If you're a CRPG fan looking for a fun diversion for a few hours, I solidly recommend The Eight-Bit Bard, a "fantasy novel set to the tune of classic computer role-playing games," written Aaron Rath. Aaron frequently comments on my blog under the name "Quirkz."
Half-parody, half-homage, the engaging and well-written book draws from a Bard's Tale theme but offers allusions to hundreds of RPGs, settings, and characters; I'm sure I missed as many as I picked up. The story concerns Endrew Aric, a moderate-level bard who finds himself abandoned by his party the moment he's level-drained in combat. He takes up with a group of Level 1 misfits and finds himself in the unexpected position (because of his higher level) of party leader.
Aaron has a great feel for the amusing vagaries of CRPG playing and decision-making. Endrew explains why the party's magician is named "Hunter2" ("for obscure leagal reasons, the 2 is silent, but always scribed"), how dungeon doors work ("it was impossible to tell whether or not anything was on the other side without opening it and diving through, shouting a battle cry, and hoping for the best"), and the relationship between some characters and the mysterious god known as The Player.
Characters ponder why creatures without opposable thumbs are mysteriously found inside houses, why animals carry gold, the meaning of "xyzzy," what it means to "dig too deep," and who, exactly, writes all of the messages they're finding on the dungeon walls. We get a rare glimpse from the characters' points of view on what it's like to grind, to have to return to the temple for healing 10 minutes after you were just there, and to stand in front of the review board to "level up."
I appreciated a personal homage in the form of a (deceased) band of adventurers known as the CRPG Addicts, and several of my frequent commenters will find their names among its members. (Canageek, you're one of them, so when you reach this posting in about 18 months, make sure you buy the book!)
I've only read about half of the book myself so far, but I've skimmed the rest, and I look forward to what's ahead. It appears we'll be answering some meta-questions about what the characters do when The Player isn't around, how they incorporate knowledge from hint books, and what happens to them when the computer crashes.
On rare occasions, I've tried to write bits of the adventure from the perspectives of my characters. If you like that kind of posting, I guarantee you'll like The Eight-Bit Bard. Amazon is currently selling the electronic edition for $4.99 in the U.S. Congratulations, Quirkz, for bringing this project to fruition!