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I’ll miss the Baldur’s Gate 3 where Gale was a horny disaster man


Gale stands in darkness in Baldur’s Gate 3. Image: Larian Studios via Polygon
Cass Marshall is a news writer focusing on gaming and culture coverage, taking a particular interest in the human stories of the wild world of online games.

Larian Studios is dutifully patching Baldur’s Gate 3, ironing out all the little bugs that impede the experience. One of those fixes is making it so all of your party members aren’t quite so horny all the time, which is overall a relief. Don’t get me wrong; I love the drama, but I settled down early with my beautiful vampire boyfriend. On the other hand, I loved the ridiculous story that unfolded between Gale and me through my first playthrough of Acts 1 and 2. Now things are so awkward between us that I just keep him at camp, where he can’t cause any more trouble.

For some reason, Baldur’s Gate 3 seemed to think I was picking the Gale romance path. I was never openly hostile or rude to him — that seemed unnecessary. But I wasn’t particularly encouraging, either. When other people asked me if I was interested in Gale, I would always say no and move on. But after my crew cleared the goblin camp and saved the Druid grove, we had a party at our camp. Gale told me to make time for him, saying that we would sneak off together in the woods for a transcendent experience. I ignored him and flirted with Astarion, who sarcastically asked if I would rather scamper off with Gale. I said Gale could go suck an egg for all I care, and I made love with Astarion in the woods.

Presumably, Gale just kind of hung out in the woods waiting for me to show up. I thought that would put an end to his crush, so I relaxed a little. An old mentor of Gale’s showed up, carrying a dire message. Gale’s ex-girlfriend, a literal goddess, required an act of penance from him: an act of sacrifice that would erase a great evil.

In a screenshot of Baldur’s Gate 3, Gale, standing back to camera on a bridge, lunges forward with his right arm outstretched after casting Fire Bolt on a Gnoll Flesh Gnawer. Image: Larian Studios

This brought up some new scenes and dialogue options with Gale, where he would lament his tragic, inevitable fate, and I would avoid eye contact and say something like “yikes” or “oof.” But still, I avoided all of the really rude options. Gale is constantly reading scrolls and grimoires and whatnot, so I just assumed he’d be capable of reading a room.

But boy howdy, was I wrong. As I progressed through Act 2, the party ventured into a scary forest, cursed with an unnatural blight. As we camped at the foot of Moonrise Towers, Gale invited me into the woods for a private conversation. I accepted, and entered a peaceful glade in the middle of an otherwise terrifying forest. He had even enchanted the skies to show the aurora borealis.

Cue an awkward conversation where Gale brought up his most intimate fears. I chose the conversation options closest to “Damn, that’s crazy.” I didn’t want to go nuclear, and so the conversation lurched toward its messy conclusion. Gale confessed his love to me, I told him I didn’t feel the same way, and a second unnatural blight settled down on the land: awkwardness.

After that scene, I didn’t talk to Gale too often unless he wanted to bring up some plot-related exposition. There was one exception to that, after Astarion confessed his true, genuine love for me and we held hands and gazed into each other’s eyes like a couple of sickos. I saw the telltale exclamation point over Gale’s head that meant he had something to say, and I assumed it’d be about the Weave or whatever. Instead, Gale congratulated me on falling in love, and said how great it was. When I tried to agree that it was great, he cut me off and said we didn’t need to continue the convo. Buddy, you wanted to talk to me!

All of this was awkward and weird, but I honestly loved it. RPGs often focus on having players choose between good and evil, or pick between different philosophies. I enjoyed that Baldur’s Gate 3 had a messy side plot where I had to give the “Let’s just be friends” speech to an incredibly powerful sorcerer. I’m not sure if the exact experience I had is possible anymore; it may have been patched out. Perhaps in a future playthrough, I’ll learn to love him. But I enjoyed the texture he provided to my initial experience. It was far more memorable than most RPG companions, who hew closer to a more heroic template.

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