Bardadin Build - Bard Paladin Multiclass

Bardadin Build - Bard Paladin Multiclass - Baldur's Gate 3 (BG3)

By zanuffas
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In this post, I will go through the Bardadin - Bard Paladin Multiclass Build for Baldur's Gate 3. This is a strong setup that allows fully controlling enemies, dealing huge damage bursts with Divine Smite icon action bg3Divine Smite,​ and being the best person in the group - a true party face with high Charisma.

Bardadin - Paladin Bard Multiclass Build

In this build, I plan on covering the simplest and fairly straightforward Bardadin variation 2 Paladin and 10 Bard. The idea is that you mostly go with Bard and then empower it with a few levels in Paladin. This enables you to be a strong caster and an even better frontliner.

So by going with Bard, you get:

  • Bardic Inspiration icon action bg3Bardic Inspiration​ to improve ability rolls, from level 5 they will also reset on each short rest.
  • Song of Rest icon action bg3Song of Rest​ gives a third short rest
  • Swords Bard gives access to medium armor from level 3, which can be used through most of the game till later in Act 3.
  • Flourishes like Slashing Flourish (Melee) icon action bg3Slashing Flourish (Melee)​ allow hitting multiple enemies, getting increased Armour Class, or teleporting
  • Full caster spell slots, meaning you will get more slots for casting and Divine Smite icon action bg3Divine Smite.

For Paladin, even with 2 levels, you get some nice stuff:

  • The main one is Divine Smite icon action bg3Divine Smite​ which greatly improves burst damage.
  • Early Oath actions
  • A few spell slots and most importantly Command icon action bg3Command​ that you will be able to cast with 100% success.

So this creates a unique setup where you can be an excellent party face, deal huge damage with burst attacks, and cast control spells to disable foes. The main highlight will be Divine Smite icon action bg3Divine Smite​ + Hold Person icon action bg3Hold Person​/Hold Monster icon action bg3Hold Monster​ for guaranteed crits on your smites and normal attacks.

A major influence of the playstyle of this build was Ethan, or Prestigious_Juice341 - https://www.reddit.com/r/BG3Builds/comments/18pxoy9/honor_mode_102_smite_swords_bard_ssb_complete/

Leveling Overview

Here is a concise table with all the main picks during your leveling progression. For more detailed reasoning, I go further in the article. Also, do not forget to check the recommended gear as it is crucial.

Level Class Selection
1 Bard 1 STR - 17, DEX - 10, CON - 14, INT - 8, WIS - 8, CHA - 16
Skills: Deception, Persuasion, Performance
Cantrips: Vicious Mockery icon action bg3Vicious Mockery, Friends icon action bg3Friends
Spells: Dissonant Whispers icon action bg3Dissonant Whispers, Longstrider icon action bg3Longstrider​, Faerie Fire icon action bg3Faerie Fire, Sleep icon action bg3Sleep
2 Bard 2 Spells: Thunderwave icon action bg3Thunderwave
3 Bard 3 Skills: Persuasion, Performance
Spells: Enhance Ability icon action bg3Enhance Ability
Subclass: College of Swords
Fighting Style: Two-Weapon Fighting icon passive feature bg3Two-Weapon Fighting
Replace Spell: Sleep icon action bg3Sleep​ -> Cloud of Daggers icon action bg3Cloud of Daggers
4 Bard 4 Cantrips: Light icon action bg3Light
Spells: Hold Person icon action bg3Hold Person​​
Feat: Great Weapon Master: All In icon passive feature bg3Great Weapon Master: All In
5 Bard 5
Spells: Glyph of Warding icon action bg3Glyph of Warding
6 Bard 6 Spells: Fear icon action bg3Fear
Replace Spell: Thunderwave icon action bg3Thunderwave​ -> Feather Fall icon action bg3Feather Fall
7 Paladin 1 Subclass: Oath of Vengeance
8 Paladin 2 Fighting Style: Defence icon passive feature bg3Defence
9 Bard 7 Spells: Confusion icon action bg3Confusion
Replace Spell: Cloud of Daggers icon action bg3Cloud of Daggers​ -> Speak with Animals icon action bg3Speak with Animals
10 Bard 8 Spells: anything
Feat: Savage Attacker icon passive feature bg3Savage Attacker
11 Bard 9 Spells: Hold Monster icon action bg3Hold Monster
12 Bard 10 Cantrips: Mage Hand icon action bg3Mage Hand
Spells: Greater Restoration icon action bg3Greater Restoration
Magical Secrets: Counterspell icon action bg3Counterspell, Hunger of Hadar icon action bg3Hunger of Hadar

Starting the Game - Level 1

We start with the early game. I would go into what are the best Races, Abilities, and Skills for Bardadin Build. The early game can be difficult, but let's cover a few options on how to start.

There are two variations that you can use for this build

Variation Description
Bard Lv 6 -> Paladin Lv 2 -> Bard Lv 10 Starting with Bard will make you more of a caster for the first 3 levels. After that, you can use Medium armor. This unlocks Extra Attack icon passive feature bg3Extra Attack​ at Lv 6, and at level 8 the build is online. If you will want to use Heavy armor at level 8+ this will require to respec, and first take 2 paladin levels.
Paladin Lv 2 -> Bard Lv 10 This unlocks heavy and medium armor proficiency from the start of the game and at level 2 you can already use Divine Smites. However, the Extra Attack icon passive feature bg3Extra Attack​ attack is delayed till level 8, which is very late.

I recommend going with the first one, as it is stronger and Bard is very useful early in the game both from proficiencies and dialogue perspectives.

Races

Picking a race provides various benefits - abilities, dialogue options, looks, etc.

If you are having difficulties making a choice, pick whatever you prefer in terms of looks or roleplay. "The perfect race pick" is important if you are into extreme min-maxing.
Race Features Description
half orc bg3Half-Orc
  • Darkvision icon passive feature bg3Darkvision
  • Relentless Endurance icon passive feature bg3Relentless Endurance
  • Savage Attacks icon passive feature bg3Savage Attacks
Great race for a frontliner. It can resurrect with 1 HP if downed. Moreover, they get some bonuses with Critical hits, but based on the weapons we plan to use they will be minimal
githyanki bg3Githyanki
  • Martial Prodigy icon passive feature bg3Martial Prodigy
Very versatile race, that unlocks some good actions for combat and exploration. It also gives good weapon and armor proficiencies allowing you to wear some of the best early-game items.
Half-Elf Baldur's Gate 3Wood Half-Elf What makes these special is their increased moving distance and Shield Proficiency. 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.
halfling bg3Halfling Amazing race that improves almost all rolls in the game. The downside is slower movement speed.

Class

As I mentioned, you start the build as Bard, you can also go with Paladin, but it greatly delays the Extra Attack icon passive feature bg3Extra Attack. This is a large power spike, that you want as early as possible.

Overview
bard Baldur's Gate 3Bard
Features
Bardic Inspiration icon action bg3Bardic Inspiration Iconic bard feature, that can improve damage, dialogue dice rolls, and saving throws.

Cantrips

Cantrip Description
Vicious Mockery icon action bg3Vicious Mockery Although the damage is low, it has its purpose. The cantrip can be used to impose a disadvantage on enemy attacks, in case you see that your normal attack would not kill it. However, the cantrip loses purpose in later levels.
Friends icon action bg3Friends 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.

Spells

The spells will be useful early on, as you will only have light armor, and being a frontliner with it is risky. Choose 4:

Spell Description
Dissonant Whispers icon action bg3Dissonant Whispers The only truly offensive level-1 spell. It can also frighten enemies making them unable to move. Later on, it loses its purpose, once we start using Flourishes.
Longstrider icon action bg3Longstrider 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!
Faerie Fire icon action bg3Faerie Fire Early game, this spell is wondrous as it makes it easy to get an Advantage on attack rolls. Once the spell is cast you can exploit it next turn or by your group members.
Sleep icon action bg3Sleep Very powerful spell against level 1-2 enemies, as it succeeds without any resistance checks.

