Baldur’s Gate 3 is positively bursting with dozens upon dozens of different equipable items: some useful, some irrelevant, and some essential. An item certainly in that latter category is the Moon Lanterns, which are a crucial item for finding your way while traversing the Shadow-Cursed Lands.
If you’ve set foot in this treacherous area, you’ll have come to the realization that you take passive damage just by being there; thankfully, the magical light Moon Lanterns give off goes a long way in keeping you and your party protected.
That said, they’ve become a bit of an enigma among fans. Reddit and other forums have been flooded with desperate threads on how to fix a broken Moon Lantern or how to obtain one in the first place, so in this guide, I’m going to go through everything you need to know to get some of this life-giving light for yourself.
Bottom Line Up Front
If you’re in a rush or don’t want too many hints, here’s what you need to know about Moon Lanterns in a nutshell.
- Moon Lanterns are an essential magical torch that enables you to cross the second half of the Shadow-Cursed Lands unharmed by the passive damage you’d ordinarily take.
- You can find Moon Lanterns either working or broken, and while it’s possible to fix a broken one, it’s more hassle than it’s worth.
- To find a working Moon Lantern, the best option is to take one from Kar’Niss, the Drider you meet in the Ruined Battle Field area. You can either fight him for it or use a deception check to persuade him to give it to you.
- Alternatively, you can find a fully functional Moon Lantern in Balthazar’s room in Moonrise Towers.
- Having procured a working Moon Lantern, you’ll be given a choice of whether or not to free the Pixie inside. Freeing her grants you a blessing that gives your party immunity to the damage caused by Shadow-Cursed Lands, while keeping her imprisoned inside gives you the advantage of spotting Wraiths.
What Is a Moon Lantern, Anyway?
During your initial tentative steps into the Shadow-Cursed Lands, you’re fine just using regular torches to protect yourself. Thankfully, these are scattered liberally across this area, so you’ll come across one easily enough. As you venture deeper, though, regular torches aren’t going to cut it, and this is when you need to get yourself a Moon Lantern.
Moon Lanterns fend off the strongest energy permeating the Shadow-Cursed Lands (this stronger energy is indicated by the thicker fog). They completely negate all associated damage so long as party members stay within its field, and while they don’t make this particularly difficult area a cakewalk, you can at least rest easy knowing that you only have to deal with the enemies you can actually see.
Ultimately, it’s highly unlikely you’re going to make it to Moonrise Towers without dying if you don’t have one (unless you have the Spider Lute mentioned below).
Moon lanterns are also home to little purple Pixies; these creatures are what provide the powerful light inside, and as we’ll discuss further, you can decide whether to free them or keep them imprisoned.
Broken Moon Lanterns
The first time you’ll come across a Moon Lantern is in the depths of the Underdark. You’ll eventually reach the Grymforge at the end of the Underdark area, and progressing through this area provides access to the Shadow-Cursed Lands and the start of Act 2.
If you’re aware of Moon Lanterns and their benefits, you’ve no doubt had a run-in with a formerly trapped True Soul called Nere, who you’ve had to take down due to him going crazy.
Nere will drop a Moon Lantern, but unfortunately, this one is broken, and it’s this that has caused a lot of confusion. Finding a broken one means that the Pixie inside is long gone, but while many thought the broken Moon Lantern was unfixable a few weeks ago, it’s now been proven to be repairable.
Having said this, the solution is in Moonrise Towers—the very place you need a Moon Lantern to reach. Given that this is the case, the methods below will show you how to get working one way before you reach the towers, making the fix a little redundant.
Nevertheless, if you do want to fix the broken one, you can do so at Balthazar’s study. Inspect the bookcases in the room, and you’ll notice that one of them has some books that jut out oddly. Next to the bookcase, you’ll see a table with a heart on top. Pick up the book and interact with it in combination with the protruding books to gain entry to a secret area.
Once inside this new room, you’ll find another Broken Moon lantern along with a dead Pixie. If you interact with the glowing green ritual table, you can repair your lantern or the one you found.
How to Find a Working Moon Lantern
Option One: Take the Moon Lantern from Kar’niss.
The most obvious option for obtaining a Moon Lantern is to take the one Kar’niss carries. You’ll inevitably come across him no matter whether you took the Underdark or the Mountain Pass route to the Shadow-Cursed Lands.
The cutscene shows him joined by a small party and traversing the area with a Moon Lantern. They spot you hiding behind a tree, giving you two options.
The first is to reveal your presence and attack. If you’ve formed an alliance with the Harpers, this involves giving them the signal to ambush the group. If you didn’t form an alliance with them, the same cutscene would occur, but you’d be attacking on your own.
