From Latin, "the masks of the drama." A list of characters at the beginning or at the end of a work of fiction.

This stemmed from the necessity of casting a play, and has somehow drifted into fiction from there; the end credits roll of a movie or TV show evolved from this practice too. Usually lists them by name with a short description, most often relaying who is related to whom. In works which fit into a large continuity with LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters (such as comic books), this helps the reader keep up with the characters involved in the work.

A Dramatis Personae is quite often written in a slightly [[YeOldeButcheredeEnglishe olde-world]] style, evoking the Shakespearean style of writing. Sometimes this is done separately at the beginning of each chapter as part of InWhichATropeIsDescribed.

If the characters are not strictly listed alongside which actors are playing them in a live drama, expect identity-based shenanigans.
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!!Examples

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[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Many manga volumes begin with the names and images of major (but usually not all) characters in the series/volume/story arc.
* ''HistorysStrongestDiscipleKenichi'' does by showing a box with the name of any character who is showing up for the first time ''and'' any character who hasn't been seen in a while. Often with a brief description.
* The Dramatis Personae of Creator/SuehiroMaruo's ''Manga/MrArashisAmazingFreakShow'' contains two real-life people who have no part in the story: Ikki Kita, a Japanese politician who was contemporary to when the story takes place; and Hibari Misora, a singer who rose to fame after World War II.
* ''MahouSenseiNegima'' essentially starts off with one in the form of the class roster, introducing all of the girls in Negi's class. As the manga goes on, it also has brief character introductions at the beginning of each chapter.
* Every volume of ''Manga/BattleRoyale'' opens with a page showing the full class roster, with the faces of the dead marked off. The list of names not greyed out gets very short, very quickly. This is largely necessary due to the LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters, it can be hard to keep up.
* ''{{LightNovel/Durarara}}'' and ''LightNovel/{{Baccano}}'' both throw a list of the characters over the opening. [[spoiler: They also play around with this a bit - certain important characters are shown, but the names are withheld.]] Baccano [[spoiler: gives AxeCrazy Claire Stanfield aka [[ShroudedInMyth The Rail Tracer]] [[IHaveManyNames aka]] [[PsychoForHire Vino]] aka [[SacrificialLamb The Young Conductor]] the same amount of screen time as every other character, but withholds his name and successfully tricks the audience into assuming he's just an extra.]] Something similar is true for ''Durarara''[='s=] first opening, which [[spoiler: withholds the name of another character, but this time it clearly shows that the character will be important - it does the same freeze frame that the other characters get, but leaves out the name. This is promptly subject to FridgeBrilliance followed by a [[SubvertedTrope subversion]]: At first we think her name isn't listed because it's already been shown for another character, then we realize that isn't actually true. The second opening shows her actual name.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* During the Silver Age, ''ComicBook/LegionOfSuperHeroes'' had the Legionnaire Roll Call so you'd know which of the many Legionnaires were starring in each particular story.
** Brought back in the post-Zero Hour version, with occasional variants (the {{Elseworld}} in which they're typical 1950s teenagers has "class attendence", for instance).
** Brought back in different form in the post-Final Crisis "deboot" Legion, where the first appearance of a character in an issue is accompanied by a caption giving name, codename, and powers. Becomes tedious in collected editions, where the same character will get introduced half-a-dozen times. (One must learn to ignore it.)
* ''Comicbook/XMen'' occasionally did this during the 70s and 80s as their cast of characters expanded. Same for ''Comicbook/TheAvengers''.
** In fact, a variation on this was used in every Marvel comic published for a while in the late 90s.
** During the 1980s, when Marvel placed a picture of a character in a box in the upper left-hand corner of the cover (Different, but issue-specific pics of Spider-Man, for example, or the faces of each member of the X-Men), that box on an ''ComicBook/AlphaFlight'' cover only pictured the characters appearing in that issue (Most of the John Byrne issues, especially No.s 1-11, focused on specific characters).
