When it comes to surviving Baldur’s Gate 3, you must make careful decisions with your party members. Any decision you make could lead to their downfall, and when it comes to saving and freeing Orpheus in your campaign, that’s a considerable risk. However, Orpheus has a plan for how to defeat the Elder Brain, but you might not like it.
The choice is that Orpheus, or your main character, must decide if they wish to become Illithid. It’s the only way to control the Netherstones that could dominate the Elder Brain and get control of it. You’ll have a choice between picking Orpheus to make this decision, your main character, or another unlikely person in your party. Should you become Illithid or let Orpheus become a Mind Flayer in Baldur’s Gate 3?
What Happens if Orpheus Becomes a Mind Flayer in Baldur’s Gate 3?
The first choice your Baldur’s Gate 3 party can make is for Orpheus to become a Mind Flayer, in place of your main character. If you choose to make this decision, although Orpheus is free, he would have made the ultimate sacrifice to save the world, and his people. Unfortunately, in this state, he won’t be able to do much beyond assisting you and your party through the main story and rallying the troops throughout the game. You’ll need his help to reach the Elder Brain and stop it.
However, when you complete the game, and you decide to destroy the Elder Brain, Orpheus has one request for you: kill him. You will be forced to end Orpheus’ life as he believes it’s not worth going on as a Mind Flayer, leaving the Githyanki imprisoned by their Lich Queen, Vlaakith. Although your Baldur’s Gate 3 party can agree not to kill him, Orpheus will merely take his own life shortly after this decision, not wanting to go on. The Githyanki will continue to be imprisoned by the Lich Queen, and Lae’zel will have a decision to stay with your party or fight Vlaakith before the credits roll.
With Orpheus taking this form, keeping him alive until the end of the game is essential. If he dies on your way to the Elder Brain, you’ll need to reload the earliest save and try again.
What Happens if Your Character Becomes a Mind Flayer in Baldur’s Gate 3?
The choice to become a Mind Flayer can happen to your main character. This decision transforms them immediately, and Orpheus is impressed with this choice. He points out that this decision could have gone to someone else in your party, or he would have done it, but because your Baldur’s Gate 3 character made this choice, he vows to ensure you’ll be remembered throughout the Githyanki history as the one who made the ultimate sacrifice to save the world. It’s an odd one to make, especially for my character who had been resisting the Tadpoles and Mind Flayers throughout the entire game.
When you reach the end of the game, your character can choose if they’d like to dominate the Elder Brain and become the leader of the Absolute or if they want to kill the brain. The choice is up to you, but should you conclude the game by defeating the Elder Brain, you’ll see the other paths that your companions go and how they plan to help rebuild Baldur’s Gate. Karlach, however, will be forced to die or return to Avernus.
What Happens if Karlach Becomes a Mind Flayer in Baldur’s Gate 3?
If you have Karlach in your party when speaking with The Emperor or after you’ve freed Orpheus, she will volunteer to become the Mind Flayer. Her decision is based on the fact that she’d instead become a Mind Flayer and save the world, rather than see herself killed or sent back to Avernus, which has been her entire fear since Baldur’s Gate 3 began.
For my character, this was a tough decision to make. My main character chose Karlach as their partner and had been with her since the beginning of the game. These two shared several loving and intimate moments, and the thought of her becoming a Mind Flayer was heartbreaking. However, the idea of her dying, or being sent back to Avernus, feels like a worse fate for Karlach.
When you make this decision, Karlach transforms into a Mind Flayer. She retains many of the abilities and equipment she’s had since your Baldur’s Gate 3 campaign started, with some additional Illithid powers from the Illithid Skill Tree. When you reach the end of the game, she’s thankful for becoming a Mind Flayer and has a much more peaceful perspective on life. Thankfully, for my main character, the two still shared their love for each other, and Karlach felt the same way, albeit slightly differently as a Mind Flayer.
Should Orpheus, your character, or Karlach Become a Mind Flayer in Baldur’s Gate 3?
Between the three choices, it comes down to your preferred ending in Baldur’s Gate 3. If you let Orpheus become the Mind Flayer, he won’t be able to help the Githyanki people rise against Vlaakith, but Lae’zel might stick with you and explore a world beyond Githyanki society. However, going down this route does mean Karlach is forced to die, or she needs to return to Avernus.
If your character becomes the Mind Flayer, Orpheus can return to other Githyanki, leading a revolution against Vlaakith. Lae’zel will likely follow him down this path unless you can pass a Persuasion Check of 30 to keep her, but she seems content to be by Orpheus’ side during this battle. Alternatively, Karlach becoming a Mind Flayer means she loses her body, but she won’t be dying at the end of the game, and she never goes to Avernus, preventing her from dealing the rest of her life with demons.
Between these choices, for my playthrough, my main character decided to let Karlach become the Mind Flayer. Throughout my Baldur’s Gate 3 campaign, Karlach felt like she had to rush everything because she had so little time left, and being unable to enjoy any of it was a significant burden on her. By choosing between becoming a Mind Flayer, she has the chance to live the way she wants, and she decided to share with my character, which made the ending all the more beautiful.