From Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia.
The first NPC introduced in the Pokémon series, Pallet Town's Professor Oak
A non-player character (commonly abbreviated as NPC) is a character in a Pokémon game whose actions cannot be controlled by the person operating the console. Their direct opposite is the player character.
Functions of non-player characters
Non-player characters are typically present in the game to further the progress of the player. Their duties vary. Early in the games they tend to offer advice for new players, similar to the trainer tips signage. Later in the game, as the player is more experienced, this function is less prominent, however at this point there still remain characters who encourage, or hint at, a visit at a certain area to fulfill a given task.
NPCs also supply the player with items and Pokémon, often free of charge. Generally, these cannot be received in another manner (except through utilizing a cloning glitch or through breeding). However, some NPCs hand out common or uncommon items on a daily basis, such as the Berry Masters of Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh.
The final variety of non-player characters are those who interact with the player, including Pokémon Professors, villainous teams, and the player's rival. This interaction may occur in Contests, in battles on routes between cities, or in Pokémon Gyms. The latter belong to a category known as Gym Leaders: defeating all eight of these in a region enables access to the Pokémon League, another group consisting of five NPCs. Pokémon Diamond and Pearl introduced five more NPCs who, at various stages of the game, battle with the player as a partner in a double battle. In Platinum, these NPCs, and also the Gym Leaders of Sinnoh, can be fought again at the Battleground in the Battle Frontier, once the Pokémon League has been defeated. Often, NPCs will offer a trade with the player. Sometimes, this Pokémon is unobtainable otherwise; for example, a girl in Vermilion City will trade her Farfetch'd for a Spearow.
Important non-player characters
- Silver - Silver's first appearance was when he was seen lurking near a window to the Elm Pokémon Laboratory; he later broke in, stealing a Pokémon. He later used this Pokémon to battle Ethan/Kris/Lyra, doing this many times as they journeyed through Johto. This is not the only Pokémon he has stolen, as he also stole a Sneasel from a man in Cianwood City, and uses it in battle for the rest of the game.
- Ethan/Lyra - Ethan/Lyra appear as the player's neighbor. They teach the player how to catch Pokémon.
- Professor Rowan - Professor Rowan works in Sandgem Town with Dawn/Lucas and their family. This makes him the only Professor from the handheld games that does not live in the player's hometown. He left to go to Kanto to study Pokémon with Professor Oak for four years, until coming back reaching a conclusion: that Sinnoh holds greater secrets. He has a stern personality that makes him seem intimidating and mean, but he is actually very kind and patient. He also has lots of energy as being shown when he was attacked by Team Galactic he tried to fight back (he was very tough apparently and hard to handle when he fought back).
- Barry - Barry is always in a hurry and extremely impatient, and because of this, often crashes into other people or misses important details. He is incredibly determined and it is very difficult to discourage him; the only thing that has done this so far was his crushing loss to the Team Galactic Commander, Jupiter at Lake Acuity. Barry is also one to take risks and quickly jump into action; it was this behavior that caused the player and himself to be attacked by wild Starly, setting off the chain reaction that would result in the player receiving his/her first Pokémon.
- Looker - Looker is the codename for a character introduced in Pokémon Platinum. In Pokémon Platinum, Looker is an important character, encountering the player multiple times over their journey across Sinnoh. He speaks with odd grammatical constructs, implying that he is not a native speaker of the national language. He first meets the player in Jubilife City, giving them the Vs. Recorder, and appears often when Team Galactic is near. His motives are clear: his mission is to stop Team Galactic from causing havoc in the Sinnoh region.
- Lucas/Dawn - Lucas/Dawn serve as Professor Rowan's assistant. They will teach the player how to catch Pokémon and help in some parts of the game, such as teaming up with the player against Team Galactic for double battles.
- Professor Juniper - Professor Juniper debuted in Pokémon Black and White, where, like the other professors, she will give the player a Pokédex in her lab; however, she leaves a present containing the starter Pokémon at the player's house for the player, Bianca, and Cheren. She also demonstrates how to catch a Pokémon to the player. She specializes in the origins of Pokémon. She is the first main series Pokémon professor who is female.
- Bianca - Bianca is a childhood friend of the player. Though she is somewhat unreliable and a bit of an airhead, she also has a strong side, as shown when she embarks on a Pokémon journey despite her father's strong opposition. She is also a rival.
- Cheren - Cheren is a childhood friend of the player who, like the player, lives in the starting town of Nuvema Town. He is an intelligent boy knowledgeable in Pokémon, and will as such offer the player advice during the course of their journey. His goal is to to become the Champion. He is also a rival.