There are plenty of guides out there that will help you turn your Baldur’s Gate 3 character into a min-maxed murderhobo machine. But if you’re not playing in co-op, you won’t just be building your own character, but a team of companions as well. And with those, the goals and the way you play them are slightly different. This particular guide will help you turn Astarion into a helpful vampire spawn who will take care of all the traps and locks you might find on your journey, while turning his targets into handy blood dispensers along the way.
Companion Build Goals
To start things off, here are our general guidelines for companion builds:
Right out of the gate, here’s the big picture overview of our planned Astarion build:
- A single level of Fighter at character level 5.
- Important Gear
- Sentinel Shield
- Stalker Gloves
- Armour of Agility
- Mask of Soul Perception
- Broodmother’s Revenge
- Smuggler’s Ring
Astarion is a Rogue Origin character who happens to be a vampire spawn. This grants him the unique Vampire Bite ability that can be used as a bonus action once per short rest to deal minor damage, heal Astarion, and increase his Attack Rolls and Saving Throws until the next long rest. Paired with Astarion’s introduction where he tries to stab you, this just screams a melee Rogue build.
But while his tendency to ambush his victims might suggest the Assassin route for him, that particular subclass requires a lot of babysitting to maximize its usefulness. And with Arcane Trickster being underwhelming to say the least, this leaves us with the Thief subclass that will grant our Astarion an additional bonus action. At first glance, that makes the dual-wielding path attractive, but seeing how the main source of damage for a Rogue is sneak attack, and you can only perform it once per turn, we’ll instead be opting for a single-weapon build with a twist – thanks to a single level of Fighter we’ll be splashing once we reach level 5.
Not only will this approach allow us to maximize our sneak attack usage, it will allow us to utilize shields and later on medium armour, making our Astarion quite tanky and self-sufficient on top of everything else he brings to the table.
While we won’t be creating Astarion from scratch, or recreating him through the magic of respeccing, here’s a quick cheat sheet showcasing Astarion as a level 1 Rogue:
Feats and Abilities
This section will highlight all the things we’ll be picking when raising Astarion’s level.
Once we hit level 3, we’ll be choosing Thief as our subclass, as it grants us an extra bonus action. This pairs very well with the Rogue’s Cunning Action feature that will let us use Dash and Hide as bonus actions, helping us reposition and enter stealth in combat for a guaranteed sneak attack. The Supreme Sneak feature we’ll get once we reach Rogue level 9 will let us become invisible once per short rest. It’s useful both in and out of combat, so we’re not complaining.
A good Rogue really needs as much Dexterity as possible, which makes our feat choices fairly obvious.
- Ability Improvement
- Since getting 19 Dexterity does nothing for us, once we hit level 4, we’ll be adding +1 to our Dexterity (for a total of 18) and +1 to our Wisdom (for a total of 14) here to help with Perception checks.
- Ability Improvement
- When we reach Rogue level 8 (character level 9), we’ll put both points into Dexterity for a total of 20 here.
- Defensive Duellist
- At Rogue level 10 (character level 11), we’ll grab Defensive Duellist for some extra survivability. An extra 4 Armor Class (our Proficiency bonus at this point) as a Reaction when we’re about to get hit is nothing to sneeze at.
Once we reach character level 5, we’ll grab a level of Fighter. Here’s what it will get us:
- Second Wind
- Duelling Fighting Style
- Martial Weapons Proficiency
- Shield Proficiency
- Medium Armour Proficiency
Second Wind is some nice on-demand self-healing we can use as a bonus action, and we’ll have plenty of those. It will also enable some neat gear synergies. The Duelling Fighting Style straight up adds +2 damage to all our attacks as long as we’re using a single weapon that isn’t Versatile or Two Handed, and it works with a shield equipped.
Martial Weapons Proficiency will grant us easy access to scimitars that we’ll be using as our late-game weapon of choice, shields add a nice layer of survivability, and medium armour will replace light armour around mid-game, as we’ll be able to find pieces that don’t hamper our Dexterity bonus and Stealth checks.
It can be tempting to level Fighter to level 2 or even 3 for all the juicy bonuses it provides, but that will ultimately reduce our sneak attack damage, and won’t grant us that much in return, as even if we restore our actions with Action Surge, we can still only sneak attack once per turn.
Hitting Rogue level 6 will let us pick two additional skills for Expertise. But you can only pick skills you’re already proficient with here. Which means the important part here is grabbing Perception Expertise. The second skill is up to you, but since Astarion is no Bard, and with his whopping 10 Charisma he won’t be doing any talking, this only leaves Acrobatics as the other viable choice.
Since Astarion is a companion, chances are he won’t get the cream of the crop when it comes to loot. This section reflects that by favoring items that are relatively easy to get and won’t have a lot of competition from other party members.
If you don’t want to deal with a squishy Rogue on the front line, until you hit level 5 and grab a level of Fighter, you might want to stick Astarion with a ranged weapon.