Starting Instrument

As this is a fun feature, pick the one that you like the best! There are no combat advantages to picking a different one.

Background

Backgrounds are mostly for role-playing and you can pick whatever you prefer. As we start bard and have high Dexterity with Charisma, here are my recommendations:

Background Skills Description
Charlatan Deception
Sleight of Hand
Very good choice, especially, if you will not have a dedicated rogue in the party to do disarming and lockpicking. Bard, can pick up this role if needed.
Entertainer Acrobatics
Performance
Both of these skills are very relevant for the build as you have high Dexterity and Charisma.

I feel these two are the most useful. There are many more relevant, that help with Charisma-related skills - Noble, Guild Artisan, Soldier, but only one of their offered skills has high effectiveness.

Abilities

Now let's take a look at the abilities of the Bard Paladin build. Correct allocation will allow you to maximize the early gameplay and get good modifier bonuses.

Overall this build can be adjusted in multiple ways, based on what you will use or pick during your playthrough:

  • Using Elixir of Hill Giant Strength allows reducing strength investment to 0.
  • Getting Gloves of Dexterity icon bg3Gloves of Dexterity allows you to put all points into Strength.
  • On the other hand, later in Act 3, you can go with Gauntlets of Frost Giant Strength icon bg3Gauntlets of Frost Giant Strength and gimp on strength.
  • Act 3 also gives options for Amulet of Greater Health icon bg3Amulet of Greater Health to free up the glove slot and ability points from the constitution.
  • Or you can go for maximum dexterity from the first levels.

What is my recommendation? No matter what you pick you will have to start with this kind of setup:

Ability Value Description
strengthStrength 8 Go with low Strength, this will save you from multi-ability dependency and can be counteracted using Elixir of Hill Giant Strength if you prefer.
dexterityDexterity 17 (15+2) Going with maximum dexterity allows wearing Medium armor and higher initiative from the start of the game. Without Auntie Ethel's Hair, I would leave this at 16. Then put that one point into Charisma.
constitution bg3Constitution 14 The constitution will give you bonus HP and increase the success of Constitution Saving Throws.
intelligenceIntelligence 8 Not an important stat for the build.
wisdomWisdom 10 10 is taken to have no negative modifier from Wisdom Saving Throws. Spells targeting this ability are the most abundant.
charismaproficient_ability Baldur's Gate 3Charisma 16 (15+1) This will be the main spellcasting ability of Paladin Bard. Moreover, it gives higher success for ability checks in dialogues. Go with 17, if you are not taking Auntie Ethel's Hair on Dexterity.

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:

  • Sleight of Hand - can be taken situationally, if this build is on a companion, but I would prioritize Charisma picks otherwise.
  • Deception
  • Intimidation
  • Performance
  • Persuasion

Leveling Progression - Level 2-12

Here is the detailed progression for the Bardadin 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 options

Level 2

By this time you should have landed in the first area already. The level-up gives some welcome improvements for your Bard.

Feature Description
Jack of All Trades icon passive feature bg3Jack of All Trades This will improve your chances of success when doing various dice rolls that you are not proficient in. It's not huge, but will help out during the game.

We gain a very good utility action to gain additional HP restoration and action reset:

Action Description
Song of Rest icon action bg3Song of Rest Unique action to Bards. It acts as a third short rest. This is especially useful for Warlocks, as they will gain even more spell slots during the day.

Spells

I have covered most of the important level 1 spells, that the build needs. In case you need help:

Spells Description
Thunderwave icon action bg3Thunderwave Can be used to throw off enemies from ledges. Will be useful in a few encounters in Act 1.

Replace Spell

Nothing to replace this early in the game.

Optional Elixir of Hill Giant Strength

This is optional, and for some people breaks, immersion, feel free to skip it.

There is a trick early in Act 1 after you reach the first settlement - Druid's Grove. There you can stock up on some really powerful potions for Acts 1, and 2 - Elixir of Hill Giant Strength.

What does it do? It increases the Strength to 21 until a Long rest. More or less this negates any need to have strength investment. This is somewhat gimmicky, however, if you are interested here is a guide on how to farm Elixir of Hill Giant Strength.

This is a good choice, especially in the early game. High strength will unlock a wide variety of two-handed weapons. However, later on, you can play around with your abilities even more like using Gloves of Dexterity icon bg3Gloves of Dexterity.

Level 3

The build reached a very special moment - subclass. It will give some sweet actions that make the Bard much more powerful.

Skills/Expertise

You can select 2 skills in which you become an expert. I would recommend something, that you want to ensure the Bardadin cannot fail. For example, due to high Charisma bonuses, dialogue-related ones are great. Choose two out of these:

  • Deception
  • Intimidation
  • Performance
  • Persuasion

I would also would not forget Sleight of Hand. If you are the only one doing lockpicking, this will ensure some irritating fails and wasted time.

Spells

Spells Description
Enhance Ability icon action bg3Enhance Ability If playing on Honor Mode, this spell is mandatory. It can save your group from many problems and overcome ability checks where you are not proficient. Otherwise, you can do without it, but I would still recommend someone in your group to have it.

Subclass

Overview
bard_sword Baldur's Gate 3College of Swords
Features
Slashing Flourish (Melee) icon action bg3Slashing Flourish (Melee) Attack up to 2 enemies at once.
Slashing Flourish (Ranged) icon action bg3Slashing Flourish (Ranged) Attack up to 2 enemies at once.
Defensive Flourish (Melee) icon action bg3Defensive Flourish (Melee) Attack defensively, increasing your Armour Class by 4 if you hit.
Defensive Flourish (Ranged) icon action bg3Defensive Flourish (Ranged) Attack defensively, increasing your Armour Class by 4 if you hit.
Mobile Flourish (Melee) icon action bg3Mobile Flourish (Melee) Thrust your weapon with enough force to push your target back 6m. Afterward, you can Teleport to the target.
Mobile Flourish (Ranged) icon action bg3Mobile Flourish (Ranged) Shoot a target with enough force to push it back 6m. Afterwards, you can teleport to the target.
Swords Bard also gets access to Medium Armor proficiency.

Fighting Style

As a Swords Bard, you can choose a fighting style for some small bonuses. If you are going for Two-Handed weapons, these don't matter. If you are dual-wielding then these one choice:

Fighting Style Description
Two-Weapon Fighting icon passive feature bg3Two-Weapon Fighting The most relevant choice no matter what you ability is your main one. It is relevant if you plan on using Hand Crossbow +1 icon bg3Hand Crossbow +1 extensively. Moreover, it is mandatory if you will dual-wield weapons.
Duelling icon passive feature bg3Duelling This is relevant if you plan on using something like Duellist's Prerogative icon bg3Duellist's Prerogative later in the game.

Replace Spell

I would recommend removing Sleep icon action bg3Sleep​ for:

Spells Description
Cloud of Daggers icon action bg3Cloud of Daggers Cast this, if you will not be able to reach a group of enemies to use Flourish. It hits two times - on the initial cast and enemy turn. This is a very effective level 2 spell in the early game.

Level 4

The first feat of the build is unlocked.

Cantrips

Cantrip Description
Light icon action bg3Light This one might be useful in the upcoming Act 2 or in general dark areas.
Minor Illusion icon action bg3Minor Illusion You can use this one to move enemies together before combat. This can then be utilized

Spells

Spells Description
Hold Person icon action bg3Hold Person The spell is very useful, however, it will mostly be utilized in Act 3, once you get Band of the Mystic Scoundrel icon bg3Band of the Mystic Scoundrel. Before that, I would only use it if you have an 80%+ chance of success.

