Best Baldur's Gate 3 Bard build, from race to subclass & spells

Best Baldur's Gate 3 Bard build, from race to subclass & spells
Images via Larian Studios

Written by 

Harry Boulton

Last updated 

4th Apr 2024 10:27

Contents

Any keen songsters out there will definitely want to pay attention to our best Baldur's Gate 3 Bard build, as you can really excel with the best race, skills, subclass, background and so much more.

While there is plenty of combat to go around in Baldur's Gate 3, sometimes you just need a little bit of music in your life, and perhaps some convincing words if anyone needs a little persuading.

While the Bard is perhaps a little overlooked when it comes to the eight classes in the game, you can do some serious damage both in and out of combat with the right stats and skills.

Best Baldur's Gate 3 Bard build

Level 1

Image of the best Bard ability points in Baldur's Gate 3
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Option Selection
Race & Subrace Wood Half-Elf
Cantrips Minor Illusion & Viscous Mockery
Spells Sleep, Dissonant Whispers, Tasha's Hideous Laughter, Speak with Animals
Background The Entertainer
Skill Proficiencies Persuasion, Performance
Instrument Lyre
Ability Points
  • Strength: 8 
  • Dexterity: 15 
  • Constitution: 13 
  • Intelligence: 12 
  • Wisdom: 10 
  • Charisma: 17

Level 2

Image of the level 2 Bard spells in Baldur's Gate 3
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Option Selection
Spell Charm Person

Level 3

Image of the Cloud of Daggers Bard spell at Level 3 in Baldur's Gate 3
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Option Selection
Subclass College of Swords
Spell Cloud of Daggers
Fighting Style Duelling
Replace Spell
  • Out: Charm Person
  • In: Detect Thoughts

Level 4

Image of the Level 4 Bard Cantrips in Baldur's Gate 3
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Option Selection
Cantrip Light
Spell Heat Metal
Feat Actor

Level 5

Image of the Bestow Curse spell at Level 5 Bard in Baldur's Gate 3
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Option Selection
Spell Speak with the Dead
Replace Spell
  • Out: Sleep
  • In: Bestow Curse

Level 6

Image of the Level 6 Bard spells in Baldur's Gate 3
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Option Selection
Spell Fear

Level 7

Image of the level 7 choice in the best Bard build in Baldur's Gate 3
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Option Selection
Spell Dimension Door
Replace Spell
  • Out: Heat Metal
  • In: Polymorph

Level 8

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Option Selection
Spell Confusion
Feat Skilled: Acrobatics, Investigation, Sleight of Hand

Level 9

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Option Selection
Spell Dominate Person
Replace Spell
  • Out: Healing Word
  • In: Mass Cure Wounds

Level 10

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Option Selection
Skills Intimidation, Persuasion
Cantrip Mage Hand
Spell Seeming
Magical Secrets Spirit Guardians, Cone of Cold

Level 11

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Option Selection
Spell Otto's Irresistible Dance

Level 12

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Option Selection
Spell Hold Monster
Feat Sharpshooter

Baldur's Gate 3 Bard explained

Image of the Bard starting instruments in Baldur's Gate 3
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The Bard is a charisma-based class that can switch between spellcasting and melee depending on your specialisations. Many of the available spells benefit from charisma status effects, but a lot of the benefits come from outside of combat too.

You will want to pick the Bard if you're looking to be a master in dialogue scenarios, as you'll be able to pass Persuasion, Deception, and even Intimidation skill checks with ease. Furthermore, you'll get plenty of Bard-specific dialogue options as well, to flourish many a conversation with prose and song.

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Not a fan of the Bard build? Check out our recommendations for other best builds in Baldur's Gate 3:

All Bard subclasses in Baldur's Gate 3

Image of the College of Lore Bard subclass in Baldur's Gate 3
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There are a total of three Bard subclasses that players can choose from in Baldur's Gate 3, giving them a different approach depending on how they want to play through the game. The three subclasses in question are College of Lore, College of Valour, and College of Swords, so continue reading to see all of the subclass features below.

College of Lore

The College of Lore offers a heavy dialogue specialisation to the Bard, giving you extra boosts to certain skill checks and a new way to harm your enemies with words.

Subclass Feature Description
Additional Proficiencies Gain Proficiency in Arcana, Intimidation, and Sleight of Hand
Cutting Words Use your wit to distract a creature and sap its confidence

College of Valour

With the College of Valour, you're going to flex your musical muscles to support the rest of your party, which can be very helpful if you think your songs are good enough to inspire.

Subclass Feature Description
Combat Inspiration Inspire an ally to add +1d6 bonus to their next Attack Roll, Ability Check, Saving Throw, weapon damage, or Armour Class

College of Swords

Finally, the College of Swords is perfect if you want to make your Bard an adept fighter as well as a talker, giving you a number of different combat skills to enhance your effectiveness in hostile encounters.

Subclass Feature Description
Slashing Flourish (Melee) Attack up to two enemies at once
Defensive Flourish (Melee) Attack defensively, increasing your Armour Class by four if you hit
Mobile Flourish (Melee) Thrust your weapon with enough force to push your target back 6m. Afterwards, you can Teleport to the target
Slashing Flourish (Ranged) Attack up to two enemies at once
Defensive Flourish (Ranged) Attack defensively, increasing your Armour Class by four if you hit
Mobile Flourish (Ranged) Shoot a target with enough force to push it back 6m. Afterwards, you can Teleport to the target

What is the best Bard subclass?

Image of the College of Swords Bard subclass in Baldur's Gate 3
Click to enlarge

Our pick for the best Bard subclass in Baldur's Gate 3 is the College of Swords, as it gives you the greatest amount of flexibility when it comes to your wider adventure. 

While you can of course skip many hostile encounters through clever dialogue, many fights are inevitable and having the skills to succeed within them is so important.

If you really want to focus on a speech route though, then the College of Lore certainly wouldn't be a bad choice as its subclass features will definitely give you the upper hand when exchanging words.

Check out our Baldur's Gate 3 homepage for more guides. We've also covered the best mods, how to level up quickly, how to find the Adamantine Forge, how to find Halsin, and what is the Strange Ox.

Harry is a Guides Writer at GGRecon, having completed a Masters of Research degree in Film Studies. Previously a freelance writer for PCGamesN, The Loadout, and Red Bull Gaming, he loves playing a wide variety of games from the Souls series to JRPGs, Counter-Strike, and EA FC. When not playing or writing about games and hardware, you're likely to find him watching football or listening to Madonna and Kate Bush.

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