Difficulty - Baldur's Gate 3 Wiki (2024)

Baldur's Gate 3 has five difficulty settings, or modes: the preset Explorer, Balanced, Tactician and Honour modes – as well Custom mode, which lets the player tweak various gameplay elements.

When starting a new game, players are prompted to select a difficulty. This selection can be changed at any time from the Difficulty option of the pause menu. Any resulting changes to creature statistics are immediate.

Contents

  • 1 Preset modes
    • 1.1 Explorer
    • 1.2 Tactician
    • 1.3 Honour
      • 1.3.1 Rewards
      • 1.3.2 Circumventing save file restrictions
  • 2 Custom
  • 3 Example of difficulty changes
  • 4 Achievements
  • 5 Footnotes

Preset modes[edit | edit source]

The preset modes are, from easiest to most difficult: Explorer, Balanced, Tactician and Honour, with Balanced as the default mode to which all others modes are compared.

Explorer[edit | edit source]

  • All Enemies maximum health decreased by 30%.
    • In comparison to Tactician, where enemies have almost twice (x1.9) as much max HP as Explorer enemies.
  • Party members receive a 100% bonus to hit points.
  • Items purchased from a merchant are at a 20% discount.
  • All proficiency bonuses (including allies' and enemies') are increased by 2.
  • Multiclassing is not allowed on Explorer difficulty. Multiclass levels previously gained will stay if the difficulty is lowered to Explorer.
    • This makes the Jack-of-all-Trades achievement unobtainable.
  • The Iron Throne's timer is set to 8 turns, up from 6.

Tactician[edit | edit source]

  • All NPC's Maximum Health increased
    • This applies to most temporary companions as well.
    • Most changes are between 20%-30%, with many "boss" enemies seeing larger boosts.[note 1]
  • More aggressive enemy NPC behavior, such as targeting spellcasters more often and attempting to finish off downed characters.
    • This could also be somewhat beneficial as they end up triggering attack of opportunity reactions more frequently.
  • Some enemies will gain special attacks and/or passive features that are not present in the other difficulties.
    • Examples from the Prologue: Intellect Devourers gain a ranged psychic attack, Cambions can cast Fire Bolt, Commander Zhalk can attack twice.
  • All non-party characters receive modifiers that when examined are noted as "Difficulty: Tactician" in the combat log.
    • All enemies gain +2 to attack rolls and +2 DC to their spells and abilities.
    • Other modifiers can be additional attack rolls, AC, resistances, better saving throws and sometimes unique modifiers that are not present in the other difficulties.
  • Camp Supplies requirements for a Long Rest increased from 40 to 80.
    • Insufficient camp supplies rules remain the same (restore half HP and half your spell slots rounded down).
  • At stores, the baseline attitude bonus for discounting is reduced, making items cost more to purchase and sell for less.
  • The Iron Throne's timer is set to 5 turns, down from 6.

Honour[edit | edit source]

For balance changes exclusive to Honour mode, see Undocumented Patch 5 updates.

  • 30 tweaks to boss fights, giving bosses Legendary Actions (actions that the boss can take at the end of another creature's turn).
  • Stricter action economy and damage bonuses as the game progresses.
  • The player only gets a single save file for the entire campaign, with many special conditions:
    • The save file cannot be loaded outside the main menu.
    • The game will overwrite the save in the following situations:
      • The player returns to the main menu.
      • The player quits the game.
      • The player attempts to ALT+F4 out of the game or use Task Manager to end the Process. (Workout by going to Details tab & ending task)
      • The player quicksaves.
      • The game autosaves.
  • Should the party die, the player is presented with two choices:
    • Continue the campaign in Custom mode, which ends Honour mode.
    • End the campaign, which deletes the save.

Rewards[edit | edit source]

Players who beat the game in Honour Mode receive several rewards:

  • An in-game D20 skin, "Shining Honour", with a golden appearance.
  • The Foehammer achievement.

Circumventing save file restrictions[edit | edit source]

It's possible to cheat the single save file system by manually backing up the save file between play sessions. If something goes wrong in Honour mode, one can close the game, restore a previous save file, and launch the game again to continue from the backed up save.

Although using this trick to regularly load old game states would defeat the purpose of Honour mode, a legitimate use-case may be to restore a run that went bad due to something outside the player's control, such as a bug in the game, or an accidental button press due a cat walking on your keyboard.

The trick is particularly easy to achieve on MS Windows, GNU/Linux, and MacOS, where save files can be accessed easily with a file manager or shell commands. It may be possible to achieve on gaming consoles as well if the save files can be accessed and overridden.[Needs Verification]

Exact instructions are as follows:

  • Make sure cloud saves are turned off.
  • Before starting the game, copy the current Honour mode save file to a different folder.
  • Continue your Honour mode run and play as much as you want.
  • To reload: Close the game, delete the new Honour mode save file, and put the previous copy in its place.
    • Note: This has to be done before a total party kill.

