On this page of the guide to Baldur's Gate 3 you will find the most important information related to combat mechanics i.e. turn-based system and character initiative.
During combat in Baldurs Gate 3 you need to pay attention to a lot of things: the landform, what opponent you are fighting and what are his strengths and weaknesses, whether you attack with an advantage, what type of damage you do, and also count on a bit of luck in throwing the twenty-sided dice (d20). Fights in Baldur's Gate 3 use mechanics similar to those in Divinity Original Sin 2. So, if you have played the previous production from Larian Studios, then you should already have some knowledge about the combat system.
- 20-Sided Dice - offensive and defensive throws
- Chance of hitting the target
- Injuries - types, susceptibilities, immunities
- Armor Class
- Turn-based combat - how does it work?
20-Sided Dice - offensive and defensive throws
Baldurs Gate 3 implements a system known from the D&D system, which uses 20-sided dice (d20), that calculates the damage dealt but also decides upon other important game mechanics such as the chance of a successful defensive throw or a chance of passing a skill test.
It is worth noting here the fact that in Baldurs Gate 3, dice throws during the fight take place outside of the screen and the player cannot intervene in them but the result of the throw can always be seen in the chat window, which is located in the lower right corner of the screen. All ability and proficiency modifiers are automatically added to the throw result.
Attack rolls - how are they counted?
Attack rolls in Baldurs Gate 3 are conducted every time a character wants to attack another being. As mentioned above, this throw is made with a twenty-sided dice (d20), and if its score is equal to or higher than the armor class of the target being attacked, the attacker will be able to deal damage.
In the above picture you can see the situation in which the hero attacked the target with armor class equal to 12 points. A proficiency modifier was also added to the dice roll (16 points), but also a Dexterity modifier which gave a total score of 26 points. The character will definitely hit the target, so a Damage Roll is performed, which added a modifier from an attack of opportunity which resulted in a total of 6 piercing damage.
Ability modifier - mathematics
The ability modifier added to the attack roll can be either positive or negative, depending on how much a given attribute a character has. To calculate the ability modifier bonus you can use the following formula.
(X (value) - 10) / 2
Thus, the above example of an attack roll can be calculated as follows:
(18 (Dexterity value) - 10) / 2 = 4.
NOTE! An ability modifier can also work to the player's disadvantage. If, for example, one of the characters has only 7 intelligence points, and it is on this basis that the attack will be calculated, the following situation may occur:
(7 (intelligence trait value) -10) / 2 = -1 (rounding down)
The character will receive a -1 negative modifier to an attack roll.
Proficiency modifier - mathematics
In Baldurs Gate 3 characters using weapons with whom they are proficient with, receive an additional modifier during attack. When using weapons without proficiency, the chance of hitting the target is significantly reduced (modifier 0), but will not be negative.
The proficiency modifier starts at 2 (on Character Level 1) and increases by 1 every 4 levels.
Discussing the above situation (image from the attack roll), you can see the proficiency modifier 2 added to the roll due to the fact that the character performing the attack has proficiency in short bows and it was from this type of weapon that the arrow was fired.
Saving throw - mathematics
Saving throws offer a chance for your character to avoid receiving a negative effect not only during combat, but also during the exploration of the world map. It should be noted here that when discovering new areas of the map in Baldurs Gate 3 you can encounter neutral threats, such as vines which can immobilize your character and deal damage to him if he doesn't manage to win a Saving Throw.
In the picture above, you can see a situation in which the player's character received damage (8 7 = 15 points), but managed to land a saving throw against the action that would knock him to the ground (prone). Saving throws are made with the d20 dice, with character trait modifiers added to it.
Chance of hitting the target
Before you start any fight in Baldurs Gate 3, you should check your hero's chance of hitting the target. When you hover the cursor on the opponent, the game itself tells you what chance you have for a successful attack. The white number shows standard attack value, but sometimes the round accuracy indicator may receive a red or a green circle fragment, which means either a weakened attack or an attack with an advantage.
Disadvantage on attack
If the accuracy indicator received a red circle fragment, it means that your character will perform a Disadvantageous attack. This should be avoided at all costs and, if possible, do everything there is to get out of this disadvantage. This happens in following situations.
