We’ve spoken before about the history of RPGs that let you romance your companions and how those relationships are often found in some of the deepest role-playing experiences. Well, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that Baldur’s Gate 3 offers quite a few romance options. However, it may surprise you to learn that the very best of those romantic options offer so much more than the sex scenes some are quick to reduce them to.
Though many of the romance subplots in Baldur’s Gate 3 are interesting in their own right, it’s the ways those subplots reveal a little more about an already fascinating group of characters that make them so invaluable to the overall experience. Many of Baldur Gate 3‘s romances are worth pursuing simply for the extra scenes they unlock. However, the game’s very best romances often achieve that status by making you fall in love with these characters in ways that ensure you’ll want to pursue a deeper relationship with them because it feels like the right thing to do.
Before we get into these rankings, though, please note that the many possibilities in Baldur’s Gate 3 are still being uncovered. That being the case, if there is a substantial romance option that I missed in this game (meaning no brief kisses, passing flirtations, or “for hire” options), be sure to let me know in the comments below.
12. Naoise Nallinto
With the exception of the Drow Twins (hireable brothel companions available for your pleasure), Naoise Nallinto is probably the quickest romance option in Baldur’s Gate 3. All you need to do is kill the rather unfortunate companion that Naoise Nallinto has found herself with, and she will offer you the chance to participate in a…unique encounter that could certainly be described as pleasurable.
Though the last entry on this list pretty much by default (it barely qualifies as a romance according to my loose criteria), I have to say that this encounter is so much more memorable that it would probably be in a lesser game. It certainly doesn’t go the way you think it will.
Another “romance” that barely qualifies as such, you’ll have the chance to sleep with Haarlep towards the end of the game. Though not quite the Raphael romance some fans are probably looking for, Haarlep’s physical resemblance to Raphael and the narrative implications of this encounter allow it to serve as a bizarre placeholder for that romance option.
There’s a lot to read into when it comes to this potential interaction, which is kind of the point. Raphael and Haarlep are clearly playing with you to some degree, and how you choose to navigate this encounter may reveal a lot about your mindset, your character, and how you’ve chosen to play the game up until this point.
Though I certainly feel strange placing Minthara below some of the one-scene/one-night romances in the game, this has to be the least substantial of the companion relationships in Baldur’s Gate 3.
Putting aside the fact that some players initially encountered game-breaking bugs when trying to romance Minthara, the whole arc of this relationship just feels off. Recruiting Minthara requires you to walk a particularly dark path, so you’d think that your romance with Minthara would be equally twisted. However, that’s not quite the case. As a companion, Minthara is down to be bad, but as a lover, your interactions with Minthara are surprisingly tame and uneventful. There’s not a lot to this romance beyond the night you spend with Minthara, and that scene doesn’t really lean into Minthara’s unique morality (or relative lack thereof) as much as it could.
Minthara is a fascinating companion, but her romance feels like one of the game’s few missed opportunities.
Though Mizora haunts and teases Wyll throughout Baldur’s Gate 3, you actually have the opportunity to sleep with this sultry demon yourself. Try to be surprised, but deciding to do so will not endear you to Wyll.
Indeed, one of the best things about this romance is that it adds a little extra layer to the entire Wyll relationship (more on that in a bit). More importantly, it feels like the nearly perfect version of a relationship (however brief) with Mizora herself. During a well-done scene (and the interactions that precede it), you really get a feel for how Mizora is able to torment and tantalize in equal enough measure to ensure that otherwise wise and powerful figures become infatuated with her to some degree.
It’s a brief romance (so to speak), but this is a surprisingly fantastic example of a romantic encounter in this game enhancing a character.
In case you’re wondering, Halsin is the source of the famous “bear sex” scene that generated so much interest ahead of Baldur Gate 3’s release. To be fair, that’s an incredibly entertaining scene that speaks to Larian’s desire and ability to take this game in some surprising directions. It’s wild, but it really fits into this world they’re trying to build.
Unfortunately, there really isn’t a lot more to this romance than that. As a companion, Halsin doesn’t really get a lot of opportunities to shine. As a romantic partner, Halsin feels closer to an elaborate one-night stand than some of the actual one-night stands in the game. Unlike Minthara, you don’t have to sacrifice much to trigger this romance, but there also isn’t a lot there once you establish that stage of the relationship.
Halsin’s romance delivers one of the game’s most memorable moments, but it doesn’t have enough to offer outside of that.
7. The Guardian/The Emperor
This particular romance option falls somewhere between the one-night stand side of things and the proper companion romance side of things. Regardless of how you classify it, it’s a fascinating series of events.
To make a very long story short, The Guardian character that periodically pops up throughout the game is eventually revealed to kind of manifestation/alternate form of a Mind Flayer known as The Emperor. An already stunning revelation is made that much more shocking when you realize that it is indeed possible to romance your Guardian and, eventually, The Emperor itself.
For as wild as the Halsin sex scene is, I can fairly comfortably say that this is Baldur’s Gate 3’s craziest romance option. Narratively, the fact that you’re allowed to pursue this path is pretty crazy, and the actual sex scene with The Emperor will likely leave your jaw on the floor. Though this entire romance is a late-game revelation that isn’t the most important part of The Guardian/Emperor storyline, it’s definitely one of the game’s most unforgettable romance options.
I was really torn on what to do with the Wyll relationship. Truth be told, I’m not a huge fan of Wyll as a character. That obviously hurts his overall standing on this list somewhat. Furthermore, I do tend to agree with those who find the slow-burn, start-and-stop nature of this romance to be somewhat odd and ultimately not quite as rewarding as some of the romances we’ll soon be discussing.
