A Non-Playable Character or (NPC) is a character or creature that only exists to add flavour to a scene and is not permanently playable the way characters that have gone through the application process are. They might also be a temporary character existing only for the duration of a certain plot.
Examples of NPCs are (approved) pets, humans or other creatures, or crowds or groups of people that can reasonably be expected to exist (ex. Students outside the transfiguration classroom waiting to be let in). Note that in order for an NPC’s presence to be valid, they must reasonably be expected to exist in the current location. For example a house elf could be expected to exist in a corridor of Hogwarts, but an occamy could not without approval of the Roleplay Department (RPD).
Player owned NPCs may exist only through describing them during RP, though a placed or worn physical object may be used to represent their presence during the scene. Player owned NPCs may not exist outside of a scene without RPD approval.
NPCs cannot give your player an advantage in any situation. They cannot cause damage to another character unless that character’s writer OOCly agrees to it.
When an approved character is not being played by their writer, their presence may be “NPC’d”. This means that other players may acknowledge their continued presence in a scene after their writer has gone, but they do not have the power to make decisions for that character, nor can they RP that character doing anything out of the ordinary.
When you are offline, your character still exists as an NPC. However, your character cannot perform any decisive action while you are offline. For example if you have a character who is a bartender, suppose other players come into the pub and make a huge mess on a day you were not online. Your character realistically may have been at work but you cannot claim that they would have prevented the mess from happening or influenced the outcome in any other way than what was RP’d by the other players. It is up to you as the writer to fill in the gap, if you decide to write about the event in your RP. Perhaps your character had to run an errand while the other players were in the pub.
Ministry of Magic Department Heads
Department and sub-department heads are permitted to command NPC characters that would directly report to them. For example the Head Auror could enter a room flanked by Hit Wixen and he could order them to spread out and begin securing the area.
These NPCs are a bit different from regular player controlled NPCs as they can persist after the character’s writer is gone, or their presence in an area may be changed off-screen. For example, there may be an RPD approved plot that involves a magical accident in Godric’s Hollow. The DMAC Department Head may order NPC obliviators to help control the situation with the muggles and their presence must be acknowledged in RP. RPD will post an announcement if there is a change to NPC presence in an area, or physical markers will be used to indicate their presence. Department/sub-department heads must notify RPD of any changes to NPC presence in any area.
NPCs that can hurt/affect you:
By performing actions that would prompt a response from NPCs that are established to be in the area, you are accepting the possibility of the consequences of that response. For example if you walk into Gringotts Bank while it is fully staffed with guards, hit wixen, and others, and start casting spells at people, it could be expected that the guards would return fire and you could be hit. We ask players to use their best judgement in these scenarios, but RPD will mediate if necessary.
Within Hogwarts, it is to be noted that there are roughly 300-500 students in attendance, and with that scores of professors and other staff.
Please note that because a room may be visually empty, in actuality the room would most likely be filled — classroom settings, breakfast, lunch, dinner within the Great Hall, examinations, and common rooms etc. — ultimately resulting in most public places being occupied the majority of the day as a real school would. Even though physical roleplayers might not be present, you would probably be around NPCs.
A note to professors, within your classrooms it is safe to always roleplay as if your classroom is filled, as most likely it would be. Feel free to NPC students to help the lesson along if necessary as well as involving the students that are present in pixel form. It’s very rare for students to not show up to class, so even if only two roleplayers show, the class would be full.
The Ministry of Magic
The Ministry atrium is bustling with people going about their daily business during regular business hours, around 8am to 7pm. Outside those hours there are still likely people around: early risers, people working late, and essential personnel such as security guards who are on duty 24/7. During court sessions involving a fully assembled Wizengamot, you could expect around 50 members to be filling the courtroom.
Players are permitted to create NPCs that have actual avatars representing them for specific scenes. They must use a simple titler and are not able to cast. They must not persist outside the scene they are intended for.
RPD members or players with RPD approved plots may also create NPCs that have actual avatars representing them and they may be entered into the HUD by RPD admin without going through the ALO approval system. These characters must only be used for the plot they are written for and must not persist once the plot has concluded.