Dragon’s Dogma: Building a Better Pawn -or- How Not to Suck at Being a Virtual Pimp

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If there is one thing Capcom failed to do with Dragon’s Dogma, it’s explain how to get the most out of your Pawn. Hell, I had beaten the game before I even knew what the different inclinations did, or that I could change them with elixirs.

If you have more questions aside from how inclinations work, check out my recent post Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen – FAQ.

If you’ve played Dragon’s Dogma and you’ve often wondered why that Fighter you just hired sits idly by until you get punched in the face, or why another pawn runs off and loots everything mid-battle, then this post goes out to you!

Let’s start off with a little information on inclinations. Once you’ve created your main Pawn, you’ll be asked a series of questions with each answer leading your pawn toward two different inclinations–a primary and a secondary. From that point forward, your pawn will react according to their primary inclination first, and then, obviously, their secondary.

Each inclination tells your pawn to do certain actions over other ones, and keeping your pawn’s inclination to your liking not only assures you they’ll act how you want them to act, but also act the same way when a fellow player rents them out. This should lead to more pawns coming back home with 5 star ratings.

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So let me go over what each inclination does and toss a suggestion or two as to which class it would favor, or why it’s utter crap.

Scather – Causes your pawn to attack the strongest foes first. Ideal for Fighter pawns as they’ll tend to keep the larger monsters at bay while the rest of your party picks off the weaker ones.

Medicant – Causes pawn to focus on healing the party and removing status ailments. While this sounds like the ideal primary inclination for Mage pawns, having this set as their primary will cause them to spam heal the entire party even if a sliver of health is missing. It’s ideal to have this as their secondary inclination instead.

Mitigator – Causes pawn to attack the weakest targets first. Ideal for damage dealing pawns, especially ones in the Ranger & Sorceror vocations.

Challenger – Causes pawn to focus on long-range attackers like Rangers, Sorcerers and Mages. Another ideal inclination for damage dealing pawns, especially those that attack from a distance themselves like Rangers or Sorcerers.

Utilitarian – Causes pawn to support the party with spells and abilities that would cause them to have an advantage in battle. This, in my opinion, should be the primary inclination of any healing-based Mage pawn. With Utilitarian set as primary, your pawn will focus on buffing you with elemental boons and Spellscreen. If you have Medicant set as your primary, your pawn will rarely cast anything but Anodyne due to your party rarely having full health in combat.

Guardian – Causes the pawn to protect the Arisen, first and foremost. While this sounds like the ideal inclination for almost any pawn, this is actually the absolute worst inclination in the game as it will cause your Pawn to do nothing until your Arisen is physically attacked. This is also the reason why so many pawns sit around doing nothing until the Arisen is attacked by enemies, because frequest use of the “Help!” and “Come!” command force this inclination over time (yes, inclinations can change over the course of the game). Please, please, please, do everyone a favor that rents out your pawn and avoid having your pawn set to Guardian.

Nexus – Causes the pawn to protect other pawns at all cost. This is also a terrible inclination to have as your pawn will not actively attack other targets unless a fellow pawn is attacked first. Avoid this at all costs.

Pioneer – Causes your pawn to scout ahead of your party. While it’s not a bad idea to have this as a secondary inclination for a Fighter pawn (causing them to always be at the head of the pack), it will cause them to explore areas ahead of you that you might not have entered yet–rather than your ideal location. Another terrible inclination to have as no one likes a pawn that wanders off to do their own thing.

Acquisitor – Causes your pawn to seek out and acquire hidden items, even in battle. Giving this inclination to your pawn isn’t terrible from your end–who doesn’t like loot?–but when you rent a pawn that just wants to wander off and loot everything in sight instead of fighting that swarm of bandits running a train on you, you’ll want to do nothing more than throw them in to the Brine. Take other players in to consideration when choosing this inclination.

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So now that you have a better idea of what, exactly, an inclination causes a pawn to do, how do you actually set them? Easy!

