D&D 5e Rule Changes

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This page and related pages summarize rule changes from the implementation of Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition (D&D 5e) rules to Baldur's Gate 3 (BG3).

The rule changes described on this page and related pages are written with the assumption the reader understands the relevant D&D 5e rule. These pages will not explain what the D&D 5e rule is, only what the changed or altered BG3 rule is. These pages also include many BG3 features and abilities that are unchanged from D&D 5e to help a D&D 5e player quickly see which options have changed and which have not, and make decisions without having to do additional research. If the BG3 rule aligns with a OneD&D rule or other playtest material from D&D 5e, that is considered a rule change from D&D 5e.

Fundamental Changes[edit | edit source]

  • The level cap is 12.
  • There is a weighted dice setting in the game called Karmic Dice which is enabled by default.
    • While enabled fights tend to be faster and deadlier instead of true random DnD experience.
  • Characters must use 27 point buy. There is no rolling for ability scores.
  • All races have a +2/+1 flexible ability score bonus - similar to Tasha's alternate rules - though the standard 5e racial ability score bonus and the +1/+1/+1 option do not exist. Half-elves and Humans have been granted additional features to make up for this change.
  • Multiclassing ignores ability score requirements.
  • You are able to respec your characters when you meet an NPC made available early in Act 1 of the game. You may respec your starting class, subclass (when applicable), ability scores, spells (when applicable), and skill proficiencies gained from class. It is not possible to change a character's race or background.
    • If you change an origin companion or traditional companion's starting class (or subclass when applicable), the game will still treat them as members of said class for their Origins-exclusive dialogue. They will gain dialogues from and reactions to their new class as appropriate.
  • Hit points gained on level are fixed values, not a roll of the hit die.
  • The party is limited to two short rests per long rest. Short rests restore each ally's hit points by an amount equal to half their maximum HP (rounded down). There is no hit die rolling.
  • Long rests require camp supplies, which are food items that must be looted or purchased. In towns you will be able to rest at an inn.
  • Rolling a natural 1 on an ability check always results in failure, even if modifiers would put you over the DC. Rolling a natural 20 on a skill check always results in success, even if modifiers would not put you over the DC. There are no additional fumble or critical success features besides an automatic failure or pass of the ability check.
    • For Death Saving Throws, a roll of a 1 gives only one fail rather than 2. A roll of 20 results in a success, rather than restoring 1 HP.
  • Combat areas tend to have a large amount of verticality, but are rather small in horizontal size. This has led to the following mechanical changes:
  • Cover from D&D has not been implemented, but a line of sight to the target is still required.
  • When a creature is at least 10 ft above their target and makes a ranged attack, they receive a +2 bonus to the attack roll due to high ground. When a creature is at least 10 ft below their target and makes a ranged attack, they receive a -2 penalty to the attack roll due to low ground.
  • If two player controlled characters are next to each other in the initiative order then their initiative is shared. Both characters can act at the same time.
  • Initiative is rolled with a D4 instead of a D20.
  • Tool and language proficiencies are not implemented. This includes Thieves' Tools. Skill checks to pick a lock or disarm a trap use the character's sleight of hand modifier, and require a set of thieves' tools or trap disarm toolkit respectively, which are only consumed on failure.
  • Rules for sound and hearing is not implemented and NPCs may only detect what they see. If you hide while not in a creature's sight cone, you automatically succeed. If you try to hide while in a creature's sight cone, you automatically fail. If you are hidden and enter a creature's sight cone, you must roll stealth against the creature's passive perception. This may be a straight roll, advantage, or disadvantage, based on the creature's senses and the level of lighting. Some creatures with different senses such as blindsight may follow different rules.
  • There is an inspiration system. As a party you can have up to 4 inspiration dice which can be applied to a failed skill check. The way you gain dice is based on the background of you and your companions. If for example you or one of your companions have the Charlatan background, they may gain an inspiration die for your party if they deceive their way into a fortified enemy position.
  • Characters can carry a maximum 10 kg / 20 lbs of weight per point of Str. If the character is carrying an amount of weight equal to 14 lbs (7 kg) x Strength, they are encumbered. This becomes heavily encumbered at 18 lbs (9 kg) × Strength.

