Any well-rounded adventuring party should have at least one arcane spellcaster. In Baldur’s Gate 3, this honor belongs to one Gale of Waterdeep – a Wizard with a personal connection to Mystra, the local goddess of magic. Should you decide to travel together with Gale on your Baldur’s Gate 3 adventure, this guide will tell you how to build him as an effective member of your team.
Companion Build Goals
To start things off, here are our general guidelines for companion builds:
For your convenience, here’s the big picture overview of our planned Gale build:
- Key Spells
- Important Gear
- Staff of Spellpower
- Staff of Arcane Blessing
- Ketheric’s Shield
- Necklace of Elemental Augmentation
Gale is your standard fantasy Wizard. Slightly arrogant, curious to a fault, and really good at blowing things up. This latter quality makes him the perfect candidate for the Evocation school. This subclass of Wizard makes them better at dealing direct damage. It also allows them not to hit their party members with their Area of Effect spells. This is pretty much the perfect choice for a companion Wizard, as it enables a very simple yet powerful fire-and-forget playstyle.
As a Wizard, Gale will be able to learn just about every arcane spell in the game by copying them from scrolls. Thanks to this, he’ll be a very versatile companion. Keep in mind that our recommended spells section below will list spells without accounting for scrolls – just to make sure that even if you don’t scribe any, you will still be left with a strong Wizard. Still, if you have a scroll, it’s always advisable to learn a spell that way rather than waste one of your level-up choices on it.
With the game featuring several distinct types of elemental damage you can focus on, we’ll be choosing fire as our go-to element. This fits well with Gale’s story and personality, and fireballs are just that iconic.
When we first recruit Gale, he’ll be a level 1 Wizard with the following character sheet:
- Race/Subrace – Human
- Starting Class – Wizard
- Background – Sage
- Skill Proficiencies
- Starting Cantrips
- Starting Spells
Spells and Abilities
This section will highlight all the things we’ll be picking when raising Gale’s level.
Upon hitting level 2, we’ll be able to choose a subclass. For Wizards, they’re styled as spell schools. And our school of choice for Gale will be Evocation. Straight out the gate, this will make it so Gale doesn’t hit the other party members with his AoE spells. As a very minor bonus, it will also make scribing Evocation spell scrolls cheaper.
Once we hit level 6, our subclass will also make it so Gale’s cantrips deal half their damage when their targets succeed a saving throw against them.
At level 10, we’ll get the ultimate bonus – Gale will start adding his Intelligence bonus to the damage of his Evocation spells. By that point, this will be a negligible increase for most of the big hitters. However, this will make our Fire Bolt much stronger. It will also turn Magic Missile from a reliable little finisher into an absolute beast of a spell (especially if you upcast it at a higher level).
While feats are generally underwhelming in the 5th Edition of D&D and Baldur’s Gate III, Gale in particular will have some viable options at his disposal.
- Ability Improvement
- In order to fix Gale’s starting ability scores, once we hit level 4, we’ll be adding +1 to our Intelligence and +1 to our Dexterity. An extra point of AC never hurts.
- Elemental Adept: Fire
- Since we’ll be focusing on fire spells with Gale, getting this feat at level 8 will greatly increase his damage against certain enemies. It will also allow you not to worry about looking up resistances of each enemy before attacking. And it will make it so your Fire Bolt can no longer roll a 1 on its damage roll.
- Ability Improvement
- Once we reach level 12, we’ll be adding +2 to our Intelligence for a total of 20 and a nice +5 bonus. You might want to swap this feat with Elemental Adept to get this bonus earlier. But in our experience, the convenience of ignoring fire resistance and no measly 1 damage Fire Bolts are too good to pass up.
This section assumes you’re not scribing spell scrolls. And while that’s something you definitely should be doing, we can’t guarantee you’ll find all the right scrolls when you need them. As a result, we’ll just be listing some spells that will always work well with a fire-based Evocation Wizard like our Gale. As he’s a companion in this build, we’ll also make sure to grab as many utility and ritual spells as we can without neglecting Gale’s main job of blowing things up.
- Level 2
- Level 3
- Level 4
- Level 5
- Level 6
- Level 7
- Level 8
- Level 9
- Level 10
- Level 11
- Level 12
As a Human, Gale will have access to shields and light armour, which can greatly help with his survivability. After all, his main weapon – the quarterstaff – is versatile. This means it can be used in one hand together with a shield.
- Main Weapon – Staff of Spellpower
- You find it in the House of Hope in Act 3. Not only does this staff make it easier for your spells to land, it also allows you to cast more spells per rest.
