Personal NPC and LORE inspired fantasy character builds

Thank you! I am honored you think so!

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Thanks man!

I agree with the posters, awesome job! The lore notes are stunning and make a great read. To get those close up screenshots when a single distraction or misstep will cost you a life is also an achievement in itself. There may be opportunity for a modder or tool developer to come up with a start/stop slideshow method whereby when triggered it starts dumping screenshots every 5 seconds or so until stopped, obviously to a MAX number of seconds as we would not want to fill our disk up. That way you can then cherry pick the shots you need and have no fear of dying while pressing or looking for the screenshot key during critical battles.

I am glad you like the playstyle. As I said before, it is not for everyone, but I have great fun and sense of accomplishment with it and have come to love my “Jane of the Crossing” so much more than even my most powerful monster smashers. As you have found, the style is far from easy and taking the Rambo approach will lead you to an early demise. It is better to live and fight another day and come up with with a different strategy to take down that difficult foe. I am currently level 47 with Jane and having a serious issue in taking down the Loghorrean. I suspect that it is my low chaos resist that I am going to have to get buffed up, but in the meantime she still has many bounties to help her get the levels and equip she needs. He will die!. By the way, I used a much ignored component in her armor that gave me a nice damage boost - Kilrians Shattered Soul. I usually keep this for crafting, but in a classless build it has some great buffs as well as vitality resist. I also managed to get 2 pieces of the Heralds set that gives her a free Diplomacy slot and a Stun chance.

Here is my “Jane of the Crossing” at the moment …

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Well, im 100% on the same page as you man, this is somehow more fun than my most fun characters- knowing someone else doing it too makes it a lot more exciting. Im so glad to have joined the forums, otherwise I wouldnt have been inspired by your post to pursue this play-style, or feel the motivation to do it.

Documenting the adventure has made half the fun! Every battle is exciting and Im always trying to get some amazing shots. Unfortunately, i died for the first time at Swarm Queen Ravna’s hands, trying to catch a great mid-air shot using a leap rune, and got smashed by a falling boulder and then impaled by her talons.

That remains the only death however. I just killed the Amalgamation (which was really intense), and got some decent shots. Will upload later.

Im thinking of going Hardcore with my next one. It will make for a much more gripping story, and once i die, thats the end of the story, as it should be. I feel part of the merit of this classless build is the challenging gameplay but also the flavor- these characters arent the ultra powerful, demi-godlike builds flooding the forums, but rather they are the average joes in the Grim Dawn verse, lowly and meager and lucky to even begin a mastery, let alone master the art of a single skill.

Im more motivated than ever to do this. I may start the new character tonight! Will still continue with Aldous, but im definitely eager to see a hardcore classless build rise and fall!

I cant thank you enough for taking the time to post on all this. You have brought a whole new realm of enjoyment into this game for me. When will we see more adventures of Jane Doe, or others you create? Im dying to see more!


be careful when doing hardcore with lore-rich character. you wouldn’t want all your hardcore chars to get anticlimactic end by loxmere-style-sudden-death-damage-spike-jumpscares.

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But that is the entire point. The Grim Dawn is harsh. Losing a cherished character is what its all about. For me, this makes the struggle and challenge all the more meaningful. I have created my first Hardcore Classless character! Posting in just a bit…


A wedding was supposed to be a celebration of life. Two souls joining, prepared to venture forth into the challenges of the world unimpeded by external forces and drawing strength from within to batter away all opposition in a hailstorm of love and affection. A wedding was supposed to be wonderful foods, and dazzling dresses, and strapping young men in fancy suits and bowties. A wedding was supposed to be sipping fine wines and gossiping the night away, frolicking and dancing and relishing in the moment of holy union. It wasn’t supposed to happen like this…

Much like her own marriage, the wedding was a disaster. The union of love (or lust, as is so often confused for the aforementioned) had failed to wether the storm of external forces, which in this case were not seductions from estranged whores, or rumors and half truths passed around the town alehouse. These external forces took the form of monstrous creatures born out of some sadistic gods fantasy.

