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Video Game / Baldur's Gate III

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Resist, and turn darkness against itself. Or embrace corruption, and become ultimate evil. note 

"Consider your predicament. One skull, two tenants, and no solution in sight. I could fix it all like that [...] Try to cure yourself. Shop around - beg, borrow and steal. Exhaust every possibility until none are left. And when hope has whittled down to the very marrow of despair - that's when you'll come knocking on my door."

Baldur's Gate III is a Western Role-Playing Game which serves as the third main installment in the Baldur's Gate series, set in the High Fantasy Dungeons & Dragons setting Forgotten Realms. It is developed by Larian Studios, best known for the acclaimed Divinity: Original Sin duology, for the PC and Google Stadia. For the first time in the series, the game adapts the current 5th Edition ruleset of the tabletop game, as well as Turn-Based Combat. The game entered Early Access on October 6, 2020, and is set to be fully released in 2023.

Set in 1492 DR (over a hundred years after the events of the previous installments), the story follows the events of an illithid invasion into Toril. The Player Character is one of the unlucky souls captured by the mind flayers, and is implanted with an illithid tadpole that will slowly turn them into a mind flayer unless it is removed. After escaping from captivity and crashing the nautiloid ship they were being transported on, they team up with several other survivors of the crash to search for a way to remove the parasite before the ceremorphosis is complete.


In preparation for the game's formal announcement, a 5th Edition adventure module was announced titled Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus, which takes place around a century after Baldur's Gate II, and acts as a prologue of sorts for this game. It was released on September 17, 2019, and helps bridge some of the gaps between the two games. In July 2021, Jim Zub (writer of the comic book spin-off series Legends of Baldur's Gate) announced that he is working on a comic mini-series titled Dungeons & Dragons: Mindbreaker, with the first issue released in October 2021. Serving as a prequel to the game, the comic series focuses on a group of adventurers, which includes Minsc and Boo, as they fight to save each other, and their sanity, from a mind flayer-led cult secretly destroying trust between the factions in Baldur’s Gate.


The game provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Badass: Cambions as presented in the 5e Monster Manual are generally low-level soldiers and attendants for greater fiendish powers; dangerous for a level 1-4 party, certainly, but still very much grunts. The cambions in this game, Raphael and Mizora, are beings whose powers far outstrip those of the player characters, with the former casually teleporting the party to his domain to offer a solution to the tadpole problem, and the latter possessing enough power to act as a Warlock patron.
  • Alien Abduction: Or the closest fantasy equivalent, anyway. The ilithid that captures you in the intro has Combat Tentacles on its nautiloid that teleport people they strike into tanks on the ship for later infestation with larvae.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: The Player Character can only have as many as three companions traveling with them at a time. Although, you could circumvent this limit by editing the save file to allow between two to seven companions to travel with you.
  • The Assimilator:
    • Mind flayers reproduce by implanting their tadpole-like larvae into a humanoid body, which transforms, agonizingly, into another mind flayer over the course of about a tenday. The ship shown in the opening is full of pods which show that the mind flayers have not only managed to speed up the process, but are intent on weaponizing it.
    • On a lesser note, gnolls are shown here to be born of natural hyenas cursed by the demon lord Yeenoghu, who is worshipped by gnolls as their god in keeping with 5th Edition's new canon.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The game being in Early Access, the enemies sometimes display questionable tactics, such as casting multiple spells requiring concentration in a row, cancelling the previous one every time.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: There is nothing stopping you from being a warlock, or a cleric of an evil god, but still acting in a heroic manner.
  • Body Horror: The ceremorphosis process is shown in its full, gory glory in the reveal trailer, with a Flaming Fist soldier's body contorting in horrific agony before transforming into an illithid.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • As Swen Vincke demonstrated during a gameplay demo, when all else fails, you can throw a shoe at an enemy to deal minor damage.
    • In Early Access, the Warlock class is amongst the most effective classes — while they don't have the sheer number of spell slots of a wizard or a cleric, they do have the spammable and very potent Eldritch Blast cantrip.
    • One of the simplest abilities a character can do is push enemies. It doesn't really do damage, but with the right planning and environment, pushing an enemy can buy you time to regroup, or even push enemies off of great heights to deal extra damage.
