Well, or Nadold, I'm planning on putting a few NPCs in the starting town, just to help everybody get started. Of course, they'll have limited supplies, and once they run out, them and their store just goes poof. So if you're a new player, and the world has already been formed, you probably won't encounter any NPCs (aside from the monsters, that is).
The only NPCs in the game I'm putting are animals, and that's it.
Another idea I had, which would remove all NPCs together is to give the player starting items based on his skills in a certain category. EX: A skilled lumberjack and painter would get a paintbrush, paint, and an axe.
All players will start off with five gameday's supply of meat.