Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen


Nathan Garvin

The delightful and ever-novel pleasure of a useless occupation.

Now, it’s character creation time. There’s a whole section on character creation earlier in the guide that talks about stats, skills, leveling, classes, but for now you’re just picking cosmetics. Be sure to read the earlier character creation section for more information on how height, weight and gender affect gameplay.

Some Defeats Are Only Installments to Victory

Watch the opening cutscene. Yay, the sun is setting, everything is peaceful, some stupid chick waves at you, your character gasps stupidly, as all characters in Japanese games/anime do. Shortly, however, the Dragon shows up and starts trashing the place. The guards show their mettle and run away (hope they get eaten by a Chimera!) and you - probably light-headed from gasping so much - decide to pick up a sword and attack the Dragon. You kill it, credits roll, game ends. Good way to spend $60, right…?

…Of course not, you, a stupid, untrained fisherman, attacks a Dragon bigger than any building in town. It smacks you, you cause an accidental boo-boo, and the Dragon retaliates by eating your heart. That’s going to have some repercussions, maybe.

When the Dragon approaches, you’ll arm yourself with the cowardly soldier’s discarded weapon (left). You can’t do much in your first, fateful encouter with the Dragon, but prove your mettle and make a nuisance of yourself anyways! (right).

Picking Your Vocation

Of course, how does a new player know what class to pick? You don’t, but if you’re like me, you’re probably leaning Fighter, since you just spent a tutorial fighting as one. Plus, they tend to get all the cool weapons and armor, right? Well… for now, with your limited options, yes. First, let’s explain how things work. In Dragon’s Dogma, when you level up, your Hit Points, Stamina, Strength, Magick, Defense, and Magick Defense all raise by various rates according to your class at the time-much like Final Fantasy Tactics. Your initial class also determines your starting stats. Everybody fights the Dragon the first time as a Fighter (default) but now your stats are subject to change, depending on whether you start out as a Fighter, Strider, or Mage:

Starting Stats HP ST STR MGK DEF MDF
Fighter 450 540 80 60 80 60
Strider 430 540 70 70 70 70
Mage 410 540 60 80 60 80

Whatever class you pick now, you’re stuck with for a while… so choose carefully, as this initial choice not only affects your starting stats, but your stat growth until you’re level ten, at least. Right now you can only pick from Fighter, Strider, or Mage. Up until 10th level, these three ‘Basic Vocations’ are the only three choices you have. Afterwards, you can change to the ‘Advanced Vocations’ or ‘Hybrid vocations’.

Basic Vocations (Levels 2 - 10) HP ST STR MGK DEF MDF
Fighter 30 20 4 2 3 2
Strider 25 25 3 3 3 2
Mage 22 20 2 4 3 3

Note that the growth rates of the three basic Vocations (above) only apply until 10th level, after which they become much more varied… except for the Strider, freaks that they are. These are still introductory levels, at this point your Vocation’s weapon will affect gameplay far more than your attributes will, since variation is kept relatively low. For a Strength-build or Hybrid-build, it’s suggested that you start out as a Fighter, since its total offense (Strength/Magick) is six, and it gets the highest number of starting Hit Points. Magick-builds should begin as Mages and just suck up the Hit Point loss.

Basic Vocations (Levels 11 - 100*) HP ST STR MGK DEF MDF
Fighter 37 15 4 2 4 1
Strider 25 25 3 3 3 2
Mage 21 10 2 4 1 4

*Level 200 is the maximum level.

Advanced Vocations . . . . . .
(Levels 11 - 100*) HP ST STR MGK DEF MDF
Warrior 40 10 5 2 3 1
Ranger 21 30 4 3 2 2
Sorcerer 16 15 2 5 1 5

*Level 200 is the maximum level.

Hybrid Vocations . . . . . .
(Levels 11 - 100*) HP ST STR MGK DEF MDF
Mystic Knight 30 20 2 3 3 3
Assassin 22 27 6 2 2 1
Archer 21 20 2 3 3 4

*Level 200 is the maximum level.

Pick whatever you wish, just keep the numbers in mind. If you’re an ultra-nerd like one certain author of this guide, you may even want to consider making a spreadsheet to track your character’s progression… at least, if you plan to mix and match vocations (Hybrid-build folks, should especially consider this, to stay on track).

