A college student majoring in abstract mathematics at a Washington university. She is called early one morning and informed of her grandfather's murder in Rhode Island, immediately setting out to investigate the cause of his death.
Action Girl: If not at the beginning, she at least has the potential to be. Being very quick and in good shape. By the end, she gained at least some of eleven different people's fighting experience dueled with a lich over two thousand years old.
Leaning on the Fourth Wall: At the end of the second path, Alex feels that a hole has opened in her mind and she has a sense of her "strong ally", but doesn't know who it is. She also remarks that her work is not yet done.
Lightning Bruiser: Alex has only average health, but her sanity and magick meters are both generously-sized. Her magick refills twice as fast as other characters, she moves quickly, and she has access to a wide variety of good weapons by the end of the game.
Magic Knight: Has a reliable melee weapon and a strong firearm (and possibly a combination of both of these later), and her aforementioned magick replenishment ensures she doesn't have to go long without spellcasting. And while she doesn't have the smallest amount of sanity, it depletes faster then every other character (which makes sense considering the Lovecraftian nature of the story and how she's spent a good week or longer reading the Tome of Eternal Darkness).
My God, What Have I Done?: Screams this almost verbatim after killing Pious and allowing the Ancient of the alignment you've cleared get destroyed... by its rival (another Ancient), whom Alex herselfreleased into our dimension. She freaks out as she sees horrible visions of the future, where the Ancient she's released is ripping humanity a new one.
Nested Story: Every other character's chapters are explored from within her own chapter, "A Death in the Family..."
Secret Legacy: There's quite a bit she doesn't know about her family before the game.
The Musketeer: Alex has access to one of the best guns in the game and a good pistol to compliment it but needs to use a sword in parts of the game's final battle. In her possession, the Enchanted Gladius is the best weapon in the game but her guns still have their uses.
Took a Level in Badass: She goes from a college student/mathemetician who just ended up tangled up in the business of the Ancients to mowing down zombies with a shotgun (or other firearm of choice), and finally killing Cthulhu's Dragon with a little help from ghosts of past Chosen and possibly an enchanted gladius.
Dr. Edward Roivas - 1952 A.D.
"The Guardians grow restless. Their time once again near. Whether by fate or misfortune, my family has crossed their path...and they didn't take kindly to it."
Voiced by Neil Dickson
Alex's grandfather. A clinical psychologist who inherited the Roivas mansion. His death guides Alex's story.
Back from the Dead: Multiple times as visions or one time sanity effects. But unlike the others who come back to take revenge on Pious, he does not participate in the fight and instead has a Crowning Moment Of Awesome and seals the can Alex opened.
Badass Bookworm: It was either that or die. He has low running stamina and is not very quick but turns out to be a good shot.
BFG: The Elephant Gun. You have 3 guesses as to what it was designed to take down. If not properly braced, the recoil will knock you flat on your back. And damn does it pack one hell of a punch. And that's before you enchant it. Enchanted, it has a decent chance of scoring a One-Hit Kill on pretty much any enemy.
Glass Cannon/Squishy Wizard: Edward has access to two of the most powerful guns in the game: the double shotgun and the elephant gun. His magick and sanity meters are also large, but he ties for the smallest health meter in the game. Do not let him get hit by a Horror or a powerful Magickal Attack unless he has a shield in place.
Magic Knight: With said health meter, use the "shield" and "pool" are very helpful for his combat heavy chapter. It is almost required to abuse them in a Chattur'gha game (as things do more damage).
Jerkass: One scene has him reveal he is annoyed that Alex didn't die alongside her parents and he had to raise her because of it. It's just a hallucination.
Mission Control Is Off Its Meds: As he appears to Alex, he slowly becomes more hostile to her. Subverted when it turns out to be a hallucination of Pious in disguise.
The Musketeer: He has some powerful adversaries, so you will want to use the sword on the weaker ones to make sure you have enough ammo when you get to them.
Off with His Head!: The corpse and the detective's analysis on the crime scene at the beginning of the game, as well as the scene where he is killed before it blacks out in the end of his chapter, strongly implies that the Lovecraftian monster that does him in did so by tearing his head off and eating it.
