You are required to study this page correctly. Failure to know your allies and enemies will result in a citation.
Glory to Arstotzka.
- Even Evil Has Standards: They may be a thinly-veiled pastiche of Eastern Bloc countries, but even they won't hesitate to arrest human traffickers and serial killers.
- A Lighter Shade of Black: Life in Arstozka is hell and the government does everything it can to keep the population in check, yet it still manages to be one of the richest and liberal countries, since most other countries are outright totalitarian police states or failed states that can't provide even the most basic of necessities to their citizens.
The main protagonist of the game. He is in charge of deciding who is able to enter the country.
- Anti-Villain: Depending on the player's actions, he can come across as a border inspector who just wants to keep things running in a chaotic region.
- Badass Beard: Seen in the photo you can get at one point.
- Badass Bureaucrat: He might be a paper-pushing border control officer, but put a rifle in his booth and he can single-handedly prevent terrorist attacks, even completely protect his other comrades.
- Bribe Backfire: Perspective-inverted: Can be invoked on several immigrants who try to pay you for approval. You can usually take the money and detain them anyway. Many will call you out as they're being led away.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Implied as both Ministry of Information and Income are performing a full audit on him for the past twenty years, enough to warrant the Inspector fleeing to Obristan. An option that remains until the last day, for fear they'll discover more about certain "anomalies".
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": He is constantly addressed as just inspector, with no real name given.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Downplayed: He's at least a better shot than the armed guards.
- Karmic Jackpot: Some of the things he can do at the risk of his pay or respect can lead to a married couple finally free of Antegrian tyranny, or help fellow guard Sergiu reunite with his lover, the latter earning you 100 credits if both remain together by Sergiu's last day at the checkpoint.
- Moral Dilemma: Comes across several of these, such as an immigrant whose papers don't check out in contrast to her husband's, but risks getting killed if she returns to Antegria.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat:
- Odd Friendship: With Calensk and Jorji.
- Pet the Dog: Deconstructed. There are several opportunities for the Inspector to show benevolence to others and to even save innocent people from peril, but most of these carry a high risk for the Inspector and his family, since they live entirely on his income and too many citations can easily cost him his job.
- To Be Lawful or Good: The primary dilemma the inspector faces throughout the game. On many occasions he will be prompted to help desperate people in need, at the cost of breaking the laws regarding border entry. Whether he does so or not is up to the player.
- Villain Protagonist: Certainly possible through denying people from Arstotzka even when they may die if they remain in their country.
Fellow border guard who strikes a deal with you regarding a cut of his check and how many immigrants you detain.
- Casual Danger Dialogue: Spends a good few minutes mocking a bomb for its design. He's actually majorly pissed about the fact that he's losing potential credits.
- Demolitions Expert: He teaches you how to defuse a crude bomb that a Kolechian terrorist leaves on your desk.
- Dirty Cop: Pays you to detain people on any pretext so he can get paid for processing them. And he underpays you.
- Do Wrong, Right: Ironically, he knows more about bomb-making than a terrorist who walks into your booth one day.
- Hidden Depths: Downplayed: He has a solid know-how on how to defuse a bomb, but considering on how you do it due to its poor design, he's not putting much effort into it and treats it as a nuisance.
- Nerves of Steel: His first reaction to finding a bomb in the Inspector's booth is to laugh at how crudely made it is, and then calmly tell the inspector how to dismantle it.
A border security guard who is stationed on the Arstotzkan side of the border. He was also born in the same district as the Inspector, and claims to have many things in common with him. Sergiu served in the Six Year War, and found a girlfriend in Kolechia; whom you can deny or grant access into the country.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: He's the only Guard with a green uniform, where is everyone else is wearing blue.
- Dented Iron: The war between Ars-Kolech slowly deters his aiming skills. If you're not careful or not fast enough, he will die as quick.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: If you save him from a devastating terrorist attack and let Elisa in, he'll get reassigned to a presumably-safer post and plans to start a family with her.
- Escort Mission: If you care about keeping Sergiu alive, especially to complete his storyline, you'll have to prevent him from dying several different times.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Even as a war veteran, he's useless with a rifle when firing in self-defense. It's implied that he was a decent shot before the war got to him.
