Treacherous Quest Giver


(permanent link) added: 2010-09-15 17:05:59 sponsor: skzip887 (last reply: 2010-11-14 17:02:47)

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A common Plot Twist found in Role-Playing Games and Video Games, but also found in Adventure, Action, or anything that loosely resembles The Hero's Journey. When the Quest Giver directly tries to deceive the PC/Hero for their own hidden purposes. They have managed to disguise thier own Xanatos Gambit or Batman Gambit as the Call to Adventure. Upon finding out, The Hero must either change their goals , or simply go though with the evil-killing procedure that was so generously to mapped out for them in the first place.

These Blatant Lies are usually quite obvious to most Genre Savvy players, but playing the Unwitting Pawn is usually necessary to keep the plot moving. Demands for Darker and Edgier and Silly Rabbit I Dealism Is For Kids over the past few decades have also made this rather routine. Nearly an Omnipresent Trope in RPGs with multiple quest lines, if only because out of so many people bossing the player around, one of them ought to be lying.

A Treacherous Quest Giver may be:

NPCs qualifying for this trope MUST have a vital part in both sending the heroes on their quest and, intentionally, instigating the final conflict of the plot / quest line, even if they have outlived their usefulness and die long before said conflict takes place. This also has to do with disguising one's own identity or intentions from the beginning, from the hero if not also the audience. Having some Obviously Evil huckster pop up in the third dungeon and telling a Red Shirt to open the Sealed Evil in a Can because there's yummy cheesecake inside most likely does not count.

This is generally considered a plot twist and often a Twist Ending, therefore spoilers may be unmarked

Often overlaps with Xanatos Gambit, Batman Gambit, Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, The Cake Is a Lie, MacGuffin Delivery Service, and, clearly, requires an Unwitting Pawn, or someone who acts like one to further their own plan. If the Quest Giver is someone who Can Not Tell A Lie, expect the truth to bent unrecognizable.

Contrast Enemy Mine, But Thou Must, or, An Offer You Can't Refuse, where he quest giver has openly disclosed their evil intentions and forces the hero to go through with it anyway.

If this was all a ploy by the Obi Wan to help, improve, or evaluate the hero, then it's a Secret Test

Examples

Video Games
  • The King in Retro Game Challenge's Guadia Quest RPG tells the heroes to go fight each boss, then turns out to be the final boss who wanted to bring chaos to the world by destroying the Balance Between Good and Evil.
  • Basically Kreia in Knights of the Old Republic.
  • Dragon Age: Origins has one quest where the player is assigned by Prince Bhelen to deliver documents proving his rival, Lord Harrowmont, has been ripping off his political supporters. the documents are forged
  • Deus Ex. In the latter half of the game, you kill the people you worked for in the first.
  • Starcraft Duke, Mengsk, I won't even mention the Z-word in episodes 2 and 6.
  • Guild Wars: Divinity coast, several prophecies mission before the last one, Possibly a few Palawa Joko quests.
  • The Pope in Grandia 2 sends you to go collect all of the pieces of Valmar, the god of evil, to be resealed. Unfortunately it turns out his god, Granas, is dead, and he's a bit insane, and is now trying to resurrect the god of evil.
  • Dungeon Siege 2: The old Azunite student ( turns out to be the real Zaramoth reborn.)
  • Two instances in the Oblivion:
    • In Dark Brotherhood, your correspondence containing the names of people to kill is hijacked by a traitor, who uses you to murder the entire top rung of the Brotherhood before your mentor catches up with you to reveal the truth.
    • During the Fighters Guild storyline, you infiltrate the Blackwood Company, which sends you to clean out goblins overruning the Water's Edge settlement. You've been drugged to see the legitimate residents as goblins and kill them, so that Blackwood can sell the now-empty grounds to their client. Partially Subverted in that you already knew they were up to no good, you were just acting as The Mole.
    • The mage's guild quest to visit the count to get a book back. His retainer tells you to meet him at a certain time. The retainer reveals that he's with the necromancers and attacks. The count turns up to save you. It turns out you had been sent under false pretenses to making sure he hadn't fallen in with some dark wizards, the retainer was trying to kill you to make the mages guild distrust the count (and thus be forced to fall in with the necromancers) and the count was using you to root him out. Three false quests in one (although only one quest giver was evil).
    • Where the spirits have lease; after digging around in a Haunted House, you find the body of an old wizard (killed for being evil). He says he's repented and asks you to replace his hand so he can make things right. Do I even need to explain what happens next?
  • In Phantom Hourglass one dungeon has an Escort Mission with some Obviously Evil Creepy Child girls. Needless to say, they're the dungeon's boss.
    • Another Legend of Zelda example is Blind The Thief in A Link To The Past. He disguises himself as the maiden for that dungeon and tries to prevent you from leaving. You have to trick him into a patch of sunlight to begin the battle.
  • Deadly Premonition has you running quests for both The Dragon and The Big Bad. Subverted in that some are rather benign fetch errands.
  • Would you kindly remember Bioshock?
  • In the Tribunal expansion for Morrowind the goddess Almalexia is in fact crazy and trying to conquer the city all along.
  • Ratchet & Clank spend the first half of the game trying to contact Captain Quark, who sends them to his hidden base planet in order to demonstrate their heroic worth. Or, y'know, kill them on the orders of the Big Bad he's been working for in exchange for corporate sponsorship.
  • Captain DeSanta from Red Dead Redemption, who forces Marston to Kick the Dog in the course of his mission path and, eventually, betrays him outright. Also Edgar Ross, who instead of letting Marston live a quiet life after taking out Dutch's gang sends the army to kill him.
  • Wario Land 3: The protector of the music box world sends Wario on a quest to retrieve five magic music boxes to restore his power. Turns out the "protector" was actually Rudy the Clown, an evil spirit to was trying to conquer the world, and the game's final boss.

