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Baldur's Gate 3: The illithid conspiracy

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
There's a setting you can toggle to have the game ask you if you want to use a reaction or not, whenever the conditions for that reaction are met. I'd recommend turning it on so you can get a better feel for how/when they happen (I think by default they do automatically).
 

Yimothy

Red Plane
(he/him)
I explored the underdark some more, met a bulette, then visited a fungus colony, where I healed a gnome who asked me to save her friends but lied to me about what they were doing there - I failed the dice roll to call her on it, so I dunno what’s actually going on. The head fungus asked me to deal with some raiders who had come in pursuit of the gnome. It seemed like they were setting up for a morally grey mission where the raiders would have some plausible reason for what they were doing and maybe the gnome would actually be the villain, but I met the raiders and they told me they were chasing a slave on behalf of the place the goblins were taking their captives earlier, so I feel pretty safe in calling them the bad guys. My party do not approve of slavery, it seems - I also killed the zhentarim slave traders in the goblin camp, though the direct reason for that was that they aggroed while I was fighting goblins. Anyway, the fight with these guys started and then my controller’s battery died, so I’ll have to see how it plays out later.
 

Yimothy

Red Plane
(he/him)
The fight mentioned in my last post was easy - the lead enemy summoned four zombies, but they were weak and turn undead got three of them in one go. I’ve also found a tree that blocks magic and got some bark from it, put together an ice weapon from parts found across the underdark, rescued a guy with dementia from a field of toxic flammable gas which I then blew up accidentally, explored a magician’s tower where I found the mushrooms a friendly mind flayer wants to fiddle with my parasite (but I unthinkingly used the “extract all reagents” menu option and destroyed them), and sailed on a lake. While I was sailing I was accosted by another boat, whose captain jumped over to talk. For whatever reason Lae’zal was my lead character again, so when he started giving us a hard time she pushed him into the drink. I wonder if he’d have had any good loot? Anyways, once over the lake I freed a guy from a cave-in then told him not to go murdering slaves which led to a fight with about ten enemies that actually started off promising before they used mind control to get my party to attack each other, shortly after which it was game over.

Also met (and beat) my first mimics. Having the “failed a perception check” message pop up kind of gives away that there’s something to perceive, which makes me make sure all four characters get close to where the message popped up before I do anything. I started combat by having my strongest character use her strongest attack before the mimics knew I was on to them, which helped.
 

Yimothy

Red Plane
(he/him)
I beat Grym in the forge, despite not really being prepared - my lead guy was low on HP from fighting the lava elemental, and my guys didn’t really have the right stuff equipped. I took a look at it when it appeared and saw the bludgeoning vulnerability, so I switched my monk MC to equip the club of hill giant strength thinking it would make my flurry of blows really effective even if it didn’t give great damage numbers for itself. Lae’zel had a big hammer equipped already, I think from breaking down a wall or something earlier, so she was all set, and I got Karlach to throw stuff at it (Shadowheart had no spells capable of damaging it prepared, so she did a few points damage with a crossbow and healed the MC a little). I had a bunch of hammers in my inventory, which seemed like a good option for bludgeoning damage while also being things I didn’t mind throwing away. The game doesn’t seem to give you damage estimates for throwing, which is kind of annoying since it does for everything else. Anyway, they seemed to work. Karlach went last, drawing its aggro, and I had her jump to the middle platform with the hammer to draw the enemy there. Which worked, except my MC hit it with an opportunity attack as it was heading over and got the aggro drawn to himself instead so it turned back and hit him and Lae’zel with AoE attacks.

In the second round, Grym was standing just far enough away that my melee characters would have to walk into lava to hit it (as they had done like six times while exploring the area to get here). I had Lae’zel jump behind it and land a few hits, then attempted to do the same with my MC but failed to notice his path preview going into the lava, so he started melting and was downed. Shadowheart I think took another shot with the crossbow and healed Lae’zal, then started heading for the lever for the forge hammer, and Karlach threw some more hammers to do some damage and draw its attention, and also I activated her rage which I keep forgetting to do earlier. On its turn, Grym made it to Karlach (I think Lae’zel didn’t do an opportunity attack for whatever reason or maybe she missed) and did some damage but not all that much.

