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How to get past the Gnarled Door in Auntie Ethel’s in Baldur’s Gate 3

Get through the door in the Overgrown Tunnel under the Gnarled Treehouse

Baldur’s Gate 3’s Auntie Ethel Image: Larian Studios via Polygon
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.

Baldurs Gate 3’s Auntie Ethel seems like a sweet old lady who just wants to help — which, based on everything that has happened (and will happen) to your character, should be a big red flag. After your conversation with her eventually descends into stabbing, you’ll have to chase her through a fireplace and into the Overgrown Tunnel. There, you’ll run into a giant, tree-faced Gnarled Door who refuses to let you pass.

Our Baldur’s Gate 3 Auntie Ethel’s tree door guide will explain how to get past the stubborn door-person and how to maintain your sanity while doing it.

How to open the Gnarled Door

As you explore the Entrance Gallery of the Overgrown Tunnel under Auntie Ethel’s Gnarled Treehouse, there are a lot of poor, unfortunate souls to interact with, but not much to pick up. There’s only one other door — the Gnarled Door — on the west side of the tunnel.

Baldur’s Gate 3 the face-like Gnarled Door in the Overgrown Tunnel below Auntie Ethel’s Image: Larian Studios via Polygon

No matter how much you talk, threaten, or attempt to persuade it, the door won’t let you past. There’s a table to the right of the door where you can pick up a few Whispering Masks.

The key to getting past the Gnarled Door is just having one member of your party wear the Whispering Mask when you do it. But there’s a big caveat to that.

How to protect yourself against the Whispering Mask

Once you pass through the Gnarled Door, your character will start making Wisdom Saving Throws against Auntie Ethel’s Ephemeral Whispers. On a failed save, you’ll lose control of that character and they’ll fight against the rest of your party.

One way to avoid that is to put the mask on someone with a high Wisdom score and, preferably, proficiency in Wisdom Saving Throws like a Druid. This just means they have a better chance of saving against the mind control, though, and you’ll be relying on luck to get past.

Once your party is inside, you can take the mask off. This, however, will cause Auntie Ethel’s four level 4 thralls — the Masks of Terror, Vengence, Regret, and Servitude — in the next room to become hostile to you. Keeping the mask on will keep them from turning hostile, but you’ll have to keep making rolls against Ephemeral Whispers.

A much better way to deal with it is to have someone cast Protection Against Evil and Good on the party member wearing the mask. This is a level 1 Cleric spell, so Shadowheart will have access to it. That spell will give the masked character Advantage on their saves for 10 minutes — more than enough time to get past the thralls.

For more information on the classes in Baldur’s Gate 3, consult our overviews on the Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, Warlock, and Wizard classes. If you’re stumped by the choice, consult our guide on what class to start with.