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Quest Giver

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"So eager is Jannequinard to talk with you, it is almost as if there were a giant exclamation point hovering over his head."
Final Fantasy XIV, description for the quest "Sharalyan Ascending"

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

From most obvious to least, the options for introducing players to quest-givers seem to be:

  • Have all quest-givers directly approach the characters automatically, even when the quest is an avoidable side-story. This way, players don't have to identify the quest-givers at all, since the characters do it for them.
  • Clearly mark all relevant quest-givers somehow, such as having a sign float over the character's head. (In some games, just having a name rather than being Generic Peasant #16 might be enough).
  • Go for a slightly more subtle approach, and just make the quest-giver stand in a prominent place and say things that suggest they're a potential quest-giver (such as loudly saying "Oh, whatever shall I do!?" every thirty seconds until players get sick of it and decide to find out what the quest is).
  • Don't mark quest-givers at all. Players won't know if the character gives a quest unless they ask. One down side to this is it forces players out for 100% Completion to Talk to Everyone.

The Treacherous Quest Giver is, naturally, a subtrope of this, as is the Non-Player Companion initiating a Companion-Specific Sidequest.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the RPG Mechanics 'Verse series KonoSuba; Luna, the counter staff of the Adventurers' Guild, has the main duty of managing the requests board and alerting adventurers to emergency quests.

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

    Video Games 
  • Floating exclamation marks over a character's head are found in:
    • Some of the more recent games by Blizzard: Diablo II, WarCraft III and World of Warcraft. In the first, the exclamation marks are in speech bubbles and the character will will try to come towards you. In the later games, it's just a giant yellow exclamation mark hovering there.
      • World of Warcraft also features the third variety: A starting-area questgiver asks passing players to help him find his dog, with sound files no less. (Blizzard did this as part of a Make-a-Wish request.)
    • Floating exclamation point in gold marks it out for Wizard 101 - same as for World of Warcraft.
    • Guild Wars has green ones.
    • zOMG! has speech bubbles with red exclamation marks over an NPC's head when a quest is available or ready to be turned in.
    • Hellgate: London also uses Blizzard's gold exclamation points.
    • Browser-based RPG Dragon's Call also uses these to signify NPCs with quests available, and gold question marks when the quest reward can be claimed.
    • Dragon Age.
    • Quest givers appear as exclamation marks on your map in Borderlands and Borderlands 2.
    • MySims Kingdom and MySims Agents.
    • Lampshaded in Sunset Overdrive, in which it is revealed that quest icons are rented from a local salesperson who sends you on a sidequest to get icons back from some former questgivers, who have been trying to find various uses for said icons.
    • The LEGO Adaptation Game series uses question marks. Once you talked to the quest giver, the question mark changed to an icon depicting the item they needed.
  • ANNO: Mutationem: The map screen has quest notifiers identified by question marks that appear when they become available.
  • The third generation of Grand Theft Auto games mark quest givers on the map (each getting their own distinct icon, usually a letter). When you get to the location, there's a visible marker on the ground to step into - doing so begins a cut-scene.
  • In RuneScape, a blue * in a circle on the world map shows where quests start.
  • City of Heroes gives players an initial contact, who will give them missions, then eventually send them to another contact to repeat the process. One can also use the Police Scanner or the Newspaper for missions, but completing enough will eventually get you to a contact.
  • Throughout The Elder Scrolls series, quest givers are content to wait for the Player Character to come to them as is befitting of the series' Wide-Open Sandbox nature. In a select few cases, you may be approached by the questgiver instead, but these are very much the exception to the rule. Such exceptions are noted below:
    • The Thieves' Guild questline in both Oblivion and Skyrim can be initiated by someone coming up to you.
    • The Dark Brotherhood questline in each game where they are joinable is initiated by murdering a NPC — doesn't matter who in Daggerfall and Oblivion, so long as it wasn't in self-defense, while it has to be a specific NPC in Skyrim — at which point you'll be contacted by the Dark Brotherhood for recruitment.
  • Most BioWare games don't mark quest-giving characters visually, although many of them will approach characters directly or have other ways of making themselves obvious through what they say and do.
  • While Final Fantasy XI has no special markings for quest givers, some are commonly known and even pointed out simply though normal play by NPCs, like the gate guards that give the main missions for each of the three nations as well as the NPCs used for Assault.
  • In Pok√©mon Ranger: Shadows of Almia, quest givers have a little speech bubble with three dots in it, and an exclamation mark once the quest is accepted.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • Persona 4 requires you to talk to NPCs to find quests, and most seem to want items from the TV World despite not really knowing about it. Lampshaded when the MC's accept line is "I'll search the TV"; the other party is confused. Also, the main character gives himself a quest at one point - feeding a cat.
    • In Shin Megami Tensei IV, the Hunters' Association and K's Tavern fill this role, with Burroughs registering any quests as they pop up. Many demons will also offer quests if spoken to at the right moments. Many of the quests issued by the Association are actually from Fujiwara, who's issuing them precisely to find a Hunter capable of wielding the power of Masakado.
    • In Persona 5, most of your Confidants will at some point require you to go into Mementos and change someone's heart in order to progress their link further. Additionally, most of your sidequests are provided courtesy of Mishima's Phan-site.
  • In Dragon Quest IX, NPCs with quests have blue speech bubbles over their heads when you try to talk with them, as opposed to the usual white.
  • In AdventureQuest Worlds, quest givers are marked by a red circle button with a yellow exclamation point and a white border.
  • Dungeons & Dragons Online marks its quest givers with gold chalice icons above their heads.
  • The Lord of the Rings Online uses (what else?) golden rings, resembling cocked halos. The rings change color for completed or over/underleveled quests, and people who are willing to talk to you about a quest you're currently on (without actually advancing it) display a ring with a quill inside.
  • Mega Man Star Force had sidequest givers go totally unmarked save by the Transer icons over their heads, which were identical to those who didn't have quests yet; in 2, everyone updated to Star Carriers, with icons that were blue in normal operation and pink when an aggravatingly minor problem needed to be solved.
  • In Drakensang, quest givers (well, side-quests givers anyway) can usually be recognized due to the fact that 1) They have proper nouns and 2) They're usually muttering something interesting that may catch your attention.
  • Subverted in Magicka. A woman early in the game has a giant exclamation point over her head, and she gives you a 20 Bear Asses sort of quest; but goblins attack right after you talk to her, causing her to decide the rats in the cellar aren't such a big deal after all. The game has no other quest givers, real or fake.
  • In Little King's Story, quests are sent to the king via suggestion box. They are distinguished from normal messages in that they're golden instead of the usual white.
  • Borderlands 2 uses floating exclamation points that are very obvious on the player's map, a vast improvement over the original.
  • Rakenzarn Tales uses a mix of the second and fourth types of quest obtaining. You meet with your contact at the guild to learn who is need of assistance at the time. The locations of quest givers are marked in your book and you can go hunt them down in the listed area. Now and then, you can find a hidden quest by talking to people, usually those out of the way or with unique sprites.
  • Miis in the Traveller's Hub in Miitopia will send the party into various Fetch Quests. Sometimes, they will even accompany the party.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is full of quest givers. The most notorious example being the old man Great Plateau whose questline is unavoidable. Though some players try.
  • Etrian Odyssey has two quest givers in unvarying places. The first gives out story quests (called "missions"), and is located in the place of the government for the town. The second gives out side quests that update with every new floor (or dungeon, in the case of the fourth game), and is located in a bar.
  • Parodied in Crash Twinsanity, where at one point, a farmer appears and asks Crash to rid his orchid of worms in exchange for a Power Crystal. Dr. Cortex is also present, and he proceeds to blast the farmer with his stun gun, and just takes the Crystal. Ironically, getting rid of the worms is the only way to reach the next area, so the quest has to be done regardless.
    Cortex: I'm an evil scientist, what did you expect? This isn't a game.

