The full story of Dragon's Dogma: Timeline, lore, and history summarized before you play Dragon's Dogma 2

Dragon breathing fire
(Image credit: Steam via Capcom)

With the sequel approaching on March 22nd, let's dive into the story thus far. We'll look at its multiple endings and tackle the future of the tale coming in Dragon's Dogma 2. As such, this article is full of spoilers for the original Dragon's Dogma. 

While retelling the prevailing story, we'll look into the individual pieces such as what Pawns are, what it means to be Arisen, and what the Dragon really is. While many love Dragon's Dogma for its independence in action and character-building, the story is equally remarkable.

Beginning with literal heartbreak at the beginning of the game, the player is dropped into a world of dire consequences. Peril awaits at every corner, and a tale dating back a half millennia beckons to those who wish to take up arms. 

Before the launch of Dragon's Dogma 2, let's recap the story of the original Dragon's Dogma. Of course, spoilers for the first game abound from here on. 

RELATED: Preview: Dragon's Dogma 2 is a clear game of the year contender.

Overview of the original Dragon's Dogma

Tasty treat! (Image credit: Future via Michael Hoglund)

Players start the game in a flash back sequence, playing as an "Arisen" named Savan. Serving as the game's opening tutorial, they fight through a myriad of adversaries, culminating in a battle with a Chimera. We see Savan poised to take on a giant Dragon, boasting an ominous voice, before the scene cuts to black.

Eons pass, and countless years come and go. A cutscene begins in which a slumbering dragon emerges through a rift elevated above the clouds. This Dragon, encircled by harpies, begins to plunge toward the ground. Suddenly, he wakes and heads in the direction of a small town in the distance. The dragon strikes the town of Cassardis, where the player lives. After a brief battle, your character has their heart removed by the Dragon, who rips it hence with its claw. Just before the player passes out, we witness the Dragon consuming said heart.

While this scene plays out, the Dragon speaks. During the game, your character can't understand the language in which he says; it's Latin. We can find various translations online, but one stood out as it was broken down by a team of individuals in this video.

"Ho, I have found a courageous one by these shores, and yet these waters are entirely fouled. How many struggle, protest, and fall? My name is Grigori. This is your initiation, my cruel gift of eternal life." — Your player has become the "Arisen," whose fate is now bound to the Great Dragon. 

You wake up in Quina's home. She was present during the Dragon raid, and it's revealed that your chest is horribly scarred. The player hears the Dragon uttering to him and challenging him to battle as the scar glows, letting the player know they can now comprehend the dragon's speech.

The player leaves the home, but before leaving the city and continuing their journey, another rift emerges above them. This time, a Pawn drops from it. It's expressed to the player that Pawns have no will of their own and that they only follow the orders of their master, the Arisen. 

Once they leave, the Arisen later arrives at an encampment where a group is preparing for the Dragon. Amongst them are dozens of Pawns. The Arisen finds their first Rift stone, a large engraved rock similar to one players can use in the opening tutorial. The Rift speaks to them, where they must battle to earn their mastery over Pawns. In game, Pawns are your primary party members, although after doing battle with a Cyclops, you are ushered to create your "main" Pawn, who serves as your primary comrade throughout the game. 

(Image credit: Thirstymag)
What is Dragon's Dogma 2?

Dragon's Dogma 2

(Image credit: Capcom)

Dragon’s Dogma is a single player, narrative driven action-RPG series that challenges the players to choose their own experience – from the appearance of their Arisen, their vocation, their party, how to approach different situations and more. Now, in this long-awaited sequel, the deep, explorable fantasy world of Dragon’s Dogma 2 awaits.

On your journey, you’ll be joined by Pawns, mysterious otherworldly beings, in an adventure so unique you will feel as if accompanied by other players while on your own adventure.

All of these elements are elevated further through physics technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and the latest in graphics, to create a truly immersive fantasy world in Dragon’s Dogma 2.

Platforms:
Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, PC. Xbox
Game Pass: No.
Players: Single-player with optional online social features. Launch date: March 22, 2024.
Price: $69.99.

After this, a hydra attacks the camp, and the Arisen strikes back, cutting one of its heads off. In doing so, they impress a knight named Mercedes, who has the Arisen take the head as a trophy to the capital city of Gran Soren. It's here that they will eventually meet Duke Edmund Dragonsbane, the last known Arisen to have killed the Dragon. Prior, the Arisen takes on quests through the Wyrm Hunter Guild that are mainly handed out by the Duke himself. In doing so, the Arisen can prove himself even more deserving of an audience.

During these quests, the Arisen meets the Dragonforged, a former Arisen who failed to beat the Dragon 1,000 years ago. The Dragonforged aids the player in numerous ways throughout the game with knowledge on various matters as the narrative unfolds. 

