Combat for Baldur's Gate 3 brings an immersive and tactical combat experience with is new and old combat mechanics of the game. With a combat system combines the aspects of turn-based and real-time action, it follows the ruleset of the Dungeons & Dragon's 5th edition. Each Class, Race, and Origin Character gives players a different experience as they vary in Skill, Abilities, Strengths, Weapon set and more. Players will experience the environment in real-time exploration mode, while the game will transition into a turn-based combat mode, giving players, their companions and enemies a turn for combat. This gives players more room to plan out their strategy. In this guide, we will dive deep into the game's combat mechanics to get you up to speed on facing the world of Baldur's Gate 3.
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Baldur's Gate 3 Combat
Baldur's Gate 3 features a robust and dynamic combat system that combines aspects of turn-based combat with real-time action. It is based on the Dungeons & Dragon's 5th Edition ruleset, providing a deep and immersive experience for both newcomers and seasoned players. The 5th edition was implemented in 2014 and is the latest version of the pen & paper RPG.
Combat encounters generally start in real-time exploration mode, where players can freely move their characters and explore the environment, When a combat encounter occurs, the game seamlessly transitions into turn-based combat mode, allowing players to strategically plan their actions.
Each character, including the party members and enemies, take turns based on their initiative (D20+Dexterity modifier). During their turn, players can perform various actions, such as attacking, casting Spells, using special Abilities, or interacting with the environment. The effectiveness of these actions depends on the character's attributes, Abilities, equipment, and the success of the dice rolls, which adds an element of randomness and unpredictability to the combat.
In addition to standard attacks, characters can also cast Spells, which cover a wide range of offensive, defensive, and utility Abilities. Spells have different ranges, areas of effect, and elements, allowing players to tailor their strategies and adapt to carious combat scenarios. Additionally, the environment can be interacted with, enabling creative combinations of spells and environmental effects for additional tactical advantages.
Throughout the game, players will have the opportunity to recruit and maintain a party of adventurers, each with unique Abilities and combat styles. These party members can be controlled by the player or, if desired, by AI-controlled scripts. This adds depth to the combat, as players can combine their party members' abilities and coordinate their actions strategically.
Overall, Baldur's Gate 3's combat mechanics offer a challenging and engaging experiences, with numerous options for customization, strategic planning and creative problem-solving. Whether you prefer close combat, ranged attacks, or spellcasting, the game provides a variety of options to accommodate different playstyles and encourages experimentation to overcome its dynamic challenges.
Baldur's Gate 3 gives 3 different difficulty modes. Which are Balanced Mode, Explorer Mode, and Tactician Mode.
- This is their normal mode. With just enough storytelling and a good amount of combat for players to experience.
- This is also the game mode that is available to players in the Early Access version of the game.
- This is their story mode. Best suited for players who enjoy the story and cinematics and opt for easier enemies.
- In this game more, friendly NPCs are more harder to kill, traders will have an additional 20% discount for players, and characters have a +2 bonus to proficiency, making players more likely to succeed in anything.
- Enemies Maximum Health reduced by 30%.
- Some time-limited combat events give you more turns to react.
- This is their hard mode. Give players more challenge in their combat.
- This gives more difficulty to players, enemies will prioritize to kill weaker targets.
- Enemies Maximum Health increased by 30%.
- Some enemies gain additional attacks (Example: Intellect Devourers gain a psychic ranged attack).
Tactician mode is designed for experienced players who seek challenging and strategic experiences. In the mode, players will encounter tougher enemies, enhancing AI, and more brutal combat scenarios that require careful planning and tactical decision-making. Enemy creatures become stronger and more adept at countering player tactics. They will use advanced strategies, exploit weaknesses and coordinate attacks to make battles more difficult. This means that players will need to approach encounters with a well-thought-out-plan, utilizing the strengths and abilities of their party members.
Tactician mode introduces additional challenges outside of combat. Puzzles and traps become more complex, requiring players to carefully investigate their surroundings and think creatively to overcome obstacles. Exploration and resource management also play a crucial role. With limited resources available players must decide when and how to use their healing potions, spells, and abilities to maximize their chances of success.
