#RPGaDay 2018: Day 5 – Favorite Recurring NPC

I was about to use an alternate question, but then it hit me.

RPG-a-Day 2018

I was seriously thinking about using an alternate question. I believe Jimjar from yesterday’s question was the answer for today as well, so I didn’t want to write about him again. But then I remembered Therai. Warning, this may be considered a kinda cheesy answer.

As I mentioned yesterday, I have run the Out of the Abyss campaign. It wasn’t the best or smoothest campaign ever but I managed to run it from start to finish. However, not every player can say the same. The campaign began with three players and ended with four, but only two of them were part of the initial group.

When the third initial player left the group (nothing bad happened but it’s a long story for some other time) I wasn’t sure if only two characters could manage to survive in the campaign. There were a ton of NPCs but I didn’t think they could be good at helping with combat. So I decided to insert a new character that would be sort of controlled by the collective consciousness of my two players and me. His name was Therai.

Therai was a Tiefling divination wizard. At first he filled his role quite well. The party didn’t have a strong spellcaster so he would help the characters when magic was needed and sometimes during combat. However, as my players’ characters were getting much stronger and overpowered encounters, Therai would become less and less needed in combat, so he would only appear to provide information and his magical talents.

Therai’s pop in and out of reality became a joke in our group, and one that I really enjoyed. When the players needed someone to detect magic or dispell a magical effect, they would remember about Therai. Whether he was there with them or he would just pop up next to them is something we cannot say with certainty.

Then there was the joke about whether Therai was blind or not. I can’t remember how it started, maybe I had mentioned that he was blind but could see due to his divination powers. However, after a point during the campaign, every time Therai would appear out of the aether, he would make a comment that was structured in such way that the characters could not figure out if Therai was actually blind or not.

Was Therai an actual person? Could he appear whenever and wherever he was needed, making him some kind of deity like entity? Or was it an attempt of the characters’ brains to stay in a state of mental stability, after staying in the demon infested Underdark for way too long? We can’t say for sure. One thing is certain, however, and that is that Therai is one of my favorite recurring NPCs.

And that’s my answer for today’s question. Therai was a weird construct but I don’t regret using him the way we did. In the end, we were having fun so that means we were definitely doing something right.

On the top of your head, is there a recurring NPC that you consider a favorite? Do villains count for this question? I’d love to know your thoughts.

Tomorrow begins a new set of questions that are all about the “how”. The question is  “How can players make a world seem real?”. Every year the questions get more and more interesting.

So until then, have fun!

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