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Is there some logic to the way items are coloured in Baldur's Gate 3?

Sometimes e.g. green items (which seem most common) are more powerful than, say, blue items.
And some items only have a coloured border, whereas others have coloured backgrounds or gradients.

What do these traits all mean?

1 Answer 1

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  • Orange borders without background

    Orange bordered items with black/transparent backgrounds are items needed for quests (they don't always have to be in your inventory, sometimes just having picked them up is sufficient). These items can't be added to your wares.
    This classification overrides others (the Staff of Crones has no coloured background nor halo, yet is uncommon and magical).

    icon of the Spectral-Touched Tadpole

  • Coloured borders and backgrounds

    Generally, the colour simply indicates item rarity. These rarity colours are visible in the border and a gradient from the bottom upwards:

    icon of The Common Shovel icon of an uncommon bow icon of a rare pendant icon of a very rare helmet icon of a legendary spear

    All item borders are either uncoloured, green, blue, purple, or orange. These correspond to 'common', 'uncommon', 'rare', 'very rare', and 'legendary' items:

    Border and background colour Item rarity
    None Common
    Green green Uncommon
    Blue blue Rare
    Purple purple Very Rare
    Orange (note how it's slightly more yellow than that of the quest item border) orange Legendary
    • An item having no coloured border and background means it is non-magical and common. Examples are the lowest tiers of armour and weapons, saleworthy items such as rings and necklaces, but also rags, rotten food items, and other trash.
  • Item auras/halos

    An aura usually seems to signify that an item has magical properties. And even that's not always true.
    In short: an aura and its colour do not imply anything.

    Most items have yellow auras, but not all of them: there are also auras in red and different shades of blue. The reasons behind these colours are harder impossible to figure out. Here are a few observations, though:

    • Yellow auras and rays seem to indicate magical items (not necessarily with any properties beneficial to the player).

    • Light-blue halos (white aura with blue rays) seem to broadly point out conditional ("Whenever/When/If/While/As long as" in the description) and chance-based (effects, Reaction) properties.

    • The Grymskull Helm has a subtle but distinct greenish-blue aura. It's the only item with this colour I've encountered so far.

    • Another arguable interpretation is that these colours are class-based, and items with a light-blue aura are useable by and useful for any class. This is based on the fact that the few items with a red aura I found (namely, the Linebreaker Boots that give Wrath, and Reason's Grasp, which gives temporary hit points when ending one's Rage) were mostly useful for close combat classes, and the one item I have with a light purple glow (the Potent Robe), is most useful for a sorcerer.

    • An even subtler differentiation is that between the use of rays and stars (in the background, not on top of the item, most pronounced in the icon of the Boots of Psionic Movement, depicted below), but I cannot find any denominator that would make for a useful division:

      icon for the Boots of Psionic Movement

    • To complicate matters further, items like the Ring of Exalted Marrow, Selûne's Spear of Night, and the Shield of Devotion, have no aura whatsoever. The Crooked Wand of Fireballs doesn't even have any other colour, nor a mention of rarity.

    • If we start throwing potions in the mix, however, this already hopeless analysis becomes completely bonkers: red dye, for example, has a red aura, and there is no reason to assume it's magical.

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  • basically the aura just means it looks cooler :)
    – Corsaka
    Sep 12, 2023 at 10:32
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    Items made of adamantine via the forge also have a blue-green aura in the tooltip art (I confirm mace and scale mail from my recent playthrough). Since Grym is an adamantine golem iirc, that color used to distinguish adamantine items would track Sep 15, 2023 at 18:58
  • It also seems Purple items generally have +2 enhancements. Leaving this as a comment for now.
    – Joachim
    Nov 3, 2023 at 7:55

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