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The best Bard subclass, feats, and build in Baldur’s Gate 3

Embrace the power of music

Baldur’s Gate 3 Bard class symbol Graphic: Jeffrey Parkin | Source images: Larian Studios via Polygon
Jeffrey Parkin (he/him) has been writing video game guides for Polygon for almost seven years. He has learned to love just about every genre of game that exists.

Baldurs Gate 3 has 12 classes for you to choose from when you create your character. The Bard is a performance-based caster that can play either offensive or support roles.

Bards mix music with magic to deal out damage like any other caster class, or to inspire (and occasionally heal) their allies. Their primary stat is Charisma.

There’s no single best class in Baldur’s Gate 3, and the game gives you as many opportunities for creative problem solving as it does for punching. Finding the best class really just boils down to how you want to play. Even when playing solo, you’ll still manage the rest of your party, so you’ll get to experiment with multiple classes at once.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about the Bard class in Baldur’s Gate 3, and learn all about the best Bard subclass, feats, and build.

Is Bard the best class for you in BG3?

Baldur’s Gate 3 Bard in the character creator Image: Larian Studios via Polygon

Bards are spellcasters with pizazz. They’re not frontline fighters, and serve much better as a support class. Dealing damage with a Bard involves a combination of a limited selection of spells and Dexterity-based attacks — with a finesse weapon like a rapier or a ranged weapon like a crossbow. Their Bardic Inspiration feature means they can support teammates in most rolls (except damage rolls — usually).

Bards thrive outside of combat. Since their spellcasting ability is Charisma, that means they’re also good with skills like Deception, Performance, and Persuasion — all of which make them useful in non-combat encounters and normal conversations.

Bards aren’t the easiest class to play especially starting out. You have to manage spells and spell slots, and they’re not the strongest fighters. However, Bards are great for when you want to flex your non-combat muscles in Baldur’s Gate 3.

Bard class features

Hit Points

  • Hit Dice — 1d8 per Bard level
  • Hit Points at 1st Level — 8 + your Constitution modifier
  • Hit Points at higher levels — 5 + your Constitution modifer per Bard level after 1st


Bards can grant allies Bardic Inspiration once per Long Rest. This works like the Guidance spell, but lets your allies roll a d6 instead of a d4.


Bards start with 2 level 1 Spell Slots per Long Rest.


  • Weapons — Simple Weapons, Hand Crossbows, Longswords, Rapiers, Shortswords
  • Armor — Light Armor
  • Skills — Deception, Insight, Performance, Persuasion, Religion
  • Saving Throws — Charisma, Dexterity

Bard spells

Bards start with 2 cantrips from the Bard spell list.

Baldur’s Gate 3 Bard cantrip list

Name Description
Name Description
Vicious Mockery Insult a creature: it has Disadvantage on its next Attack Roll (WIS Save)
Blade Ward Take half damage from Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing attacks
Mage Hand Create a spectral hand that can manipulate and interact with objects
True Strike Gain Advantage on your next Attack Roll
Friends Gain Advantage on Charisma Checks against a non-hostile creature
Dancing Lights Illuminate a 30ft radius
Light Infuse an object with an aura of light
Minor Illusion Create an illusion that compels nearby creatures to investigate

Bards also start with two level 1 spell slots per long rest. They know four spells out of the list of 15.

Baldur’s Gate 3 Bard spell list

Name Description
Name Description
Animal Friendship Convince a beast not to attack you (WIS Save)
Bane Up to 3 creatures recieve a -1d4 penalty to Attack Rolls and Saving Throws
Charm Person Charm a humanoid to prevent it from attacking you. You gain Advantage on Charisma Checks in dialogue
Cure Wounds 1d8+3 healing
Disguise Self Magically change all aspects of your appearance
Dissonant Whispers Frighten a creature for 2 turns and deal 3d6 Psychic damage
Faerie Fire All targets within the light turn visible, and Attack Rolls against them have Advantage
Feather Fall You and nearby allies gain Immunity to Falling damage
Healing Word 1d4+3 healing
Heroism Make yourself or a target immune to the Frightened condition and gain 5 temporary hit points each turn
Longstrider Increase a creature's movement speed by 10ft.
Sleep Put creatures into a magical slumber.
Speak with Animals Gain the ability to comprehend and communicate with beasts
Tasha's Hideous Laughter Leave a creature Prone with laughter, without the ability to get up
Thunderwave Release a wafe of thunderous force that pushes away all creatures and objects for 2d8 Thunder damage (CON Save)