  • But Thou Must!: You can't actually make a deal with Raphael. Despite offering to remove the tadpole in exchange for your soul he never does so even if you agree and gives the same lines as when the player rejects him. The only difference is that he acts somewhat disappointed at how easy it was to get you to agree and that he wanted more of a fight.
  • Character Class System:
    • There's a huge variety of classes to choose from, including each of the 12 base classes from 5th Edition (although there are currently no plans to include the 13th class, Artificer, as it is a Canon Foreigner borrowed from Eberron). As of Patch 7, only the Bard, Monk, and Paladin classes remain unavailable in Early Access.
    • Each class also contains several subclasses to choose from upon reaching a certain level (except for clerics, sorcerers, and warlocks, who can choose their subclass at Level 1).
  • Character Customization: Much like Larian's previous game, players have the option of creating a Featureless Protagonist from scratch, or choosing from several pre-made origin characters.
  • Circles of Hell: The Nine Hells of Baator are made up of nine descending layers, ruled by nine archdevils in ascending order of rank. The prologue sees your Player Character awakening aboard the nautiloid shortly after the ship transports to Avernus, the topmost layer, a barren Fire and Brimstone Hell that serves as an eternal battleground in the Blood War.
  • Con Man: At Silvanus' Grove, a young tiefling boy will try a con on the PC, also doing a sleight of hand trick. If the PC is a rogue or has the Charlatan background, you can identify all of the boy's tricks by name, and then proceed to show the boy that there's Always a Bigger Fish. If the PC doesn't rip the kid off and just tells him "yeah, good luck with that kid", he'll laugh and tell the rogue he'll focus on the real pigeons.
  • Continuity Nod: Among the possessions of archdruid Kagha is a book of Shadow Druid philosophy written by Faldorn, which goes some way to explaining Kagha's hostility toward outsiders and eagerness to seal away the natural splendor of Silvanus' Grove from encroaching civilization — including abandoning the tiefling refugees to the goblin horde.
  • Cool Airship: Not very cool being held captive aboard one, but the mind flayer nautiloid is a huge, flying Living Ship that jumps between dimensions, with Combat Tentacles that can teleport those they touch into one of the countless assimilation pods stowed in its hold.note 
  • Cool vs. Awesome: The opening cutscene depicts githyanki knights mounted on red dragons pursuing a mind flayer nautiloid across multiple dimensions.
  • The Corruption: The illithid tadpole in the brain of your party members gives them Psychic Powers, but using it stirs more of its sentience to the surface and it will eventually absorb their brains and transform their bodies into mind flayers.
  • Cthulhumanoid: The octopus-like mind flayers, known as 'illithids' in their own language or 'ghaik' by the githyanki, play a major role in the story, starting by infesting you and your potential companions with a illithid tadpole that will eventually turn you all into mind flayers, as seen in the gameplay demo's intro.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: The extended introduction cinematic, as well as conversations with certain NPCs confirm that, at least canonically to the game, the outcome of Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus was with Elturel returning to Toril. Also during the nautiloid section of the game, one of the devils attacking the ship refers to the archdevil Zariel, which more or less confirms that Zariel was neither redeemed nor killed by the adventurers that saved Elturel during the events of the adventure. This outcome is drawn from the events that unfolded in Legends of Baldur's Gate, particularly the Infernal Tides story arc which was based on the aforementioned adventure module.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • This is one of the rare times a Dungeons & Dragons game (usually acceptable by teenagers) got a Mature rating thanks to Body Horror and being both Bloodier and Gorier and Hotter and Sexier.
    • The Bhaalspawn's circle of companions had its share of possible evil companions such as Viconia or Edwin, but it was balanced by neutral and good companions like Jaheira and Keldorn. By contrast, the available companions for the Early Access all are some manner of morally ambiguous, including a vampire spawn, a githyanki, and a cleric to an evil god. Gale, without any malicious intent, harbors an ancient, uncontrollable magic which, if not fed, will detonate and wipe out a significant portion of the Sword Coast. Even the heroic Wyll is a Fiend warlock, albeit a repentant one.
  • Deal with the Devil: The inhabitants of the Nine Hells play a major role in the plot and several characters have made various bargains with a number of devils.
    • Fiend warlocks such as Wyll have forged one in exchange for their arcane powers. Wyll in particular regrets the bargain he had made with his patron and is looking for a way to break it.
