Inside the world of Dragon’s Dogma, the player takes on the role of the Arisen who is accompanied by their own created pawn called a Main pawn. They are able to put their own likes and particularities into the main pawn during the creation phase. The main pawn will be traveling with the player on this long journey and they will select everything, including appearance, vocation, equipment and skills, among other things. In this game, the player does not just single handedly decide the main pawn actions. The main pawn learns from the player’s moves, will, and the decisions are made. So if they are an aggressive type that always jumps into battle first without thinking then the player's pawn will learn to support that play style. If the player goes for the weakest or strongest foe first. the pawn will develop and complement how they decide to play. Every time the player does something, this will have an effect on the pawn’s thoughts and movements. The main pawn is a custom AI tailored to how the player plays the game.
Initially, the pawn AI will improve based on the player’s job and the decisions the player makes; The Arisen's play style will shape and raise the pawn's AI. The main pawn will attempt to match the player’s job and fighting patterns and start to do things on their own. If the player would like to change any of their pawn's speech patterns and inclinations, they can simply go to Pawn Guild or certain encampments across Gransys, where they will find a Knowledge Chair. In the Knowledge Chair, the main pawn will then ask the player on what and how they should improve. Sitting in this chair fairly often will result in the main pawn only asking 2 questions; the first question will always concern his/her speech rate, which is then followed by a random second question.
Customizing the appearance of the main pawn will also affect gameplay. If the pawn is heavier set, then the limit on the amount of weight that the character can hold is increased. If they are overencombured, it will take more stamina to perform any movements and overall speed will be reduced. The character's weight also has an effect on how soon the spent stamina can be recovered. Also, a character's size will affect the way the character interacts in the game. Bigger characters will have a longer reach when they attack, but they will also be easier to hit. Smaller characters have a shorter hit range, but are more difficult to hit. They also move faster than their larger counterparts. The sex of the character can also have an effect on gameplay. Since the character's reach and stamina are a major part of the game, every detail put into the main pawn will shape how the game is played.
Main pawns can be hired by other Arisens to help them during their journey and can thus be in multiple games at once. While spending time aiding another Arisen, the main pawn will receive Rift Crystals for their support. Main pawns "return" from other players' worlds after sleeping at a resting place. They can come bearing gifts from the other player, along with a rating and comment, if one is given. Pawns will remember their actions in other worlds, allowing them to gain knowledge on how to kill foes and offer insight into completing quests the player has not yet undertaken.
- Art of Metamorphosis at The Encampment. Johnathan sells them from his Rift Shop (Caution: This can only be used once per save file).
- After defeating the Dragon, the player can purchase the Secret of Metamorphosis at the Encampment which will allow them to freely change the appearance of the Arisen and the Main pawn as often as desired. This function is accessed at the Main Menu screen.
- The hairstyles and facial details of both characters can be altered at Devyn's Barber Shop in Gran Soren, although one cannot change gender or alter their body. Every time this is done, the player must pay a fee.
- "You shall not cast!"
- "Wolves hunt in packs!"
- "This place must have seen a ferocious battle."
- "Armed rogues!"
- "They're armed, master!"
- "Armed bandits, Arisen!"
- "So, what do you propose?"
- "What's this?"
- "This looks interesting."
- "Hm? What's that?"
- "Let's have a look..."
- "This may provide aught of use."
- "Careful, a goblin!"
- "Sulfur Saurian!"
- "The tail is severed!"
- "Attack the tail!"
- "Even in numbers, a weakling is a weakling still!"
- "It seems all paths lead to Gran Soren."
- "Snow Harpies!"
- "Beware the harpy's song!"
- "Fire works well!"
- "It hates fire!"
- "Burn them to ash!"
- "Be sure to save enough for lodging."
- "The path splits..."
- "I'll take that."
- "I must away!"
- "Falling back!"
- "I...I'll have nightmares from that one."
- "T'is far stronger than a common goblin!"
- "It grows frenzied!"
- "I do dearly miss the sun..."
- "A boat....?"
- "What an incredible view."
- "The views extends for leagues along the shore."
- "The canyon floor is an apt spot to find ourselves surrounded. We'd best be careful."
- "With practice, precision strikes and enchantment use will become routine."
- "Perhaps we could avoid further battle..."
- "Given the looks of things, we'd best be prepared afore pressing on."
- "'Tis our chance!"
- "I have it!"
- "I'll grab hold of it!"
- "Leave these to me."
- "You cannot let it win!"
- "Do not go quietly! Keep struggling!"
- "On my way, master! Be strong!"
- "Hold on!"
- "Did it!"
- "We have triumphed!"
- "Strength in numbers, Arisen."
- "Are you unharmed, master?"
- "Don't worry, I am here."
- "... You'll be fine now."
- "There is no need to be reckless!"
- "Stay with me!"
- "Open your eyes!"
- "No... No!"
- "What a gaff."
- "So many beds."
- "A white wolf, it will be red soon enough!"
- "It bears the head of a cock!"
- "Shall we jump? It might shorten our path ...Or our lives"
- "Am I the only one that wishes to be out of here?"
- "Very well!"
- "The goat is casting death spell!"