Here’s something unironically wonderful. Via a post by Larian Studios writer Rachel Quirke, we’ve just learned of a deeply moving tribute to a player’s father that appears in the studios’ award-winning RPG Baldur’s Gate 3. In October 2020, a member of the Larian forums posted to thank the developer for releasing the first act of the game in Early Access, because it allowed them to enjoy one last adventure with their father, who had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
In a very moving post, user Solfalia explained that he and his father would regularly play role-playing games together, particularly Baldur’s Gate 2 and Larian’s previous RPGs, Divinity: Original Sin 1 and 2. The pair had been much looking forward to Baldur’s Gate 3, when during the 2020 lockdowns, Solfalia’s father was diagnosed with dementia.
When BG3 was launched into Early Access, this afforded the two the chance to, as Solfalia put it, “go on an adventure with him one last time.”
This Early Access means that this Xmas I’ll be able to go on an adventure with him one last time, and I know he’ll enjoy it. The fact that the big baddies are Mind Flayers is just the icing on the cake.
So, amidst the difficulties and pains this Early Access may have caused you, know that you have my deepest and sincere thanks. This is more than an Early Access for me, it’s another adventure I can go on with my old man and make some good memories.
“There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when we read that letter,” said Larian’s Rachel Quirke on X (formerly Twitter), January 4, when she retweeted costume designer Andrea Gatta’s tweet highlighting his discovery of the story.
Later last year, almost two years on from his original post, Solfalia returned to the Larian forums to post an update. Get tissues.
“I did end up playing with him that Christmas,” he confirmed. “And it was good fun—we enjoyed remembering the old BG2 days and getting into trouble in the new one.” He then went on to detail how he’d received an email from Larian after the initial post, offering to feature his father as a character in the full game.
“I told my Dad the following Christmas,” Solfalia continues, “as I wanted to make sure he knew before the disease progressed too far, and he was so happy he asked me to send a thank you to the team, complete with a picture of his goofy smiling face.”
Expecting a nice reference on an in-game plaque, or maybe in one of the game’s dozens of books, Solfalia got in touch with Larian to ask how to find the tribute when the game was released. This was the reply:
The Glitter Gala, Bloomridge Park, and the Blushing Mermaid form a triangle in the Lower City of Baldur’s Gate, and at its centre is Golbraith’s Cellar – where the mighty Golbraith Stredivas can be found. A mind flayer hunter of great renown, he has since retired and now spends his days writing – in the hopes of passing his knowledge on to future generations.
When Solfalia found the cellar, he reported absorbing every element of it. It was much more than he was expecting. “Not only did Golbraith look like my father, but he had multiple lines of dialogue,” they posted. “Some really touching ones too (for me, at least). The different papers in the house were amazing, the stack of letters between Golbraith and his son put a lump in my throat. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t misty eyed. The secret mind flayer hunter cellar was awesome.”
“I volunteered to write Golbraith,” Quirke said in her tweet, adding that the mind flayer hunter allegory had been another team member’s idea. “Really happy we got to honour the mighty mind flayer hunter.”
“As soon as I finished looking through the whole house, I told my Dad,” Solfalia concluded in his post. “He’s in a care home now, so can’t play the game, but he listened to my description with a child-like glee I haven’t seen in a while. He loved every moment of it. He loved the idea that his character has a monocle, and was proud his character has a secret cellar with weapons. He still talks about it from time to time during our weekly chats.”
Alzheimer’s is a cruel and brutal disease, and if you feel so inclined, you can support efforts to fight it by donating to the Alzheimer’s Association.