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"The Guardians who lead the way will save humanity - and become legend."Sometime in the distant past of Destiny, the arrival of the Traveler marked a rapid rise of technological expansion, and thus a new Golden Age began for the human race. Within decades, humans were able to colonize and populate many of the planets within the Solar System, and even go beyond. However, this would not last, for some unknown force managed to transform much of what was gained into ruin, and the human race had to return to a single city on Earth or face extinction.Hundreds of years after the cataclysm, the human race is equipped once more with the technological arsenal that the Traveler provides. A chosen few among the many left on the planet have been deemed Guardians (Hunters, Warlocks, and Titans), which are bestowed with magic-like powers to strengthen their forces. On Earth or across the solar system, the human race is once more ready to take back what is rightfully theirs.
Guardians in General
- Action Girl: Female Guardians, naturally.
- Back from the Dead: This is the primary method by which you get recruited as a Guardian - a Ghost identifies a Light-compatible corpse somewhere in the human-held solar system, and then revives it as a new servant for the Traveler. Some Guardians appear to have got their Ghosts differently (Ikora Rey, for example, was apparently alive during the Golden Age, when no Ghosts existed, and yet shows none of the signs of the usual memory loss brought about by reanimation), but that's how things normally go.
- Came Back Strong: Whatever they were, it's unlikely they were as powerful as they are now.
- Badass: They're FPS protagonists with extra space-magic. This is a given.
- Deadpan Snarker: They seem to be this at times in story mode.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The player character Guardians effectively end up taking down legendary opponents so powerful that they slew entire armies by themselves. The culmination to main story campaign has you destroy the heart of the Black Garden, something so incomprehensible that the Vex's reaction to it was to worship it. In the first expansion, its raid culminates in you killing Crota, who singlehandedly slew hundreds of Guardians in the last war for the Moon.
- The Dreaded/Gang Up on the Human: Walk into a firefight between two enemy factions? They'll both try to kill you. Considering that Guardians are nigh invulnerable, can wipe out hundreds, and don't seem to be able to die, it's understandable on their part.
- Double Jump: All three classes are able to perform this with the actual mechanism of doing so depending on the class.
- Fallen Hero: It's rare, but sometimes this happens to unfortunate Guardians. One such example would be Dredgen Yor, who fell to the Darkness and was also the bearer of Thorn, a cursed and Obviously Evil revolver. The other would be Kabr, the Legionless, who became obsessed with the Vex and was 'consumed' by the Vault of Glass.
- Fighter, Mage, Thief: Downplayed by the amount of gunplay on all sides, but this is essentially the main classes, in order of Titan, Warlock, Hunter.
- Friendly Rivalry: Some of the item descriptions imply that the Hunters and Warlocks are this for each other.
- Functional Magic: Thanks to the influence of the Traveler, the Guardians are able to harness ethereal powers.
- Humanoid Abomination: To put it bluntly, Guardians are resurrected corpses imbued with alien energy by the servants of a dead or dying god, dying is such an annoyance to them that some of them disarm mines by stepping on them, or shoot themselves in the head For Science! and record their experiences, and they can channel bizarre energy at a moment's notice, warping gravity with a thought.
- Humans Are Cthulhu: Look at it from the perspective of the Cabal or Fallen - They're smaller than you, they use powerful weaponry that looks like tech you moved past a long time ago, their technology is inscrutable... and death often seems like a minor annoyance to them. They can break the laws of physics on a whim, and gravity seems to ignore them more often than not.
- The Fallen even explicitly call the Guardians "ghouls." And that they're sent out "to murder our Primes, starve our ether, and leave our young to die gasping."
- Latex Space Suit: All Guardians start out with variants the same basic tight-fitting environmentally-sealed suit, with some class-specific accessories.note Later gear diverges, but all still maintain tight-fitting sealed undersuits beneath whatever else they have.
- Limit Break: All Guardians unlock their Super Abilities once their Subclass has reached level 4. What they do, vary on both your main class and subclass chosen.
- Mage Marksman: All Guardians qualify, to varying degrees courtesy of the Traveller's influence. Warlocks are just more up front about it.
- Magitek: Most Guardian equipment is fairly conventional, if advanced, technology. However, many of the more precious and rare examples are those which have built-in channels for the Guardian's own Light. As it is worn and fought in, the adaptive nature of the Light gradually improves it, building its legend and becoming powerful in ways that transcend the mundane.
- One-Man Army: Oftentimes Guardians will find themselves battling hordes of enemies alone. Even if you play alone without ever joining up with other Guardians, your character will singlehandedly kill thousands of enemies over the course of the story campaign. To hammer it home, one late-game mission has you assaulting the Cabal at the heart of their military strength in the Exclusion Zone, complete with multiple ambushes by hordes of Cabal soldiers, and you can singlehandedly shoot your way through all of them.
- Exemplified in Strikes and Raids. In the former, a small team of Guardians go up against terribly powerful enemies and slaughter their way through small armies of their defenders. In the latter, a small force of at most six Guardians (and in extreme cases, one superbly well-armed and badass Guardian) go up against colossal opponents and massive bosses in the heart of their power. The Crota's End Raid has you charging into the home of, challenging, and slaying a god of the Hive who personally killed thousands of Guardians in a single battle.
- The Paladin: What most Guardians are, although only Titans look the part.
- Player Character
- Purely Aesthetic Gender: The gender, and even the race, of the Guardian has no effect on gameplay. All it does is change your appearance, voice, and dance animation.
- The Quiet One: The main character is barely a step up from a Heroic Mime, having a mere handful of spoken lines throughout the story.
- Resurrective Immortality: Guardians seem to constantly come back from the dead, provided that their Ghost is still functioning. This point is driven home on the very first Moon Story Mission, where a Guardian is completely dead with his Ghost missing.
- Screw Destiny: Explicit in the final stage of the Vault of Glass raid, where you're fighting a Vex war machine that comes from multiple timelines where the Vex have achieved total victory. Once you gain the massive buff that lets you do tremendous damage and gain near-instant cooldowns, you get a new message: "Guardians make their own fate."
"Hunters once prowled the wilderness and wastelands, taking big risks for even bigger rewards. You're no outlaw—at least, not anymore—but making your own luck has always meant bending the rules. Your unique brand of daring and ingenuity is needed now more than ever."The "Masters of the Frontier," Hunters use both guns and swords.
- Action Fashionista: According to the description for the Dynamo Cloak, Hunters have 3 missions, protect the City, look better than Warlocks, but don't look like they are trying.
- Badass Cape: One that also functions as a hood.
- Bounty Hunter: The key influence on their design.
- Crutch Character: An odd example; The Hunter's "Golden Gun" Super is pretty decent in PvE, but is incredibly overpowered in PvP. Compared to most other Supers, the Golden Gun at minimum gets 3 shots that can instant kill, whereas a Warlock and Titan gets an AoE. Because of this, Gunslingers are this for PvP oriented Hunters: They'll be good at hunting down Guardians, but they'll lack a powerful punch during missions.
- Hunters are so favoured in PvP because of that, that you'll probably clear most Crucible bounties that require Hunter kills, than any other class.
- In the time since the game's launch however, the weaknesses of Golden Gun in PVP have become more apparent; unlike other supers, Golden Gun gives almost no armor, and it leaves the player a sitting duck when activating if they aren't in cover. This requires the player to plan in advance when to use it, and cannot be used as a quick desperation move. It's greatest strength is range, but often times in PVP players will find themselves in close quarters and can still be taken down fairly quickly if they aren't quick to aim. Unless the combustion perk is on, Golden gun has no AoE, so it's unlikely to get more than three kills, and it's much easier to miss and waste shots since it's still essentially bullets being fired. Compared to the other supers which give armor (Arc Blade and Radiance) and room clearing AoE attacks (like the Fist of Havoc and Nova Bomb) that are nigh impossible to dodge, Golden Gun might actually be seen as the most limited super in the game and is actually better used in PVE as a way to quickly take down tough shielded enemies like Wizards or take away a chunk of the boss's health.
- Arc Blade may be replacing Golden Gun as the go to PVP super of choice for Hunters. It makes the Hunter faster and much harder to kill, and also makes it incredibly easy to clear out an entire team trying to take a point in Control, with the addition of a shockwave, invisibility, or AoE attack.
- Fragile Speedster: Hunters begin the game with their agility stat nearly maxed out, and their defense stat at the bear minimum. This means you can run circles around the other classes, but can easily get one-shoted by attacks that will only wound the others. Averted once you max out their disciplines, with allow to make them anything from a Jack of All Stats to a full on Lightning Bruiser.
- Knife Nut: Their melee weapon and they can even throw it.
- The Gunslinger: One of the possible focuses. An ability named the Golden Gunnote , lets the user wield a powerful Hand Cannon that kill enemies in a single shot or two.
- In the Hood: Hunters take to wearing hoods to protect the sensitive sensor life-sustainer electronics in their masks from the elements.
- The Rival: Some of the Flavour Text on their gear suggests they see themselves as this to Warlocks. There is actually a secret guidebook on how to anger Warlocks.
- Sniper Rifle: Their special weapon of choice. If you chose a Hunter, the first mission gives you one as well.
- Space Western: While the game as a whole is Science Fantasy, this motif shows up in the Hunter class. They have a Gunslinger subclass and Bungie specifically lists Han Solo and the Man with No Name as inspirations for them.
- To hammer the point home the Hunter class leader is Malcolm Reynolds himself. In robot form.
"Warlocks have long studied the Traveler, mastering some of its arcane energies. Its true purpose still remains a great mystery, but discovering truth has always driven you into the unknown. Now, our enemies are the only thing that stands between you and the lost wonders of our Golden Age."The "mage" class, Warlocks gain their powers from the Traveler and improve them through study.
- Badass Bookworm: The Flavor Text of their items and Grimoire entries on Bungie.Net show the Warlocks are as interested in learning humanity's past as they are defending the present, and they are just as devoted to protecting humanity as Titans and Hunters.
- Badass Longcoat: Warlocks can be recognized by their long coats and rounded helmets. The coat gets longer as you get better and higher leveled gear.
- Critical Status Buff: The Sunsinger's signature Super. Your grenade and melee ability recharges way faster, you have additional buffs to your guns, and to top it all, you can have varying special effects to your Super, which are either actions or passives:
- Song Of Flame: Gives your teammates a slight buff when using your Super.
- Radiant Will: Reduces damage when using your Super, making you able to survive things that could otherwise kill you.
- Fireborn: Be reborn after dying, without having to respawn.
- Energy Ball: Both the Warlock's grenades and the Voidwalker special ability lets them throw a much more powerful void orb that consumes enemies. Their skill tree can vary the effect of it.
- Grenade Spam: Depending on how you manage your equipments stats and your skills, the Sunsinger can become this during their Super. The last skill for the Sunsinger lets you carry an additional grenade.
- Kill It with Fire: The Sunsinger Subclass' signature attacks.These are dark times. Humanity stands on the brink of extinction. We will carry fire into that darkness - a beacon to guide the way, and a pyre to consume our great enemy.
- Magical Guardian: Bungie states that their design is largely based on characters like Obi-Wan or Gandalf.
- Mage Marksman: They use both magic and guns.
- The Mario: Warlocks begin the game with all of their stats fairly even and balanced, especially compared to the other two. One you finished leveling them up, however, you can customize them to be anything from a Fragile Speedster to a Mighty Glacier.
- Master of None: Weapon-wise, they don't get any skill-bonuses to gunsnote , so if you favour weapons over your own skills, you probably shouldn't be a Warlock. On the other hand, Sunsinger averts this, by having a Super that causes buffs to you and all of your weapons.
- Squishy Wizard: Inverted, if anything. Despite being the game's mage class, Warlocks have average defense and infact generally have the highest recovery stat of any class, meaning that they will heal far faster than normal.
"The first Titans built the Wall, and gave their lives to defend it. Now, you stand in the same high place, steadfast and sure, protecting all who shelter in your shadow. You hail from a long line of heroes, forged from strength and sacrifice. Our enemies may be deadly and merciless, but so are you."The tank class. Titans specialize in armor and defense.
- Barrier Warrior: The Defender subclass, which specializes in protecting the Titan and his allies with Deflector Shields made of space-bending void energy.
- Big Book of War: The Titan Codexes, tomes containing wisdom and techniques of Titans past which become the basis for various schools of martial arts among modern Titans.
- The Big Guy: The largest and most imposing Guardian.
- Blood Knight: All of the Titan orders exalt valor in combat, but some of them take the ideal to its extreme. The Firebreak Order, for example, is known for being intentionally extremely aggressive.
- Dissonant Serenity: Some Titans find combat exhilarating, while others find it strangely calming. To quote the Ahiharnt greaves flavor-text:Some Titans speak of a transcendent state found only in battlefield success.
- Good Old Ways: Titan armor and mark designs are heavily bound in tradition. In fact many models of Titan armor are built in imitation of Golden Age designs even if they lack the same materials and manufacturing techniques. As the price of error could be fatal, proven designs tend to dominate.
- Ground Punch: Their arc super ability involves leaping into the air and driving a fist into the ground, causing heavy damage to nearby enemies.
- Knight In Shining Armour: There are high level sets of armour for the Titan (at least 4 of them) called Knight# which have a silver colour scheme by default.
- Lightning Bruiser: While they initially start out quite slow, they are capable of moving around just as fast as their Hunter and Warlock counterparts.
- Mighty Glacier: Titans begin the game with absurdly high defense and equally absurdly low agility. As with the other classes, once you finished leveling them out you have the option of making them a full-blown Lightning Bruiser.
- The Order: The Titans are arranged into a variety of orders depending on what philosophy and preferred aspect of war they embody.
- Power Fist: Their primary melee weaponry is built into their gauntlets and triggered by impact, either shocking opponents with crackling arc energy or disintegrating them with volatile void energy.
- Shoulders of Doom: A lot of Titan gauntlets come with pretty good shoulders.
- Space Marine: Bungie based the designs of this class on the modern Space Marine.
- Vertical Mecha Fins: Several makes of Titan armor involve fins or struts mounted on one side of the back and pointing upward. According to item descriptions, these originally served as heat sinks or mountings for external power units for their armor. The pace of technological advancement has rendered these fins obsolete, but they are often maintained for reasons of tradition or are components of an Ancestral Armor set.
- You Shall Not Pass: It's implied in item descriptions and the Grimoire that the Titans are the Guardians primarily responsible for holding the line at the Wall, and were the majority of fighters during the brutal Battle of Twilight Gap.
Humanity and Allied Forces
"This was our world, our Solar System. We were here first. And no matter what The Darkness brings, we will be here at the dawn."The natives of the Solar System, and therefore the ones most interested in rebuilding civilization.
Humans In General
- Advanced Ancient Humans: Sort of. The ancient extinct civilization the game begins after is implied to be our future, but their past. Subverted in that "modern" humans have weaponry augmented by the Traveler. Which makes sense, since earlier humans were wiped off the face of the Solar System with their own weaponry.
- Citadel City: The Last City has endured much. Now they're counting how many days it can still stand.
- Determinator: The defining characteristic of the current human generation. They have weathered the near-total destruction of their species, multiple sieges of their last City, and the loss of what is effectively their deity. But they endure and press on, determined to retake what was once theirs, against overwhelming odds. And bit by bit, they're succeeding; even the nihilists who believe that there is no hope for the future are still determined to go down shooting.
- Humans Are Special: The Traveler would certainly think so.There are those who believe the Traveler chose Earth for a reason. Now it is humanity's obligation to prove itself worthy of the Traveler's faith.
- Humans Are Survivors: literally, word-for-word, on their Grimoire card.Humans are survivors, tough and resilient, descended from those who built a Golden Age only to see it ripped away. Now, after an age of retreat and desperate struggle, they fight to take back their solar system and claim a new future.
- Humans Are Warriors: Their entire civilization has collapsed under the power of the Darkness. What they have now are the barest scraps of what was once their Golden Age. And, slowly but surely, humanity is pushing the Darkness back to reclaim what was theirs.
- Space Elves: Extended lifespans, far more advanced tech than their rivals, while being hampered by low population.
- Vestigial Empire: Originally, they were incredibly powerful thanks to the Traveler's Light and the technologies they developed from it. Hundreds of years after the fall, they're just now attempting to take back the vast amount of land that they lost, and are barely holding back the Darkness from their last outpost, the City.
- Rising Empire: What humans hope to become once more.
A mysterious object that appeared over the Earth in the distant past. Its appearance gave rise to hundreds of new technologies, and allowed the human race to expand their influence over the galaxy in a short period of time. However, some cataclysm caused most of what was gained to be lost, and the Traveler had to sacrifice some of its power in order to stop the threat from destroying all of humanity. However, the Traveler has not been destroyed; it stil remains as a protecting force over the last city on Earth, and grants power to those who will fight for it.
- Big Good: Is seen as this for humanity.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Subverted. No one knows why the Traveler is aiding humanity, and it's theorised that it may not be for a reason humanity can comprehend. As the Grimoire cards reveal, though, the truth is very simple - it's just a Sufficiently Advanced Alien that's nice and friendly enough to want to share its incredible powers with the less fortunate. Why, exactly, it helps particular species and not others may have a far more sinister reason behind it, though.