Once at Gran Soren, the Arisen will also encounter the Pawn district, where the Everfall is located, an enormous pit full of danger and magick that serves as a link between all Rift dimensions — which represent different players' own games. This is explored by the Arisen, as the Pawns have discovered anomalies with the Everfall. Descending into its cavernous depths, the Arisen confronts Salvation, a cult that wants the Dragon to win and supplant humanity. Yes, there are lunatics in this game.

This group is guided by a man named Elysion, named after an paradise realm Salvation members believe they will reach once they've aided the Dragon. In a previous encounter with the Dragon decades ago, he lost an eye. The destruction of the world is deemed as salvation by this group, and their leader depicts this belief with the loss of his eyeball. They believe the Dragon is the beginning of the end, embodying the annihilation of the world.

The Arisen also learns of a side plot in which other nations fear the Duke's power. If the Duke were to defeat another Dragon somehow, they fear how the Duke's popularity could upend the political fabric of the realm. 

Elysion: "Let me tell you my whole plan before I'm killed! MUAHAHA!" (Image credit: Wikia)

As the main plot unfolds, the Arisen once again engages Elysion, who turns his followers into the undead in an attempt to stop the Arisen. After conquering the undead, Elysion calls to the Arisen that the Dragon is already coming and that it is too late. Hilariously, the Dragon lands on Elysion and kills him during this exchange. The Dragon challenges the player after doing so, saying Salvation and Elysion had nothing to do with why he was there.

A bargain is offered when the Arisen finds the Dragon and confronts him. The Arisen can give up someone most dear to them, who is currently being held captive by the Dragon (this person changes depending on multiple factors during the game). In return, the Arisen will become the next Duke of Gran Soren, superseding the current one. This exposes the fact the Duke had formerly received this deal, having not bested the Dragon. Accept, and we see the Arisen sitting on the throne in a sad and lonely fashion where they await the return of another Arisen to challenge the Dragon in the future—one of the possible endings.

If the player declines, they can do so by rescuing their loved one. This starts a battle between them and the Dragon. Once defeated, the Arisen and all associated lose immortality. The Dragonforged is shown turning to dust, and the Duke is painfully aged.

The Duke goes wild! (Image credit: CAPCOM)

Once the Arisen has returned to Gran Soren, The Duke attacks the player and accuses them of placing a curse on them through the Dragon. In defense, the Arisen kills the Duke. Having committed treason, the Arisen must now flee. The Arisen has no choice but to jump into the Everfall, which has now spread into an endless pit.

In what feels like a portal to another dimension, it's here that the Seneschal confronts the player, and they, too, offer a deal to the Arisen. The deal? Become the new Seneschal, or don't. If they reject, they can return to before the Dragon emerged and live their life in Cassardis. This represents another ending if the player chooses not to become the new Seneschal. If they accept, they must defeat the Seneschal in battle. 

JJ Abrams ain't got nothing on this guy. (Image credit: Blogspot)

If the player loses this fight, the player becomes the next Dragon, repeating the search for the new Seneschal. Win, and a whole can of worms is opened. It's revealed that the Seneschal is actually Savan, having formerly defeated the Dragon. He, in turn, defeated the last Seneschal and became the current one.

He and all before him are responsible for the realm itself, and the world draws its lifeforce from the lifeforce of the Seneschal. That is why a substitute must be found, as eventually, that lifeforce runs out.

After accepting this, Savan hands the Arisen the Godsbane, a sword of the Seneschal, and passes away. The player can then approach the throne, where they can use the Godsbane on themself, killing the player and opening the floor beneath them.

The player is shown falling through the sky with their Pawn in tow, crying for their master. Multiple versions of the Pawn are shown colliding with one another as they descend, as though they're arriving from other realms. Once they reach the bottom, the Arisen sits up, where the voice of the Pawn screams out from the Arisen's body.

The Pawn has become the Arisen, and the game ends.

What are Arisen?

Adventure awaits this Arisen (Image credit: Future via Michael Hoglund)

The Arisen are the ones who are destined to face the Dragon either by their own choice or a choice made for them. In the original game and its expansion, there are roughly a dozen of these individuals, including the player, that the player either meets or learns of historically.

The Arisen and Dragon are connected once their initial battle occurs in which the Dragon takes the heart of the Arisen. It's through this process that the Arisen gains immortality, to a degree. While the player does not age, nor can they suffer from sickness, the player can fall in battle.

It is thought that if the player falls in battle, they become a dragon of varying degrees. For instance, if an Arisen falls in battle before facing the dragon that stole their heart, they may become a smaller variant of the dragon, such as a wyrm, wyvern, or drake. All of which can be found and fought in Dragon's Dogma.

