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Baldur’s Gate 3 dialogue guide: Tips for checks, rolls, dialogue, and recruiting

This is Us: What to do with the brain on the Nautiloid

Jeffrey Parkin (he/him) has been writing video game guides for Polygon for almost seven years. He has learned to love just about every genre of game that exists.

In this Baldur’s Gate 3 guide, we’ll explain how dialogue works, what all of the rolls happening mean, and how to recruit party members, using the brain you meet in the Mind Flayer ship right at the beginning of the game during “A Nautiloid in Hell” to show you.

The interaction you’ll have with this creature is a great model for how Baldur’s Gate 3 works as a whole — with background dice rolls, conversation-driven dice rolls, and lots of outcome options. Everything that happens in these first few minutes is going to keep happening throughout the game, so we’ll go into detail below.

Us, the Intellect Devourer

If you’re looking for the short version, it’s this: The brain you encounter in the second room of the Ilithid Nautiloid is an Intellect Devourer named Us. It was grown from the brain of a Mind Flayer prisoner, and now it generally wants to help out.

Since (spoilers) it’s not going to hang around for long, our advice is to just recruit it and let it fight alongside you through the opening of the game.

To recruit Us into your party:

  • In the second room of the Ilithid Nautiloid, you’ll start hearing a voice. Over on the south side of the room, interact with the Neural Apparatus to ride an elevator up to the second floor. (Head to the right for a Cartilaginous Chest before you talk to the body.)
  • Head to Myrnath, the (former) person in the chair. As you approach, you’ll realize you’re talking to the creature inside his brain instead of him.
  • Remove the brain by whatever means, and when given the option to cripple or mutilate it, don’t.
  • After that, it’ll follow you around and fight by your side.

To be clear, though, Us is not required to proceed. It’s nice to have them around for combat, but it’s by no means necessary.

All the rolls that go into meeting Us

There’s a lot going on in your conversation with Us and what follows. These rolls are similar to what’s happening in the background and in every conversation you’ll have for the rest of the game.

We’ll break it down into steps.

Approach and initial dialogue

As you approach Myrnath(’s body) and start talking to the brain, a couple rolls happen in the background. These feed you information about what you’re seeing.

  • Perception. Do you notice the brain moving?
    Succeed: “The exposed brain quivers in anticipation.”
    Fail: n/a
  • Arcana. Do you recognize what kind of creature this is?
    Succeed: “You realize you’re talking to an intellect devourer, a minion of the mind flayers who abducted you.”
    Fail: “You know no creature like this – one that is more brain than person.”

Destroy the brain or attempt to remove it

After that, you’ll have choices to continue the conversation, destroy the brain, or leave. If you choose Destroy the brain at this point, you’ll just squish it with no rolls required. If you Leave, you’ll just walk away.

If, instead, you continue speaking, you’ll have to find a way to remove the brain from Myrnath’s body. You’ll have three (technically four) options:

  • Investigation. Inspect the exposed brain. Difficulty: 10
    Succeed: “You notice edema – a swelling of the brain causing pressure where it strains against the shell of the skull.”
    Fail: “Apart from this strange context, you notice nothing unusual about the brain.”
  • Medicine. (Only available if you pass the Investigation check.) Attempt a cerebral extraction, staying mindful of the swelling. Difficulty: 10
    Succeed: “The brain lifts from the skull, but you notice an opportunity – you could cripple the strange creature, making it more subservient should it prove a threat.”
    Fail: “The swelling is too great. You cannot lift the brain out of the skull.”
  • Strength. Break the skull. Difficulty: 10
    Succeeed: “The brain lifts from the skull, but you notice an opportunity – you could cripple the strange creature, making it more subservient should it prove a threat.”
    Fail: “The skull holds fast.”
  • Dexterity. Gently prise the brain from the skull. Difficulty: 10
    Succeed: “The brain lifts from the skull, but you notice an opportunity – you could cripple the strange creature, making it more subservient should it prove a threat.”
    Fail: “The brain won’t budge.”

If you fail at the Medicine, Strength, or Dexterity check to remove the brain, you’ll only be able to Destroy the Brain or Leave.

Mutilate the brain

However, if you succeed, you may choose to Mutilate the brain. To do that, you’ll need to make another check:

  • Dexterity. Mutilate the brain. Difficulty: 15
    Succeed: “The creature seems unaware of your interference. It relaxes in your hands.”
    Fail: Commence Battle. The Intellect Devourer will start combat with you.

After all of that, Us will be in your party. They’ll start with the Newborn condition for a few turns, which means they have disadvantage on attack rolls, a lowered AC, lower hit point, and cannot take reactions. The Newborn condition ends after 4 turns (about 24 seconds).

Let’s review

Walking up to Us, talking, and recruiting them happen over the course of less than a minute, and that minute happens within the first minutes of the game. For something that happens that early, it’s a surprisingly complex interaction.

Let’s talk about what we saw and turn them into tips for the rest of the game:

  • Some rolls happen in the background. You don’t have any control over these, and you’ll only be informed of success or failure. That the rolls happen at all let you know something interesting is happening. Success and failure on these rolls just give you information.
  • Use checks to find new options. Some rolls will let you uncover new ways to proceed — like the Investigation > Medicine checks above. If you’re looking for more options, try less direct rolls like Investigation, Insight, or Persuasion first.
  • Sometimes you fail. It only takes a couple bad rolls to lock you out of recruiting Us. That’s something else that will keep happening. And that’s OK. Your accumulated combination of successes and failures will make every run of Baldur’s Gate 3 different.

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