D&D General "One or More NPCs Associated with a Pre-Published Setting have Appeared in a D&D Campaign I have Run or Played In." (a poll)

"One or More NPCs associated w/ a setting have appeared in a D&D campaign I have played in or run."

  • True.

    Votes: 59 63.4%
  • False.

    Votes: 34 36.6%


Moderator Emeritus
By now you know the drill, simply vote if the following statement is true or false for you. . .

True or False: "One or More NPCs associated with a pre-published setting (Elminster, Mordenkainen, Dalamar, Drizzt, Tika, Khleban Blackstaff, Bigby, etc. . .) have appeared in a D&D campaign I played in or run."

Once again the statement is too long for the title and poll question field - so the above is the full version.

Have at it.

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Not your screen monkey (he/him)
Age of Worms - in the next chapter, when we pick up in the fall, the group's going to meet Tenser. So, technically not true yet, but soon.


Moderator Emeritus
I honestly can't vote in my own poll because I may have played in an FR game where we met some famous Harpers, but that was nearly 30 years ago and it is hazy AF. I might as well vote false, b/c it certainly hasn't happened since.


Golden Procrastinator
Yes, for example, the PCs in one AD&D GH campaign did quite a bit of work for Melf and something for Mordenkainen as well. In my recently concluded Dragonheist game, the party interacted a bit with the Blackstaff and, at the end, they briefly met Laeral Silverhand


Strahd, from Ravenloft in a non-I6 adventure, several times as either the primary antagonist or driving events. Letters from/to Mordenkainen in another campaign. Ran a convention PvP dungeon being overseen by Ivid V of the Great Kingdom, as execution entertainment for his nobles (think Running Man/Hunger Games in a dungeon).

Also have done some of the Dragonlance modules, so several there.

I've definitely included famous FR NPCs in my games. When the party was based in Shadowdale, they would frequently go to Elminster for help, who would in turn either be away on business or too crotchety for them to tolerate talking to for more than a few minutes. Storm Silverhand also played a role in that campaign. When they were in Waterdeep, Elaith Craulnober was an antagonist for a little while. More recently, Drizzt showed up in a brief cameo in Out of the Abyss.

I consider them to be like seasoning. They help ground and flavor the world, but use them too much and it becomes inedible. Although, when I was dealing with a particularly aggressive power-gamer back in 2e, I was very much tempted to have Drizzt take him down a few pegs (at the time Drizzt had a percentage to outright just kill you with each strike).


B/X Known World
False. I don’t like famous NPCs showing up. It’s more hassle than it’s worthy as the players inevitable try to get…cute…with the situation.


Heretic of The Seventh Circle
In Eberron I use a decent number of published NPCs. In the current game, Brenn ir’Gadden from the 4e starter adventure is the group’s main patron and close friend. They recently helped him defend his home from an assassin strike force, and then gave chase on magitech hoverbikes through the towers of Sharn. (My Brenn is an artificer, and was a spy during the war)
I’ve also had Kaius I as an ambiguous patron for the Karrnathi’s little sister.

I’ve used gods in FR, but I can’t recall any other published NPCs.


CR 1/8
True. I've seen NPCs from pre-published settings when playing in those pre-published settings. As for my own stuff, no.

Also, I've had a couple GMs include in their homebrews a few cosmic-scale NPCs, namely bigbads like Tiamat or archdevils, or certain gods. These were typically independent of official canon, though, except maybe for appearance, powers, and the like.


Morkus from Orkus
I have, but not in any sort of DMPC or "Swoop in to save the day" kind of situation. And a few times those personages were sought out by the PCs, such as the time when the players decided to go see if Elminster might have the answer to something they were looking into.

It's not an easy question to give a binary answer too. I preped an encounter with Jarlaxle for when my party passed through, Luxan, but as it turned out, they never passed through Luxan, so they never met Jarlaxle. I have had encounters with obscure characters from video games such as Sand from Neverwinter Nights 2, and Icasaracht from Icewind Dale Heart of Winter, but that was to save me the effort of creating new characters when an old one would do. There is a cameo by the obscure brother of a significant Critical Role NPC in Call of the Netherdeep, which I am currently running.


It’s really hard to avoid…

Between « my PC just had breakfast with Elminster » and « PC saw king Boranel from afar once », there is a whole spectrum of setting characters to meet and to be frank, I’d have to go out of my way to avoid dropping any NPC from any published book when I use a setting, if only the name of the bartender in a tavern described in an adventure book. Otherwise, I might as well not use the setting…

[edit] unless we’re talking about characters from novels associated with a published setting? I might have understood the question wrong.
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Bad memories. Playing a badly railroaded FR campaign and Drizzzzzzzzzzt shows up to slay our adversaries and save the day. Hated it.
The fight took place on a bridge. No idea why I remember that? Maybe the bridge was more interesting than the campaign?

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