The Dragon consuming the heart of the Arisen. (Image credit: Future via Michael Hoglund)

If the Arisen fights against the Seneschal, a god of sorts, and loses, they take on the form of the Great Dragon like our antagonist Grigori. Grigori is the main driving force of the game's main questline, the one to which the player loses their heart. Near the end of the game, it is made clear that Grigori was a former Arisen who failed in their battle against the Seneschal.

How many Arisen there are in totality is unclear, but given the expanded scope at the end of the game, it seems there could be an endless if infinite, number of them. All worlds are connected, and in them, are their own unknown history of Arisen that have taken on the Dragon, time and time again.

In the realm of the player, it is recorded in history that the first to slay the Dragon was Godking Leonart. However, this turns out to be false as denoted in the novel Dragon's Dogma: The Beginning. It's made obvious that the Godking simply took the Dragon's bargain and did not actually defeat the Dragon. This bargain is a choice an Arisen can make prior to facing the Dragon, one that Duke Edmund Dragondbane also made.

This choice is forced on the Arisen by the Dragon. In it, the Dragon asks for what's most dear to the Arisen. In exchange, the Dragon will continue to give the Arisen immortality and will disappear for another 50 years before resurfacing. Duke Edmund gave his wife in trade for this, and he convinced the general populace of the kingdom that he had defeated the Dragon. Big old liar!

The Duke, what a liar! (Image credit: Fandom)

The player can also make this choice. Whomever the player is closest to by the time the end of the game nears will be the one to appear before them by the Dragon. The player can either save them, then fight the Dragon, or offer them in exchange to become the next Duke.

On another note, it is also revealed that once the Dragon is defeated, all prior Arisen who had not reclaimed their hearts will have their aging sequence started again. This occurs in the canon ending of the Dragonforged, as well as in Duke Edmond. Duke Edmond ages another 50 years once the player defeats Grigori.

As for the Dragonforged, he had taken on the Dragon 1,000 years before the arrival of the newest Arisen. So once the Dragon is taken care of, he vanishes to dust.

What are Pawns?

Pawns have the scar of their Arisen on the palm of their hand. (Image credit: Future via Michael Hoglund)

Pawns are walkers of the Rift, in which they are born by the will of an Arisen. Pawns are essentially lacking a true soul of their own. They do not have their own will and, instead, follow the Arisen by which they were created or another Arisen to which they were called. They also do not possess any real emotions, beyond their drive to serve an Arisen. 

The Pawns are marked by a Pawnprint, which can be found on their hand. This symbol glows and takes on the shape of the scar the Dragon gave the Arisen when they removed their heart. Pawns do not age, nor do they die. They can be brought back to life by the simple touch of the Arisen they follow.

The Pawn camp bows to the Arisen, as they are their master. (Image credit: Future via Michael Hoglund)

Pawns can also be hired across the Rift to other realms by Arisen within these realms. In doing so, it does not seem the Pawn disappears from their main Arisen; rather, another version of the Pawn is created that can again be merged with the same Pawn at another time. This is hinted at in the cannon ending of Dragon's Dogma, where multiple versions of the player's main Pawn can be seen merging into one another. Which also hints at another process players learn about during the game.

Pawns can take on the form of their Arisen creators over time and can become human through a process known as the Bestowal of Spirit. It is a concept introduced in the first game, where the player comes across a Pawn by the name of Selene. Her Arisen, Sofiah, has passed away. During the quest, it is revealed that Selene now looks similar to Sofiah, and she eventually becomes human herself.

"I had a different look the day my master pulled me from the Rift. But o'er the ages I have spent together with the Dragonforged change has taken me. His thoughts have come to fill my head, his feelings my breast. In time, even my form has grown to mirror his. Just so, it may be that we pawns come to take the form of our masters."

The Fool

The Fool, the main Pawn of the Dragonforged, also becomes much like his master. At the end of the game, once the Dragonforged has passed on, the Fool can be conversed with, where they reveal that they are the Dragonforged themselves.

Who is the Dragon?

He's looking a little upset? (Image credit: Future via Michael Hoglund)

The Dragon is the first antagonist the player will meet in Dragon's Dogma. While there are many variations of the Dragon, the one the player faces off against is Grigori. He is shown as a giant red dragon, often referred to simply as the Dragon or the Great Dragon. He is the same Dragon who fought against the Dragonforged, as well as the Dragon from whom the Duke accepted their bargain. 

Like the Arisen, the Dragon is immortal, and maintains its immortality by stealing the hearts of humans, turning them into similarly immortal Arisen. Once the Dragon is killed, the Arisen kept alive by the Dragon's heart theft causes them to age rapidly, as the power becomes release. This is shown during the final battle between the player Arisen and Grigori.

