Baldur’s Gate 3 lore – the story so far

Baldur’s Gate 3 lore – the story so far
Trent Cannon Updated on by

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Baldur’s Gate 3 is finally here, but the vast majority of you probably have no idea of the history and lore of the series. It has been more than 20 years since Baldur’s Gate 2 was released, which is practically a lifetime in the gaming world, but the long-awaited return of the D&D RPG series is back.

If you’re new to the series and want to catch up on the story so far before getting stuck into Baldur’s Gate 3, you’ve come to the right place. From the very first game in the Forgotten Realms to Baldur’s Gate 2, this is the story so far for the series and everything you need to know before playing the third.

Baldur’s Gate 1 story explained

Back in the long, long ago of 1998, BioWare released the first Baldur’s Gate game for PC. It was an isometric RPG based on the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition ruleset and set in the popular campaign setting of Forgotten Realms. Players created their own character who began life in Candlekeep under the protection of Gorion, a powerful mage. Hence why in many guides you’ll see for the game the main character is referred to as Gorion’s Ward.

After Candlekeep is attacked and Gorion is killed, Gorion’s Ward searches for answers and makes their way to the city of Baldur’s Gate, where they uncover a conspiracy to topple the government of the city and stoke war with the neighbouring kingdom of Amn. The Ward is revealed to be a Bhaalspawn, one of the God of Murder’s offspring that he sired in the mortal realm before his death. Sarevok, another Bhaalspawn, is on the cusp of seizing control of Baldur’s Gate and using that power to become the new Lord of Murder.

In the lead-up to the climactic battle to save Baldur’s Gate, players can recruit up to 25 companions to join them, with a maximum of five characters joining them at a time. Each of these companions has their own personality, alignment, and class levels, making party balance key to the game experience. Several of these characters, such as the Ward’s adoptive sister Imoen and the now-iconic barbarian-ranger Minsc and his miniature giant space hamster, would return in the 2001 sequel.

Baldur’s Gate 2 story explained

Despite its title, Baldur’s Gate 2: Shadows of Amn doesn’t take place in Baldur’s Gate. Instead, the Ward’s unique heritage as a Bhaalspawn draws the attention of a mage named Jon Irenicus, who captures them for a series of experiments. Imoen helps them escape along with Minsc and Jaheira and they find themselves in the city of Athkatla in Amn, a nation known as the Merchant Kingdom. Irenicus reappears as they step out of the ruins of his dungeon and is taken captive by the Cowled Wizards, along with Imoen, for the unauthorised use of magic within the city.

After rescuing Imoen and discovering that she too has the blood of Bhaal in her veins, she travels through the Underdark and to the elven city of Suldanessellar. Irenicus has taken over the city and is planning to drain the Tree of Life of its power. After a brief detour through Hell itself, the evil wizard is defeated and the realm is saved. At least until the next world-threatening crisis looms on the horizon.

The expansion to Baldur’s Gate 2: Shadows of Amn was released in 2001. It was a story-heavy expansion that served as the final chapter of the Bhaalspawn Saga, giving players a definitive choice. They could absorb the power of Bhaal and ascend to godhood – either as the new God of Murder or as a more benevolent deity – or they could destroy their father’s legacy and return to a peaceful, mortal life.

Baldur’s Gate 3 story explained

Where does that leave things for Baldur’s Gate 3? Fairly open, actually. Larian Studios’ entry takes place around 120 years after the events of Baldur’s Gate 2, meaning that there are few people alive who can recall what happened. It looks like Larian is happy to take the story in a different direction and start afresh as much as possible.

The player character, which can be created using the more recent Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition rules, has been implanted with an illithid tadpole. These parasites are intended to enthrall and transform them into one of the most feared and dangerous creatures in D&D history – a mind flayer. Much of the initial chapters will revolve around how the player can prevent that from happening.

Larian Studios have made it clear that this new story will not be a continuation of the Bhaalspawn Saga, though the adventures of Gorion’s Ward will have shaped the world to some extent. Enough time has passed that small decisions, such as who you recruited to your party or romanced, won’t come up.

It will be interesting to see how they address whether the Ward ascended to godhood at the end of the Throne of Bhaal expansion. In the official novelisation of the game, Gorion’s Ward is named Abdel Adrian and eventually refuses the gift of godhood, but thus far the developers have remained tight-lipped about how the previous games impact the story of Baldur’s Gate III. Swen Vincke, CEO of Larian Studios, assured players in a Reddit AMA in March 2020 that they “wouldn’t call it Baldur’s Gate 3 if there wouldn’t be a link.” Of course, he stopped short of saying what that link would be.

Returning faces

With over a century separating Baldur’s Gate III from the Bhaalspawn Saga, you might not think that there would be any returning characters or companions. Thanks to the magic of fantasy, we get to see a few old favourites return for a new adventure. So far confirmed to still be alive and part of the Baldur’s Gate 3 cast are are:

  • Minsc – A human Ranger-Barbarian who stole our hearts by kicking evil in the butt with the help of Boo, his miniature giant space hamster.
  • Jaheria – A half-elf Druid who played a key part in both Baldur’s Gate I and II as a loyal companion and member of the Harpers.

Jaheria could have lived to see the events of Baldur’s Gate III thanks to being half-elf druid and therefore having an extended lifespan, while, according to a short series of comic books, Minsc spent around 100 years frozen in stone thanks to an undisclosed mishap with a petrification spell. There are other characters who, thanks to magic and racial features, could potentially still be alive and active in the game, but there has been no confirmation of their presence just yet. These are:

  • Viconia DeVir
  • Aerie
  • Korgan Bloodaxe
  • Jan Jansen

Now you’re fully caught up on the Baldur’s Gate lore and history, make sure you read our guides on Baldur’s Gate 3 romance, so you know exactly how to sleep your way through the game, along with which of the many Baldur’s Gate 3 backgrounds you should pick.

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