Interact with the weapons and pick your Vocation. Don’t be fooled by the gear you see your character in-that’s just dress-up make-believe. You get a Plebeian Shirt and some Cloth Greaves. If you want to go back to looking like you fought a Dragon and lost, you can always throw the ‘Set of Fisherman’s Tatters’ back on. You can also talk to the injured people here, for no real purpose, and loot a Blank Scroll and some Mithridate from along the northern wall. When you’re done, exit the room via the doorway to the west. You’ll overhear the gal from the opening cutscene (Quina) talking to the village chief (Adaro). You can talk to Quina after Adaro leaves, but she has nothing to say, and nothing really comes of this cutscene. This is the theme for most quests in this game-a lot of nothing that goes nowhere. Who cares, anyways? There’s a Dragon to follow blindly! You can loot the room to the west for minor loot, but it’s time to start the whole “not recording useless crap” thing early. As in now.

Objective Reward
For Arising 50 XP, 3 Rift Currency, 2000 Gold, Scrag of Beast x5, Greenwarish x5

Northern Cassardis

Leave Odaro’s house and enter the village of Cassardis, where people are picking up the pieces after the attack. East of the doorway you’ll find two pots-one containing oil, the other water. These pots are common throughout Gransys, all one needs is an Empty Flask and you can fill it up with water or oil. Both can be thrown at foes-oil makes them more susceptible to fire, water drenches them. Of course, a better use for oil is keeping your Lantern happy. These pots are unlimited, you only need worry about having flasks at hand. Also, you may have picked up some Berries earlier, so now is a good time to talk about food items. Many consumables have a shelf life. Carry them around too long, and they’ll go stale, start to mold or sour, and finally, they’ll rot. Rotten food is useless, but Scrag of Beast, Beast Steak, and Ambrosial Meat all gets better when it becomes sour. There are two ways to prevent items from souring-first, store it in your stash at an inn. Second, put it in an Airtight Flask. Since this destroys the flask, however, you might as well just stash it. Anyways, that’s enough talking about basic items, time for exploration.

Head down the nearby stairs and before the first landing turn east and jump over the railing. You’ll land on a little bit of land with a small tree. Slide down the cliff face (note, SLIDE, not FALL, for future reference. It doesn’t matter here, but it might later) to the south-east to reach another ledge. Head north-east until you find a cave opening, within you’ll find three chests. You’ll find a bit of junk; Conqueror’s Periapt, Light Cure, Coin Pouch (1000 gold). Smash the crates and you might get some more goodies.

Slide down another cliff-face to reach the landing below and enter another cave, within which is a tombstone. Press “B” [XBOX] or “circle” [PS3] to gather loot near the grave. Once done, slide down the click again to a rocky ledge, then down again to the beach. Now, a note about water. Water, seriously? Yes, water. You can’t swim in this game, but instead of making you flail around pathetically like Altair in Assassin’s Creed, if you stray too far from shore you’ll be attacked by red parasites called ‘the Brine’. It sounds and looks like a bad horror flick, and it’s a really, really stupid way to keep you from swimming. So, for future reference-falling in deep water is bad. Try to avoid it. Also, if you enter water you may get drenched, a very common ‘debilitation’ in this game. Drenched means… well, you’re all wet. You’ll move a bit slower, and if you had a lit lantern, it’ll go out. Never fear, though, it can be removed and re-equipped as necessary. A good part about being drenched? Well, it’ll put out fires. Other than that, it’s really just a bit of goodly physics, showing that-unlike in Skyrim-water is wet.

Cassardis Beach

Now that you’re on a beach, look south towards the water and you should see fish merrily hopping away. It’s time to talk about harvesting materials from the world. Anybody who’s ever played any open-world RPG worth its salt should be familiar with this. There’s stuff out there in the world, just waiting for you to harvest/steal/gather/catch/mine it. Every dresser, pile of hay, or bit of ore you can collect in the game won’t be covered, as it’s just not necessary, but at least a few instances will be pointed out at the beginning of the game so you know what to look for, after which you can go collecting useless crap to your heart’s content. Go into the water and hit “B” [XBOX] or “circle” [PS3] to gather the fish… which will probably net you a… Small Fish. Easy, huh? All gathering works like this, and most of the crap you’ll find lying around is… well, crap. Consumables are nice ways to restore health, sometimes you’ll score various things that can be used to upgrade weapons (more on this later, when you actually have something worth upgrading)… but much of it can either be purchased, gathered in such quantities that they quickly become unnecessary, or upgrade weapons/combine into other items that really aren’t worth mentioning. That’s right, all the good stuff you want to wear and wield? You need to kill big things to upgrade them. Still, it won’t hurt to gather miscellaneous junk on your journey… it’ll just be up to you to do for yourself.

