Characters from the video game series S.T.A.L.K.E.R.:
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Marked One / StrelokOriginally the antagonist of Clear Sky, he is the Protagonist of Shadow of Chernobyl, who has Identity Amnesia after a lorry crash at the beginning of the game, waking up with only his PDA, which has the orders 'Kill The Strelok' written on it. He later appears as an NPC in Call of Pripyat.
- Experienced Protagonist: Even before and after his Identity Amnesia, he accumulated so much experience and knowledge of the Zone that he and the group that he had formed in his backstory could have attained the true secret of the Zone had it not been for a passcode that completely hindered their path and a rival faction (Scar's Clear Sky group) that successfully interfered with their efforts.
- Identity Amnesia: The Marked One forgets his true identity after the lorry crash at the beginning of the game, and is named the Marked One due to his tattoo reading: S.T.A.L.K.E.R..
- Rogue Protagonist: Strelok serves as the main antagonist in Clear Sky.
- Sole Survivor: Of the lorry crash at the start of the game.
- Two Aliases, One Character: The Marked One is revealed to be Strelok, the person he was sent to kill in the first place.
- Weapon of Choice: The AKS-74U during the events of Shadow of Chernobyl, as it is used by the Marked One during cutscenes. During Call of Pripyat, the Marked One has a unique version of the SIG SG 550, but he left it in a secret stash intended for one of his comrades who died during the events of Clear Sky. Instead, he uses the AKS-74U again during the final gunfight.
ScarThe Protagonist of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, Scar is a Mercenary, who is able to survive emissions, the emissions give him exceptional strength and reflexes but will eventually kill him if he does not find a way to stop the emissions. Scar's objective is to hunt down Strelok, as he is believed by the Clear Sky faction to be the cause of the emissions.
- Badass Grandpa: Scar looks somewhat older than the Marked One and Major Degtyarev and is often referred to as an 'old man' by other stalkers.
- Cursed with Awesome: Scar is slowly being killed by each emission. However, the emissions also increase his strength and reflexes, and he is able to survive emissions (at least in the immediate sense).
- Experienced Protagonist: Scar already lived in the Zone prior to the events of Clear Sky.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: Although Scar survives two emissions in cutscenes, and is said to be able to survive emissions, he cannot survive emissions that happen during gameplay.
- Never Found the Body: After the events of Clear Sky, he is either killed or turned into a zombie by the emission, or inducted into a Monolith soldier. Fans speculate that if the latter case is true, he became Charon, the new leader of said faction and the only character in Shadow of Chernobyl to use the Vintorez, Scar's Weapon of Choice. Either way, his fate remains unknown.
- Silent Protagonist: Although Scar 'talks' to other characters using the dialog box, he is not voiced like the other two player characters are during cutscenes.
- Sole Survivor: Of the emission at the start of the game.
- Weapon of Choice: The VSS Vintorez, which is used by Scar the opening cutscene, although it is lost at the start of the game. However, it can be recovered early on.
Major DegtyarevThe Protagonist of Call of Pripyat, his full name is Alexander Alexandrovitsch Degtyarev, making him the first playable character in the series to have a full name. He is an agent of the Ukrainian Security Service (which is a law enforcement agency and not a military unit) sent to the Zone to assess the failure of Operation Fairway and recover important data. In order to not arouse the suspicions of other stalkers, he goes undercover and disguises himself as a regular stalker when he enters the Zone.
- Experienced Protagonist: He has a background in the USS and served in the Ukrainian Army for some time before Call of Pripyat. His unique Makarov pistol is proof of his service with both of the agencies that he enlisted in.
- Majorly Awesome: He holds the rank of Major due to his prior service with the Ukrainian Army and ultimately reveals his position when he reaches Pripyat by meeting up with the military. By the epilogue, he goes from Majorly Awesome to Colonel Badass for successfully completing Operation Fairway.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Depending on the player's actions, he can be the only significant member of the USS to not fall into the clutches of corruption that has plagued the other officers and soldiers within the military.
LonersThese are the people that have entered the Zone as they have been drawn in to its strange, unnatural wonders and partake in a leisurely pastime in an attempt to get away from their usual chores of their lives. They come from all walks of life and their goals completely differ from one another: some came to the Zone to get rich, others came for the thrill and more came over to start a new life. One thing they have in common is that they disapprove of anyone who cheats on their deals and attack them without a good reason. For this, they are enemies with Bandits, the Military, and Mercenary squads who get in their way. Initially, they started off as one large independent organization in Clear Sky, but after the events of the game, they have since decentralized and splintered into various groups of differing views.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Loners use olive green in their regular outfits, and dark gray in their Exosuits. They use a darker, more faded shade of green in their SEVA suits, while their novice rookie suits use light brown and (in Shadow of Chernobyl) silver-y white colors.
