Baldur's Gate 3Classes

Bard (College of Lore) Build Guide for Baldur’s Gate 3

College of Lore Bard Build and Guide

In the world of Faerûn, Lore Bards are the masters of both written and spoken word.

You can count on them to provide effective utility for nearly any team. Besides their in-combat support, a Bard’s high Charisma aids in any dialogue you may have during your journey.

Their Spellcasting, Charisma, and Musical Proficiency make them a very popular class among players.

In this Baldur’s Gate 3 class guide for the Lore Bard, we’ll cover the subclass’s pros/cons and cover our recommendations for playing it.

Find out where the Bard ranks in our Baldur’s Gate 3 class tier list.

Pros and Cons


  • Very strong support capabilities
  • Spells can do massive damage and provide crowd control
  • Great in dialogue due to high Charisma


  • Low Armor Class (AC)
  • Underwhelming combat experience
  • Not many Weapon Proficiencies

College of Lore Bards are a very supportive class because of the Class Action, Bardic Inspiration. Bardic Inspiration is one of the best Actions in Baldur’s Gate 3, as it can be used in either combat or exploration.

bard charisma check

This is especially amplified by the subclass’ access to a Reaction called Cutting Words, which uses a Bardic Inspiration charge in order to debuff enemies. Additionally, College of Lore Bards gain Jack of all Trades and Expertise Proficiencies at Level 2 and 3, which just furthers their out-of-combat dialogue Proficiency Checks, such as Persuasion, Deception or Performance.


When it comes to the best race for a Lore Bard, it’s almost completely personal preference. Zariel Tieflings gain access to the Thaumaturgy Cantrip. This Cantrip gives you a bonus to Intimidation and Performance ability checks. No other race has any Charisma subrace bonuses. Since there are no other races with bonuses, I recommend either choosing this Tiefling subrace or just choosing any race you like personally and adding +2 in Charisma and +1 in Dexterity under the Abilities tab.

lore bard zariel tiefling

Since there are no other races with bonuses, I recommend either choosing this Tiefling subrace or just choosing any race you like personally and adding +2 in Charisma and +1 in Dexterity under the Abilities tab.


A Bard’s highest Ability Score should be Charisma since it’s your abilities’ modifier. Additionally, College of Lore Bards don’t gain access to Medium Armor Proficiency, so I recommend Dexterity as your second highest Ability Score.

Having a high Dexterity Score will make your Finesse weapons (weapons that scale with your Dexterity instead of Strength if your Dexterity is higher) do more damage and make your AC higher with Light Armor. This helps provide you with a little more survivability during fights. There are also several backgrounds that provide Dexterity and Charisma traits. Your Constitution should be a priority since it’ll boost your max HP and help with durability. The rest of your points can be allocated as you wish, depending on what Skill Checks you’d like to pass.

I recommend Wisdom so you can pass Insight Checks easily during dialogue, typically unlocking additional dialogue options. Overall, your Charisma score should be 17, Dexterity Ability Score should be 16, with Constitution being 13-14. Your last chosen Ability Score should be between 10-12. Your Ability Points can look something like this:

lore bard ability points tiefling

Backgrounds and Proficiencies

The most optimal Bard backgrounds are ones that provide Charisma skills.

Recommended backgrounds:

  • Criminal: Deception and Stealth
  • Entertainer: Acrobatics and Performance
  • Guild Artisan: Insight and Persuasion
  • Noble: History and Persuasion
  • Soldier: Athletics and Intimidation

Depending on what Ability you chose to invest extra Ability Points into, you should choose a background that has its skill. For example, if you invested Ability Points into Strength, then it’s not a bad idea to choose the Soldier Background.

When choosing your skills, selecting anything that provides Charisma or Dexterity Skills will serve you well. You’ll also gain the option to choose your Musical Instrument.

lore bard party

This is purely to determine the sound effects your abilities have and has no effect on actual attacks in combat, so just choose whichever one you like most. If the instrument you chose, in the beginning, is not to your liking, you’re also able to find all the instruments while exploring.

Recommended Spells and Abilities

Act 1

  • Level 1
    • Bardic Inspiration
    • Tasha’s Hideous Laughter, Sleep, or Bane
    • Vicious Mockery
    • Dissonant Whispers
    • Faerie Fire
  • Level 2
    • Jack of All Trades, Song of Rest
  • Level 3
    • Cloud of Daggers
    • Shatter/Less Restoration
    • Cutting Words
  • Level 4
    • Ability Improvement to CHR 18
  • Level 5
    • Font of Inspiration
    • Glyph of Warding
    • Fear

College of Lore Bards have a wide variety of different spells and abilities to choose from. Their main Class Action, Bardic Inspiration, is extremely versatile.

