If you are playing in the RQ Campaign, sooner or later your player characters are going to cross paths with the likes of Harrek, Prince Argrath, Gunda, the Feathered Horse Queen, Jaldon Goldentooth, Beat-Pot or Jar-eel. There’s a good chance some of your characters already have passions towards one or more of them
These characters are important enough to be their own chits on the WBRM board game. They are heroes, even “superheroes”. Bringing them into your campaign can greatly enrich your players’ experience and immersion into the setting. But if mishandled, they threaten to steal the spotlight away from the players or worse become GM alter-egos.
Some thoughts on how to handle such NPCs.
The Epic approach: sure Harrek or Jar-eel are like Gods of War on the battlefield, but not everyone fights like Diomedes (who struck two Olympian gods on one day), Ajax, or Bhima. Give the players their own duels – which are worthy of respect and reputation.
The Bhagavad Gita: The Mahabharata puts the Godhead itself in the Kurukshetra War, with the divine Krishna as the charioteer for the noble Arjuna, but on the condition that Krishna personally will not raise any weapon. Maybe the hero can aid our player characters, but cannot directly take action (frex, perhaps Prince Argrath is under a geas from the Feathered Horse Queen not to strike any of her paternal kin).
Alexander’s Companion: Riding alongside Alexander is going to throw you in the thick of things. Sure Alexander seems to have charmed life, but his companions had to fight in those same battles. Harrek charges into combat against the Steel Swords, your players need to fight them as well!
Parmenio: Alexander couldn’t make his decisive cavalry charge if Parmenio wasn’t holding down the left side. Have the players be responsible for defending the flank, bargaining with the spirit, or whatever, while Jar-eel does her thing. The hero wouldn’t get very far without the players!
Heracles on the Argos. The hero is along for a while (maybe even as the leader), and gets them past impossible things – killing six armed giants, awaken forgotten things, or shows the path over the Sky Mountains – but then leaves. Maybe they are called to do something else, maybe they critical/fumble a passion roll, or quarrels with the players. Now the players are on their own, deep in a heroic adventure.
In short, treat the Hero as a an expensive guest star that shakes things up, wows everyone with their incredible CHA, causes all sorts of trouble and danger, but ultimately it is up to the players to survive and succeed.
One thing I strongly recommend against doing – don’t roll against yourself as the GM. If Harrek is fighting the sun priests, narrate it, don’t roll it. If Harrek and Jar-eel fight, narrate the battle, don’t roll it out.
“OK you’ve gotten Jar-eel’s attention! She has six arms, each with a magical iron curved sword. She’s going to split her attacks – twelve attacks at 150%. She’s got spirits boiling around her, and she is literally glowing with Rune magic. What do you plan to do?”