Lore speculations / discussion (spoiler alert!)


I would like to talk about several things concerning the current lore. The problem with that is that I don't want to spoil it for anyone, so I suggest to do it like this:

In the headlines of the spoiler function, state clues or reasons for the topic that you want to discuss, for example "Ancient temple monitors" and discuss the ideas and results of those clues inside the spoiler, so players who accidently waltz in here can see the clues and, if they're interested, may follow up on them ingame to make up their own minds and afterwards join the discussion in the spoiler brackets.

So, I shall begin.

So, while running around the festival I once noticed a house in the top right corner (it was there before the festival, but it wasn't standing out or anything). During the festival however, there are candles floating around it, resulting in a romantic atmosphere. Then I noticed, that Nysbruden said, that she came here with Grandpa Joe but she doesn't know where he is and after running around a bit more, I couldn't find him. Do you know who else is missing during the festival? Mrs. Pidgey. If having done the Mrs. Pidgey quest in the beginning, the player finds out that Grandpa Joe and Mrs. Pidgey had a history together before she moved to Evergrind City. After completing the quest, however, it appears that Grandpa Joe wants to know nothing of Mrs. Pidgey after such a long time. But, isn't it weird that Mrs. Pidgey is the only NPC missing during the festival and then Nysbruden explicitly says that she's here with Grandpa Joe, but doesn't know where he is? Could this house be Mrs. Pidgey's house? Could Mrs. Pidgey and Grandpa Joe have a reunion there among the romantic candles?

When taking more than one glance at the statue, it appears to be the statue of the player's mother, Charlotte. But the question is, what is it doing there? Sure, at one point Naniva says that Charlotte once saved the Fae from the Frostling King, but isn't it strange that the Fae, creatures who live in trees, build from natural materials like sticks and stones and are well familiar with the concept of changing seasons, cycles of life, life and death, would build something as durable as a solid stone statue? I don't think the Fae built the statue in Charlotte's honor. Speaking of building, who built the Season Temple? The Fae don't go there - in fact, when doing Mesido's quest it appears that they're afraid of the temple and consider it dangerous. So why would they build something as huge as this temple and not live there? Furthermore, it is stated several times, that compared to the Fae, humans are huge, so statues or temples for Fae would surely be much smaller if they built them. Now, then who build the statue of Charlotte and why?

Okay, this will probably be a big one. So, what does Master Ivy want? She obviously wants to collect the artifacts as badly as the player's father to resurrect Charlotte, but what are her reasons? Wealth? Power?

During the festival Ivy talks with Gaan'tlet, apparently inquiring about his previous owner (obviously not Winter) which Gaan'tlet can't remember or at least says so. There are no clues pointing towards what I think yet (well, this thread is about speculations as well, so...), but I kind of assume that Ivy is a descendant of... uh Farmahmerea/Zhamla Meer - he might probably go through some more changes, so I will call him Dr. Cataclysm for now.

It appears Dr. Cataclysm was corrupted by an artifact that collects souls, which can be derived from the information provided by Professor Pine. It says that he once was a great collector, then started to collect souls and that he was getting strong with each soul he collects. Following the principle that one artifact can corrupt a human (or fae, or robot), it's plausible that exactly that happened to Dr. Cataclysm, causing him to completely go bananas and cause the world to end (which can also be derived from Professor Pine's last entry, where the date's year has started its counter 15 years after having been reset to zero and having the AC - After Cataclysm added to the date which wasn't there before.

One hint is that Ivy is wearing a cowl the entire time, which might be concealing exactly that artifact that Dr. Cataclysm was wearing when being corrupted. It might be a crown of some sort, something that isn't visible all to well when wearing a cowl. That artifact may have been passed down to Ivy when Dr. Cataclysm died. (I assume he died?) So it might be that she wants to collect the other artifacts to resurrect Dr. Cataclysm to either destroy the world again or to maybe resurrect him only to harvest his soul and become superpowerful. Relative or not, the artifacts seems to make everyone power hungry.

Furthermore one of the research monitors mentions that there was never a Human Card seen anywhere. Maybe Dr. Cataclysm was killing people for that reason, to finally find the human card that must be powerful. Or did he find it? Was it too powerful, so he died passing the crown down to his lost daught he didn't even know he had? Everything's possible!

Phew, would love to hear some thoughts from fellow Grindeans or maybe some more clues, ideas, speculations.



