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Character analysis: Companion alignment

RedRodentRedRodent Member Posts: 78
edited July 6 in Baldur's Gate III
While Larian have come out and said they are "toning down" the traditional D&D alignment chart for BG3 (at the behest of WotC), I think there is still a fun discussion to be had about the origin characters and how they fit into it. Flawed as it is, the chart still provides useful guidance when engaging with D&D characters (both upon character creation and during interaction) and so I thought placing the BG3 companions on the chart might be a fun exercise, especially since we know so little about them still.

I'll kick things off by giving my thoughts on Wyll the Warlock. We know very little about Wyll, as he is the one revealed companion who has had the least exposure thus far. Still, we have a blurb about his backstory and motivations from the origin selection screen:
Noble by birth, Wyll made his name as the heroic 'Blade of Frontiers'. He keeps his pact with a devil well-hidden, and is desperate to escape the hellish bargain - even if that means rescuing the seductive creature that made the deal.

My knowledge of Forgotten Realms lore isn't great so I don't know if the "Blade of Frontier" is a reference to something or someone, but the heroic part undoubtedly casts him in a good light. What immediately follows undoes that a fair bit, however. So we know Wyll is a warlock and that he has made a pact with a devil, a fiend of the lower planes. That typically doesn't correspond well with someone of a good alignment. However, given that he used that power for good (presumably), it could be that he believes that the ends justify the means. With that in mind, it seems likely he would classify as Chaotic Good.

There are still two major parts of his background worthy of examination, however. The first is the pact itself. The devil is described as "seductive", which can mean many things but usually connotates attraction, often sexual. Which brings me to the other big thing: he is of noble birth. This carries A LOT of baggage that would mess with anyone's head. There were certain expectations placed on Wyll's shoulders from day one, expectations that likely fostered weakness the devil could exploit.

This is interesting because while Wyll might have accepted the devil's deal because it meant he could do more good for others, he just as easily might have done it to further his standing in the world. If he was raised to believe that a person's worth comes from their reputation, power, and public perception, it doesn't seem farfetched to believe that making his name by being "heroic" was an individualistically driven decision (an end to justify the means in a different sense). This would paint Wyll more as a Chaotic Neutral type, someone in it simply for their own gain. Such a character would have fewer qualms with making dark deals, so long as they didn't feel that their personal freedom was being compromised. In this case, the seductiveness wasn't necessarily sexual, but narcissistic.

There are plenty of other ways to go with this of course (being heroic could be a way of trying to repent for falling to the devil's vices, he might genuinely be mad etc) but in general, it seems very likely Wyll falls on the Chaotic side of the spectrum. Both CG and CN have reasons to make the deal and regret it later. Personally, I'm hoping for CN simply because I don't like the optics of having both humans as the "Good" options, but at this point I expect him to be CG. What do you guys think?

Post edited by RedRodent on
JuliusBorisov
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Comments

  • deltagodeltago Member Posts: 7,553
    The vampire is NE (he is undead)
    The cleric is LE (she worships Shar)
    The mage is CG/NG
    The Gith is CN

    I think this is why they wanted to steer away from alignment, because a good chunk of players are turned off with playing evil. That said, they are also playable characters, and not just recruitable ones so the player's actions would effect their alignment more than canned backstory.

    DinoDinRedRodentJuliusBorisov
  • kanisathakanisatha Member Posts: 1,108
    deltago wrote: »
    The vampire is NE (he is undead)
    The cleric is LE (she worships Shar)
    The mage is CG/NG
    The Gith is CN

    I think this is why they wanted to steer away from alignment, because a good chunk of players are turned off with playing evil. That said, they are also playable characters, and not just recruitable ones so the player's actions would effect their alignment more than canned backstory.

    Shar is not lawful at all, so the cleric is more likely NE.

    They may have wanted to steer away from alignments, but in the recent series of interviews Swen clearly says alignment is now in, and in based on how it is in 5e rules. So alignment matters.

    RedRodent
  • RedRodentRedRodent Member Posts: 78
    The point about them being designed as playable characters instead of simply joinable NPCs is very valid. We still don't know the full extent of dialogue options but theoretically, it should be possible to play say, Astarion, as Lawful Good. I suppose for the purpose of this thread, a good approach would be to ignore their properties as Origin characters and focus solely on what they bring to the table as companions.

    As for Shadowheart, I have trouble seeing her as lawful as well. Consider what we know of her backstory:
    One of Shar's dark disciples, Shadowheart was sent on a suicide mission to steal an item of great power. While wrestling with her faith and strange, untamed magic, Shadowheart has enemies on all sides - and a long-buried secret to uncover.