For round three I had Lae’zel help my MC and heal herself, the MC move out of the lava and heal himself, Karlach jumped out of reach of the hammer, Shadowheart moved over to pull the lever… and couldn’t reach. But then I remembered you can shoot levers, so I did, and the hammer came down leaving Grym with 5HP. And the lava drained away and a bunch of mephits appeared (or maybe they’d appeared slightly earlier, I forget).

Round four I had Karlach throw her last hammer at Grym, expecting to finish it off. Instead she did four damage leaving it with 1HP. I had a look at the combat log and realised Grym was no longer superheated and so it was invulnerable to everything. So where did the 4HP of damage come from? I’m not really sure, but I think it’s extra damage from her strength modifier somehow getting through. So I threw my good old returning spear to finish the job, but missed (70 or 80% hit chance, I think). I didn’t think any of my other characters would be able to deal any damage, so I started attacking the mephits and moving my MC towards the lava release mechanism. Which he didn’t reach, but next round Karlach was able to repeat her mystery damage (maybe it’s from the enraged throw?) and also throw the returning spear into the remaining mephits so the lava wasn’t needed.
.

I think I’ve done pretty much everything in the underdark now, so just a few more areas to explore topside and I’ll be ready to move on to the next phase of the game.
 

Yimothy

Red Plane
(he/him)
I had some time off due to being overseas, but I’m back to the game now. I explored the last major area of the overworld and met the gith dragon rider and his crew. And then I killed his crew. I thought this might make trouble with Lae’zel, especially since I accidentally downed her during the fight with a misclick, but she seems unhappy with the dragon rider and still ok with me. So now we’re working our way through the monastery. I’ve killed a bunch of kobolds and some monstrous cats, and we got a bunch of experience for stepping on the roof so I promptly went back down to explore everywhere else first.

Not sure if I’m reading too much into the little chats the party members have, but it seems like maybe Gale and Karlach have something going on? Probably not I guess since it seems every companion is after the player character.
 
All of the companions you meet in Act 1 are Player-Sexual, but they will start hooking up with each other in various permutations if they're not in a monogamous relationship with the player.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
they will start hooking up with each other in various permutations if they're not in a monogamous relationship with the player.
I didn't see this in my playthrough, or any of my girlfriend's three. Did they add that recently?
 
I didn't see this in my playthrough, or any of my girlfriend's three. Did they add that recently?

It's always been there, but it's mostly in incidental dialogue that you might or might not see. I don't think the game tracks their relationships beyond "Are they in a relationship with the protagonist? Y/N" and if the answer is "No" you might see some dialogue where they offhandedly mention hooking up with someone else who is also in your party and not in a relationship with you. It's not like a formal system you can manage like Fire Emblem or a cutscene or anything that draws attention to itself.

edit: Yeah, a quick Google shows people talking about this going back to the official release date. Could date back to early access for all I know, but I'm not going to dig further.
 
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lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Huh, weird. I talked to my party members at basically every opportunity and I don't remember a single instance of that. Neat!
 
I don’t think it happens when you talk to them, but when you’re out and about and they talk to each other. Could be a completely false memory though. No, I think I’m just wrong, thinking about different video games.
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
I know Astarion and Lae'zel hooked up after I turned them both down on the same night, but that's the only time I saw it.
 

Yimothy

Red Plane
(he/him)
What made me think Gale and Karlach might be a couple was a conversation where Gale commented on how nice a place was and Karlach said she’d been thinking the same thing and it was nice to be travelling with someone of similar mind, then another where they talked about how far away Gale’s hometown is and how it will be difficult to tell his mother (which I took to mean tell his mother about the relationship). Pretty slim stuff. Recently Gale told Karlach about a brewery that isn’t there anymore and claimed to have filled her with knowledge instead of drink, which seemed to disgust her so maybe it’s off.