Friendly Moderator :)
I know why Mrs. Pidgey wasn't there - Bella and Edward stole her bench ;)
Kids these days show no respect for the elders. They don't care if you've been sitting on that bench for years, they just push you aside and claim it like you were never even there. Gosh, just thinking about it makes me flustered.


Soooo, time to dig that dusty thread up as since the last update and its pure awesomeness lore-wise my mind was going completely bananas and I think I figured out a big chunk of the plot, so please do not continue reading if you don't want to get spoiled as I'm positive the following thoughts are probably very close to hit home:

So, my thoughts were based on a couple of hints that were given here and there and, while none of those are solid proof, combining them the way I did sounds plausible to me - there are some holes here and there, of course, but it's still fun to try figuring stuff out without knowing for certain.

The first hint was in the Cursed Priestess' description and the dialogue after defeating her. The priestess recognized the player. How is this possible, you ask? Well, we were there, weren't we? We met several characters during the past and while they seem oblivious to the rifts, they sure might remember the player's face as our actions also influenced the present (moving the statue) - we weren't an illusion or something, we were really physically there. So, the priestess is probably someone we met in Tai Ming in the past. So, which one?

Two people come to mind: Preia and Tessen. The second hint was actually in the Translation Tool but I'm not going to mention it here since it's not part of the game - and, again, it's not solid proof. Anyhow, even without an additional hint, only a couple of people have that weird hair ring with Preia, Tessen and Sizou being among them, which lets me believe they are typical for the combat priests, which in my books is enough proof for Tessen being an aspiring priestess. On Preia we see how a typical Priestess of Old outfit looks like (the hat, the forehead gem, the robe, the sleeves) and, while the Cursed Priestess may also be Preia, the woman is a side character, so I highly doubt it. Another difference is the color: Tessen's robe is lighter than Preia's, as is the Cursed Priestess'. So, if there are only three people who are priests or aspiring priests who could have recognized the player (one of them being a male) and based on the rest of the thought process, I'm like 90% sure Tessen is the Cursed Priestess.

So, what does it mean to the plot if we assume Tessen to be the Cursed Priestess? The third hint is in the Cursed Priestess' flavor text, which says she is cursed with eternal life. But one does not simply gain eternal life just like that, eh? Well, I think the key is Zhamla here. On a side note, I actually figured most of that out before the cutscene with Sizou being mad at Zhamla as I was too damn stupid to get by those darn statues. Whatevs, so, during our visit to Tai Ming we learn several things, two of which are Tessen and Zhamla being pretty close and Zhamla being a prodigy. Okay, that's where it becomes somewhat far-fetched, but, based on my thoughts in previous posts of this thread, what if much later something happened to Tessen, let's say an illness, an accident or something like that and Zhamla wants to use his prodigy powers to heal her, to prolong her life and what if he finds out that to do that he needs souls of other people? Is it possible that in his eyes, he is not evil at all, not the villain we were lead to believe in Professor Pine's logs, but just someone who desperately doesn't want to lose a friend, or maybe his love? What if that evacuation of Tai Ming mentioned by Tannie Hawk is the first big sacrifice Zhamla made for Tessen? What if he collected souls to prolong Tessen's life and in doing so slowly slipped into insanity and, having gone way beyond all common sense, ultimately caused the cataclysm by granting Tessen eternal life? Some food for thought, eh?

There are some holes, of course, but altogether I think it may later turn out to be something along those lines. Some further thoughts are the crown Tessen made him might somehow become one of the fabled artifacts and, I think this is the very crown Master Ivy is currently hiding under her cowl. We know nothing about how ancient artifacts are made but they seem to be pretty common during those times as some random guy just happened to have three of them. I no longer think Master Ivy is related to Zhamla, though, as we now know from Bag we meet Zhamla exactly 1000 years before the present. Ivy probably just happened to find that crown or something like that.

I'm really looking forward how the plot will develop and what I'm right and what I'm wrong about. In any case I love this plot a lot and all those little details and hints strewn about here and there.
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I guess it's time for some story time!

Some new things have happened in the new update and I would like to discuss them and share my thoughts. I have been having that one thought coursing though my mind since way back: the encounter with Phaseman. First, it was just a small thought but as we advance further through the plot, there is more food for that thought until I can't ignore it further.

So, what is the connection between Bag and Zhamla? Obviously, they do have some kind of connection since before the encounter Phaseman recognized Bag as being associated with Zhamla and since he was constructed for the pure purpose of destroying him, he attacked. It seems the player character just happens to be there as he is not the Phaseman's true target. So, perhaps Zhamla possessed Bag in the past. Yet, we now encountered Zhamla on the point of being able to finish his album and... no sight of "young Bag".

