As a whole
- Combat Medic: They're doctors, but they all do a lot of killing over the course of the campaign. Dialogue even implies that Artemy served some time in the military.
- Glory Hound: Downplayed examples. Their motivations are compassionate, but each Healer believes their way is the best way and anyone else is misguided. Since their ways are often incompatible, this leads to a lot of strife.
- Good Is Not Nice: They do want to heal the sick and save lives, but the sheer desperation they are forced to contend with on a daily basis make it nigh impossible to fulfill their goals or even stay alive without getting blood on their hands. And all three of them can be pretty rude as well.
- Like Brother and Sister: Clara describes them metaphorically as siblings: they're similar in a lot of ways, but they are not the same and often fight.
- Magnetic Hero: Each has Adherents, people they've sworn to protect. Daniil sees value in diplomats and leaders of the town. Artemiy favors the children who will build its future. Clara represents the repentant sinners willing to sacrifice themselves for her beliefs.
- Too Much Alike: The determination and focus that make them the town's only hope also means they will never get along.
- We ARE Struggling Together: You would think three skilled healers would be able to pool their combined talents and resources together to combat the plague overtaking the town, but you'd be wrong. Their different methods and goals all prevent them from ever cooperating for long.
- With A Herring: The plague arrived unexpectedly, so all the Healers have is a bit of travel money and whatever they can scrounge from trashcans without angering the townspeople. A government fund is set up on Day 4...if the player lasts that long.
Daniil Dankovsky, The Bachelor
Big-city dandy doctor.
- Insufferable Genius: He sees everyone in the Steppe as a bunch of ignorant country bumpkins since they don't know nearly as much about modern medicine as he does. Naturally, this means few people in the town actually like him.
- Pretentious Latin Motto: He drops Latin every so often. Just to show how smart he is, of course.
- Poor Communication Kills: In his second conversation with Artemy, Daniil scoffs that he doesn't have time to help the "mutts" whose poisoning has so distressed the children. He's talking about actual dogs- unbeknownst to Artemy, who thinks he's insulting children and gets angry.
- Pyrrhic Victory: If you do what he wants and save the Polyhedron, he's still not happy, realizing he has no place in the steppe anymore now, that it defies all reason and logic- the ideals he stands for above all else. That, or he's being compelled to leave alongside everyone else. Either way, Daniil fails to create the vaccine he sought, and the secret to defeating death continues to elude him.
- Science Hero: What he sees himself as. Unfortunately, modern science isn't enough to combat the disease he's dealing with in the steppe.
- Science Is Wrong: Being a modern doctor, he doesn't understand the nature of the town. He doesn't want to.
- Trigger Happy: Reputation-wise, quite a few characters have voiced lines about how quick Dankovsky is on the draw. On day two, he threatens Artemy with a gun so as to enter Isidor's house.
Artemy Burakh, The Haruspex
The hero of the currently available campaign. A surgeon who grew up in the town and is more familiar with its odd customs.
- Animal Motifs: Often likened to a bear. His childhood nickname is "Cub".
- Badass Baritone: Has a very deep and imposing voice. Considering his size and the fact that he starts the game killing three thugs by himself, he proves he's no one to be messed with.
- The Call Knows Where You Live: If he attempts to escape the town with Aglaya, they are caught and the army shoots her to preserve quarantine.
- Child of Two Worlds: He has his father's sense for Lines and his mother's sense of individuality.
- Conflicting Loyalties: Between the people of the town and the people of the Steppe. Both sides are in conflict with one another, both want to enlist Artemy's help for their problems, and Artemy in turn needs the aid of both factions to uncover his father's murder and find a cure for the plague. In the end, there is no way to reconcile both sides. Either you cure the plague, save the town, and doom the people of the earth to eventual extinction, or you let the Kin flourish at the expense of the town.
- Face of a Thug: The few glimpses players have of Artemy's avatar shows him to be bulky and coarse-haired.
