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[Note: This piece contains spoilers for the first few hours of Baldur’s Gate 3.]
I’m still just a few hours into Baldur’s Gate 3, but my party is already coming along fairly nicely: Snarky vampire rogue? Check. Goth kid cleric with her own magical fidget spinner? Bingo. Kickass barbarian demon lady? Sure, we’ve got those. In fact, now that I’ve made my way through a small chunk of the game’s first act, and its tale of jerkwad druids and hostile goblins, there’s only one class I really feel is missing from the game’s ready-made ensemble of heroes.
Does anyone have a good character build handy for a human resources rep?
Look, I knew from online chatter that Baldur’s Gate 3 was a pretty horny video game. By the time the game came to the PS5 (where I’m slowly working through my own version of its story of cunning, charm, and ceremorphosis), its reputation had thoroughly preceded it. Even so, I was genuinely shocked the first time I went to check in on githyanki warrior Lae’zel—who I’d been vibing with nicely, given our shared interest in, uh, “pragmatic” solutions to tricky moral problems— only for her to declare that she wanted to “taste me.” “Perhaps tonight. Perhaps later.”
I’m pretty sure this would qualify as a hostile workplace environment even if she wasn’t a level 3 Fighter equipped with a 3-foot-long broadsword.
The characters in Baldur’s Gate 3—all of whom, I feel moved to note, are running around with living time bombs in their heads, courtesy of the mind flayer tadpoles inserted into your brains in the game’s opening cutscene—are simply way too happy to mix business with pleasure, and each seems to have taken the “Penetrate Professional Boundaries” feat during character creation. (Admittedly, in Lae’zel’s case, I asked. Although I genuinely thought “You’ve been looking at me differently lately” was going to lead to a conversation about growing mutual respect and shared goals, and not, like, her desire for a hot slab of prime, Grade A gnome flesh.)
But it’s got me genuinely worried: The next time “Wyll approves” of my handling of a situation—which is pretty rare, because he’s not wild about my standing policy of charging a fair market value for any and all rescues, item deliveries, or other so-called acts of “good” the party performs—is it going to lead to a conversation about how he and his demon wife have been eyeing me from across the camp, and they really “dig my vibe”? More often than not, I find myself gravitating to Withers, the ancient skeleton that attaches himself to your party during the game’s first major dungeon. He might be a boring-ass conversationalist, but I’m pretty sure he’s desiccated in all the right places, and he always wears a full robe around the camp.
(Admittedly, I might also have contributed to a bit of a hostile fantasy workplace myself when I, um, murdered party wizard Gale, the dozenth or so time he condescended to me about the superiority of his class of spellcasters to my own. But I did feel vindicated when his ghost popped up immediately begging for a resurrection, complete with an incredibly elaborate set of instructions in order to go about triggering it. You can’t trust a guy who’ll spring a bespoke escape room on you out of the blue.)
And, let’s be clear: The issue isn’t sex in games. Sex in games is great! The issue is sex in the workplace in games. And when you’re an adventurer, all of Faerûn is your workplace, and every hardened mercenary your co-worker. We’re here to make money (and get tadpoles out of our brains) (and help people, if they can pay, and aren’t huge dicks about it), people. Taste people on your own time.