Sprawling DND-inspired RPG Baldur’s Gate 3 features a total of ten recruitable companions, not counting customizable player characters. From these companions, a player can build a party of only three others plus themselves at any time. This can make it quite difficult to choose which companions to bring along with you when you set out from camp. Plus, in the grand Dungeons and Dragons tradition, there are several choices you can make that may result in a companion either dying or permanently leaving the group.
This guide lists a few pros and cons of each companion that you should consider when building a party, populating your camp, and (if desired) choosing a romantic partner in Baldur’s Gate 3. It is NOT an exhaustive list – each of these characters is unique and well-rounded, with tons of benefits and drawbacks. These are just a few of GameLuster’s favorite – and least favorite – things about this ragtag band of adventurers!
Pro: Githyanki Lore
Con: Conflict Starter
The githyanki are a unique race – they have a strict, militaristic culture, they travel between planes, and they are locked in constant war with the illithid mind flayers (or, as they call them, ghaik.) Having Lae’zel as a companion lets players learn a lot more about the githyanki than in previous games, as they get to journey to a creche, learn more about Lae’zel’s past, and even interact with the race’s leader, Vlaakith. However, as a loyal githyanki warrior (at least at first), Lae’zel is hotheaded and abrupt, making her likely to start conflicts (especially with fellow companion Shadowheart, whom she dislikes.) Players who wish to make their way through the game relying on diplomacy may find it much tougher to do with Lae’zel around.
Pro: Unparalleled Healing
Con: Devotion To Shar / Hatred Of Selune
You’re going to be taking a lot of damage as you fight your way through the expansive world of Baldur’s Gate 3. Shadowheart, your party’s dedicated Cleric, is thus an invaluable resource who keeps your party healthy without having to take constant Long Rests at camp. However, as a Cleric of the dark goddess Shar, Shadowheart is judgmental of anything related to Shar’s enemy Selune, making several scenes and interactions much tenser than they need to be. Players may find themselves frequently needing to drop Shadowheart back at camp whenever anything remotely Selune-related or anti-Shar pops up in the game.
Pro: Easier Lockpicking
Con: Hard To Please
Many chests and doors throughout the Sword Coast are locked, forcing you to pick them open if you want to claim the rewards or unveil the secrets inside. While any character can use Thieves’ Tools to try to pick the locks with Sleight of Hand, the Rogue Astarion has a far greater chance of success than any other. Having Astarion as a regular part of your party generally means that you will have a much easier time dealing with locked obstacles in your way. However, because Astarion is one of the most traditionally “Evil-aligned” party members, he disapproves of many heroic actions and “good” choices in the game. Players who regularly keep the suave vampire spawn around may quickly find his approval plummeting if they refuse to cater to his rather sadistic whims. (This is especially frustrating for those who want Astarion as a romantic partner and are trying to earn his love!)
Pro: AOE Spellcasting
Con: Appetite For Magic
As a powerful wizard, Gale has a number of spells that will target multiple enemies at once. This is a useful ability that few other available companions share. It’s especially needed in the early game when you are likely to encounter hordes of goblins, spiders, gnolls, undead, and other enemies that tend to spawn in very large groups. However, Gale suffers from a condition that requires him to regularly consume magic items. The player must sacrifice these items to him if they don’t want to lose Gale permanently. Losing these items, especially in the early game when vendors and loot are more scarce, can be a major hit to a player’s resources.
Pro: Early-Game Damage Dealer
Con: Tricky Personal Quest
As a Barbarian, Karlach’s damage potential is pretty much limitless. She can enter a (literally!) fiery rage, attacking enemies with abandon and quickly chipping away at their health. With the aforementioned frequency of early-game enemy hordes (and late-game bosses with tons of health,) Karlach is an invaluable party member. However, her personal quest is one of the most difficult to complete. It not only requires finding several heavily-guarded pieces of infernal iron, but also relies on specific NPCs being at certain locations. Players can easily get locked out of finishing Karlach’s quest entirely via one wrong decision or doing things in the wrong order. (Not to mention the fact that her quest currently lacks a true “happy” ending, a major disappointment for such a positive and supportive character.)
Pro: Intriguing Personal Quest
Con: May Not Stick Around
Wyll is one of the standout examples of Baldur’s Gate 3 experimenting with the traditional DND class system. The Blade of Frontiers is a Warlock, but an unwilling one who dislikes his patron Mizora, and tries to get out of his contract in any way. This leads to an interesting story where players can either help Wyll earn his freedom or side with Mizora and keep him bound. However, Wyll is arguably the companion who can most easily be lost permanently. Help Mizora too much? Side with Minthara over the Tiefling refugees and the druids? Make too many “evil” leaning decisions during your playthrough? Oops, no more Wyll for you!
Pro: A Different Take On The Story
Con: Losing Several Other Companions
Baldur’s Gate 3 takes full advantage of DND’s complex morality and alignment system. Players are not required to be heroes – in fact, they can be the exact opposite! The drow Minthara is a perfect example of this. She can only be recruited if players choose to side with the goblin army and slaughter the Tiefling refugees and inhabitants of the Druid circle. This allows for a unique play-through that will be unlike any other. However, there is a cost: companions Wyll and Karlach will leave the group permanently, unable to accept the player’s decisions. Halsin will also be killed, meaning he cannot join up either.
Pro: Wild Shape
Con: Difficult Recruitment
Druids in Baldur’s Gate 3 are pretty great, and companion Halsin’s focus on the Wild Shape aspect of the class makes him a unique and effective combatant. While his favored shape – in times of both love and war – is that of a bear, he can also become multiple other creatures. One of the most powerful uses of Halsin in combat is turning him into an enormous owlbear and letting him fling his full weight at enemies for a huge amount of damage. However, recruiting Halsin to your party is not easy. He’s met as an NPC, and requires you to complete several quests before he’ll agree to join up. You have to save his grove of druids, THEN travel through the Shadow-Cursed Lands, THEN rescue a nature spirit to heal the land’s blight, THEN reunite the spirit with his other half…and only then will Halsin finally become a playable character.
Jaheira & Minsc
Pro: The Return Of Beloved Characters
Con: Late-Game Joining
Baldur’s Gate 3 is set over a century after the previous two games in the series, so many of the party members and NPCs from those titles are no longer around. However, two are present and can even be recruited into the party: the Druid Jaheira and the Ranger Minsc (accompanied, of course, by his beloved “miniature giant space hamster” pet, Boo.) However, Minsc and Jaheira join the group much later than anyone else, meaning they have limited availability and less time to get to know them. They’re also the only companions who cannot be romanced, so they generally have less dialogue and fewer camp scenes than others. Plus, by the point they join up, players may already have established a party that works for them, and see no need to slot in either of the returning characters.
Who are your favorite and least favorite companions in Baldur’s Gate 3? Which do you use frequently in your party, and which are constantly stuck back at camp? Which pros and cons do you think should be included on this list? Comment below and let us know!