Well, that thought I was talking about was... what if Bag is Zhamla? So far we cannot explain or prove it, as we have no knowledge as to how sentient artifacts actually come to be. We meet a bunch of other artifacts throughout the game, including the ones that we meet a thousand years ago, so they existed before and continue to exist. So, if artifacts were, in fact, previously people, why would that be so? Well, the only explanation I can find is the Goddess, which we also know not enough about (yep, her secrets are yet to be revealed). It may be a reward for those who have achieved great deeds, destined to live forever and be collected after having devoted one's life to Grindea's cause. Or it may be punishment for going against her will. In any case, somehow the artifacts must be serving the Goddess, serving a purpose in Grindea's plans only she knows of. What purpose does Bag serve? Will he disappear like the Cursed Priestess after serving her purpose to the Goddess? (I know she's not an artifact, but maybe the Goddess handles priests differently from collectors)

When thinking about all that, I made a small list of pros, cons and neutral things regarding the B=Z (Bag equals Zhamla) theory.

  • Neutral things:

- The first neutral thing is the encounter with Phaseman. Phaseman's text only says that the "sentient container" is "associated" with Zhamla Meer, so that doesn't get us far.

- The second neutral thing is Bag becoming emotional when meeting Zhamla in Part 2 of Tai Ming. When does Bag ever get emotional? Never. Bag is Bag. Always making fun of stuff and having no worries whatsoever. But that might just mean that Zhamla meets Bag later. Furthermore, why doesn't Bag react this way in Part 1 of Tai Ming? So, that too doesn't help us here.

  • Cons:
- The first argument against this theory is "Why the hell doesn't Bag just mention that?". Yes, why indeed. Could be some condition of the Goddess. Could be that he himself doesn't remember it that clearly. Could be that he doesn't want to scare the protagonist(s) away, revealing himself as the one who cause the Cataclysm. Maybe there are reasons, maybe there aren't.

- Another thing speaking against it is his reaction to Tessen. Even if she shouldn't be the Cursed Priestess (which he might not have recognized because of her age), when seeing little Tess in Tai Ming 1, who he supposedly loves so much (regardless if it's as a sister or else - they're technically not related, so it may be either), he should be overjoyed or oversaddened - one of those. SOME reaction should surely be there, if he was Zhamla, but alas, there isn't.

- Lastly, why doesn't he know, how the damn door with the emblems work? If he has also lived in Tai Ming, surely he should know the same story of the door's origin as Tessen does. But nope, Bag has no clue. So either he isn't Zhamla, or collectors get a different education from priests. One doesn't have to be very bright to become a great collector, after all. (*glances at Teddy's avatar* :D) In that case it would slightly support the theory by Bag now knowing the story, thus not being present at the time the story Tessen told happened, thus not being older than Tai Ming.

  • Pros:
But now to the Pros.

- Like Zhamla Bag regards everyone as weak first (even the player in the beginning). He constantly makes fun of everyone, seems to be smart(-ass) and witty. And Bag respects strength, as he despite making fun of Luke, does it in a way that shows a liking.

- Another pro I noticed by using the translation tool. With the last update a pretty much core text was changed within a the first dialogue after character creation. Formerly, when Dad explained who Bag is after giving him to his son/daughter, he said Bag was passed down from generation to generation. Now, however, it states that he was "within their family" for a very long time. He refers to Bag as an actual person, not an object that is passed down. So, either Bag was a person, or it's just that common relation, where people view for example their pets as family members - that may also be the case with Bag.

- The third pro is noticeable throughout the second part of Tai Ming. When dealing with Zhamla, there are certainly some weird reactions from Bag which have never occurred before. Bag clearly remembers Zhamla, if not vice versa. At one point Zhamla's appearance gives Bag pause and Bag was never really at a loss of words before. It's evident Bag feels uncomfortable around Zhamla for some reason. But being Bag, he swallows his thoughts and emotions.

- And lastly there is a certain dialogue between Bag and Tessen, that has some very strong clues. Remember the place when Zhamla and Tessen have an argument? Zhamla storms out while the player comes in and Tess starts to complain about Zhamla's behavior. Three vital things happen during this dialogue.

One: Bag gets serious. Bag was never serious before, regarding the squabbles of mortals from a distance and amusing himself over their stupidity. But not here. Here Bag actually gets serious and deep. He has some convictions here and talks of things he believes in, in a way he never did before.

