Raz is a ten-year-old boy who was born and raised in the circus. He showed signs of psychic powers at a young age, but his father pushed him into constantly practicing difficult acrobatics in an attempt to distract his son from his powers, leading Raz to believe that his father hates him for having psychic abilities even though he suspects his father is a psychic as well.
Raz soon runs away from the circus and infiltrates Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp, a secret government camp designed to train psychic agents known as Psychonauts. At the same time, Augustus, his father who realized his errors that caused his son's departure, uses his own psychic powers to track Raz down.
For reasons unknown, a family of gypsy psychics from a rival circus cursed Razputin's family to always die in water. Whenever Raz enters water deeper than a few inches, a supernatural liquid hand attempts to grab him and pull him beneath the surface. The Psychonauts manual refers to this eerie hand as the Hand of Galochio, which is named after the family that imposed the curse.
Behind the scenes
According to an interview with creator Tim Schafer, "Raz" was the nickname of one of the game's animators, Razmig Mavlian. Schafer "stole" the name, and expanded it to "Rasputin", which was later changed to "Razputin" so that it could be trademarked. The name Dart (short for D'Artagan) was also considered, however the original Dart's character design was very different from Raz's with a long stocking cap and a thick winter jacket. This design was carried out until the character was computer animated, when the animators abandoned the image because they felt that the long hat would end up looking like a ponytail, and would cause gamers to think Raz was a girl. The cap was also very hard to animate.
Raz starts the game with the ability to strike nearby objects with a large psychic hand and to perform a double jump using a bubble of mental energy. While it is not a playable power, Raz also has some degree of telepathic ability which he demonstrates by reading Lili's mind during a cutscene. He also has considerable psychic defenses, despite his young age and lack of formal training. During his stay at Whispering Rock, Raz also learns the following psychic abilities:
- Clairvoyance: The ability to see through the minds and eyes of others, which often shows Raz how others perceive him. Raz gains this badge in the Milkman Conspiracy, after taking it from Boyd's refrigerator.
- Confusion: The ability to cloud others' minds with mental grenades, often leading them to attack other nearby beings. Raz gains this badge in Black Velvetopia, from Dingo Inflagrante.
- Invisibility: The ability to become invisible to other creatures. Raz learns this at rank 30.
- Levitation: The ability to levitate on a psychic ball that also allows Raz to move more quickly, Bubble Bounce in the air, and PSI Float during a fall. Raz learns this early on from Milla Vodello.
- Marksmanship: The ability to channel large amounts of aggression into a damaging psi-blast of focused energy. Raz learns this early on from Sasha Nein.
- Pyrokinesis: The ability to focus psychic power so that objects or creatures burst into flame. Raz learns this at rank 10.
- Shield: The ability to project a mental shield that temporarily protects Raz from damage and, when upgraded, reflects it back to the attacker. Raz gains this badge in Lungfishopolis from a Lungfish Zealot.
- Telekinesis: The ability to mentally move an object with enough force to inflict significant damage if it strikes another object. Raz learns this when he reaches rank 20.
- Lili Zanotto - A girl who is his friend. Also has a crush on him.
- Augustus - Misunderstood father and true ally.
- Coach Oleander - Mentor turned enemy.
- Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp Members - Friends and allies.