Should You Consume Tadpoles in Baldur’s Gate 3?

If you consume tadpoles in Baldur’s Gate 3, it will have consequences. Let’s talk about all the possibilities and the best option for you.

Should You Consume Tadpoles in Baldur's Gate 3

Tadpoles change any humanoid race to the mind flayer. It is stated very clearly at the beginning. Outside of your power, you will be infected with those little parasites at the beginning of the game, where your character’s story begins. But as you progress, you will find more specimens of this weird story element and even be encouraged to consume them. Consequently, everyone playing Baldur’s Gate 3 for the first time wonders about the consequences of these peculiar and often unsettling actions. Is it worth it? In this guide, we discuss all possibilities to answer the question: Should You Consume Tadpoles in Baldur’s Gate 3?

Please Note: The content below includes Baldur’s Gate 3 Story spoilers.

Finding Tadpoles in Baldur’s Gate 3

How to Level Illithid Powers - Mind Flayer Parasite in Jar - Baldur’s Gate 3
Mind Flayer Parasite in Jar

Tadpoles can be found throughout your journey in Baldur’s Gate 3. After experiencing your first dream with the Guardian, you can consume any tadpoles you find. These tadpoles grant special Illithid abilities when consumed. Look for green jars with parasites inside. You can find them in some absolute worshipers’ inventory after you defeat them or sometimes on the desks and various containers transporting those specimens to cultists.

Consuming Tadpoles in Baldur’s Gate 3?

Illithid Powers and Mind Flayer Abilities Showcase - Baldur's Gate 3
Illithid Powers and Mind Flayer Abilities Showcase

Consuming tadpoles grants you access to Illithid powers, which can be helpful. However, the first two acts have no significant story consequences for consuming them. However, in Act 3, consuming a tadpole can further evolve you, unlocking additional Illithid abilities and changing your appearance.

Opening your mind to the Astral-Touched Tadpole

The Astral-Touched Tadpole is obtained during Act 2, specifically after you reach the city of Baldur’s Gate and encounter Githyanki warriors. Opening your mind to it unlocks the final tier of Illithid powers and grants access to abilities not otherwise available. This action also changes your character’s appearance with black veins on your face.

BG3 Best Spells for the Paladin Class

When You Receive It

You obtain the Astral-Touched Tadpole during Act 2 after reaching the city of Baldur’s Gate. On your first night in the city, you’ll be attacked by githyanki warriors during a long rest at camp. Concurrently, you’ll experience severe headaches due to the Absolute’s psionic influence, starting to turn into a mind flayer, which imposes penalties to mental skill checks and inflicts psychic damage each turn. During this event, an Astral Portal will appear in your camp, and you must reach it within three turns to avoid an immediate game-over.

Reaching the Portal

Ignore the Githyanki warriors attacking you and focus on getting to the portal. Try to enter the Astral plane as soon as possible. Once through the portal, you’ll encounter a rogue mind flayer, the Emperor, who reveals themselves as the Dream Guardian who has been shielding you from the Absolute’s influence. After helping the Emperor defeat the githyanki, he will offer you the Astral-Touched Tadpole.

Option 1: Open Your Mind to the Tadpole

BG3 Astral Touched Tadpole

Here are the consequences of opening your mind to the Tadpole:

  • Consuming the special white tadpole unlocks the third and final tier of the Illithid Powers skill tree in Baldur’s Gate 3.
  • Automatically unlocks all powers in the first tier of the Illithid Powers skill tree.
  • Grants the “Fly” Class Action node in the Illithid Powers skill tree.
  • Causes a permanent cosmetic change, giving your character black veiny marks on their face.
  • Allows sharing the powers of the Astral-Touched Tadpole with any companion already infected by a tadpole through dialogue and skill checks.

All illithid powers granted when you consume Astral-Touched Tadpole and become half-illithid in Baldur’s Gate 3:

FlyFly to a target position. (Range: 18 m / 60 ft)
Concentrated BlastYou must be concentrating on another spell to cast this. If the target was concentrating, you heal as much as the damage that was dealt to it.
The spell you were concentrating on will end.
Force TunnelCharge forward, pushing all objects and creatures in your path 4 m / 13 ft away from you. Doesn’t provoke Opportunity Attacks.
Favourable BeginningsThe first Attack roll or Ability check you make against any target gains a bonus equal to your Proficiency Bonus.
Psionic OverloadYour attacks deal an additional 1d4 Psychic damage, but you take 1d4 Psychic damage every turn.
Transfuse HealthSacrifice half your remaining hit points to heal a target for the same amount.

Option 2: Eat the Tadpole

Here are the consequences of eating the Tadpole:

  • It grants the same effects as opening your mind to the tadpole.
  • Your companions can no longer use The tadpole in the future.
  • The second option offers no extra benefits compared to the first, which makes it less preferable.

