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Baldur’s Gate 3 can be your angel or your devil

You can be a sweet talker or embrace sweet death

A character in Baldur’s Gate 3 holding up their hand as if in contemplation. Image: Larian Studios

I play a lot of games in which shoot, punch, and murder are the dominant verbs. I mean, one of my favorite games of the last 10 years is about “total war.” So when it comes to the rare role-playing game that lets me stand apart from my wrathful habits, I do my best to take a deep breath, activate the peaceful side of my brain, and work through conflicts constructively.

Baldur’s Gate 3 is one such RPG. I created my gnome Druid Oneida with pacifist tendencies in mind. He’s one with nature. He nurtures those around him. He’s an attentive listener, a respectful leader, and not the least bit insecure — he doesn’t need to throw punches to prove his masculinity.

So it was only natural that, when the tiefling Arka was about to kill the goblin Sazza, a prisoner of war who had nothing to do with the murder of Arka’s brother, Oneida intervened. By placing himself between the tiefling’s crossbow and the goblin prisoner, Oneida was making a statement: “Words are mightier than the sword.” Sure, Arka got pissed off, and no, my high Persuasion and Wisdom stats did not, for once, convince the angry party to lower their weapon.

But Oneida and his party did stick to nonlethal attacks during the ensuing brouhaha. With Arka and her cohorts lying unconscious, but very much alive, on the prison floor, Oneida and his cohorts walked away with a clear conscience. The Sword Coast is a place of violence, distrust, and broken promises. But Oneida refuses to alter his own moral compass. Like the boughs of the forest he hails from, he bends, so as not to break. —Mike Mahardy

A druid character in bear form attempting to talk to a goblin in Baldur’s Gate 3 Image: Larian Studios via Polygon

Alternatively, you can take the path of least resistance — which, in my humble opinion, is the path of murdering every single person, creature, monster, or being who causes you any agita. Kill indiscriminately. Act as judge, jury, and executioner. They’re all just ones and zeroes, and the members of your party could probably use that sweet XP. Just make sure to talk to all of them before committing any homicides if you want their quest information.

Is Kagha, the leader of the Druid Grove, frustrating you with her obfuscations and lies? From a moral perspective, surely her life isn’t more important than those of the many tieflings who are being forced to flee? And if that’s not reason enough, think of all of the loot you’ll get from murdering her and her Druid friends, and then rummaging through the spoils of the Hollow.

Or maybe you’re trying to save Sazza the goblin from being shot by a crossbow. You could just murder the person threatening her (whose name Mike has helpfully reminded me is Arka — I forgot because I killed her pretty early on). And then if she is too annoying as far as short-term companions go, kill her as well. The world is your (murder) oyster.

Or maybe you’ve just classed your character very un-charismatically. My party is not very charming. We have nary an insight nor ability to persuade, and unfortunately we also perceive very little, because we are also unintelligent! My +1 modifier on deception is not actually that helpful! Shadowheart is one of our companions, and she also has basically no charisma. Not to worry, we are very wise and very dextrous — my co-op partner’s monk literally just punched a gnoll to death.

My party’s current goal is hunting down Auntie Ethel and murdering her as well (ifykyk). And no, I’m not playing as the Dark Urge origin. I am a Druid multi-classed as a Barbarian who runs around as a cat and bludgeons enemies as a bar-bear-ian. I am also one with nature. Look, I classed my character to be good at nature survival, not small talk. When I’m in wild shape form, I literally can’t even talk to people. I just don’t let that stop me from killing them anyway. —Nicole Clark

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