My party is currently running through RotRL; they're on Chapter 2, just about to go to Misgivings. I've been flipping ahead a bit, looking into the events of Chapter 3, and am strongly considering replacing Jakardros with the father of one of the party members. I just want to make sure before I do that he isn't more important than he seems at first glance.
I haven't dug super-deep into chapter three yet, but I can't really find anything specifically important about his character beyond "He's Shalelu's dad," and it doesn't seem like that's developed all that much.
Is there more to him that I'm missing (Shalelu-related or otherwise), or am I correct that Jakardros is, while potentially interesting, mostly just a guy whose role can be as big or small as you want without it actually affecting much of anything?
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Jakardros provides three things: one you may not care about, one you cover by replacing and one you might miss.
May not care: The Shalelu/Jakardros story line shows that there are other stories going on in the world - the world does not revolve around the pc's. You or your players may not care.
Covered: Jakardros and the Black Arrows provide additional firepower to aid the pc's with the various enemies in the Turtleback Ferry area. The encounters assume some help beyond the typical 4 pc's (as I recall.) As long as the replacement player is comparable to Jakardros (and you could rebuild him to fill other gaps in the party if an archery focused ranger isn't what they need) this should be good.
Might miss: the story also justifies Shalelu accompanying the party - she too adds to their ability to tackle additional or more potent encounters. If her father isn't at Rannick, she has little reason to go -though you could find another reason for her to go...
I really thought that the Shalelu/Jakardros was just unnecessary filler and with the potential, as a gm, to be controlling 5 NPC's (shalelu, jakardros, the cat, vale and kaven) + monsters, I felt leaving that part out was a burden off my back.
My party took the bait to go to the place where Jakardros was, and it played out just like you'd think. He's a black arrow, current (former?) leader and was willing to help retake Rannick with the party and give insider info into the layout of the area.
With a bit of work, you can easily replace or remove the shalelu/jakardros story and make it about one of the PC's.
I didn't enjoy role-playing Shalelu at the time. So as I had 5 players, she was not needed for extra firepower as they were already messing up the CR math. I replaced her by making him be one of the characters brother, another reason to head to Turtle Back Ferry.
It allowed me to change a key dynamic for the character at few moments. Played to the theme of the much older misfit brother sent away to be taught a lesson, and made something for himself.
Later when a character died, a player was allowed to assume the game as Vale. Further hi-jinx were had, as I got to boss around a player a bit. Barking orders like a drill Sargent. So feel free to change things up a bit.