Baldur’s Gate 3 – Understanding Why Your Companions Don’t Like You
Wondering why your companions don’t like you? Tired of getting “X” disapproves after every decision you make? Hopefully this alignment guide and basic run-down of the companions you’ll meet in Baldur’s Gate will assist you in understanding what kind of reactions will result from the decisions you make while playing the game.
Over the past several days that Baldur’s Gate 3 has entered Early Access, I’ve seen a lot of threads open up with people expressing their displeasure with how the companions are structured and how they react to the choices that the player character makes throughout the game. While I personally have never experienced any issues with how the characters react to my actions, I feel that the people who do have these issues suffer from a lack of understanding of how your companions are structured in terms of attitude and goals.
It’s been stated that Larian Studios wants to encourage players of Baldur’s Gate 3 to make evil decisions and I feel this is the reason why the 5 companions, Astarion, Gale, Lae’Zel, Shadowheart, and Wyll are structured the way they are. The most important thing I hope everybody takes from this guide is that:
In the majority of games it is too easy to be good, hence in this game why you don’t have an all good cast nor an all evil cast, you will be encouraged to either make Good or Evil decisions depending on how your majority feels.
If you cannot accept this fact then I’m sorry but this game is honestly not for you, there will be conflict within your party and sincerely hope this is something Larian pushes in the final game. The best way to mitigate the frustrations of your party is to build it accordingly with people who agree with your mindset for the campaign you’re running. Even then though, just understanding how the characters in your party think can help avoid making silly decisions that will end up pissing off one member or another for no reason when it could’ve been easily avoided.
In case it wasn’t obvious already, SPOILERS AHEAD, while I won’t be going into extreme detail about each character, I will be explaining some details about each character that can only been known by progressing through the game or by having a close relationship with them.
To understand your companions, you need to understand the predicament the majority of their reactions and decisions revolve around what occurred in the Prologue of Baldur’s Gate 3 aboard the Nautiloid.
To avoid going over the entire first half hour of the game as hopefully everybody who owns this game should know what happens, I’ll be brief and only touch upon the main takeaways.
Mindflayers abducted your character and the 5 companions you can recruit in Act 1; aboard their ship they implanted their prisoners with an Ilithid parasite that is known to be able to transform the infected into Mindflayers in a matter of days, even at an instant as shown within the Nautiloid ship itself. This is the mindset that all of your companions are coming into when you begin Act 1 of Baldur’s Gate 3, they are all afraid of becoming a Mindflayer and have a sense of urgency among them. Where they go from there varies from character to character.
Going into the character synopses, I’ll be going over their alignment in terms of Dungeons & Dungeons’ Good and Evil as well as an overview of their characters from what I was able to gather during my time with the game. While it’s been stated that typical D&D alignment won’t play a huge factor in the game, I personally believe even having just a general assessment of your companions’ character can assist greatly in deciding who you want to have in your party. I have played through most in not all the Act 1 early access has to offer in terms of plot and questing and have a pretty good idea of what the characters like and dislike as a result. While these are just my opinions, I’ll try to be as objective as possible and hopefully this can help you get a general understanding of how each individual character thinks, their motivations and who is a good fit for your respective party.
– Neutral Evil
Astarion is a high elf with pale skin native to Baldur’s Gate; more importantly, he is a Vampire Spawn owned by the Szarr family. The important distinction is between normal Vampire Lords and Vampire Spawn as stated by Astarion himself is that a spawn has to suck the blood of the vampire who infected them in order to become a full vampire. During this time however, the spawn, in this case, Astarion, is under the complete control over the vampire who infected them, in essence, a slave.
As stated by Astarion himself, a Vampire Lord allowing their Spawn suck their blood never happens, it creates competition and they lose a free pawn.
As a result of the Prologue however, Astarion was taken far from Baldur’s Gate by the Mindflayers and is no longer under the control of the Szarr family. He is also no longer affected by sunlight, no longer has to ask permission to enter the homes of others among other weaknesses a vampire should normally have. The most certain cause of which is by the powers the Ilithid parasite grants it’s afflicted.
