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Characters from the video game series S.T.A.L.K.E.R.:


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     Player Characters 

Marked One / Strelok

"I don't know whether I was right or wrong, I guess I'll never know... But I made it. And I guess I should be thankful for that".
Originally 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.
  • Badass Normal: And how. He wakes up with amnesia and nothing but the clothes on his back after a truck crash, which essentially makes him a day one rookie. Despite this, his first big mission is infiltrate a heavily fortified military base and steal some classified documents. From then on, the story sees him wiping out dozens of bandits (including the entirety of Borov's 30-man gang in the Dark Valley), infiltrating several extremely dangerous labs, decimating at least two platoons of mercenaries, surviving an emission with nothing but a fainting spell, pacifying the zombie-infested Lake Yantar so it's inhabitable outside the mobile science bunker, surviving an explosive booby trap, chewing through so much of the extremely resilient Monolith faction that very little of it is left by the time Degtyarev fights them, opening the path to the previously inaccessible Pripyat by shutting down the legendary Brain Scorcher, infiltrating the Chernobyl Power Plant and slaughtering the C-Consciousness, controller of Monolith and, essentially, the Zone itself. And it's not the first time he achieved this many feats: he did it in the past, right before his mind wipe, and only failed to reach the C-Consciousness because Scar stopped him. All of this is done (for the most part single-handedly) by a guy that is, by all intents and purposes, physically nothing more than an average stalker. He isn't credited as being the most influential man in the whole Zone for nothing. And you can back up his reputation by making Marked One go from the lowest ranking Stalker when you wake up in Sidorovich's bunker to number 1 by the time you reach the Brain Scorcher.
  • Demoted to Extra: In Call of Pripyat, Strelok returns as a supporting protagonist very close to the end of the game.
  • Determinator: Let's just say he is very determined to uncover secrets of the Zone. Radiation, anomalies, mutants, psy-emitters, even being sandwiched between two factions hellbent on stopping him all the while he is being pursued by a mercenary is not enough to prevent him from accomplishing his goals. Even if he suffers a temporary setback on his way there.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: By the canon end of Shadow of Chernobyl, Strelok finds himself in a lush grove, with the sun shining and a clear sky. As he wonders whether he took the right decision to kill the C-Consciousness, he lies down and peacefully falls asleep, stating that he made it out alive, and that's more than enough.
    • By the end of Call of Pripyat, he lost all his friends save Doctor and unwittingly caused the Zone to become even worse than before. If the Major took the time to find the notes his group wrote and give them to him instead of selling them to Owl as well as surviving the Pripyat evacuation, he'll join the Ukrainian government as head consultant of their newly created Zone Study Institute.
  • 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 the C-Consciousness, Clear Sky and Scar successfully interfering with their efforts.
  • Expy: He bears more than a passing resemblance to Stalker, the eponymous protagonist of the film that provides the series' namesake.
  • 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.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's notably curt and stern in comparison to the other two protagonists, although he voluntarily helps out many other stalkers during his quest for knowledge. One of the tasks he may undertake consists of recovering the lost family rifle of a rookie stalker. He also used to have a band of True Companions with whom he got along well.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: In Call of Pripyat's still image cutscenes he's a computer-generated character (using the same character model as the cutscenes in Shadow of Chernobyl), while every other character are still-image photos of real people.
  • One-Man Army: Proves this in particular during his solitary raid on the Brain Scorcher. He fights his way through the heavily irradiated and anomaly-infested Death World of the Red Forest, which is also protected by a large number of well-equipped fanatics of the Monolith. Despite that, he succeeds in disabling the machine completely on his own.
  • Rogue Protagonist: Serves as the main antagonist in Clear Sky.
  • Sole Survivor: Of the lorry crash at the start of the game.
  • True Companions: With Fang and Ghost, until that one fateful raid on the CNPP, which more or less directly caused their deaths.
  • Two Aliases, One Character: The Marked One is revealed to be Strelok, the person he was sent to kill in the first place.
  • Villainous Widow's Peak: Averted. He has a massive widow's peak, but is hardly evil. Just too curious for his own good.
  • Weapon of Choice: Both the AK-74 and AKS-74U during the events of Shadow of Chernobyl, as you can find Strelok's custom version of the former in Agroprom and the latter is used by the Marked One during cutscenes. During Call of Pripyat, Strelok has a unique version of the Sig-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.

Scar

The 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.
  • The Chosen One: It's noted by Clear Sky that Scar has a unique physical connection to the Zone that they've never seen before.
  • 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).
  • Deadpan Snarker: His dialogue when speaking to other Stalkers seems to have elements of this.
  • Experienced Protagonist: Scar was already a veteran Stalker living in the Zone prior to the events of Clear Sky, in contrast to Marked One who has the skills but lacks knowledge due to his amnesia.
  • 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.
  • In the Hood: His original outfit as seen in the opening movie is a hooded trenchcoat of the sort typically worn by Bandit experts and veterans.
  • 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.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: He has no real loyalty to Clear Sky's scientific environmentalist ideology, but is mandatorily allied with them for the entirety of the game due to sharing their common goal of stabilizing the Zone, as the Zone's decay is causing him to slowly die.
  • 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.
  • The Stoic: In Clear Sky's opening cutscene he seems to be noticeably more calm and stoic than the Marked One, remaining composed and showing almost no emotion when swarmed by mutants, and only showing a slight degree of distress upon seeing the massive emission wave bearing down on him.
  • True Neutral: As a Merc with no major pre-existing loyalties, Scar can pretty much join any faction in the Zone except for the Military and Monolith. Other Mercenaries are also generally neutral to him and will even help out in various quests after being hired by the quest giver.
  • Weapon of Choice: The VSS Vintorez, which he used in the opening cutscene, although it is lost at the start of the game. However, it can be recovered early on.

Major Alexander Degtyarev

The 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 (a law enforcement agency and not a military unit) and a former stalker, sent to the Zone to assess the failure of Operation Fairway and recover important data. In order to not arouse suspicions, he goes undercover and disguises himself as a regular stalker when he enters the Zone.
  • Declining Promotion: After the events of the game he is offered promotion to colonel. Degtyarev turns this down in favor of remaining in the field and requests he be placed as a permanent USS observer in the Zone. And the Adventure Continues...
  • Empowered Badass Normal: After taking enough anabiotics, the Major can survive emissions without shelter, at the cost of almost all of his health.
  • 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. Apparently because of his military training, he's also able to use two primary weapons at once instead of being limited to 1 primary weapon and 1 sidearm like previous protagonists.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Unlike Strelok and Scar, who at least wear hoods, the Major always appear bareheaded in cutscenes, even in areas where not wearing a helmet or a mask would be deadly. One of the first mods for the game, making Degtyarev wear his current helmet in cutscenes, was literaly called in Russian "Wear your goddamn helmet, man!"
  • 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.
  • Weapon of Choice: The AKS-74U and Makarov, as he starts with one AK alongside his honorary Makarov.
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Loners

"Such is life in the Zone."
Made up of 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, all without joining another group. 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: Light brown and very light gray (leather jackets), olive green and dark green (Sunrise and SEVA suits), dark gray (Exoskeletons).
  • 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, though they are often engaged in turf wars with Bandits in all 3 games.

