clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Baldur’s Gate 3 origin, race, class, and character creation guide

Creating a character is extensive (and imposing)

Baldur’s Gate 3 character creation guide Image: Larian Studios via Polygon

In Baldur’s Gate 3, the first thing you’ll be asked to do (after the gorgeous opening cinematic) is make a character. You’ll make choices about Origin and Background, Race and Subrace, Class and Subclass, and assigning your ability points. (If you’re familiar with D&D, what follows is the process straight out of the Player’s Handbook.)

Making your character means making a bunch of choices in a row. Mechanically, these choices determine the stats — both the obvious stats like Strength and Dexterity, and the less obvious ones like Survival and Deception — you’ll use to interact with the world. We cover this a bit more in our Baldur’s Gate 3 beginner’s guide.

In this Baldur’s Gate 3 character creation guide, we’ll walk through the tabs of Baldur’s Gate 3’s character creation screen, the stats associated with Origin and Background, Race and Subrace, Class and Subclass, and give some advice on the building a straightforward starter character.

Origin

The Origin tab is really the combined Origin and Background tab. In this early access version, your Origin — where you’re from — only has one option and doesn’t seem to have much effect on gameplay (yet). This is also where you’ll put in your character’s name.

Background does effect mechanics. It’s a simple version of your character’s backstory that gives you Proficiency (a bonus) to two Skills. These Skills are themed to the Background, so, for example, an Entertainer will get a bonus to Acrobatics and Performance.

Baldur’s Gate 3 Backgrounds

Background Proficiencies (Skills)
Background Proficiencies (Skills)
Acolyte Insight, Religion
Charlatan Deception, Sleight of Hand
Criminal Deception, Stealth
Entertainer Acrobatics, Performance
Folk Hero Animal Handling, Survival
Guild Artisan Insight, Persuasion
Noble History, Persuasion
Hermit Medicine, Religion
Outlander Athletics, Survival
Sage Arcana, History
Sailor Athletics, Perception
Soldier Athletics, Intimidation
Urchin Sleight of Hand, Stealth

Over on the right of the screen under the Background, you’ll see the Skills that’ll get the Proficiency bonus. Pick a Background with skills you think will be useful for this character. There’s no right or wrong answer here, but it will determine how (successfully) you interact with the world.

For a starter character, Sailor is a good choice. The Athletics Skill Proficiency is useful for things like jumping or throwing objects, and Perception is good for noticing things in the environment.

Race

Race and Subrace are … complicated issues in D&D. They’re working on it. Baldur’s Gate 3 uses the rules as written in the Player’s Handbook, so Race (and Subrace) will effect everything from your base stats to the weapons you can use to walking speed to your senses.

Baldur’s Gate 3 Races

Race Subrace Race Features Race Proficiencies Subrace Traits Subrace Proficiencies
Race Subrace Race Features Race Proficiencies Subrace Traits Subrace Proficiencies
Elf Wood Dexterity +2, Advantage on Saving Throws against Charmed, Cannot be magically put to sleep, Darkvision Perception, Longsword, Shortsword, Longbow, Shortbow Wisdom +1, 35ft. speed Stealth
Elf High Dexterity +2, Advantage on Saving Throws against Charmed, Cannot be magically put to sleep, Darkvision Perception, Longsword, Shortsword, Longbow, Shortbow Intelligence +1, 1 Wizard cantrip (spell), 30ft. speed -
Tiefling Asmodeus Resistance to Fire (half damage), Darkvision - Charisma +2, Intelligence +1, Thaumaturgy cantrip (spell), 30ft. speed -
Tiefling Mephistopheles Resistance to Fire (half damage), Darkvision - Charisma +2, Intelligence +1, Mage Hand cantrip (spell), 30ft. speed -
Tiefling Zariel Resistance to Fire (half damage), Darkvision - Charisma +2, Strength +1, Thaumaturgy cantrip (spell), 30ft. speed -
Drow Lolth-Sworn Dexterity +2, Charisma +1, Advantage on Saving Throws against Charmed, Cannot be magically put to sleep, Superior Darkvision, Dancing Lights cantrip (spell), 30ft. speed Rapier, Shortsword, Hand Crossbow - -
Drow Seldarine Dexterity +2, Charisma +1, Advantage on Saving Throws against Charmed, Cannot be magically put to sleep, Superior Darkvision, Dancing Lights cantrip (spell), 30ft. speed Rapier, Shortsword, Hand Crossbow - -
Human - Strength +1, Dexterity +1, Constitution +1, Intelligence +1, Wisdom +1, Charisma +1, 30ft. speed - - -
Githyanki - Strength +2, Intelligence +1, 30ft. speed, Mage Hand cantrip (spell) Light Armor, Medium Armor, Shortsword, Longsword, Greatsword - -
Dwarf Gold Constitution +2, Advantage on Saving Throws against Poison, Resistance to Poison (half damage), Darkvision Battleaxe, Handaxe, Light Hammer, Warhammer Wisdom +1, HP Max +1 (per level), 25ft. speed -
Dwarf Shield Constitution +2, Advantage on Saving Throws against Poison, Resistance to Poison (half damage), Darkvision Battleaxe, Handaxe, Light Hammer, Warhammer Strength +2, 25ft. speed Light Armor, Medium Armor
Half-Elf High Charisma +2, Two Abilities +1, Advantage on Saving Throws against Charmed, Cannot be magically put to sleep, Darkvision - 1 Wizard cantrip, 30ft. speed -
Half-Elf Wood Charisma +2, Two Abilities +1, Advantage on Saving Throws against Charmed, Cannot be magically put to sleep, Darkvision - 35ft. speed Stealth
Half-Elf Drow Charisma +2, Two Abilities +1, Advantage on Saving Throws against Charmed, Cannot be magically put to sleep, Darkvision - Dancing Lights cantrip (spell), 30ft. speed -
Halfling Lightfoot Dexterity +2, Reroll 1s on Attacks, Checks, or Saving Throws - Charisma +1, 25ft. speed Stealth
Halfling Strongheart Dexterity +2, Reroll 1s on Attacks, Checks, or Saving Throws - Constitution +1, Advantage on Saving Throws against Poison, Resistance to Poison (half damage), 25ft. speed -

