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Masteries - Game Guide - Grim DawnMasteries
In Grim Dawn, you can select from several different classes, known as Masteries. Masteries represent various archetypes from the world of Grim Dawn which you can combine to create your own customized play style. At level 2, you can select your first Mastery. At level 10, you will have the option of selecting a second Mastery to complement your initial choice, creating a Dual-Class character.Dual Class Names
Choosing your Masteries is the most important step of creating a new character in Grim Dawn. The game currently features the following Masteries:Arcanist
To Arcanists, the manifestation of magic is not some unexplainable mystery or the will of the gods, but a science meant to be unraveled. This pursuit of knowledge drives all Arcanists, always eager to discover a new technique to make their namesake. Arcanists warp Aetherial and elemental energy to their will, creating devastating demonstrations of power that rival small armies. However, such raw force leaves little in terms of defense.
Pyrotechnic masters of the imperial army; Demolitionists are part engineer; part sorcerer. They were used to break enemy ranks and breach fortifications with their devastating array of explosives and destructive magic. They usually prefer to fight at range; engaging enemies with guns, traps and explosives but they can also be proficient with melee weapons.
Nightblades were clandestine warriors that sold their services to the great houses of the empire. Nightblades excel with all manner of martial weapons but are most feared for the deadly blade magic that is the secret of their trade. Nightblades are not suited to go toe to toe with tougher enemies and rely on illusion to close for quick, devastating attacks or fight from a distance with phantasmal blades.
Once hunted by imperial forces in an effort to control eldritch power, the Occultist's craft focuses heavily on summoning and borrowed powers granted by the three witch gods Bysmiel, Solael and Dreeg. Their diverse arts include abhorrent curses and spells that inflict damage with poison, acid, and entropic energy. Excelling with neither sword nor gun, they can use either to augment their offense.
Hailing from the untamed northlands, Shamans were the spiritual leaders and guardians of their people. Claiming an astounding attunement to the wilds and their patron deity Mogdrogen, Shamans are capable of wielding the terrible forces of nature against their foes or even calling upon savage beasts to come to their aid. Shamans excel in the use of brutal two-handed melee weapons, but can easily adapt to other tools of war when conjuring their primal powers.
Soldiers of the imperial army were trained to survive in the most hellish conditions and hold the line against the deadliest enemies of the empire. Soldiers prefer the use of close combat weaponry, such as a sword and shield, but can also prove formidable with firearms. What a Soldier may lack in outright damage output is made up for in fortitude and leadership.
As members of the esteemed Luminari Order, Inquisitors were responsible for protecting the Erulan Empire from the dangers of the arcane and the occult. Over the centuries, the Inquisitors gathered countless relics of unimaginable power, but duty sometimes overcomes safety, and some of these relics were studied and in turn replicated for use by the inquisition. While they excel with ranged weapons, Inquisitors are armed with an arsenal of relics and arcane runes that allow them to be more than capable in close-quarters combat.
(Requires the Ashes of Malmouth Expansion)
Though most modern Necromancers hail from the Order of Death's Vigil and the training of the mysterious Uroboruuk, not all choose the secluded life. While their profession naturally inspires fear and revulsion, the Necromancers of Cairn seek balance through research and mastery over the ultimate fate that awaits all mortals: death. Necromancers make heavy use of conjuring forth skeletal minions and sapping the very vitality from their unwary foes, though entering the fray themselves with martial weapons is not unheard of.
(Requires the Ashes of Malmouth Expansion)
Resetting Skill Points
If you find that a particular skill you have invested in is not working out for you, you can visit a Spirit Guide that will unlearn skill points for a fee. You cannot unlearn a skill point invested in an active skill without first unlearning all points from passive skills which affect it. You also cannot remove points from the Mastery bar.
To learn more about the Spirit Guide, visit the Service NPCs page.Mastery Calculator
Our fans have been busy creating tools to assist in the creation of your characters. One such example is GrimTools, created by Dammitt, which allows you to plan out your builds.
You can visit the GrimTools website here.
Monsters - Game Guide - Grim DawnMonsters
The world of Cairn is a dangerous place teeming with vicious wildlife, terrifying aether-mutated beasts, and horrors from the chthonic void. Few dare venture beyond the relative safety of hastily built walls, but those that do should be prepared to face off against deadly threats the likes of which humanity has never faced before.
