Amnesia: The Dark Descent

The Kaernk is a water-dwelling, otherworldly creature that is invisible to the naked eye. Fortunately, it can be detected by the splashes it makes in the water as it "walks" in a slow, deliberate gait. A similar creature, although different in origin, appears in Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs.

Kaernk concept art.

Known Information[edit | edit source]

Originating from the same world as Alexander of Brennenburg, this aquatic nightmare was delivered to the Baron from Johann Weyer as its saliva contained Tampter, an ingredient for a tonic to release Agrippa without killing him. Several water monsters were safely contained within wells in the depths of Brennenburg Castle. However as the events of The Dark Descent unfold, the Shadow following Daniel consumes room after room, until it causes structural failures that allow the deadly Kaernk to escape.

The Kaernk is only capable of attacking things that wander into the shallow pools that it inhabits. However, what it lacks in reach it makes up for with its invisibility. Daniel can only see where the monster is by the loud splashing noises, the splashes it makes when moving, and the banging it makes on doors when trying to break them down. It can be assumed that the creature is blind, as it will move toward any disturbance in the water, allowing Daniel to create distance between himself and the Kaernk by throwing objects such as books. However, if any meat is thrown into the water, such as severed body parts, the monster will behave differently; it will pursue and devour the meat, buying Daniel a short amount of time to move in the water unharmed. If Daniel does not disturb the water after throwing an edible object, the Kaernk will return to where it was after it has finished eating, whereas if a book is thrown the creature will remain where it landed. The player can also use a "run and jump" strategy to slow down the Kaernk while in water, although it is always safer to jump on a box or crate.

Encounters[edit | edit source]

The Kaernk was encountered a total of six times throughout the game, four of which were purely visual encounters with no actual threat. Daniel can catch a glimpse of the creature early in the game as it splashes about below the grating on the floor of the chemical laboratory. The second and most dangerous encounter occurs in the flooded Archives, where Daniel must evade two of the creatures in two areas in immediate succession.

Upon leaving the Flooded Archives, you encounter another Kaernk in a chase to exit the area. This Kaernk is larger but slower than the first; hiding on boxes will not work, as it'll easily reach and severely damage Daniel. Daniel must either run all the time and quickly open doors or slow it down by closing doors behind him in order to outrun it.

Much later in the game, it was be encountered for a fourth time, in the Cistern. If Daniel's sanity was high enough, he will only hear the Kaernk growl and occasionally splash in the water as he turns the valves, but the creature will not actually pursue or attack him, making it seem like a hallucination. However, if Daniel has completed the Morgue first, the Kaernk will actually appear in the water once the last valve is turned, along with the Shadow's fleshy residue. It is a far less dangerous encounter here though, as Daniel can use the many walkways to easily avoid contact with the creature.

If Daniel stayed in the Cistern for too long or completes the Morgue before going there, the Kaernk will appear, even if Daniel doesn't have low sanity, it will attack if it gets the chance.

As Daniel explored the Sewer, he'll come across a passageway that the Shadow has collapsed completely. Once there, he could hear the watery predator growl. It seems that the Kaernk is trapped in the rubble from this recent cave-in as it is unable to enter the area and attack him. On low sanity, Daniel may "see" a Kaernk splashing towards him in the sewers but it cannot damage Daniel.

The final two encounters occurred during the quest to recreate Agrippa's Potion, during which Daniel encountered a well-dwelling Kaernk. To obtain a sample of Tampter, Daniel lowers a haunch of meat into the well and allows the Kaernk to feast on it. If Daniel did not do this at the first well, he would have to do so at the second well located near the Cells. Falling into a Kaernk-containing well is fatal, similar to falling off a ledge in the Choir.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The word Kaernk is an anagram of "Kraken", the name of a giant squid in Norse Mythology. This may or may not be intentional.
  • If Daniel stands too close to the edge of a partially-submerged box he's on top of, the monster may successfully bite and injure him.
  • Even though it's invisible, looking at a Kaernk will drain sanity.
  • If standing on a small box in the second part of the cellar archives the Kaernk may push away the box and make Daniel fall into the water.
  • The ripples in the water when the Kaernk moves make it look like an invisible walking biped, although concept art for the creature reveals that the Kaernk is actually a gruesomely mutilated dolphin-like creature without legs.
  • It usually cannot reach Daniel if he's standing on a box, even if only a few inches above the water level.
  • The Kaernk's hissing and defined roars are similar to those of an alligator or a snake.
  • It is the only monster/creature in the game that can be "killed", specifically by smashing a large barrel or crate on top of it. This will stop the Kaernk activity, and leave its yellowish blood in the water. This fact alone makes it the least dangerous monster in Amnesia.
  • The Kaernk was intended to appear in the Justine expansion but was cut.
  • The Kaernk's behavior is referenced with Specimen 13's chases in Spooky's Jumpscare Mansion, a different horror game.\\
  • The word Kaernk translated to english means Kaerg in Greek or Russian.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Video​[edit | edit source]


Amnesia The Dark Descent - Kaernk

Kaernk Music


Amnesia The Dark Descent - Water Lurker sounds

Kaernk Sounds

The Dark Descent monsters
The Gatherers
(main campaign)
Servant GruntServant Brute
(Justine campaign)
Aloïs RacineBasile GirouxMalo de Vigny
Others KaernkThe Shadow
Unreleased SorcererSpiderTuurngait InfectedBaby PlantFlower ManFish-Face

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