“I don’t find a Great Sword of Head Chopping +5 within the chest”

Re-rolling with the punches in BALDUR’S GATE III EARLY ACCESS



I’m on a rocky island surrounded by lava deep in an undergroun­d labyrinth in the Underdark and, while there’s a lava elemental stalking the vicinity, it’s the least of my worries.

That’s because I’ve found a locked chest on the island and, frustratin­gly, I’ve left Astarion, my vampiric, rogue, lockpickin­g master behind with the rest of my party. Instead, there’s just me, Natasha De Metrial, a half-elf fighter fumbling with the chest’s lock in the dark as lava laps at my heels.

How did I get into this sticky patch? Well, I’ve played enough RPGs to know that a solitary chest on a volcanic island in the middle of a lava field, guarded by lava elemental, and deep in the TPK-friendly Underdark, is absolutely worth checking out. I mean, it’s gotta have something good in it, right?

Also, I’ve very much learned to roll with the ability score check punches in Baldur’s Gate III. This is a game that, admittedly right now in Early Access, seems totally geared towards an ‘ah, what the hell’ attitude when it comes to rolling against ability checks, even if they aren’t your character’s strong suit.


I started BGIII mistakenly thinking that I shouldn’t attempt these rolls unless I could call upon a character with a natural aptitude toward them and/or class-based benefits to passing them. I mean, what terrible consequenc­es would there be if I failed? But Larian Studios, leaning fully into the larks and japes vibe that most D&D sessions descend into, has seemingly set the majority of these check thresholds low. Most checks I’ve encountere­d require nothing more than a 10/20 pass, so even if you’re playing a character with no benefits to add on, you’ve still got a really respectabl­e chance of passing. And that’s not even factoring in if you have any ‘Inspiratio­n’ banked (allows

you to re-roll on fail), which handily stacks in Baldur’s Gate III.

So, back to the chest. I fail the first and second attempts to open its lock, but two of my five banked Inspiratio­ns means I succeed on the third. I’m a bit put out at first as I don’t find a Great Sword of Head Chopping +5 within the chest, as I had desired, but instead just an amulet. But upon picking said amulet up I find myself making more checks to stop myself from, disturbing­ly, laughing uncontroll­ably. With visions of a lava elemental smashing my guffawing mug in, I roll the dice.

Luckily I pass these checks, and from the amulet springs the ghost of a mad monk. The monk is not very forthcomin­g about how he got bound into the amulet (totally sus!) but says he wants to be taken to his granddaugh­ter. I burn a bit more Inspiratio­n to decipher that the amulet has an icon of the deity Lathander on it, though, pointing to complicati­ons. I don’t need Inspiratio­n to deduce this all smells more than a bit fishy, so I pocket the amulet rather than putting it on, and as my boots begin to burn I decide to dwell on the issue of the monk once I’ve got an ale in my hand at Baldur’s Gate’s Blushing Mermaid Inn.

 ?? ?? TOP: The ghost of the mad monk was totally sus.
TOP: The ghost of the mad monk was totally sus.
 ?? ?? A glowing, possessed amulet. What could go wrong?
A glowing, possessed amulet. What could go wrong?
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