The playable characters, also and better known as Survivors, are the survivors of Providence's attack on the Contact Light, which left them stranded on the world of Petrichor V.
There are 12 playable characters available in Risk of Rain. Each Survivor has four different skills (A primary attack skill, a secondary attack skill, an utility skill with varied functions and a special skill that can do massive damage or vastly enhance a survivor for a short time), along with different stat growths. At the start of the game, only the Commando is available for use, but additional survivors can be unlocked through completing achievements.
One item, the Ancient Scepter, works uniquely on each character, upgrading their fourth Special ability.
The available Survivors, from left to right are:
The detailed instructions for unlocking each character can be found on the character unlocks article.