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Hero of Another Story

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"Everyone’s the lead in their own story, Administrator. Some roles are bigger, some smaller, but none are more important, understand?"
Glaistig Uaine, Worm

In works of fiction, it often seems like the world revolves around the Main Characters, that nothing interesting happens unless one of them is in the middle of it. And sometimes that’s true; sometimes the main cast are so important that nothing big can happen without their involvement. But other times, it’s not that the Main Characters are the only ones that stories happen to; it’s that we only see the stories that happen to the Main Characters.

It turns out the supporting characters have their own adventures going on off-screen, where they're the stars and the Main Characters only make cameo appearances. These characters are the Heroes of Another Story: we may not see much of their adventures, but it adds something to the fictional world if we know these people continue to lead interesting lives even when the Main Characters aren't around or before they show up.

On occasion, we'll see one of these characters get A Day in the Limelight and they'll become The Protagonist for an episode. This often makes the real cast the Hero of Another Story for the episode, as they'll be off on their own adventures in the meantime. Alternatively, a P.O.V. Sequel might be done to tell the same story from their perspective.

Another Side, Another Story is a subtrope, where you actually get to play the other stories, but not before you unlock their heroes first.

Compare Supporting Leader. Naturally, this will result when someone encounters the main character(s) of another series via Crossover or a Poorly-Disguised Pilot. See also Little Hero, Big War, for settings that often have a bunch of heroes of other stories. See also Superman Stays Out of Gotham for cases where the main characters have powerful allies who are busy dealing with problems of their own. Depending on how well written the character is they could become an Ensemble Dark Horse. When these sorts of characters are only hinted at, see Unknown Character. The villainous inverse would be Villain of Another Story.

Compare Lower-Deck Episode, where minor characters get a brief chance to shine, or Spin-Off, where the character gets an entire series devoted to them. See also Adaptational Protagonist, when either minor or major characters acquire the main lead role in an adaptation.

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  • A commercial for an insurance company lampshades Star Trek's tendency to do avoid this, with a man on a spaceship in Starfleet uniform saying, "I'm just saying, why does Enterprise get all of the good missions?" The ship then shakes, and he says, "Finally," only for it to turn out to be an alien ship that hit him by accident.

    Comic Books 
  • Darth Vader : A montage in The Cry of Shadows features a group of four Jedi as part of a Rebel force that Vader defeats soon after Hock joins him, with their exact motives, organization, and how they survived Order 66 being unrevealed.
  • The mysterious night shift team in the Hero Hotline mini-series in The DCU.
  • Pick a superhero. Any superhero. Odds are they have had an adventure and encountered Spider-Man, Wolverine, Superman, Batman...
  • Spider-Man:
    • Spider-Man's first encounter with the Sinister Six had Iron Man playing this role; also subverted, when he encounters the X-Men and they turn out to be android duplicates programmed to try and kill him.
    • It was once a common occurrence that every time the Sinister Six showed up, Spider-Man would call the Avengers and Fantastic Four, only to find out that they were on other missions. Other superheroes would eventually come to his aid, however.
    • The first Spider-Man Annual is full of this. He couldn't go two pages without crossing paths with another superhero who is off on his own adventure (while the narrator points out that you can follow said hero's adventures in his respective comic).
    • Maximum Carnage shows this trope too, as both the Avengers and the Fantastic Four are specifically mentioned as being away. At one point, Spidey and Venom break into the FF's headquarters while they're away to steal a sonic weapon to fight Carnage. Later, Captain America shows up to lend a hand, and the rest of the Avengers finally return just in time to mop up after Carnage is defeated.
  • In a Simpsons Comics Halloween story parodying Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Homer runs from the pod people and, a little outside Springfield, crosses paths with a man from Shelbyville who is fleeing a horde of zombies. The two chat for a while about their respective predicaments before the Shelbyvillean gets to his turn, saying it was nice to meet Homer; Homer returns the compliment, wishing him luck with the undead.
  • Sin City will do this to the point where actual stories will intersect. For instance, in Yellow Bastard we see Marv in the background in the scene where Nancy runs off with Hartigan. They go off and have their own adventure. In Just Another Saturday Night, we see this scene from Marv's viewpoint, lamenting that "Nancy ran off with some old guy" before going off to have his own adventure.
    • In the short story "Blue Eyes," Jim is on the run from the mob (and shows a bit of resourcefulness in the process). It's never revealed why The Colonel and Manute are after him, and his narrative significance is merely to be killed by Delia for her Initiation Ceremony into the mob.
    • In "The Babe Wore Red," Private Investigator Bernard G. Zimmer becomes a Posthumous Character due to being brave enough to investigate a drug ring that the mayor and district attorney are involved with.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW):
    • While the mane six were dealing with the Changelings, Spike and Princess Celestia were fighting off a horde of giant, magic cockatrices in Canterlot. Also, Princess Luna makes a small cameo at the end holding a map of Manehatten, implying she may have been the one to deal with the giant magical marshmallow pony that Celestia mentioned (or tried to see how she's lost).
    • After her Heel–Face Turn in the show, Trixie now wanders Equestria having adventures and helping others, occasionally meeting and teaming up with the Mane Six.
    • It's heavily implied during the "Neigh Anything" arc that Sam Beckett (or an Equestrian counterpart) leaped into the body of Shining Armor's friend Gaffer to make sure Shining and Cadence got together; he's seen whispering to a pony-fied version of Al asking why he hasn't leaped yet.
  • Hellblazer: John Constantine started out this way, back when he was still just a supporting character in Swamp Thing. Once he got his own series, a few characters from other series' in the DC/Vertigo continuity appeared prior to his series gaining effectively its own continuity, most notably Morpheus from The Sandman (1989).
  • The Sandman (1989):
    • Had appearances by John Constantine and Martian Manhunter in the first arc.
    • There are also references to a few of the DC superheroes who carried the Sandman title while Morpheus was imprisoned, Hector Hall even attempts to fight Morpheus in one chapter.
    • In one issue Morpheus grants an audience to a group of children on a cross-dimensional adventure to find their parents, they appear for half a page before the king of Dreams sends them on their way.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics): Many over the course of the comic, ranging from the Arctic Freedom Fighters all the way to the G.U.N. special forces.
  • All-Star Superman:
    • Superman at one point mentions Batman and Robin, but we never actually see them in the series.
    • One issue sees him stranded on a planet of Bizarros, including Bizarro versions of his teammates in the Justice League, meaning they probably exist in this universe too, but just aren't shown.
  • Birthright establishes the five mages as heroes born of Terrenos — except for Sameal, who was born on another world. This means he somehow developed mage powers, jumped worlds alone, became a top-ten mage in a magic-using world, volunteered to fight God King Lore for years, and led the five to seal Lore away from Earth.
  • Thunderclash is treated this way in the first season of Transformers: More than Meets the Eye. He is leading his own expedition to find the Knights of Cybertron and just happens to cross paths with the Lost Light. The two crews wind up joining up during season 2.
  • Spider-Men II: In trying to solve the mystery of Miles Morales-616, Peter Parker reaches out to Jessica Jones at Alias Investigations. She quickly mentions she did an exhaustive search, while the art shows a few panels of what she's been up to: a team-up with Spider-Woman, a Dazzler concert, a battle with the Red Hulk, wrestling the Blob, interviewing Moon Girl, and running from what appear to be motorcycling ninjas.
  • One Star Wars (Marvel 1977) story has recurring characters Rik Duel and Dani rescue their friend Chihdo after he's frozen in carbonite. This occurs at the same time as the main cast unsuccessfully attempting to intercept a carbonized Han Solo on his way to Jabba's Palace. The circumstances behind Chihdo getting frozen in carbonite are never revealed but are implied to be interesting.
  • The Tomb of Dracula: Dr. Mortte from the eighth issue has spent several years as a vampire, living off blood donations while clinging to his humanity and genuinely working for the welfare of his patients.
  • The first issue of Touch (2004) briefly mentions an NYPD cop who got powers and became a superhero, but he never physically appears.
  • MediEvil: Fate's Arrow: Kiya ended up back in ancient Egypt after her and Dan's separation, where she defeated a warlock bent on summoning Anubis before having her high priest return her to her eternal rest. Dan only finds this out upon returning to her tomb and finding a letter in her sarcophagus' hands.
  • Usagi Yojimbo: Master Katsuichi became this trope for a time, as he wandered the countryside for a while and, according to several mentions once reunited, had his own share of exciting adventures and peril.
  • At one point in Nova volume 4, Richard encounters the Luminals, a team of alien superheroes stated to be their world's equivalent of the Avengers. They've come to the edge of the universe to get rid of their archenemy Abyss, who keeps coming back no matter how many times they defeat and imprison him. Unfortunately for them, Abyss gets out and turns them all into zombies, forcing Richard to deal with both Abyss and these undead Luminals.
  • Pathfinder: Other characters of the Pathfinder Iconics routinely pass through the party's storyline amidst their own adventures, particularly in Origins: Valeros fought together with Iconic Barbarian Amiri once upon a time, while Kyra hunted vampires with Iconic Paladin Seelah, who later headed to Mendev to join the Crusades against the demons of the Worldwound.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures has the Mighty Mutanimals, a group of mutants (and an alien duo) from different walks of life that dedicated themselves to fighting crime and protecting the Earth. Any adventures that didn't concern the Turtles at all were even covered in their own (rather brief) spin-off title.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): Reluctant Mad Scientist Mariko and the mercenary Tejada slightly, after they pull a Screw This, I'm Outta Here on Alan Jonah and they hole up with other survivors against the onslaught of the Many.
  • Along Came a Spider is mostly about how the well-prepared Federated Commonwealth holds off the Clan Invasion. On the other end of the Invasion, there's the Draconis Combine which didn't have advance warning but somehow struggle through the war.
  • The Resident Evil fic Epic: The Third Survivor, telling of Sherry Birkin's exploits prior to and during Resident Evil 2.
  • Tiberium Wars features this in the form of several officers and commanders fighting other battles. As with the main characters of the story, though, Anyone Can Die is in full force.
  • The Sun Soul has a few of these. Ash Ketchum leads his core party of intrepid heroes all over the place, but along they meet up with a number of recurring individuals who work towards similarly heroic ends off-screen. So far, not many of these have been Killed Off for Real, but given the author's willingness to kill anyone...
  • In the Fallout 3 fan fiction Trouble, Harkness encounters the Lone Wanderer, the protagonist of the game, who goes through in-game quests off-screen while the story takes place.
  • The other mercenaries count in Racer And The Geek, especially Keffiyeh and Goggles.
  • The Hunter is one of these in With Strings Attached. The four are unfortunately sucked into some of his adventures... and he is fortunately sucked into theirs.
  • Doctor Whooves and Assistant works a lot like this. The Doctor and Ditzy Doo's adventures run side by side with those of the main cast of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. For example, while the mane cast was heading off to fight Nightmare Moon, the Doctor and Ditzy went that way before them and fought the Manticore first. The mane cast is seen at some points, but only from the view of the Doctor and Ditzy.
  • The Arbiter in The Last Spartan has been investigating Cerberus at least a month before the story began, and even tells The Chief he went on several missions lifted directly from the game relating to them before they had met again.
  • In Mortality, Inspector Patterson is defined as this from his first appearance, introduced as the man who's been undercover in Professor Moriarty's criminal empire for the past several years.
  • In The Hearth Series, Marcus, Ludovicus, Muhammad, Yao, Sadik, Nefertiti, and Helene serve as this. Throughout the stories of the shenanigans of the residents of Hearth, we get hints of their own adventures including how they all met in ancient times and lived for hundreds of years through their discovery of the secret of immortality, but the exact stories have yet to be told.
  • Human Curiosity has a few, including Lukas (a man who comes from a long line of members of the Swiss Guard, and who rescues and temporarily protects Liechtenstein from the HCS) and several nations such as Russia, who were vital in helping everyone escape from the HCS facility. Among other things, sequel fic has several chapters telling their stories.
  • The King Nobody Wanted:
    • In Braavos, Lyanna meets Zor Alexi of Sarnor and Lok of Far Ib, who appear to be traveling together to deal with problems involving the Dothraki, something she barely cares about.
    • Drogo and his riders hear stories of a prophet in Lhazar who was exiled for preaching that his pacifistic society should rise up against their Dothraki oppressors. He returned to overthrow the council that exiled him and has his people preparing to defend themselves against the next attack. A later conversation by Stannis' Small Council reveals that this "Golden Ram" has successfully repelled a Dothraki attack and is now leading his people in building up larger fortified settlements and making new trade alliances.
    • Tygett and Genna Lannister are trying to defend the Westerlands against Randyll Tarly and Balon Greyjoy, with many battles and sieges involved, but no POV characters have been present to observe their efforts for some time and few reports of the campaign reach King's Landing.
  • Reimagined Enterprise (a fan prose remake of Star Trek: Enterprise) has all the ones of Enterprise (if at times heavily modified) as well as repeatedly showing that other (non-NX-class) UESPA starships do in fact get involved in important matters, as well. The episode "Of Another Story" takes it to the point of not even having the main characters appear for a cameo, being instead entirely about the Daedalus and a historic event the ship and her crew is involved in.
  • Pony POV Series:
    • Minty Pie becomes this in the latter end of Dark World. She rushes after the new Elements of Harmony to help them fight Discord, but falls into a cavern network, where she has a series of adventures and a Big Bad of her own, which the reader only sees bits and pieces of. She finally joins up with the others just in time for the Final Battle with Nightmare Paradox.
    • The "7 Dreams/Nightmares" collection has Logan, who shows up in Clover's and Bright Eyes' stories and saves both them and their families from monsters created by the disaster with the Yellow shard of the Rainbow of Light, during his quest to find his parents. Luna suggests to Twilight that he continued to do so for the rest of his life (help others, that is; he did eventually find his parents).
    • The Shining Armor Arc has Commander Bond, who handles several espionage-related investigations while Shining and Cadence are busy with politics, and the anti-Hooviet rebels led by Dima and Mother Deer (who have been fighting Makarov a lot longer than Shining has).
    • The Wedding Arc primarily focuses on the Mane Six and their friends fighting off the Changelings, but there's a side story focusing on Misfit Actual, Shining's command squad, as they perform covert operations against the Changeling occupation of Canterlot.
    • The Wedding Arc also has a Noodle Incident version of this, where a few cutaway scenes show that Captive Audience (a member of Misfit) somehow got roped into an adventure with the Doctor and his companions in Neighpon, fighting Dracozilla and the Daleks.
    • In the Finale Arc, the Cutie Mark Crusaders call out Phobia for constantly showing up just to give them cryptic advice and then ditching them. He lectures them on how while they have their own adventure to save the world, he's working behind the scenes to save individual lives and set up ways for them to win. He even mentions the trope Hero of Another Story by name and points out even if they don't know what the other heroes are doing, they are equally important. Later, the CMC just barely miss running into the Doctor, who cured Lickety Split of being a werewolf. Daring Do, Flash Sentry, and others also have individual adventures saving people.
  • Luigi and his team of heroes get the spotlight in Paper Luigi X. While Team Mario is busy rescuing Team ZAP from the clutches of the X-Nauts, Team Luigi is busy rescuing Princess Eclair.
  • Recurring characters Dr. Kit Bennett, alias Kathy Watson and retired D.I. Michael Lestrade in Children of Time.
  • "Nor Hell a Fury" is essentially a sequel to Christine set in the world of Supernatural, where Dennis Guilder has become a hunter while tracking Christine's reappearances across the country, dealing with other ghosts or monsters as he encounters them, although he notes in private that he doesn't consider himself a "lifetime" hunter as he would stop if he defeated Christine. After the Winchesters help him find a ritual to destroy the car for good, Dennis appears content with his plans to return home.
  • "The Scarab" is a crossover between Stargate SG-1 and Buffy the Vampire Slayer when SG-1 come to Sunnydale to investigate reports of Goa'uld activity. When Teal'c hears Spike refer to Buffy as "Slayer", he recognises the name from a tale told to him by Bra'tac of the Tarith'na, the Slayer of Monsters. As he explains to Buffy later (told in a manner that avoids giving away that he's talking about events on another world), a Slayer manifested on Chulak some years ago among the Jaffa, and when Bra'tac was assigned to kill this Slayer, she told him about her chosen destiny to slay the creatures of darkness such as the false god Apophis. This was particularly significant as her prim'ta had been sealed up after she was Chosen, taking away everything that made her a Jaffa but creating a warrior even more powerful. Although Bra'tac killed the Tarith'na anyway, Teal'c notes that Bra'tac attributes this encounter to the inspiration for his own lack of faith in the Goa'uld as gods.
  • In Avengers: Infinite Wars, this likely applies to Hope van Dyne, Natasha Romanoff and Matt Murdock in particular, as they spent some time operating solo before the other Avengers found them (of the rest of the displaced heroes, either their activities have been clearly documented or they didn’t do much more than meet new cultures before the others found them).
  • Horseshoes and Hand Grenades has many adventures running parallel to the Kyoto Arc:
    • Month of Sundays: A group of Amanogawa High students fight off against Foundation X and a strange serpent who can transform people into dolls.
    • SplitxEnd: Yayoi Tokuda, a college student and former Zodiarts, teams up with Haruto Souma to uncover the truth about Gentaro's past.
    • Wheel of Fortune: Mei Shirakawa tries to determine fate with her tarot cards while looking up the origins on Yamada Tatsumori.
    • Quick to the Trigger is a fanfic regarding a comment Owner made way back in Horseshoes, telling on what Ryotaro, Kotaro, and Yuto are doing that has Power Rangers and Kamen Riders teaming up against a future threat.
  • In The Manehattanverse, Twilight was sent to Manehattan instead of Ponyville; a lot of the events that occurred there still happened, but were resolved in different manners by the remaining members of the Mane Six offscreen.
  • There is a Fandom-Specific Plot in the Amphibia and The Owl House fandoms where the Calamity Trio from the first show briefly meets the Hexsquad from the second. Usually, the Calamity Trio are potrayed as older, having already gone through their adventure in Amphibia while the hexsquad are still in the middle of theirs.
  • The various Shadowchasers Series fanfics have these a lot. The series features an organization that is spread out globally, and members of the local group featured in one story often show up in another, from time to time.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Starship Troopers crossover fic Garbed in Steel, Johnny Rico himself, the hero of Starship Troopers is this to Sergeant Buffy Summers of the Mobile Infantry.
  • Idol Hooves, the changeling protagonist of The Changeling of the Guard, will eventually run into the Mane 6 during the events of A Canterlot Wedding while posing as one of Celestia's Royal Guards, according to the author.
  • Michael is stated (and somewhat shown) to be this to Ash in Traveler.
    • This later becomes literal: Michael is revealed to be the protagonist of Pokémon XD.
  • Vapors repeatedly shows that during the times they are doing different things, Naruto is continuing to have his own missions and adventures off-screen while Aiko has hers.
  • In Robb Returns, there is a hint that something similar to what is going on beyond the Wall is going in the Grey Wastes and the Dothraki are being "called" East, just as the descendants of the First Men are being called North. And many people are also being pulled to the Isle of Faces, so as to help protect it from the threat of the resurgent Faith Militant.
  • There's No Rule That Says A Wolf Can't Be A Jedi: Swift runs into Anakin several times, enough that they consider each other friends, and they're even deployed together at one point, but it's clear that while Swift is investigating archaeological sites and keeping his clone soldiers alive and training a Padawan, most of the canonical Star Wars plot is happening off-screen. With a few adjustments due to Swift's presence...
  • In One Piece Self-Insert Fic This Bites!, it seems that some of the anime filler-arc adventures that this story is skipping over are still happening, just to other crews. For example, Bartolomeo has Apis from the Warship Island arc as a member of his crew. Just about all of the Super Rookies have their own battles during the Straw Hats' assault on Enies Lobby.
    • This also applies to some of the movie adventures, as the Kid Pirates are the ones who get involved in the Dead End race and Hawkins' crew are the ones who go to Asuka Island.
  • Pinkie Pie in My Little Animaniacs, who goes on a quest to cure herself and ends up getting possessed by a Body Snatcher somewhere along the way. Also, Chicken Boo, who becomes a famous DJ mixer offscreen.
  • Frisk Dreemurr trails Harry Potter by about two years in Harry Potter and the Underground's Saviour, but still has to deal with repercussions of the main plot, like Neville getting a Howler from his grandmother while already depressed.
  • New Tamaran: During the events of Teen Titans, the Justice League was off-planet to aid in the war effort against Darkseid, while Supergirl and Wonder Girl had their own adventures as a Battle Couple, and Oracle kept tabs on Lex Corp. Also, Static and Shazam are both briefly mentioned as the defenders of Dakota City and Fawcett City respectively.
  • As Lords Among The Ashes is composed of two quests run on separate sites, both Jaune and Ruby are this to each other. While Jaune is conquering the Dark Continent, discovering Lost Technology, and fighting Titans, Ruby is clearing the seas of piracy, becoming an economic superpower, and inventing Mechashift weapons hundreds of years ahead of schedule. Their stories rarely intersect with each other even though they are both rather important.
  • The Guardian is unfolding in the background of Identity Crisis, so the reader gets to see Jason and Dick having a road trip while Bruce is busy investigating a Serial Killer.
  • The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: Literal example with Reel the omake character - he originates from a fanfic that Anon e Mouse Jr. has in development, in which he ended up in an alternate version of Equestria that he now calls home. He now pops into A.R. versions of other universes from time to time.
  • Half Past Adventure: Cash Daniels, P.I. appears to be the hero of her own noir parody that occasionally intersects the main plot.
  • RWBY: Epic of Remnant: Gudako, Angra Mainyu, EMIYA Alter, Lancelot, and Hassan of the Cursed Arm become stranded in the world of Remnant. Though they are unable to contact Chaldea, they have faith that Ritsuka and Mash are still there fighting the good fight in the Singularities.
  • A now excised chapter of Origin Story featured how Power Girl's mind, inside Xander Harris's body, ends up in the Star Trek universe. The writer of the story received literally hundreds of requests for a story featuring that character.
  • In Rising of the Sleeping Soldier, when King Aultcray demands to know who he is when Alucard demands he sends him back, questioning how saving their world from the Waves is treated as trivial to him, Alucard gives a complete and comprehensive rundown as to why.
    Alucard: I am Adrian Fahrenheit Tepés, Known to the Wallachians as Alucard, the sleeping soldier, and defender of humanity. Age 19. My world is already under constant threat from all manner of monsters and demons. They wish to snuff out the entire human race or turn what's left of them after mass slaughter into nothing but slaves. The people have no means to defend themselves as all those who could have fought back have long since passed except for me and my companions. We are the last line of defense for humanity and I know they cannot fight without me as I cannot without them. That is why I cannot fight for you. Without my presence, my world will suffer.
  • The Lumberjack and the Tree-Elf: Mayor Lourdes got District 7 through a harsh winter by going against the Capitol and then managed to make it look like he was acting out of loyalty toward them. He's also a leader of the rebellion, but only has a handful of scenes.
  • The Many Dates of Danny Fenton: Danny's blind dates, each one can become his girlfriend in different timelines, include but not limited to Kim Possible, Supergirl, Violet Parr, Sailor Jupiter and Starfire, all amazing heroines who have adventures and fight evil before being involved with him.
  • Prehistoric Park: Returned from Extinction: Tiberius Saurus is the official owner of the Park, and is implied to have gone on a few adventures of his own, but so far, he's only shown up once in the story, where he has a conversation with his son which ends with him watching dumbfoundedly as a Paracrax rams its head into a feeder to snatch a piece of meat. Unlike most examples, though, we actually get to see these adventures as more than just A Day in the Limelight - said chapter reveals he's actually Wyatt Arthur Thompson (full name Wyatt Arthur Tiberius Thompson Saurus), one of the protagonists of Primeval Paradox.
  • The Victors Project: Boudicca was once approached by a girl who wanted to take the Tribute Trials without any prior training in order to get away from her abusive father. The girl made it to the final trial, the Trial of Blood, (something less than half of the kids who spend a full eight years of Training from Hell accomplish) before being unable to kill her assigned victim. An impressed Boudicca gives her a job working at the Institute.
  • Oogway's Little Owl: While Taylor and Oogway are sailing to Japan, the ship is suddenly attacked by a pirate gang whose captain is the estranged brother of the ferry ship's captain. The brothers proceed to have a fierce and very personal battle while Taylor and Oogway are left dealing with the mooks.
    Taylor: I feel like we just wandered into someone else's story, Master.
    Master Oogway: It happens. I’ve lost count of how many times it’s happened to me.
  • Sixes and Sevens: While Emily and Michael were dealing with their own adventure in the story's opening, Edith Harker had cut off all contact with her and the class of '38 to deal with her own villains. She gives sparse details to Emily, only telling her that she lost a man she loved and had to give up the child they had together.
  • The Crown of Neverwinter opens with Nodoka Saotome confessing she's actually a princess from another dimension. Why does the Tendo household learn this? Well, a wizard knocked on their door — he searched for her in the whole multiverse over three decades.

