciousness as the light grew stronger. And when I opened my eyes again, I was a barbarian inside the game.