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(Spells, Swords, & Stealth #1)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  8,174 ratings  ·  759 reviews
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
Kindle Edition, 289 pages
Published May 12th 2014 by Thunder Pear Publishing (first published April 29th 2014)
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4.04  · 
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 ·  8,174 ratings  ·  759 reviews

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Sean Gibson
Apr 12, 2015 rated it liked it
NPCs—or Non-Player Characters for you non-geeks out there, as though anyone reading this isn’t at least mildly geekish, or prone to geekish tendencies—are the background characters people partaking in role-playing games encounter over the course of their adventures. These characters, portrayed by the game master (or Dungeon Master, if we’re talking about D&D, which we should be, because awesome), are crucial sources of aid and information for our heroes as well as the nefarious ne’er-do-well ...more
Scott Sigler
Nov 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing

Loved, loved, loved this book. If you played D&D back in the day, you will enjoy it (I'm talking about the paper version, you crazy kids with your newfangled video games ...).

A fun, fast read. Hayes does a wonderful job of capturing the essence of the gaming experience, but from the perspective of the characters.
Mike (the Paladin)
I just read a book by this author (Drew Hayes) and really enjoyed and am waiting for the next in that series (I decided to wait for the audio). A friend here recommended this/these and I'd already noticed it/them so I picked it up.

At first I wasn't really involved but as the book went on I found it a great and fun read.

If you're a gamer you are familiar with the term "NPC" which stands for Non-Player Character. That would be the bar tenders, stable boys, tavern girls, town guardsmen and so on, t
What does a street urchin, a emperor, a hobgoblin, and a god have in common? They are all Non-Player Characters (or NPCs) that populate and bring to life the world of table top role playing games (RPGs). They are controlled and the game master and can be friends, foes, or just background to the characters players control (PCs). While essential to the game, they are often abused, ignored, or exploited by PCs and seen as an end to the PCs' goal of gaining my power, levels, and wealth.
"Who cares?
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: didnt-finish
I guess what bothers me is that the "NPC" part is kind of a gimmick that just gets you to read a somewhat interesting but ultimately underwhelming and unmemorable fantasy story.

The idea is supposed to be that the Non Player characters from dungeons and dragons are forced to become the real adventurers that normally they only interact with in taverns to sell a tankard of ale or get kidnapped. Sounds kind of fun!

But the whole premise of the book is forgotten in about 5 pages. After the NPCs beco
Feb 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, humor
Next time you're playing an RPG, please try to be considerate about where you die.
Unfortunately for the inhabitants of the Maplebark Inn, a band of careless adventurers have stumbled in after eating bad mushrooms and have now found precisely the wrong place to pass on. For the gamers who were playing the adventurers, it's not a big deal--after all, that's what backup characters are for. But for the NPC characters, there's no such thing as a re-roll, and now they have to handle four rather suspic
Executive Summary: Why did I wait so long to listen to this one? This book is a lot of fun. If you're a (Tabletop) RPG fan, I highly recommend picking this one up.

Audiobook: Roger Wayne is excellent. He does a variety of voices for the different characters. He speaks with good inflection and volume. Audio is an excellent option for this series.

Full Review
Most if not all people who have played Dungeons & Dragons (or similar tabletop RPGs) or any RPG game for that matter have suffered the lo
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1audio, z2017, audio-read
Oh! This was definitely good fun :)

I listened to the audiobook narrated by Roger Wayne, who was a new-to-me narrator. I was very impressed with his voice work -- it was on par with one of my all time faves for this type of book, Luke Daniels.

If you like Off to Be the Wizard and its sequels, then you should also enjoy NPCs. I'm quite pleased to have a new series to add to my 'fun' list, and excited to see that the other two books in the series available on audiobook are both a bit longer than th
Lexxi Kitty
This is the first book I’ve read by this author.

I’m not really sure what to write about this book. I was looking for something relatively light and fluffy with the potential of humor. This book popped up on my radar, I noticed it was on Kindle Unlimited, so I tried it.

I was actually unexpectedly surprised, as opposed to expectedly surprised I suppose. Hmms. Let’s see. Bah.

