Baldur’s Gate 3: Lift the Shadow Curse

To heal the land, get ready to murder
BG3 screenshot of Thaniel in the shadow-cursed lands

The Shadow-Cursed lands are full of body-corrupting wraiths, weird kids with heterochromia, and a century-long case of gloominess, but it doesn’t have to be that way—you can actually lift the curse off the land. Here’s how to lift the Shadow Curse in Baldur’s Gate 3.

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How to Lift the Shadow Curse in Baldur’s Gate 3

Lifting the Shadow Curse is a big task for anyone. But, fortunately, we’re just the hero the land needs. But lifting the Shadow Curse is a marathon. Here are the succinct steps of how to lift the Shadow Curse in Baldur’s Gate 3, with an in-depth guide below:

  • Step 1: Speak to Art Cullagh.
  • Step 2: Defeat Malus Thorm and take the lute from his body.
  • Step 3: Return to Art and wake him with the lute.
  • Step 4: Bring Halsin to Art.
  • Step 5: Follow Halsin to the lake.
  • Step 6: Defend Halsin’s portal.
  • Step 7: Find Thaniel’s shadow.
  • Step 8: Speak to Thaniel’s shadow in camp.
  • Step 9: Defeat Ketheric Thorm.

That’s a marathon of a quest. So, let’s dive right in.

How to Start Lift the Shadow Curse

As you reach Act 2 of BG3, you’ll be forced to make your way through the Shadow-Cursed Lands: a land that’s been, you guessed it, cursed by shadow. This Shadow Curse is obscuring everything and causing illness to spread.

The source of the Shadow Curse is a young boy named Thaniel. You might’ve heard Halsin mention him once or twice. To lift the Shadow Curse, you’ll need to find the boy. But first, you’ll have to find Art Cullagh, the person who’s last seen Thaniel.

Find Art Cullagh

Art Cullagh will jumpstart the Lift the Shadow Curse quest in the makeshift infirmary in the Last Light Inn. It’s the large room to the right of the Inn’s ground floor entryway. Art will be an injured, scruffy fellow lying on one of the infirmary beds between the windows.

When you first encounter Art, he’ll be catatonic. But you can wake him by getting him his lute.

To do this, you’ll first need a Moon Lantern, which can be found on the spidery Drider named Kar’niss. You’ll find him at the Ruined Battlefield south of Last Light Inn.

You can ambush Kar’niss and his gang yourself, but the Harpers will otherwise help you if you spoke to Isobel first. He won’t be an easy fight, and he’ll have a caravan of goblins and orcs along with him. But once he’s dead, you’ll be able to loot his Moon Lantern off him.

Alternatively, you can try to convince Kar’niss to surrender his lantern. To do this, you’ll want to make yourself known upon his arrival, tell him your protected by the Absolute, and then choose to deceive him and pass a couple DC14 rolls for Charisma.

Defeat Malus Thorm

Once you have a Moon Lantern in your possession, head toward the Shadow-Cursed town deeper in the map. Your goal is the House of Healing north in the town.

The House of Healing is home to the surgeon Malus Thorm and an assortment of Shadow-Cursed nurses. Enter the building, and you’ll need to convince the nurse at the front desk that you’re ailing terribly. This is the simplest way to gain entry to the audience chamber and speak to Malus, but if you find yourself unable to pass the necessary skill checks, you have a few other options. Namely, you can try lockpicking the ahead door, go through the Research Lab to interact with the door’s lever, or go through the Ominous Crevice.

Once you’ve gained entry, your interaction with Malus Thorm can go in several directions. You might fight him and his four undead nurses in a challenging fight or pass some rather high persuasion rolls to convince everyone to kill themselves rather gruesomely.

If you choose to fight Malus, you’ll want to take out his four nurses first. The nurses will assist Malus in ways horribly inconvenient to you, and they can also hit you with paralysis poisons. Taking them out of the equation will make things much easier. Malus will be able to resurrect the nurses as you kill them, but they’ll only come back with a low HP of 12.

Malus Thorm himself is a level 7 undead creature with an AC of 18. He has several resistances including Bludgeoning, Slashing, Piercing, Magical, and Fire. His resistances and high AC mean many of your spells and attacks will miss, so it’s a good idea to buff your attack rolls in this fight.

When Malus Thorm does damage, he hits hard. If one of his nurses assists him with a weapon, he’ll deal 8d8 damage plus his relatively high Dexterity modifier and inflict various status ailments. He also has a Multiattack that he’ll use once his HP dips below 40%, allowing him to attack multiple times in one turn. You’ll likely have a hard time getting through this fight without a source of healing.

There’s honestly not a lot you can do to mitigate damage or make the fight against Malus Thorm easier. We recommend spreading your party out as much as you can. Try to attack ranged from above, but stick to physical attacks as spells will likely miss. Karlach and Lae’zel are good options for party members as they can do high damage and tank a lot of hits. Shadowheart is a good third option for her healing abilities and Turn Undead.

Whatever happens, you’ll want to loot Malus Thorm’s body upon his defeat. The lute you need to wake Art Cullagh and continue your quest to lift the Shadow Curse is here in Malus’s pockets.

Wake Art with the Lute

Take the lute you looted back to Art, then interact with him. You’ll play a few notes, and he’ll jolt awake. He’ll tell you he was saved from the Shadow Curse by the boy named Thaniel and that Thaniel really needs your help.

Bring Halsin to Art

Go to camp and tell Halsin what’s happened. He’ll then immediately make his way to the Last Light Inn and to Art. Go back to Art in the Last Light Inn and speak to them.

Halsin will tell you how he knows Thaniel, and he’ll have an idea on how to find him. He’ll then stroll out of the room, and you should follow him.