    • The cambion Raphael appears to the party in visions and offers to remove your parasite in exchange for your soul. Several party members point out that he seems a little too eager to make this deal, suggesting that he might be desperate enough for the tadpole itself that he might accept a lesser payment.
    • The tieflings are descendants of those who struck a bargain with Asmodeus, Zariel, Mephistopheles, or some other archdevil in exchange for infernal power. Though these people have made no such promises themselves, their horns, barbed tails, reddish skin, and Hellish Pupils branded them as 'devilkin' in the eyes of others, and they are subject of substantial Fantastic Racism. The party encounters a large group of tiefling refugees early in the game, who were casted out of Elturel and on the verge of being driven out of a druids' grove as well.
    • And of course there are the warlock characters in general, particularly those with a Fiend patron.
    • Mayrina made a deal with a green hag named Ethel to bring her dead husband Connor back to life. In return, she would have to give up her then-unborn child to her, with the hag promising that she will raise the child and teach them magic. Unbeknownst to Mayrina, Ethel is using this deal to devour the newborn child later on so that she can give birth to her own hag. Despite this, the hag still upheld her end of the bargain by creating a wand that can be used to bring Connor back to life, albeit not in the way Mayrina would expect it.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • There are a lot of race-specific dialogue changes, especially for drow and githyanki, as the former are only just losing some of their hated reputation and the latter are outsiders with a history of combat against the mind flayers central to the plot.
    • If you use the tadpole, then after your second dream involving it, Shadowheart will suggest that you stop using its powers as it seems to be gaining stronger influence on you. If you agree, then use an illithid power anyway, your companions will call you out on it after the next dream. But if someone besides the protagonist used their illithid power instead, they'll be the one called out. Shadowheart in particular will get put on blast for being a hypocrite if she's the one who does it.
    • After Astarion is revealed as a vampire spawn, you can tell him not to feed on "anything we can have a conversation with" - if you have the speak with animals spell, Astarion will point out how this severely limits his options.
      YouTube comment: Wait until he finds out a druid can talk to plants.
    • If you take either Volo or Auntie Ethel up on their offers of assistance in trying to remove the tadpole, the other one will refuse, as by that point you'll only have one working eye left.
    • During the tutorial level on the nautiloid, it's possible to shove Lae'zel off the edge of the ship and to her death. If you do, her body spawns on the beach at the start of Act 1, allowing you to bring her back to life with the aid of the Talkative Skeleton.
    • In several dialogues with Astarion, you can choose to Leave wordlessly, which will actually prompt parting comments from him.
    • If you somehow meet Gandrel with only Astarion in your party, but not as the main character, it triggers a scenario where Astarion automatically attacks him.
    • There are some camp events and cutscene aftermaths where all of your companions have something to say. The game will actually track who you talk to, so speaking with someone first yields a slightly longer conversation than if you'd spoken to the second, while your latter picks may comment about apparently being lower on the priority list.
  • Didn't See That Coming: The player can straight up tell Raphael they're willing to give him anything, even their own soul, in exchange for removing the tadpole. He's surprised and sort of disappointed at how easy it is...but doesn't actually offer a deal and continues as if the player rejected him anyway.
  • Dimensional Traveler: Several characters come from other planes. Devils and gith in particular are noted for traveling back and forth between multiple worlds and their home dimensions, the Nine Hells and the Astral Plane, respectively.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • If you manage to kill the devil commander, Zhalk, during the Nautiloid escape, you can loot his greatsword. It's easily the most powerful weapon you'll find for a long time, being a magical greatsword that deals an extra 1d4 fire damage. The only catch is that Zhalk can be difficult to defeat due to his high AC and hit points, and the fact that two more high-level cambions arrive to assist if you take too long killing him, and once he dies the mind flayer that was fighting him turns on you.
    • In Chapter 1, you can get a headband of intellect early on by killing Lump the Enlightened. This is a powerful magic item that increases your Intelligence stat to 17, which is a massive boost for a character below levels 4-6, and makes things significantly easier for any class or subclass that uses Intelligence such as Wizards, Arcane Trickster Rogues, Eldritch Knight Fighters, etc.