Unlike the other companions you’ll meet in Act 1 of Baldur’s Gate 3, Astarion has no desire to get rid of the parasite that infects his body, rather he wishes to control it and gain further access to it’s power. As said by Astarion, by eliminating many of the weaknesses a vampire has, the Ilithid parasite has made him become one of the most powerful vampires in the realm.
Astarion values his own personal freedom over all others acting extremely selfish at times for his own benefit or amusement. As a former slave, he is very wary of giving ownership of one’s self to another and as a result acts negatively toward these types of choices in the game.
He best fits with players who act within their own self interest, in a more general term if you’re going for an Evil playthrough, Astarion is more than likely on your team.
That being said, he also fits more or less in a Neutral playthrough as he’ll often just be a troll character mildly agreeing or disagreeing with your decisions and occasionally asking you to do questionable requests for his amusement.
– Neutral Good
Gale is a human wizard hailing from Waterdeep, one of the most famous and successful cities in all of Faerûn. A very powerful and accomplished wizard, Gale becomes acquainted with the goddess of magic, Mystra, and enters a relationship with her. One day she abandons Gale; leaving him disillusioned, desperate to be with her again. Eager to earn her favor again, Gale seeks out a lost piece of Mystra to return it to her; this ends horribly as it becomes a part of his body and threatens to level a city the size of Waterdeep if not properly cared of. Learning the hubris of his actions, Gale seeks to free himself of this situation that he’s in and trusts your character to assist him throughout your journey.
Gale is easily the worst, least interesting character of the 5 introduced companions so far. His entire lore can summed up with one word, simp; his entry was easily the hardest to write out of all the characters here to the point where I’m not even going to try to make him sound interesting as he honestly isn’t. Gale’s entire lore is that of reckless ambition and coming to terms with the foolish mistakes he’d made. Problem is he already did all of that, now your party is stuck with a ticking time-bomb that inhales your magic items and gets upset when you don’t give them to him.
Gale’s personality is dull to say the least, he’s the snarky guy who tries to be vague and mysterious for sh*ts and giggles but it honestly just isn’t funny or endearing at all. Honestly he just feels like a self-insert style character and if Larian Studios were to do any changes to the companions, Gale should be first to go back to the drawing board every single time.
Earning Gale’s approval is quite easy as he fulfills the usual good guy tropes. Helping others, acting sympathetic and using persuasive means are easy ways to earn his favor.
Real talk, if you choose Gale, you’re not doing it for his lore or personality, you’re doing it because your party needed a magic user and you wanted someone with more spell slots than Wyll. As long as you stick to even a remotely good path in the story, it’s incredibly difficult to upset Gale.
– Lawful Neutral
Shadowheart is a high half-elf who is a Cleric of the goddess Shar. Shar is the mistress of the night and the lady of loss, she is the Nightsinger, representing darkness, loss, night and forgetfulness. The followers of Shar believe that fear is the weakness of mortals and that by acting in the dark they are shedding their burdens as mortals and becoming better as a result. The followers of Shar work to tear down the institutions that people cling to for safety and peace of mind, they value the self see these institutions as weakness.
It is because of these ideals that the followers of Shar, Shadowheart included, value their secrecy preferring to avoid the stigma people have regarding their beliefs and their actions. As a result of this desire, many of Shadowheart’s deeper lore and dialogues are hidden behind skill checks as Shadowheart, at least in the Early Access, has little trust for the player character. Prying when you shouldn’t and failing these skillchecks are an easy way to earn her disapproval.
Shadowheart easily has the most mysteries about her character as a result of her secretive nature. Many of these are not answered in Act 1. The easiest way to understand her is to understand that her devotion to Shar shaped her present and past self. While not impossible, creating a relationship with Shadowheart is definitely the most difficult to do of the 5 companions as you have to work to know even some of her simplest interests outside of Shar.
