Just curious what some of you other GMs do with reference to controlling NPCs. Obviously the GM controls the actions of the villains, monsters, villagers, major players, etc., but what about those NPCs who fill the ranks of the PC's party? Do you let the PC's control their actions for the most part, role their dice in combat, etc., or do you as the GM maintain total control of all NPC actions?
I generally let my players to control the NPCs they are closely associated with, like their squires or family members. I do reserve a right to veto a player's call if I feel it doesn't suit the NPCs character & situation, however.
In conflict situations, I generally let the players to handle all the characters on their side - there's no way I'm going to run their posse of 20 Agrikan warriors while keeping track of a dozen other NPCs...
If not all PCs are involved in a particular activity, their players can assume the role of NPCs - shopkeepers, guardsmen, courtiers etc. It keeps the action moving, and everyone has something to do.
Lately I've also been experimenting a bit more with shared creative responsibility. Players can describe & crerate NPCs as the situation warrants it. When the group rides to village, and I give a brief descrption of the place, players may state that their characters will head over to the common to speak with the group of lads playing a ballgame even though I did not specify that there was a game going on. This method works for us pretty well.