  • Lone Wolf:
    • Banedon the wizard pops up to help the main character at several points in the series and gains power and prestige at the same rate as Lone Wolf. He's a more prominent character in the Legend of Lone Wolf novelizations.
    • In the Mongoose Publishing remakes, each book has a 100-page mini-story about one of the characters who shaped the plot of that book, either taking place before or after said book. One character, the Noble Zombie Dire from Captives of Kaag, is also the mini-story character in The Legacy of Vashna and Wolf's Bane.
    • Grey Star the Wizard had his own adventure saving Southern Magnamund (Lone Wolf's adventures mostly take place in Northern Magnamund).
  • In the Choose Your Own Adventure books by Edward Packard, one gets the impression that recurring guest character Dr. Nera Vivaldi doesn't just show up only in adventures that happen to involve you.
  • The Fighting Fantasy book The Crimson Tide tells the story of a child who was orphaned in the war that drives the plot of Black Vein Prophecy.


By Author

  • Happens frequently in books by Stephen King, particularly the ones where there are lots of characters. For instance, Sue and the other women that Stu and his group saved from the rape gang, or Dayna Jurgens, from The Stand. Any of the side stories in The Shining, or the stories about the town in IT would also be interesting.
  • Matthew Reilly:
    • Many of the people targeted by The Conspiracy in Scarecrow.
      • Israeli soldier Simon Zemir has spent a lot of time training to stop the villains and working out their plans on his own, showing up out of nowhere during the finale and nearly managing to stop the Evil Plan by himself.
      • British spy Alec Christie and Mossad agent Benjamin Rosenthal spent a lot of time undercover, independently spying on the Big Bad.
      • CIA agent Damien Polanski stole all kinds of documents from the Soviets and aided various cold war defectors before becoming a Broken Ace.
      • General Weitzman foresaw the possibility of the country's missile system being compromised and pushed through a program to test soldiers for their ability to manually take control of the missiles while they were in mid-flight.
    • Both Trent in the first Shane Schofield book and Knight in the third have had long, cat and mouse games with ICG killers which remain largely off-screen.
  • Rick Riordan: As the "Riordanverse" grows, Rick likes having his characters have brief appearances in crossovers more and more.
    • The Camp Half-Blood Series, Rick's "main" series:
      • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Thalia and Nico start out as side characters, but head off in their own direction after a while. They come back occasionally, and as they are demigods (and children of the other two-thirds of the "Big Three") no matter what, they often hint at their own ripe share of brushes with death. Nico even gets kidnapped off-screen in what we presume to be an epic and never-to-be-known quest.
      • The Heroes of Olympus: Retroactively, Jason Grace. We know that while Percy was fighting Kronos, he was fighting the Titan Krios, and that he's been on quite a few quests— enough for him to start rehabilitating the reputation of the Fifth Cohort and be elected praetor. After he regains his memory, Riordan sprinkles in little references (such as going to Charleston with Reyna and having some kind of experience with the dead of the Civil War), but fleshes nothing out.
    • Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase (the protagonists of The Camp Half-Blood Series) show up, with Annabeth being the title character Magnus's cousin. Percy and Annabeth show up in The Ship of the Dead to help train Magnus and Alex on their journey.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • J. R. R. Tolkien did this several times in his Middle-Earth stories. He was creating a mythology, and he knew that mythologies are never perfect records, and there are always gaps which leave tantalizing hints of other stories.
    • The Fall of Gondolin: As Tuor and Voronwë are travelling towards Gondolin, they briefly cross paths with "a tall man clothed in black and holding a long black sword then appeared and came towards them, calling out a name as if he were searching for one who was lost. But without any speech he passed them by." Tuor will never know who that person was, as they've never met before, but he is his own first cousin Túrin, fleeing from the ruin of Nargothrond as told in The Children of Húrin.
    • In The Hobbit, while he's certainly involved in the main plot, Gandalf spends much of the novel attending to other matters, which turn out to be destroying the Mirkwood stronghold of the Necromancer, otherwise known as Sauron.
    • In The Lord of the Rings, there are hints of adventures that the other members of the Fellowship had before meeting the hobbits at Rivendell, such as Aragorn's capture of Gollum, or Gandalf's escape from the Ringwraiths. At one point, Sam wonders if Gollum thinks he's the hero of his own story.
    • Both stories focus on the exploits of Gandalf, who is only one of five wizards who were sent into the world by the Powers That Be, each with missions of great importance to all of Middle-earth. Little is known of what Saruman did before he became evil, and Radagast is only mentioned fleetingly. The other two wizards, Alatar and Pallando, are not even named in the main story but it is mentioned elsewhere that their actions in the East were crucial in weakening Sauron's forces.
    • There's also the battles at Lothlórien and Dale, which are briefly mentioned and correspond closely with the battles at Minas Tirith. The latter one beneath the Lonely Mountain is stated to be the largest one of them all because of its close proximity to Sauron's Easterling forces.
    • Overall, the entire northern arm of the War of the Ring is only briefly described in the books, despite its importance in diverting a very large portion of Sauron's strength from Lórien, Rivendell, and Gondor. The Men of Dale and the Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain gave their southern allies the time that they needed to fight off Sauron's primary forces and destroy the One Ring.

