— Strange Ox
The Strange Ox is a mysterious ox first encountered in The Hollow.[note 1]
Walking past the Strange Ox will prompt a DC 10 Insight check to notice its oddity. A character who passes the check can talk to the Strange Ox and make a DC 10 Arcana check to investigate further. Passing this check confirms the creature isn't what it appears to be.
The player can talk to the Ox if the player has the ability to talk to animals, which player can get by drinking a potion from a closed chest at the cart near the ox. If the player successfully passes the dice roll checks, the Ox will say that he is heading to Baldur's gate.
Attacking the Strange Ox in Act One will cause its caretaker and neighboring oxen to become hostile. The ox drops pools of acid when damaged; on death, it drops a Glyph of Warding: Acid that immediately explodes for 8d8acid damage. Killing the ox at this point yields the Shapeshifter's Boon Ring.
Note that even if you choose to Raid the Emerald Grove and attack the refugees, the Strange Ox disappears along with the other oxen when the grove goes into siege preparation mode, and will survive to be encountered later.
Act 2 Spoilers! This section reveals details about the story of Baldur's Gate 3.
Walking towards the Strange Ox in the stables of the Last Light Inn will prompt a DC 10 Insight check whether you've seen it before; passing this check is not necessary to talk to the Strange Ox. With Speak with Animals, you continue the conversation you started in the Druid Grove. Regardless of what option you choose, you will need to pass a DC 14 Persuasion, Perception, or Nature check to continue.
Succeeding results in the Ox telepathically showing you images of disfigured corpses with the sound of screaming in the background. Failing the check causes the conversation to end, but you are still able to continue speaking with the Ox, essentially skipping the check.
Pushing it further results in the Ox threatening you. You can choose to either end it here, or continue questioning him. Questioning him further will result in the Ox turning hostile, deforming into a cyan version of an Ochre Jelly and entering combat with your party. Before doing so he tells the player he was only looking for a simple life of hay and a clean stable to live in. Telling the creature that its secrets are safe with you will end the conversation amicably ( +1 +1).
If the player character is The Dark Urge, they will relate to the ox's revelations and have the option to tell it about their own murderous nature, to which it will remark that the player may be a kindred spirit, but it only wishes to be an ox. The player can either respect it or chastise it for not giving in to its bloodlust - the latter option will cause the player to brutally attack the creature mid-dialogue, killing it without initiating combat as it struggles to retain its ox form until the very end.
Act 3 Spoilers! This section reveals details about the story of Baldur's Gate 3.
— The real meaning of 'Moo'
If you didn't kill the strange ox during Act Two, then you can find him again at the beginning of Act Three in RivingtonX: 36 Y: -149 on a hill west of the requisitioned barn. Approaching him will again trigger a DC 10 Insight check check to confirm his likeness. This time, the Ox is glad to see you. He was worried about your mental health since your last encounter with him, but perhaps he's just faking it because he needs something from you.
Just like in Act Two, you can question the Ox about his true nature and just like the last time, this will trigger him to become hostile and deform into his natural shape. Any other conversation path will lead to you obtaining the quest Help the Devilish Ox. If you decide to actually help the Ox, he will turn into an apple on the stable floor that can be picked up. The moment you enter the Lower City with him inside your inventory the quest ends and he disappears, leaving behind his ring and a Slightly Slimy Note.
If called as an ally during Confront the Elder Brain, he will appear by default as his Ooze form, but can shift into a variety of different monsters with unique abilities during combat.
Attacks and Abilities when called as an ally
- Spit out an acidic substance and create an Acid surface on impact.
2d6 (2~12) Acid damage
Range: 12 m / 24 ft
- Lash out with a slimy grey tentacle.
1d6 (1~6) Acid damage
- Assume the form of a minotaur. (100 turns)
- Gain abilities of a minotaur.
- Assume the form of a shadow mastiff. (100 turns)
- Gain abilities of a shadow mastiff.
- Assume the form of a dire wolf. (100 turns)
- Gain abilities of a dire wolf.
- Assume the form of a phase spider. (100 turns)
- Gain abilities of a phase spider.
- ↑ The strange ox's real name is Zlorb.