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  • Kayla Weaver

The Journey to Faerun

As a full-time student with a full-time job, there is very little time I have for hobbies that I enjoy. However, I have always made a point to squeeze in two things: reading and video games. I would consider myself a follower of BookTok and Bookstagram (if you have been personally victimized by the lack of sleep due to reading trends and bingeing the entire Sarah J. Maas series, please raise your hand). But I also label myself as a casual gamer; I even invested in a basic gaming PC to play Hogwarts Legacy when that came out. But for a while, reading was my primary distraction outside of school and work, simply because I felt out of touch with the gaming community. I wasn’t familiar with many upcoming games, hardly understood gaming lingo, and certainly didn’t have many opinions of patch updates on the games I did play. I played cozy games such as Animal Crossing, Pokèmon, or the occasional shooter game like Overwatch 2. My poor gaming PC had really begun to become a dust collector on my desk. That is, however, until the fall of 2023, when the launch of Baldur’s Gate 3 by Larian Studios began appearing all over my “For You Page” on Instagram.

           What was most interesting about this game appearing on my timeline on every aspect of social media was the fact it was being highlighted by accounts usually sharing book-related content. I realized very quickly that this game had grabbed the attention of BookTok, and I was curious to discover why. It became clear very quickly that the reason Baldur’s Gate 3 was increasingly popular with the reading community was the romance options available. I became familiar with the different options of romance long before I knew anything else about this game. Prior to its launch, I had never heard of the Baldur’s Gate games (which appeared over 20 years prior) or knew what the gameplay was even like. I started doing my research and discovered the world of these games is based on Dungeons & Dragons (my experience with D&D is limited to the little that I learned from watching Stranger Things) and was a fantasy role-playing game or RPG. Although I had little experience with this game type, the FOMO was getting to me, and I decided I wanted to join the hype.

           I booted up my dust collector PC and purchased Baldur’s Gate 3 not long after Thanksgiving, and spent much of my winter break playing it. I soon realized why this game was gaining popularity in the book community- it was a fantasy world come to life, and you were the main character. Upon starting, you build your own character in Character Creation, with hundreds of combinations of options for race, subraces, class, hair, skin, and even body modifications such as piercings and tattoos. After creating your character, you begin your journey, waking up on the Nautiloid ship with a mind-flayer parasite in your head. You start meeting companions as you start out the pale-haired elf Astarion with a dark secret, the hot-headed Githyanki Lae’Zel, and the talkative wizard Gale. Almost everything you do, including dialogue, is a choice you select. You are creating your story and marking your path your own way, with the roll of the dice of fate! Again, most of it is based on D&D, but not knowing anything prior didn’t hinder my ability to fully enjoy and immerse myself into the world-building and story. There is magic, romance, and adventure to be had on your way across the world of Faerun.

           My final take is the beauty of the game is only second to the community it has built. The popularity across social media and in the book community helped this game get Game of the Year in the Game Awards. Its popularity amongst BookTok also encouraged the women who love their romantic books to try this game (I was certainly convinced), as well as women who game and stream using their social media presence to encourage other women to play. To sum it up, don’t be intimidated by the game mechanics or not knowing much about D&D to play! If you love reading fantasy and romance, such as Fourth Wing and A Court of Thorns and Roses, then consider playing a game that lets you escape to a magical world and be the main character of your own fantasy. I recommend Baldur’s Gate 3 to anyone and everyone, which is not only on PC but also available on consoles such as Xbox and PS5. The journey to Faerun is an exceptional one.

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