Baldur’s Gate 3: Remove Arcane Barrier [Defeat Auntie Ethel]

Discover the role and ways to bypass the Arcane Barrier in Baldur's Gate 3 during the challenging Auntie Ethel quest.

In the sprawling adventure of Baldur’s Gate 3, players encounter the mysterious Arcane Barrier during the Auntie Ethel quest. This formidable obstacle, guarding the entrance to the next quest segment, and two legendary gear rewards, can be dismantled using the best spells or by navigating intricate control panels, setting the stage for a pivotal confrontation with Auntie Ethel.

Key Takeaways
  • The Arcane Barrier in Baldur’s Gate 3 is a significant obstacle encountered during the Aunty Ethel side quest.
  • It serves as a blockade, stopping players from progressing further in the quest.
  • Players must clear the Arcane Barrier in BG3 to advance in the quest and uncover the narrative surrounding Mayrina, Aunty Ethel, and the dark plans at play.
  • The Arcane barrier can be cleared by destroying or deactivating the Arcane Cannons surrounding the Arcane Tower.
  • Upon successfully navigating through the Arcane Barrier, players obtain the Markoheshkir, a legendary staff.
  • They also acquire the Robe of the Weave, a potentially powerful item for magic users or spellcasters in BG3.

What Is Arcane Barrier In Baldur’s Gate 3

Arcane Barrier containing 2 valuable loot items [Image Credits: eXputer]
In Baldur’s Gate 3, the Arcane Barrier is an energy-based hurdle faced by players, notably within the quest involving Auntie Ethel that stops players from progressing to the next segment of the quest. To clear this barrier around the Arcane Tower, players must either damage the Arcane Cannons with spells like Eldritch Blast or find a way to turn them off via control panels.

Players embark on this quest to confront and ultimately defeat Auntie Ethel. One must obtain the Bitter Divorce Wand to bypass the barrier, though a known bug might prevent progress if certain actions are taken out of sequence.

How To Clear The Arcane Barrier In BG3?

To clear the Arcane Barrier in Baldur’s Gate 3, players must follow a series of steps:

  1. Start the Auntie Ethel Quest: This quest is pivotal as the barrier is encountered within its storyline.
  2. Confront Auntie Ethel: As the quest unfolds, players will interact with Auntie Ethel and Mayrina, and the narrative will require the rescue of Mayrina multiple times.
  3. Defeat Auntie Ethel: This is crucial as the barrier is linked to her presence. Some players have found success by causing her to plummet from the middle of the zone, though there are other ways to combat her using environmental elements and strategies.
  4. Obtain the Bitter Divorce Wand: Once Auntie Ethel is defeated, players must find the Bitter Divorce Wand. This item is essential as it allows players to pass through the Arcane Barrier and continue their quest.

To successfully bypass the Arcane Barrier around the Arcane Tower, players must either Use spells like the Eldritch Blast to damage the Arcane Cannons or find a way to access the Arcane Cannons’ control panels and deactivate them.

How To Defeat Auntie Ethel

BG3: Auntie Ethel
Fight with Auntie Ethel in BG3. [image grab by eXputer]
Auntie Ethel in Baldur’s Gate 3, also known as the Old Hag, wields the best magics that can prove challenging to unprepared players. Given her capabilities, a multi-faceted strategy is advised. Before confronting Ethel, engage in conversation with Mayrina regarding Ethel’s dark deeds, particularly about her role in killing Mayrina’s brothers.

This dialogue will not only shed light on the narrative but also influence combat dynamics, such as Mayrina’s role and Ethel’s behaviors.

  • One of the best strategies that I’d recommend is changing Wyll’s class to Arch Fey Warlock.
  • This adjustment grants him the Fey Fire ability, which can counteract Ethel’s invisibility—a significant advantage, considering the hag’s propensity to vanish during combat.

Crowd control is vital, so you need to utilize spells such as:

    • Ensnaring Strike: This will restrain Ethel, limiting her mobility.
    • Grease: This can cause her to slip, making her prone.
    • Frost: Useful for crowd control.

These spells help control the battlefield, preventing Ethel from executing her strategies smoothly. Also, I recommend you also coat melee weapons with Wyvern poison. The additional damage from the poison can chip away at Ethel’s health more efficiently in BG3. This will put you one step ahead in beating Auntie Ethel and clearing the arcane barrier in Baldur’s Gate 3.

