Arisen in Dragon's Dogma is a title given to the player character. The title is conferred upon as chosen by a Great Dragon, for one's notable courage and strength of will, usually through seeing if they are able to stand up against one during an outright attack. The Great Dragon takes devours the chosen's heart, causing them to live once more with renewed vitality and unimaginable power. With these gifts, the Arisen seeks to unravel the mysteries surrounding their title, the politics of the world around him, the Great Dragon, and their own fate.
Dragon's Dogma Arisen
With their heart connected to a Great Dragon, an Arisen is bestowed with immortality in the form of never aging, and immunity to sickness. This does not save them from being vanquished on the battlefield, which is all well and good as they are also blessed with ever-growing power. With these gifts, they are tasked to journey the world in search of their patron in order to bring about its end and reclaim their heart. If their Great Dragon dies before the fated reunion, the Arisen will age in accordance with the time that had elapsed since having their heart taken.
What is an Arisen?
Throughout the player's journey, it is made known that they are in fact not the one and only Arisen the world has seen. Several characters have once held the title, each with a different ending to their stories. The only consistency with all of them was that their hearts were all taken by a Great Dragon. But what compels Great Dragons to do this? What is the purpose of this process, and what truly is an Arisen?
It is revealed that Arisen are merely candidates that Great Dragons seek to replace the weakening god of the world. They are granted the power to grow stronger and stronger, to overcome daunting tasks and overwhelming odds, with the final goal of physically and mentally being able to ultimately become a god that watches over the world - a god called the Seneschal. Throughout the process, whenever an Arisen dies, their connection to a Great Dragon turns them into a Great Dragon themselves.
Those of them who die before they even get to their Great Dragon are believed to turn into their lesser iterations in Drakes, Wyrms, and Wyverns. An Arisen that is able to kill their Great Dragon and make it further to the end to defeat the then-current Seneschal as well, is thus bestowed the mantle and powers of the deity. In return for watching over the world, life essence is constantly taken from the Seneschal, until it gets depleted. Before they become completely void of life, however, they send out a Great Dragon to find yet another Arisen as a candidate to replace them, and so the cycle ever-continues.
Dragon's Dogma Player Arisen
Much like other Arisen, the player is chosen after the Great Dragon Grigori lays waste to their hometown - a small fishing village called Cassardis. Despite the dragon's overwhelming power, this normal human takes up a random weapon and attempts to fight back, only to be killed in an instant. Seeing your courage and willpower, Grigori plucks the player's heart from their chest and devours it, and so begins the adventure of the new Arisen. Prior to this, the player will have gotten through Character Customization to choose how their Arisen will look. The player Arisen's personality is one of few words, but courageous just the same. Other Arisen have varying personalities.
Flee, or step forth. Take hold of what lies beyond. Claim mastery over the eternal ring!"
Through learning and improving upon Vocations, Augments, and Skills and making use of increasingly powerful Weapons and Armor which they reinforce through Enhancement, the player quickly becomes a powerful figure who decides the fate of the land of Gransys by traversing its different kingdoms and defeating powerful Enemies. Dragon's Dogma boasts a flexible set of options for how the player can choose to navigate the dangerous world - from the highly offensive Assassin to the versatile Mystic Knight and Magick Archer and the ever-staunch Warrior. Each Vocation further specializes in different equipment, so players can be comfortable choosing whichever playstyle suits them best.
Arisen are also able to enlist the servitude of Pawns who are otherworldly beings. Each Arisen travels with a Main Pawn, who is unfailingly loyal and will modify its Inclinations to suit the wishes of the Arisen, and two other enlisted Pawns of their choosing. Other Pawns are regarded as the Main Pawns of other Arisen in different worlds. Main Pawns are completely customizable as well, down to their Vocation.
Dragon's Dogma: Different Endings of the Arisen Story
Journeying the world, the player meets different NPCs. The Arisen's affinity with these characters can be nurtured throughout their adventure. Some of the said NPCs can become the player Arisen's beloved through a Quest specific to them, and only if their affinity is high enough. As the Arisen finally completes their mission of confronting the Great Dragon Grigori, the latter presents them with a choice: sacrificing the player's Beloved, Grigori vows to become dormant and the Arisen shall become the new Duke of Gran Soren, or they continue to take up arms and fight to the death. Depending on the player's choices from this point, the ending of the player Arisen's story branches out to different possibilities. A total of four possible endings can be sought, with each revealing much about the mysteries surrounding The Great Dragon and the choosing of an Arisen.
The First Choice
If the Arisen takes Grigori up on his offer, the story is effectively cut much shorter than it would be in other endings. As stated in the deal, the Arisen's beloved is sacrificed, and the Arisen now sits on the throne as the new Duke of Gran Soren. This effectively reveals that the previous Duke Edmun created a lie around his heroism. He in fact did not kill the Great Dragon, but instead took the deal to sit on the throne. The player can now be seen on the same throne just as the Duke once was - lonely and miserable.
