Across all party companions in Baldur’s Gate 3, Astarion is by far the most popular. He’s a charismatic High Elf that keeps many secrets behind a coy smile, doing anything he can to avoid opening up. He can be hard to please, seemingly loathing all acts of charity and cheering at the suffering of others.
While his actions might make him look evil, there’s a reason why he often sides with monsters: he sees himself as one, and for good reason. But to even cover the basics of who he is, we’d need to enter spoiler territory, since not much is revealed about him at first glance.
Who Is Astarion?
Astarion is a vampire spawn, meaning he was bitten by a vampire but is not a full vampire himself. Over 100 years ago, a group of thugs beat up Astarion to an inch of his life, leaving him bleeding in an alley.
That’s when Cazador, a vampire lord living in Baldur’s Gate, found him. He bit Astarion, turning him into a vampire spawn that has to do everything he commands.
As a spawn, Astarion has all the weaknesses of a vampire without most of the benefits. He can’t enter houses uninvited, can’t cross rivers, and standing in sunlight would kill him. He also has a constant thirst for blood; normal food no longer satisfies him.
During his nearly 200 years of servitude, Astarion lured people to Cazador’s lair, being rewarded with mere rats for him to eat. Yet even when doing everything right, Cazador would at times torture Astarion and the other six spawns for pure pleasure, making them feel like less than slaves.
Is Astarion Hurt By Sunlight?
Sunlight is lethal for both vampires and their spawns, meaning that, normally, Astarion shouldn’t be able to stand in daylight.
However, it all changed when, by pure chance, he was kidnapped by a Nautiloid ship. Inside said ship, Astarion was infected with an Illithid Tadpole, changing his fate forever.
The ship Astarion is on crashes after being assaulted by Red Dragons, and he miraculously makes it out alive. What’s more, the tadpole in his brain starts making changes within him, removing all vampire weaknesses except for the bloodlust, for some reason.
This is why Astarion is the only companion who wants to keep the tadpole, looking for ways to control it instead of removing it. He’s been given complete freedom from Cazador, and he plans to keep that freedom no matter what.
What Is Cazador’s Plan?
Cazador’s ultimate goal with his spawns isn’t to have some play things; he has a more devilish purpose for them.
He had his spawns gather people for him over the years, not to eat, but to turn them into more enslaved spawns. He needs to sacrifice them all in a hellish ritual to become an ascended vampire, which will make him immune to the sun, among other things.
Astarion has no idea about the ritual at first, other than the strange scars Cazador carved into his back. Astarion can make a deal with the devil Raphael to decipher these scars, learning about the ritual. Since Astarion is a key piece of the proceedings, Cazador will never stop hunting him.
Since Astarion doesn’t want to run forever, he decides to go to Baldur’s Gate and confront Cazador, stopping the ritual in the process. While he mostly wants to kill his former master, he’s also tempted by the possibility of becoming an ascended vampire.
Can You Romance Astarion?
Yes, you can start a romance with Astarion in Baldur’s Gate 3. Yet, if you’re making a mostly good guy playthrough, it might be tough to earn his favor. Astarion values self-preservation, and sees good deeds for no reward as a complete waste of time.
You can still choose good options and romance him, however, since there are some pivotal moments that will boost your standing with him greatly.
In Act One for example, once he’s revealed to be a vampire, you can let him feed on you every so often. Don’t do it every night, or you could die.
NEXT: Baldur’s Gate 3: Best Endings, Ranked