Turn-based mode

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Turn-based mode is one of the two gameplay modes in Baldur's Gate 3, in which time passes in turns and rounds, as opposed to real-time mode, where time passes in real-time. Story events and cutscenes could be considered a third gameplay mode, in which nether turn-based nor real-time action are possible, or they could be considered not modes at all, but outside of gameplay altogether.

Each round, the game cycles through each participating creature's turn, during which each creature may move or actions. One round has passed when all creatures have taken their turn.

Overview[edit | edit source]

Turn-based mode is automatically activated in combat, as well as when certain traps or environmental effects are activated, or when the player toggles turn-based mode on. It automatically toggles off when combat ends, or when the conditions that triggered it end. Turned-based mode may also automatically return to real-time even when it was toggled on by the player. Entering turn based mode usually, but not always, freezes the world, including the movements or actions of non-player characters or objects. In some cases, the only way to pause real-time events is to enter combat.

Turn order[edit | edit source]

Each creature makes a D4 Physical.pngd4 + Dexterity modifier roll when they enter turn-based mode. This is called rolling for initiative.

Each round, the game cycles through the turns of all participating creatures in descending order of their initiative.

Simultaneous turns[edit | edit source]

Allied creatures usually take their turns at the same time when they are in close proximity to each other and are directly adjacent to each other in the turn order. Up to a maximum of 10 creatures may take their turns interchangeably in this way.[note 1]

Surprise rounds[edit | edit source]

If an attacked creature is unaware of their attacker at the start of combat – such as if the attacker is hidden – the first round of combat is declared a surprise round, and the attacked creature is surprised. This rule is broken in a few cases, either always giving enemies surprise, or always giving the player surprise. These can be story events, sometimes displaying the words "story event" on screen.[note 2]

Surprised creatures have the Surprised Surprised condition for the entirety of the first round, and cannot take actions or reactions until the start of the second round.[note 3]

Creatures with the Alert feat or Feral Instinct Feral Instinct feature cannot be surprised.[note 4]

Action economy[edit | edit source]

See also: Actions and Resources

When taking their turns, creatures are able to move a distance up to their movement speed, and can expend their available resources to take actions.

Actions are generally taken in order to deal damage or inflict harmful conditions, but they can also be taken to heal or aid allies.

Most actions require the acting creature to expend one of three resources:
  • Action
  • Bonus action
  • Reaction

By default,[note 5] a creature has 1 charge each of these three resources that always recharges at the start of the creature's turns.

Reactions[edit | edit source]

Reactions are a form of action that can be taken by creatures as a response to certain triggers, including on the turns of other creatures. These often require the acting creature to spend a Reaction charge.

Footnotes[edit | edit source]

  1. Summoned creatures that are not controlled by their summoner are not considered allies, and thus do not get to take their turns at the same time as their summoner.
  2. Certain combat encounters are rigged to always Surprise either the player's party or the enemy party when the proper conditions are met.[1][2][3]
  3. While surprised creatures are unable to take actions, some can warn nearby allies, preventing them from becoming surprised too.
  4. The Elixir of Vigilance also gives temporary immunity to being surprised.
  5. Additional resources can also be acquired through various means.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. The first encounter with the imps during the Prologue always grants the player a surprise round.
  2. Mimics always surprise the party when interacted with in their disguised form.
  3. In the Underdark Beach, a duergar might spot the party and summon their own leader. The party is surprised if they choose to wait for the leader, whereas if they attack, the duergars are surprised instead.