Bandits

A 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. In Clear Sky, a splinter group of Bandits called the Renegades are engaged in a turf war with Clear Sky in the Swamps and help the Bandits defend the bridge leading to Limansk.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Played straight in Shadow of Chernobyl. In Clear Sky it's possible to remain neutral with them, but they'll rob you of all your money every time you travel through the Garbage, and some bandits will still attack you no matter what like in Cordon and Agropromnote . Averted in Call of Pripyat, where with just a little stealth and planning ahead it's possible to remain neutral with them throughout the game while still completing all quests for other factions and without sacrificing your dignity.
  • Being Evil Sucks: Joining the Bandit faction in Clear Sky makes the game considerably harder than joining the Loners or staying neutral, as you make enemies of both the neutral Stalkers (who have a sizable presence on almost every map) and the very well-equipped and numerous Duty.
  • Boisterous Weakling: Despite their bluster, the bandits quickly cease to be formidable opponents. Borov and the entire Dark Valley gang are slain to a man by a lone stalker in their own hide-out despite having the home turf advantage (and vastly outnumbering him, obviously).
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Black and brown.
  • Enemy Mine: They have a truce with Monolith in Clear Sky with both factions sharing half of Limansk-13. The Bandits gain a base in better shape than the ramshackle buildings in the Zone with the Red Forest acting as a buffer to prevent more organized and well-armed factions to crush them, Monolith gains more bodies to defend the Pripyat underground, blocking off the only access to the CNPP that isn't in the Brain Scorcher's area of effect.
  • 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.
  • The Goomba: They're the weakest faction in all 3 games, with their rookies being comparable to rookie Loners while their more experienced members are outgunned by veteran Loners. They make up for it with numbers, though.
  • 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.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: The Leather Jacket or Trenchcoat-wearing Bandits wear three-hole balaclavas as well as hood, in addition to the face wraps worn by almost every non-plot important stalker.
  • Rule of Cool: Their black leather jackets and trenchcoats are anything but adapted for the Zone, as their protection levels is barely better than the starter clothing. They choose to wear them only because of this trope.
  • Values Dissonance: In Clear Sky, they certainly aren't afraid of referring to their enemies as "faggots". But then again, considering how culturally different things are in Ukraine, which neighbors Russia, it's not something to be unexpected.

Duty

"Deadly anomalies, dangerous mutants, anarchists and bandits... None of them will stop Duty on its triumphant march towards saving the planet!"
Originally comprised of Ukrainian soldiers and special forces officers sent to the Zone to secure it from unauthorized personnel who were left to fend for themselves after a communications breakout, Duty sees the Zone as both a lawless hellhole and a great danger for the world, being fully committed to preventing it from spreading out to the world and anyone who lets out their horrors in the official version of the events they tell, at least. They are at odds with both the Bandits for their preying on innocent stalkers and (especially) Freedom for their anarchic lifestyle and views towards the Zone, while Freedom sees them as stuck-up posers. True to their Eastern military roots, they have a very structured command ladder and mainly use Warsaw Pact weaponry.
  • 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 General 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: Black and red. However, they subvert Red and Black and Evil All Over by not being evil (unless you're with Freedom or Monolith) but simply very focused.
  • 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 the 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 warehouses 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.
  • Elite Mooks: They're one of the stronger factions in the Zone, outgunning both Mercs and Military grunts, being on par with Freedom, and only really being outgunned by Spetznaz or Military stalkers, Monolith or anyone with an Exoskeleton that isn't them.
  • 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.

Freedom

"Do you want to earn the respect of fellow stalkers? Do you want to build a team of loyal friends who will stick up for you in times of trouble? Do you dream of kicking some Duty ass? All this and many other opportunities awaits you if you join Freedom!"
A large pseudo-military organization formed in the Zone, 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. They are at odds with both the Military for impeding access to the Zone and (especially) Duty for their uptight attitude and zero-tolerance policy towards the Zone, while Duty sees them as anarchists playing with fire. True to their much more loose roots, Freedom enjoys a relaxed, brotherly atmosphere, employs a more casual command structure and uses 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: Heavily saturated green, orange and yellow.
  • Elite Mooks: They're one of the stronger factions in the zone, outgunning both Mercs and Military grunts, being on par with Duty, and only really being outgunned by Military stalkers, Monolith or anyone with an Exoskeleton that isn't them.
  • 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.
  • Glass Cannon: In Shadow of Chernobyl, Freedom's standard issue Wind of Freedom suit is lighter and less armored than Duty's standard issue PSZ-9d Duty suit, but Freedom's troops tend to carry harder hitting NATO weaponry compared to Duty's more standard AK-74s. Freedom also has a heavier Guardian of Freedom suit that's equivalent to Duty's PSZ-9d suit, but is generally only worn by Veteran or Expert members. This is less so in the later two games, where the disparity between NATO and Warsaw Pact rifles is significantly reduced, while Duty's standard-issue armor becomes much weaker than it was in Shadow of Chernobyl, becoming equivalent to the basic armors used by the other factions.
  • 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. Best illustrated by their base in Clear Sky, where the recruitement messages the diffuse are very lax (when Ashot and Yar don't hijack the system to roast eachother) and their barman openly consumes and sells weed, but they're second only to Duty in faction strength.
  • 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.

Ecologists / Scientists

A 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.
  • Badass Bookworm: Most of them since they're scientists living in the Zone, but noticeably Dr. Kruglov, a minor character that the player can encounter in the Wild Territory in Shadow of Chernobyl. His science team is being besieged by a group of heavily-armed mercenaries attempting to get the data he is carrying. The player can, of course, choose to help him, but if you don't, the mercenaries will continue to pick off his team one by one until he's the last one left. Wolfhound, the leader of the mercs, will then call him up over the radio and try to negotiate with the scientist - his life for the information. Kruglov will stubbornly refuse until the mercs are fed up and attack him. If the mercs manage to kill him and you search his corpse, you find out that his last act was to delete the data so the mercenaries couldn't get it. If the player does choose to help him, he becomes the subject of one of the most bearable escort missions in game history, as, although he calls himself a 'third-rate fighter', he's actually a fairly skilled marksman who will score headshots with any decent assault rifle regularly. If he survives to the end of the mission, he replaces Semenov as your partner in the later Ecologist missions, and proves to be a substantial improvement over his colleague - while Semenov tries to leave you behind after a blowout, Kruglov will stubbornly refuse to leave you behind.
    Wolfhound: I've had enough. Looks like this is going to get ugly.
    Kruglov: As you wish.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: They wear either teal civilian scrubs (for scientists safely inside their mobile bunker), orange biosuits, or green biosuits. Their orange biosuit provides excellent hazard protection but protects against bullets about as well as paper, while the green biosuits (i.e. the one worn by Dr. Kruglov) actually have decent armor in addition to the hazard protection.
  • For Science!: Unlike the other Stalkers who are in the zone for money, power, or just excitement, the Ecologists are just here to research the scientific phenomenons of the Zone and learn from it.
  • Non-Action Guy: Most of the Ecologists are not fighters, being scientists. They rely on Loners or Mercenaries to act as muscle, with a few exceptions like Dr Kruglov.
  • Team Switzerland: They are neutral to most of the factions so no matter who you decide to join you can still work with them. They're also officially sanctioned by the Ukrainian government and have enough pull with to call in an airstrike against the mercs in the Wild Territories and the zombies around the X-16 laboratory. However they are against the Monolith (just like everyone else) and Wolfhound's mercenaries in Shadow of Chernobyl.