Groups of cultists and outlaws, once kept in check by a society now in ruins, thrive in this depraved new world. Their despicable acts of violence and betrayal against other humans are perhaps the greatest danger of all.What You See Is What You Get
As you travel across Cairn, you will encounter creatures, and humans, that are equipped with weapons and armor. Unlike most games though, when your foe is slain, they will drop their valuable gear for you to collect. Frequently, the items are of poor quality and will disintegrate so as not to clutter the screen, but sometimes you may find yourself facing off against a murderous outlaw carrying a sword that sparks with lightning. That is when you know you are in for a serious fight.
While the challenge may be greater, so is the reward. When you defeat this insidious lowlife, he will also drop his ill-gained Unique item. What this boils down to is that enemies can carry powerful equipment that can seriously boost their potential while also previewing to you the deadly arsenal soon to be at your disposal.
This can also really change up how you approach a fight. If a boss spawns with a weapon that burns mana, you might suddenly find yourself low on precious energy. Likewise, an enemy wearing a ring that provides high resistances might boost their survivability against your selection of spells. The possibilities are as limitless as the combinations of loot in Grim Dawn.Hero Monsters
Hero Monsters represent the champions of the enemy and are denoted by a star over their head. The star should give you an indication that a challenging battle lies ahead. Hero Monsters come with a massive array of unique skills with which they will seek your destruction, are highly resistant to crowd control effects and take reduced damage from % of Current Life attacks. Some are represented as archetypes, while others use a custom skill-set unique to that Hero. All Hero Monsters may also use skills normally used by their non-heroic counterparts. The following are the archetypes you may encounter:
- Bruiser - takes reduced damage, deals increased damage and has a chance to stun on attacks
- Burning - deals bonus fire damage and periodically activates a ring of fire around itself
- Charger - periodically charges far away targets
- Corrupted - periodically creates an explosion of aether around itself and creates an aura which empowers itself and nearby allies with the aether
- Defender - creates an aura which reduces damage taken by itself and nearby allies and has a chance to stun on attack
- Diseased - has an aura of poisonous fumes around itself at all times and periodically creates a field of noxious poison
- Electrified - deals bonus lightning damage and periodically casts a nova of lightning orbs
- Frozen - periodically launches a freezing orb and creates an aura which bestows chilling bonuses upon itself and nearby allies
- Reflective - periodically creates a shield around itself which reflects a portion of all damage taken
- Regenerator - creates an aura which increases health regeneration for itself and nearby allies
- Shielded - periodically shields itself against magical damage and attacks with an elemental bolt
- Supporter - creates an aura which increases the damage dealt by itself and nearby allies and occasionally cast a chain heal on allies
- Swift - creates an aura which increases attack and movement speed for itself and nearby allies
- Unstoppable - deals bonus chaos damage and creates an aura which makes itself and nearby allies immune to all crowd control effects
- Voidtouched - surrounds itself with a chaotic blaze and periodically casts chaos chain lightning. Some variants can also chaos teleport onto far away targets
- Arcane - periodically launches an Elemental bolt that purges buffs and creates an aura which increases elemental damage for itself and nearby allies (Found in Grim Dawn: Ashes of Malmouth only)
- Timewarped - periodically unleashes projectiles and fields that slow and petrify and creates an aura which accelerates nearby allies and slow nearby players (Found in Grim Dawn: Ashes of Malmouth only)
- Vampiric - periodically launches a wave of vitality-sapping energy that heals it for the damage dealt and creates an aura that grants life leech to itself and nearby allies (Found in Grim Dawn: Ashes of Malmouth only)
Whenever a hero is slain, it will spawn a loot orb. Upon breaking, the loot orb will spill out precious iron bits and a collection of items that can be of any quality. Some of the best equipment in the game can drop from Hero Monsters. They are also one of the best sources for acquiring crafting blueprints.
There are hundreds of hand-crafted Hero Monsters you may encounter in Grim Dawn!Boss Monsters
As to be expected, Boss Monsters are the epitome of challenge in Grim Dawn and are denoted by purple names and unique appearances. They are the leaders of humanity’s foes, the monstrosities few have even seen and fewer still survived. Some Boss Monsters are humans who have forsaken their humanity for the sake of great power. Others are mythical beasts, ancient predators spoken of in legends. Then there are the Aetherial agents and Chthonian horrors, beings from beyond Cairn who have come to ravage the world for their own purposes.
