A non-player character (NPC) or GM character (GMC) is any character that is not a player character. That is, they are not the specific avatar of any one player, and are typically managed by the GM (or by the group collectively for GMless role-playing games).

Non-player characters may be fully realised with three-dimensional personalities, but their primary function is to be a facet of the game world that the players will experience through their characters. They can have many functions in a role-playing game, including enemies to be defeated, allies to assist the PCs, expositors to deliver information, or bystanders to add color to scenes. Some non-player characters can have traits as detailed (or more) as the PCs, such as a campaign's BBEG or a GMPC, whereas others that are not expected to appear as often might have simplified stats or no stats at all.

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