My Death Is Only The Beginning: Then again, the ending of his chapter implies that he was fully aware that the Ancient was going to kill him, yet allowed it to happen anyway to further his plan to counter Pious' plan.
Posthumous Narration: As he himself mentions, though his letters already point out the fact he is, so it could be his writings voiced over for flavor rather than him literally talking
Spirit Advisor: While all of the Chosen who die serve as this to some extent at the very end of the game, Edward appears to Alex at times as she reads chapters in the Tome of Eternal Darkness, at first with comforting words, but then he gets increasingly creepy; by the end, he sounds exactly like Pious.
Pious Augustus - 26 B.C.
"Face me and you shall surely perish."
Voiced by Richard Doyle
A Roman Centurion tasked with locating a magickal artifact for his emperor. Upon finding it within the Forbidden City, he is corrupted and becomes a liche, allied with one of the three Ancients who seek to dominate the planet. He spends the next two millennia preparing a summoning spell to bring his Ancient to this dimension.
Badass: Trapped in an ancient underground temple with zombies after his hide? This centurion just picks up his sword and starts cutting a path right through them!
The Dragon: To the Ancients. The exact nature of the relationship varies depending on which Ancient he serves:
Dragon-in-Chief: Towards Chattur'gha. He's the one who comes up with the more complex plans.
Big Bad Duumvirate: Despite the split personalities, Xel'lotath does seem to treat Pious as a marginal equal to it.
Yes-Man: To Ulyaoth. He submits to the Ancient's commands and orders without question.
Dude, Where's My Respect?: All of the Ancients treat him like crap, no matter how vital he is to their plans. Specifically, Chattur'gha thinks Pious' plans are unnecessary nitpicking, Ulyaoth reduced him to a groveling ass kisser, and working with someone with a split personality would be trying for anybody as shown with Xel'lotah, who also enjoys reading his mind.
Somewhat subverted, as Pious is rarely shown complaining about his masters' less-than-ideal treatment. Indeed, he seems to understand that it's par for the course when you serve an ancient.
Nerves of Steel: Pious is the only character without a sanity bar. In gameplay terms, this essentially means that when terrifying undead monsters rise up to fight him, he is immune to their attacks on his mind and simply begins killing them without a second thought. Being a Roman Centurion (and thus the only career solider among the playable characters) might help with this.
Either that, or he was already halfway insane to begin with. He hears the Ancients calling to him before he makes it into the shrine where the Artifacts are kept, but doesn't seem to think much of it...
Simple Staff: It hurts, With one swing, he can strike enemies in front of and behind him.
Start of Darkness: He is the first character in the tome you play as, and in it, you witness him set the plot in motion by getting lichified.
The Starscream : Technically he was just like the others, but in the end he choose one of the three entities.
Transhuman Treachery: He can condemn humanity to the fate it will suffer under his master because he seems to think he will be exempt from it.
The Undead: His statue in the hall with all the dead characters.
Our Liches Are Different: He requires no Soul Jar (unless the essence of the Ancient he serves counts), was transformed into his monstrous form right away, and he can talk just fine.
Unwitting Pawn: To Mantorok. His statue, broken as it may be, is still enshrined within the Tome's hallway for a reason.
Ellia - 1150 A.D.
"I only wish something that fantastic and of higher purpose could happen to me."
Voiced by Kim Mai Guest
A young Khmer slave girl who longs to be part of something greater after reading what she believes are just myths and tales from the Tome. She finds herself trapped within a temple and searches for a way out.
And I Must Scream: Pious "kills" her after she doesn't respond to his demand that she hand over the essence of Mantorok entrusted to her. Its presence absorbed inside her keeps her conscious as she spends almost a millenium guarding it as a rotting shell, until she can pass it to another Chosen (Lindsey).
Blowgun: With 100 poisoned darts, a blowgun is the replacement to her short sword. However, you can use it to get the sword fixed if you are quick enough and thus be a sort of medieval musketeer equivalent.
