D&D lore buff discovers Elminster's likely been leaving magic items strewn around Baldur's Gate 3 like a fantasy wizard Santa Claus

Baldur's Gate 3's Elminster
(Image credit: Larian)

You ever thought about why you find so many potent, powerful magic items in Baldur's Gate 3? No, really—while most of the places you delve into are dangerous, they're also abandoned and lost to the ravages of time. Why in the nine hells is there the arcane equivalent of a fully-functioning Glock in some chest in the deep wilderness?

Turns out there's actual, honest-to-Mystra D&D lore justifications for this, and they involve a kindly old Wizard. This isn't substantiated in-game—but it is one hell of a deep-cut that justified why I keep finding enchanted cloaks on corpses.

As spotted by SurroundBulky4109 on the game's subreddit (thanks, TheGamer), a passage in the 26-year old book "The Temptation of Elminster" by Ed Greenwood details the adventures of Elminster himself as one of Mystra's chosen. Elminster, of course, takes stage in Baldur's Gate 3 as an old friend of Gale, as well as the bearer of Faerûn's worst fantasy text message from an ex at the top of Act 2. 

The passage itself follows Elminster entering into The Crypt of Moondark. Not to pilfer it, but to add wealth to it. Hilariously, it reads:

"Eaergladden Moondark had died destitute, begging his kin for a few coppers with which to buy a roasting-fowl… but who, save one Elminster, was still alive to remember that? So accomplished a mage as Eaergladden could quite well have had a wand, and of course a spellbook." He proceeds to then put a wand, a spellbook, and a dagger in the tomb for later adventurers to find. 

"This work took up much of his time in the service of Mystra, these days, at her bidding, Elminster travelled Faerûn visiting ruins and the tombs of dead mages, planting 'old' scrolls, spellbooks, minor enchanted items, and even the occasional staff for later folk to find… and all such leavings were in truth items she'd just finished Grafting, and made to look old."

So not only are the magic items most D&D players find complete forgeries from the mother of magic herself—they're not even antiques. Elminster's generosity is great for tomb raiders, but must've wrecked havoc on any well-meaning historian trying to put together Faerûn's history. 

The reason? Mystra just wants magic to be proliferated, rather than in the hands of "a few archwizards lording it over the spell-poor or magically barren, as had happened in the days of lost Netheril." I shan't delve into it too much to avoid spoilers, but considering Gale's condition in Baldur's Gate 3, the plot thread of Mystra's opposition to Netheril is kept alive and well nearly 26 years later.

Considering his involvement in the game's story, it's extremely possible that—for the lion's share of items you find not on already-legendary creatures—Elminster Claus put them there. So there you have it: I've apparently got a futzy old wizard to thank for the gear that turned my Honour Mode bard into an absolute monster

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.