Skip to main content

Baldur's Gate 3 Missing Shipment: Should you open the Iron Flask?

The age old question: should you open the box?

Astarion holding the mysterious Iron Flask from the missing shipment in Baldur's Gate 3
Image credit: Larian/VG247

In Baldur's Gate 3 the missing shipment on the Risen Road belongs to the Zhentarim - so you know it’s got to be something good.

There are a few different ways that you can find this quest. Maybe you stumbled onto the manifest in the middle of a pack of hyenas? Maybe you already made your way into the Zhentarim Hideout at the back of Waukeen’s Rest?

Either way, it presents you with a tantalising moral conundrum: should you steal the shipment for yourself and open the box? And what should you do with the mysterious Iron Flask inside?

Here’s what happens if you do.

Where to find the missing shipment in Baldur’s Gate 3

An annotated map showing the location of the Missing Shipment in the northern part of the map in Baldur's Gate 3.
You need to fight your way through a couple of packs of gnolls to reach the missing shipment. | Image credit: VG247 / Larian Studios

Whether you’ve been sent to find it by Zarys or just found the manifest, your short-term destination is the same. To find the missing shipment, make your way to the northern part of the Risen Road. Here you will find a cave besieged by gnolls with two men inside. Defeat the gnolls and the couriers are free, it’s as simple as that!

Lae'zel charming a gnoll warlord in Baldur's Gate 3
Image credit: Larian/VG247

Except this is Baldur’s Gate 3, so it’s never that simple. As you approach the cave, do not attack Flind, the Gnoll Warlord, even though a battle starts. On its turn, Flind will approach your closest character and you can pass some dialogue checks to get it to fight on your side against the other gnolls.

This massively turns the tables on what is otherwise a tough encounter, so let Flind draw the aggro and have your party take potshots from a distance.

Once the rest of the gnolls are defeated, you can command Flind to attack the couriers, run away, eat themselves or fight you on their own. I’d recommend either trying to get them to eat themselves or fight them, because they give you a pretty cool weapon as loot.

With the monsters dealt with, Rugan will thank you for your help and give you the password for the Zhentarim hideout at the back of Waukeen’s Rest if you haven’t already visited it.

But now you have a choice to make: do you intimidate or kill the two couriers and take the shipment for yourself, or do you let them take it back to their friends at the Zhentarim hideout?

Should you open the shipment, or take the Iron Flask back to Zarys intact?

A map of Waukeen's Rest in Baldur's Gate 3 with the entrance to the Zhentarim Hideout highlighted.
You deliver the missing shipment to the Zhentarim hideout in Waukeen's Rest (found in the top-left corner of the map). | Image credit: VG247 / Larian Studios

If you haven’t already found the Zhentarim hideout in Waukeen’s Rest, it’s behind the shabby door in the top left-hand corner of the map, north of the Goblin Camp. Waukeen’s Rest is where you help rescue the trapped man and counsellor.

Inside you have to pass a couple of dialogue checks if you’ve not already received the password from Rugan. But after that, head down the hatch, through the locked wardrobe in the basement and into the wide open cavern.

The leader, Zarys, is at the top of the ladder overlooking the trader and artist.

If you take the shipment back to Zarys sealed:

If you take the missing shipment back to Zarys intact, you receive some gold for your trouble, XP for completing the quest and a promise that the Zhentarim will look upon you favourably in Baldur’s Gate when you get there.

In the short-term as well, you will also be allowed access to improved stock at the merchant down the ladder. He has lots of great magical items, including some clothing that goes incredibly well with the lightning weapon you get from saving the trapped counsellor.

If you steal the shipment back to Zarys opened:

If you opened the shipment yourself, Zarys is not pleased in the slightest. Saying, “you’ve killed us all”, she and the rest of the Zhentarim attack you, but they’re not too tough to defeat since you have the high ground on most of them.

Managing to defeat them nets you a ton of gold, some XP, and the return of the mysterious Iron Flask you found in the shipment.

Given the seriousness of her frightened reaction, you can expect some repercussions for your actions once you reach Baldur’s Gate, where someone might just come looking for that Iron Flask.

If you open the Iron Flask:

But what’s inside the Iron Flask that’s got everyone so worked up?

If you interact with the flask, an Arcana check tells you that it’s a powerful artifact which can trap people and creatures. If you pull the stopper, one of the iconic monsters of the Dungeons and Dragons universe pops out: a Beholder.

The party fighting a mighty Beholder from inside the Iron Flask in Baldur's Gate 3
Image credit: Larian/VG247

The Beholder will then attack your party and is tough to deal with. But if you can take it down you get a chunk of XP - there’s nothing to loot from it though.

If you turned the Zhentarim against you but didn't steal the shipment:

Sadly, if you'd previously entered the Zhentarim Hideout and managed to turn them against you, and then decided to let Rugan and co. take the crate back themselves, you've locked yourself out of the loot completely. Your friends from the road will have taken it back to the hideout, only to clear out along with the buddies you aggroed before you returned.

This means there's no way to get at the contents of the chest now. On the plus side, the quest will mark off as completed at this point, so at least it won't be hanging around in your journal forever — and you can still loot what's left in the hideout, as well as helping the prisoner Oskar who will have remained behind when his captors left.

Read this next