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BG3 DRS – What is it?

A broken mechanic to deal insane amount of damage.

With the latest introduction of the Honour Mode difficulty for Baldur's Gate 3, the patch notes mentioned a feature called DRS. It is something that has been in the game all along, but what is it and how does it affect our gameplay?

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What is DRS in Baldur's Gate 3?

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DRS stands for Damage Rider Source. When doing the damage calculations for attacks and traps, the game considers two types of damage instances: Sources and Riders.

A Rider is extra damage added to the base attack when certain conditions are met. This includes things like the Callous Glow Ring, which deals 2 extra radiant damage to creatures that are illuminated, or the Horns of the Berserker, which deal 2 extra necrotic damage as long as you aren't full health.

A Source is an individual instance of damage, such as a normal attack or a spell, which is treated as base damage. Sources can trigger Riders, but some Riders can also act as separate Sources.

An example of this is the Tavern Brawler feat, which adds your Strength modifier as a separate source of damage when doing the calculations. Therefore, a character having this feat and wearing the Callous Glow Ring would trigger the extra radiant damage twice every time it hits with unarmed attacks: once as a rider of the base attack, and once as a rider of the Tavern Brawler damage (see image).

These riders that can act as separate sources and trigger other riders, are called Damage Rider Sources. Like Tavern Brawler, other examples of this are Sneak Attack, Hunter's Mark, Divine Strike, and Hex.

Related: Baldur’s Gate 3 Patch Notes November 2023

How to use DRS in Baldur's Gate 3

Knowing this, gamers can create builds to abuse the mechanic. An example of this would be throwing a Lightning Jabber (which deals 1d4 extra lightning damage when thrown) with Sneak Attack while wearing Stalker Gloves (your Sneak Attack deals 1d4 extra force damage), having cast Hunter's Mark on your target for an extra 1d6 damage. Each of these mentioned instances is a DRS, which means that while they have been triggered by a basic thrown attack, they can also trigger separate instances of riders.

Do all this while wearing items that produce extra damage as riders (like the Callous Glow Ring, Arcane Charges, the Horns of the Berserker, the Gloves of Uninhibited Kushigo, or the Ring of Flinging), and all those riders would trigger again for each separate instance of DRS (once for the Sneak Attack, again for Hunter's Mark, again for the Stalker Gloves, etc). If done properly, you would be dealing unreasonable amounts of damage for a single javelin throw.

Changes to DRS in BG3

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This is not how damage is applied in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition; a different interpretation of the rules is used by Baldur's Gate 3. Larian chose a different damage mechanic that allows for huge stacks of damage, to give players the chance of creating overpowered builds which wouldn't otherwise be possible.

The Honour Mode difficulty removes DRS, making sure the extra instances of damage are only added once each attack, which resembles how the damage works in tabletop Dungeons & Dragons.

For more on Baldur's Gate 3, check out BG3 Tactician Difficulty Guide – Baldur’s Gate 3 Difficulty Differences here on Pro Game Guides.


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Author
Ian Neiman
Ian Neiman began his gaming journey with Age of Empires 2, back when computer mice still had rolling balls underneath. Since then, he has developed a passion for anything medieval and found a special love for fantasy books and tabletop RPGs. Nowadays, he dedicates his time to gaming, watching F1, brewing coffee, and crafting storylines for his Dungeons & Dragons campaigns.

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BG3 DRS – What is it?

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