- Team Switzerland: They are neutral in the Duty-vs-Freedom war and the aforementioned factions are neutral to them as well. In general Loners will only fight other factions to defend themselves.
BanditsA collection of various misfits from the criminal underworld who have come to the Zone to not only get rich from smuggling and robbing honest folks of their money and belongings but also try to establish a permanent stronghold to shakedown anybody who tries to oppose them.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Bandits use black, brown, and (in their novice suits) white and/or gray.
- Gang Bangers: The Bandits completely fit the description of gopniki - wandering petty criminals who mug and attack anybody who isn't a Bandit for their amusement.
- Jerkass: Everyone in the Zone has some kind of jerk to go along with their communities but the Bandits are an entire collection of them. Why they behave like this in general is probably for their amusement.
- Large Ham: They shout various phrases while in combat. It's mostly cussing in Russian.
- The Mafiya: The games take place in the Exclusion Zone, the area around Ukraine, parts of Belarus and Russia, so you'll be expecting criminals of this variety. Their leaders, Yoga, Borov, and Sultan, operate as avtoritets - middlemen leaders of their groups.
DutyThis faction originally comprised of Ukrainian soldiers and special forces officers sent to the Zone to secure it from unauthorized personnel. Led by then Captain Tachenko, he and his battalion-sized group went on an expedition of unknown magnitude to assess the conditions of the Zone. During their trip, a sudden emission caught them unawares and the unit incurred major casualties. Convinced that the military abandoned them, Tachenko staged a communications breakdown and ordered his unit to go rogue in order to join up with the other stalkers and make lucrative deals with them. Despite the chaotic commotions that upended his unit, order was eventually retained and the group continued on with relative impunity. One day, Tachenko told his unit that he and three others alongside with him would undergo a reconnaissance mission that involved gathering information about a water cooling station that had been emitting some weird signals which seemed to interfere with their communications equipment. As they traveled there, the four-man unit end up getting trapped in a Space Anomaly that provided no way out of it unless a special detector was obtained to get them free, to which the unit never had acquired, and at the time, the technology wasn't made available yet. The unit soon suffered a mental breakdown after realizing their fate and Tachenko, promoting himself to General for his accomplishments, committed suicide by gunshot afterwards; the other three turned on each other and killed themselves on a last standoff. When the rest of the other soldiers learned that Tachenko and his unit weren't able to come back, they legally declared them MIA and appointed Krylov as the new leader of the faction. Krylov was promoted to General and he named his faction Duty, who turned it into an organization fully committed to preventing the Zone from spreading out to the world and anyone who lets out their horrors. The newly named unit soon agreed to their newly appointed cause and honored Krylov's wishes. They are at odds with both the Bandits for their preying on innocent stalkers and the Freedom faction for their supposedly anarchistic lifestyle. Duty's weaponry primarily consist of Soviet, Cold War-era leftovers in contrast to Freedom's western, NATO-style firearms. Due to their rigid, disciplined code of conduct, they are more cautious about their bargaining with other stalkers; namely, certain unique items such as artifacts are not to be traded with the other factions due to the belief that such trade can be abused for profit (which, in the Zone, is proven true many times). Hence, these unique items, which Duty sees as restricted goods, are then sold off to the ecologists for scientific purposes only.
- Becoming the Mask / Motive Decay: Originally, their purpose was to become like another neutral stalker faction after the emission had upended most of the unit, but after Tachenko's expedition ended tragically, Krylov stepped in and changed their cause to become dedicated to cleansing the Zone of its horrors and very existence. The unit then had a change of heart and gave in to Krylov's wishes.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Duty uniforms are black and red.
- Corrupt Quartermaster: Morgan in Call of Pripyat. He was contacted by Sultan of the Zaton Bandits to sign a lucrative deal with them involving an undisclosed shipment of firearms in exchange for money and artifacts so that the latter can resolve their issue with the Loners. The former agreed to this and hired a few Mercenaries to accompany him for the trip, while at same time clandestinely bargained with the Freedom faction to take over Duty's small arms warehouses east of the train station (unbeknownst to Freedom, however, he planted a bug into his PDA that would alert his fellow Duty soldiers into taking over the warehouse if anyone were to salvage the hidden equipment located in a tunnel underneath one of the sheds). Should you work for him, he turns on his bodyguards in a Mexican Standoff and warns you to keep the deal a secret between only you and him if you let him live; otherwise, he will send out merc squads to hunt you down if you break his oath.
