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 handheld or console. The direct opposite of an NPC is the player character.
Functions of non-player characters
Non-player characters are typically present in core series games to support 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 items, or with Pokémon as in-game trades or 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.
Another common variety of non-player characters is Trainers 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, Gyms, the Pokémon League, or Battle Towers, for example.
In the core series games, many non-battling NPCs are typically characterized by their tendency to move one step in a random direction every few moments.
Important non-player characters
- Professor Oak - Professor Oak works in his laboratory in Pallet Town, giving away starter Pokémon to first time Trainers. He gives Red, Blue, and Leaf their starter Pokémon in Pokémon Red, Blue, Yellow, FireRed, and LeafGreen as well as giving a starter to Chase, Elaine, and Trace in Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!. He is an idol to many Trainers and researchers, including Professor Elm, and always plays an important supporting role in the many games that he appears in.
- Blue - Blue is the grandson of Professor Oak and is the main character's rival in the Generation I games and Generation III remakes. Blue becomes the Pokémon Champion but is quickly defeated by RedRBYFRLG/LeafFRLG, the player's character. He is notable for being cocky and arrogant whenever the player's character encounters him; after losing, his typical way to bid goodbye is "Smell ya later!" In Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, despite moving away from Pallet Town, he stays around to help Professor Oak, and occasionally helps Chase/Elaine to beat Team Rocket.PE After Giovanni has been beaten by RedGSC/HGSS or Chase/ElainePE, Blue later takes over as the Viridian Gym Leader.
- Bill - Bill is a talented and famous inventor. He invented the original Pokémon Storage System and Time Capsule. In Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow, Bill can be found at the Sea Cottage, initially performing an experiment on Pokémon teleportation. He will also give away an S.S. Ticket so that the player can board the S.S. Anne.
- Trace - Trace is a childhood friend and rival of the player in Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!. He is a very cheerful person with a lot of enthusiasm, though is a bit cowardly when confronted with the ghosts of Pokémon Tower. He is shown to have a lot of respect towards other Trainers, even when he loses.
- Professor Elm - Professor Elm is the resident Pokémon Professor of New Bark Town in Johto. Saying so himself, Professor Elm studies unusual Pokémon abilities. He also specializes in Pokémon breeding, and is credited with the discovery of Pokémon Eggs. Elm gives one of the three starter Pokémon of Johto—Chikorita, Cyndaquil, and Totodile—to the player so that they will have an easier time of getting to Mr. Pokémon's house.
- 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.
- Eusine - Eusine appears in Pokémon Crystal and their enhanced remakes Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver. He is first seen researching the Burned Tower, together with Morty. Later, he battles the player in Cianwood City after seeing Suicune escaping from the town, hoping that by battling the player he will earn Suicune's respect as a Trainer. After Suicune has been captured, he returns to his hometown, Celadon City, and can be found in Celadon Pokémon Center waiting for the player to catch all three legendary beasts.
- Professor Birch - Professor Birch distributes Pokédexes and one of the three starter Pokémon of Hoenn: Treecko, Torchic, and Mudkip, to aspiring Hoenn Trainers in the Generation III and Generation VI games. In addition, after Trainers complete the Hoenn Pokédex in Pokémon Emerald, he will give them one of the three starter Pokémon of Johto: Chikorita, Cyndaquil, and Totodile. In Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, after various story objectives have been met, he will give the player one of the Johto, Unova and Sinnoh starters. He is known to be more outgoing than the other Pokémon Professors, and often his research takes him outdoors. His field of study is primarily how Pokémon behave in the wild.
- Brendan/May - Brendan/May is the original rival in the Hoenn games. They are the son or daughter of Professor Birch, and primarily assist in his research.
- Wally - Wally is a sick young boy who asks Norman, the Petalburg Gym Leader, to help him catch a Pokémon before he moves to Verdanturf Town to live with his aunt and uncle. Norman instructed his child, the player, to assist Wally, and loaned Wally a Zigzagoon. Using this, Wally was able to capture a Ralts. Wally eventually runs away from home and challenges the player at the end of Victory Road in Ever Grande City, seemingly totally recovered from his illness. He remains there, and it is possible to fight him several times per day. In Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire he battles the player once they have achieved a 50 battle streak at the Battle Maison, and can be battled there every day successively.