** Modern Marvel comics tend to open with a page giving a brief text recap of the comic's premise and the story to this point, along with portraits of the major characters involved.
* The ComicBook/{{Justice League|Of America}} and JusticeSocietyOfAmerica have also had Roll Calls, similar to the Legion version. In the Silver Age, the League was more likely to have each character's title appear next to them after they'd separated into two-person teams (which they did a lot). At least one book during the Ligntning Saga (a JLA/JSA crossover which reintroduced the pre-Zero Hour Legion) gave all three teams a separate roll call.
* The Archie-published Comicbook/SonicTheHedgehog comics generally do a quick list of all the characters who feature in each particular issue.
* After finishing a story, the Belgian/Dutch daily newspaper comic SuskeEnWiske announces the following story with a short strip mentioning the main characters - which always includes the famous five (Suske, Wiske, Aunt Sidonia, Lambik and Jerom), and occasionally includes a few more important extras, though that is not always so. It also gives a short indication about the story to come, though it omits any twists and turns.
* Most of the ''ComicBook/{{Asterix}}'' books have a brief description of "A Few of the Gauls" on page 4, with the actual comic starting on page 5. ''Mansion of the Gods'' omits this page so that a 2-page spread later on (pages 28 & 29) doesn't have to be broken.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Fan Works]]
* ''Fanfic/WithStringsAttached'' has a four-page character list at the end.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* All of the ''Film/{{Pusher}}'' films begin with a montage of the major characters and their names, set to a pounding rock beat. Each character is harshly lit from above as they glare at the camera.
* ''Film/TheRoyalTenenbaums'' combines this with an AgeCut: the prologue shows the Tenenbaum siblings as children, and the Dramatis Personae credits introduce the actors playing them as adults.
* In ''Film/{{Snatch}}'' a montage of short vignettes introduces each character, with freeze frames giving their names. The whole thing is set to Klint's "Diamond."
* Numerous film serials used this ([[Film/RadarMenFromTheMoon Commander Cody]] being probably the most popular). This was due to the long period of time between episodes, as well as the likelihood that an audience member might miss an episode or two.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* ''Literature/GoodOmens'' by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, which explicitly parodies the [[Creator/WilliamShakespeare Shakespearean]] ''dramatis personae''.
** Also ''Discworld/WyrdSisters'', in-story, with its parody of ''Theatre/{{Macbeth}}''.
* Most Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse novels from the ''Literature/NewJediOrder'' series onwards. Pretty helpful when they bring back a pre-existing but recently unused character and even fans could use reminder of his/her species and most recent occupation.
** The ''[[Literature/XWingSeries X-Wing]]'' series depending on the book may also give the [[YouAreNumberSix squad numbers]] of the pilots.
* Several books by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, including:
** ''Literature/TheMoteInGodsEye''
** ''The Gripping Hand''
** ''[[Literature/TheDeedOfPaksenarrion Oath of Fealty]]''
** ''Literature/{{Footfall}}''
** ''Literature/LucifersHammer''
* Many books by Creator/DavidWeber include this at the back. Given his [[{{Doorstopper}} writing]] [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters style]], some of these get to be ''several'' pages long. Case in point: the ''{{Literature/Safehold}}'' series. In the second book, it's ten pages long. By the 6th, it's ''forty-one''.
* The Pevear/Volokhonsky translations of ''Literature/TheBrothersKaramazov'', ''Literature/CrimeAndPunishment'', and ''Literature/WarAndPeace''.
* Some novels by Creator/AgathaChristie, e.g. ''Literature/MurderOnTheOrientExpress''.
* Her more theatrically minded contemporary Ngaio Marsh did this with ''every'' novel.
* Novels by Erle Stanley Gardner (aka A. A. Fair).
* Harry Turtledove's ''[[DarknessSeries Into the Darkness]]''.