- Comes Great Responsibility: The real reason why it's helping the galaxy. When you're big round space-Jesus, using all that power for good becomes something of a moral obligation.
- Cosmic Entity: It's a big, round alien god which pays absolutely zero regard to the laws of physics. Fortunately, it's on our side. Unfortunately, its Evil Counterpart, the Darkness, isn't, and may be even more powerful.
- Covered In Scars: The Collapse was not kind to it - its once-immaculate surface is appallingly pitted and cracked.
- Crystal Dragon Jesus: It is this for multiple human (and alien) religions. Big round alien space Jesus died for your sins. Or, more accurately, its own sins, though it wasn't aware it was committing all of them at the time.
- Deus Est Machina/God/Sufficiently Advanced Alien: Possibilities on what this thing is. As many have noted in-universe, though, they really all amount to the same thing.
- Dudley Do-Right Stops to Help: It's been chased across the galaxy by the Darkness since time immemorial, but it never passes up an opportunity to lend a struggling infant civilisation a hand. This may be exactly what the Darkness is counting on.
- Eldritch Abomination: Nobody is able to comprehend what this thing is, though one Grimoire Card suggests that its moon-sized shell is something it's forced to carry around. It appears to be a good one, given its actions in the past. This is further rubbed in by the fact that HP Lovecraft's favourite couplet when describing his own abominations also happens to perfectly summarise the Traveler's current state:That is not dead which can eternal lie,/And with strange aeons even death may die.
- Functional Magic: It can grant special abilities to Guardians.
- Gentle Giant: Taken to an extreme - it's a friendly Sufficiently Advanced Alien that gives gifts of intelligence, longevity, reality-bending terraforming, and other things to whatever aliens it finds. It is also the size of a small moon.
- Heroic Sacrifice: At the end of the Golden Age, the Traveler apparently made some sort of sacrifice in order to stop the Darkness from completely wiping out humanity.
- Humble Hero: Civilisations across the galaxy have worshipped it as a god, but it's never tried to encourage them. It just wants to help. Since the Collapse, its disastrous attempt to take down the Darkness once and for all, humility appears to have morphed into active self-loathing.
- Last Stand: Our solar system is where it's chosen to play its last throw of the dice against the Darkness, standing and fighting against the monster that's pursued it for so long. It's already regretting the cost for its human friends.
- Light Is Good: This bright white object is what's been keeping the human race alive for hundreds of years.
- My God, What Have I Done?: According to various Grimoire cards, it's deeply cut up about the Collapse. Specifically, the actions that it took that led to the Collapse, and the actions that it took to survive the Collapse.
- Nice Guy: For a given value of 'guy,' and that's assuming it's not female. It's a Sufficiently Advanced Alien with a social conscience, dedicated to helping the helpless wherever it can find them. The trauma of the Collapse may have caused the niceness to rub off a little.
- That's No Moon!: People still aren't quite sure what it is, but they can agree that a moon it isn't.
- Plot Device: A shard of the Traveler was stolen by the Hive and used by them to teleport forces to Earth. You do get to free the piece and limit the battle with Hive on Earth.
- Reality Warper: It turned Mercury, a tiny, atmosphere-devoid ball of rock right next to the Sun with days half as long as its years, into a paradisical garden world. And it turned Venus into a jungle planet, while even managing to add in life. It's hard to list the number of ways in which these instances fail to make sense according to our present understanding of physics, chemistry, and biology.
- Samus is a Girl: Rasputin refers to the Traveler as 'she'. It's anyone's guess what his evidence is, but we can probably trust the superhumanly intelligent AI on this one.
- Starfish Aliens: It's a glowy white sphere the size of a small moon with the powers of a Physical God. It's hard to think of many ways an alien could be more alien.
- Unwitting Pawn: Terrifyingly, the 'Dreams of Alpha Lupi' Grimoire card ('Ghost Fragment: The Traveler 2') implies that the Darkness is driving the Traveler along a particular route in its eternal hunt, dictating which systems it visits and which civilisations it helps. It's not clear what it stands to gain from this, but the possibilities aren't encouraging in the slightest.
"The others sing this song of Light and Dark. We, together, have transcended such unimaginative limitations."The ethereal and aloof Awoken were once human, but were transformed by some unknown force back as they fled the Collapse.
- Blue Skinned Space Babe: Female Awoken can qualify as this. They have bluish-gray skin, and are exotically beautiful.
- The Fair Folk: An inspiration. While the influences of ghosts,vampires, and angels may be hard to see, (at first, anyway) older depictions of The Fair Folk are the most prominent.
- Our Monsters Are Different: They are influenced from a number of mythical creatures, according to Bungie.
- Transhuman: According to lore, they were originally humans that tried to flee Earth in the wake of the Collapse. During their exodus, something happened to them out in deep space that led to their being changed into the Awoken race.
- He Who Fights Monsters: A heroic version. They were reborn by the Darkness, but somehow managed to retain their Humanity and remain allied to Humans themselves.
"Ask yourself: what threatened your Golden Age ancestors so much that they constructed the Exos to defend themselves?"Robots built by humanity during the Golden Age. Much about them has been forgotten, even by themselves.
- Creepy Good: As far as the allied races go, this is certainly the most ominous-looking one.
- Grew Beyond Their Programming: They were apparently brought into sentience by a subroutine of some kind, called Deep Stone Crypt.
- Implacable Man: It is said that very little can stop them.
- Mecha-Mooks: In the past, they were war machines with a connection to the Warminds of old, Rasputin included.
- Mechanical Lifeforms: The Exos are a race of sentient machines designed for war in a long-forgotten conflict.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: One of the options players have when creating their Exo Guardian, although Bungie appears to have decided to go with blue eyes for canonical Exo characters.
- Ridiculously Human Robots: That they have human proportions makes sense given that they were built by humans to interact with a human-centric civilization, but that they are divided into male and female designs or that their personalities are practically indistinguishable from humans puts them right into this trope. There are many theories as to why, from excessively anthropocentric programming, to possible Brain Uploading and transhumanism, to being purely due to the Traveler's influence, but nothing is known for certain and even the Exos themselves do not remember.
- Throat Light: Like their eyes, their mouths show a light when open.
- Transhuman: One possible origin.
FrameRobots, non-sentient and more primitive than the Exo, built to serve the City. While they can be used for combat, they appear to be mostly used for labor, (Such as janitorial duties) heavy lifting, and running services for guardians such as shops.
- Tin-Can Robot: Decidedly more mechanical-looking than Exo, though they keep the humanoid shape.
- Mecha-Mooks: There is evidence that they are used in combat as well as labor, such as older trailers where they hold weapons or some Grimore cards referring to them being used in the battle of the Twilight Gap.
- Non-Player Character: Can easily be found in the Tower, doing various jobs.
- Robot Maid: At least one of them is seen sweeping the Tower.
Voiced by Peter Dinklage
"In its dying breath, the Traveler created the Ghosts to seek out those who can wield its Light as a weapon—Guardians—to protect us and do what the Traveler itself no longer can."Flying robotic drone companions that accompany Guardians and serve multiple functions such as navigation, hacking computers, opening doors, and other useful tasks.
- The Chooser Of The Many: Ghosts choose who to fill with their Light, raising new Guardians and becoming bonded to them in the process. These can be living or unliving people, and the exact criteria by which they choose Guardians is known only to the Ghosts themselves. They are not infallible though, and on rare occasions a Ghost chooses poorly.
- Deadpan Snarker: More common in earlier trailers, the characterization has become less snarky in the final release, though he still has his moments.
- Demoted to Extra: He has plenty of lines in the base story, acting as an Exposition Fairy. In The Dark Below, your Ghost is always present but has no lines.
- Do Any Thing Robot: They're able to resurrect people from the dead to have them serve as Guardians, interface with technology, fly starships, summon vehicles, be a deadpan snarker, become a flashlight, you name it...
- Embarrassing Nickname: The particular Ghost you're traveling with is not very fond of being called "Little Light".Ghost: Can't we stay here with all of the murderous robots?
Guardian: No... Little Light.
Ghost: Don't do that.
- Enigmatic Empowering Entity: The science surrounding Light is still barely understood, and the Ghosts are not sharing when it comes to how they fill people with it to raise them into Guardians. It is possible the Ghosts themselves only know on an instinctual level. They are after all only fragments of a much more vast intelligence.
- Exposition Fairy: Floats by your side and offers commentary, often being the one to tell you something about the world around you and where you should go next. The player character will occasionally speak back, but only in cutscenes.
- Fairy Companion: If Mechanical Lifeform Sufficiently Advanced Alien Pieces of God can be considered fairies.
- Final Death: While Ghosts can self-repair and have no such thing as a natural lifespan, they can be "killed" if their Light is drained away. Each one that dies in this way is an irreplaceable loss.
- Master of Unlocking: While the Ghosts are noted to be able to do pretty much anything, their primary purpose in story missions and strikes is to unlock doors. Lampshaded by Eris Morn during the "Will of Crota" strike:Eris Morn: With it's dying breath, the Traveler created the Ghosts...to open doors.
- Our Angels Are Different: Functionally, they're little robot space angels created to help humanity and carry out the divine will of big robot space God.
- Pieces of God: Each Ghost is a fragment of the Traveler, formed and detached with the last of its strength, and each one carries a fragment of the Traveler's intelligence and power. However, because it is only a fragment, it lacks the Traveler's full strength and memory. Much of that strength gets passed in turn to a Guardian, who can grow it further, becoming a vessel for the Traveler's Light.
- Meaningful Name: It's almost certainly not a coincidence that the name used by many American Christian denominations for the part of the Holy Trinity that directly carries out the will of heaven on Earth is the 'Holy Ghost'. See Our Angels Are Different above.
- Non-Human Sidekick: To Guardians.
- Robot Buddy: Their role is to find a Guardian to pair with and invest them with the Traveler's Light.
- Mechanical Lifeforms: While they are built from machinery and Light, the unusual properties of Light give them characteristics that are more closely associated with a living being. They are fully intelligent and self-aware agents, and like living beings they can die.
"The Awoken didn't have a choice. We did."The inhabitants of the Jovian worlds beyond the inner asteroid belt. Like the Awoken, they were once human, but were more radically altered. They are ruled by the Nine, which are...something. Not a playable race, but friendly to both the Last City and the Reef. Most of our information about them comes from Xûr, Agent of the Nine (see below).
- Ambiguously Human/Humanoid Abomination/Was Once a Man: According to Xûr, the Jovians were altered in a manner similar to the Awoken. However, the Awoken were changed without any choice in the manner, while Xûr says that the Jovians did have a choice. He also implies that he was made of cells from various beings, some of them from Earth.
- Fictional Currency: While the City and the Reef use glimmer, the Jovians appear to use Strange Coins, which are really hard to find.
Residents of the Tower
The Speaker, the Voice of the Traveler
Voiced by Bill Nighy
"Until it wakes and finds its voice, I am the one who speaks for the Traveler."An anonymous combination scholar, oracle, and high-priest, the Speaker is a position held by one who conceals their face behind a mask and keeps constant watch on the Traveler to interpret its will and speak for it.
- Big Good: If the Traveler can be considered a Bigger Good, then the Speaker can be considered this.
- The Faceless: Nobody knows just what is behind his mask. Eris Morn implies that she might know, though.
- Everyone Calls Him The Speaker: "The Speaker" is the name of his position and role in The City. His actual name and face are by tradition kept deliberately anonymous.
- High Priest: The Speaker has been compared to a High Priest in the Grimoire.
- Man in White: Wears a white robe and white mask.
- Mouth of Sauron: The good version, he describes himself as the voice of the Traveler until it awakens.
Commander Zavala, Titan Vanguard
Voiced by Lance ReddickThe Awoken leader of the Vanguard and overall commander of the City's standing forces, he mentors Titans who come to him.
- Bald Blue Leader Guy: Keeps his hair perpetually shaved and is voiced by Lance Reddick.
- Commanding Coolness: A Titan with a the bearing of a professional military officer and campaign ribbons on his armor who is in overall command of the City's standing forces.
- Offered the Crown: Of a hypothetical crown; Executor Hideo's dialogue says that he'd make Zavala New Monarchy's candidate for king, but Zavala is uninterested, saying Earth had enough kings during the Dark Age after the Collapse.
- Straight Man: Serves as this to Cayde-6 and, to a lesser extent, Ikora Rey.
Cayde-6, Hunter Vanguard
Voiced by Nathan FillionAn Exo who loves the open frontier, the loss of a bet has resulted in him being stuck behind the Vanguard table in the Tower, where he coordinates the intelligence efforts of City agents in the field and outfits Hunters who visit him.
- Deadpan Snarker: He teases Warlock players about getting lost in the library of (their) minds on occasion and some of his patrol dialogue is a lighter version of this.
- Desk Jockey: Much to his displeasure, but he fulfills it out of a strong sense of duty.
- Friendly Sniper: Implied to be this before he had to leave the front line. Hunters are the sniper class, and Cayde is still very friendly despite going embittered and stir-crazy about his (self-imposed) confinement.
- Lovable Rogue: As befitting the mentor of the 'Han Solo' class, he's the Tower's resident troublemaker and class clown, with an irreverent attitude and a smartmouthed quip for every situation and a rather... direct approach to problem-solving.
- Sad Clown: He's most at home on the open frontier, and he keeps acting out because he's going stir-crazy staying cooped up in the Tower.
- Violence Really Is the Answer: In-universe, this is why the Cryptarch is now more generous with engrams - Cayde 'asked him to decode' a sack of doorknobs.
Ikora Rey, Warlock Vanguard
Voiced by Gina TorresA one-time lone wandering Guardian, Ikora returned from the wild with her knowledge heavily tempered by practical experience and her temperament extremely even. Her esteem among several different Warlock schools made her the logical choice to represent them among the Vanguard.
- The Archmage: The highest representative of all the Warlock schools and serving as their mouthpiece and will on the Vanguard, the upper command of the City's defensive forces.
- Bald Women: Technically, it's just a very close-cropped haircut, but the visual effect is the same, making her look appropriately alien and mystical for her job.
- Deadpan Snarker: Not nearly to the same extent as Cayde, but she gets a few good lines off, with Zavala mostly serving as their Straight Man.
- Older Than They Look: She had a shotgun during the Golden Age, so she must be much older than she looks, probably in her hundreds.
- The Spymaster: In addition to leading the Warlocks in deciphering lore, Ikora also oversees the Hidden, a group of Guardians tasked with penetrating enemy strongholds for intelligence gathering.
- Weapon of Choice: Invective, one of the Exotic Shotguns in the game.
Lord Shaxx, Crucible Handler
"Earn your honor, Guardian."A veteran of the battle of the Twilight Gap, Shaxx's experiences there convinced him that the City was too unprepared to repel a direct attack should the Traveler's protection falter. Thus, he created the Crucible, a series of tournaments and battles that pit Guardians against one another in combat that they may be sharpened by the experience.
- British Accents: For a Titan that's always bigger than you and dresses like a viking, his light, soft British accent is a little... incongruous.
- Combat Commentator: Comments on the Guardians' matches as the continue. Doing good? He'll commend your bravery. Failing miserably? He'll demand that you fight back at once. Winning? He'll indulge in the carnage...
- Hero of Another Story: During the Battle of the Twilight Gap, Shaxx led a counterattack against the Fallen that drove them back from the Wall of the City.
- In Love with Your Carnage: If your team is winning, he'll throw some rather interesting dialogue your way.Shaxx: The Crucible is no place for mercy!
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: A couple of foundry representatives tried to bribe him to set up fixed Crucible matches. At their arranged clandestine meet, he told them exactly where they could shove their money, then turned around and blackmailed them into sponsoring Guardians as they fight by threatening to expose their efforts and ruin their foundry's reputation.
Lakshmi-2, Future War Cult Faction Rep
Voiced by Shohreh Aghdashloo
"War is our fate. Can you learn to love it?"An enigmatic Exo, Lakshmi is full of secrets that she only divulges to those who ascend into the mysteries of the Future War Cult. Those who can get past her rather brutal philosophy of endless struggle have found her to be otherwise excellent company.
- Affably Evil: Those who know Lakshmi say that once you get past her bloody philosophy, she's actually very good company.
- Alphabetical Theme Naming: All of their weapons start with a "The C." The Chance, The Calling, The Crash, The Culling...
- Their new weapons in House of Wolves all start with "The F-", as in The Fulcrum, The Frenzy, and The Fear. All we need now are W's.
- The Anti-Nihilist: A more-bloodthirsty-than-usual example. Lakshmi and the FWC's philosophy can be summed up as follows - war is eternal, peace is a fool's hope, and the enemies we're up against will probably kill us... so hey, let's go out in style.
- Blood Knight: The Future War Cult's philosophy is simple - peace is an illusion and war is the only constant, so grab your gun, get blasting, and have fun whilst doing it.
- Church Militant: The Cult take this to a logical extreme - they preach a future of eternal warfare, and want to get in on the ground floor ASAP.
- Despair Event Horizon: She and her Cult aren't over yet, but are circling the drain. They managed to get their hands on a Vex parallel-universe viewer, and they still haven't found a timeline where humanity doesn't get obliterated. It's had a predictable effect on their morale and philosophy.