Feat

For the first Feat, there are a lot of options, and it all depends on your knowledge of the game:

Feat Description
Great Weapon Master: All In icon passive feature bg3Great Weapon Master: All In This is the strongest feat if you are using two-handed weapons. First, it gives a bonus attack using a bonus action if you kill an enemy or land a critical hit. Second, it gives a big 10 damage boost, that comes with a -5 penalty to attack rolls. This is problematic in the early game but can be overcome in various ways. I recommend checking my guide on Attack Roll Increase, to get ideas on how to mitigate it.
ico_features Baldur's Gate 3Ability Improvement +2 Charisma is a pretty good pick. However, this early in the game it might not be as relevant. I would recommend then going with +2 Dexterity, to improve the weapon hit chance if not using Strength Elixirs. Still, you will want that +2 Charisma boost later on and do a respec.
Dual Wielder icon passive feature bg3Dual Wielder If you are adamant about using Dual Wielding in Act 1 and equipping weapons like Phalar Aluve icon bg3Phalar Aluve, Larethian's Wrath icon bg3Larethian's Wrath which are versatile, then you can take this perk. Still, this perk should be removed later on as Act 3 best weapons don't need it.

Replace Spell

Nothing to replace

Level 5

This level is a big one. First, we obtain level 3 spells, which are okay. However, we get awesome class features:

Feature Description
Font of Inspiration icon passive feature bg3Font of Inspiration Greatly improves your damage output throughout the day as you can use flourishes more often.
Improved Bardic Inspiration icon passive feature bg3Improved Bardic Inspiration The bonus gained from Bardic Inspiration increases to +1d8, this will give a higher damage bonus for Flourishes.

Spells

Spell Description
Glyph of Warding icon action bg3Glyph of Warding Get this spell as soon as possible. It is amazing! You can cast various types of elements, but most importantly it can put enemies to sleep without HP limitations. So this is the perfect crowd control option.

Replace Spell

For spell replacing I don't think there is anything to replace yet.

Level 6

This is the last Bard level we are taking before moving to Paladin. This is a huge improvement to the build.

Feature Description
Extra Attack icon passive feature bg3Extra Attack You can now attack two times and this can be done together with Flourishes. So you can easily hit 4 enemies in one turn, without Haste or Elixir of Bloodlust.

We also get additional action, that can freely be used before combat:

Action Description
Countercharm icon action bg3Countercharm You and any allies within 9m have an advantage on Saving Throws against being Charmed or Frightened. Did not use much during the playthrough.

Spells

Pick one:

Spells Description
Hypnotic Pattern icon action bg3Hypnotic Pattern It can destroy the whole encounter by hypnotizing foes. The result is that they cannot move or take any actions.
Fear icon action bg3Fear A perfect crowd-control spell. Enemies drop their weapons and run away. It will become very powerful once you start using Helmet of Arcane Acuity icon bg3Helmet of Arcane Acuity for increased Spell Save DC.

Replace Spells

I would remove Thunderwave icon action bg3Thunderwave​ as you will exclusively start relying on weapon damage:

Spells Description
Feather Fall icon action bg3Feather Fall​​ Good utility spell that helps with exploration.

Level 7 - Paladin Lv 1

The Bardadin build now comes to fruition by multiclassing the first level in Paladin.

You might want to do a respec. This way you will gain Heavy Armor proficiency. There will be some cool ones, that you can obtain at this stage in the game.
Overview
paladin Baldur's Gate 3Paladin
Features
Lay on Hands icon action bg3Lay on Hands Use your blessed touch to heal a creature or cure it of all diseases and poisons. 
Divine Sense icon action bg3Divine Sense Gain Advantage on Attack Rolls against celestials, fiends, and undead.
ico_classRes_channelOath Baldur's Gate 3Channel Oath Charges You gain the ability to channel the power contained in your Paladin Oath, which you can use to fuel certain actions.

Subclass

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 icon passive feature bg3Holy Rebuke​ that is difficult to use correctly.
  • Oath of the Ancients - protectors of light and good. The subclass gives one spell to heal allies using Channel Oath Charge. It is useful for two-turn Healing Radiance icon action bg3Healing Radiance, giving a decent boost to survivability.
  • Oath of Vengeance - fight the Evil forces of the world. A much more aggressive option that gives Inquisitor's Might icon passive feature bg3Inquisitor's Might. It provides bonus radiant damage and is effective in a 9-meter radius for 2 turns. I would pick this one due to its simplicity.
  • 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 icon action bg3Spiteful 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:

Overview
paladin_vengeance Baldur's Gate 3Oath of Vengeance
Features
Inquisitor's Might icon passive feature bg3Inquisitor's Might Gives a radiant boost to damage. This costs only bonus action, so is a good choice, for minimal negative impact on Damage per turn.
Oath of Vengeance Tenets icon passive feature bg3Oath of Vengeance Tenets The oath revolves around revenge, where someone was wronged and you have to clear the equation.

Level 8 - Paladin Lv 2

At Level 2 Paladin gets the most famous action - Divine Smite. Moreover, we obtain 2 level 1 spell slots.

Actions Description
Divine Smite icon action bg3Divine 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.

Fighting Style

Now, with our Bardadin build you can go with this:

Style Description
Defence icon passive feature bg3Defence Gain +1 to Armour Class, especially valuable if you are dual-wielding, as you cannot wear a shield.

Other choices are also noteworthy, however, Great Weapon Fighting icon passive feature bg3Great Weapon Fighting​ gives a very small damage boost that will be less and less important as you get stronger.

Prepared Spells

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

Spell Description
Command icon action bg3Command Mandatory pick. This spell can ensure that enemies lay on the ground, stay still, or come to you to be attacked via opportunity attacks and your Slashing Flourish (Melee) icon action bg3Slashing Flourish (Melee).

To be honest, anything else is optional, and is just there for flavor:

Spell Description
Thunderous Smite icon action bg3Thunderous 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 icon action bg3Shield of Faith Gives +2 Armour Class as long as you can maintain concentration. Lasts until a long rest.
Divine Favour icon action bg3Divine Favour Although it uses a concentration slot, it can be great for a bit of bonus damage. It only costs bonus action.
Wrathful Smite icon action bg3Wrathful Smite Another Smite option that can frighten enemies leaving them stuck in place and with various disadvantages.

Level 9 - Bard Lv 7

We finally unlock level 4 spells. Some of them will be extremely strong or they could be used for Stronger Divine Smite.

Spells

The aim is to get the best control spells

Spell Description
Confusion icon action bg3Confusion This is an amazing spell, that can make many of the combat encounters much easier. It will make enemies wander around, skip turns, or attack allies. Truly a devastating spell.

Replace Spell

This is a perfect time to replace Cloud of Daggers icon action bg3Cloud of Daggers​ if you still have it:

Spell Description
Speak with Animals icon action bg3Speak with Animals Use this spell in case you forget Potion of Animal Speaking.

Level 10 - Bard Lv 8

You reach level 8 Bard, which will give you the last Feat for the build. We get the first level 5 spell slot.

Spells

For spells, we now have everything that is needed to fully utilize the build with available options. You could try:

Spell Description
Bestow Curse icon action bg3Bestow Curse Use this spell to increase the damage you deal with each hit. It boosts it by 1d8 necrotic. Best used on boss enemies as otherwise, the spell slot cost is too steep.

