Thursday, September 14, 2023

Kickstarter - Fantasy Sidequest & NPC Decks (Inkwell Designs)

I've been a fan of Inkwell Designs since the early days of Kickstarter when I backed the stock art project he had organized. Later, I found his Dungeonmorph Dice, and before I knew it I was grabbing every deck he put on the market.

Joe's latest Kickstarter is Fantasy Sidequest & NPC Decks. Another useful resource for the DM who likes to improv or run their sessions with minimal prep. More decks, I'm collecting them like dice at this point ;)

How Do These Decks Help GMs?

Improvise: Did a player take an off-hand NPC comment as a real plot hook?  Tell your group to take a snack break, skim a few Sidequests cards that have summaries at the top, pick one, read the short outline, and play!  Or do the players want to chat with some NPCs you don't have prepared?  Glance at a few NPC cards, pick one, and be ready to go!

Create an Adventure: Read some of the Sidequest card summaries and find one that fits the current situation, start with the given outline and flesh it out (add and detail your campaign's locations and NPCs), and you're ready for your next session or two.  Don't have enough NPCs in your campaign?  Pick an NPC Portraits Deck and you've got 50+ more characters ready to go complete with portraits, personalities, backgrounds, quirks and more!

Plan a Campaign: Pick the Sidequest deck that best fits your campaign's genre and setting, then skim the summaries of many of the cards.  Choose several cards that will be possible adventures for your party.  Set their locations in your campaign's starting area.  Then brainstorm a rumor or two for each to feed your player characters.  See which they are most interested in and play!  Use the matching NPC Portraits Deck for well-developed NPCs with personalities, secrets, needs, and histories.

More About Sidequest Decks 

Whether you're a seasoned GM or just starting out, Sidequest Decks are a tremendous resource helping you guide your players through captivating mini-adventures that add depth, excitement, and surprise to your campaigns.

Each deck has 54+ poker-sized cards. Each card has a map on one side and a system neutral mini-adventure outline on the other side. The outline starts with a short overview for the GM. (Skim these to find an adventure that fits the circumstances.) Choose between a couple of story hooks to get the adventure started. Next several encounter ideas move the game along. Customize them depending on what your players do (drop some, change them to fit the circumstances). Finally most cards wrap up with one or two follow-up adventure ideas. The sample card above is from our Mini-Lairs deck, which has more detail in the Encounter Key, but no follow-up ideas.

More About NPC Portraits Decks

Each NPC Portraits Deck also has 54+ poker sized cards. Each card is a character, with a portrait on one side and suggestions for playing the NPC on the other. The portrait on the front of the card can inspire the GM and spark the imagination of the players. Top-notch writing on the back details the character's personality and background with story hooks sprinkled throughout.

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