Spellcasting[edit | edit source]

See Also: D&D 5e Spell Changes

  • Prepared spell casters may change their prepared spells at any time out of combat.
  • Verbal, Somatic, and Material components are ignored. Being silenced prevents all spellcasting regardless of what the components would be in D&D 5e.
  • Spellcasting focus is not required.
    • Bards can use a Musical Instrument as a spellcasting focus as long as the spell is inherited from their class. If Bards don't have a Musical Instrument, they will instead whistle as a spellcasting focus. Bard's spellcasting focus is a vanity and has no impact on gameplay other than theme and look.
  • The game does not stop a character from casting a leveled spell with both an action and a bonus action.
  • All caster classes are capable of Ritual casting, and Ritual Caster feat instead allows the selection of two Ritual Spells.
  • Anyone can cast any Spell scroll from any class list (even if it is not their own or they do not have the spellcasting feature), and there is no Arcana check for casting higher level spells than a character has spells known.
  • Spell scrolls do not have a fixed DC or attack roll bonus. They use the caster's relevant casting modifier (verification required at launch when multiclassing implemented).
  • Cantrips receive their third upgrade at level 10 in the game, rather than level 11.

Action Economy[edit | edit source]

  • A character can have one ranged weapon set equipped and one melee weapon set equipped, and are able to freely switch between them as a free action an unlimited number of times per turn. This includes starting their turn with the melee weapon equipped, switching to a crossbow for free, shooting at targets, and switching back to the melee set to allow them to make opportunity attacks. Equipping a weapon from the inventory costs an action.
  • Shove is not a part of the attack action. It is a bonus action available to all characters. Shove only pushes the target back an amount that depends on the shover's strength and the target's weight. It normally does not knock them prone unless they are shoved off a high ledge.
  • Falling damage only causes a creature to go prone if a certain minimum height is met.
  • Using the help action on a downed ally brings them back to 1 hit point and leaves them prone.
  • Jumping is a bonus action which consumes 10 ft of movement speed. With a Strength score of 10 or below, a creature can jump 15 ft, and this increases by 5 ft for every two points in strength above 10. At 20 Str a creature may spend 10 ft of movement speed and a bonus action to jump, and can travel 35 ft effectively increasing the creature's movement speed by up to 25 feet. You also don't roll an athletics check prior of the jump for it to succeed without being hit by an obstacle you are jumping beyond (such as a fence). You also don't roll acrobatics check when landing in any difficulty terrain where failing you fall proned (except when landing on slippery ice or grease).
  • The Dodge action is not implemented, with the exception of the Monk's Patient Defence ability or Fighter Battlemaster's Evasive Footwork from their Battle Manoeuvers functioning similarly.
  • Readying an action is not implemented.
  • Grappling is not implemented.
  • Consuming a potion is only a bonus action.
  • If a creature throws a healing potion as an action, it will break and heal all targets in a small radius. This applies to many - but not all - types of Potions.
  • There are options to throw creatures which are at least one size smaller than you (not always accurately implemented). There is a minimum Strength required, based on the target's weight, and you need to win a contested check using your Athletics.
  • Bonus action attack options such as offhand weapon attacks do not require a character to first take the attack action. (Except the one gained from Polearm Mastery, which is not available unless you have already made at least one attack.)
  • Donning and doffing armour does not take time, and can be done as an action even in combat.
  • You regain your reaction at the end of your turn not at the start of it.

