Baldur’s Gate 3: Stealth & Sneak Attack Guide

Learning how to effectively use stealth and Sneak Attack is essential to gaining the early advantage in combat situations and our Baldur’s Gate 3 Guide will breakdown everything you need to know.

Baldur's Gate 3 Meeting Astarion
Source: Larian Studios

Stealth is an essential aspect of gameplay in Baldur’s Gate 3, allowing you to avoid detection, set up ambushes, and gain a tactical advantage over your enemies. Whether you prefer a sneaky rogue or a cunning ranger, mastering the art of stealth can make your adventures smoother and more rewarding. Here’s our comprehensive guide to help you become a master of shadows.

How Stealth and Sneak Works in Baldur’s Gate 3

The basics of stealth should be fairly familiar to anyone who has played a role-playing game before. Choosing to enter a stealth mode typically puts your character into a crouch, the main visual indicator that you’re now prepared to sneak around.

To enter into stealth in Baldur’s Gate 3, you follow these simple steps:

  1. On the left side of the screen choose the character you want to sneak with
  2. Press the ‘C’ button on your keyboard
  3. Move this character as needed. The rest of the party will stay behind
  4. To get out of stealth, press the ‘C’ key again
  5. If you want to put the entire party in stealth just hold down the Shift key and then press ‘C’ on your keyboard
Baldur's Gate 3 Stealth
Baldur’s Gate 3 Stealth Field of View

Once in stealth, if you are near any enemies you will see areas of highlighted red on the ground. This is an indicator of how far the enemy NPCs can see and in what direction they are looking. If they are moving around, you will see these patches of red move with them. Take care, because if you’re not careful a nearby patch of red could suddenly swing over in your direction.

Best Classes for Stealth

If you really want to excel at stealth, consider selecting a character class that naturally excels in sneaking, such as a Rogue or Ranger. Additionally, the Bard and Monk classes will also be able to select Stealth as a class skill. All of these classes (but the first two, especially) have access to abilities that enhance stealth, making it easier to stay hidden and strike from the shadows.

Baldur's Gate 3 Stealth Skill
Stealth Skill

Stealth is a Dexterity Skill. There will be a Dexterity check when you attempt to conceal yourself from enemies, slink past guards, slip away without being noticed, or sneak up on someone without being seen or heard

If you don’t wish to create a custom character who uses one of these classes, then be sure to recruit the Rogue High Elf companion Astarion. Adding him to your party will give you access to all of the Rogue skills, abilities, and proficiencies. Anytime you need someone to take the lead in stealth, to steal or unlock chests, or to find and disarm traps Astarion will be your best chance of success.

When to Use Stealth in Baldur’s Gate 3

Remember that the effectiveness of stealth depends on your character’s race, class, skills, and abilities. Characters with high Dexterity or proficiency in Stealth will have a more substantial advantage. However, it’s essential to consider the context of each situation and weigh the risks and rewards of using stealth. Sometimes direct confrontation may be the best course of action, while other times stealth and subtlety are the keys to success. Adapt your approach based on the specific challenges you encounter in the vast world of Baldur’s Gate 3.

Baldur's Gate 3 Paladin Smite
Baldur’s Gate 3 Paladin Smite From Behind

Here are some scenarios where using stealth is advantageous:

  • Exploration and Avoiding Enemies: When navigating unknown territory or hostile areas, using stealth allows you to move quietly and avoid detection by potential threats. This can help you gather information, locate hidden treasures, and identify enemy positions before engaging.
  • Ambushing Enemies: Stealth is particularly useful for setting up ambushes. Sneak close to an enemy or group of enemies, and initiate combat with a surprise attack, gaining the upper hand in the battle.
  • Scouting and Gathering Intel: Infiltrate enemy camps or dungeons with stealth to gather valuable information about enemy numbers, patrol routes, and potential dangers. This intel can aid in planning strategic approaches or avoiding unnecessary conflicts.
  • Picking Off Enemies One by One: In combat scenarios with multiple enemies, using stealth allows you to isolate foes and take them out individually without alerting nearby enemies. Reducing enemy numbers before engaging in a full-fledged battle can increase your chances of victory.
  • Solving Puzzles and Traps: Some puzzles or traps in the game require careful movement and timing. Using stealth can help you navigate such challenges without triggering traps or attracting unwanted attention.
  • Thieving and Pickpocketing: If your character has rogue-like abilities, using stealth is essential for engaging in thievery and pickpocketing. Sneak up on unsuspecting NPCs to pilfer their belongings without getting caught.
  • Avoiding Detection During Quests: Certain quests may involve sneaking past powerful foes or infiltrating restricted areas. Utilize stealth to avoid confrontations that could prove difficult or dangerous.
  • Retreat and Escape: In dire situations, using stealth can help you retreat and regroup, allowing you to find a safer vantage point or exit a dangerous area without being pursued.

How to Use Stealth and Sneak Attack in Combat

If you are anticipating an area where you think or know there might be enemies, it is highly recommend to drop your entire party into stealth. Once you can see the highlighted areas of red, it will give you an idea of where your enemies are standing or even hiding. Take a few moments at a distance to see if they start to move, and in what path they may walk.

