At the beginning of Act 3 in Baldur’s Gate 3, The Emperor will teleport you to the Astral Plane and give you a choice to evolve into a higher being. The rebel Illithid will offer you an Astral-Touched tadpole and ask you to consume it. He won’t explain any consequences and put you in a moral dilemma.
What will happen to your appearance? Will it affect your relationships? How much of an impact will it have on the ending? What kind of powers will you gain? Letting the Emperor evolve you in Baldur’s Gate 3 is not an easy choice. We are here to guide you and explain the outcome of your choice.
Consequences of accepting the Emperor’s offer to evolve
If you accept the Emperor’s offer and consume the Astral-Touched tadpole, the immediate impact will be on your character’s appearance. Their eyes will turn black with dilated pupils, and black veins will appear on their bodies like marks. These veins will be visible on the face, chest, arms, and back of the character, turning them into ugly monsters. You will become half-Illithid. Apart from people hating your looks, nothing will change.
Many of your companions, like Lae’zel and Shadowheart, will disapprove of the choice. However, Gale and Astarion will be happy. The best part about evolving into a half-Illithid is accessing Tier-3 Illithid Powers. These powers remain locked until you evolve, and they are some of the best Illithid Powers in the game.
You will automatically learn Tier-1 illithid powers after unlocking Tier-3.
- Absorb Intellect: Your enemy’s Intelligence will lower by 1 every turn.
- Black Hole: Pull all enemies into a black hole and slow them.
- Displacer Beast Shape: Change into a Displacer Beast with its HP and stats while maintaining your Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma.
- Fractured Psyche: Invade enemies’ minds and reduce their Armor Class by 1.
- Freecast: You can cast your next spell free of cost once per short rest.
- Fly: Allows you to cover a distance by flying.
- Illithid Expertise: You gain an advantage on Persuasion, Deception, and Intimidation checks.
- Mind Blast: You deal 9~37 Psychic damage to enemies and stun them.
- Mind Sanctuary: Create a sanctuary where all members can use each other’s bonus actions.
- Psionic Dominance: If an enemy attacks you with a spell equal or lower to your proficiency bonus, you can cancel it as a reaction.
There are no consequences related to the storyline if you let the Emperor evolve you partially. However, if you consume the Supreme Tadpole at the end of the game, you will become a full-fledged Mind Flayer, and it will mess up the ending.
You can always choose the “Open your mind to the tadpole” dialogue option. It will let you select a party member and evolve them instead. However, you will need to convince your companions first by passing a persuasion check. They will gain all the Illithid Powers mentioned above.
Refusing to Evolve in Baldur’s Gate 3
If you refuse to evolve and reject consuming the Astral-Touched tadpole, the Emperor will honor your choice. He will hand over the tadpole to you, which you can eat any time from your inventory and become half-Illithid. There will be no change in your appearance, and you will be locked out of high-tier Illithid Powers.
Should you let the Emperor evolve you or not?
Our answer to this question is a definite YES. You won’t lose anything, except for the change in your appearance, and gain a lot of powerful abilities in return. If you are trying to romance Astarion, it will help further your naughty cause. This is a win-win situation all around.
While at it, check out our Illithid Parasites locations guide to get as many Illithid Powers as possible.