Baldur's Gate 3 aims to pay deep respect to 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons

Baldur's Gate 3
Image Credit: Wizards of the Coast

During PC Gamer's PC Gaming Show 2019 event at E3 2019, game developer Larian Studios took the stage to share more details about Baldur's Gate 3, the long-awaited sequel to one of the most critically acclaimed PC game series of all time.

Studio founder and creative director Swen Vincke, and Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) creative Director Mike Mearls, discussed what the two companies have been doing together for the past two years of the game's development. Namely, they've been playing lots of D&D together – the 45-year-old tabletop role-playing game (RPG) on which the Baldur's Gate franchise is based. 

In particular, we know now that Baldur's Gate 3 will be based on the latest rule set for D&D, known popularly as "5th Edition," which launched via new books back in late 2014. This is especially interesting considering the open-ended and lightweight nature of that rule set in comparison to 2nd Edition D&D, which is what the first two Baldur's Gate games were based on.

"To me, it's the crown jewel of D&D computer games," Mearls said on stage. "It's so exciting to see it come to a new generation of gamers. It's so important to the D&D franchise as a whole."

Tied in tightly with 5th Edition D&D

"So, we started with the Player's Handbook, and we ported as much as we could to the video game," Vincke said.

When pressed, Vincke elaborated that Larian Studios used the 5th Edition D&D Players Handbook as the source material for the Baldur's Gate 3 gameplay systems. However, Vincke did note that not every aspect of 5th Edition D&D will make it into the game, as many mechanics get lost in the translation.

Despite all that, Vincke presented an in-game scenario that sounds as if it would be impossible in most video game RPGs of today.

"Let's say we get into a fight because you asked me a question and I don't like it, and I want to grab a chair, set it on fire and throw it at your head, we need to add a system to the game to make that possible," Vincke said.

However, it appears that Baldur's Gate 3 will be tied in even more tightly with the tabletop RPG. Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus, a new module for the tabletop RPG coming this September, will serve as a prequel story to Baldur's Gate 3 on the PC. 

This is a levels 1st through 13th campaign involving an adventure into the first layer of the Nine Hells in the D&D setting's Forgotten Realms, a story that will prime players for the Baldur's Gate 3 game. It may well be the first time a tabletop RPG module has served as a prequel for an attached video game.

As for when we can expect to play Baldur's Gate 3, Vincke simply stated, "When it's ready."

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