Back at The Encampment, near the Rift Stone, is an NPC in a yellow robe that sells elixirs for Rift Crystals instead of gold. On a side note, the same NPC sells a one-time use item that allows you to completely re-make your Arisen and your pawn the next time you enter the title screen.

Anyway, from this NPC you can purchase various elixirs associated with the inclination of your choice. What you’ll want to do is purchase 2 of the elixir you’d like as your pawn’s primary, and 1 of the elixir you’d like as their secondary inclination. Drink the 2 primary first and then the secondary.. that’s it.

While this doesn’t permanently change your pawn’s inclination, it allows you to change it any time you wish. Your actions in-game have a long term effect on your pawn’s inclination and they can continue to change over time. For instance, using the “come” command too often will cause your pawn to shift to a Guardian or Medicant role, which is why you see these as the most common inclinations on rented pawns. It’s so easy to do this in-game and most players don’t even know that something as simple as yelling “Help!” or “Come!” will eventually render their pawn completely useless.

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So when choosing a pawn to help out your party, how can you tell which ones are worthwhile and which ones are the virtual equivalent of pickled harpy crap?

Talk to them and select the “details” option. Scan the pages until you find the one that shows their inclination. Any pawn rocking Guardian and Medicant can immediately be sent packing back to the Rift, as well as any pawn with the Pioneer and Acquisitor combo.

If you’re looking for a healer, look for a Mage with Utilitarian and Medicant. If you’re after a Fighter to keep enemies at bay, Scather and either Mitigator or Challenger are the way to go.

Decide what you want from a pawn and keep on summoning them until you find exactly what you’re looking for, rather than heading out and essentially flying solo. It also helps to look at their abilities and make sure you’re recruiting a Pawn that actually has spells to use, rather than picking one up that may have just swapped vocations. I’ve hastily done this before, and it’s a huge waste of time.

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Another question I get a lot is “what is the best Pawn vocation?”, but there really isn’t a right or wrong answer for this.

In my personal experience, the hardest things to find are a tank or healer with the best spells and abilities that allow them to do their job efficiently. With this in mind, my main Pawn is always a tank or a healer, and generally one that doesn’t share the same armor class as my Arisen’s chosen vocation. So if I’m a Sorcerer, I don’t want to share loot drops with a Mage pawn. If I’m a Warrior, I’ll avoid sharing loot with a Fighter pawn, and so on. This allows both of us to have the best gear possible without divvying it up.

I primarily play as a Sorcerer or a Warrior, so I swap my Pawn’s vocation accordingly. It’s all personal preference though, and you can’t really make a wrong choice here. Just pick what you think would work best and roll with it. That’s the beauty of this game. If you don’t like how things are playing out, you can take a trip back to the inn and change vocations as often as you’d like.

Hopefully this information has been helpful (even if just to a few players), as I know I’ve spent enough time in Gransys watching Fighters do nothing or run off to pick flowers. If I had found a post like this earlier in the game, life would have been a lot easier, but now that I’ve packed well over 200 hours in to Dragon’s Dogma I figured I might as well do my best to explain the pawn inclination system to new and old players alike.

If you have any other questions about inclinations, leave them down in the comment section. I’ll do my best to answer them.

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48 thoughts on “Dragon’s Dogma: Building a Better Pawn -or- How Not to Suck at Being a Virtual Pimp

  1. Hi I found this guide very useful and was wondering if you could do I guide on how to get the most out of the vocation your using (i.e. what augments to use and what weapons and armor to equip for that vocation.) Also if It’s not too much trouble could you also include a guide on which vocation works well other vocations (if you can that would help out a lot although if you don’t want to I can understand that). I hope I’m not asking for too much thank you.

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    1. Wow, really sorry I didn’t get any sort of notification sooner of this pending comment as it was left two months ago in December. Ouch lol. Thanks for the reply and I wish I could have given you what you requested, but hopefully you’ve found what you were looking for elsewhere.

