Best 11 Dungeon Core Books (LitRPG and Gamelit)

Ever want to read a book where the MC is a dungeon? LitRPG has you covered with our list of the best dungeon core books! This exciting sub-genre of LitRPG draws on old video games like Dungeon Keeper and the Dungeons franchise. We rounded up some of our favorite dungeon core novels and will go over them below. Be warned, we have some that aren’t from the POV of a dungeon, but we wanted to include them as we consider them dungeon core adjacent.

Dungeon POV LitRPG Novels

Here’s our list of the best Dungeon Core LitRPG books, including those that are “dungeon core adjacent” – ie they’re not told from the POV of the dungeon, but we liked them enough to include them in our list. Ready? Let’s dive in!

  1. Dungeon Born
  2. Bone Dungeon
  3. The Slime Dungeon
  4. The Laboratory
  5. The Station Core
  6. Rogue Dungeon
  7. Dungeon Lord
  8. Dungeon Deposed
  9. Core of Fear
  10. Ancient Ruins
  11. Wrath: Dinosaur Dungeon Book 1
Best Dungeon Core POV LitRPG Books
Best Dungeon Core POV LitRPG Books

Dungeon Born

Written by Dakota Krout  and published in 2016, Dungeon Born is the first of the extremely popular Divine Dungeon book series that just recently ended with book five, Dungeon Eternium. Here’s a look at some of the hundreds of reviews the books have received.

If you’re looking for something a little different, this is a good place to start if you want to learn more about dungeon core novels. Once you start, you’ll soon learn why this book has so many rave reviews. When it comes to dungeon POV books, The Divine Dungeon is a classic that you need to read.

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Bone Dungeon

Written by Jonathan Smidt and published by Portal Books in 2019, Bone Dungeon is a lighthearted dungeon romp. The first rule of ******. Aargh, I can’t talk about it! Small smile. In all seriousness, this is another example of the dungeon pov novel evolving over time.

Ryan doesn’t remember much about his life before becoming a dungeon core. Only that he had a bit of a disagreement with the church — something to do with a beheading? Now reborn, Ryan begins to arm his darkness dungeon with devious traps, bestial zombies and ill-named skeletal creations, without doing anything too evil. But Ryan quickly learns being a darkness dungeon isn’t all loot and bone puns.

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Reviews? Here you go!

Bone Dungeon has quite a few other reviews, so if the description above interests you, go check it out. You can also read the author’s Dungeon Core Online free currently on Royal Road.

The Slime Dungeon

Written by Jeffrey “Falcon” Logue and published on Amazon in 2016, The Slime Dungeon is one of the very first dungeon core LitRPG novels to arrive on the scene. Since that time, it’s become a favorite with fans of the genre.

From the description, “Death came on swift wings. A soul, blessed by a goddess, falls to the land and enters his new life. He clings to a single memory, the defining moment of his previous life. Now, he learns how to succeed in his new life, as a new dungeon heart. To become the best dungeon he can be, he partners with the one existence all dungeons need: his bonded Dungeon Pixie.”

Reviews are very good for this novel.

Four books in The Slime Dungeon Chronicles are available on Amazon. There’s rumors of a Slime Metroidvania video game coming in 2020!

The Laboratory

First published by Skyler Grant in 2017, The Laboratory is a science-fiction dungeon core LitRPG series. Currently sitting at nine completed works, this series is great for those wanting something a little different than the standard fantasy dungeon core. This Futuristic Dungeon Core is definitely something you should check out.

From the blurb, “Emma is an artificial intelligence with a love of science, insults, and devilish traps. When her systems are booted up she finds herself in control of a long-abandoned facility in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The world is filled with dangerous threats granted great powers by the same cataclysm that befell the world. Emma must balance safety with the desire for test subjects as she brings herself back fully online and stakes out a place in this new world. “

A couple select reviews from Amazon.

If you’ve read all the classic dungeon POV novels set in a fantasy setting, you should give this series a shot. The books are short, but they’re coming at a steady pace. It’s always good to see a bit of experimenting when it comes to genres of books, especially dungeon core LitRPG.

The Station Core

More science-fiction dungeon core? Yes! Written by Jonathan Brooks and published on Amazon in 2018, The Station Core is another futuristic dungeon POV novel. Even better news? There’s more than one book. The Station Cores series is currently sitting at four full-length books. From the blurb, “Milton Frederick was arguably the best player of Crowned Lieges of Destiny in the entire world. As the strategy coordinator for one of the top guilds, he was beginning to actually make a living from it. That was, until he was abducted by aliens. Instead of your stereotypical grey aliens with big black eyes who like to perform anal probes upon unsuspecting victims for unknown reasons, The Collective had a more altruistic purpose.”

The Amazon reviews are a bit mixed, but more than one person had good things to say about this book.

The latest book in the series, The Kingdom Rises, was published in April of 2019 and has received good reviews on Amazon.

Rogue Dungeon

Published by James Hunter in 2018, Rogue Dungeon is a fresh take on the dungeon core genre. While not technically a dungeon core as it isn’t told from the dungeon’s point-of-view, a good part of the book takes place in a dungeon. Fans of more traditional dungeon core novels will enjoy this fun and action filled romp.

