NPCs is a book by Drew Hayes. It’s the first book in the Spells, Swords, & Stealth seires, published in 2014 by Thunder Pear Publishing. The book asks 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? It’s a book about those who keep the world running, the food cooked, and the horses shoed, the ones that no adventurer has ever spent a second of thought about: 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.
NPCs is a very enjoyable book. It doesn’t try to circumvent the clichés of fantasy novels and games — on the contrary, it tackles them head on. The four main characters try to disguise themselves as character classes, only to realize they would belong to completely different ones. This is not a comedy novels, but there are plenty of amusing moments that will put a smile on your face, particularly if you play RPGs.
You get everything here, from a tribe of goblin marauders, to a quest set forth by a king, to a dungeon where dozens of adventurers have perished in the past to even… Oh, yeah I won’t spoil the ending. Go read it!