Baldur’s Gate 3 College of Valour Bard Build Guide – In this Baldur’s Gate 3 College of Valour Bard Build Guide, I’m going to cover my Bard 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 College of Valour Bard effectively in the first Act of the game.
Best Bard Builds Features
- Abilities: Charisma, Dexterity
- Subclasses: College of Lore & College of Valour
- Unique Feature: Bardic Inspiration
- Spells: Support & Attack Spells
- Hit Die: +8 HP + CON Modifier per level
Baldur’s Gate 3 College of Valour Bard Build Guide
Bards inherently get along with almost every type of creature due to their high Charisma. This lets them escape tricky situations where they would otherwise be attacked for bad behavior. Additionally, they inspire allies into performing well in Combat.
The College of Valour Bard is battle-hardened because of the Proficiencies they gain after selecting this Subclass at Level 3. Unlike their College of Lore counterpart, they can wear Medium Armor and wield a Shield, thereby improving their defenses. Moreover, the College of Valour Bards is also capable of equipping more Weapons due to their Martial Weapon Proficiency, making them versatile in the melee range. With these perks in mind plus their Spells that deal huge damage, debuff enemies, and heal the party, they become very useful allies.
Baldur’s Gate 3 College of Valour Bard Character Creation
In this section, we’ll take a look at how to set up your Bard during Character Creation for the best results. You don’t have to follow this to the letter, and this will likely change at the game’s full launch. However, this will hold you in good stead during Early Access.
For Background, I suggest taking the rest of the Charisma Skills since Bards need a good amount of this Ability for their Spells to land on targets and to bolster the success rate of dazzling NPCs in dialogue with Deception, Persuasion, Intimidation, and Performance. So you can pick the Charlatan, Guild Artisan, or Soldier.
For Race, you should seek out those that grant additional Charisma since it’s your Spellcasting Ability. Because of this, the first Race that works well for the Bard is the Wood Half-Elf. Not only do you gain +2 Charisma, but you can also allocate 1 point each to Dexterity and Constitution, which are your next essential Abilities. Dexterity is a must to maximize the Bard’s Armour Class (AC) whereas Constitution raises max HP. Both of these should improve your resilience and survivability in combat.
Additionally, a higher Constitution improves the success rate of Constitution Saving Throws, which are necessary for Spells that require Concentration. As such, you should have 14 Dexterity and 16 Constitution at Level 1. Dexterity is set at 14 to gain +2 Dexterity Modifier that’s enough when equipping Medium Armor. And you gain this Armor Proficiency upon choosing the College of Valour Subclass. Moreover, the Wood Half-Elf has Darkvision to enhance your sight in the dark, thereby ensuring that Spells within a specific range will land on the targets. You also gain access to enhanced Movement Speed and Stealth Proficiency.
The second Race to consider for the Bard is the Human since you essentially gain +1 point for each of your Abilities. And last but not least is the Lolth-Sworn or Seldarine Drow since they grant +1 Charisma and +2 Dexterity together with Superior Darkvision to see and perform better in the dark. However, remember that selecting the Drow will only grant you 14 Constitution at Character Creation.
Skills and Musical Instrument
For Skills, again, it’s not super important, but you’ll have high Charisma and Dexterity, so selecting those that fall under these Abilities is ideal. Dexterity has Acrobatics, Stealth, and Sleight of Hand, and I’ve already listed what Charisma Skills there are.
Your primary Ability as a Bard is Charisma as it makes your Spells more effective. For this reason, you’ll want to invest at least 16 points into this Ability during Character Creation, and likely 18 later on. Next, Dexterity and Constitution are the Abilities you should focus on for better durability since you’re initially only proficient with Light Armor, which doesn’t significantly raise your AC.
You can then add points into Strength, Wisdom, or Intelligence but remember that it won’t matter as much since they don’t influence your Spells. However, it’s worth considering that they impact the outcome of your carry weight capacity and Skill Checks. Your Ability Spread should look something like this:
Baldur’s Gate 3 College of Valour Bard Level 1
As a Bonus Action, you gain Bardic Inspiration in which you enthrall an ally with your songs, thereby granting them a 1d6 bonus to their Attack Roll, Ability Check, or Saving Throw. You can use this Class Feature 3 times and replenish it by taking a Long Rest for now. In Baldur’s Gate 3’s combat, the bonus die will automatically be added to the target’s next Attack Roll to increase their chances of hitting the enemy.