Fragile Speedster: Her movements are quick and her stamina is good, but her health meter is tiny and she lacks access to spells or any strong weapon. Thankfully, actually engaging enemies is mostly unnecessary in her chapter.
Good Counterpart: To Pious, given her undead state when she beseeches Lindsey to reclaim the Heart of Mantorok.
Kukris Are Kool: It's referred to as a "Short Sword", but it's the same model as Lindsey's kukri.
The Load: She can't actively cast spells outside of using an enchanted amulet a finite number of times to heal herself, and her health and magick meters are both tiny. In addition, she can permanently lose her only decent weapon, the Short Sword, if you fail to save an NPC, a task which varies from difficult (Chattur'gha) to neigh-impossible (Ulyaoth).
Miles to Go Before I Sleep: She was conscious the entire time she held Mantorok's essence. 800+ years before she could lay down her burden.
Most Writers Are Writers: A twelfth century slave girl being able to read is highly unlikely, much less one having ownership of a book.
Then again, given the eldritch nature of the book, it's very possible that the book simply gave her the ability to read it. It also gave Alex the ability to understand it, and it can be read equally well by all the Chosen, no matter their native language.
A Frankish messenger boy who is tasked with delivering an urgent message to Charlemagne. Driven by curiosity to read the scroll himself, he sees that it contains a curse which gradually corrupts him. He takes it upon himself to warn the emperor of the plot against him.
And I Must Scream: After his chapter's close, he goes on to spend nearly 700 years imprisoned in the room that he drops "dead" in, with the curse wearing on and on - and keeping him "alive" enough to go completely out of his mind until he receives a Mercy Kill from Paul.
Back from the Dead: In the final boss fight against Pious. But before he serves as an enemy against Paul. If you picked the BFS in Anthony's chapter, you'll be able to reclaim it, alongside the MacGuffin in his eye socket.
Break the Cutie: He gets cursed at his chapter's start out of nosiness, and his sheer doggedness to warn Charlemagne has him enduring the effects of being zombified alive and forcing himself through... only to finally find that it was in vain, the conspirators decided not to wait up, and Charlemagne was dead before he could make it. As Paul's chapter reveals, it did not stop then and there with apparent Kill the Cutie.
Determinator: Even after 600 years, what's left of him is still trying to warn Charlemagne.
Heroic BSOD/Despair Event Horizon: At lower levels of sanity, between psychological and physical trauma, it's clear he's barely hanging on - and the fact that on top of it his chapter concludes with him finding out in the hardest way that for it all he was doomed to fail and too late to protect Charlemagne prior to a presumable 671 years in isolation may be partly to blame for his mindlessly attacking when Paul comes along.
The Klutz: Though in fairness, it's thanks to the decaying effects of the curse.
Lightning Bruiser -> Mighty Glacier: As the scroll's curse takes hold, he gets progressively slower. However, he has average to above average meters in all three main stats, the second-best melee weapon in the game, and the curse will also revive him from death if he is killed.
Sacrificial Lion: Though he lives longer than one would expect for this trope he basically exists to show that the bone thieves are screwing up politics.
A Persian warrior who is sent to find an artifact to present to his beloved Chandra in return for her affections. Like Pious, he finds himself transported to the Forbidden City, guided into its depths towards the remaining artifact.
Back from the Dead: In the final boss fight against Pious. And before that, he stayed in the lair as a guardian of the cursed objects alongside his lover.
Bad Ass: One of the only practiced fighters in the cast with average to high stats all around. While he, unlike Pious, doesn't lack a Sanity Meter to signify total dauntlessness, at low sanity, his voice clips suggest shrugging off the worst of having it tested.
BFS: The good old Ram Dao, which is capable of killing even Horrors with a single hit if properly enchanted.
Lightning Bruiser: He has only average magick and sanity (and his sanity will quickly drop considering the amount of Bonethieves in the level), but Karim ties for the largest health bar in the game, has high running stamina and speed, and the Ram Dao is obscenely powerful.