- Nice Guy: He's quite a tidbit himself. He even thanks you for rescuing him from the first terrorist attack (which will happen almost immediately), claiming that his aim isn't as good as before the war broke out. Even if you deny Elisa entry, he doesn't react angrily (at most Tranquil Fury) and just expresses disappointment in the Inspector.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Implied. He mentions that Kolechia was a hellhole when he was fighting there and that his soldiering skills have deteriorated because of his time there.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Has a girlfriend in Kolechia. Whether he's able or not to see her again, well, depends entirely on your actions.
- Video Game Caring Potential: Helping and Saving him from all the terrorist attacks. It's quite difficult especially in certain points, but he'll thank you for your assistance. He's so thankful that if you let Elisa pass through the checkpoint and make sure that he stays alive, he will send you some of his savings (equal to 100 credit) tomorrow night.
- Bad Boss: If you earn one citation, he questions your ability. He even tries to force you to break the rules in his favour. And he clearly believes that shit rolls downhill, since you still get cited for breaking the rules in his favor.
- Jerkass: Natch.
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Orders you to let in a foreign woman he's romantically involved with even though she does not have the correct paperwork. Rejecting her will make him look weak so he gives you a small chewing out the next day, but if you detain her he will falsely accuse you of stealing property and have you arrested.
A Political Officer from the Ministry of Information that is investigating EZIC.
- Affably Evil: He's relaxed and polite, even when condemning convicts to execution on death row. Justified, given the potential paranoia they bring.
- Bad Boss: If you give him the EZIC notes as evidence, he will have you arrested.
- Jump Scare: He's already waiting for you at the booth, without any notice nor warning whatsoever.
- Pet the Dog: Perform well for the month in serving Arstotzka, and he'll recognize and reward your diligence by overlooking any past suspicious activities.
- Pragmatic Villainy: As long as you didn't help EZIC at all, he'll gladly keep you around despite your deal with Calensk, deliberately overlooking documents and any screwing around with certain immigrants which he likely found out about. As long as he's concerned, you're 100% loyal to Arstotzka.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Surprisingly for a secret police officer. Menacing aura aside, it's completely rational that a government officer aiding with terrorists is unacceptable in any country, and so long as you haven't done that, he's more than willing to overlook your more minor transgressions.
- Secret Police: He's good at it, too. He will know if you help even just one EZIC agent.
- The Stoic: He never breaks his calm, polite demeanor.
The Order of the EZIC Star
A mysterious organization that aims to overthrow the Arstotzkan government.
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us: They try and demolish the border on the final day. If you helped them sufficiently, they'll carry on to take over the country. Depending on what else you do, you'll either join their ranks and get better housing for your family or executed for betrayal.
- In the Hood: The member that passes you secret notes (assuming it is one person and not multiple people using the same disguise) wears a hood that leaves his face shrouded in darkness.
- La Résistance: They're a clandestine organization that is trying to topple the government of Arstotzka, which they deem corrupt. They're not wrong in that assessment, though.
- Mouth of Sauron: The hooded member (or members) of the order fits this role.
- Not Me This Time: On Day 17, an agent will give you a message saying that they have nothing to with the terrorist attacks that hurt normal civilians.
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Evil terrorist group or legit freedom fighters? The game leaves it ambiguous, so is up to the player to decide if they want to help them or not.
Other Characters and Notable Entrants
- Affably Evil: Jorji is usually very polite to the inspector, even if he is being detained or denied entry into the country. Jorji also happens to be the nicest drug dealer ever.
- Blatant Lies: Gives the inspector an extremely obvious fake passport and insists that it is genuine if interrogated about it.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He seems like a bumbling idiot with incredibly half-baked schemes, but he also appears to be a very well connected and profitable drug dealer. There's also the fact that no matter how many times you detain him, he's always out again in a couple of days.
- Determinator: Keeps trying to enter Arstotzka, no matter how many times he gets turned away or arrested.
- Funny Foreigner: Gives off this vibe, being both the main source of comedy relief, and having the most broken speech pattern out of all the recurring characters. His actual nationality, however, is unclear (there's every implication that the passport he's using is either a very good forgery or the result of a bribe), and to make things weirder, he's the applicant that gives you the Arstotzka token.
