Watch The Lord of the Rings' Frodo and Sam play Baldur's Gate 3 and sow violent, hilarious Dark Urge chaos

Baldur's Gate 3
(Image credit: Larian Studios)

What you need to know

  • Shortly after The Game Awards, Larian Studios ran into Elijah Wood and Sean Astin — the actors behind The Lord of the Rings' principal heroes, Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee.
  • Larian CEO Swen Vincke invited the two to a Baldur's Gate 3 play session, in which the performers experienced the opening hours of the studio's Game of the Year-winning RPG.
  • A hilarious eight-and-a-half minute video of the session has been uploaded by Larian on YouTube and other social media sites. It's been embedded in the text below.
  • Throughout the play session, Wood roleplays as a Dark Urge with violent impulses while Astin attempts to curb these tendencies as a good-natured sorcerer.

Shortly after Larian Studios' Baldur's Gate 3 took home Game of the Year and five other awards at The Game Awards 2023 earlier this month, the developer's CEO Swen Vincke ran into none other than Elijah Wood and Sean Astin — the actors behind Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee, the principal heroes of The Lord of the Rings saga. And after talking with the legendary performers, Vincke decided to invite them out to a special play session, the highlights of which have been uploaded to Larian's YouTube channel. You can watch the wonderful eight-and-a-half minute video with the embed below.

The session kicks off, as all RPG playthroughs do, with character creation. Astin opts for a good-natured tiefling Sorcerer, while Wood starts the pair's journey through the Forgotten Realms as a halfling Dark Urge Fighter that's tempted by an appetite for power and violent, bloodthirsty impulses — not unlike Frodo, when he was carrying the One Ring. "You remember nothing but a path paved with blood. Unimaginable cruelty whispers to you from within. Can you escape it? Would you even want to, Sean?" As Wood reads the description of the character aloud, there's a look of intense interest on his face, along with the faintest hints of a smirk. Oh no.

The duo then set off into the opening hours of Baldur's Gate 3, escaping the mind flayer ship, battling the Phase Spider Matriarch — "I killed the big spider. Again," says Astin, comically referencing Sam's defeat of the great spider Shelob in The Return of the King — and putting the Dark Amethyst that the creature guarded into the magical Necromancy of Flay tome to read it. Wood fails the Wisdom checks necessary to keep turning the pages safely, however, and its knowledge becomes "seared inside of" his Dark Urge.

Vincke then directs them to a large chasm, and encourages one of them to hop in. Wood eagerly obliges, though his excitement gives way to horror moments later as he simply falls to his death, having forgotten to take advantage of Astin's Feather Fall spell. Hilariously, Astin then uses the spell on his own character and follows, proceeding to loot Wood's corpse, stealing his clothing and attempting to take the necromancy tome away as Wood grips his shoulder and yells, "Don't loot me, dude, save me! ... Don't take the book!" Lucky for Wood, it was locked to his inventory, and he's revived shortly after.

As the adventure continues, Wood really starts to get into the Dark Urge roleplaying, an evil determination in his eye and a malicious smile on his lips as he abandons Scratch the dog, accelerates a windmill that sends a gnome flying, and even chops off the hand of the Wizard companion Gale as he reaches out of a portal for help. The highlight of the entire video for me is when, after glancing at Vincke and Astin and smirking, he kicks a squirrel into a tree so hard it spatters blood everywhere.

Throughout it all, Astin watches in terror, and eventually decides to do something about it. "It all started with the book, right?" he says. "We have to kill the darkness. Let's kill the darkness." And so the two head to the Mount Doom-like Adamantite Forge, where Astin implores Wood to cast the necromancy tome into the fire. But Wood, overcome by temptation, "can't let it go." Sounds familiar!

The play session ends a bit differently than Frodo and Sam's journey did, though. "Alright, well..." sighs Astin, using the overpowered Shove skill to push Wood right off the edge as he looks on in shock. Vincke, who had been watching the two closely as they debated what to do, couldn't help but grin. "Book's gone," he says, laughing.

What I wouldn't give to watch these two do a full Baldur's Gate 3 playthrough... (Image credit: Larian Studios)

All in all, it's an amazing video that highlights just how entertaining Elijah Wood and Sean Astin are to watch together, and it also demonstrates the incredible fun you can have roleplaying in Baldur's Gate 3. The Necromancy of Flay doesn't actually make you commit any evil acts, but watching the acclaimed actors use it to drive the narrative of their play session forward put a big smile on my face. I'd love to watch them do a full playthrough.

If you haven't played the Game of the Year yourself yet, you can pick up Baldur's Gate 3 now on Xbox Series X|S, Steam, GOG, or PS5. On both PC and PS5, it's currently on sale for a 10% discount, which is its first-ever price drop. Larian's colossal D&D-style RPG is as wide as an ocean and as deep as one, too, and is undoubtedly one of the best Xbox games and best PC games I've ever played.

Baldur's Gate 3 | $59.99now $53.99 at GOG

Baldur's Gate 3 | was $59.99 now $53.99 at GOG

Larian Studios' gargantuan D&D CRPG is one of the biggest triumphs in gaming history, so it's no wonder that it won Game of the Year and five other titles at The Game Awards. For fans of the genre or tabletop roleplaying, it's an absolute must-play.

Also at: Xbox

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.