However, I will say that following Wyll’s romantic subplot does greatly enhance your overall relationship with the character, which is one of the best things you can say about the romance options in this game. Granted, Wyll’s romance subplot isn’t full of the shocking revelations and unforgettable moments that other romances feature, but it really helps you understand Wyll’s logic and goals.
While many may understandably never bother to pursue a romantic relationship with Wyll, those who do decide to dive a little deeper will find that Wyll’s romance is a substantial part of his overall narrative arc.
This is where the rankings really get tough. It should be noted that I think that these top five romance options are all exceptional and should be experienced by every Baldur’s Gate 3 player at some point. If I have any knock against the Lae’zel romance, though, it’s that she, like Wyll, can take quite a while to warm up to, which can make the earlier stages of this relationship a bit less rewarding.
Unlike Wyll, though, I feel that the Lae’zel relationship ramps up in a slightly more organic way and generally has a much better pay-off. Learning to love Lae’zel as a character and companion means investing a lot of time in your relationship with her. As I previously noted, though, it’s not really a matter of her changing as she gets to know you but rather you changing as you get to know her. While Lae’zel certainly opens up a bit, it’s the ways you’ll grow to understand who she is and who she wants to be that ultimately make her so interesting.
While you can grow to love Lae’zel without pursuing a romantic relationship with her, I imagine most of those players who hold this character in higher regard have walked that particular path and discovered some of the things that make her so fascinating.
Unlike some of the other characters on this list, I don’t think you need to necessarily pursue a romantic relationship with Karlach to get the most out of her as a companion. She’s a fantastic character in her own right, and her romance subplot is really the flaming cherry on top of her exceptional overall story.
However, there is something to be said for how much Karlach’s general likability makes it relatively easy to genuinely fall in love with her. Because Karlach can’t really physically engage with you until you help solve her internal heating issues (I had a gaming laptop with a similar problem), much of your romance with Karlach actually involves resolving a slightly more traditional kind of character sidequest. I was also shocked that Karlach doesn’t simply need liquid to cool her inner fire, because she is undeniably and eternally thirsty.
Thankfully, learning about Karlach along the way is not only fascinating and often quite sweet, but it all leads to an eventual encounter with Karlach that is surprisingly tender given the heated…tensions that lead up to it. While some simply hate the tragic note this relationship ultimately ends on, I find that this whole relationship is not only unique within the context of this game but very true to the things that make Karlach such an interesting character.
Though it’s technically possible to ignore a romance with Shadowheart entirely, it’s pretty clear that many (maybe even most) Baldur’s Gate 3 players are deeply interested in how to woo her. It’s not hard to see why. Not only is Shdowheart one of the game’s best overall characters, but the nature of your romantic relationship with her is closely associated with many of the things that make her story so fascinating.
As the first full-time companion you’ll likely acquire in Baldur’s Gate 3, Shadowheart immediately benefits from a generous amount of screen time that most other companions don’t receive. For that matter, it’s no coincidence that the top romances in the game are with the other companions you get to spend the most time with.
However, it turns out that Shadowheart’s exceptional story requires nearly every minute of that screen time to properly play out. Shadowheart is on an epic journey of growth, change, and discovery, and your relationship with her plays with and against that journey in some fascinating ways. Shadowheart is easy to love even before she opens up and reveals more about herself, but it’s the fact that you really get to feel like you’re growing with her that ultimately makes this relationship so substantial and rewarding.
It’s hard not to fall in love with Shadowheart, and it’s equally difficult to imagine being unsatisfied with how your relationship with her plays out and where it ultimately ends up.
Astarion is undoubtedly one of the best romance options in the game, and I could certainly see many people arguing that Astarion offers the best overall romance in Baldur’s Gate 3. While Astarion can be a lot to put up with in the early parts of the game, it won’t take long for you to see the value in pursuing a relationship with one of the game’s more initially unlikable characters.
Astarion’s vampiric nature obviously adds a little spice to the overall relationship, but that’s not what makes this particular romance so fascinating. How your relationship with Astarion turns out and how you as a player ultimately choose to interpret and dictate those events depends on a variety of complex factors. Astarion’s manipulative and morally shady nature sometimes makes it difficult to tell what kind of relationship you actually have with him. As Astarion’s side story plays out, his personal growth and rapidly changing position in the world add even more complexities to that already potentially problematic relationship.
What I really love about this romance, though, is the number of directions you can potentially take it in and how all of those directions feel valid and fully formed so long as they make sense to you. It’s easily one of the best-written and most dynamic relationships in the game.
Most of the relationships in Baldur’s Gate 3 have something unique and worthwhile to offer. However, the reason that Gale tops this particular list is because he’s the only companion who I feel puts in at least as much effort into romancing you as you do in romancing him.
Though there are numerous romantic partners in Baldur’s Gate 3 that will flirt with you, none of them court you quite the way that Gale does. He actually opens himself up fairly early on and reveals himself to be a somewhat classic romantic. Well, a classic romantic who uses his powerful abilities to trigger some truly memorable…encounters, but a romantic nonetheless.
Mind you, it’s not all flowers and wine with Gale. Actually, Gale is going through quite a lot in his life, and forming a relationship with him means having to overcome sizeable obstacles that may challenge your perception of who he really is. Yet, I think the most impressive thing about this romance is how it harkens back to a classic form of the very concept of romance without ever coming across as corny or cheap like a bad piece of fanfic. It is, at the very least, the most grounded romance that still allows you to leave behind the constraints of your mortal flesh and pursue more celestial pleasures.