Bard Level 1 Spells
During Character Creation you’ll be given Cantrips and Spells to choose from. But unlike Wizards, you won’t have to “Prepare” Spells from a Known Spell List to use them. Instead, you learn a limited number of Spells, which are readily available like the Sorcerer Class. As such, you have to be very selective about the ones you intend to learn since Bards don’t have access to ALL of their Spells.
At Level 1, you can select 4 of them. I highly recommend choosing Thunderwave and Dissonant Whispers as your offensive Spells. Thunderwave is a great AoE Spell that lets you knock back enemies, allowing you to potentially kill them. Due to its short range, you ought to use this against those who are moving close to you to push them away. However, be careful when casting Thunderwave if you have allies nearby because they will get caught in the crossfire.
Meanwhile, Dissonant Whispers is a powerful ranged Spell in which you deal 3-18 Psychic Damage and inflict Frightened against the target. In doing so, they’ll incur a Disadvantage on their Attack Rolls and won’t be able to move.
The next Spells to consider are Healing Word and Tasha’s Hideous Laughter. Healing Word lets you heal any party member you can see from a distance. Comparatively, Tasha’s Hideous Laughter leaves the target laughing like mad on the floor for up to 10 turns provided that you maintain Concentration. It makes them invaluable to their allies since they can’t do anything significant while Prone.
Concentration is broken if you cast another Cantrip or Spell that also requires Concentration. You can tell which these are because it will say so on the Spell itself. For example, if you cast Tasha’s Hideous Laughter, but then you cast Dancing Lights next, you would stop “Concentrating” on Tasha’s Hideous Laughter and begin Concentrating on Dancing Lights.
If you take damage while Concentrating on a Spell, you must make a Constitution Saving Throw, and if you fail, then the effect of that Spell ends. Should you succeed in your Saving Throw, however, you maintain your Concentration and the Spell continues. This is why Bards need to have a decent Constitution, otherwise, they’re wasted if it’s constantly broken.
Bard Level 1 Cantrips
At Level 1, you’ll be able to choose 2 Cantrips. I highly recommend Vicious Mockery and Dancing Lights. Vicious Mockery allows you to deal 1-4 Psychic Damage by hurling a series of insults against the target to impose a Disadvantage on their next Attack Roll. Meanwhile, with Dancing Lights, you can summon a wisp of light for allies who are not adept at seeing and attacking well in the dark. To avoid casting two Spells that require Concentration at the start, you can substitute this for Light to infuse one mobile and resilient ally’s Equipment with an aura of light.
Baldur’s Gate 3 College of Valour Bard Level 2
Jack of All Trades
At Level 2, you gain Jack of All Trades, which lets you add half of your Proficiency Bonus, rounded down, to specific Skills that you do not have proficiency in. So in Early Access, you get a +1 bonus to say Perception, as long as you’re not proficient with it. Jack of All Trades is a decent feature of the Bard because this turns you into an all-around character, making non-combat encounters relatively easier to deal with.
Song of Rest
Furthermore, you also gain Song of Rest that provides the party with HP as if you’ve triggered a Short Rest. If you have Wyll with you, then he’ll greatly benefit from this since his Spell Slots will be instantly replenished. With Song of Rest, you essentially save Short Rests for more critical and perilous situations.
From Level 2 onward, you’ll be able to unlearn and learn old and new Spells, respectively, via the Replacement Spell, similar to the Sorcerer. Unlearning a Spell lets you select what you wish to remove from your list. As a replacement, you’ll get to pick one Spell when you level up. Alternatively, if you want to keep your current list, you can simply ignore this feature and continue to learn new Spells. In this College of Lore Bard Build, we won’t be unlearning Spells since the ones we’ve chosen are already essential in combat.
