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Baldur's Gate 3

Baldur's Gate 3 - How to Survive the Bulette Ambush and Defeat the Bulette

By
Nathan Garvin

There are many dangers waiting for you in the "Underdark" iconUnderdark, but few as fierce as the Bulette which prowls the depths in search of prey. Fighting this subterranean menace is uniquely dangerous, as its ability to burrow gives it the ability to choose when and where it attacks, and that it gets to strike first. Worse still, its mass and power allows it to fling adventurers about with contemptuous ease, making falls an added danger you must deal with in addition to the Bulette’s raw strength. This page will provide tips and strategies for finding and defeating the Bulette miniboss in the Underdark, including how to mitigate its burrowing ambush attack and how to debilitate the boss so you can take it out before it flees.

(1 of 2) Destroy some Timmask mushrooms to avoid getting confused,

Destroy some Timmask mushrooms to avoid getting confused, (left), then head down a ramp to find the Bulette’s hunting grounds. (right)

Where to Find the Bulette in the Underdark in Baldur’s Gate 3

There are many ways to enter the underdark, but perhaps the most common route is via the Shattered Sanctum, with alternatives being via the Zhentarim Hideout and the Whispering Depths - check out the linked pages for more information. The "Shattered Sanctum" iconShattered Sanctum route will put you in a Selunite Outpost along the southeastern end of the Underdark map, which is the closest entrance to the Bulette and, more importantly, it gives us a waypoint and we don’t even have to fight anything to claim it.

Exit the Selunite Outpost by destroying a Moonstone held aloft by a statue opposite a gate. This powers some statues outside the gate which are both indiscriminate and zappy - you don’t need them shooting you in the rear as you leave (although you can watch them zap a Minotaur to death). Be sure to claim the Selunite Outpost waypoint east of the statue, then pick the locked gate [Sleight of Hand 20] and cross the bridge outside. Pass through the barricades marking the site of an ancient battle and turn left (west) to reach a fork - don’t go uphill (stick to the southernmost path) and you’ll likely trigger a cutscene with a Cryptic Voice. Respond how you wish and you’ll shortly reach a second fork. This time you want to go downhill (north).

Before you descend, keep an eye out for Timmask mushrooms - these will emit spores that can inflict confusion, and if any confused characters run too far downhill, you’re going to have a bad time. Destroy the Timmask mushroom and wait for the spores to clear, then head downhill until you’re near where the Timmask mushrooms were. Stop here and ungroup your party by pressing “G”. The Bulette lies just ahead, and it takes some specific maneuvers to avoid its sneak attack.

(1 of 3) Send one character downhill as bait while the others shelter on a mushroom.

How to Avoid the Bulette’s Burrowing Sneak Attack

Bulettes are iconic Dungeons and Dragons monsters, dating back at least to the original Monster Manual dating back to 1977, and they’ve always been voracious, well-armored burrowing monsters designed to threaten low-mid level parties, but they’ve rarely been done as much justice as in Baldur’s Gate 3. They’ve also never been as cheap, as this particular specimen will wisely ambush you, stalking you while burrowed and erupting out of the ground to cause much misery and carnage. While strong (the Bulette has 19 Strength) and capable of dealing vicious damage in melee, the real threat the Bulette poses is its Castlevania-esque ability to propel stricken characters seemingly in any direction that’ll cause the player grief - namely into pits. If you notice the ramp you’re on, it’s surrounded by a void, with relatively little ground to fight on. None of it is safe, and the Bulette’s burrowing sneak attack, its normal bites and its Deadly Leap (embellishment is the game’s, not ours) all can knock characters back. You can’t do much about the latter two, but you can take actions that rob it of its ability to ambush you.

First, spell buff with spells like "Bless" iconBless and make sure you have Blind prepared - it’s a handy all-round debuff that, if it works and you time it right, can allow you to dish out significant damage to the Bulette. You might want to enter turn-based mode (shift + spacebar) to make this all easier and to avoid burning too much duration on your buffs. Jump is useful here, too, for reasons which will become apparent - you might want to cast it on your “bait” character, but it isn’t strictly necessary if their base Strength is high enough ("Lae'zel" iconLae’zel and "Karlach" iconKarlach should be fine, especially if you increased their Strength at level four).

Once buffed, send a high Hit Point character down the ramp alone. The save to avoid being knocked back is [Dexterity 10], but we don’t intend to make any save, so Strength is the important stat we’re looking at for jump distance. You’ll pass under an archway overhead, and this arch is adorned by large red mushrooms. Send your non-bait characters onto the western mushrooms where they’ll be safe and note the other mushrooms to the east. That’s your salvation.