Feat

Feat Description
Savage Attacker icon passive feature bg3Savage Attacker A perfect feat to maximize damage by rolling two dice and taking the better one. It works with weapon attacks and Smites. The most valuable damage will come from the latter, especially on critical hits.

Level 11 - Bard Lv 9

Additional level 5 spell slot is unlocked and Bardadin gets level 5 spells. This will be a big improvement to overall control capabilities throughout the combat encounter.

Spells

Spell Description
Hold Monster icon action bg3Hold Monster With this option, Hold Monster, Helmet of Arcane Acuity icon bg3Helmet of Arcane Acuity, and Band of the Mystic Scoundrel icon bg3Band of the Mystic Scoundrel, you can paralyze humanoids and Monsters. Then follow up with critical melee hits, for ridiculous amounts of damage.

Replace Spell

Nothing to replace, besides your personal preferences.

Level 12 - Bard Lv 10

The last level of the build but also with plenty of surprises. The build gets access to a level 6 spell slot, allowing upcast control spells like Command icon action bg3Command, Hold Person icon action bg3Hold Person, etc. for very strong results. Moreover new feature is unlocked:

Feature Description
Improved Bardic Inspiration icon passive feature bg3Improved 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.

Skills

You can choose an additional 2 skills to obtain expertise in them. I recommend picking any of the Charisma-related ones.

Cantrips

Cantrips Description
Mage Hand icon action bg3Mage Hand A utility spell, that can summon a spectral hand. It can help with puzzles and shove enemies.

Spells

For the spell section, I think nothing stands out, and you already picked what was needed. Just choose what you prefer. However, the next section will show how to unlock some very powerful spells.

Spell Description
Greater Restoration icon action bg3Greater Restoration Having this spell might be useful in some situations where you want to remove a negative condition.

Magical Secrets

Okay, this is an awesome spell list that gives you 2 spells to choose from. The downside... There are too many good spells. Of course, 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.

Spell Description
Counterspell icon action bg3Counterspell At least one party member should have this in the group. It allows canceling any spell and can save your whole group's lives. However, having two of them is even better.
Hunger of Hadar icon action bg3Hunger 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.
Spirit Guardians icon action bg3Spirit Guardians An amazing spell that synergizes well with Bardadin's build. You will get additional radiant/necrotic hits against enemies. Pair this with a Luminous Armour  icon bg3Luminous Armour that can apply Radiant Orbs, and enemies will miss all of their attacks. However, this requires concentration, so something like Hunger of Hadar icon action bg3Hunger of Hadar, Hypnotic Pattern icon action bg3Hypnotic Pattern, etc. does not play well.
Banishing Smite (Ranged) icon action bg3Banishing Smite (Ranged)​​ Although this is a paladin Smite, the only one to obtain it can be Bard. What makes it powerful, is that it removes an enemy combatant from a fight if it is successful. On top, it deals 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.

These are just a few spells, and you can choose many more based on your preferences.

Maximizing Ability Scores

Now, as the build progression is covered there are a few aspects and important decisions you will have to make throughout the game. These will decide your final score for abilities. There are a few abilities to concentrate on as this is a multi-ability dependant build:

Strength

It gives to some decent weapons like Svartlebee's Woundseeker icon bg3Svartlebee's Woundseeker and in Act 3, the best options are strength-based. Here are a few ways to maximize it:

  • Gauntlets of Frost Giant Strength icon bg3Gauntlets of Frost Giant Strength - sets to fixed 23 value. This will be enough to consistently hit enemies and get good modifier bonuses. Recommended option for late game
  • Elixir of Hill Giant Strength - sets to fixed 21, excellent for early game. I already talked about this in the progression section. Recommended option for early game
  • Elixir of Cloud Giant Strength - sets to 27. This is the highest possible value for Act 3. However, you will have to sacrifice Elixir of Bloodlust which will provide a substantial damage boost with an additional hit.

There is also a way to naturally reach high strength, but then you will have to wear Gloves of Dexterity icon bg3Gloves of Dexterity to compensate for low dexterity:

  1. Act 1 - Auntie Ethel Hair - you will want to get +1 Strength if you pick this choice.
  2. Feat - Ability Improvement - +2 Strength. However, this is optional if you want maximum damage with Great Weapon Master: All In icon passive feature bg3Great Weapon Master: All In​ and Savage Attacker icon passive feature bg3Savage Attacker.
  3. Act 2 - Potion of Everlasting Vigour - +2 Strength.
  4. Act 3 - Mirror of Loss - pick +2 Strength.

So what is my recommendation? For simplicity, the Gauntlets of Frost Giant Strength icon bg3Gauntlets of Frost Giant Strength are a good pick and will allow you to pump charisma. Otherwise, for the late game, a natural way of pumping strength is also a decent choice.

Dexterity

To reach high Dexterity you have two main ways:

  • Gloves of Dexterity icon bg3Gloves of Dexterity will enable you to have a flat 18 dexterity, and put points elsewhere (like naturally pumping strength). This is a good value to have a good Armour class with late-game armor - Bhaalist Armour icon bg3Bhaalist Armour
  • Just put 16 points into it, via the character creation window. This will be enough for most of the needs - Armour Class and initiative.

Charisma

Generally, you should be able to reach 20-22:

  • 16-17 from initial character creation
  • Feat - Ability Improvement - +2 Charisma.
  • Act 3 - Mirror of Loss - Charisma +2 and additional +1 from Patriar's Memory.

No matter if you end up with 20 or 22 it will be enough for a solid controller build.

Potions, Elixirs and Consumables

Let's take a look at what consumables we can use to further empower the build.

Potions

These are general consumables, and most of them are activated for a few turns. Potions are separate from Elixirs and can be active together.

Consumable Description
oil of accuracy bg3Oil of Accuracy Gives +2 to attack rolls, which minimizes the negative impact from Great Weapon Master: All In icon passive feature bg3Great Weapon Master: All In.
diluted oil of sharpness bg3Diluted Oil of Sharpness Gives a bonus attack roll and damage. It is a good coating if you can apply it before combat.
potion of speed bg3Potion of Speed In case you or your other casters have a Concentration spell slot taken and cannot cast Haste, use this potion. It acts similarly, but the effect is just for 3 turns.
potion of invisibility bg3Potion of Invisibility Can be used to get a perfect position before the encounter starts.
potion of animal speaking bg3Potion of Animal Speaking Although not something powerful, it is worth stocking up and saving a spell choice.

Elixirs

Unfortunately, only one Elixir can be active at a time. However, the good thing is that they last until a long rest, making them very useful and economical.

Be sure to activate them before combat as otherwise, you will need to use Bonus Action.

Consumable Description
elixir of bloodlust bg3Elixir of Bloodlust As you will be able to easily kill at least the weakest foe, this ensures additional attacks per turn. I would go with this option once you have 22 base strength, otherwise look at the options below.
elixir of vigilance bg3Elixir of Vigilance For some encounters, you will want to go first. This elixir will ensure that it overcomes even surprise mechanics.
elixir of hill giant strength bg3Elixir of Hill Giant Strength Sets strength value to 21 until the Long Rest. With this option, you can easily gimp on strength in the early game. You can put those points in Dexterity or Strength. Here is a farming guide for Elixir of Hill Giant Strength
elixir of hill giant strength bg3Elixir of Cloud Giant Strength An upgraded version that is available mostly in Act 3 via crafting or purchasing. Sets Strength to 27, the highest value possible. if using this one, you could set the strength to 8 via respec.

