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. The direct opposite of an NPC is the player character.
Functions of non-player characters
Non-player characters are typically present in main series games 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 to a certain area to fulfill a given task.
NPCs also supply the player with free items once, or with Pokémon in an in-game trade or as gifts. Sometimes, these cannot be received in another manner without trading. Several NPCs hand out items on a daily basis, such as the Berry Masters of Hoenn and Sinnoh.
The final typical variety of non-player characters is of those who compete or battle with the player, including villainous teams, the player's rival(s), Gym Leaders, and the Elite Four. This interaction may occur in Contests or Musicals; or battles in routes between cities, Pokémon Gyms, the Pokémon League, or Battle Towers, for example.
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 appears as the player's neighbor and teach the player how to catch Pokémon.
- Brendan/May- Brendan/May is the original rival in the Hoenn games. He or she gives up being a Trainer.
- Professor Rowan - Professor Rowan works in Sandgem Town with Dawn/Lucas and their family. This makes him the only Professor from the handheld games who 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 shown when he was attacked by Team Galactic; he tried to fight back and was hard to handle.
- 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 serves 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 Generation V, where, like the other professors, she will give the player a Pokédex in her lab; however, in Black and White 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.
- Cheren - Cheren is a childhood friend of Hilbert/Hilda 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 become the Champion. He is also a rival.
- N - N is the leader of Team Plasma who appears in Pokémon Black and White. Throughout the game, he seems to be a strange, mysterious man who constantly battles the player, until he asks the player to ride Nimbasa City's Ferris wheel with him. At this point, he reveals he is the leader of Team Plasma. He is encountered twice more before interrupting the player's battle with Alder. He summons his castle from the earth and challenges the player to battle him. The player chases him through the castle, where the final battle occurs with N having caught either Reshiram or Zekrom. After his defeat, his guardian Ghetsis is disappointed once again and battles the player. N then disappears, not to be seen again until Black 2 and White 2.
- Hugh - Hugh is a childhood friend and rival of the player in Black 2 and White 2. He is described as feeling passionately for Pokémon battles and Pokémon strength. He is also a doting older brother to his sister; he hates Team Plasma because it stole a Purrloin he had caught for his sister. He battles with and against the player many times throughout the game.
- Nate/Rosa - Nate/Rosa appears in Nimbasa City. They will team up with the player to fight against the Subway Bosses Ingo and Emmet. After defeating them, Nate/Rosa will give the player a Vs. Recorder, and will reappear as the player's tag partner for the Battle Subway's Multi and Super Multi battles.
Complete list of named non-player characters