If you head downhill with your bait character, the earth behind you will get disturbed, and the troubled earth will start to chase you. The game should enter turn-based mode and give you a round to react - you can’t attack the Bulette, but you can move. If you get too near the disturbed earth, you’ll likely be knocked down, so the solution is to jump, ideally onto the unoccupied mushrooms nearby. Bulettes are dangerous beasts, able to churn through dirt, mud and rock alike with no trouble, but not spongy mushrooms. It’s probably not because they can’t dig through mushrooms, but rather because Bulettes are correct in their opinion that mushrooms are gross and should not be anywhere near food. Whatever the case, if you leap your bait character onto the mushroom, the Bulette’s leap will be completed to no gain.

There are a number of things that can go wrong here, like the game not automatically switching to turn-based mode in a timely manner (it usually does you this courtesy if you’re not already in turn-based mode, but sometimes it doesn’t toggle before the Bulette has already knocked down your bait character - toggling turn-based mode yourself removes this issue), so you might want to save/load to ensure optimal behavior. In turn-based mode, you should see the Bulette’s mound appear when you make it a certain distance down the ramp (take short turns to ensure you have enough movement left to jump!) and when it does, jump onto the mushrooms to the east. Make sure they’re the ones just below the Glowing Bulb - the lower one can be reached by the Bulette, and it’ll get a free turn after its leap. All of this was for naught if the Bulette bites you off the mushroom. Failing that, the Bulette will resort to using its Corrosive Phlegm attack, hopefully on the isolated bait character. It’ll likely deal some damage, but 2d8 damage is better than the alternatives.

(1 of 3) In combat, the Bulette has a bite attack,

How to Defeat the Bulette in the Underdark in Baldur’s Gate 3

Hopefully by following the advice above you’re starting this fight with buffs and all four characters relatively safe and sound… maybe covered in a bit of digestive juices, but better than being a stain on the floor of the depths below. That said, this fight just started, and there’s still plenty of RNG involved if you want to come out in one piece. As mentioned earlier, most of the Bulette’s attacks can knock you back, and in these environs, that’s always deadly. We’ll discuss its attacks below:

  • Bite: Seems simple enough, but this attack deals a whopping 4d8+4 damage (8-36) and can knock characters back. With a total Attack Bonus of +7, it’ll hit relatively well-armored (AC 17) characters half the time. Fortunately, it only gets to do this once per turn.

  • Deadly Leap: Unfortunately, this Bulette can apparently Deadly Leap as a Bonus Action, and while this inflicts less damage and knockback than the Bite, it still can knock characters off ledges and knock them prone. Avoid clustering characters up too much after the first round has properly started to mitigate its effects.

  • Corrosive Phlegm: A ranged option to keep you honest, it’s an AoE attack that deals 2d8 damage, or half if you pass a [Dexterity 15] save. Another reason to avoid clumping up.

(1 of 3) Debuff the Bulette with Blind or similar effects,

High melee damage, a potent enough ranged option to deter cheese, and a free leaping attack.That’s one nasty critter, alright. In addition it has an Armor Class of 17 and 125 Hit Points - it’ll avoid damage fairly often and what damage it does take, it can usually weather. Bless should significantly improve your odds of hitting and making Saving Throws, but you might need a little more help to win this fight. Fortunately, the Blind spell can work wonders here, just be sure to cast it before the rest of your characters take their turn, as this spell directly challenges the Bulette’s strongest save (Constitution) and it likely won’t last too many turns. Once cast, however, it will give you Advantage on attacks, allowing you to perform Sneak Attacks and generally make it easier to damage the Bulette.

Don’t spare Superiority Dice, "Action Surge" iconAction Surge and other resources to bring this beast down, but don’t use them immediately, either. The Bulette will try to flee when its health is low (under 20 or so), so you absolutely must make sure it doesn’t get a turn when it’s that wounded. Either skip turns to avoid weakening it to that point if you can’t finish it off and/or use the aforementioned resources to ensure it dies.

(1 of 2) If you want to distract the Bulette, you can lure Minotaurs over to the Bulette’s hunting grounds,

If you want to distract the Bulette, you can lure Minotaurs over to the Bulette’s hunting grounds, (left), it’s a bit of a chore, but if you get the two monsters in contact, the Bulette will focus on the Minotaurs. (right)

Defeat the Bulette and you can loot it to obtain the Bloodguzzler’s Garb. It’s not very protective (Armor Class 10), but it gives you the “Grievous Retribution” boon, which will give you the Wrath buff (+1 damage with melee weapons) for one turn whenever you take damage. For other walkthroughs in the Underdark, check out the following pages:

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Guide Information
  • Publisher
    Larian Studios
  • Platforms,
    Mac, PC, PS5, XB X|S
  • Genre
    Adventure, RPG
  • Guide Release
    6 April 2023
  • Last Updated
    14 June 2024
    Version History
  • Guide Author

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Baldur’s Gate 3 is an immersive roleplaying game set in the Dungeons & Dragons universe. It features a rich story with multiple outcomes for almost every encounter, and plenty of character customization features including more races, classes, subclasses and party combinations than you are ever likely to explore. The seemingly endless possibilities and numerous choices that you can make throughout your journey make a helping hand always welcome, and that’s where we come in! This guide features the following:

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