Richard seems to appear out of nowhere, and he seemed a little dirty - sort of like when Ben went and summoned Smokey. Plus Richards takes Ben to the temple, possibly the home of Smokey. Travelling through the tunnels as Smokey would certainly make for quick travel around the island, including into the Others' camp (travelling underneath the fence).
Could Richard be the physical manifestation of Smokey, and hence have an unchanging appearance?
p.s. Sorry if this has been posted elsewhere - search is currently disabled due to traffic.