Mercenaries

A 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; however, the one common link between them is that they're apparently all on the payroll of the same unseen backer. 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.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: In Shadow of Chernobyl only.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Navy blue, black and grey.
  • Elite Mooks: While their rank-and-file are only somewhat tougher than Bandits, their elite veterans can come equipped with SEVA suits or even Exoskeletons. In fact, unless you go out of your way to antagonize Duty or Freedom, high-rank Mercs are likely to be the only exosuit enemies you fight until you reach the late game and start to tangle with Monolith.
  • Face–Heel Revolving Door: Their attitude towards the player character varies wildly between games. In Shadow of Chernobyl, they're always hostile and basically serve as intermediate opponents between early game Bandits and late game Monolith. In Clear Sky they're much rarer, don't participate in the Faction Wars, and generally appear as allies during specific missions; justified as Scar is a gun for hire like them. In Call of Pripyat they're also much rarer and only fought in a few specific missions; a friendly group of Mercs can also be hired to serve as bodyguards for the Ecologists.
  • 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 as well as their hefty fees, they are distrusted by everyone in the Zone unless they are from the Bandit faction. The only faction even more hated than them are the Bandits and Monolith.
  • Friendly Enemy:
    • Hog in Clear Sky will not attack Scar, only telling him to mind his own business until Scar offers his help to rescue the rest of his team, trapped in a Space anomaly with the rare artifact they were sent to obtain. As thanks, his team will help Clear Sky lower the bridge leading to Limansk.
    • Hatchet in Call of Pripyat and his squad will not engage you directly unless you run up to them with a weapon drawn (and even then, they'll give you a warning to lower your gun before shooting). Should you help them by giving them food as their supplies ran dry, they'll accept to guard the Ecologist outpost as thanks.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: The Merc Suit worn by them comes with a gas mask by default.
  • Glass Cannon: They primarily use light armor and are only slightly more durable than experienced/veteran Bandits, but their NATO assault rifles are quite accurate and hard-hitting.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: What they actually want in the Zone is the biggest mystery about them, alongside who they work for, since they've been after various things (the Ecologists' research, rare artifacts or weakening other factions). Call of Pripyat implies their main objective is the research the X-Labs did before the Chernobyl Disaster, with the rest being a way of earning extra cash.
  • Mysterious Employer: One thing Mercenaries have in common is that, despite forming temporary alliances with other factions, they ultimately work for an unknown employer with a completely secretive agenda. Their use of NATO weaponry and Western accents in Eastern European language versions of the game suggest they may be operating on behalf of the West (governments, corporations and/or wealthy individuals) in the Zone.
  • Private Military Contractors: They're guns for hire rather than operating on ideology.

Monolith

"We thank you, oh Monolith, for revealing the cunning plans of your enemies to us. May your light shine down on the souls of the brave soldiers who gave their lives in service to your will. Onward warriors of the Monolith, avenge your fallen brothers, blessed as they are in their eternal union with the Monolith. Bring death to those who spurned the holy power of the Monolith."
A 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.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: In all 3 games they carry armor-piercing ammunition, though their initial magazine is loaded with standard rounds, and they only start firing armor-piercing rounds if they have a chance to reload.
  • Big Bad: They are the end-game antagonists and undisputed villains throughout the entire series.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: They're Stalkers who have been brainwashed into becoming the C-Consciousness' cult/army.
  • Cargo Cult / Church Militant: The Monolith faction derives their name from the Wish Granter, burrowed deep in the middle of the wrecked Chernobyl Reactor 4. It is actually a facade, as their real goal is to prevent access to the C-Consciousness 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: Winter camouflage and dark brown highlights.
  • 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.
  • Easy Logistics: Most of the gear in the Zone is smuggled from outside by the traders, but even they are puzzled about how Monolith is better equipped than everybody save the Military when they have no outside contacts. Turns out the Group, the entity that would break into the C-Consciousness and Clear Sky, have set up shell companies and other financial schemes to get money flowing, at first to keep funding their research, later to order the best gear money can buy to keep an edge on any faction of the Zone.
  • Enemy Mine: They have a truce with the Bandits and Renegades in Clear Sky with both factions sharing half of Limansk-13. The Bandits gain a base in better shape than the ramshackle buildings in the Zone with the Red Forest acting as a buffer to prevent more organized and well-armed factions to crush them, Monolith gains more bodies to defend the Pripyat underground, blocking off the only access to the CNPP that isn't in the Brain Scorcher's area of effect.
  • 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. They can even be recruited into either the ranks of Duty or the Freedom faction depending on which standing the player is in favor for. Even better, after recruitment, one of the members can be asked to join the player in their trip to Pripyat.
  • Skippable Boss: Their leader Charon and the Monolith headquarters in Pripyat can be completely ignored in Shadow of Chernobyl, as they are not directly in your path to the CNPP and have no key items or major loot you'd need to collect. There are a couple of random rare artifacts in the Monolith alter room just above Charon's office, but at this late stage in the game they're not really of high interest.
  • Strong and Skilled: They have both high-end weapons and armor and large numbers, while most other factions are limited to one or the other. The Military's Elite Mooks may outgun them, but otherwise they're on par with Duty or Freedom while having much more soldiers.
  • 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 Sky

The 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.
  • Badass Bookworm: Despite being a scientifically-oriented faction, their military resources are actually fairly decent. While their basic troops in the Swamp are about on par with the average Loner, they have enough Elite Mooks in reserve to make a meaningful push in the final assault on Limansk against Monolith and the Bandits. Their improved combat armor is also on the lower high end of what's available in Clear Sky.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Sky blue camo, brown.
  • Defector from Decadence: Their founders are former members of the Group, which became the C-Consciousness following the first emission.
  • Reforged into a Minion: The ending of Clear Sky indicates that most of Clear Sky were captured and brainwashed into becoming Monolith soldiers, with the remainder (like Nimble) dissolving into other Stalker groups due to the disappearance of the major leadership.
  • Team Switzerland: Clear Sky is uninterested in the petty turf wars of the other factions, and try to avoid interacting directly with other Stalker groups at all for the most part.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Over the course of Clear Sky, thanks to Scar and Lebedev, they go from a backwater base in the Swamps on the brink of falling to the Renegades to be on par with Duty and Freedom in terms of power and, after joining forces with the Mercenaries, capture both the Bandit and Monolith-occupied parts of Limansk, as well as launch a full-scale attack against the CNPP (something unthinkable before Marked One stopped the Brain Scorcher, to distract Monolith so Scar has a clean shot at Strelok. Were it not for the C-Consciouness unleashing an emission as a desperate attack to stop Strelok, Clear Sky would have likely captured the CNPP.

