Characters in fiction are imaginary. Now extend the fact that characters that are imaginary within a work of fiction, and you get Dream People. They might be inhabitants of Dreamland or hallucinations, but that doesn't mean they don't have hopes and fears. If the real characters know about the imaginary nature of the Dream People, they may or may not stop caring about their well-being.
Ghosts are a separate trope, while virtual entities are covered by Inside a Computer System, Projected Man and Digital Avatar. Compare Imaginary Friend, Intangible Man. When a character like this manifests in the "real" world, that's Living Dream. See also Dream Land and Dream Apocalypse.
- Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Most of the inhabitants of Mars. Revealed when they start getting erased.
- Paprika: The inhabitants of the Dream Land.
- Read or Die: Possibly the Ijin. Either that or they're clones.
- Yu-Gi-Oh!: Princess Adina, as well as the other inhabitants of Simlow.
- In Fairy Tail, the entire Cait Shelter guild ends up being an illusion caused by Robaul.
- In The Avengers, Hercules falls in love with a woman named Taylor Madison. It is eventually revealed to be an illusionary construct created by Zeus as part of a Batman Gambit to expose his wife Hera's plans to harm his son, knowing that she would target the person Hercules holds most dear. Despite his son's pleas, Zeus erases Madison from existence once she has served her purpose, leading to a violent falling out between Hercules and Zeus and the latter revoking his son's immortality.
- Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker has many in the dream city of Genesis, including Ayo who serves as a guide for the Anderson brothers.
- Astro City:
- This is a key element of the origin of American Chibi, dreamed into existence by video game designer Marguerite Li. Chibi is dreamed up by Marguerite after a group of eldritch abominations haunt her with dreams of monsters, and becomes manifest in the real world. This causes the walls between the dream-world and reality to weaken, allowing them to appear in the material world as the monsters from Marguerite's dreams.
- The same is true of the Gentleman. His "daughter" created him from idealized memories of her real father, with his Kid Sidekick being her idea of an ideal older brother. There's also Loony Leo, a cartoon lion brought to life by a Mad Scientist, whose existence was initially maintained by people's belief in him.
- In Rogue's miniseries she meets a mysterious man immune to her draining touch who claims to be a "mutant dream". According to him one day a woman who wanted a baby had a dream about giving birth and woke to a real child crying in her house, raising it in spite of her confusion. He's capable of crossing in between reality and a Dream World and he seeks Rogue's help in stopping her mother from corrupting it and thus corrupting the waking minds of everyone. When Rogue stops her mother it turns out she was just a dream of her after the real one died.
- The Nightmare House, a fanfiction of The Loud House, features some characters exclusive to the characters' nightmares:
- Inception: The projections of the characters' subconscious in the dreamworld. And everyone else. Maybe.
- In Inside Out, the main characters are Anthropomorphic Personifications of a girl's emotions who live in her Mental World. Others also exist there, most notably Bing-Bong, her old Imaginary Friend. (He gets a Tear Jerkery death.)
- Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom novel Thuvia, Maid of Mars: The inhabitants of Lothar are able to mentally create illusions of the ancient warriors of the city. One of the warriors is created so often that he becomes real.
- In Solaris, the mysterious "visitors" that appear on the ship are doppelgangers of the crew members' loved ones.
- An Elegy for the Still-living: The entire cast, even including Francis.
- Tommy Hazzard in The Boyfriend List.
- The Raven Cycle has the Orphan Girl and Aurora Lynch.
- In the Chrestomanci story "Carol Oneir's Hundredth Dream", an author who creates bestselling works based on her dreams gets writer's block when her Dream People go on strike for better working conditions, and has to go into Dreamland to negotiate with them.
- Dexter: Harry Morgan and Brian Moser in later seasons, since the resulting Dead Person Conversations are more to different aspects of his subconscious than the actual people themselves.
- The Twilight Zone (1959):
- In "Shadow Play", several of the people in Adam Grant's Death Row nightmare are drawn from his real life. For instance, the priest who visits him before his execution is Father Beaman, an actual priest who died when he was ten years old, and the newspaper editor Paul Carson is the younger priest who replaced him. Adam is uncertain where he got the District Attorney Henry Ritchie, speculating that he may have been a teacher or a friend of his father's. Outside of his own life, he got his harmonica playing fellow prisoner Coley from a bad movie that he once saw.
- Discussed in "Five Characters in Search of an Exit". The bagpiper speculates that they are nothing more than characters in someone else's dream.
- Genius: The Transgression: Manes are the inhabitants of pocket realities called Bardos, and are created from ideas and scientific models that society abandons. They're rather fragile outside Bardos.
- Changeling: The Lost likewise features Incubi, ranging from simple "background players" to more aggressive concepts, such as Succubi, Night Hags, and a sentient play that convinces the actors to kill each other in a fit of jealousy.
- Yume Nikki: This trope is EVERYWHERE. The whole game takes place in the dreams of a young girl, so you should expect some interesting characters. Things like walking clocks, faceless technicolor people, walking whistles, deformed bird witches, pixel sculptures, mouths in wigs, ghosts, candle people, and even some unique characters in between, all haunt the regions of the game.
- LSD: Dream Emulator: The strange beings of the game, especially the mysterious Grey Man who intermittently appears from thin air and drifts toward the screen, waking you up if it catches you.
- In Dragon Quest VI, the inhabitants of the Dream Land.
- Final Fantasy X: Tidus and the other inhabitants of Zanarkand.
- EarthBound Beginnings: The inhabitants of Magicant, excluding Queen Mary.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, it turns out that everyone except Link is just a dream of the Wind Fish.
- Deadly Premonition: Agent Francis York Morgan has an invisible friend named Zach. Zach acts as a stand-in for the player; whenever York addresses Zach, York is speaking through the Fourth Wall. The in-game explanation is a bit more complicated.
- The Dream Machine: Part of the game takes place inside dreams. The only people you can interact with for the majority of these sequences are examples of these.
- Eternal Sonata: Depending on the interpretation, practically everyone is one of these. The entire world as well as its inhabitants exist in a world based almost solely around music, which presumably only exists as Chopin's Dying Dream. Though as time goes on, even he begins to question that conclusion.
- Mario & Luigi: Dream Team: Practically everybody has a dream equivalent to them, many enemies are only in the dream world, and certain characters such as the Dream Stone's Spirit only appear in dreams. That's not even getting into the Pi'illos themselves!
- Gunnerkrigg Court: Zimmy's mental constructs. Disconcertingly, they're not quite people; their faces are scribbles that vaguely resemble QR codes, except not.
- 9th Elsewhere: Carmen's dreamscape is inhabited by figments, each of which represents a different aspect of her personality.
- This Man is about a mysterious man who, since January 2006, has purportedly appeared in the dreams of over 2,000 people around the world. None of them are connected in any meaningful way and no living people resembling this man have ever been found. There have been many theories about who he is or why they dream about him, but nothing has been definitive. Although it was later found that the whole thing was just an elaborate hoax as part of a social experiment.
- In the Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker short film, the coal shovelers on the train are the only characters who show up that aren't defined in some way as Dreamers.