How to beat Auntie Ethel the Hag in Baldur's Gate 3

Baldur's Gate 3 hag auntie ethel
(Image credit: Larian)

The Hag in Baldur's Gate 3 is Auntie Ethel, a deadly boss who uses masked minions, illusory duplicates and hostages, as well as guarding her lair with traps like the Baldur's Gate 3 Noxious Fumes. Auntie Ethel can come back to haunt you more than once depending on your actions in Baldur's Gate 3, appearing in both Act 1 and Act 3 with evil plots both times - but not plots that you can't foil if handled correctly. We'll explain how to beat the hag Auntie Ethel in Baldur's Gate 3 below in both encounters, as well as how to save Mayrina and Vanya.

Recent updates

This guide was updated on 13 November to add the new details about the Act 3 encounter, as well as to confirm the existing details about how to beat the Hag Auntie Ethel in Baldur's Gate 3.

How to beat the Hag Auntie Ethel in Baldur's Gate 3

Location of the control orb to save Mayrina in Baldur's Gate 3

(Image credit: Larian Studios)

To beat the Hag Auntie Ethel in Baldur's Gate 3, there's a few things to keep in mind. You'll want to be at least level 4 and ideally a couple of levels higher to fight (check our guide on the Baldur's Gate 3 level cap to see how high your options currently go). Once you find her in the Ancient Abode beneath her house, it'll likely go straight to combat, as you're not supposed to be down there. Here's the order of things:

  • You'll need to save Mayrina. On her first turn, Auntie Ethel throws a firebomb at Mayrina's cage, setting it ablaze and doing damage to it each turn. If it's destroyed, she'll fall into the cavern below and die - to save her, you either need to trigger the Control Orb (the glowing, lantern-like ball) to lower and open it, or find some way to put out the fire. A Create Water spell will extinguish the flames, or if any of your characters are holding a water bottle in their inventory, just throw it at the cage! 
  • The Masked attackers appear. Also in her first turn, Auntie Ethel will summon any of the masked minions you didn't deal with on the way to her Ancient Abode. They make a save every turn to resist her control, but if they fail, they'll attack you. It's hard to save them, though if you can kill the Hag before slaying them, they'll pacify.

Stats for the Hag Auntie Ethel in Baldur's Gate 3

(Image credit: Larian Studios)
  • Auntie Ethel summons copies of herself. On her second round, Auntie Ethel summons three copies of herself. Each one is a duplicate that's capable of casting the same spells, but there is a way to see through the deception - before she summons the copies, hit the original with a lasting effect like Faerie Fire. The effect will linger on her, no matter what she does (assuming you can keep concentration, as explained in our guide on Baldur's Gate 3 spells). Alternatively, each illusionary hag vanishes after taking any amount of damage - so Magic Missile can pop them all at once.
  • A deadly shove can end things before they start. If you can shove Auntie Ethel into the giant chasm Mayrina's cage is hanging over, she dies instantly. However, she's sturdy enough that this won't necessarily be easy, and taking this route will earn you the least rewards. That being said, keep that chasm in mind - it's one of the routes to the Baldur's Gate 3 Underdark region.
  • Auntie Ethel is a ranged tank. Auntie Ethel has a lot of health and a respectable AC and Saving Throws, not to mention that her preferred approach is to teleport around slinging spells at people. Gale and Shadowheart can do a lot to help here, as being dependent on melee attacks can just leave you chasing her to little avail.

Should you kill or deal with the Hag Auntie Ethel?

Dialogue with Mayrina in Baldur's Gate 3

(Image credit: Larian Studios)

The first time you meet Auntie Ethel, she'll offer to cure you of your parasite - do not take this deal! She just takes your eye, permanently giving you a stat penalty and not curing you of anything. However, if you can lower her health significantly in the boss fight without killing her, she offers you a new deal. 

Here, she can permanently increase one of your stats by +1 as long as you let her leave with Mayrina, but if you can succeed in some dialogue skill checks (as outlined on our Baldur's Gate 3 skills page), you can actually convince her to give you the buff and leave Mayrina behind! Of course, you don't get the items she has on her body unless you kill her, which are as follows:

  • "Spellthief" magic longbow: An enchanted longbow that allows you to regain a Level 1 Spell Slot when you land a critical hit with it, once per short rest in Baldur's Gate 3.
  • "Corellon's Grace" magic quarterstaff: An enchanted quarterstaff that gives +1d4 to saving throws, as long as the user isn't wearing armor (making it good for sorcerers, wizards, monks and barbarians).
  • Potion of Hill Giant's Strength (x3): Raises the strength of anybody who drinks it to 21 (+5), for one minute/ten rounds of combat. A nice buff for melee fighters and in boss fights.

It's also worth explaining the exact relationship between Mayrina and Auntie Ethel. Mayrina was a local girl whose husband died, and in her grief she made a deal to give her unborn child to Auntie Ethel to raise if she would bring him back. Admittedly, that assumes the Hag even knows how to revive dead characters in Baldur's Gate 3, and there would likely be some horrible catch or twist on events - it's very likely that everybody involved would probably wish that no deal had been made afterwards, if the cursed figures in Ethel's Gallery are an indication.

With this in mind, taking the deal is probably the best idea, though that depends a lot on which of the Baldur's Gate 3 classes you're playing as, as the Spellthief and Corellon's Grace can definitely help certain builds more than others. Either way, you do want to save Mayrina - she might not be grateful, but dealing with a hag never goes well.

How to beat Auntie Ethel in Act 3 and save Vanra

Baldur's Gate 3 difficulty

(Image credit: Larian Studios)

Auntie Ethel comes back as part of a side quest in Act 3, even if you supposedly killed her, as the horrible hag has discovered a way to bring herself back to life even after death.

She's also captured a child and, horrifically, swallowed it whole, which over time will cause it to transform into a new hag within her belly. You can stop this process and save the (understandably traumatised) child, but there's a few things to keep in mind once the second fight with Auntie Ethel starts:

  • Auntie Ethel can't die unless all Pearlspore Bell mushrooms are destroyed. They have to go, and are weak to fire.
  • Auntie Ethel is summoned once one of the Pearlspore Bell mushrooms is destroyed. For this reason, split up your party before the fight starts and whittle on them all in Turn-Based mode to try and destroy them simultaneously if possible.
  • You can save the child by throwing the Hag's Bane potion at Auntie Ethel. This triggers a cutscene where she vomits out the child. This potion recipe is found at the Hag Survivor's hideout in their safe, and you can craft it in the Alchemy table.

Beyond that, you'll want to make sure you have some ranged fighters and AOE attacks to deal with her summoned masked minions, as well as a tank to draw the aggro. This is a tough fight and you definitely want to make sure that you're going in prepared, so save in advance and heal up.

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Joel Franey
Guides Writer

Joel Franey is a writer, journalist, podcaster and raconteur with a Masters from Sussex University, none of which has actually equipped him for anything in real life. As a result he chooses to spend most of his time playing video games, reading old books and ingesting chemically-risky levels of caffeine. He is a firm believer that the vast majority of games would be improved by adding a grappling hook, and if they already have one, they should probably add another just to be safe. You can find old work of his at USgamer, Gfinity, Eurogamer and more besides.