Two: Bag defends Zhamla's behavior. To the eye of the observer (us), to Faita, to Tessen, to all witnesses of Zhamla's arrogance, to everyone but Sizou and Zhamla, it's evident that Zhamla is wrong and making a huge mistake. Why the hell would Bag want to defend that? Shouldn't he be on the player's side by now? Throughout the game Bag shows a good sense of justice, but here he defends Zhamla for being an asshole? That sure is very out of the ordinary.

Three: The most uncommon and strongest thing of all that happens in the dialogue, is when Bag states "Those of us who find their true calling...". Us. He says 'us'. Not 'those', or not 'those people', no, he includes himself into those finding their true calling. For a brief moment he dives into his memories and feelings, remembering what it was like to be human (or a titan, but that's another theory :p) and speaks his peace as if he was saying it a thousand years ago.

He defends Zhamla's deeds despite being fully aware of where it leads, speaks with a determination of someone who knows what the truth of things is and counts himself to those, fully devoting themselves to collecting and thus to Grindea. Bag may very well be defending himself and the things he has done as Zhamla, the things he has done "all the way to the end".

And then, if it's true, the bitter irony of Tessen saying "...you don't know Zhamla at all!", with Bag probably thinking "If only I could tell you, sister.", while saying "...".

I sure hope that hunt for the human card was worth it. It must have had some purpose, at least, if the Goddess allowed him to become an artifact after that. What are those secrets, dear Grindea, I wonder?

Lastly a fun thought: If Bag is only a part of Zhamla's soul with the other artifacts being the other parts, then the player is collecting Zhamla. And as far as I remember some of the devs stating "zhamla meer" means "collect more" in swedish. And what a symbol for eternal collecting is better than a bottomless bag, eh? I wonder when and why he got that green patch on him.

Well, looking forward to further updates ;)
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Some comments on your speculations above.
That theory about turning people into sentient artifacts... If they really used to be people, reincarnation would be a good explanation. It's of course unlikely that there were many Collectors like Zhamla, either with his power level or his sins. Maybe it's just good Collectors (good in collecting) are reincarnated as artifacts.
Also, artifacts being parts of Zhamla's soul reminds of Horcruxes.

Anyways, I don't really support this theory, especially Bag being Zhamla. Not telling it's impossible though.

From some clues, we know that Bag was in Tai Ming 1000 years ago (he recognizes the place upon your arrival from rift). And his talk about one's true calling implies that he knows Zhamla. He definitely doesn't tell us everything. E.g. I think that the Crown is the third Artifact we are going to get. You can read some of my speculations in this post.

What made me wonder was a quote from Mundi (that artifact caretaker we meet in first zone). In second zone, he says that Pao Zhi (that small bag) was assigned to Zhamla (although I've seen this dialogue only in translation tool). I wonder if Pao Zhi is the past Bag. That would explain how he knows Zhamla, and also tell that he was witness of him turning evil and all.


Green Slime
What if Charlotte didn't die and is actually Ivy and is evil now (because of an artifact?) and wants to stop you collecting the artifacts to bring her back to life because she is not dead so bringing her back to life wouldn't work which would make people wonder is she was actually dead?


Some comments on your speculations above.
Thanks for reading and answering! I usually avoid Vilya's blog thread, because of all the discussions about the future content. I like the game as it is since before having the possibility to discuss future content, possibly changing opinions, so I try to refrain from getting spoiled about themes, mechanics, enemies, NPCs and so on. I'd rather get surprised and enjoy playing new content without any previous influences and insights. That being said, that's the reason why I missed all the lore discussions inside.


I don't know, Pao Zhi kind of struck me as being female. If that's indeed young bag, he must have been through some really tough times, which are worse than the Cataclysm, to become the way he is now :D

Also according to the Tannie's logs (the dates of which were conveniently changed last update as well) part 2 of Tai Ming takes place around the 10.10.2399 since we experience that "trying to drum up" some interest from locals. It's only 1 year and 2 months away from Tai Ming's evacuation. Quite a short time for Zhamla to find Bag and become friends with him to cause some of Bag's reactions we see when he encounters Zhamla. The way Bag speaks about him, or tries to before stopping himself, more sounds like he knows him for an eternity. When comparing the dates to Professor Pine's logs, the Cataclysm follows another year after Tai Ming's destruction, where, I assume, Zhamla must have died as well (or became Bag). So that's only 2 years and 2 months time for Zhamla and Bag to meet and become close, before it becomes impossible. I wonder what other explanation there may be for those things, besides Zhamla being Bag and Zhamla being close to Bag.

