Holy crap are there a lot of spells in Baldur’s Gate 3. There are 131 in the early access version right now, and Larian recently revealed 46 of the spells being added in the 1.0 release, which comes to 177 known spells. That’s a lot of spells on its own, but according to Larian, it’s not even half the total number of spells in Baldur’s Gate 3. The developer says that the RPG will include “over 600 player spells and sub-spells” when it launches on August 3. That means there are over 400 Baldur’s Gate 3 spells that haven’t been revealed yet.
For comparison, Baldur’s Gate 2 contained 275 spells, and around 300 if you include the Throne of Bhaal expansion. Since Baldur’s Gate 3 includes double that number, it’s probably safe to assume that most of the spells in BG2 will show up. One we particularly hope to see is Polymorph.
I can’t help but be a little excited by the fearsome prospect of having 600 spells to choose from. When developers tell us they’ve written a billion lines of dialogue or created the biggest open world ever, even bigger than the surface of the sun, I shrug it off: For all I know, it’s all empty chitchat and empty space. But a D&D spell actually does something. Even the weakest spell can, in theory, decide at some point whether your party lives or dies, or at least help solve a problem. It seems impossible to include 600 of them without also including the possibility that we’ll use them to break the world.
Many of these spells may be damage-dealing attacks that don’t require super complex system design to implement in a videogame, granted. But what distinguishes Baldur’s Gate 3 having a lot of spells from, say, Diablo 4 having a lot of spells is that there are a good number of D&D spells whose rules aren’t so easy to express with math. Take Commune, a spell which lets a player ask their deity three yes or no questions and get true answers. Without a DM to play the role of the deity, Baldur’s Gate 3 would have to limit the possible questions to a set it can answer, but it could be done, in a way. That’s not a confirmed Baldur’s Gate 3 spell, but with 400-plus unknowns, it feels like anything’s on the table.
That’s especially true given that Larian is known for letting systems run somewhat wild in its games. The studio did remove an infinite damage loop from Divinity: Original Sin 2, but only because it determined that the loop was made possible by a bug. Before it noticed the error, Larian was going to leave the loop in: “If you glitch the system, congratulations,” producer David Walgrave told me at the time. Larian doesn’t care if you find a legitimate but cheesy way to, say, bypass some huge part of a questline through clever spell use: anything that isn’t a bug is fair game.
One spellcasting limit in Baldur’s Gate 3 is the character level cap of 12, which puts 7th, 8th, and 9th level spells out of reach. That means no mega spells like Power Word Kill, which instantly kills a creature if it has 100 HP or less, or Wish, which literally grants your character a wish at the DM’s discretion. These near-godmode spells aren’t necessarily out of the question for future updates, though: a limited version of Wish did appear in Baldur’s Gate 2, and a more powerful version showed up in Baldur’s Gate 2: Throne of Bhaal.
My most wanted spell is Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Mansion, which is unfortunately a 7th level spell—it creates a portal to an “extradimensional dwelling” for you and your companions, and I’d just love it if Larian created a whole mansion just for the sake of a spell mainly used for camping.
Another tricky conjuration spell that is actually within the level range is Transport via Plants, a 6th level spell that lets you enter one large plant and then exit any other large plant you’ve seen before on the same plane of existence. I doubt Baldur’s Gate 3 tracks “plants you’ve seen before” and includes a way to find them just for the sake of one spell which would eliminate most travel needs, but hey, maybe?