zariel in dnd 5e
Image via Wizards of the Coast

BG3’s Zariel Interpretation Doesn’t Do D&D Justice

A brief rant on how Zariel's D&D character doesn't exactly fit her representation in BG3.

Baldur’s Gate 3 is full of incredible plotlines and expertly written characters. That said, there’s always room for ranting and subjective inconsistencies. One such case is the representation of Zariel in Dungeons &Dragons vs in Baldur’s Gate 3.

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How Zariel is Represented in BG3 vs D&D

karlach calling zariel a liar
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Have you ever thought about how Zariel, through Karlach’s story, is represented as a manipulative, lying, and shadowy figure? While Zariel is by no means a paragon pillar of virtue, being a demonically corrupted angel who is the Archduke of Avernus, her character in D&D lore feels slightly misrepresented in BG3. We have this plot line between Gortash, Karlach, and Zariel where Gortash sells Karlach to Zariel to fight in Avernus in the Blood War between devils and demons.

Why would Zariel, who has a fiendish army of pit lords and other gargantuan monstrosities perfectly specialized for destroying armies of demons, conscript a random Tiefling from Baldur’s Gate into her army? Furthermore, why would Zariel, a fiendish figure, yes, but one who has an angelic dogma of destroying evil in her core, answer a pact call from Gortash? Sure, Gortash has his background of growing up in Raphael’s domain, but even so, he’s a lowly mortal business. Thus, it makes no sense that Zariel would do business with such an entity.

zariel pulling the city of elturel into avernus
Fall of Elturel: Image via Wizards of the Coast

At her core and in D&D lore, Zariel’s character is all about how something celestial and pure was twisted into something fiendish. However, her purpose of eradicating all demons and winning the Blood War keeps her direct and pragmatic. This is purely subjective, but the D&D lore version of Zariel would never stoop to deals with random mortal businessmen or even trade something of value just to gain a single mortal Tiefling in her ranks. When Zariel deals with mortals, she pulls an entire city of Elturel down into Avernus to fight for her. She has no value trading anything with Gortash just to gain Karlach, much less doing so through lies and trickery.

Baldur’s Gate 3 is an amazing story with incredibly written plots and characters, but this representation of Zariel always bugged me slightly. Check out more of our Baldur’s Gate 3 culture articles, like BG3 mechanics we need in Dungeons & Dragons 5e.

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Gordan Perisic
From playing RPGs and dungeon mastering for his D&D group to reading novels and scribbling about his fantasy setting, Gordan is a full-time nerd and devoted writer for GameSkinny. He loves to overshare and discuss literature, music, animation, and trees with fellow geeks. Also, he may or may not cook too much food for his friends. Cholesterol is one hell of a drug.