By Rhenn Taguiam
In Dragon's Dogma, players can repeatedly kill Death itself – but he isn't going down without a fight.
- Death: The Basic Details
- Death’s Deathly Behavior
- Defeating Death
- Cheating Death
Fans of fantasy games will appreciate Dragon’s Dogma for its novel approach to the genre. Players take on the role of the Arisen on a journey to kill the evil dragon Grigori, said to bring about the end of the world. However, as players progress through the game and their rank as a protector, they unravel a conspiracy along the way. For players who want another level of thrill in their Dragon’s Dogma experience, perhaps fighting Death might interest their fancy.
In the game, Death roams around the world and appears every so often, engaging the player due to its animosity towards the Arisen’s half-immortality. Fortunately for players, they have opportunities to fight and even kill the Grim Reaper himself.
Death: The Basic Details
The being called Death is this shadowy figure in black that roams around Bitterblack Isle, the last large area in Dragon’s Dogma: The Dark Arisen. Such is his nature as a boss that he towers over most creatures in the game, and he floats in most of his appearances. Beneath his clothes are no features, just a gaping black hole.
Notable about Death’s appearance is his signature Scythe, rumored to slay anyone it slices, and its Bone Lantern that can force individuals to sleep. Due to this nature as an instant-death boss, Death is one of the biggest yet most popularly farmable foes in Dragon’s Dogma.
Given his nature as a massive entity, Death packs high numbers in health and defense, but knowing how to hit him and where it hurts can make eliminating him much easier than players anticipate. Here are things to consider:
- Health: 660,000
- Attack, Magic Attack: Infinite, because Death only has one attack and possesses an instant-hit property
- Defense, Magic Defense: 666, making Death still vulnerable to damaging physical and magic attacks.
- Experience Earned: ~420,000 EXP. This may increase further if players are under the influence of Weal, have fewer higher-level or lower-level Pawns, use the Bezel Crown bow, or kill him in Hard Mode. Alongside these are drops that include some rare Dragon’s Dogma items.
Resistances & Vulnerabilities
Crucial to the quest to eliminate Death is knowing the right way of hitting him in the first place. While his status as an instant-kill entity makes him a massive threat, he does take full damage when using specific armaments. Here are other things to consider damage-wise.
- Immunity: Death doesn’t take any damage from Dark-based damage or attacks.
- Immunity: Debilitations; in other words, players cannot inflict status debuffs on Death.
- Resistances: Players only deal 60% damage to Death with Fire, Ice, Thunder, and Holy attacks, making magic-based builds less than when fighting Death.
- Normal Damage: Players deal 100% or regular damage with Slash and Bash attacks, making Death an ideal foe to fight with traditional physical damage.
Death’s Deathly Behavior
In addition to understanding Death’s basic numbers in Dragon’s Dogma, it may benefit players to study how Death approaches combat in even the most rudimentary ways. In this manner, players can plan for their approach properly, considering Death’s one-hit-kill nature.
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Unlike other monsters and creatures, Death doesn’t have a wide variety of attacks, but rather uses various skills that augment his one-hit scythe attack.
- Teleport: His primary movement ability, Death can teleport from one point to the next, often doing so to get closer to the Arisen and their Pawns.
- Deep Sleep: When Death waves his lantern, a glowing purple light can cast Sleep on nearby foes, such as the Arisen and their pawns.
- Shining Light: An alternate use of his lantern, Death uses this to seek faraway opponents to “lock in” on their position. This is usually partnered with Teleport.
The Killing Blow
Players know that Death is about to use his Death’s Scythe (Finisher) when he readies his weapon with a long buildup. Afterward, he does a single sweep that kills anything — be it Arisen, their Pawns, or other monsters. Here are other elements of Death’s Scythe that players need to consider:
- The two-move tandem: There’s a low likelihood that Death will take two consecutive swings with his Death’s Scythe, making him a far more unpredictable opponent to fight.
- The player won't benefit from his kills: Enemies killed by Death's scythe don’t grant EXP points or drop loot. These even include enemies such as the Cursed Dragons.
- The insta-kill exception: While Death’s Scythe does insta-kill most Bitterblack Isle opponents, it won’t work against particular foes. These include the Undead and other Dragons, Metal Golems, and Golems.
