I was randomly perusing Paizo's online store yesterday and ended up in their GameMastery Cards section. I own a few of their item card and critical hits decks, so I figured I'd see what new item sets they had for sale now.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover a new deck product by GameMastery, NPC decks - cards with full-color face illustrations of NPCs. There's even a deck devoted to villain pictures.
This is a BRILLIANT idea! Often have I lamented that a particular NPC is not coming across in very memorable fashion, and wished that I had a picture I could show my players. These cards seem like the perfect solution.
First of all, they're inexpensive, which is always nice ($10.99). If the quality is anything like the item sets/critical hits decks, then the art will be great and the cards nice and sturdy. The cards have blank space on the back to write notes, so parties or DMs will be able to jot pertinent NPC info down for easy future reference. And since the cards are standard trading card size, they will fit in protective sleeves - great for extending their durability and allowing notes to be written on the sleeves without wrecking the cards themselves.
I instantly became a fan of these cards. I see them being greatly beneficial to any DM, as it will help players remember NPCs more effectively, and also allow them to record important notes or information about said NPCs.
Scenario #1, without cards or pictures
DM: You walk into the tavern and see Sheila the Red at the bar, who waves you over.
Player 1: ...who?
Player 2: Was that the mage who helped us escape the catacombs?
Player 3: No, wasn't that the evil sorceress we were trying to find last month?
Player 4: Is she hot?
Scenario #2, using the sample picture on the NPC deck box
DM: You walk into the tavern and see Sheila the Red at the bar, who waves you over. *hands over card*
Player 1: Oh right, her! I remember that ridiculous hat.
Player 2: *turns card over, reads notes* Hah! That's right, she was the one who beat you in the drinking contest!
Player 3: Grrr...I hate her so much! Write that down. I'm serious!
Player 4: Oooh, she's pretty hot!
Great-looking, affordable NPC gallery AND information database, rolled into a set of portable, convenient cards? SOLD!