Bardadin - Bard Paladin Build - Baldur's Gate 3 (BG3)
Bardadin - Paladin Bard Build
Going with these two classes provides perfect synergy. Bard gives lots of utility, spell slots, and unique attacks. Paladin on the other hand gives the most awesome attack - Divine Smite. Their scaling and effectiveness depend on spells slots, which Bard provides a lot
Another aspect is that high Charisma will make this build a perfect main character. You can easily pass dialogue checks for almost any persuasion dialogue in the game. Bard's innate features also give an edge in case we do not have proficiency in skill and still provide a small bonus to the rolls.
Early to mid-game we will concentrate on Dexterity ability as our damage choice. It gives so many positive things that it would be awful to skip it. However, in the late game, this will not matter much, as you can get items that give huge amounts of strength.
Ability increase items
I will be recommending the build if you go without any items that boost abilities like Gloves of Dexterity or Gauntlets of Hill Giant Strength. If you get them, feel free to adjust the build based on your preferences. For example, getting Gloves of Dexterity means that you can gimp on dexterity and put points into strength, wisdom, or elsewhere.
Getting the Gauntlets of Hill Giant Strength means that you can dump everything else into dexterity and con. More or less, getting each of these items means that you will have to respec your abilities points to stay at "optimal allocation".
What weapons to use
This is a wide topic for the build. Generally, you can go with a two-handed weapon, dual-wielding, or shield with a weapon. However, I would only recommend the last two. I think they are the optimal choices here.
Going with Two-Handed weapons will force you to lose the fighting style bonus from Bard, as it only gives for one-handed weapons or dual-wielding. Moreover, it would also force us to put ability points into strength at the start of the game which also hurts the overall performance of the build
Now let's move to the other two choices. For these, I recommend Finesse weapons. They use ability modifier strength or dexterity, based on which one is higher.
Dual-Wielding perfectly fits this build, and will give you the option to use bonus action with a melee weapon. Just be sure to pick the correct Fighting Style with Bard (I will be covering it later). Also, being a College of Swords bard, you will gain +4 Armour Class from Defensive Flourish, meaning that not equipping shield will not be as problematic for survivability
One Handed Weapon and Shield - is my go-to choice for this build. You will easily reach 22 Armour Class in the mid-game and can get +4 from defensive flourish. Moreover, shields give good bonuses, like immunity to critical hits, shield bash, etc.
This is a short overview and progression of the build. Use it to get a quick glance if you want to pick the best options without going deep into the explanations. A more detailed description with texts, suggestions, and improvements can be found in the next sections.Starting the Game
We start with the early game. I would go into what are the best Races, Abilities, and Skills for Bardadin. Some of these choices are impactful as you cannot respec them.
Picking a race provides various benefits - abilities, dialogue options, looks, etc. I think races that have shield proficiency really benefit the Sorcerer build.
||Probably the most Paladinish option as it comes with additional Smites - Fire. Of course, they are not as good but may have their uses. Also, Tieflings have fire resistance|
||Half-Orcs really shine as Paladins. They can resurrect in case they die and get an additional die roll on a critical hit. This gives a big damage boost if you are using something like Polearm or Greataxe.|
||What makes these special is their increased moving distance. I think this is valuable as once you start taking out enemies one by one with Smites, this will prove advantageous. Overall the same applies to Wood Elf.|
We will start with Paladin. It will give us access to weapon and heavy armor proficiencies. The latter will ensure that in the late game, we can easily sustain a lot of hits by avoiding them
|Lay on Hands||Use your blessed touch to heal a creature or cure it of all diseases and poisons.|
|Divine Sense||Gain Advantage on Attack Rolls against celestials, fiends, and undead.|
|Channel Oath Charges||You gain the ability to channel the power contained in your Paladin Oath, which you can use to fuel certain actions.|
For the Bardadin build, you can pick any subclass. We will only allocate 2 levels into Paladin, meaning that you should evaluate first-level actions. Here is a short overview
- Oath of Devotion - a righteous Paladin who protects the weak and helps those in need. In terms of damage, this is the worst choice. It gives the Holy Rebuke that is really difficult to use correctly. However, if you want to roleplay specifically to this role, take it
- Oath of the Ancients - protectors of light and good. The subclass gives one spell to heal allies using Channel Oath Charge. It could be useful in some encounters where you really need to heal. However, you should not be constantly healing
- Oath of Vengeance - fight the Evil forces of the world. A much more aggressive option that gives Inquisitor's Might. It provides bonus radiant damage and is effective in a 9-meter radius for 2 turns.
- Oathbreaker - requires you to break Oath from the 3 subclasses. You can do with this subclass whatever you want in terms of roleplaying. It also gets a Spiteful Suffering spell. It is a good one, as it does not require concentration. The only downside is that to use the spell you will need to use an action point.