  • Disney Villain Death: One of the boss battles can see you grant Wicked Witch Auntie Ethel a quick demise by shoving them into a Bottomless Pit almost as soon as the fight begins. Of course, you also can't loot a corpse that's at the bottom of a cliff, so this method does have an inherent downside.
  • Distant Sequel: Enforced by the massive Time Skip that took place in the Forgotten Realms setting between 3.5 Edition and 4th Edition. Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal took place in 1369 DR; BG3 picks up over a century later in 1492 DR and has little to do with the Interplay series' storyline other than location.
  • Dragon Rider: The githyanki, ancient foes of the mind flayers who once enslaved them, ride on the backs of young red dragons, gifted to them as part of an age-old pact between the githyanki's immortal queen Vlaakith and the goddess Tiamat, patron deity of evil chromatic dragons. Massive and terrifying as the nautiloid is to the ordinary folk of the Material Plane, it proves almost defenseless against the dragons' assault and spends the entire prologue fleeing across multiple planes before crashing into a beach back on Toril.
  • Dump Stat: Every class has a recommended one, and based on the recommended stats distribution, for most it's Strength. Interestingly, in Patch 3 of Early Access, the rogue class actually switched the recommended dump stat from Intelligence to Strength due to how the Arcane Trickster archetype relies on Intelligence as well as the class having a proficiency in Intelligence saving throws.
  • Evil vs. Evil: A multi-evil Gambit Pileup. The plane-hopping githyanki raiders attack a mind flayer ship full of abductees implanted with their parasitic spawn at the very beginning of the opening cutscene. When the ship teleports into Avernus, it's then also attacked by imps and later the mind flayer is attacked by a greater devil (what looks like to be a horned devil) and fights it while you get to the controls. Meanwhile, demonic and devilish armies battle in the background. Heck, your own party consists of mostly morally ambiguous characters, and the game allows you to carry out reprehensible actions like helping goblins slaughter a bunch of innocent people if you so desire, yet you are ultimately still opposed to the mind flayers for obvious reasons.
  • Exploding Barrels: It's a Larian Studios game, so this is to be expected. There are various flammable and explosive barrels littered throughout various areas like the goblin camp or the Zhentarim hideout, placed either to make combat easier or traps more deadly, such as explosive barrels placed next to a treasure chest designed to explode when opened.
  • Eye Scream: As seen in the intro cinematic, the mind flayer infects its victims by inserting parasitic tadpoles through the victims' eyes. In the game proper both Volo and Auntie Ethel will offer to try and remove the parasite from your head. Doing this gets you nothing but a permanent stat debuff and the loss of being able to make critical hits.
  • Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong: As in canon, this is how illithids reproduce; they insert their tadpole form into the brains of sentient hosts, whereupon the larva absorbs the brain and metamorphosizes the host's body into a new adult mind flayer.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Tieflings are on the receiving end of this in the druids' grove, where they're on the verge of being kicked out into the wilderness by the archdruid Kagha, who accuses them of being thieves and parasites and plans to erect a wall of thorns to segregate the grove from the outsiders. Subverted, when it turns out she actually has a different motive.
    • Drow, traditionally Always Chaotic Evil in the setting, are still hated and feared throughout most of the surface world, though this reaction is softening and many characters are aware of the civil war that has seen some drow break from the traditional worship of the evil spider goddess Lolth. Inverted in the goblin camp, where other races are mocked and threatened, but most goblins assume that the player drow is part of the Cult of the Absolute's leadership and bow and scrape before you (while still mocking you behind your back).
  • From Bad to Worse: At the end of the extended introduction cinematic, the player character gets free from their prison and goes to the hole in the hull to see where they have ended up. Only to find out they are in Avernus, the first layer of the Nine Hells. And to make things even worse, the nautiloid is about to come under attack by an army of devils.
  • Game Master: Of the Author kind, with elements of the Director. The narrator acts in the manner a Dungeon Master would, describing events in terms of how they appear or occur in order to present what the character sees, feels, or is thinking. For example, early on the player finds an illithid tadpole and wants to kill it, but the narrator describes how the tadpole in your head makes you feel about it, resulting in your character having to resist it to kill it if they wish.
