It’s no secret that Baldur’s Gate 3 is based on the stories and systems introduced by Dungeon’s & Dragons, with many famous characters of that franchise making an appearance to either help you or hinder your progress. As such, many players get inspired by the story told in Baldur’s Gate 3 and wish to create a formal D&D campaign inspired by the video game.
While the systems are similar and the world is the same, making such a translation is not as simple as it may seem. There are a few things you should consider before making the move from the computer to the tabletop.
8 Start The Campaign Before The Nautiloid Ship
There’s a reason most tabletop adventures start in a tavern: a quiet setting is ideal for everyone to get to know each other. Without establishing a certain level of trust among the players, they’d be more prone to backstab one another, either because it’s funny or out of self-preservation.
Once you have them all know each other, it’s as simple as to have them be abducted by the Nautiloid ship. Low level players don’t have enough tools to outrun such an encounter, and once inside they’d be more likely to work together. Now they don’t have to pretend to trust a complete stranger.
7 Use Player’s Backstories
One of the most engaging things in Baldur’s Gate 3 is getting to know your companions, their stories and dreams. And of course, how those stories come to hunt them as you advance in the story. This is honoring the intricate stories players would come up during tabletop games.
If a player’s backstory needs them to stray too far from the main quest, consider changing it or tackling those themes after the Absolute is dealt with.
When moving things into a regular D&D campaign, you should pay close attention to your main characters: the players. Their stories are the most important ones that should play out, or at the very least referenced. Work with your players to include their backgrounds into Baldur’s Gate.
6 Use Companion Characters As NPCs
There’s no reason to force the companions of the video game into the main party, since it’ll be crowded already. Your players are the real main characters now, and they should make all the decisions without much external influence.
This doesn’t mean you should outright delete these characters. They can have many supportive roles, act as guides or go on their own separate journeys. This way the players can still meet and interact with them if they wish, and experience their whole quest lines from the Nautiloid to Baldur’s Gate.
5 Make The Tadpole Meaningful
No matter how you adapt it, the conflict at the core of the story of Baldur’s Gate 3 is the tadpole. What unites these characters is a shared fate, since if they don’t work together to remove the worm in their brains, they’ll become Mind Flayers.
Yet with this impending doom comes also a promise of power, since consuming more tadpoles unlocks secret abilities. You need to keep this aspect of the story in, possibly adapting what sort of powers the players can unlock depending on the adventure.
Here are some example powers you could add to the campaign:
- Telepathic communication among Tadpole’d party members
- Mind control over small animals
- Advantage on social checks
- Flight speed
4 Create Twists Of Your Own
It’s likely that the players in your campaign already played Baldur’s Gate 3, maybe even more than once. While the story of the video game is perfectly fine, you need to do your best to turn it into your own tale. The real identity of the Emperor is a great reveal within the game, for example, but just retreading that plot might be pointless.
The only things you should keep unchanged are the Elder Brain and the involvement of the Dead Three, although their chosen is up to you to keep.
There are so many things you can change to catch your players off guard, some impossible in the game. Make Minthara recruitable without storming the Grove, or have Balduran’s Dragon be alive and well. While your players are the focus of the story, the world they delve in has to be your own.
There are plenty of guides about Baldur’s Gate 3 detailing where to find the best items, weapons and armors. They’re a great help for players struggling with the game, or just for people wanting to use the best gear right away. Once players that delve into these guides enter your campaign, they might be looking for the same items or expect the same traps in your version of Baldur’s Gate.
A great way to set expectations is with the Everburn Blade, the greatsword Commander Zhalk uses during his fight with the Mind Flayer at the end of the tutorial. You can keep the commander, but make him a pure spellcaster without a weapon; even if players defeat him, there’s no special loot to acquire.
2 Make Baldur’s Gate Bigger
There’s a limit to what you can put in a video game, so the way the titular city is depicted in Baldur’s Gate 3 is impressive, to say the least. But to do the same on a tabletop format would be a disservice to all that place can offer, particularly because you only saw a fraction of what’s on offer there.
There are plenty of detailed maps of how Baldur’s Gate is really supposed to be, and while there’s no need for you to make a one-to-one recreation, they’ll give you a proper sense of scale. You can even have players go to previously unexplored areas, like the noble streets of the Upper City. While retreading the game’s footsteps has its charm, going to where it couldn’t is where the real fun is at.
Among the notable places you should include, are:
- Seatower of Balduran, headquarters of the Flaming Fist
- House of Wonders, a museum of inventions worthy of the God of Smiths, Gond
- The Wide, the city’s largest public market
1 Change The Final Boss
While there are a lot of ways to deal with the final fight at the end of Baldur’s Gate 3, all of them are designed around the fact that it is a video game. Even if you’re planning an exact recreation of the video game, you need to make several alterations to how the final fight plays out.
Depending on the level you wish to end the campaign, you can use the Elder Brain Dragon as a final confrontation, found in the book Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons.
It’ll be strong enough to hold its own, and it’s a nice nod to the main threats in the final fight of Baldur’s Gate 3
Even the core mechanic of summoning allies works only as a game mechanic. You need to have each faction have a more potent moment, to properly pay off all the work the players have done throughout the campaign. And the encounter itself can be way more interesting than the players standing on top of a brain, waiting for a door to open to a DPS check.
NEXT: Baldur’s Gate 3: Who Is The Absolute?