So in my case, I will go with Oath of Vengeance, for the Inquisitor's Might:
|Oath of Vengeance|
|Inquisitor's Might||You or an ally's weapon attacks deal additional Radiant damage equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum of 1) and can Daze enemies for 2 turns.|
|Oath of Vengeance Tenets||Oath of Vengeance paladins abide by the following tenets:
Fight the Greater Evil. Exerting your wisdom, identify the higher morality in any given instance, and fight for it.
No Mercy for the Wicked. Chasten those who dole out their villainy by wiping their blight from the world forever.
Now let's take a look at the abilities of the Sorcadin build. Correct allocation will allow us to maximize the early gameplay and get good modifier bonuses.
|Strength||10||We gimp on strength as it will not be the main ability which we use to deal damage|
|Dexterity||17 (15+2)||We are going full in dexterity. However, for this to work, be sure to use Finesse Weapons. It will be our main weapon damage ability and give high initiative. Moreover, you can also use Medium Armour, as we will get the highest Armour Class bonus from it|
|Constitution||14||The constitution will give us bonus HP and increase the success of Constitution Saving Throws|
|Intelligence||8||Not really important stat for us|
|Wisdom||8||We get 10, to not get any negative modifier for Wisdom Saving Throws, as there are many of them.|
|Charisma||16 (15+1)||This will be the main spellcasting ability of Paladin and Bard. Moreover, it gives higher success for ability checks in dialogues.|
Skills and Expertise
Overall, the skills should be impacted by your roleplaying and background decisions. However, you would still want those that will give you the best benefits. My recommendations are to pick those at which you have a high ability modifier:
You could even take Sleight of Hand for some lockpicking.
Detailed Leveling Progression
Here is the detailed progression for the build to get you started. You can use it as a guideline because early games can be daunting and overwhelming. Later on, once you get the feel for the class you can start picking your own options
At Level 2 Paladin gets the most famous action - Divine Smite. Moreover, we obtain 2 level 1 spell slots.
|Divine Smite||This Paladin-specific feature gives +2d8 Radiant Damage and an additional 1d8 against undead and fiends. it expends a spell slot if hits. Using higher-level spell slots deals more damage.|
As a Bardadin, the first pick is defensive Fighting Style. We will get weapon-related one in a few levels, once we obtain Bard multiclass
|Defence||Gain +1 to Armour Class, resulting in fewer hits being landed on you|
Paladin level 1 spells are okay. They do not provide any crazy tactics but can work in some situations. Here are my recommendations for what is good to have in your arsenal
|Thunderous Smite||A smite alternative that deals Thunder damage and can make enemy prone. I would use it in case you have a free bonus action that you do not plan on using. Otherwise, use normal Smite.|
|Shield of Faith||Gives +2 Armour Class as long as you can maintain concentration. Lasts until a long rest.|
|Command||Can command the creature to drop a weapon, run away, come close, etc. Can be useful in some encounters, especially against low Wisdom enemies.|
|Bless||Support multiple targets with higher attack rolls and bonus saving throws. I recommend using it if you do not have a cleric in the group. Try to cast it before a fight|
For other slots pick what you prefer.
Level 3 - Bard Lv 1
This is the first level when we multiclass into Bard. There are a lot of things to choose, so let's go through them carefully
|Bardic Inspiration||Inspire an ally to add a bonus to their next Attack Roll, Ability Check, or Saving Throw. You can use this ability a number of times based on your level in this class, recharging when you rest. The effects on a creature last until they long rest.|
|Light||Imbue an object or person with light. This reveals darker areas and can be a good quality of life improvement, especially if you do not have Darkvision|
|Friends||If you are the main character and do most of the dialogues, this is also a good choice as it gives an advantage during rolls.|
|Tasha's Hideous Laughter||Early on this spell could be a lifesaver, moreover, it could be effective against low Wisdom enemies, so check their stats. Thanks to it you can disable an enemy and even hit it at the same time with a chance for Saving Throw.|
|Longstrider||Will boost the movement speed by 3m. This is a huge bonus and will allow you to get better positions when in combat. You can also activate it on all party members when not in combat, after a long rest!|
|Healing Word||A very good spell to have in the arsenal. It costs bonus action and can be used safely to heal allies when you expend your main attacks or spells.|
|Speak with Animals||A ritual spell, that can be cast for free outside of combat. It allows you to speak with animals, unlocking some cool interactions and quests.|
As this is a fun feature, pick the one that you like the best! There are no combat advantages to picking a different one.
