The cast of Baldur’s Gate 3 has evolved over the game’s Early Access period and beyond—Wyll in particular had a whole rewrite between the game’s conception and its full release. Whether it’s whole storylines shifting or just toning down Gale’s accidental thirstiness, finding the core of a character in a story this large is bound to be complicated.
But not for Lae’zel, according to a recent interview by IGN with Larian’s CEO and Founder Swen Vincke, as well as lead writers Adam Smith and Chrystal Ding. “In the beginning she was very aggressive towards the players, so we toned her down a little bit”, Vincke admits, but that was pretty much it.
“She is probably one of the companions that changed the least throughout the entirety of development. She was so very well-defined from the get-go,” he continues, noting that Lae’zel’s writer Kevin VanOrd “found her voice instantly.” Heads up—I’ll be getting into some spoilers for Lae’zel’s character arc and endings.
What Vincke is saying here makes sense: Lae’zel isn’t a simple character by any means, but she knows who she is—or, at least, she thinks she does. “She has all this confidence, and it’s the confidence of youth that knows what is true,” says Smith. As a character, Lae’zel’s journey is more about unravelling her preconceptions about the world and her place in it.
Or, in the case of my playthrough, watching helplessly as she heads towards her doom with a smile on her face. “I think Lae’zel has some of the most heartbreaking endings,” Smith continues. I never broke Lae’zel from the shackles of her dogma. In the new epilogue—courtesy of Larian’s latest big patch—I got to see exactly what lay in store for her at the hands of Vlaakith.
For those not in the know, Vlaakith (the Lich Queen of the Githyanki) is bad news. In the D&D 2nd edition book A Guide to the Astral Plane, she’s described as a queen who “trusts no one and fears virtually everything and everyone—and her reaction to what she fears is to master it or destroy it.” You might have experienced this yourself if you invoked her wrath in the Mountain Pass, perishing at the hands of a 9th level Wish spell.
The book also mentions that “she devours the life essence of any Githyanki blood that rises above 11th level”, and even has rules for what that means for players who resist. Namely, hit squads sent by Vlaakith herself—”each one larger and stronger than the last.” As for what this means for Lae’zel, guess what level you end Baldur’s Gate 3 on?
(Image credit: Larian Studios)
Level 12, pushing her directly into Vlaakith’s attention. Which means that, if you don’t convince her to stay in Faerun, Lae’zel merrily marches off to have her life essence consumed by the Lich Queen—something she was taught is an honour.
Even if Lae’zel is steered away from this fate, she still needs to fight off Vlaakith’s armies until she either topples the Lich Queen or dies. Vincke mentions that this, naturally, makes her one of his favourite villains. “I think [Lae’zel] has an incredibly interesting antagonist, when you think of Vlaakith and the many levels of depth that are behind that character.”