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Forums » RP Discussion » What makes an NPC?

We all know what NPC stands for (Non-playable character) but I know npcs in roleplay are different from the ones in video games (that I totally don't slay). My question(s) are is it taboo to flesh out out your npc like they are a character? What makes a npc different from a character? Please shed your bits of wisdom on me.

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I don't think it's taboo to flesh out an NPC at all, nor should it be considered as such. While its perfectly fine to have two dimensional NPCs fill up an RP, if some of them are fully fleshed out with personalities and flaws of their own, it really makes the RP more realistic and fun.

Sometimes stories (and RPs) are written so incredibly well that it seems they almost write themselves. Sometimes a fully fleshed out NPC can create even more stories you never thought to make and then your RPing world can take directions you never thought possible. And that can be all kinds of FUN. Especially if you have more than one RP partner and your doing this in a group.

If you want to fully flesh out important NPCs, do it. It creates a more realistic world to write in and its more fun. Its also more engaging for any number of reasons.

Now to answer your other question.
What makes a npc different from a character?

Even if that NPC is fully fleshed out to the point they might as well be another character, what sets them apart is you don't play them as your main character.

I'll use an example: My character Samson is my main character. He's as fleshed out as he's going to be. And will receive more of that as I Role-Play with him. But I also RP his archenemy under the same character. Her name is Kalika. Now, even though she's fleshed out as well with her own personality and flaws, she's still not my main character that I play. Samson is. My main focus is him, not Kalika. The bulk of the story will be about Samson, not Kalika. That's the difference.

I hope this helps, Astro. ^_^
Astrobeans Topic Starter

Thank you for your wisdom, Knight ^_^! This makes it a lot of sense now.
lol some of my best characters started out as "no-name npcs". kizumashi, once an off-screen antagonist who only existed in vague references, is now my favorite villain that people go berserk for. venus, some random bouncer who showed up for five seconds in a mediocre rp, became my iconic main character for years. majima was briefly mentioned in someone's backstory - now? they're a deuteragonist in my novel.

best rp hack is to treat every character you introduce as someone worth developing. a character you create and don't flesh out is a wasted idea. don't think about them as npcs. think about them as side characters. everyone has importance in a story, whether they're the regular drunk at the bar or the patrolling guard that a troublemaking protagonist keeps running into. who knows. maybe you'll end up really liking where your side character is going and you'll decide to turn them into a main character.
Astrobeans Topic Starter

Thank you, Saturn! These are wonderful tips.
Astrobeans wrote:
Thank you for your wisdom, Knight ^_^! This makes it a lot of sense now.

Anytime my friend. ^_^
I found the thread about when NPCs are 'promoted' to Main Character status.
I also found this older thread that had some interesting thoughts on NPCs in it.

I have a few characters who began as a quick NPC thought in an RP, and I liked what I gave them so later worked them up, or 'promoted' them to Main status! :)

As Brandon Sanderson always said: Write each character as though they're the main character of the story. Meaning, don't just add a character for the sake of filling roles (i.e. you need a barista, teacher, gardener, parent, sibling etc.) And that has helped me so much. Liam was an NPC, just a side character I used in one of my old role plays. But slowly he became so interesting, that I even made him a page on my profile.

I'm so glad to hear that someone else also thinks side characters and NPC's deserve as much attention and work as our main OC's, because they're not just plot devices in my opinion, they're important too. You should not feel like it's a taboo, because you're doing something right. 💕💕
Ooh that's interesting! I tried playing some NPCs in RPs but ended up turning them into actual characters because I always end up liking them and getting too many ideas to develop them. 😂 Although rarely yeah I would keep an NPC like, the coffee shop guy where my characters buys her morning coffee, and try my best not to get deep into those kind of character's stories!

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