Naturally, Kar’niss is a pretty formidable foe. You’ll want to ignore the rest of his party and focus solely on him, as he can perform a devastating multi-attack once he’s managed to wound one of your party members. He also has an improved critical hit chance on top of this.
The arena you’re fighting him in is pretty tight as well, making it easy for him to corner your party in one area and unleash hell. My strategy was to get my spell casters out of the way as quickly as possible and to use the small spaces to my advantage: I made heavy use of the Cloud of Daggers spell to deal some heavy damage as he focuses on the others.
Having taken him and his group down, you can then loot the Moon Lantern from his body.
If you don’t fancy fighting the spider-man, you can also try your hand at a deception check to convince them that they’re blessed and can safely travel the Shadow-Cursed Lands without the need for a lantern. They’ll die once they venture off into the distance, of course, but you’ll be able to take the Moon Lantern for yourself. If you’re going to go for this method, just make sure you save at the map point above before the cutscene; this check can be pretty difficult depending on your character.
Option Two: Balthazar’s Room in Moonrise Towers
This is likely going to be the least relevant option as it assumes you’ve braved the worst of the Shadow-Cursed Lands without a Moon Lantern, but should you still want one, you can find a fully functional lantern in Balthasar’s room in Moonrise Towers.
Balthasar’s room is located on the first floor of the tower, and you should have been given a key by Z’rell at this point to gain entry. Once inside, you’ll find the working Moon Lantern to the left of his chair in the center of the room.
It’s also worth mentioning that there’s another potential option that allows you to reach Moonrise Towers without needing a Moon Lantern.
Whether Minthara gave it to you or you looted it from her having killed her, there’s an item she has called the Spider’s Lute you can use to your advantage. Having read the above you probably already know where I’m going with this, but if you take the Mountain Pass to the Shadow-Cursed Lands, you’ll eventually come across followers of the Absolute who are tasked with granting safe passage for True Souls to the towers.
The guide? Kar’niss. Having reached the checkpoint of Kanif’s Camp, you can lie about your allegiance to the Absolute, play the Spiders Lute to lure Kar’niss, and then have him guide you personally to Moonrise Towers. It’s not without its troubles along the way, but it’s an option.
Using a Moon Lantern
To use a moon lantern, you’ll need to have one of your party members equip it. This member and the party members in their immediate vicinity will, from then on, be protected. Remember, though, that the Moon Lantern replaces that character’s weapon.
Before you go exploring, though, you have a choice to make: should you keep the Pixie imprisoned within the lantern or set her free? There are advantages and disadvantages to both.
If you set the Pixie free, she’ll grant you a special blessing and cast a spell over your entire party that makes you immune from the passive damage of the Shadow-Cursed Lands. The downside is that with the Moon Lantern empty, you’ll no longer be able to use its power to spot Wraiths in the darkness during battles, making you vulnerable to them.
If you keep the Pixie imprisoned, you’ll have the benefit of illuminating Wraiths, but you’ll be forever tied to the Moon Lantern for its power to protect your party from passive damage. This can become a pain, as your party needs to be near the lantern to be protected.
In my opinion, freeing the Pixie is a much better option. The perk of being able to traverse the Shadow-Cursed Lands more freely cannot be understated, and it trumps the benefit of being able to see Wraiths — battles will only be slightly more difficult.
So, that’s all you need to know about getting a Moon Lantern, how to use one, and how to fix a broken one. If you’re after more Baldur’s Gate 3 tips and tricks, be sure to check out our other articles, like our House of Grief guide and our guide to the game’s best armor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: I’ve heard there are a lot of bugs relating to moon lanterns. What should I be aware of?
Answer: The most prevalent bugs have involved Moon Lanterns that should be working to appear as broken (despite having been obtained via the methods I described). In other instances, players have found the item to simply disappear upon collection. Thankfully, these bugs seem to have been rectified with the most recent patch; the developers have proved particularly good at fixing bugs, so you shouldn’t have any problems anymore.
Question: Can I reach Moonrise Towers without a Moon Lantern? (Spider Lute method aside)
Answer: It’s possible, but not advised. If you’ve managed to reach the Moonrise Towers area without a Moon Lantern, you can technically use a character with a high turn range, like Karlach, and use Dash in turn-based mode to sprint to the entrance. You shouldn’t take any damage this way, but you’ve also got the rest of your party to consider once you’re inside.
Question: Is there anything I can use other than torches for the first half of the Shadow-Cursed Lands?
Answer: In the Underdark, you’ll likely have come across the Arcane Tower by now. If you manage to kill Bernard (the construct at the top of the tower), loot a ring called Guiding Light. Wearing the ring causes you to emit a glowing light, negating the need to carry a torch. You can also use light spells, though this is less efficient. Remember, though, that you’ll always need a Moon Lantern to protect you from the second half of the Shadow-Cursed Lands.