- First Person Snarker: His descriptions of items to the player often diverge into anecdotes about his friends, jabs at his medical rivals, and exposition about Kin beliefs.
- Flat-Earth Atheist: There are plenty of dialogue options where he can scoff that the Kin's magic is just outdated superstition. He also literally hears the town talk to him, giving him information there's no way he could have known otherwise.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: Spends most of the first day hated by nearly everyone in the town because they blame him for his father's death. Even after the whole mess blows over, he's still treated like an outsider despite growing up in the steppe.
- The Heart: He really loves the town and its people, which is notable because not a lot of them do.
- Honor Before Reason: His 'canonical' personality, although player/actor choices can diverge from this trope. Bad Grief fully expects Artemy to go charging into the midst of the oppressive authorities, believing that the truth will somehow prevail.
- The Magic Comes Back: His endgame choice is between demolishing the Polyhedron (an growth of Earth, which conceals enough blood to heal every human of the Sand Plague) and preserving it. The latter will keep spirits and aurochs from going extinct.Possible dialogue option: I just...wanted to preserve a sliver of the miraculous in this world.
- Meaningful Name: A variant of Artemis', Greek goddess of the hunt, which reflects Artemy's ceaseless "hunt" for a cure. Artemis is also goddess of the moon, which sits in the sky alongside the Bull and Bear constellations.
- Messianic Archetype: In the "Nocturnal" ending, Aspity praises him for caring about the weakened Kin and saving them from extinction. Artemy tells her to stop, because he's well aware of the people he let die so that the Kin could live.
- Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: Despite growing up in the town, he's actually very skeptical of a lot of its superstitions, especially since he's spent the last six years studying more modern and scientific medicine abroad. At the end of the game, he can literally kill his god.
- Unperson: Everyone he condemns in the Nocturnal Ending forgets that he ever existed, much to his horror. Even when they try, they mistake him for someone else entirely. This might be because he's alive and they're dead.
- Witch Doctor: The player literally can't access Artemy's menkhu knowledge until he goes into a sort of trance on Day Three, nor do the Kin acknowledge him as a full doctor until this happens.
Clara, The Changeling
A girl with a penchant for threats.
- Ambiguously Christian: Her dialogue mentions vaguely Abrahamic concepts, but isn't consistent with any one canon."God sees us from beneath the earth. Why do you think he's in Heaven? He's down below."
- Beneath the Mask: She has to be the savior she hopes she is, because she has nothing else. Sometimes this desperation is visible.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Her prenatural knowledge tells her that Lara is willing to give her the food she needs. It doesn't tell her that Lara would be a lot happier if Clara knocked on the door and asked politely instead of breaking in.
- Brought Down to Normal: Over the course of the Haruspex's scenario, her powers gradually wane. If the Polyhedron is destroyed at the end, then they are by all accounts gone and she is essentially a normal human being.
- The Chosen One: She is the Twilight Mistress of the town's next generation, and was likely brought into being to play just that role.
- Dissonant Serenity: When Clara's caught breaking into someone's house by a hulking brute covered in blood, her response is, "Do you know where she keeps the bread?"
- Mysterious Waif: No one has any idea who she is, where she came from, or how she's able to treat the sick with her strange powers.
- Opposites Attract: She declares herself "quite enamored" with Commander Block, of all people.
- Prophecy Twist: She distrusts Artemy because she sees that he will be a "Ripper" who spills rivers of blood. This is factually true- he causes the death of the Kin in one ending and the death of the townsfolk in the other- but contextually leaves out important bits of information like the fact that he had no choice, that he took no pleasure in doing so, that it was the only way to save anybody, that the Earth's existence and the panacea's is mutually exclusive, etc.
- Rise from Your Grave: Or someone's grave. It's not really clear. All she knows is that she woke up in an empty plot, knowing nothing about who she was, but a lot of theology.