By Work

  • 100 Cupboards: The first book describes how only two people on Earth (neither of whom actually appears in the series) would recognize a piece of wood from another dimension. One lives in a bad part of Orlando, Florida and "very much wanted to believe that most of his childhood had not actually happened." The other is the widow of a French WWI soldier whose husband came home "with some very strange stories and a small sapling in a tin cup," having been given that unique tree as a gift by someone from that dimension.
  • 2666: Lola Amalfitano’s exploits abroad serve as a counterpoint to Oscar’s story.
  • Possible Ur-Example: many warriors — particularly Trojan ones — of The Trojan Cycle are only fleetingly mentioned, and could well have had other adventures before or after the war. Vergil took a brief appearance by the Trojan Aeneas as free rein to cast him as literally the hero of another story: The Aeneid.
  • Not dissimilarly, a number of well-known characters from the Arthurian cycle - Percivale, Tristram, Merlin and quite possibly Lancelot - appear to have started out as the heroes of stories of their own that were gradually absorbed into Arthur's.
  • A to Z Mysteries:
    • In The Ninth Nugget, Thumbs is implied to have lost his thumb in a bear attack that he walked away from otherwise unscratched, but no details are given.
    • As the kids investigate a case at their school in The School Skeleton, they briefly encounter another group of kids doing the same thing, who have solved some of the same clues they did. It only affects the plot to show that the mystery is one that the whole student body is being encouraged to solve.
  • Angel: In Stranger to the Sun, once Voice with an Internet Connection character Franklin Ayers-Bishop gets an inkling about the true nature of the Evil Plan, he quickly organizes many wizards in different countries to respond to the ritual the Big Bad is doing to permanently shroud the Earth in darkness, all without ever meeting another named character in person.
  • Another Note's Beyond Birthday. Except he's more properly the villain of another story. His case was mentioned briefly in Death Note.
  • Discussed and lampshaded in one of the Aubrey-Maturin books by Stephen Maturin and Jagiello, right after Jagiello loses his grip on a ship's mast, narrowly avoids the deck, plunges into the sea, and is pulled out roaring with laughter: in a bit of metafictional humor, Jagiello jokingly says that the hero of the story never dies in such a unspectacular fashion, and that he considers himself to be the hero of his own story.
  • Avalon: Web of Magic's main plot is about the forces of darkness trying to conquer all the worlds and corrupt their inhabitants. However, our protagonists run a refugee camp on Earth, so the narrative is centered there.
    • Zach is the last human on Aldenmor and an orphan raised by a mistwolf pack, which he was later exiled from. Although embittered by this, he remains committed to fighting the Sorceress with the help of his bonded dragon. We know this because he was the deuteragonist of one book and played only bit parts in the others.
    • Lorelei is one of the web's unicorn protectors and a teacher at Dalriada Academy. She shows up in the fourth book so Emily can heal the trauma of having her horn cut off, helps Emily to defeat a siren, and then...basically goes off to do her own thing.
  • Bazil Broketail: Evander is the main protagonist of The Wizard and the Floating City side story, unrelated to the main Bazil Broketail series apart from the fact that it's taking place in the same setting. Serena is the deuteragonist of the story.
  • At the end of Beowulf, there's a passing-of-the-torch moment between the title character and the young warrior Wiglaf after they kill a dragon together, and Beowulf lies dying of his wounds. It's implied that Wiglaf would go on his own grand adventures, but if anyone ever chronicled them, that poem has been lost.
  • The William Johnstone novel Brotherhood of the Gun. After the heroes win a shootout a local deputy named Lars shows up, having heard the gunfire as he returned from pursuing a pair of cattle rustlers. When it's commented that the local undertaker has six new bodies to bury, Lars says it's eight bodies, as he caught up to the rustlers and brought them back draped over their saddles.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In Spike & Dru: Pretty Maids All in a Row: Ariana describes Watchers Council director Trevor Kensington as "the oldest man she had ever seen" as well as "the most powerful." He has magical talents unmatched by most characters and Skrymir knows him by sight and asks "Will you ever die?" during their duel. All of this implies that Kensington has had his share of heroic exploits that the readers never learn about.
    • In The Gatekeeper Trilogy, Buffy and her friends are busy globe-trotting to deal with an apocalyptic threat which is causing Sunnydale to be even more dangerous and plagued by monsters than usual. Willow's fellow teenaged witch Amy Madison finds herself stepping into the Scooby Gang's role to try and protect the people of the town and does a good job at it, even though her efforts are only shown in two chapters of the Doorstopper trilogy.
  • In Castle Hangnail, two of the castle's minions are a talking goldfish and an animate voodoo doll named Pins. The goldfish reflects on Pins's heroic journey crossing the desert and fighting monsters, all carrying the goldfish in a plastic bag. The narrator observes that it shows that minor characters can also have been heroes.
  • In The Chronicles of Narnia, where the protagonists from our world might be The Only One for the brief time they are there, but Narnia exists for thousands of years without them and is said to have many adventures and heroes of its own that we never hear of (as well as many times where nothing exciting at all is happening). The (adult) Pevensie children become this in The Horse and His Boy and Shasta is this to them (his being the story we get to see).
  • In Ciaphas Cain (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM):
    • Amberly Vail clearly has lots of adventures fighting enemies of the Imperium in between those times when her path crosses with Cain's. Her footnotes occasionally make references to these.
    • In stories when Cain is serving with the 597th Valhallan it's also usually mentioned that there are several other regiments on the same planet (most notably "Duty Calls", where he notices a young Commissar who shows enough signs of competence that he wonders how he did later on).
    • Several minor characters wrote similar memoirs to Cain (that is similar to his "official" memoirs, not the candid ones that the stories consist of). Most notably Sulla (who's only a Lieutenant/Captain at the time of the books, but is Lady General by the time she wrote them). Other examples include the Medic (who was essentially a fictionalised James Herriot) from "Death or Glory" and Sgt. Tyber, who went on to write a book about the events of the same.
  • Colin Lamb from Agatha Christie's The Clocks. Even though he's the (partial) narrator of the novel, whose written accounts of the murder investigation helped Hercule Poirot reach the solution of the mystery, Colin himself contribute nothing to the investigation, as he's more concerned with his duties as a British Secret Service Agent.
  • Coruscant Nights: The Gray Paladin Jedi sect spent years training themselves to become minimally reliant on the Force and use weapons besides lightsabers. Two dozen of their members on Coruscant alone survive Order 66 and play a major, offscreen, role in evacuating the survivors of the Jedi Temple. Those two dozen become the backbone of a resistance movement against the Empire on its capital planet. Jax Pavan notes that they have an advantage over their fellow Jedi in avoiding the notice of Palpatine and his Inquisitors due to being able to blend in better with ordinary civilians. Nonetheless, only one Gray Paladin, Laranth Tarak, appears in person or gets a name note .
  • Two of colleagues of the anti-kidnapping expert protagonist in The Danger (by Dick Francis) are in South America, negotiating for the release of an oil executive whose kidnapping they believe was an inside job. It's never revealed who was behind that kidnapping or whether they get the executive back safely.
  • In the Daniel Faust series, FBI Special Agent Harmony Black is basically a classic urban fantasy heroine, veteran of many past adventures, squaring off against some evil bastards. Too bad for her, this series is about the evil bastards.
  • Famously discussed in the opening lines to David Copperfield.
    "Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show."
  • Dortmunder: In The Road to Ruin, Kelp buys a fake ID that previously belonged to a man named Harbin before he moved onto another alias. Very little is revealed about Harbin, but he is on the run from a European dictatorship and is one of the few people ever to escape their main assassin.
  • Down to a Sunless Sea: As the narrator and the passengers on his plane struggle to find a place to land, they sometimes talk to other people on the radio also struggling to survive and help people (although most to all of them are doomed to be killed by the fallout). Most notable are the Funchal airport staff, who are tirelessly coordinating with planes still in the air to help as many of them possible land before they run out of fuel.
  • In the Dragonriders of Pern series, Menolly and Piemur are literally this; as well as appearing here and there in the books, they have their own trilogy that runs concurrently with the first three books. This in turn causes major characters from the first few books who appear in the Harper Hall books to themselves be heroes of another story.
  • Any named character from The Dresden Files. Special credit goes to:
    • Carlos Ramirez, professional badass and Harry's best friend on the Wardens. The regional commander of the Wardens on the West Coast, he gets into almost as much trouble as Harry.
    • Michael Carpenter's exploits against the Denarians could make a fantastic series on their own.
    • Sanya. As of Small Favor, he is the only active Knight of the Cross, which means that he is single-handedly patrolling the world and putting down various supernatural threats. This is a normally a job for three people, but, as Harry notes, he seems to be handling it with aplomb.
    • Morgan. Come on, we get to hear the stories about how he nuked a shapeshifting demi-god of pure evil, and cut his way through the entire Red Court, fully intent on dueling a being that has Odin matched for metaphysical muscle.
    • Karrin Murphy, and the rest of S.I. After the first few books Harry mentions that S.I. has gotten good enough at handling minor supernatural threats that they don't call him in as much.
    • The Alphas. College kids turned werewolves, dealing with the troubles of young adulthood by day, wolf-shaped vigilantes by night.
    • John Marcone counts as well. The short story "Even Hand" is told from his perspective, and lays ground for potential future narratives. "Aftermath" informs us that, since the death of Harry Dresden, Marcone and his people have repelled several attempts by the Fomor and other bad guys to infiltrate the city.
    • Thomas Raith, Harry's half brother provides vital back up on a number of occasions, but we eventually find that he's a member of the Venatori, and has been fighting the Oblivion War off and on for years.
    • Elaine Mallory, who starts up a similar Wizard for Hire business in Los Angeles.
    • Molly Carpenter, Harry's apprentice, whose Coming of Age Story is going on in the background. After she takes on more responsibilities it's implied her adventures get even stranger and more dangerous.
    • Simon Pietrovich died off-screen before he could really do much of anything in the series. However, one might be interested in what a Senior Council Member who commanded a "brute squad" of combat mages who specialized in hunting down supernatural predators got up to earlier in his career. There has to be good adventures in there.
  • Dying With Her Cheer Pants On: Several other teams, such as the Goblin Sharks, attend the cheerleading tournament and clearly have knowledge of the supernatural (and implicitly supernatural members) themselves. Unusually for the trope, at least some of them hate the heroes of the main story due to blaming them for having to compete in the tournament (where the lowest scoring squad never gets to go home).
  • The Elder Empire: The whole point of splitting the universe into two parallel stories. Of Sea and Shadow is about Calder Martin, Captain of the Navigator's Guild, trying to raise up a new God-Emperor after the old one died, in order to help unite humanity and protect the species from the predations of the Elders; he is opposed by anarchic assassins who want to see the thousand-year Empire fractured since it will be more profitable for them. Of Shadow and Sea is about Shera, Gardener of the Consultant's Guild, trying to stop a Great Elder from resurrecting herself and destroying humanity, and to keep the Empire split so that humanity does not have a single point of failure in a God-Emperor; she is opposed by insane cultists and tyrants who think they can handle the power themselves.
  • Elemental Blessings: Ghyaneth's cousin is never seen, but he mentions that she and her husband have been working to counter his plans to kill her to avoid a Succession Crisis. Ghyaneth claims that she's not exactly a hero and is just as ruthless as he is, but the truth of this claim is debatable.
  • Emberverse: Although the PPA is an antagonist in the first part of the series, the citizens of Walla Walla regard them as heroes, as it was an expedition from Portland that rescued the city from convicts who had taken over after escaping the nearby state prison in the aftermath of the Change. This trope also applies to many characters the main cast encounter in their journeys. Abbott Dortje, the new Iowa civil government (and Ingolf's brother), the Senegalese pirates, Captain Wellman, the Last Eagle and his successors, and even Justin Gruber are just a few of the people who could become (or are already) heroes to their own people. The current tetrology introduces even more, including Reiko's grandmother and father and the Loyal Men who preserved the Nipponese royal line, King John of Darwin, and the leaders of Topanga and of the Mist Hills.
  • The Empirium Trilogy: After Rielle and company split ways with Ilmaire and his companions, Ilmaire doesn't make a further reappearance but he isn't fully out of the picture; excerpts from the letters he sends to Audric, and from his journal, are placed at the beginning of several chapters in both Kingsbane and Lightbringer. The excerpts show his own personal journey as he tries to fit into the crown his recently deceased father left, deal with Merovec, and eventually strike out on his own to find a way to aid Audric and his kingdom with the angelic threat.
  • Bean, from Ender's Game, was made the "hero" of Ender's Shadow, though it's technically the same story from a different perspective. There are also further novels (known as the Shadow saga) focused on other characters from the original story.
  • Ex-Heroes: Some if the Mauve Shirt Disaster Scavengers such as Mark Larsen and Ilya, appear in flashback scenes as normal people who do a lot of work fighting off zombies and protecting people with them even before the superheroes show up to take them to the Mount at the tail end of their adventures.
  • The Exile's Violin: Serge went on many adventures with Jacquie's father and one of them involved finding treasure that is relevant to the main plot; the key that unlocks the chest containing the Exile's violin. He made a lot of friends that look down on Jacquie for lacking his experience.
  • This is discussed in Fifth Business. Dunstan Ramsay isn't even the hero of his own story; instead, he (according to Liesl) is destined to be the vital supporting character to everyone else. Strictly speaking, the hero of the story is the successful, handsome Boy Staunton, but the narration only checks in on him now and again.
  • In For Whom the Bell Tolls, the partisan leader El Sordo appears to be the best in the area, with many exciting battles under his belt. But the narration focuses on Pablo's band, and we only see Sordo in one conversation scene and one combat scene.
  • Gate has the rest of the JSDF: Itami wasn't the only one making friendly contacts in the special region. The Third Recon team also serves as this when Itami is relieved of his command and the team is sent to Akusho.
  • The Warhammer 40,000: Gaunt's Ghosts novels make extensive use of other Imperial Guard regiments fighting alongside or in the same area as the Ghosts, with the commanders typically being named, likable individuals. Watch out, though, for the other commanders ever getting character development. If they do, bastardry will ensue at some point during the book.
  • Goblin Slayer plays with this in that Goblin Slayer and his party are the "another story". While they clear out goblin dens, a battle against the Demon Lord for the fate of the world is occurring just offscreen, led by Hero, a young adventurer who has been crossing paths with Goblin Slayer since he saved her hometown from goblins.
  • In 2013 novel The Gods of Guilt, protagonist Mickey Haller has a brief encounter with his brother Harry Bosch in court; Harry says he's working on "a cold case from 'ninety-four." This is a reference to Harry Bosch short story "Switchblade", which was published the following year.
  • The Han Solo Adventures: Gallandro has a very long and well-known list of accomplishments in his gunslinging career. Despite his overall villainous nature, he's actually the hero of another story several times over.
    Badure: Gallandro? Slick, you're talking about the guy who single-handedly hijacked the Quamar Messenger on her maiden run and took over that pirate's nest, Geedon V, all by himself. And he went to the gun against the Malorm family, drawing head bounty on all five of them. And no one has ever beaten the score he rolled up when he was flying a fighter with Marso's Demons. Besides which, he's the only man who ever forced the Assassins' Guild to default on a contract; he personally canceled half of their Elite Circle—one at a time—plus assorted journeymen and apprentices.
  • Harry Potter:
    • The previous generation characters (Lily, Snape and the Marauders) had more than enough high drama to support their own series. Plus, the epilogue gives us the tantalizing hint of a whole new generation headed for Hogwarts. It's not surprising that novel-length Marauder-era and next-generation fanfics are so common.
    • The Order of the Phoenix, a resistance group that fights Voldemort. Both the past Order (which disbanded before the beginning of the series) and the present incarnation are alluded to having many off-screen adventures that we never hear about.
    • Albus Dumbledore was apparently the Harry Potter of his day — his most famous feat was his defeat of the previous Dark Lord before Voldemort, Predecessor Villain Gellert Grindelwald, in what is regarded as the greatest Wizard Duel in history. Grindelwald also happened to be his Evil Former Friend, First Love, and (since Dumbledore swore off love after him) the love of his life. Deathly Hallows briefly touches on his past, and the Fantastic Beasts films cover his conflicts with Grindelwald.
    • In Deathly Hallows, while Harry, Ron, and Hermione were on the run from the Death Eaters and hunting down Voldemort's Horcruxes, Neville, Ginny, and Luna formed an alternate trio of heroes at Hogwarts, turning the students of Dumbledore's Army into La Résistance and leading them in defying Snape's and the Death Eaters' reign of terror at the school.
  • Hollow Kingdom (2019):
    • Many animals with their own focus chapters, such as a polar bear searching for her lost cub, only have small parts of their large stories shown.
    • S.T. occasionally finds notes or graffiti left by people who avoided being infected and were trying to find loved ones, warn other people to avoid technology, or get to safer areas. A parrot acquaintance of S.T. also recalls people with farms in the countryside riding around on horseback in the final days of the outbreak, shouting offers of sanctuary. It doesn't appear that any of their efforts succeeded, as the only confirmed human survivor is a baby several states away.
  • Honor Harrington:
    • Admiral Hamish Alexander, Earl of White Haven, is already an admiral when the series begins, and thus spends most of his time commanding large fleet actions that are analyzed in exhaustive detail by the main characters after the event. Probably the first notable instance of this is the Third Battle of Yeltsin, a spectacular Manticoran victory that was critical to the opening phases of the war — which we never see.
    • In Echoes of Honor several prisoners have spent years hiding in the bush after faking their deaths while receiving assistance from some of the prisoners who remained behind. After the prison revolt, they spend a lot of time capturing (or lynching) fugitive members of the State Sec garrison, relying on the years they spent learning the island's hiding places. They feel like they could have had their own book, but only get mentioned over about two pages.
  • Since The Hunger Games are told entirely from Katniss's point of view, there's a lot of details and stories we miss out on because she is unaware of what's happening.
    • Thresh and Foxface throughout the first novel are off having adventures completely separate from Katniss. Foxface and Katniss unknowingly cross each others paths a couple of times but Katniss only runs into Thresh once during the games. Thresh is also apparently off having a major battle with Cato for several days while Katniss and Peeta are in the cave.
    • In the first half of the first book, Peeta could be considered this as he has some agenda and his own adventures with the Career Tributes. We find out about some of these actions later after he has revealed his true colors.
    • The Avox Girl, who apparently had an entire adventure before she ever crossed paths with Katniss.
    • Bonnie and Twill. Katniss hears the first half of their story but is left wondering what happened to them.
    • We also never find out what the rebel movement was up to before Katniss came on the scene (it's way too big and organized to just be a reaction to one defiant act), or how and when Finnick, Johanna, Beatee, etc all joined it and their stories.
    • Nor do we see Gale evacuate what remains of District 12 after they are bombed. He is considered by many a literal hero.
  • In the Hyperion Cantos, Rachel Weintraub, who we see travel to the far future at the end of Fall of Hyperion, and then learn that she later returns to a (slightly less distant) the future. Just read the books.
  • InCryptid features the ghost Rose Marshall as a minor recurring character and Honorary Aunt of the protagonists. She's the main protagonist of the Ghost Roads series by the same author.
  • Roran Stronghammer of the Inheritance Cycle is an example. He's technically a point of view character, but over the course of Brisingr he slaughters nearly one hundred men from atop an ever-growing mountain of their shattered corpses, is summarily beaten to within an inch of his life for disobeying orders, immediately goes out and wrestles an Urgal chieftan into submission, and leads his new troops to several important victories over The Empire. And everyone completely forgets about him once Eragon gets back from his vacation, to the point that he isn't even mentioned during the Final Battle.
    • Saphira gives a blessing of sorts to an infant girl, later informing Eragon that the girl won't have an ordinary life after receiving it, and that what he just witnessed was the beginning of a whole new legend. And then it turns out that they screwed up and cursed her to suffer other people's problems. After they find out, they try to remove the curse, but only partially remove it, resulting in someone who is aware of other people's problems, but is not inclined to help. It's implied that she is now on a path to become a villain.
    • An even more blatant example comes in Brisingr, when Angela asks Eragon to bless a mother and daughter whose fortunes she had just read. She even lampshades this later by refusing to tell Eragon anything about the two, and they only have one more brief appearance in the final battle in Inheritance.
    • Eragon's mentor (and father) Brom has had a century's worth of adventures, which include founding the Varden (the rebel group opposing Galbatorix), including his lifelong vendetta against the Forsworn, the traitorous Dragon Riders serving Galbatorix. Special mention goes to how he met his friend Jeod, another supporting character who encounters Roran in the second book; Paolini has personally expressed interest in writing a prequel expanding on that topic.
  • The Ink Black Heart: Jago's oldest daughter from his first marriage, Christabel, is The Ghost, but is repeatedly described as standing up to Jago when he abuses her sisters (only to get hit herself) and seeking online information to help her family get out from under Jago's thumb online.
  • Robin Hood as "Locksley" in Ivanhoe. One could argue that it led to the Legend of Robin Hood actually being a popular thing; like an ancient spinoff.
  • John Putnam Thatcher:
    • In Accounting for Murder, NYPD accountant Fred Cohen has just wrapped up an investigation of a mobster who he helped get deported and casually mentions that he and his superior officer got shot at by a mobster during The Roaring '20s.
    • Kate and Lorna, the archaeologists from When in Greece, make some brief references to being part of the Greek Resistance in World War II.
    • In Double, Double, Oil and Trouble, Thatcher gives his summation to two executives who missed the media coverage of the arrest due to briefly-mentioned interesting problems of their own (a CEO preventing a hostile takeover and an accounting expert and college professor thwarting her university's efforts to push her into retirement in favor of an unseasoned up-and comer. Although, given the CEO's "famous tolerance for bribery", he could qualify as the Villain of Another Story instead.
  • Journey to Chaos:
    • Many members of the Dragon's Lair were hired to take part in the Starvation War. It took place pre-series and was fought between Latrot and Mithra. As part of his recovery from mana mutation and monsanity Eric watches videos of a couple of their adventures.
    • During the course of A Mage's Power Sathel Aranid bodyguarded Abbott Tolis from Our Lady of Perpetual Mischief abbey and thwarted several attempts on his life. Between that book and Looming Shadow she hunted soulcrafters in Najica with her husband, Retina.
    • Due to a reoccurring case of Random Teleportation, Annala becomes one of these in Transcending Limitations. Order speaks of how she is "bouncing around Noitearc thwarting the plans of his other principal servants". She herself will make off-hand reference to her off-screen adventures whenever she pops into the main narrative.
  • Judge Dee: Several other stories feature secondary or minor characters who have been working heroically against the villains outside of Dee’s investigation. One minor but notable example is a pair of monks in The Chinese Bell Murder, who have been taken prisoner by false monks who took over their abbey. One of the monks pretended to go along with the criminals but has been spying on them to gather evidence and help the authorities tell which ones are corrupt and which ones are Unwitting Pawns.
  • In two of the early stories from Larry Niven's Known Space series ("There is a Tide" and "Flatlander"), a Terran cop named Sigmund Ausfaller shows up as a minor recurring character, but its implied that this guy is an even more competent adventurer than Schaeffer is. We'd have to wait for nearly forty years before Niven would co-author a trio of novels featuring Ausfaller as the hero... and it turns out he's absolutely more competent than Schaeffer was.
  • Inspector Javert from Les Misérables is off stopping real criminals when he's not trying to arrest Jean Valjean.
  • The first Lorien Legacies book mentions a man in Columbus, Ohio, who captures a Mog scout and tortures him into revealing the Mogs' plan to hunt down the Garde. Upon getting that information, the man known only as the mysterious caller alerts a conspiracy magazine about it before disappearing from the story.
  • Maul: Lockdown: Artagan has spent decades on the run from the sinister Bando Gora cult working as an undefeated fighting champion and mentor to his son before becoming a Dented Iron guy looking to escape from prison.
  • A literal example in Moon Rising; Moon only learns about her mentor's Dark and Troubled Past when she reads about it in a history book. Thousands of years ago, Darkstalker was an incredibly powerful animus dragon who was (supposedly) executed by his lover and best friend when they felt he could no longer be trusted. However, Darkstalker was not killed- simply bespelled to sleep eternally. A spell which broke eventually.
  • The Neverending Story lives off this literally. It is maintained by dreams and stories and everyone has one. To quote the narrator time and again throughout the novel, “But that is another story and shall be told another time.” Specific examples include:
    • Pyornrachzark, Blubb, Vooshvazool, and Gluckuk, the heralds that travel to warn of the Nothing early on in the novel. We lose track of them, but presumably they all go on to, at least, make the journey back home.
    • Hynreck, the disgraced hero who left on his own while his comrades followed Bastian, went after a monster who kidnapped his love interest, and won, but we're spared the details and what happens next.
    • Yikka, a mule who served as Bastian's mount for a while, is not exactly an example, but after being granted fertility and a faithful encounter with a pegasus stallion by Bastian, she has a son called Patalplan, a half-mule, half pegasus hybrid that is himself an example, as he reportedly had many peculiar adventures.
    • And then we have The City of Old Emperors, where every single inhabitant qualifies. Or rather, was. The City is the final destination of every single human visitor to Fantastica who failed/refused to go back to the real world. They all inevitably attempted to replace the Childlike Empress, bringing chaos and war to Fantastica before eventually wasting away all of their memories of the real world by abusing Auryn. Once they lost all memories, they became blank husks of the people they were and ended up in the City.
    • If Hykrion the Strong is to be believed, one of the many visitors to Fantastica from the real world was William Shakespeare himself.
    • The biggest one is Atreyu, because after Balthasar is told that he can't leave Fantastica until all the stories he set in motion are finished, Atreyu volunteers to finish all those stories in his place so Balthasar can go home.
  • Nevermoor: Fenestra, the housekeeper at the Hotel Deucalion, has secretly been helping rescue Wunimals from persecution and violence in the Wintersea Republic by smuggling them into the Free State, immigration laws be damned. In doing so, she's undoubtedly saved many, many lives.
  • In the final stage of the Nibelungenlied, the last survivors of the besieged Burgundians are at last taken out by the retinue of the Gothic king Dietrich of Bern (not Bern in Switzerland, but Verona in Italy). Dietrich, the mythical version of king Theoderic the Great, and his followers Hildebrand et al. literally are the heroes of a whole different cycle of legends and stories, so the decision to bring him in not only was an early example of a "cross-over", but also served to enhance the standing of Gunther and Hagen.
  • Pact stars Blake and Rose Thorburn, the same person born as different genders, who inherit their familial heritage of property, books on demon-summoning, and the karmic debt of seven lifetimes worth of monstrous deeds. Early on they meet Maggie Holt, a teenaged goblin binder who's dealing with a prophecy that demands she experience three rounds of "blood and darkness and fire" in return for her family's lives. Though they occasionally assist one another, Maggie feels compelled to deal with her problems her own way-after helping the Thorburns defeat the Incarnation of Conquest, she remarks that being the side character isn't really her thing.
  • Ruled Britannia:: Peter Foster, a suspected petty thief and neighbor of Shakespeare, is arrested and then promptly breaks out of jail after bidding Shakespeare a cordial goodbye, without ever revealing exactly what got him arrested or how he escaped.
  • The Saga of Grettir the Strong:
    • The life of the outlaw Hallmund is apparently quite a story not unlike that of Grettir himself. When Hallmund lies dying, he recites a poem commemorating his adventures, and "many exploits of his did Hallmund recount in the lay, for he had been in every land." Only a short piece of it is given, but it hints at a most extraordinary tale:
      The giant-kind and the grim rock-dwellers,
      demons and blendings fell before me,
      elves and devils have felt my hand.
    • The outlaw Grim who kills Hallmund goes on to become a famous adventurer himself: "Grim became a great traveller and there is a long saga about him."
  • The Scholomance: Plenty of students at the Boarding School of Horrors who barely interact with El have interesting backstories and struggles. Notable examples are Luisa being stuck there without preparation due to being a Mage Born of Muggles, Clarita using a Beneath Notice strategy while working to become valedictorian, and Maya Wulandiri putting all of her efforts into trying to gain admission of herself and her family to the Toronto enclave.
  • In Second Stage Lensmen, Nadreck of Palain VII. He goes on a solo mission to destroy an enemy base that no one has been able to touch. He does so by inciting the locals into a civil war. However, despite great urging, he absolutely refuses to tell anyone how he did it, because in his eyes the mission was an unmitigated disaster. His shame comes from the fact that he comes from a race of cowards, and he was forced at one point to kill three people directly to complete his mission, rather than causing them to kill each other. To make the point clearer, these people included the highest-ranking enemies at the base, and in a society where Rank Scales with Asskicking is taken to the extreme that means he had to personally fight the hardest targets.
  • In The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School, there are occasional reminders during the earlier parts of the book that the school has plenty of students and exciting events apart from Amy and her friends and their adventures. (Less so after the main plot kicks in and the school gets taken over as part of an Assimilation Plot, because then everything happening at the school becomes part of a single story.) There's also the case of Enid ffolliott, who dramatically appears in time to save Amy from a peril after being missing for two years; it's strongly suggested that what she was doing during those two years was adventurous and possibly world-saving, although we don't get many details.
  • Shadow Children: Mr. Talbot is a high ranking government agent who secretly leads some sort of organized resistance, and usually helps out the kids. Another revolutionary shows up repeatedly to aid the heroes in book 5 and 6 rescuing them in the former and executing a gambit in the latter. We don't know what his name is, but he goes by Nedley and later Mike, and is implied to be working behind the scenes as a government officer.
  • A meta example of this happens in Gregory Frost's Shadowbridge duology. The protagonist Leodora is collecting stories from all over the spans of Shadowbridge. While talking to a sailor she learns of a new story that's spreading for months from the southern spans where she had traveled from. Referring to it as the Navigator's Tale, it's a morality story warning of a wicked whore who had broken many taboos on the island she's from - including riding one of the island's sacred krakens while nude. She tries to leave the island, but the kraken brings her back where the islanders stone her and the kraken and then they drown her in its ink as a purity rite. Leodora is horrified by this tale and vows never to perform it. The story is a combination of what happened that led to the fleeing of Leodora and years earlier - her mother Leonara, that's been corrupted by her uncle's sick fantasies and had some details altered. Leodora sadly notes that now she's become a character in a tale, just like the ones she tells.
  • The eight and ninth Erast Fandorin novels, She Lover of Death and He Lover of Death, are two completely separate mysteries being investigated by Fandorin in Moscow at the same time. Each book contains a few passing references to Fandorin's other case.
  • Sherlock Holmes VS Dracula, or The Adventure of the Sanguinary Count, basically makes Holmes and Watson this for Van Helsing’s team of vampire hunters in the original novel. The core theme of the novel is that Dracula was fighting Holmes and Watson when he wasn’t dealing with Van Helsing and his allies, Holmes thwarting Dracula’s attempt to travel to America after his efforts in London have come to an end before leaving Van Helsing to track him back to Transylvania.
  • Sir Apropos of Nothing seems to be beset with many, many heroes of other stories. Whenever they try to regale him with their adventures, however, he always cuts them off...because he abhors such stories.
  • Due to the series' large cast, A Song of Ice and Fire is full to the brim with these. Special mention should go to King Stannis (who survived a siege, later described as "They were down to rats and beets, horses and dogs have been eaten long ago"), Dolorous Edd (just about anything he says, but highlights include finding a dead brother of the Night Watch floating in the barrel of wine and being attacked by a bear!), Maester Aemon (the man was 102 years old when he died and has lived through most of the history known to main characters), Aegon the Fifth (A hero from Tales of Dunk and Egg, long dead in main novels), Barristan The Bold, Tormund Giantsbane, Theon's friend Cleftjaw, Mance Rayder and Lord Bloodraven... This list goes on and on.
  • Dahlia Lynley-Chivers only appears once in The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries in the book All Together Dead as a one of the vampire summit judges, but she's the main star of the various short stories and novellas that expand the supernatural universe of the books, often investigating threats to her vampire nest.
  • Hawk between Spenser novels.
  • In the Star Trek Novel Verse, each series could be considered this to the other ones. However, Star Trek: New Frontier really plays this role. Because Peter David has sole control over New Frontier, any major events that the Excalibur cannot somehow be excused from, such as Star Trek: Destiny, are told through Broad Strokes by the other authors. Whether we actually get to read those stories depends on whether Peter David wants to write them.
    • Two Diane Carey novels, Dreadnaught and Battlestations, are something of Lower Deck Episodes in regards to the series. The main characters are younger Expys of the main Star Trek characters. While they do perform acts to further the plot, when they cross paths with Kirk and company, it's clear for every thing the youngsters have done, the senior officers have done 5 or 6.
  • In the Star Trek: Mere Anarchy series, the fourth tale attempts to give the impression that Starfleet captains across the board have noteworthy adventures, avoiding the implications that Kirk is the guy to which everything interesting happens. When Kirk mentions he was present at a particular event, the captain he's talking too responds with a casual "oh yeah, that was you", and it's mentioned that this captain was off having his own adventure at the time.
  • Star Wars The Princess And The Scoundrel:
    • Amidst the hordes of callow Bystander Syndrome sufferers on the ship, Leia also notices two Rebel sympathizers who secretly provided the campaign against the Empire starship funding and information respectively, but neither of them interacts with her on page.
    • A group of people on Madurs have spent some time resisting the Imperial occupiers with bold and clever acts of sabotage (although they do little more than inconvenience the garrison) and preparing covert messages asking for help. However, the protagonists only learn of their existence in the last quarter of the book.
  • Star Wars Legends
    • Wedge Antilles, outside of the X-Wing Series, where he is The Hero. Outside of that series, he's rarely in focus, but almost always there, performing important tasks. In the X-Wing Series, Luke, Leia, and Han Solo are the Heroes of Another Story to Wedge.
    • Republic Commando:
      • Order 66' has the main commandoes briefly run into several disguised Jedi apprentices who escaped the massacre at the Jedi Temple and are trying to get off-planet (with at least one of them escaping after they are discovered). However, most of the commandoes would object to calling those Jedi "heroes" part of the trope, since the Jedi accidentally kill some civilians while deflecting blaster bolts in a closed space and one of them accidentally cuts down Etain when she tries to save a clone who reminds her of Darman.
      • Near the beginning of 501st, the Special Operations Brigade commandoes are given a list of clone troopers who deserted and ordered to remain on the lookout for them. While most of those commandoes are main or supporting characters who end up on Mandalore, the previously unmentioned Hyperion Squad is never seen or mentioned again. This suggests that Hyperion Squad is on the run from the Empire elsewhere in the galaxy, and that they have different motives for deserting than Clan Skirata.
    • Several characters from Children of the Jedi come across as people who were the protagonists of their own intense stories in the lead-up to the book.
      • Master Plett is (or was, as his present status is unclear) a Science Wizard who used botany skills and his wide array of unusual Force powers to benefit the planet he watched over, helped dozens of young fugitivies hide from the Empire after the Great Jedi Purge, defeated attacking forces, and then somehow arranged for the only Honest Corporate Executives in the region to set up shop on the planet he'd had to leave so it could continue prospering. He vanished long before the novels take place, but there is a strong impression that his exploits could have filled a book or two.
      • Cray Mingla is the descendant of Order 66 survivors who remained out of sight while studying under some of the people who were later recruited to work on the Death Star, fell in love with a fellow Force-sensitivie scientist, and tried to transfer his consciousness into a droid body to save him from a deadly disease shortly after they joined Luke's Jedi Order. However, during the main story, her role is rather limited.
      • Triv Pothman is the Sole Survivor of a garrison that spent decades fighting Gammoreans and each other, was Made a Slave, somehow escaped, and transformed from a tough stormtrooper to a kindly gardner and embroiderer.
      • Han's friend Drub McKumb was a Rebel sympathizer and methodical treasure hunter who was kidnapped and brainwashed by the villains of the book but escaped in a moment of lucidity to warn Han about the danger they pose, kicking off the main plot in the opening chapter.
  • Piranesi is an Ontological Mystery with an Amnesiac Hero, but late in the story he encounters policewoman Sarah Raphael, who helps him escape his situation. When she explains how she came to be there, it becomes clear that from her point of view, this has been a slightly more straightforward supernatural mystery, and her success in solving it is impressive. One of her colleagues later describes another problem she dealt with, and clearly regards her with admiration.
  • Safehold:
    • Sidmarkian Archbishop Zagyrsk and his staff spend the civil war providing food and medical care for forced laborers, preventing the inquisitors from harming people under their jurisdiction, and smuggling hundreds of children out of concentration camps. However, none of this is mentioned until the end of the conflict, when they meet Green Valley and he reveals his knowledge of their actions and praises them when they except to be arrested or worse as enemy prelates.
    • In the eighth and ninth books, soldiers assigned to at least four concentration camps mutiny to try to save the prisoners (two groups succeed, one fails, and one is wiped out but does save some prisoners) but only of one of these mutinies is shown.
  • The Stormlight Archive: Several. Hoid is a hero to the Cosmere as a whole (if not the Big Good), but his goals on Roshar only rarely intersect with everyone else. The interludes introduce a number of new characters who are running around on their own adventures, a few of whom are in the process of becoming Surgebinders. And of course, at the end of the second book Jasnah comes back, having escaped the ambush on the Wind's Pleasure by teleporting into Shadesmar, where she has been adventuring for months.
  • In the Tairen Soul universe, fey compare fate to a musical concert. There are consecutive Dances, whole eras of time (The Chosen Ones are said to lead a Dance). Every Dance consists of smaller Songs and Harmonies; when The Hero sees that a human nobleman owns a Legendary Weapon, he theorizes that the guy is marked out to lead one of the former.
  • They Thirst: Vulkan's lieutenants tell him about large groups of humans fleeing the city via the Santa Monica Mountains, many of whom are getting past their patrols, but none of those people are shown, as the story remains focused on those survivors still in the city.
  • Trash of the Count's Family has a unique example in Choi Han; he's the protagonist of the story-within-the-story The Birth of a Hero. However, the protagonist of this story is Cale, who reincarnates into the world of ''The Birth of a Hero''. Choi Han remains a main character, however.
  • True Grit: By-the-Book Cop LT Quinn and Scarily Competent Tracker William Waters are unseen marshals suggested as other candidates who could help Mattie chase Tom Chaney.
  • Mikhail Tanner and his quest to locate and mercy kill his beloved Sonya Karp after she turned Strigoi in Vampire Academy. The quest is briefly mentioned but never fully described.
  • In Warrior Cats, there are several times when characters other than the heroes are off on their own quests to save the Clans. There are several such as Yellowfang, who in the first book was organizing a resistance against Brokenstar; Stormfur, who was helping the Tribe become strong enough to defeat the Mountain Invaders; Tigerheart, who spied on the Dark Forest so that he could protect the Clans; and even Jingo, a cat trying to protect her band of former kittypets after their lives were ruined by Sol.
  • The protagonists of Watchers of the Throne occasionally cross paths with people who have their own stories going on off-page; often, this is tied to another Warhammer 40,000 book or campaign. Among them is Tor Garadon, returning from his actions in Gathering Storm; Roboute Guilliman, who returns from Gathering Storm and then departs for Dawn of Fire; and Navradaran, who has a more prominent role in Vaults of Terra, but is also noted as suspiciously absent in second books of both Vaults and Watchers.
  • In The Wee Free Men, the second Discworld YA novel but the first to be integrated into the adult novels' chronology, Miss Tick spends most of the novel off-page, seeking out Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg and convincing them to return to the Wold with her in order to begin Tiffany's training.
  • An unusual example in that the character in question is actually a key villain of the main story: Demandred in The Wheel of Time makes references to having had a series of adventures on the other side of the world in which he fulfilled a set of prophecies parallel to those of the Dragon Reborn ultimately leading him to become the ruler and Dark Messiah of The Empire of Shara. Word of God even notes that Demandred was essentially the hero of his own parallel version of The Wheel of Time that the reader just barely gets to glimpse.
  • Willow the Movie Novelization: Several years ago, Mauve Shirt Vohnkar went on a years' long adventure to see the splendor of Tir Asleen. He repeatedly clashed with Bavmorda's Mooks during that time and abandoned his quest upon realizing that people like him were needed to protect his home from Nockmaar.
  • Wrath of the Lemming Men has General Sir Florence Young (sic), who at the conclusion of the book is being knighted for winning a critical battle which (from the central characters' perspective) was fought completely off-stage.
  • Many Defector from Decadence Confederate deserters and people who harbor deserters and/or escaped Union prisoners in the nonfiction book The Yankee Plague are clearly involved in lots of adventure and heroism that the book doesn't cover, much of which is lost to history due to how few of them left behind memoirs of their own.