The environment in Tactician mode is highly dynamic and reactive to players' actions. The game world responds realistically to the choices players make, and their decisions have far-reaching consequences. These choices can affect the outcome of quests, alter relationships with NPCs, and shape the overall narrative. Additionally, Tactician mode encourages players to dive deeper into the intricate RPG mechanics and character customization options available in the game. Players will need to carefully choose their party composition, taking into account the strengths and weaknesses of each character. Effective us of character abilities, spells, and synergies will be essential for survival.
Companions are NPCs that can be recruited to join the player's party, they are characters with their own backgrounds, personalities, and storylines. They are meant to be integral members of your adventuring party, joining you on your journey and becoming allies and friends along the way. These companions are designed to have in-depth interactions, conversations, and even romances with the player's character, enhancing the immersion and narrative depth of the game.
Each companion has their own specific set of Skills, Abilities, and Classes, which can greatly impact both combat and non-combat situations. They provide extra hands in battles, offering unique strategies and support, and their individual abilities often complement the player's own skills. Companions can also contribute to discussions, offering their unique perspectives and insights, which can lead to different outcomes and quest paths.
Companions possess their own personal quests and storylines, which can deepen your understanding of their characters and lead to significant consequences for both the narrative and gameplay. Building relationships with companions through dialogue choices, actions, and bonding moments can significantly impact their loyalty and the overall direction of the story
Hirelings are independent individuals that can be recruited by the player to assist in their quests and battles. They lack the full background story and intricate character development found in companions, but they make up for this by offering versatility and freedom in terms of customizations and playstyle. Hirelings come in handy when all your companions either get killed in battle, or by you, or if they decide to leave the party. They are party members that players can customize to fit their party how they see fit. Hirelings are there to support your character in quests.
There are 12 hirelings available in the game for players, one for each class. Hirelings are also customizable in build and appearance. Although hirelings might not have the same depth of interaction as companions they can still offer valuable support and power in combat scenarios. They can be controlled and directed in battle, allowing players to capitalize on their unique abilities and create powerful synergies with their team.
Dungeons and Dragons uses a system that involves the rolling of a 20 sided die. This die is called the D20 to resolve encounters and scenarios on the game world. It is a fundamental component of the game mechanics used to resolve various actions, including combat encounters, skill checks, and savings throws. Baldur's Gate 3 is based on the Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition tabletop role-playing game, which utilizes the D20 system as its core mechanic. It determines the success of failure of various actions taken by characters within the game world. When a player attempts a specific action that requires a roll, such as attacking an enemy, the game uses the D20 system to generate a random number between 1 and 20.
To determine success, the game adds various modifiers, such as a character's proficiency bonus, ability scores, and other situational bonuses or penalties. If the final result of the roll plus modifiers meets or exceeds a specific Difficulty Class (DC) or an opponent's Armor Class (AC), the action succeeds. If the total is lower than the DC or AC, the action fails. This provides an element of chance and randomness to the game, simulating the unpredictability of real-life scenarios.
The use of the D20 system in Baldur's Gate 3 closely mirrors the rules and mechanics of D&D. It allows players to experience the tactical decision-making and character progression associated with traditional D&D gameplay. Each character in the game has a designated class, which determines their available Skills, Abilities, and proficiencies. The D20 system is then utilized to resolve conflicts and challenges in a fair and balanced manner. This system also extends to important non-combat interactions, such as dialog options, persuasion attempts, and exploration. When a player attempts to persuade an NPC, for example, the success of their persuasion roll is determined using the D20 system. This helps create a sense of tension, as players must weigh the odds of success or failure before making decisions than can significantly impact the game's narrative and outcomes.
How Spells Influence Dice Rolls
In the current setup, dice rolls are displayed at the center of the screen when you’re talking to NPCs. You just hope for the best that you get a favorable roll. In the new PATCH #5, you’ll be able to influence its outcome. To increase the chances of NPCs agreeing with you, you can use your or your Companions’ Spells. But remember that you’ll make use of Spell Slots when you cast a Spell so choose wisely.
