D&D General Baldur's Gate 3 Hates Religion (Spoilers)

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
Or, at least, it wants all of it's characters to turn against their deities...

Don't get me wrong! Shadowheart going from Evil Sharran to Good Selunite is totally reasonable and fair. It's certainly an interesting direction to take the character and provides an excellent story. Not harshing on it, remotely.

But both Lae'zel -and- Gale face similar conundrums.

Lae'zel finds out her god is a lying jerk who is just using her and has no intention of ever doing anything except keeping her people controlled in an iron fist. She turns -against- her god and turns to a different 'Religion' in the Cult of the Comet. And then her new god dies and she must take up his role to defeat Vlaakith without his 'Godly' power to fight back against the Illithids through super-powered psionic ability that apparently comes from being tadpoled? I say that 'cause at no point does any mind flayer in the game tadpole Orpheus, nor do we hand him a tadpole. He just points at his head and becomes a ghaik 'cause there's a tadpole apparently in his head that has been there since the first Grand Design. My guess is that he got tadpoled in Mother Gith's time but managed to use his vast psionic powers to just tell it "No" for millennia on end when it tried to press him into ceremorphosis. 'Cause once he points at his own head the process is practically instantaneous.

Meanwhile Mystra wants Gale to go supernova and kill himself to destroy the Elder Brain/Nether Brain... which also destroys the souls of every "True Soul" in the world because their tadpoles will be unleashed and immediately press into ceremorphosis. The resulting bloodshed will engulf the Sword Coast, if not all of Faerun, in a massive Mind Flayer invasion. Seriously! Mind Flayers are CR 7 entities! Yeah, there's level 60 characters like Elminster and whomstever else wants to help in the fight, but Baldur's Gate is essentially screwed in the final battle sequence until you tell the brain to nuke every tadpole and that, somehow, causes all the Mind Flayers to also become weaklings for no apparent reason that are immediately mopped up by the populace. Like some rando with a pitchfork is suddenly able to instantly kill any Illithid 'cause cutscene logic.

Similarly Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkul are the bad guys so screw them but also Jergal's chosen, Withers, basically handwaves GODS to dismiss them after the Epilogue sequence. The Dead God who doesn't have followers is the only deity worth his salt in the entire setting.

Meanwhile, you've got Karlach. Karlach specifically -doesn't- have a god. She expects to wander the Fugue Plane 'til her soul decays and dissolves into nothingness. In a setting where eternal happiness and reward can be secured by picking a god, giving them your worship, and being a good person (depending on the god, of course)... she chooses to be utterly and permanently destroyed in the Afterlife.

PRESUMABLY so do Astarion, Wyll, and Minthara. All of whom either never reference their religious beliefs or in Minthara's case actively -reject- their previous religious belief.

The only neutral example of religious faith we get in the game is Halsin with Silvanus... but also because he's not a cleric or Silvanus' former lover, Silvanus is an -utter- nonentity in the story. Oh, sure, the Druids in the Grove -reference- Silvanus, and his teachings. And there's a magical Idol that gives you nature proficiency... but... where's he when the Illithid look to destroy the natural order? Where was he when the Shadow Curse of Shar destroyed the town and wilds near Moonrise? Where are the druids trying to break the curse that's been there for a hundred freaking years instead of hiding in one single grove from a group of goblins?

Seriously. Goblins. A grove of Druids that can wild shape into Bears and stuff for a boatload of temporary HP are afraid of Goblins. Also the ARCHDRUID is a level 1 weakling who gets rolled by goblins...

Anyway. Yeah. Only Selune is kind of a positive example of divinity in the setting through Aylin and Isobel. And even then it's only 'cause she's pampering her daughter and her daughter's wife.

Still doesn't help with the Mind Flayers, though.
 

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UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
Or, at least, it wants all of it's characters to turn against their deities...

Don't get me wrong! Shadowheart going from Evil Sharran to Good Selunite is totally reasonable and fair. It's certainly an interesting direction to take the character and provides an excellent story. Not harshing on it, remotely.

But both Lae'zel -and- Gale face similar conundrums.

Lae'zel finds out her god is a lying jerk who is just using her and has no intention of ever doing anything except keeping her people controlled in an iron fist. She turns -against- her god and turns to a different 'Religion' in the Cult of the Comet. And then her new god dies and she must take up his role to defeat Vlaakith without his 'Godly' power to fight back against the Illithids through super-powered psionic ability that apparently comes from being tadpoled? I say that 'cause at no point does any mind flayer in the game tadpole Orpheus, nor do we hand him a tadpole. He just points at his head and becomes a ghaik 'cause there's a tadpole apparently in his head that has been there since the first Grand Design. My guess is that he got tadpoled in Mother Gith's time but managed to use his vast psionic powers to just tell it "No" for millennia on end when it tried to press him into ceremorphosis. 'Cause once he points at his own head the process is practically instantaneous.

