In Demon's Souls it was possible to kill all the NPCs, and I had to take great care not to kill them by mistakes (the R2 button having a tendency to get pressed whenever I put down my controller). And if you did hit a NPC even by mistake, he will turn hostile for the whole play-through.
As Dark Souls is a spiritual successor to Demon's Souls, I'm wondering whether the developer kept that element of gameplay. Is it possible to kill the NPCs in Dark Souls? Do I need to take care not to hurt them? If they are killable, what is the impact on the game, apart from their disappearance?
I could try to hit one of them, but as the game autosave after almost every modification of the world or character state, I prefer not to risk it.