- You Are Not Alone: In the Diurnal ending, she tells Artemy that she's learned from his Heroic Sacrifice to save Murky that he's not a bad person, and she looks forward to their future adventures."So don't wander too far. We're still connected, you and I. And there's a great deal ahead of us."
- Adaptational Angst Upgrade: In the original game, Isidor "caught the Sand Pest by the tail", which is technically true here. It's just that here, the Pest was stopped by quarantining the Crude Sprawl, condemning everyone inside to a horrible death.
- Post Humous Character: He's dead before the game begins, and much of the Haruspex's storyline is piecing together what exactly he was trying to accomplish in the years leading up to his death. Near the end, father and son finally meet face-to-face in a dream.
- Take Up My Sword: Not Isidor himself, but the Kin want Artemy to fulfill his father's oath.
Aspity (Sahba Asp'tae)
- Ambiguously Human: Her backstory, appearing in the aftermath of the previous plague, along with her gaunt face, imply she is a steppe spirit, clay given life by the Earth as a reminder and a warning.
- Mad Eye
- Meaningful Name: Her name is a combination of 'asp' (a type of snake), 'spit', 'pity', and 'spite'.
Lara Ravel (Gravel)
- Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: Was part of Artemys possee of friends when both of them were children.
- Broken Bird
- Beneath the Mask: Underneath the presentation of an altruistic Samaritan lies a Broken Bird, apathetic to life, and with a murderous desire for revenge on the man responsible for her fathers death.
- Childhood Friends: With Artemy, as well as Bad Grief and Rubin.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: It is implied that this, as well as the desire to restore her familys broken name, is what fuels her altruism. If she survives, she offers to help Artemy raise Murky and Sticky, desiring to both make things easier for him and lighten her own life.
- Good Samaritan: Runs a shelter and goes out of her way to help anyone in need. She evens asks Artemy to find a source of water for the homeless people of the town.
- In-Series Nickname: Gravel, as part of the Haruspex's circle of friends. She seems to like it the least.
- Nice Girl: The nicest girl in town.
- Parental Substitute: Will offer to help Artemy raise Murky and Sticky if he decides to adopt them and all three survive.
- Perpetual Frowner: Is nearly always seen with a stoic look on her face and is said to be unable to properly smile.
- You Killed My Father: Attempts to assassinate General Block for having her disgraced father executed.
Bad Grief (Grigory Filin)
- Adaptational Heroism: He appears to be a great deal less selfish and sadistic than his original counterpart. Although time will tell if this will continue to be the case in the Changelings scenario.
- Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: Is a childhood friend of Artemy, as well as Lara and Rubin, in the remake.
- Foil: Is described by the developers as an anti-Immortell, naive to the way the world actually works and unable to properly cope when his worldview comes crashing down. He evens runs his own anti-Theatre at the Warehouse.
- Friendly Neighborhood Gangster: Bad Grief has a reputation as a bad guy, one that he carefully cultivates. His bark is worse then his bite.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: His talk with the Inquisitor breaks him, and he starts muttering about destiny and puppets.
- HeelFace Turn: If he ultimately survives, he will decide to abandon his criminal life and go straight.
- Smug Snake: Believes himself to be a Magnificent Bastard and Social Expert capable of outsmarting everyone around him. His talk with the Inquisitor causes him to rethink this point of view.
- Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: While he was said to occasionally board at Laras shelter, there wasnt much indication that the two were particularly close in the original game. In the remake, the two of them, as well as Bad Grief, are childhood friends.
- But Now I Must Go: Ultimately decides to leave with the army once the Outbreak has been stopped. The player can convince him to stay and become Artemys assistant, however.
- Childhood Friends: With Artemy, along with Lara and Bad Grief.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Is said to have been dealt a hard hand in life.
- Deadpan Snarker: His default attitude, once he is on good terms with Artemy and things are going well.
