Bard Class in Baldur's Gate 3
Image Source: Larian Studios via Twinfinite

Best Bard Build in Baldur’s Gate 3 (BG3)

The Charismatic performers of Baldur's Gate.

Baldur’s Gate 3 has a wide selection of different Races and Classes to choose from when creating your character. However, while having so many customization options is an asset, finding the best skills and abilities to enhance the strength of your build can often be an intimidating task. Don’t worry, though; we’ve got you covered. If you’re looking to create the best Bard build in BG3, then follow along below for a complete breakdown of the best selections you can make.

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Baldur’s Gate 3 – Best Bard Build, Explained

The most important thing to consider when building a Bard character is the primary Stats of this Class. This is where you’ll want to align your highest points and prioritize any Ability Increases to further uplift the Bard’s greatest strengths, so knowing them will make your adventure much less of a hassle.

The Bard’s most important stat is Charisma, followed by Dexterity and then Constitution.

  • A high Charisma stat enables the Bard to thrive in controlling situations or individuals through Deception, Persuasion, and Performance, and determines damage modifiers for any Spells that you cast.
  •  Dexterity determines the damage modifiers for your Melee and Ranged Weapon attacks, so padding this stat is also very important. As a bonus, high DEX enables you to take a stealthier approach to situations if needed through Lockpicking, theft, or simply slipping by undetected.
  •  Constitution determines your max amount of HP, so this should always be a third priority to ensure your Bard has decent survivability as one of the squishier Classes in the game.

Reccomended Bard beginning stats: STR 8, DEX 15, CON 14, INT 10, WIS 10, CHA 17

Image Source: Larian Studios via Twinfinite

Keeping these qualities in mind, there are a few Races that can grant additional advantages to your build. However, it won’t be the end of the world if you choose to go with an option outside of this list, as long as you know how to enhance and uplift the most important qualities of the Bard through other means.

Recommended Bard Races:

  • Human – Humans grant Shield Proficiency, which enables your Bard to gain an extra +2 to their AC by wielding a Shield in one hand. Humans also get a handy Skill Proficiency through their Human Versatility trait, which can be useful for further uplifting the Bard’s best Skills.
  •  Zariel Tiefling – Tieflings naturally learn extra Spells through their Racial Feats, which provide extra options for the Bard to make use of. The Zariel Tiefling in particular gains Thaumaturgy at level 1, which grants your bard Advantage on Performance and Intimidation checks and further improves the success rate you’ll have during checks against these skills.
  •  High Half-Elf – Similar to the Human Race, High Half-Elf provides your Bard with that useful Shield Proficiency, enabling you to improve your AC by +2 when wielding a Shield in one hand. As the Bard is otherwise rather delicate, this can be very useful. On top of this, High Half-Elves receive a bonus Cantrip as their Racial Feature, which you can use to widen your Spell Versatility.
  •  Drow – Drow is a great choice if you want to build a Melee Magic Bard in BG3. Not only will the Drow Race provide you with Proficiency in Rapiers, Shortswords, and Hand Crossbows, but you’ll also gain some very useful Spells as part of your Racial Features – Dancing Lights, Faerie Fire, and Darkness, all of which share the same modifier (CHA) as the Bard’s Spellcasting.

Recommended Bard Subclass:

The Bard has three Subclasses to choose from: College of Lore, College of Valour, and College of Swords. While each have their own advantages and disadvantages, two of these options stand out, depending on what playstyle you wish to prioritize for your Bard.

  • If you wish to prioritize Magic and deal strong damage through Spellcasting, then select College of Lore. This Subclass gives helpful bonuses, including the addition of extra Magical Secrets Spells.
  • If you wish to prioritize strong physical damage and focus on Melee fighting with the occasional Spell, then select College of Swords. This Subclass will grant you a Fighting Style, as well as a series of extra combat options and an extra Melee Attack per Action upon your sixth level.