  • Variation in The Megas, where once Proto Man learns to let go of his anger and pulls a Heel–Face Turn, he decides to become this, looking on Mega Man as The Hero but setting out to find his own path.
    Though my fate is broken, my path I cannot see
    Though you are the chosen, I'll make my own history
  • Taylor Swift album evermore deconstructed this trope with "marjorie", which is a Grief Song tribute to her grandmother Marjorie Finley and how Taylor moans that she, despite all of the good memories mentioned earlier in the song, will never fully know what an incredible person her grandmother was, all the while expressing heavy guilt and regret for not asking more questions because of her own young age:
    I should've asked you questions
    I should've asked you how to be
    Asked you to write it down for me
    Should've kept every grocery store receipt
    'Cause every scrap of you would be taken from me
    Watched as you signed your name Marjorie
    All your closets of backlogged dreams
    And how you left them all to me.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The narrator of The Thebaid admits he'd rather tell about noble Emperor Domitian. The narrator mentions Domitian was so noble that he stayed on Earth to help Rome when he could have left to become a god in Heaven. Problem is, that story is really hard to tell, so the narrator settles on talking about Thebes.

  • Welcome to Night Vale has various examples, the most memorable being Dana, who gets lost in the Dog Park, and Tamika Flynn, child leader of the revolution against Strexcorp.
  • The Adventure Zone: Balance has the Hogsbottom Three, who have adventures in the same world as Tres Horny Boys but never meet them beyond passing familiarity with each others' careers and a cameo for The Hogsbottom Three in Barry and Lup's army in the penultimate episode.
  • The Storage Papers:
    • Ron Hammond, the Ambiguously Evil Occult Detective who wrote the titular papers. He's still around and dealing with various supernatural phenomena, but it never comes into focus unless he needs Jeremy for it since he's generally very secretive.
    • Jeremy is a rare example of the main character also being the Hero of Another Story. He's a paranormal investigator who only recently started running the podcast, and he occasionally makes reference to having prior experience in dealing with various supernatural creatures, including demons and ghosts, but the podcast generally focuses more on his investigations into the titular papers and not on his unrelated paranormal investigations.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Jerry Lawler continued to wrestle in the territories, outlaw promotions and later the independent circuit even after his time as an active WWF competitor ended, and usually was received as a baby face away from the WWF.
  • El Hijo Del Santo's infamous turn to rudo only took hold in CMLL. Everywhere else he went in Mexico he was received and thus booked as a tecnico. Eventually CMLL's fans started cheering for him again to, so he turned back and became the hero of everyone's story again.
  • Glamour Boy Shane is one of the most popular baby face wrestlers in the Caribbean, especially Puerto Rico. He merely serves as a referee for TNA, albeit, a referee few wrestlers dare to mess with. Shane was supposed to be part of a champion vs champion match when TNA became part of the World Wrestling League but it didn't pan out due to then TNA World Champion Bobby Roode's flight being canceled.

  • Ruby Quest:
    • The Stinger implies that Daisy, who Ruby meets once rather early on in the quest, will be the heroine of the next attempt to escape the Metal Glen.
    • And then there's Red, who, prior to the game's beginning, managed to pierce together what happened in the Metal Glen (despite suffering from amnesia after being resurrected) enough to realize that he could kill himself off for real (thus escaping the Metal Glen) if he survived long enough for his body to rid itself of the Cure. He then managed to put his plan into action, avoiding death by his horribly mutated coworkers and patients and hiding from Ace long enough to become truly clean. Ruby only gets to see the tail end of his plan, when he builds a bomb with materials he scrounged (including two coins from her), kills himself with sharpened stakes, and uses the bomb to obliterate his body beyond the possibility of resurrection. The only hint she gets of his plan (other than the bit she saw) was his secret Room Full of Crazy above the monitor room presumably where he hid from Ace and the box of cereal inside showing that he, unlike people on the Cure, needed to eat.
  • Fire Emblem On Forums:
    • Wonderful Blessing: Kazuto's adventuring group, Great Grandee, is comprised of these. They have brief segments in the epilogue of each chapter catching up with them, painting them as barely a step behind (or ahead) of Team F, the protagonists. They begin to avert this later on when they end up joining Team F on their journey, however.

    Tabletop Games 
  • This is how most Tabletop RPGs based on media properties work: the Enterprise, or Luke Skywalker, or Peter Venkman, or the Doctor is out there somewhere, but in this particular place and time you are the starship crew/Rebel base/Ghostbusters franchise/renegade Time Lord on the scene.
  • Every character in Arkham Horror starts this way. They all have detailed backgrounds with them ranging from escaping cultists, hunting monsters, looking for lost loved ones, etc. The only thing they have in common once the game starts is that they ultimately have the same endgame.


  • BIONICLE had several examples:
    • The six Turaga elders at the end of the 2001-'03 saga were revealed to have been Toa warriors of the ancient past, called Toa Metru. 2004 and 2005 was about exploring their adventures in depth.
    • Despite being a flashback set a thousand years in the past, the '04-'05 duology constantly referenced characters and events from much further back, primarily the Toa Metru's forerunners, the Toa Mangai. Of note was the last surviving Mangai, Lhikan and his former "brother", the traitor Toa-turned-monster Nidhiki. Some standout events of their lives were detailed in various short stories and books in later years. Lhikan was released as a toy in his Toa state and Nidhiki in his mutated state.
    • In the Direct to Video film Legends of Metru Nui, Lhikan's accuses Makuta of going against his oath as a protector. This was meant to set up yet another flashback movie explaining Makuta's turn to evil and presumably Lhikan's past, but that film was not made. Makuta's backstory was told in later books but his affiliation to Lhikan was only alluded to.
    • The six Rahaga of 2005 were likewise a former Toa team, named Toa Hagah, on a quest to undo their mutations when they came across the Metru team. Their past exploits heavily intertwined with the previous stories but were only briefly shown in a comic. Short stories from 2008 however brought the Rahaga back, restored to their Toa selves and showcased more of their side-quests. Two of them, Norik and Iruini were sold as toys in both their Toa and mutated Rahaga forms, but in 2022, Toa versions of the other four were created via a fan contest.
    • Lesovikk from 2007 was a guilt-ridden wandering Toa with ~90,000 years' worth of stories to tell. He only showed up in a pair of side plots as a supporting character, not even meeting any of the main characters in his first appearance.

