Do you need a strong Baldur’s Gate 3 Bard build? If the idea of battle makes you want to break out in song and dance, a Bard build may be just right for you. Baldur’s Gate 3 Bard builds grant a lot of unique synergies that you won’t find with other Classes, so it’s important to understand their roles in the game before you jump into your playthrough. Fortunately, they can also be versatile, meaning you can structure your build to make them damage-dealing machines, or you can elect to have them play solid support while you let your allies do the attacking.
It takes a little bit of trial and error to get used to the Bard in Baldur’s Gate 3. If your damage alone isn’t enough, you can force them to laugh until they fall into the Prone position or use your power to force an enemy to dance while in the middle of combat. Here’s everything you need to know to create the best Bard build in Baldur’s Gate 3, including ideas for Cantrips and Spells, Proficiencies, and suggestions on leveling up your character.
Note: Looking for lots more builds to choose from? Check out our dedicated list of the best builds in Baldur’s Gate 3 for each class!
Baldur’s Gate 3 Bard build basics
It may be hard to believe that a Bard, whose focus is on song, dance, poetry, and performance regarding the great heroes through history, can also be a notable hero in their own right. However, Bards bring an incredible number of strengths to team composition, as long as players understand the role of the Bard and how to properly develop the character’s abilities.
Bards begin the game with two Cantrips, two Level 2 Spell slots, and a special Action called Bardic Inspiration that adds a +1d6 bonus to player Attack Rolls, Ability Checks, and Saving Throws.
Bard Subclass options
At Level 3, Bards can choose from one of the following three Bard Colleges.
- College of Lore: Use your Bardic gifts to hold audiences and enemies spellbound.
- College of Valor: Venture into the land to regale the tales of the mighty and keep alive the heroes of the past while inspiring the heroes of the future.
- College of Swords: A highly trained and skilled warrior, using words and weapons to both fight and entertain.
Bard Weapon, Armor, and Class Proficiencies
- Bard Weapon Proficiencies: Simple weapons, hand crossbows, longswords, rapiers, shortswords
- Bard Armor Proficiencies: Light armor
- Bard Skill Proficiencies: Choice of three: Performance, Persuasion, Deception, Sleight of Hand, Acrobatics
- Bard Saving Throws: Dexterity, Charisma
Best Bard Race, Background, and Skills
Your Race, Background, and chosen Skills can grant you additional actions and passives that strengthen your character. Here are our picks for the best Bard build.
The best Bard Race is High Elf.
The High Elf Race grants Darkvision and an extra Cantrip. Darkvision lets you to see in dim light as though it were bright light, and to see in the dark as though it were dim light. For the Cantrip, you any one from the Wizard Spell list. The Elf Race also grants Perception Proficiency so you can discover hidden items and objects in the world around you.
The best Bard Background is Entertainer.
Entertainer grants Skills in Acrobatics and Performance. Acrobatics allows you to attempt to stay on your feet in tricky situations that require balance such as on ice or walking across beams, while Performance allows you to delight an audience with entertainment.
The best Bard Skill Proficiencies are Deception, Sleight of Hand, and Persuasion.
Deception determines whether you can convincingly hide the truth, while Sleight of Hand grants benefits in manual trickery such as picking locks, pickpocketing, or hiding items. Persuasion allows you to influence others with tact or good nature.
Best Bard Subclass
The best Bard Subclass is the College of Valour. This college grants Combat Inspiration, which upgrades the Bardic Inspiration Class Feature so you can apply the Bardic Inspiration die to damage and your armor class, in addition to Attack rolls, Ability Checks, and Saving Throws. These advantages make it the most powerful Bard Subclass.
Best Bard Spells and Cantrips
Bards begin the game with two Cantrips, along with two Level 1 Spell slots. They can choose additional Spells as they progress, though note that Spell levels do not correspond with character levels. Bards can also select additional Cantrips at Level 4 and 10. Here are the best Bard Spells and Cantrips for each of these levels.
Best Bard Cantrips
The best Bard Cantrips are:
Level 1 Cantrips: Blade Ward, True Strike
Level 4 Cantrip: Viscious Mockery
Level 10 Cantrip: Minor Illusion
Best Bard Spells
These are the best Bard Spells by Spell Level:
Level 1: Bane
Level 2: Hold Person, Silence
Level 3: Bestow Curse
Level 4: Greater Invisibility
Level 5: Hold Monster
Level 6: Otto’s Irresistible Dance
Note that if you choose the College of Lore, you can also choose Spells from Magical Secrets Spell list of Level 3 or lower. The Magical Secrets Spell list grants access to a variety of Spells from other Classes.
Best Bard Feats
Bards can choose Feats at Levels 4, 8, and 12. The best Bard feats are:
- Level 4: Resilient
- Level 8: Alert
- Level 12: Lucky
Choose Resilient to increase an Ability Score by +1 and gain Proficiency in that Ability’s Saving Throws. We recommend adding this to Constitution so you’ll gain Proficiency on Constitution Saves to maintain Concentration on Spells such as Bane and Silence. Alert grants +5 to Initiative, which can increase your placement in a combat round. Lucky allows you to gain Advantage on any Attack, Ability Check, or Saving Throw, and can also force an opponent to reroll their Attack, making it a useful skill in many scenarios.
That wraps up everything you need to know about building your Bard character in Baldur’s Gate 3. Don’t forget to also check out our guides to multiclassing and romancing NPCs, and if you’re not happy with your Bard or any other characters you build, you can always take a look at our guide on how to respec your character.
Disclosure: Former RPS deputy editor Adam Smith (RPS in peace) now works at Larian and is the lead writer for Baldur’s Gate 3. Former contributor Emily Gera also works on it.