If cloud saves are turned on, one can still restore a backed up Honour mode save file as follows:

  • After launching the game, click the Load Game button.
  • While the game is in this menu, override the current Honour mode save file with the one you had backed up.

Save file locations are as follows:

  • MS Windows: %LOCALAPPDATA%\Larian Studios\Baldur's Gate 3\PlayerProfiles\Public\Savegames\Story

There are also methods involving other kinds of manipulation of game files, such as:

Custom[edit | edit source]

Custom difficulty lets the player tweak various gameplay elements to their liking. Custom Mode settings with the exception of two can be changed at any time. However the player cannot revert back to the original Explorer, Balanced or Tactician difficulty. The following options can be tweaked:

Use Honour mode's single save system
The player cannot load saves outside the main menu, and the game will override the save with the same conditions as Honour mode.
  • Unlike in Honour mode, players can reload the save if their party dies. It is possible for players to become stuck if the game is saved when the party is about to all be downed, such as during an enemy turn.
  • This setting can't be changed once the game starts.
  • Default: Off
Enemy aggression
Adjust how dangerous enemy combatants will be in combat.
  • Default: Balanced.
  • Explorer: "Enemies will not be as ruthless in combat."
  • Balanced: "Enemies will provide a balanced challenge."
  • Tactician: "Enemies will attack ruthlessly and efficiently."
Character power
Adjusts how powerful players, allies and enemies are by modifying their bonuses to rolls and how hard they are to kill.
  • Default: Balanced.
  • Explorer: "Friendly characters will be stronger and harder to kill in combat."
  • Balanced: "Keeps enemies and allies alike at the same level of strength."
  • Tactician: "Hostile characters will be stronger and harder to kill in combat."
Enemy loadouts
Adjust the items and spells enemies will have access to in combat.
  • Default: Balanced.
  • Explorer: "Enemies will only have access to basic spells and items."
  • Balanced: "Enemies will use a variety of spells and items in combat."
  • Tactician: "Enemies will employ advanced spells and items in combat."
Additional combat mechanics
Change the difficulty of combats by adjusting how many new mechanics or enemies are added to certain fights.
  • Default: Balanced.
  • Explorer: No details.
  • Balanced: No details.
  • Tactician: No details.
Proficiency bonus
Increase the proficiency bonus of all characters - reducing the impact of random rolls. This will impact game balance.
  • Default: 0. (At level 1 +2).
  • Range: -1 - +4 (At level 1, total bonus at setting -1 is +1, 0 is +2, +1 is +3, +2 is +4, +3 is +5 and +4 is +6)
Enemy critical hits
Enemies will be able to score Critical Hits.
  • Default: On
No death saving throws
Enable to stop player characters dying at 0 hit points. They will be stabilised until Helped.
  • Default: Off.
Disable free first strikes
Harming a character before combat starts will cost you one attack or action on your first turn in initiative.
  • Default: On.
Camp cost multiplier
Adjust how many camp supplies a long rest costs.
  • Default: 1x (40 supplies per Long Rest).
  • Range: 0.5x - 3x (20, 40, 60, 80, 100, 120).
Short rest full heal
Your health is fully restored on a short rest.
  • Default: Off.
Trade price modifier
All prices traders ask for their wares are multiplied by this value. All prices you get for your gear are divided by this value.
  • Default: 2.5x (Item worth 100gp costs 250gp and sells for 40gp).
  • Range: 1x - 4x (item worth 100gp at 1x costs 100gp and sells for 100gp, whereas item worth 100gp at 4x costs 400gp and sells for 25gp).
Multiclassing
Enable to allow choosing an additional class upon level-up.
  • This setting can't be changed once the game starts.
  • Default: On.
Always prompt reactions
All reactions that can pause the game will do so by default.
  • Default: Off.
Hide NPC health
Only HP counts of characters controlled by the player will be displayed.
  • Default: Off.
Hide failed perception rolls
Perception rolls to spot traps and hidden objects in the world will only be displayed if successful.
  • Default: Off.
Hide passive rolls in dialogues
Prevent dialogues showing you if you have passed or failed a passive roll to learn information.
  • Default: Off.
Preview dialogue check difficulty before rolling
Enable to see how hard Ability or Skill Checks will be before you select them as dialogue options.
  • Default: Off.
Hide Difficulty Class during rolls
Obscure the Difficulty Class while making ability checks during dialogues, as well as when lockpicking and disarming traps.
  • Default: Off.

Example of difficulty changes[edit | edit source]

One named 4th level enemy in Act 1's statistics change the following across the three difficulties:

  • Explorer Difficulty: 46hp, +4 Proficiency Bonus
  • Balanced Difficulty: 67hp, +2 Proficiency Bonus
  • Tactician Difficulty: 87hp, +2 Proficiency Bonus, additional +2 Difficulty: Tactician bonus to attack rolls.

Achievements[edit | edit source]

Critical Hit
Complete the game in Tactician mode.

Foehammer
Complete the game in Honour mode.

Footnotes[edit | edit source]

  1. One notable exception: Raphael's maximum health remains 666 HP regardless of difficulty.

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