    Video Games 
  • Ace Combat:
    • Ace Combat Xi: Skies of Incursion takes place during the same war as Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception; the player character this time is the leader of Falco Squadron, another Aurelian unit that flies together with Gryphus Squadron late in X.
    • Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War has the Sea Goblin Team, a special operations unit that essentially does on the ground what you and your wingmates do in the air (i.e. The Impossible). You fly top-cover for them while they pull off their trademark Gunship Rescues at certain points in the game.
    • Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies has Bravo Team, a ground team involved in several combined-arms missions, including the beach landings of Operation Bunker Shot and raiding the control room for Megalith.
  • Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown has Mihaly Shilage. Mihaly is the main antagonist, but the few glimpses we see of his life in cutscenes paint a tantalizing picture of a man with conflicting loyalties, torn between the land of his birth and his adoption, as well as between his family and his love of flying, and his links with the Voslagean independence movement... it all adds up to the plot of a damn fine "Ace Combat" game.
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • In Assassin's Creed III Connor Kenway ends up meeting up with Aveline de Grandpré, protagonist of Assassin's Creed III: Liberation. In this case, it also applies to Aveline as well in her game.
    • In Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Edward Kenway's quartermaster, ex-slave Adewale, leaves the crew to have his own adventures in a Spin-Off DLC about two-thirds of the way through the main story. You also periodically interact with fellow pirates, one of whom, Anne Bonny, replaces Ade as quartermaster.
  • In The Babylon Project's campaign "The Raider Wars" the Player Character is one to the main cast of Babylon 5. You start out leading part of B5's fighter wing during the series pilot "Midnight on the Firing Line". After the first mission you're transferred to the destroyer EAS Hood.
  • Played for Laughs in Baldur's Gate II: near the end of the game, you can encounter a group of much lower level adventurers who ask you for a quest. If you give them one, they return soon after and decide they're strong enough to defeat you and loot your magic items. One cutscene curb-stomp battle later, they "reload" and hand in the quest normally.
    • The player can encounter Drizzt Do'Urden (a huge figure in the Forgotten Realms setting) in the both games in the series. They can even recruit him and his party to help take on Bodhi and her vampire army in the second game. Or they can just try and kill him for his sweet loot. They also encounter the equally influential Elminster at several points, though unlike Drizzt he has slightly more of a stake in the story as it's implied that he's keeping tabs on the Bhaalspawn as a favor to their late foster father.
  • BioShock:
    • BioShock 2 has Mark Meltzer, the hero of the Alternate Reality Game that was used to market the game before its release. As you progress through Rapture, you find Mark's audio diaries which indicate he's pretty much just ahead of you the entire time. At one point you actually hear him fighting in a room just before you enter it, but by the time you do he's gone. It seems inevitable that you will catch up to him at one point, and then you kill a perfectly normal Rumbler Big Daddy, indistinguishable from the rest. You go to loot its corpse as per usual, only to see that instead of "Rumbler", it's labeled "Mark Meltzer", and contains his final audio diary.
    • BioShock Infinite: The voxophones replace the audio logs for all intents and purposes. Aside from an alternate universe Booker and Elizabeth, Preston E. Downs leaves behind audio logs to document his bounty hunting of Vox Populi leader Daisy Fitzroy. He sets up traps in order to catch a Vox messenger he can hopefully interrogate for information on Daisy's whereabouts, and indeed catches one: a young Native American boy. He's forced to amputate the boy's leg in order to save him, and the experience clearly rattles him to his core. Comstock then sends him after that universe's Booker, but when he captures him, Booker reveals that he speaks Sioux and offers to translate between him and the boy, who he'd been taking care of since the incident. Preston clearly didn't have a very high opinion of anyone not white at the start of his audio logs, and probably still doesn't, but after hearing from the boy just how badly other races get treated in Columbia, it's enough to make him join the Vox himself.
  • Main protagonist Ragna the Bloodedge from BlazBlue gave himself his title after his teacher Jubei gave him a BFS and Badass Longcoat and told Ragna of their previous owner, Bloodedge. An unsung hero who, in the distant past, fought the Black Beast for an entire year, giving humanity time to learn Ars Magus and prepare to kill it, at the cost of his own life. Subverted in that Bloodedge is Ragna, sent back into the past, de-powered, and with amnesia. So he's really the same hero of the same story.
    • The exploits of Bloodedge, and his battle against the Black Beast, are covered in BlazBlue: Phase 0.
    • Naoto Kuragane is this trope all too literally. Being the Ordinary High-School Student protagonist of Bloodedge Experience, a spin-off light novel that takes place many years before the events of the main story, he is thrust into the events of Centralfiction by time-travel shenanigans.
    • Es is the main heroine of XBlaze and is also part of the Centralfiction cast. Except she's just a copy of the real Es.
    • Mai Natsume is the protagonist of Blaz Blue Remix Heart and Blaz Blue Variable Heart and finally makes her playable appearance in Centralfiction. Unlike Naoto and Es, she's hails from the same world as the other BlazBlue characters and she had her military academy adventures with Noel, Tsubaki and Makoto among others, all three being part of the series since Calamity Trigger.
  • About halfway through BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm, the protagonists cross paths with another group of heroes who are after the same set of Plot Coupons, but for different reasons. They’ve all got unique designs and personality quirks, and see you as minor characters inside their story. The true ending path expands on the nature of their quest, and you can find them at the entrance to the Sky Abyss, having failed to make the climb themselves.
  • The Call of Duty games often invoke this trope, particularly the ones focused on World War II. The different characters you play as, while they never meet each other in-game, help to contribute in their own way in order to defeat the Germans on vastly separated fronts.
  • Lotte from Clock Tower spends the entire game practically out of sight (though she can save you at several key points depending on your choices and actions), and you finally find her in the final stretch of the game, collapsed and dying from fatal injuries she has sustained, with her invaluable exposition strongly implying she had come this close to solving the mystery and finishing the game on her own.
  • A lot of the NPCs from Dark Souls. You'll often find them in extremely dangerous areas like Anor Londo and Lost Izalith, meaning they must be pretty badass to fight their way there. Moreover, several of them are direct analogues to the player:
    • Solaire of Astora is undertaking a parallel journey to your own in his world, having conquered all of the challenges you face before you do, engraved his summon sign near a number of bosses, and even, judging by some of his Dummied Out dialogue, escaped the Undead Asylum just as you did. Word of God confirms that if you save him in Lost Izalith and summon him for the final boss battle, he then goes on to defeat Gwyn and link the Fire in his own world, thus finding his own sun at long last.
    • Oscar of Astora, the Elite Knight who frees you from your cell and gives you the tools you need to take on your quest, journeyed to the Undead Asylum in hopes of somehow taking part in the supposed prophecy of the Chosen Undead. As it stands in-game, his failure enables the player's victory; in an entire subplot cut from the game, however, his role would have gone much farther. In this scenario, Oscar would have escaped the Asylum along with the player, met up with them multiple times after the latter rings the Bells of Awakening (including an instance where he partners up with you to fight through the Forest Hunters and reach Artorias's grave), and had his own dealings with the two Primordial Serpents and perhaps even Solaire. But as it becomes clear that your accomplishments better fit the prophecy, Oscar's need to take his place in destiny would have consumed him. Out of jealousy, he would have sided with the Serpent that you didn't side with, and would appear at the end of the game to fight you to the death for the title of Chosen Undead.
  • Acting Chief Engineer Jacob Temple would have made a good protagonist for a Dead Space DLC. The only real difference between him and Silent Protagonist Isaac Clarke is that Isaac's girlfriend was in Medical - Jacob's was in hydroponics. Through the game, you find logs on the same path as Isaac's, with Temple literally doing all the things that Isaac does, only failing. But, hey, at least he found his girlfriend alive. Their murder comes off as a genuinely tragic moment, despite the fact that you never interacted with either of them.
    • Lexine Weller from the DLC Severed does not encounter Isaac Clarke at any point in either of the first two games, despite having her incredibly important storyline due to her immunity to the effects of the Marker and managing to survive both of the Necromorph outbreaks Isaac was present for.
  • Devil May Cry:
    • The series' backstory revolves around Ascended Demon Sparda who rebelled against the forces of the demon world to protect humanity. In the modern day, his legacy is carried on by son Dante and grandson Nero.
    • In Devil May Cry 2, we are introduced to Matier, the adoptive mother of Deuteragonist Lucia. Matier fought side by side with Sparda to seal away the demon Argosax the Chaos and even briefly had a relationship with him. In the present, Dante and Lucia save the world from Argosax's return just as their parents did all those years ago. The Protectors clan that Matier and Lucia belong to are a race of demon-human hybrids who have defended the human world for years but their exploits are not talked about aside from the aforementioned team up of Sparda and Matier and only Matier and Lucia are shown in the game.
    • In Devil May Cry: The Animated Series, it's stated that Trish had struck out on her own for a while as a solo demon hunter. However, the only fights we see her partake in are with Dante and Lady. Lady herself also has her independent devil-hunting career that is never really seen aside from a few snippets of her hunting demons on her own.
    • Though it's a borderline excuse plot, Vergil traveling to Fortuna City to investigate the Order of the Sword and its connection to his father in Devil May Cry 4 is canon and chronologically taking place not long before Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening. The importance of the only real fact to be taken away from it cannot be argued: that Vergil, intentionally or not, laid the groundwork for DMC4 by impregnating Nero's mother while he was there, and even that is still only heavily implied before being confirmed in Devil May Cry 5.
  • Banjo's was this in his appearance in Diddy Kong Racing, according to the game's instruction manual.
  • The Dishonored Series has had four Player Character so far. The protagonist of the first game, and optional protagonist of Dishonored 2 is Corvo Attano, the other optional protagonist of Dishonored 2 is the Empress ascendant Emily Kaldwin, the DLCs The Knife of Dunwall and The Brigmore Witches focus on the exploits of Daud, Empress Jessamine Kaldwin's assassin prior to his fate in the main game, and Dishonored: Death of the Outsider features Daud's protege Billie Lurk.
  • The Warden of Dragon Age: Origins fills this role in Dragon Age II and Dragon Age: Inquisition, attempting to find a cure to the blight.
    • Bethany/Carver also become this if they end up becoming Grey Wardens, or Circle-Mage/Templar. What they did in the last 6 years before Act 3 is left vague.
    • Also Zevran after the end of Origins. He shows up in the sequel but only as a side quest (and can help during the final battle). Furthermore, he's the only Origins love interest who is still travelling with The Warden.
    • Flemeth has her own agenda. It's not known what she does during her time in the Fade, but it requires the souls of dead gods. And then she's absorbed by the Dread Wolf himself! Who has to make things right.
    • Alistair has his own series of adventures after Origins, especially if he becomes Ferelden's king, or to a slightly lesser extent, Hawke's Grey Warden friend.
    • Inquisition actually has the Player Character themselves invoke this through the War Table, where they send their various agents, forces, and allies on adventures and operations all across Thedas, the most notable being the Bull's Chargers and Sutherland and Company.
    • In the Jaws of Hakkon DLC, you follow in the footsteps of Ameridan, the elven First Inquisitor. You even get to hear the echoes of his adventures with his True Companions.
  • Percel, a Frieza Clansman NPC Time Patroller, in Dragon Ball Xenoverse. He tells you of his mission, where he's in the era of the original Dragon Ball where Demon King Piccolo has fused with Kami and he and his demons wage war on Earth against the Red Ribbon Army and he must put things back together. Even worse, Babidi shows up later on as a third party to complicate things. When you beat the game, Percel proudly proclaims victory!
    • The player characters in both games. While they take part in events of the anime/manga, it's largely to make sure things go as they should be. The time patroller is mainly taking part in a plot that largely goes well beyond the scope of what Goku and the others are dealing with.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Dragon Quest III: Many comments made by various NPCs and the opening title scene of the game, reveal snippets of Ortega's heroic ordeal in trying to save the world. He even fought a few powerful monsters the Hero never encountered (most likely because Ortega slew them). While ultimately unsuccessful, he went down like a true hero and put up one hell of a fight til the very end.
    • In Dragon Quest V, Party Chat will reveal that the Hero's children spent a long time looking for their mother and father. So much so that one can roughly piece together where they went and what they did before arriving at the Porgie residence to de-petrify him.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
  • Your rival adventurers in Elona will wander about the continent, clearing dungeons, finding treasures, and visiting towns on their own. Every time you bump into them, you can challenge them, barter for their equipment, hire them as bodyguards or romance them. Also, should you sacrifice them or beat them up enough to shame them off the continent, new ones take their place.
  • In the first of the two video game prequels to the Eureka Seven anime series, Holland (Supporting Leader in the main series) initiates his anti-government movement while main character Sumner Sturgeon is busy dealing with his own issues.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Attack of Darkforce: The activities of the Galaxys Team and the other heroes they coordinate with for Earth defense. The player team will interact with the Galaxys for support, but otherwise will never see their activities in action. They even get the fun of attacking the Dark Force fleet in space while the player characters infiltrate the mothership.
  • Fallout is home to a huge cast of characters. Some you interact with alive, others you find dead on arrival, and others you run into just as their own personal story ends. It's not uncommon to come across the corpse of a person and wonder if they were just unlucky and got killed, or were in the process of their own journey.
    • The mysterious stranger leaves his footprints all over the irradiated future of America, but you never learn a concrete detail about him, although there are details scattered about such as a man who may be his son in New Vegas, or Nick Valentine from 4 commenting on seeing him "again", implying he's been trying to figure out who he is for some time. Additionally, you never know if he's helping you out or if the two of you coming in contact like this is a repetitive coincidence.
    • Marcus really gives this impression, being among those responsible for taking down the Enclave in Fallout 2 and reappearing in Fallout: New Vegas as leader of a Super Mutant refuge.
    • In Fallout 3, you can find an emergency broadcast in an area stating that a child is sick, and the family is holed up waiting for supplies, having escaped some kind of disaster. When you find this little bunker, you realize it's a radio with an emergency message that's been playing on loop for an unknown amount of time. Judging by the skeletons in the room they may have been there since the war, two hundred years ago. You never really learn who the family was or how they got there either, and you never learn if they got the help they needed (although it's likely they didn't given they stayed in the bunker).
    • Before you board the boat to Point Lookout in the Fallout 3 DLC of that name, you meet a woman named Catherine, who asks you to find here missing daughter Nadine there. Nadine turns out to be doing fine, having her own adventures and helping the Lone Wanderer with theirs a few times. Before you confront the ferryman late in the main story, you find Nadine has beaten you to it.
    • Fallout: New Vegas has Vulpes Inculta, a spy who manages to beat the Courier to Nipton, The Strip, and The Fort, no matter how fast the Courier travels. He is involved in many covert operations, and it's implied that when you don't see him, he's wreaking havoc in NCR territory somewhere.
      • Any of the NCR Rangers. They have spies everywhere, even at all the Legion bases. You even meet a drug dealer who turns out to be one. Imagine how many are out there.
      • And finally there's Ulysses, who is gradually revealed to have visited every location explored in the DLC packs and had his own adventures there before his final confrontation with the Courier in Lonesome Road.
    • Fallout 4 has you run into a group of five people: Preston Garvey, Sturges, Mama Murphy, Jun Long, and Marcy Long. The four appear to have been running for a long time, and had a much larger group than the ragtag group of five left at the end. After helping them escape Concord, Preston can tell you about the minutemen, a huge plot regarding betrayal, the collapse of the minutemen, and so forth. Should you check the southern end of Quincy, you can also come across three gunners known as Tessa, Clint, and Baker. Killing them and reading the various terminals explains even more of the tragic events that led up to the five holing up in the museum you saved them from.
      • Kellogg's entire backstory shows him as having one heck of a bad train ride called life that ended with you and him confronting one another. The segment of the game where you find out all of this roughly takes up over ten minutes of time just to watch.
      • Paladin Brandis and his team had a huge streak of bad luck that resulted in him being stranded in the Commonwealth for a long time. You only arrive in the Commonwealth after he's become paranoid and nearly given up, and never learn the entirety of his story.
      • You meet Brian Vergil after his escape from the Institute, and he never really tells you how that went or any of the details between then and when you meet with him, although there are some clues in his old lab.
  • Fate/Grand Order: In Cosmos of the Lostbelt, while the protagonist and Chaldea were dealing with the first four Lostbelts, an army of Proper Human History servants were summoned in the Atlantic Lostbelt to defeat the Olympians and the Crypters. Many of them included Francis Drake, Sakata Kintoki, Nikola Tesla, Mordred, and Heracules. The majority of them were killed off in their efforts, but they managed to leave tools and plans to aid the surviving servants and Chaldea when the latter finally arrived.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles has the player character(s) encounter many other myrrh-gathering groups, including the real main characters. You're just there to watch.
    • In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud discovers that his choppy memories are actually those of Zack, who gets his story told in Crisis Core.
    • This happens several times in Final Fantasy XIV:
      • The first three dungeons of A Realm Reborn let you talk with several groups of other adventurers who are all looking to clear out the dungeons as well, including a party of four lead by a gladiator and his conjurer fiancée who are preparing to clear the first dungeon, another party of three lead by a Roegadyn who arrive at the second dungeon after you've beaten it, and another group of an older adventurer and his granddaughter. All three groups' stories end on sour notes at best - the older adventurer nearly dies to an elementary blunder and is forced to retire, the Roegadyn's group are all killed in the third dungeon as they take on too many enemies at once and get overwhelmed, and the first group's tank dies in the first dungeon because he ran ahead and his fiancée couldn't keep him healed, starting a sequence of events that leads to her becoming the antagonist of an endgame dungeon.
      • During Stormblood, Estinien wanders around helping people and aiding the Eorzean Alliance when needed. His story does not intersect with the Warrior of Light's except at the end of the 4.0 story where he destroys Nidhogg's eyes once they're completely spent of aether fueling the Final Boss, during the level 70 Dragoon quest, and patch 4.56, where he saves the Warrior of Light from Elidibus.
      • In Shadowbringers, Estinien reprises his role to fill in for the Warrior of Light and the Scions while they are in the First, while teaming up with Gaius to curb the production of Black Rose, an alchemical superweapon designed to halt the flow of one's aether. The two make their way to Garlemald to confront Emperor Varis, only to find Zenos in his original body striking his father down.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 is essentially this for Leif, a supporting character from Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War's second half. The game takes place a year before the second half of Genealogy and follows Leif in the Thracian Peninsula and his desperate struggle to reclaim his kingdom while fighting a division of the Grannvale Empire and the Loptyr Cult. Seliph, the actual hero of Genealogy shows up briefly and his role is essentially to have a much more badass army to initially increase Leif's self doubt.
    • In the original launch of Fire Emblem: Three Houses, the Death Knight becomes this on the Crimson Flower route, as he's off fighting on another front while you accompany Edelgard. The version 1.1.0 update allows him to join your party, though. On the Azure Moon route Sylvain's father, Matthias Gautier, becomes this after Dimitri reclaims his throne, as while Dimitri is away leading the war against the Empire Matthias remains off-screen as he wipes out the remaining Empire loyalists, maintains civil order and further investigates the Tragedy of Duscur (all while still keeping the Sreng invaders at bay).
  • Captain Marcus Walker in Freelancer is the commander of the Liberty cruiser LNS Utah. Unlike the Anti-Hero Trent, Walker is a straight shooter who takes pride in his service. He even offers to help Trent join the Liberty Navy. After helping to defend the Willard Research Station and a Liberty battleship, Walker disappears for a while, before reappearing to help Trent and the others escape from a Liberty ambush in Zone-21. It's not clear what he did while Trent was out doing his thing, but given his impressive record and his Heroic Sacrifice, it was probably something awesome. Then there's Casper Orillion, the man in charge of The Order. Actually, there are plenty of characters, including Ozu, Michael King, Lord Hakkera, and Diedrich Von Claussen, who are impressive in their own right. Even cooler, Walker actually mentions that while they were gone, he and his crew launched guerilla attacks against Rheinland supply depots in the Border Worlds. Pity you don't get to see it.
  • Taken literally in the first mission of HAWX, which has you running air support for a mission from one of the Ghost Recon games.
  • The Spartan Captain of God of War II manages to get to the island of the Fates and get to the phoenix puzzle. He does this without any sort of godly powers or assistance from them, and would have gotten further if he didn't encounter Kratos in a dark room. There's also the people who were once all those corpses you see lying around deep inside each of the major locations, and the Argonauts, Perseus, and Icarus are also on their own adventures on the island.
  • Both Felix and Isaac's groups assume this role at different points in the Golden Sun games. In Golden Sun, Felix is on a quest with the antagonists to unleash Alchemy on the world and you hear a few people mention him and his group as you travel. In Golden Sun: The Lost Age, you take over Felix's role while occasionally hearing tales about Isaac's group as you travel. Isaac and Felix's parties finally meet at one point and they team up to finish Felix's quest.
    • There's also Sean and Ouranos, who you ride with on the boat across the Karagol Sea. They have unique sprites and icons, personality quirks (such as Ouranos' fear of water), and have obviously been traveling around for a while to be as strong as they are. Although they get their asses handed to them by the Kraken (Which happens to be That One Boss), they are more than capable of fighting off the other monsters that attack the ship.
  • Two story events in Granblue Fantasy have Siegfried playing this role. In Four Knights of a Fallen Land, he single-handedly holds off an army coming to invade Feendrache, and in A Song of Ice and Fire he signs an alliance to protect an otherwise-defenseless Feendrache, and also destroys several of Aglovale's magic circles that were giving him power.
  • Whether you can call them heroes is debatable, but the various protagonists in the Grand Theft Auto franchise often serve as this to each other, as each focuses game on the exploits and story of a different character, but they'll often (briefly) cross paths with each other.
    • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The protagonist, C.J. sees his insane girlfriend run off with a quiet racing competitor. Said quiet man is the main character, Claude, in the (chronologically later, though earlier released) Grand Theft Auto III.
    • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories focuses on Victor Vance, a character that died in the prologue of the original Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
    • The main story of Grand Theft Auto IV centers around Niko Bellic. The two following DLC releases, collectively titled "Episodes from Liberty City", focus on biker Johnny Klebitz and Luis Fernando Lopez, bodyguard and hitman for club owner Tony Prince. The three occasionally run across one another, but their stories are largely independent. All three are together in a single location only once, during a diamond deal they've all been brought into by various circumstances (which was foreshadowed by the achievement for completing the diamond mission in Niko's story, called "Impossible Trinity").
    • Can happen in normal gameplay in Grand Theft Auto V. The three protagonists (Michael, Trevor, and Franklin) usually only work together when hanging out as friends or during missions, but there are chances—however slim—that a protagonist might actually cross paths with one or both of the other protagonists doing something else, independent of the player's control. However, there's a lot of land, sea, and air to travel on, so the chances of the protagonists meeting each other by accident are usually very slim. Also, all three protagonists can run into Patrick McReary (A friend/accomplice of Niko Bellic back in Liberty City) during a failed robbery, extract him out of there, and wind up having him work with them on a heist!
  • In Half-Life 2, Isaac Kleiner, Eli Vance and Barney Calhoun have obviously had quite a number of adventures and have set up the infrastructure for a rebellion, with Barney even infiltrating the Combine. But those adventures are really never talked about much.
    • In Half Life: Opposing Force, the player character is one of the soldiers sent to Black Mesa. Gordon Freeman makes a cameo.
  • Halo Infinite: During the six months Master Chief is incapacitated, Griffin is engaging in a Hopeless War, where his sole mission is to stalemate the Banished as long as possible before he's forced to act, knowing time is running out. He succeeds in holding a stalemate til Master Chief finds him. He dies in Chief's arms, but Chief successfully takes up his sword.
  • Helen's Mysterious Castle: Zack, "hero of the blue skies" and his Fairy Companion. They came to the castle to render judgement upon its occupants for breaking the terms of their exile, but presumably this isn't the only heroic thing they've ever done.