Equipment[edit | edit source]

  • Weapons are given unique weapon action attacks depending on the weapon type. These can be used once per short rest only if the wielder is proficient with the weapon.
  • There is no magic item attunement system.
  • A creature can have a melee weapon set and a ranged weapon set equipped that they can toggle between freely. If you have a shield equipped in the equipped melee set but have the ranged weapon set being actively wielded, you still benefit from the AC boost the shield provides.
  • Some equipment like gloves, boots, or helms may require armour proficiency to wear effectively. They don't grant a bonus to armour class (unless they have a magical effect that specifically says so), but may have magical effects and the character will only be able to don them effectively with the correct proficiency.
  • Heavy armour does not have a Strength requirement, and therefore no movement speed penalty.
  • You are unable to select starting equipment; you are given starting equipment based on your starting class.
  • Crossbows do not have the loading property restriction, leading to basic crossbows being superior to bows.
    • This also allows a character to dual wield hand crossbows. It does not allow a character to wield a hand crossbow with a shield because the crossbow goes in the ranged set while the shield goes in the melee set. But as discussed above, the character gains the AC bonus of a shield equipped on your melee set even while the ranged set is actively drawn.
  • Appropriate weapons have the "heavy" property added to them, but this property does not apply disadvantage to attack rolls made by small characters.
  • Slings, darts, and whips are not in the game.
  • The weights of various pieces of equipment have changed. For example, chain mail weighs 36lbs instead of 55lbs.

Conditions[edit | edit source]

  • Blinded: In addition to the other effects, ranged attacks are limited to 15 ft range. Blinded creatures can also make opportunity attacks.[Needs Verification]
  • Encumbered: A character becomes encumbered when they carry an amount equal to 14 lbs (7 kg) times their Strength rather than 5 times. Being encumbered also halves your jump distance in addition to the normal effects.
    • Heavily encumbered: A character becomes heavily encumbered at 18 lbs (9 kg) times their Strength rather than 10 times. It also prohibits them from being able to climb or jump at all in addition to the normal effects.
  • Frightened: Creatures which are frightened are unable to move at all (rather than being unable to move toward the source of their fear), unless the effect instead makes them "fearful" which gives them the frightened effect as well as making them flee.
  • Prone: Being prone gives disadvantage on Strength and Dexterity saving throws, attacks against a prone creature have advantage out to a range of 10 ft rather than 5 ft, and ranged attacks against a prone creature do not have disadvantage. Your character cannot do anything while prone. Starting the turn while prone will cause you to automatically use half your movement to stand up. Becoming prone during your turn automatically ends your turn.
  • Turned: Turned creatures will not dodge, as it is not implemented as an action.
  • Wet: This is a new condition that prevents the character from burning (e.g. from Searing Smite) and grants resistance to fire damage, but also makes the creature vulnerable to lightning and cold damage.

Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]

  • Great Weapon Fighting Style rerolls any and all of an attack's damage dice on a 1 or 2, even if they are not a part of the weapon's physical damage.
  • "Lifeberries," a.k.a. Goodberries that have been buffed due to being cast by a Life Domain Cleric, will only get the additional healing benefit from Disciple of Life if the same Cleric who cast the spell is also the one to consume the berry. If somebody else consumes the berry, they will just get the normal 1d4 that a goodberry gets in BG3.
  • Fire Ball blast radius reduced from 20 feet to 15 feet, this happened when the game moved from Early Access to Launch, similarly the area of effect for Spirit Guardians has been reduced.
  • Sanctuary doesn't have the Wisdom saving throw implemented in which enemies who try to attack the warded creature must succeed for the harmful attack/spell to hit or lose it entirely.
    • The warded creature also gains a condition called "Sanctuary Blocked" when attacking which makes them unable to gain Sanctuary again for 1 turn.
  • Revivify is ranged, has no material component of 300 gold for it to work, can be casted by anyone without the need to pass a DC check 13 (if they aren't a Cleric) for it to work and you can also reposition the target to a new location on revival (click target you want to revive then click a location you can see). Revivify works fine regardless how damaged, burned, mutilated the body is and if the body went missing (such as falling into a Chasm) a blue flame/soul appears in its place that can be used to revive the target back to life. Only works on playable characters therefore cannot be used to revive NPCs.
    • True Resurrection works exactly the same except it fully heals the target.

Other Changes[edit | edit source]

See related pages for details on changes from the Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition rules specific to the classes, races, spells and feats available in Baldur's Gate 3.

See also[edit | edit source]