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Action redirects here. For melee Attack, see Main Hand Attack. For ranged Attack, see Ranged Attack. For melee bonus Attack, see Off-Hand Attack (Melee). For ranged bonus Attack, see Off-Hand Attack (Ranged). For other uses, see Attack (disambiguation).

Attacks are attempts by a creature at hitting a target, usually with a weapon or a spell.

The outcome of an attempted attack is determined by the attacker making an attack roll against the target's AC. If the attempt is successful, the attack may deal damage and/or inflict a condition.

Attacks can be made by taking an Attack action, as well by taking any action that requires the attacker to make an attack roll.

Spell attacks are attack rolls made as part of casting a spell.

Result = D20.png d20 + Ability score modifier + Proficiency bonus

Attack rolls[edit | edit source]

Creatures make attack rolls when they attack a target, usually with a weapon or a spell.

If the result of the attack roll is equal to or higher than the target's Armour Class (AC), the attack hits, and the attacker rolls for damage. If the result is lower than the target's AC, the attack misses.

Attack roll modifiers[edit source]

Attack rolls are always made using an associated ability:

  • Unarmed attacks, and attacks made with melee weapons and thrown weapons generally add the attacking creature's Strength modifier.
  • If the weapon has the Finesse property, attacks with it add either the attacker's Strength or Dexterity modifier, whichever is higher.
  • Unarmed attacks may use the attacker's Dexterity modifier if they have certain features like Dextrous Attacks from the Monk class.
  • Attacks made with ranged weapons add the creature's Dexterity modifier.
  • Spell attacks add the caster's spellcasting ability modifier, generally determined by their class.

If the attacker is proficient with the weapon they are wielding, or if the attack is a spell attack or unarmed attack, they also add their proficiency bonus.

Critical hits[edit source]

Example of a critical hit with a 1d6 shortsword.

When a creature rolls a natural 20 on an attack roll, the attack is a critical hit. Critical hits automatically land regardless of the target's AC, and the attacker also rolls twice the normal number of dice to determine damage dealt, including additional dice such as those from smites or combat maneuvers. Modifiers and bonuses – including the creature's relevant ability score modifier and proficiency bonus – are not doubled.

Some feats, class features, and items reduce the critical hit threshold by 1, allowing the creature to land critical hits by rolling either 19 or 20 on attack rolls. Multiple sources of this effect stack, allowing the critical hit threshold to go even lower than 19.

Armour Class[edit source]

Armour Class (AC) is a measurement of how difficult a creature is to be hit by an attack. In order to successfully hit a creature, the results of an attack roll must be equal to or greater than the target's Armour Class. AC can be increased by equipping armour and shields, by selecting certain feats when leveling up, or utilizing certain spells.

Formula[edit source]

The formula that determines AC when wearing Armour in the torso slot is:

Torso armor AC + Dexterity modifier + shield bonus + other bonuses and penalties

The AC bonus from Dexterity is typically capped at +2 when wearing medium armour[note 1][note 2], and is reduced to zero when wearing heavy armour.

Most Shields grant +2 AC.

Other bonuses include things like the Defense fighting style, which grants +1 AC while wearing armor, and the Cloak of Protection, which grants +1 AC at all times. Bonuses to AC stack with each other.

Other formulas[edit source]

Barkskin sets the affected creature's AC to 16 if they would otherwise have less.

Unarmoured creatures may use a different formula if they have certain features. Creatures always use whichever formula they have access to that would result in the highest AC. Alternative formulas are only used if no items marked "Light Armor", "Medium Armor", or "Heavy Armor" are being worn in any equipment slot.

Mage Armour Mage Armour and Draconic Resilience Draconic Resilience:

13 + Dexterity modifier + shield bonus + other bonuses and penalties

Unarmoured Defence (Barbarian) Unarmoured Defence (Barbarian):

10 + Constitution modifier + Dexterity modifier + shield bonus + other bonuses and penalties

Unarmoured Defence (Monk) Unarmoured Defence (Monk):

10 + Wisdom modifier + Dexterity modifier + other bonuses and penalties

Modifiers[edit | edit source]

Weapons[edit | edit source]

Melee and ranged weapon attacks use Strength or Dexterity, depending on the weapon: usually Strength for melee weapons and Dexterity for ranged weapons. The exceptions to this rule are Finesse weapons, which automatically select Strength or Dexterity, whichever score is higher; and Thrown weapons, which use Strength for both melee and ranged attacks. If a weapon is both Thrown and Finesse, it uses the higher of Strength and Dexterity for both melee and ranged attacks.

Some examples, to make the possible combinations of Finesse and Thrown easier to understand:

  • Using a Maul for a melee attack always uses Strength.
  • Using a Rapier (Finesse) for a melee attack uses Strength or Dexterity; whichever the attacking creature has a higher score in.
  • Shooting a Longbow for a ranged attack always uses Dexterity.
  • Throwing a Handaxe (Thrown) for a ranged attack uses Strength.
  • Throwing a Dagger (Finesse & Thrown) for a ranged attack uses Strength or Dexterity, whichever the attacking creature has a higher score in.

Spells[edit | edit source]

For spells, the Ability Score used for the Modifier depends on the class of the caster:

Classes sorted by which Ability Score they use for Spellcasting
Intelligence icon.png Intelligence Wisdom icon.png Wisdom Charisma icon.png Charisma

Arcane Trickster Rogue
Eldritch Knight Fighter


Barbarian (Scrolls only)

In Baldur's Gate 3, the same ability modifiers apply when casting a spell from a Scroll, even when the spell being cast is not normally available to your class. For instance, a Sorcerer casting Guiding Bolt (a Cleric-only spell) from a scroll adds its Charisma modifier to the Attack Roll of the spell.

Value of the Modifier[edit | edit source]

Whichever Ability Score ends up being used, the bonus or penalty value is based on this table, depending on how high the used Ability Score is:

Ability score modifier chart
Ability score Modifier value Ability score Modifier value
1 -5 16-17 +3
2-3 -4 18-19 +4
4-5 -3 20-21 +5
6-7 -2 22-23 +6
8-9 -1 24-25 +7
10-11 +0 26-27 +8
12-13 +1 28-29 +9
14-15 +2 30 +10

Proficiency Bonus[edit | edit source]

The attacking creature's Proficiency Bonus is added to the result of the roll if the creature has the correct kind of Proficiency for the attack it's making.

For weapon attacks, the creature must have proficiency with the weapon it is using to make the attack. For spell attacks, every creature is automatically proficient.

The value of the bonus depends on the attacking creature's Level:

Proficiency Bonus Chart
Level Proficiency Bonus
1 to 4 + 2
5 to 8 + 3
9 to 12 + 4

See Also[edit | edit source]

Footnotes[edit | edit source]

  1. The Medium Armour Master feat increases the cap from +2 to +3.
  2. A few rare armours have an "Exotic Material" trait that allow the wearer to get the full Dexterity bonus to AC. These include Yuan-Ti Scale Mail, Unwanted Masterwork Scalemail, Sharpened Snare Cuirass, and Armour of Agility.