Baldur’s Gate 3 beginner guide – BG3 tips and tricks for exploring Faerun

Baldur’s Gate 3 beginner guide – BG3 tips and tricks for exploring Faerun
Antony Terence Updated on by

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Looking for Baldur’s Gate 3 tips? Larian Studios’ latest game has been breaking records and garnering critical acclaim thanks to the sheer depth of its choices. And it’s no surprise that some of these choices seem scary for new players. That’s why we’ve assembled a list of tips for PC and PS5 gamers who are looking to sink their teeth into the game’s finer mechanics.

If you’ve already started on your journey, learn more about how to get the Owlbear cub in Baldur’s Gate 3. And if you want to spice up your playthrough, here’s our Baldur’s Gate 3 Minthara companion guide. Read on to know more about the game, even if the D&D ruleset and RPG elements are familiar to you.

Baldur’s Gate 3 tips for beginners

Baldur’s Gate 3 can seem difficult for players new to RPGs and the D&D setting. But with a bit of practice and a few helpful hints, you can set off on an adventure without worrying about its outcome. This beginner’s guide is perfect for starting your Dungeons & Dragons journey. Here are some tips that will help you get to grips with Baldur’s Gate 3:

  • Pick the right character, race, and class
  • You can use turn-based mode out of combat
  • If there’s no direct path, try jumping around feat. Featherfall
  • Try planning your companion choices and work towards inspiration
  • The Alt button highlights items and the Shift button shows character line-of-sight
  • Get Speak with Animals and Speak with Dead for additional context
  • Keep saving every few minutes
  • Loot everything you can see and don’t worry about being encumbered
  • It’s okay to use potions, Short Rests, and Long Rests
  • Conversations can solve fights for you feat. the Guidance cantrip
  • Set off traps from afar

Read on for in-depth explanations and some tips on Baldur’s Gate 3 combat too.

Baldur's Gate 3 tips: An image of Gale, a human wizard companion character in the game.

Pick the right character, race, and class

Baldur’s Gate 3 character creation is among the more challenging aspects of the game. It can feel daunting to players who aren’t familiar with the D&D ruleset or RPGs in general. While Larian Studios has done away with ability score bonuses being tied to races, Baldur’s Gate 3 races still have unique bonuses. Baldur’s Gate 3 classes and subclasses are another iceberg you’ll need to tackle. Just remember that you can respec in Baldur’s Gate 3. Melee characters can get up and close to the action while others can use an arrow or spell instead.

You can use turn-based mode out of combat 

Once you set out into the Forgotten Realms, it can be tempting to just run through the land. But switching to the turn-based mode can help you. For instance, you can sidestep traps or destroy them before they hurt you. Not every trap needs to be disarmed manually. This also comes in handy when trying to solve puzzles like the one at the Baldur’s Gate 3 Dank Crypt.

If there’s no direct path, try jumping around feat. Featherfall

As you explore Faerun, you’ll spot plenty of ledges and rocks just out of reach. Using the Jump ability can help you close the gap and explore new areas. This is also great in combat where positioning is key. You can even try to jump into chasms with the Featherfall spell or scroll. Just remember to save beforehand.

Try planning your companion choices and work towards inspiration

Remember that companions can account for your weaknesses. Start conversations with a character who has a high Charisma stat. Lockpick chests with a Rogue. Characters with Darkvision are great in underground tunnels. All Baldur’s Gate 3 companions have their own advantages and quirks. Play to their strengths and you’ll zip through the main campaign and its side quests. Remember to use all your companions if any of them fail a background check. 

So if you fail a Survival check, Astarion might find a buried chest instead. Keep a shovel with you at all times, just in case. Try to account for their combat abilities as well. Keeping a tank, a healer, a sneaky one, and a magic user is a great party composition. Some classes like Bards and Monks don’t neatly fit into roles like these, which is great.

Also, remember that each character fits into one of Baldur’s Gate 3 backgrounds. Progressing the storyline with choices that align with these backgrounds grants Inspiration, a resource used to reroll dice rolls. Remember that there’s more to companions than their stats. The soft-hearted Gale won’t stand for needless violence while Lae’zel relishes it. You can’t please everyone. Recruiting Minthara, for instance, means that you’ll have to forsake Wyll.

Baldur's Gate 3 tips: An image of the protagonist next to Lae'zel and Shadowheart in the Nautiloid section of the game.

The Alt button highlights items and the Shift button shows character line-of-sight

I wish the game made it clear that there are helpful buttons like these. It almost felt like cheating when I used the Alt button to discover items that I had not previously noticed. The Shift key is useful too as you normally can’t see enemy line-of-sight unless you’re sneaking about. Important items will even be highlighted in orange.