About the crown: Yeah, some of the things I briefly read in the blog are probably closer to what will come, than what I first thought, especially the part with the crown being the third artifact. Still, I don't think Ivy's cowl is there just for show. She must be hiding SOMETHING important under that cowl of hers, even if it's not Zhamla's crown as I initially thought.


A less lore-related side note, but still containing possible spoilers of Tai Ming:

I think all the Zhamla business overall is a marvellous reference to real life, where people feel forced to do jobs they dislike. There are a lot of lawyers, doctors and general sales/marketing/business folks out there, who hate their jobs, just because they rose from a generation, especially after war times, where parents forced their children to go for well-payed/respected jobs, instead of allowing them to pursue their dreams and become whatever they wished. And in Grindea, being a Collector is considered a great honor and while maybe in that case it wasn't Zhamla's parents who forced him, his destiny arose from necessity, rather than from his own free will. We meet him as child, witnessing the real him and later Tessen says it as well, how he loved to make people happy and would like to become a poet or painter. And the message here is that this is what happens if too many people execute jobs they hate, the world goes down the drain, using the Cataclysm as an analogy.

Furthermore I think Grindea's Trick Phasing stands for making games as means to earn daily bread in real life. On the market in Tai Ming we see Nana and her daughter Rikku arguing. Rikku seems to be interested in the trick phasing that's being demonstrated, but her mother tells her that she and her father already decided, that she is going to become a Collector. There might be some strong symbolism, what obstacles one has to overcome to be able to make games as a living, especially when not having the parents' support, who still think conservatively, trying to press their children into certain roles, instead of allowing them to pursue their own aims. Little do they know how much money the gaming industry generates nowadays.


Some notable irony from Tai Ming:

We set out to retrieve the three emblems: the Emblem of Valor, the Emblem of Faith and the Emblem of Loyalty.

And then...

We receive the Emblem of Loyalty because a son betrays his father by neglecting the job he hates.
We receive the Emblem of Valor from Collectors who later flee and fail from a threat.
And we receive the Emblem of Faith from Tessen, who chooses to ask the player for miracles, instead of praying for one.

Just thought this was worth mentioning.


You collect the emblem of loyalty in the present. It was simply left in a conveniently unbroken chest

But we get there through a hatch on the roof that Vernon deliberately leaves open and he also hints us towards that hatch and that room. You probably just found it on your own before ever speaking to him - that's also possible.


That flashback which was added during the last update was quite interesting. It kind of reminded me of Avatar - The last Airbender, as if Zhamla is dreaming of the exploits of his past lives and the people, who "wore" those Goddess powers before Zhamla. Guess the player is the next Avatar!

Edit: Like an eternal divine cycle, where the world needs to be destroyed to be reborn again, the Goddess sends a harbinger in order to announce the downfall of humanity, unaware of the task that lies at the end of the grim path he is being set upon. But then again, a lot of people seemed to have survive the Cataclysm, so maybe it's not as fatal as it sounds :D
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The G-Meister

Giga Slime
Gonna put this out there:

Perhaps, if Ivy is the final boss of the game... we get a human card from her? Just like how convenient it is we get a slime card?


Perhaps, if Ivy is the final boss of the game... we get a human card from her? Just like how convenient it is we get a slime card?
I actually hope that Ivy is not the final boss, because that would be really predictable. You're collecting the artifacts and then she takes them and tells you what fools you and your father are and what a genius she was to make you collect them to take them from you, receiving their power. Meh. Instead, I'm hoping for some twist which neither of the speculators, including myself, were able to guess. Buuut... let's maybe quit putting the devs under pressure :D

The G-Meister

Giga Slime
I'm hoping for some twist which neither of the speculators, including myself, were able to guess.
I don't play Grindea for the story ;) It's hard to do something completely unpredictable when it comes to an ending. I would elaborate on that but I dropped English Language and English Literature after GCSE and I don't read very often, so I'll just end up becoming hypocritical or making no sense :oops:

Also, Vilya says she loves us speculating, and to be honest with what I've experienced so far of the storytelling, I doubt the ending is going to be disappointing, even if it may be predictable in one way or another :p

The G-Meister

Giga Slime
Bag tells us himself that Artifacts are indestructible. "The only things that work are giant chests or earplugs," if I recall correctly.