Modding:NPC data

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This page provides an overview of what's needed to create a custom NPC. This is an advanced guide for mod developers.

Before reading this page, see Modding:Editing XNB files for the basic concepts.

Files to edit

To create a new NPC, you need to edit a number of different files. However, you don't need any programming experience and it can be done with Content Patcher.

Basic info

The Data\NPCDispositions asset contains basic information for your character, including their name, birthday, relations to other characters, personality, and whether they can be dated.

The file has one row per NPC like this:

   Abigail: "teen/rude/outgoing/neutral/female/datable/Sebastian/Town/fall 13/Caroline 'mom' Pierre 'dad'/SeedShop 1 9/Abigail"

The key (before the colon) is the internal name which uniquely identifies that NPC. This name isn't shown to the player, but will be used when referencing the NPC in other files. The value contains the following fields:

index field example purpose
0 age teen Whether the NPC is a child, teen, or adult. This affects generated dialogue lines (e.g., a child would say stupid and an adult would say depressing), generic dialogue (e.g., a child would respond to dumpster diving with "Eww... What are you doing?" and a teen would say "Um... Why are you digging in the trash?"), and the gift they choose as a secret gift-giver. Children are also excluded from item delivery quests.
1 manners rude Whether the NPC is polite, rude, or neutral. This affects some generic dialogue lines.
2 social anxiety outgoing Whether the NPC is outgoing, shy, or neutral. This affects some generic dialogue lines.
3 optimism neutral Whether the NPC is positive, negative, or neutral. Unused.
4 gender female Whether the NPC is male, female, or undefined. This affects dialogue, whether children in marriage are obtained through adoption or pregnancy, and the reserved frames' positions on the spritesheet.
5 datable datable Whether the NPC is datable, not-datable, or secret. The former two toggle the romance features (e.g., 'single' label in the social menu, bouquet gifting, and marriage), while secret is used exclusively for Krobus, who cannot be married but can be made a roommate.
6 love interest Sebastian Unused.
7 home region Town Whether the NPC lives in the Desert, Town, or Other. This is used when improving friendship points for all NPCs in a given region, which is currently only used for the Luau friendship boost (which only affects NPCs in the Town region).
8 birthday fall 13 The season and day for the NPC's birthday.
9 relationships Caroline 'mom' Pierre 'dad' This affects generic dialogue for revealing likes and dislikes to family members. May also affect the inlaw_<NPC> dialogue. Can be empty if not applicable (e.g., /fall 13//SeedShop 1 9/).
10 default map & position SeedShop 1 9 The location name and tile position where the NPC starts and ends each day.
11 display name Abigail The NPC name shown to the player.

Gift tastes

The Data\NPCGiftTastes asset contains their gift preferences (e.g., which gifts they love or hate), and their responses when they receive one. See Modding:Gift taste data for more info.

The file has one row per NPC like this:

   Abigail: "I seriously love this! You're the best, @!/66 128 220 226 276 611/Hey, how'd you know I was hungry? This looks delicious!//What am I supposed to do with this?/-5 -75 -79 16 245 246/What were you thinking? This is awful!/330/You brought me a present? Thanks.// " #!String

The line can be broken down into 5 pairs of dialogue + item IDs in this order: Love, Like, Dislike, Hate, Neutral. If a dialogue field is empty, the game will use a generic dialogue text. See Modding:Items for the object IDs.

Birthday gift responses

The Strings\StringsFromCSFiles asset contains the generic responses given by NPCs to birthday gifts based on their gift preferences and manners. These shared strings can be customized for a specific NPC by editing them conditionally, such as only on the NPC's (non-shared) birthday. The following criteria are used to select from among the strings:

gift taste manners chance string english string
love, like rude 50% NPC.cs.4274 "You remembered my birthday? I'm impressed. Thanks.$h"
50% NPC.cs.4276 "Oh, is it my birthday today? I guess it is. Thanks. This is nice.$h/Oh, is it my birthday today? I guess it is. Thanks. This is nice.$h"
polite, neutral 50% NPC.cs.4275 "A birthday gift? That's very kind of you! I love it.$h"
50% NPC.cs.4277 "You remembered my birthday! Thank you. This is great.$h"
dislike, hate rude 100% NPC.cs.4278 "It's my birthday and you give me this? Is this some kind of joke?$s/It's my birthday and you give me this? Is this some kind of joke?$s"
polite, neutral 100% NPC.cs.4279 "Oh... It's for my birthday? ... Thanks.$s/Oh... It's for my birthday? ... Thanks.$s"
neutral rude 100% NPC.cs.4280 "For my birthday? Thanks."
polite, neutral 100% NPC.cs.4281 "Oh, a birthday gift! Thank you./Oh, a birthday gift! Thank you."

