Baldur’s Gate 3: Your Guide to the House of Grief

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The House of Grief and its deep chambers mark the ultimate conclusion to Shadowheart’s story in Baldur’s Gate 3. It’s within this hallowed building of sullied hearts and dark magic that our number one Cleric takes a stand for what she believes in once and for all, and you’re there to either sabotage or strengthen her resolve.

There are many tough choices to make, long roads to trek, and alliances to foster or break along the way. In this guide, I’m going to walk you through the whole thing and hopefully take away the bewilderment you might experience with some of the most critical decisions.

Note: Given that The House of Grief segment comes in Act 3 and features as the primary location for the resolution of Shadowheart’s story, be aware that there are going to be plenty of spoilers ahead.

Bottom Line Up Front

The House of Grief is a pretty involved area, so before we begin, here’s a glance at the quest as a whole.

  • The House of Grief is the headquarters for Shadowheart’s enclave of Shar worshipers, and it’s run by Viconia DeVir, also known as the Mother Superior.
  • The building is located in Lower City’s Baldur’s Gate, but before entering, you must speak to an NPC in Rivington called Freg Drother (also known as the Sharran Lookout).
  • Having reached the House of Grief, you’ll shortly meet Viconia herself and will have the opportunity to either hand Shadowheart over to her or fight her.
  • If you don’t hand Shadowheart over, how her arc plays out will depend on whether she chooses to side with or go against the teachings of Shar during Act 2.
  • If you choose to fight Viconia, you should deal with the more minor enemies first, and ensure not to attack her with Radiant Damage attacks as she can reflect them back at you.
  • Once you’ve defeated Viconia, Shadowheart will meet her parents in the next room and have the opportunity to decide their fate and her own, marking the conclusion of her arc.

Getting Inside the House of Grief

Before we start: Bring Minsc and Jahira with you on this quest if you can. I’ll explain the reason later on.

Given that Shadowheart is at the center of the ongoings involving the House of Grief, it’s crucial that you actually make sure she’s in your party before embarking on your journey.

Reaching the House of Grief and completing its associated quests are experienced as part of Shadowheart’s personal quest, Daughter of Darkness; for the most part, you’ll also want to leave the talking up to her when you have the option.

If you’ve got this far, you’ll have discovered a lot about Shadowheart by now in regards to her allegiances with Shar. You’ll also have made some crucial decisions, either pushing her to reject Shar and turn to Selûne (Shar’s twin sister) or vow to become the new Sharran leader.

Depending on how things play out, Shadowheart’s objectives in The House of Grief will either be to rebel against Shar for kidnapping and brainwashing her or to overthrow the presently established higher-ups.

Regardless of how you’ve decided Shadowheart’s story will progress, your journey to The House of Grief for the finale begins with an NPC referred to as the Sharran Lookout.

The Sharran Lookout

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Freg Drother will be standing at a stall at this location on the Rivington area map. | Larian Studios via RPG Informer

While you can find the House of Grief regardless, you must speak to an NPC called Freg Drother, otherwise known as the Sharran Lookout, to actually progress the questline. The Lookout is another Sharran of the same enclave as Shadowheart, and you’ll find him at a stall in Rivington (the exact coordinates are X:45; Y:-102).

Again, let Shadowheart handle the conversation to get the best context for the situation. Being part of Shadowheart’s own clan, he already knows Shadowheart and will respond slightly differently depending on whether she’s for or against Shar at the time of meeting.

Progress through a short dialogue with him that concludes with his allusion that you should travel to the House of Grief, and then you can be on your way, assured that you’ve fulfilled the only prerequisite.

Reaching the House of Grief

Getting to the House of Grief can be a bit of a trek. It’s found within Lower City, meaning you’ll have to have traversed Wyrm’s Crossing and Wyrm’s Rock Fortress to get there.

I’d already reached Lower City before my interaction with this part of the Daughter of Darkness quest, but if you haven’t made it yet and want some help, I recommend this quick guide by ZaFrostPet on YouTube.

