|“|| Stalkers exploring the Zone on their own. Most stalkers work this way since being a member of a group takes precious time, and part of the loot. Then there are some who simply prefer solitude and independence.|
- Shadow of Chernobyl PDA description
The Loners is the name given to stalkers who aren't part of any faction. They appear as a widespread faction in all three S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games.
DescriptionEditLoners represent the stalkers who haven't joined any faction and operate in the Zone by themselves. Even though they're described as not a proper faction of their own as per se, it is shown in all three S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games that the Loners seem to act as a faction, as seen by the fact all Loners are friendly to each others, and that being friendly/hostile to a group of Loners results in hostility to all Loners. They're also all seen using the same gear. However, unlike most factions, they do not have a single leader - much like Mercenaries, Loners include several groups led by chosen leaders, such as the Rookie Village group led by Wolf and later Fanatic, and the Zaton loners seem to be under the leadership of Beard.
The loners also hold a shaky relationship with the Military. While the loners are involved with the military in the illicit trade of firearms and artifacts in the Zone, the military do have the power to shoot stalkers on sight and have been known to abuse their power over stalkers, which generally makes most Loners resentful against the military. In Call of Pripyat, they are neutral to the army, although the only stalker to have been in contact with the army was Garry, who managed to be allowed by Colonel Kovalsky in their base in exchange of food.
They also hold an unfriendly relationship with most mercenaries within the Zone; this is most likely attributed to the mercenaries' reputation of being secretive and somewhat unpredictable individuals who will not hesitate to kill anyone who gets in the way of their work. While they won't normally shoot mercs on contact, they will commonly deny them access to their territories. In Call of Pripyat, this is no longer the case, and groups of mercs and loners can be seen gathering at the School and the Yubileiny Service Center, defending their camp against mutants and occasionally speaking to each other.
Additionally, while the game calls them "loners", people in the Zone never actually refer to them as such. Loners are usually addressed as "stalkers" or "free stalkers" by the Zone's inhabitants.
It is not known when exactly the Loners group was founded, however due to the arrival of illegal personnel in the Zone shortly after 2006, it can be assumed it was one of the very first factions created in the Zone. They quickly became hostile to the army due to their illegal presence, though they would eventually make deals with the soldiers - this includes information and access to the military checkpoints. They also had a notable hostility to the Bandits faction. The Loners were mostly independant to each other, leaving the faction with no official leader nor base. Multiple Loners later formed other factions - this include a group that went past the Brain Scorcher and became a faction known as the Monolith.
By 2011, most of the Loners operated under Father Valerian in the Cordon, and another, smaller group operated in the Agroprom Research Institute, close to Duty's base, under the leadership of Orest. It was in 2011 that the Loners became hostile to the army for good after their commander, Major Khaletskiy, sold the Bandits information about the Loners, which allowed a Bandits team to ambush and kidnap a group of Loners, which would become slaves of the Bandits. In retaliation, the Loners kidnapped Khaletskiy and held him as an hostage in their main base, which reduced the amount of military raids onto the Loners. With the help of Scar, Valerian later managed to kill two of Khaletskiy's closest friends, in order to force Khaletskiy to reveal where he stashed the briefcase wanted by Sidorovich. Khaletskiy's status is determined by Scar's choice - he can hand him a weapon, allowing him to shoot two men and run out to the forest, or he disappears from his cell, meaning he was most likely executed by the Loners. The Loners would continue their war against the Bandits, and it's up to the player's choice to either help them dispose of the Bandits, or help the Bandits take control of the Loners bases in the Cordon.
By 2012, after the emission that occured at the end of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, the Loners became much less organized - Valerian lather died and the Loners spread in the other areas of the Zone. Much like in Clear Sky, the Loners were still confronted to the Bandits and Army presence, and other threats, including the extended Mercenaries and Monolith presence within the Zone. During S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, the Marked One can take various quests to help the Loners figthing Bandits and Mercenaries. The deactivation of the Brain Scorcher by Strelok allowed the Loners to gain access to more territories - experts walked through Pripyat to reach the Wish Granter while others went to other territories, including the Red Forest, Yanov and Zaton.
By the events of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat, Loners that explored the center of the Zone were for the most part under the leadership of Beard, an artifact trader. Still confronted to the Bandits, Alexander Degtyarev can be involved in various quests that determine the Loners' influence on the Zone - either he helps the Loners against the Bandits, reducing Sultan's influence among his own men, or he helps Sultan take control of Beard's business and the Skadovsk, though this has little influence on the Loners' situation in Yanov. At the end of the game, the Loners and Freedom member Yar take control of the Pripyat Laundromat, allowing the stalkers to settle in the ghost town.