Continue south under a bridge and explore the coast as you see fit. You can find an Empty Flask near the shore, and an Airtight Flask further down. You can also talk to a guard named Rojay, who will tell you about the Brine. Keep heading south- east and you’ll discover Starfall Bay, and there’s all kinds of minor loot you can find, fish you can catch, birds you can bother, even some chests full of junk to loot. Explore as you wish, but when you’re sick of the beach, head up a path south-west of the bridge you went under earlier.

The path leads west, back into Cassardis village. When you come to a fork, turn north and enter the half-ruined building to find a lady with a curious affliction; a glowing green question mark is following her around! Anyways, talk to her, and it seems she’s fine, she just has a quest for you. Talk to Benita and she’ll ask you to get her some Sunbright and Moonglow flowers, which apparently have medicinal properties, like all oppositional day-night flowers do. The question mark over her head turns red, indicating an impending (yet confused) stroke. You’d better finish this quest fast!

…or not. North of this ruined house you’ll find a ‘Fisherman’s House’. It has little of interest inside, but if you climb around on the roof you can score two chests, on along the northern edge of the building complex and one on the southern. Across the street from this building is… your house. Seriously. Inside you can score some Interventive, Greenwarish, and a pair of Carrots. Man, you sucked. Stupidly enough, you can’t sleep in your own bed. To sleep you must go next door to the Inn and pay. Makes sense.

Pick your vocation by investigating the collection of rusty weaspon (left). This choice will affect your starting stats, and your stat gains for the first few levels. Benita, the healer, needs your help in finding some components so she can ply her trade (right).

The Inn and the Notice Board

Speaking of the inn, across the street from where you met Benita you’ll find Pablos’ Inn. Talk to Pablos and he’ll comment on your quest to find… flowers. Yeah, epic stuff here. You can rest for 50 gold (you don’t need to, unless you busted your face jumping off cliffs), and you can also ‘Manage stored items’. The latter is worth doing, since you can store your foodstuffs so it won’t rot. Search the kitchen to find a Gransys Herb, a Beast-Steak, a Pumpkin, a Foreign Knife, and a Large Fish. North of the table you can also search under a cabinet for some money-either a Small Coin Pouch (100 gold), a Coin Pouch (1000 gold) or if you’re lucky, a Large Coin Pouch (3500 gold).

South of Pablos you’ll see a shining ‘Notice Board’. Examine it, and you can pick up some contracts. These side-quests tend to ask you to kill so many of a certain monster, get somebody some item, or escort some NPC somewhere. Right now you should be able to pick ‘Goblin Raid’, ‘Rat Catcher’, and ‘He Should Be So Lucky’… these quests will not expire, but you will only be able to get new, more advanced quests by completing old quests, and by advancing the story. For now, however, it’s suggested that you ignore them. If you’re power-gamey, you’ll want to reach Gran Soren at level 10, as any leveling beyond that is a waste, since the Assassin and Sorcerer Vocations (throw in Warrior for Pawns) are the best Vocations to level as, and you cannot change Vocations until you reach Gran Soren. These quests will just get you unnecessary experience you don’t need right now. Don’t worry… you’ll come back for them shortly.

From here on out, Notice Board quests will not be mentioned for a variety of reasons (although it will be pointed out when you reach new Notice Boards). First, there’s almost never any real need to run out and complete them conventionally. Most of the time, they are completed by killing ‘X’ monsters, collecting ‘X’ items, or escort ‘X’ NPC… in the first two cases, these are something you will do while tackling other, more important quests, with more definitive objectives. The escort quests require you to have a high affinity with a certain character… while many of these characters are more or less set in stone (characters you do quests for, do business with, help out, etc. will gain affinity) others depend solely upon gift-giving. Don’t care for a character? Don’t give them gifts? You won’t get their escort quest. Also, if you don’t finish item/monster hunt notice board quests, new, more advanced ones may not show up later in the game. Since this is all too variable, and really only good for further increasing affinity, scoring crappy items, or earning money it’ll be kept it out of the main walkthrough. To see all these Notice Board quests, see the Notice Board Quests section of the guide.

