Larian Studios’ Controversial Racial Bonuses Revamp

In a surprise change for the full launch of Baldur’s Gate 3 developers Larian Studios are implementing a racial bonuses revamp.

Baldur's Gate 3 Dragonborn Race
Baldur’s Gate 3 Dragonborn Race
Soruce: Larian Studios

Racial Bonuses in Baldur’s Gate 3 Early Access

The Character Creation process in Baldur’s Gate 3 is a robust and multilayered on. With players needing to choose gender, race, sometimes a sub-race, along with class and sub-class and skills and ability distribution. It could be an intimidating process to those who weren’t familiar with the 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons – the version of the popular tabletop game that Baldur’s Gate 3 is based off of.

Through out the three years of Early Access on Steam, the choice of which race you will play as has been an important one for several reasons. The primary of these has been the Ability Bonuses. There are six ability ‘stats’ which can affect various gameplay mechanics:

  • Charisma
    • Bards, Paladins, Sorcerers, and Warlocks use Charisma as their spellcasting ability. Also can effect your attempts to influence or entertain others.
  • Constitution
    • Influences your maximum amount of HP/the damage you can take
  • Dexterity
    • Influences your initiative and chance to land a hit
  • Intelligence
    • Wizards use Intelligence as their spellcasting ability
  • Strength
    • Influences your chance to land a hit, as well as jump distance and carry weight
  • Wisdom
    • Druids, Rangers, and Clerics use Wisdom as their spellcasting ability

Each race was granted Ability Bonuses depending on their natural affinity for one area or another. Usually this resulted in a +2 bonus for the base race and then an additional +1 bonus on your choice of sub-race, though there were some exceptions to this general rule. For players who were most interested in roleplay these bonuses might not have mattered much, but for those looking to create strong characters it was vitally important to choose a race whose ability bonuses complimented and boosted the class they wanted to play.

Baldur's Gate 3 Multiclassing
Source: Larian Studios

Racial Bonuses Revamp

In their most recent Community Update Larian Studios announced that with the full release of the game they would be introducing Multiclassing into Baldur’s Gate 3. What this means is that players can choose a class in Character Creation, but then when their character hits a new level, can then choose to put that point into a whole new class. So, for example, a level 5 character could be a level 3 Wizard and a level 2 Barbarian. This could lead to some wild class combinations and developers have recommended that it’s a complicated system that might be difficult for players without any Dungeons & Dragons background to take full advantage of.

When given the chance to play some of the game in its full release version Fextralife made some addition discoveries about how this will effect Character Creation. In this video he discusses one of the consequences of this change: that the developers are removing the Ability Bonuses. Not entirely from the game, however. Instead of being tied to racial choice their will be a flat +2 and +1 bonuses where you can choose which ability stats you’d like to boost.

In order to allow all your wildest dream class combinations, we’ve removed Ability Score Prerequisites.

Larian Studios

How These Changes Affect Will Affect the Game

While some might feel that this change it antithetical to the ethos of Dungeons & Dragons and the rulesets the tabletop game plays with, another interpretation is that many, many Dungeon Masters of the tabletop game already modify or tweak the rules as they see fit, to ‘homebrew’ their games to make them more enjoyable. In making this change Larian is removing the need to play certain races for more optimal character design. And for those purists who might legitimately prefer to play by the more traditional D&D rules, they can choose to simply add the previous standard ability bonuses to their chosen race.

Your choice of race in Baldur’s Gate 3 will still be a hugely important one! It is a choice you will not be able to respec later in the game – once you’ve made it, it will remain for your entire playthrough. Race choice will matter in roleplay and dialogue options in game, with certain lines or cut-scenes available only to certain races. Additionally, Racial Features also remain in place, and can make a huge difference in gameplay. Elves with Fey Ancestry cannot be affected by a Sleep Spell, for example, or races with Darkvision will be able to more easily find their way around the Underdark.

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