How to open the mind-flayer pod - Baldur's Gate 3

Learn how to free Shadowheart from the mind-flayer pod at the start of Baldur's Gate 3.


The Nautiloid in Baldur’s Gate 3 has many captives, with one stuck in a mind-flayer pod that can actually be saved. Rescuing this Illithid’s captive is quick and easy and a great way to expand your squad early on in the game, affording you more warriors in a fight. Here's how to free Shadowheart from the pod and get her into your party.

Rescue the Illithid’s Captive / Free Shadowheart

A map of the Nautiloid with the mind-flayer pod and key circled

Source: Shacknews

After your first fight aboard the Nautiloid you will likely encounter a captive in a mind-flayer pod. Speaking with them reveals that they are Shadowheart and unlocks a new Main Quest in your journal called, Rescue the Illithid’s Captive. Lae’zel will urge you to ignore her and move on, but it is possible to free Shadowheart. For those that started the game as Shadowheart, this mind-flayer pod will be empty.

The player picks up an Eldritch Rune used to open the pod

Source: Shacknews

To begin with, Shadowheart will direct you to try the contraption beside her pod. You won’t be able to do anything with it until you have the Eldritch Rune. The Eldritch Rune can be found on a Dead Thrall to the east of the mind-flayer pod room, at a short deadend beside a Cartilaginous Chest and a Slave Mind jar.

The contraption beside Shadowheart where you can insert the rune

Source: Shacknews

Search the Dead Thrall to find some gold, the Eldritch Rune, and maybe a couple of other items. Grab the rune and return to Shadowheart. Interact with the contraption and you should now have an option to insert the rune. The dialogue option will look like this:

  1. There’s a socket in the console, shaped like the rune you found. Insert It.

With the rune inserted, Shadowheart will be free and will join your party. You will now be able to use her as a companion, directing her attacks and moving her around the world like you would your main character. If you’re playing co-op, you can even assign her to another player.

Opening the mind-flayer pod to free Shadowheart is likely going to be your first, non-critical quest in Baldur’s Gate 3. Take a moment to free her, as it’s always worth having another ally. We’ve got more quest guides and general information to help you on your way over on our Baldur’s Gate 3 strategy guide.

Guides Editor

Hailing from the land down under, Sam Chandler brings a bit of the southern hemisphere flair to his work. After bouncing round a few universities, securing a bachelor degree, and entering the video game industry, he's found his new family here at Shacknews as a Guides Editor. There's nothing he loves more than crafting a guide that will help someone. If you need help with a guide, or notice something not quite right, you can message him on X: @SamuelChandler 

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