While Death seems like an impossibly tough foe in Dragon’s Dogma, there are ways of defeating him. Thankfully, as with other creatures, Death does exhibit particular combat patterns that reveal insights into his state during the fight.
- The game compensates for Death's massive HP by allowing damage dealt to him to carry over in subsequent encounters. That means, whenever Death or the player escapes, Death will start the next encounter with the damage dealt already accounted for.
- Death often flees from players if they don’t slay him during their encounter. This often happens after a particular length of time in combat, or when players deal enough damage to Death without necessarily stunning him, giving him the room to exit.
Aside from Daimon, Death is probably the highlight of the player’s journey in Bitterblack Isle. Players who want to be wary of Death’s appearance or know exactly where to fight him should consider these locations and factors.
- Prior to killing Daimon, Death will always make his appearances in the Bloodless Stockade. Players who plan on farming Death should go back to this area every few days, where Death will respawn for another battle.
- The Garden of Ignominy: Death only appears here if Giant Saurians or lizards are in the area. Killing these enemies may spawn Death, but if he doesn’t spawn, he may appear with Rancid Bait Meat.
Players who try fighting Death for the first few times in Dragon’s Dogma can find him a rather overwhelming boss, which is fitting given his nature as the penultimate boss. His tremendous HP and insta-kill attack make him an intimidating foe to face. However, players aren’t out of luck, as the right strategy may be able to help them overcome Death.
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Capitalize On Vocation
Although long-distance Vocations work best against Death, almost all Vocations in Dragon’s Dogma have something to offer when it comes to fighting this villain. It’s a matter of using the right combination of skills and attacks that can make each Vocation just as viable in slaying Death in usual combat. The following Vocations have ideal combat approaches:
- All Spellcasters: Given Death’s high Magick Defense and Elemental Resistances, players who want to cast Spells should stack on the Magick Boosted Invigorations and Augments to deal massive damage.
- Magick Archers: These spellslinging rangers can capitalize on the use of Explosive Bolts, courtesy of their chance of knockdowns. Magickal Gleam may also stun him. Death may resist Great Sacrifice, but its AOE can still do significant damage. Lastly, Ricochet Hunter can dish out multiple hits in close quarters.
- Mages: Given Death's high magical resistances, Focused Bolts become obsolete rather quickly. It’s better to use Frigor and Ingle Spells to do more focused damage.
- Mystic Knights: These spellcasting warriors can follow the same Spellcasting principles above, but the addition of the Zombiebane shield ensures extra damage against Death.
- Rangers: These snipers can use a combination of quick-firing Tenfold Flurry and staggering Blast Arrows to effectively knock down Death. When timed properly, Rangers can stunlock Death to submission with this combo.
- Sorcerers: Although powerful Spells such as Seism and Bolide are good damage-dealers, they often have long casting times that tempt Death’s Scythe. To avoid this, Sorcerers should instead opt for first-tier Spells or quick-casting Spells such as High Miasma.
- Striders: Dextrous Striders can capitalize on Downpour Volley and Splinter Dart to engage Death in long-distance AOE combat. When up close, they should have the Eminence Augment (jump-based Strength boost) activated before doing a Skull Splitter to dish out a strong melee attack.
- Warriors: Being the default melee Vocation, Warriors are best paired with Eminence (jump-based Strength buff) and spamming Death with various jumping Light Attacks. Their focus on Strength will make their attacks slightly harder-hitting than Striders.
Dealing With Sleep
As mentioned before, Death's Sleep spell will halt players and their movement in preparation for its Death’s Scythe. This is an extremely deadly spell, as there’s barely anything powerful enough to resist its grasp. However, it's not impossible to counter.
- Impervious: This Invigoration will not only clear all Debilitations suffered by the player but also grants temporary immunity to them for 90 seconds. Thankfully, among the Debilitations counted here is the Sleep spell. The Sobering Wine is a popular item choice to grant Impervious.
- Resistance: Similar to Impervious (Invigoration), the Resistance Augment bestows upon players the protection and prevention against various Debilitations, especially Sleep.
- 80% Sleep Resistance: Players need around 80% Sleep resistance to resist the spell, but this only works once.
While players cannot predict where Death will specifically appear in the vast areas of Dragon’s Dogma, it helps to remember that Death often Teleports close enough for the player to get into close range. Players can consider this to set traps tailor-made to punish Death’s movement.
