We are the Knights of Vasteel. We are on a mission to create premium tools and accessories for tabletop RPGs that meld the print and digital worlds into one seamless experience.
NPC For Hire: Fantasy Races is the next step on our journey. We successfully launched NPC For Hire: Human Edition earlier this year and now it's time to add more NPCs to the collection.
For those of you who are new to the scene, NPC For Hire is a deck of 52 cards with beautiful hand-drawn portraits of fantasy folk. And as a complement to the deck, we created a companion app which can be found on the App Store and on the Play Store.
For those of you who are not new to the scene, welcome back and thanks for your continual support!
How to use the cards
You know that look on your players faces when you say the name of an NPC in your campaign, and they have no clue who you are talking about? It’s not cool, and it detracts from the game. We created NPC for hire to help with those moments. Instead of just describing your NPCs you can show them a detailed portrait. You will be surprised at how much easier it is for your players to recognize visual representations of a character than it is to recall a spoken names (Honestly, who really remembers names).
Beyond their value as a visual cue, you can use NPC For Hire Face cards in a number of ways to enhance your game and your DM skills. Here are a couple:
1. Practice creating NPC ideas by drawing a card at random and making up a backstory.
2. Keep 3 villager NPC cards ready with side quest seeds to pull out during any game.
3. Find creative ways to reuse the cards. For example, the bartender might have a “twin” in another city.
4. Show the cards to the party, and have them formulate some of the NPC’s mannerism.
5. Push yourself to include cards in your game that you think are odd or you don’t immediately resonate with.
Originally, we had planned to do one Kickstarter for each new edition; however, our previous Kickstarter went so well that we feel confident that we can do our next two editions with one Kickstarter.
Those two editions are the Elf & Demon Edition and the Dwarf & Halfling Edition. They will both consist of 52 portraits. Unlike the Human Edition, these decks will consist of multiple races. (Elves and dwarves aren't as distinct as humans, so rather than have a lot of look-a-likes to fill the 52 portrait quota, we decided to use other races.)
This Kickstarter will fund the artwork for these new editions as well as the printing and shipping of the decks.
Elf & Demon Edition
The races in this deck are as follows:
- High Elves
- Wood Elves
- Sea Elves
- Dark Elves
- Fey Creatures
Dwarf & Halfling Edition
The races in this deck are as follows:
- Mountain Dwarves
- Hill Dwarves
- Chaos Dwarves
- Dragon Folk
As with our first campaign, we are again teaming up with Cristiana Leone (Cru) to create the portraits. This will keep the theme and the style consistent throughout all of the decks. Cru gave us a time-lapse of one of her drawing sessions and we thought a few of you may be interested in that, so enjoy:
We were very deliberate in our effort to create a style and mood that would draw players into the game. The pencil lines over paper texture invite players to imagine they are in an ancient fantasy realm. The portraits are full of character and are drawn with just enough detail to leave room for the imagination. There is nothing like this on the market.
The back of each card is blank. This, of course, was intentional. We wanted to give GMs the space to make notes and updates to their NPCs without forcing our vision on them. Using a clear plastic card protector and a piece of paper, you can write down your notes and slip them behind the card without blocking vital information or artwork.
The amazing Cristiana Leone has offered to draw 5 custom portraits that we will be offering as an additional backer level. The new tier will include everything in the ultimate bundle and a custom portrait. The portrait will be delivered as a high-resolution digital PDF. We will also print and ship a custom card you can add to your deck.
So, if you’ve always wanted your face in the game, this is your chance. We are only offering this reward to 5 backers, so act fast. If you are interested in supporting the custom portrait, please review the image submission guidelines below before your pledge.
The companion app that we created (available on the App Store and on the Play Store for $4.99) has all of the portraits from the Human Edition and will be updated with all of the portraits created from this Kickstarter once available. It also allows you to create, generate, and manage your NPCs in one place.
We built the app to focus on the story of an NPC rather than the nitty gritty details such as stats. This makes it so that this app can be paired with any fantasy game. Also, we've found that when we need an NPC quickly, it's mostly in a non-combat scenario where we need story/background and not stats.
The artwork is expensive as well as printing decks. With regards to printing, the more decks you purchase, the cheaper it becomes. So by coming to Kickstarter and raising the money up front, it allows us to bring you a premium product at reasonable prices.
With our previous Kickstarter, we reached our funding goal, but more importantly, we delivered our rewards on time. The Kickstarter method of raising funds makes something like NPC For Hire possible for us all to enjoy.
Nathan is a passionate designer, entrepreneur, and DM. His first successful Kickstarter, Dungeon Explore Card Deck, taught him a lot about creating, managing, and delivering a product. Professionally, Nathan designs mobile applications and is always looking for ways to bring technology into his hobbies. The idea to create NPC For Hire came from not being satisfied with the current digital tools for creating and using believable NPCs in his current 5e campaign.
You can find his RPG tile art in the Roll20 marketplace and his blog at MakerGames.net.
Cristiana Leone was born in 1980, in the province of Rome. She has been passionate about drawing ever since childhood. As a self-taught artist, she is eager to master new techniques and learn as much as possible. In 2012 she decided to leave her secretary job to become a full-time artist. She currently works as a professional illustrator and character designer. She does private and commercial work. Her clients include many international customers and in 2016, she was hired to do graphics for an animated, independent horror film, called "Malevolent".
In our previous Kickstarter, we had calculated US shipping costs into the price of the decks. This time around, we decided to break it out. This made it easier for us to calculate the price when grouping decks together and ensures that no one is overpaying for shipping costs. The bottom line is: by breaking the shipping out, it makes the bundle reward options cheaper for everyone.
Risks and challenges
The risks involved with this campaign mostly fall upon the printing / manufacturing process. We are planning on using the same company that we used in our last Kickstarter and don't foresee any issues.
That being said, we have padded our reward dates by a few weeks to give us some leeway in case we need to do an extra print run. We figure that it's better to get rewards earlier than promised rather than later.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)