Baldur’s Gate 3 is so packed with different paths between your antics and adventures that it can get a little overwhelming. But one feature lends you and your character a bit more leeway: It’s the inspiration system, and it encourages me to both role-play and carefully consider the morals and values of my companions. It also encapsulates the high points that have come to define my favorite Dungeons & Dragons campaigns.
Each of Baldur’s Gate 3’s recruitable companions has a specific personality, which means they react to the protagonist’s decisions with either approval or disapproval. You quickly learn that Lae’zel hates going out of her way to do acts of charity, for instance, while Gale thinks that’s the clear morally correct option. Right now, I’m traveling with Astarion, Shadowheart, and Lae’zel, and I’ve learned a lot about them through Larian Studios’ inspiration system.
In a nutshell: The party gains inspiration whenever you achieve something that is particularly inspiring to your friends. Better yet, that inspiration manifests in a free reroll you can stash until later. Talk your way past a troublesome guard and into the heart of enemy territory? Astarion and I both loved that, racking up two extra rerolls in the bank.
We then worked our way past a bunch of goblin guards and into the room with one of the leaders of the horde. She was insisting on a private audience and being all shifty, so I told her that I’d have to take a rain check. Then I called all my friends over and we stabbed her to death. Stunts like these inspire Lae’zel, who likes it when you get to the point. (No pun intended.)
Some of the characters are inspired by things other than dialogue or murder. For instance, I found a pain-loving cultist chilling in a cell, and he asked me if I wanted a demonstration in honor of his dark patron. I said sure, and then let him beat me up in front of Astarion and Shadowheart. I got tons of approval from Astarion, who clearly found the whole thing kind of hot, and Shadowheart was inspired by seeing my religious devotion. It was a real win-win-win-win moment.
Even better, I was able to save all of my inspiration rerolls from the first zone to steamroll the final confrontation at the goblin camp, retrying any initially failed rolls to make up for them with successful Deception and Persuasion checks left and right. Inspiration basically rewards the player for role-playing over finding the fastest or most expeditious solution. I’m ready to tackle — and eventually miserably fail — the next set of challenges to come, but I love how Baldur’s Gate 3 rewards me for being the camp gossip.