Years of playing RPGs have conditioned us to think we should always bring party members on their personal quests because they obviously have a vested interest in seeing how things unfold. Baldur’s Gate 3 is no exception, and each of its complex, inexplicably horny party members has lengthy personal quest lines that expand on their character. However, Baldur’s Gate 3 doesn’t require you to actually bring them along a lot of the time, and in the case of the devilish vampire Astarion, it actually will make things worse for you if you do take him on his last mission in the titular city. But if you’re dead set on bringing him (it will make it more dramatic, at least), it’s important to be strategic because Astarion’s presence will make the boss fight at the end much harder.
We’re going to be as spoiler-free as we can here, but it will require some table setting. Astarion’s final quest takes place in his old home in Baldur’s Gate where he and several other members of his vampire coven once lived. You’re there to stop Cazador Szarr (the vampire who turned Astarion and many others into the vampire spawn who do his bidding) from completing a dangerous ritual, and Astarion is key to the ritual’s completion.
Having Astarion there for the bulk of the mission is helpful, as he can provide insight into the goings on in the lair, and can even help you find solutions you might not otherwise be privy to. Plus, as more dramatic revelations happen within Cazador’s lair, it peels away at new layers of Astarion’s character, who I had largely thought to be an irredeemably evil person in a party of complicated fuck ups.
However, without spoiling the specifics, if you bring Astarion to the final battle against Cazador, you will end up with one less party member in the fight. There are a few ways to circumvent this, but both will result in the scene prior to the fight playing out a little differently.
One way to handle this is by not bringing Astarion to the fight at all. You can turn back and go to your camp to swap out your party members up to the last second, so it’s a perfectly viable option to finish the fight without your little vampire friend. You’ll have to fill him in on what happened later, but the fight will go a lot smoother when you have a full team of four.
If you insist on having Astarion in your party for the fight, another option is to use the Ungroup mechanic to have him wait behind the rest of your team before the swords start swinging and the spells start flying. Ungroup Astarion from your team before you enter the final room and descend down to Cazador’s ritual site. You’ll have the pre-fight conversation without him, then the battle will begin. Then it’s just a matter of switching back to Astarion and walking him to the arena. You’ll avoid theevents that take him out of commission, and still get to have him around for the final resolution. This is probably the best way to still get the narrative satisfaction of having Astarion there without losing a party member for a tough boss, though you will miss out on all the theatrics of his and Cazador’s argument beforehand.
If you do bring Astarion to the climactic battle and he is taken out of commission, you can reach him during the fight after events happen that put him on the opposite side of the field and use the Help action to bring him back into the fight. You will, however, have to fight through several enemies to do so. Just make sure you’ve got someone who can survive an onslaught of attacks to get there like Karlach, or whoever you’ve spec’d to be your tank, as there are several enemies they’ll have to pass before they can reach Astarion.
If you don’t bring him along he won’t be thrilled about it, but the fight will be easier. Or, hell, if you live for the drama and the challenge, bring him with you and suffer the consequences. Whatever way you slice it, finishing this sequence will complete The Pale Elf, Astarion’s game-long personal quest.
Update: 8/28/23 at 1:45 p.m. ET: This article has been updated with more information on how to bring Astarion back into the fight.