Baldur's Gate 3 Has A Huge, Orpheus-Shaped Plot Hole You Probably Never Realized (2024)

Summary

  • Baldur's Gate 3 features a plot hole in Act 3 involving Prince Orpheus.
  • Orpheus' transformation doesn't make sense due to his existing powers and the established steps of ceremorphosis.
  • Alternative endings for Orpheus could have made more sense and provided a clearer "good" ending for the game.

Baldur's Gate 3 is a wonderfully crafted RPG filled with awesome characters and a Dungeons & Dragons lore-rich story. But that doesn't mean that everything is perfect, as there is one, quite large plot hole in Act 3 that has many scratching their heads. As the epic game comes to a close and the battle with the Absolute looms, Prince Orpheus is the focus of a critical decision with some puzzling consequences.

[Warning: Spoilers for Baldur's Gate 3.]

Prince Orpheus is the only child of Mother Gith, who rose up to free her people from the tyranny of the Illithid Empire, and possesses the same mind block power as his mother. After he learned that Vlaakith had betrayed his mother, Orpheus rose up to fight her but lost and ended up trapped in the Astral Prism. This is where the party find Orpheus during Baldur's Gate 3 in a twist that is part of Lae'zel's personal story about the potential liberation of the githyanki people.

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Baldur's Gate 3 is imposing in stature and its best moments are truly memorable, but some early issues with scale suggest an uneven experience.

His Powers Have Worked Thus Far

Baldur's Gate 3 Has A Huge, Orpheus-Shaped Plot Hole You Probably Never Realized (2)

Orpheus is revealed to be inside the Astral Prism at the very beginning of Act 3 and becomes a pivotal plot point surrounding Raphael, his desire for the Crown of Karsus, and the Emperor. The choice just before the final battle eventually becomes whether to side with the Emperor or free Orpheus in order to take on the Netherbrain. However, when it comes time to free Orpheus, a strange thing can occur which makes no sense: once the Emperor leaves and if the player doesn't want to become a full illithid, then Orpheus will quickly transform into one.

Why Did Orpheus Need To Become A Mind Flayer?

Surely There Must Have Been A More Interesting Alternative

Immediately after he is freed from his chains, Orpheus will begrudgingly confirm that the Emperor was correct. The party's previous attempt to subdue and control the Absolute failed because the Elder Brain had been changed by the Crown into a Netherbrain, and only an illithid can take it down. With the Emperor gone, the choice now falls to the party to either give up one of their own to fully transform or for the newly released githyanki princeto become his own worst nightmare.

The choice itself is not necessarily the plot hole, although it does fall into the category of being obvious plot logic designed to throw one final choice at the player. And perhaps an illithid mind is truly needed to out-think the Netherbrain and ensure victory. But it does seem more than a little odd that despite Orpheus clearly being able to hold off the Absolute's influence even when not fully conscious, he suddenly can't defeat it now without transforming.

In the final choice, the player character can choose to become a full illithid, or if Karlach is in the party, she will volunteer as her infernal engine will give out soon.

Orpheus' presence is hinted at as early in BG3 as Act 1 with githyanki slates telling stories of the Prince of the Comet and graffiti seen within Crèche Y'llek on Vlaakith's portrait. Orpheus and his power are shown repeatedly throughout BG3, saving the party from the influence and orders of the Absolute all while kept asleep by the Emperor. His powers to intercept illithid psychic commands are still strong enough to keep the party shielded from the much more powerful Netherbrain during Act 3, so did he really need to become a mind flayer?

If subduing and controlling the Absolute was a battle of wills, then surely Orpheus already had everything he needed to beat it. This is a githyanki so powerful that Vlaakith had to seal him away because she knew he could overthrow her. At this point, all that was needed was to escort whoever was using the netherstones to the Crown itself and buy them enough time to focus. But why Orpheus needed to transform is only the beginning of the plot hole.

Related

How To Free Orpheus In Baldur's Gate 3

Near the end of Baldur's Gate 3, you have several chances to free Orpheus, prince of the Githyanki, depending on the choices made along your journey.