- Target out of range: when a character attempts an attack and the target is out of range, the accuracy of the attack is greatly reduced. Try to get closer to the target to get rid of the negative modifier;
- The target is higher than your hero: try to make the attacking hero equal to or higher than the target;
- The target is located in a dark room: heroes who do not have the ability to see in the dark receive a negative modifier for accuracy when attacking in a dark room. This can be neutralized by using some spell that illuminates the darkness, such as Dancing Lights;
- Threatened: when a character attempts to attack with a ranged weapon or spell and is too close to the target, they receive a negative accuracy modifier.
In the screenshot above, you can see the situation in which the hero standing next to the target is trying to conduct a ranged attack using a bow. Unfortunately, Threatened drastically reduces his accuracy. In this situation, you need to move away from the target, and preferably relocate to a higher position and attack only then.
Advantage on attack
If there is a green area on your accuracy meter, it means that your character received an advantage to his next attack. The hero will perform an attack with an advantage in the following situations:
- When attacking a target from hiding: just use the hide action or use the default C key;
- Attacking the target after taking a higher position: performing an attack after taking a higher position from the opponent, e.g. on a cliff, balcony, cliff, etc. In such cases, the game assigns High Ground - a modifier giving you advantage when firing from elevated locations.
- When the opponent is knocked over (Prone): the hero gains advantage when attacking such targets;
- Spells: some spells, such as the Cleric's Guiding Bolt, give the positive modifier to accuracy. In this particular case, the effect of the Guiding Bolt will be maintained until the next successful attack is carried out.
In the above picture, you can see a situation in which the hero (Ranger) is crouched near the stairs (High Ground) and aims at the enemy, which is located below the current position of the character, so that the chance of a successful attack increased to a maximum level of 100%.
Injuries - types, susceptibilities, immunities
In Baldurs Gate 3, you can deal damage of various types, depending on the weapon that the character uses, as well as on the specific type of spell or action.
- Piercing Damage;
- Slash Damage;
- Bludgeoning Damage;
- Magic Damage (eg. from fire, from cold, from acid, from light, etc.).
It is worth noting here that the opponents you encounter in Baldurs Gate 3 have their own abilities , as well as resistances . For example, the Woo Woad seen in the above image can boast a high value of Strength, Constitution, as well as several resistances.
- Resistance to Piercing: this means that the character will receive half of the damage from attacks from e.g. bows, daggers, short swords;
- Resistance to Bludgeoning: this means that he will receive half the damage from attacks from maces, hammers;
- Fire Resistance: despite the fact that Urzet is a plant and should be susceptible to fire, he has such resistance, so he will receive half of the damage from this source.
By attacking the previously mentioned Urzet with piercing damage, an attack score of 18 points is obtained (tie = attack will succeed), and then an attack is taken, which means that the opponent should receive 12 points of damage, but after taking his resistances into account, he will eventually receive only 6 points of damage. It would be much better to attack this enemy with a weapon that deals slashing damage or use one of the offensive spells to which this creature is not immune.
Armor Class protects your heroes from all attacks based on the attack roll, as well as from some spells. It is worth noting here the fact that some spells in Baldurs Gate 3 have 100% accuracy, such as the Wizard's Magic Missile where the Armor Class is not taken into account. Depending on what armor your character wears, it will have a certain armor value - the higher this value, the more difficult it will be for the enemy to perform a damaging attack.
In the above picture you can see the situation in which the opponent missed his attack. This is because the player character has a total of 15 armor classes (13 from his Medium Armor + 2 points of proficiency), and the opponent's attack roll was only 8 points.
Battlefields in Baldurs Gate 3 usually contains many elements that you can use to gain an advantage over your opponent. Before you make your move, take a look around the battlefield and pay attention to a few important things: terrain shaping, interactive elements, and enemy placement.
Terrain shaping can give your hero an advantage on attack, but it can also make it difficult for him to hit the target. Always try to take a position higher than the opponent and if possible never attack from a lower area.
In the above image, you can see a character performing an attack after taking a higher position from the opponent. Thanks to this, he received an additional height advantage modifier (High Ground) and significantly increased the chance of hitting the target from about 80% to as much as 98%.
It is also worth remembering that the opponent standing on higher grounds can be thrown down thanks to the appropriate spell (eg. Thunderwave) or Shove action. The dropped target will be knocked down (prone) and will receive damage from the fall, and in addition, the attack rolls against such a target will be facilitated.
Many items on the battlefield can be used for your own purposes, for example, barrels filled with oil can be detonated, weights hung on ropes can be dropped on the heads of unsuspecting opponents, and plants or cobwebs set on fire.