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  2. THANK YOU for this article. My first time through I played as a magic archer with a mage pawn who was set to guardian. I never noticed how frustrating the wrong inclination could be until I started my second run when I switched him to a fighter/warrior so I could focus primarily on casting. Dark Arisen is punishing enough without the “help” of my allies. Your article is a miracle.

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  3. Just started playing the game (about 10 hours worth) and created a pawn with Guardian as primary inclination! So thanks for the guide, it is already proving useful to me. I have started as a strider and was thinking of a long range assassin type char, who deals with poisons and maybe knives, so I guessed (by going with the usual rpg role) that a guardian would suit me best for a main pawn.

    One question. I take it that you would advise to never use the command feature…go.help, come. Or are there ever times when these are useful?

    Thanks again

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    1. You can use them as needed, but I would recommend that you only use them when, for some unknown reason, your PAWN isn’t doing what you want them to. It will have a long term effect and change their inclination at some point, but you can always head back to The Encampment and buy the right inclination elixir to change them again. It’s not the end of the world =)

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  4. It is really hepful! I’m just starting playing the game, im in Everfall for the first time and is so frustating that the pawns just look at you as you are wiped out by some skeletons and undead. I play as a fighter and is quite hard not to be able to heal yourself, while my mage pawn is really weak and dies as soon as he starts to heal the party. I go a question: is it good to hire different pawns among the game? Or I need to hire new ones as I advance? Thanks!

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    1. The pawns that you hire do *not* scale with your level. They remain the exact same level they were when you first recruited them no matter how long they are in your party. I try to hire new pawns every level or two. If the 2 recruited pawns are significantly lower, this could be part of your problem in surviving Everfall.

      I might also suggest heading back to The Encampment and picking up some of the elixirs to change your Mage pawn’s inclinations to the ones suggested in this post – Utilitarian as primary so they always buff your group with helpful stat boosts/extra damage, as well as remove debilitations. Medicant as secondary so they’ll actually heal you.

      Hope this helps!

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    2. P.S. – It’s worth noting that the Pawns you recruit will only use the abilities on their list when you recruit them. Always make sure the Pawns you recruit have useful abilities before bringing them in. You don’t want to get stuck bringing in a Warrior who is only a rank 1 with no abilities =)

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      1. Hey! It worked just great! I thank you for your advices, it makes the game a lot easier and fun. I was trapped in the fight with the tentacles and I had to return to a previous save at the Inn in Gran Soren to do some previous quests, change my pawns, change the class (I’m now a Mystic Knight, yeeeeeiiiiiiih), buy new equipment, and buy some elixirs. Now Everfall was a lot easier, even the ogre in the stairwalk was a cake! You know, this is a great blog, keep writing like this, you are very very helpful!

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    3. Thank you, I’m glad it worked out for you! I’ve never tried Mystic Knight myself. I went through most of the game as a Sorceror the first time and a Warrior the second time. I really want to go back again and try out Magic Archer.

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  5. Hello,

    “(…) is purchase 2 of the elixir you’d like as your pawn’s primary and 1 of the elixir you’d like as their secondary inclination. Drink the 2 primary first and then the secondary.. that’s it.”

    This above doesn’t work for me. I tried it twice. My pawn is warrior with inclinations: Challenger/Scather. So I bought 2 scather elixirs and one challenger. I drank them and … nothing. I tried again but with the same result. I even sat on that chair to speak with him. But he still has challenger as a primary and scather as a secondary. Anyone had a similar problem?

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    1. That’s definitely odd as I’ve never had that problem before. Then again, I’ve never tried to swap my secondary and primary inclinations with each other. Have you tried sitting down with them and just answering your questions absurdly to give them a different inclination altogether, and THEN drinking the 2 scather and 1 challenger?

      Sorry I couldn’t be more help, I’ve just never had it *not* work for me before.

