In Baldur's Gate 3, you can buff your party with a variety of items, weapons, and through consumables. But there is another way to strengthen each of the companions and your avatar: permanent buffs. These usually come at a hefty cost, but some are worth the price you have to pay.
How to get Permanent Buffs in BG3
There are two different types of permanent bonuses in Baldur's Gate 3: those that persist and those that can be lost. Persistent buffs will stick around after dying and being resurrected, while lost on death buffs will not. Each buff is broken down below by what kind it is as well as its location.
Permanent Buffs in Act 1 (Above Ground) - BG3
In the first section of Baldur's Gate 3, you need to explore area surrounding the crashed Nautiloid. There are several permanent upgrades here, but some of them will cost body parts you might not be willing to give up.
Paid the Price (Persists)
In the Sunlit Wetlands, there is an old woman who goes by the name Auntie Ethel. She can give you two different permanent buffs, the first of which is Paid the Price (grants a bonus to Intimidation checks and a disadvantage on Perception checks). You also have to give Auntie your eyeball, so it will change your eyes to look like stone permanently.
Auntie Ethel's Hair (Persists)
During the quest chain called Save Mayrina, confront Auntie about the pregnant girl she's holding captive. If you get Auntie down to about 5 HP and spare her in battle, she will give you a permanent +1 to a stat of your choice. It comes in the form of part of her hair, so you can feed the +1 Ability stat to any Baldur's Gate 3 companion.
Volo's Ersatz Eye (Lost on Death)
If you choose to lose an eye to Volo's experiments in camp, he gives you a permanent See Invisibility effect. It lasts until that character dies and is resurrected.
Brand of the Absolute (Persists)
In the Goblin Camp in Act 1, you can get branded by Priestess Gut if you persuade your way into camp peacefully. The Brand will give you special bonuses with certain Absolute-themed equipment. It doesn't have any downsides, except many party members will disapprove. Any companion or player character can be branded.
- Absolute's Talisman (Necklace) - Wearers with the Brand gain Advantage on death saving throws.
- Absolute's Warboard (Shield) - Absolute's Ward is added if you have a Brand; it gives +1 to all saving throws.
- Gloves of Power (Gloves) - Grants Absolute's Bane, which is only available to those with the Mark. On melee hits, there is a chance to inflict 1d4 penalty to a target's attack rolls and saving throws.
- Ring of Absolute Force (Ring) - Anyone with this ring can cast Thunderwave once on short rest, but it hits the caster as well if they don't have the Brand.
Instrument Proficiency (Persists)
Passing the two Charisma checks with Alfira while she is working on her song in the Druid's Grove gives you this buff. This has to be done before the celebration scene with the Tieflings or before destroying the Grove with Minthara. You can play just about every instrument well enough to entertain a crowd.
Loviatar's Love (Lost on Death)
There is a Pain Priest named Abdirak in the Selune Sanctum where the goblins are camped. If you let him hit you several times and choose the theatrics option each time, you will get this bonus until death. The bonus gives +2 to attack rolls and Wisdom saving rolls when you have less than 30 percent of your health.
Necromancy of Thay (Persists)
Down in the Apothecary's Cellar underneath the Blighted Village, there is a haunted-looking book with a screaming mouth for a cover. If you pick it up, you have the option to destroy it or try to read it. After reading the first page, you will gain the spell Speak with Dead once per long rest. Keep reading all three pages to gain the passive called Forbidden Knowledge, which grants the character +1 to all wisdom saving throws and Ability checks.
Permanent Buffs in the Underdark - Baldur's Gate 3
The Underdark is the underground location home to Drow, Myconids, and other sun-loathing creatures. There are two more permanent upgrades here, one of which has an extremely high price to pay.
BOOOAL's Benediction (Lost on Death)
There is a false god named Booal being worshipped by fish people called the Kua-Toa along the Festering Cove. In order to get this boon, you need to permanently sacrifice one of your companions to Boooal's Altar. You can't use a hireling as a sacrifice; it has to be one of the core characters. All companions in your party at the time except the sacrificed one will then gain Advantage on attack rolls against bleeding enemies.
Survival Instinct (Persists)
In the Underdark's Myconid Colony, there is a peaceful mind-flayer you can chat with named Omeluum. In hopes of helping you remove the tadpole inside your head, he gives you a list of items he needs to make you a potion that is supposed to help. It has the opposite effect, however, and it makes your Illithid tadpole even more powerful, giving you a power called Survival Instinct. Now that you have the recipe for the elixir, you can give it to any companion.
