Shadowheart is a central character in
Baldur’s Gate 3,
witnessing more of the story unfolding than other characters.
- She possesses a mysterious artefact that is closely tied to the main plot and the safety of the entire party.
- Shadowheart is an important Cleric character, even though Clerics are the least popular class in the game, and she is often chosen as a companion due to her role as a healer.
When players start a new campaign in Baldur’s Gate 3, they get to create a unique character of their own or choose to play as one of several pre-made characters, referred to as Origin characters. Any unchosen Origin character (except the Dark Urge) can be recruited into the player’s party during the first few hours of the campaign.
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While most players will connect most with their chosen character and see them as the campaign’s protagonist, it can be argued that one of the Origin characters is, in fact, Baldur’s Gate 3’s true protagonist. Many of these arguments point to Shadowheart as the game’s main character.
10 She Can Be Recruited During The Prologue
For Many Players, Shadowheart Is A Companion From Start To Finish
The prologue is a tense and confusing series of encounters for new players. The Nautiloid is a hostile place, and likely entirely alien to players unfamiliar with official Dungeons & Dragons lore. There are only two friendly humanoids on the ship, but Shadowheart is the only one who doesn’t threaten the player’s life.
Joining the action so soon after character creation is done, Shadowheart witnesses more of the story unfolding than other characters do, making her more of a central character in many respects.
9 She Has The Githyanki Artefact
The Artefact Is An Important Macguffin
Shadowheart has a mysterious prism with her. While the source of its power isn’t revealed until much later in the game, it is clear early on in Act 1 that this prism is why the player and their party have not been turned into mind flayers.
Thanks to Shadowheart having her memory partially wiped, she does not even fully understand what the artefact is or why she needs it. All the same, it is an important motivator for her to get back to her fellow Sharrans in Baldur’s Gate. Since the artefact is so closely tied to the main plot, Shadowheart’s story, and the safety of the entire party, it makes sense to say that the one who procured it is a key figure.
8 She Is An Important But Underrated Class
Clerics Are Needed, But Few Players Choose To Play As One
Clerics are integral to most party compositions in Dungeons & Dragons. Since Shadowheart is the only Origin character that starts as a Cleric, she is invaluable for keeping players alive. When Larian Studios released player data, they showed that Clerics are the least popular class in the game.
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Since so few players have chosen to create Clerics, it can be assumed that many players bring Shadowheart in their active party most, if not all of the time. Following that, it makes sense to think that Shadowheart can easily have the most time outside the camp out of any of the Origin characters.
7 She Has Direct Ties To Two Goddesses
Shar And Selune Both Want Her To Follow Them
The twenty gods and goddesses in Baldur’s Gate 3 largely play a minor role in the story, with a few exceptions. Apart from the Dead Three, the backers of the game’s main antagonists, Shar and Selune play the most prominent role out of all the divine beings. Shadowheart’s backstory and questline directly involve both of them.
Shar created the shadow curse that impacts the environment and every character, plot line, and quest in Act 2. That alone is enough for her to be considered a villain, even before everything about the Nightsong is revealed. Her sister and adversary Selune, on the other hand, stand with good-aligned characters like the Harpers and most player characters. The two godesses end up clashing over which one Shadowheart will follow, marking her as the central character to their involvement in the game.
6 She Has An Appearance Change
Changing A Main Character’s Appearance Is a Common Trope
Goku turning blond when he goes super saiyan, Spider-Man’s suit turning black because of the symbiote, and Sora’s outfit changing to fit the theme of different worlds are all examples of how appearance changes help show viewers (or players) that a character has undergone a major shift.
Without installing any mods, none of the Origin character’s appearances can change with one exception: Shadowheart. At the end of Act 2, she changes her hair to show off more of her face and reflect her journey of self-actualization. The change is more dramatic if she rejects Shar, since she also colors her hair white to really show off her opposition to the Lady of Loss.
5 The End Of Her Quest Is A Climactic Battle
The Main Character’s Story Needs A Climactic End
Shadowheart’s quest starts when she is recruited into the party on the beach in Act 1 and goes well into Act 3 when players find The House of Grief in the heart of Baldur’s Gate. The House of Grief is a secret base for the hidden Sharran cult led by Viconia DeVir. Unless players agree to simply give Shadowheart to her, a very difficult fight breaks out between the party and the Sharrans.
Viconia is an extremely tough opponent to face, making this battle a climactic end to a storyline that began so early on in the game. The fight and the decisions Shadowheart must make in its wake feel like a satisfying conclusion to a storyline that many games would feature as the main plot.
4 Act 2 Highlights Shadowheart’s Story
Ketheric’s Betrayal Of Shar Can Foreshadow Her Decision
The village of Reithwin and the surrounding area have been enveloped in supernatural darkness for a century because of Shar. She put this blight on the land when Ketheric Thorm, a man that was her Chosen at that time, was defeated. During Baldur’s Gate 3, Ketheric has been resurrected and serves a different dark god, but Shar’s influence on the region has not waned.
Shadowheart struggles with her faith, since her patron deity is so obviously a villain to the Shadow-Cursed Lands. Act 2 emphasizes this struggle and utilizes it to build tension toward the inevitable clash at Moonrise Towers. It becomes clear that Shadowheart, like Ketheric before her, can choose to shun her goddess and live. Her backstory, faith, and inward struggle feature more prominently in this part of the game than those of other companions.
3 She Is The Only Character That Must Join The Party
If Ignored, She Will Still Join The Player’s Party
Recruiting companions is typically an active process; Gale is rescued from the portal, Lae’zel is let out of the cage, etc. Shadowheart is one of the few characters who joins the party even if the player has rejected her previously. If the player has rejected Shadowheart, and she is still alive, she will join the party when the player crosses the bridge into the goblin camp.
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Assuming that Shadowheart isn’t just killed by enemies or the player, she has to show up in the party at least for a little bit, since she has the artefact. Her importance in the events leading up to the prologue make her a necessity for the plot, unlike the other companions.
2 She Is The Most Romanced Character
Romance Plots Tend To Involve The Main Character
Love stories are universal, regardless of age, place, or the type of media. For decades, video games have featured romance story lines, but role-playing games take them to another level by letting players decide how relationships play out.
Baldur’s Gate 3 offers many different romance options. At the end of 2023, Larian revealed the statistics of different player choices, including which companions players had their characters romance. More than half of all players chose Shadowheart over the other companions, making her the character most likely to be in a relationship.
1 She Faces Choices Like Those Of Other Game Protagonists
Decision-Making Is Traditionally Reserved For The Main Character
In many role-playing games like Mass Effect, Fallout: New Vegas, and Dragon Age, the player’s choices really matter. Those choices are usually presented as binary options, where players must choose good or evil, rescue one of two companions in danger, or side with a specific faction. While it’s true that other Origin characters in Baldur’s Gate 3 face choices like these, Shadowheart’s are more in line with ones faced by player-controlled characters like Commander Shepard.
At the end of Act 2, Shadowheart has the option to kill the Nightsong and follow Shar or turn her back on the goddess she’s served for a lifetime. In Act 3, she faces a far more personal decision after defeating Viconia. She must choose the fate of her own parents, minutes after finding out that they have been alive and held prisoner in the very compound that she lived in since she was a child. Only the main character faces multiple difficult choices like this in other choice-focused RPGs.