Many people playing Baldur’s Gate 3 are likely new to the Dungeons & Dragons universe so they may not be as familiar with cantrips. Not to worry, this RPG is extremely complex and can often be confusing. Especially when you’re trying to learn the difference between cantrips and spells.
While any class can use both types, you’re more likely to see spellcasters have a larger variety to play with. This continues to be the case as you get higher in level for certain classes like the ones below. Also, I’ve included some frequently asked questions near the bottom of this guide worth checking when you’re done.
What Are Cantrips in Baldur’s Gate 3
The major distinction between cantrips and spells is that cantrips don’t use spell slots. And if you don’t know what spell slots are, we’ll give you a quick explanation. Spellcasters have a limited amount of spell slots which are consumed when casting a spell.
For example, you may want to use Shadowheart’s Healing Word spell to heal an injured party member. This will require using at least one Level 1 Spell Slot to cast. While you will get more Spell Slots as you level up, these are limited. Therefore, you’ll have to do a Long Rest at your camp to restore them.
The nice benefit of using cantrip spells like Shadowheart’s Fire Bolt is that they usually aren’t limited. While you can still only do one action per turn, you can at least cast Fire Bolt without using Spell Slots. This is often a great opportunity for Wizards like Gale to have a ranged attack without relying on a bow or crossbow.
Even though Fire Bolt is for dealing damage, there are also cantrips with more unique purposes. One of the most common ones players are likely to use is Shadowheart’s Guidance. Instead of using it on an enemy to deal damage, you can use Guidance to buff all sorts of die rolls in Baldur’s Gate 3.
As long as Shadowheart or someone with the Guidance cantrip is nearby, you’ll see it as a choice near the bottom of your screen before rolling a die. It’ll add an additional one to four (1d4) bonus to your Ability Check. Also, you can cast it to help with other situations like Perception checks.
So if you’re in a situation where one of your party members fails to see something, try casting Guidance first. While the first person can’t roll their Perception check again, the rest of your party will still have a chance. And that extra 1d4 bonus may be just what they need.
Aside from Fire Bolt and Guidance, there are tons of cantrips to play with in Baldur’s Gate 3. However, some are definitely weaker than others so you’re bound to have favorites. Personally, I love using Eldritch Blast on my Warlock. Especially since you can make it stronger via powerful Feats from leveling up.
Regardless, cantrips are super useful for when you run out of all your Spell Slots and still need some magic. So once you’re done using powerful spells like a massive Fireball, you won’t be completely vulnerable. Or perhaps you don’t want to blow those strong spells on an encounter that doesn’t need it. This is when I use cantrips to save my Spell Slots.
Here are some common questions that I’ve seen around the Baldur’s Gate 3 community that players may have:
Can You Infinitely Use Cantrips?
Yes, you can repeatedly use cantrips in Baldur’s Gate 3 as long as nothing prevents you from using them. Such as an enemy stunning you or a unique condition requiring a Long Rest. Such as the Githyanki Psionics: Mage Hand which can only be used once per Long Rest. However, the majority of cantrips won’t have a limit.
Do Cantrips Get Stronger in Baldur’s Gate 3?
While not all cantrips get stronger as you level up, many do. For example, Resistance will still provide the same 1d4 bonus to Saving Throws regardless of your level. While Fire Bolt increases from 1-10 Damage to as high as 3-30 later. Also, you can find certain armor and weapons that buff cantrips too.
Do You Need to Rest to Use Cantrips?
You’ll rarely need to rest to use a cantrip more than once since none of them require Spell Slots. Even though there are a couple of rare times where one can require a Long Rest. If it does, it’ll be shown in the inspect window when hovering over it. This is why we recommend using Guidance as much as possible since you can repeatedly use it.
How Long Do Cantrips Last?
The answer to this question is a little more complicated since it depends on the cantrip. For example, Blade Ward is an Abjuration Cantrip that lasts for two turns. If you’re not in a battle or turn-based mode, this duration can run out quickly.
That’s all there is to this guide on what are cantrips in Baldur’s Gate 3. Be sure to check out our Guide Hub for more useful tips or visit one of the few guides we’ve recommended below.
Jeff is a journalist with over 10 years of experience writing, streaming, and making content about video games. With an associate degree in journalism, he’s a sucker for RPGs, survival games, roguelikes, and more.