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      1. I shall try to change the secondary inclinations then. And afterwards to use the potions. I’ll report back if that worked. Just have to get more RCs before I can buyelixirs…

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      2. Yeah, try changing both inclinations to something random at the chair, then use the potions. It may just be an issue swapping the places of primary and secondary. Sorry =\

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      3. Ok that’s what worked for me:
        I just drank 1 scather elixir. My primary “challenger” inclination became secondary now.

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    2. Just drink 4 or so scather elixirs. Your Challenger inclination is apparently far ahead of scather. I had a similiar problem and just drank 4-5 elixirs to jump the inclination i wanted to primary.

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  6. After reading this, I think I’ll go change my Guardian mage to something more useful. ^_^;; My brother hired him once, and sent him back, telling me, “he was just some guy travelling with us. He didn’t do anything!” I thought he was just being mean, but maybe my pawn IS a pile of Hobbit crap! Thanks so much for the advice!

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    1. Lol, well I’m glad it makes more sense now. Capcom didn’t do anything to really explain how the system works and at first glance it’s easiest to just pick what “sounds” right, you know? Good luck with your new pawn and hopefully your brother enjoys your Mage actually healing him this time!

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    1. Thanks! I wrote all of this up quite a while ago and still get so much traffic from the Dragon’s Dogma community, so I’m glad it’s helping.

      If you’re referring to the Pawns you recruit, no. Unfortunately you’re stuck with the inclinations their owners gave them in their own games. You can only change your own Pawn’s inclination.

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  7. Hrrrrrrrrrrrm I got the Utilitarian for primary. Wanted medicant for secondary. When we sit, and my pawn asks questions. Ok then i got medicant for secondary but primary became Acquisitor :(( I dont know how to get the drinks, that you wrote about. I have been to that NPC and he has and sells NOTHING….I play DD dark Arisen, not the first one as came out.
    Can i get a clear answer on this ? It will be very pleased.
    Oh mabe a stupid quest : I am at the capital now, and thinking about to change from Mage to Sorcerer, but can that one heal ? :)))) I have changed my main pawn to a assassin.

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    1. I’m not sure why that NPC doesn’t have anything to sell you, and that’s the only way I’ve ever changed my Pawn’s inclination successfully. The knowledge chair barely works for me.

      As for the vocation question, no, a Sorcerer has no healing abilities at all but gains some ridiculously high damaging spells that are really fun to use — summoning giant meteors, massive ice spires, a life-sized tornado, etc. — but if you want the ability to heal, you’ll need to stay Mage and stick with dealing significantly less damage overall.

      Sorry I couldn’t answer your first question as I have no idea why they wouldn’t have the drinks in stock.

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  8. Played this game for years and happened across this guide, freaking awesome…. thank you for explaining what should have been right in front of my face, saved me so much hassle on game.

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  9. great job bro many time ive thrown pawns of the nearest cliff when you get buffed with holy then another changes it straight away lol

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  10. Feel like I have so much egg on my face right now after reading this guide.
    With over 400+ hrs and 5 play throughs I have not known about the Guardian being what it is ‘Useless’.
    No wounder my Mage was never getting used.
    At least I had the right Secondary but just in the wrong slot.
    Thank mate hopefully now ‘Hollow’ may get some company when I change her shit right.

    ‘Thumbs up’

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  11. Feel like I have so much egg on my face right now after reading this.
    I have over 400hrs of game play and with +5 run throughs never knew this.
    No wounder my pawn Hollow started to get left behind in summoning’s.
    At least I had the right secondary but just in the wrong slot.
    I will change my primary asap and get rid of that Guardian.
    Now may be she will be able to help players instead of hindering them.

    Thumbs up.