Place a party member inside the fireplace. Since Ethel uses it as a teleportation point, having a character there can provide an opportunity for an immediate attack when she appears, potentially disrupting her actions and giving your party composition the upper hand.

This tactical placement can help players catch Ethel before she escapes to the lower levels, making the confrontation more manageable than in the confinements of the underground tunnel.

Baldur’s Gate 3’s environment can be used as a weapon. Some players suggest that defeating Ethel can be made easier by making her plummet from the zone’s center. While this requires precise positioning and timing, it’s a strategy worth considering.

Every player may have a unique party configuration, skills, and playstyle. While the above strategies are drawn from the text, experimentation with different approaches might yield even more efficient tactics for certain party compositions.

What Do You Get After Crossing The Arcane Barrier In BG3?

After you have successfully pulled off the long challenge required to get past the Arcane Barrier in Baldur’s Gate 3, you will get the two gear rewards waiting for you to collect. You will get the legendary staff called Markoheshkir, and a robe called Robe of the Weave.

1. Markoheshkir

Markoheshkir Weapon Stats [Image Credits: eXputer]
TypeLegendary Quarterstaff
Damage2 – 9
Damage Type1d8 (1d6) + 1 Bludgeoning
Arcane Enchantment+1 bonus to Spell Save DC and Spell Attack Rolls

Arcane Battery – The next spell you cast doesn’t cost a spell slot

Weapon Enchantment+2
Kereska’s FavourImbued with elemental energy
Main Hand AbilityTopple

2. Robe of the Weave

Robe of the Weave gear item stats [Image Credits: eXputer]
RarityVery Rare
Weight0.5 lb
Armor TypeCloak
Armor Class+2
Arcane Enchantment+1 bonus to Spell Save DC and spell attack rolls
Weave Eater EffectWhenever the wearer succeeds in a Saving Throw against a spell, they regain 1d6 hit points

Arcane Barrier Bug 

Players may encounter an issue when they defeat Auntie Ethel before obtaining the Bitter Divorce Wand. Under these circumstances, players may find themselves unable to pass through the Arcane Barrier in Baldur’s Gate 3, hindering their quest progression. This bug seems to manifest because players kill Auntie Ethel without first informing Mayrina about Ethel’s past actions, particularly regarding the demise of Mayrina’s brothers.

In essence, if players attack Ethel without this critical conversation with Mayrina, Mayrina places blame on the player for the premature death of the hag and for her unsuccessful plan to resurrect her husband. Even if players have technically satisfied the condition to remove the barrier by defeating Ethel, Baldur’s Gate 3 does not recognize this action due to the missed conversation, and the barrier remains intact, effectively stalling the quest.

How to Fix the Arcane Barrier Bug

  1. Reload a Previous Save: If you find yourself stuck due to this bug, your best bet is to revert to an earlier save point—preferably one before the confrontation with Auntie Ethel.
  2. Prioritize Conversations with Mayrina: Before you engage with Ethel in combat, it’s crucial to speak with Mayrina about Ethel’s treacherous actions, especially the detail that Ethel is responsible for the deaths of her brothers.
  3. Proceed with the Quest: Once you’ve informed Mayrina of Ethel’s wrongdoings, you can proceed to defeat Auntie Ethel. With this order of events, the Arcane Barrier should dissipate, allowing you to continue your journey.

By adhering to this sequence of actions, players should be able to bypass the bug and successfully navigate the Auntie Ethel quest without being hindered by the Arcane Barrier. It underscores the importance of dialogue and choices in Baldur’s Gate 3, where the sequence of actions can have significant impacts on quest outcomes.

In conclusion, the Arcane Barrier, intertwined with the Auntie Ethel quest in Baldur’s Gate 3, underscores the game’s depth and intricate design. As players harness spells and strategy to surpass it, they’re reminded of the crucial role choices play, particularly when a single missed conversation can drastically alter the quest’s trajectory.

Before you leave, I recommend you do miss on reading BG3 Flowers Quest, BEST Feats For Rogue, BG3 Races, and Baldur’s Gate 3 Sorcerer: BEST Build guides


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Irfan Ansari

Irfan Ansari is a Senior Editor and Guides Writer on eXputer. He has seven years of Video Game Journalism experience and a tremendous love for gaming. Over his editorial career, he has gained experience at multiple sites. Along with his bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering Irfan has also earned a degree in Writing and Editing from the University of Michigan. Experience: 7+ Years || Education: Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering || Worked for TheGamer and VeryAli Gaming || Published 1000+ Guides

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