    Her relationship to Shar (a NE deity, as @kanisatha rightfully points out), is interesting. She is apparently "one of Shar's darkest disciples" but is also "wrestling with her faith". This can mean plenty, but nothing about it really strikes me as lawful. Neutral Evil seems more likely at the moment, but with all that about her faith and secrets, do I smell the possibility of an alignment change?

    kanisatha
  • BallpointManBallpointMan Member Posts: 1,329
    This all sounds about right to me. I do think we'll probably end up with 4 or so more companions.

    You would expect there to be probably 2 more "good" aligned characters. Maybe 1 more neutral aligned and 1 more evil aligned character.

    You would expect there to probably be at least 1 more companion that can fill a role as a potential healer (Thinking Druid in that case). You would expect there to be at least one more front-line type character... probably a Paladin.

    We still havent met an arcane full caster companion yet, so I'd expect to see a wizard or sorcerer.

    If there are only 4 companions added on top of what we already know, I'd wager the last class will be from the pool of Barbarian, Ranger or Monk.

    Given the relation with Descent into Avernus, you might also expect a Tiefling character as a companion too. We also havent seen a dwarf/halfling/gnome companion, so probably at least one of those, too.

    RedRodent
  • RedRodentRedRodent Member Posts: 78
    We still havent met an arcane full caster companion yet, so I'd expect to see a wizard or sorcerer.

    Gale is a wizard (and confirmed to be of Good Alignment, likely NG or CG given that he has a bomb in chest, that little Tony Stark wannabe) so I wouldn't expect any more on that front. I'm not sure whether or not Warlock counts as arcane, but if they do, I think our traditional "mage" options are already covered.

    BallpointMan
  • PsicoVicPsicoVic Member Posts: 704
    deltago wrote: »
    The vampire is NE (he is undead)
    The cleric is LE (she worships Shar)
    The mage is CG/NG
    The Gith is CN

    I think this is why they wanted to steer away from alignment, because a good chunk of players are turned off with playing evil. That said, they are also playable characters, and not just recruitable ones so the player's actions would effect their alignment more than canned backstory.

    I find curious that the Githyanki is purely chaotic, The Giths have a highly militarized and rigid society so most of them orbit to the Lawful evil spectre.
    Lae`zel could be an outcast or she maybe chose to desert from the suffocating gith society and develop a disdain for rules

    RedRodent
  • BallpointManBallpointMan Member Posts: 1,329
    RedRodent wrote: »
    We still havent met an arcane full caster companion yet, so I'd expect to see a wizard or sorcerer.

    Gale is a wizard (and confirmed to be of Good Alignment, likely NG or CG given that he has a bomb in chest, that little Tony Stark wannabe) so I wouldn't expect any more on that front. I'm not sure whether or not Warlock counts as arcane, but if they do, I think our traditional "mage" options are already covered.

    Ah, You're right. I was thinking only of Wyll. Good catch.

    RedRodent
  • deltagodeltago Member Posts: 7,553
    I was using the 'one step' alignment rule when it comes to deities in determining Shadowheart's alignment. She could be NE and that'd shift Astarion to CE. The Gith could be LN. She will be on the neutral spectrum at least to have the tank fit in any party.

  • RedRodentRedRodent Member Posts: 78
    deltago wrote: »
    I was using the 'one step' alignment rule when it comes to deities in determining Shadowheart's alignment. She could be NE and that'd shift Astarion to CE. The Gith could be LN. She will be on the neutral spectrum at least to have the tank fit in any party.

    I'm not saying you're wrong, she might be LE for all we know. My belief was that LE types typically tried to manipulate systems, order, and such to benefit themselves at the expense of others. Greedy businessmen, dark monks and cultists, cruel leaders, and so on. If Shadowheart was a devout believer of Shar (and she might well be!), I think she'd likely be LE.

    But then there's that whole "wrestling with her faith"-bit. She is probably less sure about her devotion then she likes to let on. That's what stands out to me and why I'm leaning NE, unless she volunteered for this suicide mission with glee, at which point we might have to start considering CE.

    You are right that it does come down to what alignment Astarion and Lae'zel are as well. Right now, I feel those two are the hardest to pin down.

  • kanisathakanisatha Member Posts: 1,108
    The whole redeeming the evil companion trope is ok now and then, but I would not care for that being the default way in BG3 for a player to get a good-aligned party. There should be enough good/neutral companions available for a player to put together a non-evil party (with options) without necessarily having to "redeem" any evil companions.