Get Speak with Animals and Speak with Dead for additional context

I’ve had some of the most entertaining encounters in the game with animals. There’s the mysterious Baldur’s Gate 3 Strange Ox that is up to something. Or the squirrels around the bard Alfira that don’t like her songs. They can also provide context for quests like the frog at the Putrid Bog. Speak with Dead lets you question corpses which also adds more context for in-game quests. These could be ancient bodies or fresh ones that died before dropping crucial information. Emergent scenarios like this are plenty in Faerun and we talk more about it in our Baldur’s Gate 3 review.

Baldur's Gate 3 tips: An image of the player talking to squirrels in the game.

Keep saving every few minutes

Baldur’s Gate 3 is a game of chance. Dice rolls tie into nearly every mechanic, from ability checks to saving throws. One different choice can send your party off in an entirely new direction. But a mistake doesn’t have to mean that you need to rewind. Try not to revert to an older save if things go wrong.

The game was built on options and choices, some of which reveal themselves to you only if you stumble. So don’t revert a save unless you accidentally kill off a major character. And even then, it might be worth trudging forward.

Loot everything you can see and don’t worry about being encumbered

The aforementioned Alt key is great at finding loot. Even if something is useless, it’ll fetch a price at any of the vendors you’ll encounter. Characters with a high Charisma stat can even strike bargains. And don’t worry about having too many things to carry. Inventory management is a breeze in Baldur’s Gate 3.

The “Send to Camp” option lets you send unnecessary loot back to your camp. And you don’t need to take a long rest to visit camp. This means that you can head back to your camp, get things to sell, and return to your campaign without any fuss.

It’s okay to use potions, Short Rests, and Long Rests

While players might hesitate before using resources in the game, that’s the whole point of them. Playing through the game with barely any rests won’t make the game treat you better. If anything, you’ll just get more banter from your party about how exhausted they are. 

A Long Rest does more than just heal and refresh spell slots for party members. You can also talk to each of your companions, learn more about their past, and deepen your bonds with them. Sleep also lets you encounter the Baldur’s Gate 3 Guardian.

Conversations can solve fights for you feat. the Guidance cantrip

Not every enemy has to be met with a fist, a mace, or an Eldritch Blast. Conversations can prevent needless bloodshed, even with someone who doesn’t care about your interests. You could convince an enemy to retreat or distract them with the right skill check.

Remember to use characters with high Charisma in these encounters. The Guidance cantrip gives characters a bonus +1d4 to their rolls so consider keeping a character who knows this in your party. Shadowheart is a good pick.

Set off traps from afar

If you’ve come across a trap but are not able to disarm it, there’s often still an easy solution to avoid getting caught in it. Many traps can be shot from afar in order to trigger them early. This will let you and your party safely avoid potentially fatal damage from some of these traps, and it’s well worth doing if you don’t have any other options.

Baldur's Gate 3 tips: An image of the player rolling a 20 on a dice roll in the game.

Baldur’s Gate 3 combat tips

Now that you’re up to speed with the basics, here are some Baldur’s Gate 3 combat tips:

  • Understand Actions, Bonus Actions, and Reactions
  • Examine your enemies and understand how Armour Class works
  • Your characters can exchange items even during combat
  • Try to start combat in stealth
  • Use the environment to your advantage
  • Status effects, proficiencies and disadvantages feat. the Hex spell
  • Keep track of spell slots and concentration
  • Throw potions

Understand Actions, Bonus Actions, and Reactions

When you enter combat, the order of turns is determined by Initiative. This value is decided by a character’s Dexterity stat and bonuses from other items and perks. Attacking from stealth mode has a chance to surprise enemies, skipping their turn. This applies on both PC and PlayStation 5. Here’s what a character can do on their turn:

  • Movement: Move a certain amount based on your race, items, and active spells. Difficult terrain halves movement speed.
  • Action: Perform an important action such as casting a spell, landing an attack, or throwing an object. Note that Hide and Dash (double movement) are Actions unless you’re playing as a Rogue.
  • Bonus Action: Perform smaller actions like a minor spell or an off-hand attack. Some classes let you perform entire Actions as a bonus action under the right circumstances.
  • Reaction: You can do this outside your turn too. This basically means you can react to a change on the battlefield. You can trigger opportunity attacks if you step too close to an enemy. They can trigger your opportunity attacks too. Some classes have special Reactions like Hellish Rebuke that deal damage to attackers. And if you have a Wizard of the Divination domain, they get two Portent dice rolls at the start of the day. These can be used for just about any attack roll or saving throw.
Baldur's Gate 3 tips: An image of a Divination Wizard using a Portent Die in the game during combat.

Examine your enemies and understand how Armour Class works

Armour in Baldur’s Gate 3 works differently from other RPG games. It affects the odds of you getting hit and doesn’t directly reduce the damage you take. So if you have a high Armour Class, it’s hard for enemies to hit you. But if they do hit you, a Wizard in a robe and a Paladin in Heavy Armour will suffer the same damage. Improve your Armour Class with better Armour. And if you don’t have armour on, your Armour Class depends on your Dexterity instead. 