Once you’ve reached this part of the city, you can find the House of Grief in the northwest (the coordinates are X: 246; Y: 9) just over a small footbridge. There will be plenty of side activities to distract you as you travel through the city, so if your experience has been anything like mine, it’ll take you a little while to arrive at your destination!

lower city map annotated house of grief scaled
You’ll find The House of Greif at an isolated point on the upper left of the Lower City map. | Larian Studios via RPG Informer

Once you arrive at the main building, you only need to enter through the front double doors that are marked by two guards. A grand room will open up to you, and you must then talk to an Elf called Mirie, who you’ll find sitting at a sort of reception desk for the house.

Having demanded to speak with Mother Superior, Shadowheart’s leader, Mirie won’t let us meet with her straight away and insists that we submit to something called The Mapping of the Heart, which is a kind of analysis of the negative emotions one has been harboring.

Having been guided to another room in the back and told to wait on a stone bench, a cutscene starts, and the main part of the quest ensues.

Decisions, Decisions

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Gold star for you if you got the reference in that heading. | Larian Studios via RPG Informer

As is the case with nearly every major quest in Baldur’s Gate 3, you’re going to face some tough decisions during your time in the House of Grief.

In the aforementioned cutscene, your party will be approached by a hooded figure who shortly reveals herself to be Shadowheart’s Mother Superior. You’ve got the option here of handling the dialogue yourself or letting Shadowheart handle it (though you know my preference by now).

Before long, the Mother Superior reveals herself to be Viconia DeVir, who was actually a possible party member in the previous Baldur’s Gate titles.

I mentioned earlier that you might want to bring along Minsc and Jaheira for this quest, and that’s because they too are characters from previous games; They’ll have a special dialog for the occasion and personal approval triggers at certain points.

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Viconia DeVir challenges Shadowheart. | Larian Studios via RPG Informer

Viconia will demand that Shadowheart meet with her to discuss matters relating to her objectives by ushering her into another room. The Mother Superior vanishes, and a door opens behind you.

Proceed into this indicated area, and you’ll next find yourself in a small sequence of chambers. Move from room to room, being sure to check the drawers and cabinets for valuables as you go as there are plenty of valuables here.

Eventually, you’ll come to a set of wooden doors leading to the still lower chamber where Viconia awaits you. Having headed down further, make your way through a circular door, and you’ll find Viconia standing on a platform in the center of the room.

Viconia, impressed that you actually made it down here, demands you hand over the artifact. There’s a fair bit of exposition here that will be quite different depending on whether Shadowheart sided with or rejected Shar, and there’s plenty of opportunity to make your own checks as well.

It’ll all come down to one decision, though: do you hand over Shadowheart and the artifact to the Mother Superior or defend her and fight Viconia?

  • If you back Shadowheart, a tough battle between your party and Viconia and her disciples ensues.
  • If you give up Shadowheart to Viconia, Shadowheart’s quest concludes with your betrayal.

Assuming you don’t want to mercilessly hand over your first friend, it’s time to fight Viconia DeVir. Depending on Shadowheart’s headspace and how it causes her to challenge and react to Viconia’s interrogation, a large number of the other Shar followers in the room can join us in the fight against her.

Given that a big part of the difficulty of this battle is due to the tenacity of these followers, bringing them over to your side is a good idea — but you can only do it if Shadowheart has taken the Shar path.

During the preceding confrontation, allow Shadowheart to take center stage where the option is given; this way, she can convince them to fight for us by explaining how she should be the rightful leader.

If you’ve chosen the Selune path (where Shadowheart rejects Shar), though, you’ve got no option but to fight all of them as well as Viconia. Fear not, though: I’ll walk you through it below.

Fighting Viconia DeVir

Dealing with the Followers

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You’ll find the Sharran followers lurking in the shadows on all sides. | Larian Studios via RPG Informer

So, let’s start by getting rid of the followers, as this is most definitely where you want to begin in taking on this challenge. Even if you convert a few Sharrans over, the Mother Superior is still joined by a fierce band of devotees, so you’re going to have a hard time targeting each individually all while defending Shadowheart from Viconia’s attacks.