Love Makes You Dumb: Even after he found out that Chandra had two-timed him and gotten herself killed, and the only way he could be with her was by getting himself killed as well, he still took her Kiss of Death.
Multi-Mook Melee: The gauntlet of Zombies and Horrors that he must endure after taking the Ram Dao, as well as at his chapter's end.
Religious Bruiser: Observing a shrine in the forbidden city with him brings up a text box describing it as "blasphemous". Which religion Karim follows is never stated but given the time period he is likely mazdean.
Kill It with Fire: While he doesn't have to access to a torch, he claims that the only way to ensure the complete removal of a Chattur'gha bonethief from the Earth is by burning it out with fire.
Large Ham: For an extra helping of ham, listen to his narration of the autopsies. He's overweight, too.
Laughing Mad: The voice over during some of his autopsies, and at the end of his chapter.
MeaningfulSdrawkcab Name: It seems some of his kin may have decided to invoke the trope, as his bloodline is stated to save him from an eroding curse should he break the seal on one of Aaron's letters.
Mighty Glacier: Given his age and paunch, he's not too light on his feet. He can still handle a saber rather deftly.
Sanity Slippage: He stands out from the rest of the chosen ones in this regard; his decreasing sanity is a major plot point. His autopsy recordings show it best.
The Musketeer: Once he finds the saber. More literal than most as he is actually shooting musket balls, though with a flintlock.
The Nose Knows: Claims to be able to detect Ulyaoth bone thieves by their smell.
The Other Darrin: Within the same game. His monster compendium voice actor is significantly more hammy.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: What got him sent to the asylum? He murdered his entire serving staff, convinced they were all infested with Bonethieves. Some of the staff were likely possessed but evidence suggests that innocent people were among those killed. He may have felt he couldn't take the chance given the stakes but that defense doesn't work too well in court.
An archaeologist who has recently made a breakthrough using satellite imaging to discover a temple mound in Cambodia. He sets out to investigate it, funded by a benefactor named Paul Augustine, who double-crosses him, revealing himself to be Pious in disguise. Lindsey explores the temple for clues to Pious' whereabouts and plans.
Badass Bookworm: "You are a scholar, Dr. Lindsey, not a warrior." That doesn't stop him from... anything, really.
Badass Normal: Can be applied to virtually any PC in this game, but Lindsey is a special case because he not only lives but shows virtually no negative side effects from his little jaunt into a Cosmic Horror Story.
A Franciscan monk who has traveled to Oubliť Cathedral to view a holy relic, the Hand of Jude. A priest named Phillipe Augustine (another alias of Pious) has him detained as a suspect in a murder; Paul sets out to prove his innocence with the help of a custodian.
Carry a Big Stick: He wields a mace as his default melee weapon (the aforementioned sword only available if you found it as Anthony).
Cowardly Lion: He is clearly out of his depth throughout the entirety of his chapter, and even breaks down screaming at lower Sanity levels; however, he stays in the Cathedral to get to the bottom of things out of his own volition and in spite of being encouraged to run.
Good Shepherd: This Franciscan monk is genuinely faithful, even in the face of cosmic horror.
Knife Nut: Defied, because the only knife he gets is a sacrificial one which naturally disgusts him.
The Many Deaths of You: Paul, depending on Pious' given Ancient, can die in three different ways. Either he gets flattened under the red Guardian's claw, stomped by the blue Guardian's foot, or his head a sploded psychically by the green Guardian.
Mercy Kill: He does this for Anthony, finally putting him out of his misery and offering him last rites.
Sacrificial Lion: He exists mostly to show what Pius and company have been up to over the years and to finish off another such "lion" and teach you to fear the greater guardian.
Squishy Wizard: His magic and sanity are pretty good, but his health and stamina are low (he handles heavy weapons better than characters higher in these areas though). Also getting literally squished in two ways doesn't change his status as one.
Roberto Bianchi - 1460 A.D.
"The foundations are infested! Demons and devils! Many lives will be lost if you try to build there!"
Voiced by Phil Proctor
A Venetian architect who was captured by a warlord during his travels abroad. He is being forced to survey the Forbidden City's site if he has any hopes of being freed.