  • WarChiefZekeWarChiefZeke Member Posts: 2,382
    I tend to like the alignment system quite a bit, because it is tied in with the realms cosmology which I find fascinating, and agree with OP's opinion on Wyll. Judging from what little we know about him, CG or CN seems most appropriate.

    RedRodent
  • DinoDinDinoDin Member Posts: 1,006
    edited July 6
    kanisatha wrote: »
    The whole redeeming the evil companion trope is ok now and then, but I would not care for that being the default way in BG3 for a player to get a good-aligned party. There should be enough good/neutral companions available for a player to put together a non-evil party (with options) without necessarily having to "redeem" any evil companions.

    Does seem like the vampire thrall character has been set up to have this potential story arc. Pure speculation on my part.

    RedRodent
  • RedRodentRedRodent Member Posts: 78
    edited July 6
    Astarion definitely seems like another likely candidate for an alignment change. I go back and forth on how evil he really is:
    Astarion prowled the night as a vampire spawn for centuries, serving a sadistic master until he was snatched away. Now he can walk in the light, but can he leave his wicked past behind?

    To me, this sounds a lot like an abuse victim trying to readjust to "normal life" (as much as that term is applicable here). Him being evil rests a lot on him being a vampire spawn, but if the tadpole negates many of the weaknesses of his condition, how much of that inherent evilness is still on the table? We've obviously seen him being able to feed on his companion (not exactly an act of goodness) and we know his old master will come calling to exert his influence over Astarion once more. This will undoubtedly present a scenario where he can reject his former life, or at least aspects of it, to instead embrace a personal freedom.

    I don't know. To me, it seems just as likely Astarion is CN as he is NE. If we make the assumption (and it is a fairly big one) that the five companions revealed thus far are compromised of two good, two evil, and one neutral, and that no companion alignment overlaps, I think we might be looking at something like:

    Gale = NG
    Wyll = CG
    Astarion = CN?
    Lae'zel = LE?
    Shadowheart = NE

    We know Gale is good and it seems likely Wyll is as well. Likewise, Shadowheart being evil seems like a pretty safe bet. That leaves Lae'zel, a devoted (if unusually ferocious) warrior of the Githyanki (typically LE) and Astarion.

    Mechanically, this makes things a bit weird though. If Larian is designing the game with alignment-based parties in mind, you'd look at the list above and very quickly realize that both the traditional tank and healer are evil. Meanwhile, you have two spellcasters in the "good column". Granted, roles in 5e work a lot different than in the old games, and build versatility is more pronounced in general from what I understand. Still, the above list looks clunky in this respect. It makes more sense from a gameplay perspective to have Lae'zel be Neutral, and she does make a decent candidate for CN.

    I think it's pretty telling that pretty much every companion could potentially slot in as CN, no doubt a creative decision very much in line with "toning down alignment" (and the fact that when we meet them, they are all pretty shaken about having recently suffered tremendous trauma at the hands of Illithid). Not like that's a bad thing, but interesting nonetheless.

    JuliusBorisov
  • kanisathakanisatha Member Posts: 1,108
    I agree with a lot of what you surmise, @RedRodent. But therein are two of my big problems. One, Lae'zel and Shadowheart are precisely the two companions I would feel I *need* in my party to have a properly-balanced party (tank and healer), and they are also precisely the two I would not want to have in my very-much good-aligned party. So here's hoping Astarion is evil and Lae'zel is neutral.

    And two, if everyone is "essentially" neutral (i.e. actually neutral or can be quickly moved towards being neutral), then the alignment system is completely meaningless and a sham. I understand some people do not like the D&D alignment system. Fine. Then the obvious solution, to me, is to not have an alignment system at all (which I personally strongly do not support because that's not D&D). OTOH, if you're going to have an alignment system, then it needs to be (a) meaningful, and (b) truly based on how it is in the Forgotten Realms.

    RedRodentBelgarathMTH
  • DinoDinDinoDin Member Posts: 1,006
    kanisatha wrote: »
    I agree with a lot of what you surmise, @RedRodent. But therein are two of my big problems. One, Lae'zel and Shadowheart are precisely the two companions I would feel I *need* in my party to have a properly-balanced party (tank and healer), and they are also precisely the two I would not want to have in my very-much good-aligned party. So here's hoping Astarion is evil and Lae'zel is neutral.

