We are the Knights of Vasteel. We are on a mission to create premium tools and accessories for tabletop RPGs that meld the physical and digital worlds into one seamless experience. NPC For Hire: Heroes & Villains is the next step on our journey.
What is NPC For Hire?
NPC For Hire is a deck of 52 cards with beautiful hand-drawn portraits of fantasy folk. At this point, we now have 3 editions of NPC For Hire:
- Human Edition (Kickstarter here)
- Dwarf & Halfling Edition (Kickstarter here)
- Elf & Demon Edition (Kickstarter here)
Heroes and Villains
This campaign will add the 4th edition to the NPC For Hire family. We are proud to introduce Heroes & Villains. The money raised from this Kickstarter will fund the artwork, development, and shipping of these decks.
A lot of people have been asking for more heroes and villains to be included and as we've used NPC For Hire in our own campaigns, we found that we wholeheartedly agree! We decided to dedicate an entire edition to heroes and villains. This is what the breakdown of portraits will be on the deck:
- 40 Villains
- 12 Heroes
Notice that the majority of this deck will be of villainous NPCs. That's because a great deal of our current NPC portraits can be used in a heroic role while not many can be used in a villainous role. By adding more portraits specifically tailored as villains, it will help balance things out. With that being said, we did feel that we were missing some of those more majestic heroes so we wanted to include a few in this edition as well.
Speaking of artwork, as with our previous campaigns, 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.
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.
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 name.
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.
- Practice creating NPC ideas by drawing a card at random and making up a backstory.
- Keep 3 villager NPC cards ready with side quest seeds to pull out during any game.
- Find creative ways to reuse the cards. For example, the bartender might have a "twin" in another city.
- Show the cards to the party, and have them formulate some of the NPC’s mannerism.
- Push yourself to include cards in your game that you think are odd or you don’t immediately resonate with.
Our mission statement is to meld the physical and digital worlds for tabletop RPGs so of course, we had to develop a companion app. The app is already developed and available for you to purchase for $4.99 on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
Backers who purchase all four of the NPC For Hire decks during this campaign will receive a free promotional code for the app. More details on that below.
The companion app that we created has all of the portraits from the previous editions (165 portraits total) and will be updated with all of the portraits created from this Kickstarter once available. It 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 allows the app to be used with any fantasy system. 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.
How can I get one of your other editions?
If you are interested in purchasing some of our other editions (Humans, Dwarves & Halflings, Elves & Demons), simply add $20 to your pledge for each additional edition. When we send out the shipping survey, we will ask you which editions you want. (Additional editions will not increase your shipping cost.)
If you add the 3 previous editions to your pledge (an additional $60), we will also include a free promo code that will allow you to download the companion app.
Editable Character Description PDF - If we reach $6,000 in funding, we will produce editable card backs that you can use in conjunction with your cards. You can type up your NPC's information, print it out, and slide it behind your card in a card sleeve so you have the artwork on one side and the details on the other side. You will be able to download these for free.
Editable Stat Block PDF - If we reach $7,000 in funding, we will produce 2 more formats that you can use as card backs. The first is a stat block for 5e and the second is a stat block for Pathfinder. They will work the same as the above stretch goal. You will be able to download these for free.
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 ongoing 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".
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 previous Kickstarters 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
- (29 days)