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Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Performance

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Story

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Enjoyable if you manage your expectations

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!

159 of 171 people found this review helpful

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So so

I'm a really big fan of Drew Hayes Fred the Vampire Accountant series.

This book though failed to hit the mark for me. It was a bit shorter than I'm used to but the story felt like it was dragging - and when the viewpoint switches it's extremely hard to follow. This happens a lot. I often found myself losing track of what was going on.

The narrator performance was pretty good. I can't tell though if there are contextual clues he missed out on passing on.

It has some interesting ideas, some cool characters, and such. But I wouldn't recommend this to anyone who didn't really really really like his style.

I'm tempted to get the 2nd book in this series (it seems to be a trilogy) but I'm a bit on the fence. My time would probably be better spent on a different series.

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • Jonathan
  • Hyattsville, MD, United States
  • 10-14-14

Charming and Cute

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

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. <br/><br/>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. <br/>

Would you be willing to try another book from Drew Hayes? Why or why not?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

64 of 70 people found this review helpful

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Great concept but...

The concept of this book was a lot of fun. However, the execution fell flat for me. It built up the story but never really took advantage of the original idea. I'm not sure why the author chose to use the blended world concept at the beginning and then the end but it wasn't present anywhere else. I thought the characters were likeable though.

There was a strange background story at an awkward place toward the end of the book that I felt took something away from the climax.

The voice acting was really good. The characters were distinct and he kept the story moving.

All of that being said. I was entertained but I would think twice about getting another book in this series or by the author. I would listen to another book by the voice actor though.

26 of 29 people found this review helpful

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this book is for roleplayers

And I loved it. Its not a epic awsome book. but it is a good.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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I'll be failing a test tomorrow because I couldn't

What made the experience of listening to NPCs the most enjoyable?

... stop listening to this.<br/><br/>I'm a huge fan of tabletop RPGs, and it's always interesting to see other peoples' takes on the game. This story was not at all what I expected. I expected a light-hearted romp through the genre that lacked depth but made up for it in entertainment value. What I got, instead, was substantially better. NPCs was a clever, if not ingenious, blend of depth, character development, personification, and sardonic pokes at the genre. The characters were well developed, and the performances of the characters, even the supporting cast, were unique and refreshing. Every character was distinct both in voice and in personality, and the motivations and driving forces behind every aspect of the story was superbly well-envisioned. <br/><br/>The plot was clever and intriguing, the concepts introduced into and by the story were fascinating, and, overall, the story was exceptionally well-written. It was, at times, a little dry, and the similes were corny and somewhat lacking, but the approach was exceptional, and the execution was delightful. I eagerly look forward to the sequel.

18 of 20 people found this review helpful

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Not what I expected

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

31 of 36 people found this review helpful

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Did that really happen? Fantasy games and fantasy fiction cross paths!

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.

23 of 27 people found this review helpful

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ehhhhhhhh

ehhhhh, not that great, i already forgot most of it, wasnt that entertaining, buy something else... i suggest...the guy who read the book was good, thats it..

18 of 21 people found this review helpful

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A Fun Read for a Gamer like Me

What made the experience of listening to NPCs the most enjoyable?

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.

What did you like best about this story?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Alex Kite
  • 05-11-17

Struggled a little with the narrator.

Was still a good book with am interesting idea at the heart of the story. Was short enough that got through it in 2 or 3 days just didn't find myself caring for the characters didn't buy in and feel invested in the outcome. Would give the author and his books another chance maybe it was my mood at the time I started.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • DAVID EELES
  • 01-31-16

great listen

loved it great listen, nice story will be getting the next in the series, brilliant

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Elizabeth
  • 12-29-15

Great adventure (and gaming) story

Would you listen to NPCs again? Why?

Yes - the narrator was very good and I think I'd pick up more references on a second listen.

What was one of the most memorable moments of NPCs?

It was in the final scenes, so I don't want to spoil the story.

Have you listened to any of Roger Wayne’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No, but will be looking out for them in the future: he narrated the book well and included a great range of character voices.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The characters' initial decision to leave, and Thistle's backstory.

Any additional comments?

Looking forward to getting the next book in the series!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Zen
  • 10-27-16

If you have ever played a Role Playing Game

Where does NPCs rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Ho-Man Yau
  • 12-01-17

A good story

at first I thought it was about players trapped in a game but then I found out that I was wrong.
look forward to the next book.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-27-17

Light and entertaining

Entertaining. This isn't brilliant writing or anything, but as a budding DnD player I really enjoyed it. Gave me some fun ideas for future characters. Well narrated.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-15-17

The concept is better than the execution

While the concept of the story is interesting, I can't but help feel that the execution could have been better. While there are some funny and ironic moments (mostly related to breaking stereotypes or recognizing player behaviour) it's not really a comedic book, which seems like a lost opportunity.

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  • Matthew M.
  • 07-06-17

Good book, great narration

I really liked this book, and I felt that the narrator was also excellent. Fun characters and an interesting theme, the only downside is that it simply isn't longer.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-14-17

Fun and a little bit meta

What made the experience of listening to NPCs the most enjoyable?

As someone who has a history I enjoyed the 'metaness' of the book. I could recognise the player characters as ramped up versions of characters in games I have played and the titular NPCs unaware of fantasy tropes were an enjoyable way to reflect on the absurdities of fantasy stories in general.

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  • Paul
  • 06-07-17

Interesting idea, mundane writing

Interesting ideas but I couldn't gel with the writing style, seemed aimed at a younger audience despite the occasional expletive.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-27-16

D&D Love.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This book is every adventure you ever had with a hero who isn't a hero.

What did you like best about this story?

The characters.

Which character – as performed by Roger Wayne – was your favourite?

Thistle

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

For the D&D adventurer you aren't!

Any additional comments?

This book tugs at the heartstrings and the corners of your mouth.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Mira
  • 04-24-17

Entertaining and Fun

This was a humorous, clever and exciting book. As a gamer, I could appreciate every aspect. may not be for those unfamiliar with gaming or d&d.
would love a other book like This one!

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  • Mark Payne
  • 03-21-17

Refreshing

An interesting take on Table Top Board Games, great story and fantastic delivery, looking forward to the next book.

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  • Mike
  • 02-28-17

Engaging and fun for any rollplay fans

Would you listen to NPCs again? Why?

great story with some slower section. A fun listen for any fans of roleplay or fantasy games.

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  • Matt
  • 01-31-17

Drew Hays does DnD

Would you consider the audio edition of NPCs to be better than the print version?

Any book that can be listened to whilst in the car is a good version

What was one of the most memorable moments of NPCs?

Great characters that really captures the Dungeons and Dragons essence

Which character – as performed by Roger Wayne – was your favourite?

Grumph - he really felt and spoke like a half orc

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

very entertaining

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  • Jim
  • 09-30-16

Good enough for book two.

I loved the intro and character development. The story did plateau a little for me; it was interesting but just not as charismatic as it's beginning. Still a great little read nonetheless.

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  • Luke
  • 06-17-16

excellent- even if you've never played d&d before.

I thoroughly enjoyed NPCs, and finished it in one sitting. Highly recommended, even if you've never played Dungeons and Dragons before.