In the world of Baldur's Gate 3, there's one character who offers a deal that's hard to resist: Raphael, the half-fiend cambion. With his smooth talk and grand promises, he entices the party with the hope of fulfilling their wildest dreams, helping Astarion with his personal quest, and most importantly, curing Tav of their parasitic tadpole. But let's not be too hasty in signing our souls away, shall we?
From the moment Raphael reveals his true identity, there's a lingering suspicion in the air. Being a fiendish creature, he doesn't exactly top the "trustworthy" list. However, he presents his demands with an air of reasonability. All he asks for in return for the cure is the Crown of Karsus, resting atop the Elder Brain. Easy peasy, right? Well, our companions aren't so convinced and keep reminding us that dealing with fiends rarely ends well.
Accepting Raphael's deal immediately earns us disapproval from the entire core party. Tav's affinity with Astarion, Gale, Karlach, Lae'zel, Shadowheart, and Wyll takes a nosedive. But fear not, we can work on rebuilding those relationships later. Nevertheless, with a snap of his fingers, Raphael conjures a contract for Tav to sign. Farewells are exchanged, and poof! Raphael vanishes into thin air.
After this initial encounter, taking Raphael's deal doesn't have any immediate consequences. The party puts him on the back burner as they venture through Act One and Act Two, exploring the Underdark, the Githyanki Crèche, and the Shadow-Cursed Lands on their way to Baldur's Gate. It's there, inside Sharess' Caress, that Raphael reappears, ready to guide us further on our quest for a permanent cure.
Raphael reveals that freeing the githyanki prince Orpheus from his Astral Plane imprisonment is the key to obtaining the cure. He hands us the Orphic Hammer, a powerful weapon to break Orpheus' chains. This time, Raphael isn't spinning lies. Freeing Orpheus is indeed one path to curing Tav's parasite, but it comes with its own set of consequences and sacrifices.
By freeing Orpheus, we gain the support of the githyanki army for the final battle, making it slightly easier. However, it also means the Emperor will be against us. We need a Mind Flayer on our side for the endgame, and the options are limited: the Emperor, Orpheus, or a tadpole-infested party member. Karlach volunteers, or Tav can take one for the team. It's not the most pleasant transformation, though. If anyone other than Orpheus undergoes ceremorphosis, they'll have to munch on the githyanki prince's brain to complete the process.
Lae'zel is not a fan of this idea, and depending on her standing with Vlaakith, she may turn against the group. A super persuasive check might calm her down, but if that fails, well, it's time to unsheathe our weapons. Sacrifice looms large, and the magnitude of it varies based on who undergoes the transformation and their relationship with the player character. Suffice it to say, it's not exactly the ideal outcome.
To make matters worse, if we obtained the Orphic Hammer through Raphael's deal, we must surrender the Crown of Karsus. This leads to an ominous epilogue, spelling disaster for the Forgotten Realms. Raphael's power grows, he plans to conquer Zariel's fortress in Avernus, the Nine Hells, and ultimately, the entire universe. The game ends with this foreboding threat, leaving us to ponder the dire implications. It may not affect gameplay or the story directly, but it's definitely not the happy ending we hoped for, especially for a more evil-aligned Tav.
On the other hand, rejecting Raphael's deal comes with very few negative consequences. The cambion may be a tad hurt, but he'll quickly move on. All companions present approve of this decision. While the party is left to find alternative cures for their Illithid parasites, there are plenty of other options available, though not all of them are safe or trustworthy. Raphael's deal is far from the only, and certainly not the best, choice.
Surprisingly, Raphael keeps his offer on the table for much longer than expected. Reject him once, and he'll pop up again at the Last Light Inn in Act Two. Reject him there as well, and he'll still appear at Sharess' Caress in Act Three. It seems he's quite persistent in his pursuit of our cooperation. The only way to permanently reject him isto never accept his initial deal and consistently choose alternative paths to find a cure or aid in the final battle against the Mind Flayers.
In Baldur's Gate 3, Raphael's Faustian bargain presents players with a moral dilemma. Will they risk their souls and the fate of the world for a chance at a cure, or will they reject his offer and seek alternative solutions? The choice is yours, but be wary of the consequences that may come from dancing with the devil in this captivating game.