You need a job, you need to find someone or something, or you need to lay low or need to sell something, you need a good fixer.
A traveling scholar, digging up the roots of totemos that he encounters.
Emma Verney is the black sheep of the rich and noble Verney family because of her strange liking of the Orc tribes of the wastelands.Such a liking may well have got her into deep trouble with the Orcs and her fellow humans alike.
“The abominations that walk this earth when they should lie quiet in their graves must be destroyed, and I am he who shall do this! So it sayeth in the Book of Fury!”
A less-traditional NPC, a magical creature, formerly a tree. Might function as a druid or hermit.
A mighty tree it was, giving shelter to wanderers and many birds, until one night two dragons battled on the sky, right over him. Their motives are unknown, but the loser fell to his death on the tree, and that, broken and burned with the acidic blood of one and the fiery breath of other become what it is now.
You find a patch of edible funghi. They taste well and all, no ill effects. UNLESS you consume some beverage, even 3 (three) days after eating it. Then you become really sick with pains, vomiting, all the fancy stuff. As a gift or good meal, it could be a cruel joke or to make sure the heroes spend their time focused on the mission. And the fine soup you had in the inn yesterday could have some in.
(Inspired through a real-world fungus. Was really used to cure alcoholism.)