Visibility Factors

Should you decide to move forward in an attempt to sneak by these enemies and get caught when a red field of view moves over your character’s location, the game will assess whether or not you are seen based on the following:

  • Open Field of Vision – If there is no physical obstacle obscuring their view, your character will always be visible and the fight will be initiated
  • Limited Visibility – There is a possibility your character can remain hidden, but must successfully complete a skillcheck
  • Limited Visibility, but the Enemy Has Darkvision – Your character will always be visible and the fight will be initiated
  • No Visibility – Whether due to darkness or hiding behind a physical obstacle, your character will be invisible
  • No Visibility, but the Enemy Has Darkvision – There is a possibility your character can remain hidden, but must successfully complete a skillcheck
Baldur's Gate 3 Stealth Visibility Indicator
Baldur’s Gate 3 Stealth Visibility Indicator

You can see what kind of visibility you’re operating under by the Sun icon above your character’s head. The white in the center circle acts as an indicator – the more it fills up, the more visible your character will be if an enemy spots them.

Additionally, don’t assume that dark caverns and other places will automatically keep you hidden. There are many races that have Darkvision, which allow them to see in the dark with a range of 12 meters. These include: Forest and Rock Gnomes, Half-Orcs, Tieflings, Half-Elves, and Dwarves. Furthermore, the Drow and Deep Gnomes have Superior Darkvision, which allows them to see in the dark for 24 meters.

Initiating Combat from Stealth

Baldur's Gate 3 Sneak Attack
Baldur’s Gate 3 Sneak Attack

If at all possible, striking an enemy from stealth is the best way to initiate a combat encounter. Not only does doing so grant you a ‘free’ hit (assuming you are successful), but it has a high chance of doing critical damage. This is especially useful against single target boss fights, where you can get the drop on them and take out a nice chunk of their HP before they have a chance to strike back.

If needed, you can also make use of the Hide action to try and give a character some space during combat. This is particularly helpful if they get low on health. To maximize their chances, find something for them to hide behind. At the end of the turn an automatic skillcheck will run – if successful, your enemies will focus their fire on other fighters.

The same principle can apply to combat movement. Use the surrounding environment to your advantage. If your character is overwhelmed or getting backed into a corner, use the Dash action to create more movement, get out of the line of sight of the enemy, and get in stealth. This should help you to lose aggro and hopefully next turn you can open with a damage ability or heal.

How to Use Stealth to Steal in Baldur’s Gate 3

In Baldur’s Gate 3, your first introduction to the concept of how stealing works is when you first visit an occupied area with homes. Instead of crates and barrels you can openly loot from, you’ll see that when you hover your mouse over these objects they will now be outlined in red. In many residential areas all items, books, chests, crates and more will usually be highlighted this way. The obviously indication is that taking any one of these items or looting the chests is considered stealing. Before taking anything, you’ll want to be in stealth and certain that you aren’t in danger of being seen by any NPC nearby before you take anything.

Baldur's Gate 3 Stealing red highlight indicator

Again, if you are not a Rogue, Astarion is a great companion to have along. Clicking on his image on the left hand side of the screen will give you control of him. Then you can direct him to attempt to open locked chests. Each attempt will prompt a roll of the dice.

Locked doors will also be outlined in red. Even attempting to try unlocking these will be considered a crime if you are seen. Take extra care to make sure there are no other NPCs in the vicinity.

Occasionally, you will also come across corpses which are outlined in red. While it may seem illogical depending on where they’re fallen, it also means that looting the body will be considered a crime. Again, if you plan on taking anything, make sure that no other NPCs are watching.

Using Stealth When Pickpocketing

Baldur's Gate 3 Stealing

The basics of pickpocketing in Baldur’s Gate three involve crouching into stealth and sneaking up behind an unsuspecting NPC. If you want to be successful, however, there is more to it than that. You’ll want to use a character who has the Slight of Hand Skill. Again, this is best paired with a Rogue or Bard to maximize your chances.

Best method for pickpocketing in Baldur’s Gate 3:

  1. Identify your target
  2. Choose your Rogue or Bard character, and move them behind the target out of the NPC’s line of sight
  3. Enter into turn based mode. This stops NPC movement and allows you to get directly behind your target without being detected
  4. Crouch into stealth by pressing the ‘C’ key
  5. Sneak up behind the target. When close enough, right click and select ‘Pickpocket’
  6. From the inventory that appears, select the item(s) you want to steal
  7. You can’t steal all their items in one try, try to get a few of the most valuable

Each item you try to steal will have a value assigned to it. The higher the value, the higher you must roll on your skill check in order to be successful. The higher your Dexterity, Slight of Hand, and Stealth, the lower the rolls you need to successfully pickpocket your target.

If you’re caught in the act of pickpocketing you may be given a chance to talk your way out of consequences, but your party may also simply come under attack. Both by your intended target, as well as by other NPCs in the vicinity.

Some final tips for pickpocketing in Baldur’s Gate 3:

  • Save your game before attempting to steal from someone. If unsuccessful, you can simply reload
  • Merchants are some of the best pickpocketing targets in the game. Their gold resets after each rest
  • Don’t try to sell their merchandise directly back to them, as they may recognize their own goods

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