I've Never Met Gandalf...

I've Never Met Gandalf...

Nor have I met Aragorn, Luke Skywalker, Yoda, Iron Man, Wolverine, Storm, Wonder Woman... you get the idea.  My players haven't met them either.

There's a great temptation to include this type of character.  Your players would get a real buzz from interacting with an iconic-level NPC in their game setting but it's a tough act to pull off.

Firstly, you'd need to do the character justice; both in RP and narrative terms.  These are big boots to fill and you wouldn't want the encounter to fall flat. 

For plausibility, the involvement of such major characters would need to be about something really big.  Not impossible, but consider where can you take the story/game after this has resolved?  How exactly do you follow that as a GM or player?

Fame can be a two-edged sword.  Moving into the super-league brings fame and notoriety.  It effectively takes 'small plots' out of your player's reach.  They will be far too high profile for the small stuff while anonymity will be challenging under any circumstances.

Being a fixer for an iconic-level patron NPC can work in certain circumstances.  You can move your party up to the big league, tackling major saving-the-world kinds of problems. With careful planning and good execution there's no reason why your players can't take a top level role within a world setting.

The trick with using iconic-level NPCs is to carefully consider where you are taking the plot and what the long term effects on your campaign will be.  If you go too big too early, you may limit the plausible lifespan of your campaign.

Had success or difficulties with iconic-level NPCs? Share them on the facebook forum.

Happy Gaming!
-Stolph (Ed)

P.S.: See also Blackrook's article, Create Memorable NPCs

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