10 Biggest Differences Between Baldur’s Gate 3 And D&D


  • Baldur’s Gate 3 is based on the fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons, the classic tabletop RPG.
  • DnD has multiple elements that are impossible to adapt into a video game, making differences in BG3‘s rules a necessity.
  • Some changes from DnD to BG3 are relatively minor, affecting the way certain actions are used, but others more fundamentally alter the experience.

Baldur’s Gate 3 does an excellent job of adapting the Dungeons & Dragons experience to video game form, but there’s no small number of differences between it and its inspiration. Some core aspects of DnD are fundamentally impossible to translate, while others just work better in tabletop play than they do in a video game. Most of these changes are minor, but certain ones overhaul the experience in significant ways.

Taking a look at the biggest differences between Baldur’s Gate 3 and DnD helps to reveal some of the strengths and weaknesses of each experience, as both have unique elements to offer. It also provides a glimpse into all the work that Larian Studios put into building something around DnD concepts without letting rules take over from fun, especially when considering that its previous Divinity games didn’t use DnD as a base.

Related: “An Iconic, Engaging Mess Of Brilliant Ideas”: Baldur’s Gate 3 Review

10 Strength Matters More In Baldur’s Gate 3

Jumps & Shoves Are More Prevalent

Although it can be fun to build a martial class centered around Strength in DnD, it isn’t generally one of the best stats to dump points into overall. Dexterity often has a wider range of benefits, making Strength best for specific builds or flavor purposes. In Baldur’s Gate 3, however, certain physical actions take center stage. Jumping across frequent gaps, shoving enemies off of cliffs, and managing carrying capacity all hold positions of greater significance in the game, making high Strength scores a huge advantage and punishing weaker characters heavily.

9 Baldur’s Gate 3 Doesn’t Have Dispel Magic

The default look of the Dark Urge in Baldur's Gate 3, gray dragonborn with red eyes, next to the cover art of Tasha's Cauldron of Everything, showing a spellcaster holding a book open with magic surrounding her other hand.

Baldur’s Gate 3 features a number of minor tweaks to spells and spell lists, but one that stands out as a major shift is the removal of dispel magic, which makes it possible to end spells on target creatures, objects, or magical effects. Including this in the game would have had huge ramifications on game design due to its wide-reaching applications, making it a feature that ultimately had to be cut. In tabletop DnD, increased proficiency with dispel magic is one of the features that can make abjuration wizards especially powerful, and it’s a useful tool for essentially any spellcaster.

8 Passive Perception Uses Rolls In Baldur’s Gate 3

D&D Uses Static Numbers For Passive Perception

A Vase is used to block a vent trap in Baldur's Gate 3

Passive perception is a major part of exploration in DnD, as static scores associated with each party member’s perception can help determine whether they would notice a trap or spot something in the distance. In Baldur’s Gate 3, passive perception is handled through rolls instead, transparently triggering whenever something to uncover is nearby. This mostly acts to simplify the overall utility of passive perception and scenarios where a DM might ask players to roll perception into a standard feature, as well as potentially making traps less frustrating for newcomers.

7 Rests Are Different In D&D And Baldur’s Gate 3

Short And Long Rests Have Different Limitations

Baldur’s Gate 3 and DnD share a core long and short rest system, but how these rests actually work is a little different. Baldur’s Gate 3 limits things to two short rests per long rest and makes supplies the primary determining factor of long rests. The short rest limit basically codifies a suggestion for adventuring day structure in the DnD Dungeon Master’s Guide, but basing long rests on supplies rather than time is a significant change from how most tabletop games are played. Baldur’s Gate 3 doesn’t track time in general, so the standard implementation simply wouldn’t work without a major overhaul.

Related: Baldur’s Gate 3: How to Long Rest (& Why)

6 Baldur’s Gate 3 Doesn’t Use D&D Attunement

Equipping Magical Items Doesn’t Have Limits

Baldur's Gate 3 Magical Item in The House of Hope the Helldusk Helmet

Attunement is a central determining factor in the use of magic items in DnD, limiting how many powerful items any given character can have equipped. In Baldur’s Gate 3, the system of attunement slots is missing entirely, which mostly serves to ensure that finding a fun balance of magic items for any character build is fun, even without a DM to curate item availability to fit characters. As a side effect, it can easily lead to a more broken power creep, but a sizable portion of the community likely prefers to have that option.

