Combat for Baldur's Gate 3 focuses on the basic and advanced combat mechanics of the game. Each class in the game will have its unique style of combat and associated actions that you can execute. This page covers information regarding combat in general and also individual mechanics for each class.
Baldur's Gate 3 Combat
Dungeons and Dragons
Baldur's Gate 3 is based on the 5th edition of Dungeons and Dragons. The 5th edition was implemented in 2014 and is the latest version of the pen & paper RPG.
20th Sided Die
Dungeons and Dragons uses a system that involves the rolling of a 20th sided die. This die is called the d20 to resolve encounters and scenarios on the game world. In Baldur's Gate 3, this is done behind the scenes by the game, but you can see the results of the dice rolls on the bottom corner of the screen.
Ability Score & Ability Modifier
It's the number that represents each ability stat of your character. On the other hand, ability modifier is the bonus or penalty you gain from your ability score of each ability. To determine an ability modifier, subtract 10 to the ability score, then divide the result by two rounded down. For example. if you have 21 Strength, your ability score is 21. and your ability modifier is +5 ((21-10)/2=5.5, rounded down to 5). If you have 6 Wisdom, then your ability Score is 6 and your ability modifier is -2. ((6-10) / 2 = -2)
Both ability scores and ability modifiers determines how successful your character is at various things throughout the game.
Attack rolls occur when a character is attacking another character. The attacking character rolls the d20 and if the roll is equal or higher than the target's Armor Class (AC), then that attack hits the target with the equipped weapon.
Melee weapons use the Strength ability modifier, while Ranged Weapons use the Dexterity ability modifier. There are some exceptions, such as melee weapons that have the finesse property. These melee weapons use Dexterity instead of Strength.
If you successfully connect the attack, your ability modifier is then added to your damage roll. Damage rolls are calculated by rolling the die or dice of the weapon used and then adding the ability modifier. This means that you are not only more likely to hit with the weapon if you have high Strength or Dexterity, but you will do more damage if you do.
Saving throws are used to calculate the defense of a character against many effects or Spells in the game. Each of these has its own DC, which the character must make a saving throw of the die against in order to protect themselves.
These Spells or effects will target one of the six Abilities of the player, and they will use that specific ability modifier when rolling. Just like ability checks and attack rolls, you must hit the target number or higher in order to succeed.
If you are making a spellcasting character, like a Wizard or Sorcerer you want to have the highest DC you can on your Spells because this will make it harder for Enemies to successfully rolling a Saving Throw.
Such as is the case with Weapons, each Spellcasting class uses a different Ability that is used to calculate the Spellcasting Ability modifier:
The DC to resist one of your spells is calculated is always 8 + Spellcasting Ability Modifier.
For example, if your Druid casts the spell Call Lightning around a bunch of Goblins. The Druid's Wisdom is 23, so he has a Spellcasting Ability Modifier of +6. This means the DC of this Spell is 14 (8+6). Any Goblin who doesn't roll at least draw 14, will take 3d10 damage (The sum of three rolls of a d10 die), and any who does, will take half that amount.
Advantage and disadvantage
Advantage and disadvantage are applied to the roll of the d20. Advantage means that you roll the d20 two times when making an Attack Roll, Ability Check or Saving Throw, and use the higher of the two values. On the other hand, disadvantage means that you roll the d20 two times but in this case, use the lower of the two values.
Disadvantage is one of the worst situations you can be on when rolling on D&D, and should be avoided at all costs. While advantage nearly doubles your chance of success and should be sought out.
All characters in D&D 5th edition have what it's called a Proficiency Bonus. This is a positive modifier that increases as your character gains levels, and work somewhat similarly to ability modifiers because it is added to d20 rolls.
Each player character begins the game with a proficiency level of +2, increasing +1 every four levels to a maximum of +6. Proficiency bonus is the same for all characters at the same level, regardless of Class or Race.
Proficiency bonus is only added to your d20 rolls of things that you have proficiency in. These are determined by your Race, Class, Background and Feats. This means that you will only get this roll at things your character is good at. For example:
- Attack rolls using Weapons you are proficient with.
- Ability checks using skills you are proficient with.
- Ability checks using tools you are proficient with.
- Saving throws you are proficient in
- Attack rolls with Spells you cast.
- Saving throws DCs for Spells you cast.
Proficiency bonus is not added to the damage roll.
In 5th edition D&D players do not receive a penalty for attacking with Weapons they are not proficient with, but instead do not gain their proficiency bonus. And when using Armor or Shields they are not proficient with, they have disadvantage on any ability check, saving throw or attack roll that involves Strength or Dexterity and they cannot cast Spells. Using armors you are not proficient with should be avoided at all costs.
Feats in Baldur's Gate 3 work like talents or perks in other RPGs, giving the character a very specific bonus. Players don't gain Feats automatically. Players gain an Ability Score point every 4 levels (At level 4 - 8 - 12 -16 and finally 19) and can opt out of this ability score improvement to instead take a Feat. Humans and Fighters gain additional Feats.
Weapon Proficiency & Damage Type
In Baldur's Gate 3 you can use any weapon you wish on any character, but you will not gain your proficiency bonus when attacking if you aren't proficient with said weapon. You won't be penalized for using a weapon you are not proficient with, but the likelihood of hitting an enemy is reduced because you don't get the added benefit of proficiency.
Every characters Weapon proficiency is determined by their Race and Classes. For example, Elves gain proficiency with Longswords, Shortswords, shortbow and longbows. Wizards gain proficiency with Daggers, Darts, Slings, Quarterstaffs and Light Crossbows. This means that if you create an Elven Wizard, you'll have proficiency with all 9 of those weapon types.
Each Weapon has a damage type a is either Bludgeoning, Piercing or Slashing. This is something to be aware of because some Enemies have damage reductions to certain types of damage.
Armor Class (AC)
Armor Class is what protects you from any attack that uses an attack roll, Spells included. The amount of protection you gain depends on how heavy the armor you are wearing. For example Padded Armor gives you 11 AC, which means an enemy must reach a total of 11 on the attack roll in order hit you.
When wearing lighter armor, players gain a benefit to their armor class from their Dexterity. When wearing Light Armor you gain the full value of your Dexterity modifier added to your Armor Class. When wearing Medium Armor, you gain up to +2 AC from your Dexterity modifier and when wearing Heavy Armor you gain no benefit from your Dexterity modifier at all.
Unlike Weapons, proficiency in an armor type is a must have or you'll be facing some serious penalties. Characters who wear armor they aren't proficient in will have disadvantage on any Ability Check, Saving Throw or Attack Roll that involves Strength or Dexterity and they can't cast Spells.
The other two important things to pay attention when wearing armor, is whether or not they give you disadvantage on Stealth checks and when using Heavy Armor whether there is a Strength requirement or not.
This optional change will help smooth out the extremes of the bell curve. It retains the core elements of RNG, ensuring a player can no longer be unlucky or super lucky with several dice rolls in a row. The system also runs in two parts: dice rolls in dialogue are different to those in combat, and this change only impacts the d20, not damage rolls.