Baldur’s Gate 3 Companions Are Multifaceted But Lack One Key Trait

Summary

  • The companions in Baldur’s Gate 3 are well-written and fleshed-out, with unique likes, dislikes, and motivations, making them feel like complete people.
  • However, there are no truly evil playable companions in the game, as even the half-evil companions are either revealed to have understandable motivations or are eventually redeemed.
  • Characters like Astarion and Minthara have the potential for good in them and can be influenced to make more good-aligned decisions, highlighting the nuanced morality in Baldur’s Gate 3.


The companions in Baldur’s Gate 3 are nearly perfect, but there’s one trait all of them are missing. A wide variety of different classes are represented in the cast of companions, from fighters to clerics – and weirdly enough, two different druids. Each companion has their own unique story, centered around big, relatable themes like parental loss, cultural expectations – and weirdly enough, two separate individuals with different kinds of explosive hearts.

All kidding aside, the companions in Baldur’s Gate 3 are great. They’re well-written and fleshed-out, with unique likes, dislikes, and motivations that make them feel like complete people. They’re a big part of what makes the game so charming, and what keeps players coming back for more. But at the end of the day, there’s one major thing they’re all still missing, and it can make certain decisions in Baldur’s Gate 3 seem a lot less appealing.

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There Are No Truly Evil Companions In Baldur’s Gate 3

BG3’s Evil Characters Are Either Redeemed Or Excused

Despite coming pretty close on more than one occasion, Baldur’s Gate 3 doesn’t actually include a truly evil playable companion. The evil playthrough of Baldur’s Gate 3, which is less a single story path than an intended outcome, is well-thought-out, especially when compared to the average story-focused RPG. Evil-aligned players get unique questlines, unique cutscenes, and unique rewards – but when it comes to companions, they’re out of luck. The few half-evil companions who exist are either revealed to have secret, understandable motivations, or are eventually redeemed.

Most of the core companions – BG3‘s Origin characters – will put up with a certain measure of evil. Astarion is generally okay with Tav being selfish or outright cruel. Shadowheart approves of insulting, or even betraying Lae’zel. Even Gale, who might be the biggest softy in all the Forgotten Realms, abides by cheating at board games and the occasional murder. But no matter how much evildoing they put up with at the beginning of the game, every companion draws the line somewhere. Consistently do bad, and Tav is likely to end up with fewer companions than they started with.

Astarion May Be Redeemed By The End Of BG3

Astarion in BG3's epilogue.

He may be a bad boy, but Tav can fix him. From the first time he joins the party, Astarion delights in disrespect and needless cruelty. Slowly but surely, however, Astarion reveals a softer side. In Act One, he approves of both attacking the goblins and helping Minthara raid the Emerald Grove. This becomes a trend throughout the game – Astarion just seems to like the carnage of battle, and almost always approves of the violent option. Sometimes, that makes him evil, but other times, it means siding with the good guys.

He starts as a power-hungry bloodsucker who only looks out for his own needs and desires. However, as the plot progresses, Astarion develops. Not exactly into a hero, mind, but into a decent person at the very least. He approves of petting His Majesty, one of the cutest cats in Baldur’s Gate 3, during the party’s visit to the Last Light Inn in Act Two. He likes it when Tav acknowledges his individual personhood, and his right to self-determination. And in the end, Astarion can even be redeemed.

When it comes down to the final confrontation with Astarion’s former vampire master, Cazador, players are faced with a major choice. Let Astarion undergo the ascension ritual and turn into a full-fledged vampire, or convince him it’s not worth the sacrifice? If Tav succeeds in a Persuasion check here, Astarion relents in his quest for all-encompassing power. He acknowledges partial responsibility for some of Cazador’s victims, and puts an end to the ritual. But even after that, Astarion becomes more sympathetic, and starts to grant his approval on more good-aligned decisions.

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Astarion’s Story Arc In BG3 Proves The Good Guy Finishes Last

Choosing not to ascend and stay a Vampire Spawn as Astarion is the morally good ending for him in Baldur’s Gate 3, but it comes at a cost.

Of course, players may instead let Astarion ascend, in which case he’ll have the opposite reaction. Now fulfilled in his goal of obtaining vampiric power, Astarion will become even more self-centered, at times downright tyrannical. But still, he clearly has the potential for good in him. It can’t be said that he’s all bad when the possibility exists for him to embrace his kinder side at the end of Baldur’s Gate 3 – all he needs is the right circumstances.

Minthara Isn’t All Bad In BG3

Minthara has a sad expression in Baldur's Gate 3.

In a similar vein, late-game developments reveal that Minthara isn’t so bad, either. Sure, she is a Lolth-sworn drow, which means she’s generally down with chaos, deceit, and conflict. In a more practical sense, she gives her approval to violent and cruel actions throughout the entire plot. But she’s also a paladin, which means that, regardless of her often immoral methods, she has a sense of values, and has sworn an oath of conduct. And as it turns out, she may not be in total control of her actions.

Minthara is a True Soul in the Cult of the Absolute, which means, like the rest of the playable party, she has an Illithid Tadpole stuck in her head. However, unlike the rest of the party, Minthara is near-always under direct control of the Absolute, which means that she’s not necessarily responsible for or cognizant of her worst actions. If she survives and is recruited, there’s even the possibility of freeing Minthara from the Absolute’s clutches, at which point she swears revenge against the entirety of the cult.

Of course, she doesn’t magically become a good person as a result. Minthara still approves of evil actions after the fact. But the whole thing calls her morality into question. Would she really have sided with the goblins, kidnapped Halsin, or attacked the Emerald Grove if she hadn’t been infected? It may be a gray area, but it’s a significant one, and prevents Minthara from being truly evil. It’s hard to categorize her when players have spent most of the game seeing another entity act through her.

The evil playthrough is pretty fleshed out, with a variety of different routes players can take. However, the one thing still missing is a true evil companion, who’ll side with an evil Tav until the very end without necessarily being redeemed or meeting a bad ending. Instead, every companion is shown to have a capacity for evil, even if it’s on the smallest, least consequential level. As a result, morality in Baldur’s Gate 3 is more interesting than good or evil – it’s a sliding scale that characters move freely about.

Baldur’s Gate 3

Released
August 31, 2023

Developer(s)
Larian Studios

Publisher(s)
Larian Studios

ESRB
M

How Long To Beat
50 – 100 hours

Prequel
Baldur’s Gate 2