Cultural references

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Baldur's Gate 3 contains a number of Cultural References to other pieces of media, such as books, television, and other video games. These references are collected here, although this list is certainly incomplete.

Games[edit | edit source]

Divinity[edit | edit source]

Most of Larian's previous games are part of the Divinity series, beginning with Divine Divinity (2002) and ending (for now at least) with Divinity: Original Sin (2014) and Divinity: Original Sin II (2017). The latter game has many things in common with Baldur's Gate 3, including the use of "origin characters" who can be chosen as the player character or recruited as companions; physics-based effects like surfaces and dippable weapons; and the ability to talk to most animals.

The Digital Deluxe Upgrade contains several references to Divinity: Original Sin II (DOS2 for short):

There are other references to DOS2 which don't require the Digital Deluxe version:

  • Micheil Ros' pig Lulabelle is referenced in a Deception check during a conversation with Manip Nestor, the Fist guarding the barn at the beginning of Act 3. (May only be available when you're caught sneaking into the barn.)

Final Fantasy XIV[edit | edit source]

The popular MMORPG by Square Enix is referenced in an inspiration pop-up in Act II for the Folk Hero background. The quote is from the character Haurchefant, who says it during the main story of the Heavensward expansion. The line in the pop-up says "A Smile Better Suits..."; though the full line is: "Don't look at me so. A smile better suits a hero." The phrase is repeated several times throughout the following expansions as a bittersweet form of encouragement.

Danganronpa[edit | edit source]

Pre-ordered copies of the Japanese PS5 version of the game from publisher Spike Chunsoft came with a special “Dice of Hope and Despair” die design “with the motif of Monokuma appearing in the Danganronpa series”, which is also published by Spike Chunsoft.[url 1] In the Danganronpa series, Monokuma is a black and white robotic teddy bear who forces the students of Hope’s Peak Academy to kill each other in deadly games. The dice is mostly white, but the "20" face is black with a symbol matching Monokuma’s distinctive red left eye.

Dragon Age: Origins[edit | edit source]

Completing the quest Find the Missing Letters grants inspiration to Noble characters via a background goal called "Interrupted Communications". This title alludes to a quest from Dragon Age: Origins called "Correspondence Interruptus" which also involves tracking down missing letters.

Films & Television[edit | edit source]

'Allo 'Allo![edit | edit source]

  • When first encountering Hope in the House of Hope, she says "You have to listen very very very closely. I will say this only once.", alluding to the famous phrase "Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once", a line spoken very often in the series by several characters, but mainly by Michelle Dubois, a woman in the French Resistance during WWII.

Apocalypse Now[edit | edit source]

  • The Soldier background goal "Love That Smell", granted for bombing the Steel Watch Foundry, alludes to a scene in the film Apocalypse Now in which an American military officer proclaims "I love the smell of napalm in the morning!" as an attack on a civilian target commences.

Asterix and Cleopatra[edit | edit source]

  • The Guild Artisan background goal "Special Iced Arsenic...Brew?" references a song about poisoning a cake (a "special iced arsenic cake", according to the lyrics) from the animated film Asterix and Cleopatra.

Avatar: The Last Airbender[edit | edit source]

  • The NPC Geezer Loryss is a merchant in the Lower City, who bemoans the destruction of his cabbage stand. This references the recurring Cabbage Merchant bit character in Avatar: The Last Airbender, who is a frequent victim of collateral damage from the heroes' adventures. Loryss also has unique dialogue for the Monk class, referencing protagonist Aang's monastic character.

The Fifth Element[edit | edit source]

  • "Multipass", a Noble background goal, is enthusiastically repeated a number of times by Milla Jovovich's character Leeloo in the film The Fifth Element.

Ghostbusters[edit | edit source]

  • The Outlander background goal "I Ain't Afraid of No Shadows" paraphrases a lyric from the title theme to the film Ghostbusters.

