This is going to be a hard one for me.
I’ve only played a handful of times since coming back to RPGs.
My memories of the “Before Time” are pretty faded.
So let me editorialize on the subject of NPCs.
My favorite NPC would have a reason for existing in the game setting wholly independent of the PCs. A motivation, a role to play in the game world.
My favorite NPC would NOT be the type to send PCs off on “missions.” That just robs players of determining their own adventure. Maybe an NPC posting a reward for completion of a task is about my limit.
My favorite NPC would NOT just show up and upstage the PCs. Even if an NPC shows up and stages a “deux ex machina” and saves the PCs from certain doom or whatever, the choice of how to proceed after that must still be from the PCs.
I guess it is apparent that I have a certain liking for “simulationist” and “sandbox” type of play as a DM. Also, that possibly I have been burned too many times in the past by Elminster or whoever popping in and taking over / finishing my adventure for me while I was a player.
If I ever get to run a campaign again, I’d do my best to make and portray the kind of NPC I was just describing.
Until then, somebody tell me when you find him.