Baldur’s Gate 3: Should You Take the Mountain Pass or The Underdark in BG3?

After you’ve worked through the beginning of Baldur’s Gate 3, the next step of your journey will be for you to choose if you should travel to Moonrise Towers by going through the Mountain Pass or the Underdark. Both of these locations hold an array of problems for either choice.

The option is left up to you to pick, and Halsin will go with you, but he is biased to adventuring in the Underdark. He has his own reasons to explore this area and is more than happy to join you for this adventure. Here’s what you need to know if you should take the Mountain Pass or The Underdark routes in Baldur’s Gate 3.

What Happens When You Take the Mountain Pass in Baldur’s Gate 3?

bg3 screenshot of the faerun map with an overlaid red arrow pointing to the mountain pass
Screenshot by Gamepur

For those who want to explore the Mountain Pass in Baldur’s Gate 3, make your way to the northwest, past the Blighted Village, and beyond the Goblin Camp. There, you’ll encounter a Githyanki patrol attacking some mercenaries with a Dragon. You can choose to speak with them, or you can try to bypass them, and make your way to the route to the west. However, I recommend speaking with the leader, where you can make a decision to help the Githyanki or deceive them. For my playthrough, I was able to deceive them that I was not one who crashed on the ship and would help them in their quest for the weapon.

Now, you can make your way to the west and adventure to the Mountain Pass. As Halsin warned you, this route is supposedly more dangerous than the Underdark. My first encounter in this area had me facing off against a pair of Death Shepards, and a small band of Ghouls, and a Ghast. These undead creatures were patrolling the main road in the Mountain Pass.

bg3 screenshot of the death shepherd's stats at the mountain pass
Screenshot by Gamepur

This small group of undead is actually the only combat encounter you’ll face on the road as you make your way to the Shadow-Cursed Lands where the Moonrise Towers are located. The Mountain Pass is an extremely direct route to Act 2 of BG3, and the only detour you’ll find is the Rosymorn Monastery where you’ll find the Githyanki hideout, Creche Y’llek.

Rosymorn Monastery is a necessary location to visit if you want to advance Lae’zel’s companion questline, but it’s worth noting that if you choose to progress through the Underdark, you’ll still be able to come back here and complete this section for Lae’zel.

If you continue along the Mountain Pass, you’ll eventually enter the Shadow-Cursed Lands’ Ruined Battlefield, where you’ll meet up with a group of True Soul Goblins who are ready to lead you directly to Moonrise Towers. Should you accept their help, you’ll have an agonizingly slow walk ahead of you as you’re led by a grotesque figure with a Moonlantern. But again, this path is still far more direct and quicker than where you end up if you take the Underdark.

What Happens When You Take The Underdark in Baldur’s Gate 3?

bg3 screenshot of the party fighting a spectator in the underdark
Screenshot by Gamepur

The Underdark is another dangerous area, with large, savage creatures like the Spectator. It’s a similar route to the Mountain Pass, but based on my experience with it, it feels like there are more spells to prepare for traps to avoid, and puzzles that you need to figure out. This is also a location that Halsin and Shadowheart are eager to explore in Baldur’s Gate 3. If you’re looking to appease these characters, it might be a good idea to head this way.

There are several quests and puzzles in this area, as well. Many of them have to do with exploring the Arcane Tower, figuring out the labyrinth in this region, and slowly exploring this area. Although the Underdark might seem like a safer path from the Mountain Pass, I feel like this area in Baldur’s Gate 3 is just as deadly. There are far more combat encounters and while you won’t face any enemies quite as tough as the Mountain Pass’s undead, there are more opportunities to die.

The Underdark is a much larger region than the Mountain Pass, with plenty of distractions like the Myconid Colony, the Arcane Tower, and the Grymforge. You’ll have plenty of opportunities here to engage in unique side quests and special dialogue, and find some decent loot.

If you continue along the Underdark, you’ll eventually enter the Shadow-Cursed Lands near the Last Light Inn, where you’ll meet up with a small group of Harpers, a rebel organization fighting back against the True Souls and the darkness that plagues the Shadow-Cursed Lands. They’ll want to lead you straight to the Last Light Inn to meet with the rest of the Harpers and maybe find a way to help you reach the Moonrise Towers.

Should You Pick Mountain Pass or The Underdark in Baldur’s Gate 3?

bg3 screenshot of the defiled temple entrance to the underdark
Screenshot by Gamepur

Between the two options, I went with The Underdark. The Underdark offered a bit more interesting alternatives to the Mountain Pass, which was an equally dangerous route. Plus, the Underdark could be explored a bit more. But it’s important to mention that you can fully explore both of these areas in a single game. In fact, we recommend visiting Rosymorn Monastery even if you choose to fully explore the Underdark.

The big difference that matters here is who you meet up with as you enter Act 2 and the Shadow-Cursed Lands. If you choose the Mountain Pass and meet up with the True Soul Goblins, you can ultimately miss the Harpers or turn against them, which may cause you to miss an important element of BG3‘s Act 2 and shut you off from further side quests and recruitable characters. For that reason alone, we would recommend taking the Underdark.

Reaching the Underdark can be difficult and less straightforward than the Mountain Pass in Baldur’s Gate 3. I was able to visit the Defiled Temple in the Goblin Camp and explore the Selune Outpost, which Halsin suggests after saving him and you’ve resolved the problems between the tieflings and the Druids, but there are several ways to enter, including through a hole in the Blighted Village, the Zhentarim Hideout in Waukeen’s Rest, or a teleporter in the Sunlit Wetlands.

Before visiting any of these locations, make sure to save. The Mountain Pass made sure to ask me if I had finished everything in this region before adventuring forward in Baldur’s Gate 3. However, I did have the option to return to this region after entering the Mountain Pass but make sure you complete all of the quests you want to work through before heading here.

I also recommend making sure your party members have reached level 5 before advancing. The Underdark and the Mountain Pass are suggested areas for characters who have reached level 5, and I had not reached this point yet in Baldur’s Gate 3, I think I would have had an extremely tough time trying to progress through these fights.

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