In the above image, you can see a burning area that can be further used to your ends. The character will approach the source of fire and immerse the weapon in it so that for some time he will be able to inflict an additional 1d4 fire damage with a normal attack.
Another good example of the use of environmental elements during combat is the wild vine, which is susceptible to fire. Using one of the fire damage spells in this area can create a burning area. As soon as the enemy enters this area, he will receive additional fire damage.
Turn-based combat - how does it work?
In Baldurs Gate 3, battles take place in a turn-based system, which means that each character and/or creature will perform their actions at a specific time. The exception is automatic actions, such as an attack of opportunity, which automatically activates when a certain condition is met. During each turn, characters and creatures participating in the battle can perform certain actions and maneuvers, and then end their turn and must wait for their turn before taking further actions.
Initiative - order of movement
Who will start his round first is decided by the Initiative, which is calculated on the basis of the dice throw (d20) modifier with Dexterity. In the process of calculating the initiative, other abilities of your characters are not taken into account. For example, you and another member of the party have started combat against a few opponents, so each performs an Initiative Throw to determine his place in the queue. Let's suppose that the vast majority of characters and creatures participating in the battle did not get a score higher than 14 points. Only one of your characters has rolled 11 dice, but received a Dexterity modifier [(18 - 10) / 2 = 4] which resulted in a total of 15 points - this character will start the round. Only after it has made its move will the next character or creature be able to make its own.
The portrait of the character who starts the fight can always be found on the upper-left edge of the screen. After spending his action points or decide to skip the turn, the queue moves on and the next characters receive their chance to attack. When any of the enemy characters or creatures are eliminated his portrait disappears from the screen.
Movement speed means how many meters your character can travel in a given turn. Please note here that not all character races available in Baldurs Gate 3 will have the same base speed. For example, Elves in one turn will be able to travel 9 meters, and Halflings only 7.5 meters.
Your character's movement bar is located just above the quick access to action and spells bar and is marked in Orange. The distance your character can travel on the screen is marked with a white line. When she runs out of movement points to reach the designated place, a message will appear on the screen about too few movement points.
Characters moving on difficult terrain (swamp, water, etc.) will receive a negative modifier, which will reduce their speed of movement by as much as half. When a character moves in such terrain, its line of movement is marked in yellow. Always take this into account when planning your move.
During each turn, characters and creatures participating in combat can perform one main action, and the most common of these is simply to perform a weapon attack or use a spell. There are some exceptions to this rule when a spell or action allows a character to perform two main actions in a single turn, and a good example here is a Fighter class ability - Surge Action, which can be used once a day.
The above screen shows one of the actions of the Ranger, which allows you to attack two targets during one turn if they are at a close distance from each other. This means that after performing this action, the Ranger will not be able to use the usual weapon attack, but for this, he can use some additional action and, for example, jump slightly from the opponents or push one of them away.
During each turn, characters and creatures participating in the battle can also perform one additional action, which includes not only the character's movements, such as jumping or descending but also some attacks or spells. There are some exceptions to this rule, and the best example here is the special ability of the Rogue, called Fast Hands, thanks to which he will be able to perform two additional actions during each turn.
One of the examples of offensive additional actions is the Offhand Attack, which the character will gain access to after equipping it with two single-handed weapons (eg. short swords or daggers). Thanks to this, during one turn, your character will be able to start with his main attack, and then use the Offhand Attack to finish the enemy off. In the case of the Rogue, the situation is even better because he will be able to perform the main Sneak Attack, and then continue with as many as two attacks.
Reactions are automatic actions that certain characters or creatures can perform during or outside of their turn when a certain condition is met. A very good example here is the Attack of Opportunity.
An attack of opportunity happens when an enemy leaves the player zone without using the Disengage option. Of course, casting Disengage will cost the character movement points, but at least it will not receive additional damage.
A special way to start a fight in Baldurs Gate 3 is to attack your opponent when he least expects it (when in stealth) in order to trigger a Surprised effect. When starting combat with a surprise attack, your hero will be able to attack twice before the opponent can make his move.
In the above image, you can see a situation in which the player character made a sneak attack and initiated a fight, but due to the fact that all opponents were surprised, they skipped their first round and the hero will be able to attack again, and thus eliminate the first target before the fight actually begins for good.