Race also plays a role in the way that your character interacts with the world. The non-player characters (NPCs) you meet in the world might react differently to a Dwarf than they do a Githyanki.

Again, there’s no right or wrong answer here — you’re making the character you want to play.

For our starter character, we’re going to suggest picking the Fighter Class (next step), so we’re going to say Dwarf and Shield Dwarf for your Race and Subrace. This gets you bonuses to Constitution (hit points) and Strength (hitting enemies with weapons).

Class

Class is mostly about how you fight. You’ve got your choice of six classes: Cleric (divine magic), Fighter (hitting things with weapons), Ranger (shooting things with bows), Rogue (being sneaky and agile), Warlock (street smart magic user), and Wizard (book smart magic user).

Baldur’s Gate 3 Classes

Class Subclass Max Hit Points (per level) Class Features Class Proficiencies Subclass Features Subclass Proficiencies
Class Subclass Max Hit Points (per level) Class Features Class Proficiencies Subclass Features Subclass Proficiencies
Cleric Life Domain 10 Spell slots (magic user) Wisdom Saving Throws, Charisma Saving Throws, Light Armor, Medium Armor, Shield, Simple Weapon Additional healing from spells, Domain spells Heavy Armor
Cleric Light Domain 10 Spell slots (magic user) Wisdom Saving Throws, Charisma Saving Throws, Light Armor, Medium Armor, Shield, Simple Weapon Warding Flare (reaction), Domain spells -
Cleric Trickery Domain 10 Spell slots (magic user) Wisdom Saving Throws, Charisma Saving Throws, Light Armor, Medium Armor, Shield, Simple Weapon Domain spells -
Fighter - 12 Regain HP once per day Strength Saving Throws, Constitution Saving Throws, Light Armor, Medium Armor, Heavy Armor, Shield, Simple Weapon, Martial Weapon - -
Ranger - 12 Favored Enemy, Natural Explorer Strength Saving Throws, Dexterity Saving Throws, Light Armor, Medium Armor, Shield, Simple Weapon, Martial Weapon - -
Rogue - 10 Sneak Attack (Melee), Sneak Attack (Ranged) Dexterity Saving Throws, Intelligence Saving Throws, Light Armor, Simple Weapon, Hand Crossbow, Longsword, Rapier, Shortsword - -
Warlock The Fiend 10 Spell slots (magic user) Wisdom Saving Throws, Charisma Saving Throws, Light Armor, Simple Weapon Healing when you reduce an enemy to 0 hp -
Warlock The Great Old One 10 Spell slots (magic user) Wisdom Saving Throws, Charisma Saving Throws, Light Armor, Simple Weapon - -
Wizard - 8 Spell slots (magic user), Regain spell slots once/day Intelligence Saving Throws, Wisdom Saving Throws, Dagger, Dart, Sling, Quarterstaff, Light Crossbow - -
Druid - 8 Spell slots (magic user) Wisdom Saving Throws, Intelligence Saving Throws, Light Armor, Medium Armor, Shields, Simple Weapon - -

Classes come with a list of Skill, weapon, and armor proficiencies that mostly determine what kind of gear your character will use. If you choose a magic user, you’ll get to see (and pick) your first spells.

Fighter is a great starter Class. It’s the easiest to understand (hit bad guys with pointy things), and there’s no magic to deal with. It also gets you Proficiency with all armor, shields, and weapons.

Skills

Every character has the same list of skills. These cover things like Acrobatics or Perception or (knowledge of) History. Skills are a more specialized way to interact with the world of Baldur’s Gate 3. On the Skills tab, hover over each of them to see what they’re used for.

Your Abilities determine the modifier for each of your Skills. But if your Background, Race, or Class gives you Proficiency with a skill, you’ll get an added bonus (+2 to start) on top.

After that, you get to choose two more Skills to become Proficient in. These are listed at the top along the right side of the Skills tab.

For our starter Sailor-Shield Dwarf-Fighter, she’s already Proficient in Athletics and Perception, so those options are orange in the list. For our starter, Insight is good to have because it lets us know when someone is lying to us, and Intimidation is useful to threaten people into behaving.

Abilities

Baldur’s Gate 3 determines and assigns your Ability scores for you. If you’d like, you can use the buttons here to tweak your stats. This isn’t a one-to-one adjustment, though. Higher scores — anything above a 15 or so — will require you to lose points from multiple others. (Getting into the weeds, it looks like this uses the Point Buy variant rules.)

For our starter Sailor-Shield Dwarf-Fighter, just use the recommended spread.