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NPCs

Narrated by: Roger Wayne
Series: Spells, Swords, & Stealth, Book 1
Length: 7 hrs and 50 mins
Categories: Fiction, Humour
4.5 out of 5 stars (186 ratings)

Non-member price: $41.00

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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

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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Something a little different!

A bit of a light hearted way to tell a story based around exactly as the description describes, a bunch of nobody's from a tabletop RPG who get thrown in the deep end.
Although, watch out for that twist that turns this into something much bigger and more interesting!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Great idea, execution could have been better

I thought it was a great idea, but I was expecting more - I thought the story was a bit two dimensional and the performance was sometimes a bit staccato, reminiscent of William Shatner's delivery. Nonetheless, the book got me hooked and I really enjoyed listening to it.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A quirky and cute story expertly performed

Roger Wayne performs this off beat tale with skill and a wonderful array of voices. There are RPG references to keep veterans happy but not so many that those unfamiliar with the phenomenon are left behind. I thoroughly enjoyed this lovely little story.

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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!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Refreshing

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

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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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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
  • 30-09-2016

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
  • Australia
  • 17-06-2016

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.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Miachi
  • 23-01-2015

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!

315 of 331 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • PretzelCoatl
  • 18-11-2015

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.

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.

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.

36 of 38 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jonathan
  • 14-10-2014

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.

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.

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.

95 of 104 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • T. Hardy
  • 12-08-2016

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.

36 of 40 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Cody Konior
  • 12-05-2017

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.

31 of 35 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Laurel
  • 12-01-2016

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.

30 of 34 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Small Mountain
  • 12-10-2016

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.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrew
  • 03-06-2016

Great concept lacking depth

As a gamer, I enjoyed this plot concept. However, the writing felt simplistic; this could be viewed as a boon or detriment depending on your normal reading material. I would recommend it to other gaming friends as a nice way to kill 8 hours.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Morten Sandø
  • 01-09-2016

this book is for roleplayers

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

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Hura
  • 04-02-2016

Decent.

What did you like best about NPCs? What did you like least?

Great concept and it's very nice to have a true D&D type of book for a change, but the story is kinda weak. However, it's still a fun book to read and I did enjoy it. Second book gets better, looking forward to the third one.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 15-09-2017

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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Alex Kite
  • 11-05-2017

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 14-06-2017

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Paul
  • 07-06-2017

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Charlie Tomkins
  • 27-04-2017

Really enjoyable.

I thought the overall story was a good start to a series but in my opinion there were a lot of missed opportunities for comedy throughout.

Having said that, I thought the performance was very good and the characters well written. I'll be getting the sequel Asap.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Misspelt
  • 24-04-2017

Interesting take on D&D!

The NPCs strike back and outshine the players! Though if you roll like some of these players you can't expect much of a result. An interesting story with a definite unusual approach. To my mind it missed an opportunity: it pits NPCs alongside 'real life players' but there is so little interaction that it's almost a D&D story devoid of that twist. A little slow in places but generally moved along quite well. Very enjoyable and extremely well narrated. Worth a listen but really only if you're a fan of this genre.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs.
  • 16-10-2016

High highs, but a low baseline

An interesting premise that soon feels played out. Only when it twists at the end does the basis for the book seem worthwhile.

There are some clever references and great lines that Will make you chuckle if you're into RPGs, but I didn't quite connect with the characters, possibly because I wasn't mad on the voice of the narrator, specifically the voice he used for one of the main characters.

A decent read (a little short) and a sequel has a lot of potential if lessons are learned from the saggy areas of the original.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • P. J. Bell
  • 05-06-2016

Not just for the D & D crowd

Great book, good character development, nicely written with funny and interesting story lines! I would recommend this book not just for the D & D gamer but for anyone who wants a geeky little novel distraction. Also the overlap with the idea of modules and critical failure makes for a sub plot. Overall the characters make this story particularly Thistle. Go Thistle!
Also the reader is very good even if he does have a habit of making minor characters sound like Sean Connery

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • DAVID EELES
  • 31-01-2016

great listen

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

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Elizabeth
  • 29-12-2015

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