Recommended Bard Level Selections:

  • Level 3: At third level, you get to select two Skills to receive Expertise. You should prioritize your CHA Stats here such as Performance, Persuasion, Intimidation, and Deception. This will make your success rate with these Skills even greater, and enable you to make the most of the Bard’s best strengths.
  •  Level 4: Select Ability Increase as your Feat, and choose +2 to Charisma. This will boost your most important stat to 19, which is a huge asset to have at fourth level.
  •  Level 8: Select Ability Increase as your Feat, and choose +2 to Dexterity. This will take your DEX to 17, which will make you more capable at Stealth and Sleight of Hand if needed, as well as boosting the damage with your melee Finesse Weapons and Bows.
  •  Level 10: At tenth level, you get to select two more Skills to receive Expertise. Last time, you boosted two of your CHA stats, so this is a decent chance to boost the remaining two. Alternatively, you can lean into the recent Ability Increase to DEX and select two of its Skills for Expertise, such as Stealth, Sleight of Hand, or Acrobatics.
  •  Level 12: Select Ability Increase as your Feat, and select +1 Charisma and +1 Dexterity. While there may be the temptation to select a different Feat, the Bard already has a lot of utility and versatility to their build at this level, so they’re not in dire need of any special bonuses. Instead, ironing out CHA to the max of 20, and getting DEX up to a respectable 18 will enhance all of your Bard’s key strengths, enabling them to be more effective at everything they do.

Best Spell & Cantrip Choices for Bard in BG3, Explained

To get things started, you’ll need to select some Level 1 Spells and Cantrips for your character. We’ve compiled a list of some of the Best Bard Spells below, so if you need help in making your selections at the first level, or any other level increases, then feel free to refer back here to evaluate some of the best options. This includes suggestions for the Bard’s Magical Secrets, which can allow you to cast Spells from other Classes, as long as you have unlocked the required Spellcasting Level. 

Image Source: Larian Studios via Twinfinite
Image Source: Larian Studios via Twinfinite

Best Cantrips for Bard in BG3

  • Vicious Mockery: This Cantrip was pretty much built for the Bard. Upon slinging enhanced insults at your target, they will take 1d4 Psychic damage and receive Disadvantage on their next Attack Roll.
  •  Blade Ward: Bards are one of the squishier Classes in BG3, so picking up Blade Ward can help to gain some extra defense in combat scenarios. When casting this Cantrip, you will only take half damage from Piercing, Bludgeoning, and Slashing attacks, granting you some extra survivability against strong melee users.
  •  Mage Hand: Mage Hand is very useful, allowing you to temporarily summon an invisible hand which you can control. This hand can be used for so many different situations, including disarming traps, pushing items over to create a distraction, and bypassing hostile enemies who are trying to catch you out in restricted areas.

Best Level 1 Spells for Bard in BG3

  • Speak With Animals: Literally what the title suggests, this Spell enables you to communicate with any animal creature within the BG3 world. Not only can it be useful in certain circumstances, but it is a fun Spell that makes the game that much more enjoyable to play and is rather fitting for a Bard’s kit.
  •  Thunderwave: This Spell has a lot of potential, dealing 2d8 Thunder damage to all targets within the area of effect and pushing them away. This can even be used to knock opponents off cliffs or ledges, making short work of combat encounters.
  •  Faerie Fire: Anyone caught within Faerie Fire’s area of effect will be prevented from turning Invisible, and any attack rolls against them will have Advantage. This is a great Spell to set up during combat, enabling the rest of your team to capitalize on the effects for more damage.
  •  Feather Fall: Fall damage can make certain situations tricky in BG3, but thankfully, Feather Fall helps remedy this. Don’t want to bother finding your way down into a dungeon safely? Just pop Feather Fall and jump straight down to the depths below – you and your comrades will be immune to the Fall Damage that would have killed or otherwise injured you on impact.
  •  Cure Wounds: A Bard has pretty solid Spell versatility, which also enables them to chip in and help out your main Healer from time to time. They can even act as the main Healer of your party if you’re smart about your strategy. Cure Wounds is a solid spell for this, enabling the target to receive 1d8 points of healing + your Spellcasting Modifer.
  •  Healing Word: For the same reasons above, Healing Word is a great choice, perhaps even more so than Cure Wounds. This is because Healing Word is a Bonus Action, which means you’ll still be free to make an Attack or other Action in the same turn after healing someone.

