Lae'zel from Baldur's Gate 3

Most of the Lead ‘Baldur’s Gate 3’ Actors Are Running Their Playthrough Live

#NoBigNeil

As a newbie to D&D and computer RPGs until Baldur’s Gate 3, it’s been an absolute delight to watch videos of other people excitedly experiencing these worlds for the first time. Most of these serotonin hits come via random TikTok livestreams and YouTube VODs of Twitch streamers. However, now with many of the main cast members joining in on the fun, I’m finding a new sort of joy as these people who spent years working on the game stumble through Faerûn.

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One of the Origin character actors actually started playing and streaming way back during early access, but many of his peers didn’t begin until the full release of the game. But soon, the voice cast began livestreaming the game with fans and finding new followers along the way. And each actor-turned-player decided to take it up in their own unique way.

A trailblazer of vampiric proportions

@blueowlzmedic I believe him. #baldursgate3 #neilnewbon #astarion ♬ original sound – Blue Owlz Medic

Since the days of early access, Neil Newbon (voice and motion capture actor for Astarion) has streamed BG3. In fact, the ‘Goostarian’ meme and clip actually comes from a two-year-old Twitch stream. The decision came most naturally to him because the actor is a long-time PC gamer and fan of tabletop role-playing games (TTRPGs). Newbon’s YouTube channel features past livestreams of the three-plus year Warhammer campaign, The Vagabond Chronicles, on Tabletop Simulator. Here he serves as the dungeon master. Additionally, there are VODs of him playing games he worked on. This includes Detroit: Become Human and the Resident Evil 3 remake.

Since the game’s full release, Newbon and TV/film director Tom de Ville began a fresh campaign with their own Tavs. Every few streams, the friends have hosted many of the core BG3 cast to play with them. This started with the game’s narrator Amelia Tyler. Later, they also hosted Tim Downie (Gale), Devora Wilde (Lae’zel), Theo Solomon (Wyll), Samantha Béart (Karlach), and Dave Jones (Halsin).

These livestreams function as interviews, where Newbon and de Ville play while conversing with their BG3 co-worker and taking questions from the chat. Throughout the whole stream, Newbon and guests drop a bunch of behind-the-scenes details and shout out some of the hundreds of people who made this game possible. Technically, Newbon and de Ville were the only ones actually playing the game, so there are some asterisks on guests as players. However, the women and non-binary castmates finally let the curiosity take hold. Over the following weeks, they too took the plunge and decided to start streaming themselves playing BG3.

Unique Tavs and Karlach-ception

Devora Wilde, Jennifer English, and Aliona Baranova playing Baldur's Gate 3 on a couch together.
(Screencap/Jen and Aliona)

Next came Jennifer English (Shadowheart) and Aliona Baranova (Xeph, Corinna the squirrel, and mo-cap performance director). The two began dating after working closely on the set of BG3. After the game was released, the pair streamed a Q&A and teased the possibility of playing the game live. A few days later, English and Baranova started Act 1 on stream in couples couch co-op mode. It’s already entertaining to watch them stream and engage with the work, giving behind-the-scenes information. Still, nothing has topped watching the gay panic between them as English played the first Lae’zel romance scene. On October 8, English and Baranova surprised their livestream with Wilde joining as a special guest. English didn’t let Wilde’s violence to Bing Bong in their High Roller Dnd one-shot affect their friendship.

With the help of English, Baranova, and Wilde’s friend (and stream technical support) Grace, Wilde started her first ever livestream playthrough, and game on a PS5. Coming off a bunch of technical issues and amazed to see the chat on screen, Wilde exclaimed “I feel like an old woman discovering Facebook!” After a wicked amount of expletives navigating the menu for character creation, Wilde got the hang of it and started her own adventure as a Githyanki fighter named Dev’zel. In every circumstance she can, Wilde reps the Gith, so it was no surprise she chose this race for her original character.

One person who is actually very familiar with streaming, albeit rusty as it’s been a few years, is BG3‘s narrator. In 2019, Tyler streamed games with her partner and fellow actor Jay Britton. Having played Call of Cthulhu, Unknown Armies, and more, she’s a big TTRPG nerd like Newbon. Just to be extraordinarily extra, Tyler announced her comeback to streaming via a video invitation.

Tyler and Britton decided to roleplay as their favorite characters from their Red Dead Redemption 2 play: Brother and sister, Lucius (“Lulu”) and Violent Alabaster, who Britton described as “dreadful, elitist socialites from Victorian London.” To spice it up even more, Tyler decided to play Dark Urge with a physical d20. When Violet feels the Dark Urge, Tyler will roll the die to decide how to play it. Anything under 10 and Violet suppresses these feelings, but anything over 10 and she leans into the demented thoughts. Tyler isn’t the only BG3 cast member who decided to RP while playing live. This past week, Béart began their first livestream!

https://youtu.be/1Dzpf037BVE?si=auvXFEqPwbsArEOD

Having joined Newbon’s stream and played the game before the PlayStation port, Béart wasn’t completely starting from scratch. However, now they’re joining the stream train by playing it online with fans watching along. Also, this was their first time playing as Karlach instead of a Tav. Like Tyler (and to an extent Wilde), Béart decided to enthusiastically roleplay Karlach. So, instead of just making decisions, they chose dialogue and tactics based on Karlach’s personality and background. This makes any decision the chat disagrees with wrong, actually. Except for maybe her writer Sarah Baylus, no one knows Karlach better than Béart.

(featured image: Larian Studios)


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Author
Alyssa Shotwell
(she/her) Award-winning artist and writer with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. She began her career in journalism in October 2017 when she joined her student newspaper as the Online Editor. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 & Oxygen Not Included.