Should you side with He Who Was or Madeline in Baldur’s Gate 3

In act 2 of Baldur’s Gate 3, you’ll encounter He Who Was, a Shadar-Kai who is longing to punish a deceased woman named Madeline. Madeline supposedly committed heinous acts at a nearby tavern, and He Who Was is looking for evidence to justify his vengeance.

This will start the quest “Punish the Wicked,” which will have you search for the the tavern’s ledger, decide whether you should punish or forgive Madeline’s misdeeds, and potentially pick up the Raven Gloves — which could be useful if you want to put together a cool summoning build.

In this Baldur’s Gate 3 guide, we’ll go over where to find He Who Was, where to find Madeline’s ledger, and explain what happens if you side with He Who Was or Madeline, helping you determine whose side to take.


He Who Was location in BG3

The location of He Who Was in the Shadow-Cursed Lands in Baldur’s Gate 3. Graphic: Johnny Yu/Polygon | Source images: Larian Studios via Polygon

“Punish the Wicked” can be started by talking to He Who Was, who can be found to the east of the Last Light Inn and the Camp in the Shadow-Cursed Lands.


Madeline’s Ledger location in BG3

Location of Madeline’s Ledger in The Waning Moon in Baldur’s Gate 3. Graphic: Johnny Yu/Polygon | Source images: Larian Studios via Polygon

Madeline’s Ledger can be found inside of the “The Waning Moon” underneath some loose planks by the Rat Bat, however you’ll need to pass a Perception Check to see the loose planks. Be careful before heading inside as you’ll meet Thisobald Thorm at the bar. You’ll either need to pass some high difficulty class Charisma Checks or defeat Thisobald Thorm to search inside of The Waning Moon.


What happens if you tell Madeline to stab herself in BG3?

After choosing this option, you’ll need to pass a Charisma Check with a difficulty class of 14. If you succeed, you can either:

  • Tell Madeline to proceed with the stabbing.
  • Stop Madeline as she showed resolve, which will lead to a fight with He Who Was.

If Madeline started stabbing herself, you can either:

  • Tell her to continue stabbing herself, which will lead to a fight with He Who Was.
  • Stop Madeline and receive Raven Gloves, which will allow you to summon a raven.

If you fail the Charisma Check, He Who Was will be happy that you punished her, but he was hoping you’d punish her a little bit more. He’ll give you the Raven Gloves and some gold as a reward.


What happens if you call Madeline a coward?

If you call Madeline a coward, you’ll need to pass a Charisma Check with a difficulty class of 10. Whether you succeed or fail, He Who Was will be happy that you broke her spirits, and give you the Raven Gloves and some gold as a reward.


What happens if you forgive Madeline?

To forgive Madeline, you’ll need to pass a Charisma Check with a difficulty class of 10. If you succeed, Madeline will not forgive herself, but the load of guilt will feel much lighter. Once He Who Was returns to his body, he absolutely hates your decision as he wanted vengeance, and he immediately initiates combat with your party. The rewards for this route include the loot off of his body, which includes a note that ordered He Who Was to return to Shadowfell, as well as a few alchemic materials.

If you fail, He Who Was will be satisfied with Madeline’s guilt and provide you with the Raven Gloves and some gold as a reward.


Should you choose Madeline or He Who Was in BG3?

This is one of many mostly gray choices in Baldur’s Gate 3, wherein there’s no good answer. Did Madeline rat her friends out and essentially get them all killed? Yeah, she sure did! Does she deserve to be tortured in death by this dude for being a rat? Like certain U.S. intelligence agencies, we’re unable to publicly comment on matters involving torture.

The “good” thing to do is absolve Madeline of her sins and let her rest in peace, which forces you to fight He Who Was.

Torturing Madeline by making her stab herself is pretty clearly the “evil” option, for obvious reasons.

If you don’t like this situation at all, and don’t feel good about either choice, calling her a coward is kind of a middle ground — albeit a mean one. This will not only satisfy He Who Was and net you all the rewards from the quest, it’ll also allow you to avoid a fight with the Shadar-Kai.

For Paladins, we’ve pulled some additional data from the BG3 wiki, as this is a quest where you can break your Oath if you make the wrong choice.

  • If you’re an Oath of Vengeance Paladin and choose to absolve Madeline or stop her from punishing herself, you’ll break your Oath — what she did does suck, and your whole schtick is not letting the wicked get away with things.
  • On the flip side, for the Oath of Devotion or Oath of Ancients Paladins out there, you’ll break your Oath if you let Madeline hurt herself or if you chastise her.

Correction Dec. 22: An earlier version of this guide did not correctly identify He Who Was as a Shadar-Kai.