Defend Halsin’s Portal

Halsin will then lead you to the lake’s shore, just outside of Isabella’s lunar protection. Speak to him, and he’ll ask you to defend his portal while he goes to seek Thaniel. Unfortunately, he won’t let you go with him, but it’s for the best.

Once Halsin steps through the portal, you’ll have a Shadow Cursed siege on your hands.

For five turns, you’ll need to defend the portal against Shadows, Shadow Mastiffs, a Wraith, Shadow-Cursed Harpers, and eventually Shadow Creepers and Shadow-Cursed Ravens. While many of the enemies aren’t difficult, at one point, you’ll be fighting around two dozen enemies.

Hunger of Hadar or other area of effect attacks are powerful here. Stationing one melee-based attacker, like Karlach or Lae’zel, near the bottom of the plateau is also useful, as they’ll get Opportunity attacks on anyone who tries to pass them by. Shadowheart’s Guardian of Faith also makes a good sentinel.  

But as you get closer to the final two rounds of this shadow siege, you’ll find there are archers in the mix of enemies. Remember to kill them quickly, as the portal doesn’t have much health.

If you can survive this battle of attrition and fight back all the Shadow Cursed enemies, Halsin will return with Thaniel.

Speak to Halsin at Camp

Return to camp to speak to Halsin. He’ll inform you he only brought back half of Thaniel. The other half, the stronger half, takes the form of a boy named Oliver and has endured for a century in the Shadow-Cursed lands. And he’s likely corrupt because of it.

After this conversation, Halsin will join you as a companion. Adding him to your party will net you approval from both Gale and Wyll, possibly because they happen to be standing close by. Though I’m sure the rest of the gang would be happy to have Halsin along for the ride, too.

We highly recommend having Halsin in your party for the next step in lifting the Shadow Curse. Not only does it offer unique dialogue, but it’s also an easy way to boost Halsin’s approval.

Seek Thaniel’s Shadow

Halsin will mark the location of Thaniel’s shadow, Oliver, for you on your map. He’s near an abandoned house close to the Last Light inn and just up the hill from the Shadowed Battlefield. The precise location is the House in Deep Shadows.

It’s possible you’ve already encountered Oliver here and played his game of hide and seek. But, if you’re speaking to him for the first time here, you can forego playing Oliver’s game by getting straight to the point. Tell him you know what he is, and that he needs to re-join his other half.

Oliver will get upset and leave through a Shadow Portal.

Follow him inside, and you’ll find him guarded by Mommy and Daddy Shadow, with Oliver being shielded by a 300 HP Barrier. Once you take out Mommy and Daddy Shadow, Shadow Friends will spawn.

No enemy here is particularly difficult, especially after the siege we endured with Halsin’s portal. You just need to break through the shield, and you’ll be teleported back.

If Halsin is in your party, he’ll tell you to coax Oliver gently to return, as, mentally, he’s a child. We also recommend this. But if you let Halsin take the reins, Halsin will approve, and Oliver will immediately agree.

Speak to Halsin and Thaniel in Camp

Oliver will then go to your camp and join his other half. Speak to him, and he’ll tell you the curse still hasn’t been lifted. Ketheric Thorm, the Big Bad Evil Guy of Act 2 needs to be removed. And to get to him, you’ll need to conquer the Moonrise Tower.

Defeat Ketheric Thorm

Ketheric Thorm is the final boss of BG3’s Act 2, and you’ll have a lot to do before you get there. First, you’ll need to get into the Gauntlet of Shar, run through its challenges to find the Nightsong, then have Shadowheart deal with Nightsong. Next, you’ll want to return to Moonrise Tower, or get there for the first time if you haven’t yet done so. It’s south in the Shadow-Cursed Town.

Ketheric Thorm will be waiting at the top of Moonrise Tower. But this isn’t where you fight Ketheric. Instead, you’ll then need to follow him down below and through a meaty Illithid area. Eventually, you’ll come across him again in a pit-like arena. This is where you’ll have your chance to defeat Ketheric Thorm and conclude the game’s second Act.

If you released the Nightsong in the Gauntlet of Shar, the first thing you’ll want to do is unbind her here. Nightsong will do a lot of the heavy lifting in this fight. In fact, this fight went so quickly for us thanks to her, we honestly don’t have a lot to say. There’s a few enemies on either side of the arena, but you can take them out within a turn or two by using a well-placed AOE spell like Fireball.

Ketheric will stand in the center, using Necrotic spells. We used Heat Metal on him, causing him to drop his weapon and do little to no damage to us for the duration of the fight. Once his HP is depleted, he’ll be replaced by Apostle of Myrkul.

Apostle of Myrkul looks big and scary, and perhaps he is, but we were able to take him down in just one turn by using large AOE attacks with the help of Nightsong. He has 225 HP, but it drops fast. Just avoid using Necrotic, Cold, or Poison attacks.

Once you’ve finally vanquished Ketheric Thorm and the Apostle, you’ll finally lift the Shadow Curse. And Halsin won’t leave you. It’s a win-win!

And now that you’ve lifted the Shadow Curse and finished Act 2 in BG3, you’ll want to move on to Baldur’s Gate proper. Next up, you’ll need to get to the Lower City.

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Daphne Fama
A Staff Writer at Prima Games since 2022, Daphne Fama spends an inordinate amount playing games of all stripes but has a soft spot for horror, FPS, and RPGs. When she’s not gaming, she’s an author and member of the Horror Writers Association with a debut novel coming out in 2025. In a previous life, she was an attorney but found she preferred fiction to contracts and forms
Seth Lowe
Seth has been a writer for Prima Games since 2023. An avid Nintendo lover and a true Pokemon master, surely you'll find him glued to a Game Boy no matter where he is. You can find his previous work at TheGamer.