5 Spell Lists Work Differently In Baldur’s Gate 3

BG3 Has Wider Access To Spells

Building a character around strength might be a huge boon in Baldur’s Gate 3, but wizards make up for their typical glass cannon builds by getting some key advantages that they don’t have in DnD. Wizards can use scrolls to learn spells from any class, not just the wizard spell list, giving them an incredible versatility. All casters can also change prepared spells that they’ve learned at any time between combat, while a long rest is necessary to do so in DnD.

Related: Baldur’s Gate 3: Pros & Cons Of Romancing Gale In BG3

4 Baldur’s Gate 3 Has More Bonus Actions Than D&D

Shoving And Using A Potion Are Bonus Actions

Astarion throws a healing potion which hits all three of his party members.

Bonus actions in DnD are often used more for specific class features than anything else, but Baldur’s Gate 3 moves a couple of general actions to bonus actions that end up making that extra bit of the turn more frequently used. Shoving is one such ability, so there’s little reason not to try it after an attack if an enemy is in a vulnerable position. Drinking a potion also works as a bonus action, codifying a popular DnD house rule, as does throwing a potion at another character to heal them.

3 Baldur’s Gate 3 Has A Lower Level Cap Than D&D

No Progress Past Level 12 In BG3

Shadowheart next to a Level Up box from Baldur's Gate 3.

DnD 5e works around an intended level cap of 20, although the Dungeon Master’s Guide does offer advice for continuing to play past that point. Baldur’s Gate 3 reduces this significantly to 12, after which point it’s impossible to level up more regardless of XP potentially gained. This mostly helps to dodge high-level spells that would be difficult to implement in-game, as well as keep the overall balance on the less god-like side of things.

Related: Why Baldur’s Gate 3 Has A Level Cap Of 12 Instead Of D&D’s 20

2 Baldur’s Gate 3 Has A Party Limit

D&D Doesn’t Cap Parties At 4 Members

Baldur's Gate 3 party fight a spectator Wyll is selected and about to cast a cantrip.

Although DnD modules are often designed around a party of four to six players, there’s no technical limit to how many people can congregate at a table, even if combat will eventually slow down to a crawl and the chaos of roleplaying will only grow. Baldur’s Gate 3, however, takes the conservative approach of limiting things to four party members. This makes balance more feasible than a larger party size would, but swapping characters at camp frequently will become a necessity for anyone who enjoys having everyone along for the ride.

Related: How To Install (& Use) The Party Limits Begone Mod In Baldur’s Gate 3

1 Baldur’s Gate 3 Doesn’t Have A DM

BG3 Makes Do With A Standard Narrator

Astarion, Shadowheart, and Wyll are next to each other.

Perhaps the biggest fundamental difference between Baldur’s Gate 3 and DnD is the lack of a dungeon master to guide and mediate the experience. Having the voice of a narrator provides a minor part of this function, but the lack of an individual arbiter means that branching possibilities have to be pre-written or possible through direct use of the game mechanics. This can limit spontaneity compared to DnD, but it also ensures that there’s a strong assortment of bespoke content for any path taken in Baldur’s Gate 3.

  • Baldur’s Gate 3

    Baldur’s Gate

    macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 5


    Larian Studios

    Larian Studios


    Larian Studios


    Baldur’s Gate 3 is a long-anticipated sequel to Baldur’s Gate 2, released in 2000 from BioWare and now being handled by Larian Studios. Set 120 years after the events of Shadows of Amn, Baldur’s Gate 3 puts players in the role of a customizable protagonist who has been captured and infected with a parasite that will turn them into a mind flayer. Before the process is complete, the ship they are on crashes, leaving them on a quest to cure themselves as they meet up with other survivors. Gameplay is turn-based and can be played co-operatively online or tackled alone in a single-player campaign with NPC allies. 

    How Long To Beat:
    50 – 100 hours

    Baldur’s Gate 2

#Biggest #Differences #Baldurs #Gate

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