If there’s one thing to know about Dungeons & Dragons both in its tabletop form or as a CRPG in the form of Baldur’s Gate 3, there’s a lot of lore. Everywhere you look, there’s something waiting to catch your eye, trap you with fascination and lure you into learning more about the world around you. BG3 holds to this trend better than I could have expected, with environmental details and conversations throughout the game that build the world from the inside out and keep you coming back for more.
Whether it be the sheer amount of variety in the spells you can choose from, the history of the world that all the characters know better than the player does, or the conflicts between races, there’s something to distract you from your main story quest at just about every step of the way. As someone with the attention span of an Owlbear, here’s five D&D rabbit holes that you can get sucked down in BG3.
Welcome to the Wonderful World of Wizardry
Just given the sheer quantity of spells and different variations of magic that you can choose from or have to defend against, its easy to find yourself almost overwhelmed by the amount of things to try to keep in mind. There’s all the different types of damages, be it acid, fire, lighting, cold or thunder, and you’ve got to make sure you’re using the right ones on certain enemies because they’ve all got their own sets of immunities.
It’s critical to know what spells you’ve got at different levels so you can plan your attacks based on your entire party. This gets more complicated if you’ve got multiple spellcasters in your group because you don’t want to double up on spells and having multiple characters who can all only do the same few things. If you find yourself really getting into the nitty-gritty about the number of dice you roll, what hit dice go with what spells, or how many spell slots you’ve got, it can really take a lot of time. You will definitely find it paying off in the end when you use your magic in more and more creative ways based on what you know you can do with it.
I never expected myself to be using many spells, mainly given that I do and always have played a rogue, but playing Baldur’s Gate 3 in single-player forced me to learn how to play every character in my party, rather than just myself. I figured that I would never take the time to really read through the descriptions of each and every spell, but as I’ve found myself leveling up, I find myself more and more fascinated by all of my magical options.
Nothing is Useless, So Gather Everything
As you make your way through the Realms, you’re going to come across tons of different items to collect that might seem useless, but nothing is really useless if you know how to use it. If you see a crate that’s got some food in it, they can be used for camp supplies to fuel your long rests, and if you see some roots or mushrooms growing along the side of the road, it might be useful to pick those up too.
You’re sure to come across healing potions, elixirs and grenades in various places throughout the world, but a more reliable supply is always one of your own making. As you collect different items like Mugwort, Mergrass and Balsam, check the Alchemy tab in your inventory to see what different things you can craft. Making potions isn’t just as easy as putting two ingredients together though, you’ve got to turn the resources that you gather into suspensions, sublimates, salts, ashes, vitriols or essences to then use those as ingredients for your recipes.
Just looking through the list of different Alchemy items can be overwhelming, but it can also be incredibly fascinating to see what things you can make to use in different situations. Maybe you want to make a bunch of Alchemist’s Fire to use during combat encounters. As you go through the world, you’ll find yourself noticing the ingredients as you need them, rather than picking something up and wondering, “what’s this going to be used for?” Before long, you’ll be creating all sorts of magical goodies to keep your adventure fresh and exciting.
Trust Your Perception, But Value Your Insight
Baldur’s Gate 3 employs various skill checks in clever and constructive ways, and one of the most notable uses of this is any situation where your character makes a check like Nature or History. These happen in conversations or encounters where your character knows something about the situation or Faerûn as a whole that you as a player might not have known the answer to. Sometimes your character might fail the check and you have to try again with a different party member, but once you hear the characters talk about the world they know, its hard not to get a little curious.
Luckily, that curiosity doesn’t have to kill the cat, because not only does the game itself contain a wealth of information about the world, but the 5e rule set has been developed in such depth and evolved in so many iterations over the course of its lifespan that there are endless resources you can look to if you want to find out more about anything in the game. Whether it be History, Nature, Arcana or any other skill check, you might find yourself sidetracked reading about the game more than you are playing it.
This experience is one that will also differ greatly between playthroughs with different characters in your party. A character who’s from Baldur’s Gate would know more about the city and the lifestyle that goes with it, but if you’re playing a druid who’s spent their time in the forest, you’ll see an entirely different perspective of the world. Learning all the different views of the different people in the game can become addicting after enough time.
Old Wounds Bleed Across Generations
Characters throughout the world of Faerûn all have their own feeling towards each other that can somewhat complicate your journey. Shadowheart and Lae’zel’s conflict serves as an excellent example of this because they both have such a negative view of one another based on events that took place prior to the start of the game. However, there’s more to it than just a little bit of beef amongst races.
The characters in BG3 are written in a way where they all follow the values and backstories that were laid for them, and these are dictated heavily by the race of the character. The Druids at the Emerald Grove have bad blood with the Tieflings, just the same as the Shar Worshippers and Gith are at each other’s throats. Races, classes, and backgrounds all have an effect on how the characters perceive each other, making for a lot of careful decision making on the part of the player.
Reading and learning about the cultures for all the different characters and how they intertwine is one of the biggest rabbit holes that BG3 can suck you down, and a lot of it comes from just playing the story. From my prior D&D experience I knew nothing of the conflict between Shar and Selûne, but from playing the game and immersing myself in the world, I found myself with a clear understanding of who stands where and why. If you spend enough time reading through source material either online or in rule books, you might find yourself learning more about fictional cultures than you learned in History class.
Start Your Own Library From your Travels
Being able to rummage through almost anything in the game includes all of the bookshelves that you’ll come across in temples, dungeons or closets. There’s whole stacks of books or walls of shelves that you can loot, and if you read them, there will be a page or two that builds the world from the inside out. Most of the content is related to the story in some way, but there are a number of books that are just fictional stories written to maybe be found in a crate somewhere.
The variety in the books is impressive too, detailing anything from the relationship between the Githyanki and the Illithids to an innocent adventurer’s journal retelling a traumatic experience from their past. You can keep your own collection of books if you wanted to, but because they don’t have full texts and only snippets of information based on different aspects of the game, its the perfect way to fall down a bunch of different rabbit holes all at once.
If you do find yourself collecting books on your adventure, be careful of how many you take at one time, because they add up quickly to encumber you if you’re not paying attention. Split up the knowledge among the rest of your party, or just send ’em all back to camp to read later, because there is plenty to go around. Just make sure it’s not too evil of a book, you know, for safety.
That does it for my list of five best D&D rabbit holes to get sucked down in BG3. There’s so much lore in the world of Baldur’s Gate 3 that its almost hard to find yourself not getting sidetracked by the little things, but having a parasite in your head is surely enough to help you get back on track. You might just be a little more mad than you were before you slid down.