Illithid Powers

This is a special mechanic in Baldur's Gate 3, that allows you to consume tadpoles and unlock special Illithid Powers. These range from somewhat useful, to extremely deadly. I would like to leave a few recommendations:

Base Illithid Powers

Order Illithid Power Description
1 Favourable Beginnings icon passive feature bg3Favourable Beginnings Very useful power to take as it does not have any costs, and provides only benefits on the first hits.
2 Luck of the Far Realms icon passive feature bg3Luck of the Far Realms Guarantees a critical hit, a very powerful action to have.
3 Concentrated Blast icon action bg3Concentrated Blast Taking only for progression, to unlock the next power.
4 Cull the Weak icon passive feature bg3Cull the Weak Passive feature that does not cost anything and automatically deals bonus psychic damage around the target, once it is close to death.
5 Psionic Backlash icon action bg3Psionic Backlash
A decent use for reaction to deal some bonus psychic damage.
6 Transfuse Health icon action bg3Transfuse Health
Taking it for progression
7 Shield of Thralls icon action bg3Shield of Thralls Taking for progression, to unlock the next power, but it also provides a good bonus as temporary health.
8 Charm icon passive feature bg3Charm Only taking for progression

Elite Illithid Powers

These become unlocked later in the game as you progress. They are extremely powerful additions to the build.

Order Illithid Power Description
0 Fly icon action bg3Fly Automatically unlocked. You can use this to initiate attacks of opportunity without spending any movement.
2 Freecast icon passive feature bg3Freecast Removes any cost of spell slots or consumable resources.
3 Mind Sanctuary icon action bg3Mind Sanctuary Extremely valuable power that can also help other casters to use up their Bonus action effectively.
4 Psionic Dominance icon action bg3Psionic Dominance Great action, that can negate spell casting of some foes.

Equipment Recommendations

Now I would like to go through some gear recommendations to maximize the Paladin Bard multiclass build. Items are especially important as they take the build to the next level thanks to their unique effects.

I would like to offer dual-wielding and two-handed setup options. Generally, you would go with two-handed for strength setup and dual-wielding for dexterity. But to be honest, you can go with any setup with the former - Strength works on all melee weapons.

Act 1

Dual Wield Setup Weapons

Okay, so this part might be confusing, but it is important. To be fair, for Act 1, you are better off using Two-Handed weapons or One-Handed + Shield. There are not many good dual-wielding weapons. However, I understand the appeal of Dual Wielding. I am still leaving this a recommendation, and including a few shield options.
Slot Item Description
melee slot bg3Melee (One - Handed) Larethian's Wrath icon bg3Larethian's Wrath You can use these weapons either as Two-Handers or equip a shield and have lower damage with increased defense. They would also require Dual Wielder icon passive feature bg3Dual Wielder​ feat to be used for dual-wielding.
Phalar AluvePhalar Aluve
Shining Staver-of-Skulls icon bg3Shining Staver-of-Skulls This is a light weapon, that deals additional Radiant damage and has +1 Enchantment.
Loviatar's Scourge icon bg3Loviatar's Scourge Interesting pick, which I would only use if you were the only frontliner in the group. The 1d6 Necrotic damage is a significant boost. This would require a Dual Wielder icon passive feature bg3Dual Wielder​ feat to use effectively for dual wielding.
ranged slot bg3Ranged Bow of Awareness icon bg3Bow of Awareness Improves initiative and allows going earlier in combat. I recommend this if you plan on using Dual-wielding weapons.
Bow of the Banshee icon bg3Bow of the Banshee A good bow that frightens enemies and stops them from moving.
Hand Crossbow +1 icon bg3Hand Crossbow +1 These weapons can be dual-wielded, making them perfect very early in the game. Use this before obtaining better ones. What makes this good is that it can use bonus action for additional damage.
offhand slot bg3Shield Adamantine Shield icon bg3Adamantine Shield It provides a substantial defensive boost by reducing critical hit damage.
Safeguard Shield icon bg3Safeguard Shield Gives a bonus to saving throws, easily accessible early in the game.

Two-Handed Setup Weapons

This is the go-to option if you want the highest damage early in the game.

Before obtaining Paladin multiclass, you will be limited by weapon proficiencies. Bard by itself only has Longsword Proficiency (Phalar Aluve icon bg3Phalar Aluve, Longsword +1 icon bg3Longsword +1) so wear it as 2 handed weapon. The others are added depending on your race: Githyanki - Greatsword, Humans - Pikes and Spears, and so on...
Slot Item Description
melee slot bg3Melee (Two-Handed) Unseen Menace icon bg3Unseen Menace Solid choice as it increases the critical chance and provides an advantage on attack rolls.
Svartlebee's Woundseeker icon bg3Svartlebee's Woundseeker One of the best greatswords that you can get in Act 1. The bonus to attack rolls is great for counteracting Great Weapon Master: All In icon passive feature bg3Great Weapon Master: All In​ Effect.
Sword of Justice icon bg3Sword of Justice A solid greatsword, that gives bonus armour class with Shield of Faith icon action bg3Shield of Faith​ action.
Phalar Aluve icon bg3Phalar Aluve This sword can be very powerful, especially if you can precast one of its powerful effects. Phalar Aluve: Sing, is an amazing buff that can also negate the effects of Great Weapon Master: All In icon passive feature bg3Great Weapon Master: All In. Otherwise to buff your and allies' damage, utilize Phalar Aluve: Shriek. I generally recommend rushing to obtain the sword at levels 3-4.
Longsword +1 icon bg3Longsword +1 The earliest good weapon that a Bard can wear before obtaining the above ones.
ranged slot bg3Ranged Bow of Awareness icon bg3Bow of Awareness Gives bonus initiative, allowing one to go earlier in combat. I recommend this for the early games, as you will have low dexterity.
Hand Crossbow +1 icon bg3Hand Crossbow +1 Equip two of these so that you can attack with your bonus action. This is an amazing weapon as you can use bonus action to break water bottles to apply wet.

Other Equipment

As a bard in the early game, you can only wear light armor. So just stay with it until level 3, then with Swords Bard, equip Medium Armor.

Slot Item Description
helmet slot bg3Head The Shadespell Circlet icon bg3The Shadespell Circlet The circlet improves the success of your spells as long as you are obscured.
Haste Helm icon bg3Haste Helm Provides increased speed at the start of the combat.
cloak slot bg3Cloak The Deathstalker Mantle icon bg3The Deathstalker Mantle The only option in Act 1 that is okay, is by providing once-per-turn invisibility. Only available to Dark Urge origin.
armor slot bg3Armor Adamantine Scale Mail icon bg3Adamantine Scale Mail The best medium armor in Act 1. It will also lead you to Act 2.
Scale Mail +1 icon bg3Scale Mail +1 A slight improvement due to additional bonuses. 15 Armour Class is best for now.
Githyanki Half Plate icon bg3Githyanki Half Plate This can be equipped when starting the game by taking it from Lae'zel. Perfect option with a high Armour Class.
gloves slot bg3Gloves Gloves of Dexterity icon bg3Gloves of Dexterity I think these gloves are quite good for this section of the game. You get +1 Attack Rolls and a bonus to dexterity for higher initiative.
Gloves of the Growling Underdog icon bg3Gloves of the Growling Underdog Very strong gloves as they give Advantage. It is the best way to counteract the Great Weapon Master: All In icon passive feature bg3Great Weapon Master: All In​ -5 attack roll effect.
Wondrous Gloves icon bg3Wondrous Gloves You get additional Bardic Inspiration icon action bg3Bardic Inspiration​ and an increase in Armour Class.
boots slot bg3Boots Disintegrating Night Walkers icon bg3Disintegrating Night Walkers Avoids slipping on various terrains and most importantly unlocks Misty Step each short rest. These boots can last till Act 3, as walking on icy surfaces can be deadly for melee build. The item removes this problem.
Boots of Genial Striding icon bg3Boots of Genial Striding Good boots that allow moving without slowing down on difficult terrain.
Vital Conduit Boots icon bg3Vital Conduit Boots As you may cast some spells with concentration these boots will give bonus survivability via temporary hit points.
amulet slot bg3Amulet Broodmother's Revenge icon bg3Broodmother's Revenge This is a very powerful amulet, that will lead you through most of the game, the 1d6 bonus damage is very good.
Pearl of Power Amulet icon bg3Pearl of Power Amulet This is a great amulet, even if not worn. It can be used to restore spell slots when out of combat.
Amulet of Misty Step icon bg3Amulet of Misty Step Gives mobility improvement thanks to the Misty Step icon action bg3Misty Step​ spell.
ring slot bg3Rings Caustic Band icon bg3Caustic Band Provides 2 damage increase on each weapon hit, making it a good choice in Act 1. It is very expensive.
Strange Conduit Ring icon bg3Strange Conduit Ring It's easy to activate it as you can concentrate on multiple spells in your arsenal, which will result in bonus psychic damage.
Ring of Protection icon bg3Ring of Protection Gives defensive bonuses to Armour Class and Saving Throws.
Crusher's Ring icon bg3Crusher's Ring A good movement boost makes it easier to reach those targets.

