"The tips at the end of shoelaces are called aglets. Their true purpose is sinister."
—The Question; Justice League Unlimited
There is one person in the story who just knows how the world really works - that there are layers upon layers of conspiracies leading back to the true rulers of the world. Maybe he is actually one of these people - then he is a member of the Illuminati. Maybe he just suffers from chronic paranoia. But if he talks about his beliefs at length to anyone who will listen (or at least doesn't manage to escape), then he is the Conspiracy Theorist.
Game and Story Use
- This NPC can be a lot of fun for the GM, if the PCs are willing to humor him. He can be a steady source of red herrings and useful clues alike - and the PCs have no way of knowing which is which, which makes him a useful way of foreshadowing things without tipping the hands of the GM.
- The death or disappearance of a conspiracy theorist may be a sign that they stumbled upon something important. Or a red herring in its own right … it may not be possible for a GM to dispose of one without derailing the campaign as the players search for a plot that doesn't exist.
- A conspiract theorist could be a stalking horse for a foreign agency engaged in espionage - someone already intent on distributing government secrets can simply be steered in the right direction, or, alternatively, a foreign agent may use the image of a harmless but annoying crank as a cover for more sinister activities.
- The conspiracy theorist may even be ideologically driven to betray his own government to a foreign power without outside encouragement. PCs may find themselves racing against time to locate and close down a would be traitor before he makes contact with someone prepared to receive his information.
- They equally could just be a sort of social voyeur with a desire to know and/or publicise things that results from nothing more than someone else's desire to keep it secret.
- PCs may have one of these as an enemy - or at least a nuisance - and have to go about their business with a peeping Tom following their every move. The GM will, of course, need to arrange things so that the PCs cannot easily commit pesticide - or, if they do, the fallout will result in at least one more of the wretched creatures spawing to harrass them in place of the one they kill.
- Even at one remove, the PCs could find their work imperilled by some meddling arse blowing their cover or exposing their informants. Lives may even be lost and the PCs must struggle with their desire to be avenged on those responsible.
- And the Conspiracy Theorist is equally fun as a player character! Make up any random connections between different factions and events in your campaign, and impress your fellow players with them!
- And if the GM is any good, he will listen very closely and steal the best ideas…