The Duke is a mysterious merchant in Resident Evil Village who appears to be morbidly obese with no clues about his back story.
Although there is not much known about the Duke's origins, he is one of the few characters in the game which aids Ethan Winters. Despite Ethan asking various times about his origin, Duke states that he cannot reveal his real identity.
However, it is safe to say that The Duke is one of the only harmless creatures that players might encounter in Resident Evil village. Duke even refuses to budge when the player throws a pipe bomb at him. This confirms that the developers intended Duke to be a harmless merchant in Resident Evil Village.
As has been discovered by various players, there are only two possible outcomes when players throw a pipe bomb at Duke, and neither of them has any repercussions for Ethan.
The Duke reacts to pipe bombs in Resident Evil Village
Piper bombs are a form of explosive in Resident Evil Village that can be used as a throwable weapon. These bombs explode after a short duration and deal massive damage to anyone who gets caught in the explosion. Players can even purchase these pipe bombs from the Duke himself.
Despite the damage that pipe bombs usually deal with enemies caught in the explosion, using these throwable weapons against the Duke inflicts no damage to the NPC. Instead, the Duke either coughs or waves his hand to clear the smoke that emerged from the explosion.
The Duke does not follow up on the pipe bomb explosions with any form of verbal warning or threatening action, confirming that the merchant is a harmless NPC in Resident Evil Village.
Although Duke's appears threatening, the developers have ensured that players don't face any challenges from sources supposed to aid them in Resident Evil Village.
With all the horrifying monsters waiting to jump on Ethan at almost every corner, the Duke's shop is definitely one of the safest locations for players to regroup and think out strategies for further stages.