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Dungeons & Dragons rules update includes changes prompted by game’s lead designer playing Baldur’s Gate 3

The latest round of rule changes coming to Dungeons & Dragons were partly inspired by the experience of playing Baldur’s Gate 3, the game’s creator Wizards of the Coast has revealed.

If you’re a D&D player like me, you’ll likely find the new 25-minute video on changes made within the game’s 2024 Player’s Handbook an interesting watch, as the game’s lead designer Jeremy Crawford sets out some impactful tweaks to the way many fan-favourite spells operate.

D&D updating its rules is nothing new, of course, but what was surprising to hear was that the experience of playing Baldur’s Gate 3 directly prompted some of these rule changes – including to spells such as Cloud of Daggers and Produce Flame.

Changes made within the game’s 2024 Player’s Handbook.Watch on YouTube
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For example, a major buff to Cloud of Daggers, the powerful area-of-effect spell which does exactly what it says on the tin, allows players to move it around the battlefield. This is a real boon, as invariably enemies would simply manoeuvre away from its AOE, making its cost only worthwhile for a short period.

Making the spell movable was something Crawford said he’d already considered, but that was reinforced by playing Larian’s brilliant role-playing game spin-off.

“Even when I cast Cloud of Daggers in Baldur’s Gate 3, I want to be able to move it,” Crawford said.

“Some spells that were really painful to cast in terms of their action economy are far less painful,” Crawford continued. “An example of that is Produce Flame, the Druid cantrip.

“That cantrip was really painful to set up – once you got it going it could be fun to hurl the fire, [but] now it’s way easy to cast it. And that is, funnily enough, another one where it was not only a pain to cast in the tabletop game but when I was playing Baldur’s Gate 3 was excruciating… And it was while playing Baldur’s Gate 3 I thought ‘we are going to redesign Produce Flame so there will not be as much friction to cast this cantrip’.”

Other big changes to the 2024 Player’s Handbook include an adjustment for shapeshifting and related spells such as Polymorph. These now all give players temporary hitpoints based on the form they may be changing into, rather than a separate distinct set of hit points that are effectively treated as freebie. (Playing BG3 as a Druid, I did feel this was a bit broken.)

Last month, Baldur’s Gate 3 developer Larian told fans that its upcoming addition of mod support would mark a final handover moment to players, as it prepares to move on to what’s next. The studio has confirmed it is not making Baldur’s Gate 4, and is instead working on something fresh instead.

A Baldur’s Gate 4 seems inevitable, however, regardless. Indeed, Wizards of the Coast is “now talking to lots of partners” to determine who will make it.

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