10 Pieces of D&D Lore To Know Before Playing Baldur's Gate 3 (2024)

Baldur's Gate 3 has a lot of background information players can benefit from knowing right from the start. It's not just that the game is a sequel to two beloved 90s RPGs with their own lore and plot threats, it also takes place in Forgotten Realms campaign setting. The Forgotten Realms has decades-worth of books and articles written about it, some even featuring beloved characters like Drizzt Do'Urden and the famous wizard Elminster.

Baldur's Gate 3 takes place in one of D&D's most lore-heavy settings with added material from all over the multiverse. Plenty of its NPCs may even be familiar to players, like the infamous Volo and Elminster himself, and companions from earlier Baldur's Gate games like Minsc, Boo and Jaheira. Everyone the player meets will give the character reasonable exposition about the world around them, but there's a ton of vital lore about the world, its creatures and the story at hand that can help players keep up from the start as they forge their path toward heroics or doom.

10 Faerûn Is the Region of Toril Central to the Story In Baldur's Gate 3

Creator

Ed Greenwood

Campaign Setting

Forgotten Realms

Geography

The Middle Lands, the Northern regions, the Southern nations, the Underdark

Known Species

Humans, dwarves, elves, gnomes, halflings, tieflings, orcs, lizardfolk, ogres, giants, dragons

2:41

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Although the , most of its events take place on the continent of Faerûn, with the world itself called Toril. Faerûn, particularly the Sword Coast region where the game is set, is built from the ground up to accommodate adventure. It's sparsely populated, with vast swathes of wilderness that are home to countless threats and monsters.

Faerûn's Sword Coast mostly has its civilization in the cities of Waterdeep, Neverwinter and the titular Baldur's Gate. Players will spend most of Baldur's Gate 3 fighting some of the continent's most dangerous threats, from goblins and dueregar to necromancers and undead dragons. Despite Faerûn's vast scale, almost all of the game's action takes place around or underneath the city of Baldur's Gate.

9 Mind Flayers Play a Significant Role In the Plot of BG3

Illithids, also known as mind flayers, are one of D&D's most iconic enemies. Baldur's Gate 3 puts them center stage from the very beginning. The characters' adventure begins when a flying mind flayer nautiloid ship kidnaps them as it flies over Baldur's Gate. Mind flayers infect the characters with a tadpole that burrows into their mind and threatens to transform them into another mind flayer.

Illithids are psionic alien creatures who care little for other forms of life other than as hosts and food. They share a hive mind, and every one of their actions is designed to reward and empower the elder brain at the center of that hive mind. Much of Baldur's Gate 3 follows its protagonists attempting to cure their mind flayer tadpole infestation before they're tuned into inhuman monsters.

8 The Absolute Is Controlled By Champions of Toril's Gods of Death and Murder

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The Absolute is the looming threat throughout Baldur's Gate 3, tied in some way to the player characters' desperate circ*mstances. It's a being attempting to become a new god in Faerûn through the worship of infected followers. The Absolute has rallied humans, orcs, bugbears, drow and goblins to its side, ruled over by mind flayer infectees called True Souls.

The player learns about the Absolute almost immediately in Baldur's Gate 3. Many early encounters exist to introduce the player to this would-be god, and its followers drive the game's plot. The Absolute's plans seem to involve the player characters in some way, with the group having to learn more about its intentions as they fight through the game. If playing through the game with the Dark Urge origin, the player's connection to the Absolute is darker than even they could have imagined.

7 The Underdark Is As Beautiful As It Is Deadly

10 Pieces of D&D Lore To Know Before Playing Baldur's Gate 3 (3)

The Underdark is a subterranean region that exists underneath Faerûn and spreads throughout the Forgotten Realms. It is one of the most dangerous places in the setting, inextricably linked with darkness and evil. Its inhabitants include Lolth-worshipping drow, enormous and vicious spiders, minotaurs, myconids and other creatures that despise daylight.

Few living beings ever want to travel through the Underdark. However, players can find its entrances dotted throughout Baldur's Gate 3's world map. Its significant dangers are matched by very real rewards and the immense story opportunities that can be found beneath the surface. However, its inhabitants are equally interested in the player if they make their way down below.

6 The Githyanki People Have Their Own Role to Play In Events

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  • The Ruler of the Githyanki People is an Undying Lich Queen Named Vlaakith CLVIII.
  • Githyanki dragonriders are carried into battle aback red dragons.
  • The Githyanki have made it their duty to hunt mind flayers and exterminate them.

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The extraplanar githyanki species has a significant role in Baldur's Gate 3. They're hereditary enemies of the mind flayers who hunt nautiloid ships throughout the multiverse on the backs of red dragons. Baldur's Gate 3 begins with githyanki assaulting the mind flayers en masse, leading to a desperate escape from the player characters.

