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A non-player character (NPC), sometimes known as a non-person character or non-playable character, in a game is any character that is not controlled by a player. In electronic games, this usually means a character controlled by the computer through artificial intelligence. In traditional tabletop role-playing games the term applies to characters controlled by the gamemaster or referee, rather than another player.

What is an NPC in traditional Role-PlayingEdit

In a traditional tabletop role-playing game such as Dungeons & Dragons, an NPC is a fictional character portrayed by the gamemaster. If player characters form the narrative's protagonists, non-player characters can be thought of as the "supporting cast" or "extras" of a roleplaying narrative. Non-player characters populate the fictional world of the game, and can fill any role not occupied by a player character (PC). Non-player characters might be allies, bystanders or competitors to the PCs. NPCs thus vary in their level of detail. Some may be only a brief description ("You see a man in a corner of the tavern"), while others may have complete game statistics and back stories of their own.

There is some debate about how much work a gamemaster should put into an important NPC's statistics; some players prefer to have every NPC completely defined with stats, skills, and gear, while others define only what is immediately necessary and fill in the rest as the game proceeds. There is also some discussion as to just how important fully defined NPCs are in any given RPG, but it is general consensus that the more "real" the NPCs feel, the more fun players will have interacting with them in character.

PlayabilityEdit

In some games and in some circumstances, a player who is without a player character of their own can temporarily take control of an NPC. Reasons for this vary, but often arise from the player not maintaining a PC within the group and playing the NPC for a session or from the player's PC being unable to act for some time (for example, because they are injured or in another location). Although these characters are still designed and normally controlled by the gamemaster, when players are given the opportunity to temporarily control these non-player characters it gives them another perspective on the plot of the game. Some systems, such as Nobilis, encourage this in their rules.

In less traditional RPGs, narrative control is less strictly separated between gamemaster and players. In this case, the line between PC and NPC can be vague.

DependentsEdit

Many game systems have rules for characters sustaining positive allies in the form of NPC followers; hired hands, or other dependent stature to the PC. Characters may sometimes help in the design, recruitment, or development of NPCs.

In the Champions game (and related games using the Hero System), a character may have a DNPC, or "dependent non-player character". This is a character controlled by the GM, but for which the player character is responsible in some way, and who may be put in harm's way by the PC's choices.

An NPC HereEdit

A Non-Playable Character or (NPC) is one that, apart from an actual character, is not ‘actually’ headed by a leading writer/role-player-counterpart as your PC's are. The characters won't grow, their stats won't change, and they'll rarely be played "in first person".

Fair examples of NPC Characters would consist of a slave being ordered to fetch drinks, "God", or minor characters with little to no purpose except helping your "main" characters grow.

With particular NPC's - although a specific person (leading writer/role-player) may not actually play this character - their existence wouldn’t be seen as void; they exist and you can be given full permission granted by the Administrators to use such characters. If you are not given permission, then please refrain from doing so.

CharactersEdit

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