Margaret had departed from Devil’s Crossing in a heated argument with her husband Francis, who would have rather stayed home and spent the entire weekend shut in their house reading. He changed so much from the dashing young crackshot gunfighter he had been in his youth. When they had first married, Margaret had been convinced that Francis would become famous for his reputable skill with firearms, especially his custom built pistol that he seemed to treasure more than their marriage. She had believed with said fame would come fortune, and that he would surely shower her with gifts. It took all of 2 years and a childbirth for her to understand that Francis would likely never fire his pistol again- He had resigned and “settled”.

Well Margaret was sick of sitting around in the same old backwater town! When she heard her sister was to be wed to someone of repute up north in the capitol, she jumped at the chance to go on a vacation trip and had begged Francis to come. It would be like old times! Travelling and having adventurous escapades in taverns and theater houses without a care in the world, without a worry about money since they had none to speak of anyway, but at that age, what does it matter?

Never in her wildest dreams did Margaret imagine what she would arrive to see, and she only hoped and prayed that when she returned to Devil’s Crossing, Francis remembered how to fire that gun he loved so much. When the other passengers on the ferryboat began to turn, Margaret knew what she had to do. Jumping into the water, clutching to the wedding gift shed gotten for her sister (the newest installment in her favorite novel’s franchise), she swam as hard as she ever had until she reached the lower Devil’s Crossing docks… Hoisting herself out of the water and onto the dock, she broke into a sprint with one thought on her mind- Francis.

Defensless, but for the now soggy book shed gotten for her sister, she encounters a small group of Aetherial zombies- Turned crew from some of the nearby crashed boats, most like…

With no time to waste, she slides her leg out, managing to trip the first one to lunge at her, then B-lining it for her house…

What on earth happened here… She has a bad feeling about this…

So much death… The rotting bodies, their smell, impossible to avoid, tunnels its way into her lungs, invading her senses and driving her into a panicked run

As Margaret nears her home, she finds several pages torn out of a book. Reaching down, she picks them up- one of Francis’ favorite books… Is she too late?

Suddenly there is a crashing sound, like wood being torn apart. Dropping the pages, she looks up with a start- A giant bloated monster is coming right for her!


Someone’s writing a book based on this thread, right?


Before she has a chance to react, the bloated monster sucks in a giant mouthful of air with a sickening gurgle…

…and releases a sickly, acidic spew of noxious fluids that sizzles as it touches her cloths and skin!

Wiping the fluid from her eyes and squinting through stinging blurred vision, Margaret charges recklessly through her front door, now utterly destroyed

NO! Francis! Margarets heart tears apart inside of her… He may have been a lousy husband, but he was HER husband! Oh the despair! Collapsing to the floor, she sobs so deeply she barely notices another monstrous creature lurking in the shadows before her

Quickly, all she has to do is run back out the way she ca-

Oh no… Now surrounded, Margaret doesnt know what to do. She has to move, wherever she moves she just has to move!!! With no time to spare on her emotions and suffering despair, Margaret gathers herself and swiftly ducks beneath another spewing stream of Aetherial puke


They may be relentless, but the Aetherials dont know her house like she does! Margaret ducks out the back door, and circles around to the front, confusing the monsters and gaining precious time with which to arm herself…

As a husband, Francis was many things, and not all of them good. One good thing he did do, however, was teach Margaret how to handle a gun!!!

Margaret never asked for much in life. Perhaps she was a bit too demanding and had unrealistic expectations of her husband Francis, but she did love him. These bastard monsters took everything she ever had away from her. Everything except Francis’ gun. Now she would use that gun to make them pay!


Now armed, and with a vendetta to settle, Margaret checks on the rest of the townspeople… But to little avail, as most are dead or turned.

She will need more ammunition if she means to make a difference and dispense some well deserved payback, so she stoped by the local store- No one is around to mind if she takes a few free pieces of jewelry as well.

Next she will need some food in her belly, otherwise she wont be able to sustain the fury her vengeance requires for much longer…

…but the bastards cant even let her eat in peace.

