Larian Studios’ hit RPG Baldur’s Gate 3 is expansive and consuming, but its map isn’t quite the size of something you’d expect in open-world games like The Witcher 3 or The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. So it shouldn’t be surprising that a fan was able to pretty much mark exactly where in the Dungeons & Dragons universe the RPG takes place—and that it only took up a small portion of the map.
The continent of Faerûn is one of the most common settings for Dungeons & Dragons adventures, and Baldur’s Gate 3 joins the long list of games that have taken place here. Anyone who has played the tabletop RPG is at least somewhat familiar with its sprawling map. Reddit user CommanderRasseru posted an image of a map on the Baldur’s Gate 3 subreddit (thanks, GamesRadar) that shows their estimation about where on the Faerûn map the party crash-landed on the Sword Coast. The game’s final act takes place in the titular city, and the party makes their way westward throughout their journey, so the outline seems pretty reasonable.
Other members of the subreddit have weighed in and pointed out that some of Larian’s official map renderings do seem to take a few liberties with its illustrations, including having mountains in places where they didn’t previously appear. So while the location CommanderRasseru proposes makes sense, it does seem like the game abstracts some of these areas. The best observation is that much of the game takes place near River Chionthar, echoing the lyrics of “Down By The River,” which plays during the character creation screen.
While Baldur’s Gate 3 takes place in a pretty concentrated area, the world of Faerûn is much more expansive within the Dungeons & Dragons universe. Just look at an official map from Wizards of the Coast and it puts into perspective just how little of this world you explore in Larian’s game. I’m glad the studio didn’t go this route, but it’s easy to imagine a version of Baldur’s Gate 3 that leaned into open-world RPG trends of having the absolute biggest, fetch-quest-ridden map you can fathom. Instead, despite some big areas, Baldur’s Gate 3 feels tighter, more contained, and more substantial thanks to its more deliberate scope. It’s the definition of a small but deep pond as opposed to a shallow but wide lake. Each area is memorable and distinct, rather than feeling like more space for more’s sake.
Update, 11/27/23, 1:30 p.m. Eastern: Reworded one section to clarify details about the setting.