How to get free characters in Honkai: Star Rail
Details of where, when, and how you can claim every free character in Honkai: Star Rail Version 1.0
How do I get all the free characters in Honkai: Star Rail? Honkai: Star Rail is a gacha game, meaning that it's monetised via a lootbox-esque system that allows you to essentially gamble for new characters. However, it's important to understand that Honkai: Star Rail can absolutely be played for free, and in fact, eight of the characters in Version 1.0 can be added to your party permanently without needing to take a chance in the gacha. That's around one-third of V1.0's total available characters, and is plenty to be going on with if you just want to play the game for free and ignore the temptation to spend money.
Unlocking most of these characters is fairly straightforward, but so that you know exactly what you're getting, we've detailed below when and how every free character in Honkai: Star Rail will become available to you.
How to unlock every free character in Honkai: Star Rail
The following characters can be claimed for free in Honkai: Star Rail:
- The Trailblazer
- March 7th
- Dan Heng
5 star (special) / Adaptive / Adaptive
The Trailblazer is your starting character and nominal player character in Honkai: Star Rail. After a brief introductory section where you play as trial versions of Kafka and Silver Wolf, you'll unlock the Trailblazer automatically and continue to progress through the story with them. You can choose the gender and name of your Trailblazer, although by default the female unit is called Stelle and the male unit is called Caelus. Note that these choices are locked in once you make them, and cannot be changed unless you start a new game on a different server.
The Trailblazer starts out following the Path of Destruction and aligned with the Physical element. However, uniquely among all of the characters in Honkai: Star Rail, their path and element can change over the course of the game. In Version 1.0, completing the Jarilo-VI questline will allow you to switch the Trailblazer to a Preservation/Fire build, and more options are likely to be added as more updates come out.
Read our best Honkai: Star Rail Trailblazer build guide here!
4 star / The Preservation / Ice
Your Trailblazer will meet March 7th and her companion Dan Heng as they progress through the prologue questline aboard Herta Space Station. March will immediately join your party at the end of the cutscene where you first meet her, and becomes a permanent unlock from then on.
Read our best Honkai: Star Rail March 7th build guide here!
4 star / The Hunt / Wind
Dan Heng is introduced alongside March 7th as you make your way through the game's prologue questline. While March immediately joins your party, Dan Heng will separate from you both, but will rejoin you after a short time, at which point he becomes a permanently unlocked party member.
Read our best Honkai: Star Rail Dan Heng build guide here!
4 star / The Erudition / Lightning
You can claim Serval as soon as your in-game mailbox becomes available, which occurs when you complete the "Speak to Asta" objective at the beginning of the prologue quest "A Moment of Peace". Serval has been delivered to all players' mailboxes for free to celebrate the milestone number of pre-registrations for Honkai: Star Rail before its release, but you don't need to have pre-registered yourself in order to claim her.
You'll encounter Serval as an NPC as part of the Jarilo-VI questline that follows the prologue. You can play as her before then, of course, but you'll get a better feel for her as a character once you meet her in-story.
Read our best Honkai: Star Rail Serval build guide here!
4 star / The Harmony / Fire
While you do technically need to use the gacha to obtain Asta, she's a guaranteed unlock when you first use a Star Rail Pass to Stellar Warp as part of the game's gacha tutorial, which occurs when you reach the Master Control Zone area of Herta Space Station during the prologue. The Star Rail Pass you use for this will be given to you for free as part of the tutorial, so you're not losing anything by pulling her.
Read our best Honkai: Star Rail Asta build guide here!
4 star / The Erudition / Ice
You'll meet Herta as an NPC late on in the prologue, and she'll quickly whisk you away to tutorial you through the Simulated Universe side-missions which are Honkai: Star Rail's answer to roguelike dungeon crawls. You'll unlock Herta as a playable unit automatically after completing the first Simulated Universe quest, which is unmissable before leaving Herta Space Station at the end of the prologue.
Read our best Honkai: Star Rail Herta build guide here!
4 star / The Abundance / Physical
Natasha — the game's sole 4 star rarity healer at launch — is the physician who patches you up after you arrive in Boulder Town on Jarilo-VI. She unlocks as a playable unit once you've talked to her to complete the first objective of "Lying in Rust", which is a main story mission reached at around the halfway point of the Jarilo-VI questline. You'll need to be at least Trailblaze Level 14 in order to take part in the mission and unlock Natasha.
Read our best Honkai: Star Rail Natasha build guide here!
4 star / The Erudition / Quantum
Although she is absolutely available for free, Qingque can only be claimed after you reach Trailblaze Level 21 and clear Memory Stage 3 of the Forgotten Hall, which is Honkai: Star Rail's endgame content as of Version 1.0. She'll therefore join your roster quite late in the game and — unlike all the other free characters — is missable for as long as you don't engage with the optional challenge that unlocks her.
Read our best Honkai: Star Rail Qingque build guide here!
Are there any other ways to get free characters in Honkai: Star Rail?
In theory, any character in Honkai: Star Rail can be obtained for free, although it can take a lot of work — not to mention a bit of luck — to unlock the ones not listed above.
While you can use real money to buy Star Rail Passes to pull on Honkai: Star Rail's gacha, you'll be drip-fed free currencies at a low but steady rate as you play the game. F2P players will therefore get the chance to Warp semi-regularly, and doing this will allow you to unlock a new character around every 10 pulls or so, depending on the exact drops featured on the banner you're Warping on. Furthermore, you'll have limited ability to influence exactly which character you get each time.
Honkai: Star Rail also gives you a one-off opportunity to claim a 5 star character for free, although there are a lot of strings attached. After your first 300 pulls on the permanent Stellar Warp banner, you'll be allowed to pick one of said banner's featured 5 star characters (Himeko, Welt, Bronya, Gepard, Clara, Yanqing, or Bailu) to claim as an "Additional Reward". The caveat here is of course that it will take a fairly long time for F2P players to accumulate 300 regular pulls. But for long-time players, it will eventually represent a good opportunity to fill out your roster with a 5 star character you might have missed up to that point.
If you want to know how Honkai: Star Rail's free characters stack up against their more elusive pals, check out our Honkai: Star Rail character tier list! For a helpful boost of free currencies and other levelling materials to help expand and upgrade your party, see our Honkai: Star Rail codes list.