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The cast of Baldur’s Gate 3 will play D&D for real

Baldur's Gate III shadowheartImage: Larian Studios

Baldur’s Gate III is a pretty fantastic RPG that’s getting a ton of love, even as the big fall releases arrive. It’s well-made, incredibly deep with its Dungeons & Dragons combat and character system, and the writing and voice acting are top-notch. But part of the reason it’s exploding in popularity has to be the rise of live play RPGs like Dimension 20 and Critical Role. Those two worlds will collide later this week, when the voice cast of Baldur’s Gate III will sit down and roll some dice in the real world.

For the uninitiated, live play or actual play is an emerging format wherein you just…watch a bunch of people play Dungeons & Dragons, or some other tabletop RPG. That’s a bit reductive, but the YouTube shows and podcasts that have been exploring the space have amassed a huge following, even spawning into some of their own media franchises. Voice actors and comedians are some of the most popular players — after all, role-playing and acting are more or less the same thing.

BGIII developer Larian Studios is partnering with actual play producers High Rollers, to bridge the gap between Dungeons & Dragons in the world of video games and classic tabletop RPGs. The voice cast of the game, including most of the main party members, has recorded a one-shot session based on Baldur’s Gate. Naturally they’ll all be played their own characters, with veteran live play host Mark Hulmes in the dungeon master’s chair. The recorded session will be broadcast on Friday.

Here’s the lineup and their characters:

Amelia Tyler — the narratorDevora Wilde — Laezel the Githyanki fighter Jennifer English — Shadowheart the half-elf cleric Neil Newbon — Astarion the vampire rogue Samantha Béart — Karlach the tiefling barbarian Tim Downie — Gale the human wizard Theo Solomon — Wyll Ravengard the human warlock

For anyone who’s played the game and/or gotten into an actual play series, I don’t have to explain why this is a treat. The voice actors in BGIII not only delivered excellent vocal performances, they also recorded motion capture for their characters, literally embodying them in the game. We’re talking hundreds and hundreds of hours of recording here — these people have basically condensed an entire TV series’ worth of performances into one game. To see them jump back into those characters and play them in the unbound sandbox of a tabletop game is something I’m looking forward to quite a lot.

The session will be aired on the High Rollers Twitch channel on Friday, at 7 PM British Summer Time. Here in the US that will be 2 PM Eastern and 11 AM Pacific. If you can’t catch it live, you can watch the recorded version later. Just a heads-up: like Baldur’s Gate III itself, the live play will probably be extremely Not Safe For Work. Whether or not the actors lean into the (ahem) more amorous, launch edition versions of their characters.

Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

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