Option 3: Stomp on the Tadpole

Here are the consequences of stomping on the Tadpole:

  • Angers the Emperor, though they will still guide you on the task, and the story continues.
  • It prevents you and your companions from gaining enhanced Illithid powers forever.

Option 4: Refuse the Tadpole

Here are the consequences of refusing the Tadpole:

  • The Emperor urges you to reconsider and lets you keep the tadpole.
  • It allows you to access it in your inventory and decide later whether to consume the tadpole or not in Baldur’s Gate 3.
  • You can choose to use it yourself or share it with others later, leaving you with flexibility in your decision.

Consequences of Consuming Tadpoles in BG3?

When the Emperor presents you with the Astral-Touched Tadpole, this is the moment when you need to make the decision that will hold all the consequences of consuming Tadpoles in BG3.

Baldur's Gate 3 - half illithid - fully unlocked powers
Illithid Powers

If you consumed at least one tadpole in Act 1 or 2, but want to resist the special Astral-Touched Tadpole, you must pass the 21 DC wisdom skill check to oppose the Emperor and refuse. The Skill check will be higher in that case. However, if you seek the Illithid powers, consuming this special tadpole is your next step.

Baldur's Gate 3 - half illithid characters after consuming Tadpole

Players who want to feel powerful or witness the outcomes of those extra powers tied to becoming half-Illithid and don’t mind consuming even more tadpoles should open their minds to the Astral-Touched Tadpole. Some of those Illithid skills are genuinely overpowered, like the Blackhole skill. In that case, you should also consider gaining a special permanent bonus during a visit to Githyanki Creche in Act 1 that will allow you to cast Illithid abilities as bonus action, making them even more helpful.

However, if you are the player who doesn’t care for extra powers and would prefer their character to look unchanged, you can refuse to consume the Astral-Touched Tadpole and prepare for the wisdom skill check in Baldur’s Gate 3. Some players may also want to avoid it because it doesn’t fit their character or are more interested in the story without becoming half-illithid. All are reasonable choices, so pick what works best for you.

How to Get Ring of Truthfulness in Baldur’s Gate 3 mindflayer

Consuming tadpoles in Baldur’s Gate 3 has no further consequences. Closer to the game’s end, you will be presented with one more “Alpha tadpole” that can change you into a full mind flayer, but don’t worry. The choice and its effects will be clearly stated when the time comes.

Sharing the Astral-Touched Tadpole’s Powers with Companions

Baldur’s Gate 3 Wyll and the Illithid Powers
Wyll and the Illithid Powers

In Baldur’s Gate 3, if you choose to keep or open your mind to the Astral-Touched tadpole, you can also attempt to convince your companions to consume it. You can persuade companions by interacting with them and choose

“I want to discuss the Astral-Touched Tadpole”

Lastly, you must pass a skill check with most companions, which differs for each companion. If you successfully complete a skill check, you change their minds. If persuaded, your companion will also gain enhanced Illithid powers.

Here are the required skill checks for each companion:

  • Astarion: 15 DC Wisdom
  • Gale: 18 DC Persuasion
  • Karlach (two skill checks required): 14 DC Persuasion and DC 14 Intimidation OR Persuasion
  • Lae’zel (two skill checks required): 15 DC Wisdom or 20 DC Persuasion and DC 15 Persuasion
  • Minthara: No Skill check
  • Shadowheart: DC 15 Persuasion
  • Wyll: 15 DC Wisdom or 18 DC Persuasion

Are Illithid Powers Indeed Powerful and Tadpoles Worth it?

Illithid Power’s passive benefits make them robust and worth considering. Luck of the Far Realms can change an Attack Roll into a critical hit once per long rest. Fourable Beginnings adds a proficiency bonus to the first attack roll against a character. Also, Cull of the Weak passively does area-based damage when a target dies. Even Psionic Backlash inflicts psychic damage to enemies within 9 meters when they attack you. These passive bonuses add up, giving you a tremendous advantage, and are exceptionally helpful on Honour Mode, solo playthroughs, or overall high difficulties.

Black Hole Illithid Power - BG3

Also, after you unlock the Outer Ring, a Black Hole, and have the Awakened Illithid Powers permanent bonus, you can single-handedly win fights. Suck in massive amounts of enemies with the Black Hole ability while slowing them down. The combo consumes a bonus action, so you can follow it up with a substantial area-based fireball, Ice Storm, or arrow of many targets with the Oil of Combustion added to your bow.

Additionally, Mind Blast acts as a conal stun (you witness it in the prologue during the Mind Flayer Tiefling fight). Mind Blast forces an intelligence save, which will be low on many enemies unless they are spellcasters. For mobility, you are granted Fly, which transforms your movement speed and prevents ground-based traps from activating. Consequently, players choose the tadpole in Honour Mode or performance-based combat campaigns.

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