Gravity Falls[edit | edit source]

  • The item Shield of Shielding is a reference to the episode Dungeons, Dungeons & More Dungeons where a main character, Grunkle Stan, casts a spell of the same name due to rather unimaginative quick thinking.

Indiana Jones[edit | edit source]

  • The Guild Artisan background goal "These Belong in a Museum!" is a reference to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, in which Indy says this about historical artifacts being pilfered by private collectors.

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure[edit | edit source]

  • The greataxe Sethan and its abilities are a reference to a character in Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders named Alessi. Alessi wields an axe and possesses a stand spirit named Sethan that similarly wields an axe and who has the power to de-age people, usually reducing them into young children.

Parks and Recreation[edit | edit source]

  • The Charlatan background goal "Not to Worry, I Have a Permit" quotes a scene from Parks and Recreation in which Ron Swanson offers a park ranger a permit that simply says "I can do what I want".

Literature[edit | edit source]

Poetry[edit | edit source]

  • The Raven summoned by Find Familiar is always named "Quothe", the only standard familiar to receive a name. A raven of the same name is summoned by the Raven Gloves. This is clearly a reference to Edgar Allen Poe's poem "The Raven", which includes the recurring line "Quoth the raven: 'Nevermore.'" (See also the Discworld section below.)

Discworld[edit | edit source]

Terry Pratchett's Discworld is a series of comic fantasy novels set on a flat world which travels on the back of an enormous turtle. While it developed into its own fantasy universe, it was born from and always contained elements of parody of other fantasy - including Dungeons & Dragons. Larian's Swen Vincke has said on Twitter that the first book he gave to his wife was the Discworld novel Small Gods, and that he has converted "countless people" to the series via that book.

  • In addition to the Poe reference (see above), Quothe the Raven is likely also a reference to the talking raven named Quoth (no "e") appearing in the Discworld novels Soul Music, Hogfather and Thief of Time. Quoth was originally a wizard's familiar, but in the novels he is the companion, translator and flying mount of the Death of Rats, the rat equivalent of the grim reaper.
  • Lupperdiddle Swires is a gnomish adventurer famed for their ability to leap extraordinarily high. While they don't appear in the game, they're mentioned several times in the name or description of various items, including the Potion of Glorious Vaulting, Arsonist's Oil, Swiresy Shoes and Swires' Sledboard, as well as in notes and letters. "Swires" is the name of two different gnome characters in Discworld: Swires, the first gnome in the series, who appears in The Light Fantastic; and Buggy Swires, a member of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, who isn't known for leaping but does give aerial support by riding on various birds. (On the Discworld, gnomes are only about six inches tall.)
  • The in-game book The Butler's Cane Has A Knob On The End is a reference to "A Wizard's Staff Has a Knob on the End", a bawdy Discworld tavern song frequently sung by the witch character Nanny Ogg.
  • The in-game book You've Got Friends in the Guild contains the sentence "Their view is this: if you got to have crime, better it be organised crime!" This is a paraphrase of a line from the novel Men at Arms, attributed to Lord Vetinari, ruler of Ankh-Morpork, explaining the logic behind having a legalised Thieves' Guild.

Other Novels[edit | edit source]

  • The Guild Artisan background goal "Trust and a Little Pixie Dust" references J. M. Barrie's novel Peter Pan, in which it is said that all one needs to make one's dreams come true is faith, trust, and a little bit of pixie dust.
  • The Sage background goal "All Knowledge is Worth Having" is a saying from Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Dart.
  • The Urchin background goal "Artful Dodger" is taken from the nickname of the leader of a street urchin gang in Charles Dickens's novel Oliver Twist.

Music[edit | edit source]

  • The Entertainer background goal "Eclipse of the Heart" references the 1983 Bonnie Tyler song "Total Eclipse of the Heart".
  • The Haunted One background goal "Who Let the Gnolls Out" references the 2000 Baha Men song "Who Let the Dogs Out".

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Official website: Baldur’s Gate III. Spike Chunsoft. Retrieved 2023-12-23.