Baldurs Gate 3 Bard Closeup

Screenshot by PC Invasion

Bards bring the music, magic, and entertainment to Baldur’s Gate 3, offering proficiency in a variety of cool areas outside combat. That proficiency may not extend to real mastery, especially in battle, but they can team up with other characters who are better equipped. Playing as a Bard, it’s especially important to know just what role you want the character to fill, and that means knowing which spells and cantrips are the best. Here is our guide offering advice on the best spells and cantrips in Baldur’s Gate 3, and tips to help you produce the best Bard build.

Note: If you are new to Dungeons & Dragons and/or Baldur’s Gate 3, you should seriously consider reading up on what Karmic Dice do.

What are the best Bard spells in Baldur’s Gate 3?

  • Best Bard subclass – 1. College of Lore 2. College of Valour 3. College of Swords
  • Best Bard race – Wood Half-Elf
  • Best Bard background – Entertainer
  • Best Bard skills – 1. Charisma 2. Dexterity 3. Constitution 4. Intelligence 5. Wisdom 6. Strength

The best Bard in Baldur’s Gate 3 is a Bard who is a Wood Half-Elf with a background as an Entertainer. The College of Lore subclass is the best choice because it helps you pass more ability checks and enhances your support character skills. Otherwise, the College of Valour is useful if you’re looking to participate more actively in direct combat.

Bards use Charisma as their spellcasting modifier, so the higher the charisma, the better. My research suggests the Wood Half-Elf is the best class because it gives you +2 Charisma as well as some other useful abilities. However, I personally went with the Wood Elf, which has good stealth proficiency.

Best early Bard spells and cantrips in Baldur’s Gate 3

Once you settle on the base details for your Bard, it’s time to consider which are the best starter Bard spells in Baldur’s Gate 3. It’s worth noting that Bards start with only two cantrips and four level-one spells. When selecting Bard spells, here is what you should choose.

  • Cantrips
    • Vicious Mockery
    • Blade Ward
  • Spells
    • Healing Word
    • Tasha’s Hideous Laughter
    • Heroism
    • Dissonant Whispers

When starting out, go with Vicious Mockery and Blade Ward as your cantrips. Vicious Mockery leaves your foes demoralized after enduring psychic damage, resulting in a weaker attack during the next round. Blade Ward cuts damage from Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing attacks in half, which can make the difference between survival and death in a tough battle. Dancing Lights is another nice option, if you are battling in a darker area and need help hitting targets, but you can add it later.

As for spells, two of the most useful are Healing Word and Tasha’s Hideous Laughter. There may be many instances where a little bit more healing capability makes all the difference in the world, so it’s good to have the Healing Word ability at your fingertips. Tasha’s Hideous Laughter is like Sleep, but potentially more effective in some cases (especially when your enemy isn’t dumber than a post).

Another option worth noting is Heroism, which buffs your party to protect from fright and keeps their HP in a good place. And finally, Dissonant Whispers deals useful psychic damage. Outside combat, you might also like Charm Person or Disguise Self, though I haven’t yet found ways to put those to great use.

Best endgame Bard spells and cantrips in Baldur’s Gate 3

In Baldur’s Gate 3the max level is level 12. As you work your way toward an endgame Bard and gain additional slots, here are the best spells and cantrips to keep in mind.

  • Cantrips
  • Spells
    • Shatter
    • Hypnotic Pattern
    • Enhance Ability
    • Aid

Through the end of the game, your Bard should continue to play a support role, gaining abilities that prove useful not only within combat, but when you interact with characters outside battle. Shatter and Hypnotic Pattern are useful during confrontations, when you need to inflict damage. They both work against multiple targets. Aid is an excellent healing ability. Enhance Ability is simply a nice buff, and buffs become more important as the campaign progresses and adversaries grow more powerful.

Best Bard subclass in Baldur’s Gate 3

Once you reach level three, you get to select a subclass that greatly improves your proficiency in a given role. I recommend that if you play as the Bard, you properly embrace the support role. Your best option in that case is the College of Lore.

When you choose the College of Lore, you gain access to Cutting Words. This Reaction debuffs enemies, prompting them to deal less damage and to have more trouble connecting attacks. It’s one of the better support abilities available. You also excel at Sleight of Hand, which is useful for picking locks and disarming traps.

Baldur’s Gate 3 is available on Steam.

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