- Consider loading spells: Not all attacks and skills happen instantaneously, as some take a bit of time to load. Players can use this loading time to anticipate Death’s teleport. Spells such as Great Cannon, Ruinous Sigils, and Stone Jungle can be laid on the ground before fighting Death. That way, players can dodge or run away while still damaging Death.
- Consider detonation skills: Players can set up detonation their locations, allowing them to dodge and blast Death to smithereens as soon as he appears. An example of this is Powder Blast for the Assassins.
Players may also want to see how they should set up their defenses against this Dragon’s Dogma boss. Unfortunately, the shorthand version is that ordinary defensive measures don’t usually work against Death, but there are ways to avoid damage.
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- Players cannot parry or block the Death’s Scythe attack with any shield or skill, including Clairvoyance or Masterful Kill. Rather, the best way to do this is to make a perfect evasion.
- When Death plans on using the Death’s Scythe, he does so if his lantern “marks” a target via its spotlight. In turn, dodging Death’s Scythe isn’t solely a matter of evading the attack itself. Rather, players may do a better job evading the attack by getting out of the spotlight first. Death also has a blind spot just behind its game model.
- Unlike other opponents and their attacks, Death’s attacks cannot break ordinary breakable objects. This means the game will open up new defensive options by simple breakable objects in the environment. Players should consider hiding behind breakables such as Barrels, as Death’s Scythe will likely just pass through the Barrel without destroying it and the player hiding behind it.
While Death is infamous among Dragon’s Dogma bosses for being a peculiar creature to slay, the game does make him an extremely entertaining monster to fight — especially with a few considerations. In fact, players can even probably using some exploits when fighting Death. Players who manage to kill Death the first time may want to use the strategies below to make farming Death a more viable option in the long-run.
On The Maker’s Finger
One of the most coveted items in Dragon’s Dogma is the Maker’s Finger, primarily because of its long-range component that kills anything it strikes — sometimes even bosses. However, with Death being the embodiment of the actual concept, the Maker’s Finger doesn’t work on him.
Still, the Maker’s Finger does make it much more convenient for players to attack Death. A successful hit will force the Maker’s Finger to wipe an entirety of its health bar, making it much easier for players to finish off Death in harder difficulties.
The Insta-Kill Option
While Death is a powerful enemy, fate has a funny way of returning his one-hit Death’s Scythe with opportunities also to kill Death in a single blow. Falling into the Brine won’t slay Death like it will other living creatures. However, falling itself can harm Death when done correctly. Players knock Death down into the abyss, especially with long-ranged strikes or other special moves. Here are ideal locations to do this:
- Fortress of Remembrance: Players first meet Death in a scripted appearance here, and it’s possible to knock him down to the abyss and slay him when timed correctly.
- Gutter of Misery: Players can lure Death close to the waterfall to kill him outright when Death reappears in this location.
- Sparyard of Scant Mercy: Similar to the Gutter of Misery, players can stand over the edge and face away from the water’s fall, so Death will use his Teleport to get close to the Arisen. However, doing this will have Death reappear over the abyss, essentially knocking him down and killing him.
Go For Long Distance
Specific long-ranged attacks can indeed knock Death down over the abyss and kill him. However, this isn’t entirely because of an exploit or a glitch. Rather, this is because players can make quick work of Death by relying on Vocations with distance-based or long-ranged attacks, especially during his Fortress of Remembrance appearance. Here are the ideal approaches per Vocation:
- Sorcerers: Thanks to meteor-summoning Bolide, players may be able to use Death’s knockdown exploit by first clearing the bridge from a distance to trigger the boss’s appearance. With him being the only boss in the area, Bolide will target Death and, on hit, may knock him off the ledge.
- Magick Archers: Through Magickal Radiance, players can unleash a holy bolt that damages and shocks un-Holy and Undead creatures that explode upon the Arisen’s command. Doing this close to a ledge can knock Death back into an abyss.
- Mages, Mystic Knights: With Grand Ingle and Holy-based Focused Bolts, these spellcasting Vocations can cause knockdowns or staggers to force Death into an abyss, again in the Fortress of Remembrance.
- Assassins, Striders, Rangers: Although martial by nature, their Blast Arrow strikes may be able to cause enough staggers and knockdowns to force Death off a ledge and into the abyss, effectively killing him.
Dragon’s Dogma was released in 2012 and is available for the Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.
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