Leave the Inn for now. Time to pick up some quests and go shopping… at least, if you still have daylight left. If not, rest at the Inn until morning. 50 gold isn’t too much money, even at this point in the game. Like most modern RPGs, folks in Dragon’s Dogma have routines, and many will head home for the night, like all respectable people do. Since your ultimate destination is the ‘Village Chapel’, and it imitates respectable things by shutting down at night… well, just make sure it’s day before continuing.

Search around Cassardis, you never know where you may find some money stashed away… (left) You can use these found funds to arm and armor yourself with more worthy gear (right).

Commerce in Cassardis

Head south from the Inn and enter the first building to the east. This is Aestella’s, unpredictably owned by… Aestella. Before you buy anything, search under the cabinets behind the counter to score some gold. There’s also some food items upstairs, and junk in a chest on the roof. Talk to Aestella to get her to sell you stuff. You really don’t need any armor right now, as it’s low-end gear that won’t provide any significant benefit to you, but who wants to stay in rags? You should at least buy the weapons she has, as befits your class, as the rusted ones you already have are just awful. As a general rule about buying armor and clothing in Dragon’s Dogma, first buy for resistances, then for defense. You might want to consider picking up a Pickaxe, though. It costs 250G and allows you to mine ore from various deposits scattered around Gransys. You should always keep one in your inventory.

Across the street from Aestella’s you’ll find Heraldo’s Grocery, where you can score some produce. South of it you’ll find a pair of Fisherman’s Houses, wherein more junk loot can be found. You can also find loot along the street. That’ll teach people to leave their food exposed to anybody with sticky fingers!

Between the two Fisherman’s Houses you’ll find a street heading south-west. When the street forks, turn north-west to find Inez’s Alehouse. This place isn’t too interesting, but head upstairs and climb a ladder to the attic and you’ll find a chest that may contain the scroll “Saurian Strategy Vol. I”. These strategy scrolls can be used to teach Pawns more about enemies, allowing them to fight them more effectively… of course, they also learn by doing, so it’s not a huge score. It is, however, worthwhile to read the descriptions of these items before using them, as they often give useful insights as to how to fight foes, making them useful to Pawns and players alike.

Across the street from the second Fisherman’s House is Iola’s House, where Iola has set up shop. She babbles about the Dragon, how it was destined to show up. She sells less interesting stuff than Aestella. If you want to pick up some Cassardi clothing instead of anything Aestella sold, feel free to do so. It’s inferior, but a few points of Defense isn’t going to make a difference anyways. Search near the table near the doorway, near the loom, and the cabinets behind the counter to score some loot. You can find two more Fisherman’s Houses south-east of Iola’s, but they have little of interest inside.

Cowardice, Consequences and the Cassardis Chapel

Continue south-east along the road. You should find Elvar walking around-note his glowing green question mark. If you talk to him, he’ll ask you to tell Merin that his brother Cortese died defending some villagers (including Elvar) from the Dragon. Elvar is apparently so ashamed that he just sat there like a coward and watched Cortese die, that he should continue to be a coward and not tell Merin. Makes sense to me.

Keep heading uphill, pass under an arch, and leave the village behind, however briefly. To the north-east you’ll find a cliff. If you look around, you should see a ledge you can slide down to with a chest on it. It contains rubbish, but there are some plants on the ledge with it. Get it if you want and backtrack. Near the house where Benita is caring for the sick you can find Merin. Talk to him and you’ll inform him of his brother’s demise.

Pass through the village again following the road south-east. Keep following it and you’ll end up at the Village Chapel. You should find Elvar on the way, or within the chapel… at least during the day. Talk to him to finish his quest. Simple enough. Now talk to one of the priests – Clemente - to pick up another quest. Apparently, somebody made off with his scriptures, and he needs them back, seeing as how the demand for prayers just went up. Of course, he could just make any nonsense up, it would have the same effect… but lets indulge the ‘holy’ man, there’s bound to be some reward for us. Before you go, consider looting the pile of books and scrolls in the small room in the south-eastern corner of the chapel, as it can yield more tactics scrolls… or junk. Loot all such miscellaneous piles of literature on your own accord, as you find them, or just let your Pawns learn by doing. Either way, It’s been pointed it out to you.

