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A Non-player character, or NPC, is a character not controlled by a player. As such, NPCs are computer-controlled characters with pre-defined functions, paths, and methods to enhance players' immersion to the game. Players can usually talk to NPCs, but they are not attackable. (If they are attackable, they are considered monsters.) They include store owners, quest contacts, bankers and civilians. NPCs can give out quests, sell items, restrict access to certain areas and perform other vital duties. Many have no useful function, but provide atmosphere or interesting conversation. Some can talk in public, but this will not appear in the chat list. NPCs names have a yellow colour.
NPCs form the foundations for quests: beginning them, continuing the story, giving information and handing out rewards and items.
In RuneScape Classic, NPCs could only talk to one player at a time. Some players took advantage of this and talked to NPCs and did not respond, thereby preventing access to the shops. In RuneScape Classic, players who stood in the same spot for five minutes would automatically be logged out, but this rule didn't apply when players were talking to NPCs. Some players also did this with new quests too. Jagex changed the system so that if a player doesn't respond to an NPC when others are waiting the conversation would automatically end.
- If a player blocks the path for an NPC for too long, the NPC will reset to its "respawn" location. This is especially noticeable for Hans near the Lumbridge Castle.
- Technically, anything with a yellow name is an NPC. However, usually only those that represent actual characters rather than things like fishing spots are referred to as such.
- If a space is occupied by a player or an NPC, another player may walk through them without their path being blocked, but an NPC cannot walk onto or over a space occupied by a player or another NPC. Not all NPCs can be walked through.
- The first NPC Jagex created was Hans.