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The Best Way to Commemorate Your Baldur’s Gate 3 Character Leave a comment

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A couple of weeks ago, I finally closed the book on my first—inevitably, first of many—playthrough of Baldur’s Gate 3. My Dragonborn Paladin saved the city, wooed a literal bear man, and became the hero they wanted to be, but I wasn’t quite ready to let go of them just yet. So I got to work on the best tribute I could to a virtual TTRPG hero: I got him ready for the tabletop.

As I started to realize my time playing through Baldur’s Gate 3‘s campaign was coming to an end, and inspired by my fellow writer and brother-in-brainrot Kenneth Shepard over at Kotaku, I turned to Hero Forge, an online digital toolset for creating customized 1:60 scale miniatures (that’s around 30mm tall, give or take) and statuettes. The company lets you design a character and then get them printed out either as a plain plastic miniature for you to paint yourself, or in more recent years, after a successful crowdfunding campaign, have your design 3D-printed in pre-colored plastic. It’s a way to get a figure of your TTRPG character that’s unique to you, instead of having to make do with generic preset miniatures on the market like those made by Wizards of the Coast.

Image for article titled I Commemorated My Baldur's Gate 3 Hero Way Better Than a Fancy Collector's Edition Could

Screenshot: Hero Forge/Larian Studios

Hero Forge’s stylized aesthetic might not exactly match up to Baldur’s Gate 3, but I managed to use the site’s robust creation tools—with lots of expansive options that don’t just lean into fantasty RPG aesthetics, but sci-fi and contemporary options too—to make a pretty accurate replica of my Paladin, Lhukesh, as they barreled towards the game’s conclusion. I’d pull up their character sheet and snap screenshots so I was getting the colors right; if they got a new piece of gear, I went back to Hero Forge and updated that too. Once Lhukesh managed to romance one of the game’s other characters, Halsin the Elf Druid (he of the Bear Sex Scene, yes), I even whipped up a double-sized miniature depicting the two of them fighting alongside each other—and added a flaming orange D20 to the bases, to show the dice skin I was using in Baldur’s Gate 3 as well for good measure. And as soon as the credits rolled on the game, I hopped back on over to Hero Forge and bit the bullet.

Image for article titled I Commemorated My Baldur's Gate 3 Hero Way Better Than a Fancy Collector's Edition Could

Photo: James Whitbrook/io9

A few weeks later, my miniatures arrived—a solo mini of my Paladin, the team up between them and Halsin, and then a Perspex standee of the duo for good measure. The standee lets you really see just what’s captured and what isn’t in the process of color-printing a miniature through Hero Forge—small details like eyes or certain face scars, the particular intricacies of a piece of clothing, or subtle color variations. There’s an overall softness to the plastic that knocks 1:1 accuracy to the digital render (which you can, as an option, purchase to use as an avatar in Virtual Tabletop programs, at least), but these are 3cm tall miniatures designed to be looked at while sitting around a table, not right up close to your face. From that perspective, it’s like having my Baldur’s Gate 3 character in the palm of my hand.

And that personality is really key. Coincidentally, my Hero Forge miniatures arrived just a day after the other way I could commemorate my time with Baldur’s Gate 3 showed up on my doorstep, in pretty much the opposite direction: the game’s lavish official collector’s edition.

Resplendent with everything from a hardcover artbook to physical Dungeons & Dragons character sheets for the game’s main cast, to an oversized metal D20 and a truly grandiose statue of a Mind Flayer battling a Drow, the Baldur’s Gate 3 CE is an extravagant ode to the game and its roots in the tabletop realm. It’s great, and I appreciate having it, as much as my desk space doesn’t. And yet, it does feel oddly impersonal for a game that is about creating a character you experience the world of Baldur’s Gate through. But that makes sense: no matter how fancy a special edition Larian could make, it couldn’t exactly personally capture each player’s experience.

Image for article titled I Commemorated My Baldur's Gate 3 Hero Way Better Than a Fancy Collector's Edition Could

Photo: James Whitbrook/io9

So it’s nice to have, dwarfed by the giant monument to one of the biggest video games of the year, a much smaller tribute to my own time with it—and just as Baldur’s Gate 3 provided me with a way to get the tabletop gaming experience in a curated, virtual manner, now it’s inspired a hero that will get to live on in future D&D campaigns beyond the city of Baldur’s Gate.


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