    Web Comics 
  • In 8-Bit Theater, which parodies RPGs, Red Mage's insistence that he lives in a game world sometimes prompts him to treat people as quest-givers even when they're not. From Episode 498:
    Sandwich Vendor: Look, buddy, I told you an hour ago. We don't accept no quest items for no payment.
    —>Red Mage: Sigh. /Bug: I have found a vendor who does not give the quest reward upon quest completion.
    Sandwich Vendor: Are you on the dope, son? Get out of here before I call the cops on you, punk.
  • Shown here in GGC, where the party must collect a thousand items.
  • In a bonus Goblins strip, Tempts Fate pretends to be a quest-giver to trick some player characters that are trying to kill him into killing themselves instead.
  • Van Von Hunter had a bit character whose official name was "Quest-Giver Guy". (In fact the page quote sounds remarkably like a conversation Van and his sidekick would have had about him.)
  • VG Cats parodies Mass Effect's quest system here

    Web Video 
  • Life SMP: In both 3rd Life (Season 1) and Last Life (Season 2), Tango creates an avoidable but rewarding minigame for fellow players near the start of the season.
    • In 3rd Life SMP, the minigame was "Dare to Flare", where the challenge is avoiding falling lava traps with Feather Falling as the reward and losing a life if the player would fail. Bdubs and Martyn succeed in completing this challenge.
    • In Last Life SMP, it was "You Bet Your Life", where the challenge is making a guess on who would turn Red first with the participants having to bet their lives; the losers permanently lose their lives and the winner is given an advantage in the bigger game. Lizzie wins the bet on Day 2, gaining four lives in one go from other players who hedged their bets on the wrong players.


Video Example(s):


Sir Cole and the Old Crone

A mysterious woman tells Sir Cole that today is the day he'll start the knightly quest he's been searching for, before giving him a magical amulet that sends him to the future.

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