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Should you use Illithid Powers in Baldur’s Gate 3?

That tadpole in your brain can be pretty useful, if you allow it.

The illithid powers screen for the player character in Baldur's Gate 3, who has been using tadpoles to acquire illithid powers
Image credit: Larian/VG247

Baldur's Gate 3 presents you with lots of decisions. Should you save that lone Gnome, or kill all those Goblins? Should you side with one person over the other? What fate will become of the Owlbear cub? There’s endless secrets to discover, and dialogue paths to go down, but one important decision you’ll be faced with is whether to use your illithid powers or not.

Illithid powers are gained by acquiring tadpoles from various areas and NPCs, and it’s up to you whether you consume them in the illithid power skill tree or not. They’ll grant you various actions to use during your adventure, but should you use them? Here’s whether you should use illithid powers or not in Baldur’s Gate 3.

Should you use Illithid Powers in Baldur’s Gate 3?

Simply put, whether you use illithid powers in Baldur’s Gate 3 is up to you, and the type of playthrough you’re aiming for.

Consuming tadpoles in exchange for illithid powers does not actually have an impact on your late-game, bar the disapproval - or disgust - of some of your camp. You will not turn into some awful Mind Flayer or receive a bad ending, so to speak, but they can make some end-game fights a little trickier than they ought to be depending on what powers you have activated. Likewise, they can also make some fights easier!

All in all, it’s not something that you need to worry about. Whether you consume zero tadpoles or every single one that you find, this will not have a bearing on your late-game or ending.

Additionally, while your companions won’t approve of or be keen on the use of illithid powers, you can eventually convince them to try the powers out themselves, if you so wish.

The illithid powers screen in Baldur's Gate 3 for Karlach, who does not currently approve of using illithid powers
You can convince other party members to use illithid powers eventually, too. | Image credit: Larian/VG247

With illithid powers having no bearing on how your playthrough of Baldur’s Gate 3 concludes, you might instead want to make the decision based on how they fit into the story. Spoilers ahead!

If you’re going for a morally good or neutral playthrough, you’ll ideally not want to consume the tadpoles. Their powers can be useful in battle, but considering your main goal is to rid yourself of the parasite and defeat the Absolute, it’s quite counter-productive to consume a ton more while on this mission! That said, their powers are useful, so you can still consume them while saving the world without a worry, if you want.

If, however, you’re going for a more chaotic or evil playthrough, consume all the tadpoles you can get your hands on. You’ll no doubt wind up siding with the Absolute sooner or later, so you might as well!

There’s a more important decision later in Baldur’s Gate 3, however, that you ought to bear in mind. That’s the decision of whether to evolve into a half-illithid or not. This also has no bearing on how your game ends, and nothing to do with whether you use illithid powers or not. So the decision is entirely in your hands, and will again depend on what journey your character is going on.

Even later than that, though, is the opportunity to evolve into a full illithid, and this will have a bearing on your ending, so be careful!

To summarise:

  • Using illithid powers - Has no bearing on the story, and makes you more powerful over time, but companions will disapprove. In terms of headcanon, using them is best for those aiming to side with the Absolute at the end of the game.
  • Not using illithid powers - Has no bearing on the story, and companions will approve of not using them. You will miss out on some cool powers, but this is best for those completing a morally good, hero playthrough.

For more on Baldur’s Gate 3, take a look at our guide to the best weapons in the game, as well as the best spells for your mages.

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