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Specific NPC given quests

Lackofname

Explorer
Normally when I ask for setting/game help, it doesn't go well, and that's partially my fault. I am looking for a lot of suggestions because often most don't work because of the situation, or a specific kind of answer. What happens is I usually say "that won't work" and then spend time arguing about why it won't, and that distracts a lot. So instead I am going to say simply: hit me with as many suggestions that fit the initial write-up.

In my game, one way I've tried to handle loot is instead of giving out items, players can get abilities and such from powerful NPCs. Make deals with x supernatural entity and they reward you with The Thing you want. However, I rapidly come to a situation where I'm not sure what the entity would ask for in return. Usually it comes down to a quest, for the party to go out and do something, rather than something more folklore-ish "Give me your first born" or "give me your true name" because the players seem reticent to do anything like that. Which means side trek/adventure time.

The two NPC groups they are looking to approach are:

Local River Deity: The water spirit is sort of a feudal lord. He controls a large river, and the river forks--inside that fork are a number of villages. In exchange for his protection (because he can control who and what crosses the water), the villages in that area worship him and send him lots of prayer (power). Also those communities along the river give him some, but not as much, worship. Thus he's pretty strong on a local scale. The party has good relations with him, since they are the troubleshooters for a new community that sprung up near the river.

The spirit has a bunch of loyal followers, and spirit-born (basically half-spirit kids). He has people to run his errands. So the question is, what does he want that his people can't get him? I imagine something political and violent that can't be tied directly to him.

The Local Fey Court: One PC wants to change his origin to Fey in order to get access to some things that require being fey as a prerequisit. However, the PCs and the Fey court are not on great terms. The party are shaking up the status quo and their adventuring has opened up things the Court is responsible to protect from/keep sealed up. While the players have killed everything they've freed, it's still irritating to the Court In return, the fey have made veiled threats to attack the group's home community if they keep it up, and have mislead the group to get them into potential trouble, and given subtle insults on several occasions, so the party is less than happy with them.

So what could a fey noble ask the PCs to do? A plus of it being a Court means there are many personalities with different interests. The group has only met two members, so that means there's room to create any NPC for the purpose. (An additional change I made is that the Court is made of both seelie and unseelie, with who's in control changing with the season, but the two are forced to work in balance).
 

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Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
The fey love intangible stuff like memories. So maybe have the PCs tasked with stealing a memory of a summer fling with the fey in question before that human dies of old age. Make it someone important, like a Noble. Give them a McGuffin to siphon the dream and some difficult to manage parameters for how it must be obtained and set 'em loose.
 

Lackofname

Explorer
The fey love intangible stuff like memories. So maybe have the PCs tasked with stealing a memory of a summer fling with the fey in question before that human dies of old age. Make it someone important, like a Noble. Give them a McGuffin to siphon the dream and some difficult to manage parameters for how it must be obtained and set 'em loose.
I like it, I like it.
 

The River Spirit may want a dam destroyed. Or an irrigation system effed up. Or a bridge knocked down. Treat these as being insults to the River Lord, or possibly even threats to his health and well being.

As a feudal lord there may be people who owe him (or whom he feels owe him) some service or payment and he needs the PCs to collect. Either legitimately or not.

An example scenario from the Exalted 2e game has a river spirit who is upset because the local human village used to send all their youths up to a sacred waterfall to sing to him once a year but they have stopped doing it (due to reasons outside of everyone's control.) Now the river spirit is inconsolable and their tears are causing floods all along its course. Which compounds the problem by making it impossible for the villagers to get to the sacred waterfall.

He wants his estuary dredged and will be mean and irritable until it is. Treat it like a bad case of constipation making an old and irritable relative even more irritable than usual.

As a feudal lord he owes protection to his people. Something or someone is eating all the fish/water rats/swans. Hmmm. What's your group's tolerance for puerile humour? I ask because the following has just occurred to me:

The River Lord has called you to his demense. As you approach him he leans forward on his throne and says in voice like the roar of a torrent over a waterfall, "Something is eating my beaver!"

Or maybe his beaver have a rash. It could be caused by the classic:

"a factory is polluting the river." For a less silly option the pollution may be killing him. Or transforming him into an evil spirit. (Think black kryptonite or a toxic elemental from Shadowrun.)

How big is this river? Because I have just remembered a factoid that the Amazon River still has a distinct flow and fresh water for many kilometres out into the ocean. Perhaps the River Lord is having a dispute with a sea spirit about who owns the river at that point. The PCs must act as ambassadors, and if necessary heavies, for the River Lord.

Hope some of these are useful. :-D
 

For the River God, I like the idea of something polluting or diverting one of the river forks upstream. Perhaps the river god is weaker in its tiny tributaries. In a classic D&D sort of vein, there could be nasty humanoids mining or diverting water to support their Isengardish factories. Classic dungeon delve. Or it could be more complex, pulling in moral quandaries like those in Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke.
 

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