Baldur's Gate 3 screenshot of Orpheus
Screenshot by Prima Games.

Should You Free Orpheus or Not in Baldur’s Gate 3 (BG3)? – Answered

A rude awakening.

Choosing whether you free Orpheus or not can have major implications in Baldur’s Gate 3, so making the decision won’t be easy. Even when you decide which path you want to follow, there are certain steps that need to be taken. Here’s our guide on freeing Orpheus or not in BG3.

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Should You Free Orpheus Or Not in Baldur’s Gate 3?

You should free Orpheus in BG3 if you want to help Lae’zel and the Githyanki. If you don’t have Lae’zel in your party or you don’t care for what happens to her people, then freeing the prince won’t make much of a difference in the grand scheme. However, he can offer your party some extra help in the final act, even if you don’t care for the outcome.

Freeing the Prince doesn’t have to be entirely about the Githyanki though. If you felt as if the Emporer was a bad character or deserved a different fate, then it’s yet another reason to bring Orpheus along for the final battle in the game.

Like so many other parts of BG3, there are consequences to any decision. Deciding to free Orpheus has plenty of different outcomes depending on how you approach it. And you can also lose some major characters in the story.

How to Free Orpheus in BG3

Before you can free Orpheus, you’ll first need to have obtained the Orphic Hammer from the House of Hope. When you have the hammer, you can then continue to the end of the game and proceed with the Confront the Elder Brain quest. After passing the point of no return, you’ll be pulled into the Astral Prism by the Emperor. Choose to defy him, and you can then use the Orphic Hammer to smash the red crystals holding Orpheus’s chains in place.

What Happens if You Free Orpheus in BG3?

If you decide you want to free Orpheus, you will automatically lose The Emperor as an ally. You won’t need to fight him on the spot, but he will leave your party to join the Netherbrain. After all, the Githyanki hate everything about the Illithids and The Emperor had far different plans for the finale of Baldur’s Gate 3.

You’ll also be posed with a difficult decision to make once freeing Orpheus. Since freeing Orpheus causes the Emperor to leave your side, you’ll need to get a different Mind Flayer to join you. There’s no other way to do this than to have somebody in the Astral Prism become one.

If you’re not willing to let yourself or one of your party members undergo this horrific bodily change that you fought so desperately to avoid, the newly liberated Githyanki prince is begrudgingly willing to become that Mind Flayer for you.

What Happens if You Don’t Free Orpheus in BG3?

If you don’t free Orpheus in BG3, Orpheus will die. The emperor will remain an ally and fight alongside you, but he’ll insist on consuming Orpheus to gain the power necessary to use the Netherstones against the Netherbrain.

Nobody will have to change into a Mind Flayer if you go down this route, but you can still choose to become one if you want the Illithid power and wish to consume Orpheus yourself. Or you can even still let Karlach become a Mind Flayer to change her fate, but note that Orpheus will still need to be consumed.

Naturally, Lae’zel won’t appreciate this outcome. If you can pass a DC 30 persuasion check, you can get her to acquiesce and let you take Orpheus’s brain. But if not, you may have to fight and kill Lae’zel. Even if you try to use non-lethal damage in this fight, she will die. Of course, if you don’t want to face her ire, you can also choose not to take her with you when you confront the Elder Brain. What she doesn’t know won’t kill her.

Finding a New Mind Flayer to Replace the Emperor

As mentioned above, if you go against the Emperor’s wishes and free Orpheus, you’ll need to replace the Emperor with a new Mind Flayer. This means transforming somebody that’s currently with you in the Astral Prism. Naturally, this gives you a few different options: transform Orpheus, yourself, or a current party member.

Should You Let Orpheus Become a Mind Flayer in BG3?

You should not let Orpheus become a Mind Flayer in BG3 if you want the most fulfilling outcome for him and Lae’zel. As always, there are pros and cons to Orpheus becoming a Mind Flayer, but for the best Lae’zel ending, you want to make sure that Orpheus remains a Githyanki. That requires another party member to become a Mind Flayer.

The best option for a party member to willingly undergo ceremorphosis is Karlach. Becoming a Mind Flayer will actually change Karlach’s doomed fate, allowing her to live outside of Avernus without the threat of her infernal engine consuming her. Anyone else will essentially just become The Emperor’s replacement, changing their life for worse.

What Happens if Orpheus Becomes a Mind Flayer?

Should you decide to have Orpheus change into a Mind Flayer, he will fight alongside you as a Mind Flayer Monk. This will give him access to all his natural monk skills alongside all the Illithid powers that come with being a Mind Flayer, which will make him a more formidable fighter, but at the cost of his place as the Githyanki prince and liberator. He will instead ask Lae’zel to take to arms and confront the tyrant queen in his stead.

What Happens if Orpheus Remains a Githyanki?

Should you decide to have Orpheus remain a Githyanki, he will fight alongside you as an average monk. He’s honestly not the most impressive fighter, but he still makes for a useful pair of fists. And more importantly, this will retain his chance to liberate the Githyanki people from the tyrant queen after the Netherbrain is dealt with. Of course, this comes at the cost of one your own party members becoming a Mind Flayer instead.

Before you free Orpheus in BG3, you’ll have to meet him first. For those of you who are just meeting Orpheus for the first time, check out our guide on whether you should help The Emperor or not in the Astral Plane of BG3.

Summary of the Orpheus Dilemma in BG3

Here’s a summary of what happens when freeing Orpheus or not in BG3:

  • Freeing Orpheus in Baldur’s Gate 3 can lead to the party becoming mind flayers, resulting in an unhappy ending for your adventure.
  • Siding with the Emperor means you will lose a character and face a more challenging Netherbrain fight.
  • The choices in BG3 involve sacrifices, with no clear winner; each option entails losing something in return.

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Image of Daniel Wenerowicz
Daniel Wenerowicz
Dan has been writing gaming guides, news, and features for three years after graduating with a BA in writing . You can find him covering Call of Duty for eternity, action-adventure games, and nearly any other major release.
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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.