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  12. hey there, i recently added dragon’s dogma to my ever growing pile of shame (i blame dark souls 2 for that) and got around to playing it yesterday, after finding my mage/healer/buffslave pawn to be quite retarded i googled up some guides and found this one, quite helpfull indeed

    now before i try again i’d like to ask what you think is the easiest pawn to controll? a warrior/tank like pawn (AKA meatwall) or a healer/support (AKA healslave)

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    1. Hey, thanks for stopping by! Every day I’m surprised by the amount of people still stumbling upon my guide lol.

      To answer your question, there isn’t really a definite answer. Your Pawn will do whatever its inclinations tell it to, so if you want a meatshield, use the inclination potions I mentioned in the guide (or vice versa for heals/buffs). The more you kill stuff with your pawn, the more adept they become at combat as well against that enemy type. I tended to go with whatever I had a hard time finding (usually a healer).

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      1. I bet that’s mainly people like me who are to poor/greedy to buy anything that’s not second hand XD

        I’ll have to look at those potions some more, the game looks and feels awesome and thanks to you i’ll get farther than the hydra :3

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Thanks for the guide! Bought the game on sale last week and now closer to lv30 I’m googling all things related to DD when I’m not playing.
    While I answered the initial pawn behavior questions at char creation I never had thought they matter this much.

    Let’s see how much my gaming will improve once I sit down with my pawn tomorrow.

    Few questions though:
    1) Just specced my pawn from mage to sorceror and after reading the comments here I’m going back to mage. I had actually thought she was still healing me after going sorceror but I guess it was the other pawn I had rented.
    Healing is still affected by magic stat and having been a sorceror for a while it shouldn’t hurt the future healing as mage, right?

    2) I tend to spam Come! whenever I run through areas I don’t wanna start fights in. I’m doing that to make my pawns disengage from combat with my pursuers but I guess it’s better to leave them as they are and just run myself. Some extra sleeping will cure the hurts they might get but at least I don’t get Guardian inclination from spamming Come!

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    1. Hey Paprika, glad the guide helped out! You should be fine using the same gear and stats changing your back from Sorc to Mage, yeah.

      That’s one thing I loved about Dragon’s Dogma, is that it really made you experiment and explore your options. Hopefully you find more helpful info!

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  14. I stumbled upon your guide while just searching up various game mechanics. I enjoy your writing. Anyway, I find it amusing that you mention that the Elixirs are a good way to make your pawn stop acting like a dunce. I played five playthroughs with my pawn as a Ranger and decided to change her to a Warrior for my sixth. The second I reset her inclination, she became useless. It’s like the Elixirs induced shell-shock.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, that’s pretty insane. I’ve done three full playthroughs and had no problems with the elixirs at all. I do notice that pawns tend to act weirder when they’re melee focused, rather than a healer or ranger. *shrug* Been a few years since I’ve touched the game, but thanks for stopping by. Sorry it didn’t work out for you lol.

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  15. Now that the game is coming on PC, this might be a good time to ask. Maybe I missed it, but you’ve never said anything about pawns being the same class as the Arisen. Shouldn’t the pawns learn better in this case, or is it just bullshit?

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    1. Honestly I’ve never (in 3 full playthroughs) made my Pawn the same class as my Arisen. It boils down to personal preference, I guess. I prefer the typical “tank, healer, dps” group makeup, and my Pawn was rented more as a tank or healer… two jobs I couldn’t stand doing myself.

      Sorry I couldn’t answer your question.

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  16. Thanks a lot… I’m gonna start the game again (i just played the begining) cause i made the mistake to choose a strider as main char plus a tank as a pawn. Think now the combination fighter/mage is the best to begin.
    What do you think about reaching assassin class by going from fighter to sorcerer as a youtuber says it s the best way?
    Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you found the info helpful! I’ve never actually played Assassin, so I’m not sure what’s the best way. You’re probably better off trusting the YouTuber on this one, haha.

      I’d play whatever vocation you want, just make sure to keep your pawn a healer or a tank so it gets rented (and remains helpful to you).

      Like

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