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. Justified as they have to work with almost zero outside help as the government is implied to either not give a crap about the Zone or get a cut out of the artifact trafficking. The first decent soldier you meet is Degtyarev.
  • Beef Gate: With decent body armor and AK-74 assault rifles, Military grunts are considerably tougher than Bandits, and the games heavily encourage you to avoid hostile encounters with them until you get reasonable mid-level gear. Also, in Shadow of Chernobyl, wiping out a Military camp is likely to encourage a retaliatory strike by Spetznaz Elite Mooks later down the road.
  • Bullying a Dragon: When the Military has enough of the stalkers' shenanigans, expect their retaliation to be swift and overwhelming, usually by way of attack choppers, armored personel carriers or strike forces. Pissed off soldiers make everybody save Monolith run for the hills.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Olive green and woodland camouflage.
  • Elite Mooks:
    • Military Stalkers and Spetznaz. The former are, as the name implies, former Stalkers working for the military as Zone-specific special forces or regular soldiers who spent enough time in the Zone to know it better than your average stalker. They have access to the Skat-9 armor (one of the best with above-average protection all over the board, second only to the Exoskeleton) and carry either an AN-94 or an AS Val, which makes them a great deal tougher than your average military grunt and just below an Exoskeleton wearer or a Monolith officer in threat level. The latter come in larger numbers than Military Stalkers and are generally used for surgical strikes against major targets, being tougher than pretty much any other human opponent other than Military Stalkers or Powered Armor.
    • Grunts act as this in the early game in both Shadow of Chernobyl and Clear Sky, as even their rookies carry an AKS-74U and body armor, while at best you'll have a bandit jacket/unupgraded Clear Sky armor and a MP5. Even their Fort-12 sidearm is better than your Makarov.
  • 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. "Trying" being the key word.
  • Nice Hat: The officers wear berets, while the regular grunts wear military caps or bandanas. Spetznaz wear helmets and military stalkers gas masks.
  • 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.
    • The Military could easily wipe out the Rookie Village (it's literally less than a kilometer away from the main checkpoint outpost into the Zone), but just leave it alone as its Not Worth Killing. However, if you steal classified documents from the outpost on behalf of the Trader (which generally involves slaughtering the platoon of grunts stationed there), they will send a Spetznaz retaliation squad to the Rookie Village.
  • 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.

The Common Consciousness (C-Consciousness)

"Our main goal was to make small adjustments to the noosphere, allowing us to remove things like anger, cruelty, greed and other negative factors from the planet. [...] Unfortunately we made a mistake and our interference spawned the Zone."
Following the Chernobyl disaster, the secret Soviet research labs hidden in the area that would become the Exclusion Zone refused to evacuate, choosing to continue their research on psychic abilities in mankind with the unofficial blessing of Moscow. Rebranding themselves "The Group", their experiments led to the discovery of the noosphere as well as the creation of Controllers, Burers and powerful psychic emitters. The main goal of the scientists was to interact with the noosphere, modifying global human psyche in the process to eliminate crime and evil in the world. Seven researchers volunteered to have their consciousnesses linked together to achieve this, creating the C-Consciousness, but the experiment went awry and caused a tear in the noosphere allowing it to affect the local biosphere, causing the first emission and creating the Zone as it is today. The rest of the Group clashed with the linked scientists over how to handle the cleanup of the incident, leaving to create Clear Sky. The C-Consciousness has been trying since then to try and close the tear in the noosphere, or at least prevent it from spreading, but their efforts were hampered by the presence of stalkers trying to reach the CNPP. They developed countermeasures in the form of the Brain Scorcher and Monolith to prevent stalkers from reaching their base.
  • Barrier Maiden: Their presence and work keeps the Zone relatively under control. Once they're dead, the Zone gets even weirder and starts expanding.
  • Didn't See That Coming: They didn't realize that the brainwashed stalker who they ordered to kill Strelok was Strelok himself in an oversight, which is why the brainwashing failed and "only" led to amnesia.
  • Hive Mind: The seven linked scientists.
  • Manchurian Agent: The stalkers marked with the S.T.A.L.K.E.R tattoo are supposed to be this, but due to the Zone being the Zone, they all died, some before even getting off the death trucks.
  • Power Incontinence: The emissions are excess noosphere energy that must be released periodically by them, lest they will be crushed by it. In Clear Sky, they happen at random due to their inexperience in handling the noosphere, something they managed to perform in Shadow of Chernobyl. In Call of Pripyat, since they're no longer around to harness said energy, emissions happend at random again.
  • Reforged into a Minion: They overpowered the minds of most of their fellow scientists after getting linked together, with those still independant leaving to create Clear Sky.
  • The Unfought: You never fight them directly, let alone speak face-to-face with them. Strelok talks to them via a hologram, while the linked scientists are laying in stasis pods, unable to do anything.
  • Walking Spoiler: It's nigh impossible to find any info on them without revealing the final arc of Shadow of Chernobyl.
  • We Can Rule Together: After Strelok successfully discovers them and makes his way to their control center, they offer him an opportunity to join their Hive Mind in their efforts to help contain the Zone (and it's implied in the other ambiguously good ending that you end up helping them continue their experiments with the noosphere). Canonically, he refuses, and then proceeds to fight his way through their entire guard force before killing the entire Consciousness with assault rifle fire while they sit helpless in their pods.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: They want to alter the minds of every single human on the planet to get rid of crime, greed and violence.

     Notable Zone inhabitants 

Sidorovich

A black market trader that acts as the contact between the outside world and the Zone, selling artifacts to outside buyers and supplies to stalkers.
  • Everyone Has Standards: While he cares only about filling up his ledgers, Sidorovich makes it clear that he'll never alter a deal or double-cross his customers, as doing so is a surefire way of getting killed.
  • Fat Bastard: He's quite portly and doesn't give a shit about anything but his profit margin. His introduction in Shadow of Chernobyl has him munching on a chicken thigh and telling off Red about how a dead stalker isn't worth squat.
  • Hero of Another Story: Yes. Before and during the events of Clear Sky, Sidorovich was the one trader that started pushing for deeper stalking into the Zone, rallying the other traders behind him to get gear and money to do so, until they bumped into the Brain Scorcher. Without leaving his bunker.
  • Just Business: His relationship with Marked One and Scar. He helped the former get back in shape only because he needed some jobs done and because he had a hunch that Strelok/Marked One could find a way to reach the Sarcophagus. The latter is just a means to an end to conclude a lucrative deal.
  • Lord British Postulate: Sidorovich is an essential character and is normally unkillable since he's holed up in an underground bunker accessible only to the player and you're forced to put your weapon away every time you enter. However, it's possible to kill him with a grenade at the end of the game when you're briefly teleported inside his bunker during the final mission.
  • Non-Action Guy: Sidorovich stays holed up in his bunker, stating he would get killed as soon as he leaves since he's not cut for action.