Boss Monsters drop the best equipment in the game, either through a locked chest or a loot orb similar to that of Hero Monsters. Many Boss Monsters can also drop equipment that is unique only to them, making hunting them down a worthy endeavor. But earning that loot will not be easy. Boss Monsters are armed with hard-hitting spells, strong defenses and near-immunity to crowd control effects and % Current Life attacks.
There are dozens of bosses to discover in the world of Cairn, each presenting a unique challenge to test your skill.
Combat - Game Guide - Grim DawnCombat
As you set out to explore Grim Dawn’s war-ridden world, you will inevitably come upon creatures, and even people, that will seek to harm you. On rare occasions, you will have an opportunity to resolve your differences with diplomacy rather than a blade, but options are limited when a frothing rifthound is pouncing upon you.
Grim Dawn’s fast-paced combat will test your mettle as you face off against seemingly unstoppable Chthonic horrors and aether-warped monstrosities. But before you set out to slaughter the hordes of enemies eager to wipe out the last remnants of humanity, it is important to learn about the mechanics that drive combat.Basic Mechanics
Armor in Grim Dawn is location-based. Whenever an enemy attacks you with a physical attack or skill, an area on your body will be randomly selected to take the hit. The probability goes as follows:
- Head: 15%
- Shoulders: 15%
- Torso: 26%
- Arms: 12%
- Legs: 20%
- Feet: 12%
What this means is that upgrading your equipment is equally important across all armor slots. Wearing low level leg armor can be tempting if it provides you with beneficial stats, but it can also spell your doom if a particularly strong attack lands on your legs.Landing Hits and Critical Hits
The ability to hit and critically hit is directly tied to your Offensive Ability (OA) and your target’s Defensive Ability (DA). When your OA is higher than your opponent’s DA, your chance to hit and even critically hit will increase.
As you continue to gain more bonuses to your OA, you will reach higher critical multipliers. The highest possible critical multiplier is x1.5, but to achieve this threshold you must either significantly out-level your target or have invested heavily in your OA.
Both weapon attacks and abilities rely on OA to hit and critically hit, so OA is an important attribute for any character. Offensive Ability and Defensive Ability can be increased through Cunning and Physique, respectively, and directly through equipment and skills.% Weapon Damage
As you discover new abilities, you will eventually stumble upon skills that deal % Weapon Damage. What this means is that the skill takes the damage and effects you would deal on a regular attack and multiplies it by the displayed %. This includes things such as life steal, bonus magical damage and chance on attack item skills.
Example: 125% Weapon Damage on a skill will take your basic attack and multiply it by x1.25Flat vs. Percent Damage
Damage on equipment comes in two forms: Flat Damage and Percent Damage. Flat Damage applies only to your weapon attacks and does not increase the damage from your skills unless they include a % Weapon Damage component. If found on a weapon, the Flat Damage bonus applies only to that weapon.
Percent Damage bonuses affect all damage dealt of that type, which includes skills and weapon attacks. So if you have a 20% bonus to Fire Damage, all of your fire-based skills will do increased damage, as well as any fire damage you deal on weapon attacks.Elemental Damage
Elemental Damage is a combination of the three basic magical elements: Fire, Ice and Lightning. When it appears as flat damage, Elemental Damage will be dealt as 1/3 Fire + 1/3 Ice + 1/3 Lightning, divided equally.
Percent Elemental Damage on the other hand is a bonus to all three elements equal to the full value. It is not split evenly. This makes percent Elemental Damage a powerful way to increase several damage types at once.% Current Life Damage
Percent Current Life Damage is dealt as a fraction of the monster's current health. This causes Percent Current Life damage to be less effective the closer to death the target is. The damage is not a temporary reduction to the target's maximum health.
Note that Hero and Boss Monsters have a high resistance to this damage type.Life Steal
Percent of Attack Damage Converted to Health is a form of life steal available in Grim Dawn. It functions differently depending on whether you find it on equipment or on a skill. When on equipment, life steal applies only to your weapon attacks. If you use a skill with % Weapon Damage, that component of the skill benefit from the life steal. In either case, only the direct damage is considered for life steal. Damage over Time, such as Bleed or Poison, does not trigger it.
