These are NPCs that serve a leadership, or advisory, role in the sphere. They may be approached for advice, education, casual RP, and more. Usually, they offer information at a price. No two sphere NPCs will have the same opinion on a given topic, and they will never tell a player the “right” course of action. They will provide opinions. They will defend sacred places, like caerns, and preserve the traditions of their race. However, they will most likely not engage in other battles.
NPCs that are hostile towards the majority of the sphere are considered antagonists. They will use their abilities and influence to make life difficult for PCs. In some instances, an antagonist NPC may be available as a mentor. It should be noted that an antagonist NPC does not have the restrictions of sphere NPCs regarding combat. Usually, they are confined to the plots that they are a part of.
Players with the Allies, Mentor, Contacts, and Retainers backgrounds will have access to more NPCs. Like sphere NPCs, they will offer opinions on topics, advice, aid, and education. Unlike sphere NPCs, they may be inclined to engage in combat to aid a character. Players will always have the opportunity to use a retainer in combat situations, assuming they are nearby. Mentors may or may not come to the aid of their students - this depends largely on the mentor in question. Allies are more likely to accompany players into combat than mentors, but their involvement is never guaranteed. Contacts will never accompany characters into combat, although they may aid characters in certain preparation-type instances. Sphere NPCs cannot be a mentor, ally, contact, or retainer. Antagonist NPCs may be a mentor, assuming the relationship is IC.