- Scott - Scott appears throughout Pokémon Emerald in various locations in Hoenn, where he can be talked to by the player. He appears in Petalburg City after Wally catches his first Pokémon, Pokémon Trainers' School, before beating Roxanne, Slateport City near the Battle Tent, and several other locations. When the player first arrives at the Battle Frontier, Scott will award them with 1BP for each time they spoke.
- Mr. Briney - Mr. Briney is first seen near the Rusturf Tunnel, asking the player to recover his Wingull, Peeko, from a Team Aqua or Team Magma Grunt. Once Peeko is rescued and returned to Mr. Briney, he will offer to give the protagonist rides in his boat to Dewford Town and Slateport City until they gain the Badge from their father. He later becomes the captain of the S.S. Tidal. His house is located on Route 104.
- Mr. Stone - Mr. Stone is the president of the Devon Corporation, and is the father of Steven Stone. After recovering the Devon Goods/Parts from either a member of Team Aqua or Team Magma, he gives the main character a PokéNavRSE/BuzzNavORAS and asks them to deliver a letter to Steven in Dewford Town. Once the letter is delivered, he will give the player an Exp. ShareRSE. He assists the player and Steven during the Delta Episode post-game storylineORAS.
- 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 their 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 entirely fluent with the regional 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 core series Pokémon Professor who is female.
- Bianca - Bianca is a childhood friend and rival of the player in Pokémon Black and White. 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. In Black 2 and White 2, she presents the player with their starter Pokémon.
- 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.
- Professor Sycamore - Professor Sycamore is the resident Pokémon Professor of Kalos. He does not directly give the player and his friends their Kalos region starter Pokémon, he will give the player a choice of one of the original Kanto starter Pokémon upon meeting him in person.
- Shauna - Shauna is one of the player's four friends. She is very energetic and curious to see how her friends will progress on their journeys.
- Tierno - Tierno is one of the player's four friends. He is an aspiring dancer who wants to form a Pokémon dance team.
- Trevor - Trevor is one of the player's four friends. He is the one who brings the Kalos starter Pokémon and the Kalos Pokédex. He wants to be the first among his friends to complete his Pokédex.
- Sina - Professor Sycamore's assistant. She tends to cut off Dexio when she's excited. Throughout the journey she and Dexio encounter the player multiple times to grant them Pokédex updates, check up on their progress, hand them items, or give friendly advice.
- Dexio - Professor Sycamore's assistant. He always travels with Sina to take care of Professor Sycamore's tasks.
- Emma - A girl that lived in the alleyways until she was taken in by Looker. She's a key character in the post game quest chain involving Looker.
- Professor Kukui - Professor Kukui is a passionate man who studies Pokémon moves. He introduces the player, who has just moved, to the Alola region.
- Lillie - A mysterious girl who loves reading, but dislikes Pokémon battles. She is working as an assistant of Professor Kukui for unknown, personal reasons, and is looking into the origins of the mysterious Cosmog, "Nebby".
- Hau - One of the player's rivals. A friendly boy who quickly befriends the player after they move in, and the grandson of the kahuna of Melemele Island, Hala. He starts his career as a Pokémon Trainer at the same time as the player.
- Gladion - The player's other rival. An initially unfriendly young man that works as an unofficial member of Team Skull. He is tyring to become stronger to harness the hidden potential locked within his partner, Type: Null.
- Professor Magnolia - Professor Magnolia discovered the causes and conditions of the Dynamax phenoneom in Galar.
- Sonia - Professor Magnolia's granddaughter and a childhood friend of Galar's Champion, Leon, and Gym Leader Nessa. She follows the player while researching the history of Galar's legends after
- Hop - The player's primary rival. He's the younger brother of Leon, and wishes to succeed him.
- Bede - One of the player's rivals. A haughty boy personally sponsored by his guardian and Chairman of the Galar Pokémon League, Rose. He is looking for Wishing Stars for an unknown purpose.
- Marnie - Another one of the player's rivals. A stoic but well-mannered young girl who wants to become Champion to support her hometown of Spikemuth. She is followed everywhere by her personal fan club, Team Yell.
|This game character article is part of Project CharacterDex, a Bulbapedia project that aims to write comprehensive articles on each character found in the Pokémon games.|