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%

The question is confusing...I take it that it means to refer to the famous NPCs of published settings (Drizzt, etc). Otherwise, if you are using a pre-published setting, would you not use the minor NPCs provided? Like, if you encounter any of the NPCs in a 5e adventure, does that count as an NPC associated with the setting?

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When I've run published campaigns, sure. And I can certainly imagine doing a cameo for one of the characters based on a player character from the early history of the game, because I think that it provides a genuinely cool continuity for someone else's ancient home game to impact mine. And the characters with spells named after them are already written straight into the core rules.

But generally with the published adventures my move is to cut way down on established characters, and, more importantly, simplify. WotC thinks everyone is such a fan of their characters that having them show up is a valid end unto itself, and I just don't play with anyone who is that invested. WotC is also sometimes more interested in the integrity of their characters than actually making the campaign's story good.

In my epic 1E campaign, my party met with the Circle of Eight multiple times. One of the PCs almost became one of the Eight, but another PC deliberately sabotaged his chances out of jealousy.

I've played in a few Realms campaigns that had cameos by various named NPCs. In general I've never found it to be an issue, but all of these DMs were pretty respectful of the setting.


True, and I've regretted it almost every time. Unless you count the time Garl Glittergold persuaded a party to go into the Feywild while pretending to be a humble merchant. That was fun.
In my Reign of Winter game the party rescued a gnome running away from Baba Yaga in the feywild. The paladin offered the gnome protection against the witch chasing him, and so she could not touch him or the party unless they left their path. The gnome's name, Garl. :)
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I've used Baba Yaga in two campaigns.

I've used darklords in Ravenloft.

As a PC merchant prince I've met and worked with Mordenkainen, Dracula, and Elric.
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I don’t mean to be pedantic… but if you’ve ever run any published module or adventure, then this would be true.

Beyond that, I have one campaign (on hold currently) that includes many published characters from multiple campaign worlds. Iggwilv, Geryon, Eclavdra, the Circle of Eight, Snurre, Hamanu, Strahd, along with many of the Archdemons, as well as the dukes of hell… and so on.

The purpose of that campaign is to be a celebration of all the D&D games we’ve played over the years… so it has to have that kind of stuff in it.


Foggy Bottom Campaign Setting Fan
I don’t mean to be pedantic… but if you’ve ever run any published module or adventure, then this would be true.

Indeed. My players have met that recurring character... how was it called, yes, kobold #3, repeatedly. Too bad the interaction never lasted more than 12 or 18 seconds to explore his rich backstory.

To answer more seriously, I'd say yes again in a way that's inevitable at higher tier. If you're playing in an established setting, the royalties are very likely to be named. If you're a "saviour of the realm", there is a good chance one will reference them, and honestly if after saving Breland three times, the PCs aren't awarded the order of the golden bear, with cross and palms, they'll really start remembering that there are five nations, after all...


Victoria Rules
I had to vote "true" as the moment you either run or play in a canned setting-based module you're almost inevitably (you hope!) going to meet its NPCs. Run A-2 Slavers' Stockade - you're going to meet Markessa. Run S-1 Lost Caverns - you're going to meet Drelzna. And so on.

And, does it count if the NPC appears in the wrong setting? I'm not running Greyhawk by any stretch of the imagination, yet Iggwilv has put in an appearance during my current campaign - mostly because she was just so wonderfully suitable for what I needed at the time.


Final Form (she/they)
My longest-running Eberron campaign had quite a few established NPCs in it, including Merrix d'Cannith, Jaela Daran, and the Lord of Blades. The big bad was Erandis Vol. It was a ton of fun.

The question doesn't really ask what it thinks it asks, since it doesn't clearly define who is and is not included. As worded, anyone who has ever run a WotC adventure should tick yes. Plus there are named unique monsters. My players have "met" Ygorl Lord of Entropy. Plus the gods. They are also characters within their respective settings. And is it limited to physical appearances, or is a name-drop enough? Drizzt is name-dropped in RotFM, but doesn't appear.

A better question would be "I have used gratuitous celebrity* cameos in my games" T/F

*A celebrity being defined as a character my players would recognise and enjoy meeting.

Back in 2e, I would usually run games in the Dalelands, and groups would often try to get advice or help from Elminster. Lhaeo would always put them off with mounds of paperwork to put in a request, always in triplicate, and after a few hours the party would inevitably get bored and wander off (all except one very lawful neutral character who enjoyed filling out paperwork; eventually he exhausted even Lhaeo, who sent him away with dozens of further forms to fill out at his leisure). I think the only time Elminster actually appeared is when, after saving the Dales from some terrible threat but causing a lot of incidental damage, they were banished from Shadowdale, with Elminster and the Lord of Shadowdale standing sternly at the bridge out of town to ensure they left.


Never, because I always refluff almost every published module and world to better reflect the traditional Arthurian/Tolkienian and whimsical Oz/Narnian atmosphere of my campaigns.


Moderator Emeritus
I thought the examples in the statement were clear enough regarding the kind of NPCs I mean. I mean those who appear in novels or have spells named after them and the like.

I thought the examples in the statement were clear enough regarding the kind of NPCs I mean. I mean those who appear in novels or have spells named after them and the like.
Video games? Video games that have been made into novels? Gods that have been in novels? Named monsters that have been in novels? TV shows? Characters who are in novels and also appear in WotC adventures?

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