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->"We shouldn't have killed that [[TheBartender barkeep]]..."
->"Why not?"
->"I have a feeling that he had a quest for us..."
->-- reportedly a game quote

In some video games, players are just presented with their objectives automatically as they go along, or the objective is always obvious, but in others, players are expected to actively seek out quests and missions to complete, talking to various characters in order to be assigned a job by them. Naturally, players can find it helpful if the quest givers are in some way indicated to them, so they don't have to go TalkToEveryone in order to find them.

From most obvious to least, the options for introducing players to quest-givers seem to be:
* Have all quest-givers directly approach the characters automatically, even when the quest is an [[SideQuest avoidable side-story]]. This way, players don't have to identify the quest-givers at all, since the characters do it for them.
* Clearly mark all relevant quest-givers somehow, such as having a sign float over the character's head. (In some games, [[NominalImportance just having a name]] rather than being Generic Peasant #16 might be enough).
* Go for a slightly more subtle approach, and just make the quest-giver stand in a prominent place and say things that suggest they're a potential quest-giver (such as loudly saying "Oh, whatever shall I do!?" every thirty seconds until players get sick of it and decide to find out what the quest is).
* Don't mark quest-givers at all. Players won't know if the character gives a quest unless they ask. One down side to this is it forces players out for OneHundredPercentCompletion to TalkToEveryone.

The TreacherousQuestGiver is, naturally, a subtrope of this.