Shadow of Chernobyl Edit
- Rank: Rookie
- Armor: Leather Jacket or Sunrise suit
- Weapons: Viper 5 Submachine gun, PMm, Sawed-off shotgun
Rookie Stalkers are the most common member of the Loner faction due to the fact that not many Stalkers survive to be Veterans or Experts. They don't wear protective armor and they only have access to light weaponry and are on a level footing with Bandits in terms of strength, Rookie Stalkers aren't experienced with the Zone as the Skilled but Rookie Stalker can be found around the Cordon and the Garbage and very rarely found throughout the deeper part of the Zone. They can typically withstand a few shots but will either die or fall down injured due to the lack of apparel protection.
- Rank: Experienced
- Armor: Sunrise suit
- Weapons: Chaser 13 shotgun, AKM-74/2 assault rifle, AKM-74/2U assault rifle, TRs-301
Experienced Stalkers are Stalkers who have been present in the Zone for at least a good few months and have gained a lot of experience on the Zone and how to survive, they are members of the Loner faction. They tend to wear Sunrise Suits as it is most likely, it's all they can afford presently. They can often be seen carrying shotguns or assault rifles such as the AKM-74/2U and the Chaser 13 shotgun. Skilled Stalkers are more numerous in the deeper areas of the Zone, such as the Army Warehouses, Wild Territory or Yantar. They are similar in strength to normal Stalkers, although their combat skills and equipment are fairly average. Skilled Stalkers wearing Sunrise Suits are fairly resilient to pain and can cope with being wounded.
- Rank: Veteran
- Armor: Sunrise suit, SEVA suit
- Weapons: VLA Special Assault rifle, AC-96/2 assault rifle, SPSA-14 shotgun, TRs-301 assault rifle, IL 86 assault rifle
Veteran Stalkers are longtime veterans of the Zone and are one of the most skilled members of the Loner faction. They can often be found wearing the iconic and well known Sunrise Suit or the more Advanced SEVA Suit, and are often equipped with higher-end Russian Federation weaponry such as the AC-96/2 assault rifle and the SPSA-14 shotgun. Some also use the NATO weaponry that is quite common among the Freedom faction. Veteran rank Loners are fairly uncommon and they take a good beating before dying or being totally wounded.
- Rank: Expert
- Armor: Sunrise suit, SEVA suit, Exoskeleton suit
- Weapons: Vintar BC subsonic sniper rifle, VLA Special assault rifle, SPSA-14 shotgun, SGI-5K assault rifle, FT-200M assault rifle
Expert Stalkers are Stalkers who have survived the Zone for presumably a great number of years. Marked by the Zone with possible mental illnesses such as combat fatigue and developing psychotic tendencies, they are genuinely friendly like the rest of the Loners but are a lot more wary of others and can pull a trigger and not so much as blink when push comes to shove with no conscience on their mind what so ever. They can tank damage and continue fighting whilst ignoring the pain as well. Whether it is because they have adapted to the Zone or if they are using rare artifacts on their belts, it is unknown but they are extremely strong fighters and take a lot of punishment before going down for good. However, because of these statements, Stalkers call certain Expert Stalkers "Legendary Stalkers" of the Zone, and most of the Rookies get inspiration off of them because of the stories they've heard about them. Whether some are true or not is unknown. But some could be over-exaggerated like many of the stories of the "Wish Granter". Nevertheless, Expert Stalkers are acquainted with the Zone and its deadly inhabitants and anomalous formations. It is logical to assume that many of the Expert Stalkers have been to places that the majority of Stalkers could never get back out of. Most Expert Stalkers can often be found wearing power armor Exoskeleton suits or Advanced SEVA suits, although there are very rare few who stay in their old Sunrise Suit. Expert Stalkers are also on the same level of strength as the Monolithians, presumably from fights near the center of the Zone with Expert Stalkers fighting and both looting Monolith Fighters and Military Stalkers deep in the Zone, thus most Expert Stalkers end up armed with Spetznez weaponry from the Military Stalkers like the Vintar BC or superior and prototype firepower from the Monolith Fighters such as the FT-200M. Expert Stalkers are quite rare due to the harsh environment of the Zone and not many Stalkers make it to becoming an Expert with most dying or returning home. A lot of the Expert Stalkers are named characters such as Father Diodor.
In Clear Sky, the Loners are an actual faction, and the player's relation with the faction affects his reputation with all Loners, even those who do not follow Father Valerian and his merry band. Despite having little to no Expert level Stalkers, they have a much larger population then the other factions, and can be found in nearly every territory up until Limansk.
