Where to go first - Baldur's Gate 3

It's a big world out there, but not everywhere is safe for new explorers.


Where to go first in Baldur’s Gate 3 seems like a daunting question. You’re dropped off the Nautioid with few boundaries and even fewer indications of what you should do next. However, there are a handful of areas that you should visit early on to make life easier and give you a better idea of how to play the game – and some you should definitely avoid. 

Our guide for where to go first in Baldur’s Gate 3 lays out the best route and recommendations for what you should be doing to make the most out of your early hours.

Where to go first in Baldur’s Gate 3 – The crash site

Anywhere outside the Overgrown Ruins – and within the crashed Nautiloid, where you’ll find some leftover foes – is safe, so take your time and explore the beach. There are a few handy items you can scavenge from the nearby dead fishermen, including camp supplies and some random scraps you can offload once you find a merchant.

The most important thing to do here, though, is find some help.

Gather your allies

While you can technically make it through much of the starting area as a lone wolf, Baldur’s Gate 3 is much more interesting and enjoyable with more people in your party. Before venturing to the Overgrown Ruins for your first big challenge, you can pick up four more companions who make a big difference in combat.

Shadowheart location after crash

Shadowheart is just a few steps away from where you wake up – unless you’re playing as Shadowheart, and then you’re right there. If you missed her, you can find her again outside the Overgrown Ruins’ southern entrance.

Lae’zel location after crash

A map image with a yellow circle showing where to find Lae'zel

You’ll find Lae’zel at the spot shown above. We detail how to free Lae’zel in more depth in case you’re having trouble.

Astarion location

A map image with a yellow circle showing where to find Astarion

Astarion is southwest of the Nautiloid, and while he threatens you initially, he’s actually a friendly vampire. Well, he’s a vampire at least. Anyway, don’t respond with violence, and he’ll join your team.

You’ll face a choice of whether to let Astarion bite you or not soon after.

Gale location

A map image showing where to find Gale

Gale is stuck in a fast travel portal at the spot shown above. There’s no danger to you, despite what the narrator says, so pull him out. If you’re playing as the Dark Urge, just bear in mind that Gale won’t join your party should you give in to your bloodthirsty whims.

Visit the Overgrown Ruins

A map image showing the Sword Coast in Baldur's Gate 3

With your team recruited and ready to go, head over to the Overgrown Ruins. You encounter a set of bandits who try and warn you off. You can successfully intimidate them so they leave or engage in combat. At this point, it’s worth just starting a fight so you can get the extra experience and learn how Baldur’s Gate 3 combat works.

There’s another set of bandits inside. Investigate the ruins and plunder their depths to get some extra treasure and equipment. You can also meet Withers in the basement, but if you fail all your checks or can’t handle the skeleton warriors there, he’ll still join you at camp later.

Travel north to Emerald Grove

Head north to the Emerald Grove area to trigger a much bigger fight against some goblins. These goblins are your foes whether you play as a hero or villain, so you have to defeat them. Once they’re gone, carry on further north to the grove itself. Here, you can meet and recruit Wyll, a Warlock; find a merchant; pick up several quests; and get an idea of the central conflict that shapes most of Act 1.

The situation may seem dire, but as long as you don’t enter the Mountain Pass or Underdark or side with Minthara and choose to raid the grove, the ritual won’t proceed, no matter how long you take. That’s good, as we recommend exploring a few more places before going anywhere near the goblin camp.

Visit the Blighted Village

If you follow the road west of the grove, you’ll eventually reach the Blighted Village. Save before you enter. Goblins have overrun this ruined burgh, but you can pass a persuasion or deception check to earn the right to roam freely. Just don’t attack them.

The village has a fair few things to do, including a gnome tied to a windmill, a secret cellar with a magical book, and a well that’s full of giant spiders, if you’re looking for a challenging fight.

Travel the Risen Road and find Karlach

A map image in Baldur's Gate 3 showing where to find Karlach on the Risen Road

Our final recommendation for where to go first in Baldur’s Gate 3 is the Risen Road, but with a caveat. The foes you encounter here pose a greater threat than any in the southeastern part of the map. You can go around the worst ones, though it’s easy to accidentally get drawn in.

Whatever your path of choice, you should make your way here. This is where you’ll find Karlach and round out your merry band of misfits for the time being. There’s a group of Tyr’s paladins nearby who won’t be very happy if you join forces with Karlach, but you can just sneak past them if you aren’t ready for a fight yet.

Where *not* to go first in Baldur’s Gate 3

A Githyanki warrior with a silver circlet on his hand is shown close up

While you’re certainly free to explore anywhere and do what you like, a few areas are much more manageable if you wait. One of those is the southwestern swamp, which is full of traps that sap your health and some quest encounters that are better left until you’re level four or five. You should also avoid the Mountain Pass in the northwest. Aside from triggering the grove’s destruction, you’ll also wind up in a series of challenging battles.

Finally, we recommend avoiding the goblin camp for a while. They might be low-level enemies, but there’s an awful lot of them.

If you're looking for more help in Baldur's Gate 3, check out our recommendations for the best party compositions, along with how you can rescue the gnome in the Blighted Village.

Contributing Editor

Josh is a freelance writer and reporter who specializes in guides, reviews, and whatever else he can convince someone to commission. You may have seen him on NPR, IGN, Polygon, or VG 24/7 or on Twitter, shouting about Trails. When he isn’t working, you’ll likely find him outside with his Belgian Malinois and Australian Shepherd or curled up with an RPG of some description.

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