Baldur’s Gate 3 lets you “wield the power of a mind flayer”

Larian Studios is revealing more about its Dungeons & Dragons RPG Baldur's Gate 3 as the release date nears, and there's more to mind flayers than we thought.

A tentacled mind flayer stands behind a dark dragon-headed figure, both with glowing red eyes

Baldur’s Gate 3 is almost upon us in all of its Dungeons & Dragons glory, as the release date set for the RPG game arrives later this week. Larian Studios has been hard at work perfecting Baldur’s Gate 3 and its coming features, preparing the game for its flight out of the early access nest it has been within for years now. The developers have released community updates detailing the release version’s contents, with one posted today in which Larian Studios went more in-depth on the parasitic Mind Flayers and their in-game role.

Mind flayers are creepy, Cthulhu-like beings that are familiar enough to us long-time D&D players. If these tentacled creatures have ever turned your campaign character’s brain into a milkshake, then you’re definitely not alone. While mind flayer is not a Baldur’s Gate 3 class, you start off with one of their parasites implanted deep within your brain. As Larian Studios put it, “these creatures may be a source of great power” but “all that they offer comes with a cost.”

This is where Illithid Powers come into play, that is if your “desire for power outweighs your concern for the well-being of anyone else or if you simply think psionic levitation would be a really neat party trick.” Hidden within a secret skill tree, Illithid Powers are used to “enhance your command over your newfound illithid capabilities.” To fully harness them, you’ll need to find more of the creepy, crawly parasites throughout the Forgotten Realms.

An overview of the Illithid Powers in-game in Baldur's Gate 3

If you’re wondering where, “some can be located inside jars and in pools of brine, others within the skulls of the infected.” Once you come across these bad boys, you’ll have to consume them. Each time you munch down on one of these wriggly worms, you’ll unlock one new Illithid Power within the skill tree of 25 “powerful mind-flayer-inspired abilities.” No, this does not mean that mind flayer romance is a thing, y’all.

The abilities are divided into five branches themed around manipulation, health restoration, psionics, and “abilities that can inflict immense damage and torment enemies to gradually weaken them over time.” You can use your powers to control others around you, even forcing them to remain in conversation with you and say things they otherwise wouldn’t. In a way, it feels like a more evil version of the Charm ability that I definitely don’t use way too often.

Other abilities are more outwardly aggressive, as they “endow you with the power to push and pull enemies like ragdolls during battle.” If you want to, you can even opt to become a displacer beast. As a Baldur’s Gate 3 Druid main, I am genuinely tempted to test this out and see how it differs from, say, a spider. However, I don’t think that I am willing to literally eat worms.

A black, winged panther-like creature snarls with its long fangs showing

If you’re wondering whether or not your Baldur’s Gate 3 companions and party members can join in on the parasite-feasting fun, you’ll be glad to know that they can. The community update  posted just a few days ahead of the Baldur’s Gate 3 launch time reads, “While your companions can also consume parasites to gain their powers, not everyone in your party will agree to it, and your companions’ perception of you can undergo a significant shift based on how you approach this opportunity.”

Something tells me I already know which of my party members would be more willing to indulge and which would be less than pleased about partaking in the acquisition of mind flayer abilities. All I’m saying is, if it’s something Orin the Red would do for power then maybe I would, too. Under the correct circumstances, of course.

While you await this week’s big release to test out the mind flayer powers yourself, be sure to check out our quick rundown of the Baldur’s Gate 3 system requirements to ensure that your PC setup is ready to handle the game’s massive world. Alternatively, take a look at some of our other favorite upcoming PC games to see what else this year has in store.