What happens when the haggling is done and the shops are closed? When the quest has been given, the steeds saddled, and the adventurers are off to their next encounter? They keep the world running, the food cooked, and the horses shoed, yet what adventurer has ever spared a thought or concern for the Non-Player Characters?In the town of Maplebark, four such NPCs settle in for a night of actively ignoring the adventurers drinking in the tavern when things go quickly and fatally awry. Once the dust settles, these four find themselves faced with an impossible choice: pretend to be adventurers undertaking a task of near-certain death or see their town and loved ones destroyed. Armed only with salvaged equipment, second-hand knowledge, and a secret that could get them killed, it will take all manner of miracles if they hope to pull off their charade. And even if they succeed, the deadliest part of their journey may well be what awaits them at its end.
©2014 Andrew Hayes (P)2014 Tantor
If you're a gamer, you may appreciate the meta-ness Hayes offers. Without giving away too much, NPCs takes some of the conventions and tropes of tabletop roleplaying and applies them to a world, treating them more seriously than Order of the Stick does - while still keeping a fairly light tone.
The story isn't grand or revolutionary, the characters aren't gripping, but the story still has its own charm and the prose is both readable and has a welcoming feel to it. There are three real action sequences in the book and the first two do get a bit long, because they are told from multiple characters doing their own thing on the battlefield. That said, this point didn't grow too onerous. Overall I enjoyed the book and would gladly read more by Hayes along this vein.
Yes - he has a pleasant writing style and a sense of humor that, while it doesn't make you laugh out loud, can still make you smile.
The narrator does a good job. His voice is pleasant, and all of the character voices are both distinct and enjoyable. I'd listen to more by him.
good listen, but only a small part of the book is about role playing, most of the story is a general adventure, which could be about anyone. enjoyed it all the same though
This was an Audible purchase I made as an addition to buying the kindle copy of the book. A bit of a throw away really, but I've never been happier with an add-on. This story was wonderful, and the performance fits it masterfully.
I've been a fan of Paper and Dice RPGs since I was a young boy and this story does a great job of making you appreciate the games and making you think about what did happen after you left that "bar" that the story started in?
The opening transition from Players to NPCs was a great setup for what was to come. However, the scenes with Grumble were ultimately my favorite.
It's hard to choose a favorite, but Thistle probably wins in the end. He has a nicely developed back story and takes an entertaining arc throughout the story.
This book is written for a fairly narrow audience.
1) You must be fond of old school RPGs. Table top dice rolling is best, but something like a text-based MUD would be good, too. Me, I loved Gemstone III.
2) You must be able to laugh at yourself and your fellow players.
3) You must embrace the awkward phrasing that lots of players liked to use to create "character." Aye, 'tis true.
4) You must not be looking for anything deep or meaningful. This is a romp, and the author's tongue never comes fully out of his cheek.
If meet these criteria, then enjoy! This book is for you!
I am a retired teacher who listens because she is vision impaired and can no longer read. I love history, a touch of fantasy, and mystery!
I have never played a fantasy style game, but I have enjoyed a wide variety of fantasy books. I love Robin Hobb and Dragon Riders of Pern and been thoroughly immersed in Game of Thrones and Wheel of Time. This book is an easier and lighter read, maybe young adult fiction. It was a pleasant break from walking dead and vampire types. The emphasis was much more on the good guys working together to grow and develop and win the day. It was a pleasant read. It didn't require a 200 hour life commitment, it didn't invade my life or haunt my nights. I needed something healthy and light. I will read the next one.
"NPCs" did exactly what I expect of a book of this type: it entertained me from start to finish.
The premise is a fun one. When a group of adventurers (player characters) screws up and gets themselves killed, an unlikely group of townsfolk decide to take on their identities. What follows is fun, and not always expected.
There is more character development in this story than in a lot of stories like it, and in fact, much of the story is built around this development. I enjoyed the blurring of the lines between pretending to be something and actually becoming that thing. The characters are believable, likable and worth rooting for.
The narrator is great. He manages to do distinct voices for all of the major characters, but is never obtrusive.
This book is a fun, diverting listen.
Author of ALIVE, Book I of the Generations Trilogy
Absolutely loved it. A fantastically fun book that captured the essence of me D&D days. Really looking forward to the rest of this series.
First of all, I don't play tabletop RPGs.
When I first picked up NPCs, I wasn't expecting much. Indeed, if audible didn't have the stellar returns policy it does, I probably never wouldn't given this book a read.
That's a real shame, though, because NPCs takes its corny premise and makes the most out of it. Instead of playing it for comedy like I was expecting, Drew Hayes takes the premise seriously and provides interesting and distinct characters, the best I've seen in quite a while, and then puts them in an interesting plot involving demons and royal requests and scumbag player characters.
The plot moves quickly and doesn't get hung up on the little things, but sometimes it feels like it's moving a little too fast, and the intro to the book is a little rocky, preventing the book from getting the 5/5 it would deserve otherwise.
A great read, a great narrator, and a recommendation for any gamer, tabletop or otherwise.
Audible subscriber with dozens of books listened to. Mostly non-fiction but with a number of epic fiction titles.
First of all, the performance by the narrator was fantastic. The voice acting was some of the best I've heard. As far as the story, the embedded RPG humor was fun, yet the story was serious to the ragtag NPCs who find themselves trying to survive the RPG module. The story was fun, funny and adventurous.
Hard to say. The premise and main problem were right up my alley. The story encompassed the feeling of how it might be to be an NPC in an RPG well. The characters went from flat to surprisingly complex as the story went on; I don't know if that was intentional, but if not it was a really great accident.
This book is surprisingly epic; I don't mean that only in the slang way, but in the fact that it had surprising depth and length for what I expected to be mostly a comedy on role-playing games. Still wish it were longer though. I bought the second book right away.
loved it great listen, nice story will be getting the next in the series, brilliant
"Great adventure (and gaming) story"
Yes - the narrator was very good and I think I'd pick up more references on a second listen.
It was in the final scenes, so I don't want to spoil the story.
No, but will be looking out for them in the future: he narrated the book well and included a great range of character voices.
The characters' initial decision to leave, and Thistle's backstory.
Looking forward to getting the next book in the series!
"If you have ever played a Role Playing Game"
Not the greatest book I have ever listened to but at the same time it left me with a smile on my face. It's easy listening, the plot isn't complex, the characters fit really well and the premise is good. I enjoyed it enough to buy the second in the series which is what you would hope a good story would encourage you to do.
"High highs, but a low baseline"
An interesting premise that soon feels played out. Only when it twists at the end does the basis for the book seem worthwhile.
There are some clever references and great lines that Will make you chuckle if you're into RPGs, but I didn't quite connect with the characters, possibly because I wasn't mad on the voice of the narrator, specifically the voice he used for one of the main characters.
A decent read (a little short) and a sequel has a lot of potential if lessons are learned from the saggy areas of the original.
I thought this was a well written book, i look forward to the next book
"D&D like novel"
Really enjoyed this book, was a cool and entertaining viewpoint on a 'classic' D&D type based world.
"A hidden gem"
Very descriptive with a unique plot. A great audiobook for anyone with interest in Rpgs
"Not just for the D & D crowd"
Great book, good character development, nicely written with funny and interesting story lines! I would recommend this book not just for the D & D gamer but for anyone who wants a geeky little novel distraction. Also the overlap with the idea of modules and critical failure makes for a sub plot. Overall the characters make this story particularly Thistle. Go Thistle!
Also the reader is very good even if he does have a habit of making minor characters sound like Sean Connery
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