Baldur's Gate 3 fans lament the RPG's best defensive skill is only for NPCs in a classic example of D&D DMs getting all the best toys

 Baldur's Gate 3
Baldur's Gate 3

Baldur's Gate 3 players are wondering why one of the game's best defensive tools is only available to NPCs - despite it being directly linked to one of the six major characters - and the answer is a classic D&D trope.

In a post on the Baldur's Gate subreddit, user Coroder asked "any reason why AI gets this and Lae'zel doesn't?," highlighting an ability called 'Githyanki Parry'. Available only to Githyanki, as the name suggests, this passive effect allows Vlaakith's chosen people to "parry unarmed and weapon attacks to reduce their damage by 10." It's a potent skill, and it turns the few times that you end up in straight-up fights with Githyanki bounty hunters into some pretty difficult tests of skill.

However, despite very clearly being a Githyanki, as well as a Fighter who would definitely benefit from the ability to mitigate incoming damage, Origin character Lae'zel doesn't get access to Githyanki Parry. A handful of reactions let Lae'zel get her own back in combat, but the only way to drop the damage she takes is to wear better armor and hope that you don't get hit in the first place.

This isn't the first time that players have noticed the lack of what should be considered a signature ability almost as quintessential to Lae'zel as something like Action Surge, but unfortunately, there's no canon answer as to why it's missing. There is a pretty simple, convention-based answer, however, and that's that in D&D, the Dungeon Master gets to do what they want.

As one commenter so eloquently puts it, "the DM can give his toys any ability they want. Players have rules to follow, the DM doesn't." While I don't quite agree with that statement in its entirety, there's definitely truth to it - lots of NPCs have access to tools that D&D players don't, and that's partly because you're designed to get past them pretty regularly.

If the goblins outside the Druid Camp didn't have multi-attacking abilities that far outstrip their actual level, the entire early game would be a cake walk. A more polite way to put that comes from another comment, which suggests that "players get character sheets, NPCs get stat blocks, there's no reason to expect 1-to-1 parity. Stat blocks will often have a 'thats bullshit' ability or two specifically because they're so much less fleshed out or versatile compared to PCs."

The other side of the coin is that a good DM does get to play with the rules a little bit. From the 'rule of cool' to the confusion around Baldur's Gate 3's Karmic Dice, anyone but the most rules-lawyering Dungeon Master is going to utilize a few behind-the-scenes tools to make their fights more entertaining. The trick is generally to keep that a secret, but in the case of Githyanki Parry, it's proved a bit tricky to keep hidden.

There are some other defensive tools at the party's disposal. One of my favourite is Counterspell, which simply nullifies any attempt to cast a lower-level spell. There's also Shield Master, which offers a little extra protection. Of course, you can also just do what I did with Karlach, and push your Armor Class as high as it will possibly go - who needs to parry if your opponents can't even hit you?

Parry or not, Lae'zel helped me up Baldur's Gate 3's final gauntlet with a whole new fighting style.