My MC, meanwhile, has eyes only for Lae’zel, who never leaves my party which occasionally makes things difficult from a role play perspective especially as she doesn’t tend to approve of my goody two shoes playstyle. But we still have very high affinity. In fact it got up to exceptional after she used the tadpole extracting machine in the gith crèche, but since it destroyed her brain (well, three stats) and she refuses to use tadpoles to cure it (also, again with the role play I am not indulging in tadpole use, though I did tell Astarion he could get some from my pack if he wanted - not sure if he has, though) I wound up taking the cheap way out and reloading. Now I’ve upset her god by not killing the dream guardian (even though I don’t like that the guardian is always telling me to use the tadpoles) and it appears every gith in this crèche wants to kill us. I think I could just fast travel out, but A) I wanna loot the place, and B) I found a hidden chamber at the bottom that I need some key item for, and I’m pretty sure I know which puzzle will give it to me and I think I have what I need to solve it, but once I go up top and get the thing I’ll have to get back through this hostile area to use it, so I may as well kill my way out now. Or, come to think of it, I could use invisibility to sneak back later. Hmm.
 

Yimothy

Red Plane
(he/him)
I’ve moved on to act 2. It’s a pretty unpleasant environment. I came in from the mountain pass and met some absolute cultists waiting for a guide to get through the shadows. I summoned them by playing badly on my spider lyre that I’d forgotten I had, then attacked the guide and took his lantern, from which I freed a pixie who made me immune to the shadows. Kind of seems a bit easy? I’ve been exploring the area where I came in but not crossing the big bridges. There seem to be three places to go from here - there’s a village that a note I found suggests was home to Shar worshippers, there’s moonrise tower which the game helpfully points out on the map and which I’ll be avoiding until I’ve done everything else, and there’s the last light inn, enclosed in some kind of shield. I’d almost finished looking around when three harpers went running by, one of them seemingly cursed. I didn’t manage to talk to them so I’m not sure what the deal is, but they ran into the inn so I’m gonna follow them just in case something in the plot will progress without me if I don’t.

I’m getting a bunch more companion quest stuff coming up - Wyll’s patron showed up again, I gave a flower to Shadowheart, we met Gale’s grandad (further to my Gale/Karlach pairing, she seems be more upset about his suicide mission than the others), and the bard from the emerald grove at last has something new to say. Asterion also wants me to find the devil who showed up once many hours ago, claiming he’s better prepared now. I said not unless he told me what his plan was and he disapproved
. Most of the party have positive views on me, but Asterion is neutral and seems to disapprove of almost everything I do or say. I wonder how little he has to think of me before he leaves.
 

Yimothy

Red Plane
(he/him)
I haven’t played any more, but something I keep meaning to talk about and forgetting: I think I misread the intent of Wyll’s character. I read him as basically a conman playing hero (or maybe he’s deluded and thinks he’s a hero), where I think he’s supposed to actually be a hero. The other characters at the start kind of fit their characterisation in gameplay, I think. You start out at level one, not very strong, which works for most of them (you meet Gale by pulling him out of a portal he’s stuck in, for instance, and by the time you learn about his relationship with the source of all magic he’s gained a few levels and is pretty useful, and while level one Lae’zel is nowhere near as tough as she talks, she is tougher than anyone else in the party), but Wyll is introduced as the Blade of Frontiers, famous hero, and he’s kind of rubbish. Maybe I just don’t know what to do with a warlock. This kind of goes for Karlach too - the ruler of a hell’s scariest servant should probably be stronger than anyone in my party, but I didn’t find her until I (and so also she) had gained several levels and got a bit more familiar with how the game works so I didn’t get the same impression.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Maybe I just don’t know what to do with a warlock.
Eldritch blast people off ledges, typically.