Wolf

The leader of the Rookie Village Loners.
  • Artificial Stupidity: After you complete Sidorovich's missions in Cordon, Wolf will leave Fanatic in charge of the rookie village and travel north to the Army Warehouses seeking his fortune. There, due to an A.I. bug that was never fixed, he'll walk into a campfire and burn to death. The ZRP unofficial community bugfix fixes this brainfart of his.
  • The Mentor: He'll give Marked One a pistol, an armor and some pointers when talking to him after leaving Sidorovich's bunker.
  • Might Makes Right: He's the Loners' boss because he is meaner and tougher than them. Unlike most examples of this trope, Wolf is actually a decent guy, if a bit stern.

Barkeep

The owner of the 100 Rads bar in Rostok, as well as a trader and information broker. One of Sidorovich's business partners in the artifact trade.
  • Berserk Button: He hates The Mafiya as they used to shake his business up before he went to the Zone. He'll even give you a mission to wipe their Zone operations out.
  • Everybody Calls Him "Barkeep": It's literally his name.
  • Fat Bastard: Beer gut? Check. Sends you to kill random stalkers just because they're too unlucky or skilled for his tastes? Check.

Doctor

A former member of Strelok's group, acting as their medic.
  • The Beastmaster: He managed to tame a pseudodog and keep it as a pet.
  • Cool Old Guy: He's one of the very first stalkers and allegedly reached the Wish Granter alone in the past, wishing for the ability to cure any ailment, even death. He also found, alongside Guide, the secret door that leads to the C-Consciousness lab.
  • Healing Hands: Stalker folklore claims he wished to obtain this once he reached the Wish Granter.
  • Meaningful Name: Maybe not a diplomed one, but he knows his way around medicine enough to patch up a badly wounded Strelok twice.
  • Wasteland Elder: One of the oldest and wisest Stalkers still active, alongside Beard, Guide, Forester and Lebedev.

Fang

A former member of Strelok's group, acting as their tech expert and muscle.
  • The Big Guy: While we never see him in action, he wore an Exoskeleton (the heaviest armor in the games).
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Fang had a slight stutter and talked to himself, making him a weirdo in the eyes of other stalkers.
  • Dead All Along: He's dead by the time of Shadow of Chernobyl, but how and when is unclear. You can find his grave near the Army Warehouses, but other stalkers mention he was sniped in Pripyat by Monolith.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: You can find his plans for improving body armor in Clear Sky and he built the decoders used to unlock the Sarcophagus' secret door in Shadow of Chernobyl.

Ghost

A former member of Strelok's group, acting as their infiltration expert.
  • Apocalyptic Log: His PDA has him cursing the chickenshit scientist he was escorting in Lab X-16, who ran away from the first zombie he saw and leaving him alone in a Controller's nest. He concludes by saying he'll try to run for the door before the Controller finds him. Not only he failed, but he was doomed to do so since the actual exit of the lab is in the nest.
  • Dead All Along: He's dead by the time of Shadow of Chernobyl, killed by a Controller in Lab X-16.
  • Number Two: Juding how close he was to Strelok, refusing to abandon him after the first blowout unlike Fang, he might have been this, or at least his best friend.
  • Too Dumb to Live: While fitting with his skill at sneaking, wearing only a light armor (with regenerative capabilities) and a pistol in Lab X-16 was asking for trouble.

Nimble

A young stalker that bumps into the various player characters, making a living by selling info.
  • Born Lucky: Nimble seems to have a knack for getting out of tight spots by sheer luck.
  • Everybody Has Standards: Despite living in the Zone, Nimble flat-out refuses to sell gear that has been stolen or salvaged from the dead.
  • Friend in the Black Market: He evolves into this in Call of Pripyat, being to go-to guy for obtaining unique or very rare gear.
  • Information Broker: His bread and butter in Clear Sky, as he sells plans for weapon upgrades and the coordinates of stashes containing rare items.
  • Start My Own: He learned the ropes of trading by working with Sidorovich until he decided he was good enough to strike out on his own.

Guide

A legendary stalker who knows the whole Zone like the back of his hand. Said to be the first stalker ever.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: He is allegedly "Touched by the Zone", meaning the Zone gave him abilities beyond what common stalkers can do.
  • The Ghost: He is very hard to find, to the point people doubt he exists. It's said by stalkers that you have to be almost fated to meet Guide in order to find him.
  • The Navigator: A non-vehicle based version. Find and give him enough money and Guide will take you anywhere in the Zone through the safest path possible. Even in the CNPP.
  • Wasteland Elder: One of the oldest and wisest Stalkers still active, alongside Beard, Doctor, Forester and Lebedev.

Charon

The apparent leader of Monolith.
  • Decapitated Army: Averted. Killing him doesn't affect Monolith capacities in the slightest.
  • Elite Mook: He carries a VSS and an Exoskeleton as well as some artifacts, making him a tough nut to crack without armor-piercing ammo and able to damage you plenty. But other than that, stat-wise, he's the same as any Monolith Veteran.
  • Weapon of Choice: He's the only character in the first game who wields a VSS sniper rifle.

The Wish Granter

The ultimate artifact and object of worship of Monolith, located deep under the Sarcophagus, where Reactor 4 once was. The Wish Granter, hence it's name, is stated to be sentient and able to fulfill the wish of whoever reaches it; something nobody achieved thanks to the Brain Scorcher and Monolith. It's a scam, built as a last ditch defense by the C-Consciousness, that twists the wish of anybody who reaches it, to dispose of any stalker crafty enough to evade the Brain Scorcher and Monolith.
  • Cargo Cult: The "cargo" to Monolith's "cult".
  • Compelling Voice: It will call to you as soon as you get inside the Sarcophagus to lure you away from the C-Consciousness.
  • Hell Is That Noise: It's voice is very deep, in untranslated Russian and loud, as well as reverbering. Alert players will also notice it has the same "psi emission" background noise than the Brain Scorcher and Lab X-16's psi emitter, hinting at what it really is.
  • Jackass Genie: Anything Strelok wishes for will be twisted to grim ends.
  • Power Crystal: It manifests itself as a blueish-white glowing crystal the size of a small building.

Lebedev

The leader of Clear Sky and a former scientist.
  • Cool Old Guy
  • Defector from Decadence: He used to work for the C-Consciousness.
  • Genius Bruiser: Like all Clear Sky personel, he is a knowledgeable scientist about the Zone, but he can also put up a mean fight.
  • Wasteland Elder: One of the oldest and wisest Stalkers still active, alongside Beard, Doctor, Guide and Forester.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: His fate after Clear Sky is unknown, but it's very likely that he's dead, zombified or joined Monolith following the second emission.

