Being The Hero
can take characters to lands far beyond their homes, and not all of them are easy to navigate. Perhaps the hero finds their goal is on the other side of the Rapids of Death
or somewhere deep in The City Narrows
. It's time to enlist the help of the native guide.
The native guide knows about the place they hero needs to pass through, whether they live in the area, have made the journey themselves, or are simply Closer to Earth
and know more about the lands around them. The hero convinces or hires them to guide them where they need to go and the guide takes them there. Sometimes an unsavory guide will take advantage of the outsider's lack of knowledge to lead them into a trap, others may go out of their way to take shortcuts or take lesser known routes to show them some wonder of nature, and others simply get you from point A to point B. Either way, the native guide will take you exactly where they want you to go.
A Bold Explorer
or Mighty Whitey
often hires this type of character. May also be a Scarily Competent Tracker
if the story is set in the wilds.
Compare and contrast the Great White Hunter
, who is a non-native often acting as a guide in the wilderness.
- Subverted in Les Tuniques Bleues. A prospector in Canada wants to send his fortune to the South, so Blutch and Chesterfield are sent to convince him not to. They hire a coureur des bois to take them to the prospector, only to discover that he's anything but. Once they finally reach the prospector, the Confederates are there as well, having hired the coureur's equally inept brother. The prospector learns of their efforts and dies of laughter, since it turned out the brothers had been lost in the forest for years and had just gotten out. In the end the six are rescued by natives before all the game is scared away by their antics.
- Downplayed in Raiders of the Lost Ark, where Indy is accompanied by two shady local guides during the opening quest set in the Peruvian jungle.
- Howard in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. As a veteran gold digger and being fluent in Spanish, he gets hired by the two novices to lead them to the right grounds.
- Subverted in the Cecil B. DeMille movie Four Frightened People. Native guide George gets the party lost within a couple of hours of entering the jungle, and later refuses to ask directions from a Wacky Wayside Tribe as this would make him seem inferior to them.
- A European version in Third Man on the Mountain, a Disney film about a boy who grows up in a Swiss town that provides guides to the surrounding mountains as their main industry.
- The team searching for yeti in The Abominable Snowman hires a Sherpa guide, much as real-life Himalayan explorers were doing at the time.
- The premise of Dersu Uzala, in which a Nanai local guides Soviet soldiers through the harsh remote Siberian taiga.
- Several of the Gor novels starting with the fourth book involve Tarl going to a new and different culture on Gor where he meets up with and befriends a local, who serves as a tour guide and cultural (if not verbal) translator. Spesific examples include Kamchak the Tuchuk of the nomadic Wagon Peoples in Nomads of Gor, Torvaldslandean pirate captain Ivar Forkbeard, in Marauders of Gor, wily desert bandit Hassan in Tribesmen of Gor, and Imnak, a Red Hunter (aka Eskimo), in Beasts of Gor.
- Several exist in H. Rider Haggard novels, sometimes a Badass Native Proud Warrior Race Guy (Umslopogaas in Alan Quartermain, the wandering King of the Kukuanas in King Soloman's mines).
- In the pilot of Star Trek: Voyager, a local junk dealer named Neelix offers Captain Janeway his services as guide in exchange for passage for himself and his girlfriend. For the first two seasons, Neelix is generally competent in this role except when the plot requires otherwise. Midway through the third season, Voyager crosses the frontier of Neelix's geographic knowledgenote , and his usefulness as a guide comes to an end.
- Call of Cthulhu
- Supplement The Asylum and Other Tales, adventure "Black Devil Mountain". The Investigators (PCs) can hire an Indian guide named Black Tom. He claims to know the area (and especially the mountain) quite well, but has a sinister manner. He once guided five hunters to the mountain: two were killed, one went mad and two were never seen again.
- Supplement Curse of the Chthonians, adventure "Thoth's Dagger". When the Investigators arrive in Cairo they are approached by a person who offers his services as a dragoman (guide) to show them around the city.
- Supplement The Fungi from Yuggoth, section "Mountains of the Moon". When the Investigators arrive in the village of Huancucho they can hire a native guide named Sancho who can guide them to the New World Incorporated mine.
- Paranoia adventure The Yellow Clearance Black Box Blues, Mission 3 "No One Here Gets Out Alive". The Computer sends the traitorous Oregon Warbler along with the Troubleshooters (PCs) to act as their guide through the dangerous passages of Alpha Complex. Of course, this being Paranoia he takes every opportunity to get the Troubleshooters killed.
- Dungeons & Dragons has the Underdark Guide Prestige Class, a person spesifically experienced at moving around the Underdark.
- In Moonstuck, Woona's seapony friend offers to guide her through the moon waterways, as he knows the area "like the back of his hoof."
- Sacagawea was a Shoshone Indian woman who served as a guide for Lewis and Clark.
- La Malinche guided the conquistadors in present day Mexico.
- Tenzing Norgay Sherpa made a career as this and was one of the first two on top of Mt Everest (neither he nor Hillery told who was first).