Whether you’re new to the series or a D&D veteran who doesn’t want to miss a thing, there’s a staggering amount of player choice in Baldur’s Gate 3 that can feel overwhelming when you start your first playthrough.
With so many branching paths, it’s only natural to wonder what might have happened if you’d made a different choice, headed in a different direction, chose a different dialogue option, or stopped to comb every nook and cranny for loot.
To help you get the best possible start during Baldur’s Gate 3, we’ve put together some tips to help you on your way. As none of these things are signposted, many of them can be easily missed. At least until now, that is.
Like a dutiful parent equipping you with a raincoat, sandwiches, and pocket money for your school trip, let us help you stock up with all the info you need with these tips and tricks to getting started in Baldur’s Gate 3.
Playing through the prologue in Baldur’s Gate 3 is a gentle way of steering you through the mechanics of the game.
You’ll be presented with opportunities to explore the starting area and get used to the turned-based combat, and the dice roll system. You’ll also be presented with dialogue choices that can affect how you start the game, and which companions you start it with.
While there’s not too much to worry about in this opening section on the Nautilod, there are a couple of key things that can easily be missed if you’re rushing toward the transponder as quickly as possible.
Getting equipped with the right weapons, and companions, is a sure-fire way to get on the right track in Baldur’s Gate 3.
1. Rescue Shadowheart
Shadowheart is an excellent early companion to recruit to your team, not to mention a viable love interest further into the game. If you want to get ahead in Baldur’s Gate 3 and increase your chances of success, it’s definitely worth rescuing Shadowheart. While it’s possible to encounter and recruit her following the prologue, you won’t be able to do so until a little later on.
To rescue the Cleric from her Mindflayer pod and have her help you in the ensuing battles, you’ll need to follow a few steps to spring her loose.
Once you enter the Nautilod’s upper chamber, you’ll hear Shadowheart crying out for help if you’re paying attention to your surroundings. Approach her pod to initiate the dialogue.
Following the dialogue, examine the console to the right of Shadowheart’s pod. Notice the empty socket on the console. Next, double back to the adjoining chamber to retrieve the Eldritch Rune from the body of the expired thrall.
Once you’re back at the console, select the option to place rune inside the console, and then place your hand on the console.
When the following scene is triggered, you’ll be presented with the option to select “Illithid (Wisdom): Will the pod to open.”
Et voila! Shadowheart will be released and instantly become a party companion for the rest of the tutorial. She’s a worthy asset to the team, and well worth freeing if you’re planning on nabbing this next piece of early loot.
This is a really neat trick in Baldur’s Gate 3 to get a strong companion on your side during the early game. To recap this is how to rescue Shadowheart:
- Enter the Nautilod’s upper chamber and approach Shadowheart to initiate dialogue.
- Go back to the adjoining chamber and take the Eldritch Rune from the dead thrall.
- Place the rune inside the console next to Shadowheart.
- Select the Illithid (Wisdom) option.
2. Loot the Everburn Blade
Equipping yourself with a powerful weapon near the start of Baldur’s Gate 3 will allow you to defeat mobs a little more easily. Looting the Everburn Blade is a trick not to be missed!
Once you reach the control center of the Nautilod, after a short cut-scene, you’ll notice an epic battle taking place between Commander Zhalk and the Mindflayer.
You can choose to ignore them, and head straight for the transponder, dealing with the handful of weaker enemies that stand between you and it. Or, you can choose to take on Commander Zhalk to try and grab the Everburn Blade from his cold, dead body.
Be warned, this is a pretty tough fight right at the start of the game. If you’re part of a multi-player party, you will obviously have an advantage in taking him down.
If not, you’ll need backup from Shadowheart and Lae’zel (who you’ll meet earlier in the prologue). Lae’zel is a melee fighter and one of the strongest, tankiest early-game companions. And Shadowheart is handy for healing and general crowd control.
Save your game beforehand, just in case, and then gang up on him to bring him down. Once he’s defeated, you will be rewarded with an excellent early-game weapon that should make starting encounters easier to deal with.
One of you will still need to make it to the transponder for you all to arrive on the beach at the start of the game proper, so bear this in mind if you engage Zhalk.
3. Loot the Beach
Following the final act of the prologue, you’ll find your character waking up groggily on the shore of a sunny beach.
If you successfully recruit Shadowheart, you find her again after a short stagger along the shoreline, and you’ll see Lae’zel again a little further on in the campaign.
Succeed in Baldur’s Gate 3 by getting ahead in the early game. This will put you in good stead before you face too much hardship. Pay close attention to everything on the beach, as there’s plenty of useful equipment to pick up here, that shouldn’t be ignored.
Using the item highlight function (ALT key on PC, R3 on console), you can find the Thieve’s Tools next to the first locked chest that you stumble across. These can be used by you (if you’re playing as a Rogue class and have points invested in Dexterity and Sleight of Hand) or a party member such as Astarion, to pick locks.
Head slightly North of the crash site and you will see three Goblin cadavers that are yours for the looting. Search their corpses for some gold (and some fairly meh weapons), and be sure to pick up the supply pack that one of them holds.
The supply pack holds enough resources to allow you and your party to take a long restorative rest and is very handy indeed.
Lastly, there’s a shovel stuck in a mound of dirt to the North of the crash site on the Ravaged Beach. Bag this, and you can dig up countless buried treasures from similar mounds of dirt throughout the game.
Our best advice is to loot everything everywhere in Baldur’s Gate 3. There is a truckload of useful supplies, potions, spells, and weapons to be found if you take the time to look around.
4. Recruit Companions
Recruiting companions is one of the best Baldur’s Gate 3 tips and tricks. Make sure you seek out all the possible party companions that BG3 offers. They’re scattered around the world, and between them, you can build the party of your dreams with their specialized skill sets.
You can change up your party loadout at any rest site, and make sure you have the right group for the job in hand.
Experimentation here is the key to success, and every companion has something unique to offer.
5. Locate Withers
Baldur’s Gate 3 is a tough game, so you’ll need all the help you can get. Do you want to respect your character? Perhaps you don’t mind parting with some coin in order to resurrect your team.
Fairly early on in the game, you can explore the Overgrown Ruins and the Dank Crypt. Stick to the main shoreline to the right of the crash site and you will eventually find it.
Explore this area thoroughly, resting when you need to, and you will eventually enter a large room with several (seeingly dead) skeletons scattered about the place.
There’s a room inside this chamber with a button. Press this, and prepare to fight, as the skeletons rise up and surround you. Show these clattering fools the business end of your staff, sword, or bow, and then head back to the room.
Interact with the sarcophagus inside, and Withers will appear in all his undead glory.
From this point on, Withers will become an NPC you can consult with during any rest period, and he provides you with the means to respec your character, resurrect fallen party members, and recruit hirelings.
6. Save your Game Often
One of the most important tips and tricks in Baldur’s Gate 3 is to save your game, a lot. The tide can turn (for better or worse) on the strength of a dice roll in Baldur’s Gate 3, so it’s worth giving yourself the opportunity to re-roll, should things go sideways.
Auto-saving in Baldur’s Gate 3 can be inconsistent at times, and by manually saving often, you can easily undo any unfortunate turn of events.
And that’s it. You’re all set to go forth and explore the lavish fantasy world of Baldur’s Gate 3. If you want to customize your experience, you can install mods in Baldur’s Gate 3, which are able to change core parts of the gameplay, including the maximum party size.