I love video game statues and figurines. My desk and shelf at home are cluttered with visions of Kaidan Alenko from Mass Effect and Joel from The Last of Us in miniature. But as a person who loves making custom characters in RPGs like Baldur’s Gate 3, I’m often left wanting something tangible of the heroes I made. Sure, I could probably commission a sculpture with all the money I have lying around after I pay New York City rent, but instead, I’ve found a relatively inexpensive alternative: making Baldur’s Gate 3 characters in Hero Forge.
The online, free-to-use character creator lets you make miniatures for tabletop games or just to display. Given Baldur’s Gate 3’s origins as a Dungeons & Dragons property, it only seems right to make my Warlock main character, my Tiefling Bard Guardian (I’ve got a whole multiverse backstory for him, I’m so brain-sick about this game), and my lover Gale in a tabletop-centric tool. While your mileage may vary on the chibi style, the actual customization tools are pretty extensive, and although I wasn’t able to make a 1:1 recreation of my Warlock’s slutty outfit, I was able to make a close approximation of it. Then it was just a matter of giving him dual daggers, and I saw my Baldur’s Gate 3 hero captured in something I could buy and put on my desk.
Creating your appearance is only half the battle, as you can also pose your character with an extensive selection of default poses, or if you’ve got a specific vision in mind, you can customize their pose by moving their extremities, changing their facial expression, and even putting them alongside other characters for more dynamic poses. I called on my brother, who has become a wiz with Hero Forge after using it in his own tabletop campaigns, and was able to fine-tune ideas I had like placing my character and Gale in a romantic embrace. Luckily, there are plenty of community-made templates to work with, so if you can imagine it, you can probably make it.
My first creation was of my Warlock and my Bard Guardian, and I posted the results to Twitter. io9 Deputy Editor James Whitbrook promptly saw it, and ended up booting up Hero Forge to create his own character, the Dragonborn Lhukesh, and Halsin, Baldur’s Gate 3’s Druid party member (yes, the one that turns into a bear during his sex scene). The result is pretty much perfection. Again, if you’re not a fan of the chibi style, this might not be what you’re looking for as a way to see your Baldur’s Gate 3 characters come to life, but within that framework, Hero Forge really lets you create just about anything.
Baldur’s Gate 3 characters, of course, fall into the fantasy genre, but Hero Forge does have options for creating miniatures rooted in other genres like science fiction and westerns, and there are even some modern fashions that can help you make characters from a variety of contemporary settings. So while I’m using it to feed into my Baldur’s Gate 3 brain rot, you can also use the creation tools for a wide breadth of characters.
Now that you’ve made your tadpole-infected main character or your favorite party member, there’s the matter of actually buying the miniature. Hero Forge has several options for different finishes, including full-color plastic or a single-colored finish. The more color and detail you want on the final figure the more expensive it will be, and if you have more than one character it will cost more as well. There are also some cheaper options like acrylic standees, or if you want to get really fancy and go for the most costly option, you can get a sleek bronze figurine. Regardless, the final miniature price will depend on how many characters you have and what finish you put on it.
Something to keep in mind is that because these are, in theory, made for tabletop games, these miniatures are, well, miniature. The actual size will vary based on the character you make and the pose they’re in, but Hero Forge says miniatures are “30mm scale on a 1-inch base,” aka 1:60 scale. The biggest version of your figure available is Hero Forge’s 2X size (1:30 scale), but it has more restrictions than other makes and models, as you can only have one character and it won’t be colored.
If Hero Forge’s style isn’t your jam, it’s hardly the only tabletop miniature creation tool out there. There are alternatives like Eldritch Foundry and TitanCraft, or you can commission creators on platforms like Patreon.
I’m still messing around with the tools to figure out which pose and characters I want to buy. Though my Warlock and Gale in a loving embrace is tempting, I do feel a little bit more ownership of my created Guardian and the backstory I’m writing for him alongside my main character. That’s why I like making my Baldur’s Gate 3 characters in Hero Forge so much. It lets me craft them down to minute details and then have a little memento of them in the real world. For as personal as our experiences with RPGs like Baldur’s Gate 3, Mass Effect, and Cyberpunk 2077 can be, when it comes to buying merchandise for those games, we usually don’t have the opportunity to choose something that embodies how we, specifically, interact with those worlds. So if the companies that make the games can’t make figurines of my character, I’ll make my own. Or at the very least, I’ll spend hours in a tool like Hero Forge posing them until I’m ready to commit.