- Weapon Option – Staff of Arcane Blessing
- While this staff is better for a divine caster, as it makes all Bless spells better, it does allow you to cast one instance of that spell per long rest even if you don’t normally have access to it. Because of that, it’s always nice to have in your back pocket for those fights where you have trouble landing your hits. You find this staff in the basement of the Arcane Tower in the Underdark.
- Early Weapon – Melf’s First Staff/Incandescent Staff
- Before you can get your hands on the Staff of Spellpower, you’ll probably be using Melf’s First Staff (get it from Blurg in the Myconid Colony) in Act 1 and the Incandescent Staff (get it from Quartermaster Talli in the Last Light Inn) in Act 2.
- Shield – Ketheric’s Shield
- The best shield in the game for any spellcaster. Loot it from Ketheric Thorm in Act 2.
- Handwear – Daredevil Gloves
- A pair of gloves sold by A’jak’nir Jeera in Crèche Y’llek. They grant you a bonus to spell attack rolls and allow you to ignore the disadvantage of casting spells when threatened by an enemy. If another party member wants to use these, Gale could use a pair of Helldusk Gloves instead (you get these in the House of Hope).
- Armour – Robe of the Weave
- A great robe that makes your spells harder to avoid, heals you occasionally, and even grants +2 AC. You can get it in Ramazith’s Tower during Act 3. Until then, you should either use the best piece of light armour you can find. You can also use something like The Protecty Sparkswall that makes you a very slightly better Wizard unless you’re going the lightning route. But hey, at least you find it relatively early in the game when exploring the Grymforge.
- Headwear – Hat of Fire Acuity/Hood of the Weave
- Looted from the Strange Ox at the Last Light Inn, Hat of Fire Acuity grants you bonuses to Spell Attack Rolls and Spell Save DC when dealing fire damage. Later on, you can replace it with the Hood of the Weave in Act 3 (it’s sold by Mystic Carrion) that grants you an unconditional +2 bonus to those stats.
- Cloak – Cloak of the Weave
- There really aren’t that many good cloaks in the game. But, at least in Act 3 you can purchase this one from Helsik inside the Devil’s Fee.
- Footwear – Boots of Speed
- If everything is going according to plan, Gale shouldn’t be getting hit. But if he finds himself in a situation where enemies are closing in, these boots make it easier for him to get out of harm’s way. Get them as a reward for completing the Cure the Poisoned Gnome quest.
- Amulet – Necklace of Elemental Augmentation
- A fantastic amulet for Gale, as it allows him to add his Intelligence bonus to his cantrips. This stacks with the Evocation school bonus, allowing you to double dip for massive Fire Bolt damage. You can find it while exploring Crèche Y’llek.
- Ring – Mage’s Friend
- Found inside the Arcane Tower in the Underdark, this ring gives us a +1 bonus to Arcana and Religion. It’s something.
- Ring – Sunwalker’s Gift
- Not a lot of great rings for Gale out there. But since he’s a Human, this one grants him Darkvision. And that can come in handy. Get it from Blurg in the Myconid Colony.
As your resident Wizard, Gale will be assisting you during exploration with assorted utility spells like Enhance Leap, Feather Fall, and Dimension Door.
In battle, he’ll mostly be using his Concentration slot to cast Haste on your strongest martial character. With that taken care of, he’ll be blasting away with his best AoE spells and using the Fire Bolt cantrip to preserve spell slots. As an Evocation specialist, he won’t damage his party members with his spells, so Fireball away. Keep in mind that certain AoE spells, like Cloudkill, are not Evocation spells. Be mindful of where you cast them.
Wall of Fire is a great way to deal a lot of damage, and in certain fights, it can win you the whole encounter outright. But be aware that its AoE is much larger than its model, and that it uses a Concentration slot. Make sure you don’t cast it after you cast Haste on one of your characters – it will cancel Haste and knock your previously hasted character out for a turn.
Once you reach level 10, you’ll be able to add your Intelligence bonus to your spells. This bonus is added to each instance of Magic Missile, making it competitive with most high-level spells. Don’t neglect this humble Wizard staple.
When exploring the vault of Sorcerous Sundries in Act 3, you’ll find a book with the title The Red Knight’s Final Stratagem. Reading it will give you a Scroll of Artistry of War. You can’t learn this spell normally, so make sure you scribe it into Gale’s spellbook. It’s essentially a supercharged Magic Missile that can deal ridiculous amounts of damage. It’s so potent, you can only cast it once per short rest, but it’s still very much worth it.
One last thing to keep in mind is that in Baldur’s Gate 3 you don’t need to rest to prepare spells. So, if your Wizard knows a spell, you can freely swap it in or out at any point. Consider this when preparing spells.