The githyanki are raiders and warriors who primarily live in D&D's Astral Plane. They have a strong martial culture that involves absolute loyalty to their warrior queen, Vlaakith. They're far from benevolent forces in Baldur's Gate 3, but they do temper their villainy by hunting the equally unpleasant illithids. Players can start their game as the githyanki origin character, Lae'zel, or create their own githyanki, which opens up some intriguing opportunities to explore.

5 The Ongoing Rivalry Between Shar and Selune Plays a Significant Role

Shar is the goddess of darkness and loss in D&D's Forgotten Realms setting. Despite her grim portfolio, she has a dedicated base of followers who find her promise of peace and an end to pain comforting. Shar's cult is spread throughout Faerûn engaged in dozens of different operations. Some pertain to her war against the moon goddess Selûne, while others are part of grand goals.

Shar's cult becomes increasingly relevant throughout Baldur's Gate 3's storyline. The player starts off on the very fringes of their activities before getting more involved throughout the game. Some of her preferred quirks, such as wiping her followers' memories, form core parts of companion stories.

4 The Bhaalspawn Is a Recurring Concept from Previous Baldur's Gate Games

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Baldur's Gate 3's story is largely self-contained. Despite sharing a name and setting with Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II, its Absolute plot is original to the game. Nonetheless, it has some story links to previous titles. The Bhaalspawn are the focal characters of the first two Baldur's Gate games. They're children of the god of murder, Bhaal, born as part of a plot to resurrect him.

Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II depict the struggles between these children as they battle to be the last one standing. Their struggles are all part of Bhaal's overall scheme and lead to the crises threatening to overcome Baldur's Gate in both games. Although the plotline appears to resolve itself in Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal, its lingering effects are still present in Baldur's Gate 3.

3 Baldur's Gate Is One of Faerun's Largest Cities

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Locations to Explore in Act III

  • Wyrm's Crossing
  • Rivington
  • The City of Baldur's Gate: Upper City, Lower City, Underground
  • The Atral Plane
  • The House of Hope

Baldur's Gate is the Sword Coast's most prosperous city and one of the largest in all of Faerûn. Its ancient history and vast armed forces give it stability and security that is lacking in most of the rest of the continent, allowing it to become a center of trade and intrigue. Despite Baldur's Gate's attempts to stay neutral, the tendency for awful things to happen there has made it the central location of all three Baldur's Gate games.

Baldur's Gate has seen some of Faerûn's most unpleasant events in living memory. The struggle between the Bhaalspawn has colored the city for decades, ending with Bhaal's resurrection. In addition, it has only recently averted a descent into the Nine Hells alongside its sister city Elturel. Baldur's Gate 3 doesn't give the city any rest, however, with chaos threatening to consume it once more.

2 The Blood War Has Affected Origin Characters and NPCs in BG3

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The greatest struggle in the D&D multiverse isn't between good and evil. Instead, countless worlds and planes are home to the eternal struggle between devils and demons, two different types of evil. The lawful devils fight to contain the Abyss and achieve dominance over reality, while the chaotic demons fight to consume or corrupt everything.

The Blood War isn't directly involved in Baldur's Gate 3's events. However, the struggle between devils and demons is a key part of several characters' backstories, and there is an opportunity to directly interact with a devil and potential bargain with him in order to influence outcomes. In addition, the Nine Hells and their effects on the Material Plane are behind a long series of events leading to the central struggle of Baldur's Gate 3's first act.

1 The Shadowfell Is A Dark and Twisted Reflection of the Prime Material Plane

Also referred to as the Plane of Shadow, the Demiplane of Shadow, the Shadowlands, Shadowdeep and Shadow

The Shadowfell is a part of D&D's multiverse most closely tied to the Prime Material Plane where Faerûn exists. It's a dark mirror of the Prime Material plane that's suffused with shadows and darkness. The Shadowfell is home to some of D&D's most unpleasant creatures, boasting terrifying undead and morose Sorrowsworn.

The Shadowfell exists opposite the bright Feywild and alongside the balanced Material Plane. Despite its dread reputation and awful inhabitants, players can't fully escape the Shadowfell in Baldur's Gate 3, but if they play their cards right they can lend their aid in healing the Shadowcursed lands and the dark infection wrought by a dark rift in nature. In addition, it's far from the most dangerous or unpleasant plane in D&D's multiverse, but that doesn't mean it isn't terrifying. Much like exploring the Underdark, the Shadowcursed lands poses plenty of risks and interesting confrontations, including a face to face with one of the Raven Queen's shadar-kai servants.Taking the time to comb over every available area in Act II is guaranteed to show players just how terrifying the Shadowfell can be.

10 Pieces of D&D Lore To Know Before Playing Baldur's Gate 3 (2024)
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