Baldur’s Gate 3’s Shadowheart Feels Like Lara Croft

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As someone who has been waiting for the launch of Baldur’s Gate 3 on console, watching everyone obsess over the game for the last month has been a strange experience. I want to discover things fresh for myself, but I also want to make sure I don’t miss anything (especially when that thing could be a buff tiefling woman with a broken horn). It feels a little bit like meeting your girlfriend’s family for the first time – we’ve never met, but I know who is who, I’ve heard the stories, I know who likes what, which topics to avoid, who to drink with, who to never be alone with, and which ones are racist (in Baldur’s Gate 3, playing as a drow, I’ve discovered that’s ‘most people’). However, I had been thoroughly misinformed about Shadowheart.


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Maybe it’s not so much ‘misinformed’ as it is ‘not informed’. I recognised Shadowheart when I met her in the game, having seen her in various Baldur’s Gate 3 artwork or screenshots, but I hadn’t heard very much about her at all. It was a surprise when, after a brief encounter with Lae’zel in the prologue, Shadowheart was the first companion I met and could talk to. I thought she might arrive later to spice things up, and realised I had no idea what she was actually like.

Related: Will Dragonheir: Silent Gods Ride Baldur’s Gate 3’s Coattails, Or Be Left In Its Dust?

I expected a goth in leather with long flowing hair, someone morally ambiguous, someone flirtatious, bodacious. I expected Astarion. Instead, she has a shrill, posh tone, tight ponytail, stiff upper lip and a spine of steel. She’s a Cleric who looks for the good in the world around her, but is well aware that to expect it is naive.

Baldur's Gate 3 Shadowheart Romance

Maybe it was the affected British voice. Maybe it was the ponytail. Maybe it was the heart of gold and fists of blood. Maybe it was the fact she’s carrying a strange artefact around with her, possibly gathered by raiding a tomb. Whatever it was, she instantly reminded me of Lara Croft, and now I can’t stop seeing (or hearing) it.

Tomb Raider is one of my favourite gaming series of all time, battling for second place with Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and Crash Bandicoot while Pokemon reigns supreme over all. So I love Lara Croft, and there’s definitely a chance that I’m looking for it. Posh British lady? Must be Lara Croft! But it does feel like there’s a little more to it. Even if it’s a complete coincidence, having a character who reminds me of Lara in the party is a shortcut to becoming emotionally invested in their exploits. It also makes it feel more connected to the tabletop version of the game, taking its spirit as well as its dice rolls.

Lara Croft from The Rise of The Tomb Raider

That’s part of the joy of playing Dungeons & Dragons, after all. I have an idea for a Queen Elsa Sorcerer with Elemental Adept and focus on cold damage that I’m just waiting for the perfect adventure to unleash her in. On TheGamer, we have guides for building Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and DC characters in D&D. There are official guides on how to build the Honor Amongst Thieves characters in the game, too. People love to take their favourite characters and rebuild them in Dungeons & Dragons, so meeting kinda-maybe Lara Croft doesn’t throw me out of the game, it pulls me in.

Since I’m behind the curve of the game, there will be many of you who know exactly where Shadowheart’s story goes. Maybe this is a total misread of the situation, and Shadowheart betrays me or gives in to her darker urges (sidenote: you all said The Dark Urge like it was a quest, not a dude). Or maybe she only gets more Lara as she goes, and it has all fallen into place early for me. If she is evil, please don’t send me angry messages, Tomb Raider fans. I still remember how mad you got when I said the games need to move on from raiding tombs if they’re not going to commit to building the world around them.

The family reunion has just started, and I’m only making small talk with these characters I will know intimately over the next 50 to 100 hours. I know they have tales to tell, and I can’t wait to hear them. But why didn’t you tell me your auntie Shadowheart looked just like Lara Croft?

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