- The Extremist Was Right: Critics dismiss Future War Cult as being too bloodthirsty in its claims that the Darkness is coming back and humanity has to fight it. The only problem is that FWC is actually right: the Darkness is returning, and it's gunning for humanity.
- Highly Conspicuous Uniform: The Future War Cult is one of the most overtly militant factions, and their uniforms are primarily bright blue or purple with large areas of red and yellow highlights for contrast.
- Killer Robot: Exos were built for war, and she delights in that fact.
- Really 700 Years Old: Like many Exos, Lakshmi has seen her fair share of history; she has a seemingly endless trove of war stories to tell her followers, and certain dialogue indicates that she was around in the post-Collapse Dark Age.
- The Storyteller: Lakshmi has seen hundreds of battles, and loves to tell stories about them.
- War Is Glorious: It's the Cult's founding principle, and Lakshmi has no end of tales of past battles to stir the blood of prospective recruits.
Arach Jalaal, Dead Orbit Faction Rep
Voiced by Peter Stormare
"A younger world awaits, skies that never have been scarred by the Fallen or the Hive."An Awoken with dreams of the stars, Jalaal is an Arach of the Dead Orbit, and fears that if humanity does not make a voyage from the solar system of its birth than it will surely be destroyed if the Darkness returns.
- Badass Normal: His objective is to turn humanity into this, prospering through their own strength rather than through divine assistance. Slightly ironic, seeing as he's an Awoken.
- Chiaroscuro: Invoked symbolically in Dead Orbit's choice of contrasting black and white colors, representing humanity leaving the Traveler's shadow.
- The Fundamentalist: Funnily enough for the representative of the closest thing the Tower's got to a militant atheist Faction. Jalaal is uncompromising in his beliefs, and evangelizes about humanity's future among the stars with the fervour of the most frothy-mouthed of street preachers.
- Large Ham: He is extremely enthusiastic about his dreams of spreading humanity out among the stars, and this is reflected in much of his dialogue.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: One way to look at Dead Orbit.
- Screw You, Elves!: Dead Orbit's philosophy. Humanity should learn to stand on its own, without the meddling of alien gods, because the Collapse showed the limits of the Traveler's ability to protect mankind and they suspect that it might have even led the Darkness to them.
- Straw Nihilist: Their critics like to portray Dead Orbit as this in-universe, but in truth, while they are a bit pessimistic, there are strong, positive principles under all that cynicism. It's telling that Jalaal chastises the New Monarchy for offering false hope... and the Future War Cult for offering no hope at all.
- Unwitting Pawn: Factions are selected to have a presence in the Tower according to how useful the Vanguard's leadership believes they'll be for assisting with the Guardians' mission. In other words, the servants of the Traveler are of the opinion that a fanatical anti-Traveler political party is exactly what they need to lend them a hand. Jalaal is, of course, blissfully unaware of this.
Executor Hideo, New Monarchy Faction Rep
"If the Speaker won't take charge of the Consensus, then we'll have to do it ourselves."An industrial magnate of the City's foundries and well-known philanthropist, Hideo has become convinced that the City needs stronger leadership that the Speaker and less factionalism if it is to survive the trials everyone can feel coming. Thus, he has turned his resources to forwarding the cause of the New Monarchy, and seeks out Guardians to champion it.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: The Seven Tenets of the New Monarchy are mostly feelgood platitudes about defending the City from aliens, fostering technological development, defending human rights, and so on... and then you get to number seven, where they promise to have the Consensus, the City's legislature, vote to disband itself and transfer its powers to a single dictator-for-life.
- Democracy Is Bad: While the Consensus isn't an entirely democratic legislaturenote a big drive for the New Monarchy is a sense that the democratic process has failed the City too many times, and when the Darkness returns it may be too indecisive to properly protect it.
- The Good King: Believes humanity is in desperate need of this to unite it. New Monarchy propaganda does stress that the 'monarchy' they want is more a collective unity of purpose, but its critics do question whether Hideo might have someone very specific in mind for the embodiment of this collective will. He does, but surprisingly, it's not himself - it's Commander Zavala of the Vanguard.
- Honest Corporate Executive: Built himself a reputation as this, though some have wondered if it still holds true now he's leader of the New Monarchy. See Uncle Pennybags below.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: Part of New Monarcy's propaganda displays them as the faction fighting to protect the City and restore the Golden Age, as opposed to Dead Orbit's stated goal to abandon Earth, and Future War Cult's "fight for the sake of fighting" motive for war.
- Order Versus Chaos: The New Monarchy set themselves up as the defenders of order, rising above the infighting and factionalism of the City to present a unified front against the Darkness. Others wonder whose order it might be, and what they might have to sacrifice for it. There's a reason they're only one Faction of many.
- Red Is Heroic: The New Monarchy chose their red-and-white color scheme for this reason.
- Uncle Pennybags: He used to be a famous and beloved philanthropist, and still characterizes himself as such, only with more of an eye on the big picture. Others, however, have noted that the origins and direction of his cashflow have become increasingly hard-to-determine in recent years, leading to wonder where, exactly, it's coming from and going.
- We ARE Struggling Together: He created the New Monarchy to stand against this tendency within humanity, unifying the warring Factions into a single unified purpose. Ironically, his party has only contributed further to the problem, becoming yet another player in the City's great game.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: A charitable interpretation of his Faction, with their romantic idealization of The Good King as a concept and their unique optimism about humanity's odds on restoring its Golden Age.
- The Cynic: Interestingly New Monarchy Zig Zags between both positions, depending on which side of the coin they are looking at. While their goals of uniting the city under The Good King are idealistic in the extreme, their belief that Democracy Is Bad and methods for ending it are extremely cynical.
Kadi 55- 30
Kadi 55-30, PostmasterA Frame that acts as the postmaster for the Tower, Kadi has a somewhat worried personality matrix.
- Beleaguered Bureaucrat: Always trying faithfully to tend the mail, but had to deal with joke packages, packages for people who are not officially recognized by the Tower, and packages for warlocks that have a habit of floating away from their shelves.
- Catch Phrase: "... oh dear." She has a lot of reason to say it.
- Verbal Tic: Has a tendency to sometimes repeat words, making it sounds like she has a bit of a stutter."All done, all done."
Master Rahool, CryptarchOne of the City's Crypto-Archaeologists, Rahool's insatiable hunger to study history has brought him to the Tower where he can be the first to see, study, and catalog new items that Guardians bring in from the frontier.
- Absent-Minded Professor: He's not completely tethered to reality, going off on odd little tangents at the slightest provocation. It was the in-game explanation for his once-notorious habit of short-changing Guardians on Engrams.
- Adventure Archaeologist: Downplayed. While he does not go out adventuring, he prefers to be at the Tower where the Guardians can be found instead of at the Cryptarch's Archives, since that is where he is best positioned to get the first look at artifacts coming back from the wild and talk to the Guardians who found them about the adventures they had getting them.
Tess Everis, Special Orders
Voiced by Claudia BlackA "fixer" of a sort, Tess is known for her wide web of connections and abilities to procure unusual goods. She has a kiosk in the Tower from which she can get Guardians special orders not found anywhere else.
- The Fixer: She can get almost anything for the right price.
Amanda Holliday, ShipwrightThe daughter of traveling pilgrims, Holliday learned mechanical maintenance from a young age as a necessity, and when she settled in the City her expertise won her a senior position repairing and refurbishing jumpships and other vehicles.
Voiced by John Dimaggio
"They say Exos don't dream... but are they dreams, or memories?"An Exo soldier who saw too much during his long existence and has the damage-repair seams to prove it. His numerous resets have kept him functional after all this time, but his vast memory is fragmented and even he has trouble sifting it. Never the less, his experience with guns is second to none, and he spends his days building and repairing weapons used by Guardians.
- Guttural Growler: Even by John Dimaggio's standards, Banshee-44 is deep and raspy.
- Old Soldier: Exos may not age, but that does not mean they are immune to the wear-and-tear that comes with hard combat and time, and Banshee has been through plenty of both. The numeric suffix for his name is the amount of times he has had to be rebooted since activation, often after extensive repairs, and he bears the scars both physical and cognitive of this.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: His long experiences in combat spanning centuries and repeated repairs and reboots have left his memory fragmented and partial. Things he senses sometimes bring those memory fragments to the fore, sometimes people he sees remind him of people he has lost, etc. However, his expertise with weapons and their maintenance has stayed, even if he sometimes cannot remember where he saw a particular example.
Roni 55- 30
Roni 55-30, Vanguard QuartermasterA well composed Frame, Roni functions as the quartermaster for the Vanguard. He remains unflappable, despite Cayde-6's attempts to produce a reaction.
- The Stoic: Despite Cayde's better efforts, Roni has not shown any emotional reaction.
Arcite 99- 40
Arcite 99-40, Crucible QuartermasterA former combat frame under the control of Lord Shaxx, Arcite has long since been repurposed into assisting Shaxx's with some of the more clerical parts of managing the Crucible. While he has been demilitarized, he retains his memories and some of his programming as a combat frame, and carries the personality that comes with it.
- Jerkass: In a sharp contrast to the rest of the Frames, who are calm, polite, and helpful, he likes to insult the Guardians he serves and jerk them around with fake technical glitches. Apparently, Shaxx was a bad influence.
- What Measure Is a Non-Badass?: Arcite is disdainful of Guardians who have yet to prove themselves in combat. This is partly due to Shaxx's influence, partly due to his own experiences during the battle of the Twilight Gap.
Lord Saladin, Iron Banner RepA Titan who lead City forces during the Battle of the Twilight Gap, Saladin Forge is now the handler of the Iron Banner, a Crucible event held to honor the Iron Lords. He appears during the Iron Banner limited time events.
- Bling of War: Much of the armor offered by the Iron Banner is plated with silver and gold (or at least has metamaterial shaders mimicking such) engraved with a Animal Motifs of Savage Wolves. Saladin himself models some of the Titan gear they can offer.
- Incendiary Exponent: The titular Iron Banner is literally an big round iron banner that also happens to be on fire.
- Macho Masochism: A big believer that one needs to endure suffering to understand triumph.
- The Mentor: He's the mentor of Commander Zavala and Lord Shaxx. While he's still on good terms with Zavala, his relationship with Shaxx has been frosty since the Twilight Gap.
- Old Master: Though how old he is exactly is hard to determine given he does not show his face and the fact that he is a guardian complicates the issue, but he was old enough to have trained Zavala and Shaxx and is still spry enough to comfortably wear his heavy armor. Then again, Guardians don't seem to physically age...
Eris Morn, Crota's Bane
"I am Eris... the last. I have seen what the Hive call a god."A Hunter who joined a fireteam lead by Eriana-3 to attempt to kill Crota, she was the only one to survive the mission, but only after spending years in the Hellmouth. She has returned to the City to warn them about the return of Crota, one of their most feared enemies.
- Aloof Ally: Not entirely by choice: the time she spent hiding among the Hive has led to many of her fellow Guardians shunning her, for fear of her being corrupted by the Darkness. Still, there's the matter of her plotting with the Queen of the Reef and her brother in complete secrecy, even if it's to secure allies against the Hive.
- Cassandra Truth: Most assume that the only reason she raves on and on about Crota coming back is because her time on the moon snapped her mind completely, but she knows better, and has called in experienced Guardians like you to help her prove it and save humanity. While she may not be getting through to the Speaker, Commander Zavala, and Cayde-6, Ikora Rey believes that the threat of Crota's return is genuine, frequently seeking Eris's advice on the Hive.
- Casting Gag: Her voice actor also did the voices of Hive Wizards and Thralls. She actually got the role of Eris because of it!
- Creepy Good: She has the looks and mannerisms of a human-shaped Hive Wizard, and it's obvious that her time in the Hellmouth has taken an enormous toll on her mind and body, but she's still a devoted ally to the Traveler and the Vanguard.
- Determinator: Lived for years in the subterranean tunnels of the Moon after the raid gone wrong, surviving by 'using the shadows as the Hive do.' Not days, nor weeks, nor months - years.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Appears to be a result of both not getting much sunlight in the Hellmouth, and of her obvious ill-health.
- Extra Eyes: She appears to have replaced her original eyes with a set of Hive cybernetics, giving her the iconic three glowing lights under her bandages.
- Eye Scream: Given the three glowing Hive eyes under her bandage, plus the black substance leaking from there, Eris probably lost her eyes in the Hellmouth. She is also very fixated on getting the eyes of the Forsaken.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Subverted. The Tower's premier anti-Hive agent may look a great deal like a human disciple of their Religion of Evil herself, but despite all that she's gone through, she still knows what side she's on and is nothing but helpful to her fellow Guardians. The only lessons she's taken from the Hive are either useful or her problem rather than anyone else's. Her voice actor does describe her as having an "odd reverence" for them, though.
- It's Personal: Crota "took everything" from her. She wants revenge.
- Kill the God: Her greatest desire is to kill the Hive gods. With Crota dead, she's moving on to the biggest and baddest of the Hive pantheon: Oryx.
- Meaningful Name: Eris is the Greek goddess of strife and discord. "Morn" sounds a lot like "mourn", which is fitting considering her teammates, but it's also part of "morning", when light returns from darkness.
- The Power of Hate: Openly admits that it's most of what still keeps her going.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: She spent months crawling out of the Hellmouth without a Ghost after seeing her closest friends slaughtered. It shows.
- Sickly Green Glow: Her Light produces this, underlining how badly her time in the Hellmouth has warped her.
- Sole Survivor: She and five others descended into the Hellmouth. Only she came back out.
- Tears of Blood: Or something black and tarry-looking, anyways.
- You Are What You Hate: Despite her hate for the Hive, she seems to have adopted some of their traits and powers.
Kabr, the Legionless
"No one can open the Vault alone. I opened the Vault. There was no one with me but I was not alone."A Titan and the first Guardian to enter the Vault of Glass. Maybe. He destroyed his own mind trying to fight the Vex alone, and ultimately disappeared. His legacy, however, still lingers.
- Mad Oracle: No thanks to the Vex.I have destroyed myself to do this. They have taken my Ghost. They are in my blood and brain. But now there is hope.
- One-Man Army: Subverted - though he's a Titan, that doesn't mean he entered the Vault and fought through everything there alone.
- Posthumous Character: He's long gone by the time you enter the Vault yourself.
- Ret Gone: It's heavily implied that this happened to the rest of his squad who accompanied him into the Vault. It's also implied that the mental conflict between knowing he entered alone and remembering that there were others with him is what drove him insane. It might have also happened to him, considering his disappearance.Kabr: Now it is done. If I speak again, I am not Kabr.
- Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: unfortunately.
- Ultimate Blacksmith: He's the one who created the Aegis, forging it out of his own Light and the Vex themselves. It's ultimately the one thing that lets you pass through the Vault of Glass and destroy Atheon.
Pahanin ErrataA Hunter who created Super Good Advice, and became terrified of being alone after what happened to Kabr.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Though not to the extent of Toland, if his quote for the Octopus Cloak is anything to go by:Pahanin: If human extinction seems imminent, try to relax. You're just giving cephalopods a shot.
- Hates Being Alone: Created a sentient, (allegedly) talking weapon due to his terror at being alone. Implicitly, this was because he knew Kabr and something about his Fall left Pahanin paranoid.
- Sanity Slippage: Implied to have happened after the Fall of Kabr - compare his quote for Cloud Cuckoo Lander with the quote below. He seems visibly traumatized by something...Pahanin: His name was Kabr. He wasn’t my friend but I knew and respected him as a Guardian and a good man. He fought the Vex alone. This destroyed him. In the time before he vanished he said things that I think should be remembered. These are some of them: In the Vault time frays and a needle moves through it. The needle is the will of Atheon. I do not know the name of the shape that comes after the needle. No one can open the Vault alone. I opened the Vault. There was no one with me but I was not alone. You will meet the Templar in a place that is a time before or after stars. The stars will move around you and mark you and sing to you. They will decide if you are real. I drank of them. It tasted like the sea.” That is all I can remember.
- Weapon of Choice: Super Good Advice, his customized bullethose of an HMG. In a weird way, it reflects his probable mindset, talking to assuage his fears of being alone, spraying out a lot of bullets at high fire rate at a moment's notice, making it a great weapon to have when panicking.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Murdered by Dredgen Yor using Thorn.
"Yours. Not mine."A lone Hunter who wandered into the town of Palamon and changed it forever.
- Badass: It takes a certain kind of man to calmly stare down nine gunmen and make them put their weapons down through sheer intimidation.
- A Father to His Men: It's implied that he saw Shin and the other members of his group as his own kids.
- The Gunslinger: Like all Hunters.
- Post-Mortem One-Liner:Magistrate Loken: Those gonna be your last words then, boy?
[Jaren shoots Loken]
Jaren: Yours. Not mine.
- Vigilante Man: Shoots dead the tyrannical Magistrate Loken, freeing Palamon from his influence.
- Weapon of Choice: The Last Word, a Hand Cannon with a striking resemblance to the archetypal Wild Western revolver.
Shin MalphurA "renegade" Hunter who was never raised from the dead by a Ghost, but instead seems to have taken on the mantle of Guardian independently. A former resident of Palamon.