  • Geo Effects:
    • Early in Early Access, in a departure from how the tabletop works, spells, including cantrip, cause areas of elemental effects on the ground under their targets. Ray of frost, for example, causes a sheet of ice to appear under its target, and is almost guaranteed to knock people prone. Fire bolt is basically a different spell entirely than in the tabletop, with reduced initial damage, but now igniting the target for damage over time and igniting the ground. It can potentially splash and ignite two enemies if close enough. This was toned down in a later patch. Similarly thrown weapons like alchemist's fire leave an area of elemental damage behind them. Also like in Divinity: Original Sin, elements can interact. Dousing flames with water will cause steam which can be used for stealth, for example. Oil slicks can be ignited, etc...
    • Attacking from higher ground now gives a bonus to attack rolls, similar to the Divinity: Original Sin games. Conversely, attacking targets on the higher ground gives you a penalty to your attack rolls.
  • Grey-and-Grey Morality: There's no alignment system, which results in this.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: An intellect devourer who goes by the name "Us" is able to join you in the mind flayer ship at the beginning of the game, if you don't kill it. However, Us is unavailable after the nautiloid crashes.
  • Happy Ending Override: As mentioned above, the events of Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus ended with Elturel and its people returning to Toril from Avernus, including Grand Duke Ulder Ravengard, and are on the road to recovery. Soon after that, it's revealed that Elturians have blamed the tiefling population for the crisis (despite the fact that their own ruler, Thavius Kreeg, doomed them all in the first place through a pact with Zariel) and drove them all out of the city. Not only that, but it's also revealed that in the midst of Ulder's return trip to Baldur's Gate, he ends up getting captured by members of the Cult of the Absolute and was reportedly taken to Moonrise Towers.
  • Healer Signs On Early: Downplayed with Shadowheart. She's likely the first potential companion you can encounter and recruit after the nautiloid crashes and the only one who starts out with healing spells. That said, while all 5e clerics do have access to healing spells, the only cleric subclasses actually designed to function as healers are the Life and Grave domains (and only Life is currently available in Early Access). Shadowheart starts out with the Trickery Domain, which is designed for being a Stealth Expert and a Master of Illusion.
  • Heroic Team Revolt: If you sided with Minthara and the goblins during the raid on Silvanus' Grove, Wyll will either turn hostile towards you if you have him in your party or, if he remained at your camp during the raid, will call you out later at night after the raid before leaving your camp for good. As for Gale, he will also call you out for your dubious choices and threatens to leave your party as well. In which case, you could either let him go or convince him to stay.
  • Implacable Man: Illithids are beyond stoic. In the opening cutscene, the reaction by the lead illithid to finding the corpse of a crewmate is to widen its eyes and register it for future reference. It goes hand-in-hand with the species' Blue-and-Orange Morality.
  • Interdimensional Travel Device: The nautiloid comes equipped with one on its main bridge, referred to as a transponder, activated by connecting a pair of tentacles and pulling on the resulting bond.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • It's a well-known fact that when playing D&D: make your players roll Perception, and even if they all fail, they'll know there's something there they're missing. If you see the little Perception dice roll over your character's head and it comes up a failure, it does much the same thing. Amusingly, given how closely Larian Studios stuck to the 5e rules when making the game, this makes it even more like traditional D&D.
    • Want to find that invisible enemy near you during combat? Pull up the move option and watch for where your projected path bends around what seems to be nothing.
    • Early on in the game, you're likely to encounter Auntie Ethel, and if you right-click and inspect her, you can see that her ability scores far exceed what an old woman should have, such as having 18 strength, darkvision, and her race being listed as 'fey.' This is due to her actually being a hag in disguise.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: You can discover a bugbear and an ogre having sex in a closed barn outside Moonhaven. They won’t appreciate your intrusion and will attack you if you open the door.
  • It's the Only Way to Be Sure: The assistant druid healer Nettie, upon hearing you have a illithid tadpole in you, will try to Mercy Kill you, forcibly if necessary, because the lead healer Halsin isn't around and they believe you can turn at any moment. She'd already killed and dissected a drow for the same reason.
  • Killer Game Master: More than a few players have commented that encounters are massively stacked against the player, and that the game feels like it's being run with a DM who really wants the party to die at nearly every fight.
  • Living Ship: The mind flayer nautiloid, true to its name, resembles some deep-sea Mix And Match Creature, with jagged shells, tentacles, and mucus membranes.
