9.5
Score

Theme
9/10
Fun Factor
10/10

Any a good role-playing game should strive to meet is to immerse the players in the world. When your players can see, hear, smell, and experience the game world through the eyes of their characters, you’ve arrived as a Game Master. Knights of Vasteel has made that goal much easier to achieve with their NPC for Hire and Magwa’s Magical Item Compendium decks.

Each deck is composed of more than 50 cards with stunning artwork. The NPC for Hire decks are broken between many of the most important fantasy staples, such as Humans, Elves, Dwarves, and Heroes & Villains. Every card in these decks has a beautiful illustration on one side, and a blank frame on the other for you to keep track of information like: Who is this NPC? Where are they? And so much more.

Magwa’s Magical Item Compendium is just as impressive. With color illustrations of magical items that can fit in almost any traditional fantasy setting, these cards are even thicker than the NPC for Hire cards and help provide just as much an immersive effect.

Using NPC for Hire & Magwa’s Magical Item Compendium

I’m currently using both the NPC for Hire decks, as well as Magwa’s Magical Item Compendium for the Dragon Age campaign I’m running for my game group. I purchased a number of inexpensive card display pages. You know, the kind that nerds like me used to store their Pokemon cards in when we were ten.

These pages have huge benefits. I’m able to see all of the images and re-organize them as often as I need. Additionally, half a standard index card fits neatly behind the cards for information on that character. It’s been really helpful, because it gives my players a vision of the people they’re talking to, interrogating, fighting, or running away from. I’m also imagining the sense of pride my players will have when they get their first truly magical item. Instead of just having stats and a vague impression of what the item should resemble, they’ll have an incredible illustrated card to reference.

Downsides

The only downside to NPC for Hire and Magwa’s Magical Item Compendium is that they’re limited by genre. My favorite games are set in either science fiction or modern settings. As beautiful and perfect for a fantasy world as these wonderful decks are, they simply don’t help with most sci-fi or modern settings.

Of course, there are some replacements that work pretty well. I recently acquired my own copy of Chronicles of Crime. Chronicles of Crime utilizes a deck of cards that follow a similar pattern to NPC for Hire. Each card has a beautiful illustration on one side, and a mostly blank face on the other. When used inside a binder-sleeve like the ones pictured above, I can imagine them working wonderfully for almost any modern game, and several of my favorite sci-fi settings.

Oh, and if you pick up the expansions, Welcome to Redview and Noir, you’ll also have cards perfect for any Noir game or game about 80s kids on bikes. It’s pretty cool. Now I’ll just need to keep looking for cards that fit more advanced science-fiction settings.

Pick Up Your Copies

You can purchase NPC for Hire and Magwa’s Magical Item Compendium from the Knights of Vasteel website or visit them if they attend SaltCon! Chronicles of Crime can be found at your local game store or online following the below links. Finally, if you want some of the card pages I’m using, check out the link below!