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Full Guide to Exploring the Arcane Tower in Baldur's Gate 3

I spent countless hours beating the Arcane Tower side quest but overall the rewards are worth it!

The Arcane Tower, located in the Underdark, is a tower that adventurers are drawn to for its promises of forgotten knowledge and magical power but its entrance is guarded by watchful Arcane Turrets. These mechanized sentinels pose a significant threat to unprepared adventurers. Let this guide equip you with the knowledge to bypass these defenses to overcome the tower's challenges and uncover its compelling story.

Why Delve into the Arcane Tower?

While not part of the main quest, the Arcane Tower offers a wealth of benefits that significantly enhance your Baldur's Gate 3 experience. Explore its complex halls, solve puzzles that test your wit, and complete challenges to reach the top. 

How to Disable Arcane Turrets at Arcane Tower

A lone Arcane Turret stands guard at the top of the steps leading to the tower's main entrance. Its presence serves as a clear deterrent to anyone attempting unauthorized entry. These turrets are not to be underestimated.

They unleash powerful magical attacks that can inflict significant damage on unsuspecting adventurers. Be cautious when approaching the tower, and have a plan to neutralize the threat they pose before attempting to enter.

Disabling the Turrets

While brute force might seem tempting, a more strategic approach is recommended. Here are some ways to disable the Turrets:

  • Use spells like Invisibility or Misty Step to reach the tower entrance unseen.
  • Utilize the Sussur Bloom to temporarily disable the turret and quickly dash inside.
  • Sneak past the turret's line of sight (requires good positioning and timing).

Alternative Tactics

For players with ranged characters, strategically using ranged attacks to destroy the turret from a safe distance could also be an option. However, be mindful of the turret's potential retaliation and ensure your party has sufficient healing capabilities before attempting this approach.

Chest of the Mundane

The Chest of the Mundane, despite its name, holds a small cache of supplies that can be a welcome find in the early stages of your exploration.  This chest is cleverly concealed on the Ground Floor of the Arcane Tower.

Here's how to locate it:

  1. Enter the Arcane Tower and proceed straight ahead. You'll immediately encounter the first Arcane Turret guarding the entrance.
  2. Don't worry about accidentally activating the turret – the Chest of the Mundane is hidden behind this first turret, out of its line of fire.
  3. Circle the turret and carefully examine the wall directly behind it. Look for a subtle indentation, change in texture, or a darker shadow that might indicate a hidden space. This is the telltale sign of the chest's location.
  4. Interact with the suspicious area using your character's action key, or simply examine it closely. This will reveal a hidden compartment containing the Chest of the Mundane.

The Chest of Mundane hides a surprising secret. This seemingly ordinary chest is magical, transforming any item placed inside. Weapons become cutlery, armor morphs into plates, and magic trinkets shrink to mimic mugs.  These disguises can fool even the keenest observer.

However, the magic can be dispelled by Sussur Bloom's anti-magic aura or simply by removing the items.  Upon first interaction, your party leader might mention a "Chest of Transformation," but the chest's true power remains a mystery.

Solving Bernard’s Riddle (Recommended)

As you ascend the Arcane Tower's spectacular heights, prepare to face not just arcane defenses but also Bernard, a lonely magical construct guarding the summit.  Answer his riddle incorrectly, and his defenses may turn against you.  However, the scattered whispers of the tower hold the key to appeasing him.

Explore into the forgotten notes and dusty tomes scattered throughout the tower's floors. Within their pages lie the fragments of Bernard's past and the answer to his cryptic challenge. When you stand before him,  whisper the following words, gleaned from your discoveries:

"Or art thou friend, a rescue from my lonely wake. How can I trust? How can I ever know? / How can I show myself, my darkest me?"

If you answer his riddle right, a flicker of recognition will pass through Bernard's form. He'll put a special ring, the Guiding Light Ring, on a table next to him. Grab this ring! It's the key to unlocking hidden parts of the tower.

