Background Information

Grim Dawn is an action role-playing game (ARPG), developed and published by Crate Entertainment for Microsoft Windows in February 2016 and released for Xbox One in December 2021. Developed using the Titan Quest engine, it is set in a thematically dark apocalyptic fantasy world loosely based on the Victorian era and received generally favorable reviews from critics. The game is similar to Diablo.

The game takes place in Cairn, where a once proud empire has been brought to ruin, and the human race is driven to the edge of extinction. Cairn has become ground zero of an eternal war between two otherworldly powers, the Aetherials, who view human bodies as a resource to use, and the Chthonians, creatures from the void who are intent on destroying humanity before that can happen.

Humans, at some point, had come into communication with extra-dimensional beings. They learned things from the whisperings of these otherworldly entities and eventually attempted to open a portal to bring one across. Naturally, being paranoid of the unknown as humans often are, they also devised a way to imprison it once it came through. Through experimentation, they learned that these beings, made of aether, a sort of spiritual energy, could fuse themselves with the human mind, possessing and controlling their host if they could subvert the human's will. The researchers discovered that a human, once possessed, retained heightened abilities after the aetherial being was purged from them. Naturally, this research got out of control, as such things always do. The researchers brought over more aetherials, but they got loose. The aetherials could then open more portals into their own world, bringing over large numbers of their brethren. This cataclysmic war not only decimated human civilization but warped the very fabric of reality and, in its wake, gave life to new horrors. Humans have also replaced gold with iron as their currency, and civilization is nothing but a memory.

The world of Cairn can never be fully restored to how it once was. Grim Dawn is about survival and adaptation to the grim new reality. Small enclaves of human survivors exist scattered throughout the world, holed up in hidden refuges. These humans have quietly watched the warring invaders destroy one another and have become wise to the strengths and vulnerabilities of their otherworldly foes. A few survivors have begun to exhibit strange new abilities after surviving possession or exposure to the warp. These survivors are called Taken. Some fear these unnatural powers but give much new hope of launching a resistance to fight the "outsiders" and reclaim what's left of their world.

The player starts the game as an Aetherial-possessed human who was captured by a group of humans seeking refuge at Devil's Crossing, a prison with road access to many parts of Cairn that have since been destroyed or overrun by the Aetherials and their possessed human slaves. The leader of the refugees, Captain John Bourbon, gives the orders for you to be hung, but as you hang by the noose, the Aetherial possessing you escapes. Bourbon then cuts you from the noose despite some protests from the other refugees. When you awaken, you are given some basic equipment by the refugees at Devil's Crossing and are free to explore the world with your newfound abilities as a Taken, although you can choose to complete quests that will hopefully aid the remaining human survivors in ultimately stopping the Aetherial and Cthonian war which threatens to destroy Cairn entirely.

There are two expansions, Ashes of Malmouth and Forgotten Gods. The plot in Ashes of Malmouth centers around the Taken working alongside the Black Legion to assault the city of Malmouth, which has been converted into the Aetherials' main base where their leader, the Shaper of Flesh, is on the cusp of creating a new weapon that could shatter the human resistance and complete the Aetherial takeover of Cairn. In Forgotten Gods, the Taken is approached by the cults of the Witch Gods to confront a great evil in the Korvan Basin, an abandoned, sandy region to the far east of Cairn, whose resurgence would signal the destruction of not just Cairn but possibly the Eldritch realm itself.

Standing in the Battledome

Grim Dawn is a fairly powerful verse, there is a lot of cosmic horror and meddling between gods. Random people or monsters like the Behemoth is responsible for moving the stars in the sky, the Shieldmaiden is responsible for keeping the stars there, the Spider traps stars for the gods and Targo the Builder is responsible for creating the tapestry upon which all stars are set. People can ascend and become gods or be forcibly turned into gods. Such is the case with the Three Witch Gods, Dreeg, Bysmiel, and Solael were all mortals before achieving godhood through merit or punishment. The gods also turned Rhowan's throne and scepter into constellations. Along with his crown. Yugol is so powerful that he threatens to destroy everything that the primordial gods created, and he is only stopped by the sunlight of thousand-thousand suns. The Dying God Ch'thon was the father of all of the gods, and his children betrayed him. It was Empyrion who defeated him. The Taken defeated Korvaak a primordial god who rivals Ch'thon. Korvaak can create an entire constellation of stars and should be as powerful as his brother Empyrion, who pierced Ch'thon with the Spear of Heaven. Korvaak is faster than the Behemoth, who can move stars around the universe. This scales to the other gods and the Taken.

There are multiple legendary magical types of equipment, such as boots where someone can potentially transcend infinite timelines. Maces forged in the heart of dying suns that can puncture holes in reality. Guns that can rip through the fabric of reality. A bunch of daggers that can cut through time and dimensions. Some other daggers that are imbued with Ch'thon's power. Scepters with Ultos's power, God of the Sky who can cause cataclysmic storms.

All the classes are capable of devotions, which allows the Taken to draw the power of primordial and ascendant gods. Occultists, in particular, can channel the power of the Three Witch gods and become the mortal vessel for Solael. This potentially includes the Taken. Occultists can manipulate entropic energies that can rupture the fabric of reality. Oathkeepers can temporarily achieve ascension, Inquisitors also have a Word of Power that lets them kill things with their voice. Arcanists can become Avatars of the Aether and freeze things at absolute zero. Aether is Grim Dawn's equivalent of radiation but on steroids, as it can alter and distort living creatures. Every mortal has the blood of Ch'thon flowing through their veins. Everyone can interact with intangible beings made out of all kinds of energy and elements. Any Takens are immune to possession and can summon Riftgates that open portals to the Void to travel, potential BFR. Other hax abilities the verse has, in general, include precognition, paralysis, petrification, life drain, blood manipulation, mind manipulation, illusion creation, soul manipulation, making creatures vulnerable to elemental manipulation or energy-based attacks, inflicting diseases, inflicting instant necrosis, bone manipulation, reality warping, negating regeneration, transferring damage to someone and disintegration. The Taken and other notable characters have high resistance to these abilities too.

The verse rivals other RPGs like Arcanum and potentially Divinity.

Supporters of the Series

  • Papa Nier
  • Atem (Gwyn)

OBD Profiles

Character Profiles

  • The Taken
  • Inquistor Creed
  • Ulgrim
  • Captain John Bourbon
  • Warden Krieg
  • Theodin Marcell
  • Darius Cronley
  • Bysmiel
  • Dreeg
  • Solael
  • Mogdrogen
  • Ch'thon
  • Empyrion
  • Korvaak
  • The Ravager
  • Lokarr
  • Callagadra
  • Crate of Entertainment