When you reach the end of Baldur’s Gate 3, there are a handful of final choices you’ll need to make during the final confrontation with the Elder Brain. One of the critical choices you’ll need to make is if you plan to trust the Emperor in these final moments or if you’re going to push him aside.
The last decision you need to make regarding the Emperor is if you plan to give him the Netherstones or not. These were originally used against the Elder Brain before it evolved to a Nether Brain, and if you give the Netherstones to the Emperor, he’ll take Orpehus’ powers in the hopes of claiming victory. Should you provide the Emperor with the Netherstones in Baldur’s Gate 3?
What Happens When You Give the Netherstones to The Emperor in Baldur’s Gate 3?
By giving the Netherstones to the Emperor at the end of Baldur’s Gate 3, you are granting him permission to consume Orpheus’ powers. In the final battle, he will lower the shield protecting Orpheus, devour his brain, and unlock his powers against the Elder Brain. Rather than having Orpheus at your side, the Emperor will be working with you to fight against the Elder Brain.
Making this choice is directly against siding with the Githyanki, and you will be condemning their people to continue to be ruled by the Lich Queen, and you won’t be able to help Kith’rak Voss. In addition, you leave the decision to destroy the Elder Brain up to the Emperor for your Baldur’s Gate 3 playthrough.
When you reach the end of the game and have a chance to make a final decision with the Emperor, he will choose to destroy the Elder Brain and all the tadpoles, or you can rule with him as the new founders of the Absolutes.
What Happens When You Don’t Give the Netherstones to The Emperor in Baldur’s Gate 3?
Should you decide to defy the Emperor and not allow him to have the Netherstones, he will depart from the Astral Prism. He believes your course of action is a lost cause and that he’d rather side with the Netherbrain and join the invading Illithids attacking Baldur’s Gate than side with your Baldur’s Gate 3 party.
This choice does force you and your Baldur’s Gate 3 party to decide to assist Orpheus from leaving his protective shield and fight together. You will want to have the Orphic Hammer for this moment, and you’ll then need to make another decision with Orpheus: should you or he become a Mind Flayer to protect the world? You also have the choice to make Karlach one if she’s at your party during this time, and she’ll offer to become one to save the world so she can live outside of Avernus.
By not siding with the Emperor, he will appear in the final battle to help protect the Elder Brain. This can be a difficult encounter with The Emperor assisting the Elder Brain from your Baldur’s Gate 3 party, but not unwinnable.
However, an alternative can be that rather than allowing the Emperor to control the stones, you can choose for your character, or Karlach, to become an Illithid. By making this decision, your character, or Karlach, can control the Netherstones, and work alongside the Emperor, but they will kill Orpheus to make this work. It’s still working with the Emperor, but it’s preventing him from getting the Netherstones.
Is It Better To Give the Netherstones to The Emperor or Work With Orpheus in Baldur’s Gate 3?
It comes down to your Baldur’s Gate 3 playthrough between the two options. For my playthrough, it made more sense to side with Orpheus, freeing him and making sure he made it to the end of the game to free his people. However, for some who have been trusting and giving themselves to the Emperor, siding with him might prove a more fruitful story.
Siding with the Emperor does condemn the Githyanki people, as they would have had a better chance to escape Vlaakath if they had Orpheus on their side. Regardless of your choice, your Baldur’s Gate 3 party does need someone to become an Illithid to control the Netherstones.