We also get to choose additional skills to gain proficiency in. As always I recommend picking those that relate to the highest abilities and then taking the ones that you are not proficient with. Here are my recommendations:
Level 4 - Bard Lv 2
We further continue the charismatic person route. We gain additional spell slots that can be used either for Smiting or spellcasting. Second, we get the class feature:
|Jack of All Trades||Your vast experiences make you more likely to succeed in any undertaking. Add half of your Proficiency Bonus (rounded down) to Ability Checks that you are not Proficient in.|
We gain a very good utility action to gain additional HP restoration and action reset:
|Song of Rest||You and your allies are revitalised as though you would have taken a Short Rest.|
|Faerie Fire||A good spell that lights up enemies and gives an attack roll Advantage against them when attacking. However, it requires spell Concentration.|
Level 5 - Bard Lv 3
A big milestone for Bard multiclass. We are able to select a subclass and unlock the first level 2 spells.
Again, we will mainly use spell slots for Smiting, so does not matter much what you pick
|Hold Person||This is a good concentration spell that can remove a single target from the equation. Try to target enemies with low Wisdom. Then follow up with rogue or fighter to deal critical hits from 3 meters.|
|College of Swords|
|Slashing Flourish (Melee)||Attack up to 2 enemies at once.|
|Slashing Flourish (Ranged)||Attack up to 2 enemies at once.|
|Defensive Flourish (Melee)||Attack defensively, increasing your Armour Class by 4 if you hit.|
|Defensive Flourish (Ranged)||Attack defensively, increasing your Armour Class by 4 if you hit.|
|Mobile Flourish (Melee)||Thrust your weapon with enough force to push your target back 6m. Afterward, you can Teleport to the target.|
|Mobile Flourish (Ranged)||Shoot a target with enough force to push it back 6m. Afterwards, you can teleport to the target.|
With Paladin, we picked a defensive Fighting Style. However, now we can get an offensive one, based on which weapons we have
|Duelling||When you wear one one-handed weapon or weapon and shield, gain a bonus of 2 damage. Pick this if you are going with a shield|
|Two-Weapon Fighting||When you make an attack with your off-hand weapon, you can add your Ability Modifier to the damage of the attack. This is mandatory if you are going the dual-wielding route|
Level 6 - Bard Lv 4
A bit late, but we finally got the first Feat. Moreover, 2 new level 2 spell slots have been added.
|Mage Hand||A utility spell, that can summon a spectral hand. It can help with puzzles and shove enemies.|
Unfortunately, nothing fancy that we could use to improve the Bardadin build. So pick what you think may help you optimize the build
For the first Feat, there is nothing much to recommend. You really only want to improve your ability score for a higher spell success chance and more damage
|Ability Improvement||Allocate 2 ability points to Dexterity. It will increase your damage, attack rolls, and initiative.|
|Dual Wielder||Get this feat if you are using two longswords, to gain bonus damage on the off-hand weapon|
Level 7 - Bard Lv 5
This level is a big one. First, we obtain level 3 spells, which are okay. However, we get awesome class features:
|Font of Inspiration||You regain all your Bardic Inspiration after a Short or Long Rest. Now you can use Flourishes freely throughout the combat.|
|Improved Bardic Inspiration||The bonus gained from Bardic Inspiration increases to +1d8, this will give a higher damage bonus for Flourishes.|
|Fear||I recommend having this spell on hand. It can frighten multiple enemies making them perfect targets for your flourishes or ally attacks.|
|Hypnotic Pattern||An extremely good crowd-control spell should be used at the start of the combat. It will remove enemies from combat for two turns. Cast it with Metamagic: Extended Spell for a duration of 4 turns. Use it to take out enemies one by one, so it would not be canceled on all of them.|
|Speak with the Dead||Allow a corpse that still has a mouth and is not an undead to answer 5 questions to the caster. A ritual spell that can be cast freely outside of combat. Interesting choice for utility and exploration|
Level 8 - Bard Lv 6
Another major improvement for the Bard build, although quite late. We finally obtained Extra Attack.
|Extra Attack||Can make an additional free attack after making an unarmed or weapon attack. This will in theory double your damage output. Use it together with Haste to get 4 attacks per turn.|
We also get additional action, that can freely be used before combat:
|Countercharm||You and any allies within 9m have an advantage on Saving Throws against being Charmed or Frightened.|
|Plant Growth||You can cover the area with plants and slow down creature movement. The great thing is that this does not require any concentration, so it can be used safely to control enemies.|
Level 9 - Bard Lv 7
We finally unlock level 4 spells. However, we are mainly interested in the level 4 spell slot, which will be used to upcast Divine Smite for even more damage
Unfortunately, I do not think that any of the spells are really important for Bardadin build. You will still mainly use level 4 spell slots for Divine Smites.
|Greater Invisibility||This is I think the first time I recommend this spell. You can use it on Rogue in your group, to land multiple hits without being detected (if they pass stealth checks)|
|Polymorph||Cast it on any strong enemy or boss. Throw them into a chasm with high-strength character. Easy kill, if you manage to land it. However, I still think it is more fun to use smites.|
Level 10 - Bard Lv 8
We reach level 8 Bard, which will give us our last Feat for the build. We get the first level 5 spell slot. This will give you a chance to utilize 6d8 Divine Smites in addition to base damage.