- Badass Normal: Let's restate the synopsis - never raised from the dead, took on the mantle of Guardian anyway, and killed a Guardian corrupted by the Darkness. Damn.
- Conveniently an Orphan: His biological parents were killed by Fallen Dregs. The "father" he refers to in the Grimoire is a Palamon resident who raised him.
- Ironic Echo: "Yours, not mine." Jaren Ward's Post-Mortem One-Liner to the Magistrate of Palamon in reference to his Weapon of Choice, now echoed by the man facing down Jaren's killer while wielding the same weapon.
- Take Up My Sword: He wielded The Last Word, which previously belonged to the Guardian Jaren Ward, who was both friend and father figure to the young Shin. When Dredgen Yor killed Jaren, Shin apparently inherited the weapon, along with his Ghost.
Dredgen YorA once-heroic Guardian who gave in to pride and temptation and was corrupted by the Darkness as a result.
- The Dreaded: His name is still remembered with disgust and shame.
- Fallen Hero: He was once a heroic man, brimming with Light. Then he fell to the darkness, let his revolver become Thorn, massacred Palamon, and was shot dead by Shin Malphur.Dredgen: Same meat. Same bone. But so very different.
- Hero Killer: Murdered Pahanin. Heavily implied to have done the same to Jaren Ward.
- That Man Is Dead: He gave up his original name when he became Dredgen Yor.
- Then Let Me Be Evil: Before his fall, he'd already been hearing the Darkness whispering in his ear for some time. His last thought before becoming Yor was a hope that he'd be remembered for what he used to be, instead of what he'd become.
- Weapon of Choice: Thorn, a Hand Cannon corrupted by the Darkness and Hive magic, the spiritual opposite to The Last Word.
Saint-14An Exo Titan and early Guardian who lead a crusade against the Fallen. Original owner of the Helm of Saint-14.
- Aliens Are Bastards: He believed that the Darkness was an armada of invading aliens who were rejected by the Traveler for their sins.
- Cool Helmet: The Helm of Saint-14. The unique perk blinds enemies who walk into a Titan's Ward of Dawn.
- Horrible Judge of Character: His recommendation is what convinced the Speaker to appoint Osiris as Vanguard Commander. This may have been a poor choice.
- Use Your Head: Reportedly caved in a Fallen Kell's skull by head butting it.
"Perhaps what drives a Warlock to madness is truth."A renowned Warlock and former Vanguard Commander who became an expert on both the Hive and the Vex, with the ultimate goal of understanding the Darkness itself. His quest for knowledge led to a cult of personality developing around him, with many other Guardians choosing to follow his ideals rather than the ideals of the Tower. This ideological division led to his exile and ultimate disappearance. He is still remembered by the Disciples of Osiris, who seek Guardians to compete in the Trials of Osiris.
- Ancient Egypt: Besides his name being the same as the Egyptian God of the Dead, this is a definite theme with the armor available in the Trials of Osiris, with the Warlock hood being modeled on Anubis and the Titan helm being modeled on Ra.
- The Exile: He was exiled for "coming too close to understanding the Vex". A lot of the Trials of Osiris gear has a "Noun of the Exile" Theme Naming. Apparently, the Disciples of Osiris are still a little pissed off with the Speaker over it.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: Implied to be why he was exiled, though it doesn't appear to have been to the extent of Toland's madness.
- His Grimoire Card indicates he was starting to ask a lot of uncomfortable questions about the relationship between Guardians and Ghosts and the Traveler, and that his madness may have stemmed from coming too close to the truth.
- Never Found the Body: The Speaker has sent out dozens of Ghosts looking for any sign of Osiris. The Ghosts come back saying alternately that he's dead, that he's managed to penetrate the Vex conflux network, etc. No one has any idea if he's alive.
"Yes, we've achieved the objective. And the next. And the...were we supposed to stop attacking?"A powerful Titan with a particular enthusiasm for melee combat. Wei Ning participated in the ill-fated battle to retake the Moon from the Hive, and was personally slain by Crota for it. Her death drove her close friend Eriana-3 into a revenge-fueled bloodlust.
- Action Girl: One of the premier examples of this in Destiny lore.
- Attack! Attack! Attack!: As the above quote indicates, "stop attacking" never occurs to her.
- Bare-Fisted Monk: Very fond of punching her enemies. She apparently named her right fist "The Last and Surest Argument".Pahanin Errata: So I ask Wei Ning: what about the Darkness itself? What then? And she says: "I'll punch it too."
- Bear Hug: Her hugs were exceptionally dangerous, based on the description of her signature chest armor.
- Blood Knight: Oh yes.Spearhead Type 0 Leg Armour: "Evade the Cabal counterattack? My friend, they're finally sending us something worth killing."
Toland the Shattered
"I am so terribly curious to know."Once an esteemed Warlock, Toland somehow communed with the Darkness, causing him to completely lose his mind and create the Bad Juju rifle. Being an expert on the Hive, he was recruited by Eriana-3 and Eris Morn for their ill-fated assault on the Hellmouth, and presumably died there.
- Admiring the Abomination: He was very fascinated by the Deathsong of Ir Yût, and joined the fireteam in the hopes of learning more about it.
- Gibbering Genius: It's clear he understood something about the Darkness and its place in the universe, but the way he went about explaining it is... less than coherent.
- Hearing Voices: He heard the Darkness speaking to him. That couldn't have been good for his mind.Eris: And how do you know this?
Toland: It was told to me.
Eris: By the Speaker?
Toland: By the Darkness itself.
- Ignored Expert: He tried to warn the Vanguard not to send the army to retake the Moon.
- Keeper of Forbidden Knowledge: He knew the Hive better than anyone. This may have been a bad thing. After all, the Tower doesn't exile Guardians for no reason...
- These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know/Go Mad from the Revelation: It's implied that this happened to him.
- Tome of Eldritch Lore: Toland's journal is treated as this. After getting the schematics for Bad Juju, Banshee-44 gives it to Ikora Rey for "containment".
- Uncertain Doom: Eris was the only person to return from the Hellmouth, so Toland is probably dead. The thing is, his ultimate fate is never mentioned or even implied, as opposed to the rest of Eris's fireteam.
- Weapon of Choice: Bad Juju, an Exotic Pulse Rifle that has some Hive magic in it.
- You're Insane!: According to the Grimoire cards, his teammates believed he was.Omar: He's mad.
"He killed my friends face to face, one by one, and he relished it. In the name of all those lost I devote myself to his utter destruction."A Warlock and survivor of the disastrous attempt to retake the Moon from the Hive, Eriana escaped with a deeply rooted hunger for vengeance. The first to learn of Crota's name and of the dead universe he calls home, she was the leader of Eris's ill-fated fireteam.
- The Atoner: She is aware that she is crossing some lines in her campaign to destroy Crota.Eriana-3: If I transgress in your eyes I ask for your forgiveness.
- Catch Phrase: "My name is Eriana-3, disciple of the Praxic Warlocks, marked by the Cormorant Seal."
- Dying Moment of Awesome: If the item Heart of the Praxic Fire applies to her, this is how she went out.
- Everyone Has Standards: Despite how ruthless she was in pursuing the Hive, even she found Toland's fascination with them unnerving.
- It's Personal: To a greater degree than Eris, even.
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Pulled this on a Wizard during the invasion of the Moon by cutting away pieces of its mind.
- Not So Different: While she was interrogating the Wizard, it showed Eriana how it had tortured an Awoken in a similar fashion, saying that Eriana and the Wizard were the same. Eriana didn't take kindly to the comparison.
- Playing with Fire: She appears to have been a Sunsinger, and was highly enthusiastic about frying the minions of the Darkness.
- Revenge Before Reason: Killing as many Hive as possible seemed to be her greatest goal in life.Eris: You would wield a weapon of the night?
Eriana-3: For her—them? I will butcher any who stand in my way with even the darkest blade.
Omar AgahA Hunter who was recruited by Eris Morn into Eriana-3's fireteam.
- Deadpan Snarker: Like many Hunters.Vell: Sounds like my kind of fight.
Omar: What isn't?
- Flaying Alive: According to Eris, he was killed by the Heart of Crota flaying not his skin, but his very Light. She says it was one of the worst things she saw in the Hellmouth. And that's saying a lot.
- You're Insane!: Outright accuses Toland of being mad at one point. Toland agrees that he may be right.
Sai MotaA Hunter who was recruited into Eriana-3's fireteam.
- Knife Nut: All Hunters use knives, but the nut part comes in when she says that she was eager to use her knives on the Hive.
- The Quiet One: Eriana-3 noted that she didn't say much, but when she did, it spoke volumes.
- You Don't Want to Know: She ended up deciding that she would rather not know how Toland learned so much about the Darkness and the Hive.
Vell TarloweThe lone Titan Eriana-3 and Eris Morn recruited into their fireteam.
- Blood Knight: Some of his dialogue indicates this.
- Genre Savvy: He realizes that the Blades of Crota are more than just Knights.
- Last Stand: The description for a Titan mark Eris sells indicates that he was killed fighting a Wizard and her swarm of Thrall.
- Revenge: While the rest of the fireteam was gunning for Crota, Vell was gunning for Sardon and the Swarm Princes.
- World's Strongest Man: He was the strongest Guardian Eris had ever met. Then she met the player Guardian.
Denizens of the Reef
Reef Awoken in general
During the Collapse, every ship capable tried to flee Earth, but made it no farther than the inner asteroid belt. The descendants of these refugees became the Awoken. Rather than return to Earth, the Awoken of the Reef set up their own society, avoiding both the Traveler and the Darkness. After the Fallen House of Wolves invaded the Reef, the Queen managed to kill their Kell and made them vassals, offering the Fallen a permanent home with the Awoken. Relations with the Guardians and the Last City have been cold at best and hostile at worst, but this changed with the rebellion of the House of Wolves.
- Amazon Brigade/Bodyguard Babes: The Queen's Guard is exclusively female, given their Matriarchal society (see below).
- Get Out: Any Awoken who show an ability to utilize the Traveler's Light are immediately exiled for fear of attracting the Darkness.
- Heroic Neutral: They have no interest in helping the Last City, and avoid the Traveler for fear of attracting the Darkness. That said, they are on better terms with the Nine.
- Matriarchy: According to the Grimoire, the Awoken of the Reef are a Matriarchy, which is why female Awoken are more prominent than male Awoken. It also notes that the prominence of the Queen's Brother is rather unusual.
- Neutral No Longer: After the rebellion of the House of Wolves, the Queen decides to allow the Guardians into the Reef to help end the renewed Fallen threat.
- Species Loyalty: The Reefborn Awoken fully expect other Awoken to be loyal to the Reef. Petra Venj describes Zavala and Rahool as traitors, and the Grimoire has the Queen describes those who leave the Reef for the City as "You who betrayed us for Earth".
Queen Mara Sov, the Queen of the Reef
"It is alive. And still has its ball."A stoic and unfriendly questgiver who always refers to the player as "it," Queen Mara Sov is the ruler of the Reef, a debris field located in the Asteroid Belt. It is home to both the Awoken and the Fallen House of Wolves, which became vassals of the Queen after she killed their Kell. Straddling the border between Light and Darkness, the Queen is disinterested in the City at best and outright hostile at worst.
- Big Damn Heroes: An interesting variation. She is the reason why the City wasn't captured by the Fallen during Twilight Gap, by destroying the House of Wolves before they could take part in the assault. Whether this was out of altruism or because she just wanted a House of her own goes unconfirmed. The City seems to be unaware of her role in the battle.
- Blue Skinned Space Babe: As a female Awoken it goes with the territory, especially since the spaceborn Awoken are more aloof and isolated than their Earth-bound relatives.
- Heroic Neutral: The Reef is not aligned with the City, and there are some evidence of past hostilities between the two societies. While the Awoken of the Reef distrust the Traveler and its Light, the Queen is willing to work with the City, provided it benefits the Reef. She is even willing to do the City a few favors, but she always collects on her debts...
- "It" Is Dehumanizing: She refers to the player as "it".
- Klingon Promotion: She became the ruler of the Fallen House of Wolves after deposing their Kell, then following up by killing or capturing all the other Kell-claimants.
- Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Her rag-tag fleet of pirates and scavengers goes up against the full force of the House of Wolves.Kell of Wolves: I AM LORD OF WOLVES. YOU ARE AN EMPTY THING WITH TWO DEAD SOULS. THIS IS MY HOUSE. THESE ARE MY TERMS. SURRENDER AND I WILL ONLY TAKE YOUR SHIPS.The Queen: I AM NOBLE TOO, OH LORD OF WOLVES.Kell: YOU HAVE NO LINE. YOU HAVE NO POWER.Queen: STARLIGHT WAS MY MOTHER. AND MY FATHER WAS THE DARK.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Blue to her brother's Red.
- Revenge Before Reason: She's so furious at the House of Wolves rebellion that she abandons centuries of isolation and invites the Guardians into the Reef.
- The Stoic: In contrast to her brother, the Queen shows little emotion.
- Superweapon Surprise: Instrumental to her first victory over the House of Wolves, shattering their massive fleet with mysterious 'Harbingers' that only she can control.
Prince Uldren Sov, the Master of Crows
"The Queen herself judges who may or may not enter the realm. Me? I see no reason she should be available for whatever washes up at the reef."The Queen's confidant, chief enforcer, and brother. Unlike his sister, he is upfront about his distrust of the City.
- Everyone Has Standards: As much as a jerk as he is toward the player, he's clearly shocked and appalled by the murder of the Queen's Guard in House of Wolves trailer.
- Evil Prince: Subverted; while he disagrees with his sister over the City, he's ultimately loyal to her.
- Jerkass: Is extremely rude to the player character.
- Knife Nut: Always carries one and is very quick with it.
- No Name Given: His actual name is not specified. His own Grimoire card identifies him as simple the "Queen's Brother" while a Ghost fragment indicates that one of his titles is "Master of Crows" - the crows in this case being some kind of advanced bird-like recon drones. The game's end credits give his name as "Crow".
- House of Wolves finally names him: Prince Uldren Sov.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Red to his sister's Blue.
- Sore Loser: He is not happy when the player Guardian actually manages to bring them a Gate Lord's head. When the Queen says that they'll honor the agreement to help them get in the Black Garden, he says that they should just kill them here and save the Vex the trouble.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Acts like a major Jerkass to the player, but his behavior is driven by his desire to protect his sister and his people.
Petra Venj, Queen's Emissary
"Last week I was delivering court messages. Today we're delivering explosions! I love fieldwork! Get after them, Guardian."An emissary of the Queen of the Reef, Petra Venj first appeared during the "Queen's Wrath" special event. She returned to Reef, where she serves as the player Guardian's story agent during the House of Wolves.
- Eye Patch Of Power: She's sporting one with the House of Wolves.
- In Harm's Way: As noted above, Petra loves working in the field. Her risk taking behavior annoys Variks so much that occasionally gives her leads that are supposed to get Petra killed and out of the way. Petra responded by sending Guardians in her stead, since dying is an inconvenience to them.
- Put on a Bus: After some issues with farming ascendant materials, Bungie cancelled the Queen's Wrath and "put it back in the oven", as they said. Petra disappeared along with it. She returns with the House of Wolves expansion, though.
- Knife Nut: She's playing with a knife at the Reef.
- Large Ham: Sometimes gets carried away when commenting on your situation.
- Mission Control: Both she and Variks share the spot for giving you directives towards the House of Wolves quests.
- The Exile: It's implied in her Grimoire card that she spent several years in exile from the Reef after her actions caused the deaths of several Guardians during the first war with the House of Wolves and strained the relationship between the City and the Reef. The Queen's response was to appoint Petra her ambassador to the City. This is either to torment Petra or insult the City. Knowing the Queen, probably both.
- You Don't Look Like You: Originally, Petra's character model was the same outfit that the Reef guards wear. With the House of Wolves, she gets a unique character model.
Variks, the Loyal
"Not all who are Fallen are lost."An elderly Eliksni, appearing similar to a Fallen Vandal, Variks is one of the last of the House of Judgment, an ancient Eliksni House. Owing no loyalty to the House of Wolves, Variks is one of the few Eliksni who is still loyal to the Queen, serving her as Warden of the Prison of Elders.
- Artificial Limbs: His upper arms are cybernetic. Note that Fallen Dregs can often reclaim status by getting artificial limbs, but they usually cut off the lower arms, rather than the upper arms.
- Blatant Lies: He assures you that anything about him you hear from anyone except himself, is a lie."I am loyal to the Queen, all else you've heard of me are lies."
- Catch Phrase: A few. "Kill them dead." And "They will try to kill you. Kill them back."
- Dragon with an Agenda: He allied himself with the Queen and betrayed Skolas in order to ensure the survival (and possible resurgence) of the House of Judgement. He's constantly talking about how he wants you to tell Petra good things about him, and asking about your ship and Ghost (Given that Fallen worship technology in general and the Traveler in particular, however, this may not be sinister). He also says his relationship with the Queen is 'complicated'.
- Defector from Decadence: Inversion. The other Fallen have forgotten the ways of the House of Judgement; Variks is among the last to still hold true to those ideals.
- However, part of his defection to the Reef was because Skolas indiscriminately attacked civilians during the war with the Reef, which Variks found dishonorable.
