Baldur's Gate 3 has a lot of options for the romantically inclined, but Karlach the tiefling Barbarian has ended up being one of the most popular, at least here at PC Gamer, where the thirst for the fiery bodyguard is unrelenting. So, if you fancy having a hot tiefling girlfriend who's literally on fire, I've got some dating tips for you.
Like all of the RPG's romantic options, any character can date Karlach, as long as you make the right choices and build up her approval through dialogue and heroic deeds. First, though, you'll need to find her in Act 1, and she's easier to miss compared to your first companions.
How to recruit Karlach
Unlike Shadowheart, Astarion, Gale, Lae'zel and Wyll, Karlach can't be found near the nautiloid crash site or the Emerald Grove, but she isn't too far away. Once you've recruited Wyll the Warlock, he'll tell you that he's hunting a devil with a fearsome reputation, adding a new quest marker to your map. This gives you a broad area to search rather than her specific location.
In the north of the Act 1 map, just south of the Risen Road waypoint, you'll find a toll house and the signs of battle. Inside you'll find people claiming to be Paladins of Tyr hunting down the devil. They've taken a beating, though, and explain that Karlach has fled the scene. They want you to find and kill her, and to help you'll be given an enchanted greatsword, the Sword of Justice, by their leader, Anders.
Conveniently, Karlach is just down the road and across a stream. Once you find her, you'll realise that she's not a devil, but a tiefling, and that her reputation as a ruthless monster is unfounded. If you have Wyll in your party he'll initially be eager for a fight, but you can make the pair set aside their enmity to work together. Karlach will also tell you that the people hunting her aren't Paladins of Tyr at all, and will ask for your help in dispatching them.
Bringing Karlach back to the toll house, you'll be able to confront Anders, and if you succeed in a skill check you'll be able to confirm that he's lying about who he is. Either way, you'll be able to side with Karlach, kicking off a fight. Anders is the main threat here, so I recommend using the Hold Person spell to neutralise him, after which you can quickly take him out. Karlach is a big damage dealer, so this shouldn't take long. After you've wiped the floor with the phoney Paladins, Karlach will join your crew for good.
How to build Karlach's approval
Karlach is an honourable warrior with a tragic backstory that informs her personality and the sort of actions and dialogue options she approves of. She'll appreciate you punishing evil-doers and likes a bit of violence if it's directed towards villains. As a tiefling, she's happy when you help and support other tieflings, and also broadly likes seeing you being kind to people, as long as they aren't arseholes. Basically, being honest and decent with a dash of vengeful wrath will make her your pal in no time.
Naturally, she won't be very pleased if you side with the goblins against the tieflings and druids, and she'll actually leave your party if you go down the evil route. If you want to keep her around, you'll need to defeat the goblins in their camp and kill their leaders, or defend the grove from the goblin attack.
As you get to know Karlach, you'll learn more about her Infernal Engine, a device in her chest that aids her in battle. You can empower her by giving her Soul Coins, but the downside of the Infernal Engine is that it makes her so hot that she can't touch anyone without burning them.
By building up her approval, you'll be able to have a sweet moment back at camp where she tells you how she feels, and you can choose to spend the night together. She'll join you by the fire, but due to her Infernal Engine a physical relationship is impossible. To progress things, you'll need to find Infernal Iron. Once you've found some, you can visit the tiefling blacksmith, Dammon, in the Emerald Grove. He'll warn you that the Infernal Engine could prove to be fatal, but that he can use the Infernal Iron to repair it.
How to get your first kiss with Karlach
Once you have a piece of Infernal Iron in your possession, go back to Dammon and let the blacksmith work his magic. Thanks to Dammon, Karlach's Infernal Engine will be repaired, but more work will still need to be done before it stops being a danger to other people. He tells you to meet him in Baldur's Gate and keep an eye out for more Infernal Iron.
While Dammon's handiwork won't stop Karlach from burning anyone she touches initially, you can still express your desire to share a smooch with your tiefling girlfriend—something she's very keen to try out. But you'll need to find a way to make her a bit more chill. I just threw a bottle of water at her which, admittedly, is not the most romantic way to get a first kiss. Any method you can think of that cools her down will work just as well, including using ice arrows. Seduction is weird in the Forgotten Realms.
Once she's damp, you'll share a brief kiss, but she's still running very hot, so expect your lips to be burned. Worth it, I reckon. This will be as far as you can go until you meet Dammon again, however, but you'll see him sooner than expected.
How to sleep with Karlach
You won't reach Baldur's Gate until Act 3, but luckily you'll bump into Dammon and the rest of the tiefling refugees before then. In Act 2, head to the Last Light Inn, and you'll find the blacksmith working away in the stables. Here, you can give him another piece of Infernal Iron, which he'll be able to use to permanently allow Karlach to touch again without fear of incinerating you.
Karlach's had to keep people at arm's length for a decade by this point, so she's eager to head back to camp and knock boots. There's no time limit on this, however, so feel free to continue adventuring until you fancy a romantic interlude. Back at camp, chat to Karlach and respond positively to her desire for intimacy. You can lean in for a kiss at this point, and then agree to meet up once everyone is asleep. Go for a long rest, and then Karlach will join you.
While some RPGs treat the sex scene as the ultimate relationship goal, placing them at the end of the game, Baldur's Gate 3 presents romantic relationships as considerably deeper. As you progress through the rest of the acts, you'll be able to discuss your relationship with Karlach, and strengthen it through various scenes, like when a nymph in the circus outside Baldur's Gate tests how well you know her.
Karlach's personal quest will continue, as well, as she'll meet the man who sold her to her former devilish master. You'll also need to find a way to stop the Infernal Engine from killing her, which Dammon warns will happen unless she returns to Avernus, which she absolutely doesn't want to do. So this is far from the end of your journey together.