** Most of Harry Turtledove's work. This is actually ''necessary'', because Turtledove likes to write large novels with several intertwining plotlines seen from the viewpoint of different characters. So the book will have, say, six major protagonists. And each of them has several family members or comrades-in-arms. Plus a lot of throwaway characters that you only see once. The DramatisPersonae list runs for pages.
* Lindsey Davis's Literature/MarcusDidiusFalco novels. She says she does it because Roman names follow such similar patterns that she gets confused herself. Done tongue-in-cheek in ''Last Act in Palmyra'' in which Falco joins a travelling theatre troupe.
* Most of Creator/TamoraPierce's books include a list of characters, though they mostly are at the end of the book along with glossaries and other miscellaneous information.
* The ''Literature/AmericanGirl'' books all begin with a two-page "photo album" of the heroine's family and friends.
* The ''Literature/KushielsLegacy'' novels by Jacqueline Carey have LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters and therefore have a dramatis personae that can go on for pages and pages.
* When the number of characters grew very large, the ''LeftBehind'' novels began inserting a dramatis personae, divided handily into [[DesignatedHero Good]], Undecided, and [[DesignatedVillain Bad]], at the beginning of each book.
* K.P. Bath's ''Escape From Castle Cant'' has this at the beginning, most likely because it's a sequel with ''lots'' of backstory.
* ''Literature/MalazanBookOfTheFallen'' and its related side stories by Steven Erikson and Ian Cameron Esslemont each open with a Dramatis Personae (explicitly labelled as such). In the later books of the series, [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters these can stretch over many pages]].
* Given the LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters in George RR Martin's ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'', the epic Dramatis Personae at the end of each volume is very helpful.
* Creator/TadWilliams' ''Literature/MemorySorrowAndThorn'' has this for all its many, many characters from main protagonist to minor support who's been mentioned in two sentences.
* Literature/TheBartimaeusTrilogy books 2 and 3 begin with a list of main characters, handily divided into Magicians, Commoners and Spirits
* ''Literature/{{Stravaganza}}'' by Mary Hoffman
* ''Literature/WarriorCats'' by Erin Hunter lists all the clan cats, and some cats outside the clans at the beginning of each book.
** Sometimes including characters that never appear. Ever.
** The character list is also a common source of small continuity errors. The greatest victims of these errors are the unfortunate extras that appear only on the list and thus have their entire lives [[strike:mangled]] played out on the list. Some don't age, others live for far too long, others have physical descriptions that change constantly, some go through [[GenderBender genderbenders]], dead RedShirts mysteriously come back to life...
* Rather bizarrely, and for reasons unknown, Creator/DashiellHammett's hardboiled noir ''The Glass Key'' does this.
* ''The Case of the Seven of Calvary'' by Anthony Boucher, a mystery novel with a tendency to [[LampshadeHanging hang lampshades]] on the then-current mystery novel tropes, begins with a list of the dramatis personae that explicitly divides the characters into 'people to whom you need to pay attention if you're trying to solve the mystery' and 'people who can be safely ignored'.
* Books in Creator/NealStephenson's epic ''Literature/TheBaroqueCycle'' have them at the end; they have some characters' histories as well as basic descriptions, and so come with a spoiler warning. Entries for people that really existed are in normal typeface, whereas characters Stephenson invented have their entries in italics.
* ''Die schwarzen Brüder'' by Lisa Tetzner. It unfortunally contains spoilers for the novel.
* The TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} Literature/HorusHeresy books include a list of all the people in it at the beginning to help keep track of who is part of what group.
** the lists are even titled Dramatis Personae
* ''[[{{Dragaera}} The Khaavren Romances]]'', due to being a parody of Creator/AlexandreDumas, feature a dramatis personae section before each book.
* ''Literature/RaptorRed'' has a dramatis personae not of the characters, but of the various species that appear, all in scale to each other, with a silhouette of the writer and his dog to show size. Utahraptors are big.