  • Logo Joke: On the website, the initial announcement for the game was simply the Roman numeral III... with tentacles suddenly bursting out and wrapping themselves around the digits. In all promotional videos for BG3, the Larian Studios logo turns into an illithid.
  • Losing Your Head: Well, in the case of an intellect devourer, losing your brain, as it's just a brain with legs.
  • MacGuffin: The mysterious artifact that Shadowheart possesses counts as this. While its function is a mystery even to her, it's actively being sought after by both the Cult of the Absolute and the githyanki and she is secretly tasked with delivering it to her coven in Baldur's Gate. The artifact is revealed thus far to be a powerful weapon of githyanki origin, and it's possible that her mission was to steal it from them, which might explain her lingering distrust towards githyanki, including Lae'zel. In addition, the artifact is able to protect the party from the Absolute's/illthid tadpole's influence as well as being unable to part with its wielder. A close examination on the artifact also reveals that there is something alive that is contained within it.
  • Massive Race Selection: The game (as of the current stage of Early Access) includes each of the base races of 5th Edition, with the exception of dragonborn, gnome and half-orc, and with the addition of githyanki. You can also go even further by playing as a high elf vampire spawn in the form of Astarion.
  • Meaningful Look: When you run into Gandrel and get him to tell you that he's hunting Astarion, if Astarion himself is in your party he will shoot you a "back me up here!" look.
  • Mercy Kill Arrangement: Lae'zel wants this from the player, and at one point demands the player slit her throat. They can oblige, and have her Killed Off for Real.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: You can meet owlbears, which have the body shape of a bear and the head and feathery features of a giant owl.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: The spell animate dead is, in D&D 5th Edition, a 3rd level spell whose base effect is to raise a single corpse to act on the caster's behalf; you can raise more, but it takes higher-level spell slots to do so. The level 5 duergar Gekh Coal, should you pick a fight with him, will cast it and raise FOUR corpses to fight for him, something that should require a 5th level spell slot, which other characters can't access until 9th level at the earliest.
    • For that matter, having a Psychic Link is treated as something unique and special because of the illithid tadpoles in your head. Yet you can play a Great Old One Warlock, who in the tabletop rules gets unlimited telepathy with anything that can think at level 1.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The prologue offers several chances to accidentally kill various thralls and transform one of them into a mind flayer. Granted, they were likely doomed anyway, but there's still a marked difference between a Mercy Kill and getting them killed simply because you were curious.
  • Nominal Importance: Played with. No matter how inconsequential they are or a number of lines they speak, all sapient creatures have a name in the game. Even some characters who are, in fact, not sapient have a name, namely wild animals (such as Timber the squirrel).
  • No Ontological Inertia: The easiest way to deal with the beastmaster type of enemies is to kill the master to make the pet disappear. Justified in the case of spellcasters as summoning a creature to fight for you requires maintaining control over either it or its ability to remain summoned, without that the summoned creature cannot remain on the material plane.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: There is an encounter with a Gur named Gandrel who is hunting Astarion. Should Astarion be in the party, the conversation becomes a double between the Gur and the PC and Astarion and the PC. The Gur is talking about hunting Astarion, how he's extremely dangerous and should be dealt with. Astarion agrees - the Gur is extremely dangerous and should be dealt with.
    PC: Only a spawn? Pity. Not like it's a real vampire.
    Astarion: I don't know. I'm sure a vampire spawn could still rip your throat out if he felt like it.
    Gandrel: He is right, unfortunately ... During the day, we have the advantage. But at night, when they hunt? You will not find a more deadly quarry.
    PC: Yes, I'm sure they can creep right up on you.
    Astarion: We've all survived so far. Let's focus on that.
    Gandrel: It would still be wise to post guards at night. The threat is real.
    Astarion: Indeed it is. We should do something about this threat.
  • Optional Sexual Encounter: Should you have a sufficient approval rating from one or more of your companions, they may offer you the chance of sleeping alongside them while resting for the night. And depending on the choices you make, you can develop a deeper relationship with the companion of your choice and even have sex with them, as well as affect the opinions that other companions have about you. Outside of your companions, you can also choose to have a romance with the drow cleric Minthara, but only if you aided her and the goblins in raiding Silvanus' Grove and gave in to her desire of spending the night with you soon afterward.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Thanks to his illithid tadpole, vampire spawn Astarion can walk in the daylight again and enter homes without invitation, but cannot cross running water without taking damage and is still bound to the curse's hunger for blood.
