Gaming tools: NPC cards

For Heirs to the Lost World, Chad Davidson created NPC cards: just the right size to fit in Magic: the Gathering card sleeves, and with just enough information to run NPCs in combat. It was obviously a brilliant idea, so I implemented something similar for Blade & Crown.

Image of arrayed NPC cardsAlthough you could use the NPC record (PDF) many ways, the method I intended is to print a dozen or so copies of the sheet on stiff paper or cardboard and then cut the sheets into cards. With this, I’ve made several dozen NPCs. I usually write the NPCs up in pen, allowing me to use pencil later on for temporary notes (combat damage, motives, even names). That way, I can erase the cards as needed and re-use them. That’s another reason to use thick paper: it resists erasing better. I printed the cards single-sided, so I can use the backs for additional notes — though, if an NPC is going to be long-term and require tracking notes, I eventually give them a fuller record elsewhere. Also, when I got them printed at Kinko’s, I asked the folks there to give me the chipboard backings they use to make the cuts; these backings make great covers for stacks of cards, allowing me to use rubber bands to hold the stack together. I keep them in one big stack, in alphabetical by character/creature type, making for easy searching when I need an NPC. I also keep cards tied to specific scenarios separated by the chipboard pieces, making it even easier to find cards for particular uses.

So far, the NPC cards have been a very successful experiment. Just a few days ago, I printed a bunch more, mostly because I need quite a few more NPC types for Con of the North. Future plans:

  • Make a PDF that really uses the whole page-space, allowing for less cutting and for more information per card.
  • Create a bunch of pre-filled in cards for B&C players to print and use.

For that last one, especially, let me know what kinds of NPCs you’d like cards for!

Apologies for not posting recently. Life has been hectic.


Gaming tools: NPC cards — 4 Comments

  1. These are great tools, and I have gotten a lot of use out of the ones Chad made for Heirs. Giving GMs filled-out sheets of sample NPCs as well as blank sheets is very helpful. My only critique about the ones I have used for Heirs is that I always run out of space! There is a trade off between creating a readable card and one with sufficient content to run the NPC!

  2. What a smart way to do this! May I borrow this idea; I’m recreating the Professor’s old meta-game index card decks, and I think this would make the decks much more useful in games!!!

    yours, Chirine

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