* ''Literature/{{Twilight}}'' Saga book 4, ''Breaking Dawn'' has a character sheet at the end (characters are divided according to their vampire covens).
* Rather necessary in David Weber's ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' series of books, as his series now has [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters more characters than a large country]].
* Something of a necessity in Literature/TheWheelOfTime novels, in the back of each book there is a combined glossary/dramatis personae, pointing out and telling you how to pronounce different who's and whats that appeared in the book in question, or in the story overall, as well as provide some extra information that, while nice to know, isn't important enough to have a character mention in the book.
* Early ''Literature/DragonridersOfPern'' novels had this at the end of each book, but later novels either omitted or simply gave only names and a location for a character
* The ''{{Bionicle}}'' novel ''Raid on Vulcanus'' lists the major characters of the book on the first few pages, complete with B&W images of their toys.
* ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'' has the first chapter preceded by the "Valaquenta", a full description of the Valar and associated powerful entities.
* The German hardback first edition of ''Literature/TheNameOfTheRose'' included a special book mark with a Dramatis Personae printed on its back side
* ''Literature/ChildrenOfTheRedKing'' contained several pages at the beginning of each book listing all the current major characters and their powers, as well as a copy of [[TangledFamilyTree Charlie's ever expanding family tree]] and in later books, the family of the Red King.
* Kevin Crossley-Holland does this in his four books about Arthur and Gatty.
* Swedish writer Maria Gustavsdotter does this in her trilogy about Gertraud, "Fem pärlor till Jungfruns krona" ("Five pearls to the Virgin's crown").
* An edition of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's ''Literature/TheFirstCircle'' has such a list, including real characters such as Stalin and Abakumov. Although Stalin is depicted in the text, Viktor Abakumov is merely referred to in passing.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* In the pilot episode of ''Series/ArrestedDevelopment'', not only does the {{Narrator}} introduce every main character (except for George Sr and Tobias, who were at first meant not to stay for the entire series) , their first appearance is also accompanied by a subtitle similar to the BossSubtitles.
* ''Series/BlackAdder'' season 3 has, true to its Romantic stylistics, credits in form of a period drama Dramatis Personae.
* The first episode of ''Series/{{Leverage}}'' also does this, when the team (except Sophie) is first introduced. In seasons two and three, a shortened version appears as the opening credits.
* ''Series/TheOuterLimits1963'' episode "Counterweight" does this at the ''end'', presumably as {{Filler}}.
* ''Series/{{Intelligence|2014}}'s'' opening title does this with the core cast of Gabriel, Riley, Lillian, and Dr. Cassidy, popping up their name and a brief description.
* ''Series/PersonOfInterest'' plays its opening title as clips of how the Machine sees the world, with the main cast showing up with no names, just brief descriptions.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theatre]]
* Pretty much any play ever made. See above.
** It's BoringButPractical. When you're casting a play, you want to make sure you know who everyone is, and get a basic description if you can, so you don't end up casting TheObiWan type to play the restless, young [[TheGlassMenagerie Tom Wingfield.]]
** It should be said that not every play gives for every major character a short description like [[TheMikado "an elderly Lady, in love with Nanki-Poo"]].
* The playbill in the original production of {{Rent}} had a page listing the main charecters and their relationships to each other, in case anyone got confused.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''[[LauraBow The Colonel's Bequest]]'', being constructed as a stage play, introduces the characters this way.
* ''VideoGame/TheWarriors'' introduces characters and gangs with a freeze-frame featuring their name.
* A trait of Suda51 is to introduce characters this way. One of the most memorable is ''{{Killer7}}''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* You'd think clicking the ''cast'' page in ''Webcomic/TerrorIsland'' would lead you to a page listing the actual webcomic characters. Instead...
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' compilations after the first. There's also [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/ootscast.html this]].
* Most webcomics, including online archives of print comics, will have character description pages; you could make a case that it's a form of DramatisPersonae. [[AbandonedInfoPage It's often obsolete, though.]]
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