Feel free to take any spell - anything that you want to try out. The Bardadin build now mainly revolves around smiting and occasional Crowd-control spells if needed. You could try:
|Glyph of Warding||Use it on wet enemies. If they are wet, summon Ice or Lightning Ward for huge double damage effect.|
|Ability Improvement||Take this if you did not pick it at level 4 Bard. Choose +2 Dexterity|
|Savage Attacker||A perfect feat to maximize damage by rolling two dice and taking the better one. It works only on weapon attacks. Moreover, this also affects Smites and any additional effects you do with melee weapons.|
Level 11 - Bard Lv 9
We gain an additional level 5 spell slot.
Pick one of these. They are level 5 spells, so you should evaluate what you prefer when activating - Divine Smite with 6d8 rolls (they don't use spells slots if missed) or the chosen spell, which can also miss
|Planar Binding||You can add this spell to the spell list if you know that encounter is coming with - a celestial, elemental, fey, fairy, etc. It will make them fight on your side|
|Dominate Person||Makes an enemy fight for you which can help in some encounters against humanoids.|
Level 12 - Bard Lv 10
The last level of the build but also with plenty of surprises. We gain a level 6 spell slot, that will give a chance to cast the highest damage Divine Smite. We also obtained Bardic Inspiration upgrade:
|Improved Bardic Inspiration||The bonus gained from Bardic Inspiration increases to +1d10, this will give a higher damage bonus for Flourishes.|
Lat, we get bonus skill expertise. Feel free to select anything that you would like to get, this will give an additional boost.
|Blade Ward||Reduce incoming piercing, slashing, and bludgeoning damage by half. If you are fighting against enemies that use physical attacks this in theory doubles your HP.|
For the spell section, I think nothing stands out, and we already picked what we needed. Just choose what you prefer. However, please check out the next section about Magical Secrets, which can offer some really good spells.
Okay, this is an awesome spell list that gives you 2 spells to choose. The downside... There are too many good spells. Of course, first I would recommend setting up priorities. First, remember, that you can only have one concentration spell active at one time. Second, think about what situations and encounters were difficult to handle. The spells that you choose could make these much easier.
|Banishing Smite||Although this is a paladin Smite, the only one to obtain it can Bard. What makes it powerful, is that it removes an enemy combatant from a fight if it is successful. On top, it deals huge 5d10 damage. If you can land a critical hit, this is huge. Unfortunately, you will be able to use 3 of them maximum during long rest.|
|Hunger of Hadar||The scariest spell you can use to control the battlefield. Use it to cover enemies and force them to move out of the fog. This will damage them, and you can wait for them outside to hit with your smites. Moreover, they become blind, giving you an advantage.|
|Haste||Gives Haste for the target, adding additional action points. This will double the number of attacks Bardadin can do. However, if you have someone in the group who can cast it (like Sorcerer), skip it.|
|Spirit Guardians||An amazing spell that synergizes well with Bardadin's build. You will get additional radian/necrotic hits in close proximity against enemies. Pair this with an item that can apply Radiant Orbs, and enemies will miss all of their attacks. However, this requires concentration, so something like Haste or Hunger of Hadar would be canceled once used.|
|Counterspell||At least one party member should have this in the group. It allows canceling any spell and can save your whole group's lives.|
Now I would like to cover some general tips on how to play Bardadin Build.
Set your Divine Smites as active
In the characters reactions menu, you can control which reactions are activated by default and when they are asked to be used. So for example you can control that Divine Smite would be activated only when you land a critical hit.
On the other hand, you could set them to always ask if you want a Divine Smite to be activated on each attack. Feel free to play with these, and find your sweet spot. So landing Divine Smite on critical hit would double your rolls, giving these crazy damage numbers:
Flourishes can be used with Divine Smites
College of Swords Bard has unique attack actions - flourishes. For example, defensive Flourish will give 4 Armour Class, in addition to the bonus damage roll.
Moreover, if you have set up Divine Smite reactions, these Flourishes will activate the smites and allow you to do both Paladin and Bard actions in a single attack.
Dual Wielding allows smiting on each hit
If you went with Dual weapons, remember that Divine Smites can be activated on each hit. This is very useful when you need lots of damage in a single turn. This is the best option in terms of damage for bonus action. You use an offhand attack and on top apply Divine Smite with spell slot
Thank you for reading the Bardadin - Paladin and Bard multiclass build for Baldur's Gate 3. We went through the progression of the build, what spells to take, and how to utilize flourishes with Divine Smites for the highest damage.