Back from the Dead: In the final boss fight against Pious. He also appears as a ghost to Michael.
Bad Boss: Not Roberto himself. He's not only unknowingly in the forced service of the evil Pious but he's being made to survey and oversee crucial repairs to damaged structures whilst demons try to kill him.
Bow and Sword in Accord: Though, poking holes in this game's monsters is not very easy or effective so the low rate of fire bow will not see much use besides offing small or downed enemies.
Failure Is the Only Option: According to the some of the other workers, Roberto's was sent into the depths of the forbidden city to be eaten by monsters but he successfully surveys the building the project there anyway. He is not exactly thanked for it, so they were probably right.
Mighty Glacier: Roberto has above average health, average sanity, ties for the smallest magick meter in the game, is extremely slow (even moreso than Maximillian) and he tires quickly. His two primary weapons are a saif sword and crossbow. The saif causes decent damage but has a very wide swinging arc, and it often gets caught on walls in narrow corridors. The crossbow also inflicts good damage, but it only holds one round and has a very long reload time.
Only the Worthy May Pass: Karim and Chandra's specters subject Roberto to this before they relinquish the Ancient's essence to him.
Renaissance Man: Literally; he's a Venetian architect during the period of the Renaissance.
Spirit Advisor: Technically since he does advise Michael to take the artifact he found and destroy the temple.
A wartime reporter researching the Battle of the Somme from the front lines at Oubliť Cathedral, which he learns has a far more sinister history than a church/field hospital should have.
Action Survivor: All the Chosen besides Karim (a swordsman) and possibly Michael (a Gulf Wartime fireman) qualify for this, but as for the trope name, Peter actually survives.
Badass Normal: A very common trait in this game, but Peter gets special appreciation for punching out an Eldritch Abomination that demolished a previous character in no time flat after fighting through one of the most combat-intensive levels in the game, and for actually surviving into ripe old age with fairly few problems.
Blinding Camera Flash: Peter has a flash pan with a limited amount of powder which he can use to stun enemies (which is good, since you don't really start off with any particularly powerful weapons in that chapter).
Geek Physique: Scrawny, without the ability to wield any of his non-Magickal defenses gracefully, and quick-moving but with low stamina as well as health.
Better to Die than Be Killed: It was originally planned for Michael to commit suicide in front of Edward; this was changed to leave his fate ambiguous when the suicide proved "too depressing".
BFG: The OICW. Wow, that is a hell of a gun. There are multiple settings for single-shot, burst, and full auto fire, and it even has a grenade launcher. The downside? When you run out of ammo, you are out for good, because there is none lying around. Good thing you start with a lot.
Dumb Muscle: Statistically Speaking only. He ties with Karim for the largest health bar in the game, has incredible stamina and has access to an automatic rifle with a grenade launcher. Both his magick and sanity meters, however, are pathetic. Michael is actually about as intelligent and resourceful as the rest of the Tome bearers: his explosives expertise mingles with his newfound spell-casting abilities and it allows him to destroy the Forbidden City and the Pillar of Flesh; he arranges for the enchanted Gladius he found to be delivered to Alex moments before she needs it; and in the meantime, he managed to elude the Guardians for at least five years straight.
Infinite Flashlight: Not that it helps much, as the game's entire brightness can simply be increased on the options menu and even it if is not, enchanting your weapon achieves the same effect. On the other hand it is a flashlight made with long use in mind so its more justified than the various brands before it.
Power-Up Letdown: Most characters receive the Tome straight away and can start casting magic before facing any monsters. Michael, however, must first endure enough rooms in the Forbidden City to complete a puzzle, and even then, his Mana Meter runs out quickly.
Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Each of the three primary ancients (excluding Mantorok) is strong against one of the Ancients and weak against the other.
Hufflepuff House: There is a fifth Ancient that does not appear and have no relevence to the story.
Sealed Evil in a Can: The primary Ancients are currently bound to their own dimensions and cannot enter the material world without Pious' help. The entire game consists of the Chosen attempting to prevent Pious from accomplishing this.
