I remember reading a book around 2015 in German that was probably around 500 - 600 pages long, full of jokes referring to RPG tropes. I think it was part of a series, which is why I would like to remember the name.

The protagonists are a bunch of stereotypical RPG characters, with a Halfling Rogue, Dwarven Fighter, a mage and similar creatures in the party. I remember that one of them was an Orc. He was always referring to his relatives when he was in doubt. What was untypical for his relatives was that they, unlike him, were always protrayed as very intelligent. They were for example professors, neurobiologists, etc.

I remember that in one instance the Orc was remembering one of his relatives telling him a story that ended with something like:

Sometimes you need to take a step back and start using your head.

To which he ran through a wooden door headfirst.

I think the story revolved around the group of adventurers trying to stop a necromancer to collect the bounty that is on his head. At least in the beginning. After they visited the terminally ill necromancer they went on a quest that they got from him to deliver someone or something to relatives of his.

But I am not too sure. I mainly read the book for humour, especially because of the Orc and his stories about his relatives and I can't remember much about the story.

Can you help me remember the name of this book?

Suggestions that were not what I read:

  • By "funny book", do you mean a book that is funny, or a graphic novel? I just ask because newspaper comic strips are often referred to as "the funny papers".
    – FuzzyBoots
    Oct 23, 2017 at 13:43
  • 2
    @FuzzyBoots I am not familiar with that expression, maybe due to not being a native speaker. What I meant is that the characters were obviously stereotypical RPG adventurers and that the author played with these stereotypes, such as giving the unintelligent, brute Orc an exceptionally intelligent family and the ability to correctly remember everything they've ever said to him - though he was missing the ability to infer what they meant and instead literally went headfirst through the door. There were a lot of puns. Every other page was full of jokes. The book didn't take itself serious.
    – Secespitus
    Oct 23, 2017 at 13:49
  • Any chance it is 'NPCs' by Drew Hayes ? goodreads.com/book/show/22088245-npcs
    – Pat Dobson
    Oct 24, 2017 at 10:59
  • @PatDobson Sadly this was not the book I read
    – Secespitus
    Oct 24, 2017 at 16:19
  • The humour in the Orc having a bunch of highly intelligent relatives has a Terry Pratchett/Discworld feel to it, but I can't think of a book that matches. There's the one with the troll whose brain (being part rock) becomes super-conductive in the cold, making him much smarter than usual ("Feat of Clay", I think?), but that doesn't quite sound like a match.
    – RDFozz
    Oct 24, 2017 at 20:56

1 Answer 1


Totentrickser by Jan Oldenburg

This book is only available in German.

The following english excerpts are rough translations by myself to the best of my abilities. I will start with the German texts and then translate them to show where I was remembering things correctly and where I was wrong.

From the linked website:

Mit Wortwitz und einer gehörigen Portion schwarzem Humor präsentiert Jan Oldenburg die wohl anspruchsvollste Queste, die je ein High-Fantasy-Held gesehen hat. Denn was ist schwieriger, als einer verzogenen Totenbeschwörer-Tochter die gemeingefährlichen Flausen auszutreiben? Wenn ein Oberbösewicht gleich am Anfang der Geschichte stirbt, ist meistens etwas faul. Doch das ahnt die Heldengruppe um den Zwergenkrieger Stahlbart noch nicht, als sie einen finsteren Totenbeschwörer ins Jenseits befördert. Ihr Erzfeind luchst den Helden in seinen letzten Atemzügen das Versprechen ab, auf seine kleine Tochter Nenia aufzupassen und sie zu ihren nächsten Verwandten zu bringen. Das allerdings ist weitaus gefährlicher als angenommen: Nicht nur scheinen alle potenziellen Adoptiveltern ausgemachte Psychopathen zu sein, sie sterben den Helden auch noch regelmäßig vor der Nase weg. Und dann ist da noch die kleine Nenia, die selbst alles andere als harmlos ist …

My english translation (emphasis to show things that are present or similar to what I wrote in my question):

With linguistic jokes and a good portion of black humor Jan Oldenburg presents the most pretentious quest a High-Fantasy-Hero has ever seen. For what could be more difficult then trying to make a Necromancer's daughter stop her highly dangerous nonsense? When a supervillain dies right at the beginning of the story most of the time something is wrong. But the group of heroes surrounding dwarven warrior Stahlbert [Steel-Beard] doesn't anticipate this turn of events when they were dispatching the dark necromancer. With his last breath their archenemy is wresting a promise from them to look out for his little daugther Nenia and to bring her to her relatives. This is far more dangerous than they would have anticipated though: not only do all the potential adoptive parents seem to be outright psychopaths, they are also dying one after the other right in front of our heroes. And then there is little Nenia, who herself is everything but benign...

The blurb from the back of the book:

Hüte dich vor dem Totentrickser!

Mit Keule und Streitaxt gehen Zwergenkrieger Brom und seine wackeren Gefährten ihrem heroischen Handwerk nach. Doch so ein Heldenleben kann ordentlich aus den Fugen geraten. Vor allem, wenn man einem sterbenden Totenbeschwörer verspricht, auf seine ungezogene Tochter aufzupassen - und sich plötzlich mit einer ganzen Sippe nekromantsicher Nachtelfen herumschlagen muss.

My english translation:

Beware the Death-Trickster!

With club and battleaxe dwarven warrior Brom and his brave companions are pursuing their heroic craft. But such a heroe's life can fall to pieces. Especially when you promise a dying necromancer to watch out for his naughty daughter - and suddenly you are battling with a whole family of night elves.

I found the book, so here are some little quotes I could find:

First of all, it was not an Orc, but an Ogre.

"Also, ich find Broms Plan gut.", brummte Bolgur, der Barbareenoger, in seiner bedächtigen Art.
Page 5


"So, I like Broms plan.", grumbles Bolgur, the barbarian ogre, in his slow manner.

Bolgur is not the brightest since a certain battle caused a concussion.

"Bolgur, wie viele Finger zeige ich hier?" [...] Bolgur kniff die Augen zusammen, sein Gesicht zeigte alle Symptome höchster geistiger Anspannung.
"Gelb", brachte er schließlich hervor.
Page 6


"Bolgur, how many fingers am I showing?" [...] Bolgur narrowed his eyes to a slit, his face was showing all symptoms of maximum mental strain.
"Yellow", he finally utters.

The scene with the wooden door is in the beginning, though it's Brom "Die Axt" Stahlbart [Brom "The Axe" Steel-Beard] who tells Brom to run the door in with his head, because the ideas about distractions and illusion magic from his companions are not to his taste and you never change a running system. The discussion is quite long (and pretty funny, for the ogre multiplication tables apparently say that the correct order of numbers should be "three, two, yellow") so I will not translate it.

There are a gnome mage and an imp rogue in the group.

I can't find any scene right now where Bolgur was referring to his relatives. Seems like I need to read some more. If I find one (and remember this plan) I will update this post.

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