Baldur's Gate 3 guide: Everything you need to survive in the Forgotten Realms

A bard wields a lute
(Image credit: Larian Studios)

If you're just starting out in Baldur's Gate 3, you'll have noticed that it is massive in scope and, as such, things can get confusing fast—and that's without the D&D elements at play. There's a lot to get your head around, like how to swap out party members, whether or not you should kill an entire village and the pros and cons of saving a pesky little brain.

In this guide, I'll talk you through basic how-to's and some easy-to-miss side quests, and give you a hand with deciding some major plot points in Baldur's Gate 3, so let's get started. Spoilers beware, obviously.

Starting out

(Image credit: Larian Studios)

Class guide

Everything you need to know about classes in Baldur's Gate 3.

What you need to know about D&D5E to play Baldur's Gate 3

Whether you're an old hand familiar with previous editions, or completely new to Dungeons & Dragons, this guide will catch you up with its 5th edition.

Multiclass builds

Why stick with just one class when you could have, like, four?

Tips for getting started

Fraser has some excellent recommendations whether it's your first or fifth foray into the Forgotten Realms.

5 things you really shouldn't miss in the first 5 hours of Baldur's Gate 3

With so much to do when you're just starting out, here are a few highlights you should hit when you start playing.

Abilities, proficiency, and skills explained

Get to grips with all the numbers on your character sheet with our easy guide.

Difficulty spikes, failed stealth, and 6 other pitfalls to avoid in your first 10 hours

Baldur's Gate 3's beginning hours are especially brutal, so here's what you need to know to survive.

How to set up camp

Setting up camp is important to refill your spell slots and replenish your HP, so here's how.

How to swap party members

Bored with your current companions? Here's how to swap out your party members.

How to save

Save often in Baldur's Gate 3, that's all I've got to say.

How to share Baldur's Gate 3 save files

Designate a new host for a co-op campaign, or just send your save to a friend so they can try your Paladin-Bard build.

How to revive

If a party member dies, you can bring them back—at a cost, of course.

How to respec your character

Here's how to respec your characters, including origin characters and other companions.

How stealth and sneak work

Stealth in Baldur's Gate 3 works like you'd expect if you've snuck around in other games, but a number of things can reveal you if you're not careful.

How to disable the launcher

If the Larian launcher is getting in your way, here's how to disable it.

How to recruit hirelings

Not content with your current companion choices? Then choose some muscle for hire.

Where to find scrolls

Scrolls can grant you temporary powers or can be absorbed by wizards to learn new spells, so here's where to get them.

How to learn spells

Spells, would you know, are very useful! So here's how to learn new ones.

9 things you should know about the city of Baldur's Gate before you start Baldur's Gate 3

The iconic city has a long history on the tabletop and in videogames, and it's full of secrets.

Increase party size mod

Turn your party into an actual party with this hand mod.

Where to find the Wilderness waypoints

You'll be fast traveling across the map in no time.

Main quest

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Should you save or raid the Emerald Grove?

It's up to you to decide who lives or dies in the first of many big choices.

Where to find Halsin

The First Druid is missing and he's difficult to find, so here's what you need to know.

Mind Flayer Parasite locations and how illithid powers work

Here's what you can do with those creepy little Mind Flayer parasites and where to find them.

Arcane Tower guide: how to unlock the elevator and find Omeelum's mushrooms

Here's how to progress the Remove the Parasite main quest as you traverse the Arcane Tower.

How to get the "happy" ending

It's not really a happy ending.

How to get a Moon Lantern

Traverse the Shadow-Cursed Lands in peace.

Last Light inn

How to avoid making some big mistakes in Act 2.

Where to find every Umbral Gem in the Gauntlet of Shar

Pass Lady Shar's trials with guile, or with an excessive use of Dimension Door.

How to get to the House of Hope

Steal the Orphic Hammer out from under Raphael's clutches.

Side quests

(Image credit: Larian Studios)

How to save Arabella

A young tiefling is in trouble, so here's how to get her out of it.

Where to find the Underdark entrances

Here's how you can enter the mysterious and deadly Underdark.

Where to find your stolen belongings in the Emerald Grove

A group of young tieflings are up to no good, so here's where to find their hideout.

