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This was a coming-of-age story.

It starts with the protagonist, a teenaged boy whose interests include TTRPGs like Dungeons and Dragons, going to an interview for a job. There he meets what turns out to be a creator deity who sends him to a magical world under the control of a group of sorcerers who owe allegiance to the creator deity's foe.

I remember it kind of as a footnote but two other teens from our world went missing and the protagonist discovers one, a jock has been killed and eaten by the wolves that live in the wooded area they are transported to, and a girl accidentally gets possessed by a demon but the protagonist cannot save her.

Relatively shortly into the story he finds himself witness to a battle and he saves prisoners from the attacking (evil) forces and when caught by their sorcerers accidentally ends up making a powerful magical bomb that breaks the siege by destroying most of the attacking forces. One of the prisoners becomes his traveling companion, a young boy.

The whole story is about him avoiding detection and increasing his magical knowledge until he eventually restores the worship of the "good deity" to the world and faces off with the "evil god" as it tries to enter and consume the world.

I read it around 2015, at my wife's recommendation but she read it years earlier. My impression is that it was published in either the 1990s or 2000's.

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  • You could improve this question by going through the checklists here and editing in any relevant info you can think to add. In particular, when and where did you read this. What were the names of the characters, etc
    – Valorum
    Jun 7 at 13:56
  • Was the group of sorcerers establishing early on, or only later? Because one is teasing at the edge of my mind, but at the point where I left off, he hadn't figured out his greater purpose. The main thing I remember about it was how quickly the protagonist got used to killing, not even a "Oh god... I just stabbed this person in the gut" but rather "Hey, cool, XP!"
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jun 7 at 13:56
  • This online novel, for example meets some of the critieria (MC is a tabletop gamer who plays D&D, selected at interview, etc, etc) royalroad.com/fiction/51019/young-world-isekailitrpg
    – Valorum
    Jun 7 at 13:59
  • The evil sorcerer group was established fairly early on. But there was no XP mechanic in the story. @FuzzyBoots I'd be interested in the story you're thinking of though Jun 7 at 14:55

1 Answer 1

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This sounds like The Unsuspecting Mage (2005) by Brian S. Pratt.

The hero is James Reese who is living with his grandparents since his parents were killed. One morning he goes downstairs to have breakfast and his grandfather shows him an ad for a job:

Magic! Real Magic! Ever wanted to learn?

We require someone with intelligence and a disciplined mind. Those well versed in fantasy novels and role playing games a plus. May need to travel. Only those of good character need apply. No appointment necessary. For preliminary interview, drop by at:

1616 Commercial Ave
Room 2334 Haveston, CA

He goes to the interview, where he finds a book and a letter telling him to read the first page and walk through a door marked "Private;" he does so and ends up in the fantasy world.

The paper had also had an article about a missing classmate of his, Seth Randle. James finds Seth's body in the other world shortly after arriving (he actually heard him being killed the night after he arrived):

Horror grips James when he eyes settle on what’s left of the poor guy’s jacket. The letters H-A-V-E-S… are still discernable across what is left of the back of the jacket. It looked an awful lot like a letterman’s jacket from his high school. Using the end of his walking stick he turns the torso over and sure enough, the name Randle is stitched across the front. So Seth wound up here just like I did, no wonder no one could find him.

There are more details (and some unfavourable reviews) on the Goodreads page, including a link for a free Kindle copy.

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  • Dang it... I'd finally found my review for this one from seven years ago. :-D
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jun 7 at 15:33
  • It does indeed end with a magical bomb exploding.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jun 7 at 15:35
  • @FuzzyBoots Oh, I'd like to read that!
    – DavidW
    Jun 7 at 15:37
  • If you'd like, I can copy in text. Without rereading it, it's apparently an unnamed spell that James used in his tabletop days. :-D Or the book is free, as long as you don't mind it being in your read history. I'll admit that I was among the negative reviewers of it, commenting on how it feels like a transcribed RPG session with a surprisingly sociopathic main character.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jun 7 at 15:51
  • No, you misunderstand; I'd like to read your review. :)
    – DavidW
    Jun 7 at 15:53

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