The "Corpse God", Mantorok is a force of pure Chaos. His powers are supreme over all three Ancients, and his energies are tinted purple.
And I Must Scream: Pious impales it with stone pillars empowered by its own magic and binds it. It is implied this will eventually kill Mantorok, but the process appears to take time. Time, during which, it is bound to the temple unable to do anything. Or so you'd think.
The Chessmaster: Mantorok subtly moves his various pawns against his enemies across time and space. Not only that but it also ensures that the other Ancients simultaneously destroy each other in parallel universes. This makes it the victorious sole survivor across reality.
Covered in Gunge: Everything in its immediate area is covered in residue it has been belching out over the years.
Dark Is Not Evil: Well, sort of. Its zombies attack people without reason, Mantorok draws its power from death, decay and entropy, and Pious claims that it "corrodes the universe" just by existing. However, it opposes the three villainous Ancients, its zombies prioritize attacking their creatures over people and Mantorok used to be a fertility god to the region around its temple. Perhaps it just has a soft spot for humans.
Extra Eyes: Mantorok probably has a total field of vision twice over.
Ragnarok-Proofing: The temple it resides in, by way of its magic and in fact may be a product of it.
Shape Shifter: Upon examining Mantorok directly, Lindsey hypothesizes that it is one of these. This is further implied by the many different forms that Mantorok takes within the frescoes on the walls inside its temple.
The Man Behind the Man: Technically Mantorok is behind everything, but you need to see the best ending to learn of this.
To Serve Man: It only resorts to this after being bound and the only people it is ever seen eating are working for Pious, suggesting this was what Mantorok's ability to defy him was reduced to (it wasn't).
"It is of no matter, for the power I will wield on my return will crush all that oppose me."
Voiced by Greg Eagles
The Ancient who presides over physical strength and matter. His essence is a claw-shaped idol, and his powers are tinted red.
Dumb Muscle: Subverted. It is a god of strength and definitely doesn't seem to display Ulyaoth or Xel'lotath's level of intelligence, nor does it put the same value on it that Ulyaoth seems to, but it's certainly not dumb. The conversations between Chattur'gha and Pious do, however, seem to imply that the Ancient leaves much of the evil planning to Pious.
Evil Is Visceral: Chattur'gha has no skin and the recurring theme of its monsters is that of exposed sinews and thews.
Big Creepy-Crawlies The other theme of his is chitinous exoskeletons, his essence is even described as a red clawed worm.
Might Makes Right: A firm believer in its strength being the only real quality required to overcome its enemies. This is true when he encounters Xel'lotath but not so much against Ulyaoth.
Power Pincers: Don't work so well if he cannot touch you with them but he most likely can
Too Dumb to Fool: He's not stupid, per se, but he's not nearly the schemer that Ulyaoth is. This proves to be a problem for Xel'lotath when she creates two clones of herself during battle with Chattur'gha. He simply glances at the three, and then goes straight for the one in the middle that the other two sprang from.
Tractor Beam: Uses one to drag Xel'lotath into his claw before tearing her to shreds.
"The Universe is a yawning chasm, filled with emptiness and the puerile meanderings of sentience."
Voiced by Richard Doyle
The Ancient who presides over magick and dimensional planes. His essence is a translucent idol in his image, and his powers are tinted blue.
Alien Geometries: Its essence resembles a delicate dome which phases in an out of existence as it turns through different realities.
The Chessmaster: All of the ancients are but he is the one who seems to be the most involved it
Dimension Lord: "The boundlessness of Ulyaoth" does not seem to be hyperbole...well, besides the fact he still gets bounded.
Smug Snake: In conversations between Pious and Ulyaoth, Pious is a Yes-Man and merely listens to whatever orders that the Ancient supplies. On the rare occasion that Pious does offer a (usually good) suggestion, Ulyaoth always treats him with disdain.
The Schizophrenia Conspiracy: Xel'lotath seems convinced that Pious is a Starscream. She kinda has a point — he does serve another Ancient in two of the timelines...and, unknowingly, serves Mantorok in all three.