- Hunter of Monsters: When they're not busy warring with Freedom and Bandits, they indulge in their usual hobby of hunting down mutants and eliminating their dens.
- Knight Templar: Their purpose is to keep the Zone from spreading out into the world and cleansing it of its horrors; namely, exterminating mutants and gunning down 'anarchistic' no-gooders (Freedom) and criminals (Bandits). Their original purpose, however, did not actually have them start off this way.
- Order Versus Chaos: Duty prefers order and control to Freedom's chaotic, carefree lifestyle.
FreedomA large pseudo-military organization formed in the Zone by Chekhov, this group firmly holds the belief that access to the Zone should be made free to all people because its wonders could benefit humanity and make the world a better place. This obviously puts them at odds with both the military and the Duty faction since not only are they performing dangerous activities in the Zone, but according to the latter faction, Freedom might inadvertently spread the dangers of the Zone over to the outside world; this gets Freedom called "anarchists" by the Duty faction. In contrast to the rigid, highly disciplinary structure of their counterparts, Freedom enjoys a more relaxed, brotherly atmosphere, employs a more casual command structure, and openly partakes in activities that are highly frowned upon by the latter two factions: shooting up drugs into their bodies and drinking a generous amount of vodka. They also conduct their own form of researching of the Zone, but not in the same deeply structured manner as that of the Ecologists. Freedom's weaponry consist of modern, NATO-style firearms as opposed to Duty's Soviet, Cold War-era weaponry. Due to the games' limited weapon stock-list, Freedom does utilize Russian sniper rifles such as the SVD and the SVU (a shortened bullpup version of the former) despite the usage of NATO weaponry.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: They're a collection of loosely organized anarchists, hippies and stoners, who have an extremely laid-back attitude and aren't very disciplined. Despite this, they are a well-armed force to be reckoned with, having fought the military-trained and experienced Duty to a stalemate and were engaged in near constant fighting with Monolith to keep them from breaching the Barrier.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Freedom uniforms are a heavily saturated green, with their more advanced suits also containing orange and yellow.
- Foil: To Duty. Whereas the latter is comprised of disciplined ex-military soldiers who advocate for the destruction of the Zone, the former is a rag-tag organization of casual people who may or may not have military backgrounds and even with experience, they prefer having a loose, laid-back lifestyle and want the Zone open to everybody for its many wonders that could make the world a better place.
- Mildly Military: Freedom operates with a rather loose command structure for a military organization but they can still go toe-to-toe with the best equipped factions if pressured.
- New-Age Retro Hippie: They become this in Clear Sky; playing reggae music, smoking marijuana, and speaking in a Totally Radical lingo.
- Order Versus Chaos: Freedom endorses a carefree, relaxed lifestyle to Duty's rigid, disciplinary structure.
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Duty labels Freedom as anarchistic terrorists who have no idea about the dangers they're facing in the Zone and might spread out its horrors to the world. Freedom just wants to open the Zone to the world because its wonders could benefit humanity for the better.
EcologistsA collection of scientists tasked with studying the Zone and its wonders while attempting to make significant breakthroughs in their research of the area. They are not concerned with the petty politicking of the other various factions and wish to stay out of their affairs. At the same time, though, they are always looking for anyone who can provide much needed assistance with their research efforts.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Ecologists use orange and green in their suits. If they are not wearing their special environmental suits, then they wear teal scrubs.
- For Science!: Unlike the other Stalkers who are in the zone for money, power, or just excitement; The Ecologists just want to research the scientific phenomenons of the Zone and learn from it.
- Team Switzerland: They are neutral to most of the factions so no matter who you decide to join you can still work with them. However they are against the Monolith and Wolfhound's mercenaries in Shadow of Chernobyl.
MercenariesA collection of soldiers-for-hire who have come to the Zone for reasons similar to Loners but with even darker and/or more mysterious twists. Some are ex-military soldiers or ex-special force operatives, others are terrorists or ex-terrorists who seek refuge, and even some are former members from the different factions of the Zone themselves. Like Loners, they come from all walks of life, but due to their austerely secretive nature, they are distrusted by just about everyone in the Zone, save for the bandits.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Mercenaries wear blue uniforms.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: They have accumulated considerable experience in combat and they look like people who you want to have in your faction, but because of their secretive and dismissive attitude towards non-mercs, they are distrusted by everyone in the Zone unless they are from the Bandit faction.