- Hunter of His Own Kind: Technically he's getting you to hunt for him, but the fact remains that he's out for revenge against the Fallen.
- His grimoire cards make it apparent he doesn't like being called 'Fallen', and prefers their race's name of Eliksni, but agrees that Fallen is more appropriate for the other Houses.
- Last of His Kind: He's the last known member of the House of Judgment, but there may be more, since he's referred to as one of the last "few" Fallen who still serve the Queen.
- Mission Control: Both he and Petra share the spot for giving you directives towards the House of Wolves quests.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Variks is the only Eliksni that Guardians can interact with beyond fighting.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Implies that this is what the Eliksni were before they became Fallen. He tells the Guardian to fight with honor, thinks Skolas is dishonorable, and goes on about how his arena will keep the Guardian strong and quick.
- The Resenter: Variks wants to roar over how unfair the universe is toward the Fallen. He resents the City and the Guardians for having the favor of the Traveler. He resents the Awoken for having their visions. He resents the Hive for having their gods like Crota. He resents the Vex for having their Axis Minds. He resents the Cabal for having reinforcements. Most of all, he resents that all those races have those advantages, and the Fallen have nothing.
- Staff of Authority: Walks around with a long staff, which he apparently took from a Captain of the House of Devils named Vajis. Every time you interact with him as a vendor, a distinct thud will be heard as he plants it on the ground.
- Worthy Opponent: As much as he resents the Guardians for being the chosen of the Traveler, he does respect their fighting prowess. Specifically, he says it's good to work with your Guardian and with Petra. The two seem to be the only ones he can truly call friend.
Brother Vance, Disciple of OsirisA member of the Disciples of Osiris and vendor in the Reef. He has come to the Reef seeking Guardians willing to face the Trials of Osiris, a special Crucible gametype.
- In the Hood: Brother Vance wears a hood over his face, leaving only his mouth visible.
Within the wildernessThough the Last City and the Reef are the best-known and best-protected of the human race's last bastions, pockets of humanity - or its descendants - still survive beyond the Traveler's light.
"There is no immortality of soul, thus there is no greater good. Therefore everything is permitted."A Warmind from the Golden Age, an immensely powerful AI built for strategic warfare. Once thought destroyed, he is revived by the player in Old Russia and discovered to be protecting something valuable within the Cosmodrome.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: In grand old Bungie tradition. He seems to be completely uninterested in his creators once reawakened and appears to be taking over defense systems across the solar system for some reason. Also, 'Ghost Fragment: Mysteries' reveals that the Collapse drove him insane, not least because he had to sacrifice the billions of humans he was assigned to protect to survive it, and now he's starting to think that the Darkness might have had some pretty good ideas. This isn't going to end well.
- On the plus side, Eris indicates that Rasputin is still fighting to protect humanity, even if he is giving us the cold shoulder. It's suggested that he's making things hard for the Hive in reaching Earth.
- Black Speech: He speaks in Russian, but it's so deep and distorted that it sounds more like a list of death threats from a Mordor tourist phrasebook.
- Creepy Monotone: Whenever he shows up in the story, we hear him muttering in heavily-distorted Russian in a decidedly unsettling manner.
- Cultured Badass: In addition to being a ludicrously powerful combat AI, he appears to have a decent understanding of ancient mythology, referring to the battle between the Traveler and the Darkness in the Collapse as the 'Titanomachy', the war in which the Greek gods overthrew the Titans and conquered Mount Olympus. Also, the music playing in his distress call in "Siege of the Warmind" is Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6, which is commonly interpreted as the composer's "suicide note".
- Death from Above: Pulls this on a Vex/Cabal skirmish on Mars in one of his Grimoire Cards, wiping out both sides with a Flechette Storm from orbit.
- Gibbering Genius: We get a look into his thought-processes in 'Ghost Fragment: Mysteries'. They're not particularly well-organised.
- He Who Fights Monsters: He was built to win. The Darkness, in his opinion, always wins. Therefore, the best way to fulfil his function is to imitate the Darkness.
- Meaningful Name: He certainly thinks so.
- Last Of Its Kind: According to 'Ghost Fragment: Mysteries', he's the last of his kind, the only one to survive the Collapse. An important part of this is that he apparently integrated many other Warminds into himself when things started going south.
- OOC Is Serious Business: In The Dark Below story missions the Hive begin attacking him. He considers it such a serious threat that he actually allows the player to enter the Seraphim Vault housing his core so that they can kill the Hive threatening him.
- Super Intelligence: Warminds are supposedly able to contend with Vex cognitive architecture - which is, incidentally, capable of essentially running a predictive model of the universe with 100% accuracy. At the very least, Rasputin can lock your Ghost out of systems he controls, something that every race, from the Cabal to the Hive to Pre-Collapse Humanity failed to do.
- Sole Survivor: All the other Warminds were destroyed in the Collapse. Even then, it's unclear how much of Rasputin survived.
- Virtue Is Weakness: In his opinion, there's only one reason why he survived the Collapse intact and the Traveler didn't - she tried to protect humanity, whilst he concentrated only on his own survival.
"I cannot explain what the Nine are. They are... very large. I cannot explain. The fault is mine, not yours."The rulers of the Jovian gas giants, which are inhabited by the Jovians, which are... something. Nobody's sure just what they are. At the moment, there are nine possibilities as to just what they are, ranging from:
- Survivors of the cis-Jovian colonies who made a compact with an alien force to ensure their own survival.
- Deep-orbit warminds who weathered the Collapse in hardened stealth platforms.
- Ancient leviathan intelligences from the seas of Europa or the hydrocarbon pits of Titan.
- Beings that arrived in a mysterious transmission from the direction of the Corona-Borealis supercluster.
- The firstborn Awoken and their minds now race down the field lines of the Jupiter-Io flux tube.
- Ghosts who pierced the Deep Black without a ship and meditated on the hissing silence of the heliopause.
- Aspects of the Darkness, broken by the Traveler’s rebuke, working to destroy us from within.
- A viral language of pure meaning.
- The shadows left by the annihilation of a transcendent shape, burned into the weft of what is.
- Eldritch Abomination: Possibly. Most of the hints above suggest that they're something... abstract.
- The Ghost: If the idea that they're ghosts is true, pun not intended. Seriously though, you only have the vaguest hints about them, from a being that rarely ever appears, and all you're likely to learn about them comes from Xur. All we know for certain about them is that they're "very, very large." Though Xur can't explain anything more than that.
- Large and In Charge: Xur says that he cannot articulate anything about the Nine beyond that they are "very large". He does not actually say exactly what kind of largeness they possess, however, making them rather more mysterious.
- Omniscient Council of Vagueness: Maybe not omniscient, but pretty damn vague. The Queen suspects they're plotting against her, which may be true given that they sent Xûr (or a similar entity) to release Skolas from stasis en route to the Jovians. And, for some reason, Draksis carries an item that Rahool immediately identifies as originating from the Nine.
- Starfish Aliens: Assuming that the hypotheses that they are aliens are true, they're implied to be this.
Xûr, Agent of the Nine
"My movements are not predictable, even to me."A servant of the Nine and native of the Jovians. A mysterious, apparently faceless humanoid of slumped posture and drawn hood, Xûr comes and goes to the Tower as he pleases despite his heritage and trades exotic equipment in exchange for equally strange coins. He may be a Jovian (referring to a race, not a planet) himself, but nobody's entirely sure yet.
- Ambiguously Human: He doesn't seem to have a face-only a space that has glowing eyes and something resembling Darkness radiating off it.
- Humanoid Abomination: He gives hints that there's something subtly... off.. about him, such as not being in control of his movements, being harmed by Light, and being made of cells from different things. Nobody's sure who, or even what he is. He implies that he's constructed from the cells of multiple beings, mentioning that some are dying and that some began on Earth, but then, that just raises further questions about both him and The Nine. He also claims that the Awoken didn't have a choice, while "we" (It's not known what group he's referring to") did. Again, it just raises further questions.
- Inexplicably Awesome: At the moment. He visits the Tower at times dictated by the movement of celestial bodies, sells weaponry and equipment better than anything in the Tower for a bizarre and hard-to-find eldritch currency, then leaves. And nobody's sure just what he is. Some of his dialogue implies that he's a puppet of some kind, claiming that his movements and will aren't entirely his own.
- The Faceless: The grimoire card for Strange Coins refers to him as such.
- Mysterious Stranger: Comes and goes, has lots of focus... and is still enigmatic. Nobody's even quite sure how or why he visits the Tower in the first place.
- Weakened by the Light: He claims that the Traveler's light hurts him, though he's more analytical about it than screaming in pain.Xûr: So much Light here...I suppose I feel pain.
The Exo Stranger
Voiced by: Lauren Cohan
"I don't even have time to explain why I don't have time to explain."A mysterious female Exo who takes an interest in the player character. She isn't a Guardian, as she claims she wasn't forged in the Light.
- Cryptic Conversation: Most of her conversations turn into this.
- Invisibility: She appears to possess a cloaking device.
- Teleporters and Transporters: Her final appearance, however, has her vanish while about to walk off a ledge, implying a form of outright teleportation instead.
- Mysterious Stranger: Almost nothing is known about her, beyond encouraging the player character to find the Black Garden.
- No Name Given: She never reveals her name.
- No Time to Explain: As the quote above notes. When she formally meets the player Guardian and Ghost on Venus to send them searching for the Black Garden, she's receiving an update from her companions in the field, and seems more focused on that than talking to the player.
- Time Travel: Quietly hinted at in the description of 'The Stranger's Rifle'. It's apparently been exposed to some powerful, unknown forces, and some parts of it "shouldn't exist yet". Furthermore, one of its abilities is 'Rewind', which has a chance of recovering ammunition wasted on missed shots.
- The Unchosen One: She admits that she wasn't 'forged in the Light', but that doesn't seem to stop her from fighting against the Darkness.
"Look at all this life, oh bearer mine. There is so much left to burn..."A sentient race of dragons created as a result of the Traveler's arrival during the Golden Age. While extremely dangerous, they were also extremely intelligent, and many Guardians came to them seeking knowledge or power despite the price they might have to pay for it. Ultimately, they were exterminated by the City in the Great Ahamkara Hunt, though something of them still seems to linger on.
- Catch Phrase: "Oh bearer mine..." Used for sinister effect in the grimoire card describing the Great Ahamkara Hunt.
- Eldritch Abomination: Shaped like dragons. Dragons that feed on reality and live on after dying.
- Deal with the Devil: Their specialty, and the reason why they were wiped out.
- Hidden Agenda Villain: They were thought to have some kind of grand plan in motion, if it existed. The Hunt put an end to that. Of that you can be assured, oh reader mine...
- Mainlining the Monster: Their bones are now used to make armor. Armor that's implied to whisper into the minds of its bearers...
- Meaningful Name: Ahamkara.
- Omnicidal Maniac: From the Flavor Texts that utilize Ahamkara bones, they're pretty eager to kill indiscriminately.
EnemiesThe many races that have taken over the lost colonies, or have appeared to be hostile to humans and those allied with them. It is unknown if they are the cause of the cataclysm that ended the Golden Age.
Fallen in General
"We have butchers at our gates, four-armed and eager for slaughter."A nomadic race of four armed humanoids, the Fallen were once a noble hierarchical society. In the aftermath of the Collapse, they have become bandits and pirates, raiding settlements on Earth and the moon. Before they were called Fallen, they called themselves Eliksni, in their own tongue.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Some of the Grimoire cards from Variks's perspective present the Fallen as this. Look at it from their point of view:
- They used to have a powerful, noble civilization, every need granted by the Traveler. Then the Whirlwind came, the Traveler left them, and their civilization fell, and ever since they've been forced to scavenge for scraps in the wilderness just to survive. The Battle of Twilight Gap happened because they wanted to avoid extinction, but they were denied the City. Every subsequent attempt to claw out a place in the solar system has led to even worse disasters: Kells and Archons killed, Primes destroyed, Ether running out, the remnants of their civilization spiraling further into ruin.
- Alien Blood: Some kind of white vapor, possibly the "ether" it's said they depend on to survive.
- Anti-Villain: Skolas indicates that the entire reason why the Fallen fight humanity and hate them so much is because humans denied them access to the Traveler, which they believed could save them. They scrounge in humanity's ruins, fighting Guardians and other alien life mostly just to stay alive. The entire Battle of Twilight Gap was a huge push by the many Fallen Houses to take the City and the Traveller.
- Artificial Limbs: Given that the Mark of Shame for a Dreg is having your lower arms lopped off, and that it's entirely possible to lose Dreg status by fighting with honour, it should come as no surprise that replacement arms are in high demand. They're apparently quite realistic.
- Badass Cape: Capes are how the Fallen signify rank, and Fallen society is structured on Asskicking Equals Authority, meaning that a bigger, more impressive cape literally means that you're more badass.
- Bad Boss: Fallen leaders are this. The Grimoire cards for Captains say that if another Fallen even hesitates in carrying out their orders, they have every right to kill them on the spot.
- Blue and Orange Morality: While the Fallen have clear and identifiable goals and hierarchies, their entire outlook in life is focused on looting and pillaging, to the point that their documentation on looting has flowery language and religious overtones. Their measure of a worthy and respectable enemy is whether or not they can be stolen from, and that which is impossible to steal from is apparently worthy of devotion and reverence.
- Color-Coded Armies: Type I. Each color represents a House of the Fallen, and their color depends on what planet you're on. Devils are on Earth (red and bone-white), Exiles are on the Moon (green and black), Winter is on Venus (blue and silver). There's also the mysterious House of Kings (navy blue and gold), who work to coordinate the lesser Houses on behalf of the Fallen's shadowy leadership.
- Dark Action Girl: Given that the Fallen believe in Equal-Opportunity Evil and Asskicking Equals Authority, there's good odds on any high-ranking officer you encounter being one of these. The Baron of the House of Exiles that Cayde-6 had an Enemy Mine moment with in 'Ghost Fragment: Fallen' is an excellent example.
- Dying Race: If there is one species in Destiny worse off than humanity, it's the Fallen. Their race is dying, ether is running low, their Kells, Archons, and Prime Servitors are being killed, and they're too divided to do anything about it.
- Deus Est Machina: They worship the strange, robotic Servitors as gods, with the influential Archon caste serving as their priesthood.
- Dual Wielding: Many of them carry a pair of knives or swords for slicing you up in close combat. Oddly enough for a Multi-Armed and Dangerous alien race, nobody ever tries quad-wielding.
- Elite Mooks: Captains, who lead other Fallen units.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: Every Fallen has a fair shot at rising the ranks, even the crippled, disgraced Dreg Slave Mooks, and just like with humanity, they don't appear to discriminate by gender - several of their highest-ranking officers are female.
- Expy: Their height, four arms, aggressiveness, and habitation of the ruined cities of others makes them one for the Green Barsoomians from Edgar Rice Burroughs John Carter of Mars series. This is likely part of Destiny's Genre Throwback to Planetary Romance.
- Extra Eyes: They have four apiece.
- Evil Counterpart: Like humanity, they are a Vestigial Empire that seeks to reclaim their previous influence.
- Evil Sounds Deep: It's pretty hard to find a named Fallen who doesn't have a deep, snarling voice.
- Fallen Hero: It's stated that they earned their name due to not only the fall of their civilization, but to their decaying morality. See "Meaningful Name" for more details.
- House of Hats: Each Fallen house exists as an autonomous society, led by a Kell, and each with its own set of traditions and priorities:
- The House of Devils is mostly found around the Cosmodrome on Earth. They are one of the most ruthless and desperate houses, focused on looting what salvage they can by force, but are more numerous and dangerous than this description makes them sound - they almost destroyed the City in the notorious Battle of the Twilight Gap.
- The House of Exile is mostly found on Earth's Moon. They consist of Fallen driven off from other houses who band together to form their own society.
- The House of Winter is mostly found on Venus. They are some of the proudest Fallen, carefully maintaining the strict traditions of their old empire, even though that empire has long since fell to ruin.
- The House of Wolves is mostly found in the Reef. They have become vassals to the Awoken after the Queen humbled their Kell.
- The House of Kings are at the top of the hierarchy of an already extremely hierarchical society, and do not appear to be bound to any one location. They expect other Fallen to live up to their strict standards and are brutal to those found wanting.
- Grenade Spam: Grenades are standard equipment for Dregs. Dregs are the Fallen's most common soldiers. You can see where this is going.
- Invisibility Cloak: A technology they're highly adept in - they fit them to everything from individual soldiers to their colossal Ketches.
- Killer Robot: They like to use robots to bolster their ranks on the battlefield, from the floating, boxy Shank 'hunting dogs' to the hulking Walker Spider Tanks. The position of Servitors in their society is a little more complex - they're heavily-armed robots that see extensive military use, but they're also objects of religious awe that look nothing like any other piece of Fallen technology.
- Knife Nut: Most Fallen carry electrified knives as melee weapons (unless they're fortunate enough to get big, fancy swords instead), but it's the desperate, fanatical Dregs who provide the 'nut' part. A small horde of Slave Mooks charging towards you trying to redeem their honour by stabbing your eyeballs out is not an uncommon thing to encounter when fighting Fallen.