That said, here’s what you’ll eventually want to be using:
- Main Weapon – Belm
- Your ultimate goal. A scimitar straight from Baldur’s Gate II that essentially turns your dueling character into a dedicated dual-wielder and works very well with the Thief’s bonus actions. You get it from a chest in Jaheira’s Basement in Act 3.
- Weapon Option – Duellist’s Prerogative
- If you want to give Belm to someone else, this legendary rapier can work with Astarion as well. It has an extra enchantment bonus and some nice features, but you can’t effectively use it with a shield, and that makes it less desirable for our Astarion. You get it in Act 3 for completing the Save Vanra quest.
- Early Weapon – Knife of the Undermountain King
- A +2 shortsword that increases our critical hit range by 1. A relatively early game weapon that will last you a long time. You get it from A’jak’nir Jeera in Crèche Y’llek.
- Ranged Weapon – Hunting Shortbow
- Once we get going as a melee Rogue, we’ll mostly be using our bow as a “stat stick.” This particular one will let us apply Hunter’s Mark once per long rest, and that’s essentially an extra 1d6 damage for every attack during tough battles. You can get it from Dammon in Act 1.
- Shield – Sentinel Shield
- Purchased from Lann Tarv inside Moonrise Towers, this is a great shield for a Rogue with its Initiative bonus and Advantage for Perception checks.
- Handwear – Gloves of Power/Stalker Gloves
- Since chances are, our Astarion won’t be getting the Brand of the Absolute, Gloves of Power are an easy way to increase our Sleight of Hand by 1. You get them by looting the goblin Za’Krug who you meet when first approaching the Emerald Grove. Stalker Gloves, on the other hand (pardon the pun), will increase our Initiative and grant us an extra 1d4 damage for our sneak attacks. You get these from Exxvikyap in Act 3.
- Armour – Yuan-Ti Scale Mail into Unwanted Masterwork Scalemail/Armour of Agility
- In early game, you should be wearing the best suit of light armour you can find. But once you get your level of Fighter, be on the lookout for the above pieces. These are all examples of medium armour that doesn’t carry the usual Dexterity penalties. You can get the Yuan-Ti Scale Mail as early as Act 2, by getting it from Quartermaster Talli. The two other suits are found in Act 3. You get Unwanted Masterwork Scalemail from Dammon and Armour of Agility from Gloomy Fentonson. Armour of Agility is the best option, but chances are you’ll want to put it on some other character.
- Headwear – Mask of Soul Perception
- The ultimate piece of headwear for your Rogue. Grants +2 Attack Rolls, Initiative Rolls, and Perception Checks. You find it in a chest on the second floor of the Devil’s Fee in Act 3. Before that, you might want to use Shadow of Menzoberranzan or the Haste Helm, two easy to find early game options.
- Cloak – Cloak of Cunning Brume/Cloak of Protection
- There aren’t a lot of good cloaks in the game, and chances are you’ll want to be using the Cloak of Protection (Act2, Quartermaster Talli) yourself. If that’s the case, the Cloak of Cunning Brume that you get from Mattis at the Last Light Inn can also be situationally useful for a Thief.
- Footwear – Evasive Shoes/Boots of Genial Striding/Boots of Speed
- Once again, not a lot of good options for a companion Rogue here. Evasive Shoes with their +1 AC and +1 Acrobatics sold by Mattis at the Last Light Inn are probably the best option. But if someone else is using them, Boots of Genial Striding and Boots of Speed that are both found around the Myconid Colony in the Underdark can work well.
- Amulet – Broodmother’s Revenge
- An early game amulet looted from Kagha in the Emerald Grove imbues its wearer’s weapons to deal extra 1d4 poison damage whenever they’re healed. With Astarion’s Vampire Bite and Fighter’s Second Wind, it’s extremely easy to qualify for this bonus, turning it into essentially free damage.
- Ring – Caustic Band
- A flat +2 Acid damage for all our attacks. Get it from Derryth Bonecloak in the Myconid Colony.
- Ring – Smuggler’s Ring
- You can loot this ring from a skeleton near the broken bridge in The Risen Road area of Act 1. It grants +2 Stealth and Sleight of Hand. And since Astarion won’t be doing any talking for our party, the -1 Charisma penalty is irrelevant.
As our party’s Rogue, Astarion’s job will be to disarm traps, open locks, and pick pockets.
In a battle, he’ll pivot to dealing lots of sneak attack damage. To do so, you’ll have to ensure he has Advantage when attacking his targets. The easiest way to do so is to attack out of stealth. The Thief subclass helps here since you can enter stealth during combat, and then attack. Since your Stealth skill will be through the roof, the only thing you’ll need to keep in mind is pressing Shift to reveal the enemy vision cones – you can’t hide when someone has clear view of you. Position yourself outside of the red zones, hide, and go to town.
When using a melee weapon, it’s even easier: you’ll be able to get Advantage simply by having another party member near your target, with no need to be hidden.
A nice Astarion-specific thing is his Vampire Bite ability that lets him get a cheap and essentially permanent +1 to his Attack Bonus and Saving Throws. And while you certainly can bite your enemies, you can also just bite your PC who won’t mind it at all, and then remove the Bloodless debuff by casting Lesser Restoration.