In Dungeons and Dragons, the Underdark is a renowned and deadly underground location that consists of a gigantic network of tunnels and caverns that tie the entire surface world together. With full-blown underground oceans, numerous horrifying monstrosities, and even entire civilizations like the Drow, the Underdark is a terrifying reflection of the brighter fantasy world that unwittingly lives above it.
In Baldur’s Gate 3, a certain point of your adventure after rescuing the druid Halsin will lead you to the Underdark, forcing you to contend with the difficulties of navigating its untold depths. Your first task is to find one of the many hidden entrances. Your options include a sinkhole in the center of a destroyed village, a long-lost temple that was erected deep into the Underdark, a hidden tunnel used by a criminal smuggling gang, or utilizing a teleportation circle created by a vicious, magical Hag. Today I’ll be guiding you through the darkness to figure out which entrance you’ll benefit from the most with whatever playstyle you’ve chosen.
What to Prepare For The Underdark
The foremost thing you should know about the Underdark is that it is, indeed, very dark. Most fantasy races in BG3 have a trait known as “dark vision” that marginally improves their view in darkness, yet some of the most popular races like baseline humans do lack this trait, meaning dark rooms will more severely limit what they can do. There are a few things you can prepare to make sure any area you head into stays appropriately lit. Torches are one of these, but they do take one of your hands to hold them, keeping martially-oriented characters from holding a shield that could be the difference between life and death.
Instead of torches, you can opt for magical methods of lighting your way. This includes cantrips like Light, a spell that magically produces light from any object it is cast upon. Another option is Dancing Lights, a cantrip that will create magic orbs that you can control and move around an area to light it as you go. Drow characters will gain this spell by default, along with “superior darkvision”, appropriate to their origins as Underdark-dwelling elves. Non-spellcasting characters can get access to the Dancing Lights cantrip by getting “Komira’s Locket”, a quest reward for saving the Tiefling child Arabella from the archdruid Kagha.
The Underdark is full of dangerous mushroom-based traps, some of which can poison your party or even explode, knocking them deeper into the cavern and killing them outright. To this end, it can be a smart idea to pack potions that help you resist poison or fire, since both are common among the enemy and trap types in this area. Scrolls or the ability to cast Feather Fall will serve you very well by letting you float around various places in the Underdark.
Lastly, with it being a fairly difficult zone to fight through, I’d recommend you don’t try to enter the Underdark until you and your party have reached level 4. Avoid fighting anything that looks too nasty until you get up to 5 or 6, which you will likely do as you start to make your way through the unfathomable tunnels of the Underdark.
The first access point you might take to enter the Underdark is located underneath the Blighted Village, a destroyed, goblin-infested town located halfway between the Druid Grove and the Goblin Camp. This village is noteworthy for being the home of a special blacksmith’s forge where you can receive a quest to recover Sussur Bark from the Underdark. The rewards for this quest are especially valuable for martially-focused playthroughs, as the weapons you earn from it are great at applying the “Silence” effect against spellcasters. This same blacksmith’s house is one of two pathways you can take to get underneath the village, with the other being to lower yourself down the town’s well.
After descending into the cave systems beneath the village, you’ll encounter the bizarre and unpredictable Phase Spiders along with the incredibly dangerous Phase Spider Matriarch. This fight is a test of your ability to control your environment, as you’ll be outnumbered a good deal by the phase spiders, and they’re also capable of moving themselves rapidly around the battlefield with teleportation abilities. Use fire spells, fire arrows, and fire-based throwables to destroy the webbing bridges when the spiders are standing on them to deal a good amount of falling damage to the spiders.
After defeating the spiders or using stealth and distractions to avoid them, you’ll find a large glowing green hole in the ground. This hole leads to the Underdark but be warned you need to cast “Feather Fall” in order to survive the drop. Using this will lead you further down to a locale in the Underdark called the Minotaur Hills, named as such for the Minotaur roaming the area. Be careful to give these creatures a wide berth to avoid their powerful charge attack.
The Goblin Camp is a short distance west of the Blighted Village. Since your quest to rescue Halsin will lead you here, you can check out the High Ground Gaming guide on how to defeat the Goblin Camp to see how you should breach their defenses. The Goblin leadership all lives within a wrecked temple called the Shattered Sanctum. Once you’ve defeated the Shattered Sanctum, you can use the door inside Priestess Gut’s chambers to enter the Defiled Temple.
There is a puzzle you need to solve to bypass the doors under Gut’s chambers. You need to move the tiles in the room around until all the new moon icons are on the southern ring of the puzzle. Alternatively, your perception might be high enough to notice a lever on one of the northern walls that can be lockpicked to avoid doing the puzzle altogether. This will open a ladder to the Underdark.
You’ll find yourself in the Selunite Outpost inside the Underdark after following that ladder down. It is protected by a magical artifact of Selune called a Moonstone, held in the staff of the statue in the center of the area. You should probably let its turrets take down the Minotaur outside, and it can potentially be used to defeat the very dangerous Spectator nearby, but if you destroy the Moonstone the defenses of the outpost will be disabled.
Along the Risen Road, you’ll find a place called Waukeen’s Rest, an inn that has been burned and ruined by the raiding goblins. You’ll find a group of soldiers from the Flaming Fist trying to break down the door to enter the building, and you can assist them to get easier access.
Inside the inn, you can find what is called the Zhentarim Basement, an area where the criminal Zhentarim gang has been moving goods for their own nefarious ends. You’ll need to win over Zarys, the leader of the Zhentarim in this area, in order to buy certain powerful magical items from the vendors in this area.
Within a section of the Zhentarim Basement, you can find an illusory wall that leads to a secret lift. You can locate this wall with a successful perception check. Passing through it will lead you down to a secret lift area that can take you down to the Underdark, depositing you inside a Zhentarim storehouse.
Your last option for accessing the Underdark is to follow along with the plotlines involving asking Auntie Ethel to help cure your condition, leading you to her Riverside Teahouse in the Sunlit Wetlands. You’ll find that Auntie Ethel and her teahouse are not what they seem at first, especially if you enter the structure and begin to search through it. An illusory wall behind the fireplace will lead you to a different area called the Overgrown Tunnel.
Entering the Overgrown Tunnel will cause Ethel to become hostile, and transform into her true form of a Hag. You’ll need to be careful navigating the many traps and displays she’s put in front of you. In this initial gallery area, you can find a gnarled oak door that you can persuade or intimidate into opening for you. Further below, more victims of Ethel will attack you if you aren’t already wearing a mask that succumbs you to her mind control. Defeating Ethel will diminish the power of her masks and allow you to move freely around the area.
A second gnarled oak door lies beyond this area, and this door can give you access to a mushroom circle that can be used to teleport into the Underdark. You’ll land in Torchstalk Gulch, just east of the Arcane Tower, a fairly favorable location compared to a lot of the other Underdark entrances.