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Baldur’s Gate 3: How to Use Non-Lethal Damage in BG3

Baldur’s Gate 3 is a wildly popular Dungeons and Dragons video game that has taken the gaming community by storm. The ability to customize your character and make in-game choices that affect your gameplay are two big reasons for BG3’s success. People like to be in control, and Baldur’s Gate gives them a lot of that. An example of this is the non-lethal damage BG3 offers. Non-lethal refers to the option of not killing a character and instead choosing to knock them unconscious and preserve their lives. We’ll show you how to toggle this feature “on” so you don’t accidentally kill someone you were hoping to spare. 

Non-lethal damage in Baldur's Gate

How to Use Non-Lethal Attacks in BG3

If you want to know how to toggle non-lethal BG3 damage, we’ve got you. First, be aware that you can only do non-lethal attacks by using melee. Ranged attacks, like certain spells or arrows, can’t be non-lethal so keep that in mind. Let’s get into the actual instructions:

Non-Lethal Damage BG3: Steps

  1. Find the Passive tab at the bottom of your menu hub. If you’re using a PS5 or Xbox controller, you’ll find this on your action wheel. Open it via R1/RB and the X/A buttons to select
  2. Toggle the Non-lethal option to keep your attacks from killing. You’ll see an image of a mallet hitting someone on the head as an indicator of this option
    Baldur’s Gate 3 non-lethal damage
  3. Use a melee weapon or your unarmed attacks to fight the person you want to do non-lethal damage to. Note: This option doesn’t work on constructs or the undead.
  4. Be sure to toggle this choice off again when you want to do killing damage, otherwise all your melee attacks will be non-lethal

A couple of things to note: 

  • Turning on non-lethal damage will apply to the entire party
  • You still need to reduce the opponent’s hit points to zero to knock them out
  • If you’re using a melee weapon with magic damage, you may accidentally still cause lethal damage as magic attacks deal lethal damage. Pay attention to the weapon you’re using

When to use Non-Lethal Damage BG3

Deciding if and when to use non-lethal damage is up to you, though there are plenty of motivations to do it. Here are a few of the more popular reasons to hold off killing someone in Baldur’s Gate:

  1. You’re a Paladin trying not to break your oath
  2. You feel guilty for killing guards just trying to do their jobs
  3. Stealing from unconscious merchants
  4. You want to interrogate someone
  5. A fight you didn’t want to happen, happens
  6. NPCs that have redeeming qualities are attacking you
  7. You feel like robbing someone without killing them
  8. Recruiting certain NPCs to your party
  9. You’re feeling like trying a pacifist run on your game. Uh…good luck with that.


If you’re looking up “Baldur’s Gate, how to knock out NPCs,” you now have your answer. It’s as easy as a toggle of a button. The important thing is to remember not to accidentally hit them with a ranged or magic attack. Otherwise, all your efforts will be wasted and they will be very dead. Oops.