Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, January 10, 2023
Baldur's Gate 3 - Playing with 4 custom characters

I just managed to start a new game of Baldur's Gate 3, in the patch 9 early access version, using 4 custom characters. To do that you need to turn the video settings to very low, and then start 4 different copies of the game. You then create a direct access multiplayer game, and let the other 3 copies of the game join the hosting first copy. Once you created all characters, and joined the game, you can quit with the other 3 copies and save the game. From then on you can play with 4 custom characters with normal graphics settings and just one instance of the software running.

I first played Baldur's Gate 3 back in October 2020, when the first early access version was released. These past weeks I have been playing the patch 9 version, because I wanted to see the characters at level 5, and try out the bard. But Baldur's Gate 3 normally is played with just one custom character, and 3 companions from a list of five choices (fighter, cleric, wizard, rogue, and warlock). Which means that with 11 character classes currently in the game, it is somewhat hard to try out different classes if you always use 3 companions. Yes, the interaction with the companions is a big part of the final game, but for exploring which class you like best, they aren't ideal. So now I have a game with a paladin, a druid, a bard, and a sorcerer. Which is much better, but still leaves the barbarian and ranger to test.

Between the level cap of 5 and more limited choices of subclasses, you can't really recreate all you favorite pen & paper D&D characters anyway. For example some recent pen & paper characters I had were a hexblade warlock and a war cleric, neither of which exists in BG3. Plus, some of my favorite spells in D&D, like the cleric's Spiritual Weapon, don't exist either. I managed to turn my Tabaxi paladin into an elf equivalent, but will have to see whether the combination of dual-wielding with divine smite works as well in BG3 than in the original rules.

Another important factor is the available gear. My dexterity-based paladin is probably a good choice, because I haven't seen any armor heavier than scale mail in the game, which limits the option of making your paladin an optimal tank. On the other hand the wizard is probably superior to the sorcerer in BG3, because of the frequent availability of scrolls, from which he can increase his spell repertoire; plus in BG3 it is easier to switch prepared spells than in pen & paper D&D, and easy to long-rest, which makes wizards really powerful.

The release of Baldur's Gate 3 is now announced for August 2023. I might actually wait for 2024 before playing the release version, to wait for the bugs to be ironed out. The early access version is very playable, but there are still bugs: In my recent playthrough (where I played through absolutely all the content available in early access), I had frequent problems with the pathfinding of my companions, and a recurring bug in which Shadowheart forgot which spells she had prepared every time I loaded the game. The other big disadvantage from playing early access is that it totally spoils everything in chapter 1. BG3 is a game in which all the encounters are heavily scripted, there are no random encounters. That makes them a lot easier if you know what will happen, and can approach them differently. Some fights, like the one against the Spectator or against Grym are rather unfair unless you did them before and can avoid getting a nasty surprise. So I don't think replayability is actually the strongest point of this game. In some aspects, Solasta - Crown of the Magister is a better PC version of 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons.

I didn't play DOS2 on launch. Was it buggy? I have refrained from playing too much of BG3 because I'm afraid I'll get worn out replaying the opening but over and over but what I have seen so far seems good. My biggest gripe is having to roll a charisma main character if I want to use persuasion during dialogue.
The bard was a pretty good main character for playing with NPC companions. Persuasion, Perception, Stealth, and Sleight of Hand (for lcokpicking and disarming traps) are used a lot more than most other skills. Add the charm person spell and you succeed in every Persuasion dialogue. And you can give others bardic inspiration to succeed in critical Perception rolls, even passive ones.
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