    And two, if everyone is "essentially" neutral (i.e. actually neutral or can be quickly moved towards being neutral), then the alignment system is completely meaningless and a sham. I understand some people do not like the D&D alignment system. Fine. Then the obvious solution, to me, is to not have an alignment system at all (which I personally strongly do not support because that's not D&D). OTOH, if you're going to have an alignment system, then it needs to be (a) meaningful, and (b) truly based on how it is in the Forgotten Realms.

    I share the concern that every NPC might be move-able in terms of alignment. I wouldn't want that either. That being said, there's plenty of precedent in FR for shifting alignments. It's so common it's been a mechanic of the games since at least 2nd edition, with things like fallen paladins and rangers.

    And BG2 has both Sarevok and Viconia who can change alignment. So having a couple here would fit with the series.

    RedRodent
  • kanisathakanisatha Member Posts: 1,108
    DinoDin wrote: »
    kanisatha wrote: »
    I agree with a lot of what you surmise, @RedRodent. But therein are two of my big problems. One, Lae'zel and Shadowheart are precisely the two companions I would feel I *need* in my party to have a properly-balanced party (tank and healer), and they are also precisely the two I would not want to have in my very-much good-aligned party. So here's hoping Astarion is evil and Lae'zel is neutral.

    And two, if everyone is "essentially" neutral (i.e. actually neutral or can be quickly moved towards being neutral), then the alignment system is completely meaningless and a sham. I understand some people do not like the D&D alignment system. Fine. Then the obvious solution, to me, is to not have an alignment system at all (which I personally strongly do not support because that's not D&D). OTOH, if you're going to have an alignment system, then it needs to be (a) meaningful, and (b) truly based on how it is in the Forgotten Realms.

    I share the concern that every NPC might be move-able in terms of alignment. I wouldn't want that either. That being said, there's plenty of precedent in FR for shifting alignments. It's so common it's been a mechanic of the games since at least 2nd edition, with things like fallen paladins and rangers.

    And BG2 has both Sarevok and Viconia who can change alignment. So having a couple here would fit with the series.

    Yes, and that's what I said. One, possibly two, okay. (Almost) Everyone? Not okay.

    BallpointManThacoBell
  • RedRodentRedRodent Member Posts: 78
    Don't forget ol' Anomen, whose alignment change was central to his story arc. You couldn't bring him with you for a longer playthrough without changing him (either to LG or CN). I also forget, does Rasaad ever change alignment? He definitely seems like someone who could have ended up as chaotic.

    We also don't know if anyone can change yet. I think there are enough hints for a couple of them, but we still know very little. Lae'zel doesn't really strike me as someone who'd be easily influenced by anyone, for example.

    JuliusBorisovkanisathaDinoDin
  • PsicoVicPsicoVic Member Posts: 704
    edited July 7

    After taking a look at the MM book, there are some rules about vampirism. You undergo some physical improvements and get some bonuses and weaknesses, but you also became a "Lawful evil" creature no matter your alignment in life.

    1q2q35jjdm5w.png

    RedRodentJuliusBorisovdeltagoTheGrapeTyphlosion
  • deltagodeltago Member Posts: 7,553
    PsicoVic wrote: »
    After taking a look at the MM book, there are some rules about vampirism. You undergo some physical improvements and get some bonuses and weaknesses, but you also became a "Lawful evil" creature no matter your alignment in life.

    1q2q35jjdm5w.png

    Does this mean Larian's vampire spawn is going to have an 18/18/18?

  • PsicoVicPsicoVic Member Posts: 704
    They are also suppossed to be harmed by daylight and be able to turn into mist but I do not think they are going to make Astarion do that ingame, at least that was not showed in the gameplay.

    In the Rock, Paper shotgun interview they stated that some of the vampire weaknesses would be in the game:
    they´re gonna keep some of the vampire spawn weaknesses like Forbiddance.( The vampire can't enter a residence without an invitation from one of the occupants) or Harmed by Running Water. (The vampire takes 20 acid damage when it ends its turn in running water)
    So maybe the improvements too?

  • ZaxaresZaxares Member Posts: 1,127
    Huh. Do undead have Constitution scores in 5E again? Or is that something specific to vampires/vampire spawn?

  • PsicoVicPsicoVic Member Posts: 704
    Nope, they have constitution score like any other creature. Many of them are also vulnerable to spells like "finger of death" or "circle of death" (yeah, I know...)
    There are some of them that are immune to necrotic damage, but most of them are only resistant, so you can use those spells on them, and inflict wounds, chill touch, etc.

