The only two characters you will actually encounter are Zandi and Yeesha, but there are some traces of the D’ni Restoration Council left. I’ve never played the online version of the game, so I’m unfamiliar with many of the DRC members, but the team consisted of some 10 people. Sharper was extensively involved in the events, as documented by copious journals, even if he’s not present in person. I also mention Phil, because he’s important to Sharper’s story, and Watson, because he creates a link with Myst V, but the only traces of those two are some disjointed notes. The DRC disbanded permanently in 2008, so, at this point, you won’t meet anybody from the team either offline or online. Another character worth mentioning is Kadish, who, despite being long dead, has a strong influence on the storyline, due to being the author of two of the ages and the owner of a third one. His fate also strongly affected Yeesha.
Jeff Zandi: While his role is minimal at best, Jeff Zandi deserves mention as the only other human you meet in the offline version of the game besides Yeesha. This portly grey-haired fellow owns the land on which the entrance to D’ni was discovered, so he naturally takes an interest, however mild, in the proceedings. He’s on Yeesha’s side and gives hints to adventurers starting out on their explorations. In other words, if you’re stumped in the Cleft area in the offline version, come to him to get a cryptic clue. Otherwise, he just lounges outside his trailer, reading a book and listening to Peter Gabriel on his radio.
Yeesha: Atrus’ daughter is all grown up and now sports auburn dreadlocks, animal hides and facial tattoos. Not quite what you would’ve expected, I bet. After learning the Art from her father, Yeesha decided to go on a journey of self-discovery and locate the ruins of D’ni in order to perfect her knowledge (if you’re playing the offline version of the game, this is what Atrus’ introductory speech is about). She lived at the Cleft near the volcano that houses the entrance to D’ni for a while before visiting the actual city. During that time, she presumably met some local natives, which would be where she picked up her clothing style. After studying D’ni history and meeting the bahro, she became convinced that D’ni society was corrupt, which is what led to its downfall. Due to her skill with the Art and her defiance of its rules, as set down by the D’ni, she also came to believe that she was the Grower, a messianic figure described in the prophecies of a man known as the Watcher. With all this, she thinks that D’ni should not simply be rebuilt to repeat the mistakes of the past, but that its underlying principles need to be reconsidered. Therefore, her role is that of a self-styled guide, mostly via audio recordings at strategic points of your journey. However, Yeesha is a complex character. She initially comes across as a voice of wisdom and hope in contrast to the DRC, but her discourse takes on an increasingly disturbing tone as you progress through the game. This actually spices things up considerably, as far as the storyline is concerned, and is one of the highlights of Uru.
Douglas Sharper: You may never meet this guy, but you’ll definitely hear (read?) from him. Sharper was contracted by the DRC to oversee the restoration of Teledahn and has left ample record of his presence. His journals date back to 2001, and even though the entries are short, it’s still a lot of reading matter. As an amateur hunter, he developed a bit of a fixation on a large, marine lifeform native to Teledahn dubbed shroomie, due to its taste for mushrooms. Other than that, he’s a rather hotheaded character who disapproved of the DRC’s internal politics, so he took every chance he could to go behind their backs. He was friends with Phil, despite not really believing in Yeesha’s ideas. However, when Phil apparently died in an accident in 2003, Sharper blamed himself and left for the surface. DRC funding was cut shortly afterwards (in parallel with real-life events). In 2006, a new source of funding was found, and Sharper returned in 2007, in time to find out that Phil had reappeared unharmed. He was asked to investigate strange animal killings on Negilahn and subsequently got involved in the bahro civil war. Funding ran out again in 2008, and Sharper accordingly left D’ni for good.
Phil Henderson: You won’t meet Phil in person, but you can visit his Relto, shrouded in a lovely pink-and-blue twilight (one customisation option that’s, unfortunately, not available for your own Relto). Phil was assigned to the restoration of Eder Kemo in 2002 and disappeared behind the door Yeesha set up in the age. He returned a whole year later and began talking about the things she’d shown him, becoming more and more reckless in his actions. Then he was involved in a building collapse in D’ni and presumed dead. However, he reappeared safe and sound in 2007, stating that the bahro had saved him and warning people about the bahro civil war. The only firsthand material you get from Phil is a frugal notebook found in his Relto hut. Otherwise, he’s only a glorified catalyst.
Richard Watson: I didn’t realise this right away, but Dr Watson is actually the protagonist of Myst V, although there’s only the barest hint of this in Uru. Watson was the original founder of the DRC, back when it was still named the D’ni Restoration Foundation and first discovered the ruins of D’ni. After Phil’s apparent death, he became disillusioned with the DRC and left. The last trace you find of him is a journal in the Great Shaft (the tunnel that connects D’ni to the surface), where he expresses his regrets and mentions that maybe he should also follow Yeesha’s guidance. This eventually led to the events of Myst V in 2005, after which Watson returned to the cavern one final time in 2007 to testify to what he had experienced, before leaving for good.
Kadish: Guildmaster Kadish of the D’ni Guild of Writers features prominently in the story, especially in Path of the Shell. You can actually see his skeleton; otherwise, all you have to go on is a stylised statue, which doesn’t tell you much about his actual appearance. A wealthy member of the Guild, he wrote Kadish Tolesa to house his riches, but also coveted fame and therefore wanted to prove that he was the Grower. Unlike Yeesha, however, he didn’t actually have any specific talent for the Art to supplement this, so he had to resort to subterfuge, writing Ahnonay as a display of his ‘powers’, repurposing Er’cana and building an elaborate puzzle at the Watcher’s Sanctuary, challenging people to solve it. Ultimately though, none of this saved him, and he died as a result of the plague that wiped out D’ni. Yeesha uses Kadish as an example of the greed and pride that she believes were always inherent to D’ni society, but let’s just say that it’s not quite that simple.