Best Level 2 Spells for Bard in BG3

  • Hold Person: Upon casting this Spell, the targeted humanoid creature becomes paralyzed and can’t move, act, or react. Attacks against this creature within 3m are always Critical Hits. This enables you to isolate targets and have your team focus on them for huge damage output. Furthermore, the Spell can last up to 10 turns as long as your Concentration is maintained and the target continues to fail the Wisdom Saving Throw required to end the condition.
  •  Cloud of Daggers: One of the best AOE Spells in BG3, Cloud of Daggers will attack anyone inside for 4d6 Slashing damage, enabling you to hit multiple targets in a single turn. This Spell can also last up to 10 turns if Concentration is maintained, allowing you to disrupt the field with a pesky obstacle for enemies to navigate.
  •  Heat Metal: Heat Metal is a brilliant Spell for whenever you’re facing off against guards, soldiers, or anyone wielding a metal Weapon. This Spell enables you to deal 2d8 Fire damage to a target with metal Armor or Weapons, and force them to drop them or receive Disadvantage on Attack Rolls and Ability Checks.
    • Forcing a melee-only enemy to drop their weapon provides a huge advantage, as they will be required to use an Action to Equip the Weapon during their next turn in combat, or continue the fight with much less powerful Unarmed Strikes.

Best Level 3 Spells for Bard in BG3

  • Stinking Cloud: Stinking Cloud is a useful AOE Spell that creates a toxic cloud of gas, preventing affected enemies from taking Actions. This largely limits their damage output against your party until the Spell ends or they move away. This Spell can be held for up to 10 turns if Concentration is maintained.
  •  Plant Growth: If you have multiple enemies heading your way, Plant Growth can be very useful in slowing them down and giving your party some extra opportunities to set up a strategy. This Spell will create weeds that cover the ground of a selected area within range, forcing any creature that moves through this area to have its Movement Speed quartered.
  •  Hypnotic Pattern: This Spell creates a twisting pattern, hypnotizing all creatures within the area that can see the pattern. Creatures who fail their saving throw cannot act or move and are considered incapacitated. This gives the potential of a huge upper hand for your party, enabling them to either ignore the hypnotized enemies and prioritize other opponents while they’re down or use it as an opportunity to focus fire on downed targets and pick them off.

Best Level 4 Spells for Bard in BG3

  • Dimension Door: While a Bard can quite often function fairly solidly in the Melee range, there may be the odd situation in which you find yourself in a bad position or surrounded by enemies. Dimension Door enables you to flee such circumstances with no losses by enabling yourself and up to one other nearby ally to teleport to any space that you can see. This allows you to regroup and heal, or deal some damage from range before diving back in to finish the fight.
  •  Greater Invisibility: If you have a Rogue on your team, take this Spell. The target you cast Greater Invisibility on receives Advantage on all their attacks, and any attack made against them has Disadvantage. While the Bard class is somewhat dexterous and can have success with this Spell, casting it on your Rogue will enable them to shine, as they will be slightly more suited to the Stealth checks needed to maintain the effects.

Best Level 5 & 6 Spells for Bard in BG3

  • Hold Monster: This Spell works the same as Hold Person but enables you to target a Monster creature rather than a Humanoid. If you include both Hold Monster and Hold Person in your Bard’s Spell kit, then there’s no enemy you’ll come up against that you won’t be able to hit with these crippling effects.
  •  Mass Cure Wounds: If you need your Bard to help out with healing, Mass Cure Wounds is a great Spell to keep stored for emergencies. With this Spell, up to 6 creatures that you target recover 3d8 points of healing, plus your Spellcasting Modifier. This enables you to provide healing to not only your entire party in a single turn but also any potential allies you have alongside you in battle.
  •  Otto’s Irresistible Dance: This Spell forces a creature to start dancing, making it unable to take Actions or move. Attackers have Advantage on Attack Rolls when targeting the dancer, and the dancer has Disadvantage on Attack Rolls and Dexterity Saving Throws, enabling you to isolate certain targets and make them much less of a threat. This Spell can last up to 10 turns as long as you maintain Concentration and the target fails the required Wisdom Saving Throw to end the effects.

