Are you ready to embark on an epic journey through the world of Baldur’s Gate 3? If you’re looking for a unique and versatile character build, then the College of Valour Bard might just be the perfect fit for you. In this guide, we’ll walk you through all the components needed to create a powerful Bard character that excels in healing, buffs, and crowd control. So, let’s dive in!
Bard Class Guide
Bards are renowned for their versatility, mastering not only music and magic but also combat. They possess the ability to inspire their allies, debuff their enemies, and even play musical instruments. While their combat prowess may not match that of other classes, their out-of-combat utility and unique playstyle make them an interesting choice. The College of Valour Bard, in particular, focuses on healing, buffs, and crowd control, making it an excellent support class.
Bard Class Features and Mechanics
To understand the true potential of the Bard, let’s explore some of their key mechanics:
- Primary Ability: Charisma
- Subclass: College of Valour
- Armor Proficiency: Light Armour
- Weapon Proficiency: Longswords, Rapiers, Simple Weapons
- Combat Inspiration: This ability allows Bards to add a +1d6 bonus to their next Attack Roll, Ability Check, or Saving Throw. It serves as a valuable tool in supporting teammates during combat.
- Song of Rest: As a Bard, you can provide a short rest for your group through your soothing melodies. This offers a moment of respite and healing in the midst of your adventures.
Bard Spell Mechanics
Bards possess a unique spellcasting system that sets them apart from other classes. Here are some essential aspects of Bard spellcasting:
- Cantrips: These are spells that can be cast infinitely and do not consume spell slots.
- Spell Slots: As you level up, you will gain access to more spell slots and higher-tier spells. However, spell slots are finite and require rest to replenish.
- Learn Spells: Unlike Wizards, who rely on spellbooks, Bards can learn and unlearn spells as they level up, providing them with greater flexibility.
- Concentration: Certain spells require concentration to maintain their effects. If concentration is broken, the spell effect ends.
For a comprehensive list of the best spells for the Bard, refer to the level progression below.
Bard Class and Best Subclasses
Choosing the right Bard subclass can significantly impact your gameplay experience. Here are the three Bard subclasses available in Baldur’s Gate 3:
- College of Valour: This subclass is considered the strongest due to its versatility in combat, spellcasting prowess, and overall support capabilities. Bards who specialize in the College of Valour gain proficiency in medium armor, shields, and martial weapons, making them formidable on the battlefield.
- College of Lore: If you prefer a more skill-based approach, the College of Lore might be the better choice. These Bards excel in knowledge and can outwit enemies and aid allies outside of combat.
- College of Swords: Although not featured in the early access version of the game, the College of Swords focuses on sword-wielding Bards. Keep an eye out for future updates that may introduce this subclass.
The best subclass for you ultimately depends on your preferred playstyle and the role you want to fulfill in your adventuring party. However, the College of Valour subclass offers unparalleled versatility, making it a popular choice among players.
Baldur’s Gate 3 College of Valour Bard Features & Progression
The College of Valour subclass unlocks several exciting features and spells that enhance your Bard’s capabilities:
- Combat Inspiration (Level 3): Your Bardic Inspiration receives an upgrade, allowing inspired allies to add bonus damage to their next weapon attack or a bonus to their Armour Class for one attack.
- Gain Proficiency In (Level 3): Medium Armour, Shields, Martial Weapons
- Extra Attack (Level 6): After making an unarmed or weapon attack, you can make an additional free attack. Note that if you gain the Extra Attack feature from multiple classes, the effects do not stack.
The choice of background can greatly influence your roleplaying options and dialogue interactions. While the Entertainer background is the best fit for a Bard build, offering proficiency in Acrobatics and Performance, you can also consider other backgrounds to create a unique and diverse character. Here are some recommended choices:
- Entertainer: Engage and captivate your audience, whether they are common crowds or high society. This background grants proficiency in Acrobatics and Performance.
- Guild Artisan: Your skill as a craftsman has earned you recognition, membership in a mercantile guild, and privileges. This background provides proficiency in Insight and Persuasion.
- Soldier: As a trained warrior, you possess expertise in battlefield tactics and combat. This background grants proficiency in Athletics and Intimidation.
Select the background that resonates with your character’s story and personality, shaping their interactions with the world around them.
Best Race Choice Bard Build
Choosing the right race can offer unique advantages and enhance your Bard’s abilities. For a College of Valour Bard, the Asmodeus Tiefling is the top racial choice due to their resistance to fire and the Hellish Rebuke ability, which grants them a counter-attack damage source. Alternatively, the Drow race provides extra spells, cantrips, and Superior Darkvision, making it a secondary option to consider.
While considering racial advantages, don’t forget to explore the roleplaying opportunities and character concepts that resonate with you. Each race offers unique strengths that can enhance your combat effectiveness, survivability, or utility.
Recommended Skills for Bard College of Valour Build
In Baldur’s Gate 3, certain skills complement the Bard’s abilities and boost their overall effectiveness. Here are the top skills to focus on:
- Deception, Intimidation, and Persuasion: These skills align perfectly with the Bard’s charming nature, providing you with the tools to influence, deceive, and persuade others. They play a crucial role in dialogue interactions and can open up various opportunities throughout the game.