How Orpheus Transforms Presents A New, Bigger Plot Hole

From Zero To A Full Illithid After One Conversation

Even if an illithid was needed to defeat the Netherbrain by staying two steps ahead, that still doesn't explain the larger Orpheus plot hole: his immediate transformation. The choices of the Emperor, Tav, or Karlach make sense, as one is already a mind flayer while the other two have a tadpole each, or multiple if illithid powers have been used. However, there is no indication that Orpheus had been infected, making his metamorphosis a little confusing.

After muttering that the Netherbrain would be eager to claim him, Orpheus will kneel on the ground and just change. It's a strange and jarring scene that seems to completely disregard all the established rules for ceremorphosis. A single line with him requesting an Astral Tadpole from the party or mentioning a prior infection would have solved this, but instead the party are left to watch as Orpheus apparently wills himself into a mind flayer.

Although the transformation itself is perplexing, as is Orpheus' apparent willingness to do it, especially given githyanki attitudes towards ghaik. He clearly doesn't want to and given other options, such as Tav or Karlach, he will happily accept, but it is strange that there is no persuasion roll to convince him. Instead, Tav can simply say no, and Orpheus accepts that and becomes a mind flayer.

Having Tav or any other party member be turned into a mind flayer against their will would have been terrible, so having Orpheus be the "failsafe illithid" was needed for BG3's plot. But that then circles back to the question of why did Orpheus need to be a mind flayer? The whole plot point ends up feeling like an excuse for the player to have full control over the situation, or otherwise gain access to the full suite of illithid powers at least once before the game ends.

Possible Alternatives For Orpheus' Finale In Baldur's Gate 3

Different Ideas For The Final Battle

Baldur's Gate 3 Has A Huge, Orpheus-Shaped Plot Hole You Probably Never Realized (5)

It would have been far more interesting, as well as make more sense, to have Orpheus act as the true alternative to the Emperor. This way, he could have provided the same role in the final battle but just not as an illithid. If Orpheus isn't transformed, then his Way of the Four Elements monk abilities are on offer to the party as they travel to the Netherbrain, which, given the mental fortitude of monks, would still have made sense for him to dominate the Netherbrain.

Having Orpheus not transform without the need to sacrifice a party member could have offered a clearer "good" Baldur's Gate 3 ending, but also have fit with the characters of the Emperor and Orpheus better. If Orpheus is sided with, then the Emperor leaves to join the Netherbrain, which is a bizarre choice given how much effort he's put into remaining free and maintaining control of his own mind. The Emperor's betrayal feels oddly reminiscent of Dragon Age 2's controversial second final boss, where even if the mages were sided with, First Enchanter Orsino would still give into blood magic.

There it made the final decision between factions feel irrelevant, while in BG3, having a mind flayer needing to be present during the final battle evokes the same feelings. In a game full of meaningful choices, it feels strange to end with a railroaded false choice and Orpheus' odd tadpoleless transformation. With no DLCs for Baldur's Gate 3, the last hope for closing plot holes like this lies with a Definitive Edition, but there has currently been no news on this front.

Baldur's Gate 3 Has A Huge, Orpheus-Shaped Plot Hole You Probably Never Realized (6)
Baldur's Gate 3

Developed and published by Larian Studios, Baldur's Gate 3 is an upcoming role-playing game set to release in August of 2023. Players will create a character to embark on a large-scale journey and can do so solo or cooperatively with a friend. Combat is a turn-based style this time around.

Franchise
Baldur's Gate

Released
August 3, 2023

Developer(s)
Larian Studios

Publisher(s)
Larian Studios
Genre(s)
RPG

ESRB
M for Mature: Blood and Gore, Partial Nudity, Sexual Content, Strong Language, Violence
Platform(s)
PC , macOS , PS5 , Xbox Series X

Split Screen Orientation
Vertical Only

Number of Players
1-4

Local Co-Op Support
1-2 Players
Baldur's Gate 3 Has A Huge, Orpheus-Shaped Plot Hole You Probably Never Realized (2024)

FAQs

Who is the strange figure in BG3? ›

The strange entity will introduce himself at camp, once a long rest has occurred. His name is Withers and he will resurrect party members for a fee, as well a respec companions and provide hirelings.

How to free lae zel from a cage? ›

There is a short bow on the ground near the cage if you have no way to use a ranged attack. Pick it up or use Astarion to shoot at the weakened base of the cage. You may have to climb the nearby ledge to aim at it. Fire a few arrows and it will break.

