How To Improve Initiative & Gain Advantage in Baldur’s Gate 3 Combat

Improve your initiative in Baldur’s Gate 3, increasing the combat potential through status effects and dexterity score to gain an advantage. Here is the key to victorious battles.

Baldur's Gate 3 Monk Class
Monk Class Attack

Baldur’s Gate 3, based on D&D 5th edition, may be confusing and challenging in combat for new players or those unfamiliar with the tabletop version. This guide will focus on the initiative in combat, how you can improve it, and what factors precisely influence it. It aims to help you grasp this combat feature and become more skilled on the BG3 battlefields.

What is an initiative in Baldur’s Gate 3?

Baldur’s Gate 3 - How To Improve Initiative in Combat - Initiative Roll
Initiative in Combat – Initiative Roll

In Baldur’s Gate 3, Initiative decides the order of turns in combat, and it’s based on your Dexterity score. To calculate Initiative, the game rolls a d20 dice for each character and adds their Dexterity modifier. The character with the highest Dexterity, and as a result, often the initiative, goes first, followed by the character or creature with the second-highest initiative, and so on, and the one with the lowest goes last, making a high Dexterity advantageous.

Dexterity and Stealth’s Role in Initiative

Dexterity also influences the success of your attacks, the chances that the enemy has to hit you (Armor Class), or the damage of your dexterity-based weapons. It is also associated with specific skills such as acrobatics, Sleight of Hand, and stealth. Moreover, dexterity helps your characters pick a lock, disable a trap, wriggle free of bonds, or even play an instrument. Some classes benefit even more from Dexterity, as it is their primary statistic determining damage and usually will also have high initiative.

In combat, it’s important to have at least one character in your group with a high dexterity score. Additionally, to gain an advantage, you can attempt to approach each fight in stealth if possible. For example, launching an attack on an enemy before they get a chance to strike back or casting a beneficial spell can give you an advantage in the fight. If you successfully catch the enemy off guard and attack them when they’re not expecting it, they may receive a status effect known as a Surprise.

Advantages of the Surprise Status Effect

Baldur’s Gate 3 Surprised Status Effect
Surprised Status Effect

Surprise is a status effect, which occurs when one or more characters manage to catch the opposing group off guard through stealth, cunning, or a sudden attack. The enemy is taken by surprise, resulting in them skipping a turn and being unable to take any action.

How to Improve Your Initiative in Combat

You can improve your Initiative by increasing your dexterity ability score. Here are all methods to increase dexterity and initiative in Baldur’s Gate 3:

  • Select a race that has Dexterity bonuses.
  • Choose a class that is Dexterity-based
  • Complete selected quests that will provide your character with permanent bonuses to your ability scores.
  • At specific levels, you can pick Ability Improvements feat that will allow you to increase your Dexterity by 2.
  • Equip gear items that will give you passive bonuses to Dexterity and Initiative.

What is The Best Dexterity Score You Should Aim For?

Dexterity improves the initiative but its required score is very dependent on the class, weapon, and armor you pick. To determine the exact dexterity and other ability score you should aim for we advise you to check specific class builds. Each class will need different statistics and as a result, their initiative will vary. You will want a dexterity 12 or 14 if you plan on using range weapons, light armor, or medium armor.

Classes that use Dexterity as their primary statistics, such as Monk, Rogue, or Ranger will aim at 16. In any other situation, Dexterity at 10 is a decent choice. The initiative is important. but even more important is to distribute your ability points to correct statistics so your character will cast powerful spells and their attacks will deal significant damage. Ensure you distribute your abilities including dexterity properly.

What Classes Benefit from Dexterity?

The classes that benefit from Dexterity and will have high initiative in Baldur’s Gate 3 are:

Rangers, Rogues, and Monk classes use dexterity as their primary statistic, which determines their overall effectiveness in combat and their saving throw proficiency.

Fighters‘ primary abilities can be Strength or Dexterity. They often use ranged weapons and can find themselves in the midst of the enemy on the battlefield. The high score in Dexterity will also increase their ability to dodge attacks.

The Bard class excels at support, and high dexterity not only enables them to buff their team or debuff enemies early in the fight but also boosts their saving throw proficiency.

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