Your beloved is the character designated as your romantic interest in Dragon's Dogma - the gifting of the quest item Arisen's Bond is intended to signify the Arisen's choice of beloved, though in practice the person chosen is the character you last spoke with who has highest affinity with the Arisen.
The "beloved" is the character with the highest affinity for the Arisen - if more than one character has maximized affinity then the most recently spoken to of that group will be chosen as the beloved.
Once the quest Deny Salvation is accepted, the character who is deemed to have the closest relationship with the Arisen will be kidnapped by The Dragon and taken to The Tainted Mountain, and will disappear from the game until the completion of that quest. On completion the 'beloved' will move to live with the Arisen in Cassardis. On completion of the end-game the current beloved will appear in a final cutsene with the Arisen's former pawn.
Knowing exactly who your beloved is can be difficult. Even after they are taken by the Dragon, sometimes the only clue that this has actually happened is a short comment by the Dragonforged, if an NPC has clearly vanished from the world where they used to always be or if the Arisen Bond that was gifted to a character is dropped by Grigori at the Arisen's feet at the end of Deny Salvation. Eventually your beloved is revealed during your final encounter with The Dragon, at which point you are given the choice to sacrifice them or fight The Dragon to save the beloved's life. Once you kill The Dragon, the beloved will live in your house in Post-Game.
Beloved determination is not based on gender and it is entirely possible for your beloved to be the same gender as the Arisen.
The Arisen's Bond is an item intended to be gifted to the Arisen's beloved; the item gives the receiver Maximum Affinity and so marks whoever you give it to as your beloved. If the Arisen's Bond was gifted, an extra cutscene will be shown after Deny Salvation showing that same ring drop from the sky - indicating that something has happened to your choice of beloved - despite the significance of this cutscene, the Arisen's Bond does not guarantee your choice of beloved will be chosen
The final battleEdit
Your current beloved at the time of the completion of the quest Deny Salvation becomes the captive of the Dragon during The Final Battle quest; once completed the beloved then goes to live with the Arisen in their house in Cassardis.
The great hereafterEdit
On completion of the entire game, after the quest The Great Hereafter, the most recently spoken to person with high affinity joins the former pawn of the Arisen on the beach at Cassardis. (not necessarily the player's beloved)
Controlling the choice of BelovedEdit
Almost every character (besides the Duke, the Dragonforged, and any pawns) can be made your beloved, even children and the elderly. This makes sense given the wide age range of which you can make your own character. There are designated NPCs designed with this function in mind, such as Selene, Quina and Valmiro, with unique dialogue for this role, making them the most popular choices.
In the case of players wanting to get specific characters as their love interest, this can be made likely by maximizing the affinity of the character by giving them large amounts of gifts, and/or completing any quests with them as the primary subject; in combination with actively making sure nobody else likes you as much - by lowering the affinity of other characters. In particular main characters, shopkeepers and any other inhabitant who the Arisen has significant interactions may be a candidate for love interest due to the frequency of interaction with them gradually raising their affinity. Affinity can be lowed by impolite actions including violence, threats, bumping into, carrying around, and offering Liquid Effluvium.
Making some characters your beloved can actually be of a great help; for example, with the traders Fournival or Mathias as beloved they would move to Cassardis, making their sale items easier to access.
If you have more than one character with maxed out affinity, your love interest is the last one you spoke to; this can be changed at any time, even after you bested The Dragon. You can save your beloved, talk to a different character whom you have max affinity with, and he or she will be your beloved during the epilogue.
For example, you can rescue Aelinore from the Blighted Manse after what is clearly a romantic scene, or receive a confession of love from Madeleine; only to find out later The Dragon chose Asalam or Caxton as your beloved, because they're vendors you're almost guaranteed to be talking to many times. In the case of vendors being your beloved this can be extremely inconvenient, as you no longer have their services until and possibly after you kill The dragon - if Asalam is taken, you have no way of changing your vocation until post-game, at which point he won't even be living in Gran Soren anymore, which can be even worse. (With Dark Arisen, it is now possible to change your vocation through Olra, but more importantly, merchant and innkeeper affinity was altered so it is more difficult to obtain them as beloveds through normal interaction.)
The solution to this potential issue is to lower the affinity of any undesired characters prior to starting the quest Deny Salvation. As affinity rises unintentionally, through common interactions such as buying goods, or enquiring about quests, the more Playthroughs the Player has, the more likely they are to have multiple potential beloveds - use of Liquid Effluvium is effective in avoiding mishaps and reducing affinity.
High affinity questsEdit
Some Quests can easily maximize affinity, even when having zero affinity before completing the Quest. These include:
- Search Party (Reynard)
- Bad Business (Madeleine)
- Duchess In Distress (Aelinore)
- Farewell, Valmiro (Valmiro)
- Talent in Bloom and A Parting Gift (Quina)
In general completing a characters quest line will maximize affinity (ie Selene, Madeleine, Mercedes, or Aelinore.)
Several characters have quest lines which tell of closeness or affection towards the Arisen, and consequently increase affinity to a high level. These characters have special dialogue on completion of the main and end game.
Characters with special end game dialogue include:
- Once Deny Salvation is completed there is no way to change the character selected by the Dragon. This means that the Beloved is decided as soon as the player reaches the first save-point in Deny Salvation after starting it.
- If the Beloved was given an Arisen's Bond, it will drop to the ground in front of the Arisen at the end of Deny Salvation. It can be retrieved and placed back in the player's inventory.
- The current Beloved can change multiple times through a playthrough.
- The ease of gaining Merchant and Innkeeper affinity was greatly reduced as part of the changes made to the Dark Arisen version of the game.