In my opinion it’s probably the most rewarding as through her romance options you get to see another side of Shadowheart and makes her more endearing of a companion than what first impressions may entail.
Despite carrying the label of Evil Cleric, putting Shadowheart on your team is probably the most neutral option you can go with when constructing your team. She dislikes kindness for the sake of kindness and will often express her disapproval when the player goes out of their way to help people that have nothing to do with removing the Ilithid parasite. That being said it’s very easy to perform actions that show Shadowheart’s softer side such as interacting with animals and just showing a basic interest in her religion.
You can also gain Shadowheart’s favor by using persuasion and deception to get by; you are also rewarded for avoiding combat if possible and are hit with disapproval if you resolve a situation with violence when you really didn’t need to.
If you include the fact that she’s essentially the only support character of the 5 companions you can recruit, putting Shadowheart on your team is probably the safest option you can take in Baldur’s Gate 3.
– Lawful Evil
Lae’Zel is a Githyanki warrior; they are a race of people originally enslaved by the Mindflayers, but have now dedicated themselves to slaying them. Githyanki society is extremely militaristic and honorbound. From what is known, most if not all Githyanki live to serve their Queen, operating in units and under protocol that all their warriors are familiar with. Lae’Zel is no exception as from the very moment you meet her after the Prologue, she gives you specific instructions on who and where to go to in order to cure the ailment that your party has fallen under.
From what we are given in Act 1, Lae’Zel is probably the easiest character to understand out of the 5 companions offered. Lae’Zel and the Githyanki are blunt, aggressive and overall generally rude; this most likely spawns from an overall lack of empathy for those outside of their society as the Githyanki train to be the strongest that they can be for their Queen. For the most part she is “a what you see is what you get” kind of person, you know where you stand with her at all times.
Lae’Zel tells you exactly what you need to do and when you need to do it, if you do it, she is pleased. If she disapproves, chances are you weren’t doing what she told you to do. Lae’Zel also does not care for the coddling of the weak, actions that involve helping or protecting helpless individuals probably aren’t gonna fly with her.
Trust Lae’Zel and she will trust you, your party is all in this together and she expects you to act like it.
To have Lae’Zel on your team is to believe the same way that she believes. If you choose Lae’Zel then you are more than likely going to making evil, cruel and unempathetic. decisions. Not necessarily because she is evil, but because you will most likely be acting in your own self interest, culling the weak and furthering your goals. Removing the Ilithid parasite is your primary objective.
– Chaotic Good
Wyll is a human warlock hailing from Baldur’s Gate. Known as The Blade of Frontiers, Wyll holds many tall tales to his name of defeating goblins, gnolls, dragons, anything that threatens the peace of the innocents. At some point in his life, Wyll had gotten into a scrap with a goblin that resulted in the loss of his eye and a humiliating defeat. Desperate for power, he made a pact with a cambion and became a warlock as a result. She gave him a new eye along with many powers and abilities, however Wyll would quickly come to regret this decision as with every new power she gave she demanded more in return.
Wyll is as close to a hero as you’re going to get in Baldur’s Gate 3. He’s got the tragic backstory, cool powers, cares about the kids, and a vengeful mindset for added flavor. While Wyll clearly does care about the people he protects, most definitely the kids as they look up to him constantly, he often has ulterior motives for performing a heroic action as displayed in Act 1 of the story, whether it be for exacting his own vengeance on someone who wronged him or doing something for his cambion.
During the events of the Prologue, both Wyll and the cambion he had made a pact with were both taken aboard the Nautiloid by the Mindflayers. At this time, a deal was struck, if Wyll could free and rescue her from her kidnappers, she would terminate their pact, freeing Wyll. Even though he has a parasite that could kill him at any moment, ending the pact and freeing himself is his primary objective, the Ilithid parasite is viewed as just another challenge for him to overcome.