- Nonindicative Name: While they do have an important social role, manufacturing the 'ether' that keeps the Fallen alive, Servitors, the aliens' robotic gods, are served by their disciples rather more than they serve them.
- Large and In Charge: While Dregs and Vandals are roughly human sized, Fallen leaders are much larger than both. Fallen Captains are usually a head taller than Vandals and Dregs. Archons and Kells can be twice the size of Vandals and Dregs.
- Meaningful Name: At some point before the events of the game, the Fallen were once a race comprised of multiple noble houses before descending into their current state as nomads and pirates.
- Mile-Long Ship: Ketches, the Fallen Houses' mobile homes. They're the biggest spacecraft in the game, at roughly a kilometre long each, with the Wintership Simiks-Fel landed on Venus demonstrating their colossal bulk to particular effect.
- Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Most have an extra pair of arms. The Dregs, the lowest levels of their society, have the lower set of arms cut off until they can prove they're worthy of having them regrown.
- Our Souls Are Different: When a member of the Fallen dies, their soul appears to be ripped from their bodies. Getting headshots on them reveals an odd light whisping away from where their head was.
- Rape, Pillage, and Burn: The Fallen's society revolves around stealing from others, and they'll do anything to steal from others. According to Lakshmi-2, they burned down London during the collapse.
- Shotguns Are Just Better: They appear to be of this opinion - Shrapnel Launchers, their shotgun-equivalents, are primarily officers' weapons. According to the Grimoire, it's because they're so big and intimidating.
- Slave Mooks: Dregs, the disgraced Fallen undercaste, who have a pair of arms removed as a Mark of Shame and are allowed the chance to restore their honour on the battlefield by participating in suicidal human wave attacks.
- Sniper Rifle: Wire Rifles, the second-most-popular weapons for Vandals. As the name suggests, they fire electrified wire filaments at incredibly high velocities.
- Space Pirates: Their own fall has reduced many of their kin to this.
- Spider Tank: This thing.◊ It requires a two-man crew and functions as a Mighty Glacier.
- The Usual Adversaries: Fallen are encountered on every planet, often fighting the dominant faction controlling it. Humanity just happens to be the one they're fighting on Earth.
- They are not, however, found on Mars. It's likely none of the Fallen houses want to fight against both the Vex AND the Cabal.
- Vestigial Empire: The Fallen went from being a powerful race of nobility to one shrouded in poverty and crime.
- Worthy Opponent: Going by the second Ghost Fragment Grimoire card, the Fallen appear to respect opponents who cannot be stolen from, and actually love that which is impossible to steal from... and apparently, that includes the Darkness.
Fallen WalkersA six legged tank, with three cannons of varying degrees of death. It's the Fallen's heaviest combat vehicle, and shows up as a miniboss in the Sepiks Prime Strike and as a target in Public Events in Fallen territory.
- Bonus Boss: Elder Walkers are amongst the toughest enemies you can face in Public Events on Earth, Venus, and the Moon.
- Degraded Boss: Compared to its regular encounter, the Public Event is weaker than the boss itself. Justified, both due to the timer it has and to be on a regulated level so even low-level players won't be killed.
- Early-Bird Cameo: A destroyed Devil Walker can be seen during the Tutorial Mission, on your way to your first jumpship.
- Flunky Boss: As with any enemy that powerful. The Devil Walker fought during the Cosmodrome Strike is particularly nasty since its flunkies like to spawn on what would otherwise be the best sniping positions in the boss arena.
- Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: If you encounter it in the Cosmodrome, as a Bonus Boss, which is probably where you'd least expect it. Or encounter it for the first time.
- One-Hit Kill: A direct hit from its main gun is a guarantee that you will not be going home in one piece. Fortunately, it telegraphs the attack heavily, complete with a laser sight showing the impact point, and it has pretty much zero tracking. Unfortunately, the blast radius is very large indeed.
Riksis, Devil ArchonThe Archon of the House of Devils, and the first boss the player encounters.
Draksis, Winter KellThe Kell of the House of Winter on Venus. He has overseen numerous pirate raids against the Last City, causing the Vanguard to raise the bounty on him.
Sepiks PrimeThe boss of the Devil's Lair Strike, the exalted Servitor of the Fallen House of Devils, a crucial strategic target to break the will of the Fallen who most directly threaten the City.
- Flunky Boss: Not as bad as the other bosses in the game, as it only summons them in a small wave, being usually 5-7 enemies at once, with the waves having long pauses in between.
- Keystone Army: The keystone for the House of Devils, as it manages their entire supply of life-giving Ether.
- King Mook: A gigantic and extremely durable version of the normal Sevitors. Compared to other Servitors, it can do a powerful drain that can quickly kill a Guardian, and shoots bigger and more damaging versions of a regular Servitor's Void Cannon.
- Sinister Geometry: Like all Servitors, Sepiks Prime is an enormous black sphere covered in purple lightning. Unlike most Servitors, it is extremely powerful. And spiky.
The Archon Priest, AksorThe boss of the Winter's Run Strike, an Archon Priest of the House of Wolves that the Fallen on Venus helped escape from the Prison Of Elders. He's bigger and badder than the Archon Priest on Earth, and has a fan following. A large fan following.
- Evil Laugh: From the moment he climbs out of his chamber, he spends the entire fight alternating between Fallen Black Speech and bellowing laughter. Often right after smashing your face in.
- Flunky Boss: Oh boy... The one major thing that most Guardians can agree on, is that this guy summons way too many minions. The boss himself won't kill you, unless you're caught off guard, but the amount of enemies summoned is so great, that you'll either die due them attacking you at once or the Priest himself attacking you while you take out his minions.
- King Mook: A supersized Captain, complete with teleport and Shrapnel Launcher, though thankfully without the regenerating shield.
- Shockwave Stomp: Getting to close or letting him teleport to you, will have him do this and most likely killing you.
- Teleport Spam: If you aren't careful, this guy will happily teleport as close to you as possible. And then proceed to show you why it's a Priest.
Taniks, the Scarred
"Taniks has no House. He kneels before no banner. Owes allegiance to no Kell. He is a murderer, and very good at what he does."The boss of the Shadow Thief Strike, Taniks is a notorious Fallen mercenary with his own ketch. Holding no loyalty to any House beyond who pays him, Taniks sides with the Fallen House of Wolves after their rebellion against the Reef, attempting to rob the Temple of Crota. He is responsible for killing the previous Hunter Vanguard, Andal Brask, and for breaking Aksor out of the Prison of Elders.
- Artificial Limbs: All four of his arms have been replaced with mechanical prosthetics, in what the description for the Strike calls "ritualistic surgeries". What this says about his place in Fallen society is unknown. Variks suspects it's to make himself more like a machine.
- BFG: Wields a scorch cannon, rather than the traditional shrapnel launcher. Doubles as Arm Cannon, since it replaces one of his arms entirely. After you kill him, you can yank it off his body and use it against his minions.
- Blood Knight: Variks describes him as fighting not only to fulfill his contract, but also for fun.
- Bring It: According to Variks, Taniks challenges the Guardian fireteam hunting him "in the ways of old".
- Famed In-Story: By the Fallen, who consider him a semi-mythical figure.
- Even the Subtitler Is Stumped: Taniks constantly shouts at the fireteam over the intercom on his Ketch. What he's saying is never directly translated, but the subtitles just say what it sounds like.
- Get Back Here Boss: His mission mostly involves you chasing him further and further into his Ketch, whittling down a bit of his health each time.
- Hero Killer: He's the one who killed Andal Brask, Cayde-6's predecessor as Hunter Vanguard.
- King Mook: He's a super Vandal.
- Mercenary: Taniks is described as such.
Skolas, Kell of KellsOriginally a Captain within the House of Wolves, Skolas emerged as the new Kell of the House of Wolves after the Queen of the Reef killed the former Kell. He lead the House of Wolves for most of the war against the Awoken, but was captured and incarcerated in the Prison of Elders after the defection of Variks. He was originally to be sent as a gift to the Nine, but the Nine apparently allowed him to escape, allowing him to organize the rebellion against the Queen, with the goal of taking over the rest of the Fallen Houses and reclaiming the Traveler from the City.
- Ambition Is Evil: He doesn't just want to take over the House of Wolves. He wants to take over all the Fallen Houses. To expand his power, he's even willing to forcefully acquire Vex teleportation technology by breaking into the Vault of Glass.
- Ax-Crazy: According to Variks, Skolas is pretty vicious, even for a Kell. It's partly why Variks defected from the House of Wolves over to the Reef.
- Big Bad: Instigates the House of Wolves expansion's conflict by betraying the Reef Queen and planning a takeover of all Fallen Houses.
- The Chosen One: The ancient House of Rain had a prophecy that said that a Fallen would reunite the Houses under a single Kell. Skolas believes that he is that Kell.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Originally a low level Captain in the House of Wolves, the Queen's killing of the Kell and the subsequent Succession Crisis/Enemy Civil War between the Wolves nobles opened up a lot of advancement opportunities for Skolas, allowing him to emerge as the new Kell.
- King Mook: Much like Riksis and Aksor, Skolas is an oversized Fallen Captain with a few extra aesthetics.
- Rebel Leader: He's leading the Fallen rebellion against the Reef.
- The Magnificent: He used to be known as "Skolas, the Rabid" before he became Kell, after which he became "Skolas, Wolf Kell".
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Ultimately, Skolas' motives are sympathetic: he simply wants to reunite the Fallen Houses and reclaim the Traveler from the City, with the hopes that it will be able to share its power with the Fallen again and prevent their extinction. Just one problem: he seems unaware of the Traveler's dormancy.
Vex in General
"Living metal, incomprehensible force."A race of mechanical creatures which lurk in the Jungles of Venus.
- Attack Its Weak Point: Unlike most of the humanoid creatures in the game, the basic Vex's weak spot is the glowing light in its abdomen. Blowing its head off just makes them more aggressive.
- Cannon Fodder: Goblins serve this role, although they become much more deadly during the Vault Of Glass, and on Heroic difficulties.
- Clockwork Creature: The only alien race that is entirely mechanical. Except for some biological components your Ghost discovers while analyzing a dead Vex's head.
- Cold Sniper: Hobgoblins, their dedicated sniper platforms. When you're an inscrutable alien cyborg, 'cold' comes with the territory.
- Cyborg: Like the Daleks of Doctor Who, their bodies are mechanical shells around a heavily-integrated organic core. It's anyone's guess what their species originally looked like.
- The Dragon: Are this to the Darkness, serving as its most powerful and important agents in the solar system whilst the Hive provide the expendable and fanatically loyal muscle.
- Elite Mooks: Minotaurs, who serve as field commanders, and Hydras, which serve are guarded by rotating shields.
- Eviler Than Thou: According to the Exo Stranger, they are an "evil so dark they despise other evil."
- Expy: They're really similar to the geth in many ways. They're an elusive race of monocular robots who share a Hive Mind, bleed white fluid, make strange warbling noises upon death and worship an Eldritch Abomination from deep space as a god. Unlike the geth however, they are unambiguously malevolent and evil.
- Also of note is a (possible) similarity to the Necrons from Warhammer 40k; it is mentioned in the race's introductory grimoire card that they have built structures "...thought to be buried within every celestial body". The Necrons are not much different, as they emerge from tomb complexes they had built EVERYWHERE when they were the galaxy's dominant power. Another similarity is that the Vex are implied to have once been organic beings - vestigial organs and such can still be found - whilst the Necrons were once the Necrontyr, a race of beings with short lifespans that were turned into machines against their will by the C'Tan.
- Garden of Evil: The Black Garden, the Vex's home.note It's literally a garden with planet growth overtaking the standard Vex architecture. At the center of the Black Garden is the Black Heart, which may be part of the Darkness and is worshiped by the Vex.
- Grenade Launcher: Torch Hammers, the iconic weapons of the Minotaurs, which fire explosive bolts of Void energy. They're the Vex's most dangerous hand-held weapons, and are used in a (massively) upscaled version by the Gate Lords as well.
- The Heavy: The Darkness may be the Bigger Bad, but these guys are the primary villains of the release-day PvE content - the main storyline is built towards shutting down the source of their power, the Black Garden's Heart, and the end-game raid that provides the toughest, highest-level challenge in the game, the Vault of Glass, is a dive into their 'underworld', the heart of their stronghold on Venus.
- Hive Mind: After analyzing Vex remains and their minds, Ghost concludes that every units is a part of a singular mind. The Grimoire indicates the whole race is one gigantic cross-temporal computer system.
- Hostile Terraforming: They've already done it to Mercury, turning the once-flourishing garden world (it was the Traveler's idea, just roll with it) into an enormous, lifeless machine of unknown purpose. It's your job to stop them doing it to Venus as well.
- Humongous Mecha: Gate Lords are at least twenty feet tall.
- Immortality Seeker: Exaggerated. They're already immortal by most conventional definitions, thanks to their non-linear relationship with time and imperishable metal bodies, so what's next? Turning their continued existence into a fundamental law of the universe. If there's one thing you can't fault the Vex for, it's a lack of ambition.
- Large and In Charge: Justified. Bigger Vex have more room in their chassis for more processing power, so they're trusted with more important and complex jobs and with directing smaller, simpler units.
- Mad Scientist: By extension. They're a Hive Mind with a large and developed mad science department, the Vault of Glass.
- Mechanical Lifeforms
- Mighty Glacier: Vex troops tend to be amongst the slowest enemies in the game, with none of the flashy manoeuvres or sophisticated battlefield tactics of the other factions (although some of their more advanced units do make up for it with a bit of Teleport Spam). They compensate with impressive firepower, thick armour and shields, and hard-to-hit weak points.
- Mundane Utility: Vex technology is built for versatility, and anything that can hurt you (i.e., most of their stuff you encounter) likely has a non-military purpose as well. Often, in fact, the civilian use is the more important one. Minotaurs, their hulking shock-troopers, are also their architects and construction workers, and are bigger than the average model so that they can contain the processing power necessary to conceptualise the insanely complicated Vex architecture. Cyclopes, massive, immobile gun-turrets, are navigation beacons that coordinate the Vex's omnipresent space/time teleportation. With the exception of artillery pieces like the Minotaur's Torch Hammer, all of their weapons are terminals designed for receiving energy transmissions from elsewhere in space and time and projecting them a short distance, making them powerful communication and construction tools when they're not turned to the lethal setting and spewing plasma bolts all over the place.
- Sinister Geometry: Their architecture is eerily, elegantly simple, comprised of massive and sometimes gravity-defying arrangements of stone cuboids with the odd circle thrown in for good measure. It manages to look ancient, inhuman, and incredibly advanced all at once.
- Sniper Rifle: Line Rifles, the Hobgoblins' standard weapons, which use the Vex's 'slap' technology to call in enormously powerful beams of energy from elsewhere in space and time. They also make for a handy communications device.
- Starfish Aliens: A robotic variant, but they're ability to warp through space and time and have a completely incomprehensible Hive Mind psychology.
- Super Intelligence: To the point where they almost qualify as The Omniscient, and the ways in which they fail to do so are very plot-important. Their Ghost Fragment cards show a research team realising that the Vex platform they've captured is perfectly simulating their actions within a virtual-reality environment, leading them to freak out over the possibility that they themselves might be in a similarly perfect Vex simulation without realising it.
- Reality Warper: They're quite good at it, and working on getting better. Apart from all the time-travel stuff, the Vault of Glass is a development lab for 'ontological weaponry', which essentially decides whether the target exists or not, and that's one of the less extreme applications of the tech. The primary goal of the Vault and the Axis Mind at the heart of its operations is to hack reality, turning the dominion of the Vex over the universe into a literal law of physics. Erasing enemy soldiers from existence is just a step on the developmental path to permanently establishing their own existence.
- Teleporters and Transporters: This is how they travel over long distances, rather than using anything as primitive as spacecraft. More alarmingly, they can also use them to travel through time.
- Teleport Spam: Minotaurs have rapid-fire versions of the standard Vex teleporters that let them jump around like they're on a bad Internet connection. If you actually are on a bad Internet connection, this can get very unpleasant and confusing.
- Theme Naming: Mythological creatures are the basis for the names of their units.
- Time Travel: Vex sneer at things like "linear progression of time". Their units are drawn alternately from the distant past or eons into the future through their Gates.
Zydron, Gate LordA Vex Gate Lord, the player Guardian must kill him to prove worthy of receiving help from the Queen of the Reef.
- Decapitation Presentation: The player Guardian brings his head to the Reef, shocking the Queen, the Master of Crows, and the Fallen guards.
- Dead Person Impersonation: Strange example, as the player's Ghost says that they can get into the Black Garden by fooling the Garden's security systems into thinking that the player Guardian is Zydron.
- Humongous Mecha: Gate Lords are, in your Ghost's words, 'three stories tall', and Zydron doesn't disappoint.
- King Mook: He's a super-Minotaur, roughly the size of Valus Ta'aurc.
The Sol ProgenyA trio of Vex units at the center of the Black Garden.
- Demonic Possession: Rather than living beings like most Vex, they're empty Gate Lord chassis that serve as vessels for the Darkness.
- Final Boss: For the main storyline.
- Grenade Launcher: They use modified, oversized Torch Hammers, optimised for rate of fire, per-shot damage, or a little of both.