  • RedRodentRedRodent Member Posts: 78
    PsicoVic wrote: »
    After taking a look at the MM book, there are some rules about vampirism. You undergo some physical improvements and get some bonuses and weaknesses, but you also became a "Lawful evil" creature no matter your alignment in life.

    1q2q35jjdm5w.png

    This is really interesting, would the same be true for vampire spawn? A quick google search seems to indicate that spawns generally fall under NE-territory. Either way, I get the impression that players are going to be presented with the option to turn away from the darker aspects of vampirism, with the aid of the tadpole. How successful such attempts may be we have yet to see, but considering that the conflicted vampire is already an established trope, I'd expect we'd be presented with the option.

  • ZaxaresZaxares Member Posts: 1,127
    PsicoVic wrote: »
    Nope, they have constitution score like any other creature. Many of them are also vulnerable to spells like "finger of death" or "circle of death" (yeah, I know...)
    There are some of them that are immune to necrotic damage, but most of them are only resistant, so you can use those spells on them, and inflict wounds, chill touch, etc.

    ... Man, that feels SO wrong. XD So by that interpretation, does that mean one can also use Cure spells to heal undead? (Basically, it sounds like they're trying to divorce the connection of "undead are powered by negative energy" and making spells more of a standard "This spell fixes damage! This spell causes damage!" sort of system.)

  • PsicoVicPsicoVic Member Posts: 704
    edited July 10
    I explained that in another thread, but in short, because the Spellplague, the Negative Energy plane collapsed into the Elemental Chaos, mixing with all the other Inner Planes. .
    With the SecondSundering in 5e, the energy planes(positive and negative) were moved from the Inner Planes to their own layer, separate from everything else. So the duality "Positive-Negative energy" it´s not part of the spells (I.e. it´s not a mechanic you use in combat or to interact with the world)
    Planes-5e.jpg



    So now everything is mixed. You can heal damage, and deal radiant or necrotic damage. you cannot "heal" undead with "cure wounds" but you do not damage them either.

    In fact, spells like "regenerate" or "feast of heroes" does not specify that undead are not affected (cure wounds states that undead are immune) so you can use them to heal a vampire. RAW, Goodberry too. Yeah... druid´s goodberry ( I rule it´s not possible in my campaigns anyway)

    Post edited by PsicoVic on
  • ZaxaresZaxares Member Posts: 1,127
    Interesting... What's the Feywild and Shadowfell planes(?) as indicated on that diagram? And is the Elemental Chaos a "plane" unto itself or just like a categorization for the Inner Planes? Can one still transit directly to the Outer Planes via spells like Plane Shift, or do you have to travel "through" this Elemental Chaos to get there? (Which might be an interesting concept for the afterlife in D&D in itself, considering that many ancient religions believed that the spirits of the dead had to make an actual journey to the afterlife, sometimes through great peril, which was why the dead were buried with things like weapons and grave goods to help them get there.)

    Oh! And do the Para and Quasi Elemental Planes still exist? Or they're just like names for the bordering regions between the Elemental Planes?

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 11,685
    @Zaxares The Feywild is basically the realm of fairies. Not Tinkerbell fairies. Proper Seelie and Unseelie Fey. Its one of my favorite bits of the planes. I think all Elves are supposed to have come from there originally now?

    Oh, and @RedRodent no, Rasaad cannot change alignment.

    RedRodent
  • PsicoVicPsicoVic Member Posts: 704
    edited July 12
    Nope, Quasi and para are not a thing anymore, they merged with the elemental planes.

    Feywild and shadowfell are twisted versions of the material plane. The former full of fay and magic, ruled by excess and emotion; the latter a shadow mirror world devoid of feelings and blooming life, created by Shar (and basically she`s always plotting to bring the shadowfell to the material plane)
    https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Feywild
    https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Shadowfell


    Yeah, you can planeshift to any of them, but some of the worlds kill you outright if you go there unprotected. Also, the Feywild and shadowfell have some portals open in different places in the world, for several reasons.

  • scriverscriver Member Posts: 2,042
    Hey, pixies are real fairies too. Don't be fairist!

  • ZaxaresZaxares Member Posts: 1,127
    So the Shadowfell is basically just the new name for the Plane of Shadow, essentially? That would probably help maintain consistency across different D&D settings in which Shar is not a deity and has no presence. The Feywild sounds like an interesting addition, although personally as a DM I would rather keep faerie beings part of the actual world rather than shunting them into another Plane.

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