I’ve remembered recently a bygone campaign, in which (of course) we had to rescue the world from doom. The trick was, we had to find some ancient artifacts that were spread across the world, and we had to find them very fast. Our characters were really powerful, but we didn’t want to split up (I consider it bad for gameplay).
Just now I came up with an idea. We were unknown but very powerful. We were elite of the world. We could have asked someone else to get one or two of the artifacts. It was time for us (well, for one of us) to play the role of a hooded man giving quest to a group of adventurers. But we would have to choose our hirelings carefully, or else they could cause more troubles instead of helping us. We had no true wizard. We couldn’t read the fate of random travelers from the stars nor could we read their minds undetected, to find the right man for this job. But the hooded quest-giver doesn’t have to be a mage. He just needs a spy.
The solution for our party (invented a bit late) would be like this:
1. I, as a gnome – a character that was hardest to notice (we lacked a halfling, which would be best for this job) – go around taverns, talking with random groups of people. During dialogue I rate their usefulness: their abilities, character and honesty.
2. We choose the best group. Another one of us, a noble human knight, delegates them to bring one of the artifacts. Not for free, of course.
3. I suggest our Game Master that he could decide the outcome of hiring this group or we could switch to playing those characters for a short time.
4. Two parties are trying to get two artifacts at the same time. Not-enough-time problem solved.
Everyone remembers the old hooded man. No one remembers the spy. And it’s good. A spy should remain unnoticed. No Game Master describes meeting with him. And it’s good. Who remembers some random halfling if an hour after him the quest-giver was met? No one. But the spy could came up later in story. Someone kind of known, but who knows why? Someone asking about recent achievements like he knows something. Helpful, but disturbing.
Remember the spy. Even if he didn’t exist at the start.