Characters in fiction are imaginary. Now extend the fact that characters that are imaginary within a work of fiction, and you get Dream People. They might be inhabitants of Dreamland or hallucinations, but that doesn't mean they don't have hopes and fears. If the real characters know about the imaginary nature of the Dream People, they may or may not stop caring about their well-being.
Ghosts are a separate trope.
are covered by Projected Man
and Digital Avatar
Compare Imaginary Friend
, Intangible Man
See also Dream Land
, Dream Apocalypse
Anime And Manga
- Most of the inhabitants of Mars in Mahou Sensei Negima!. Revealed when they start getting erased.
- The inhabitants of the Dream Land in Paprika.
- Possibly the Ijin in Read or Die. Either that or they are clones.
- Princess Adina from Yu-Gi-Oh!, as well as the other inhabitants of Simlow.
- In Fairy Tail, the entire Cait Shelter guild ends up being an illusion caused by Robaul.
- In The Avengers, Hercules falls in love with a woman named Taylor Madison. It is eventually revealed to be an illusionary construct created by Zeus as part of a Batman Gambit to expose his wife Hera's plans to harm his son, knowing that she would target the person Hercules holds most dear. Despite his son's pleas, Zeus erases Madison from existence once she has served her purpose, leading to a violent falling out between Hercules and Zeus and the latter revoking his son's immortality.
- Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker has many in the dream city of Genesis, including Ayo who serves as a guide for the Anderson brothers.
- In Astro City, this is a key element of the origin of American Chibi, dreamed into existence by video game designer Marguerite Li. Chibi is dreamed up by Marguerite after a group of eldritch abominations haunt her with dreams of monsters, and becomes manifest in the real world. This causes the walls between the dream-world and reality to weaken, allowing them to appear in the material world as the monsters from Marguerite's dreams.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom novel Thuvia, Maid of Mars: The inhabitants of Lothar are able to mentally create illusions of the ancient warriors of the city. One of the warriors is created so often that he becomes real.
- In Solaris, the mysterious "visitors" that appear on the ship are doppelgangers of the crew members' loved ones.
- An Elegy for the Still-living: The entire cast, even including Francis.
- Tommy Hazzard in The Boyfriend List.
- The Raven Cycle has the Orphan Girl and Aurora Lynch.
- Harry Morgan and Brian Moser in later seasons of Dexter, since the resulting Dead Person Conversations are more to different aspects of his subconscious than the actual people themselves.
- Manes in Genius: The Transgression are the inhabitants of pocket realities called Bardos. They're rather fragile outside Bardos.
- Changeling: The Lost likewise features Incubi, ranging from simple "background players" to more aggressive concepts, such as Succubi, Night Hags, and a sentient play that convinces the actors to kill each other in a fit of jealousy.
- This trope is EVERYWHERE in Yume Nikki. The whole game takes place in the dreams of a young girl, so you should expect some interesting characters. Things like walking clocks, faceless technicolor people, walking whistles, deformed bird witches, pixel sculptures, mouths in wigs, ghosts, candle people, and even some unique characters in between, all haunt the regions of the game.
- The strange beings of LSD: Dream Emulator (naturally), especially the mysterious Grey Man who intermittently appears from thin air and drifts toward the screen, waking you up if it catches you.
- In Dragon Quest VI, the inhabitants of the Dream Land.
- Tidus and the other inhabitants of Zanarkand in Final Fantasy X.
- The inhabitants of Magicant, excluding Queen Mary from EarthBound Beginnings.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, it turns out that everyone except Link is just a dream of the Wind Fish.
- Agent Francis York Morgan from Deadly Premonition has an invisible friend named Zach. Zach acts as a stand-in for the player; whenever York addresses Zach, York is speaking through the Fourth Wall. The in-game explanation is a bit more complicated.
- Part of The Dream Machine takes place inside dreams. The only people you can interact with for the majority of these sequences are examples of these.
- Depending on the interpretation, practically everyone in Eternal Sonata is one of these. The entire world as well as its inhabitants exist in a world based almost solely around music, which presumably only exists as Chopin's Dying Dream. Though as time goes on, even he begins to question that conclusion.
- Zimmy's mental constructs in Gunnerkrigg Court. Disconcertingly, they're not quite people; their faces are scribbles that vaguely resemble QR codes, except not.
- 9th Elsewhere: Carmen's dreamscape is inhabited by figments, each of which represents a different aspect of her personality.
- In the Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker short film, the coal shovelers on the train are the only characters who show up that aren't defined in some way as Dreamers.