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A Non-player character, often shortened to NPC, is a term applied to a video game character that players have no control over (as opposed to PCs, "Player Characters").
NPCs include both friendly and non-friendly computer-controlled entities, although usually the term is used to refer to friendlies (enemies usually being referred to as "monsters"). Friendly NPCs can usually talk to players, either disseminating information which may or may not be important and/or amusing, providing a service, such as a store or helpful ability, or serving as a plot point, allowing the player to further the game's story.
Unfriendly NPCs will in general attack the player, and must usually be avoided or engaged.