When found on a skill, Percent of Attack Damage Converted to Health applies to all of that skill's direct damage.Passively Activated Weapon Skills
Some abilities in Grim Dawn are passively activated on your basic attacks. The Soldier and Nightblade masteries provide several examples of this. Each of these abilities has a chance to activate, which is displayed as a percentage. What that means is that on every basic attack you do, you will have a chance of using the ability instead.
As you invest in these skills, their chance of activation will increase. It is possible to get the total chance of activating passive weapon abilities to go beyond 100%. When this occurs, all of your basic attacks will be replaced by abilities and their chances of activation will be used to determine their relative frequency.
Shields are the definitive defensive option for the off-hand. When you are struck by an attack with a shield equipped, you will have a chance to block some of the damage (shields can block any damage type). When this occurs, you will be unable to block again until the shield’s Block Recovery time has expired. This cooldown can be reduced through various skills and equipment.
Some abilities can use the shield when striking, rather than your weapon. In this case, the % Weapon Damage component of the ability will use the shield’s damage rather than your main-hand.Crowd Control
There are many ways in Grim Dawn with which you can lock down your target’s ability to react to you. These effects are known as crowd control. The following are the various effects players (and monsters) can use to get advantage in battle:
- Stun - This effect prevents all actions for its duration.
- Freeze - This effect prevents all actions for its duration.
- Petrify - This effect prevents all actions for its duration.
- Knockdown - This effect sends the target flying and crumbling to the ground. The target will stand back up at the end of its duration. Players are immune to knockdowns.
- Trap - This effect immobilizes the target for its duration. It is particularly strong against melee monsters.
- Confusion - This effect causes the target to wander aimlessly for its duration. Players are immune to confusion.
- Fear - This effect causes the target to flee from the caster for its duration. Players are immune to fear.
- Sleep - This effect prevents all actions for its duration, but will end early if the target takes damage.
- Convert - This effect causes the target to fight on your side for its duration. Players are immune to convert.
- Slow - This effect reduces the attack speed, cast speed, move speed or a combination of all three of the target for its duration.
Buffs, Debuffs and Damage over Time
There are many effects in Grim Dawn which can be applied through several different sources. Whenever this occurs, the strongest effect always takes precedence. For example, if two players in a multiplayer session have the same aura active, the player who invested more skill points into the aura will have theirs take effect while the other player’s will not apply its bonuses. For buffs with a duration that are applied from equipment procs, the effects are independent and will stack.
This works similarly for debuff effects. If you apply a % reduction to a monster’s damage by using a skill and then apply the same effect with a weapon attack, only the strongest debuff will take effect. The effects do not stack. In the case that a strong effect has a shorter duration than a weaker effect, the weaker effect will become active once the stronger effect expires. A special exception to this rule are debuff effects which directly modify specific stats or resistances, such as -% Vitality resistance. If two differently named debuffs (ex. Curse of Frailty and Devouring Swarm) both reduce a target's specific Resistance by -%, the effect will stack as they are two unique debuff effects altering the same attributes.
Damage over time (DoT) effects are different. Unlike debuff effects, DoTs stack from different sources and always do full damage. For example, if you apply Poison with your weapon, and then another Poison effect with a spell, both will deal full damage.
Constitution is a secondary health regeneration system which activates outside of combat. It is represented by a yellow overlay on your health bar. Whenever Constitution activates, your Constitution pool will be drained as your health rapidly refills. If you run out of Constitution, you will no longer rapidly regenerate health outside of combat. To exit combat, you must avoid dealing or taking damage for 2.5 seconds.
Constitution can be restored in various ways:
- Gaining a level
- Picking up Vital Essence or Food Rations from a fallen enemy or a Journeyman’s Pack
- Looting an Untouched Meal
- Speaking to the Cook in Devil’s Crossing (once per game session)
Potions serve as a means to restore your health or energy in an emergency. When your skills and defenses have failed and you find yourself on the brink of death, it is time to drink a potion.
Tonics of Mending restore 25% + 800 of your health instantly and another 25% over a few seconds. They are on a 12 second cooldown.