- Graceful Loser: He never bears any ill will when you deny him entrance or have him detained for valid reasons.
- Karma Houdini: Nothing ever seems to stick to Jorji. He always comes back after a few days even after being detained for smuggling drugs. This means he somehow also managed to get out of the country in between.
- Not Even Bothering with an Excuse: If he gets caught trying to smuggle drugs into the country.Inspector: What is this?
Jorji: Is drugs!
- Plucky Comic Relief: He's practically the only source of funny moments in a game otherwise grim and dystopic.
- Prison Escape Artist: Doesn't matter how often you detain him; Jorji will always come back to the checkpoint no worse for wear.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!:
- He tries to bribe the inspector to let him into Arstotzka.
- One time you detain him, he will claim he paid good money for one of his fake passports. He ultimately lets you know where to get a few for yourself and your family once he learns about your upcoming audit and that your passports have been taken away.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: "Everything is definitely ok with me. For sure I am not in criminal bulletin or anything!"
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: He stops being polite to the inspector if you deny him entry during the one and only time all his papers are in order and he isn't carrying any contraband.Jorji: This is crap.
Jorji: You know what? Forget it. Arstotzka worst country. You worst person.
- Think of the Children!: If he gets denied entry or arrested for carrying drugs.Jorji: Is ok, I understand. Drugs are bad. Not good for kids.
- You No Take Candle: Most of his speech consists of awkward, broken phrases.Jorji: Arstotzka so great! Passport not needed.
- Named by the Adaptation: The short film provides their names as Isaac and Ivana Robinsky.
- Bad Boss: He said that he'll break one of his human trafficking victims in two once they meet if you give him the letter that the victim wrote.
- Disposable Sex Worker: He doesn't give a damn about the prostitutes' lives and their safety.
- Forehead of Doom: He has a tall forehead.
- Human Traffickers: He is secretly engaging in human trafficking, under the shade of a brothel.
- Kill Em All: If you either deny or approve his papers, the next day some of the dancers on the Pink Vice brothel were found dead.
- Laser-Guided Karma: If the inspector detains him then Ludum ends up being arrested and sent to prison, the impetus for his downfall being a plea for help from one of his intended victims.
- The Oldest Profession: He's affiliated with a brothel, where he shares the brochures. It's just a cover-up for his human trafficking activities. Once captured, it's presumed that the brothel is also shut down.
- Would Hit a Girl: It's presumed that he kills the prostitutes all by himself if approved/denied.
- It's All Junk: If you really hated to keep too much item in your table, you can sell his watch to Kaevink Caullinski, the entrant on the next day that wants to buy the watch, and an entrant from the next day after that before Danic himself, annoyed because he can't keep his mouth shut in the line.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He can be really obnoxious at times, with his lines hints that he does take small offense seriously and constantly swears if you choose to disagree (or detain) with him, especially when discovering the scratch on his watch and demanded the money back. But if you returned the money he gave you...
- Video Game Caring Potential: Lending the watch back and returning the credits he gave you will make him endeared by your honesty, in which he will return the money and give you a collectible token.
- Assassin Outclassin': He's tasked to assassinate the EZIC agents that resides at the Arstotzka, and depending on your disposition with EZIC, you can put him down before he did any damage.
- Blood from the Mouth: Upon poisoning the passport and returning the papers back to him, then approve him, he will move out from the booth, becomes unbalanced before eventually fell down and cough quite amount of blood from his mouth. Then a random guard came to approach...
- If you denied and poisoned his passport, he will the same, except now the masses went into panic and the poison killed nearby entrants.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: If you choose not to poison him and then rejected him, he will reappear as the Man in Red, waiting at the line during Day 23.
- Schmuck Bait: Careful, if you touched the poison straight to it's powder, you will die straight away. No, no ending reels, ''straight to the main menu''.
- Senseless Sacrifice: Shooting the Man in Red and sacrifice yourself for the order simply solves nothing, as the replacement inspector isn't cooperative enough, forcing them to lay low for quite a while, while you will be executed for your crimes and have your family taken to Obristan. Whether you helped EZIC or not, it's advised not to shoot the Man in Red and just continue the work as usual.