Fighting Bernard (Risky)

This is a riskier option. If you choose to fight Bernard instead of solving his riddle, you have a chance of obtaining the Light of Creation uncommon Glaive. This weapon boasts impressive stats:

  • Attack: 1d10 + 1 (higher base damage compared to typical weapons)
  • Lightning Damage: Deals an additional 1d6 lightning damage with each hit, potentially shocking enemies.

However, there's a significant drawback:

  • Stunning Chance: The Light of Creation has a chance to stun the wielder after each attack. This can be extremely disorienting and potentially leave you open to enemy attacks during combat.

Exploring the basement will reward you with valuable loot, such as:

  • Broken Machinery (uncertain purpose)
  • Trap Disarm Toolkit (useful for disarming future traps)
  • Scroll of Magic Missile (offensive spell)
  • Scroll of Grease (tactical spell)
  • Scroll of Dimension Door (utility spell)

While the Light of Creation offers higher damage potential, its stunning chance makes it a risky choice. Solving Bernard's riddle to get the Guiding Light Ring and explore the basement is generally considered a better option, as it provides access to a wider variety of potentially powerful loot with less risk.

Entering the Basement

Once you've outsmarted Bernard and he gives you the Guiding Light Ring, you can use it to reach the basement of the Arcane Tower. 

  • Put the ring on your character and head back to the elevator on the top floor.
  • Light up the area with the ring's magic. This will reveal a hidden button near the elevator that you couldn't see before. 
  • Push the button, and a secret passage will open leading down to the basement.

How To Turn On The Elevator

Finding the elevator is essential in the Arcane Tower but you’ll find it not working. You need to activate it and use it to acquire more loots but first fix the power generator. Follow these steps:

Step 1 - Locate the Sussur Blooms

Venture outside the tower, near the Sussur Tree (southwest of the tower). Locate vibrant, glowing flowers known as Sussur Blooms.

Step 2 - Descend to the Basement Generator

Carefully reach the lower floors. Options include:

  • Spells or Potions: Utilize spells like "Feather Fall" or potions granting safe descent.
  • Party Member Transformation: If a party member can transform into a small creature (e.g., spider, rat), use their form to navigate safely down.
  • Jumping (Risky): For high-health characters, a risky jump down the blue mushrooms on the side of the tower is possible (beware of fall damage!).

Step 3 - Activate the Power

Once on the ground floor, locate the central room and find the large Power Generator.  Here comes the magic:

  • Use a Sussur Bloom: Interact with the generator and place a Sussur Bloom in the designated slot. This action infuses the tower with power, activating the elevator and silencing the Arcane Turrets (helpful for safe exploration!).

Arcane Tower Hidden Rooms

Exploring the hidden rooms in the Arcane Tower can grant you access to a wealth of rewards, from powerful magical items and forgotten lore to secret stashes of treasure left behind by the tower's enigmatic past residents. 

  • Hidden Buttons and Levers: Scrutinize walls and furniture for concealed buttons or levers that might unveil hidden passages.
  • Unusual Walls: Uneven sections of walls or inconsistencies in texture might indicate hidden doors.
  • Sounds and Light: Pay attention to unexplained sounds or unusual light sources that could lead to hidden chambers.
  • Secret Passages: These could lead to entirely new sections of the tower, hidden chambers, or even connect to other areas of the Underdark.
  • Hidden Rooms Behind Walls: Look for inconsistencies in the wall texture, cracks, or faint outlines that might suggest a hidden door. Some might require specific actions, like pushing a hidden button or using a key.
  • Concealed Chambers: Furniture like bookshelves or tapestries could be cleverly positioned to mask hidden entrances. Try interacting with them or looking for unusual gaps or triggers.

What You Might Find

  • Powerful Equipment: New weapons, armor, or magical items can significantly enhance your party's capabilities. These could be the remnants of past inhabitants, rewards for solving puzzles within the hidden room, or even ancient artifacts with unique properties.
  • Crafting Materials: Rare ingredients for crafting powerful potions or unique gear might be tucked away in hidden chambers.
  • Lore Documents: Uncover the tower's history, the fate of its inhabitants, and hidden magical secrets through documents found in hidden rooms. These could provide valuable insights into the world of Baldur's Gate 3.

