Baldur’s Gate 3 goes to great lengths to replicate the Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition play experience. Despite the constraints of game design and technology, it captures the feeling of sitting around a table and enjoying a game of D&D. However, it hasn’t been able to bring everything across, with notable exceptions in the spell list.
D&D 5e has hundreds of spells available for its casting classes. Even accounting for the low level cap, Baldur’s Gate 3 falls well short of this. In many cases, beloved spells from D&D 5e expansion books like Xanathar’s Guide to Everything are excluded, but there are some Player’s Handbook spells that are nowhere to be seen either.
10 Dispel Magic
Magic isn’t limitless in either D&D 5e or Baldur’s Gate 3. Significantly, spellcasters can counteract others’ magic. Dispel Magic is a valuable D&D 5e spell that ends any ongoing spell effect on a creature or area. It can cancel buffs, debuffs, magical traps, and much, much more.
However, this isn’t an option in Baldur’s Gate 3. Dispel Magic isn’t an option for any spellcasting classes. Despite this, there are items that drop spellcasters’ Concentration and even the similar Counterspell. For whatever reason, however, Baldur’s Gate 3 characters cannot use a spell slot to end another character’s spell.
9 Tenser’s Floating Disk
Tenser’s Floating Disk is a D&D 5e utility spell that is often overlooked. It creates a disk of force that can carry objects and creatures far beyond the caster’s weight and floats behind them at a consistent distance. Despite its lack of use in D&D 5e, the object-heavy world of Baldur’s Gate 3 seems ripe for Tenser’s Floating Disk.
There’s plenty of value in transporting objects across distances in Baldur’s Gate 3. They can be used as traps, as problem-solving aids, or for even more unconventional outside-the-box tactics. One spell to transport several barrels behind the player character has potential, but it’s not an option in Baldur’s Gate 3.
Baldur’s Gate 3 includes Grant Flight as its equivalent of the D&D 5e spell Fly. However, there’s no equivalent for the lesser but similar spell Levitate. In D&D 5e, Levitate doesn’t allow characters to soar through the air. However, it allows a caster to suspend themselves or another creature in the air and move them up and down.
Levitate would need a height limit in Baldur’s Gate 3 due to the game’s limited vertical movement. Nonetheless, some fans might be disappointed that this tactical option is lacking in Baldur’s Gate 3, particularly with the buffs elevation gives in the game’s combat. It also doesn’t seem like it would break exploration and traversal any more than the game’s staggering jump distances.
7 Animate Objects
Animate Objects is one of D&D 5e‘s most contentious spells. It allows a high-level spellcaster to weaponize almost any environment to deal staggering damage to enemies. In particular, the fact that tiny objects can be animated in greater numbers and make vicious combatants is problematic for balance.
Nonetheless, it’s a thematic part of many mages’ toolkits missing from Baldur’s Gate 3. The reasons could be anything from balance-related to technical, given the sheer number of distinct objects in Baldur’s Gate 3‘s game world. Whatever the reason, it’s an entertaining option fans don’t get to enjoy.
Different D&D tables differ in how tactical their games are. Even on its easiest and most story-focused Explorer difficulty, Baldur’s Gate 3 rewards players for inventive tactics and clever positioning. The high ground, environment, facing, and more can all mean the difference between life and death in Baldur’s Gate 3.
Despite this, Scatter isn’t an option. It’s one of D&D 5e‘s best repositioning spells that lets the caster teleport five creatures at once to new locations, including both allies and enemies. Scatter could let Baldur’s Gate 3 players rewrite entire battlefields for a high cost, but its place outside the Player’s Handbook seems to exclude it from the game.
5 Booming Blade
Baldur’s Gate 3 has many options for players who want to blend swordplay and spellcasting. However, it lacks Booming Blade, one of D&D 5e‘s best cantrips for spellblade characters. Booming Blade hits enemies with a weapon attack and applies additional thunder damage, dealing this damage again if they move.
Booming Blade gives full D&D 5e spellcasters a fallback cantrip in melee range and spellblades an on-tap way to blend their two disciplines. However, Booming Blade and similar spell Green-Flame Blade are also contentious for their power level and found outside the Player’s Handbook.
Short rests are more tightly controlled in Baldur’s Gate 3 than they are in D&D 5e. Although short rests no longer take an hour, players can only benefit from two in a day before they have to long rest. Even the bard’s Song of Rest only stretches it to three. Catnap is a spell from D&D 5e‘s Xanathar’s Guide to Everything that lets creatures short rest quickly.
A third-level spell for a short rest seems like a fair trade in Baldur’s Gate 3, albeit more useful for some character classes than others. It is also not unprecedented due to pre-existing features like Song of Rest. However, this isn’t an option in Baldur’s Gate 3, with players having to take more frequent long rests instead.
3 Bigby’s Hand
Bigby’s Hand has become increasingly one of D&D‘s iconic spells in recent years. It’s a versatile combat summon that can block attacks, hit enemies, grapple, and more. However, Baldur’s Gate 3 wizards don’t get the option to cast Bigby’s Hand, despite it being one of the wizard’s best high-level spells in D&D 5e.
The Mage Hand cantrip has had its abilities expanded in Baldur’s Gate 3, to the point of being able to attack in combat. However, it’s no substitute for the power of Bigby’s Hand. Notably, Baldur’s Gate 3 can handle plenty of other summon spells, so it seems odd that the iconic Bigby’s Hand has been excluded.
2 Elemental Bane
Elemental Bane is another spell that is often overlooked in D&D 5e. However, it seems like it would be much more useful in Baldur’s Gate 3. Elemental Bane causes a creature to take additional damage every time attacks of a specific damage type hits them.
Player characters are much more versatile with their damage type in Baldur’s Gate 3. Arrows, spells, different magical weapons, buffs, and various effects ensure almost every character can do more than just bludgeoning, slashing, or piercing damage. Elemental Bane would seem to suit this design well and encourage tactical play.
1 Synaptic Static
Baldur’s Gate 3 has no shortage of devastating area-of-effect spells. Shatter, Lightning, Fireball, and more all turn battlefields lethal from early on. However, Baldur’s Gate 3 lacks Synaptic Static, one of D&D 5e‘s most vicious area-of-effect spells and one of the few that is available to bards at base.
Synaptic Static doesn’t just deal heavy damage to enemies in its area. It also reduces their ability checks, attack rolls, and Concentration saving throws by d6 for a minute without concentration. It’s a game-changer for D&D 5e characters who take it that Baldur’s Gate 3 characters have to do without.
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