Now, to find the source of this scourge! On her way, managing to actually save someone whos left alive!

A nearby tree groans with sinister wailing cries, its branches protesting under the weight of so many rotting corpses, strung up like christmas ornaments from their lofty realm

Wait… Whats that rumbling from underneath the ground… Something is coming…

Oh… my…

It’s barely scratching this thing!! Damn it, Francis! Why didn’t you teach me how to use the special modification on this weapon… Guess ill just have to try to figure it out through trial by… Fire… Ha ha ha


Need to learn to run better

The beast throws a heavy lumbering barrage at the ground where Margaret just barely evades.

Now at reasonable distance, she turns to fire… Come on, Francis! Lets get this thing to work!!!

A direct hit fells the beast, at last…

…but Margaret is not yet free from danger- The summoned horde of Aetherials surrounds her, before she quickly runs to safe distance, letting fly precise shots and laying the bastards low one by one.

Reload, hurry, reload!!! It’s close!!! NOW!!!

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Margaret carries on her crusade, purifying the Aetherial menace that surrounds Devil’s Crossing, with no remorse…

Nearly surrounded, she bursts through the enemy line. The enemy reaching out to grasp her, their craggy rotten fingers finding no purchase.

Whirling around to face the dead, she readies her aim and unleashes a blazing salvo upon them

Venturing into the Hill, she discovers a grotesque body bordello

Purge them with fire and fury!!!

Got the hang of it now!! Flames wreathing her enemies, melting away this otherworldy possession and returning them to the earth

She remembers to run

A near his with some kind of Aerther projectile almost eviscerates her gun arm

The beast, Kyzogg, raises its arms in defiance, summoning more of the Aetherials to swarm against Margaret, but she wont give it the time! Sending a well placed shot home center mass

She almost has time to place another shot, but one of Kyzoggs reanimated creatures swat her gun arm away with a rugged blow, her hand temporarily infused with some kind of strange effect, preventing her fingers from following the orders her brain attempts to give them

Kyzogg now infuriated, Margaret works quickly to finish the job, laying its minions low in the process


Who’s next…


many great screenshots and background stories to accompany it, we need more fan-created story driven playthrough in this forum.

we should move this thread to community collections, this thread can inspire many more fan-created stories, screenshots, arts, and stuff like them.

i do have some criticism though. all the stories and screenshots here have been only concerning the very detailed walkthrough of grim dawn casual characters playthrough from main story. I think we all want to see more specific screenshot and stories concerning several side quests/stories, such as a necromancer character detailing their plight in aiding death’s vigil’s search for uroboruuk or rescuing rallia the homestead witch from homestead fanatic ignorants who likes blind violence. or even an oathkeeper’s journey to find traces of their ancenstor korvan civilization and piecing together the complete story of korvan empire’s downfall.

or even more tragic stories like occultists who were frustrated because they have to aid black legion in defeating the bloodsworns and chthonians while having miniscule chaos rr against chaos resistant foes…

my point is, we also need super duper end tier builds players adding some stories and screenshots of their own. because grim dawn isn’t just stories about some people trudging through the aftermath of grim dawn and trying to survive. there’s a lot of side quests, lore notes, and npc personal stories that deserve more stories and exposure to fans’ creativity.


I fully intend to give stories for all my future characters, having seen how fun this is, but its my opinion that @MikeHeydon has the right idea here- Developing stories for builds that have flavorful limitations is just so much more meaningful for me personally. I will leave stories based on all powerful invincible builds for others. I have found a home in this game, creating characters with janky mechanics and intentional weaknesses in order to suit a desired persona or icon. Its breathing new life into this game, reimagining my characters based off NPC lore and lore notes, and i am of a mind to build a lot more characters, all from differen backgrounds, and not all classless… But for the case of this post, classless is the challenge and thus classless it shall remain.

I agree, there should be a post for ALL the stories of character builds of Cairn- not just classless ones. But this post is specifically about classless, and thats why only classless stuff is being posted.