Act 2 - mid-game

This is the mid-game, where most of the areas will be covered by dark. Radiant equipment will shine here and having Darkvision icon passive feature bg3Darkvision​ is recommended. You also can get some great items, albeit some will stay the same from Act 1.

Dual Wield Setup Weapons

For dual-wielding Act 2 and Act 3 weapons, you do not need a Dual Wielder icon passive feature bg3Dual Wielder.
Slot Item Description
melee slot bg3Melee (One - Handed) Render of Mind and Body icon bg3Render of Mind and Body The best shortsword with Risky Ring  icon bg3Risky Ring, the 1d8 bonus damage is substantial. Moreover, by dual wielding this with Knife of the Undermountain King icon bg3Knife of the Undermountain King.
Knife of the Undermountain King icon bg3Knife of the Undermountain King This one still plays a big role in maximizing damage, until you get some items in Act 3.
Justiciar's Scimitar icon bg3Justiciar's Scimitar Although more intended for assassin-type builds this is still an interesting weapon to have in the arsenal.
melee slot bg3Melee (Two-Handed) Drakethroat Glaive icon bg3Drakethroat Glaive You can imbue a weapon with any element 1d4 damage and gain a +1 to attack rolls. You can get the bonus elemental damage on any weapon. For example, drop another weapon on the ground, cast the spell with this glaive, and equip the said weapon. This is a very powerful combo, although it may be a bug.
ranged slot bg3Ranged Darkfire Shortbow icon bg3Darkfire Shortbow Amazing bow that allows to precast Haste icon action bg3Haste​ before combat. This may not seem big as you can use Potion of Speed, but sometimes its short duration is not enough. Otherwise, stay with bows from the previous act.

Two-Handed Setup Weapons

Slot Item Description
melee slot bg3Melee (Two-Handed) Shar's Spear of Evening icon bg3Shar's Spear of Evening The most powerful weapon that most of the martials can use if you will also take Bhaalist Armour icon bg3Bhaalist Armour in Act 3.
Selûne's Spear of Night icon bg3Selûne's Spear of Night A bit weaker alternative to Shar's Spear of Evening icon bg3Shar's Spear of Evening, but it is still a solid choice. Will also work well with Bhaalist Armour icon bg3Bhaalist Armour in Act 3.
Halberd of Vigilance icon bg3Halberd of Vigilance A significantly strong weapon with force damage rider. Moreover, it gives bonus initiative.
Drakethroat Glaive icon bg3Drakethroat Glaive You can imbue a weapon with any element 1d4 damage and gain a +1 to attack rolls. You can get the bonus elemental damage on any weapon. For example, drop another weapon on the ground, cast the spell with this glaive, and equip the said weapon. This is a very powerful combo, although it may be a bug.
ranged slot bg3Ranged Darkfire Shortbow icon bg3Darkfire Shortbow Amazing bow that allows to precast Haste icon action bg3Haste​ before combat. This may not seem big as you can use Potion of Speed, but sometimes its short duration is not enough. Otherwise, stay with bows from the previous act.

Other Equipment

Slot Item Description
helmet slot bg3Head Helmet of Arcane Acuity icon bg3Helmet of Arcane Acuity One of the core items of the build. It will ensure that any spells you use will increase Spell Save DC, once you land a few hits. Best to activate this effect with Slashing Flourish (Melee) icon action bg3Slashing Flourish (Melee). Later on, this will synergize with Band of the Mystic Scoundrel icon bg3Band of the Mystic Scoundrel.
cloak slot bg3Cloak Cloak of Protection icon bg3Cloak of Protection Improves survivability and Saving Throw success.
Fleshmelter Cloak icon bg3Fleshmelter Cloak Reflect 1d4 acid damage if somebody hits you in melee range.
armor slot bg3Armor Yuan-ti Scale Mail icon bg3Yuan-ti Scale Mail Medium armor that will reach 19 Armour class together with Gloves of Dexterity icon bg3Gloves of Dexterity. Moreover, the bonus initiative is a great boon.
Dwarven Splintmail icon bg3Dwarven Splintmail A solid heavy armor, that can take you to Act 3 once you have Paladin multiclass.
gloves slot bg3Gloves Dark Justiciar Gauntlets icon bg3Dark Justiciar Gauntlets Amazing gloves that also give a good way to utilize a bonus action.
Flawed Helldusk Gloves icon bg3Flawed Helldusk Gloves Adds bonus fire damage
Gloves of Dexterity icon bg3Gloves of Dexterity These gloves are excellent if you are aiming for natural strength progression as I mentioned previously. Otherwise, I would go with the ones above if you are okay with using Strength Elixirs.
boots slot bg3Boots Evasive Shoes icon bg3Evasive Shoes Bonus armor class for higher survivability.
Disintegrating Night Walkers icon bg3Disintegrating Night Walkers The boots are still a good option in Act 2.
amulet slot bg3Amulet Broodmother's Revenge icon bg3Broodmother's Revenge Still, the best amulet as it provides a substantial damage boost if healed - drink a potion or a cleric can do that.
Surgeon's Subjugation Amulet icon bg3Surgeon's Subjugation Amulet Not a perfect amulet, but could be useful once you have Risky Ring  icon bg3Risky Ring and other options are taken
Amulet of the Harpers icon bg3Amulet of the Harpers Allows casting Shield spell, can be a lifesaver if attacked heavily for one turn.
ring slot bg3Rings Risky Ring  icon bg3Risky Ring Provides an Advantage on attack rolls. This is a mandatory ring as it will both guarantee more hits and a higher chance of critical hits.
Caustic Band icon bg3Caustic Band 2 Acid damage on any kind of attack. With multiple attacks you do the bonus is substantial.
Strange Conduit Ring icon bg3Strange Conduit Ring As you have multiple cheap spells to enable concentration, this ring is very useful for a bit more damage.

Act 3 - Final Build setup

This is the last act of the game, where you will get access to the most powerful items. To get them as early as possible you will need some planning, but overall, it should not be a problem.

The Bardadin Build can make some crazy optimizations here, which turn the build around.

