With Larian studios having finally announced the release date of Larian Studios early access Baldurs Gate 3, it’s never been a better time to brush up on your Baldurs Gate and forgotten realms lore.
As much as we recommend replaying the whole Baldurs Gate series to get the full experience, a bit of a refresher never hurt even for seasoned veterans.
Note: Although it might seem like mouthful already, keep in mind the stories below make up only a quarter or less of the playable quests and stories in the Baldurs Gate games. For the full experience, we recommend going and playing these titles today. You won’t be disappointed.
Setting: The Forgotten Realms
For those unfamiliar with Dungeons and Dragons, the Baldurs Gate game franchise is set in the forgotten realms universe, which was a campaign created for Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) all the way back in 1967 by legendary game designer Ed Greenwood.
The underlying premise behind the Forgotten Realms, behind it’s foundational sword and sorcery style setting, is that of a universe in which multiple realms of existence have largely been forgotten by the inhabitants of earth.
For those of your who have played Baldurs Gate 2, the existence of different realms is explored in-depth in the Baldurs Gate 2 expansion Throne of Bhaal, where players traverse various realms on their quest often encountering otherworldly deities and gods along the way.
If you are a reader there are a host of books by famed author R. A. Salvatore which contributed greatly the popularity of the forgotten realms and will help immerse your in the Forgotten Realms universe in the way for Baldurs Gate 3.
Story: Baldurs Gate 1
Baldurs Gate follows the tale of a young orphaned ward (you) living in Candlekeep, a library fortress. What follows is a harrowing tale in which your history is slowly revealed.
You begin by being swept away into the night under mysterious circumstances, only to have your protector Gorion killed right in front of your very eyes.
Left to your own devices along with your childhood friend Imoen, you undertake a mission to explore an iron shortage which has threatened to destabilize the region. After some digging you find out the shortage is the cause of the Iron Throne, a merchant organization who you proceed to sabotage, culminating in you finding your way back to Candlekeep in order to spy on a meeting organized by the Iron Throne.
Here you find out about a prophecy about living offspring of the Lord of Murder, Bhaal and a note written by Gorian confirming that you are in fact the offspring of this dead God, a Bhaalspawn.
What ensures is a dark tale of sabotage within the walls of Baldurs Gate, with you the protagonist eventually learning that his long lost brother, Sarevok, is behind an intricate plot to destabilize the region and bring war in order to gain the graces of your dead father the Lord of Murder using the Iron Throne as pawns in his master plan.
After a long and bloody battle, you eventually defeat Sarevok and bring peace the the region once again.
Story: Baldurs Gate 2 Shadows of Amn
Shortly after the events of Baldurs Gate 1, you find yourself take captive to be experimented on by a crazed wizard named Irenicus. The story of Baldurs Gate 2 Shadows of Amn starts off with your escape from this wizards dungeon after he is attacked by Shadow Thieves, mysterious assassins.
After finally fighting your way free, you emerge in the city of Athkatla to find Irenicus battling shadow thieves and eventually are left to your own devices after Irenicus and Imoen are arrested by the authorities.
You then undertake a quest to find Imoen who have been transported to an island asylum called Spellhold. By the time the player reaches Spellhold, the island has already been taken over by Irenicus, who imprisons you and your party. Irenicus then performs a dark ritual, stealing your soul, and we find out that Imogen is also a Child of Bhaal and her soul has already been taken by Bodhi, Irenicus’s sister.
After being left in a maze beneath Spellhold and hunted by Bodhi, your party eventually fight Bodhi only to have you transform into a creature called the Slayer, a hideos, albeit powerful, beast which causes Bodhi to retreat.
Another battle ensures soon after with Irencius who is forced to retreat, leaving the party to escape into the Underdark eventually battling their way to the surface.
On reaching the surface you encounter the army of the elven city of Suldanessellar who have been banished from their own city by Irenicus. To gain access to the city, you end up defeating Bodhi, eventually making your way to Suldanessellar to confront Irenicus and his minions who are draining the lifeforce of the Elven Tree of Life.
After defeating Irenicus, he sucks you into Hell, where you defeat Irenicus one final time before returning to life as a savior.
Story: Baldurs Gate 2 Throne of Bhaal
Baldurs Gate 2 Throne of Bhaal is centred around a fight that has broken out between Bhaalspwan, requiring you to defeat five legendary Bhaalspwan known as The Five. Your adventures take you to a many exotic locations including a city besieged by fire giants and a fortress in the Underdark.
Your journey culminates in defeating Amelyssan the Blackhearted after journey to the planar Throne of Bhaal, where you have the decision to either ascend to the throne of Bhaal, or destroy it, returning to your life as a mortal. If you choose to ascend to the Throne you decide between becoming the new God of Murder or new deity dedicated to good.
Story: Baldurs Gate 3
This brings us full circle to the story of the hotly anticipated Baldurs Gate 3, where the Mind Flayers, a psyonic race previously encountered in the Underdark present the Forgotten Realms with a looming threat to their existence once again.
The Mind Flayers are a dark race know, amoungst other things, for eating off the brains of their victims for sustenance. They previously ruled the Astral Plane, but lost it after facing extermination from another alien race, the githyanki.
From what we know so far, the story begins outside of Baldurs Gate, where Mind Flayers have attacked and you the protaganist and your party have been infected with a parasitic tadpole. One of the key quests at the beginning of the game is to find out more information on the parasites and find a way to get them removed.
To be continued! Only time will tell how the Forgotten Realms will fair in the latest installment to this epic universe. Only one thing is certain – whether you decide to defeat the Mind Flayers single handedly and restore the balance, or use your powers to curtain the Forgotten Realms in an evil of your own creation, the choice is in your hands!