What is the undead question in Baldur's Gate 3? ›

After a cryptic conversation, the Skeleton—whose name is Withers—will ask you what the worth of mortal life is. You can answer him in accordance to your character's personality: there's no right or wrong answer here.

Who can you sleep with in BG3? ›

Companions you can romance as in have a relationship with:
  • Shadowheart.
  • Astarion.
  • Wyll.
  • Lae'zel.
  • Gale.
  • Karlach.
  • Halsin (only starts in Act 3)
  • Minthara (least content and you might want to be evil for this one)
Jan 12, 2024

Who is the most romanced character in Baldur's Gate 3? ›

But let's talk romance: while Baldur's Gate 3 has a number of intriguing romance paths, Shadowheart's is easily the most popular, with 51.3% players completing her romance arc (which you can find a walkthrough of here). It turns out she really is God's favorite princess and the most interesting girl in the world.

What happens if you leave Lae Zel to her fate? ›

There are a couple of fates for Lae'zel if you choose. If you completely ignore Lae'zel or persuade the Tieflings to leave but don't free her, she will eventually escape by herself and make her way to the Gith'yanki patrol near the Mountain Pass.

What is the best fighter subclass in BG3? ›

The best Baldur's Gate 3 Fighter subclass is Battle Master, which grants you access to seven Manoeuvres - three at Level 3, two at Level 7, and two at Level 10. These are unique combat abilities that you can activate using an action.

How to trigger lae zel romance? ›

Make your way through the Nautiloid until you trigger a cutscene in which Lae'zel appears, ready to cut you to ribbons. Once she realizes you both share the same breed of Illithid parasite, Lae'zel will suggest you travel together. Take her up on this offer and she will officially join your party.

What is the worth of a single mortal life in BG3? ›

There's no such thing as a 'single' life.” The value of any life is given by it's net marginal future utility.

What does the skull lever do in BG3? ›

A light shines on a large statue in the center of the room, and if you head behind it, one of your characters may perceive a skull-shaped switch. Activating it will open the door in the previous room, so head back and enter the next area known as the Dank Crypt.

Should I give Karlach Soul coins? ›

Soul Coins can be used to power the Infernal Engines and give Karlach a boost of power in combat, making them valuable in tough battles. While Soul Coins lack other uses in the game, they may gain more options in future DLC or expansions, so holding onto them is the best choice for most campaigns.

Can you become a vampire in BG3? ›

Players must first let Astarion drink their character's blood, then follow his quest line to the end, resulting in him becoming a more powerful party member. The player character can't fully become a vampire, but they can also gain some vampiric power after Astarion ascends.

What is the most OP class in Baldur's Gate 3? ›

The Paladin is the strongest class and subclass in Baldur's Gate 3 due to its damage output, survivability, and versatility. The Paladins can access various weapons and armour types, allowing for diverse playstyles. Combining Extra Attack with Divine Smite results in exceptional raw damage potential.

Can you be evil in BG3? ›

1: Yes, going evil will have some companions leave you (specifically Karlach, Wyll, and Gale... though I think you can persuade Gale into staying.). In return you do get a couple evil companions. 2: While it is entirely possible to do an evil playthrough, doing so cuts out a massive portion of the game's content.

Who is the bad guy in Baldur's Gate 3? ›

The Absolute revealing its manipulations to the adventurers. The Absolute, later known as the Netherbrain, is one of the three main antagonists (alongside Enver Gortash and Raphael) and final boss of the 2023 fantasy video game Baldur's Gate III.

Who is the absolute BG3? ›

Later on, it was revealed that the Absolute was not in fact a deity, but rather an empowered elder brain, which had been enslaved by the Chosen of the Dead Three. These Chosen were Ketheric Thorm of Myrkul, Enver Gortash of Bane, and the Dark Urge of Bhaal, though the Dark Urge was later usurped by Orin.

Who is the annoying character in Baldur's Gate? ›

Noober is male civilian who is seen as the the most irritating character in the game by many players. You'll bump into him after crossing the southern bridge in town of Nashkel.

Who is the serial killer in Baldur's Gate? ›

Rejiek Hidesman is a malevolent tanner turned serial killer who operates out of the Bridge District of Athkatla during the events of Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn and the equivalent portion of Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition.

References

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