One Handed Setup

Slot Item Description
melee slot bg3Melee (One - Handed) Duellist's Prerogative icon bg3Duellist's Prerogative
(BiS)
A beautiful and deadly weapon that also gives an option to attack with bonus action. As a piercing weapon, it benefits from Bhaalist Armour icon bg3Bhaalist Armour.
Infernal Rapier icon bg3Infernal Rapier A solid weapon for spell sword type of build. Allowing to summon a Planar Ally: Cambion icon action bg3Planar Ally: Cambion.
ranged slot bg3Ranged Hellrider Longbow icon bg3Hellrider Longbow Gives +3 Initiative almost guaranteeing that you go first.
Vicious Shortbow icon bg3Vicious Shortbow You could use this bow as an alternative in case the other two options are taken. It gives bonus damage on critical hits. For now, this bonus works on melee attacks also and might be fixed in upcoming patches.
The Dead Shot icon bg3The Dead Shot Decreases the rolling requirement for Critical Hit by 1.

Dual Wield Setup Weapons

Slot Item Description
melee slot bg3Melee (One - Handed) Crimson Mischief icon bg3Crimson Mischief
(BiS)
The perfect weapon for the main hand. Perfect to be used with Risky Ring  icon bg3Risky Ring. If you use Bhaalist Armour icon bg3Bhaalist Armour, the bonus 7 damage will become 14.
Belm icon bg3Belm
(BiS)
Use it together with Crimson Mischief icon bg3Crimson Mischief as Belm icon bg3Belm has a special effect to utilize additional main-hand attacks. Moreover, contrary to your Slashing Flourish (Melee) icon action bg3Slashing Flourish (Melee), this sword has a Whirlwind attack able to hit everyone in the area, not just two times.
Rhapsody icon bg3Rhapsody I think this is the best thing that you have equipped. It improves all the offensive stats that you need - Spell Save DC, damage, and attack rolls. Of course, the effect only applies once you kill enemies.
Render of Mind and BodyRender of Mind and Body As you have multiple ways of getting an Advantage, the 1d8 psychic damage rider is a very large bonus making this weapon very powerful even in Act 3.
ranged slot bg3Ranged Hellrider Longbow icon bg3Hellrider Longbow Gives +3 Initiative almost guaranteeing that you go first.
Vicious Shortbow icon bg3Vicious Shortbow You could use this bow as an alternative in case the other two options are taken. It gives bonus damage on critical hits. For now, this bonus works on melee attacks also and might be fixed in upcoming patches.
The Dead Shot icon bg3The Dead Shot Decreases the rolling requirement for Critical Hit by 1.

Two-Handed Setup Weapons

Slot Item Description
melee slot bg3Melee (Two-Handed) Nyrulna icon bg3Nyrulna A truly powerful weapon that gives a 1d6 thunder damage bonus. Moreover, it comes with unique weapon actions that can inflict bleeding and knockback foes. This is the best weapon to use if you plan on equipping Bhaalist Armour icon bg3Bhaalist Armour.
Shar's Spear of Evening icon bg3Shar's Spear of Evening One of the top weapons if using Bhaalist Armour icon bg3Bhaalist Armour, the bonus damage stacks with Aura Of Murder icon passive feature bg3Aura Of Murder. It's damage rider gets doubled while under auras effect.
Balduran's Giantslayer icon bg3Balduran's Giantslayer The strongest greatsword in the game. It gets a big damage boost from your strength modifier.
ranged slot bg3Ranged Hellrider Longbow icon bg3Hellrider Longbow Gives +3 Initiative almost guaranteeing that you go first.
The Dead Shot icon bg3The Dead Shot Improves critical range for attack rolls.

Other Equipment

Slot Item Description
helmet slot bg3Head Helmet of Arcane Acuity icon bg3Helmet of Arcane Acuity
(BiS)
The best helmet for this build. It will stack up your Spell Save DC while using flourishes. Then you can cast a crowd control spell like Hold Person/Monster with 100% success. After that... just finish the enemy with guaranteed critical hits.
cloak slot bg3Cloak Cloak of Displacement icon bg3Cloak of Displacement
(BiS)
Improves the chances of attacks missing the wearer until getting hit for that turn.
armor slot bg3Armor Bhaalist Armour icon bg3Bhaalist Armour
(BiS)
The best armor if you are maximizing damage. The Aura Of Murder icon passive feature bg3Aura Of Murder​ effect is deadly and will double your damage with shortswords or daggers in close range. The downside is that your Armour Class will be lower. Use this with weapons like Crimson Mischief icon bg3Crimson Mischief, Nyrulna icon bg3Nyrulna, Shar's Spear of Evening icon bg3Shar's Spear of Evening - anything that has piercing damage type.
Luminous Armour icon bg3Luminous Armour Excellent armor if you will use Spirit Guardians icon action bg3Spirit Guardians. This way you will debuff enemies and increase the chances of them missing their attacks.
Armour of Persistence icon bg3Armour of Persistence If you are looking for solid heavy armor, this is the one to go with. It gives a big damage reduction with Blade Ward icon action bg3Blade Ward.
Armour of Agility icon bg3Armour of Agility A good option for medium armor. However, I would prioritize it on a character with high Dexterity.
gloves slot bg3Gloves Gauntlets of Frost Giant Strength icon bg3Gauntlets of Frost Giant Strength
(BiS)
If you want to maximize strength efficiently I do recommend these gloves as they will set the strength to 23. This way you simplify the build and only need to worry about Dexterity and Charisma investments.
Helldusk Gloves icon bg3Helldusk Gloves Gives a solid bonus of 1d6 fire damage on hit, and improves Spell Save DC, for better success of spells.
Gloves of Dexterity icon bg3Gloves of Dexterity The best gloves till the end of the game, if you want to naturally pump the Strength of the build.
Legacy of the Masters icon bg3Legacy of the Masters Gives an increase to attack and damage rolls of 2.
boots slot bg3Boots Boots of Stormy Clamour icon bg3Boots of Stormy Clamour
(BiS)
The best option, as it provides indirect bonuses to damage with Reverbation stacking from the conditions you apply.
Helldusk Boots icon bg3Helldusk Boots Allows avaoiding failed Saving Throws, and uses reaction to change the outcome. Moreover, provides bonus actions for mobility and damage.
Boots of Persistence icon bg3Boots of Persistence Gives a huge boost to mobility and avoids difficult terrain.
amulet slot bg3Amulet Broodmother's Revenge icon bg3Broodmother's Revenge
(BiS)
The amulet still pulls strong even in the late game.
Amulet of Greater Health icon bg3Amulet of Greater Health Makes any Constitution ability investment redundant as it maximizes it to 23 points. If you are doing a Strength-Based setup, this can free up the glove slot. But if you are min-maxing Gloves of Dexterity icon bg3Gloves of Dexterity are the best choice.
Magic Amulet icon bg3Magic Amulet Gives an Advantage on attack. I would use this only if you do not have Risky Ring  icon bg3Risky Ring. Otherwise, this does not provide much use, besides Saving Throw Advantage.
ring slot bg3Rings Band of the Mystic Scoundrel icon bg3Band of the Mystic Scoundrel
(BiS)
This is a powerful ring for Bardadin build as it allows casting enchantment and illusion spells with Bonus Action. These include Hold Person and other Crowd Control options.
Risky Ring  icon bg3Risky Ring
(BiS)
Provides an Advantage on attack rolls. This ring is still a good contender but could be taken by other builds.
Killer's Sweetheart icon bg3Killer's Sweetheart Mentioning this accessory as it is a solid option to have in the arsenal in case, you cannot use the rings above.
Caustic Band icon bg3Caustic Band 2 Acid damage on any kind of attack. With multiple attacks you do the bonus is substantial. Can be equipped after Killer's Sweetheart icon bg3Killer's Sweetheart has been used

How to use the Build

Now I would like to cover some general tips on how to play Bardadin Build.

Main Mechanics

Bardadin is quite a complex build, there are a lot of synergies between Bard, Paladin and the gear you acquire. So I think it is mandatory to understand how to use the build fully.