- Humongous Mecha: As is standard for any Vex using the Gate Lord chassis.
- King Mook: They're oversized Minotaurs roughly the same size as Zydron, representing (in turn) the Sol Divisive, Precursor, and Descendant subtypes.
The Nexus Mind, SekrionOne of the Vex's most powerful platforms on Venus and the boss of the Nexus Strike, Sekrion oversees the slow Hostile Terraforming of the planet. It resides deep inside an Ishtar Academy dig site, far below the earth.
- Flunky Boss: By far, one of the easiest to deal with, when it comes to it summoing help. When you first get to it, it's guarded by five Minotaurs, and after you've pissed it off well enough, it'll summon Goblins and Hobgoblins to rat you out from any hiding spot.
- King Mook: An oversized, overpowered Hydra, identical in almost every way to its smaller brethren.
- Mighty Glacier: Hydras can't teleport like other Vex units can, and Sekrion is no exception. It makes up for it with a steady hail of antimatter doom at anyone who looks at it funny.
- Shielded Core Boss: A well-done example of this trope. The shield doesn't get smaller the more you hit it, but the shield only covers 50% of the boss, and moves around in a circular movement. To defeat it, you just have to get it to aim at you, when its shield is behind it, and shoot its face. A lot.
The TemplarOne of the bosses of the Vault Of Glass raid. It summons Fanatic Vexes to kamikaze, Harpies to gun you down, and Oracles to Mark you for Negation. One of the toughest bosses in the game. It's a much tougher and larger Hydra, but compared to even Sekrion, it remembered to get a shield that covers it completely.
- Black Magic: Of the Curse kind. Caused by its Oracles and Fanatics, and inflicts a One-Hit Kill if you don't get rid of it. Can be "Cleansed" with the Relic.
- King Mook: It's a super-Hydra with an upgraded shield and some nasty One-Hit Kill bonus attacks.
- Disney Villain Death: It's possible to inflict one on him with well placed Area of Effect attacks, due to the fact the A.I. Is programmed to retreat from such attacks and there are chasms on three sides of the arena you fight him in.
- Marathon Boss: Of a Marathon Level. It's not the last boss either of that Raid.
Atheon, Time's Conflux
"To speak of Atheon is to accept certain limitations."The final boss of the Vault Of Glass and the closest thing to an actual Final Boss of Destiny, as of release.
- Alternate Timeline: Most of Atheon's Grimoire card describes multiple realities and timelines. Which, if you believe the card's speculation, means that Atheon isn't bound by time and can freely move between timelines, fighting Guardians who dare descend into the Vault.
- Big Bad: For the Vault of Glass.
- Disney Villain Death: It used to be possible to inflict one on it if your team took advantage of the fact that the A.I. is programmed to walk away from any Area of Effect attacks, like Titan Shock Grenade with Aftershocks, by surronding it with them so the only way to retreat was off the platform it stands on. Bungee eventually patched in "baby bumpers" around its platform to prevent this from happening.
- Final Boss: The closest thing to one in the release-day content. It was the last and toughest enemy faced in the game until the arrival of the later Raids like Crota's End.
- Flunky Boss: Oh so much. And to add onto that, there's a boss who always appears when you first enter a portal. Yes, they put a boss within a boss.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The recommended, canonical way to kill it is by turning its ontological technology against it with the assistance of Kabr's Aegis, the relic the long-dead Guardian created to tap into the power of the Vault of Glass. Basically, you temporarily hijack its Reality Warper capabilities, literally increasing the probability of its defeat. In-game, this is represented by the Time's Vengeance buff, which removes your ability cooldowns and vastly increases your damage output.
- Mad Scientist: Essentially the guiding subroutine of the Vex Hive Mind's designated mad science department. The stuff Atheon is researching (and has already developed) is the absolute epitome of deranged ambition.
- Marathon Boss: Can take about 8 to 10 minutes to beat, varying on how well you and your team does. And that is if you manage to not die.
- Reality Warper: The Axis Mind in charge of Vex research into reality-warping. Its innovations include time travel, 'ontological weaponry' that erases enemies from existence, and the grand project to turn Vex supremacy into a law of physics.
- Nintendo Hard: Due to the precise need for coordination, flunkiness of its many minions, and limit on how many times you can gather the Relic before he is enraged, it is much harder than the previous boss, the Templar.
- Turns Red: When you've gathered the Relic for the 5th time, you'll be warned that it is about to be enraged. Continue with the fight without managing to kill it and it'll summon enough minions to overwhelm you and your fireteam.
Qodron, Gate LordOf all those jailed within the Prison of Elders, Qodron is unique in that it is not truly a prisoner. Rather, it's exactly where it wants to be. Qodron is on a mission to ensure its own glorious future, and that mission requires the death of a certain Guardian who will someday enter the Prison in search of the Reef's riches.
- Cardboard Prison: Trying to lock up a Vex would be an exercise in futility, given their teleportation/time travel capabilities. Qodron's only there because it wants to be there.
- Glory Seeker: It went to the Prison of Elders to ensure its own glorious future.
- Humongous Mecha: A Gate Lord just like Zydron. However, Qodron appears to be wreathed in black smoke. Just like the Sol Progeny when possessed by the Black Heart, which raises some disturbing implications.
- Russian Reversal:Qodron is not the prisoner here. You are, Guardian.
The Cabal in General
"I think you could follow a trail of shattered worlds all the way to their home."A massive race of rhinoceros-like humanoids who are found on Mars. They are at war with Humanity and the Vex.
- Alien Blood: Subverted. The blue stuff that sometimes comes out when you shoot a Cabal soldier is atmospheric residue from their pressure suits, not blood.
- Badass Army: The only enemy race that fields a properly organized military, and they're giving just as good as they get from the Vex.
- Base on Wheels: They employ several giant land tanks which crawl across the Martian desert and house entire companies.
- The Brute: Not only are they immensely powerful, but they have a personal vendetta against humanity.
- Elite Mooks: Their leader units, Centurions who serve as field commanders and move around on Jet Packs, and Colossi who lug around Gatling Good weapons and launch guided missiles from their backs.
- The Empire: Mars is only a small part of their territory. It's said that they've conquered more worlds than humanity has ever known— and yet, one Ghost speculates that they're running from something...
- The Engineer: Like the Roman legions from which humanity gives them their designations, their forces seem to be simultaneously frontline infantry and engineering corps. When they take territory, the first thing they begin doing is constructing fortifications, using tunneling machines and pre-fabricated materials. This seems to continue indefinitely, and any time they are not spent fighting is spent landscaping the surrounding terrain into massive fortresses.
- Evil Is Bigger: They're much larger than humans (except for their Slave Mooks, the Psions), and their technology is built to scale.
- Expy: They share more than a few similarities with Warhammer 40,000's Space Marines, being a race of vaguely Roman-themed giant warriors in heavy, brightly-coloured armor serving a militaristic Empire. Their Slug Rifles also function very similarly to Bolters, firing armor-piercing "microrockets".
- Forbidden Zone: Areas under Cabal control are known as "exclusion zones", because the Cabal exclude anything from approaching it. And by "exclude" they mean "shoot down with excessive force".
- Gatling Good: The Heavy Slug Thrower, a rotary microrocket launcher that resembles an assault cannon from Warhammer 40,000, is the standard armament for Colossi, the Cabal's biggest, meanest soldiers, and may well be the deadliest hand-held weapon in the game, ripping through even the toughest Guardian's shields in seconds.
- Genius Bruiser: They're heavily armed, heavily armoured eight-hundred-pound 'space turtles'... but they're also gifted soldiers with a very technologically advanced civilization, and all signs indicate that they earned their military smarts and their tech honestly.
- Giant Mook: Colossi, as the name implies, are huge even by Cabal standards, and carry the alien empire's biggest and most devastating man-portable weaponry.
- Grenade Launcher: The Projection Rifle, a high-caliber indirect-fire version of the standard Slug Rifle that's the primary weapon for Centurions.
- Heavyworlder: It's why they're so huge, and why their atmosphere is weird enough that they have to wear special pressure suits to survive in the solar system.
- It's Raining Men: Jump jets are standard Cabal equipment, and they like to pop them off like fireworks on New Year's Eve. There are few sights in the game more unnerving than an eight-metre-tall Primus and his retinue dropping towards you feet-first, thrusters (and guns) blazing.
- Large and In Charge: The Cabal get bigger and tougher as they get older. Age = experience = promotion. Do the maths. Senior officers like Valus Ta'aurc and Primus Sha'aull are roughly the size of tanks. Cabal tanks.
- Light Is Not Good: They favour lots of white highlights in the heraldry of their various regiments, underlining their cold, clinical aesthetic and letting the grime show up better to signify how the grinding Forever War on Mars has worn them down.
- Macross Missile Massacre: Colossi have multi-launch missile backpacks in addition to their massive gatling guns, meaning that even hard cover isn't a sure defence against them.
- The Juggernaut: It doesn't matter what gets in their way. Humans, Vex, mountains, moons, entire planets. If it gets in the Cabal's path, they destroy it rather than go around it.
- Mighty Glacier: Their Grimoire entry notes that they only have one tactic: slow advance. The problem being that they are really good at it. In practice, though, it's mitigated by their ubiquitous jump jets, which can let even these lumbering behemoths reposition with frightening speed.
- Our Weapons Will Be Boxy in the Future: Cabal tech is angular, blocky, and graceless, but manages to match and often outperform human designs without even having the Traveler's assistance.
- Police Code for Everything: The military code 'Problem 78, Subsection F' may count, but to be honest, 'death by multiple gunshots' is a pretty regular occupational hazard for Cabal soldiers.
- Punch Clock Villain: Compared with the other factions. They don't really have any connection to the Dark, they're only on Mars to plunder the human/Vex technology, and they don't particularly care about humans - though they shoot humans on sight because they're intruding on Cabal territory. The majority of the Cabal troops are just soldiers on a lengthy deployment.
- They aren't even a unified force: not all of them are totally loyal to their empire, and arguments are frequent.
- Robot War: Engaged in one with the Vex over control of Mars. It doesn't look likely to end any time soon.
- Scary Dogmatic Aliens: Of the "Aliens as Conquistadores" type. If they want territory, they come in and take it, then fortify it with massive defensive landscaping and construction projects, and then they hold it and shoot any unauthorized thing that gets close. In extreme circumstances, 'unauthorized things' can include planets.
- Slave Mooks: Not them, but the spindly Psions who operate their machinery and pilot their ships are said to be another race they conquered. It's evidenced by the fact that they don't suffer a catastrophic atmosphere loss when you headshot them, implying that they're from a world with a more Earth-like environment.
- Space Romans: Explicitly so. Their unit names (Legionary, Gladiator, Centurion) are a dead giveaway, their armour designs borrow from the Roman legions (particularly with the crests on their helmets), and so do their tactics, advancing infantry behind a wall of shield-carrying soldiers.
- Tank Goodness: They're fans. Vehicles range from the hulking Goliath hover-MBT, with a gun powerful enough to shoot down spacecraft, to the skyscraper-sized land-tanks their regiments use as their bases during an invasion.
- Your Head Asplode: Subverted. Scoring a headshot kill on a Cabal soldier knocks their helmet off, causing an enormous spray of navy-blue... something that strongly suggests this trope. In fact, what's happening is that the dense artificial atmosphere they require to breathe is being vented from inside their suits, and their heads remain completely intact - it's actually the only way to see what their faces look like.
Primus Sha'aullThe commander of the Blind Legion, encountered by the player Guardian during the quest to charge Zydron's eye.
- Adventurer Archaeologist: Taken to its logical extreme. The Blind Legion's mission is to study the Vex ruins on Mars, and since said ruins tend to be filled with heavily-armed Vex unwilling to give up their stuff, exploring them is adventuresome indeed.
- Badass Bookworm: A scholar and archaeologist who can and will stomp you into Mars's red dust.
- Bling of War: Wears a gold chest plate and has a fan of feathers on his back. He looks kind of like a peacock. A peacock with a fully-automatic rocket launcher.
- Four-Star Badass: The Cabal equivalent of an admiral, and the meanest soldier of theirs you'll encounter outside a Strike.
- King Mook: Per Cabal standard, he's a super-sized Centurion.
The Psion FlayersThree powerful Psions and the bosses of the Dust Palace strike. They're seeking access to a terminal that Rasputin had managed to deny the Cabal.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: They managed to drive Rasputin out of a computer terminal. Cayde-6 even notes that if they could do that, then the Psion Flayers are extremely dangerous.
- Person of Mass Destruction: They're speculated to have moved the moon Phobos from its orbit, possibly as a weapon against Earth.
- Rule of Three: There are three Flayers: Kolar (who has an Arc shield), Numoc (who has a Void shield), and Vatch (who has a Solar shield).
Valus Ta'aurcOne of the Cabal's most senior commanders on Mars, and the boss of the Cerberus Vae III Strike, Ta'aurc oversees the occupation of the buried city of Freehold from his gigantic Land Tank, deploying his troops to secure the Iron Line against humans and Vex alike.
- Armchair Military: Subverted. He's been involved in much less direct combat than most Cabal commanders despite his impressive record, preferring to use his horde of soldiers and enormous Land Tank to crush his enemies. Then you actually fight him, and lo and behold, he's one of the toughest bosses in the game.
- Flunky Boss: As per normal. Unfortunately, many of his flunkies are the irritatingly difficult-to-kill Phalanxes, making them less useful than most as a source of ammunition and Orbs of Light.
- Four-Star Badass: A Cabal general who also happens to be one of the deadliest enemies you'll face outside of a Raid.
- Gatling Good: As a King Mook version of a Colossus, his Heavy Slug Thrower would look more comfortable mounted on a tank, and is one of the most devastating boss weapons in the game, alongside Phogoth's Eye Beams.
- I Am Not Shazam: "Valus" is a rank, not a name.
- King Mook: An even bigger, meaner Colossus, with the standard loadout of a Gatling gun and missile backpack.
- Macross Missile Massacre: His low-slung Heavy Slug Thrower leaves a lot of (theoretically) exploitable weak spots where you can shoot him and he can't shoot you. That's where the missile tubes on his back come in, launching enormous salvoes of homing death at anything he can't reach with his gun.
- Mighty Glacier: Colossi are amongst the slowest still-mobile enemies in the game, and this guy is no exception, but he's got enough firepower to more than make up for it.
Valus Trau'ugA former Cabal commander, as far as his counterparts on Mars are concerned. He and his loyal soldiers launched an invasion of the Reef in defiance of High Command, and were captured there by the Awoken and thrown into the Prison of Elders as a result. Now he challenges Guardians of any caliber to come and try to kill him.
- Blood Knight: Like anything else you can fight in the Prison of Elders, Trau'ug has challenged Guardians to battle, entirely because he wants to fight and kill as many as he can get away with.
- Bad Boss: The reason he's a former Cabal commander is because, before leaving for the Reef (against the orders of Cabal High Command), he slaughtered the officers that would rather have stayed with his Martian counterparts than joined him in attempting to take the Reef.
- Dangerous Deserter: As mentioned above, he's a traitor to the Cabal forces on Mars. Those Cabal in the Prison, however, show fanatical loyalty to him.
- The Juggernaut: Variks even refers to him as a "Cabal juggernaut".
- King Mook: He's a mega-Centurion.
- Large and In Charge: He's on the same scale as Valus Tu'aurc, in both strategic command of his forces and in size.
- Meaningful Name: In-universe, his name roughly translates as "Less talk, more action". At least, that's what Variks tells us.
The Hive in General
"They are nightmares rising from the shadows, and they hunger for our dying hope."A mysterious race of techno-zombies whose primary base is on the Moon.
- Attack! Attack! Attack!: Hive Thralls, the most newborn of the Hive, known few other tactics, being too bestial and zealous to do very much other than Zerg Rush their opponents.
- BFS: Cleavers, giant swords of bone and metal used by Knights to carve through enemy lines.
- Beef Gate: In the Beta, a few Hallow Knights are presented as this in areas that contain goodies, or near places you can't explore.
- Bee People: Despite their relatively humanoid shape and some identifiable human-like mannerisms, they have an extremely eusocial structure with Wizards breeding thousands of other Hive creatures each.
- Cannon Fodder: Thralls Zerg Rush tendencies leave them as little more than Cannon Fodder for the Knights and Wizards. Apparently, the Darkness views the Hive as this, considering that the Vex are its primary agents.
- Church Militant: As much crusading devotees in their Religion of Evil as they are soldiers.
- Close Range Combatant: The Thralls overzealous demeanor leads them to attack foes with their bare claws. Knights also fall into this when using cleavers.
- Elite Mooks: Hive Knights, the Hive's most zealous servants, their armor grown and shaped and hardened over centuries while their minds are honed to a tactical keenness and given some of the Hive's most powerful weapons.
- Everything's Deader with Zombies: The Thralls, savage, animalistic Hive newborns, function, look, and act much like (fast and surprisingly cunning) zombies.
- Evil Sounds Raspy: From what little we hear of their language, it sounds like someone dragging a pumice stone over their tongues. The wizards in particular are strong examples.
