Baldur’s Gate 3’s Dark Urge isn’t a monster – they’re an average RPG protagonist

Baldur’s Gate 3’s Dark Urge isn’t a monster – they’re an average RPG protagonist

The Dark Urge might seem like an unflinching killer, but in most RPGs, they would be the hero of the story.

One of the best aspects of Baldur’s Gate 3 is how it turns a cast of initially unlikeable characters into cherished allies and beloved friends. Chipping away at the icy exterior of Astarion, Lae’zel, and Shadowheart is a big part of why people love those companions. 

But what about Tav, the protagonist of the story? The only Origins in Baldur’s Gate 3 that offer true character customization are the Custom and Dark Urge versions of Tav, with the former being the default ‘white meat babyface’ and the latter a person overcome with sadistic desires.

What’s interesting about the Dark Urge is how they turn the classic tropes of RPG on their head. Some players would never consider experiencing the Dark Urge playthrough, even though there is a grim familiarity to its story. 

The Dark is an RPG trope machine

Baldur’s Gate 3’s Dark Urge isn’t a monster – they’re an average RPG protagonist

The Dark Urge is an amnesiac with a mysterious past, one filled with bloodshed and half-forgotten crimes. Over the course of the narrative, they learn that they’re related to one of the big bads of the story and are the chosen one with an important destiny they must complete.

(Now that I think about it, the Dark Urge is pretty much Darth Revan from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.)

Compared to the other Origin stories in Baldur’s Gate 3, the Dark Urge fits a ton of RPG hero tropes, right down to the fact that they’re related to the heroes of the previous story (your character in Baldur’s Gate 1 & 2, or Abdel Adrian in D&D lore.)

What makes the Dark Urge so fun is that these topes are flipped. The chosen one is not the hero of light but the scion of darkness. The god of murder has handcrafted you to be a literal engine of destruction, and it’s up to the player whether they follow the call or reject their destiny and defy their parents.

The Dark Urge is an old-school tabletop RPG character

Baldur’s Gate 3’s Dark Urge isn’t a monster – they’re an average RPG protagonist

There was a time when D&D was a game of killing things and taking their stuff, a concept easily adaptable into video game form. Not that this was an easy task, as old-school D&D was horribly balanced and could be extremely deadly, so the danger went both ways. 

Many players who come to D&D will initially focus on the combat aspects of the game, especially those who are younger when they roll their first character. This is because it’s the easiest part of the game to get your head around — exciting adventures in the vein of The Fellowship of the Ring, with monsters to fight and treasure to find. 

This also leads to many D&D campaigns turning into Grand Theft Auto, with players causing trouble in cities, as it’s only a game, and they don’t care about the consequences of their actions. In Grand Theft Auto terms, many players hit the 3-5 star limit early on once they murdered a guard who back-sassed them.

Luckily, most players grow out of this phase and learn to love D&D and other tabletop RPGs for different reasons, such as the characters and the story. We all still remember those early days when we acted like murder hobos and went on rampages across the Forgotten Realms.

The Dark Urge is that concept distilled into one character — a murderous monster who will kill anyone without hesitation. I’ve seen D&D players who are the nicest people in the world do some truly heinous things in-game because they are unshackled from responsibility, both legally and morally. 

That’s what makes the Dark Urge such a genius concept. This character, who comes off as a being of utter evil, is just the average RPG protagonist. While games like Moon and Undertale have also explored this concept in the past, few have captured the monstrous nature of an RPG hero better than Baldur’s Gate 3. 

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