This kind of goes for Karlach too - the ruler of a hell’s scariest servant should probably be stronger than anyone in my party, but I didn’t find her until I (and so also she) had gained several levels and got a bit more familiar with how the game works so I didn’t get the same impression.
Karlach consistently outdamaged everyone else in my party for basically the entire game. The secret is to spec her into a Berserker built around throwing (with the Tavern Brawler feat). Give her a returning weapon and congratulations, you've won.
 

Yimothy

Red Plane
(he/him)
Oh yeah, my Karlach has the returning pike, at least two pieces of equipment that give extra damage to throws (I forget what specifically), and tavern brawler. But she’s not where I’d expect hell’s fiercest killer to be. I’m not sure if the game stated it or if I just decided it myself, but I’ve been working on the assumption that the tadpoles kind of reset everyone’s level and that’s why they’re not as strong as their backstories suggest.

Also on Karlach, I tried sending her alone into the burning house in act one since I assumed she’d be immune to fire what with being too hot to touch and all, but it was not so.
 
Kind of seems a bit easy?

You stumbled right into the best solution to that problem. We did not have this for a while our first time through, because we didn't have that encounter until we'd done a lot of other stuff in the region and there are two other partial remedies to the shadow curse that will help you get by until you find that one (or, in case you don't find that one at all, which can also happen—it's very inconvenient!).
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Also on Karlach, I tried sending her alone into the burning house in act one since I assumed she’d be immune to fire what with being too hot to touch and all, but it was not so.
I think she's got fire resistance from being a tiefling, but not immunity. Taking half damage still goes a long way!

Also, maxing out Karlach's strength and keeping her regularly supplied with Elixers of Hill Giant Strength (and, later, Cloud Giant Strength) is pretty important for the throwing build. For a long time I also found it pretty useful to give her an Amulet of Misty Step so she could always get up to high ground easily. It took me probably longer than it should have to learn to account for terrain.

(For the record, I get that you're talking about some cognitive dissonance between the characters' backstories and how the early game plays out, I just like talking about the crunchy parts of any given build.)
 

Yimothy

Red Plane
(he/him)
I’ve entered the inn, and at last found some cloaks. There is some other armour I’d like to buy, but I’m running short on cash. I should probably sell some of the huge amount of stuff I’ve been accumulating all game, but what if I decide to start using scrolls or poisons or whatever? Or to figure out how spark charges work and put all the gear I have that generates them on someone? There are quite a few places at the inn where I could take a bunch of stuff, many of which don’t have the red highlight that indicates I’d be stealing, but I assume it belongs to the harpers and refugees and from a role playing point of view I don’t want to steal from them. Though I did lockpick a chest and take some nice armour from upstairs at the smithy, which was probably theft, and from a character I want on my side to help one of my party. I also reacquainted myself with the strange ox and made it so mad it attacked me, which is a shame because I’d have liked to have found out what the deal was there.

I accidentally had Astarion as the lead character when I spoke to Raphael (I’d been equipping him with a cloak), so I tried to do it in character and not make threats about him dealing with Mol, and I helped her win at chess (not sure if any suggestion would have helped or if I lucked into the right one) where maybe my goody goody MC would have told her not to make deals with a devil. Astarion wanted to talk to him anyway, but I wonder if I missed out on approval by not having the MC start the encounter and then hand over to him.

I haven’t spoken to the cleric putting up the barrier yet. Maybe I should head to camp and switch Shadowheart in first, and pick up Karlach so she can see the smith.
 

Yimothy

Red Plane
(he/him)
I spoke to Isobel, and in short, I am not wearing that. Time to reload.

So this dude flies in to kidnap her and a big combat encounter starts. Alright. I focus all my attacks on the main guy, Lae’zel misses twice on 84% hit chance attacks and Karlach once on 75%, all of the enemies attack Isobel and now there’s a cutscene of the guy I had knocked prone walking off with her while my party who were surrounding him just stand there? And everyone in the place is now undead and multiple quests ping up as failed. I’m trying to play the game and let the dice fall as they may, but for this one I’m reloading. Well, maybe I’ll try fighting everyone at the inn first, see how that goes.
 
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