- Evil Is Visceral: In contrast to the coldly mechanical Vex, the Darkness's other principal agents in the solar system, the Hive dive straight into this trope. They're big fans of Organic Technology, and even their (mostly) inorganic architecture has an uncomfortable biomechanical-gothic H. R. Giger vibe to it. They are also big fans of causing Guardians to die slow painful deaths by torture, as seen in a Grimoire card.
- Expy: A lot of Hive units seem to draw inspiration from the enemies from Marathon. This is especially apparent with Acolytes and Wizards, who are dead ringers for Pfhor Fighters and S'pht Compilers, respectively.
- Extra Eyes: Most of them have three glowing eyes on their helmets. Given that the helmetless Hivebeasts, Thralls and Ogres, are eyeless instead, these may be Organic Technology augmentations.
- Gender-Blender Name: Contrary to the name, Wizards are in fact female.
- Giant Mook: Knights are easily brought down by a few headshots, but Ogres are another matter — very large, very durable, normally in the company of smaller mooks, and they constantly shoot lasers from their face.
- Great Big Library of Everything: The World's Grave, a massive library containing the names of every planet the Hive have seen the Darkness destroy. An exact number is not given, but Ghost's dialogue indicates that it's very large.
- Grenade Launcher: Boomers, the standard weapons for Knights, are energy weapons that function very similarly to conventional grenade launchers. The similarity in design to Vex Torch Hammers may not be a coincidence.
- Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Male and female Hivebeasts are mutated from the basic Thralls and Acolytes in different ways after proving their worth. Males become Knights and Ogres, who smash stuff with swords, short-ranged grenade launchers, and their own bare hands. Females become Wizards, who hang back from the main battle line and disrupt the enemy with long-ranged energy blasts and poisoned clouds.
- I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: The Hellmouth, their base on the Moon.
- It Can Think: The Thralls are amongst the most animalistic and (apparently) mindless foes in the game, which makes it even more surprising when they sneak up behind you or lure you into an ambush. They do that a lot.
- Knight of Cerebus: Destiny may be Lovecraft Lite, but that requires that it have some Cosmic Horror elements to start with, and that's what the Hive first introduce to the storyline. Every time they play a greater role in events, things get that much darker and scarier - your first meeting with them on Earth features a Genre Shift from Planetary Romance to horror as a tide of screeching Thralls ambush you in a pitch-black room, and the first mission on the Moon shows you your first permanently dead Guardian, and then reveals that he's permanently dead because the Hive have kidnapped his Ghost and slowly tortured the poor little robot to death. Yeesh.
- Magitek: The most prevalent users in the game, blending mechanical devices and Organic Technology with the power of the Darkness to create their tools of war. It's noted in the Grimoire that many Hive guns actually lack a mechanism that would allow them to shoot anything, but can spew baleful energy when held by one of their soldiers anyway.
- Mook Promotion: Hivebeasts begin as Thralls and work their way up. Having proven themselves, they are mutated by a Wizard into the next higher form in the Hive caste system.
- Mother of a Thousand Young: Wizards are responsible for birthing the Hive's armies, though the Hive's sociobiology is so weird that it's unclear whether they physically give birth or just oversee an artificial process.
- No Body Left Behind: When Hive are killed, their bodies disintegrate into dust. And yes, you should be concerned by the implications.
- Organic Technology: They make heavy, though not exclusive, use of it. Their soldiers are created through genetic manipulation, their body armour is actually grown from their hides, and several of their most powerful weapons, like the Ogre's Eye Beams, are part of their bodies rather than tools that they carry.
- Our Zombies Are Different: One of the Grimoire cards asks whether the Hive are even alive as we understand the term."Are they alive? They move, they shriek, they fall upon us in ravenous waves. But I see death, decay, and corruption, not life."
- OOC Is Serious Business: When the player encounters the Hive in Old Russia, their Ghost notes that the Hive hasn't even set foot on Earth in centuries, and becomes scared that the Darkness is coming back.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: They're essentially Zombie Alien Wizards that came from the Moon.
- Religion of Evil: While the Cabal and Fallen see humanity is a pest that needs to be destroyed for them to be able to take their possessions, the Hive worship the Darkness and see their war with humanity as a Crusade. They have a full pantheon of gods: Oryxnote , Eir, Ur, Xol, Yul, and Crotanote .
- Scary Dogmatic Aliens: Their dogma is as scary as it gets - they worship the Darkness an elemental force of destruction, and obliterate planet after planet to show their devotion to it. Their Bible, the Worlds' Grave, is a massive archive of every planet they have destroyed in service of the Darkness.
- Screaming Warrior: Thralls tend to screech at opponents when charging them. Other Hive tend to just roar at opponents.
- Sickly Green Glow: Much of their technology emanates it, in case they weren't Obviously Evil enough already.
- Smoke Out: Hive wizards can conjurer a cloud of darkness that obscures vision and slows and saps any non-Hive that pass through it. They will either project it around themselves to cover displacing their position, or project it onto an enemy to keep them pinned down.
- Turns Red: A literal example. If a Knight or Ogre takes too much damage in too sort a space of time, they'll start glowing red, regenerate a little health, and charge towards you in a frenzied rage.
- Unholy Matrimony: Their Wizards may have something like this going on, if the Boss Subtitles of Xyor being "the Unwed" is anything to go by.
- Weaponized Offspring: The Thralls are the youngest of the Hive beasts, being the closest thing the Hive have to children. They are nearly mindless, sent almost like Attack Animals to Zerg Rush the Hive's enemies under the supervision of more senior Hive beasts.
- Wizards from Outer Space: Their leadership caste (explicitly called Wizards, no less), who can directly employ the power of the Darkness to obliterate their foes and mutate their minions towards whatever purpose is necessary.
- Women Are Delicate: Wizards, the advanced female Hive morphs, are much more physically fragile than male morphs like Ogres and Knights, though their dark magic makes up for it somewhat.
- Women Are Wiser: Whilst older Knights can have impressive tactical smarts, it's the all-female Wizards who serve as the Hive's scientists and leadership caste.
The Swarm PrincesThe field commanders of Crota's armies. They are also the guardians of the Sword of Crota, waiting for their master to return and restart his campaign.
- Boss in Mook Clothing: They're extra-strong Hive Knights.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The Swarm Princes were the ones who made the Sword of Crota. The very same sword you use to kill them.
- MacGuffin Guardian: They are the protectors of the Sword of Crota.
- Theme Naming: Each one seems to represent one of the Hive's other gods besides Oryx and Crota.
Phogoth, The UntamedThe boss of the Summoning Pits Strike, a Hivebeast currently in the process of being mutated to enormous size in order to serve as a living siege-weapon for his dark masters. It's your responsibility to ensure they don't finish the job.
- Boss Dissonance: The whole level leading up to this guy is pretty trivial by itself. The guy himself? Let's just say that people have resorted to finding safe spots everywhere to beat him and camp it out, as much as possible.
- Damage-Sponge Boss: An even more severe example than most Strike bosses. That hard-to-hit weakspot doesn't help, either.
- Eye Beams: All Ogres have these, though it's more accurate to say that they're projected from the mass of tumorous growths where eyes would otherwise be. Phogoth's are particularly large and powerful.
- Flunky Boss: Not only is he personally formidable, but his mook summons are particularly dangerous, including powerful 'officer' enemies like Knights and Wizards in rather greater numbers than most players will be comfortable with.
- King Mook: An even more gigantic Ogre, with a much harder-to-hit weakspot.
- Make My Monster Grow: According to the pre-mission dialogue, Phogoth used to be an average Ogre. The Hive than proceeded to "tame" the ever living hell out of him, until he earned his title.
- Wake-Up Call Boss: By far, doing this boss even slightly below its recommended level, will kick your ass back to Orbit. His signature eye-laser will crush our health, and the enemies that spawn around him, right from Knights to Wizards, both enemies who are hard to fight on their own, and you got a recipe for a Difficulty Spike.
Sardon, Fist of Crota
"One sword stands tallest among them, leading the charge against us all."The primary general of Crota's armies and master of the Swarm Princes. He is dispatched to Earth to pave the way for Crota's return.
- The Dragon: Shared this role with Omnigul for Crota. Omnigul would spawn the armies, and Sardon would lead them in battle.
- Ground Pound: When he hits his cleaver on the ground, it sends an Arc wave along. To ensure that the player has trouble avoiding it, he gives a debuff called "A Dark Burden", which takes away the player's double jump ability.
- King Mook: He's an extra-strong Hive Knight.
Urzok, the HatedA Hive Knight who appears during public events at the Skywatch. He must be killed as part of the Urn of Sacrifice quest.
- Damage-Sponge Boss: By the Traveler, this guy is hard to kill. In addition to a ridiculously powerful Arc shieldnote (which will only deplete from Arc damage), he's got a rather high amount of health. Not the mention the fact that you'll have to keep clear of dozens of high tier Hive and Fallen while trying to kill him. All in all, he's one of the hardest sub-bosses in the game.
- Ironic Nickname: From the Hive's perspective, the epithet "the Hated" is highly desired, as it make the sacrifices necessary to please the Hive's gods. The playerbase considers it completely fitting.
Omnigul, Will of Crota
"It has been told that with these screams another spawn is awakened, birthed in the name of the god it holds."Crota's chief servant, a Wizard working to gather an army of Hive in preparation for her master's revival.
- The Dragon: To Crota, a role she split with Sardon.
- Enemy Summoner: From groups of Thrall up to a King Mook Ogre.
- Evil Sorceror: Natch.
- The Heavy: Of The Dark Below. Notably, that doesn't make her the Big Bad of the expansion.
- Large and In Charge: As the bride of Crota, she's one of the most senior Wizards in the solar system, and much larger than her sisters.
- Hell Is That Noise: Most Wizards give an otherworldly scream when they die. She screams all the time. It is awful.
- Horned Humanoid: Unlike other wizards, she has horns growing out of head.
- Screaming Wizard: Her lungs are in excellent condition.
- King Mook: A super-Wizard, with the primary difference being that she has an Arc shield rather than a Solar one.
- Unholy Matrimony: She's the mother of Crota's spawn, and is entirely devoted to him, though it's unlikely that it's because of anything as human and benign as romantic love.
- Wizard In White: Wears a white gown. Aside from some blood stains.
Ir Yût, the Deathsinger.
"The song is death. To hear it is to die. To know the words is mortal."A Wizard, and one of the bosses of Crota's End, preceding the Monster of Luna himself.
- Brown Note: Her primary attack is by signing the Liturgy of Ruin, a song that will kill the players if she finishes it. Toland the Shattered speculated that the Hive are part of the song to avoid dying to it.
- Evil Sorceror: As a Wizard.
- Palette Swap: She's one for Omnigul, right down to the horns.
- Timed Boss: Once she starts signing the Liturgy, you have thirty seconds to kill her before she kills the entire fireteam.
Urrox, Flame PrinceDescribed as a "Prince to none", Urrox is an extremely powerful Hive Knight that is both fanatical in loyalty to the Darkness and not pledged to any of the Hive's deities. He is found in the Prison of Elders, but his reasons for being there are unknown- both why he was in the Reef to start with, and why the Awoken bothered capturing him. Nevertheless, he retains his primary goal as one of the Hive's most powerful- ending as many Guardians as he possibly can, and he's issued a challenge out to every Guardian who dares venture into the Reef saying as much.
- Blood Knight: Like every other boss in the Prison of Elders, he's called you out to fight him, though in his case, it may only partly be for the thrill of battle.
- King Mook: Looks like a Gatelord-sized Swordbearer, only armed with an enormous boomer instead of a sword.
- Large and In Charge: Whatever he's doing in the Reef, it seems that leading every other Hive within it seems to be a part of it.
- Playing with Fire: He can summon his rage and set the entire arena on fire for 10 seconds at a time. This manifests as you taking Solar damage whenever you touch the floor.
Gulrot, UncleanAn Ogre raised outside of the Summon Pits by the Worm Keepers, Hive inmates in the Prison of Elders, Gulrot is an abomination even by Hive standards, a walking disease festering within the Prison of Elders.
Crota, Son of Oryx
"He waits in the dark below."The ancient commander of the Hive's invasion of the solar system, a warlord supposedly descended from Oryx, their mysterious god. In the past, he conquered the Moon and held it against a massive Guardian counterattack, killing hundreds alone in a single battle. A fireteam lead by Eriana-3 managed to assassinate him, but the Hive managed to capture his soul, and there are rumors that he's about to make a comeback.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: The Hive's leader in our solar system and easily its most dangerous warrior.
- Big Bad: Of the Dark Below. Notably, he isn't personally directing the events of the story, and he only appears in the "Crota's End" raid, but everything is being done in his name.
- Cool Sword: His signature weapon was the Sword of Crota, which is infamous enough that the player goes on a mission specifically to destroy it. It consumes the Light of those it kills, and considering Guardians are powered by Light...When you fight Crota himself he uses another sword but to the same deadly efficiency. When he swings it, it often means dying in one hit regardless of class, equipment, or ability.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Killing Crota requires hitting him with a special weapon called the Ascendant Blade, which is a Hive weapon.
- The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Pointing at Crota makes him point right back at you.
- The Dreaded: As the warlord responsible for slaughtering thousands of Guardians, he is rightly feared in the Tower.Ikora Rey: We abandoned the Moon rather than face him.
- Energy Being: His true form appears to be as much solid bone as it is transparent greenish energy.
- Evil Overlord: Rules an monstrous underground fortress carved out beneath a lifeless, uninhabitable plain with an army of pseudo-undead and creepy wizards at his command, with ambitions to wipe out humanity in the service of an evil god. Really, he's the straightest example in Destiny. The Dark Below reveals that not only does he rule the Hellmouth, he's also got a personal pocket universe to call home. The similarity between his dimension and the Vex's own pocket dimensions has been noted by Ikora Rey.
- Fighting a Shadow: His presence on the Moon was such. His actual self resides in Another Dimension, which is the setpiece for Crota's End.
- God of Evil: The Hive views him as such. This being the Hive, of course, they see that as a good thing. He's also the weakest of their gods.
- God Emperor: More like a God-Prince. While Oryx is described as the God-King of the Hive, Crota is described as the "heir to the Osmium Throne" and rules the Hive on the Moon in Oryx's name.
- I Am X, Son of Y: Crota, Son of Oryx. Not that Crota ever says that himself.
- King Mook: He's a super-Knight and nearly two stories tall.
- One-Man Army: He singlehandedly "butchered the greatest army of Guardians ever assembled." When you go down into the Hive's temples to retrieve the Sword of Crota, your Ghost is able to track its location solely by the Light of the thousands of Guardians who were slain by it in Crota's hands.
- Red Baron: The Son of Oryx, the Monster of Luna, the God-Knight.
- Stealth Expert: No, seriously. It's not fair that something that large can move so silently.
"The Speaker tells of a cosmic force that swept over us and caused the Collapse. Legend calls it the Darkness, the Traveler's ancient enemy, which hunted it across space. All we have left are questions."The ancient enemy of the Traveler, and supposedly what drove Humanity to near extinction.
- Bigger Bad: Pretty much the reason why humanity fell during the Golden Age, and the backing power behind all of the hostile alien factions...but you never actually fight it, you just encounter its proxies and those taking advantage of humanity's fall. The Hive worship it, the Fallen admire it, the Vex are controlled by it, and the Cabal are implied to be running from it.
- The Chessmaster: Certain Grimoire entries imply that the Darkness has actually spent eons manipulating the Traveler from afar; chasing it along a path of its choosing and determining which young civilizations the Traveler would lend its aid to. It is not known why the Darkness would do this, but the reason is probably not good for the Traveler and Humanity.
- Cosmic Entity: This is the being/elemental force/stellar phenomenon/whatever that mortally wounded the Traveller. Anything meaty enough to deliver the smackdown to God and then come back for Round Two definitely qualifies.
- Dark Is Evil: In contrast to the Traveler.
- Eldritch Abomination: It is the Traveler's equal, and thus counts as this. Precisely what the Darkness actually is tends to be up to debate. Some philosophies argue that it is an Eldritch Abomination, others that it is a technological weapon, others that it is simply the leadership of the various alien factions that have despoiled human civilization, and others that it is the Traveler's Evil Counterpart. What is known about it is that it's got a complex enough structure that even the near-omniscient Vex couldn't figure it out, which is why they worship it as a god, it's intelligent, and it's angry. It's also described as "acausal", i.e. it's acting on future events. Something that might have been a part of the Darkness is encountered at the heart of the Black Garden.
- God of Evil: The Hive not only follow the Darkness, they worship it as a universal force of destruction. It is also worshiped by the Vex, apparently because they could not comprehend it. The Grimoire entry on the Sol Progeny it creates indicates that this was but a small component of the overall Darkness.
- Religion of Evil: The Darkness is worshipped by the Hive and the Vex in various ways. Usually through the genocide of a planet's population.
- The Power of Hate: Whatever it's beef is, the Darkness is seriously pissed off with the Traveler. One of the few things that Rasputin was able to determine when when it entered the Solar system was that it was acting with anger.
- Vagueness Is Coming: If there are questions regarding what exactly the Traveler is, the questions regarding the Darkness exceed it. The game never reveals exactly what the Darkness is, to the point of not even seeing it. Something that might be part of the Darkness, known as the Black Heart, is shown in the Black Garden being worshiped by the Vex, but even then there are no answers as to specifics.