Baldur’s Gate 3 Lore (Fully Explained)

The lore of Baldur’s Gate 3 brings to light fundamental elements of the vast and intricate universe of Dungeons & Dragons that are represented in the game. Bear in mind, though Baldur’s Gate 3 follows its predecessors, BG 1 and BG2, it doesn’t delve into all concepts and highlights the immense complexity of the D&D world.

INSIGHT INTO THE LORE OF BALDUR’S GATE 3

Deciphering the Initial Cinematic

As you embark on your journey with Baldur’s Gate 3, you’re introduced to a dramatic cinematic that presents a Mindflayer and its spacecraft, launching an onslaught on the city. Following this, you witness a band of Dragon Riders using teleportation to infiltrate this area and engage the ship, leading to an inter-dimensional pursuit. Those unfamiliar with the D&D universe may find these events puzzling, hence, here’s a distilled rundown of the vital aspects you need to comprehend:

Mindflayers, notorious for their remarkable psionic prowess that enables them to dominate and enslave other beings—whose brains they feast on—”procreate” by contaminating different races with “tadpoles”. After a specific period, the parasite takes over the host and morphs it into a Mindflayer.

The “Dragon Riders” that emerge are the Githyanki, a faction within a species that was once under the thrall of the Mindflayers. Following their successful liberation from Mindflayer mental domination, they established themselves in the “Astral Plane” and entered a covenant with the deity Tiamat that a select group of Red Dragons would serve as their steeds. The Githyanki harbor a deep-seated loathing for and seek to eradicate all Mind Flayers.

UNRAVELING THE LORE CONSTRUCTS OF BG3

The Enigma of Vampire Spawn

A Vampire Spawn is categorized as a medium-sized undead, of neutral evil alignment in DnD’s 5th edition.

In their undead form, vampire spawn retain the physical appearance they had while alive, although their characteristics appear more austere and predatory. They lead their lives shrouded in obscurity, considering themselves superior to other living or undead entities. Despite lacking the full spectrum of standard vampire abilities, they continue to bear the burden of their traditional weaknesses and susceptibilities.

 

When thrust into an adventurous existence, vampire spawn often aspire to seek retribution against their makers, or atonement for their cursed existence. If these creatures manage to subdue their insatiable desires, they might strive for knowledge, glory, or power. The defining motive of a vampire spawn stems from pride, as they perceive themselves to be superior to others.

Shar: The Enigmatic Mistress of the Night

Shar, also revered as the Mistress of the Night, governed darkness and the mysterious subterranean realms of Faerûn. She was a neutral evil greater deity, representing the shadow to her twin Selûne’s light. Her dominion encompassed caverns, darkness, dungeons, forgetfulness, loss, night, secrets, and the enigmatic Underdark. A defining aspect of her dark abilities was her omniscience over everything that occurred or existed within the dark. Recognized by her symbol of a black disk surrounded by a deep purple border, Shar was the mastermind behind the Shadow Weave, a rival and assault to the Weave, governed by Mystryl and her successors, before both Weaves met their demise in the Spellplague.

Diving deep into one of the oldest cosmogony myths, after the universe and its crystal sphere were brought into existence by Lord Ao, there existed only the primordial essence, the rudimentary fabric of being. Envisioned as chaos and timeless oblivion, the sphere was shrouded in vague, murky shadows, neither light nor dark, as these elements had yet to diverge. (The only entities stirring here were the Shadevari, the enigmatic thirteen lords of shadow, their origin, whether from elsewhere or from the shadow itself, remains shrouded in mystery.)

Eventually, Shar and her twin sister, Selûne, took form from this primordial essence. The goddesses were stunning—identical yet contrasting embodiments of dark and light, akin to yin and yang—with Shar donning raven hair and Selûne, silver. Despite their differences, they shared a bond so intimate that they perceived themselves as a single entity, later known as the Two-Faced Goddess or the Sisters-Who-Were-One. They harmonized with each other, fostering order amidst the chaos.

Together, they conjured Abeir-Toril and other celestial bodies from the cosmic ether, bestowing life upon these worlds. During this act of creation, they birthed the goddess Chauntea, who initially embodied all matter in Realmspace, and later, specifically of the world of Abeir-Toril. The sisters collaborated with Chauntea to infuse life into these worlds. This universe was enveloped in the dark embrace of Shar, contrasted by the cool, illuminating presence of Selûne. However, these celestial bodies lacked fire or heat. Desiring to nurture life on her formative worlds, Chauntea pleaded for warmth from the Two-Faced Goddess. This request led to the first divergence in views between Shar and Selûne, setting them at odds over the potential proliferation of life on their creations.

This dispute escalated into a full-fledged battle over the destiny of their creations, with the residues of their strife giving birth to the original deities of magic, war, disease, murder, death, among others. Selûne, seizing an opportunity, reached into a plane of fire and brought forth a fragment of eternal flame, despite the excruciating pain. She ignited a celestial body—the Sun—to provide warmth to Chauntea.