Rookies are loners who have just recently made their way to the zone and are still learning the ropes on how to survive, they rarely go outside the area of the Cordon but those brave enough might wander off to the Garbage. Most Rookies are only equipped with a PMm, Fora-12, Sawed-off shotguns or a Hunting Rifle but those thrifty enough may posses a Viper 5 or an AKM-74/2U. Most Rookies only have Leather Jackets as a garment but some may have a Sunrise suit instead. Rookies typically hang around near Experienced or Veteran stalkers for mentoring and protection.
Experienced loners are those who have seen their fair share of action and loot in the zone and have earned enough cash to buy themselves some decent shooters and equipment. Experienced Loners are able to hold their own in deeper parts of the zone like the Agroprom Reasearch institute and the Red Forest. Experienced Loners have access to large selection of armaments but they all use Sunrise suits. They may either be armed with the following: an AKM-74/2, TRs 301, IL 86 or Chaser 13.
Veterans are loners who have reached the farthest and most dangerous parts of the Zone that the zone permits and enough combat experienced under their belt to rival that of a Special Forces operator. Veterans are typically armed with exotic equipment such as the Exoskeleton though some might still use their Sunrise suits. Their armaments are typically either a Vintar BC or an SPSA-14, though some might use an TRs 301 with a scope or an AKM-74/2.
Call of PripyatEdit
Clad in the trademark leather jacket, Rookie Loners are most plentiful in Zaton - aside from specific, scripted Loners, they rarely if not appear in Yanov, and they make themselves rarer in Zaton as the game progresses. They restrict themselves to low end shotguns and submachine guns, such as the Hunting rifle, the Sawed-off shotgun and the Viper 5. They normally do not last long on their own, but Experienced and even Veteran stalkers may take in Rookies on their travels.
Wearing the distinctive Sunrise suit coupled with a respirator or a Gas mask, Experienced Loners make up a significant portion of Zaton's, Yanov's and Pripyat's population. Travelling in groups of two or three, they're rarely alone, and slightly better equipped than their Rookie counterparts. They make use of AKM-74/2, IL 86, TRs 301, and low and mid-tier shotguns (usually Chaser 13 shotguns but sometimes SPSA-14s).
Veteran Stalkers wear either the Sunrise suit like Experienced Loners, the SEVA suit or the Radiation suit, much like Monolith veterans. They use higher-grade weaponry - SEVA suits Loners use the GP37, while those wearing the Radiation suit usually appear with SGI-5k assault rifles, and those wearing Sunrise suits (rarer than SEVA or Radsuit Loners) appear with SA Avalanche rifles. They are much tougher than other Loners, being able to withstand multiple bullets without dying.
Rarer than other Loners, Experts either use the SEVA suit or the Exoskeleton. SEVA suits Loners use the Vintar BC while Exoskeleton-clad Loners have access to various weapons, including the rare FT-200M, the Tunder S14 or the Eliminator. They are among the tougher stalkers of the game, especially able to defend themselves with their powerful weaponry.
Loners use all of the weapons and almost all armours of the Zone.
Submachine Guns Edit
- ↑ S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, Father Valerian: "We used to cooperate with the army. They’d allow us to transport goods safely through the outpost and let us in on some useful information. We paid well for their services."
- ↑ S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, Father Valerian: "But then we found out that jerk of a commander worked for both sides - he supplied the bandits with our whereabouts! Then he went and sold two of our guys as slaves at the Garbage! That was the last straw. When Khaletskiy sold us out to the bandits, we decided we had enough of their shit and took him hostage. The rest of the army goons shat their pants - they haven’t been bothering us since, seeing as we have their commander. So, basically, we’ve clawed ourselves out a nice spot under the Zone’s sun - nothing will change that now. You need to appreciate the importance of these developments: we set up a stalker base and now the Cordon is in safe hands. And it’s only going to get better from here, you can bet on it!".
- ↑ S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, Father Valerian: "The commander’s got only two men he can count on - they served together at the outpost and he cut them in on the deals, so they’ll do whatever they can to get him out. If we dispose of them, the bastard will realize nobody’s coming for him. He’ll crack and we’ll beat out of him the location of the stash with the loot. We split the money, and Sidorovich gets the case. What do you say?"
- ↑ S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, Father Valerian: "He escaped! The cocksucker killed two guards and made off into the forest! We weren’t able to find him… I’ve got no idea how he managed to get hold of a weapon!"
- ↑ In S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, one can find Valerian's body in the Red Forest, close to the Space Anomaly. This creates an inconsistency with the game due to Valerian being still in the Loners base for the whole game. Whether his body was a intentional or not is unknown, although it can be assumed that his death in the Red Forest was his true fate