- Driven by Envy: He would like it if it were true that Artemy killed his father, because then Rubin would feel validated that he was Isidors 'true' heir.
- Expy: The developers of the game compare him to Levi Matvei from The Master and the Margarita.
- Foil: To the Haruspex. Rubin is not a menkhu, but he feels he is closer to Isador then the Haruspex, and more able to cure the plague. Like the Haruspex, he too seems to be in an exhaustion death spiral, working days at the clinic and nights on the plague. However, his own stubborn pride prevents him from getting help from Artemy.
- The Fundamentalist: Described by the developers as a fiery zealot type.
- Good Is Not Nice: Rubin is a man who finds it hard to love people, and whose jealousy and misplaced feelings of retribution complicate his relationship with Artemy. He is also a man dedicated to finding a cure for the outbreak, no matter the cost, and who is ultimately willing to make peace with Artemy.
- Heroic B So D: The guilt of his actions after his panacea has been prepared drives him into a suicidal depression. If the panacea is not properly given to the inquisitor, he will die in his sleep.
- Idiot Hero: His actions are usually incredibly poorly thought out and lead to severe and fateful consequences. Artemy outright calls him an idiot several times throughout the game.
- Ineffectual Loner: He refuses to assist or seek help from Artemy in developing a panacea, which only makes things more difficult for both doctors, and gets him in trouble with the Kin. You can call him out on it.
- The Insomniac: By day, he works tirelessly in the hospital, doing what he can to help the sick. By night, he works just as tirelessly on the panacea, doing very shady things that start drawing the ire of the Kin. Reality Ensues when the constant sleepless nights make him too exhausted to get out of bed.
- Jerkass: The years have made him a very unpleasant person to all of his former childhood friends, especially Artemy, whom he blames Isador's death on.
- Like a Son to Me: Was the closest to Isador, out of all his pupils, to the extent that Rubin considers himself to be Isidors true heir and son.
- Technician vs. Performer: Technician. He laments that however much he studies, he doesn't have the lineage that enables Artemy to intuitively see the Lines a menkhu must work in.
- Addled Addict: To twyrine.
- Drowning My Sorrows: His traumatic past and regrets have led to him becoming a twyrine-addicted drunken wreck.
- Parental Substitute: Depending on the players choices, he can become this to Grace, who he may decide to adopt.
- Big Brother Instinct: Though him and Peter are actually twins, he is still quite protective of his brother.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Is said to be based on Benvenuto Cellini, one of the most important artists of Mannerism.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: If the player decides to have the army destroy the Polyhedron, he vows to track down and murder everyone involved in the act.
- The Hedonist
- Ambiguously Evil: Like the rest of the morally ambigious Kain family.
- Ambiguous Situation: Its not clear if her talking to her dead mother is a sign that she is mentally unstable or if she is genuinely talking to her mothers spirit.
- Dark Chick: To the Kain family.
- Generation Xerox: Of her mother, Nina. Maria wishes to follow in her footsteps and rule over the town with an iron fist.
- The Ophelia: Theres clearly something not quite right about her...
- Waif Prophet: The future Dark Mistress, who claims to experience visions.
- Womanchild: Is noted to be quite immature.
Capella (Victoria Olgimsky Jr.)
- A Child Shall Lead Them: She serves as leader and mother of the children. If she believes that Artemy is not doing a good enough job of protecting the children, she will take matters into her own hands and arrange to have them all be transported out of the town.
- Like Mother, Like Daughter: Is said to be almost obsessed with the idea of walking in her mothers footsteps.
- Like Father Like Daughter: However, there are moments when it clear that she has quite a bit in common with her father.
- Married Inthe Future: She comes up with the idea to enter an arranged marriage with Khan, in order to ensure peace between the two families and the future stability of the town.
- Nice Girl: Though she is somewhat standoffish with Artemy, she is nonetheless one of the most genuine characters in the game.
- Waif Prophet: Capella is at the beginning of coming into her power as a Mistress.
