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Baldur’s Gate 3: Origin Story and Characterisation in PAX East 2020 Reveal

Larian Studios reveals new Character Origin in the PAX East 2020
Larian Studios reveals new Character Origin in the PAX East 2020
EXPERT COLUMNIST
Modified 28 Feb 2020
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Ever since its announcement in E3 2019, players were not privy too much detail about Baldur’s Gate 3; until yesterday, that is.

In the PAX East, 2020 gameplay reveal, Larian Studios shares with us a lot of what the story and characterization of the game are going to be like. The opening cinematic trailer shows a mind flayer, inserting what seems like parasitic ‘tadpoles’ into characters so as to turn them into mind flayers themselves. 

And this is where the story kicks off. 

The flying ship that your playable character is on is attacked by dragons and makes a crash landing. It is between these cinematics (post-crash) that you make your own character, and progress into the initial phase of the game.  

During the gameplay reveal, Vincke says, “So I have a central problem, I need to get rid of this tadpole, or I’m going to become a mind flayer. So I’m looking for somebody that can help me with that, and that too turns out to be quite a problem, but I can go in many directions.”

Just like in Divinity Original Sin 2, where the adventure begins with players looking for someone to remove their ‘Source Collars,’ Baldur’s Gate 3 will start with you finding ways to remove the mind flayer parasite.

Character Creation

From what is revealed, it would seem that Larian has made character creation much more detailed than their previous titles. 

You start by choosing a race along with a background and then a class. Though the classes and races are specifically derived from the Baldur’s Gate’s lore and world, there is nothing stopping you from mixing them up and creating something like a ‘dwarven noble,’ or even a ‘crooked drow.’

However, these unique customizations will be available to you only if you are straying away from picking an origin character.

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Yes! The Origin system, which was present in Divinity Original Sin 2 is going to be available in Baldur’s Gate 3 as well. And the chances are, that you will most likely be picking an origin character in your first playthrough.

Origin characters have more elaborate backstories and make you personally invested in the plot as a player. It will even offer special actions and unique dialogue options, which a custom-made character will not be privy to.

In the gameplay reveal, Vincke picks a vampire spawn called Astarion, who is an Origin character, who seems to be able to walk in sunlight because of the parasitic tadpole inside him, which he calls a ‘gift.’ 

Unique Characterization

This time around, much of the uniqueness of the characters will come from their classes. 

According to Larian Studios’ senior writer Adam Smith, “The stories are very much tied to class at times, Class is such a part of identity in D&D, in a way that it wasn’t in DOS2.” 

However, though an integral part of the DnD formula, the class in Baldur’s Gate 3, will only be crucial in the initial phase of the game, and will eventually be overshadowed by the decisions you will be making along the road.

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Adam says, that "A Rogue is always going to be able to do certain things that other people can't do, and an elf is going to be reacted to by some characters in a certain way. There will always be things that are specific to you because of the person you are, but the really interesting things are the things that are specific to you because of what you did. And then what gets even more interesting is how your companions remember the things that you did, and the way that you treated them and other people. And that becomes very complicated."

So, when in camp, Vinke chooses to feed on one of his own companions, you know that it’s one decision that will come back to bite him as the story progresses. 

The Dice Roll Mechanic

Unique Dice Roll System
Unique Dice Roll System

Staying true to the DnD formula, Larian Studios adds the ‘tabletop board game’ feature of ‘dice roll,’ which comes into play now and then.

When Astarion drinks from his companion, the player gets two options of either pulling back, or giving in to the vampiric cravings and sucking Shadowheart dry. Vinke, fortunately, pulls back after passing the dice roll, failing which would have ended Shadowheart’s life then and there. 

The parasitic tadpoles act as a karmic instrument in the game. As their victims have a sort of a telepathic connection, the rest of the party members would have known what Astarion did if Shadowheart died, and this would have had a major impact on the story.

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However, using the telepathic abilities of the tadpoles come at a steep price. "Every single time that you use it, you give in to it," Vincke warns. "And as you give in to it, things start happening when you encounter other people with tadpoles, and you might not be so resistant. Eventually, you'll find mind flayers, and if you use the tadpole, you might find that it's really hard." 

Conflict Through Dialogue

Much of the conflict will take place through dialogue
Much of the conflict will take place through dialogue

Conversation is going to be as important as combat in Baldur’s Gate 3. Much of the conflict will stem from dialogue as the game will be rolling a lot of skill and dialogue checks 

In Vincke’s playthrough, he makes Astarion steal a toe ring from a goblin. He is made to kiss the goblin's feet gingerly while using a sleight of hand to steal the item away. The detailed narration, along with the mo-capped animation, makes for an incredibly hilarious episode of events.

Published 28 Feb 2020, 15:35 IST
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