Jane’s endeavour after retreating from the Loghorrean

The attempt to put and end to this hideous creature resulted in one of Jane’s greatest setbacks. Even with the help of her old cook friend Ulgrim from Devil’s Crossing, who as we all now know is actually the First Blade of the Emperor, they had to beat a hasty retreat. Concerned that they needed more chaos and vitality resistances, Ulgrim urged Jane to find extra resources and equipment that will give them an edge against this monster. He would wait at the lair entrance and suggested she ask Creed to see if he had any advice or help on this matter.

Chin Wagging with Creed at Fort Icon


Creed re emphasised the fact that they had their hands full at Fort Icon and was unable to supply any soldiers from the garrison to assist. He did however mention that one of his scouts in the Blood Grove came across a lady who was locked out of her hideout in Morton’s Claim. After a brief chat with her she said she was a specialist in the protection against life draining horrors and had all the books and equipment beyond the collapsed entrance to her cave. The scout was unable to clear the rubble blocking the entrance and after giving his apologies, he left. It may be worthwhile looking into as Jane always carried a bag of dynamite and she was sure this would solve her problem.

In transit to Mortons’s Claim via the Blood Grove - Aaargh - Spiders - I hate those things
And they are in the mood for biting


Oh well, only one solution here - they have gotta go

Someone call for a Pest Exterminator?

This must the place the scout spoke of

Yep, there she is

So, your name is Myla Finegan and you have stuff that can help me against the Loghorrean. Great, I will clear the entrance for you. BOOM!

Now where did she go?

Aaah there you are - now about our deal

So, it was all just an elaborate trap, well you have picked the wrong victim this time

Feel the pain of the Scorpion Sting

Ouch, that blue circle really hurts - coming back for you

Nothing like a bit of fire to even the odds

Sorry for you!, that last blue circle of death was a tad too late

What do we have here? That chest looks promising, maybe she did have something of use here.

Back at Fort Icon
Thanks a bunch Creed, I nearly had my head handed to me on a platter. It does appear though she had tombs on ingredients that may help us. Kilrian’s Shattered Soul is a recipe she possessed that can provide us great vitality resistance as well as boosting my fire damage.

I believe the ingredients I require lay in the bowels of the Arkovian Undercity - here we go …


Oh hell yeah! Man you got some great shots here- The scorpion sting and that fireblast are my favorites. The lighting looks fantastic on that fireblast shot. Man some of these pictures really do this game justice. It looks so great now a days after the recent updates and thats shining through in these pictures.

Im looking forward to (hopefully) making it to the level required to use Kilrian’s Shattered Soul. Unfortunately for Margaret, the Hardcore stash is separate from the regular stash and she wont have access to all the crafting materials and gear in my non-hardcore stash. But maybe, just maybe, she might survive long enough to be fortunate and find some.

Scorpion sting seems like it could be a helpful devotion to have for area damage. Are you able to upload a picture of your current devotions for Jane of the Crossing? I’d love to see what you’re working with there. Or a current grimtools link (its back up).


Having reconnected with Matilda Somer, Aldous now fights for the Black Legion alongside her. Only just arriving on the scene, he has not yet earned the right to don the armor of the Legion or wield it’s weaponry. Aldous couldn’t care less- He has grown attached to his trusty mace and shield, and is eager to contribute to the fight, lending himself wherever needed.

Matilda mentions a giant insect queen, known as Swarm Queen Ravna, who has infested the farms to the west. The settlers of Homestead, and those of Devil’s Crossing, are each equally feeling the effects of this by association with one another. Without Cronely’s gang and dangerous beasts to stand in the way, supply lines have begun running between Devil’s Crossing and Homestead, however with the Swarm Queen infesting the farms this miracle of logistics does little to feed the hungry mouths of Southwest Cairn.

Aldous agrees to deal with the swarm queen, and crawling into her lair fights his way through taloned nightmarish insectoid creatures which seem to have no end in numbers. He manages to slay most of the swarm, including their alphas. Finally rid of the majority of the creatures, Aldous takes a moment to catch his breath, resting his mace over his shoulder.