- Mysterious Employer: One thing Mercenaries have in common is that they work for an employer with a completely secretive agenda so it's never revealed who they're actually working for. Most of the time, though, the employer antagonizes the factions not aligned with the bandits.
- Private Military Contractors
MonolithA fanatical group of brainwashed stalkers whose sole purpose is guarding the CNPP and the C-Consciousness, the entity that controls the Zone. After Strelok destroys the C-Consciousness, the faction degenerated into a lost cultist group still seeking a central entity to guide their cause. They are openly hostile to anyone who isn't a zombie or a member of their faction.
- 0% Approval Rating: Not even the Ecologists are neutral with them.
- Big Bad: They are the end-game antagonists and undisputed villains throughout the entire series.
- Brainwashed and Crazy
- Cargo Cult / Church Militant: The Monolith faction derives their name from the object burrowed deep in the middle of the wrecked Chernobyl Power Plant in the Zone. It is actually a mind-controlling apparatus constructed by the C-Consciousness that converts would-be hunters and seekers into brainwashed agents that serve the will of the C-Consciousness without any abandon, in order to preserve the deepest secrets of the Zone. As a consequence, they fanatically attack anybody who isn't a zombie or a member of their faction to ensure that they fully devote themselves to protecting those secrets. They have no qualms having preachers to lead their units into battle and give sermons before and during battles.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Monolith uniforms are grey, yellow, and tan.
- Dwindling Party / The Remnant: After the events of Shadow of Chernobyl, their numbers have shrunken dangerously thin thanks to Strelok's destruction of their central entity and they are nearing the brink of their extinction by the time the player character reaches Pripyat. Despite this, they continue to be as zealously stubborn as ever in their beliefs and ride on to battle with suicidal determination even as the war against them continues to slip away from their favor.
- Hard-Coded Hostility: They are the only faction in all three games to be hostile to everyone, including you. Subverted in Call of Pripyat, when you stumble into a group of former cultists who have separated from their main faction due to Strelok's destruction of the C-Consciousness and they are completely neutral to the player.
- We Have Reserves: They are easily the largest faction in the zone and they make full use of this numbers advantage in battles. They have no qualms about sending 20 men assault groups to suicide missions on regular basis against the Freedom's barrier in Shadow of Chernobyl.
Clear SkyThe eponymous primary faction from Clear Sky is a paramilitary organization comprised of ex-scientists and former military personnel tasked with studying the Zone and keeping anyone from entering the CNPP, not unlike the Monolith. The protagonist, Scar, joined the group as their key member and was tasked with stopping Strelok before he could reach the center of the Zone, because if he did, the Zone would be destroyed. By the time of both Shadow of Chernobyl and Call of Pripyat, the faction has become permanently dissolved and only two remaining members (Nimble and Novikov) survived the untimely demise of the organization.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Clear Sky's uniforms are light blue and brown.
State Security Service (Ukrainian Military)The State Security Service is the branch of the Ukrainian military responsible for maintaining a secure perimeter around the Zone and combating the stalker phenomenon as well as the illegal artifact trade they practice. In reality though, the Security Service is an utterly corrupt organization that often practices extortion and accepts bribes from stalkers in exchange for ignoring their illegal activities.
- Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop: The military is both utterly corrupt and completely useless at stopping the illegal artifact trade in the zone.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The Military uses green, grey, and olive camouflage for their uniform's colours.
- Elite Mooks: Military Stalkers, who are, as the name implies, former Stalkers working for the military as Zone-specific special forces. They have access to high-end armor and weapons, which makes them a great deal tougher than your average military grunt.
- For Your Own Good: "We are not protecting the Zone from you, We are protecting you from the Zone!"
- Hero Antagonist: They are trying to protect the general population from the dangers of the zone by restricting the artifact trade and preventing the mutants from entering the outside world.
- Punch-Clock Villain: Most soldiers are just there trying to do their jobs. Which consist of shooting illegal personnel immigrating into the zone. Which includes you. Averted in Call of Pripyat where you play as a member of the USS.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Depending on the player's actions, the protagonist in Call of Pripyat can be this.
- State Sec: It's right there in the name. While they are usually referred to as "The Military", they are actually a paramilitary force that operates separately from the rest of the Ukrainian Armed Forces under the direct control of Ukraine's Ministry of Internal Affairs. Unlike most examples of this trope, they aren't an inherently evil organization, though a highly corrupt one.