So, for example, you can opt to cast Enhance Ability first to account for the Advantage bonus you get in order to roll twice. This raises the chances of tipping the scale in your favor. Alternatively, Guidance is also a good Spell, which also increases your chances for success.
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. (for example, a weapon deals 2d6 damage, means you roll a 6-sided die twice. ) 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.
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.
High Ground Rules
When you attack from above, you gain a +2 bonus to the Attack Roll. When you attack from below, you have a -2 penalty. The height difference between you and your target must be at least 2.5m.
Advantage and Disadvantages
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. Having extra rolls will either make or break your chances to hit the target accordingly.
The mechanics of savings throws are an essential aspect of the game's combat and interaction systems. A saving throw is a roll made by a character to resist or specific effect that could potentially harm or hinder them. It is usually triggered by certain spells, abilities, or environment-related effects. When an effect or ability requires a character to make a saving throw, the game calculates the defense of a character against many effects or Spells. Each character has six core attributes: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. These attributes determine the character's modifiers, which are added to the saving throw result.
To make a saving throw, the player rolls a D20. The result of the roll is then adjusted by the corresponding ability modifier and any relevant bonuses or penalties. The DC is determined by the effects of the spell or ability that triggered the saving throw. 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, such as a Wizard or Sorcerer, it is beneficial to prioritize increasing the ability score used for your spellcasting, which will make it less likely for another creature to succeed on a saving throw against your spell save DC.
Such as is the case with Weapons, each Spellcasting class and subclass uses a different Ability that is used to calculate the Spellcasting Ability modifier:
- Clerics, Druids, and Rangers use Wisdom
- Wizards, Fighters (Eldritch Knight), and Rogues (Arcane Trickster) use Intelligence
- Bards, Paladins, Sorcerers, and Warlocks use Charisma
For example, a 5th-level Druid casts the 3rd-level spell Call Lightning around a group of Goblins, forcing these Goblins to make a Dexterity saving throw. At 5th level, the Druid likely has a Wisdom score of 18 or 19, so they have a Proficiency Bonus of +3 and a Spellcasting Ability Modifier of +4. This means the Save DC of this Spell is 15 (8 + 3 + 4). A Goblin who doesn't roll at least a 15 fails the save and takes 3d10 lightning damage (the sum of three rolls of a d10 die), and a Goblin takes half that damage on a successful save.
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.
- Level 1-4: +2 proficiency bonus
- Level 5-8: +3 proficiency bonus
- Level 9-12: +4 proficiency bonus
- Level 13-16: +5 proficiency bonus
- Level 17-20: +6 proficiency bonus
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.
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.
As of Patch#5 you can now perform nonlethal attacks. This allows you more flexibility during Quests, allowing you to knockout characters that you don't want to kill, leading to more diverse branching paths.
Difficulty Class (DC)
Difficulty Class (DC) represents the level of difficulty or challenge associated with various actions, such as attacking, casting spells, or performing skill checks. It is mainly used to determine the probability of success or failure when engaging in these activities.
The DC is typically expressed as a number that needs to be equal to or exceeded on a D20 roll, to successfully complete and action. When attempting an attack or ability check, the character's relevant modifiers, statistics, and proficiency bonus are added to the D20 toll to determine the overall value compared to the difficulty class.
When a character attempts to perform a skill check, the difficulty class determines the level of difficulty associated with the task. The character rolls a D20, adds relevant modifiers such as their skill proficiency and attribute bonuses, and compares the final result to the skill check's DC. If the total value equals or exceeds the DC, the player succeeds in the task. Otherwise, they fail.
The difficulty class in Baldur's Gate 2 can vary depending on the action being attempted, the level of the characters involved, and the specific circumstances. As characters progress and become more powerful, they may also encounter the higher DCs required more successful rolls to overcome various challenges in the game.
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.