  • Power Floats: Standard for illithids, as the reveal trailer depict them floating ominously in the sky. And in the PAX East 2020 trailer showed, sure, they can walk — but why walk when you can float?
  • Puppeteer Parasite: The illithid tadpole in your brain is already sentient, and will try to influence you into doing things beneficial to the mind flayers.
  • Pstandard Psychic Pstance: Characters tend to make this gesture when using their tadpole powers in dialogue.
  • Psychic Link: As shown by the first official gameplay/story presentations, those who have an illithid tadpole implanted in them develop a telepathic connection to those who also have one. This is demonstrated in the preview by the player characters' emotions being shared with the first companion they meet, and the reverse happens too. This seems to be an outgrowth of the mind flayers' Hive Mind, but co-opted to some unknown end by the same force halting your transformation into a mind flayer.
  • Random Number God: For a game that attempts to emulate the tabletop D&D experience, Baldur's Gate III prays at the altar of the Random Number God. For example, if you want to sneak Sazza out of the druids' grove, you'll have to do a difficult skill check for every single guard you encounter. Fortunately, the game also offers an optional "weighted dice" setting, which increases the chances of getting higher rolls when enabled.
  • Red Right Hand: All members of the Cult of the Absolute are identifiable either by a brand on their skin bearing the mark of the Absolute, or by wearing an amulet bearing such a symbol. Meanwhile, those who are infected with illithid tadpoles are seen by the cult as 'True Souls' and are often held in high regard. Upon meeting Priestess Gut at the abandoned temple, you can choose to let her brand you with the mark of the Absolute. While this option would obviously garner disapproval from most of your companions as well as marking you as a member of the cult, the brand itself can actually be useful when conversing with other members of the cult (e.g. the duergars in the Underdark) as well as those employed by the cult (e.g. the ogres in Moonhaven).
  • Relationship Values: The game utilizes this in the form of an approval rating, similar to that used in the Dragon Age games. Depending on the decisions and dialogue choices made by the Player Character, certain companions would approve or disapprove of your actions and could lead to varying opinions regarding you as the story progresses, from having a Neutral stance towards you to having an Exceptional outlook on you. As such, getting a high approval from a companion would give you the opportunity to engage in a romantic relationship with them. On the other hand, getting a very low approval from a companion would cause them to leave your party.
  • Separated by a Common Language: A common point of confusion in fantasy works, in D&D "Enchantment" is the name of a specific school of magic which revolves around monkeying with people's minds, while "enchantments" are the various traits and effects that may be infused into a magical item. The process of creating a magical item, not governed by any specific school, is simply referred to as Crafting.
  • Servant Race: Deconstructed by a biography written by a tiefling called The Devil You Know, because they're still referred to as "devilkin", despite not following Asmodeus anymore.
    By what method can we redeem ourselves? I would drive a blade into every warlock that aided Asmodeus' damned ritual, but personal vengeance cannot undo the will of a god, much less one as slippery as the Lord of Lies.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • The announcement video went deep into ceremorphosis, the process by which the mind flayer parasite transforms its host's body into another mind flayer.
    • The dragons in the trailer are also a close match for the Monster Manual illustration.
  • Starter Villain: The first chapter has the leaders of a goblin horde operating from an abandoned temple of Selûne: Priestess Gut, Dror Ragzlin, and Minthara. The goblins and the novices that serve them introduce the adventurers to the Cult of the Absolute, who are heavily associated with the mind flayers that abducted them at the start of the game, as well as True Souls, members of the cult that are infected with illthid tadpoles to carry out the Absolute's will. They were also responsible for the raid on Waukeen's Rest that resulted in the abduction of Grand Duke Ulder Ravengard, and are currently on the hunt for Silvanus' Grove as well as survivors of the crashed nautiloid who might be in possession of a powerful weapon. Once the leaders have been dealt with (either by killing them or by siding with Minthara during the raid), your party would later earn a new lead in finding the cure to ceremorphosis by heading out to Moonrise Towers.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Inside the abandoned temple of Selûne, you can stumble upon a worshiper of Loviatar, the goddess of pain. Upon first meeting him, he appears to be performing ritualistic Self-Harm and claims to have been brought in by the goblins to aid them in interrogating their prisoners. Soon after, he would encourage you to alleviate your suffering by undergoing the Rite of Loviatar, which involves enduring a lot of beating. Should you perform this rite correctly by reveling in the pain that is being inflicted upon you, the man will be impressed by your fortitude and grant you Loviatar's blessing in the form of a permanent status buff.
