20 hours without a single attack: This Baldur's Gate 3 pacifist run relies on speedrunning strats, an OP D&D class trait, and a huge amount of RPG patience

Baldur's Gate 3
(Image credit: Larian Studios)

A genius Baldur's Gate 3 player has managed to complete the entire game without (directly) killing a single NPC, in a perfect example of the freedom offered by Larian's RPG.

In a recent video, YouTuber Proxy Gate Tactician outlined how they made it through an entire playthrough, barely dishing out any direct damage from the deck of the Nautiloid all the way to the Upper City of Baldur's Gate itself. The rules they imposed including not allowing the environment (fire, falling etc) to kill any NPCs, or talking any bosses into shuffling themselves off the mortal coil. They could, however, allow uncontrolled NPCs to do their dirty work for them, which will become important later on.

Their journey began in the character creation screen, where there was a very specific path to take. Proxy rolled up a Duergar Sorcerer, relying on their character's Baldur's Gate 3 class' natural Charisma, as well as spells like Fog and Enhanced Leap. The latter would prove pretty important, as once coupled with a high Strength stat for extra jumping distance, it could be used to simply leap past early combat encounters. If that sounds familiar, it's because it's a mainstay of Baldur's Gate 3's speedrunning meta, in which Gale simply jumps through the entire game. As for the Duergar bit, we'll return to that in a moment.

Proxy survived the Nautiloid crash, and then recruited Gale as the least violent of the early game companions. From there, they did their utmost to either talk their way out of trouble or avoid combat completely, hoovering up whatever XP was available outside of combat to push themselves to level five. At that point, they unlocked the Duergar's racial trait, which allows them to turn invisible at will, a tool that would prove invaluable throughout much of the rest of the game, as Proxy could simply walk undetected through the game.

Act 1 wasn't too difficult, but Act 2 proved far harder. Now chronically underleveled and facing several theoretically mandatory fights, Proxy was forced to use some real shenanigans to progress their fight. That included unlocking Balthazar's vault door with the Knock spell to help skip one of the game's hardest boss fights, and using Flight to dodge a battle required to claim the Umbral Gem that would eventually grant access to that fight. 

It's around this time that the 'pacifist' nature of the run starts to be called into some element of doubt. There are some unskippable fights in Act 2, but during them you're accompanied by Dame Aylin, who's an uncontrolled NPC that fights alongside you. In some nail-biting battles, Proxy buffed the living hell out of this already buff Aasimar, allowing her to take down Moonrise Tower's final bosses and progress the party to Act 3.

Around this point, Proxy spends eight full hours scraping up every bit of XP to eventually finalize his party at level nine for Tav, Gale, and a redeemed Minthara, and ten for Jaheira. It's also around this point that stuff starts to get a bit more glitchy - getting Orin's Netherstone requires trapping her inside the body of a child via a temporary, mid-cutscene fascination with Shadowheart's mysterious artifact. That led to the only attack in the run, a non-lethal strike that let Proxy loot Orin's Netherstone, for a total of four damage in more than 20 hours of gameplay.

Eventually, it wasn't the Netherbrain, but Gortash that caused Proxy the most problem. The third Chosen of the Absolute is very specific about his desire for you to kill Orin, not merely incapacitate her, but given that you can't do that in a pacifist run, he turns on you the second you return to him. There's a lot of potential to hurt Gortash with his own booby-traps in that fight, but he eventually turns invulnerable to that damage. In the end, Proxy got lucky, as a Steel Watcher was caught in its self-destruct cycle, blowing up Gortash before he could shield himself from its damage.

From there, it was a quick invisible sprint to the Upper City, where Proxy's final plan came to fruition. Having stockpiled explosives throughout the entire game, they placed them around the final boss arena, letting its own explosive attacks detonate the bombs, and - after several attempts to prevent the game from crashing - finally completing the game.

It's a baffling achievement, and if you've got 20 minutes to spare, you could definitely do worse than watching Proxy's efforts in their entirety. As challenge runs go, it's seriously impressive, and it makes me very excited to see what the Baldur's Gate 3 community will cook up as the game settles into its long post-launch life.

For a very different challenge, this streamer is one-shotting Baldur's Gate 3 bosses instead.

Ali Jones
News Editor

I'm GamesRadar's news editor, working with the team to deliver breaking news from across the industry. I started my journalistic career while getting my degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick, where I also worked as Games Editor on the student newspaper, The Boar. Since then, I've run the news sections at PCGamesN and Kotaku UK, and also regularly contributed to PC Gamer. As you might be able to tell, PC is my platform of choice, so you can regularly find me playing League of Legends or Steam's latest indie hit.