Baldur’s Gate 3 Berserker Barbarian Build Guide – In this Baldur’s Gate 3 Berserker Barbarian Build Guide, I’m going to cover my Barbarian Build for Early Access, and show you what I’ve found to work best. I’ll be doing more Build Guides at the launch of Baldur’s Gate 3, but for now, let’s look at how you can use a Berserker Barbarian effectively in the first Act of the game.
Best Baldur’s Gate 3 Barbarian Builds Features
- Abilities: Strength, Constitution
- Subclasses: Berserker & Wildheart
- Unique Feature: Rage
- Hit Die: +12 HP + CON Modifier
Baldur’s Gate 3 Berserker Barbarian Build Guide
The Berserker Barbarian is a very strong Subclass since they deal damage that’s sustainable, thanks to Frenzy at Level 3 and Extra Attack at Level 5. Because of this, they essentially consume 2 Actions and 1 Bonus Action, all in one turn. What’s more, is that they don’t have drawbacks besides the usual Short or Long Rest here and there.
Berserker Barbarians are highly skilled warriors whom you’ll want in your party to deal absolute carnage in close and mid-range distances. They’re proficient in wielding Simple and Martial Weapons and Shields but they can’t don Heavy Armour, unlike Fighters. However, it shouldn’t be an issue given how durable they are thanks to their high Constitution and decent AC.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Berserker Barbarian Character Creation
In this section, we’ll take a look at how to set up your Barbarian during Character Creation for the best results. You don’t have to follow this to the letter, and this will likely change at the full launch of the game. However, this will hold you in good stead during Early Access.
For Background, choosing one that provides you with the Athletics Strength Skill should be acceptable, especially since Constitution doesn’t have Skills related to it anyway. You can then choose a Background that boosts Dexterity and Wisdom Skills like Folk Hero, Outlander, and Urchin to improve Sleight of Hand and Survival.
The first Race that works well for the Barbarian is the Shield Dwarf. This is due to the +2 Strength and +2 Constitution that you gain. Strength boosts the damage dealt by this Class whereas Constitution improves your max HP and survivability as well as your overall Armor. Despite this, you won’t be making use of the Barbarian’s Unarmoured Defense. Instead, you’ll benefit more from equipping Medium Armor, which accounts for a maximum of +2 Dexterity Modifier for your AC.
Although you’ll have 17 Strength and 17 Constitution to start with, by the time you reach Level 4, you’ll be able to allocate 1 point each to either Ability thanks to the Ability Improvement Feat. Doing so will yield a high combination at 18 points for Strength and Constitution. Moreover, the Shield Dwarf grants Darkvision to help you land melee attacks in the dark as well as Poison Resistance.
An alternative to this Race is the Wood Half-Elf. This grants you a more balanced Ability Score spread starting at 16 Strength and 16 Constitution by investing 1 point to each respective Ability as part of the Race’s feature. But you’ll only be able to maximize Strength at Level 4 so take note of this as well. On top of Darkvision, you also gain Fleet of Foot, enhancing your Movement Speed, thereby allowing you to cover more ground as a Barbarian.
Last but not least, if you want to play a Race where you retain 16 Strength and 16 Constitution without any negative Ability Modifiers, then you ought to consider the Human. The only caveat is you don’t get additional perks you otherwise would should you choose the Shield Dwarf or Wood Half-Elf so it’s definitely something to consider.
Skills aren’t super important but given that you’ll have decent Dexterity and average Wisdom relative to Charisma and Intelligence, it’s better to select those that fall under both Abilities. As such, you can also go with Stealth, Animal Handling, and Perception.
Your primary Ability as a Barbarian is Strength to successfully hit targets and to effectively damage them using Melee and Thrown Weapons especially when Rage is active. It also affects your jump distance in addition to your carry weight capacity. For this reason, you’ll want at least 16 in this Ability during Character Creation, and likely 18 later on. Next, you should focus on Constitution for improved survivability.
You can then add points into Dexterity to enhance your AC and then Wisdom but the latter won’t matter much since it won’t influence your damage. However, it’s worth considering that Wisdom will affect the outcome of corresponding Skill Checks. Your Ability Spread should look something like this:
Baldur’s Gate 3 Berserker Barbarian Level 1
Barbarians are known for their Bonus Action, which is Rage that they immediately have access to at Level 1. What this does in Combat is it allows you to deal extra +2 damage with the Weapons you’re wielding, may it be melee or the objects you’ll throw at enemies.
You also gain Advantage on Strength Checks and Saving Throws, letting you traverse areas such as climbing or jumping with less difficulty. Remember that it’s crucial to attack a target or be attacked in return in succeeding rounds after you enter Rage, otherwise, this feature will end earlier than 10 turns. To recharge it, you need to take a Long Rest.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Berserker Barbarian Level 2
At Level 2, your Barbarian gains Reckless Attack, giving you an Advantage on your Attack Roll while dealing massive Slashing Damage if you’re wielding the Everburn Blade. The caveat is enemies also gain the same Advantage against you. This shouldn’t be an issue given your high HP and improved AC thanks to your Medium Armor. You’ll be able to survive hits since Rage grants resistance to Slashing, Bludgeoning, and Piercing Damage so you only take half the damage.
Note, however, that Reckless Attack is only applicable to melee attacks, which means you can’t use this if you plan on throwing a creature or an object at your target.
