The way we’ve been talking about the companions in Baldur’s Gate 3 is “like seven-year-old girls describing their dolls,” my editor-in-chief says, making sure to add that he means it in a good way and this is “a strong sign that the game is good.” That’s ridiculous, I reply, while taking off all their clothes to look at their underpants.
One of the things that changed about Baldur’s Gate 3 when it left early access was the number of equippable slots. Now there’s a space for your musical instrument, and ones for campwear including shoes separate from the existing slot for boots, letting you select casual footwear for relaxing in. Belts are out, and yes, underwear is in.
The thing about giving every major character bespoke undergarments is that it also gives writers an opportunity to describe them, and they have gone all out. Each recruitable companion’s undies are accompanied by a few words that somehow reinforce the core of their personality. I mean it. Astarion the dandy wears briefs embroidered with the message, “If you’re reading this, you managed to bed or behead me. Either way, you got lucky.” That tells you everything you need to know about the Sword Coast’s resident big-note.
The same goes for the other equipment each character has when you meet them. Karlach, an infernal barbarian recently escaped from decades of war in the lower planes, wears the medieval fantasy equivalent of black jeans repeatedly patched from all the times she fell of her motorbike, described like this: “Torn and hell-scented, these trousers have seen a good deal of action—though not perhaps the sort Karlach might prefer.”
There are books all over Baldur’s Gate 3 with pages of history and poetry about the Forgotten Realms, and if you want to know about the Second Sundering and why the goddesses Shar and Selûne hate each other so much, it’s all there. Not to sound too much like Gale, the wizard companion who would rather be at home with a good book and a glass of wine, but I just found an absolute page-turner about the empire of Netheril and how their over-reliance on magic led to their downfall.
While that was a corker, in a sentence or two the lingerie lore of Baldur’s Gate 3 can tell you almost as much. Gale, for instance wears Netherese Briefs described like this: “Energy crackles around these. Gale wouldn’t… Surely he didn’t enchant his…” That lets you know Gale uses magic more than is ordinary, just like the ancient wizards of lost Netheril, and wraps that info in a gag. It’s efficient, playful, and covers just what it needs too. Like good underpants.
When Baldur’s Gate 2 added romances for some of its major NPCs, it helped flesh them out in a way that became a vital part of RPGs after it. It’s harder to think of Jaheira as one-dimensional once you’ve had to consider what it’s like to go on a date with her. While it may seem like a small thing—smaller for some characters than others—telling us what every party member in Baldur’s Gate 3 has under their chainmail is an extension of the same idea.
It makes characters seem less like stat blocks and more like people, and it’s got me thinking about my own D&D characters. What underpants do they wear, and what does that choice say about them?