- Tampering With The Passport: You were tasked by EZIC to apply a lethal amount of poison they provided to you into his passport.
- The Bus Came Back: If he survives and denied, he will not be mentioned up until day 23, where the agent informs us that the man in red from the line is him, before giving you the silver key and access to the sniper rifle, where you had to make a sacrifice and put him down for good.
- "Ass" in Ambassador: Acts as one for the upcoming talks regarding the terrorist attack in the previous day. When rejected, got his passport confiscated, or the combination of two, he calls you out and remark you as a "barbarian".
- Identity Impersonator: EZIC wants you to let him in while also confiscate his passport, then use the confiscated passport for the impersonator they've sent to the checkpoint, where they can take control of the situation in their own terms.
- Jerkass: As if the previous trope doesn't tell you enough.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: It's presumed that EZIC disposes him to make sure he didn't make it out to the talks.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Played with. We don't know how exactly he is murdered (if you choose to do so), but the authority describes it as "confusing mess".
- Karmic Death: Taking certain actions sees him torn to pieces by the father of one of his victims.
- Oh, Crap!: If you had over the picture of Vengeful Father's children, he freaks out and storm out of the checkpoint.
- He might have shown the same reaction when the Vengeful Father finally approached him.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: If you show him the photo of one of his victims (provided to you by said victims father), he freaks out and bolts from the checkpoint.
- Serial Killer: He was convicted of being a serial child killer.
- Would Hurt a Child: Because of this, a vengeful father asks for your help to get revenge on him for killing his daughter.
- Arch-Enemy: To Arstotzka. Kolechian terrorists will attack your checkpoint several times during the month, leading to increased security, and more importantly to you, more complicated paperwork to examine.
- As for Ending 20, they eventually have a tentative understanding through the talks and formed a truce. Whether it will last long is up for debate.
- Western Terrorists: Extremists from Kolechia will usually send off grenadier and for some time, suicide bombers, to the checkpoint. It's possible that they also have inside-man in Arstotzka, since the Kolechian diplomat was sent next day regarding the motorcycle raid from day 26.
- Grim Up North: Subverted. Obristan is a cold, snowy country, and it is the northernmost country in the game, but it seems to have better living conditions than Arstotzka.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: The endings where the inspector (with or without his family) successfully flees to Obristan with obviously forged documents implies that the border inspectors there are apathetic at best and flat-out incompetent at worst.
- Run for the Border: One possible ending has the Inspector fleeing to Obristan, either by himself or with his family.
- Canon Immigrant: From Lucas Popes previous game, The Republia Times
- People's Republic of Tyranny: Republia is an authoritarian hellhole, as seen in The Republia Times
- Informed Attribute: The vast majority of Imporians that show up on the border don't look or have asian names.
- Irony: Impor sounds like an incomplete pronunciation for the word "Import". They implemented import sanctions on Arstotzkan goods. You do the math.
- Only Sane Man: Currently the only nation to not have a described deficiency aside from being less economically-stable.
- Eagle Land: This county is commonly thought to represent the United States with its name and symbol especially with most of its passport-issuing city names being American-style names like Shingleton and Great Rapid. However, it does have some similarities with Yugoslavia which is situated in a similar geographic region and had access to advanced western technologies thanks to Josip Broz Tito staying neutral in the Cold War and because its polio outbreak is similar to the 1972 Yugoslav smallpox outbreak.
- The Federation: They seem to be this, at least in name.
- The Plague: Was hit with a serious polio outbreak in day 23, but not until day 25 it becomes serious, enough for the MOA to reject any entrants from there, at least until tomorrow, where the game introduces vaccine certificate among the papers you must process.
- Arch-Enemy: They have been frequently at war with Republia, and the relations between the two are still sour.
- Big Brother Is Watching You: If the escaping couple's dialogue and the upcoming newspaper headline is of any indication, Antegria is a full-on surveillance society.
- Canon Immigrant: Antegria also appeared in Pope's earlier game, Republia Times, but its geography appears to be different, as Republia Times mentions that Antegria has costal cities and frequent naval clashes with Republia, while in Papers Please, Antegria is landlocked.