Permanent Buffs in the Shadow-Cursed Lands and Mountain Pass - BG3
Act 2 takes place in the Shadow-Cursed Lands around Moonrise Towers, but you can also take a path through the Mountain Pass. There are several permanent upgrades in and around Moonrise, but only one in the Pass (in the Creche found there).
Potion of Everlasting Vigour (Persists)
You can meet a vendor in the Moonrise Towers named Araj Oblodra who desperately wants Astarion to bite her. He's not a fan of the idea at all, but he will do it if you bully him enough. Afterward you'll receive a potion that permanently gives the character that drinks it +2 to Strength.
Arabella's Shadow Entangle (Persists)
If you have saved Arabella from Kagha's snake in Act 1 and defended the Druid's Grove against the goblin invasion, Arabella will show up outside the House of Healing in Act 2. Find her, then find her dead parents. Tell Arabella about their fate, and you will get a spell that lets you entangle an undead or shadow creature.
Githzerai Mind Barrier (Lost on Death)
When you are exploring the colony underneath Moonrise Towers, there is a mind-archive interface you can interact with along with several brains that can be plugged into it. Use the Waking Mind item on the interface, then agree to purge it when prompted. This will give you Advantage on all Intelligence saving throws until death.
The Creche located in the Mountain Pass has a machine that is supposed to cleanse a person of an Illithid tadpole. Either the player avatar or Lae'zel can enter it, but it's a little easier to pass the checks as the player avatar since you get to roll them yourself.
- Pass zero or one saving throw: Get a permanent -2 Intelligence and -2 to Constitution.
- Pass two saving throws: Get a permanent -2 to Constitution.
- Pass all three saving throws: You can use all of your Illithid powers as a bonus action.
Permanent Bonuses in Rivington and Wyrm's Crossing - BG3
Two more upgrades can be found in the area at the base of the city: Wyrm's Crossing and Rivington. One will be attached to a story mission and is impossible to miss, while the other begins in Act 2 and must be completed in Act 3.
Partial Ceremorphosis (Persists)
Partial Ceremorphosis is part of the main story quest, so it's impossible to miss. If you have a halfway decent relationship with the Dream Visitor / the Emperor, it will offer you an Astral-Touched Tadpole; consuming it will give you access to the third-tier of Illithid powers. You can get additional Astral-Touched Tadpoles for companions as well.
Monk's Hideous Laughter (Persists)
There is an amulet hidden in the Forge area of Grymforge that is haunted by a monk that just can't stop laughing. He asks you to bring him to his granddaughter in Wyrm's Crossing; look for her body in the open casket in the Open Hand Temple in Rivington. Accept the curse yourself, and you will gain the ability to cast Tasha's Hideous Laughter once per long rest. There are saves when picking up the amulet or giving it away that can cause permanent wisdom losses.
Permanent Bonuses in Baldur's Gate - BG3
In the titular city, there are a handful more persistent upgrades to HP and ability score, and more blood upgrades from the Drow Araj Oblodra. Two are found in books, and other from objects or people around town.
The Tharchiate Codex: Blessing / Danse Macabre (Persists)
The Tharchiate Codex is a book found in the vault of Ramazith's shop in Baldur's Gate. There are two different permanent buffs that can be gained from the book, the first of which is granted while reading it and gives the player's avatar additional temporary HP. This is permanent only if the book is also used to get the next buff: Danse Macabre.
Use the cyphers in the Tharchiate Codex to finish reading the Necromancy of Thay's last page, which has been indecipherable until now. If you do, you will get a permanent buff called Danse Macabre that summons six ghouls to fight with you. It also give a permanent -5 Constitution, but this can be removed with anything that removes a curse while the buff remains (e.g. the Remove Curse spell).
Mirror of Loss (Persists)
If anyone found the broken Mirror of Loss in the Trials of Shar and wondered what it was supposed to do, there is an unbroken version of it inside the House of Grief. Praying to the mirror with a Religion check will grant +2 to any Ability score along with an additional +1 to Charisma. The character will have to sacrifice something in return, though, which means gaining a curse called Stolen Vigour that takes two points from Constitution, Wisdom, Charisma, or everything you know about the Necromancy of Thay. Stolen Vigour can be removed with anything that removes curses without losing Mirror of Loss' bonuses (e.g. the Remove Curse spell).
Unstable Blood (Persists)
If you gave your blood to her in Act 2, Araj Oblodra will show up again in Baldur's Gate in Act 3. Found at the Blushing Mermaid, she'll offer a weird potion but doesn't tell you what it does. If you choose to drink it, it will make your blood highly flammable and in turn, explosive (when coming into contact with just about anything hot).
For more Baldur's Gate 3, check out Baldur’s Gate 3 – Most Popular Races in BG3 from Pro Game Guides.