I was actually surprised by how much deeper this book turned out to be on a certain level. Sure, it’s still mostly fluffy, b
My gob is once again smacked.
I don't even remember how I found my way to this book and I started it a week ago which means I am losing my memory superfast.
Even more curious is that I checked it out.
Because this has the veneer of a book I should hate:
1) It's self-pubbed. I do not do well with indie books, they too often bring the rabid editor in me front and center and I wind up being angry and hating words. Unless specifically asked, I steer clear of this type of thing.
2) It's based on D&am
Yzabel Ginsberg
Mar 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the story, especially the first half, with the characters blundering about passing for "true adventurers". I liked how the author played with the expected stereotypes (the gnome would be the rogue, the noble girl would be the mage...), but also how the NPCs, while acting like adventurers, retained, well, NPCesque characteristics--such as being the ones warning all the "players" about the danger, or using knowledge nobody else would have. For instance, the gnome used to be a henc ...more
Sinisa Mikasinovic
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sinisa by: Jane
More NPCs (view spoiler) fighting! In an NPC-heavy book called NPCs! Fitting ;-)

Again, I'm stuck in the LitRPG genre and it's hard to get out when it is soooo gooooood! I'd imagine this has something to do with me stopping gaming 6 years ago and still missing it dearly.

But now fantasy game worlds can be in my head again, without eve
Jacob Proffitt
Jun 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
It has been months since I finished this and I keep putting the review off for reasons mostly having to do with trying to put my thoughts in order. Well, now the thoughts have faded enough that I'm going to knock this out just because I can.

And I'm doing the book a huge disservice and I regret that.

This book was a delight. I hadn't expected much because it's obviously aimed at RPG gamers and that's niche to start off and most authors don't limit their readership right up front like that. Hayes i
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not much into D&D or any role playing games. Never have been even though I'm a geek & have a lot of geek friends, including some of my kids, all of whom have tried to get me to play numerous times over the years. I also enjoyed Rosenberg's D&D adventures which begin with The Sleeping Dragon many years ago. So, I know what an NPC is & thought this could be fun.

It was.

It was kind of a blast, actually. I loved the way the characters were mixed & matched with the various game
Feb 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, audiobook, gaming
I've never played a tabletop roleplaying game, though I've been thinking about it lately. One more thing to check off to achieve my official geekdom badge. I do know enough about this gaming concept to easily wander into this book, though it might be just a little too niche for someone completely ignorant of the medium. Still, Hayes does a reasonable job of explaining some of the logistics without bogging down the story with over exposition.

One thing you would need to know is that NPC is the "ac
Jun 14, 2017 rated it liked it
This books pulls together some great 'what if' ideas from fantasy tabletop role playing. In a nutshell, it's what happens to a group of NPCs after the player characters are no longer around. The game world is persistent and continues on even when there is no active game session. The author introduces quite a few RPG tropes, and then turns some of them on their heads. Things don't quite as expected and I really enjoyed most of this book. My only problem problem was that the fight scenes were a bi ...more
Daniel Ionson
What a great concept; a quick fun read if you played D&D. If you didn't, probably not going to be worthwhile.

Sep 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio
If you've never played a role playing game then you might be missing some information to enjoy this at it finest.

If you've played an RPG then you'll probably agree that "it's finest" is good but not epic. I enjoyed it for what it was but I would recommend something else if someone asked for my honest opinion.

My Full Honest Opinion
Anyone who's played a TRPG knows how bad it sucks to have your character die; It's even worse having everyone at your table wiped out, destroying your band o
Enjoyable! D&D is really important to me, so I'm always on the lookout for books relating to it. I liked the story and the characters a lot, although I feel like the author took this a little too seriously. For an adventure, it felt a little ponderous in places. But overall, I liked it and will definitely continue with the series.
Megan EM
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, funny
A fun and funny book. It engaged me and kept me chuckling. It was actually a pretty standard type fantasy plot but with the gamer twist. I think it was good, not great. But I think someone who actually has experience playing these games might like it more. I guess you'll have to find out.
Kisa Whipkey
Jun 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of RPG games
For a while, I've wondered why no one has tackled this very topic. So when I was brought on to proofread Hayes's latest project, I was beyond excited to discover he'd ventured into the "gamer lit" world. And what a unique presentation he's brought to the table! (Pun intended.)