Meanwhile Mystra wants Gale to go supernova and kill himself to destroy the Elder Brain/Nether Brain... which also destroys the souls of every "True Soul" in the world because their tadpoles will be unleashed and immediately press into ceremorphosis. The resulting bloodshed will engulf the Sword Coast, if not all of Faerun, in a massive Mind Flayer invasion. Seriously! Mind Flayers are CR 7 entities! Yeah, there's level 60 characters like Elminster and whomstever else wants to help in the fight, but Baldur's Gate is essentially screwed in the final battle sequence until you tell the brain to nuke every tadpole and that, somehow, causes all the Mind Flayers to also become weaklings for no apparent reason that are immediately mopped up by the populace. Like some rando with a pitchfork is suddenly able to instantly kill any Illithid 'cause cutscene logic.

Similarly Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkul are the bad guys so screw them but also Jergal's chosen, Withers, basically handwaves GODS to dismiss them after the Epilogue sequence. The Dead God who doesn't have followers is the only deity worth his salt in the entire setting.

Meanwhile, you've got Karlach. Karlach specifically -doesn't- have a god. She expects to wander the Fugue Plane 'til her soul decays and dissolves into nothingness. In a setting where eternal happiness and reward can be secured by picking a god, giving them your worship, and being a good person (depending on the god, of course)... she chooses to be utterly and permanently destroyed in the Afterlife.

PRESUMABLY so do Astarion, Wyll, and Minthara. All of whom either never reference their religious beliefs or in Minthara's case actively -reject- their previous religious belief.

The only neutral example of religious faith we get in the game is Halsin with Silvanus... but also because he's not a cleric or Silvanus' former lover, Silvanus is an -utter- nonentity in the story. Oh, sure, the Druids in the Grove -reference- Silvanus, and his teachings. And there's a magical Idol that gives you nature proficiency... but... where's he when the Illithid look to destroy the natural order? Where was he when the Shadow Curse of Shar destroyed the town and wilds near Moonrise? Where are the druids trying to break the curse that's been there for a hundred freaking years instead of hiding in one single grove from a group of goblins?

Seriously. Goblins. A grove of Druids that can wild shape into Bears and stuff for a boatload of temporary HP are afraid of Goblins. Also the ARCHDRUID is a level 1 weakling who gets rolled by goblins...

Anyway. Yeah. Only Selune is kind of a positive example of divinity in the setting through Aylin and Isobel. And even then it's only 'cause she's pampering her daughter and her daughter's wife.

Still doesn't help with the Mind Flayers, though.
I dunno, I think that a lot of this is structural to the Realms as a setting for the genre of heroes stopping a world ending event.
D&D has never had a particularly coherent theogony. It has always been a pastiche. It makes, writing in gods into a given story difficult and it is easier to keep them as peripheral as possible.
 


I haven't played the game, so there's a lot of specifics that I can't conjecture about, but at least as regards gods like Silvanus being surprisingly passive, that strikes me as a game conceit - e.g. the druids are passive/cowardly because the player character party is supposed to solve the problem at hand. Mystra's behaviour seems out-of-character, though.

The impression I get from setting lore is that novels and background elements - the Second Sundering and so on - involve far more divine activity than published adventures and video games (where the crisis is supposed to be solved by the player characters), although the gods still, of course, give their clerics "amazing magical spells on demand every single morning".

The game conceit of expecting player characters to solve crises is why most settings bake in reasons why the gods can't or won't intervene, although I daresay the Realms are a bit incoherent on this score thanks to the novels and the metaplot events during the transition from AD&D 1st edition to 2nd edition.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
I dunno, I think that a lot of this is structural to the Realms as a setting for the genre of heroes stopping a world ending event.
D&D has never had a particularly coherent theogony. It has always been a pastiche. It makes, writing in gods into a given story difficult and it is easier to keep them as peripheral as possible.
While I certainly agree that the gods, themselves, shouldn't do the work...

Having them direct assets is a thing. It's why the Chosen exist to some degree, after all. Mystra directs her former chosen through her current chosen, as an example. But her directions are self-destructive and, ultimately, self-defeating. Since apparently she's super short-sighted on what happens when -this- Elder Brain gets nuked and thousands of mind flayers get unleashed.

And on a related tangent: Having half the companions be Faithless in a setting where eternal prosperity is -super- easy to achieve seems silly, too.

I'd give Wyll a pass since he's sold his soul to the Hells and barring miraculous intervention that's where he'll spend eternity... but not a very -big- pass since Miracle is a 9th level spell and Divine Intervention can be asked for at 10th level. There's a 1 in 10 chance Selunite Shadowheart could save Wyll's soul before the end of the game, but they don't even try.

Similarly: Regeneration is 7th level and solves Karlach's problem. As does Raise Dead (5th level) or Resurrection (7th level).

Sure it'd be a lotta diamonds, but I'd do anything for Big K.
 

Oofta

Legend
Is the wall of the faithless still a thing in FR? I thought it was last mentioned a couple of editions ago. :unsure:

In addition, just because you are not a champion of a god or zealous enough to wear your religion on your sleeve, it doesn't mean they don't revere a god. Although the whole concept of general populace dedicating themselves to a specific god in a broad pantheon is a bit odd, but that's another issue.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Meanwhile, you've got Karlach. Karlach specifically -doesn't- have a god. She expects to wander the Fugue Plane 'til her soul decays and dissolves into nothingness. In a setting where eternal happiness and reward can be secured by picking a god, giving them your worship, and being a good person (depending on the god, of course)... she chooses to be utterly and permanently destroyed in the Afterlife.
She's right. Never pay extortionists.
 



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