Lore - How does the taken (the player) learn his "skills"?

While the NPCs all seem to have learned their “skills” from one another, like magic in other franchises, since most of them are part of organizations in which it would make sense that they teach newbies. But the player is a huge exception. He just kills some Zombies and suddenly knows how to summon Skeletons or a Raven. I have one theory that would make kind of sense. The taken might have already known every skill in all classes before he was taken, but he “hid it in his mind” so the Aetherial won’t get all that power. So in the back of his mind he still kind of knows everything and when he gets strong enough his old self just unlocks certain “skills” to the taken. So you can just choose between such a variety of skills and master them in an instant, because you actually already mastered all of them a long time ago. Anything else I could come up with makes much less sense.
If you know how it works, or have a better idea, please tell me. I really want to know.

I think it’s been explained away at one point that your character suffers amnesia before the start of the game and you (the player) selecting your masteries/skills corresponds to your character slowly remembering their past experiences and abilities.

1 Like

But he didn’t know everything, he only knew whatever you choose him to remember?

Presumably yes. I don’t think it would sense for anyone in Cairn to be a trained Soldier, Nightblade, Arcanist, Inquisitor, Necromancer etc. all at once :stuck_out_tongue:.

Okay, thanks. ^^

1 Like

the taken’s past is made to be blank by crate’s design.

all we know is that the taken is possessed by allostria the mindthief (no reason is explained why and how, only that this wipes out the taken’s memories of past life, and allostria thinks that the taken’s desires in life is pathetic).

it is possible that allostria choose the taken because of their huge potential in harnessing not just aether power, but also eldritch, void, death, elemental, and any other powers. allostria herself is an important aetherial that is a chosen candidate to lead the aetherial project in malmouth, but the aether circle of five (or four? can’t remember) chose theodin marcel instead, because his surgery works impressed them.

allostria and the taken, for some reason, tries to go through the rift portal in devil’s crossing alone, presumably to conquer the prison and aid krieg in amassing more corpses to bolster the aetherial forces against the chthonian bloodsworns. but bourbon, sahdina, and jarvis put an anti aetherial trap around the rift, and succeeded in trapping allostria and the taken. allostria mocks their attempt at resistance, but she don’t want to be hanged to death with the taken (probably because it’ll take a long time for her to resurrect back from the aetherhold and upsetting her masters), so she chose to fled quickly from the scene, and the taken is left the mercy of bourbon & jarvis.

aside from their past life’s experience and allostria’s influence, remember that kasparov also tries to do aetherial experiment with the taken, to harness the personal rift gate skill the taken possess (it ended up in failure, but still strengthen the taken’s power).

one of the praises bourbon said to the taken after they slain kyzogg the reanimator and aiding kasparov & barnabas is that the taken is resourceful. this is a subtle hint at the taken’s willingness to use ANY means to accomplish their goals, in this case protecting devil’s crossing because they saved the taken from death/eternal possession by aetherials. the taken can also choose any kind of celestial powers they wish to use. with some help from spirit guides like sahdina, the taken can put any celestial power to their own ends, even putting chthon’s own void power against the chthonians themselves, or aether against aetherials, etc.

one thing for sure, the taken’s past is never explained at all in the game. so that players can fill the blank with their own backstory.

maybe the taken is a black legion member in his past life. the black legion is renowned for taking recruits from all kinds of background. even necromancer and occultist. maybe the taken is a fellow inquisitor like creed. maybe the taken is a member of gildam arcanum arcanists or an independent arcanist. maybe the taken is a rhowari shaman that dabbles in the wendigo power. maybe the taken is a former bloodsworn member. maybe the taken is a follower of the 3 witch gods. the possibilities are endless.

so in conclusion, the taken probably have mastered some skills related to their class that the player chose in the past. and their journey through cairn after grim dawn, combined with the helping from spirit guides to heal their mind and the blessings/curses from celestials/ascendants/other beings shape the power possessed by the taken.

personally, i have a theory that the taken’s blood contain a fragment of chthon that has strong compassion for the plight of humanity. this fragment combined with the fickle machination of fate, led to the taken trying really hard to defend cairn & humanity from any threats that wants to destroy cairn and mankind (aetherials, chthonians, undeads, & korvaak’s blind destructive wrath). in the grim dawn storyline, whatever path the taken choses, whether its light, gray, or dark, will always end with the protection of mankind and cairn as the goal.