  • Hollow Knight: The Story Breadcrumbs make numerous mentions of the Five Great Knights, a group of paladins who acted under Hallownest's king and queen's orders in the kingdom's glorious past. The White Defender's bio in the Hunter's Journal even makes reference to some of their past adventures. By the start of the game, however, Ze'mer left her duty as a knight to mourn her dead lover and disappears after her quest is over, Dryya got herself killed while fending off the Mantis Traitors in order to protect the White Lady, Hegemol got his armor stolen by the False Knight and is otherwise nowhere to be seen, Isma died under mysterious circumstances while guarding her Tear and Ogrim turned into the lovable emotional wreck known as the Dung Defender, forever guarding the path to Isma and deluding himself that his friends will return.
  • Ice Age 2: The Meltdown: Scrat's quest for his nut only occasionally intersects with the main cast's adventure, though he still on occasion meets the heroes. Despite this, Manny still narrates the second game's cutscenes as if the game has been following him the entire time. You still get to play as the trio for one mini-game each.
  • Aganos from the 2013 Killer Instinct game is completely disconnected from both Ultratech, Gargos and the entire Killer Instinct tournament. It just pops up suddenly as part of its millenia-long journey to bring Kan-Ra (himself largely unconnected to the main plot) to justice, while beating the crap out of anyone who gets in its way, though it does eventually join the fight against Ultra Tech during Story mode when they try to mind control it.
  • In the King of Fighters series, Terry Bogard, Ryo Sakazaki, Robert Garcia, Ralf Jones, Clark Still, Athena Asamiya and Sie Kensou are only part of the supporting cast and have no real bearing on the series' key events. But, in their respective origin series:
    • Terry was originally the protagonist of the Fatal Fury series, where he was responsible for repeatedly saving Southtown by defeating the likes of Geese Howard, Wolfgang Krauser, and the Jin Twins, among others.
    • In Art of Fighting, Ryo was jointly responsible for taking down Mr. Big's Syndicate, in order to rescue his sister, Yuri. While in the following game, he went on to become the first chronological champion of the King of Fighters tournament, by defeating Geese over a decade prior to Terry.
    • And Robert was responsible for defeating Mr. Big (AOF1) and was the hero of AOF3, during which, he journeyed to the fictional city of Glasshill Valley, Mexico, to protect his childhood friend, Freia Lawrence. At the game's conclusion, he saved her by defeating both Sinclair and Wyler.
    • As for Ralf Jones and his partner, Clark Still, they originally were the heroes of the Ikari Warriors series (as P1 and P2 respectively).
    • Similarly, Athena and Kensou were the playable characters of Psycho Soldier, before they began participating in the King of Fighters tournament.
  • The main cast of The World Ends with You are this in Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance].
  • Ish from The Last of Us. In the notes you find from him, you get to read about him developing from a lone survivor hiding out on his boat, to founding and protecting a doomed encampment in the sewers. What happened to him after he and a small pocket escapes the sewer, is a mystery.
  • When the Left 4 Dead 2 group meets the Left 4 Dead group in The Passing, each group is this to the other group.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • Mass Effect has Captain Kirrahe, a Salarian Spectial Task Group commando, who gives a rousing Patrick Stewart Speech to his squad telling them to Hold the Line and act as the distraction while Shepard and his team infiltrate the base and plant a nuke on Virmire. Throughout the mission we hear both the gunfire of their unseen battle and their radio chatter, reminding Shepard that in comparison, Shepard's mission is the easy one.
    • Even though Garrus rejoins the squad early on in Mass Effect 2, the fact that his activities in between 1 and 2 caused all three major mercenary bands in Omega to join forces to take him down makes it clear that he's been busy, even before this is confirmed during dialogue. His dossier in the Lair of the Shadow Broker even lampshades the fact that he's practically Shepard's equal, but is unlikely to fully come into his own as long as he's working with Shepard.
    • In Mass Effect 3, this extends to every surviving member of the Suicide Mission in the last game, with the exception of Garrus and Tali, who join your squad for the third time. They all have adventures off-screen that you only read about.
    • Mass Effect 3 also has Admiral David Anderson and his second in command, Major Coates, both of whom stayed behind on Earth to set up a resistance fight against the Reaper invaders prior to Commander Shepard arriving with the Sword Fleet to liberate Earth. There are many fans out there who are rather vocal about their desire to see a new Mass Effect title based on that story.
    • Anderson is also the hero of the tie-in novels — Revelation, Ascension, Retribution, and the much-maligned Deception.
    • Also from Mass Effect 3 comes Jondom Bau, Council Spectre and all around Salarian badass. Your single mission with him gives you the feeling that this guy's been around and that following him around for a couple of games would make for some incredible stories.
  • Iroquois Pliskin AKA Solid Snake in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. While you're playing as Raiden, Iroquois is having an adventure of his own on Arsenal Gear.
  • In Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Samus is just one of four bounty hunters summoned for the mission, and it's clear that they all knew of each other and had possibly worked together before. Sadly, all of the others' stories end with them becoming villains of this one.
  • In Muramasa: The Demon Blade, the main protagonists Kisuke and Momohime can occasionally meet during the hot springs segments of the game, but aside from certain endings don't directly interact with each other. The DLCs also star new characters whose plots are independent from one another.
  • Namu Amida Butsu! -UTENA-: Shaka Nyorai, a.k.a. Siddārtha Gautama, whose life and adventures before Bonnō Temple as the founder of Buddhism, victor against Māra and savior of the world are exciting enough to be its own standalone story, but is never elaborated upon in the game beyond a few backstory mentions. Luckily, actual Buddhist mythos got you covered.
  • In Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir, the player characters are this in relation to the Knight-Captain, the PC from the first two campaigns. (SoZ takes place during or after Mask of the Betrayer, on the opposite side of the continent.)
    • The original NW 2 also applies, from the party members (such as Shandra, who even has a similar background to the Knight-Captain's) to all of the major antagonists.
    • The hero of the original Neverwinter Nights and the hero of Shadow of Undrentide and Hordes of the Underdark are this to one another — Shadow of Undrentide takes place roughly around the same time as Neverwinter Nights (Hordes of the Underdark takes place a while after, but canonically has the same hero as Shadow of Undrentide).
  • In The Night of the Rabbit the Big Bad Great Zaroff and his mentor Marquis de Hoto were this until their Face–Heel Turn.
  • Ryu Hayabusa from the Ninja Gaiden games also makes an appearance in the Dead or Alive series as a secondary protagonist, and it is confirmed that the two are set in a Shared Universe. Likewise, the latter's heroine Kasumi makes sporadic appearance in the former, but more relegated to non-canon appearances.
  • No Straight Roads has the underground rapper DK West, the previous musical artist to oppose NSR's regime. His influence was so great that they set his car on fire by retaliation, and though he may have ultimately failed in his endeavor, he invoked enough respect from Tatiana that he gave her his Horn of Mending to contact him, should she let bygones be bygones.
  • Odin Sphere:
    • Ingway has an important ongoing plot that is as critical to the main story as those of the five playable protagonists. Despite this, his lack of a Psypher (the unique magical weapons that the playable characters wield and that basic gameplay revolves around), and his ultimate fate as one of the final bosses mean that we only ever see some of what he's up to whenever he shows up in a given character's chapter. His status as this is so prominent that he was briefly considered to be Promoted to Playable in the game's Updated Re-release until it was decided that doing so would unnecessarily complicate things.
    • This applies to the playable protagonists in general. When you play as one character, the other characters show up from time to time as either allies, enemies, or even lovers.
  • In the Ogre Battle, in a twist, in every game there's the MacGuffin of another story, the Fireseal/crest. While technically it is the most powerful accessory one can wear, its Flavor Text indicates that it's either equally powerful or more than that particular game's doohicky; but nobody knows what it is for.
  • Pathfinder: Kingmaker: It has some with the other groups claiming parts of the Stolen Lands with just the main game, but the Varnhold's Lot DLC takes place parallel to Act II of the main game, providing backstory for an event you encounter in the main game, turning your protagonist there (the General) into this for the main game, and the protagonist of the main game (the Baron/ess) into this for Varnhold's Lot. If you do the right things, the General will continue to be this between the end of Varnhold's Lot and the endgame, being implied to have gotten into adventures of their own after getting lost in action before swooping in to help out at the final battle.
  • Near the end of Persona 3 Portable, you can talk to a man at Club Escapade in the endgame, who talks about his problems but states that they've got nothing to do with you. The man (named Vincent) is an Early-Bird Cameo from a game called Catherine, where he is a main character. Meanwhile, in Catherine itself, Vincent's friends and other assorted possible drinking buddies are each going through drama that's led to them experiencing the same nightmare world trials that Vincent starts finding himself in at the start of the game. Most of them need a bit of outside help (i.e. a confidante, namely Vincent) to have the will to get through their struggles, but most of what they go through over the course of the game is offscreen and independent of the central plot.
  • Everyone else at Wigglytuff's Guild in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers. They're on their own adventures daily, and you even hear bits and pieces about them. In Explorers Of Sky, you get to actually step into their shoes and see some of their adventures first hands.
  • Portal: In Portal and Portal 2, there is a character crucial to the story, as in without his actions, there would be no story at all; and yet we never get to see him - but we find references to him and his work everywhere: "The Ratman". Doug Rattman was a scientist working in the GLaDOS project, and became the only survivor after GLaDOS gassed everyone with Neurotoxins. He then managed to stay alive for several years, living in hiding, moving through the facilities using secret passages; and eventually succeeded in starting the events that lead to Chell facing GLaDOS, and all that happens afterwards. In fact, he is so much a Hero of Another Story that he actually does have his own story
  • Fangame Rakenzarn Frontier Story has an interesting example. In Chapter 2, Naegi and Lion arrive in Hoshido of the Fire Emblem: Fates universe. It's at the time when Corrin and his Hoshidan and his Nohrian siblings are in the Kingdom of Valla. It's made clear that this is taking place in the Revelation path and the mission in Hoshido is implied to happen simultaneously. In a way, Naegi, Lion and Rhajat are also the Heroes of Another Story, as they have to protect Hoshido from an attack led by Hans while Fates' main characters are away.
  • Resident Evil:
    • Ada Wong tends to be this in pretty much every title she appears in, along with typically being one of the few characters who actually knows what's really going on. Sometimes, like in Resident Evil 6, you get to actually play her version of the story and see just how much she actually contributes to the main character's storyline without them even knowing about it.
    • This is a central game mechanic in Resident Evil 2. Whoever you finish the game first with becomes the main character and hero of "Story A", and then you're free to play the other character's "Story B" and see what they had to deal with (most notably the unstoppable Tyrant T-103 who never makes an appearance in the A storyline), with the implication being they were picking up the weapons and ammo you missed and the items you had discarded once they were "no longer useful".
  • The Signature Heroes of RuneScape, while still a relatively new concept as of the time of this statement, appear to be this to the player.
  • Flint Paper in Sam & Max. When you first meet him in "Ice Station Santa", Sam asks why he hasn't been seen all year. He replies by listing a series of adventures remarkably similar to the plots of Season One. Max then asks why can't they do "cool stuff" like that.
  • Silent Hill:
    • Silent Hill 2, and while we're using the term "hero" a bit loosely since pretty much everyone called to that town is screwed in the head, has Angela and Eddie, who have both been called to the town to face their inner darkness exactly like James. Angela's fate is left ambiguous and the last we see of her is her ascending a flaming staircase after essentially giving up, and Eddie turns psychotic and is killed by James in self defense.
    • In Silent Hill: Downpour, the Full Circle ending implies that Howard Blackwood, JP Sater, and DJ Bobby Ricks were all Heroes of their own stories, but failed and became stuck in Silent Hill limbo as a result. Anne Cunningham plays this trope the most straight: every time Murphy encounters her she looks more rough than before, as she is also enduring the same sort of nightmares and monsters, and she even has a final boss she has to face: Murphy himself.
  • In Sonic The Hedgehog Spin-Off Shadow the Hedgehog, the Chaotix are seen working toward figuring out something pivotal to the games plot, which involves collecting bits of data that prove pivotal to the Final Story of the game.
  • Splatoon 2: The story mode revolves around Agent 4 and their adventure through Octo Canyon to help Marie find Callie. Cap'n Cuttlefish and Agent 3 (the Mission Control and player character of Splatoon, respectively) don't show up in this campaign, with Marie explaining their absence as being on a mission of their own. Whatever mission this was leads into the game's Octo Expansion DLC campaign, which itself has an example in the form of Agent 3, who gets separated from Cap'n Cuttlefish and Agent 8 and is presumably wandering unseen parts of the subway and Kamabo Corporation up until they return for a Big Damn Heroes moment before the campaign's final stretch.
  • In the Starfleet Adventures mod for EV Nova the player character's career runs parallel to Star Trek: The Original Series and the first six movies, and events in the live-action canon occasionally reshape the game universe.
  • In Starlancer, the player actually plays this role. Especially in the beginning, the player's team of misfits is largely unknown while established aces like Klaus Steiner are often mentioned on TV. It is not until much later in the game that the player is treated as an equal. The news reports certainly help to make the player feel like there's a devastating war on, instead of a series of small engagements. A war that would last another 100 years.
  • Crowe in Star Ocean: The Last Hope is a perfect example, traveling the universe and having adventures with his own ship and later serving as The Cavalry several times for the main party.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic has all of the companions and supporting characters become this after the third expansion's Time Skip, with all of them having had their own adventures in the five years you were frozen. Probably the biggest example being Kira and Scourge killing the Emperor's original body while the player dealt with his spirit.
  • String Tyrant: The map is littered with helpful hints from Eileen, who was apparently just short of escaping the mansion. You can find her transformed.
  • This happens roughly once per game in the Summon Night: Swordcraft Story series. Particularly obvious in the second, where a Power Trio seeking out a MacGuffin of some sort briefly cross paths with you and team up to the fight the local baddie, then continue their quest. That would make you this in relation to them, for that matter.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • In Super Mario RPG, Samus Aran and Link can be found resting in bed at various points.
    • Luigi in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. He's been going on his own adventures and getting his own party members on his own time (even getting a book series adapted). While the books claim to be going on a truly epic adventure, he describes them to Mario in a much simpler way (the books claim that during a play he had the role of a "magnificent earth spirit", while he told Mario that he played the role of grass) but still painting himself as the hero of the story, and then when asking his (usually beleaguered) party members, they state that Luigi's exploits are just one Epic Fail to another Epic Fail and it's usually up to them to pull him out.
  • Super Robot Wars:
    • The first Super Robot Wars: Original Generation game gives you the choice of stoic gambler Kyosuke or Hot-Blooded Ascended Fanboy Ryusei. For the first half of the game, they play this role in the other's storyline.
    • Similarly, other games in the series will have Route Splits, where the player can choose one of two or three different paths for a few missions. Whichever one the player picks, the rest of the team fulfills this trope and takes care of business on their own.
    • One such split in W can actually put the player into this role: While trying to track down Kaname and Tessa in Orb, the Mycene Empire attacks all over the world. After fighting off the monsters sent to attack Orb, you rush off to Paris to help your other teammates there, and arrive just in time to see Mazinkaiser, Great Mazinger, and Shin Getter Robo finish off Ankoku Daishogun.
    • Alpha 3 has "extra stages" which are independent missions that can be accessed from the scenario chart in the options menu. These detail some of the goings on in the story that the Alpha Numbers aren't present for, specifically. 1. What the Raideen and Dancougar people were up to during Alpha 2 (which were notably absent for) 2. Ditto for Gunbuster, and Macross. 3. Ryusei getting his confidence back when he was recovering for the first half the game. 4. the Debut of Ratsel's Aussenseiter. 5. Rai Mai, Sanger and Ratsel and the Tesla lab crew hurrying to roll out Banpreios 6. The villains (now allies) of Voltes V and Daimos defending the refugees of their people from the Balmar and getting their affairs in order in prepartion for a take back of their planets.
    • Masaki Andoh is probably just being an 'extra character' whenever he features in a Super Robot Wars game (be it OG or not), as he and Cybuster was originally a stand-in for Aura Battler Dunbine. However, the Super Robot Wars Gaiden game later reveals that he's pretty much The Hero in the saga of La Gias, which is also pretty rich in backstory. This trope is lampshaded in Second Original Generations, when the OG heroes visit La Gias, and surprised with how much Masaki was treated with full respect like a real hero when otherwise he's just being your typical 'wandering kid who gets lost at times.
      • From the same game, Shu Shirakawa with the release of Dark Prison for 2nd OG as it covers what he's been doing behind the scenes during the La Gias portion of the game.
    • Shin Super Robot Wars also has a route split, but it covers a majority of the game itself. In fact, some characters are exclusive to each route. The only time they get to meet is in the True Final Boss scenario.
  • Bianca Schuler was this in the first System Shock game. SHODAN hated her so much that she imprisoned her in a cage next to her main memory bank so she could watch her die.
  • Dr. Marie Delacroix of System Shock 2 is another SHODAN-assisted agent aboard the Von Braun, always just one step ahead of the player. While the player doesn't interact with or even see her until you find her corpse, the player finds her audio logs throughout the game. Late in the game SHODAN abandons her and leaves her to die.
  • Many of the characters you encounter in TimeSplitters Future Perfect. An interesting twist occurs in some of the cutscenes, in which YOU are the aforementioned hero, thanks to a Stable Time Loop.
  • Trail of Anguish: Chris is just a cute boy to you, but he claims to be on some unrevealed adventure of his own. This combines with a lampshading of the Adventure Game Hyperspace Arsenal when the protagonist goes out on a date:
    After about fifteen minutes, Chris opens the door. He's wearing a wonderful-looking tuxedo.
    "I hope I don't look funny carrying around all these items," you say.
    He squints for a few seconds before he sees them. Then he replies, "Nah, it's okay. Everyone's on an adventure of some sort, after all." You nod, only now noticing that he's somehow concealing a bicycle, a bungee cord, and a horse in his pocket. Looks exciting.
  • Because the Trails Series is one giant long arc spanning for so many games, characters who used to be the protagonists of their own series may be having adventures off-screen compared to the characters the player controls at the time.
    • Cassius Bright, the father of the main characters of The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky FC is apparently so badass that the Society of Ouroboros caused a crisis in Erebonia specifically so that he could be the hero of that story and not be in the way of their efforts in Liberl. Details of exactly what he had been up to can be found in one of the Star Doors in The Third.
    • The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero has Estelle and Joshua doing their Bracer work on and off-screen while Lloyd and the SSS are doing their own thing. Meanwhile, Trails to Azure has Kevin and Ries doing their undercover work.
    • Reversed during the Divertissment Chapter of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel where Rean Schwarzer, the protagonist of the game, becomes this trope as the players control Lloyd and Rixia guiding them through the advanced sewers of Crossbell to erase any important data. The players do see snippets of the things Rean has been doing for the first few minutes before the control transfers to the two Crossbell citizens. By Cold Steel III however, Lloyd plays this trope straight where he's doing his own thing while Rean and the new Class VII are doing their adventures onscreen.
  • TRON: Evolution has the protagonist Anon, a newly rezzed Security Monitor who starts his function just as CLU triggers The Purge in the backstory of TRON: Legacy. Anon goes through all kinds of troubles to keep CLU from finishing off the last ISO, Quorra. And by the end of the game, he dies saving her.
  • Undertale, true to form, deconstructs this through Undyne, who becomes the hero of YOUR story if you have opted to become the villain of it and pursue the Genocide route. All the characters met until her are certain she'll defeat the player if they make it that far, and her boss encounter begins with the flavor text "The heroine appears." with decidedly more uplifting music than her battle has in other routes. The fates of minor and background characters on this path play out like an extended "dark ending" for the rest of the game following her defeat.
    • Also, played straight with Gerson (the turtle shopkeeper) who was a hero on the monster side in the war between monsters and humans long ago. While it's stated that not a single human died during the war, so he can't have killed anybody, one is left only to imagine what he might have done to help his kind escape, considering he's the only NPC in the entire game to not only not be afraid of you, but actually taunt and trash-talk you.
  • Valkyria Chronicles III: Welkin (militia), Leon (military), Baldren (military), Juliana (military), Avan (civil defense).
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, Gangrel scholar Beckett is only in LA to investigate the rumors of the Ankaran Sarcophagus, and bumps into you on occasion to offer advice. He's up to a lot in the bigger scheme of the Old World of Darkness, though, and indeed he's one of the main heroes of the Vampire setting.
  • During Very Little Nightmares Six repeatedly comes across another character making their own way through the building taking venues that aren't connected to her own. Near the end the storylines converge and the two combine forces to survive. And the ending reveals that Six is actually the person the girl in the raincoat kept running into. As the girl died being disintegrated Six is shown moving to retrieve her raincoat likely out of remembrance.
  • The Stranger from The Walking Dead (Telltale). Like Lee, he was just trying to survive, and keep his family safe in the Zombie Apocalypse. Then Lee and the group steal the supplies from his car. He loses what's left of his family, what's left of his sanity, and turns from hero to vengeance seeker.
  • A side mission in Watch_Dogs 2 has protagonist Marcus on the trail of human traffickers only to learn that Aiden Pearce was already targeting him, Pearce is only seen once, held captive by the Bratva where Marcus creates a distraction to let him escape but it's made clear that he has continued the battle against crime since his game ended.
  • We Happy Few of course has Arthur Hastings, Sally Boyle, and Ollie Starkey, the three playable characters who each play small but notable roles in the other playable character stories, but the real hero of another tale is Prudence Holmes, the City Hall employee who's office is beside Arthur's and who "went on holiday" prior to the game's events. One letter reveals that she is a Downer like the three main characters and on a mission to uncover the secrets of Wellington Wells, and you eventually do find her corpse in the Motilene Mines: mere minutes away from the end of the game meaning she went through an adventure similar to Arthur's.
  • Wing Commander has this in the form of other pilots. Especially in Prophecy Maniac and some other pilots start as aces while the player is a green-horn. In missions they often lead different squads and are only heard over radio fulfilling their part of the plan. The player joins them towards the end of the game.
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt: Geralt. The real conflict in this story is saving the Multiverse from the White Frost - his surrogate daughter who he is searching for half the game is key to that.
  • In World of Warcraft the two factions have completely separate stories, although with some overlap (they do most of the same dungeons and raids, some of the same quests). In addition, in the expansion Legion, each class had it's own story alongside the main story of the expansion. Thus, other players in the game are this trope: even moreso than in most MMORPGs.
  • XCOM 2:
    • While XCOM eventually becomes the most dangerous and effective La Résistance group fighting to liberate Vichy Earth, you are by no means the only one. A key game mechanic is making contact with Resistance groups in other regions, who have been waging their own campaigns against the aliens: establishing data taps, ambushing ADVENT convoys, or even bringing down UFOs, setting up the missions that XCOM executes.
    • The War of the Chosen expansion expands upon this further with three named resistance groups: the Reapers, the Skrmishers, and the Templars, all of whom have been battling the titular Chosen while also developing rivalries with each other.
    • The Tactical Legacy Pack mini-campaigns explain that the three characters from the XCOM 2 tutorial were all this: Peter Osei and Ana Ramirez were both seasoned resistance operatives, the leader of a team known as the Wrecking Crew and a trainer of guerilla fighters, respectively, while Jane Kelly once led a rebel group called the Children of Earth before being imprisoned and subsequently rescued by XCOM.
  • Yandere Simulator:
    • In any other game, Taro Yamada would be the lead/player character for a Dating Sim or harem anime (he's even Conveniently Seated!). In this game, however, he is just the end goal for the Yandere girl trying to get him.
    • In a more straight-forward case, while the main story mode focuses on Ayano Aishi's goal of obtaining her Senpai Taro and getting rid of any girl that tries to steal him away from him, by any means necessary, 1980s Mode focuses on Ayano's mother Ryoba when she was attending high-school and how she got rid of her rivals and convinced an entire nation that she was being framed for all the crimes she committed.
  • The basic premise of You Are Not The Hero is that you are one, being an NPC that's chasing after the actual heroes because they stole your pendant (an essential Deconstruction of the Kleptomaniac Hero, as well as general RPG heroism).
  • New Canton Runner 5, first seen in the Canton-perspective Race missions from Zombies, Run!, got Put on a Bus to London at the start of Season 2 to avoid confusion with the game's protagonist, the Runner 5 of Able Township. Canton 5 would go on to feature in two side missions, eventually becoming "the greatest hero in London" by doing a lot more behind the scenes than anyone knows. The player only gets to hear the full extent of Canton 5's adventures after their Bus Crash on the way home.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! The Falsebound Kingdom, there's sort of an In-Universe example. Moisture Creature is included as a Hidden Character, and he claims to be an alien that got trapped inside the game and was identified as a monster character. (Not technically true, because Moisture Creature is a real card in the actually card game.)

