Wyll and Alyssa dancing at camp and surrounded by heart emojis in 'Baldur's Gate 3'

A Weary Traveler’s Guide to Charisma in ‘Baldur’s Gate 3’

I’ve talked—and written—at length about how much I enjoy having high Charisma in Baldur’s Gate 3. Like the base Dungeons & Dragons game, BG3 uses character abilities to determine the effectiveness of attacks, conversations, and more. As a communication-based ability, having good Charisma (anything over 10 out of a possible 20) helps related skills like deception, intimidation, performance, and persuasion. Anyone can start with good Charisma via an Origin Character or by making their own. You can also gain more and improve this ability as your party embarks on their adventure.

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Companion-wise, Origin Characters Wyll and Gale have the highest starting Charisma at 13 and 16 respectively. As the story progresses and if allowed, it’ll be worth picking up a combination of Halsin (16), Jaheira (15), and/or Minthara (16). Yes, I’m just as shocked as you that Astarion doesn’t have extremely high Charisma. You don’t have to rely on one of these characters to do the talking—nor should you.

As hundreds of thousands of people have already done, you can customize your own character from scratch. When making a character, you start with race, and if applicable, sub-race. This doesn’t affect one’s overall levels of Charisma (or any other abilities, like Strength or Wisdom). However, some will come with aforementioned skills like deception, intimidation, performance, and persuasion. Class and background tend to be the best places to start when crafting a high Charisma character.

Classes and backgrounds with high Charisma

Tiefling Warlock, Human Sorcerer, and Dragonborn Bard in the character customization screen of Baldur's Gate 3.
(screencap from Larian Studios / Alyssa Shotwell)

When making a custom character (this includes the Dark Urge) there are a lot of factors to weigh, with a character’s stats and abilities being just two components. If you want to prioritize Charisma, then Bards, Sorcerers, and Warlocks are dripping with it. They each start at 17 and use this ability in spellcasting. As their primary ability, they have a +3 on Charisma rolls. When the game rolls for Charisma, whatever you roll gets a +3 each time. So, if the game requires a 10 and you rolled an 8, you pass the check because you’ll get a +3 at the end.

These three classes also get a +5 on saving rolls. D&D describes saving throws as “a character’s attempt at resisting something bad.” While you don’t get an animation for them, it’s still good to know where you stand. In addition to this trio, Paladins (15) and Clerics (15)—who both use Charisma for necromancy—have proficiency in Charisma-based saving throws. Clerics are also the only class where the subclass affects one’s Charisma level. Choosing the Trickery Domain gives you one higher HP and two more Intelligence at the expense of four fewer points in Charisma than the other domains. (This puts a Cleric of the Trickster Domain at 8 Charisma.)

Character backgrounds can also get you Charisma modifiers via those four skills I mentioned earlier. The amount will depend on your class. All backgrounds except acolytes, folk heroes, outlanders, sages, and urchins get Charisma bonuses.

  • Deception: charlatans, criminals
  • Intimidation: soldiers
  • Performance: entertainers
  • Persuasion: guild artisans, nobles

Charming attire and little feats

Alfira, a bard in 'Baldur's Gate 3': A woman with blue skin and horns wears renaissance-style garb and plays a stringed instrument
(Larian Studios)

When you level up a bunch in Baldur’s Gate 3 and it’s time to pick feats, select Actor and/or Performer. These talents increase your base Charisma by +1 for a maximum of 20. With Actor, your deception and performance proficiency are doubled. However, with Performer you can now play an instrument even if you didn’t start with Bard. Selecting Magic Initiate and choosing the Bard or Sorcerer option will give you 2 cantrips and 1 spell from a list. The ability to cast those spells is based on Charisma.

As a character with high Charisma, some weapons and adornments will benefit you more than others. Don’t feel the need to equip any of these if you want to instead focus on using equipment to strengthen some of your weaker abilities. Your character is more than their Charisma! Still, these are some equipable items to watch out for throughout the game to maximize the use of this ability:

  • Harmonic Dueller: By passing a Performance check, this stylish rapier will do additional damage equal to your Charisma modifier.
  • Potent Robe: This armor also works off your Charisma modifier. Cantrips do additional damage, and at the start of your turn players get temporary hit points. These numbers are equal to this modifier.
  • Silver Sword of the Astral Plane: If and only if the weapon’s wielder is a Githyanki, they gain an advantage on a few types of saving throws, including Charisma. This longsword has a number of other benefits, too.
  • Cerebral Citadel Armour: While you’ll find it more difficult to sneak around, this fit gives wearers with the tadpole a +1 on Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saving throws.
  • Duke Ravengard’s Longsword: After killing an enemy with this sword, allies within a few meters of you gain hit points equal to your Charisma modifier.

Increasing Charisma on the go

Shadowheart being a sass monster.
(Larian Studios)

Even if your character doesn’t have a strong base of Charisma, there are other ways of boosting this ability via items and spells (either learned or from a scroll.) Two useful spells include Friends and Charm. Casting either will give an advantage on Charisma Checks against the target. Each time you use these spells you run the risk of the target accusing you of using magic on them. The main (but not only) difference between these spells is that Friends applies to creatures, and Charm applies to humanoids.

In Act 2, find and equip the amulet Shar’s Temptation to gain the Charm spell if you don’t already have it. Other Charisma-boosting equipment includes:

  • Seemingly Gleaming Ring: The garnet-encrusted ring buffs players with a +1 on Charisma saving throws.
  • Fey Semblance Amulet: Wearing this violet necklace gives characters an advantage on not only Charisma saving throws but also Intelligence and Wisdom, too.
  • Birthright: This late-game hat gives the wearer +2 on Charisma (up to 22).
  • Any headgear can also give you a boost in intimidation.

Finally, others in your party can tip the scales by adding bonuses to increase your chances of succeeding a Charisma-based roll. These include cantrips (Thaumaturgy and Guidance); spells (Enhance Ability: Eagle’s Splendour); and effects (Bardic Inspiration and Bend Luck). The game will prompt these abilities at the roll screen, but it’s still good to know when leveling up these companions.

(featured image: Larian Studios and remixed by Alyssa Shotwell)

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Alyssa Shotwell
(she/her) Award-winning artist and writer with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. She began her career in journalism in October 2017 when she joined her student newspaper as the Online Editor. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 & Oxygen Not Included.