Each skill is associated with a specific attribute and its effectiveness scales with the corresponding ability score. To maximize your character’s skills, prioritize investing in abilities that align with your preferred playstyle. For example, high Charisma is essential to excel in Persuasion, which allows you to influence dialogue choices.
The ideal party composition consists of characters with high ability scores across different skills. This diversity offers success in various situations. For instance, a companion with high Dexterity can excel in lockpicking, while another with high Intelligence can investigate cursed objects or engage in dialogue requiring intelligence checks. Adapt your party composition based on your personal playstyle and preferred companions.
Best Bard Ability Scores
To maximize the potential of your College of Valour Bard build, follow this recommended ability point distribution:
- Charisma: This is the primary ability for a Bard and should be prioritized.
- Constitution: As a frontline support, a higher Constitution score ensures your Bard can withstand the rigors of combat.
- Dexterity: This ability enhances your Bard’s mobility and defensive capabilities.
During character creation, the game will automatically distribute your abilities based on your chosen class, race, and background. However, feel free to customize your stats to align with the recommended distribution for the best Bard build. Adjust your ability scores using the plus-minus options in the character creator, ensuring that the suggested race is selected, as this directly affects the numbers.
Bard Spell Slots
Here’s a chart showcasing the levels and spell slots unlocked for the Bard class in Baldur’s Gate 3.
Bard Illithid Powers
In Baldur’s Gate 3, you’ll discover Illithid Powers as you delve deeper into the game’s storyline and learn more about the Mind Flayers and their tadpoles. By consuming jars of Mind Flayer Parasite Specimens, you gain powerful abilities. Here are the best Illithid Powers for your Bard build:
- Charm: Tap into the dark allure of the tadpole to Charm an enemy that attacks you, preventing them from targeting you until their next turn. This power allows you to redirect enemy aggression and protect yourself.
- Repulsor: Unleash a forceful blast that deals damage and pushes back enemies within range. This ability is particularly useful when surrounded or lacking a spell like Thunderwave.
- Shield of Thralls: Conjure a volatile shield around yourself or an ally, providing temporary hit points. If the temporary hit points are lost due to incoming damage, the shield bursts, possibly stunning nearby foes. Use this defensive shield strategically to withstand pressure during combat.
- Freecast: Discover a remarkable adaptation within yourself, allowing you to cast spells without consuming spell slots, charges, or similar resources for your next action or spell. This ability refreshes after a short or long rest. It pairs exceptionally well with metamagic, enabling you to cast multiple spells in a single turn. This makes your Bard build incredibly potent.
Bard Level Progression
Let’s break down the Bard class progression, focusing on key milestones and abilities gained at each level.
At level one, as a Bard, you will choose your instrument and gain access to Bardic Inspiration, Cantrips, and Spells. While musical instruments serve as a roleplaying aspect, do note that they do not have performance-based mechanics. At this level, you’ll wear light armor and use random weapons. However, at level 3, you should select your subclass, allowing you to switch to medium armor and sword and shield for added protection. Reaching level 3 is crucial as it provides your Bard with additional utility and versatility.
- Bardic Inspiration: With an 18-meter range, Bardic Inspiration allows you to use a bonus action to grant an ally a +1d6 bonus to their next Attack Roll, Ability Check, or Saving Throw. You can use this ability four times before requiring a long rest to recharge.
- Vicious Mockery: This cantrip inflicts 1d4 Psychic damage and places a Disadvantage on the target’s next Attack Roll. It serves as a ranged damage source and can debuff enemies effectively.
- Blade Ward: This cantrip grants temporary resistance to Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing damage from weapon attacks. It provides a non-spell slot defensive option against melee attackers.
- Healing Word: With this spell, you can heal a creature you can see within an 18-meter range using a bonus action. It serves as a versatile ranged heal.
- Cure Wounds: By touching a creature within reach, you can heal them for 1d8 hit points. This melee-based heal is more potent than Healing Word and requires an action, making it ideal for consecutive healing.
- Tasha’s Hideous Laughter: This spell inflicts uncontrollable laughter on a target, rendering them prone and unable to stand for ten turns. It requires concentration and is an excellent crowd control ability.
- Thunderwave: Release a wave of thunderous force that pushes enemies away and deals damage. This knockback ability is perfect for repelling aggressors or knocking enemies off ledges.
At this level, your gameplay revolves around buffing allies with Blade Ward, crowd controlling enemies with Hideous Laughter, and providing healing support with Healing Word and Cure Wounds. Use Thunderwave to create space and Vicious Mockery to deal damage and debuff. As you level up, your Bard gains access to more crowd control effects and debuffs, while relying on your allies to deal most of the damage.
Level One Spell Loadout: Healing Word, Thunderwave, Cure Wounds, Tasha’s Hideous Laughter, Vicious Mockery, and Blade Ward.
This guide provides you with a comprehensive understanding of the College of Valour Bard build in Baldur’s Gate 3. Use it as a foundation and adapt it to your playstyle, crafting a character that shines in support, versatility, and storytelling. Are you ready to bring your Bard to life and take on the challenges that await in this epic adventure? The stage is set, and the melodies of your journey are waiting to be played!