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Basic Information

Mentors are characters whose role in the story is to impart their knowledge, wisdom, and/or ultimate fighting moves to their students. Typically the mentor guides the development of the protagonist and/or advises them to the completion of a quest, but on occasion the mentor may be the protagonist - often in the form of a Culture Hero bringing new law or learning to a society or some other role helping a community to overcome its own challenges1. Mythopoetically, the "third faces" of man and woman are both mentor archetypes - although the crone is far more fixed in this aspect.

There is also the small matter of the servant-mentor … essentially a "thinking brain dog" to their master (although the depth of the role may vary), a role played by viziers, spymasters and cunning valets alike.

List of Mentor Archetypes


Game and Story Use

  • In many game systems, the PCs cannot simply improve and/or learn new skills on their own, but need to seek out a mentor to teach them. Finding the right mentor can be a quest on its own.
  • Mentors don't have to be limited to specific skills and game mechanics, either. A mentor may be very necessary as an introduction to an unfamiliar culture or social class.
  • Mentors also will tend to feature in backstory and can provide useful questgivers, patrons and similar things.
  • In some situations, the PCs themselves might end up as mentors.
    • The stereotypical case is when a group of veteran adventurers tries to teach a village how to defend itself from bandits.
    • Where such things are relevant, an experienced PC may well find themselves entrusted with an apprentice of some kind that they are obliged to develop.
  • Inexperienced players could be assigned an NPC mentor - whether a cunning valet or a grizzled veteran - to protect them from the costs of their own naivety.
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