Utilizing Flourishes

This is an important mechanic and it makes College of Swords Bard stand out from most of the other martial classes. Early in the game, I recommend using Slashing Flourish (Ranged) with your preferred bow. This way you can hit two enemies with a single shot and it's the best utility of your damage.

Slashing Flourishes are the earliest option of Extra Attack icon passive feature bg3Extra Attack​ from all classes. You can also use melee flourishes if needed. Slashing Flourish (Melee) icon action bg3Slashing Flourish (Melee)​ will become very powerful once the build gets Divine Smite icon action bg3Divine Smite, and each of the hits can deal huge damage. On top, you will get an Extra Attack icon passive feature bg3Extra Attack​ for even more hits.

Managing Great Weapon Master

One of the more important feats of the build is Great Weapon Master: All In icon passive feature bg3Great Weapon Master: All In. It gives a flat damage boost at the cost of decreased attack rolls. Generally, it is best to take this later in the game at level 8+, when you have higher attack bonuses and better gear.

However, if you can effectively use it at level 4, you will be able to easily kill most of the enemies you encounter, especially as it is easy to die in Act 1. So if you are up for putting in additional effort the benefits are immense. Here are the main ways to increase your attack rolls:

  • Bless icon action bg3Bless​ from Cleric or Paladin, for a 1d4 bonus.
  • Spells like Faerie Fire icon action bg3Faerie Fire, and Blindness icon action bg3Blindness​ give an advantage to attackers.
  • Oil of Accuracy or Diluted Oil of Sharpness, for 1 and 2 attack roll bonus.
  • Gloves of the Growling Underdog icon bg3Gloves of the Growling Underdog - can be obtained in Goblin Camp, and gives an advantage for attack rolls.
  • Svartlebee's Woundseeker icon bg3Svartlebee's Woundseeker - early game greatsword that you can get before engaging in any of the major battles of Act 1.

Now, if you want more in-depth information, I have a guide covering how to increase attack rolls, which lists a lot of options and combinations. You can then pick the bonuses based on your party setup.

Divine Smites and their significance

Divine Smite icon action bg3Divine Smite​ is an iconic Paladin action that this build revolves around. What is special about them is that they can be used as a separate attack and a reaction depending on the conditions. This is important as you may want to use them only on Critical Hits.

Divine Smite icon action bg3Divine Smite​ can be upcast, but I would not recommend going higher than level 4, as then there are no more benefits. So use it with level 1-4 spell slots.

Paladins also get more Smites - Thunderous Smite icon action bg3Thunderous Smite, Searing Smite icon action bg3Searing Smite, etc. They are cool and give additional effects. However, they are weaker than Divine Smite icon action bg3Divine Smite. Why? It only uses spell slots. Other ones take Action + bonus action + spell slot. You use up more resources to utilize them.

paladin smites combat baldurs gate 3

Of course, other Smites come with unique effects like Blind, Freighten, etc. They are great when fighting enemies weak to specific elements - thunder, fire, etc. They are also perfect in case you have no use for Bonus Action that turn.

Still, there is one user experience you can make with reactions set to make it more enjoyable:

paladin divine smite reactions setup bg3

  1. Disable reactions for normal smite. This will become irritating as on every attack you will be asked what to do. If you want to use them, just activate the separate Divine Smite attack - number 3.
  2. Enable Divine Smite on Critical Hit and include the Ask option. This way you can utilize the maximum possible damage with Divine Smites when critical rolls.

Mixing Divine Smites with Bard Paladin multiclass

College of Swords Bard has unique attack actions flourishes - Slashing Flourish (Melee) icon action bg3Slashing Flourish (Melee), Defensive Flourish (Melee) icon action bg3Defensive Flourish (Melee),​ etc. With the reaction setup I mentioned above, you can use these flourishes and divine smites on the same hit.

If you went with Dual weapons, remember that Divine Smite icon action bg3Divine Smite​ 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 when using an offhand attack.

Stacking Arcane Acuity

This is an important mechanic that Bard Paladin Multiclass uses which comes from Helmet of Arcane Acuity icon bg3Helmet of Arcane Acuity. Each hit that you do will give Arcane Acuity stack. As you can imagine, those Slashing Flourish (Melee) icon action bg3Slashing Flourish (Melee)​ will rack up.

Why do you want Arcane Acuity? It will rack up Spell Save DC and give all your spells have almost 100% spell success chance. This will fit nicely with some combos I talk about later when using Band of the Mystic Scoundrel icon bg3Band of the Mystic Scoundrel.

Early Game Combat

Now let's take a look at how to use the build in the early game. This is where you still don't have access to Paladin and rely only on Bard.

  • I recommend utilizing spells early in the game. For example, Dissonant Whispers icon action bg3Dissonant Whispers​ deal adequate damage and frighten a foe, making them stay in place. It's a good opener against melee targets. Sleep icon action bg3Sleep​ can disable low-level targets making the encounters easier.
  • Don't rush engaging in melee combat early on. You can even stay with Ranged weapons till at least level 4. Level 3 Slashing Flourish (Ranged) icon action bg3Slashing Flourish (Ranged)​ is much stronger on bows.
  • From level 4, if you got Great Weapon Master: All In icon passive feature bg3Great Weapon Master: All In​ you can start using Two-Handed weapons. This is a huge damage improvement, just be sure to maintain high attack rolls and have an advantage.
  • Cloud of Daggers icon action bg3Cloud of Daggers​ is an amazing spell and is much better than weapon attacks if there are at least two foes stacked together.
  • Glyph of Warding icon action bg3Glyph of Warding​ with sleep effect is an extremely powerful spell, that you get at level 5. You can put to sleep groups of enemies and then take them out one by one.

Late Game Combat

So this is where the build becomes a true powerhouse. You will get access to Paladin and its Divine Smite icon action bg3Divine Smite​ with Command icon action bg3Command.

  1. I recommend having someone precast Haste icon action bg3Haste​ or use Potion of Speed. That one action point will be very valuable.
  2. I would save higher-level spell slots (5-6) for control spells so that you could use them on multiple enemies. Divine Smite icon action bg3Divine Smite​ is perfect for spell slot levels 1-4 as it does not gain any higher benefits.
  3. You want to start hitting a foe or a few enemies standing together with Slashing Flourish (Melee) icon action bg3Slashing Flourish (Melee). This will stack up Arcane Acuity, 6-8 stacks are plenty so that your spells would have very high success.
  4. Now you can follow up with control spells using Band of the Mystic Scoundrel icon bg3Band of the Mystic Scoundrel - Hold Person icon action bg3Hold Person​/Hold Monster icon action bg3Hold Monster​ or Command icon action bg3Command. I would start with the latter and force enemies to approach or grovel. As enemies get closer to you it will be easier to use Slashing Flourish (Melee) icon action bg3Slashing Flourish (Melee)​ to hit 2 at the same time.
  5. If you see a stronger enemy that has 100+ HP I would use Hold Person icon action bg3Hold Person​/Hold Monster icon action bg3Hold Monster​ and follow up with melee attacks + Divine Smite icon action bg3Divine Smite. This will deal huge amounts of damage and kill them in a few hits if not instantly. Hold Person icon action bg3Hold Person​ upcasted can hit multiple targets, so it's even more deadly.
  6. You can continue repeating Command icon action bg3Command​ each turn via bonus action and use actions for weapons attacks. This way enemies are forced to do what you tell them without any options.

Remember Command icon action bg3Command​ does not cost a Concentration slot, so you can have other spells activate at the same time.

Conclusion

Thank you for reading the Bardadin - Paladin 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.

Cheers!

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Post author zanuffas avatar zanuffas
Gamestegy Founder. I have been writing game guides and builds for 4 years. I like to push myself to create something wonderful for the readers!