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What is the Strange Ox in Baldur’s Gate 3

And should you kill it?

The Strange Ox looks at the camera during a conversation in Baldur’s Gate 3 Image: Larian Studios via Polygon
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

There are a lot of mysteries to solve in Baldur’s Gate 3, but none are as strange as the aptly named Strange Ox. You’ll first encounter this weirdo in the Emerald Grove in act 1. It may look like a normal Ox, but if your characters pass a passive Perception Check when you walk by, you’ll see that it’s definitely anything but normal.

In this Baldur’s Gate 3 guide, we’ll teach you everything we know about the Strange Ox, and even tell you what happens if you kill it.

Strange Ox location in Baldur’s Gate 3

A group of characters surround the Strange Ox in Baldur’s Gate 3 Image: Larian Studios via Polygon

You’ll find the Strange Ox for the first time in the Emerald Grove, just hours into your playthrough. It’s standing with the rest of the oxen up above the entrance to the Druid’s sanctuary, just across from Dammon’s shop and where the Tiefling children spar.

If you failed the Perception Check, you can identify the Strange Ox because it’s facing the other direction as the other two oxen, as if it’s watching the children run by on the path.

If you try to interact with the Strange Ox, it will give you a snort and then stop talking, similarly to the other oxen. If you want to actually chat with it, you’ll need someone who can speak with animals, and you have a couple of options there.

The first option is to use a Potion of Animal Speaking, which you can find in multiple places in act 1. However, the easiest way for most players to talk to the Strange Ox is to bring Wyll along with you. By level 3, he can learn Speak with Animals as a ritual spell, which he can cast on himself. Once that’s done, all you need to do is swap to Wyll and have the conversation.

What will the Strange Ox tell you?

Once you strike up a conversation, the Strange Ox will be a bit surprised that you’re talking to it, and is very coy about its true nature (it will try and “moo” at you, but it isn’t particularly convincing). If you pass a quick Arcana Check — note that Wyll has a -1 Intelligence modifier, so best to either save-scum this check or come in with Inspiration ready — you’ll learn that the Strange Ox is not actually an ox at all, and open up some options to intimidate, persuade, or deceive it. While Wyll struggles with Arcana Checks, he’s great at the Charisma-based ones, so you shouldn’t have any passing those.

However, even if you manage to pass every check, the Strange Ox still won’t tell you who or what it is. All it will say is that it’s going to Baldur’s Gate with or without the Tieflings. You won’t get a quest from the Strange Ox, but it is possible to encounter it at least one more time on your journey.

It’s also worth noting here that the Strange Ox does have a special interaction if you’re a Druid. It will tell you that it’s a fellow Druid who has shapeshifted into an ox, but this is likely a lie based on what happens if you attack it...

What happens if you kill the Strange Ox in the Emerald Grove?

Characters loot the Shapeshifter’s Boon Ring in Baldur’s Gate 3 Image: Larian Studios via Polygon

The Strange Ox is a bit of a jerk, and is very suspicious, so we won’t blame you for wanting to know what happens if you take it out.

The good news about the Strange Ox is that it’s holding a pretty decent piece of loot for shapeshifting Druids or spellcasters who use disguises. The bad news is that trying to kill the Strange Ox without dying or getting yourself thrown in jail can be a little tough.

If you kill the Strange Ox, it will explode into a massive pool of acid, killing the other two oxen nearby and potentially some of your party members. It deals a lot of damage at low levels, so your best bet is to take it on from a distance. The Strange Ox only has 15 HP, so sling a few spells or arrows its direction and it’ll go pop. Give the acid a few seconds to dissipate and stroll up to collect your Shapeshifter’s Boon Ring, which gives you +1d4 bonus to all Checks when you’re shapeshifted or disguised.

The bigger problem with killing the Strange Ox is that the rest of the people in the Emerald Grove don’t think it’s strange at all, they think you’re just murdering one of their oxen and will send the guards after you if you cause problems. The best way around this is actually to wait until you resolve the conflict between the Druids, Tieflings, and Goblins. Once the Tieflings leave the Emerald Grove — one way or another — they’ll take the Hungry Ox and Bored Ox and leave the Strange Ox behind. With far fewer NPCs occupying the Emerald Grove, it’s easy to get a quick kill in without disturbing the local inhabitants.

What about the Strange Ox in Last Light Inn?

A group of players fight the Strange Ox ooze in Baldur’s Gate 3 Image: Larian Studios via Polygon

You’ll encounter the Strange Ox again in the Last Light Inn in the Shadow-touched Lands — assuming you didn’t kill it in the Emerald Grove. You’ll find it in the stable, near Dammon’s blacksmithing shop.

Talking to the Strange Ox without Speak with Animals is a little pointless here, just as it was in the Emerald Grove. Either pop a potion or bring Wyll along with you for this endeavor.

The Strange Ox is a lot more hostile this time, and it seems frustrated about something. If you talk to it enough, he’ll eventually transform into a giant, nasty ooze and attack you. Note that you need to let it initiate combat. If you just smack it with a sword, everyone in camp will be mad at you. On the flip side, when it attacks you, Dammon and the rest of the Harpers will rally to the cause. Just know that Dammon has very low health, so be careful or you’ll accidentally get it killed.

The Strange Ox ooze can be a little difficult to fight depending on your level. It hits hard, has a lot of health, and sprays acid everywhere on the ground when you hit it. Not great. But, if you manage to kill it, it’ll drop some extra items in addition to the Shapeshifter’s Boon Ring. This time it’ll also have the Hat of Fire Acuity — which gives the user the Arcane Acuity buff whenever they deal fire damage — and two Malachite gems to sell. Just don’t ask us how it managed to pick those items up since the Emerald Grove ... or where it stores them.

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