Elixirs of Spirit restore 33% + 250 of your energy instantly. They are on a 25 second cooldown.
Pets are powerful companions you can summon to your aid. These can be anything from a trusty raven familiar to a devious thermite mine. All pets scale separately from you and benefit from special bonuses, found on equipment and skills, which only apply to pets.
Some pets last for only a few seconds, while others can be summoned indefinitely. Some pets can also be issued direct commands, such as to attack a specific target or to move to a specific location. These pets will have their health status displayed in the upper left of the screen. Controllable pets have three stances: Normal, Defensive and Aggressive.
- Normal Stance is the default used when a pet is summoned. It is a balance between the Defensive and Aggressive states.
- Defensive Stance forces the pet to stay close to you and causes it to attack anything that attacks you.
- Aggressive Stance allows the pet to roam and attack anything that comes within its line of sight. It will aggressively seek out targets, even ones that have not attacked you.
The enemies of humanity are relentless, but there are many methods available to keep yourself alive. It is important to know how the various levels of defense stack up. In order for an attack to land, it must make it through the following defenses:
- Fumble, Dodge and Projectile Deflection
- Chance to hit via Offensive Ability vs. Defensive Ability
- % Reduced Damage from Monster Types
- Reduced Damage from Monster Types
- % Damage Absorption
- Damage Absorption
Because flat damage absorption occurs only after damage has gone through all your other defenses, it can be a very powerful tool in your survival and should not be underestimated.Armor Formula
It suffices to say that the more armor you have, the less physical damage you will take, but there are some rules as to how armor functions which make it a little deeper than that.
Armor in Grim Dawn has both a defense value and an absorption value. By default, your armor absorption is 70% across all your equipment. Whenever you take a physical damage hit, your armor will absorb some of the damage, up to the percentage of your armor absorption, but anything above your armor goes completely through.
- You are attacked for 100 damage and the attack hits you in the torso, which has 50 armor. In this case, you will take 65 damage. 50 of the damage goes through immediately, while the remaining 50 protected by your armor is modified by your armor absorption (30% of 50), which means another 15 gets through for a total of 65.
- You are attacked for 100 damage and the attack hits you in the head, which has 124 armor. In this case, you will take 30 damage. Even though your armor is higher than the damage inflicted, 30% of the damage will always go through because of armor absorption.
- You are attacked for 100 damage and the attack hits you in the head, which has 124 armor, but this time you also have a 20% bonus to armor absorption on your helmet. In this case, you will take 16 damage. Your armor absorption is 70% * 1.2, or 84%, which allowed you to absorb 84 damage from the blow.
Offensive Ability (OA) and Defensive Ability (DA) are critical to both your ability to deal out damage and in your own survival. If you let your Offensive Ability fall behind as you level, you will find that more and more of your attacks will miss. Similarly, an insufficient Defensive Ability will result in your enemies not only landing blows more frequently but also sometimes landing devastating critical hits. The relationship between Offensive and Defensive Ability is handled through the following equation:
Probability To Hit (PTH) = ((((Attacker's OA / ((Defender's DA / 3.5) + Attacker's OA)) * 300) * 0.3) + (((((Attacker's OA * 3.25) + 10000) - (Defender's DA * 3.25)) / 100) * 0.7)) - 50
The value resulting from this calculation is your chance to strike the target. You may notice that it is feasible for this chance to go over 100. This is where the critical multiplier thresholds come in.
PTH Threshold 1: 70 (1.0 damage)
If your PTH is lower than 70, any attacks that land will do reduced damage. The damage reduction multiplier is equal to your PTH / 70 (ex. if your PTH is 65, you will do 92.86% of normal damage on a hit, or 65/70). It is highly uncommon to go below a PTH of 70, though it can happen against targets that are significantly higher level than you.
Example: PTH = 65, 1-65 hits for 93.33% damage, 66-100 misses
PTH Threshold 2: 90 (1.10x damage)
When your PTH reaches 90 and beyond, you will begin to see critical hits.
Example: PTH = 97, 1-89 hits, 90-97 critically hits for 1.1x damage, 98-100 misses
PTH Threshold 3: 105 (1.2x damage)
At PTH 100 and above, you cannot miss your target. At PTH 105+, you will begin to see the second tier of critical hits.
