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Whether you have a background in tabletop RPGs (TTRPG) like Dungeons and Dragons 5e or not, the dice rolling systems in Baldur’s Gate 3 can be a little opaque. There are a lot of different kinds of rolls and influences on them, and each kind of roll becomes more challenging at higher difficulties, making the BG3 die rolling challenging to understand during anyone’s first playthrough.
How dice rolling works in Baldur’s Gate 3
Anyone who has played even just a couple of hours of Baldur’s Gate 3 will have noticed that while some dice rolling takes place on screen with a big d20, there are always checks going on in the background. Sometimes it will present as a sentence up in the upper left corner, letting you know a character either failed or passed, say, a religion check when looking at a ritual.
There are several different kinds of rolls, and different things can interfere with or change rolls. In order to get through a playthrough of Baldur’s Gate 3, you don’t have to understand all the ins and outs of how it works, but a little bit of background does help. So let’s breakdown how stats and other things affect rolls and how to use this to your advantage.
Different types of dice rolls in Baldur’s Gate 3
Whether you have played some Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder, Shadowrun, or other TTRPG or not, you probably have some familiarity with the concept of rolling dice in order to complete challenges in these types of games. Basically, if your character wants to break down a door or walk a tightrope, you will have to roll a die (usually a d20 or d100) to succeed;the number required for a desirable outcome gets higher based on how challenging that thing is to do. In both 5e and in Baldur’s Gate 3, the categories of rolls coincide with the base stats. These are:
Related: BG3 – How to Cure the Shadow Curse
- Strength: How physically strong a character is. This changes how far a character can jump, how much they can carry, and how hard they can hit something or someone. This includes Athletics.
- Dexterity: Dexterity is all about sleight of hand and quick moves. A higher number usually means you will have a better success rate at lockpicking and being sneaky. The types of checks included are Stealth, Slight of Hand, Acrobatics, and Initiative rolls.
- Intelligence: Arcana, History, Investigation, Nature, and Religion checks all fall under Intelligence (which is what makes the Warped Headband of Intellect so good in early game).
- Charisma: Charisma can help to charm, persuade, deceive, and more. Checks include Deception, Persuasion, Performance, and Intimidation.
- Constitution: A character’s fortification; it affects both health and stamina. Checks include massive feats of temporary fortitude, like continuing to go on without food/sleep, or having the wherewithal to prevent something from breaking you.
- Wisdom: While similar to Intelligence, Wisdom is less about deduction and more about knowledge and experience, including checks that rely on previous study. Includes checks for Survival, Medicine, Insight, and similar.
Anything that falls into one of those categories is a check and requires the rolling of a die or multiple dice to resolve. There are other kinds of rolls too that are affected by these categories above.
The opposite of a check is a saving throw. These are basically checks, but used as an attempt to stop something from happening. This is usually for preventing an enemy from debuffing your character with a stun or some other bad effect, and the roll is either negatively or positively influenced by your base stat (the same as checks).
Dexterity-based rolls that determine who goes first in combat. Those with high Dexterity will be more likely to go before those with lower Dexterity stats.
How to change rolls in Baldur’s Gate 3
What you roll on your turn isn’t always what you get; the roll of the die can often be adjusted or completely rerolled if you have enough resources or the right gear.
Advantage / Disadvantage
Advantage and Disadvantage can be added to a die roll with equipment like weapons and armor, items like potions, and even inherent race or class abilities. If you have an Advantage, this means you roll two d20s and take the highest of those two rolls; with Disadvantage, you roll two d20s and take the lowest of them.
Proficiency / Ability
Both Proficiency and Ability add to each roll of the die. Proficiency is a number added to a roll based on how good that character’s stat is—for example, a rogue with high Dexterity will get a number added to each of their Dexterity rolls. Ability on the other hand is a number or roll added because of some sort of advantage, like a potion, spell, or gear. This means each character should be used in situations they excel in, like having Warlocks with high Charisma persuade NPCs, or Rogues with high Dexterity lockpicking a door.
One Inspiration allows you to reroll a cutscene d20 once. Inspiration is gained by the lead character making certain choices or interacting with certain items; things that can inspire both you and your BG3 companions include almost anything:
- Reading specific in-game books.
- Completing a quest or an interaction in a way a character approves highly of. A good example of this is the Phalar Aluve in the Underdark; if you study the sword and realize the blood ritual that put it there, then bleed on the blade to release it from the ground, it inspires Shadowheart. This will earn you one Inspiration point.
- Completing side quests.
- Performing amazing feats in battle. For example, you can earn an Inspiration for killing five enemies in one turn.
Related: How to get the Blackguard’s Plate Armor in BG3
While there isn’t a way to determine ahead of time if an event or item will give Inspiration, you can almost guarantee getting a few just by leaning into the backgrounds of the characters that make up your party. You get to pick your character’s background during character creation, but the companions have their own backgrounds, also. These can be checked in the Inspiration tab at any time.
- Acolyte (Shadowheart)
- Charlatan (Astarion)
- Folk Hero (Wyll, Minsc)
- Haunted One (The Dark Urge)
- Guild Artisan
- Noble (Minthara)
- Outlander (Halsin, Karlach)
- Sage (Gale)
- Soldier (Jaheira, Lae’zel)
BG3’s Karmic Dice system
Karmic Dice is a system that forces the random number generation of the dice rolls to be more consistent either way, meaning you’ll rarely if ever go on a bad streak of misses, but also rarely if ever go on a streak of hits (for example). Enemies are governed by the same rules as well, so don’t expect it’s all upside for you.
If you don’t like the idea of fudging rolls, Karmic Dice is easy to turn off. Head to the main menu and look for the Options; there is a setting for it in the User Options under Gameplay.
How difficulty changes dice rolls in BG3
There are three difficulty settings in Baldur’s Gate 3: Explorer (easy), Balanced (normal), and Tactician (hard). Explorer brings down the stats of all enemies (making it significantly easier to land hits against them), reduces the amount of HP each enemy has, and even slightly changes the types and number of enemies in certain encounters.
Bringing the difficulty up to Normal will bring up the HP and stats of enemies, making landing good rolls against them harder. Tactician mode brings that bar up even higher, massively increasing all enemy stats. This means everything is harder, from stealth to being able to hit anything with your weapon. Thankfully, the difficulty can be changed in the menu at any time in your playthrough, meaning you can make those rolls easier for any fight at any time.
This covers all the basics for how dice rolls work in Baldur’s Gate 3. While not all details are covered, it will give anyone a great idea of what to expect when that d20 pops up onto their screen.
For more Baldur’s Gate 3, check out Baldur’s Gate 3 Finesse Weapons Guide on Steam Game Guides.