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, some of those weapons also benefit specific Races. For example, Elves gain proficiency with Longswords, Shortswords, shortbows 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 set of skills players can activate in their battles. However, these skills can only be used once when out and about in the world and can be recharged by resting at a campsite. Players will need to
Each Armor piece has their own level of armor regardless of it being Light Armor, Medium Armor, Heavy Armor, or Clothing, each armor's proficiency also varies depending on the players class(es). Classes that have more martial focus lean to have more armor proficiencies, while spellcasters lean to have fewer armor proficiencies.
Players will suffer a huge disadvantage in making any Strength or Dexterity based Ability Checks, Attack Rolls or Saving Throws, as well as inability to cast spells if you wear Armor that you are not proficient with.
Armor Proficiencies per Class
|Class||Light Armor||Medium Armor||Heavy Armor||Shield|
New Melee Combat Options (From Patch#7)
- You can now throw a new class of weapons from a distance. Thrown Weapons like Daggers, Javelins, Handaxes, and Spears do damage based on their Damage stats rather than their weight. Barbarians will begin the game with two Handaxes in addition to their primary Great axe weapon.
- You can now attack by using furniture, instruments, animals, limbs, and NPCs as Improvised Melee Weapons.
Legendary Items are the highest tier item in Baldur's Gate 3, these Legendary Items are extremely powerful and puts you on a journey to find. There are a total of 9 Legendary Items for the 12 different Classes to use, since there are equipment that can be used between the different Classes such as Greatswords or Longswords.
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.
Reactions (From Patch#9)
Baldur's Gate 3 introduced a comprehensive reaction system to enhance the depth of gameplay and create more realistic and immersive interactions between characters. When your character has the opportunity to react, a popup box will appear, allowing you to chose what you want to do. (Note, a counter spell requires spell slot.)
Players can now use reactions to cast Counterspell when an enemy tries to cast a spell. This creates a new layer of tactical decisions, allowing players to react to enemy spellcasting and potentially thwart their plans.
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.
Feats in the game are generally tied to specific playstyles or character classes, allowing players to further specialize their characters based on their preferred strategies or roles within the party. Each feat offers a distinct advantage or benefit that can greatly impact gameplay.
Baldur's Gate 3 features a complex and varied spellcasting system that allows players to utilize an extensive array of magical abilities.
- Players can choose from full spellcasting classes Bard, Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer, Warlock, and Wizard; half spellcasting classes Paladin and Ranger; and one-third spellcasting subclasses Eldritch Knight (Fighter) and Arcane Trickster (Rogue).
- Each class has its own spell list, unique spells, and progression, offering a diverse range of magical abilities for players to explore.
Spells versus CantripsSpells are divided into two major categories in Baldur's Gate 3: leveled Spells and Cantrips.
- Spells of 1st level and higher represent more powerful spells, requiring spell slots of an appropriate level to cast. These spell slots are usually restored by finishing a Long Rest, but some classes have features providing partial restoration.
- Cantrips are spells that can be cast at will without expending spell slots. Offensive cantrips are on par with weapon attacks while often including secondary effects, and defensive and utility cantrips often provide boosts to d20 rolls.
- Spellcasting classes like Wizards and Clerics have the ability to prepare spells, allowing players to choose spells from their available spell list and allocate them to their available spell slots.
- This allows for tactical decision-making and adaptability in different situations.
- Spells range from 1st to 9th level (Cantrips being considered 0-level spells). Higher-level spells tend to have more potent effects but require higher-level spell slots to cast.
- As players level up, you gain access to higher-level spells and additional spell slots. Character level doesn't correspond to spell level, and the rate of progression differs among some classes and subclasses.
Spellcasting Ability and Modifiers
- The effectiveness of spells is often determined by the character's spellcasting ability, which varies based on their class.
- Modifiers based on the relevant ability score are used to calculate spell save DC and spell attack bonuses.
Spell Targets and Area of Effect
- Spells can target various types of entities, including enemies, allies, or the caster themselves.
- Spells can also have different areas of effect, such as single-target spells, cone-shaped spells, or large-scale area of effect spells that affect multiple creatures.
- Baldur's Gate 3 showcases a highly interactive environment. Spells can interact with surroundings, leading to unique interactions and tactical advantages.