Solving Puzzles and Overcoming Challenges

The Arcane Tower throws a variety of puzzles at you, testing your observation skills,  deduction logic, and ability to manipulate magical elements. Here are some common types you might encounter:

Pressure Plate Puzzles

  • Look for rooms with multiple pressure plates on the floor. Stepping on them might activate hidden mechanisms, open doors, or trigger traps. Experiment by stepping on different combinations of plates to identify the correct sequence that unlocks the path forward.
  • Pay attention to environmental clues - symbols etched on the plates, patterns on walls, or even the pressure plates' arrangement - which might hint at the correct activation order.

Elemental Alignment Puzzles

  • These puzzles involve manipulating magical elements like fire, water, air, and earth. You might encounter levers, crystals, or statues associated with these elements.
  • The goal is to align these elements according to hidden patterns or clues found within the room. This could involve matching symbols, activating elements in a specific order, or using environmental triggers like wind sources or water sources to influence the elements.

Rotating Disc Puzzles:

  • Look for walls or pedestals with rotating discs engraved with symbols, runes, or images.
  • The objective is to rotate these discs to form a specific pattern or alignment. Clues for the correct pattern could be hidden within the room's environment (murals, statues) or scattered notes left behind by previous inhabitants.
  • Experiment with different rotations and observe the changes in the surrounding area. Sometimes, rotating one disc might influence the symbols on another, requiring a multi-step solution.

Illusionary Walls

  • The Arcane Tower loves to play tricks on the eye. Keep an eye out for seemingly solid walls that might be illusions.
  • Look for subtle inconsistencies in the texture, faint shimmering effects, or environmental clues like flickering lights or sounds emanating from behind the wall.
  • Interact with suspicious areas by clicking on them or casting spells that reveal illusions. This might open hidden passages leading to new areas or secret stashes.

Environmental Puzzles

  • Some puzzles are cleverly integrated into the environment itself.
  • Look for pressure plates that trigger hidden mechanisms when specific objects are placed on them.
  • You might need to solve a riddle or examine environmental details (like weight requirements on a pressure plate) to determine the correct object to use.

Clues and Exploration Tips

The Arcane Tower holds its secrets close, guarded by intricate puzzles and cleverly hidden pathways. 

Environmental Awareness

  • Listen: Pay close attention to sounds like dripping water or faint echoes. These might signal hidden passageways or trapped areas.
  • Light Up the Unknown: Look for light sources emanating from unexpected locations. They could indicate hidden chambers or secret entrances.

Unearthing Historical Whispers

Forgotten Knowledge: Scattered notes, books, or journals left behind by the tower's inhabitants might mention hidden areas or leave clues to their location. Search for mentions of "secret chambers," "hidden stashes," or "forgotten passages."

A Keen Eye and a Curious Hand

Beyond its puzzles and hidden compartments, unravel the tower’s history, uncover hidden truths, and confront moral choices, and transform your exploration from a simple dungeon crawl into a rich and rewarding roleplaying experience.

  • Speculate on its purpose based on the clues you find - architectural styles, magical remnants, or scattered notes.
  • Search diligently, for every nook and cranny that might hold a fascinating secret or a powerful artifact. 
  • Discuss dilemmas with your party and decide how your characters navigate the moral complexities of the tower.

Conclusion

With intelligence, bravery, and a keen eye, you'll conquer the Arcane Tower's challenges and uncover its secrets. Remember, the best treasures are often hidden well. So, grab your party and explore the tower's mysteries!

 

About the author

Adan Cabal

I’ve cultivated my writing skills and learned to marry my interests by working as a gaming journalist here at Game Champions. This is a perfect way to talk about the things I’ve always loved and share my thoughts with a wider audience.

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