Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Impressions – Death By Cliché 2: The Wrath of Con

Posted by Rampant Coyote on November 22, 2017

I loved Bob Defendi’s book, Death By Cliché. In it, game designer Damico is shot in the head and finds himself in a rather unique afterlife: trapped inside the “imaginary” role-playing game world of a really poor Game Master, surrounded by fantasy clichés and nonsensical elements based on clunky game rules and random tables. But his very presence changed things, and the world started gaining a life of its own. While this might have started as some kind of purgatory for him, this fantasy world has become his own, and now it’s filled with people he cares about.

I anxiously awaited the release of the sequel, Death By Cliché 2: The Wrath of Con. I wanted more. I got more. I loved it.

Unfortunately, Damico’s new home is still on the receiving end of cataclysmic events, because it’s still a game world under (partial) control by a Game Master of Ed Wood proportions back on Earth. To make things worse, it’s Con Weekend, which means guest players, tired players, and maybe even drunk players at the table are going to be slinging dice and pulling stupid crap against an apocalyptic foe because for them, it’s just a game. But for Damico, this is his life now. He’s going to have to manage this game from the “inside” to limit the destruction caused by one wild Gaming Con weekend.

After reading the first book, I really wanted to know more about what was happening in the “real” world. Was Damico dead? In a coma? This book doesn’t fully answer any of this… the readers only window on what’s happening back on Earth comes through out-of-character comments by the player characters. But as the first book turns into a series (I know Bob Defendi has at least three more books drafted), that becomes less important… as it is for the main character. This is his world now. He’s found love. He’s found purpose. He’s found responsibility. And he’s the only one who can protect it from the disasters that can befall it at the whim of the Game Master and the player characters at the table.

Of course, this is a comedy. I laughed out loud many times reading it, but it’s the kind of comedy that really serves the story and characters, making them all more appealing to me. Defendi’s approach to humor is reminiscent of Terry Pratchett’s in the Discworld series. He takes goofy, trope-laden situations, and just runs with them, and makes them real. It works for me. I still want more.

Obviously, you should start with the first book. Read Death By Cliché. I mean it. If you are a fan of dice-and-paper RPGs, you will want to check out this series. This little take on the sequel is just a taste of things to come.


Filed Under: Books, Impressions - Comments: Read the First Comment

  • Michael Anderson said,

    Oh cool – didn’t realize #2 had been released (must have missed it on Twitter!) I enjoyed the first one, not perfect but fun – definitely fun enough to warrant a $6 purchase for my Kindle 🙂