Unsanity's Leveling Challenge

Unsanity’s Challenge for those that want to level a character differently, mainly because you bored as all hell or have the need for many alts.

Tier One:

Limit Devotions to damage types that your character doesn’t use, including damage transmutes.

For example, my Warder uses Physical, Bleeding, Piercing, Internal Trauma, Lightning, Electrocute, Vitality, and Vitality Decay. My choice of devotions can only Fire, Burn, Cold, Frostburn, Poison, Acid, Chaos, Aether, and Elemental damage.

Can use any gear with any damage type, as well as any benefits to class skills, including +1 to all classes or specific ones. Can use any components and/or augments.

Tier Two:

Same as Tier One, but with further limitations for a greater challenge.

Limit one devotion for each damage type. If a devotion has two damage types, the one that provides the greatest damage will be counted.

Gear of any kind can only have damage or bonus to damage types that will benefit Devotions, not skills. Can still use gear that benefits class skills or provides a +1 to all classes or specific ones. Can use components and/or augments that provide resistances, but any damage type can only apply to devotions, not skills.

Tier Three:

Same as Tier Two, but with further limitations for a greater challenge.

Can’t use any gear that will benefit any used skills. If you change a skill and a piece of gear has a bonus to that skill, use a different piece of gear. Can still use gear that will add a +1 to all classes or specific ones.

Tier Four:

Same as Tier Three, but with further limitations for a greater challenge.

Can’t use gear that will provide a +1 to any class, including the +1 to all classes. This limitation includes any set items or set item bonus that would provide a +1 to all or any class.

My current idea for skills and devotions for my Warder. Of course subject to change as I level and get a better feel for this challenge.

Off I go to get this started. I am looking forward to the journey and I hope it works.


Edit: Progress as I level.

@ Level 25: Very slow up until level 20. So far I am just grabbing whatever items allow me to do the hardest whacks with Savagery and have my vines tear through mobs. But I am paying more attention to what’s on the items vs. looking at one or two things. I only have one devotion right now, Eel, but it helps a bunch. I was getting tossed around like a rag doll till I completed that devotion. I have a feeling I will get a better picture of this idea’s viability by level 50. Playing as tier 3 atm.

@ Level 50: I struggled in the 30’s due to lack of devotion and skill support. Once I got Blizzard from Amatok and all of Kraken, I was doing fine. Ghoul and 3 points into Behemoth helps a lot too. Then again so does being pre-100. Most noticeable challenges were Naren Kur the Ostracized in the Corrupted Tomb (I was 32 he was 38), the Grand Priest Zarthuzellan in Misery (My penguin in the study always faces due south - sorry couldn’t resist - Kathy Bates is scary af) (I was 34 and he was 39), and the Herald of Flame in the Conflagration (I was 36 and he was 42). Killed core boss at level 50, no problem at all. Started Ashes instead of Elite difficulty.

@ Level 75: Started Ashes at level 51 and almost died to the boss in Overgrown Cellar. At level 52, almost died to level 61 Slashsarr Aethergaze in Feral Thicket. At level 57, almost died to level 63 Bandragos, Thrall of Dravis in Cinder Waste. Level 63, almost died to level 63 Shar’zul, Harbringer of Chaos in Entropy. Started Forgotten Gods at level 63 and beat it at level 66, no problems. Started Elite difficulty at level 66 and got first death at level 68, almost 69, from a random mob that spawned from a totem in Burrwitch Village (next to Harvey the Drifter). I got bum rushed and dotted. Potion and Apothecary gloves didn’t help. Went back and almost dies 3 more times, had to kite mobs around house. Now I am really starting to feel the challenge, next 6 levels will be a pian. And they were too. Two more deaths, at 71 to a totem mob (second time for that) and at 73 to Kur the Ostracized in Corrupt Tomb. That boss was 79.

@ Level 100
Started Ashes at level 81. Took a while to dps level 85 Avris Marrowill in the Overgrown Celler. I ran away like a chicken from the beast nemesis in Ugdenbog when I was level 82. I didn’t see his level, too busy running FOR MY LIFE LOL. I went splat at level 87 to level 94 boss in the Swelling Depths. I died to the Malmouth boss in the second phase, didn’t even scratch him. I was level 88. I grinded out 2 levels on trash mobs so I could start Forgotten Gods at level 90. I died to the totem mobs at 90 in the Temple of Osyr. The all rushed me and instakilled me good. I died right after I dinged 91 to level 95 Razmul, High Priest of Osyr. I was given 2 deaths to a shrine (yes I know most my deaths are from shrines:) in the Remnants of Korvan City. I tried my luck with Dravis and he handed me my butt 2 times when I was level 93, I didn’t scratch him at all. I started Ultimate difficulty. My last death was to the boss in the Depraved Sanctuary when I was level 97.

It was a long and… uh… interesting trip from level 1 to 100. I went splat 12 times. But I had FUN!