  • It’s these foot soldiers that will do the most damage to you earlier on in the fight: they can cast several different spells, including Darkness/Beckoning Darkness and Bone Chill—a particularly troublesome combination.
  • Bone chill deals necrotic damage that prevents your party members from healing, while darkness obscures vision and prevents the use of ranged attacks. The Shar specialty, Beckoning Darkness, does the same, but adds insult to injury by also dealing damage to the characters affected by it.
  • Given the consistent threat these pesky followers prove throughout the entire fight, it’s important to deal with them as quickly as possible so you can focus on Viconia. The clear choice is to use AoE [area of effect] spells to deal significant damage to several of them at once: Ice StormDestructive WaveCloudkill, and Hunger of Hadar are all great options.
  • Make sure you position yourself appropriately. The followers are spread out strategically, so I recommend doing the same: position the party members you task with dealing with them on either side of the room or at a decent distance that both provides protection and allows you to cast your AoE attacks. I recommend doing this before you start the preceding conversation with Viconia so that you’re not wasting any turns during the battle.
  • You should also avoid using attacks that inflict blindness, as although they can dish it out liberally themselves, Viconia and her followers are all immune to this status effect.

Taking Down Viconia DeVir

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Viconia herself takes a central commanding role in the middle of the arena. | Larian Studios via RPG Informer
  • As well as fending off an army of Sharran followers, there’s Shadowheart’s vulnerability to think about as well. Viconia will infect her with the Wayward Heart spell, which means that all of her attacks will land critical hits and deal heavy damage.
  • Viconia initially transforms herself into a wolf, Shadowheart’s greatest fear. This also means that you won’t chip away at her base HP until you’ve taken out her animal form. She does deal less damage in this form, though, so I recommend you strategically wait to empty this initial HP bar until you’ve dealt with the followers.
  • When you do go for Viconia herself, make sure you do not use any Radiant Damage attacks. She can use her Radiant Retort ability to devastatingly reflect back double the damage you inflict. The followers are affected by Radiant Damage, though, so feel free to use these sorts of attacks on them.
  • Her most powerful attack is Sunder the Heretical, an impressively deadly Divine Intervention spell that can easily reduce your party to rubble. Make sure you have plenty of potions to recover the survivors; having gotten rid of the followers by then, the effects of Bone Chill should no longer be an issue.
  • Viconia will also make use of a spell called Channel Divinity, which enables her to turn invisible, affording her time to recover health. This is a great opportunity to use the Spirit Guardians spell as a counter, as she’s weak to necrotic attacks like this.

Defeating Viconia DeVir is best achieved with a methodical approach. Position your party members well, defeat the followers first, then deal with thwarting the main enemy’s strategies. Once you’ve taken her down, you’ll have another choice to make.

To Spare or to Kill

You’ll have the option of killing her, sparing her, or having Shadowheart put her down. As is the cutthroat ethos of RPGs, a big part of the decision will be whether or not you’re interested in the loot, so let’s take a look at what you can nick after sending her packing to meet the Nightsinger.

You’ll get:

  • Viconia’s Walking Fortress: This is an Armor Class +3 Legendary Shield. It has a spell guard ability to deal 2–8 force damage when reacting to melee attacks and offers Warding Bond and Reflective Shell augmentations. It also gives you the advantage of saving throws against spells, while spell attack rolls on you are disadvantaged.
  • Handmaiden’s Mace: This weapon offers 9–21 poison and bludgeoning damage and +2 weapon enchantment. The user’s strength will also be increased to 18.
  • Viconia’s Priestess Robe: This +10 armor class robe gives an advantage for stealth checks so long as your character is obscured. It also gives a +2 bonus for saving throws.
  • A key is used to progress to the next area.

Sparing Viconia means you’ll get none of the above as she slinks off into the darkness. It’s also worth mentioning that if you have Minsc or Jahira in your party, Minsc will approve of killing Viconia, whereas Jahira approves of sparing her.

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Viconia succumbs to your blade. | Larian Studios via RPG Informer

Dealing with Shadowheart’s Parents

Having looted the other dozen bodies in the room, your next task is facing Shadowheart’s parents. If you’ve searched all the bodies, you’ll have come across a fallen Sharran named Fidelian Lamona who carries a silver key.

If you spared Viconia, this is the key you use to open the door into the Chamber of Loss, the next important area. If you killed Viconia, you can just use the key you looted off her body.

This next room is behind a Shar Offering Alter located on the west side on the west side of the room. Without a key, you can also open the door by placing enough gold or gems into the bowl at the altar to trigger a weighted mechanism, thus unlocking the door.

