Forget alignment: Here’s where Baldur’s Gate 3’s companions fall on the real-life political compass

Here’s what you need to know about me: I’m not well. I’m a kind of thwarted commissar. In a righteous world I’d have been born in the late 1760s, just in time to become some sort of political adjutant in the French Revolution, weighing the loyalties of deposed members of the nobility before meeting my own sticky end at the hands of a Girondin plot.

Alas, I was born in 1993, just in time to experience a devastating financial crisis and get a Facebook account, so I have to channel my energies elsewhere. Today, that “elsewhere” is Baldur’s Gate 3, which this outlet has somehow managed to cover extensively since its August release without once determining which of your party members is most likely to declare themselves Antipope.

Well, that ends today. By rigorous scientific testing (a .png of a political compass I found online) and my own personal expertise (I care a lot about things that don’t matter), I have been able to pinpoint the exact politics of your tadpole-infected Baldur’s Gate 3 party members to within a nanometer of accuracy. No retreat, no surrender.

Here’s how this works: I’m gonna take each major, tadpole’d member of your BG3 party—for reasons of article length, my sanity, and the fact I didn’t really use the others—in alphabetical order and place them, one by one, onto a political compass, which measures social liberalism (live-and-let-liveness) along its Y-axis and economic liberalism (kiloThatchers) on the X.

(Image credit: The Political Compass)

I’ll then identify the political slogan and label that best represents them, before giving a bit of detail about how each of your merry band of screw-ups feels about the vital issues of today, such as the Treaty of Rapallo or the Teapot Dome scandal. It will, without doubt, be an enlightening and educational experience for everyone.


(Image credit: Larian / The Political Compass)

Label: Louche himbo libertine.
Slogan: “At brunch no matter who’s in charge.”

Given political power, Astarion would be some kind of psychotically hedonistic Roman emperor, with half-nude slaves spooning grapes and olives into his mouth as opponents scrabble over a knife in the dirt in front of him. Absent it, he’s a foppish airhead who gets very upset when told it’s bedtime and who will never read a book*. As such, he’s a full Rage Against The Machine on the social scale but barely makes a ripple on the economic, where he sits vaguely to the right for reasons of accent.

*The one he reads in camp does not count. That is the Faerûn equivalent of leaving your headphones in with nothing playing so no one speaks to you.


Gale and his potential alternative, nega-Waitrose Gale. (Image credit: Larian / The Political Compass)

Label: Grimoire boy.
Slogan: Probably in German.

Gale was born for one purpose: To become a floppy-haired teaching assistant with zero job security and a major chip on his shoulder. This Gale teaches a critique of magical economy at BGU, shares a flat with six other people, looks like that one picture of former UK chancellor of the exchequer Alistair Darling, and he will always eventually diagnose romantic partners with fascism. He lives tidily on the mid-left of our compass. He’s a good lad and a proper legend. Unless he gets tenure, in which case the experience of shopping at a slightly nicer supermarket immediately turns him into Mitt Romney but a wizard.


(Image credit: Larian / The Political Compass)

Label: Absolute MaDMAn.
Slogan: “Big beats are the best; get high all the time.”

You know that video that made the rounds this year, the faux-Europop banger with lyrics as potent as “Women are my favourite guy” and “Tell the world: Stop the war”? That’s Karlach. While Gale sits in his ivory tower, Karlach is, well, maybe not in the streets, but certainly at the club. The Big Red One isn’t much for reading theory but she operates according to fundamental, instinctual truths: “Bass is king” and “No gods, no masters.” She inhabits the bottom left quadrant so totally that she becomes it, and won’t hesitate to do holy violence to anyone on her antipode.


(Image credit: Larian / The Political Compass)

Label: The jolly green revanchist.
Slogan: Unprintable.

Karlach’s antipode. In 1920, a couple of years after the First World War, the Entente Powers imposed the Treaty of Trianon on Austria-Hungary, shearing both countries of swathes of land and breaking them as a major force on the European continent. Were she here, Lae’zel would still be mad about it. 

She’s the kind of person to become consumed by a single, archaic, and vaguely abstract ideal over the petty concerns that motivate mortals like you and me, the kind who plays Disco Elysium and earnestly thinks everything really would be a lot better if we had our coke-addled king back. Probably into Warhammer in the wrong way, you know? She’s kind of interesting to talk to, in a fashion, but would also start World War 3 given a chance. Can you fix her? Yes.


(Image credit: Larian / The Political Compass)

Label: The grey blur.
Slogan: “A results-driven self-starter who thrives under pressure.”

You might think Minthara and Lae’zel would fall along vaguely similar lines, but you’d be wrong. If there’s such a thing as political neutral evil, Minthara is it: willing to work for anyone and do anything if it earns her status and financial rewards. A Beltway politico of alarming competence, she would sell her grandmother if it suited her, and not even for a reasonable price. She will literally kill you, dude. Her politics are “literally killing you”.


(Image credit: Larian / The Political Compass)

Label: Rejects labels, honestly.
Slogan: “Why do you care what school I went to?”

Shadowheart’s lovely, really. A pleasure to be around. But the second people start talking about their families she clams up. In BG3, that’s mostly to do with the fact that (spoilers) her parents were abducted by a cult, which I guess is fair, but real-life Shadowheart? Flesh-and-blood Shadowheart? Shadowheart from around the way? It’s because they drove her to a fee-paying school in a 4×4 and she’s mortified by it. Not to worry, it’ll be our secret. Just maybe talk about the weather come election time. Is this trenchant analysis based entirely on her slightly plummy accent, an accent I sort of share? Yes. But I’m cool about it. Take it up with science.


(Image credit: Larian / The Political Compass)

Label: Velvet revolutionary.
Slogan: “No dad, you take out the garbage.”

History records a probably apocryphal conversation between Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and Zhou Enlai, former premier of China (look, bear with me). “The difference between our two countries,” droned Khrushchev, “is that you came from the privileged mandarin class, while I came from the working class!”

“That is true,” replied Zhou, “but there is one commonality: both of us are traitors to our class.”

That’s my boy Wyll right there. Not necessarily in the sense that he is literally Zhou Enlai, with whom one could pick fault, but in that he turned his back on his ducal dad and fancy schooling to get in the scrum with the wretched of the Earth. The Blade of Frontiers has no patience for vanity or privilege, so busy is he righting the wrongs of the world. 

Just listen to that voice. Couldn’t you imagine this guy summoning all the tyrannicides of Europe who bear under their cloaks the dagger of Brutus to share with him in a sublime hour? Of course you could. The Dagger of Brutus is probably a +4 weapon, and Wyll needs all the help he can get.

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