From the blurb, “Roark von Graf—hedge mage and lesser noble of Traisbin—is one of only a handful of Freedom fighters left, and he knows the Resistance’s days are numbered. Unless they do something drastic. When a daring plan to unseat the Tyrant King goes awry, Roark finds himself on the run through an interdimensional portal, which strands him in a very unexpected location: an ultra-immersive fantasy video game called Hearthworld.”

Here’s a couple of the reviews on the book.

There are currently three novels in the Rogue Dungeon series. It’s definitely one to check out whether you’re new to LitRPG novels or you’ve been a fan for a while and somehow passed this great series by.

Dungeon Lord

Published by Hugo Huesca in 2017, Dungeon Lord is the first book in the Wraith’s Haunt LitRPG series. He has been writing for decades, and it shows in the quality of his work. This novel goes beyond hack and slash to offer something more. Like Rogue Dungeon, this isn’t told from the POV of the dungeon, but fans of dungeon core will still enjoy.

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From the blurb, “Dark forces have extended Edward Wright an offer of incredible power at a terrible cost and Edward has chosen to make them regret it. When he is swept into the world of Ivalis as a Dungeon Lord, the Dark’s most powerful servant, he has no servitude in mind. But in the battle between Dark and Light, what can Edward choose if both sides are cruel, uncaring monsters?”

Again, this isn’t your typical dungeon core book, but in this case, that’s a good thing. Give The Wraith’s Haunt book series a look if you enjoy deep dungeon dives that go beyond basic hack and slash. Don’t worry, though. There’s plenty of action in these books too.

Dungeon Deposed

Written by William D. Arand and published in 2018, Dungeon Deposed is yet another dungeon core novel. It brings a bit of the harem genre which isn’t unique, but it’s done well. This is definitely a book for adults.

From the blurb, “Ryker only has one goal in his life right now: Turn a certain adventuring guild into a flaming wreck while dancing merrily through the smoldering ruins. All for the chance to get back at a handful of people. It isn’t as if they didn’t deserve it either. They had driven him from his home. Chased him physically from the very guild house itself. All the way to the gates of the city. Simply because he wasn’t as strong as they expected him to be.”

This book has hundreds of positive reviews on Amazon.

While not your typical dungeon core novel, for some people this might be a good thing. Check it out if you’re looking for a grittier dungeon POV novel.

Core of Fear

Published by Jonathan Brooks in January of this year, Core of Fear is another spin on the dungeon core genre. This time it mixed the familiar dungeon POV tropes with a bit of horror. Not everyone will enjoy this take on dungeon core books, but those who like horror are sure to get a pleasurable fright or two from reading it.

From the blurb, “Do you ever wonder why spirits take the actions they do? What if there was a system of rules they had to follow? Clive Logan is a serial killer; or, to be more accurate, Clive Logan was a serial killer. Caught after a record-breaking streak of murders, he was executed by lethal injection by the state, while thousands of his victims’ grieving family members watched. That should’ve been the end of his emotionless and unfeeling existence – but it wasn’t.”

Reviews on Amazon are generally favorable.

Again, if you’re looking for something different in a dungeon core novel, this should satisfy if you enjoy the horror genre.

Ancient Ruins

Last but not least, we have Ancient Ruins by Benjamin Medrano. Published back in 2017, this is another one of the early dungeon core books. Part of the five book Ancient Dreams series, this book (and the rest of them) are dark. If that’s your thing, there’s a good chance you’ll like this book.

From the blurb, “Sistina awakened after millennia of dormancy, her memories in tatters and born anew. Residing in the ruins of an ancient city, she finds herself drawn into a war between two elven nations and the slaver kingdom of Kelvanis when she rescues a princess from slavery. With her domain containing hints of forgotten knowledge, Sistina becomes a dungeon, stronghold, and source of hope all at once. And perhaps, just perhaps, she could finally find love in her new life.”

Over two hundred people have left reviews on Amazon for the first book in the series. Here’s a sample of a couple of them.

If you enjoy a look at the darker side of fantasy, this dungeon core book is one you should at least check out. You’ll know by the end of the first chapter if the series is right for you or not.

Wrath: Dinosaur Dungeon Book 1

When dungeon delvers and dinosaurs clash, who can survive?

Newborn Dungeon Cores must choose what entity they help contain, and that choice determines what monsters they are able to summon. After being executed for crimes forgotten in death, Tira is given the chance to make that choice. Tira chose Acekorah, the Primeval Terror, a being so dangerous few cores will risk trying to contain it.

The danger wasn’t important. Tira remembers dying. If containing Acekorah means Tira will face greater danger, that’s a risk worth taking, because the Primeval Terror walked the world long before the races of Man roamed the earth, and Cores bound to him are able to summon beings from beyond the veil of time.

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Now, forged in the fires of Tira’s wrath, the dinosaurs will walk the world anew.

Your Favorite Dungeon Core LitRPG?

Did we leave out your personal favorite? Leave a comment below and let us know! We love hearing from the community.

Long live (Dungeon Core) LitRPG!

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Paul Bellow

LitRPG Author Paul Bellow

Paul Bellow is a LitRPG author, gamer, RPG game developer, and publisher of several online communities. In other words, an old school webmaster. He also developed and runs LitRPG Adventures, a set of advanced RPG generators powered by GPT-3 AI. Here at LitRPG Reads, he publishes articles about LitRPG books, tabletop RPG books, and all sorts of DND content that's free to use in your personal tabletop campaign - i.e. non-commercial use. Enjoy your stay and reach out on Twitter or Discord if you want to make contact.

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