Players of Baldur’s Gate 3 don’t just have to fight a Mindflayer invasion, they need to stop an Illithid parasite from transforming them into one before it’s too late. With the whole of Faerun at stake and their survival on the line, Baldur’s Gate 3 puts players in quite a sensitive predicament. That is, at least, before they discover that their Illithid parasite also provides them with unique abilities.
As players learn throughout their Baldur’s Gate playthrough, their time with the parasite allowed them to slowly tap into a Mindflayer’s arsenal of psionic abilities without the immediate risk of transformation. However, just which Illithid Powers should players prioritize before their infection finally seizes full control of them?
10 Mind Sanctuary
Players trying to enjoy their Baldur’s Gate 3 session may realize that a large aspect of the game’s combat relies on resource management for their character, especially since some moves not only cost certain resources (i.e., Spell Slots, Charges), but they also work within the context of Actions, Bonus Actions, and Reactions. Depending on how “heavy” a move is, characters may end up doing more or less in their turn.
Thanks toMind Sanctuary, a player with this Illithid Power creates a magical nexus that allows the interchangeable use of Actions and Bonus Actions. This effectively lessens the burden of using heavier moves that otherwise cost Actions, allowing players to use more powerful features at the fraction of the resource required.
9 Displacer Beast Shape
One of the most frightening prospects of players not getting rid of the Illithid parasite in their Baldur’s Gate 3 playthrough is the notion of becoming a Mindflayer. Until they do so, they can enjoy their roster of psychic abilities in combat, one of which is to turn into a horrifying Displacer Beast via Displacer Beast Shape.
When transformed, players remain in the Displacer Beast Shape until they take a Long Rest or if it runs out of its 85 Hit Points. Players retain their INT, WIS, and CHA scores, making this form ideal for spellcasters. Aside from being a more alien Wild Shape equivalent, Displacer Beast Shape technically gives players access to 85 Temporary Hit Points in the guise of an alternate form.
8 Fracture Psyche
Armor Class remains an integral part of Baldur’s Gate 3 gameplay, especially since they can only damage an opponent after their Attack Roll bypasses the enemy’s AC. Any effect that either buffs an Attack Roll or grants it Advantage can boost the chances of damaging opponents successfully. However, Fracture Psyche aids players by giving a -1 AC penalty to the enemy.
This debuff lasts for five turns, giving the caster and their allies ample time to eliminate the enemy in question, regardless if they’re using spells or reliable Versatile Weapons. If this is successful, the caster can then use Fracture Psyche on another target. Since Fracture Psyche can be used once per Short Rest, it’s recommended for players to kill enemies during the effect’s duration.
7 Shield Of Thralls
With Armor Class determining how high attacks should roll to hit Baldur’s Gate 3 characters, players need a substantial amount of Hit Points to ensure their character’s survival. Thankfully, some spells and abilities give them access to Temporary HP, practically a “buffer” that shields its owner from attacks until emptied. Only one source of Temp HP can affect characters at a time, with Shield of Thralls being the most efficient among them.
At its core, Shield of Thralls gives 10 Temporary HP to the caster or their ally. While this seems straightforward enough, this Temp HP ability is the only one that comes with a spell-ending effect, wherein depleting the 10 Temp HP releases a blast that can Stun foes if they fail an INT Save. What makes Shield of Thralls attractive is its INT Save requirement, as most creatures except spellcasters have INT as a dump stat. In turn, it’s best to cast Shield of Thralls as a character with high-enough INT, making the Stun after-effect practically a guarantee.
6 Stage Fright
Debuffs that impose Disadvantage on attacks become a big deal in Baldur’s Gate 3 combat, especially since this forces attackers to roll two dice and get the lower result – almost always resulting in a miss. Among Illithid Abilities, Stage Fright serves as the equivalent of such a debuff. Unlike other variations, Stage Fright lasts for 3 turns and may end prematurely when the target finally succeeds in their attack.
However, Stage Fright’s other technical components make it a fearsome weapon. It has an 18-meter range as well as a 2d6 Psychic Damage punishment to foes who do miss their attacks. Should they not hit at all across those three turns, they get a total of 6d6 Psychic Damage spread across that duration.
5 Psionic Dominance
Despite its hefty status as a 3rd-Level Abjuration spell, Counterspell remains one of the most essential tools in a spellcaster’s toolkit, especially since it can be used to nullify a spell of an equal level or lower as a Reaction. With most heavy-hitting spells occurring beyond 2nd-Level, Counterspell can ruin an enemy mage’s repertoire of magical abilities.
Players having trouble with Counterspell’s hefty cost might consider grabbing Psionic Dominanceas an Illithid Power. When a spellcaster within 18 meters of a player targets them with a spell lower or equal to their Proficiency Bonus, they can immediately nullify the spell with their Reaction. While this might not be as useful against multiple spellcasters, Psionic Dominance acting as a free Counterspell can give major advantages to players.
4 Psionic Backlash
Spellcasters can become some of the most challenging enemies to deal with in the D&D game, especially when their low health is often contrasted with an array of powerful spells. Such is their threat level that the Mage Slayer Feat exists, allowing its users to use their Reaction to make an attack to a mage casting a spell within melee. With Psionic Backlash, this Feat just got a ranged equivalent.
Thanks to Psionic Backlash, players can use their Reaction to inflict 1d4 Psychic Damage to an opponent casting a spell within a 9-meter radius. Not only that, the Damage increases by 1d4 per Spell Level, practically punishing the usage of powerful spells with the equivalent of a Bonus Attack.
3 Cull The Weak
As an Illithid Power, Cull The Weak serves as an upgrade of Concentrated Blast, this time instantly killing an enemy should the user bring down said opponent to Hit Points fewer than their existing Evolved Illithid Powers. Not only that, this insta-kill move will also release an attack that damages nearby creatures with 1d4 Psychic Damage.
Despite Cull The Weak activating at such a small threshold, this ability can become an asset in a game adapting D&D 5e mechanics. Unlike other RPGs, an enemy down to 1 Hit Point can still fight like a regular foe. With players always having the chance to miss foes, an insta-kill ability targeting lower-health foes can save players the trouble of wasting another attack.
2 Concentrated Blast
Spellcasters like Wizards in Baldur’s Gate 3 gameplay often need to Concentrate on spells with interesting effects, placing them in a precarious position as the spell ends as soon as they break Concentration. For players who know they’re potentially on the receiving end of a Concentration-breaking attack or want to transition to another Concentration spell, Concentrated Blast becomes a neat punishment against attacking foes.
Concentrated Blast is only usable during Concentration, releasing 3d6 Psychic Damage towards a target that heals for damage dealt when attacking a Concentrating foe. Using this Illithid Power immediately ends the player’s current Concentrated spell. However, this Action becomes a neat damaging “transition” to a new spell, making Concentration breaks more meaningful in the action economy.
While more of a Feature than an active Illithid Power, Freecast remains one of the most efficient abilities in Baldur’s Gate 3 gameplay courtesy of its inherent effect. When activated, Freecast will remove all resource costs for the player’s next Action – be it an attack, an ability, or a spell. Not only that, Freecast refreshes after a Short or Long Rest, giving players the freedom to use this at least twice before retreating for the day.
Freecast can become an invaluable resource for conserving Spell Slots and building towards efficient combos. Theoretically, using Freecast as a Fighter can make Action Surge a free action. Instead of just using an Action to cast Action Surge to get another Action the next turn, Freecast gives players two free Actions to use.
Baldur’s Gate 3 is available now on PC and is slated for a September 6th release for PlayStation 5.
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