Additionally, you gain a passive known as Danger Sense. What this does is make you more attuned to your surroundings. So you’ll likely improve the chances of avoiding damage from traps, surfaces, and even Spells since you gain an Advantage on Dexterity Saving Throws. Keep in mind that it’s only applicable if you’re not incapacitated or blinded.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Barbarian Level 3
At Level 3, your Barbarian gains one additional Rage charge to enter Rage more often. Here, you’ll be selecting the Berserker Subclass where your Rage transforms into Frenzy. Frenzy treats Improvised Melee Weapon as a Bonus Action rather than an Action. You even gain access to other Bonus Actions like Frenzied Strike and Enraged Throw. Frenzied Strike deals additional Weapon Slashing Damage while Enraged Throw enhances Throw since the damage you inflict now accounts for the object’s weight plus the Damage Roll. The Damage Roll includes the +2 Rage Damage, Strength Modifiers, and base damage of the hurled item.
You’re better off throwing heavy objects like another enemy or Medium Armor because of their 1d4 Bludgeoning Damage compared to light objects such as books, which aren’t guaranteed to deal damage in the first place. But the best ones to use for Enraged Throw are Thrown Weapons like the Handaxe, Spear, or Javelin. This is due to their base Weapon Damage and double Strength Modifiers. Enraged Throw is especially essential if you play as a Shield Dwarf since the distance you travel won’t be as good at lower levels.
In general, you deal higher damage while knocking enemies down, and you’re not susceptible to Exhaustion unlike in D&D 5E after Frenzy ends. So you won’t gain a Disadvantage on Ability Checks nor will your Movement Speed be cut in half.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Barbarian Level 4
At Level 4, you can choose a Feat, and here you’ll be taking Ability Improvement to place 1 point into Strength and Constitution, amounting to 18 each if you’ve chosen the Shield Dwarf Race. Doing so will not only boost your Attack and Damage Rolls due to the +4 Strength Modifier but also bring your max HP by up to 45, which is huge!
Baldur’s Gate 3 Barbarian Level 5
At Level 5, you gain the much-anticipated Extra Attack, which lets you make another attack using your Melee Weapon, allowing you to obliterate powerful enemies. As such, you can perform 2 Reckless Attacks and then an Enraged Throw or Frenzied Attack in a single turn. When using Reckless Attack, just make sure that you’re not surrounded by targets since they also gain Attack Roll Advantage against you.
Additionally, your Movement Speed increases by 5 with Fast Movement as long as you’re not wearing Heavy Armor so gone are the days of helplessly chasing after your enemies!
When it comes to the Berserker Barbarian’s Equipment, I prefer wielding Two-Handed Weapons because of their massive damage like the Everburn Blade, which you get by killing Commander Zhalk of the Nautiloid. In addition to the Slashing Damage, the blade inflicts Fire Damage and can set the surrounding on fire when combined with barrels of oil or Grease. Remember that you’re not limited to Reckless Attack since you have several Weapon Actions like Cleave and Lacerate to attack multiple targets and to inflict Bleed, respectively. Additionally, make sure to have Thrown Weapons in your inventory because they’ll more often than not come in handy.
In terms of Armor, you’ll be sticking with Medium Armor in Early Access so either Lae’Zel’s Githyanki Half Plate or Scale Mail +1 should give you 17 AC. If you go for a One-Handed Weapon and Shield setup, you’ll further boost your AC to 19. This is going to be better than not equipping Armor at all because Unarmoured Defense only grants 16 AC while wielding a Two-Handed Weapon.
For Accessories, you’ll want to equip the Haste Helm, Broodmother’s Revenge, Silver Pendant, and Reason’s Grasp. Haste Helm from the Blighted Village is especially useful for a Shield Dwarf to improve Movement Speed at the start of combat while gaining a +1 Dexterity Saving Throw bonus. Broodmother’s Revenge, which is obtained after defeating Kagha, is useful when you get healed since your Weapon will be doused with Poison. Doing so allows you to deal Poison Damage instead of Fire Damage since these two elements won’t stack. You can then swap this necklace for the Silver Pendant when traveling to make use of the Guidance Cantrip for Ability Checks.
Lastly, there’s Reason’s Grasp from The Risen Road gives you the option to gain temporary HP if you choose to end Rage early or after every combat encounter.
For Thrown Weapons, the Damage Roll formula for Enraged Throw is as follows:
Weapon’s Base Melee Damage + Double Your Strength Modifier + 2 Damage from Rage
What’s great about this Weapon type is you can keep reusing them after every fight considering that there’s no durability to worry about in Early Access. At times, there’s even Crushing Damage on top of the formula but the triggers seem to be random. Additionally, you’re better off using Enraged Throw over Improved Melee Weapon since with Improved Melee Weapon, your options are limited and your Strength Modifier is only added to your Attack Roll, not your Damage Roll.
At Level 4, you can consider taking the Great Weapon Master Feat instead of investing +2 points into Strength but be sure that you’ve set Strength and Constitution to 16 each in Character Creation to save points on other Abilities. The -5 penalty to Attack Rolls for this Feat isn’t going to be as significant due to the Advantage you gain from Reckless Attack. Not only will your hits land but your overall damage will be boosted by +10, which is huge!
Another good choice for your Two-Handed Weapon is the Sword of Justice from Anders if you’re not able to acquire the Everburn Blade but it’s not because of Tyr’s Protection. Tyr’s Protection requires Concentration. This can’t be maintained after activating Frenzy, which will happen all the time with the Berserker Barbarian Build. Like the Everburn Blade, Sword of Justice also has Cleave and Lacerate.
Lastly, try to throw Weapons or objects from a higher elevation than your target in order to gain the +2 bonus on your Attack Roll.
Stay tuned for more Baldur’s Gate 3 content as we update the other Builds, and be sure to drop by our Twitch Channel if you have questions about the game. If you need something specific, check out our Baldur’s Gate 3 Wiki which is being worked on night and day!