How to open the cellar secret door and Ornate Mirror

Secret doors always have good loot behind them, right? Here's how to open the secret cellar door.

How to open the gilded chest in the Owlbear Nest

Apart from fighting the owlbear, you can solve this puzzle for some tasty loot.

How to solve the Defiled Moon Temple puzzle

This floor puzzle looks confusing but is relatively easy to solve, so here's how to do it.

What is the strange ox?

Something is off about this ox who really wants to get to Baldur's Gate.

How to solve the Thorm Mausoleum puzzle

Push some buttons and gain entry to the Gauntlet of Shar.

How to Save Mayrina

Help this grieving widow escape the hag's clutches… or don't.

Where to find Dammon

This smith has the key to unlocking Karlach's heart.

How to help Pandirna

Cure this Tiefling of her unfortunate paralysis.

How to solve the Rosymorn Monastery puzzle

Get the Dawnmaster's Crest so you can steal the Blood of Lathander.

Where to find Mol

Locate this tricksy Tiefling after she goes missing from Last Light.

How to solve the brain puzzle

Open the sealed door in the Mind Flayer Colony.

Where to find Zevlor

Locate the missing Tiefling leader when he goes missing in Act 2.

How to win Akabi's Wheel of Wonders

Win big at the Circus of the Last Days in Rivington.

Where to find Dribbles the Clown's lost limbs

Help put Dribbles back together again.

How to use the Mirror of Loss

Decipher the House of Grief's memory mirror in the Lower City.


(Image credit: Larian Studios)

Who are your companions?

Here's everything you need to know about your party members.

How to rescue Shadowheart

Shadowheart is also trapped aboard the Mindflayer ship, so here's how to rescue her and have her join your party.

How to save Shadowheart and the Nightsong in Baldur's Gate 3

There's a difficult boss battle and decision to be made.

Should you free or destroy the brain?

Would you like to make friends with a brain with legs?

All the romance options

Here's everyone you can pursue intimate relations with.

How to romance Karlach

How to get yourself a hot tiefling girlfriend.

How to romance Gale

Make magic with your wizard boyfriend.

How to save Volo

This lyrical bard can be found in the grove, or trapped in a camp. Either way, here's how to rescue him.

Where to find Infernal Iron for Karlach

The red-hot lady needs Infernal Iron as part of her companion quest, so here's where to get it.

Who is the Baldur's Gate 3 'guardian' you design in character creation?

A little about the mysterious figure you create at the start of Baldur's Gate 3.

How to save Gandrel

You can spare both him and Astarion.

How to adopt the owlbear cub

Rescue this baby from the goblins.


(Image credit: Larian)

How to open the Necromancy of Thay

Here's where to find the key to this dark tome of Necromancy, and whether you should read it.

Legendary items and where to find them

Loot the best weapons in the game.

Auntie Ethel's eye quest

Giving a hag one of your eyes as part of a deal? What could possibly go wrong?

Soul Coins locations and how to use them

Soul Coins contain actual souls and can be used in infernal engines—including Karlach's—so here's what to do with them.

How to speak to the dead

Want an easy way to communicate with the dearly departed no matter your class? Here's how. 

How to find Sussur Bark and finish the Masterwork Weapon

There's a blueprint to be found that leads to you forging a cool weapon, so here's what you need to do.

Where to find the scuffed rock

There's some treasure hidden in a chest under a rock, but where is it?

Everburn Blade

Here's how to get your hands on Commander Zhalk's fiery greatsword.

How to get the Blood of Lathander mace

Deactivate the defenses to claim this legendary weapon.

Guides Editor

The first three games Lauren played on PC were Star Wars: X-Wing, Zoo Tycoon and Barbie Fashion Designer, which explains her love of all things space, strategy and aesthetically pleasing. Lauren recently took over as PC Gamer's Guides Editor after three years of writing many dozens of Destiny 2 guides at VG247, as well as casually trying to shoehorn in The Witcher 3 articles wherever possible. When she's not trying to force everyone to play as a Warlock in Destiny 2, Lauren is either mastering her SEO abilities to help smash the competition, or patting one of her red sons.