Baldur’s Gate 3: How to deal with Nightsong and Ketheric Thorm

Baldur's Gate 3 presents you with incredibly tough choices in its second act.
ketheric thorm nightsong baldur's gate 3

Baldur’s Gate 3 is a sweeping RPG adventure littered with choices at every turn. How you choose to tackle your path makes every playthrough unique, with even minor choices potentially having major consequences down the line. Picking one dialogue option may change your future irrevocably, and a dice roll can severely change your fate.

When dealing with the mysterious Nightsong and the immortal Ketheric Thorm in Act 2 of Baldur’s Gate 3, this system means there’s wild variation in the outcome of your fate, and how the action plays out. That said, there are some through lines with the plot, and these touchpoints will guide your path forward.

Read: Baldur’s Gate 3 Guide: Tips and Early Game Advice for Beginners

If you’re currently surveying your options as you head towards the final showdown with Ketheric Thorm, Balthazar, and the path through the Gauntlet of Shar, read on for some tips about how best to survive the encounter.

BEWARE: Major spoilers for Act 2 of Baldur’s Gate 3 continue below.

How to find Ketheric Thorm

Ketheric Thorm is the primary boss of the second act of Baldur’s Gate 3, and dominates many of the quests you’ll undertake while travelling through the Shadow-Cursed Lands (the realm beyond the Underdark). You’ll find him in a location called Moonrise Towers, although you won’t have to fight him straight away.

As long as you pass some basic dialogue checks with his followers in Moonrise Towers – the Cult of the Absolute – you’ll pass through easily, and get a few more quests for your troubles. Your goal here is to infiltrate the cult, so try not to cause too much trouble.

Explore Moonrise Towers, and eventually you’ll discover Balthazar’s diary in his private chambers, on the upper floor. This will tell you to go to Thorm Mausoleum and uncover something called the ‘Nightsong‘ which is key to Ketheric Thorm’s invulnerability. Until you find the Nightsong, you can’t defeat Thorm.

>baldur's gate 3 balthazar diary
Screenshot: GamesHub

How to complete the Gauntlet of Shar

Travel to the Thorm Mausoleum, and you’ll encounter a mini-puzzle – press the Moonrise Towers, Grief and General painting buttons in that order – and you’ll unlock the way to the Gauntlet of Shar, one of the most testing regions of Baldur’s Gate 3 Act 2.

In the Gauntlet of Shar, you’ll need to explore thoroughly and collect four Umbral Gems. Three gems can be obtained by completing three trials – the Soft-Step Trial (a stealth maze), the Self-Same Trial (a fight against your mirror image), and the Faith-Step Trial (a journey across an invisible, suspended pathway). These are relatively simple, and seem to be most easily completed with Astarion.

The fourth Umbral Gem can be acquired in the chamber of Orthon Yurgir (also known as Raphael’s Old Enemy from the titular quest). You can fight Yurgir for the gem, or try to break his cursed contract, but if you pass a minor perception check, you can also convince him to kill his goons and himself, and avoid the battle entirely.

Should this option present itself, you’ll need to pass two high-level persuasion checks.

Once you’ve gathered all four Umbral Gems, you should head to the Silent Library (near where the Trials are located on the lower floor) and defeat the enemies there. You will need to destroy the Silence Portal in the centre of the room to unlock your magic.

Then, you should search the nearby bookshelf for an item called Teachings of Loss: The Nightsinger (the bookshelf has a trap in it), and then click the buttons around the room (revealed with perception checks) to open an inner cage. Place Teachings of Loss on the pedestal in the cage, and you’ll unlock access to the room behind the Shar relief, where the Spear of Night awaits. If the room doesn’t appear to open, you might be able to just walk through the relief anyway.

Play your cards correctly, and you won’t need the spear just yet.

How to find the Nightsong

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Screenshot: GamesHub

Once you’ve completed your exploration of the Gauntlet of Shar, head to the centre of the Gauntlet and place the first Umbral Gem in the Ancient Pedestal to take the floating platform to the depths. Insert the final three gems into the second Ancient Pedestal on this lower floor, and you’ll unlock the path to Nightsong Prison.

Inside, you’ll need to jump down the floating rocks until you’re on the second-last rock. You can talk to Balthazar and make the choice to give him the Nightsong – who is actually a living being – but the best option is to wait out of reach, at the tip of the second-last rock. Attack from a distance, and you’ll gain an advantage over Balthazar and his minions.

Crowding around the tip of the rock means you can prevent extra monsters from jumping to your perch, limiting their reach, and you can unleash spells and ranged attacks easily. Defeat Balthazar and his skeleton hordes, and you’ll then be able to approach the Nightsong.

You should save the Nightsong when you’re presented with a choice. While it is one of many decisions in Baldur’s Gate 3 that can be made on your own, we’d recommend keeping her alive and on your side, as she greatly helps with the later battle against Ketheric Thorm. She’s a valuable ally, and the survival of other NPCs depends on her staying alive.

This process simply involves you trusting her, and placing your hand on her. There’s no trick here. Just go up, and set her free. The only complication will be if you have Shadowheart in your party. As a servant of Shar, she’ll want to kill the Nightsong. You can convince her otherwise if you pass a high persuasion check – but if you fail, you may need to fight and kill Shadowheart. Faced with a choice between them, you should pick Nightsong.

How to defeat Ketheric Thorm

Once Nightsong has been released from her prison, head back to Moonrise Towers for a face-off against the Cult of the Absolute. They’ll know you’ve betrayed them immediately, so heal yourself before heading into the Towers. You’ll fight alongside the Harpers in this battle, so you should have plenty of help – but that said, the acolytes of the cult are powerful, and you should prepare well.

You’ll have another, easier battle on the upper floor of Moonrise Towers, and then you’ll be able to ascend to the top of Moonrise Tower for the first phase of the battle against Ketheric Thorm. He has a number of skeleton warriors by his side, but he’s not too difficult to put away. When you ‘defeat’ Thorm in this phase, he’ll escape down a fleshy hole. Defeat his warriors, and follow after him.

There is a brief pause between battle phases, as you’ll need to explore the Mind Flayer Colony after this brief battle. Here, you can free Zevlor and other kidnapped warriors from your travels, and then progress through the halls to an arena, where Ketheric Thorm awaits. (You may also have to take on at least two other battles before you find the arena, but some can be avoided if you make a beeline for the upper region of the map.)

In this second phase of battle, you’ll need to free the Nightsong from the back of the arena, and then take on Thorm and his goons. There is a second phase to this battle, so stay patient, and keep hitting him with powerful spells. Save after making good progress, and restart if the battle heads sideways. Once the fight is over, you’ll conclude Act 2 and head into the next story arc, which sends you to the titular Baldur’s Gate.

Baldur’s Gate 3 is out now for PC. If you need more advice for surviving your time with the game, check out GamesHub’s quick tips rundown.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.