Bard subclasses

At level 3, Bards can choose a subclass (called a College).

College of Lore

College of Lore Bards love stories — both hearing them and telling them. You gain Proficiency in the Arcana, Intimidation, and Sleight of Hand skills, as well as getting Cutting Words (use a Bardic Inspiration die and subtract the number rolled from an enemy’s roll).

College of Valor

College of Valor Bards are a bit more heroic. Bardic Inspiration die can now be added to damage rolls as well.

College of Swords

The College of Sword Bard fights as well with a weapon as they do their instrument. They can choose:

  • Slashing Flourish (melee) — attack up to two creatures at once
  • Defensive Flourish (melee) — attack defensively, increasing your AC by 4 if you hit
  • Defensive Flourish (ranged) — attack defensively, increasing your AC by 4 if you hit
  • Mobile Flourish (melee) — thrust your weapon with enough force to push your target back 20ft. Afterwards, you can teleport to the target.
  • Mobile Flourish (ranged) — Shoot a target with enough force to push your target back 20 feet. Afterwards, you can teleport to the target.
  • Slashing Flourish (Ranged) — attack up to two creatures at once

Best Bard subclass and build in BG3

Baldur’s Gate 3 High Elf Bard in the character creator Image: Larian Studios via Polygon

Baldur’s Gate 3 races don’t really have any direct impact on your class, but certain races and subraces come with features that play well with certain classes like extra movement or proficiency with certain weapons. For Bards, it’s best to focus on padding out your spell list:

  • High Elves and High Half-Elves get the Fire Bolt cantrip
  • All three of the Tiefling subraces get a cantrip — Produce Flame, Mage Hand, and Thaumaturgry respectively
  • Both subraces of Drow get the Dancing Lights cantrip

When you’re creating and leveling up your Bard, Charisma (for being Charming) is your most important stat followed by Dexterity (for dealing damage). Make Charisma your highest stat and Dexterity your second highest.

You’ll pick your Bard subclass at level 3. College of Valor is the way to go — you’ll get an extra attack each turn, proficiency in more weapons and medium armor, and your Bardic Inspiration becomes even more helpful to your allies. This will let you play your Bard a little less as a support character and more as an all-around fighter.

Best Bard Feats in BG3

Every four levels, you’ll get the option to either increase your stats or choose a Feat. Feats are special talents that add features to your character. If you’re happy with your stats and start taking Feats, Bards can benefit from:

  • Actor. Your Charisma Increases by 1, to a maximum of 20. Your Proficiency Bonus is also doubled for Deception and Performance Checks.
  • Crossbow Expert (If you fight with a crossbow). When you make crowssbow attacks within melee range, the Attack Rolls do not have Disadvantage. Your Piercing Shot also inflicts Gaping Wounds for twice as long.
  • Defensive Duellist. When attacked while wielding a Finesse Weapon you’re Proficient with, you can use a reaction to add your Proficiency Bonus to your Armor Class, possibly causing the attack to miss.
  • Performer. You gain Musical Instrument Proficiency, and your Charisma increases by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • Sharpshooter. Your ranged weapon attacks do not receive penalties from High Ground Rules. Ranged weapon attacks with weapons you are Proficient with have a -5 penalty to their Attack Roll, but deal an additional 10 damage.

For more information on the classes in Baldur’s Gate 3, consult our overviews on the Barbarian, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, Warlock, and Wizard classes. If you’re stumped by the choice, consult our guide on what class to start with.