The long-awaited video game Baldur’s Gate 3 from Larian Studios is filled with hundreds of hours worth of exploring the most iconic Dungeons & Dragons setting: the Forgotten Realms.
If you’re a lifetime fan of Faerûn, you’re likely enjoying the detailed easter eggs that drive the worldbuilding in the game. If you’re new to the Sword Coast, here are eight lore drops to learn and resources on how to dive even deeper – or bring to your table!
Warning: Spoilers ahead for Baldur’s Gate 3 Act 1!
Avernus and Baldur’s Gate
The titular city of Baldur’s Gate 3 has strong ties to the Nine Hells layer called Avernus. The events of the game take place soon after the campaign book Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus.
Avernus is the lava-filled top layer of Hell in the Forgotten Realms. It’s where the Blood War rages – the eternal feud between devils and demons. Avernus has seen many rulers, and the current lord is the bloodthirsty Zariel.
The neighboring city of Elturel is taken into Avernus as a result of a devil’s bargain, which pulls the characters into action in this campaign. Saving the city and escaping the Hells is up to the adventurers and their choices.
Many details from the campaign are in Baldur’s Gate 3, so if you’re looking for a D&D game to start when you complete the game, you can’t go wrong with Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus. You can find an excellent add-on adventure and lore in Baldur’s Gate: The Fall of Elturel on DMsGuild.
For more adventures and background on the Nine Hells, check out Pipyap’s Guide to All of the Nine Hells by Adventurers League.
Mind flayers, also known as illithid, are both iconic and terrifying monsters that strike fear in the hearts of adventurers. Weary parties may have encountered them in the Underdark, but mind flayers also mastered the Astral Plane. If you find yourself in combat with a mind flayer, it may try to extract and eat your brain, so it’s best to stay far away.
A great deal of lore for mind flayers can be found in the out-of-print Volo’s Guide to Monsters, and you can find them in the Monster Manual. DMsGuild creators provide variants, magic items, and even player options in Masters of the Mind: The Book of Illithid.
Relatively new to 5E but present since the first edition of D&D, githyanki are warriors that won their freedom from mind flayers and escaped to the Astral Plane. They have strong psionic powers and now live across the multiverse.
You can find more information on githyanki, including the option as a playable race in Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse, and bring them into your games with Spelljammer: Adventures in Space.
Jergal and the Dead Three
One of the deepest lore drops in Baldur’s Gate 3 can be found while exploring the Ancient Temple. Books, plaques, and symbols all belong to the ancient god Jergal. He and his followers, the Scriveners of Doom, record the names of the dead so they can find their appropriate place in the afterlife.
Jergal was once the powerful god of death and all it holds, but distributed his powers to three evil adventurers who became the gods Bane (Tyranny/Strife), Bhaal (Murder), and Myrkul (Death).
You can find the story of Jergal and how the Dead Three were gifted his powers in the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, plus the profiles of the major gods in Faerûn like Selûne and Shar. To explore deeper into the Forgotten Realms pantheon, check out Faiths of the Forgotten Realms on DMsGuild.
There’s a good reason that hags are some of the most dreadful encounters adventurers can find in the Forgotten Realms. There are three kinds of hags that you can find in the Monster Manual. Green hags thrive on tragedy, night hags haunt dreams, and sea hags are angered by beauty. All hags have strong magic to trick people into bargains that only benefit the hag, and their lairs are deadly.
Volothamp Geddarm (Volo)
There are several recurring characters who often turn up in the Forgotten Realms, but none are as grandiose (at least, in his mind) than Volo. Volo has travelled across all of Faerûn to chronicle his journeys and observations in his embellished guide books, which you can find throughout Baldur’s Gate 3. Some of the wizard’s well known works are chronicled in novels written by Ed Greenwood including “Volo’s Guide to the Sword Coast,” “Volo’s Guide to the North,” and “Volo’s Guide to Waterdeep.”
Volo makes an appearance in D&D 5E in the campaign book Tomb of Annhilation, in case you’re looking for his particular brand of chaos to join your party.
You may have missed the Zhentarim faction during your explorations during Act 1, who are a significant part of Baldur’s Gate’s black marketing dealings. Members feel like they are a part of a family that offers both legal and illegal items for sale, but also trade for information. The Black Network is always on the hunt for magic items and wealth.
There’s an overview in the Dungeon Master’s Guide that mentions the Zhentarim, and they often come into play in Sword Coast encounters. To explore the Zhentarim and bring them to your table, Darkhold: Secrets of the Zhentarim on DMsGuild centers a campaign featuring the Zhentarim and their stronghold of Darkhold.
Get these titles at a discount in our Baldur’s Gate Lore Bundle!