The humble Cleric might be the least-popular Baldur’s Gate 3 class, but that hasn’t stopped the game’s resident Sharran from being a key part of the game’s world record speedrun.
The prevailing Baldur’s Gate 3 speedrun strategy has been to jump through the entire game as Wizard Gale, skipping every possible combat and NPC encounter before blowing yourself to smithereens at the climax of Act 2. One of those NPCs, however, is impossible to ignore – Cleric Shadowheart has the fantasy doodad you need to progress, so she’ll show up in your party at the end of Act 1.
Previously, the battle for the Any% world record was all about the jumping, but speedrunner Mae has found that Shadowheart has a second function (via PC Gamer). Somehow, they discovered that if you kill the character, loot her corpse, stuff it in a box, and set that box on fire, it’ll skip you straight to the finale of Act 2, where Gale can dutifully explode the magical nuke in his chest. You can check out that top-level strategy in the video below:
It’s a slightly ignoble fate for Shadowheart, but also for the entire Cleric class. Already the least-popular class in the game according to Larian’s own stats, its one chance at proper community redemption has been somewhat undercut by the fact that I imagine any NPC might fill this speedrunning role – Shadowheart just happens to be the only companion foolish enough to show up on Gale’s Chaotic Jumping Adventure over the Sword Coast.
Last month, Fallout: New Vegas and noted CRPG vet Josh Sawyer pointed out that the Cleric’s lack of popularity likely has nothing to do with their D&D skillset – it’s just that if a player wants to be a goody-goody, the Paladin is right there, with far more strict rules for keeping you in line.