Best Magical Secrets Spells for Bard in BG3

  • Counterspell: Counterspell is a huge middle finger to enemy Spellcasters, letting you expend your Reaction once per round of combat to nullify an enemy’s Spell. This enables you to effectively and efficiently shut down Magical Attacks that could otherwise be very problematic for your party.
  •  Haste: Haste is a great Support Spell, letting you target yourself or an ally to become Hastened. Those with this effect gain an additional Action and becoming harder to hit until the Spell ends.
    • Granting your strongest Melee fighters an extra Action can be devastating as these Classes often get 2-3 Melee Attacks per Action. Alternatively, you can cast it on yourself or another Magic User to grant the ability to cast two Level 3 or above Spells per turn, which can be very strategic and helpful in certain situations.
  •  Hex: Hex is a great Spell that enables you to isolate targets and make them easier to kill. A Hexed target takes additional damage whenever you attack it with an attack using an Attack Roll, and also receives Disadvantage on an Ability Check of your choice. If the target is killed, you can Hex a new creature without expending a spell slot.
  •  Magic Missile: Magic Missile doesn’t seem like much on the surface, but it’s a very handy tool to keep in your kit. This Spell enables you to deal 3 blasts of damage to one or more targets, dealing 3d4+3 Force Damage. This Spell never misses, so it’s perfect for quickly picking off low-level enemies or dispelling Mirror Image Clones.
  •  Spiritual Weapon: Spiritual Weapon is a powerful Spell that enables you to Summon a spectral weapon of your choice to an area you can see within range. This Weapon receives its own turn in combat, dealing 1d8 damage per attack + your Spellcasting Modifier. This Spell is like having another teammate on the field and is very useful in setting up to deal extra chunks of damage.
  •  Chromatic Orb: Chromatic Orb is brilliant for its versatility, letting you choose what type of damage you deal each time you cast it. This Attack will deal 3d8 Thunder Damage, or 2d8 Acid, Cold, Fire, Lightning, or Poison damage, and create a surface.

Best Equipment for Bard in Baldur’s Gate 3, Listed

best college of swords bard build in baldur's gate 3 bg3
Image Source: Larian Studios via Twinfinite
  • Head – Birthright: This hat enables you to boost your CHA an extra 2 points, capped at 22 points maximum. By endgame, your Bard will already have 20 CHA, so making this a 22 just gives you even more power to play with. Birthright can be Purchased in Baldur’s Gate at Sorcerous Sundries.
  •  Armor – Blazer of Benevolence: This Armor has the Remedial Rhymes effect, allowing you to gain 4 Temp HP when you inspire an ally using Bardic Inspiration. This item can be received by completing the Rescue Volo Quest.
  •  Melee Weapons – either Rapier + Shield or Rapier + Shortsword: If your Race grants Shield Proficiency, then great! Stick a Shield in one hand to gain +2 AC, and a Rapier in the other to deal 1d8 Piercing damage on Attacks. The Bard has such a wide variety of Bonus Action Spells and Cantrips that they will rarely find use in their Offhand attack, so a Shield is a perfect fit.
    • However, in the case that you don’t have Shield Proficiency, wielding a Rapier in one hand and Shortsword in the other will enable you to deal your regular 1d8 Piercing damage on your Attack and an additional 1d6 Piercing damage on the occasional Offhand Attack.
  •  Ranged Weapon – Ne’er Misser: Bards have Proficiency with Hand Crossbows, and this one is the best for your build. Available decently early in the game from Roah at Shattered Sanctum, this Bow deals 1d6 Force damage + your DEX Modifier and can cast Magic Missile at level 3.
  •  Gloves – Wondrous Gloves: These Gloves increase your AC by +1, which is very beneficial to the Bard. In addition to this, they will grant an extra use of Bardic Inspiration. You can nab them from one of the Mimics at Grymforge.
  •  Boots – Boots of Brilliance: These are perfect for the Bard, as they come equipped with the ability to restore your Bardic Inspiration. There are two known ways to obtain them: From inside a Mimic chest at Grymforge, or in a chest within the Gauntlet of Shar located North of where you fight Yurgir.

That’s everything you need to know to create the best Bard build in Baldur’s Gate 3. Now that you know all the important information about this Class, why not check out some of our other guides, such as the best build for Astarion? After all, he can be a valuable asset to your party for a Bard playthrough.

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Grace Black
Grace is a writer and digital artist from New Zealand with a love for fiction and storytelling. Grace has been writing for Twinfinite for one year and in the games industry for two years. She's an enthusiast of everything spooky, an occasional anime enjoyer, and a die-hard Ghost-Type Pokemon fangirl. Her favorite video games include Overwatch 2, Life is Strange, The Last of Us, Baldur's Gate 3, and Pokemon - all of which she will never tire of.