Level 1

At Level 1, Bardic Inspiration is an ability that gives any ally an added +1d6 bonus to their next Attack Roll, Ability Check, or Saving Throw. You can use Bardic Inspiration in combat during dialogue.

bardic inspiration

Until Level 5, you can only replenish this ability with a Long Rest. This is why it’s very important to save your Bardic Inspiration for important battles or checks until you get more charges at later levels since it can turn the tides of battle easily.

As you play and level up, you’ll gain access to many new Spells and Cantrips. However, like Sorcerers, you can’t Prepare Spells. This means you’ll learn a finite amount of spells throughout your playthrough. You must be selective in what spells you choose to learn since you won’t have access to every single Bard spell at any given time.

Depending on what kind of support role you’d like your College of Lore Bard to play, then your Level 1 Spells can vary. If you’d like your Bard to be a de-buffer and Crowd Control enemies, then taking Tasha’s Hideous Laughter, Sleep, or Bane as spells is a great choice.

If you’d like your Bard to be more like a healer, then taking Healing Word or Heroism will serve you well. No matter what route you decide to go, I recommend taking Vicious Mockery as a Cantrip and Dissonant Whispers as a spell since both have very good damage and utility. You could also mix both styles together and choose both healing and CC spells. Your spells might look something like this:

lore bard spells

Level 2

At Level 2, you gain access to Jack of All Trades, Song of Rest, and more Spells. Jack of All Trades just furthers your out-of-combat utility, as it lets you add half of your Proficiency Bonus to non-Proficient Skills checks. Song of Rest is basically just another Short Rest, and will only become better once Camp Supplies becomes more limited on full release.

You can also replace learned Spells and choose a new one. I suggest keeping the ones you picked in the Character Creator until Level 5 since the effects they provide are still useful in combat. Additionally, you might consider selecting Faerie Fire as a new spell in your roster. Faerie Fire is a great supportive Spell, as it turns all enemies visible, and you gain an advantage on attack rolls against targets.

party faerie fire

Once you gain access to Level 2 Spells, then I’d recommend Cloud of Daggers and Shatter/Lesser Restoration. Cloud of Daggers is an incredible zoning ability, as it summons a circle of daggers that hit anything that passes through them for 10 turns. This Spell is great in areas where enemies must pass through, such as entrances or narrow areas. However, allies can also be hit by the daggers, so be careful when casting.

When choosing between Shatter or Lesser Restoration, it depends on your party’s composition. If you just want to deal high amounts of damage, then choose Shatter since it deals 3d8 Thunder Damage. If you need more support on your team, then picking Lesser Restoration is better. This Spell cleanses one disease or condition afflicting a creature. Both are equally good, so you can choose depending on what you personally need.


Level 3

At Level 3, you gain Expertise, Cutting Words, and more Proficiencies (Arcana, Intimidation, and Sleight of Hand). Expertise is a class ability that allows you to double your Proficiency Bonus on a skill.

I recommend choosing any Skill you notice you enjoy using. If you enjoy persuading people and performing, then choose Persuasion and Performance as your Skills with Expertise.

lore bard class features

Cutting Words is the College of Lore Class Ability. It makes any enemy receive a 1d6 penalty to Attack Rolls, Ability Checks, and damage dealt until the start of your next turn. This greatly increases the chances of the enemy’s attacks missing or doing less damage. You can set this as a reaction, and it can trigger as long as you have a Bardic Inspiration charge.


Level 4

You should pick Ability Improvement as your Feat at Level 4. This allows you to increase your Charisma score to 18, greatly increasing Spell damage and effectiveness.

Level 5

At Level 5, you’ll gain access to Font of Inspiration and Improved Bardic Inspiration. Font of Inspiration allows you to gain back all Bardic Inspiration with a Short Rest. This is really good because you don’t have to waste Camp Supplies to refill your charges. Improved Bardic Inspiration increases Bardic Inspiration and Cutting Words to 1d8 from 1d6.

Lastly, when you gain access to level 5 spells, you should take Glyph of Warding. It allows you to cast a giant circular glyph on the ground. If an enemy walks over it, then depending on the element of the glyph, different things can happen.