The tunnels stretch on for what seems like hundreds of feet, worming in and out of eachother. As Aldous crawls through the putrid darkness, his sense of direction is put to the ultimate test. His footsteps sloshing through insectoid excrement and other fluids, here and there stumbling over carapace leavings. The entire tunnel system feels alive. Taking a wrong turn, Aldous stumbles and falls into a lower tunnel system, landing besides a nightmarish deepdwelling troll.

The troll bares its fangs, turning towards Aldous with a sinister demeanor. Aldous has learned that the best defense is sometimes a good offense, and leaps into action dashing towards the troll with a heavy shoulder, pulling back his shield arm…

…while the troll is temporarily off-balance, Aldous shifts his weight, swinging his shield arm up into the troll like a battering ram and lowering his center of gravity

Then leaping into the air, he sends a fierce descending attack towards the troll, catching it unawares from above

The troll, now completely shell-shocked by the blunt force trauma from Aldous’ opening onslaught, staggers utterly defenseless. Aldous take advantage of the opportunity and fully invests in an all-out offensive, lands blow after blow upon the stumbling troll. First, another shield check to knock its limbs freely away from its chest

Next, swinging the mace from fully extended length and driving it into the unprotected flesh for maximum impact. He can feel the mace lodge between at least two of the beasts bones beneath the force of the collision, the beast doubling over and shrieking in hateful agony.


Twisting his arm, dragging it along the gash and snapping bones, aldous grits his teeth, grunting in effort in his attempts to pull the mace free. It seems to be stuck fast, and he looks up in astonishment- The beast is HOLDING THE MACE IN PLACE with its right hand. With a hissing fury, it grasps the mace arm using its left hand, throwing Aldous’ arm out wide, and opening him to a devastating counter-attack.


As usual, however, Aldous’ speed wins the day, and he propels the mace home directly into the opening. He puts his full weight behind the precision, using leverage and brute force to send the mace nearly clean through the beasts chest, sending an eruption of blood out of the exit wound in the trolls back


The troll wobbles and lets loose a low, strained grunt, clearly feeling the effects of the mortal wound. Before it has time to recover, Aldous shifts the bulk of his weight once again, pushing off the ground and away from the ghoul in a hard left motion, turning the mace and grinding the beasts chest bones into a flying purple cloud of pulped organics

Somehow, the beast still stands, and it is now angrier than ever! With no time to think of a better strategy, Aldous halts his leftward motion, now pitching his weight hard to the right and swinging the mace back towards the troll in a speeding backhand attack


UNBELIEVEABLE! The creature catches his mace-arm mid strike with its right hand, and pulls hard, threatening to yank Aldous off balance!


Always quick to recover, Aldous gingerly slips his wrist free from Gollus’s grasp, whirling his shield arm to the left with maddening haste- The signature Somer Shield Strike!


Blinded by the impact, Gollus steadies himself and hurls his left arm at Aldous in a lumbering strike that threatens to deface him. Aldous, bringing his shield arm up just in time to meet the blow with his own, smashes into Gollus’s arm with a violent collision. The momentum of the two blows bearing down upon one another, for a moment time stands still and the tension between the two arms is like a magnetic contest, each fighter struggling to force the other past, and with nowhere else for the inertia to go but in opposite directions, both fighters arms rip along each other and send a massive shock-wave of force and caustic fluids showering across the battlefield in a hazy destructive corona of epic proportions, both fighters reeling in its wake.


Aldous is the first to recover, yet again, and sends his shield in for a targeted tactical deflection, bouncing the trolls loose head away from its body, staggering it even more than before. He follows this up with a hammering strike dead center over the mortal wound in the trolls chest, now running sickly green and maroon. The blow so forceful it causes the troll to lift off the ground, knocking it back inches.



Gollus, attempting to throw an attack, is met by Aldous’ shield, defensively nudging the strike aside before sending two powerful left, right, overhand strikes in a figure 8 pattern to smash fangs from the face of the troll.




