Want to be a sharp GM, known for running a great game? Of course you do!
A good NPC database is the perfect tool for busy GMs, and we’ve got a solution that’s cheap, analogue, and easy to use.
July’s RPG Blog Carnival
This month’s RPG Blog Carnival is hosted by Of Dice and Dragons, and the theme is The Gamer’s Notebook. We’re looking at our own campaign notebooks, experimenting with ideas for tracking games, and sharing our personal thesis on shorthand for orcs. Here at your friendly Phoenix, we’re going back to one of our oldest products, one that I still use in my RPG sessions now: NPC Strategy Cards.
The Power in Your Palm
There are loads of useful apps for tracking your game, but I prefer analogue solutions, especially if I’m playing online and want to limit the number of tabs I have open. I often play on Roll20.net, which has a nice NPC database system, but I find it slow and cumbersome. Give me something physical instead.
Cards are my go-to. They’re stackable, sortable, easy to randomize, annotate, or group. You can also sling them at things, Gambit style.
You might call me a Luddite. I’m fine with that. Don’t say I didn’t warn you when Skynet sends in the kill-drones. Card, at their worst, might give you a paper cut. That’s nothing Sarah Connor can’t handle with a band-aid.
They’re Cheap, But We Can Do Cheaper
Our NPC Strategy Cards aren’t high-tech by any means. They’re basically index cards with fields that are important for describing an NPC. You can easily make your own. Here’s a “blank” NPC card I made from a promotional Magic: the Gathering card:
You could use old business cards, cut up cereal boxes, or find blank cards at a stationery shop. I found, however, that writing on card sleeves damages them, so I don’t recommend that. The best method is probably to stick blank paper on old playing cards. Keep all the NPC cards you make and you’ll have a great database of characters at hand when you need them.
Our print on demand cards are laminated, so they take whiteboard markers well and are easy enough to clean. The PDF and cards are pay what you want, so you can get them as cheaply as you want, although your support is greatly appreciated.
40 for 40 Sale
I turned the big Four Oh this month, and to celebrate we’re running many sales, all month long, with plenty of options for a sharp GM like you.
On our store, you can use the coupon code “40for40” to get 40% off your cart’s total value at checkout. You can use the coupon as many times as you like, until the end of the month.
Many of our products are 40%-off on Drive Thru RPG. This includes many titles for fifth edition fantasy, the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, and stand-alone titles. We also have a few Pathfinder Second Edition and Starfinder Roleplaying Game titles.
On the DMs Guild we’ve got a massive bundle worth over $60 going for less than $16. This bundle includes many of our best-selling titles, so if you’ve bought them already you’ll pay even less to fill out your collection.
Until next time, Be the Hero!
The Rising Phoenix Games dude.
Rodney is a writer and editor of tabletop RPGs and a painter of Orks. He is worryingly fond of mill decks in Magic: the Gathering and a self-confessed Japanophile.