You may be familiar with Baldur’s Gate 3 speedrun tricks like shadowboxing, which is where you kill Shadowheart and stuff her in a box as a way of skipping through a substantial part of the game. Which is honestly a bit of a rough way to treat God’s favorite princess and the most interesting girl in the world. Shadowheart gets some comeuppance in a technique used by Mae, the speedrunner who holds the current world records for any%, all acts%, and sex%. Let me introduce you to the Shadowbear.
This one works thanks to the massive amounts of bludgeoning damage you cause by transforming into something big, then jumping on someone in Baldur’s Gate 3. The orbital owlbear strike is the most brutal example of this exploit, but Mae uses a slightly different one to wrap up act two’s boss fight 12 minutes into her recent run for Awesome Games Done Quick 2024. By casting enlarge on Shadowheart before transforming her into a bear, then making her invisible, Mae creates a stealth bomb that weighs 5,005 kilograms and kills first Ketheric Thorm and then his final form, the avatar of Myrkul, simply by landing on their heads.
In the same run Mae demonstrates a technique for visiting developer rooms, and then explains it in more detail after wrapping up all three acts in a tidy 33.21.8. Dev rooms are hidden spaces where game designers keep test objects as well as characters that need to be swapped in and out of a game in play. One such character in Baldur’s Gate 3 is Orin the Red, the boss who shapeshifts into different forms to freak you out in act three. When she shapeshifts the ordinary NPC she’s pretending to be gets teleported to the dev room, and that provides speedrunners and glitch enjoyers with an opportunity to follow.
It works like this. First, Mae finds one of the NPCs who transforms into Orin the Red. Then, without triggering the dialogue where this would normally happen, she reverse-pickpockets the protagonist’s corpse into the NPC’s inventory. (Shadowheart isn’t the only character who gets repeatedly killed and resurrected by speedrunners, and Mae’s player-character, Tom from MySpace, suffers as well.) It’s surprisingly easy to sneak a dead body into someone’s pants in Baldur’s Gate 3, requiring only a Difficulty Class 0 sleight-of-hand check. When Mae slaps the disguised Orin with a mage hand it triggers her transformation, letting the dead protagonist hitch a ride. At which point the conjuration wizard ability Benign Transposition: Teleport, which lets you teleport wherever an ally is, allows Mae to join Tom from MySpace in the dev room.
There are at least two dev rooms in Baldur’s Gate 3, each containing a variety of NPCs and objects. There’s a sheep for some reason, as well as several spare Orins, Dribbles the Clown, gods like Bane and Shar, and the half-orc named Honk who is one of the game’s most elusive NPCs.
Back to the run, Mae wraps up act three with the illithid power Fierce Perilous Stakes, which adds a bonus to any kind of damage you cause. Since every missile cast with the spell magic missile deals damage separately, Fierce Perilous Stakes applies to each of them individually, meaning the final boss can be defeated with a single level 3 casting of every wizard’s fallback spell.
As someone who hasn’t wrapped their second playthrough of Baldur’s Gate 3 at 194 hours and counting, seeing this unhurried speedrun finish in just over half an hour is inspiring. Time to dive back in I think, though I’ll be treating Shadowheart a little more nicely in my run.