NPCs starts with what feels like a very traditional, high fantasy world. Except that we quickly find out it's an RPG, as in a table-top role-playing game set in our modern world. But what happens when the players return to
Jason Parent
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Simplistic, not as clever as it might have been, and essentially an unlikely hero fantasy novel. Also, not quite as dark or adult for my usual tastes. Yet, despite all that, amazingly fun. An old-fashioned fantasy tale with a feel not unlike Ready Player One. I really enjoyed it and will likely pick up the next in the series if it sticks with me after all the other books I have to read.
Mary Catelli
As you may guess from the title, there's a certain amount of role-playing games involved in this fantasy. (NPC being short for non-player character.)

It opens with a prologue to be significant later, and then the first chapter starts with a party arriving at a tavern. Russell is doing his best to make it vivid but the players are three Munchkins (think the games is about winning fights and loot) and a newbie who's a bit diffident about standing up to them, even though he's playing a paladin. The
Mar 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kat by: Rob
This was an inbetween-other-books read for me, because I wanted some light and entertaining fun that would amuse me while I had several not-so-pleasant doctor's appointments during the week.

It was a really good choice, because I had to laugh out loud several times, and the RPG references are just sooooo spot-on.

I really loved the behind-the-scenes stuff that is described for the locations. Who ever wondered what goes on in a goblin camp when there's no adventurers there? And what is their motiva
Jan 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was... Surprisingly good. I've read all sorts of self referential DnD based fiction and High Fantasy satire, and a lot of it felt like fan fiction.

This is probably the best such book I have read yet. It's not Pratchett, by any means, but it was a fun, light, and entertaining read

Edit: I read and enjoyed Book 2, which was good but not quite as good as book 1, and I now feel this review needs more substance:

I am particularly enjoying the character arc of the strong female protagonist
Jul 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
It's silly, it's full of tropes and inside jokes, and it is absolutely fantastic. Fantasy and gaming fans should read it. People who know or love Fantasy and gaming fans should read it. It does to RPG characters what Wreck it Ralph and Toy Story do to video games and children's toys. Most fittingly it does it in the printed medium requiring your imagination much like the materials it lovingly references. Grumph, Thistle, Gabrielle, and Eric are so real you can't help but love them. I want to hea ...more
Abby Goldsmith
Jan 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
What would happen if heroes in a real world were as cavalier about killing people and gaining loot as most RPG tabletop gamers? What if your adventuring companions are a bunch of jerks, but you're stuck with them due to game rules? What if you choose the role of Wizard, but you're more suited to the role of Barbarian? What if everyone sees you as a thug, but you're actually an intelligent deep thinker? This book examines those questions, and more.

A fun satire of the RPG game world. Too light fo
Jun 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I don't know if this would be a great book for a non-gamer, but if you have played any sort of RPG (especially tabletop games), it's a fun story. I liked the takes on goblin society, adventurer classes, and quests.
Dec 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, humor
What a fun damn book this was. Great humor, fast pace, lots of fun for geeky type people who love fantasy and gaming.
J. Pike
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-humor
An enjoyable romp. Most LitRPG you've read probably took place in a videogame. NPCs takes place in a table-top game. A fun concept executed proficiently.
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The Procrastinato...: Series Recommendation 3 15 Jul 18, 2019 08:09AM  
Fantasy Aficionados: May 2019 BotM: NPCs (Spells, Swords, & Stealth #1) 85 44 Jun 26, 2019 07:53AM  
Around the Year i...: NPC's, by Drew Hayes 1 10 Jan 28, 2018 04:44AM  
The Not a Book Cl...: NPCs (Full Spoilers) 33 31 Sep 22, 2016 02:56PM  

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Other books in the series

Spells, Swords, & Stealth (4 books)
  • Split the Party (Spells, Swords, & Stealth, #2)
  • Going Rogue (Spells, Swords, & Stealth, #3)
  • Siege Tactics (Spells, Swords, & Stealth, #4)
“This is less of a 'the king needs a reason' thing and more of a 'the king loves burning shit and killing people' thing," Eric corrected.” 19 likes
“We'll loot the bodies and be on our way." "The words that start every great adventure," Gabrielle quipped sarcastically. She might have been surprised to discover how accurate that statement truly was.” 8 likes
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