The Dragon was once an Arisen who failed to finish the fight against the Seneschal being. After failing, they became an arm of power for the Seneshal to find an Arisen worthy to take on the mantle of the Seneshal. We learn that essentially, the whole "tradition" of the curse of the Arisen, and the appearance of the dragon, is essentially a life cycle that maintains the very essence of life in this universe. It's through Grigori that the Arisen is tested before finally meeting the Seneschal.

This test is done through three phases. First, a person must challenge the Dragon by either their own choice or a choice forced upon them. In doing so, the Dragon takes their heart, and that person becomes an Arisen. After some time, another phase comes to pass. The Dragon will offer a Bargain, as mentioned above, where the Arisen can give what is most precious over to the Dragon. In doing so, they become a servant to the Dragon, never to face the Dragon again. The Dragon then departs, only to return in another 50 years to find another Arisen to test.

Who is Savan / Seneschal?

How the god child in Mass Effect should have been handled. (Image credit: CAPCOM)

Savan is the initial Arisen that the player takes control of at the beginning of the game. It's during this sequence that many of the controls for Dragon's Dogma are introduced, but it also functions as a prelude to what comes much later in the game.

Savan was the true last Arisen to have slayed the Dragon. Savan's vocation was that of a fighter, a vocation that the player can select at the beginning of the game. As explained in Dragon's Dogma: The Beginning, Savan had excellent combat talents. He would rise to the occasion in his battle against the Dragon to prove his mettle. Now, Savan would become able to challenge and dethrone the Seneschal, become the new one. Who is the Seneschal?

During the finale of the game, it is revealed to the player that the Seneschal exists to protect the world. They have the power to create life and bring upon it ultimate destruction. At one point, during the battle with the Seneschal, Savan constructs a duplicate of the player and annihilates them instantly to exhibit this.

The world draws its life force from the Seneschal, which gradually drains over time. As such, a new Seneschal must eventually be found, which is why the Dragon is sent to find an Arisen worthy and powerful enough to take on the mantle of the Seneschal. If they die, the ones who reach the Seneschal become the new Dragon, like Grigori, who failed to kill Savan as an Arisen. All of life, nevertheless, is an eternal loop. Rinse and repeat; the cycle never ends.

In an attempt to break this loop, the player Arisen can use the Godsbane after defeating Savan, the sword of the Seneschal, to kill themselves.

What will behold in Dragon's Dogma 2?

Dragons sure do love hearts. (Image credit: Capcom)

The following information was unveiled from the Dragon's Dogma 2 showcase in 2023.

"Dragon's Dogma is a tale of the Arisen, whose heart is taken by the Dragon. While this sequel mirrors the world setting of the first game, the adventure takes place in another parallel world. Vermund is the human kingdom where you will be drawn into the power struggle for the thrown. To have her son take the throne, the Queen Regent Disa plots to set a false Arisen. But why are Pawns serving a false Arisen?

On the other hand, the Beastren nation of Batthale treats Pawns as the source of misfortune and instead worships the Lambent Flame to ward off calamity with empress Nadinia at its center. Both kingdoms recognize the Dragon as a threat, but their thoughts towards Pawns and the Arisen differ.

What will happen to the player caught between the beliefs and plots of these two nations?"

Tons of questions come to mind while watching this. My first question is, how will the Pawn system affect players who choose to play as a Beastren Arisen? That appears damning! Will players encounter benefits in playing solo without Pawns? I know in the initial game, the Assassin vocation maintained augments that boosted player strength and magick when alone to 70%, but it was lowered to 20% in Dark Arisen. 

I'd also like to mention that the game will have a third race. From the Dragon Dogma 2 official website:

"In addition to humans and beastren, a race called elves also inhabit this world. They prefer not to interact with other races and live in the remote village of the Sacred Arbor. The elves speak their own language, which makes communication with them difficult, but there seem to be some Pawns who understand Elvish."

We also know from our hands on session with the game that classic dwarves will also be present. What lies for players beyond that, for now, is anyone's guess. 

Dragon's Dogma 2 is shaping up incredibly nicely, and launches on Xbox Series X|S, PS5, and PC on March 22, 2024. 

Dragon's Dogma 2

Dragon's Dogma 2

Dragon’s Dogma 2 is a single player, narrative driven action-RPG that challenges the players to choose their own experience – from the appearance of their Arisen, their vocation, their party, how to approach different situations and more - in a truly immersive fantasy world.

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Michael Hoglund
Contributor

Michael has been gaming since he was five when his mother first bought a Super Nintendo from Blockbuster. Having written for a now-defunct website in the past, he's joined Windows Central as a contributor to spreading his 30+ years of love for gaming with everyone he can. His favorites include Red Dead Redemption, all the way to the controversial Dark Souls 2.