  • Turn-Based Combat: The game adopts such a system, a first for the series, though not unfamiliar for Larian Studios, who used turn-based combat for Divinity: Original Sin and its sequel. It's also closer to the tabletop D&D experience than the Real-Time with Pause gameplay seen in previous Baldur's Gate games.
  • Ungrateful Bastard:
  • The Unreveal: Astarion revealing he's a vampire is sort of undercut by the fact he has obvious vampiric fangs that show every time he opens his mouth from the moment you meet him, not to mention extremely pale skin and blood-red eyes. (To be fair to the characters, daywalking vampires aren't really a thing in D&D, so while the players can easily see that he's a vampire who's somehow sunproof, In-Universe that idea is a lot further out there.)
  • Unusual User Interface: Much of the more complex workings of the mind flayer ship are seemingly psionic, but the ship's Interdimensional Travel Device is a nest of writhing tentacles; connecting any two of them seem to set a course, and 'strumming' them activates the shift between planes.
  • Vampire Procreation Limit: Astarion explains that being non-fatally bitten by a vampire turns you into a "vampire spawn"; they have some of the abilities and traits of a full vampire, but are nowhere near as powerful and are under the thrall of their creator. If they were to drink the blood of their creator they would become a full vampire themselves, but as Astarion points out, most vampires are competitive and power-hungry, so there's not much motive for them to willingly elevate a thrall into a potential rival.
  • Visual Title Drop: When the nautiloid shifts into the middle of a Blood War battle in the introductory cutscene, it's greeted by three floating towers/ships, the same sharp, sweeping shape as the III in Baldur's Gate III. They're apparently a kind of troop carrier for the devils, as swarms of imps pour out and attack the new arrival.
  • Vocal Dissonance: You can equip a traditionally male voice on a female character or vice versa when customizing the protagonist.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: If you sided with Minthara and her goblin army during the raid on Silvanus' Grove, even some of your more evil companions won't be overjoyed. Gale, in particular, will deliver a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to you for taking part in the massacre of refugees and druids and threatens to leave your party soon afterward.
  • Wooden Stake: Following the reveal that Astarion is a vampire, you immediately pick up a stick and break it in two to form a stake. Astarion will initially knock it out of your hands, but you have several opportunities during the conversation to use the stake, killing him if you do.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The archdruid Kagha becomes responsible for the death of the tiefling child Arabella, calling the little girl a 'parasite', unless a difficult skill check is rolled. Also implied for Lae'zel since she disapproves of saving the girl and calling out said archdruid for threatening to (or actually) killing her.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: You can't get rid of the parasite during Chapter One, despite meeting several people who should be able to fix you. Instead, you discover that your parasite has been altered by powerful magic, which is why you haven't turned, but also why nobody can get it out. The best you can do is acquire a Ring of Mind Shielding from the mind flayer Omeluum to somewhat mitigate its influence.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: The player character and their companions have been infected with illithid tadpoles, meaning that they are on the road to becoming mind flayers themselves unless something is done to stop the process. However, after the illithid ship and its mind flayer masters were destroyed, the tadpoles seem to have gone dormant. It's implied that some outside force is slowing the process, possibly in the form of a new god calling itself the Absolute. There's also the matter of a mysterious vision of desire which appears to the player character in dreams, crafted by the player during character creation. This figure tempts the player emotionally and physically, while showing that it can offer you all the power of the transformation with (supposedly) none of the downsides.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: When one of the githyanki's dragon rips off the nautiloid's tentacle, the mind flayer at the helm grasps his arm, suggesting that it felt the attack. The psionic illithids presumably control the ship mostly through their Psychic Powers.


Video Example(s):


Baldur's Gate III

In the reveal trailer of Baldur's Gate III, a Flaming Fist soldier becomes an unfortunate victim of ceremorphosis as he slowly transforms into a mind flayer in true, gory detail.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / TransformationHorror

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