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue is primarily about the soldiers that were assigned to Blood Gulch, but we get an occasional glimpse of other teams stationed elsewhere. Or, as Vic put it in the opening to episode 6 of season 14...
    Vic: Y'know, when most people talk about the Reds and Blues, they're talking about my boys at Blood Gulch. But, lotsa dudes forget that there's a bunch more primary colored commandos all over the galaxy. And they're all idiots.
    • A good chunk of the time, when main characters are Put on a Bus, they'll be shown to be having their own adventures before they come back. Tucker and Junior were serving as ambassadors for the Covenant and the UNSC, with Tucker eventually being forced to battle Insurrectionists to defend the excavation of a Forerunner temple, Church and Carolina were fighting Charon Industries, and Donut began Walking the Universe after leaving the Reds and Blues at the end of Season 17.
    • While "hero" isn't the right word, there's implied to be a ton of Freelancers operating all across the galaxy.
    • Locus, after his Heel–Face Turn. He's only really seen when his adventures intersect with the Reds and Blues, but he's been going on his own quest for the alien sword and bringing justice and order to various colonies out of the UNSC's reach.
  • Anon: Dani and Mia were originally the main characters in another series by the creator, called Faux, before crossing over to the main show.

  • Homestuck:
    • The kids' guardians, who, though often ignored or avoided by the main characters, show up all over the place, occasionally helping the kids from the background while engaging in their own adventures.
    • Not to mention fedorafreak, who only ever appears on a Twitter expy for three frames, and provides regular updates about, respectively, his choice of hats, his house burning down, The End of the World as We Know It, his own journey through another session of Sburb and, finally, his death, possibly on a Quest Bed (which would allow his ascension to God Tier). The forums make him a Memetic Badass.
    • The trolls' ancestors played an unsuccessful session that resulting in the Scratch, resetting their universe so our trolls could have another chance.
  • On the cast page of Precocious, Kaitlyn is described as "the central character in another strip". She literally became the Hero of Another Story later, with the introduction of the Precocious spinoff strip, Copper Road.
  • In Girl Genius:
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • It is heavily implied that adventuring parties and Player Characters in the world are this. Nale and his adventuring party (the Linear Guild) tries to pretend they are this, claiming they are in the same dungeon on a completely different quest (although later turns out to be a lie).
    • Inverted at one point when the Order run into a pair of villains from another story, a dwarf and a Ninja who are trying to murder The King of Nowhere (don't ask).
    • Julio Scoundrél was one of the most prolific heroes of his day (in more ways than one) and serves as Elan's mentor as well as The Cavalry. He considers Tarquin to be one of his B-List villains.
    • Parodied with the gag character Frudu Biggens, who is on a completely unrelated quest to destroy a Ming vase with his friend Samwose.
    • Characters who individual party members have had assorted interactions with include Eugene Greenhilt (Roy's dad, who was an adventurer in his heyday) and Sir François (the guy Elan was Heralding before he ditched him after screwing up another one of their adventures).
    • One chapter depicts the formation of a party of Heroes of Another Story — at the end of the arc, various miscellaneous characters with no real connection to each other (including Haley's father, a soldier from a conquered city, and two bounty hunters that started a fight with Roy and Belkar) form a group to overthrow The Empire.
    • From the backstory, the Order of the Scribble were a groups of adventurers whose adventures set the foundation for the current plot.
    • Vaarsuvius, although a protagonist, ends up being the Hero(ine?) of Another Story while stuck on the Semi-Elemental Plane of Ranch Dressing. V won't speak of it to anyone, though, and the readers only see the aftermath.
  • Goblins has two groups of main characters in a RPG setting, one as if it were a real world (the titular Goblins) and another who act like a group of RPG players, making meta comments all the time. Then there's another RPG player group that fares poorly and seems only to show up to complain about their previous characters dying before dying again, yet reference adventures that aren't shown.
  • Lovely Lovecraft: Randolph Carter. Armitage briefly touches on Carter's investigations with Warren (a story drawn directly from The Statement of Randolph Carter), and Iranon summarizes portions of Carter's adventures from The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath. However, Carter has not physically appeared in the main storyline of Lovely Lovecraft.
  • The Walkyverse, spanning as it does at least half a dozen different authors, is a tangled, continuity-challenged rat's nest of this trope.
  • Magick Chicks inverts the trope with Melissa Hellrune. She was originally from Eerie Cuties, where she was an antagonist to Layla Delacroix. But her popularity with the readers lead to her being given her own Spin-Off comic, where she became the protagonist, who's gradually being reformed into a heroine — though she's reluctant to change her ways.
  • Ménage ŕ 3 did the same with Dillon and Sandra, who were both given starring roles in their own spin-off comics: Sticky Dilly Buns (which shows Dillon's life in his own apartment in Montreal, and actually ends up spending a lot of time on his roommates) and Sandra on the Rocks (which follows Sandra's misadventures as a model in Paris, again with a fair amount of digression onto the rest of the cast).
  • Exterminatus Now occasionally features Inquisitor Damien's hyper-competent B-Team and Inquisitor Deket's hyper-destructive C-Team. Inquisitor Brisbane also appears in numerous background and flashback shots and Schaefer was shown having his own adventures once.
  • Isaac from Paranatural is a shounen protagonist who in between adventures is a side character in a affectionate parody of shounen. The other characters sometimes walk in on the end of his adventures.
  • Rain (2010): Rain meets a girl named Carmen Jimenez when she's visiting therapy. Carmen is one of the main protagonists of Magical.
  • Bugged Run follows the plot of Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen by about 15 minutes, with the main character routinely arriving at locations from the game just in time to deal with the fallout of the game's player character's actions.
  • Murai in Digger. She is A Hero and The Chosen One. She has a Great, Heroic Destiny in front of her. She is also a mentally broken teenager, and not the hero; the story of Digger is not her story. As a result, her future heroic destiny and chosen-ness is not at all related to solving the issues of the story at all, and Murai spends much of it vacillating between feeling like The Load towards their current goals and feeling crushed by her future destiny. Digger at one point opines that she hopes Murai just ran away because it would be good for her to leave all that Destiny behind. Murai does end up aiding Digger in a small but vital way near the end, and the Statue of Ganesh implies the events of the comic formed a vital part of her Character Development for when it is her turn to become The Hero.

    Web Original 
  • Not an example in and of itself, but Cracked lists Six Movie/Tv Universes That Overlap.
  • SF Debris gives us "Lieutenant Nobody" from Star Trek: First Contact; his take on the unseen original chief of security of the Enterprise-E before Worf, who repeatedly demonstrates he's the Hyper-Competent Sidekick developing new tactics to fight the Borg on the fly, keeps his team fighting against impossible odds, and who of course, is completely ignored by the Enterprise crew.
  • In Pay Me, Bug!, there's some kind of coup in progress against Baron Minerva Tyrelos. Grif stumbles into the middle of it, and nearly gets himself killed. We never find out who's behind it, what their ultimate plan is, or whether the Baron's plan to have her brother publicly take the blame ever worked.
  • In the Whateley Universe, there are several. Lady Astarte, the greatest superheroine of the era, is hovering around in the background, because she's the headmistress of the Superhero School the main characters go to. At Halloween, when Deathlist attacks, she takes him on single-handed and wins. There are lots of references to former battles she has fought and former superheroes she has known, because she has been superheroing since World War II. Skyhawk, one of the main superheroes of Boston, probably counts as well.
  • Worm:
    • While the adventures of the Undersiders are the main focus, Faultine's crew, a group of superpowered mercenaries, crops up from time to time pursuing their own goals, and interludes focusing on them tell of their investigation into Cauldron independent of the main plotline.
    • Likewise, the Travelers. To the point of getting an entire arc devoted to them.
    • Word of God has stated that the Las Vegas Protectorate and the Thanda regularly battle S-Class threats whose abilities are either too subtle or potentially panic-inducing to be publicized.
  • In Chrono Hustle there are several TRD agents who are briefly shown or mentioned, who are often dealing with other issues than the main cast. Special mention goes to Elliot Bishop who joins up with the main characters at one point, and then later goes back to his previous mission. In addition there are the characters in the various time periods who have their own things going on, such as the crew of the Space Station Oracle in 2347, or the Neanderthal tribe in the stone age.
  • The Tales of Paul Twister has two examples:
  • Void Domain has something of an Ensemble Cast. Tons of characters who all get their own chapters, each doing their own thing. Even with that, some characters never get a chapter but can still be seen doing things in the background.

    Web Videos 
  • During the Crossover between Dark Harvest and Tribe Twelve, Alex and Chris (the former) are this to Noah Maxwell (the latter), and vice versa.
  • Similarly, Everyman HYBRID meets Jeff, Alex and Chris, as well as Noah Maxwell, in their Crossover episodes.
  • Twitch Plays Pokémon:
    • Kris "The Girl Who Never Was" of Twitch Plays Pokémon Crystal. We'll likely never know what her journey would've been like.
    • Twitch Plays Pokémon Emerald introduces the 7 or so kids chosen by the Mob before finally settling on Camilla A. Slash, who may or may not be inhabiting her by the time the plot kicks in.
    • The Red of the Reset universe in Twitch Plays Pokémon Red. Later installments such as Crystal and Anniversary Red turn our Red into this, since he is encountered by AJ in the post-game and is mentioned by Abe in the latter's plot.
  • Former Atop the Fourth Wall character Iron Liz was shown to be this when Linkara's Mirror Universe double came looking for her.
    Linkara: She's around, just doing her own thing.
  • Critical Role: After Tary leaves Vox Machina, he returns to Wildemount and starts his own adventuring party, the Darrington Brigade. Background references imply that the Darrington Brigade is still active twenty years later during the Mighty Nein campaign. Additionally, most of the guest characters are going on adventures in their own right, and Vox Machina and the Mighty Nein detour to help them with their adventures about as often as they help the party with their ongoing goals.
  • The Perfect Castlevania Timeline: Even though the series mostly focuses on the heroic exploits of the Belmont clan and their successors against Dracula, brief portions of the episodes are dedicated to those who fought the night in their own way, ranging from allies such as Grant DaNasty and Maria Renard, to wayward Belmonts such as Victor and, of all people, Kokoro.