Objective Reward
For bearing Elvar’s burden 100 XP, 2 Rift Currency, 300 Gold

Find the missing Scriptures on a roof near the chapel (left) then deliver them safely back to Clemente for a modest quest reward (right).

Head outside and talk to Lewes, an awfully guilty-looking kid outside. He’ll immediately confess to stealing the book. Apparently he wanted a peek, but when the Dragon attacked, he fled (like sensible people do) and lost it. Never fear! Jump over the wall north of the chapel to find a ledge. North still you should see a crumbling pathway just below the ledge that connects to one of the buildings. Get on the roof and search near the ledge separating a higher roof from a lower one and you’ll find the Scriptures. Pick it up and return the Scriptures to Clemente for your reward.

Objective Reward
For saving the Scriptures 200 XP, 2 Rift Currency, 300 Gold

My Little Pawny

Return to Pablos’ Inn and finally take the road west to the town gate. As you approach the gates a rift will appear and, wonder of wonders, a Pawn emerges. Afterwards Adaro will speak to you and inform you that the man you just saw was part of the Pawn Legion; Myrmidons. Essentially, Pawns work as mercenaries, serving the Arisen-that’s you. Adaro will mention an encampment west of the village that’s drawing fighting folk to it; Pawns will certainly gravitate towards such a place. Your first Pawn has joined your Party. You can check out Rook via the status menu. Just note for now that he’s better equipped than you, higher level, and can cast Ingle (single target fire spell), Fire Boon, (enchants weapons with fire) and Anodyne (healing). He’s pretty much got everything you need for a low-level Mage, and should be sufficient for a bit.

The Pawn Rook will show up and flash you his nifty Pawn-sign (left), and village chief Adaro will helpfully suggest you go with Rook to the nearby Encampment, where more Pawns are gathering (right).

Now leave Cassardis behind. There’s loot that wasn’t mentioned, sure, but again, since everything respawns, it’s not worth mentioning every chest, crate, bush, fallen branch, flower, or fishing hole that can be looted. There is one thing you should grab before you go, however… From the gate that leads out of Cassardis, head south to find a building (just west of Benita’s House) with a roof just low enough to jump and climb onto. Do so, then climb up to a higher roof to the south. South still you’ll see a square chest lying near a tree. Loot it for your first real treasure of the game. So, to clarify, ‘junk’ loot won’t be pointed out during the walkthrough, but if it can be worn or equipped, it will record it. Now leave Cassardis… for real this time.

Square Chest
Leather Bandings
Talismanic Beads
Wooden Beads
Trophy/Achievement Icon


Departed from Cassardis.

Trophy icon

Guide Information

  • Publisher
  • Platforms
    PC, PS3, PS4, 360, XB1
  • Genre
    Action RPG
  • Guide Release
    18 January 2016
  • Last Updated
    12 March 2021
  • Guide Author
    Nathan Garvin

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You live the tranquil life of a fisherman in the small, quiet village of Cassardis, at the edge of the sleepy duchy of Gran Soren. This peaceful life of mundane obscurity is shattered one morning with the Dragon, Grigori, a beast of legend, attacks your town and you fall in its defense. Now reborn as an Arisen, you must lead the Pawn Legion into battle as you deal with court politics, combat apocalyptic cultists, and chase down the enigmatic Dragon. But beware, there could be more to the Dragon's challenge than it originally seems...

  • Full sequential walkthrough of all main quests, side quests and notice board quests.
  • Each area painstakingly described, including enemy encounters and notable loot drops.
  • How to get the best gear out of the Everfall and Bitterblack Isle.
  • Descriptions and tactics of every beast, large and small, that you'll face in the game.
  • Character creation information, so you can build the mightiest Arisen and Pawn possible.
  • New Game +, Hard Mode and Speed Run Mode fully explained.
  • Portcrystal and fast-travel system fully explained.
  • Romance information and affection-boosting guide: never accidentally romance the wrong NPC again!

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