The unnamed protagonist is clad in a worn coat wearing a big rimmed, weathered hat, and, if his self-image in the mirror is to be believed, a distorted face half-covered by a scarf.
At the start of the game, the Doctor finds the Stranger stranded in the forest east of the Doctor's House. The Doctor takes the Stranger back to his house and interrogates him for the location of the Underground Entrance before leaving with the Big, Metal Key.
At this point, the Stranger escapes captivity and explores the Doctor's House -killing Janek in the process- before being overwhelmed by Black Chompers. It is heavily implied that at this point, the Trader saves the Stranger and brings him to Dry Meadow Hideout.
From there, the game's core mechanics are unlocked to the player.
The Stranger then progresses through the plot of the game- his primary objective is first to reclaim the Big, Metal Key from the Doctor, and then to escape the Swamp through the Road to Home, either by burning the Talking Tree down or by escaping through the Radio Tower Bunker.
In the Epilogue, the Stranger has finally escaped Darkwood - he traverses through a peaceful city block and is greeted by a neighbor. In his apartment, he will then take off his coat and hat, and finally go to sleep, triggering the Bliss Ending.
Alternatively, if the Stranger explores his apartment block, he discovers that things are not as they seem. Tree roots will be coming out of the walls, and lead toward his bed. Prying away the flooring and moving aside the bed reveals a large hole in his bedroom. Leaping in will have him awaken naked and dirty in a giant valley, filled with massive tree roots endlessly coiled together to form giant networks of wood. The valley is filled with emaciated, dying people, dreaming happily. Exploring the Valley will eventually lead the Protagonist toward The Being. At this point, the Stranger can either surrender to it, or locate the Sleeper, Maciek, who clutches a rusty flamethrower. Taking the Flamethrower from Maciek, the Stranger torches down the Being, sacrificing himself in the inferno in the process. The fire quickly spreads through the valley, and eventually to the forest itself.
The Stranger is a member of the Outsiders, a military faction, and entered the Chapter 1 zone approximately two weeks ago, through the Underground Entrance. At some point, an unknown accident occurred that left him stranded, to be found by the Doctor. What happened to his Companions is mostly unknown, though a few can be found and several notes have been left behind.
Whatever accident he had left the Protagonist without the need for sleep or nourishment, but with a craving for Mushrooms. It also may have also left him mute, though whether he can't talk or just refuses to talk is largely unknown. The Elephants mention how he cannot talk because of the "miasmas" of the region, and his muteness is also referenced by Wolfman.
- The Stranger never sleeps; only upon death (with permadeath disabled) or after visiting The Church or The Grave in his hallucinations does he seem to wake, as if from a bad nightmare. In the prologue, the Doctor said that he was afraid to go to sleep — apparently a recurring theme in Darkwood.
- In prior versions of Darkwood, a Partly Digested Finger could be found on enemies that had killed the Stranger — implying that his deaths were canon.
- It is shown in one of the dream sequences that the Stranger has, or rather had, a woman in his life. It is also shown in the false ending that he has a dog.
- In two of his sprites, it is shown that he has brown-black hair.
- Being a part of the Outsiders and thus the military, the Stranger is fairly adept at the use of firearms.
- The Stranger may not be a good person, or at least has a low opinion of himself. Besides some of the decisions that the player can make for him, he notes in the mirror that he got what he deserved, regarding his appearance.
- He is also rather violent in some situations, such as taking the Flamethrower from Maciek, who he repeatedly hits to take it.
- He also speaks harshly of some of the forest's inhabitants.
- Additionally, he is very resentful toward The Doctor, making vulgar and hateful remarks towards him in his Journal. This, however, is understandable, given the fact that Doctor stole the Protagonist's key, which trapped him in the Woods.
|Major characters||Bike Man • Chicken Lady • Child • Cripple • Doctor • Elephants • Mirror • Mushroom Granny • Musician • Piotrek • Protagonist • Snail • Talking Tree • The Three • Trader • Wolfman • The Being|
|Minor characters||Dial-eyed Man • Half-Dead Man • Half-Dead Woman • Hanuska • Infected Villager • Janek • Maciek • Madman • Man • Notable Villagers (Swamp) • Pig Farmer • Pretty Lady • Sleeper • Stasiek • Tunneler|