When a Dragon Age fan learns that its setting, Thedas, began as shorthand for The Dragon Age Setting, it blows their mind. It’s a common refrain in the community, something many have experienced. Interestingly, Baldur’s Gate 3 has something very similar with the default custom character name of Tav. It’s not as strong of a connection, but just as many BG3 players shorten The Dark Urge to Durge, it’s more than enough to justify some headcanons.
As some may know, Tav is actually a shortened version of Gustav—the project codename for Baldur’s Gate 3 when it was in development. Several references to it could be found in the game’s early access files, and as it turns out, Gustav is the name of Larian Studios CEO and founder Swen Vincke’s dog. Naming a project after a dog is adorable, but it’s hard not to see any connection between Tav and the credited names of the playable characters: Tadpoled Adventurers.
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While they do not speak in direct dialogue for Baldur’s Gate 3, every player can assign Tav a voice for passive dialogue and such. Every actor in this case, from Emerald O’Hanrahan to Ken Nwosu, is credited as a Tadpoled Adventurer. Just like it’s hard not to see the shorthand for Thedas at practically every passing mention, it’s hard not to connect Tav to Tadpoled Adventurer. Sure, if the dots were meant to be connected, it would be something more like Taav or the much worse Taadv, but it’s still a huge coincidence that’s hard to ignore. In fact, anyone unaware of its origins in Gustav could still see this as acceptable shorthand, and they would be forgiven for connecting these dots themselves.
The proper shorthand for Gustav is undeniably adorable, and it’s unlikely Larian would take any steps to say that Tav as shorthand for Tadpoled Adventurer is as acceptable. But the beauty of a game like Baldur’s Gate 3 is how much ownership players have in their characters. No two playthroughs are the same, and no two characters have the same exact experience. Seeing Tav and thinking of Tadpoled Adventurer, while thinking that’s some key element of their character, fits right into the player-driven mold of Baldur’s Gate 3.
Right now, it stands to reason that several players have beaten the game, have started multiple characters, and have experienced many versions of Tav (if not renamed), Durge, and origin characters in BG3. The adventurer is one worth going back to time and again, and while 2023 was big for the new Larian title, 2024 is shaping up to be the same. Finger’s crossed that there’s some form of Baldur’s Gate 3 DLC announcement this year.
Baldur’s Gate 3
Baldur’s Gate 3 is a Dungeons and Dragons inspired RPG developed and published by Larian Studios. Featuring both a single player and cooperative element, players create their character by selecting a starting class, take on quests, level up, and engage in turn-based combat using the D&D 5th edition rule set.
- Baldur’s Gate
- August 3, 2023
- M for Mature: Blood and Gore, Partial Nudity, Sexual Content, Strong Language, Violence