Thursday, June 23, 2016

Gamer Bling: Non-Player Cards by Metal Weave Games


Metal Weave Games
Gamer Bling is a series of posts where I share and review amazing products, services, and accessories for tabletop role-playing games that really take gaming to the next level. In this article, I will be covering Non-Player Cards: An Artful NPC Generator by Metal Weave Games.

Metal Weave Games is run by Andreas Walters from San Francisco, California. The Non-Player Cards were created by Andreas Walters and Andrew Montgomery-Hureel with Karl Larson and Gareth Hodges, and with amazing artwork by Eren Arik.

Non-Player Cards were a funded on July 30, 2014 via the Kickstarter crowd-funding platform, and the project was fully funded with 383 backers (including myself) who pledged a total of $16,015 US. They are currently available for purchase via Amazon.com and retail at $39.95 US.

Other unrelated products offered by Metal Weave Games include Baby Bestiary and Scavengers.

Photograph of Non-Player Cards taken by Justin Andrew Mason.


Non-Player Cards are a system agnostic/neutral character generator that enable users to create unique and diverse non-player characters (NPCs) for any tabletop role-playing game by using eight different decks.

Each deck contains 50 cards (400 cards in all) and each covers a theme including: names, secrets, traits, quirks, professions, goals, relationships and personalities.

The entire set comes in a durable and beautifully printed brick box that is sized perfectly to hold all eight decks. Each deck is contained in its own labeled decorative deck box. This combination functions perfectly to keep all 400 cards neatly organized and stowed.

Example of Name Card
from nonplayercards.com
The Names Deck is unique among the other seven as they do not include artwork, but rather two columns of 20 names numbered 1-20 (for determining by rolling 1d20). With a possibility of over 2000 random names, this deck promises to be of great use for many game sessions.

The remaining 350 cards are all beautifully illustrated, each with a unique piece of artwork relevant to the card's identification and theme. Some cards include additional short numbered list prompting a dice roll to determine more detailed specifics.

To give a good idea of what each themed deck offers without spoiling the entire decks, I am going to randomly draw five cards from each, and list the card titles below:

Secrets: Fraud, Knows Secret, Ponographer, Double Life, Brainwashed

Example of Relationships
Card from nonplayercards.com
Traits: Uses a Walking Aide, Unique Trinket, Uncommon Complexion, Physically Impaired, Covers Up

Quirks: Smokes, Phobic, Dermatillomanic, Miser, Indecisive

Professions: Slave, Navigator, Inventor, Entertainer, Butcher

Goals: Selflessness, Proselytize, Mourning, Kindness, Golden Age

Relationships: Sidekick, Saved, Previous Sale, In Debt, Confidant

Personalities: Supplicant, Rogue, Pessimist, Lone Wolf, Follower


The Pros -

Non-Player Cards are an extremely effective method of creating in-dept characters with a level of detail rarely seen with random-generation systems. The concept is easy to grasp, and allows for virtually endless character archetypes to be created. With over 350 pieces of original artwork, they are also a pleasure to work with and offer additional full-color inspiration.

These cards are intended for the creation of non-player characters, but honestly, with the breadth and diversity of options available, they would make a fantastic tool (either directly or as inspiration) for player characters as well.

The Cons -

Non-Player Cards have one major drawback. As a physical system consisting of eight different decks and over 400 cards, the product is very unwieldy to utilize. This isn't so much a problem for a Game Master who is in the design process of populating their game world with NPCs, but the system is very nearly impossible to use on the fly at most any game table. This could probably be overcome by devising another card organization system (perhaps a card storage box with tabbed separators for each deck), but as provided, it's very clunky.

Of course, I don't think that they were designed with the intent of being used during game play, but if a game master has need of coming up with a quick non-player character on a moment's notice, I do not recommend this system.

Product Rating -

In conclusion, based on expansive detail the system allows for inspiration of creativity, quality of production, and tremendous amount of amazing artwork while also taking into consideration the cumbersome nature of actually using the cards, I rate Non-Player Cards as a 4 / 5 Bling! product.

I'm very happy to have backed this project on Kickstarter, and pleased with the finished product. I intend to utilize them again in the near future during my personal game planning. I would recommend them to any game master who enjoys detailed pre-game preparations for their campaign.


Here are a few relevant links for additional information:

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