It’s been implied that your character lost their memory after getting possessed, so as you level up, your character starts remembering who he was.

But I wouldn’t worry too much about it, since Crate doesn’t really cares about keeping their lore consistent for quite a while.

Lol…running low on shit to complain about so you’re grasping at straws?


The taken’s story is yours to write! Their history, their motives, where they got their skills from, all of it!

The beauty of this game is that, if you take the time to immerse yourself in its environs, and read every lore note, and speak to every NPC, you can draft up some builds based around where and how you want your character to fit into the story.

I have to share @MikeHeydon’s awesome NPC lore thread here because theres not a lot of this kind of character background story shared very often, and this might inspire you to approach the game differently. I know it did that for me.


It’s this basically. You are the one that supposed to give your character their backstory and choosing masteries is a reflection of that.

Yea, at the end of the day, much like Judge Dredd.
In this game - “You are the Lore”


Which reminds me, ive got a new classless NPC lore based build coming, once the Twin Falls update goes live! Ive been on a long break from it- TOO long. Every time one of them dies, I need to take some time, collect myself, before jumping back in. Playing around in SC is therapeutic and helps to cope with the trauma of loss lol.

I am ready, and have a whole character backstory prepared. But it relies on whatever comes in the Twin Falls update, so I have to wait for its release before going official with the new classless build.

1 Like

My dear kukuhimanpr,
You do not intend to write a kind of a “Silmarillion of Cairn” by some time i assume?
I would love to read it.
To read the story from start to end. Empyrion, Chton´s fall, the Aetherial Invasion, meanwhile (?) Korvaaks overthrow, Theodins and Kriegs plans, and so forth.

The idea of putting the whole story in tiny little fragments and letters in the game is a great one. But for me, I feel like thereby I never quite grasped the view on the whole story.

1 Like

The Taken could receive his/her knowledge from Allostria herself. As we know, Aetherials can ‘inherit’ some experience and personality traits from their hosts, as it happened with Krieg (brutality of the former warden), Anasteria and Corinia (human feelings). Assuming that the Taken isn’t Allostria’s first host, she could’ve possessed at least two different people with different specialisations (dual-class system, remember?) and, therefore left a part of her experience in the Taken’s mind. Anyway, if the aetherial can inherit something from their hosts, why can’t it work vice-versa?


i’m not organized or meticulous enough to attempt such comprehensive lore writing, but if anybody/some group wants to make such grim dawn lore codex, i’d gladly contribute. i mostly like to theorize and connect the scattered dark souls-esque lore pieces of grim dawn.

also, such a project will require thorough combing of the entire grim dawn lore. from the lore notes, conversations, item/skill/constellation descriptions, and lastly the lores from grim dawn misadventures… each of them should not contradict each other (legends and myths can contradict with each other though. unless the truth about them has been proven).

it should be also noted that allostria has the title ‘mindthief’. its unknown if she (it?) has only possessed the taken and the aetherial mage in fleshworks, or if she has possessed several others before.

it is worth noting that the aetherial that possess krieg was annoyed by krieg’s persistency at scratching the edge of its consciousness, and implied to be subconsciously unaware that krieg’s influence is more dominating than it realized. we see that krieg acts like krieg himself (brutal warden delighting in causing pain) even though he looked like he’s possesed completely by aether power. this is different from many drone-robot-like aether mage we encounter throughout the game.

which implies that krieg can subtly take power from the aetherial that possessed him without losing himself. which also implies that the taken could have stolen some of allostria’s power/experience.

we should also remember that necromancer and shaman can bind/enslave spirits to empower them without losing themselves if they have strong enough willpower.

well… it seems that almost everything in grim dawn has that scavenger/vampiric nature, of taking something and not giving it back. even celestials are not exempt from this.


If something like that was to be made, I would like to help too. Those stories could even be retold in other media like books, which I always wished for in the Grim Dawn universe.

1 Like

You can start here