- A Father to His Men: Cares deeply about his friends. If he ends up a carrier of the Plague, he will beg Artemy to not let any of his friends near him.
- Animal Companion: Has a spirit-like creature in the form of a cat which he calls Jester.
- Beneath the Mask: Despite attempting to act like a grownup there are moments throughout the game where the player is reminded that he is still a child.
- Closer to Earth: Unlike Khan, Notkin is not interested in miracles, instead preferring to deal with and focus on earthly values, such as animals and realistic infrastructure.
- Street Urchin: After being ousted from the Polyhedron, he formed his own gang; The Souls-and-a-Halves
- We Used to Be Friends: He was once best friends with Khan. The two now lead rival gangs of children, who are shown to despise each other.
Taya Tycheek, Mother Superior
- A Child Shall Lead Them: Many members of the Kin, as well as several children, are completely loyal to her
- Take Up My Sword: Became Mother Superior of the Abbatoir following the death of her father.
- Due to the Dead: Her role as caretaker of the cemetery. She is known to speak to and sing songs to the graves, and occasionally give them gifts.
- Happily Adopted: While the happy part is debatable, in one of the endings she is adopted by Alexander and Katerina Saburov, who let her continue to spend time at the cemetery via giving her the responsibility of counting and writing down the number of dead people
- At an earlier point in the game Peter can decide to adopt her. Like the above example the happy part of the trope is debatable, especially if you take into account Graces experiences with twyrine abuse.
- Waif Prophet: Can speak to the dead, although calling their spirits hurts her.
- Wild Child: Borderline. She can talk well enough, but otherwise lives by herself in the cemetery, eats whatever she finds on the ground, has absolutely no formal education, and can just not function in normal society.
- Ambiguous Disorder: Subverted. Word of God confirms she lies somewhere on the autistic spectrum.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: She's initially cold to Artemy, partially because she blames his father for killing her parents, and partially because her mysterious "friend" doesn't like him. Because the friend is the plague itself that Artemy is fighting against. It takes some patience and compassion to get her to warm up to you, as well as an act of absolute selflessness. Namely, freeing her from the plague's influence by taking it into yourself.
- Happily Adopted: The Haruspex can adopt her, which moves her portrait to "Blood".
- The Immune: You'll quickly notice that she's never really in danger of getting infected, and after a while, rumors begin to circulate that there's some urchin running around who is immune to the plague, whom Artemy quickly deduces has to be Murky. Turns out to be subverted; she very much is infected, just in a different way.
- Kubrick Stare: Her animated portrait is flashing this look at you each time you talk to her.
- Oracular Urchin: She knows more than she lets on, claims to be able to speak to the dead, and seems to have a "friend" that keeps her informed on things no one else is aware of.
- Street Urchin: She lives on her own in the railway center.
- Waif Prophet: Her "friend" tells her things she should not know because it's the plague incarnate.
- You Killed My Father: In his attempts to stop the Plague during the First Outbreak, Artemy's father essentially killed her parents, something she was witness to.
- The Apprentice: He insists on becoming Artemy's student and helping him find a cure. The player can choose to play this trope straight if they manage to keep him alive.
- The Artful Dodger: An orphan who prefers to look after himself, rather than ally with either of the child gangs.
- Happily Adopted: The Haruspex can choose to adopt him.
- Plucky Comic Relief: The conversations he has with Artemy come off as a recurring Boke and Tsukkomi Routine, making Sticky one of the game's few sources of levity.
- Street Urchin: Prior to meeting Artemy, he lived alone on the streets taking care of himself.
- Tagalong Kid: The closest the game has to one. He lives in Artemy's hideout and insists on helping the Haruspex find the cure despite both his complete lack of medicinal knowledge and the latter's constant frustration with him. If the player permits it though, Sticky can help the cause in his own way.
