While Baldur’s Gate 3 takes place about 120 years after the events of Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2, the game does include references to those games without being tied directly to them. Fans of the original games will be delighted to find references to the Bhaalspawn Incident, in which the Sword Coast was plunged into a bloody conflict. The outcome of said conflict is carefully kept vague, as players can make several choices along their journey that will affect both their character and the story in important ways. The Bhaalspawn can encounter many colorful characters along the way, and several can be met again in Baldur’s Gate 3. Finding some of these characters in BG3 feel like meeting old friends again, and assist greatly in tying BG3 into the greater Forgotten Realms lore.
Aside from a couple others on this list, Jaheira’s appearance in BG3 makes the most sense and I think her character was handled very well in the game. Of all the returning cast in BG3, Jaheira is my favorite. While not my favorite character in the Baldur’s Gate games – that honor is reserved for Imoen, a character that sadly did not return – she had the most “screen time” and worked with the player during major events in act 2 of the story. She was treated as the hero that she is, and her personality (and voice acting) matched her character from the original games. She had a purpose in the story and wasn’t just thrown in as nostalgia for long-time fans and while she does occasionally mention the “old days,” when you find her in BG3 she is very much in the middle of something.
Overall, I loved seeing Jaheira again and especially loved Larian Studios’ modern interpretation of her character. Along with Minsc and Imoen, Jaheira was a permanent member in my party in the original games, which made her presence that much more meaningful. Plus, after you recruit her in BG3, she happily stays at your camp and comments on your adventure with the same air of nonchalance that you would expect from a wizened and battle-hardened warrior. She is pretty unphased by stories of tadpoles and Mindflayers, but she does always offer great advice.
Minsc and Boo
In contrast to Jaheira’s role in BG3, Minsc has been added to the game largely to be a nostalgia character. While I love the character, his appearance makes little sense and his inclusion doesn’t add much to the story. In true Minsc fashion, sometime after the events of BG2 he somehow got himself and Boo turned into a stone statue. Said statue was then displayed in Baldur’s Gate for 120 years, all the while the local populace believing the statue not to actually be a living man (and rodent) who was willingly petrified.
I love Minsc and was excited at the idea of seeing him in BG3, but that doesn’t take away from the fact he has little to do in the game besides his reunion with Jaheira. Matt Mercer does a fantastic job voice acting the character, who was originally voiced by Jim Cummings, and Minsc never fails to make me crack a smile. However, in my mind, Minsc’s epic heroic story was told and finished over the course of BG 1 and 2, and, as mentioned above, his inclusion in BG3 does not add anything to his legacy.
Elminster has a long and rich history in Faerun, being one of the world’s greatest heroes and a chosen champion of the Goddess of Magic. The Bhaalspawn in BG1 and 2 know him as a friend of their adoptive father Gorion, and a Master Harper – the same organization that Gorion and Jaheira were members of. In all three games he’s portrayed as a kindly old man, always in a hurry, and never seeming to have enough time. I guess when one is a well-known adventurer and closest envoy of a Goddess, free time is hard to come by. Elminster’s inclusion in BG3 makes perfect sense, as Mystra (Goddess of Magic) has granted him immortality while he is her servant. I found Elminster’s characteristics in BG3 to fit his overall personality, and I enjoyed the few times I encountered him in the game.
Sarevok is a difficult character to include in BG3, as your alignment and choices in BG2 determine Sarevok’s overall fate. His story is concluded at the end of BG2, with Sarevok disappearing and presumably living out the rest of his life in isolation. While never a good person by any means, the Bhaalspawn can show Sarevok an alternate path to following in Bhaal’s footsteps. In BG3, Sarevok is written as a much simpler evil character who shows no sign of the lasting mark his dead sibling left on him. This could be interpreted as Sarevok lacking purpose until Bhaal attempts a comeback, but I think he just shouldn’t have been included at all unless he had an actual purpose.
The game is careful to not mention choices made in detail by the Bhaalspawn, and instead sticks to vague references by certain characters and books. I think Sarevok should have gotten a similar treatment, as the choices the Bhaalspawn will vary from player to player, which includes Sarevok himself. He’s an interesting character because after his defeat, death, and subsequent revival at the hands of the Bhaaspawn, his motivation in life is lost. How he reacts to that and comes to terms with it varies depending on the player’s choices, and in the end wraps up his story nicely. Sarevok is an important character in Faerun’s past who left lasting scars on the world, I would have liked to see more of his legacy than the man himself.
Viconia is an evil-aligned Drow first encountered in BG1 who I don’t have much of an opinion on since she was never in my party. I have heard that she can have a pretty interesting story, and can overcome being a simple servant of Shar – an evil Goddess – and grow to become a better person. BG3 seems to put her back in the role of servant and erase character growth from the first two games. Of course, if players don’t try to dissuade her from her evil ways, I’m sure her character in BG3 makes sense. I’m just not sure why she would have been included in the game at all because, like Sarevok, her ending after BG2 is varied based on player choice. While I’m sure players who like Viconia got a thrill from seeing her in a new game, she didn’t really serve much purpose for being there.
From what I can tell, Volo is a goofy character that the Bhaalspawn can encounter once in BG1 at a tavern in Nashkel. In official lore, Volo finds himself to be the recipient of an imprisoning spell sometime after BG2, and is set free close to the events of BG3. He’s a comedic relief character who constantly finds himself in trouble and seems to have been included in BG3 due to the official Dungeons and Dragons book Volo’s Guide to Monsters. He’s a fun character, and he does help the player in BG3 from time to time in their adventures, but his inclusion seems a bit random.