non-player character

noun

non-play·​er character ˈnän-ˈplā-ər- How to pronounce non-player character (audio)
variants or less commonly non-playable character
plural non-player characters also non-playable characters
: npc:
a
: a character in a video game that does not represent and cannot be manipulated by a player
During the adventure, players will get the opportunity to travel with several different non-player characters.Charlie Hall
Every single non-playable character has a unique background—occupation, hobbies, relationships, felonies, special abilities—all of which are generated by the game's "Census" system.Lewis Gordon
compare avatar sense 1
b
: a character in a role-playing board game, card game, or live-action game that is controlled or performed by an organizer, facilitator, or supporting participant
Often, leaders of these [Dungeons and Dragons] games will create an entire world of their own, with their own special monsters, weapons, and non-player characters.Dara Edwards
What happens on the adventure is dictated by the Dungeon Master, who serves as a storyteller of sorts. Using a campaign book, the Dungeon Master sets the scene, interprets and relays the rules, and voices any of the non-playable characters you'll meet along the way.Liam Martin

Examples of non-player character in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Nevertheless, the intrusions from passing players, often intent on killing Sam or Mark or each other, and non-player characters (NPCs) seem real enough — and heaven knows dramatic recreations are rampant these days in documentaries, there to fill out the bits the camera could never have captured. Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 Mar. 2024 Players might not want to get involved in romance but the fallout from non-player characters breakup up can create massive intrigue that every Vampire player loves. Rob Wieland, Forbes, 16 Feb. 2024 The couple is tapping into a new social media trend: live-streaming on TikTok while saying strange phrases robotically, mimicking an NPC, or non-player character, in the video game world. Linda Chong, Washington Post, 12 Aug. 2023 So non-player characters in particular can be built a lot more quickly, a lot more effectively, with a lot more more impact. Georg Szalai, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 June 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'non-player character.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1979, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of non-player character was in 1979

Dictionary Entries Near non-player character

Cite this Entry

“Non-player character.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/non-player%20character. Accessed 22 Jul. 2024.

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