Father Valerian

The leader of the Loners in Clear Sky.
  • Badass Preacher: While his lines about it were cut, the "Father" part of his name is because he used to be a priest.
  • The Hero: How he sees himself. He decided to take a stand for the Loners after finding out the Military ratted them to the Bandits and having enough of their shit, and he succeeds with the help of Scar. After that, however...
  • The Leader: The closest one the Loners had to a unified head of their faction. They split up after his death in smaller groups such as the one in the Rookie Village or Zaton.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: After he manages to bring the Military down a few notches in the Cordon and kick out the Bandits in the Garbage, he decides that the logical next step is to claim Pripyat for the Loners and rushes towards it with his best men. Too bad his plan involved going straight through the Red Forest.

Forester

An old man living alone at the edge of the Red Forest near Limansk, said to be able to find a safe route no matter where he is.
  • Cool Old Guy: While bloodsuckers can take out even veteran stalkers with top-tier gear with ease, Forester was able to bag himself one with little more than a double-barreled shotgun and his ushanka for protection, if the stuffed bloodsucker head and rifle on his wall are to be believed. He says that he has a supernatural ability to feel and avoid anomalies, as well as the Compass artifact, which has the power of always showing its' owner the correct way towards their destination. In addition, he lives in the Red Forest (a place where most Stalkers are afraid to set foot even in heavily-armed groups) and it's mentioned that he was a forester there long before the 1986 incident and refused to evacuate after the CNPP went critical.
  • Wasteland Elder: One of the oldest and wisest Stalkers still active, alongside Beard, Doctor, Guide and Lebedev.

Beard

The unofficial leader of the Loners of Zaton, as well as the local bartender and artifact trader in the Skadovsk.
  • Badass Beard: Go ahead, guess why he's called "Beard".
  • Cool Old Guy
  • Good Is Not Nice: He lets Sultan and the Bandits live in Skadovsk because even they don't deserve to be left outside during an emission, but if you report Sultan's plan to hit the Loners to take over Skadovsk, he'll quickly devise a plan to throw a wrench in Sultan's plans while acting as if nothing happened.
  • The Rival: How he and Sultan see eachother, as Sultan wants to take Skadovsk for the Bandits. You can either join forces with him and help him take over, or help Beard and crush the Bandits.
  • Wasteland Elder: One of the oldest and wisest Stalkers still active, alongside Doctor, Guide, Forester and Lebedev.

Grouse

The "sheriff" of Skadovsk and the Zaton area, acting as Beard's right-hand man and head of security.
  • Dirty Cop: Maybe. He admits he was a police officer before coming to the Zone, but why he did so is unknown. His name is Russian, "Gluhar" ("deaf / silent"), is cop slang for a crime that won't be solved.
  • He Knows Too Much: Tremor kills him when he's about to find out he's behind the "bloodsucker" attacks.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: He's based off the main character of a Russian police show.
  • The Sheriff: Well, the closest Russian equivalent.

Cardan

A former military engineer and the Skadovsk technician.
  • And the Adventure Continues: If the player gets his good ending, he'll leave for Yanov, where he and Nitro set up a repair shop and try to build a vehicle adapted for exploring the Zone.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: He's always drunk on vodka after he had a fallout with his best friends (they had a fight because Cardan couldn't help them do some stalking due to his inability to lay off the bottle for a while). Hell, you must give him vodka before he accepts to upgrade your gear!
  • Drunken Master: Until his Suddenly Sober moment below, he can only work when he's plastered. But when he does...
  • Functional Addict: He's an alcoholic through and through, but he's also one of the best tinkerers in the Zone alongside Nitro and the late Fang.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: He was part of the government team that worked on the Gauss Rifle and considers it his lifework. Showing him the prototype will shock him so hard he'll faint, then swear off alcohol (meaning you won't have to give him vodka anymore) as well as a discount.
  • Suddenly Sober: When he sees the Gauss Rifle, he gets so shocked that he instantly gets sober and swears off vodka.

Noah

A crazed Loner who lives on his own, trying to build an "Ark".
  • Badass Bystander: For starters, he's got Lassie, his tame pseudodog. When a military squad came they tried to detain him for shooting at them (he does that to everyone), but instead he tried to detain them. At one point in the game, the player's tasked with tracking down a Compass artifact, one which hasn't been seen in a very long time, and apparently Noah has a lead on where to find one. Turns out not only he has it, but he will just give it away if you ask him, implying he has even more.
  • The Beastmaster: Like Doctor and said above, he managed to tame a pseudodog and keep it as a pet, named Lassie. In his good ending, he'll even charge in battle against snorks with her and her puppies!
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: He's obsessed by an incoming mutant invasion and builds a fortified "Ark" to protect himself from them. In his good ending, his ark works as stalkers find shelter in it during a nasty emission and the following rush of snorks.
  • Hidden Depths: Noah might be insane, but he'll give you two Compass artifacts if you ask nicely and can run through an area filled with Burner anomalies without even looking and shows you the Space anomaly leading the the plateau where one of the Stingray gunships crashed, showing he knows the area even better than the back of his hand.
  • Made of Iron: Noah is the toughest character in the series, with health higher than a pseudogiant, required above a hundred assault rifle rounds, more than 20 headshots or two direct rocket launcher hits to die despite wearing a simple leather jacket. Stalkers claim that he carries several unseen (and extra-powerful) artifacts on him.

Owl

A weapons and equipment trader living in Zaton who frequently butt heads with Beard.
  • Information Broker: He buys and sells intel as much as gear. If you trade enough info with him, he becomes the USS inside man in the Zone.
  • Just Business: He only cares about making money and, allegedly, sides with Sultan because he pays more than Beard. Likewise, he doesn't give a crap about how you got it or what is the intel you bring him, only the money he can get from it matters.

Nitro

A Duty sympathizer and Yanov's technician.
  • And the Adventure Continues: If the player gets Cardan's good ending, the two will set up a repair shop in Yanov and try to build a vehicle adapted for exploring the Zone.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Even better than Cardan, as he can install some Tier 3 updates without tools. He's one of the two people in the zone who can extract the data from the military choppers and the UAV's flight recorders.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: He looks an awful lot like Vladimir Putin with earrings.

Hawaiian

The barkeep and trader of Yanov. A Freedom member.

Garry

A Loner who sells his services for various factions.
  • And the Adventure Continues: If the player kills the Mercenaries' leaders in Pripyat, Garry's tales about the army's efforts to secure Pripyat will inspire other Loners to set up a base there to explore the city and take the fight to Monolith.
  • Oh, Crap!: When he realized the Mercenaries he escorted into Pripyat had no intention of paying him and, when he wanted out, forced him at gunpoint to guide them, he ran off at the first opportunity and warns the Military about them.
  • Only in It for the Money: Unlike most stalkers, Garry sells his services to the highest bidder instead of searching artifacts. This ends up biting him in the ass when he accepts to lead Mercenaries into Pripyat.
  • Recurring Extra: Like Petruha. First, you see him as a bouncer in Rostok in Shadow of Chernobyl, then as one of the Ecologists' guards in Call of Pripyat.