* ''LARP/OtakonLARP'' starts every character off with a couple of plot hooks to get them engaged, but the whiteboard is used for any player to become a quest giver for any other player.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Floating exclamation marks over a character's head are found in:
** Some of the more recent games by Blizzard: ''[[VideoGame/{{Diablo}} Diablo II]]'', ''[[VideoGame/WarCraft WarCraft III]]'' and ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft''. In the first, the exclamation marks are in speech bubbles and the character will will try to come towards you. In the later games, it's just a giant yellow exclamation mark hovering there.
*** ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' also features the third variety: A starting-area questgiver asks passing players to help him find his dog, with sound files no less. (Blizzard did this as part of a [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming a Make-a-Wish request]].)
** ''LaTale'' marks any NPC that has a quest for you with an exclamation mark. If you've completed, but not turned in, a quest by them, it changes to a check mark.
** Floating exclamation point in gold marks it out for Wizard 101 - same as for World of Warcraft.
** ''VideoGame/GuildWars'' has green ones.
** [[GaiaOnline zOMG!]] has speech bubbles with red exclamation marks over an NPC's head when a quest is available or ready to be turned in.
** ''VideoGame/HellgateLondon'' also uses Blizzard's gold exclamation points.
** Browser-based RPG ''Dragon's Call'' also uses these to signify [=NPCs=] with quests available, and gold question marks when the quest reward can be claimed.
** ''Franchise/DragonAge''.
** Quest givers appear as exclamation marks on your map in ''{{VideoGame/Borderlands}}'' and ''{{VideoGame/Borderlands 2}}''.
** ''VideoGame/MySimsKingdom'' and ''VideoGame/MySimsAgents''.
** Lampshaded in ''Videogame/SunsetOverdrive'', in which it is revealed that quest icons are rented from a local salesperson who sends you on a sidequest to get icons back from some former questgivers, who have been trying to find various uses for said icons.
* The third generation of ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' games mark quest givers on the map (each getting their own distinct icon, usually a letter). When you get to the location, there's a visible marker on the ground to step into - doing so begins a cut-scene.
* In ''RuneScape'', a blue * in a circle on the world map shows where quests start.
* CityOfHeroes gives players an initial contact, who will give them missions, then eventually send them to another contact to repeat the process. One can also use the Police Scanner or the Newspaper for missions, but completing enough will eventually get you to a contact.
* In ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'', most quest givers patiently wait until the PC comes to talk to them, in full accordance to the WideOpenSandbox doctrine. The ThievesGuild questline in ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]'' can be initiated by someone coming up to you, though (and the Dark Brotherhood questline in both that game and in ''Daggerfall'' is started by killing someone -- doesn't matter who, so long as it wasn't in self-defence -- and getting contacted by the Dark Brotherhood for recruitment).
* Most BioWare games don't mark quest-giving characters visually, although many of them will approach characters directly or have other ways of making themselves obvious through what they say and do.
* While ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXI'' has no special markings for quest givers, some are commonly known and even pointed out simply though normal play by [=NPCs=], like the gate guards that give the main missions for each of the three nations as well as the [=NPCs=] used for Assault.
* In ''VideoGame/PokemonRanger: Shadows of Almia'', quest givers have a little speech bubble with three dots in it, and an exclamation mark once the quest is accepted.
* ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'' is of the last variety and most seem to want items from the TV World despite not really knowing abut it. Lampshaded when the MC's accept line is "I'll search the TV"; the other party is confused.
** The ''main character'' gives ''himself'' a quest at one point - feeding a cat.
* In ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV'', the Hunters' Association and K's Tavern fill this role, with Burroughs registering any quests as they pop up. Many demons will also offer quests if spoken to at the right moments. [[spoiler: Many of the quests issued by the Association are actually from Fujiwara, who's issuing them ''precisely'' to find a Hunter capable of wielding the power of Masakado.]]
* In ''VideoGame/DragonQuestIX'', [=NPCs=] with quests have blue speech bubbles over their heads when you try to talk with them, as opposed to the usual white.
* In ''VideoGame/AdventureQuestWorlds'', quest givers are marked by a red circle button with a yellow exclamation point and a white border.
* ''VideoGame/DungeonsAndDragonsOnline'' marks its quest givers with gold chalice icons above their heads.
* ''VideoGame/TheLordOfTheRingsOnline'' uses (what else?) golden rings, resembling cocked halos. The rings change color for completed or over/underleveled quests, and people who are willing to talk to you about a quest you're currently on (without actually advancing it) display a ring with s quill inside.
* ''VideoGame/MegaManStarForce'' had sidequest givers go totally unmarked save by the Transer icons over their heads, which were identical to those who ''didn't'' have quests yet; in ''2'', everyone updated to Star Carriers, with icons that were blue in normal operation and pink when an aggravatingly minor problem needed to be solved.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Drakensang}}'', quest givers (well, side-quests givers anyway) can usually be recognized due to the fact that 1) They have proper nouns and 2) They're usually muttering something interesting that may catch your attention.
* Subverted in ''{{VideoGame/Magicka}}''. A woman early in the game has a giant exclamation point over her head, and she gives you a TwentyBearAsses sort of quest; but goblins attack right after you talk to her, causing her to decide the rats in the cellar aren't such a big deal after all. The game has no other quest givers, real or fake.
* In ''VideoGame/LittleKingsStory'', quests are sent to the king via suggestion box. They are distinguished from normal messages in that they're golden instead of the usual white.
* {{VideoGame/Borderlands2}} uses floating exclamation points that are very obvious on the player's map, a vast improvement over the original.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''[[WebComic/EightBitTheater 8-Bit Theater]]'', which parodies [=RPGs=], Red Mage's insistence that he lives in a game world sometimes prompts him to treat people as quest-givers even when they're not. From [[http://www.nuklearpower.com/2005/01/04/episode-498-pre-quest-quests/ Episode 498]]:
-->'''Sandwich Vendor:''' Look, buddy, I told you an hour ago. We don't accept no [[TwentyBearAsses quest items]] for no payment.
-->'''Red Mage:''' Sigh. [[SlashCommand /Bug]]: I have found a vendor who does not give the quest reward upon [[FetchQuest quest completion]].
-->'''Sandwich Vendor:''' Are you on the dope, son? Get out of here before I call the cops on you, punk.
* Shown [[http://www.goldcoincomics.com/?id=57 here]] in GGC, where the party must collect a thousand items.
* In a bonus ''{{Goblins}}'' strip, Tempts Fate [[http://www.goblinscomic.com/tempts-fate-6/ pretends to be a quest-giver]] to trick some player characters that are trying to kill him into killing themselves instead.
* ''VanVonHunter'' had a bit character whose official name was "[[EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep Quest-Giver Guy]]". (In fact the page quote sounds remarkably like a conversation Van and his [[NoNameGiven sidekick]] would have had about him.)