Forget Karlach and Shadowheart, my new favourite Baldur's Gate 3 pairing is this delusional fan romance with zero supporting evidence

Raphael, a cambion in his human disguise from Baldur's Gate 3 is positioned conspicuously behind Withers.
(Image credit: Larian Studios / Tinkerpopp on Reddit.)

"We were robbed," boldly states a post on the Baldur's Gate 3 subreddit, one that inexplicably has over 14,000 upvotes. "We were cheated," cries its sister. Both show Withers, everyone's favourite respec zombie, hastily added into a fancam-style montage with Raphael, a devilish antagonist.

We were robbed from r/BaldursGate3

Despite Tinkerpopp's insistence that you can get this 'ending' with "high enough deception to convince Withers that Raphael wants sloppy toppy" (I read that, so you have to as well), this is obviously achieved with mods. I recognise Wyll's ballroom dancing cutscene in there, among a few others—pieced together like the world's worst ransom letter.

The edits themselves really are something. Styling themselves in the vein of dramatic tic-tocs made by pining fans with big dreams of their favourite character's hidden love-lives, they show Raphael and Withers dancing around each other as lovers entwining, kissing under the moonlight, and resting beneath the stars. Don't think about what's implied about the end of the video above. That way lies madness.

We were cheated from r/BaldursGate3

Something got into the water over the weekend, clearly. This most unexpected of Baldur's Gate 3 ships comes from user Tinkerpopp, whose hobby seems to be making fun Baldur's Gate 3 edits like this one of Karlach dunking on Gortash, Smash Bros style.

I'm aware that trying to rationalise this thing is like trying to understand fifth-dimensional space, the concept of infinity, or Cyberpunk 2077's vehicle physics. I doubt I'll reach a conclusion that makes any kind of sense, but I can at least give you a better understanding of why this pairing is so thoroughly out of left field by delving into these unlikely star-crossed lovers' lore. Spoilers for Raphael and Withers' character arcs abound below.

First off, Withers is smooth like a ken doll down there. Moreover, he's likely Jergal, a primordial Forgotten Realms god of death and entropy who is shockingly chill, considering his past employment. This mystery was pieced together by the community a while back, via some in-game texts. Jergal's past monikers include the Judge of the Damned, the Lord of the End of Everything, and the Guardian of Tombs⁠—none of that strikes me as something you'd put on a dating app.

He split up his dominion among the evil gods Bane, Myrkul, and Bhaal back when they were adventurers rocking up to his doorstep with a mind to take his stuff. According to the Sword Coast Adventurer's guide, this is because he was bored: "But he grew tired of his duties, for he knew them too well, and without challenge there is nothing."

Raphael is a powerful Cambion with his eyes on the throne of the Nine Hells. He's not an archfiend by any means, however, Raphael commands a substantial amount of influence for a half-devil. Unlike the three adventurers which stormed Jergal's domain, Raphael would likely recognise Jergal for the mastermind he is and get out of dodge the moment he offered Raphael anything. After all, he's already got a boyfriend. Kinda. Does an incubus that looks like a clone of you count? Philosophers have been debating this for decades.

So, we have the embodiment of a retired god of death, plus a workaholic infernal schemer with eyes on a completely different cosmic realm. How would these two end up together? They wouldn't. That's the beauty of it. It's as if the community meticulously tested each and every Baldur's Gate 3 character under a microscope, found two characters with as little to do with each other as they could, then smashed them together like action figures.

Unless. What if Jergal tired of his dominion, what if he wanted something more? What if he wishes to know what it's like to be mortal, to hope, to feel nervous, to love? For Raphael, Withers represents an opponent he cannot outsmart or outwit, someone with tremendous knowledge of the damned, someone he can never control. 

Perhaps through a chance meeting, they would kindle something unheard of, bizarre to outsiders but real—something entirely new. Anything can happen. Love finds a way. We were robbed.

Harvey Randall
Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.