The $h and $s are portrait commands that select the portrait image of the character to use.

Overworld sprites

The sprite sheet for Abigail.

The overworld sprites are stored in Characters/NpcName, including movement and animation frames. Each frame is exactly 16x32 pixels. Here's an example sprite guide, courtesy of TheLimeyDragon#1993 on Discord. Some positions are reserved for certain actions:

  • the first sixteen frames are generic movement (four frames per direction);
  • frames 40–47 (female) and 44–47 (male) must be the Flower Dance dance, if they participate;
  • frames 36–38 (female) 48–50 (male) are reserved for marriageable NPCs (Contains Wedding sprite);
  • and the kissing sprite/direction varies depending on NPC:
    character kissing frame facing direction
    Abigail and Emily 33 left
    Alex 42 right
    Elliott 35 left
    Haley 28 right
    Harvey 31 left
    Leah 25 right
    Maru 28 left
    Penny 35 right
    Sam 36 right
    Sebastian 40 left
    Shane 34 left
    any other NPC 28 right


Abigail's portrait sprite sheet.

The dialogue portraits are stored in Portraits/NpcName. Each frame is exactly 64x64 per portrait. The first six represent specific emotions (see Modding:Dialogue#Portrait commands), followed by any number of custom portraits. The first portrait is used when the dialogue doesn't specify one.

Here's an example portrait guide, courtesy of TheLimeyDragon#1993 on Discord.


Their schedule file tells the game where the NPC starts and moves based on on the time. You need to add strings to a separate schedules file found in the Strings folder to allow custom dialogue. See Modding:Schedule data for more info.

Dialogue and events

The NPC dialogue and events are stored in several files; see Modding:Dialogue and Modding:Event data for more info.


Custom NPCs should be added to festivals via the Set-Up_additionalCharacters and MainEvent_additionalCharacters fields in the festival's data file. You may also want to visit Custom NPC festival tile positions to check the positions of various existing NPCs for compatibility purposes.

(Prior to Stardew Valley 1.5, TMXL was the recommended tool for adding festival spots.)

Movie theater

An NPC's taste in movies and concessions are stored in Data\MoviesReactions.xnb and Data\ConcessionTastes.xnb, respectively. See Modding:Movie theater data for details on how these function.

Spouse room

If your NPC will be a marriage candidate, note that you can add a spouse room for them much more easily after game version 1.5.5. See Modding:Migrate_to_Stardew_Valley_1.5.5#Custom_spouse_rooms for details.

Adding your NPC

Here's how you'd create an example NPC we'll name Dobson:

  1. Create an empty Content Patcher content pack. By convention, we'll name the folder [CP] Dobson.
  2. Create the following files:
    • assets/dialogue.json containing the dialogue.
    • assets/marriageDialogue.json containing the marriage dialogue (if applicable).
    • assets/sprites.png containing their overworld sprites.
    • assets/portraits.png containing their portraits.
    • assets/schedule.json containing their schedule data.
  3. Edit the content.json to load the files:
        "Format": "1.30.0",
        "Changes": [
                "Action": "Load",
                "Target": "Characters/Dobson",
                "FromFile": "assets/sprites.png"
                "Action": "Load",
                "Target": "Portraits/Dobson",
                "FromFile": "assets/portraits.png"
                "Action": "Load",
                "Target": "Characters/Dialogue/Dobson",
                "FromFile": "assets/dialogue.json"
                "Action": "Load",
                "Target": "Characters/Dialogue/MarriageDialogueDobson",
                "FromFile": "assets/marriageDialogue.json"
                "Action": "Load",
                "Target": "Characters/schedules/Dobson",
                "FromFile": "assets/schedule.json"
                "Action": "EditData",
                "Target": "Data/NPCDispositions",
                "Entries": {
                    "Dobson": "adult/rude/neutral/positive/male/datable//Town/summer 7//BusStop 19 4/Dobson"
                "Action": "EditData",
                "Target": "Data/NPCGiftTastes",
                "Entries": {
                    "Dobson": "You're giving this to me? This is amazing!/207 232 233 400/Thank you! This is a very interesting specimen./-5 -79 422/...What is this?/80 330/This is disgusting./2/That was very thoughtful of you./-4/ "
                "Action": "EditData",
                "Target": "Data/EngagementDialogue",
                "Entries": {
                    "Dobson0": "I can't believe I am about to be married!$h",
                    "Dobson1": "I hope I don't get cold feet"

That's it! If you load your game, the NPC should appear. If you want to create events, don't forget to add that file too.

Guidance on pixel art

If you'd like additional guidance on pixel art, See Modding:Index#See_also for some recommended guides.