A Quest Giver Is You

A way to add a strategic element to a non-Strategy Game is to put the Player Character in charge of an organization and give them the ability to send their NPC agents on non-plot essential assignments, e.g. to secure additional resources or materiel or to level-up the agents themselves.

Two essential aspects of this trope that distinguish it from the Non-Entity General in strategy games are that the player has no control over the course of the missions once they're started and that the "Quest Giver" gameplay exists in parallel with the primary gameplay mode, most often action or stealth game. The agents usually have to be recruited in that primary gameplay mode, and may be available to provide fire support for the Player Character, as long as they are not away on a mission. There may even be agent-specific sidequests for the Player Character to tackle.

Remote missions often occur in real time, even when the primary gameplay mode has Take Your Time trope in effect. The agents sent on missions are unavailable in primary gameplay for their entire duration. Unlike the Player Party and permanent Non Player Companions, these agents are often disposable and can be Killed Off for Real if the mission goes bad (the player is usually shown their chance to succeed beforehand).

An inversion of Quest Giver, which is an NPC giving missions to the player character. If the player's organization is based inside a Player Headquarters, the player may also be tasked with improving its facilities, overlapping with A Homeowner Is You. Compare/contrast also An Adventurer is You.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Adventure Games 

    RPG — Eastern 
  • Final Fantasy Tactics has propositions; sending party members to complete them leaves them unavailable for random battles, but they earn a small amount of Job Points and occasionally money and special treasure (or discover special locations) if they succeed.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance has missions that can only be completed by sending out party members. The items they bring, their levels, and class determines the likelihood of success.
    • The sequel, Final Fantasy Tactics A2, expands this, so that most non-story missions can be done by a dispatch party or by simply playing the mission.
  • In Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale, the primary gameplay revolves around improving the eponymous store, but you can also hire adventurers to gather materials for you. You are required to control them during the adventure, however.

    RPG — MMO 
  • The Crew Skills/Missions fulfill this role in Star Wars: The Old Republic: as you can only have one recruited Non-Player Companion with you at any time, the rest can either be sent on remote missions to gather resources/gifts or craft items for you. This takes place in real time, even when you are logged off.

    RPG — Western 
  • Downplayed in Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal, where you meet a low-level (computer-controlled) "Player Party" much like your own at the beginning of the first game, and can send them on an impossible quest—which they complete, to everyone's surprise, bringing a few nice artifacts back to you. The whole subplot is poking fun at the RPG questing conventions.
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition allows the Inquisitor to send rank-and-file agents of the eponymous organization on missions. This is in addition to Player Party members who also work for the Inquisition but instead fight alongside the Inquisitor in normal gameplay. At some point, you will even be able to outfit an RPG-standard adventuring party (Sutherland and Co.) and send them on a sequence of missions for you, watching them play out every Player Party trope ever.
  • Once you are in possession of a stronghold, Pillars of Eternity allows you to send your recruited companions who are not in the active party on solo missions, during which time they cannot be moved into the active party or defend the stronghold itself.
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion expansions "Thieves' Den" and "Vile Lair" give you minions that you can send to either "go out and plunder" or "murder in the name of Sithis", respectively. In the Shivering Isles expansion, after you become Sheogorath, villages will sometimes come under attack from monsters, and you will be given an option to either go there and slay them yourself, or send some of your soldiers to do it for you.
  • After you are bestowed ownership of Crossroads Keep in Neverwinter Nights 2, a party of adventurers will arrive at the Keep and ask you for leads on any quests they could go on. You can give them false information and send them on a Snipe Hunt (which gets them killed), or ask them to find information on the King of Shadows, which results in them sending you several humorous letters and, eventually, an item.

    Steath-Based Games 
  • Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and Assassin's Creed: Revelations have this as their main schtick: walking around Rome/Istanbul, Ezio can save citizens bullied by the corrupt authorities and then train them in the arts of The Hashshashin. These assassin recruits can be then sent, alone or in groups, on missions across Italy/Mediterranean to level them up and take control of cities for additional revenue (or left at home to support Ezio on his own missions).
  • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker has the Mother Base mode, where Snake can recruit soldiers and procure vehicles to then send them on remote missions to secure resources. This is in addition to missions that Snake does on his own.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • The Bureau: XCOM Declassified has a mechanic for sending agent teams to perform some side-missions on their lonesome to get experience (and their chances of completing said mission depending on how much experience they already have).

    Tabletop Games 
  • This can be done by high level PCs in Dungeons & Dragons.
    • Once you have enough money, you can hire NPCs to do jobs for you. You can even hire bands of adventurers to clean out dungeons and carry out other special missions, just as NPCs did to you and your fellow PCs when you were low level. The circle is now complete.
    • 1st Edition Dungeon Master's Guide
      • There were extensive rules that allowed a PC to hire NPC assassins to act as a spies, with several tables determining chance of success and the effects of failure. You could have an entire spy network if you had enough money.
      • All characters gained special followers when they reached high level (thieves and assassins became head of a thieves' guild and assassin's guild, respectively). You could train your followers and send them on missions.

    Turn-Based Tactics 
  • In the Enemy Within expansion to XCOM: Enemy Unknown, you can send one of your units to infiltrate EXALT (alien sympathizers). The unit does the work without your input, but will need an evac a few days later. You re-gain control of the unit for the evac mission, although they have limited equipment, having been disguised as a civilian.

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