Vano

A talented stalker, but a bit too gullible for his own good.
  • Nice Guy: He's very cheerful and talkative by the Zone's standards. While this puts him at odds with some stalkers, if he survives the Jupiter Underground and the assault on the Monolith-occupied book store, his friendly nature nets him a lot of contacts among the Zone and the role of anomaly explorer and guide for Freedom.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Favors a SPAS-12 in battle.
  • Skilled, but Naïve: Vano is a talented explorer and a great shot, but he's also very gullible and too trusting, which ended up with him owing debts to the Bandits.

Strider

A Monolith squad leader who broke off their mind control, alongside his men.
  • A Father to His Men: Despite being until recently brainwashed, Strider's first priority and quest is to bring his team to safety. You can do so by convincing the local Duty or Freedom leaders to take them in.
  • Brainwash Residue: He himself is unable to talk in anything but Creepy Monotone, while some of his squad are said to be unable to verbally communicate at all. If you recruit Strider later in the game, you might notice he has a tendency toward Dissonant Serenity, calmly mentioning that places or things seem familiar during firefights. This soon becomes Infallible Babble: the Jupiter Underground seems familiar because the Monolith have an outpost down there, from which they ambush you.
  • Cold Sniper: He uses a SVU (a bullpup variant of the SVD) and shows very little to no emotion, likely due to mind control aftereffects.
  • Start My Own: If he survives the Jupiter Underground, he forms his own team with his old crew and other Monolith remnants.
  • Still Wearing the Old Colors: His team still wear Monolith uniforms, which causes problems as due to Monolith's actions, lots of people in the Zone will shoot them on sight.

Zulu

A former Duty machinegunner.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: He left Duty after the peace talks with Freedom creating the Truce Zone in Yanov Station. If he survives the Jupiter Underground and the Snork assault in the abandoned school after leaving the Major's team in Pripyat, he'll join back and start leading an elite Duty team to re-occupy Pripyat.
  • Berserk Button: He abhors the Military and leaves the team on the spot when he learns that the Major is part of the USS.
  • The Big Guy: He uses a custom RPK-74 and is rather portly.
  • Husky Russkie: Well, more like Husky Ukrainian in his case.
  • More Dakka: His RPK comes with a 50 percent increase in magazine capacity.
  • Vodka Drunkenski: You recruit him by getting completely shitfaced on vodka with him.

Senior Lieutenant Sokolov

One of the Stingray pilots that went missing during Operation Fairway.
  • Born Lucky: Despite sucking at being a soldier, he managed to stay alive in the Zone for days after two helicopter crashes and evade Bandits, Mercenaries and mutants. He's the only pilot (but not the only soldier) that participated in Operation Fairway to do so.
  • The Load: As well as being bitchy and a whiner, Sokolov is a lousy shot, has low durability and carries a mere AK compared to the rest of the team's gear. Most of the Jupiter Underground level will be spent looking at him to make sure he doesn't die when a mutant or a Monolith soldier sneezes in his direction.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: If he survives the Jupiter Underground, the assault on the Monolith-occupied book store, and the Pripyat evacuation, he leaves the army for good after another failed mission in the Zone, becoming a civilian pilot.

Colonel Kovalsky

The commanding officer or Operation Fairway and Stingray 1.
  • A Father to His Men: All he does is to try and get his crew out of the Zone.
  • Colonel Badass: Not only he survived the crash of Stingray 1, but he rounded up the survivors and led them, with the help of Guide, to Pripyat, where he set up a frontline base and led attacks against Monolith while sending distress calls at the same time. When Degtyarev manages to call for aid and rescue choppers are on their way, he grabs a gun and takes the fight personally to Monolith to make sure his men can escape.
  • Fall Guy: If he survives the Pripyat evacuation, the brass tries to pin the failure of Operation Fairway on him. After a dragged-out investigation and countless hearings, they give up on it and send him away with an honorable discharge.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He doesn't bat an eyelash when Degtyarev comes knocking at his door with a group of stalkers including an ex-Duty and an ex-Monolith member, as he takes all the help he can get. Later, when evacuating, he offers a seat to Strelok in one of the choppers as thanks for helping them, no questions asked.
  • Walking Spoiler: Any detail about him spoils the final chapter of Call of Pripyat.

     Mutants and creatures 

Flesh

Disfigured mutant pigs that roam the Zone.
  • Alien Lunch: Despite their mutations, they're still pigs biologically speaking, meaning they can be eaten like pork. You'll frequently see stalkers roasting one over a fire in campments.
  • Body Horror: Their body looks normal, if slightly disformed and with needle-like feet. Their heads, on the other hand, are grotesque and flat, with one eye much bigger than the other and sometimes extra smaller ones.
  • Mysterious Animal Senses: Their enlarged eye can see in a greater spectrum of light and have olfactory receptors. In other words, Fleshes smell with their eye.

Blind dog

Feral dogs who traded their sight for enhanced smell, allowing them to thrive on the Zone.
  • Eyeless Face: Their eyes have disappeared under flaps of skin.
  • Fragile Speedster: They can be dispatched with a pistol, but their small size and speed, as well as their hit-and-run tactics, makes them hard to hit.
  • The Swarm: They are never encountered alone, with the smallest packs containing 6 or 7 of them.

Boar

Mutated boar who developped a taste for flesh.
  • Elite Mooks: They're bigger, tougher and much more agressive Fleshes. Thankfully, they're not immune to headshots.
  • Full-Boar Action: Duh. Appearance-wise, they're the least scary-looking of the mutants. However, they're still not to be trifled with since they usually have a ton of health, dish out fairly great damage with their charge attack, are always aggressive when attacking, and are quite dangerous in packs. Fortunately, their large size allows for well placed shots, and their correspondingly large heads makes it easy to score a headshot.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: Their main attack, and a devastating one for rookie stalkers.

Pseudodog

Dog-looking creatures who either strike on their own or lead packs of Blind Dogs.
  • Elite Mooks: They're bigger, tougher and much more agressive Blind Dogs.
  • King Mook: They sometimes lead Blind Dogs packs, with the pack fleeing if the Pseudodog is killed.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: They're not mutants, but are implied to be a genetic mishmash of wolves, bears and humans. Stalkers theorize they're failed bio-experiments.
  • Underground Monkey: Psy Dogs, albino Pseudodogs who can creates illusory copies of themselves to confuse their prey.

Rodents

Mutated rodents of unknown origin.
  • Palette Swap: They behave exactly like smaller Blind Dogs.
  • The Swarm: They die from one bullet, even from the weakest firearms, but they always attack in packs of at least a dozen.

Bloodsucker

Tentacle-faced humanoid creatures who feed on the blood of their prey, hence their name.
  • An Odd Place to Sleep: They sleep standing up in the middle of basements. You can use this to your advantage in Call of Pripyat by gassing them during their nap.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: Their claw and drain attacks ignore armor.
  • Body Horror: They look like they're rotting away and, apparently, they don't have skulls as their brains can be seen through holes in their scalp in Call of Pripyat. The variants found in the marshes have moss growing on their skin.
  • Cthulhumanoid
  • Invisibility: They can turn invisible for short periods of time, with only their shiny eyes and faint ripples through the air indicating their presence. Or footsteps if faced near a body of water.
  • Personal Space Invader: Their drain attacks consists of them grabbing their prey by the shoulders and shoving their face in their prey's, piercing the skin with their tentacles. Their tentacles secrete enzymes that both help dissolve skin and prevent blood clotting in order to help them do so.

