Image source: Larian Studios

Infernal problem.

In Larian Studios’ smash hit, Baldur’s Gate 3 (BG3), Karlach is one of many popular characters. But she faces a seemingly inevitable end due to her infernal engine’s impending explosion. With specific actions and decisions, however, it’s possible to alter her grim fate — even if it might not quite be the rosey outcome we’d prefer. In this guide, we detail how to save Karlach in BG3, examining the various paths to her survival.

The Infernal Engine & Saving Karlach in BG3, Explained

Karlach’s predicament is rooted in the infernal engine within her, a lethal mechanism that threatens her existence. It’s a ticking time bomb, with its fires gradually consuming her. Despite the respite provided by the Infernal Iron found during your quests, the problem persists. Her infernal engine must either be fixed or she must return to Avernus, a place she escaped from once already.

The infernal engine within Karlach is not merely a mechanical contraption. It’s a symbol of her past and her ties to Avernus. It is this engine that makes her survival in Faerun a challenge and propels her towards a return to Avernus. However, the engine’s cooling is a temporary solution, and the underlying problem remains.

The ultimate question, of course, is how to save Karlach in BG3? While there are several ways her story can unfold, each path is determined by the choices made by the player throughout the game. Here’s a detailed look at the endings and how they can be achieved.

Karlach’s Return to Avernus

After fixing her infernal engine, Karlach still needs to return to Avernus as this is merely a temporary solution. There are different variations to this ending, each dependent on the decisions made during your gameplay.

  • Karlach accompanied by the player: This happens if you’ve chosen to romance Karlach.
  • Karlach alongside Wyll: This occurs if Wyll becomes the Blade of Avernus.
  • Karlach with both the player and Wyll: This is a possibility if you’ve romanced Karlach and Wyll has become the Blade of Avernus.

Karlach’s Tragic Demise

If you decide not to romance Karlach and Wyll does not reforge a pact with Mizora, Karlach faces a tragic end where she burns up in front of you and dies. This fate also awaits her if you choose to temporarily fix her infernal engine.

Karlach’s Unnoticed End

Perhaps the saddest ending, Karlach dies without anyone noticing if you’ve not romanced her or helped her in her quest to save the infernal engine and Wyll has not become the Blade of Avernus. In this scenario, she doesn’t have enough time after the final battle to say her goodbyes.

Karlach’s Transformation into a Mind Flayer

An intriguing ending sees Karlach transform into a Mind Flayer. This happens when someone needs to become an Illithid and consume Orpheus’ powers before the final battle. If you let her, Karlach will evolve into an Illithid. Despite seeming like a negative ending, it’s arguably one of the better ones since her infernal engine disappears, allowing her to live freely in Faerun.

saving karlach
Image source: Larian Studios

Betraying Karlach as The Dark Urge

Other dark endings for Karlach involve you as The Dark Urge. These depend on whether Karlach becomes a Mind Flayer and if you decide not to romance her.

  • Betray Illithid Karlach: You can kill Karlach instead as she’s about to destroy the Absolute.
  • Karlach is enthralled: You can enthral Karlach as the new Absolute if you betray the Emperor when he tries to destroy the Netherbrain.

How to Save Karlach in BG3

Despite the less-than-ideal potential endings, there are ways to save Karlach. Here’s a rundown of the three distinct methods that can secure Karlach’s survival:

Morphing Karlach into a Mind Flayer

One of the ways to save Karlach is by letting her become a Mind Flayer when provided with the choice by the Emperor. This transformation eliminates her infernal engine, allowing her to stay in Faerun post the final boss’s defeat.

Karlach’s Journey to Avernus with Wyll

Another method involves Karlach heading to Avernus with Wyll. This path opens up if Wyll becomes the Blade of Avernus. He offers to look after her in Avernus, providing a more sustainable solution for Karlach to remain who she is.

Journeying with Karlach

The last option for saving Karlach provides a better conclusion to her romantic storyline. If the player doesn’t complete Wyll’s quest and romances Karlach, the option to accompany her to Avernus becomes available. This solution allows the player and Karlach to stay together indefinitely, but they can never leave Avernus without abandoning Karlach. 

The question of how to save Karlach in BG3 is a nuanced tale of choices and sacrifices. The player’s decisions throughout the game shape Karlach’s fate and determine the course of her survival. While no ending is devoid of sadness and loss, each path provides a unique resolution to Karlach’s story.

BG3 features a number of tricky conundrums, such as how to get through the Gnarled Door in the Overgrown Tunnel and how to disable those pesky Guardian Statues. If you’re having trouble, we have you covered.