If you want to play Baldur’s Gate 3 co-op with your adventuring party, good news! You and your friends can embark on this epic adventure together from the very start, or take on a permanent slot in another player’s campaign at any point – this guide will run you through the options and how to get going.
As we stated in our Baldur’s Gate 3 review, it’s simply one of the best DnD games of all time, and that extends to the multiplayer options. BG3 supports both local co-op and long-term online multiplayer, from the beginning of the campaign, through to the Baldur’s Gate 3 max level and beyond.
If you’re not quite ready to embark on your adventure, you might like to check out our guides to the BG3 races, the BG3 class options, and the best BG3 feats for each character – or perhaps get a feel for the BG3 companions you’ll meet on your quest (not to mention the BG3 romances open to you). For now, time to gather your party and venture forth, because…
Here’s how to play Baldur’s Gate 3 co-op multiplayer:
Creating a Baldur’s Gate 3 multiplayer session
You can access the Baldur’s Gate 3 multiplayer menu from the game’s title screen. From here you can create a LAN game or an online multiplayer session.
When you create a session, you get to determine the parameters for the whole campaign: how many player slots there are, the difficulty level, and whether it’s open to the public, visible and open to your Steam or GoG friends, open to your friends by invitation only, or closed except with a direct connection code.
A Direct Connection code is like a password. Once you’ve generated it you can copy it, send it to a friend, and they’ll be able to log into your game. This even works if you’re on Steam and they’re on GoG, or visa versa.
Whoever creates the session can invite friends from their friend list in Steam or GOG, or give out the Direct Connection code. Once everyone’s ready, you’ll launch into the opening cutscene and then character creation.
If you’ve already started a single-player BG3 campaign, you can open it up to friends by changing its parameters. To do this, choose ‘Session’ from the in-game pause menu. From here you can make changes to the game just like customising a game lobby, such as changing the privacy so that friends can see your session and join in. You can also invite friends from here.
Bear in mind that when you add a friend to your BG3 game, they permanently take over one of your player slots, and they can’t be kicked. You won’t be able to play with a full party of NPCs once your chums join your game – though you can revert to an earlier save and continue with your solo playthrough from there.
Joining a Baldur’s Gate 3 game
The BG3 multiplayer menu lists sessions that are already in progress. You can filter this list to look for games created by your friends, or you can join an open public game. That could be a friend’s existing game, or a new multiplayer session starting from character creation.
When you start a campaign together you can choose to build custom characters, or pick one of the Origin characters – the named characters that are normally the BG3 companions. Once a player chooses an Origin character, they’re locked out for the other players. Much as we’d like to play an all-Astarion party, it’s not allowed.
If one player picks either Wyll or Karlach, the other is locked out: these two characters start the main BG3 narrative as enemies.
When you join an in-progress session, you can’t bring in your main campaign character, or play as one of the Origin characters. You must create a new custom character. They will automatically level up to match the rest of the party. We’ve noticed some loading issues when joining an in-progress game, as you can see from the picture above
When you join a game, you’ll permanently take up a slot in the adventuring party – the host won’t be able to take an NPC in your place, even if they play single player in the same campaign, though they can continue with a save from before you joined.
Baldur’s Gate 3 cross play
Baldur’s Gate 3 cross play is possible between Steam and GoG users, whether on PC or Mac. Developer Larian has not announced crossplay support between consoles, or between consoles and PC. You must generate a Direct Connection code to allow your friends from the other platform to log into the session.
Baldur’s Gate 3 split-screen co-op
You can play Baldur’s Gate 3 in split-screen co-op mode on a single computer by plugging in two controllers. This is only supported on PC at the moment, and doesn’t function on Steam Deck – it also doesn’t work with mouse and keyboard.
Baldur’s Gate 3 multiplayer features
The host player of a Baldur’s Gate 3 multiplayer game can assign control of any NPCs or companion characters in the party to other players, from the Session menu.
Each player is free to adventure separately around the map. When the game switches to turn-based mode, it switches for everyone, no matter where they are. In combat, the camera generally focuses on the player who has initiative – but if you’re acting on the same initiative as another player, the camera will stick with you, and you can take your actions simultaneously.
When one player enters into a dialogue with an NPC, other players can choose to participate by clicking on that player. If they do, they’ll be able to vote on which dialogue choices the party goes with.
If they don’t join in the dialogue, they can have their own interactions with the NPC, like pick-pocketing or attacking them. The player who initiates dialogue can keep it private by toggling the “private dialogue” option.
Each player will see their own version of some cutscenes – for example, at the start of the game, each player sees their character waking up in the burning nautiloid. At other times you’ll have a shared cutscene, focused on one character.
The single-player campaign of Baldur’s Gate 3 is different if you play as one of the Origin characters – the same is true in multiplayer. It even accommodates all the differences from multiple players running Origin characters: if one player picks Shadowheart and another picks Lae’zel, you won’t encounter either character as an NPC at the start of the game.
Baldur’s Gate 3 is excellent, but it’s not the only way to play DnD 5e online. The excellent Solasta: Crown of the Magister and its several expansions don’t have the incredible responsive narrative of BG3, but it’s a rock-solid interpretation of the DnD 5e rules and a fantastic dungeon crawler that’s even better with friends. Or if you fancy playing a tabletop RPG but live apart from your gaming buddies, check out our guide to the best virtual tabletops for playing traditional RPGs via the internet – we even have a helpful Roll20 guide for beginners.