    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia: By the time Anne meets Marcy, she managed to become well-known in Newtopia, directly working for King Andrias himself. Her Theme Song Takeover elaborates on some of her offscreen adventures, such as fighting pirates and arming a village with a catapult to fight a giant cobra. It's implied that Andrias partially invoked this, in order to get Marcy on his side and trusting him, letting her play the fantasy out of being a hero in a fantasy world and giving her a ton of support and resources, whereas even Anne and Sasha hit some setbacks and bumpy patches through their friendships with Grime and the Plantars, Marcy has only ever seen the good side of living in Amphibia and was never really challenged to undergo Character Development like they were through facing uncomfortable truths about themselves, allowing her to become lost in the fantasy and making her willing to accept Andrias' proposal to give him the charged Calamity box so she could remain being a 'cool hero' with her friends, rather than the nerdy weirdo she was back on Earth.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • The Cabbage Merchant. Somehow, despite the Gaang travelling on an air bison and him being presumably on foot, he managed to arrive at places at the exact time that they do, only for them to destroy his produce.
    • The past Avatars who serve as spirit advisers to Aang. They've all had experience preserving balance in the world, and we see brief flashbacks to foes encountered in the past, such as Avatar Kuruk's conflict with Koh the Face Stealer, and Avatar Kiyoshi's fateful duel with Chin the Conqueror. Avatar Roku in particular plays a very important part in the backstory, being Fire Lord Sozin's former friend and the grandfather of Prince Zuko. These events have lasting repercussions that Aang ends up having to deal with at some point.
    • Katara and Sokka's father Hakoda, who'd been fighting in the Hundred Year War since before the start of the series.
    • Iroh, a firebending master previously known as one of the Fire Nation's best and most fearsome generals until his son was killed in the war. By the start of the series he's pulled a Heel–Face Turn, joins the Order of the White Lotus, and spends a great deal of time trying to reach his misguided nephew, Prince Zuko. He ends up being the closest thing the show has to a Big Good, other than Aang himself.
  • Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!: In The Teaser of "In Space," Garrett is Genre Savvy enough not to get tricked into touching a mysterious alien artifact. Then, he manages to avoid being captured by the monster for several weeks or months (unlike his crew-mates).
  • Centaurworld: Comfortable Doug the moletaur guard apparently set off on his own epic journey of self-discovery after meeting the main cast. He crosses paths with them a couple of times over the rest of the series.
  • The DC Animated Universe was fond of this, especially when it entered the Justice League Unlimited era.
    • The pilot for JLU, "Initiation", sets the stage as Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Supergirl and Captain Atom go on a mission to a fictional North Korean Expy country. Green Arrow just wanted to go home but got dragged into the story because all the other heroes were off doing other missions, and he needed a ride.
    • Subsequent episodes would often include J'onn J'onzz or Mister Terrific at the monitor watching and directing various heroes around the globe doing all sorts of heroic stuff that had nothing to do with that episode's plot, especially if said plot was set primarily on the Watchtower itself.
    • "The Greatest Story Never Told" focuses on the glory hog Booster Gold who is busted down to directing pedestrians to safety while the rest of the League fight the Dark Lord Mordru, who is strong enough to take them all and an obviously awesomely powerful villain, and the first "Omega-Level" threat the League comes up against. We hardly get to see any of it. Booster's own story however ends up seeing him saving the world from a black hole and getting the girl while the other heroes are too busy fighting. He gets berated by an injured Batman at the end for abandoning his post.
    • "Patriot Act" involves a crazed general giving himself super-powers to battle the League because he sees this group of superhumans, lording over them in a space station, as a potential threat to national security. He calls out Superman for a fight, but Shining Knight tells him that Superman is fighting to save a planet from an unspecified crisis, and that all the other genuine superhumans are all out doing other stuff. He ends up having to face Green Arrow and an assortment of lesser known "normal" heroes, eventually including reserve members the Crimson Avenger (who, basically, just has a gun) and Arrow's ex-sidekick Speedy (who, naturally, is just an expy of GA himself), the only back-up available. This is the closest either two get to spending a day in the limelight, and Avenger doesn't even get dialogue while Speedy is never seen again, and that was his debut.
  • In the pilot to Superman: The Animated Series, Martha Kent mentions "that nut in Gotham City". The two heroes met later, setting the stage for the DC Animated Universe. There were multiple guest appearances of several DC heroes and villains in both Superman and Batman (the former more than the latter); many of them went on to make appearances in Justice League.
  • Teen Titans (2003): Speedy might've gotten the shaft (no pun intended) on Justice League Unlimited but he was set up as a recurring hero on Teen Titans as a rival for Robin, eventually forming Titans East along with other heroes who had previous appearances.
  • The future Justice League in Batman Beyond.
  • Static Shock: Rubberband Man became this after his Heel–Face Turn. Anansi is an active superhero in West Africa. Soul Power and Sparky are the Retired Badass variety of this trope.
  • In Darkwing Duck, Gizmoduck from DuckTales (1987) made many appearances as a hero who had much better adventures and publicity. There were other heroes introduced in the show, including his mystical girlfriend Morgana and the aquatic Neptuna. Eventually, they formed the Justice Ducks. DuckTales (2017) has made a minor Running Gag out of Launchpad's offscreen adventures with his exes, which we only ever get to see the beginning and aftermath of.
  • Fillmore!: The briefly seen head of the fishing club in "Red Robin's Don't Fly" is either this or the Villain of Another Story, depending on your view of fishing, as he is introduced trying to catch a large, infamous fish named Nicodemus and vows to keep trying after it turns out he's only hooked a sunken box of cookies.
  • Gargoyles: The Avalon travelers encounter new heroes in almost every location they go to on their World Tour.
  • American Dad! has had a couple appearances by John Mind, a quadruple amputee whose limbs weren't blown off, but "blown in, into his mind," giving him telekinetic powers. He never has more than the most minimal effect on an episode's plot, but he apparently walks the Earth, having adventures as "Mind Quad."
  • Bucky O'Hare and the Toad Wars! had Commander Dogstar, commander of the sister ship of the Righteous Indignation, the Indefatigable, and his crew.
  • The Justice League in Young Justice. At one point, Professor Ivo escapes from the team, but appears in prison for most of the rest of the series. We're expected to assume that the Justice League caught him.
  • Conversational Troping in an episode of The Simpsons; when Bart loses his girlfriend to a rich Ace, he fails to win her back at the end of the episode. When Bart protests that the protagonist of the story is supposed to get the girl, her new boyfriend counters that in this case, he is the protagonist.
  • Elise in Dan Vs.. She's a highly skilled spy who is almost always caught up in her own assignments, and it just so happens that these can often cross paths with Dan when he's on whatever his newest tirade is.
  • Subverted with Zapp Brannigan on Futurama, who has many off-screen adventures that are referred to briefly and treated as heroic by characters in-universe, but is actually a Villain with Good Publicity who mostly just leads hilariously one-sided battles against peaceful "foes" or exploits We Have Reserves.
  • Generator Rex: Captain Calan normally leads the troops, but is implied to do all sorts of off-screen adventures, like leading a mission to steal a data cartridge from a foreign country, and feeding information to the protagonists when they defect. White Knight seems to trust him with higher up missions.
    • The Jungle Cat EVO also defects with the protagonists, and is reported to have been investigating the Consortium on WK's orders, and abducting a former member.
  • The Scotsman of Samurai Jack. When he meets Jack (and is unaware of his fame) he regales how he's the most wanted man on the planet.
  • Simon Petrikov on Adventure Time was a Badass Bookworm who survived a nuclear apocalypse, became a Parental Substitute to a half-demon little girl in the aftermath of said apocalypse (instilling in her the desire to be a protector of humanity for years to come), and fought a constant mental battle to resist the corrupting influence of the enchanted crown that allowed him to survive. Unfortunately, the show takes place centuries after he eventually lost that fight, so most of the cast only knows him as the rather crazy and pathetic Ice King.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Derpy Hooves is very strongly implied to be one via loads of Meaningful Background Events. Besides appearing in the background of several important events, as most background characters do, she also manages to attend the Grand Galloping Gala in the VIP section, the Royal Wedding, and is even shown amongst an image of Canterlot nobility. During flashbacks it's revealed she was once a terrific flier in her youth (even consistently beating Rainbow Dash, Spitfire, and Lightning Dust) until she suffered a Career-Ending Injury of some sort to her eyes, and even in spite of that she's shown to be a brave and selfless pony who was the only non-Wonderbolt to attack Tirek, was among the first of Ponyville's citizens to help combat the Tantabus, and even sacrificed herself to block one of the petrifying orbs that was about to hit Twilight Sparkle in the movie. She seems wholly content to get no praise or regard for any of it from the main heroes.
    • For Rainbow Dash, a main character, the journey to becoming a member of the elite flying group, the Wonderbolts, was a major character arc that spanned many seasons and drove the plot of several episodes. Very little screentime was given to Thunderlane, another Ponyville pegasus who was a background character and occasional Spear Carrier. Still, Thunderlane was shown at the Wonderbolts Academy along with Rainbow Dash, and, just like Rainbow, eventually made it to full Wonderbolt status by the time of the seventh season episode "Marks and Recreation". Given the group's exclusivity (they apparently have a limited number of spots and only promote reservists when an existing full member retires) and prestige, it's safe to say that Thunderlane had to show a lot of hard work and skill to prove himself and advance to the position — all of which happened offscreen.
    • Daring Do when she's discovered to be real, and that her numerous adventures — only a small number of which are shown or discussed on-screen — really happened. It's eventually revealed that she's actually the Villain of Another Story, albeit unintentionally, when it's discovered Ahuizotl is a good but not nice temple guardian who is sick of ponies like Daring Do and Dr. Caballeron breaking into temples to steal stuff.
    • In "Inspiration Manifestation", Twilight goes through a lot of offscreen trouble to clean up Rarity's mess. She eventually had to call in backup from Luna and Cadance, and it's made clear that the whole ordeal caused a great amount of stress.
    • The entire main cast gets to enjoy being this in the Lower-Deck Episode "Slice of Life". They're busy duking it out with a Bugbear (a literal half-bug half-bear), but the episode focuses entirely on Cranky and Matilda's wedding and the background ponies who are making it happen.
    • "A Flurry of Emotions", "The Beginning of the End" and "Frenemies" describe Gusty the Great, a Precursor Hero who had numerous adventures long before the funding of Equestria and defeated the legendary villain Grogar.
    • "The Last Problem" shows stained glass windows in the Canterlot throne room, the kind reserved for commemorating great victories achieved by Equestria's heroes, depicting the Student Six defeating a rhinoceros-like creature and an adult Flurry Heart doing something with the Crystal Heart, implying they all went on to have their own adventures after the time of the show.
  • This happens to the titular Rick and Morty themselves during the episode The Ricklantis Mixup. The episode begins with the duo gearing up to visit Atlantis to have sex with mermaids, when a Rick and Morty from The Citadel come looking for donations. When they are chased away and our Rick and Morty leave for Atlantis, the audience is instead taken to The Citadel. In the end, all we learn about Rick and Morty's adventure in Atlantis is apparently they had a really good time with the mermaids, and that they think anyone who would have rather seen what was happening on The Citadel is a moron.
  • Steven Universe:
    • There are a few flashback episodes covering the love story between Steven's dad, Greg, and his mother, Rose Quartz, from when they first met to just after his birth. The show's former supervising director Ian Jones-Quartey once joked that the series is actually the sequel to a non-existent harem anime called "No Need For Greg".
    • Garnet is the focus of a similar love story, only hers happened during the Rebellion for Earth and eventually is explored in "The Answer".
    • Rose was the first Gem to rebel against Homeworld, assembled the Crystal Gems (one can only imagine how the Debut Queue fully played out), and spent centuries protecting the Earth and learning more about its inhabitants. Even in death, her affect on the story and cast cannot be overstated.
    • After Steven brought Lars Back from the Dead and he joined the Off Colors, the next time Steven meets them in "Lars of the Stars," they have come to live as main characters in a sci-fi anime independent of the main plot, complete with its own title cards and established character and plot dynamics.
  • Miyamoto Usagi of Usagi Yojimbo is treated this way during his crossovers with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This is most apparent in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012), where his guest episodes are told from his perspective with the turtles dropping in on his mission.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003): All of the other gladiators from "Turtles in Space Part 4: The Arena" are individuals who have opposed the sinister Triceraton Republic and ended up condemned to the Gladiator Games offscreen. Led by future Rebel Leader Traximus, they escape off-screen while the Turtles are busy taking Zanramon hostage.
  • In The Tick:
    • American Maid, the most competent member of the heroes that our protagonists interact with, is clearly having her own epic adventures on the side that occasionally intersect with the Tick's.
    • During his A Day in the Limelight episode, it turns out that Sewer Urchin, likewise, has his own heroic and successful struggles in the sewers.
  • Trollhunters: In Part 3, a duo of exchange students are introduced. It's hinted that they are up to something and know more than what they let on, but are also doing their own thing away from Jim and have nothing to do with the Trolls. This is the first in-series allusion to the greater Tales of Arcadia trilogy, as they end up being a pair of royal alien fugitives that seek sanctuary on Earth after their planet was taken by a coup, and are the protagonists of the next installment, 3Below.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball has a minor character named Clare Cooper, who is the opposite of the show's actual main character in every way. Where Gumball is a hyperactive New Tens-era Talking Animal starring in a zany Fantastic Comedy, Clare is the Token Human of Anais's class, and seems to be the star of an angsty Nineties Teen Drama called The So-Called World of Clare. Her main gag is a not-so-Inner Monologue and the inability to recognize the fact that her mundane teen problems (like her father losing her job and having to move to Detroit) have a multitude of wacky and fantastical solutions in the world of Elmore (like getting her dad a job at the rainbow factory and buying her house back with a pot of leprechaun gold. Yes, really).
  • The final arc of Transformers: Cyberverse features a number characters whose backstories and adventures have no connection to the Autobot-Decepticon War that drives most of the series.
  • A good portion of the supporting cast from Gargoyles were implied to be having their own adventures and stories going on outside of their encounters with the main characters.
  • To say that Norman, immortal bodyguard supreme to Mighty Max, has led an interesting life would be an understatement. It seems he has actually been the basis of most of the heroic folktales and myths on Earth, canonically having been Thor, Hercules, and Gilgamesh at various points (though whether he was the actual hero or a stand-in when said hero was doing something else was left open for debate). Odds are if an episode's Big Bad's scheme involves reviving some ancient destructive evil, Norman had a hand in putting them down the first time, and said creature tend to view this as "Round 2."
  • Solar Opposites:
    • Yumyulack opted out of the gender-based plots in "The P.A.T.R.I.C.I.A. Device" and ended up having to return a bunch of koalas to the zoo after accidentally freeing them.
    • In "Terry and Korvo Steal a Bear", we only see brief glimpses of the family's adventure, as the focus is mainly on the residents of the wall.
  • The Spectacular Spiderman: Frederick Fosswell has done Pulitzer Prize winning pieces of investigative journalism in the past and occasionally shows up in an undercover persona, investigating a villain independently of Peter.
  • Season 4 of Spider-Man: The Animated Series revealed that in the past Jameson used to be an Intrepid Reporter known as "Jigsaw Jameson" with his own supporting cast, including a friend on the police force and an old flame, along with personal enemies of his own. He proves he's still got it when he decides to investigate who framed his friend Robbie Robertson, and is able to discover evidence all on his own without any help from Spider-Man.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: The show is about the USS Cerritos, a service ship in Starfleet assigned with tasks such as courier duty, diplomatic services and second contact missions, but occasionally shows glimpses into the much more exciting things that the A-list ships and crews are getting up to.
    • "Much Ado About Boimler" introduces the Oakland, captained by Mariner's old friend Ramsey, who has made Captain rank at a young age, leads a crew who could make for the cast of a spinoff show of their own, and mentions a number of high-stakes adventures and incidents that they've been part of.
    • William Riker (formerly Jean-Luc Picard's XO on the Enterprise, now The Captain of the Titan) has his own ongoing plotline in which he takes point in the recently-declared war against the Pakleds.
  • TaleSpin: The pilot and "Jumping the Guns" make it clear that the cliff gunners have thwarted several of Karnage's attempts to sneak into the city or attack it by force without any help from Baloo. In the latter episode, two guards playing checkers easily see through Karnage's latest disguise (covering his airship in smoke to seem like a cloud) and casually load their cannon to drive him off while laughing about a Noodle Incident where Karnage tried to sneak past them disguised as a parade float.

    Real Life 
  • You may see your best friend or anyone else close to you as this. Heck, it can be quite disconcerting to look around yourself in a public place and think how everyone else is also seeing themselves as "the person looking around themselves at a bunch of strangers" Illustrated in the Sonder video, this xkcd comic, this SMBC one, and this Subnormality one.
  • The scientists working on Ultra (the Enigma code breakers during World War II) were this for a long time to the scientists working on the Manhattan project (development of the atomic bomb). While the latter were widely recognized for their work, Ultra was kept officially secret until 1974.
    • And, compared to those cryptographers, the cryptographers and computer scientists who broke the Lorenz teleprinter cypher used for strategic communication. That was kept secret much later, and even the American intelligence agencies weren't told for a long while because GCHQ was using the same techniques to spy on American post-war communications.
  • Happens to actors themselves. The supporting actors in the massive blockbuster movies are often the headliners in smaller budget movies and television.
    • This tends to happen a lot with comedians. Sometimes they're cast as a supporting character, usually the Plucky Comic Relief, in massive blockbusters or just films that are more dramatic, while playing lead roles in comedy films.
    • Some films cast A-list actors in supporting roles alongside A-list actors given the lead roles to further drive home the idea that the supporting characters are themselves the heroes of other stories happening just off screen; one example being the aforementioned Saving Private Ryan.
  • "Supergroups" in music. By definition the members all have successful solo careers and other bands, so anyone listening to, for example, Cream records, can then dig into all the Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker records.
  • The White Star Line's RMS Olympic, older sister and running mate to the ill-fated Titanic. Nicknamed "Old Reliable", she had a twenty-year career at sea, including surviving an accidental collision with a warship in 1911 and running over and sinking a U-Boat during World War I. She was also one of the ships who rushed to her stricken sister's side in April 1912, but was well over 500 miles away when she received the distress call. When she was 100 miles out her captain offered to offload passengers from the much smaller RMS Carpathia, which had picked up the survivors, but was immediately turned down by Captain Arthur Rostron, who didn't think it such a good idea to ask the survivors of the sinking to board the near-identical twin of the ship they had just seen die. And yet, her long and stellar career is only a footnote in the story of her ill-fated sister.
  • Imagine being a first responder, law enforcement officer or government agent (like an FBI agent for example). Maybe one day you pull off something extraordinary; you rescue a family from a burning home, you solve a major case, you apprehend a terrorist or something else along those lines. You’re a hero and everyone tells you that. But remember that such things are pulled off daily by people like you all around the world; there are always brave men and women committing major acts of heroism that often go unnoticed by society at large because it’s just their job to do so. They may not get recognition for it, but there are many people out there doing what you do or something similar and they’re heroes too.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Colonel Makepeace, Heroes Of Another Story


Chris' adventure

Chris didn't show up for much of Schaff's 1 hour Tamatoa analysis because he was busy with his own adventure... which was quite similar to Schaff's.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (13 votes)

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Main / HeroOfAnotherStory

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