Somehow, through it all, the beast is STILL standing. Aldous, now heaving with effort, begins to experience doubt. He is shocked in disbelief. For such a small creature, it seems to be even tougher than Voldrak… Could this fight be Aldous’ last? No! He must not allow his mind to go there. Gathering his strength he sends another shield strike in towards the troll, but it is caught, and thrown aside!

The creatures hulking fist finally lands home across Aldous’ face, sending him tumbling hard to the side. Luckily Aldous’ reflexes have grown sharp, and he is able to use the momentum of the blow to turn the tumble into a roll and from there into a run, sprinting to put some distance between him and the troll so that he can recover from the powerful hit



The beast lumbers after him, sluggishly though quick enough to be a threat. Aldous doesnt hesitate and sends a hastful overhand strike back towards the troll from the higher ground, but rushes the attack and misses.

This time, Aldous finally fails to recover fast enough, the toll of battle wearing on his body and reflexes at last. Gollus lands another obliterating attack

Poisonous liquid stinging Aldous’ entire face, he swings blindly, in the hopes of battering the beast away. Shouting, his every last bit of effort exhausting in these throes of battle, he cries out in primal catharticism, each yell a prayer for the battle to end


A lucky block stops another of Gollus’ deadly strikes, and a lucky hit from Aldous’ mace seems to turn the tide of battle


With the last of his energy, Aldous brings the mace down hard into Gollus’ chest, burying the blunt weapons end into the mortal wound and sending it tunneling out through his back


The beast, now impaled by the mace, begins to go limp- Its legs buckling beneath its own weight. In a cry of victory, Aldous tears the mace back through the hole, lifting it skyward and screaming until his throat is raw. FINALLY!!!


Someone should be dead but pretty much alive. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

This is the true spirit of role-play. I’m always thinking of making a character with a scene and only Epic items. To see if this build could beat Cruci or be beaten. Maybe my dream is about to come true once v1.1.5 is out.

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Here is the Grimtools link (I hope it is correct, I have never used this tool before)

If not, here is screen dumps …


Kilrian’s Shattered Soul triggered by fiend attack

Stuck for a Classless build with an NPC LORE themed idea? - Try this one for size

Bit of a cheeky Western Cowboy style idea.

I have not attempted this challenge yet as I already have an existing gunslinger that I allow only WHITE equipped items. He is an Inquisitor and I am pushing forward with him. The difference here is that my gunslinger can start with dual pistols, but can only equip WHITE items (try that sometime, it changes your conception of the game).

If you go classless, you will not have dual pistol early, it is going to take you a while, at least to level 25 until you find a relic or item that will give you dual pistol ability. (I may be wrong with level 25, anyone with better ideas?).

CHARACTER : “Sheriff Jesse Bourbon”

SIMPLE LORE : Jesse Bourbon is the younger brother of Captain John Bourbon. After John led the assault that defeated the renegade prisoners that held the old Burrwitch Prison at Devil’s Crossing he set up a refugee camp there. He then commissioned Jesse as the official Sheriff of Devil’s Crossing and tasked him initially with locating and eliminating Warden Krieg. After deposing Krieg with his one-handed gun and shield, Jesse began wondering what was the potential if he could equip and fire TWO guns at once! His brother John, now wants Jesse to hunt down and kill all the Cronley gang members together with its leader Darius and the “oh-so” elusive nemesis Fabius that is causing havoc in the Four Hills.

ENVISAGED PLAY STYLE : Once equipped with dual pistols the focus would be on huge and continuous gun fights around the Four Hills and surrounding areas. Devil’s Crossing Cronley base quests would be essential to get to nemesis level with Cronley to get nemesis Fabius. (Get lots of pierce resist and pump up your damage)

The Sheriff is obviously not actually designed to be endgame material, but is actually a very fun and satisfying build if you get the urge to go into “Clint Eastwood” mode in the Four Hills after a long slog of other character leveling sessions.

Some starter pack costume looks



It is your Sheriff - do what you need to do :slight_smile:

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