Poltergeist

Creatures that manifest as floating balls of electricity with telekinesic powers.
  • Body Horror: While they don't leave a visible body upon death, Shadow of Chernobyl shows them as floating mutated torsos.
  • Energy Beings: They appear as floating balls made of electricity. Whether it's a camouflage or their real form, as stalker folklore claims they're the spirits of stalkers who died in a radiation hotspot, is unknown.
  • Interface Screw: The telltale sign that one is dealing with a Poltergeist and not an anomaly is a blue tint and faint static on the screen when approached.
  • Psychic Powers: Their main attack consists of throwing anything not bolted to the floor at any living being nearby with their powers.
  • Underground Monkey: Pyrogeists, who manifest as floating balls of fire. Tougher and more agressive than the regular version, they trade their telekinisic attacks for spewing pillars of fire, but can also erect psychic barriers to trap enemies or jam a door. And explode into a shower of blood upon death.

Controller

Psychic mutants able to mind control or destroy the psyche of their prey.
  • Hell Is That Noise: When they're preparing their psi bolt attack, an ear-grating high pitched sound starts playing and grows louder until it fires. Breaking line of sight will stop it.
  • Informed Ability: Controllers can, in stalker lore, hypnotize you to make you believe you're walking to safety when you're about to stroll into an anomaly or make you think hostile mutants are friends, as well as drive you to shoot or disembowel yourself. Controllers in-game can't do anything like this outside of mods.
  • Interface Screw: If you get close to them, your vision starts to wobble and double. You can also see quick transparent close-ups of their face or skull fill the screen as the camera quickly zooms on them when they fire a psi bolt.
  • It Can Think: Controllers are very intelligent mutants, able to lay down ambushes, cause infighting among stalkers and pick off the survivors or hide in the dark after attacking. One in Call of Pripyat will even telepathically contact the player to order them to leave it's lair.
  • Long-Range Fighter: They rely on their psi attacks to kill from the other side of a room but, in Shadow of Chernobyl and Clear Sky, are almost helpless if rushed with a knife as they can't run away, have no melee attack, can't fire psi bolts at close range and their psi aura is not powerful enough to kill the player alone. Call of Pripyat massively buffed the psi aura and gave them a melee attack, making them dangerous even at melee range.
  • Mighty Glacier: They're very slow and appear to limp, but can take a lot of punishment.
  • Monster Modesty: They wear pants and the ragged remains of a shirt.
  • Psychic Powers: Their main attack a powerful psi bolt, as well as mind-controlling nearby NPCs, turning them into zombies as long as the Controller lives.
  • Was Once a Man: Controllers were criminals used as test subjects by the scientists in the Zone prior to the first emission.

Burer

Psychic mutants who shun the outside world and feed on dead bodies.
  • Body Horror: They are bloated and covered in boils and malformed skin.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: They can inflict this to the player. Their favorite attack is to snatch weapons away with their powers, then toss it in people's faces hard enough to be fatal.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Not as tough as a Controller, but they can take a beating and fight back at close range. And unlike Controllers, they can and will try to sprint away if rushed.
  • Lured into a Trap: One crafty Burer mimics a crying baby to lure you in the room where he's hiding.
  • Monster Modesty: They wear hooded trenchcoats way too big for them.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: They are squat enough to barely reach your stomach, but they can kick your ass without even moving.
  • Psychic Powers: Their main attack is mentionned above, as well as generate shockwaves and raise an energy shield to stop bullets and knife strikes.
  • Was Once a Man: Like the Controllers above.

Snorks

Former soldiers who went feral in the Zone and reverted to an animalistic state.
  • Body Horror: They don't have lips anymore, their spine has torn through their backs due to their unnatural walk and their toes can bend in an upwards 90-degree angle, acting as a spring for their lunge.
  • Death-or-Glory Attack: Their lunge is extremely damaging, but if they miss, the following roll they do due to the momentum leaves them wide open for counterattack.
  • Le Parkour: They will realistically do a roll after missing their lunge attack due to the momentum.
  • Meaningful Name: When first spotted, they were called "recruits". Then, a German journalist reporting on the Zone called them "Schnorchels" (snorkels) due to their long gas masks, which sounded funny to both soldiers and stalkers. They eventually started calling them "snorks".
  • Roar Before Beating: Snorks will loudly roar before pouncing on you.
  • Running on All Fours
  • Super Senses: While they vision is, if it still exists, very poor due to the dirty and cracked lenses of their masks, their smell is said to be enhanced thanks to the filter hose of said mask, acting as an extra-long nose.
  • Vader Breath: Aggro'd Snorks will loudly exhale through their masks in addition to growling.
  • Was Once a Man: They're not experiments, but regular soldiers who've gone mad in the Zone and went back to a bestial state.

Zombies

Braindead Zone inhabitants who had their minds destroyed by the Brain Scorcher.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Zombies who spot a prey will walk towards said prey and not stop until it's dead disregarding everything, even if said prey is shooting back or on the other side of an anomaly.
  • A-Team Firing: Those who still hold weapons will spray and pray in your direction, but rarely (if ever) hitting you.
  • Empty Shell: They are not even animalistic. Their minds have been so damaged they can only wobble around and fire their guns at you, reacting only if shot at, and speak like they're drunk.
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: If hit with enough firepower to kill a human anywere but the head, Zombies will simply fall down and flail around, then get back up and keep shooting unless attacked while down.

Chimera

Two-headed beasts who reign as the apex predator of the Zone with the Pseudogiants.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Even with backup, a Chimera is a formidable opponent that will hurt or kill even the most heavily armed and armored stalkers without too much hassle.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Tough enough to soak up anything short of a rocket and can leap from much further away than a Pseudodog or a Snork. And strong enough to one-shot even heavily armored stalkers.
  • Multiple Head Case: They are two heads. Whether they're both sentient or not is not known.

Pseudogiant

Heavily mutated humans who are considered the most dangerous creatures to roam the Zone, alongside Chimeras.
  • Body Horror: In addition to being gigantic Cephalothoraxes, they have tiny arms, giant legs, goofy-looking assymetrical faces and no lips.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: And unlike the Chimera, Pseudogiants are mostly encountered underground or in remote locations, meaning you'll face them alone 9 times out of 10.
  • Cephalothorax
  • Hell Is That Noise: The thumping of their footsteps is stalker code for "Get the hell out of here".
  • Made of Iron: They can survive a direct hit from the RPG-7 or a full AS Val/Big Ben clip. Their skulls are stated to be up to 10 centimeters (3,93 inches) thick.
  • Shockwave Clap: They can stun enemies by stomping on the ground hard enough to cause this.
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