Guides & Editorial

Can you play Baldur’s Gate 3 if you’ve never played Dungeons & Dragons?

Why Larian Studios’ critically acclaimed RPG is the ideal entry point for anybody wishing to take their first steps into the Forgotten Realms.

Baldur's Gate 3: the perfect introduction to Dungeons & Dragons

Of the dozens of official Dungeons & Dragons videogames produced over the last 35 years, Baldur’s Gate 3 is widely regarded as the closest recreation of the traditional pen-and-paper D&D experience to date. Like the tabletop game, this turn-based RPG is filled with huge environments to explore, hundreds of memorable characters to interact with and thrilling battles that reward creative and strategic thinking.

If you’re curious about taking the leap but are daunted by the idea of starting your first D&D campaign, don’t worry; Baldur’s Gate 3 does a great job of welcoming newcomers into an expansive world rich with possibilities. Here’s why Baldur’s Gate 3 is the perfect introduction to Dungeons & Dragons.

Does Baldur’s Gate 3 have difficulty levels?

Unlike the tabletop game, Baldur’s Gate 3 offers five difficulty settings. Of those, balanced is the closest simulation of the base tabletop D&D experience, with challenging combat and standard scaling for your party members’ and enemies’ hit points (HP).

If you’d appreciate a more lenient maiden campaign, Explorer boosts your party’s HP, reduces your foes’ HP, discounts the cost of vendors’ goods and decreases the difficulty of battles. This is a great option for anyone who wants to enjoy Baldur’s Gate 3’s celebrated branching narrative with less risk of hitting any combat roadblocks.

Whatever you choose, you’re not locked into your decision; whether you’re finding things too challenging or too easy, you can switch difficulties at any point.

How difficult does Baldur’s Gate 3 get?

Third difficulty level Tactician is reserved for those who want every combat encounter to require careful strategies and for success to hinge on every dice roll. Enemies – who benefit from an HP boost – will attempt to destroy your party as ruthlessly and efficiently as possible, while vendors’ wares all cost 30% more. Demanding even by D&D stalwart standards, Tactician promises to leave no mistake unpunished.

Baldur's Gate 3's fifth patch introduced the next tier of challenge: Honour Mode. This makes the bosses even stronger, and the rules even stricter, and prevents you from reloading saves. This means that if your party is defeated in combat, you will have to start a fresh Honour Mode run or continue in Custom Mode, another added difficulty mode that lets you tune and toggle various game elements.

Can I create my own character in Baldur's Gate 3?

Baldur’s Gate 3 provides the same character creation options as its tabletop inspiration, which means 11 races to choose from (with an additional 21 subraces between them), as well as 12 classes, many of which later branch into subclasses.

If you don’t have any real-world D&D experience, that can feel a little overwhelming - and that’s before you’ve even settled on their appearance and given them an awesome fantasy name.

Fortunately, Larian Studios has done a fantastic job of streamlining character creation and guiding you through the process. The game automatically allocates points to the stats that suit each build, and provides detailed explanations for every ability, spell and proficiency. You can tinker with those stats, but it’s recommended that you put your trust in the default setup.

Alternatively, pick an Origin character. These fully realised creations are all – save for the mysterious Dark Urge – potential party members you’ll otherwise encounter on your quest, with detailed backstories and fixed stats and abilities.

Is Baldur's Gate 3 multiplayer?

Baldur’s Gate 3 supports parties of up to four characters. If you’re playing solo, you’re in charge of everybody, which means managing their equipment, deciding which abilities and spells they use, and choosing every move they make in battles.

True to Baldur’s Gate 3’s reputation as the most authentic digital D&D experience available, four players can join the virtual table in online co-op, or two players can pair up in local split-screen. Just like the real thing, your characters are tied to your campaign, so treat your save file just as you would an in-person session: load it up, invite your fellow party members to the ‘table’ and pick up from where you left off.

In co-op, everybody's free to independently explore, converse with NPCs and even get into fights. It’s preferable to operate as a team, but don’t be surprised if a Chaotic loose cannon stays in character and gets you into some unexpected scrapes.

What is the DM in Baldur’s Gate 3?

The DM (short for 'Dungeon Master') is the omnipresent entity who creates D&D campaigns, throwing quests, characters and dangers your way, and adapting the narrative to reflect the party’s actions.

Playing under Baldur’s Gate 3’s virtual DM isn’t just the next best thing; in some regards, it’s possibly even better. From the moment your character wakes up aboard a mind flayer ship, you’ll be taken on a sprawling, unpredictable campaign that anticipates and adapts to your every move.

That the game has approximately 17,000 ending variations speaks to just how much thought and attention Larian has dedicated to recreating the open-ended nature of the tabletop experience.

Is Baldur’s Gate 3’s combat real-time or turn-based?

Baldur’s Gate 3’s combat is filled with potential. Each turn represents just six seconds of in-game time, but you have unlimited time to plan and execute your every move.

You have one action, one bonus action and a limited range of movement per character, per turn. It’s not a case of simply picking which enemy to strike, but rather trying to anticipate your enemy’s next move while exploiting the environment and making the best of your party members’ abilities.

It sounds like a lot, but in practice it quickly becomes second nature. Before long you’ll be casting Command to lure enemies next to chasms, immobilizing them with Wrathful Smite and then getting your burliest party member to Shove them into the depths below.

Do you need to roll dice in Baldur’s Gate 3?

The importance of the d20 (a 20-sided dice) in D&D is observed in Baldur’s Gate 3, where dice rolls determine the success or failure of almost every action you take. This ranges from whether an attack hits its intended target, to performing all manner of tasks, be that persuading an NPC or deciphering another language. These rolls are known as ability checks; some are passive to avoid disrupting the game, but more important checks let you roll the dice. Just remember that failure doesn’t necessarily mean game over and can often lead you down unexpected and thrilling new avenues. 

There are multiple factors beyond the dice roll itself that determine the outcome of an ability check, but it won’t take long before you’re well-versed in Difficulty Class, Advantage and the crucial difference between a natural and dirty 20.

Buy Baldur's Gate 3 on PlayStation Store


Base Game

  • Baldur's Gate 3 for PlayStation®5

Digital Deluxe Edition

  • Baldur's Gate 3 for PlayStation®5
  • Divinity Bard Song Pack
  • Exclusive Dice Theme
  • Treasures from Rivellon Pack
  • Adventurer's Pouch
  • Bonus Digital Content*