Old guy with long white hair and beard, wearing ragged clothing that says something confusing when engaged by the player.
But I say something different each time yet there are levels.
If they move a few player spaces away from me and come back to engage again, they get to a deeper level of a small but randomized set of phrases.
Seven levels of familiarity engagement. If they hit the seventh level, I basically tell them straightforward what they need to do but in levels 3-6, I might have them prove they hold something by giving it to me and I return it to them.
If they ignore me, they can carry on fine in the game. But if they engage with me beyond the 1st encounter, they will get riddle/abstract hints related to later boss battles / quests.
Never seem to have the time, alas, but I’m actual-lifetime-familiar with Campbellian monomyth (and its subversions and fragmentings as they show up in gaming lore or any mythologies / alt universes), so I recognize them when I see them.
I don’t even have to be a powerful wizard: I’d be satisfied with being the “holy fool” that could either just be insane or be able to impart actual wisdom. The hidden power aspect isn’t as important to me but I’d be happy with any compatible role from the guy navigating the boat across the River Styx up to an Obi Wan / Merlin / Gandalf role and anything inbetween.
I *think* I’m even secure enough (and this is hard for me) to be subverted into a Ned-Flanders-after-getting-hit-on-the-head-and-having-visions : ie – someone who could be entirely overlooked because of derpiness and yet when engaged might turn out to be a surprising fount of strange wisdom.
But that’s as far as I’d be able to extend myself and it’s a hard stretch. Yet when you think about it, the old wise fool is enough of a trope that subverting into someone that we might ACTUALLY ignore (rather than the usual situation where other characters say, “Oh don’t listen to that old fool” but you know better as the player).
This would present an interesting challenge.