MMORPGs
  • A number of contacts in City of Heroes do this, more notably in City of Villains. One who sends you on an "innocent" smash-and-grab into the Midnighter's Club, and then later informs you that you just stole a number of artifacts that will help your contact to free Rularuu, a god-like being who eats universes.
  • World of Warcraft Drakuru's questline in Grizzly Hills
    • An undead questgiver that gives a quest to collect materials for a "truth serum" to be used on a human prisoner held in the nearby Horde base. The serum is actually a poison that kills the prisoner, who was about to reveal to the orcs that the undead are not entirely loyal to the Horde.
    • The PC gathers items and eventually frees The Death Knight Teron Gorefiend. Players eventually fight him in the Raid Black Temple.. Known to be one of the hardest bosses in there.

Film
  • The Hierophant in The Gamers: Dorknes Rising definitely counts as this. Most of the players don't notice because acting like Munchkins has effectively rendered them Genre Blind.
  • King Pelias in Ray Harryhausen's Jason and the Argonauts (and probably the original myth) sends Jason on the quest to find the Golden Fleece in order to forestall the prophecy that Jason will kill him. As insurance Pelias sends his son with Jason's crew to assassinate him later. Naturally Jason survives and it's implied he will fulfil the prophecy.
  • The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen. M, the person who gathers the League together is also the Fantom as well as Professor James Moriarty of Sherlock Holmes fame.
  • Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade. Walter Donovan, who sends Indy after the Grail, is actually a Nazi who wants the Grail for himself.

Tabletop Games
  • Basic Dungeons & Dragons module CM3 Sabre River. The Seer sends the PCs to retrieve the sabre's hilt so he can end the curse on the title river. In fact the Seer is the one behind the curse, and wants the hilt so he can recreate the sabre and become invincible.
  • The Ravenloft module Touch Of Death involves a Sinister Minister who uses the party to try and awaken a powerful Mummy.

Live-Action TV
  • In the Doctor Who story arc "The Key to Time", the White Guardian commissions the Doctor to retrieve the fragments of the Key to Time to keep them out of the hands of the Black Guardian. It turns out that it was the Black Guardian in disguise all along, using the Doctor as a convenient collecting tool.

Western Animation
  • VeggieTales: The Lord of the Beans had the Head Elder of the Razzberry Forest be secretly in the pay of Scaryman.

Literature
  • Sharon Green's The Far Side of Forever. The man who magically summons the protagonists together and sends them on the mission turns out to be the Big Bad behind the evil plot.

Web Comics
  • The Order of the Stick: Nale relies on Roy's willingness to accept a sidequest in order to send him on a useless quest for starmetal in order to slow him down.
  • Dungeons & Denizens: In one story the quest giver starts here and ends here.
  • 8-Bit Theater: Sarda sends the Light Warriors on a quest to collect the Elemental Orbs. That way he can use them to become all powerful, and kill the Light Warriors.

WebOriginals
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