Example: PTH = 107, 1-89 hits, 90-104 critically hits for 1.1x damage, 105-107 critically hits for 1.2x damage
PTH Threshold 4: 120 (1.3x damage)
At PTH 120 and above, you will begin to see the third tier of critical hits.
Example: PTH = 124, 1-89 hits, 90-104 critically hits for 1.1x damage, 105-119 critically hits for 1.2x damage, 120-124 critically hits for 1.3x damage
PTH Thresholds 5 and 6: 130 (1.4x damage) and 135 (1.5x damage)
The pattern continues for the final two tiers of critical hits. Beyond the 6th threshold, you will no longer see higher critical hit values, but you will see critical hits more reliably.Conversion
Conversion is a special stat found on equipment and skills that changes one damage type to another. The way it behaves is different depending on whether it modifies a skill or is found on a piece of equipment.
The order of events for Conversion is as follows: Base Skill > Skill Modifiers > Conversion on the Skill or Transmuter > Conversion on Equipment and Buffs > Equipment, Auras and Passives
If you have a skill, such as a Transmuter, that converts the damage your attack does, then this calculation is performed before any bonuses from other skills, attributes or equipment are considered. Skill modifiers are still applied first. What this means is that if you take a skill that normally deals Aether damage and use Conversion to make it deal Chaos damage instead, then the skill will benefit from % Chaos Damage bonuses instead of % Aether Damage bonuses.
If you have an amulet with 10% of physical damage converted to fire, that means that 10% of all physical damage you deal (regardless of source) will be dealt as fire instead. This calculation is done before any bonuses you receive to physical damage from Cunning, skills and equipment. What this means is that you can change the damage your weapons and skills do to suit the % damage bonuses on your equipment, opening up exciting opportunities for hybrid builds.
No matter where the Conversion occurs though, it is only applied once. What this means is that if a skill has its damage converted to another damage type via a Modifier or Transmuter (ex. Aether turned into Chaos), the converted damage cannot then be converted again by items (the Chaos damage from the earlier example cannot be then turned into Elemental via an item because Conversion has already occurred).
Arcanist - Game Guide - Grim DawnArcanist
To Arcanists, the manifestation of magic is a science whose secrets are theirs to be unraveled. This pursuit of knowledge drives all Arcanists to reach for new heights as they pursue powers to make their namesake. They manifest these powers through anything ranging from trivial weapon enchantments to rays of pure destructive energy. Arcanists warp the mysterious Aether and the elements to their will, creating demonstrations of power that rival small armies. However, such tactics leave little room for defense.
Arcanists display unrivaled control over magic. If you seek to discover the true potential of the arcane, then the Arcanist is right for you.Features Master of the Aether
Arcanists wield magic in its raw form, harnessing the power of the Aether and bending it to create destructive powers that decimate enemy lines and disintegrate all they touch.Elementalist
Arcanists have mastery over fire, ice and lightning, manifesting these elements in fiery explosions, blasts of freezing cold and surges of raw electricity.Reckless Power
Arcanists wield unparalleled destruction at their fingertips that embodies the "glass cannon" playstyle. Arcanists reason that offense is the best defense. The scattered remains of their foes are a testament to this philosophy.Skills
The following are some of the skills available to masters of the arcane:Panetti's Replicating Missile
"The greatest of the Cortosian Arcanists, Panetti devoted himself to advancing the classic arcane missile. His triumph was the devastating alteration that seemingly defies the laws of conservation of energy, causing the missile to be replicated on impact, spawning multiple copies of itself."Olexra's Flash Freeze
"A victim of political intrigue, Olexra was condemned to the Black Legion where her former life of arcane academia turned into a bitter struggle to survive on the frontlines of a brutal war. Olexra quickly put her studies to practical use, developing a technique to flash freeze enemies who made it within striking distance."Albrecht's Aether Ray
"A powerful arcane technique perfected by Master Albrecht in the years just preceding the Grim Dawn that channels raw arcane energies into a concentrated beam of destruction."Devastation
"Hailed as the ultimate force of destruction known to Arcanists, this technique tears a rift in reality through which fall embers of raw arcane energy. This dangerous spell is extremely draining and should not be used lightly."
Components | Grim Dawn Wiki