This includes large AoE elemental damage, pushing enemies back, and putting enemies to Sleep. Allies can be hit by the AoE caused by enemies standing on the glyph, so be careful with positioning.

glyph of warding lightning

I also recommend switching Tasha’s Hideous Laughter out for Fear. This Level 3 Spell summons a large cone that Fears enemies and can cause them to drop their weapons. It’s one of the best Crowd Control spells in EA.

Act 2 Spell Overview

  • Level 6
    • Class Action: Countercharm
    • Plant Growth/Bestow Curse
    • Magical Secrets: Warden of Vitality & Counterspell
  • Level 7
    • Confusion/Polymorph
  • Level 8
    • Feat: Actor or Ability Improvement
    • Unselected Level 4 spell from previous level
  • Level 9
    • Mass Cure Wounds
    • Dimension Door/Freedom of Movement
  • Level 10
    • Class Action: Improved Bardic Inspiration (+1d10)
    • Increase Intimidation & Persuasion skill Proficiencies
    • Cantrip: True Strike/Blade Ward
    • Dominate Person
    • Magical Secrets: Guardian of Faith & Death Ward
Level 6

Level 6 College of Lore Bards gain access to the Class Action, Countercharm. This is an Action that provides all allies within a 9m radius an advantage on Saving Throws against being Charmed and Frightened.


They also gain access to additional Level 3 Spells. I recommend taking Plant Growth if you have a team with strong AoE abilities such as Hunger of Hadar or Sleet Storm. If this doesn’t apply to you, then getting Bestow Curse to provide enemies with a disadvantage against certain Saving Throws is a safe choice.

Finally, you gain access to Magical Secrets, providing you with the ability to choose Spells from other Spellcasting classes, allowing them to scale with your Spellcasting Modifier.

warden of vitality

I recommend taking Warden of Vitality because this allows you to heal allies within 9m as a Bonus Action for 10 turns. Taking Counterspell as a reaction is also good because it allows you to negate the effects and damage of abilities that could otherwise wipe your party (looking at you, Fireball -_-).

Level 7

At Level 7, you gain Level 4 Spell Slots and I would recommend taking either Confusion or Polymorph.


Confusion can help make fighting larger groups of enemies a lot easier, while Polymorph is much better for fighting stronger enemies.


Level 8

Once you reach Level 8, you gain another Feat and another Level 4 Spell Slot. This allows you to select whichever spell you couldn’t select at Level 7. For your selected Feat, I personally like to pick Actor, which increases your Charisma by 1 (to a max of 20) and doubles your Proficiency Bonus for both Deception and Performance Checks.


However, you can also choose to pick Ability Improvement to bring your Charisma up to 20.

Level 9

Level 9 unlocks a Level 5 Spell Slot and I personally like to replace Healing Word with Mass Cure Wounds for improved healing. Not only does it heal more, it lets you heal up to 6 allies (including yourself) at once and can be used at an exceptional range.

mass cure wounds

I also like to take Dimension Door, a Spell that allows you to teleport yourself and an ally to anyplace within sight, as it is helpful in moving your Bard, as well as any other backline party member such as a Rogue, to allow for better positioning.


However, if this is not needed for your team, Freedom of Movement is a good alternative since it can be useful for allowing your frontline members to stick on enemies easier.

Level 10

Once you reach Level 10, you get Improved Bardic Inspiration, increasing the provided bonus to +1d10 as well as the ability to increase chosen Skill Proficiencies. Since College of Lore Bards shine in dialogue, I like to pick Intimidation and Persuasion.

You also gain access to another Cantrip, so picking True Strike or Blade Ward is a good option for providing an advantage against enemies. I recommend picking Dominate Person as your chosen Spell since it can provide you with additional assistance during fights.

death ward

Finally, you get to pick two more spells from the Magical Secrets List. I recommend taking Guardian of Faith and Death Ward. The former is an ability that summons a golem that attacks any enemies within range at the expense of its own hit points.

guardian of faith

This is really helpful with zoning enemies as well as dealing damage. Death Ward is an ability that protects a chosen ally from being reduced to 0hp. The ally will instead remain at 1hp, allowing you to either heal them or have them retreat to the backline in order to recover.

Levels 11 and 12

Once you reach Levels 11 and 12, you’ll gain access to a new Feat and 2 Level 6 Spells. I recommend choosing Ability Improvement to either raise your Charisma to 20 or increase your Dexterity Score. The two Level 6 Spells I recommend are Eyebite and Greater Restoration.


Eyebite allows you to inflict dread, sickness, or put creatures to sleep. While Concentrating on Eyebite, you may cast Eyebite without expending a spell slot.