Wyll is altruistic to a fault; even when making the right decision, Wyll can still disapprove if it comes at the detriment of what he perceives as a helpless individual, That being said from what we can see in Act 1, Wyll is quite vengeful particularly against goblins. Regardless of your reason for doing so, helping them will quickly gain his disapproval.
Nevertheless, if you’re running a good campaign, Wyll is probably your best bet as he puts his altruistic morality over removing the parasite and his desires will more than likely align with that sort of style of play.
Gale – Wyll – ShadowheartThis is about as close as a typical RPG experience can get as of right now in Baldur’s Gate 3. You can generally get away with taking your sweet time helping everybody in the world without getting backtalk from your teammates with the occasional exception of Shadowheart who will disapprove if you coddle helpless people too much. You can easily get around this by just talking to her about her interests or finessing your way through conversations when you don’t directly say you’re helping people but you do it anyway. Even if Shadowheart does disapprove, it’ll take quite a bit to get her genuinely mad at you.In terms of what your class should be, it’ll most likely be a fighter as Wyll and Gale have damage in spades and Shadowheart is pretty good at keeping your party alive in combat. Going Rogue is also a possibility as your party would have no thief otherwise, but you’re leaving yourself open as Shadowheart isn’t the best tank in the world despite the fact that she carries a shield.- – – – Bad Campaign – – – –
Lae’Zel – Astarion – ShadowheartYou know those RPGs that have “evil” routes to take but they’re not really that interesting so you always do them as your second playthrough of the game? This is your second playthrough party. You can get away with being a monster to a lot of people without much trouble. Unfortunately, like with the last lineup, Shadowheart is going to be your troublemaker mostly because she just flat out hates Lae’Zel. If you agree with Lae’Zel you’ll consistently get disapproval from Shadowheart, but as before just simp for Shadowheart sometimes or pet the dog in camp and you won’t have to worry about getting her mad.As for what class you should be, it will most certainly be a ranged class, such as Warlock, Wizard or Ranger if you want to support. Lae’Zel’s and Shadowheart’s ranged damage are both absolutely awful and miss more times than they’re worth using. Astarion has solid ranged damage but if you do that you’re wasting the potential he has of using his vampiric ability which is strictly close-ranged. You also won’t be able to take advantage of his extra bonus actions that he can subclass into. In all honestly you’re better off being the range in this group.
– – – – Lmao idgaf Campaign – – – –
Wyll – Shadowheart – Lae’Zel
This is the campaign I did for my solo playthrough of Baldur’s Gate and I highly recommend it. Lae’Zel and Shadowheart have some of the more enjoyable back and forth banters during exploration due to the mutual hatred they have for one another. Wyll also has some decent interactions with both of them as he often tries to be a flirt to probably two of the least sexually charged women of all of the entire Sword Coast.
You could also call this the Shadowheart simp campaign as by specifically catering to her you can get away with doing a lot in this playthrough and still result with all positive relationships with your party without having to cheese anything. Shadowheart’s romance is probably the most interesting in the game so far so it’s worth seeing at least once in my opinion.
In terms of actual combat you have easily the most well-rounded team to the point where you can choose just about any class and still win most combats without any difficulty. I ran this as a Rogue strictly for lockpicking but you can easily even double up on a class for damage or healing and do exceptionally well.
I ended this campaign having completed everything Act 1 has to offer with an Exceptional relationship with Shadowheart, a Medium with Wyll and a Neutral with Lae’Zel
Baldur’s Gate 3 with the exception of one individual, has probably one of the more interesting character diversities of the RPGs I’ve played in recent memory and my sole desire is for the people who read this to share in that excitement with me as this game moves forward.
While it is my wish that Larian sticks to these 5 characters and just improves them moving forward, I do understand that they plan on adding more companions down the line and though skeptical, I am more or less interested to see what they have planned for the dynamic of your party.
Anyway, thank you for coming to my Ted Talk, simping for Shadowheart is the only logical way to go. Have fun with Baldur’s Gate 3.
- All Baldur's Gate 3 Posts List