Right-clicking on an enemy and examining them lets you take advantage of their weaknesses while staying clear of their immunities. You don’t have to find out about a large spider’s poison immunity by wasting a spell slot.

Your characters can exchange items even during combat

This tip is great for players who rummage through their inventory right during the thick of battle. You can even throw potions on characters to achieve the same effect, even on multiple characters. Swapping out weapons costs an Action though.

Try to start combat in stealth

Stick together as a party as you explore the world but not during combat. Staying in one place just makes it easier for enemies to use an AoE (Area of Effect) damage option to deal damage to all of you. Starting in Stealth also has the chance of surprising enemies. Plus classes like the Rogue can use Sneak Attacks and deal bonus damage when attacking from Stealth. Dark areas also make it harder for your allies to be hit with bows or spells. Melee attacks won’t be a threat if enemies can’t get to you in the first place.

Baldur's Gate 3 tips: An image of the player character pushing a Hooked Horror enemy with the Thunderwave spell.

Use the environment to your advantage

In Baldur’s Gate 3, a careful eye can mean the difference between victory and reverting to the previous checkpoint. Dip your weapon in a nearby flame to boost damage. Get on top of a cliff or elevated terrain to gain high-ground advantage. Slip into darkness or use a spell for it and evade enemy attacks.

Look for things that can collapse so that you can bury some poor troll in the remains of a house. Be lenient with the Shove button and with spells that let you push bosses off cliffs. But remember that their loot dies with them. You can also activate levers and buttons with ranged attacks.

Status effects, proficiencies, and disadvantages feat. the Hex spell

Your characters each have unique weapon and armour proficiencies based on the class they pick. This means that they can only use certain equipment well. While you can make a Wizard hold a two-handed Longsword, they’ll do a terrible job swinging it. Using the wrong armour causes a disadvantage on ability checks, saving throws, and attack rolls on Strength and Dexterity checks. 

This means that instead of a single die, two dice are rolled and the worse value is picked. Similarly, an advantage on attacks gives you two chances to hit an enemy if you’re using the terrain or spells. Status effects like being Charmed, Paralyzed, or put to Sleep can also affect these rolls. This is why spells can rewrite the rules of battle even if they don’t deal damage. Foes will miss far more often if you’re under a Darkness spell. Similarly, enemies with solid stats can evade most bonus effects from weapons and spells.

This is where forcing enemies to take disadvantaged roles is a neat battle tactic. And few spells do it better than Hex. The Hex spell deals a bit of necrotic damage and forces a disadvantage on an ability of your choosing. Pair this with an attack or spell that uses that disadvantage and you’ll win battles without breaking a sweat.

Baldur's Gate 3 tips: An image of the player character fighting goblins near the Emerald Grove in the game.

Keep track of spell slots and concentration

Unlike regular RPG titles, Baldur’s Gate 3 doesn’t have a mana pool. You perform spelsl by expending spell slots of a particular level. Cantrips don’t use spell slots so feel free to toss the occasional Fireball or Eldritch Blast.

Keep track of your spell slots or risk showing up to a battle with no more tricks to play. A Short or Long Rest will restore spell slots based on which class you pick. You can also use items like potions if you absolutely need another spell. 

Concentration is another aspect of Dungeons and Dragons that makes the leap into Baldur’s Gate 3. Some spells have continuous effects that need focus to maintain. Enemies can try to break this spell by dealing attacks and forcing the magic-user to perform a saving throw.

Throw potions

You’re able to throw potions at people to use them on your companions. For example, if your party members are grouped together and low on health, throwing a healing potion at them can heal them all at once. This can be an incredibly quick and effective way of using your potions, getting as much as possible out of them.

And that covers all the tips in Baldur’s Gate 3 you’ll need. If all that talk of magic has enchanted you, consider our Baldur’s Gate 3 Warlock build guide. And if you’re looking for a different kind of wizardry to run the game, check out our best GPU for Baldur’s Gate 3 guide. Step into Faerun with these tips and have a great time solo or with friends. The Divinity: Original Sin 2 devs have knocked it out of the park yet again.

To make your playthrough more interesting, consider using Baldur’s Gate 3 cheats. For a safer approach, the best Baldur’s Gate 3 mods have you covered. The game is already out on PC and PlayStation 5.

Is Baldur’s Gate 3 too hard?

Baldur’s Gate 3 can be challenging to play if you don’t tone down the difficulty or are new to RPG games.

Is baldurs gate 3 beginner friendly?

Baldur’s Gate 3 can be complex but beginners can quickly understand its basics and enjoy the game.