Greater Restoration cleanses any creature of Charm, Petrification, Stun, or curse afflicting it.


As a College of Lore Bard, you should only be using Light Crossbows and Rapiers throughout your game. Your weapon proficiency will never change, and you aren’t going to be in melee range for most of your fights.

The best equipment for Bards is found fairly easily. You can either wear the Spidersilk Armor, which you get after killing Minthara, or the Blazer of Benevolence, which is given by Volo after having him join your camp. Spidersilk Armor gives you higher AC and an advantage on Stealth rolls. Blazer of Benevolence will give you temporary +4 HP whenever you use Bardic Inspiration.

Both are good choices; however, you should choose based on if someone is already using the Spidersilk Armor.

blazer of benevolence

I also recommend wearing the Cap of Curing since Bards are the only class that can make use of its benefits. If you use Bardic Inspiration on an ally while wearing this hat, the target will also gain 1d6 HP.

cap of curing

This hat is found in a Gilded Chest near the Druid Grove, next to the Bard NPC, Alfira.

However, once you get into Act 2 or 3, it isn’t a bad idea to switch out your gear. Some items I would recommend are as follows:

(Spoilers ahead!)

  • Potent Robe: Obtained from Alfira after rescuing the Tieflings from Moonrise Towers
  • Wondrous Gloves: Dropped by a mimic in the Grymforge
  • Gloves of Belligerent Skies: Found in the Captain’s Quarters of Créche Y’llek
  • Ring of Mental Inhibition: Found in a locked chest in the Ruined Battlefield
  • Boots of Brilliance: Found in a chest in the Gauntlet of Shar near Yurgir
  • Nymph Cloak: Bought from a merchant near the Rivington Waypoint
  • Vivacious Cloak: Found in a chest at the Grand Mausoleum
  • The Pointy Hat: Found in a locked chest in a tent near Lucretious at the Circus of the Last Days
  • Infernal Rapier: Rewarded by Mizora after rescuing her in Moonrise Towers

The Potent Robe grants the player’s Cantrips additional damage that scales with their Charisma Modifier which is incredibly useful for spells such as Vicious Mockery.

potent robe

Additionally, it grants the player temporary hit points equal to your Charisma Modifier at the beginning of each turn.

This makes it incredibly useful for having a little bit of extra damage and sustainability in fights. The only drawback is that since it qualifies as clothing, its AC is only listed as 10 even though it provides the wearer with an additional 1 AC.

Wondrous Gloves provides the wearer with 1 AC as well as another charge of Bardic Inspiration.

wondrous gloves

Gloves of Belligerent Skies cause any spells that deal Thunder, Lightning or Radiant damage (such as Call Lightning or Shatter) to inflict Reverberation for 2 turns.

gloves of belligerent skies

Reverberation gives a -1 penalty to Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution Saving Throws. Additionally, if the target has 4+ turns of Reverberation, they take 1d4 Thunder damage and can fall Prone, subsequently removing the condition.

The Ring of Mental Inhibition causes targets that fail a Saving Throw against you to gain Mental Fatigue for 2 turns. Mental Fatigue grants a -1 penalty to Wisdom, Intelligence, and Charisma Saving Throws.

ring of mental inhibition

When stacked with Reverberation, this can grant you a welcome edge in most battles. Boots of Brilliance provides the wearer with the Restore Bardic Inspiration Class Action, allowing you to regain a charge of Bardic Inspiration per Long Rest. This can be useful for certain areas where you aren’t able to make camp.

boots of brilliance

The Nymph Cloak provides the wearer with the Level 5 Spell, Dominate Person, allowing you to use the spell for free once per Long Rest. The Vivacious Cloak gives you 7 temporary hit points if you cast a spell within melee range which is really useful for either tanking opportunity attacks or just providing additional survivability. Although Bards don’t necessarily need high Intelligence, The Pointy Hat adds your Intelligence modifier to your Persuasion checks.

the pointy hat

College of Lore Bards don’t typically engage in too much martial combat, however, having decent weapons is still a good idea. The Infernal Rapier provides you a +1 bonus to Spell Saves and instead of using your Dexterity Modifier for attack rolls, it uses your Spellcasting Modifier (Charisma). You also gain a +2 to Attack Rolls and the ability to summon a Cambion to aid you in battle until your next Long Rest.


Overall, College of Lore Bards offer players the opportunity to experience a different aspect of Baldur’s Gate 3 other than combat. It’s the perfect class for anyone wanting more story-based gameplay while also not sacrificing combat or exploration utility.