You are in the right place, brother. Your creative spirit is welcome here!

Im not here as much as I once was, but when I was, I was all about this kind of stuff! The game is great in that if you try hard enough, you can pretty much make ANYTHING work, and the journey of discovery will teach you more about the game while creating a unique and special experience that will make this build one of your all-time favorites!


Thanks. Any and all input is much appreciated. I stumbled upon this idea as I was playing my Dual Melee Purifier that started out as a dual pistol build. I figured, there has got to be other ‘out-of-the-box’ ideas out there.

I know it’s a zany idea, especially since it’s a bit limiting, but I would like to see it work. I would most definitely be up to any other challenges once I have finished this one. I read a few here on this site too. They seem like a lot of fun. Too bad there is only 24 hours in a day.

Funny, I read about the ‘classless’ challenge. I say funny because I was just thinking about that recently and I was going to jump on here to see if anyone has tried it. Yup. I figured it wasn’t a unique idea, but I didn’t think that people actually made the character, just theory crafted one or more.

I agree. I am learning more and enjoying the game more as well. Since I am checking every piece of gear I find to make sure I stay within my parameters, I am getting a better feel for the other affixes, especially defense and offense. So far in these early levels acid and poison damage is OP as all heck.

If it works and I accidently made a really good character, then yeah it would easily become my favorite character in Grim Dawn.

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Another one you might try is to only use yellow items, something I have one character doing though not very far along atm. I only play main campaign so wouldn’t be looking to do SR or Crucible with it, but it’ll still be a challenge for me as my builds aren’t that great.

Here’s another one you might like to try as well. This was just for the base game so you could add one or both of the expansions if you wished.

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I tried something similar in the beginning days of D3. I only used the best non-legendary items I could find. I made a few characters like that, all in blue gear. It was my Blue Man Group. They didn’t get very far, but it was fun. Hardcore was funny as heck too. I tried to get others to do it, but they said it was too hard and not fun at all.

Years later after D3 had more facelifts than your average poorly aged celebrity, I did something similar limiting certain types of gear and spells. Since D3 was so much easier at that point, my little experiment was a moderate success. It was fun too. I still didn’t get anyone to try out though. They all said the same thing.

Basically, people were QQ’ing that D3 was too easy, so I offered to make it more challenging, and they didn’t go for it. I guess it’s easier to QQ than play. But, that challenge extended the life of the game for me, so that was nice.

Speaking from personal experience I will say that even if it doesn’t work and the character winds up being sub-par, you will still fondly remember this period of exploration and experimentation, learning, and creative freedom that the depth of build diversity allows for in this classic game.

For me, the enjoyment was so intense that it started a domino effect- The more gear pieces I collected, the more ideas for other weird janky builds I got inspired to try and build around those gear pieces, and you are damn right I tried every one of them, in total at least 50 different builds, and I enjoyed every second of it! When things didn’t work, I became resolved to find a way to make them work, perhaps with a different class combination! When things DID work, it felt incredible.

After all that was said and done, I dipped my toes in the classless challenge. Then I decided to take it to the next level, on HC! I have never gone back. This switch slowed my progress down immensely, however the challenge has allowed me to savor this incredible game for so long. I vowed to myself to never try Grimtools until I can beat the game on Ultimate in HC Classless. And thats what I am working on now, whenever I play its with a HC classless build. I’m terrible at it, but having to unlock all the blueprints all over again, building up a stash, and finding all the loopholes has been a journey that brings back the nostalgia of when I first started playing the game like where you are now. Its the biggest dopamine rush!

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The best thing about playing HC offline, you don’t have to face the toughest mob of all… LAG. Many of my characters (toons to most) died due to lag spikes, screen freezes (sometimes speeding up really fast afterwards), d/c’s, and rubberbanding. That’s why I stuck around D2 for so long, even after WoW went live. I got to play hardcore offline and didn’t have to worry about the internet. But, talking about that rush, when I was able to survive a bad internet day, IT WAS FUN!!! Bwahahahahahaha. Not even a 20k red bar can kill me! Then I go splat to a 600 yellow bar, oh the irony. I am looking at you D3!

I haven’t tried HC in GD, yet. But I shall after I get SC out of my system. Like all games, I don’t go back either. The challenge of HC is so much more fun. Once you get a feel for the game, you can allow yourself to get a little risky or, dare I say, confident… up until you go splat and have to start all over again. For me that’s part of the fun. Sometimes those oddball or janky builds do a better job than the tried-and-true cookie cutter ones. That’s what gets me thinking about other ones. If this one worked, how about …? Of course, most of my flavor builds don’t last very long. I am surprised this one here is doing as well as it is.

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Oh hell yeah man, HC is a totally different experience. I do love the fact that it plays sorta like a rogue-lite. Character is permanently gone but anything you stashed and blueprints you unlocked remain!

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I agree. That’s the best way to HC. Somethings should be able to live on after the character dies. Keep duplicates of blues and purples without any worries.