Kaspar "Khan" Kain
- A Child Shall Lead Them: Serves as the leader of the Dogheads and the rest of the children holed up in the Polyhedron.
- A Father to His Men: Cares deeply about his people, to the point where he refuses to return to the Polyhedron when the Sand Plague breaks out for fear that he'll spread it to them. Artemy can outright call him this trope by name.
- Antagonistic Offspring: To his father, Victor
- Expy: Is said to have similar character traits to Peter Pan, Kai and Joffrey
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Is quite rude and unkind, but he nonetheless cares about the children under his rule, as well as the future of the town.
- Married in the Future: To Capella, for purely political reasons.
- Older Than They Look: His dialogue implies he has the same longevity as the rest of the Kains. One of his idle dialogues has him say that he hasn't grown an inch in 15 years.
- Sibling Rivalry: With his older sister Maria.
- Token Good Teammate: Is arguably this to the Kain family.
- We Used to Be Friends: He and Notkin were once best friends, but now lead rival gangs whose members are willing to murder each other.
The town patriarch, whose death under suspicious circumstances has thrown the town into a frenzy.
- The Ace: Everyone loved him, regardless of their race, age, or class, and everyone had a place in his town. Even in death he remains a legendary figure from whose body was taken the first panacea prototype.
- Long-Lived: Daniil travelled to the town to scientifically test whether Simon was the trope or truly immortal. The latter seems most likely.
- One Degree of Separation: When the game refers to "the Bound", it's not your Bound it's talking about. All 27 people vital to the town were close friends of Simon, before his death fractured them into the Blood/Bone/Nerve groups.
The earth deity that the Kin worship.
- Animal Motifs: Cattle, especially bulls. Boos Turokh, a giant three-horned auroch, was Boddho's first creation...or maybe her husband, tellings vary. All the earth's life is said to be one herd.
- Earth Mother: She created everybody- humans, Worms, aurochs- and lets them all live on her "body". Unless they piss her off too much, then they get plague'd.
- Genius Loci: She's the reason why the townsfolk don't like digging holes in Her earth or slashing the veins of Her creations. Anything that violates the ventricular order she created is not a good idea.
The Inquisitor sent to oversee the town's plague outbreak.
- Not So Different: She explains to Artemy that her job is about seeing the facts that connect people and actions and places, uncovering why they do what they do. Artemy replies that menkhu do the same thing, only they call those facts "lines".
A Herb Bride who claims to be part of Artemy's destiny.
- Heroic Sacrifice: As a Herb Bride, she understands that giving blood to the earth will make Healing Herbs grow. Even if that blood is her own. She also believes that Mother Boddho has a right to her children's lives (and deaths...).
The Sand Pest
A highly contagious disease that reappears every few years to ravage the town.
- Big Bad: Your primary foe, and the entity responsible for the turmoil overtaking the whole Steppe.
- Eldritch Abomination: This is no mere disease caused by a microbe. It has a will of its own and a purpose to achieve. It speaks either through various people that serve as its physical avatars, like the Executors, or directly to those it has infected. It doesn't just infect the living either; the sickness can be seen in the earth itself, including the buildings built from it.
- Evil Is Petty: After you discover how to make a panacea, an Executor appears to you and tells you it's infected all of the children under your care at once, just to spite you.
- False Friend: The plague itself is the mysterious friend Murky is always talking about. It's also the reason she is seemingly immune to it; because she's technically infected, and it's planning to eventually take her as it does everyone else. If you don't take the disease into yourself, then she will die.
- Faux Affably Evil: It is a deadly plague that kills all it infects, but the Executors that serve as its mouthpiece are sometimes willing to offer guidance and advice on how to proceed, though they're just as likely to taunt and patronize you. When infected, the Sand Pest will speak directly to you, using soothing words to urge you to just lie down and accept your fate.
- Gaia's Vengeance: It's supposedly a spirit sent from the Earth to punish humans that settled in the wrong place.