Should the Arisen deny the Great Dragon's bargain, the player proceeds to fight Grigori to the death and win, which only gives rise to a new conflict. Monsters start to infest the many lands of the world, and Everfall, a new endless dungeon, appears right beneath Gran Soren, which leads to the ruin of the once great royal city. Returning to what's left of said city, you are greeted by the Duke who blames you for the state of the world and sends his soldiers after you. Feeling a pull towards Everfall and with nowhere else to go, the Arisen traverses the dungeon and all its dangers.
At the end of Everfall, the player finally meets the Seneschal, a deity who's tasked to look after the world in exchange for its life essence. He reveals that he too was once an Arisen and that Grigori's actions were on his orders in order to seek out a person of courage and strength of will who can replace him as Seneschal. With his life force nearing its end, he presents the player with yet another choice: live out a normal life, or defeat him and take up the mantle of a deity.
The Final Ending
If the Arisen again takes the Seneschal's offer, they are seen transported right back to Cassardis where their journey began, to a time before Grigori's attack, and with everyone just fine. Their Main Pawn is nowhere to be found, and nothing that can be remotely related to being an adventuring Arisen can be seen. The Seneschal is seen expressing disappointment for the potential the player has shown thus far through their courage and will. In this ending, the cycle goes on as Grigori will again look for another candidate to replace the deity.
Should the player agree to fight the Seneschal, and lose the difficult battle, the third ending is revealed. The player falls from the sky unconscious and midway is transformed into a Great Dragon, quite similar to Grigori's own appearance. This reveals that Grigori and the other Great Dragons are merely Arisen candidates who themselves failed in the fight against the Seneschal in order to succeed him.
Should the player emerge victorious against the Seneschal, he discards his robes, revealing his normal Arisen armor underneath, and bequeaths the player with the Godsbane sword before finally disappearing. This reveals that the Seneschal himself was just another Arisen who successfully succeeded the previous Arisen deity, and so completes the picture of the cycle of choosing Arisen.
As Seneschal, the player can eventually take the Godsbane and plunge it into himself to end this cycle, which begins the fourth and final ending of the story. The Arisen, now lifeless, is seen falling from the sky with their Main Pawn shouting after them. Only one resurfaces on the shores revealed to be Cassardis - the player's Main Pawn, but now with the appearance of the player.
After a moment of confusion and frustration, the final scene is one of calmness, as the once soulless Main Pawn, now joined by the player's beloved, walks away from the sea. xxx
Who are the other Arisen and what happened to them?
The following Arisen have been made known through the game, its various media, and its DLC:
- Arthacos was the original name of Death, a boss-type enemy in the Dark Arisen DLC. As an Arisen, he was sworn to the duty of collecting 1000 human souls for his Great Dragon. While trying to accomplish this and surviving in the Bitterblack Isle, he constantly heard a voice in his head, to which he eventually succumbed and so became the reaper Death.
- Ashe was the original name of Daimon, the final boss of the Dark Arisen DLC. Ashe outright denied the choice presented by his Great Dragon, who in turn transforms him into a malicious creature, derived from the hatred Ashe feels towards his imposed destiny.
- Barroch is an Arisen who didn't much care for his role and decided to live out his life based on his interests instead. He serves as a special Merchant in the Bittleblack Isle.
- Edmun Dragonsbane is the Duke of Gran Soren. He obtained this title when, as an Arisen, he chose to accept Grigori's deal to sacrifice his beloved for a period of peace, and his anointment as royalty.
- Grigori is the current Great Dragon who marks the player as an Arisen. It can be concluded that as an Arisen he was able to best his own Great Dragon, but not the Seneschal soon after.
- Grette was the Arisen mentor of Ashe long before he himself became Arisen. As with all other Arisen, Grette journeyed to find and defeat her Great Dragon and succeeded. When the time came to fight the Seneschal, however, she fell short and lost. Thus she turned into a Great Dragon who was the one who marked Ashe as the next Arisen.
- Savan was the original name of the current Seneschal. As Arisen, he was able to defeat his Great Dragon and the Seneschal before him. Eventually, his life essence would wane and so begin the events of the game. The player undergoes the tutorial section of the game in his appearance.
- Sofiah is an NPC for one of the quests in the game. The player meets her as a spirit, who is revealed to have been Arisen when she was alive. Due to her now Her old-aged appearance, it is believed that she was able to defeat her Great Dragon but instead chose to live out a normal life and so die eventually of natural causes.
- The Dragonforged is an NPC in Dragon's Dogma. He is revealed to be an ancient Arisen who was gravely injured in the fight against his Great Dragon, as marked by his burned arms.