Combat in Baldur’s Gate 3 is all about being tactical. The game makes incredibly good use of tactical movement and positioning for its AI, and you need to do that as well. To be effective in combat you need to know the systems at play and how to work with them. There are actions, types of attacks, spells and so much more to manage. Fights in Baldur’s Gate 3 use mechanics similar to those in Divinity Original Sin 2 but with some added flair. Here’s how the basic combat system works.
It might also help to learn how to fast travel, or maybe you want to see how short and long rests work in the game. Anyway, on to the main guide. We also have a simple guide that explains how to prepare spells as well.
Combat in Baldur’s Gate 3 revolves around the use of actions. There are three basic types: Movement, Attacks and Bonus Actions. Each type of action is governed by how many Action Points it uses when triggered. Each character operates in the initiative order, and when their turn comes up, they have a certain number of Action Points to use.
Here are some of the action types you have at your disposal:
- Dip weapon – infuse your weapon with certain effects by dipping it into environmental hazards, such as fire or poison;
- Throw – can throw held items, yes even people, across a certain distance;
- Dash – a movement action that allows quick movement over a short distance;
- Jump – can jump across gaps or other areas, also useful for disengaging;
- Shove – you can use this to shove an item or enemy away, even off of a cliff.
- Help – can lift someone to standing from prone, also used to bring a downed ally back to 1 HP.
Advantage and Disadvantage
One of the core mechanics in combat for this game revolves around getting bonuses through various forms of tactical positioning and clever use of terrain. One of the best ways to boost your chances of hitting a target is through Advantage. Advantage means, in traditional D&D, that you roll twice on an attack and take the higher result. You can gain this roll advantage in nearly any encounter, so you will want to do that. Disadvantage means the opposite, so you take the lower result.
The most common way to gain Advantage in Baldur’s Gate 3 is to use elevation or positioning. A player character that’s above an enemy can get an advantage, this also counts at range. So use hills and rocks to get above your foes with ranged units to gain a nice boost to your attacks. Advantage can also be gained by surrounding enemies or knocking them down.
Some spells can also give Advantage, which is great for a magic-heavy party. Check spell descriptions and be sure to prepare the right spells when going into a fight if you think you might need these tools.
This also involves opportunity attacks. These special kinds of attacks are hard to predict, but vital for getting the advantage on groups of enemies. When you or a party member moves through the square occupied by an enemy, they provoke an attack of opportunity. This is also true of enemies as well. When you’re moving and see an enemy highlighted in red along your path, they get such an attack on you.
This means that you need to be careful about how you move around a map. But the added layer of tactics here revolves around moving out of combat, or disengaging in Baldur’s Gate 3.
Like any other element of the game, it revolves around actions. It uses a bonus action to disengage from a target, and you find it on the toolbar as “Jump” next to other bonus actions you have. Triggering a disengage action will allow the characters to move a short distance away from the threat without provoking an attack of opportunity.
Another unique mechanic in combat in Baldur’s Gate 3 is to dip your weapon. Think of this like applying poison, and it can be very useful.
To dip a weapon, you must first be near a status effect. Say a pool of acid or a campfire. You can interact with it to apply the effect to your weapons for a short time. Use a bonus action to do this. Let’s use fire as an example. If you dip your weapon in fire, you will be able to apply bonus fire damage on top of the normal damage for that weapon, if you hit with the attack.
Death in this game works pretty similarly to the D&D source material. You need to have a certain amount of death saves failed or succeeded to die or live. Depending on how combat is going for your team, you may have to deal with this a lot. You can use magic or the Help Bonus Action to bring a character back from the brink. A fully dead character will need more serious tending to with Revivify.
We have a more comprehensive guide on death mechanics that you should check out too.