In Baldur’s Gate 3, Punish the Wicked is a quest you encounter in the second act of the game.
As you traverse through the Shadow Cursed Lands, you stumble upon a man in a ruined battlefield who is having an interesting conversation with a corpse. The man is revealed to be He Who Was and the corpse that has him preoccupied is that of a woman named Madeline. Apparently, the seemingly deranged Elf wants to dish out a punishment to the woman that is far worse than death.
You can approach He Who Was, humor him, and engage in a conversation that reveals the whole story (at least his version) of why Madeline has to be punished. You can try to convince him that there is no fate worse than death, but he’ll respond with the classic ‘Death is only the beginning’ trope. He Who Was reveals that he intends to summon her spirit, make her stand trial, and then dish out the punishment she deserves. To this end, he’ll entrust you to find a ledger from the Waning Moon. This starts the quest ‘Punish the Wicked’.
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Baldur’s Gate 3 Punish the Wicked: Find the ledger in the Waning Moon
The Waning Moon is a tavern located near the Moonrise towers in Reithwin Town southwest of where you find He Who Was. The tavern is owned by Thisobald Thorm who looks like he just won an eating contest against Jabba the Hut. You must engage in a conversation with Thorm to get to the ledger without having to resort to violence. The conversation is basically a drinking game where you’ll have to pass multiple checks to avoid the fight.
Whichever way you choose, you need to gain access to a loose plank behind Thorm’s bar to find Madeline’s Ledger. The plank is revealed after a perception passive throw. You can read the ledger to find that Madeline was involved in the death of two of her friends who were actually fighting. But, it wasn’t really her fault.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Punish the Wicked: Return the ledger and hear the final arguments
You can head back to He Who Was and hand over the ledger after which some creepy things (absolutely normal for Baldur’s Gate 3 though) transpire. He Who Was is convinced that Madeline has committed a crime and that she deserves to be tried and punished. He lays the book down next to Madeline’s body and summons her spirit into himself. You can now start having a conversation with Madeline’s spirit through He Who Was.
Madeline reveals that she actually wanted her friends to just stop fighting, but the Dark Justiciar tricked the two into stabbing themselves. Madeline’s story seems genuine and it was not really her mistake. But as innocent as she is, she still repents for the role she played in the deaths and would like to make amends. You are now faced with three options which you can choose through three persuasion checks.
The first option involves asking Madeline to stab herself as her friends did. This will make her pick up a knife and stab the body she has possessed. The spirit connection is immediately lost and He Who Was regains control and immediately turns hostile. You’ll have to kill him and his pet bird. After they are disposed of, you can loot He Who Was and acquire some assorted loot.
The second option involves sending her on a guilt trip and branding her a coward. This again will break the connection and this time He Who Was is pleased with what you have done. He thanks you for breaking her most thoroughly. You can call him out on his nonsense and assert that it was just his perverted fantasy or join in the joy. Either way, you earn the powerful Raven Gloves as a reward.
The third option can play out in two ways. The first is to pass the check, and forgive Madeline, and acknowledge that she had no role to play in the deaths. She is released into the afterlife free of all guilt. This draws a hostile reaction from He Who Was and you have to fight him. Again, you gain some assorted loot.
If you fail the check though, the connection gets lost, and He Who Was remarks that she faded away but in pain. This will end in you getting the same Raven Gauntlets gloves reward though.
Passing the last check though seems like the morally right option since Madeline actually had very little to do with the deaths. She was actually just keeping the best interest of her friends in mind and looking to solve their quarrel peacefully.
This concludes our guide for the Baldur’s Gate 3 Punish the Wicked quest.