Shar’s fury knew no bounds upon witnessing this act; she unleashed a renewed assault on her wounded sister, attempting to extinguish all light and warmth in the universe, thereby debilitating Selûne. In a desperate attempt to safeguard the nascent life, Selûne ripped out some of her divine essence, despite it nearly costing her life, and hurled it at Shar. Selûne’s essence tore through Shar, merging with a part of Shar’s essence, and this confluence of magical energies birthed the goddess Mystryl, the original deity of magic. Despite being an amalgamation of light and dark magic, Mystryl initially sided with Selûne, her primary mother, giving her an advantage. Mystryl brokered an uneasy truce by neutralizing the conflict. This resulted in Shar’s banishment into her darkness for centuries, allowing light and warmth to bathe Abeir-Toril and the other worlds.

The battle left Selûne profoundly weakened, with her power ebbing and flowing over the ages. However, she derived strength from alliances with her divine progeny and deities from other planes. On the other hand, Shar, who had retained a significant portion of her power, regained her strength with the aid of the Shadevari. Embittered and lonely, she harbored a desire for revenge and lurked in the darkness, awaiting her moment to strike. This eternal feud between the sisters persists, while life strives and thrives on the worlds, under the vigilant eye of Chauntea.

Netherese Destruction Orb

The Netherese Destruction Orb, while not explicitly mentioned in the lore available up until 2021, could be a powerful artifact or a weapon associated with the ancient, magic-dominant human empire of Netheril in the Forgotten Realms setting of Dungeons & Dragons. Netheril was well known for its magical innovations, so the creation of powerful artifacts such as a “destruction orb” would be well within their capabilities. Please consult more recent resources or your specific campaign material for details about the Netherese Destruction Orb.

Avernus

Avernus is the first layer of the Nine Hells of Baator in the Dungeons & Dragons cosmology. This layer serves as the primary entry point for anyone visiting the Nine Hells, including invasions by demonic forces from the Abyss. Avernus is essentially a vast battlefront and stronghold for the Blood War, an eternal conflict between the demons of the Abyss and the devils of the Nine Hells. The landscape is harsh and treacherous, with ashen plains, basalt mountains, and fields of rubble that make travel difficult.

Mind Flayers

Mind Flayers, also known as Illithids, are one of the most feared species in the Dungeons & Dragons universe. They are evil and sadistic beings from the Underdark, recognized for their powerful psionic abilities. Mind Flayers have an alien, octopus-like appearance, and they are infamous for controlling the minds of other creatures, turning them into slaves and consuming their brains for sustenance.

Blood War

The Blood War is an ancient and eternal conflict that occurs between the demons of the Abyss and the devils of the Nine Hells in the Dungeons & Dragons multiverse. This battle is a fundamental part of the Lower Planes, involving an almost infinite number of fiends. Yugoloths, a race of neutral evil fiends, often act as mercenaries in this war, playing both sides to their advantage.

Devil

Devils are a lawful evil race of fiends originating from the Nine Hells of Baator in the Dungeons & Dragons cosmology. They are ruthless and vicious creatures, known for their relentless cruelty and extreme vindictiveness. Devils are cunning and manipulative, often blaming others for their misfortunes and seeking revenge against those they perceive as responsible. This thirst for vengeance can span generations, and even a minor involvement can result in a devil’s wrath. Despite their evil nature, devils adhere to a strict hierarchy and a code of laws, which differentiates them from the chaotic evil demons they battle in the Blood War.

Demons

In Dungeons & Dragons, demons represent a vast and varied collection of monstrous entities and beings of chaos and evil. Native to the Abyss, a chaotic evil plane of existence, they exist in countless forms and sizes, each individual demon being a unique manifestation of destructive and corrupting influences. They are notably characterized by their complete lack of empathy for other creatures, driven by a never-ending desire to spread chaos and destruction.

Demons do not have a unified leadership, though certain powerful demons, known as demon lords, do manage to control significant forces within the Abyss. The Blood War, a cosmic conflict with the lawful evil devils of the Nine Hells, is a defining aspect of their existence, although this conflict simmered down somewhat with the ascension of the archdevil Asmodeus to godhood.

Githyanki

The githyanki are an intriguing race in the Dungeons & Dragons universe. These humanoid beings are known for their distinctive psionic abilities and astral residences. The githyanki, along with their cousins the githzerai, were once a single race enslaved by the mind flayers. After developing resistance to the mind flayers’ mental domination, they rose up under the leadership of a figure known as Gith and overthrew their illithid masters.

In the aftermath of their revolution, a schism occurred within the gith society. One faction, the githyanki, advocated for a ceaseless war to exterminate the mind flayers and any race that could potentially enslave them again. Another faction, the githzerai, argued for peace and a focus on rebuilding and enlightenment. A violent civil war ensued, which ended with the githyanki relocating to the Astral Plane and the githzerai retreating to Limbo.

Gith, the leader of the githyanki, vanished after visiting the Nine Hells to seek an alliance with Tiamat, the goddess of evil dragons. In her absence, the rule passed to Vlaakith I and her descendants, who continue to govern the githyanki. Under this agreement, the githyanki gained the allegiance of red dragons, some of whom serve as steeds for the githyanki knights. The githyanki have continued their militant ways, while maintaining a deep hatred for their githzerai kin.

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