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This is the altar you’re looking for. | Larian Studios via RPG Informer

Having entered this chamber, you’ll find both Arnell and Emmeline Hallowleaf (Shadowheart’s real name is Jenevelle Hallowleaf) bound by some sort of magical seal; you can either kill or spare them, though the kill option will differ depending on whether Shadowheart has aligned herself with Shar or Selûne.

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Arnell Hallowleaf in his arcane shackles. | Larian Studios via RPG Informer

This is Shadowheart’s biggest decision in the game. She can either lift the curse that you’ve seen haunt her for the entire game by sacrificing her parents, or save them but harbor the curse forever.

If Shadowheart embraces Shar and she makes the decision, her parents will be killed and sent to Shar’s domain to live in perpetual loss and agony. Shadowheart’s memory will also be wiped in this instance. This option is triggered if you either remain silent or say, “This is your choice.

If Shadowheart embraces Selûne, she turns her parents into Moonmotes, a type of spirit that will forever guide her. For this option, say, “You should end their suffering, and yours.” 

If the choice is made to spare Shadowheart’s parents, the two of them will then join your camp as NPCs, though for defying Shar, Shadowheart will be eternally cursed to never feel emotion. If you want this outcome, choose the dialog option, “Do not lose your parents, not again.” Keep in mind that this option will also require you to pass a DC20 Religion or Persuasion Check.

To be clear, the first two options mean that Shadowheart’s curse will be lifted, whereas the third option means she will keep it. If you choose the third option, you’ll soon bear witness to an emotional scene with Shadowheart and her parents back at camp.

Whatever option you choose, the decision concludes Shadowheart’s arc. Be sure to speak to her directly after the event for her reaction.

The Mirror of Loss

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The Mirror of Loss. | Larian Studios via RPG Informer

You’re free to leave The House of Grief having dealt with Shadowheart’s parents, but there’s still one important area you should investigate.

The Mirror of Loss is found on the lowest level of The House of Grief—the area just after you meet the parents and descend the next flight of stairs. Within this back room, you’ll find a huge mirror emitting a purple aura. Interacting with it can give you a worthwhile score buff.

Engaging with the mirror requires you to pass an Arcane [DC25] and Religion [DC20] check, which grants you the ability to trade memories with it. Trading memories effectively entails trading -2 in an ability score of your choosing for +2 in another one. You also have the option to choose a deception response, which bypasses the check.

While the benefits of the mirror may be worth it for you, it does bestow a curse upon you, which you’ll need the Remove Curse Abjuration to get rid of. This can be found in Shadowheart’s spell book.

Aside from visiting the Mirror of Loss, I also recommend exploring the branching rooms of the main chamber if you’re interested in Shadowheart’s lore, as there’s plenty of cool stuff to find here regarding her past.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: If Shadowheart Dies Before I Reach the House of Grief, is there a Way to Bring her Back?

Answer: Thankfully, yes. The same goes for Shadowheart as it does for any other party member. If one of your followers is killed in battle, the easiest way to revive them is by using a Scroll of Revivify. You’ll start with one of these in your inventory at the beginning of the game, as will each of your companions.

Question: Is there anywhere to Buy Items within The House of Grief?

Answer: There’s a single merchant located in the building called Nocturne; you’ll find her in one of the side rooms in the main chamber where you fight Viconia DeVir. She’s actually an old friend of Shadowheart’s and her behavior towards her will alter depending on her beliefs at the time. She can also offer some context for Shadowheart’s lost memories.

Question: Given Viconia’s Relevance in the Baldur’s Gate Series, are there any other Quests Involving her I should do before this One?

Answer: Unfortunately, this interaction with Viconia is the only one available. I suppose Shadowheart wouldn’t have been able to have the revelation she had at The House of Grief if you had had the opportunity to meet her before.
Nevertheless, it’s unfortunate we don’t get the opportunity to explore this character further given her significance within the series.

Wrapping Up

So, there we have it: everything you should need to get through The House of Grief and complete Shadowheart’s arc. For more guidance through the epic quests of Baldur’s Gate 3, be sure to check out our other guides, such as the Shadowheart Romance Guide or the Best Weapons Guide.

Continue reading:

Baldur’s Gate 3 Escape the Nautiloid Guide: How to Beat the Prologue

Baldur’s Gate 3 clears 470,000 players in 24 hours

Baldur’s Gate 3 Shadowheart Romance Guide: How to Recruit and Romance Shadowheart

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