Here, you can pick Sleep, Faerie Fire, or Bane because they’re all good utility Spells. With Sleep, you’re able to affect several enemies or a single target as long as their HP doesn’t exceed 24. Doing so will let you focus on others. Faerie Fire prevents a target from turning Invisible while granting an Advantage on all Attack Rolls against them. And lastly, Bane imposes a 1d4 penalty on at most 3 foes’ Attack Rolls and Saving Throws, making their hits more likely to lead to failure. Just remember that Faerie Fire and Bane require Concentration.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Bard Level 3
For this Build, we’re going to pick College of Valour, which grants essential perks that not only help the Bard survive longer but make them more equipped at martial combat since they gain Martial Weapon, Shield, and Medium Armor Proficiencies. What’s more, is that they can use Combat Inspiration, which improves Bardic Inspiration. Instead of only having the option of adding 1d6 to an ally’s Attack Roll, Ability Check, or Saving Throw, they can choose to use the same bonus on their succeeding Weapon Damage Roll or boost AC.
You must decide which among these actions should be taken by the target if it’s better to improve their attack, do more damage with their Weapon, or enhance their defenses. Remember that the bonus added to your Damage Roll or AC is taken as a Reaction instead of a Toggleable Passive Feature.
At Level 3, you get to choose 2 more Skills that you’re already proficient in to further double their corresponding bonuses, allowing your success rate in Ability Checks to skyrocket. This makes roleplaying fun since you have much more control over the outcome.
Next, you’ll gain access to 1 Level 2 Spell. Here, you can select Cloud of Daggers or Shatter if you want to deal sustain or burst damage, respectively. Although Cloud of Daggers requires Concentration, it’s still incredible to have because the Spell can stay on the field for up to 10 turns. Here, you conjure daggers that continue to circle and attack multiple adjacent enemies per round. As such, Cloud of Daggers is all the more useful in chokepoints like doorways. But note that it can also attack allies who are nearby so you need to be careful when positioning them.
Meanwhile, Shatter deals 3-24 Thunder Damage from afar.
Alternatively, you can go with Lesser Restoration if you prefer supporting the party because it allows you to remove any condition affecting them.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Bard Level 4
At Level 4, you’ll gain another Level 2 Spell Slot as well as a Cantrip. Furthermore, you can pick a Feat, and here, I highly recommend selecting Ability Improvement to raise Charisma to 18. As a Bard, you should prioritize boosting this as much as possible to improve the effectiveness of your Spells.
For the Cantrip, Blade Ward is good in cases when enemies get too close to you. What happens is the target gains resistance to Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing Damage, thereby reducing the damage they take by half.
For the Spell, you can pick Cloud of Daggers, Shatter, or Lesser Restoration, whichever you didn’t choose in the previous level.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Bard Level 5
At Level 5, Bardic Inspiration has been further enhanced thanks to Font of Inspiration and Improved Bardic Inspiration. With Font of Inspiration, you can regain all Bardic Inspiration even after a Short Rest! With Improved Bardic Inspiration, the bonus gained increases to 1d8 from 1d6. But as of Patch 9, this is only applicable to the active Attack Roll bonus since you only receive 1d6 from the Reactions so it might be a possible bug where the description is incorrect.
As with the other spellcasters, the Bard gains access to 1 Level 3 Spell, and here I suggest taking Glyph of Warding. Glyph of Warding is an extremely potent offensive Spell that allows you to conjure circular glyphs on the floor whose effects will be triggered once the enemy moves so it’s instant. You can choose from a series of effects including dealing huge 5-40 Fire Damage, Lightning Damage, or even pushing back everyone provided that they fail their Dexterity Saving Throws. But for the damage effects, remember that they’ll still take half the damage if they succeed with this roll. With Glyph of Warding, you’ll need to make sure that none of your allies are standing on the AoE, otherwise, they’ll also get hit.
When it comes to the College of Valour Bard’s Equipment, you’ll most likely want a One-Handed Weapon with a Shield as an alternative to dealing melee damage together with a Bow like The Joltshooter near Waukeen’s Rest since you have a decent Dexterity Score. For the One-Handed Martial Weapon, wielding Loviatar’s Scourge from the Shattered Sanctum is enough to deal 3-13 Damage. It even has Concussive Smash to daze the target. While Dazed, they receive a Wisdom Saving Throw Disadvantage in addition to losing the Dexterity bonus from their AC. Upon hitting the enemy, adjacent foes as well as you and nearby allies will also receive 1d6 Necrotic Damage. But due to your resistance, you only take half.
In terms of Armor, you should wear Scale Mail +1 Medium Armor or Lae’Zel’s Githyanki Half Plate to grant you a total of 17 AC with your +2 Dexterity Modifier. Since you also have a Shield, your AC will be boosted to 19 AC, making it much harder to attack you.
For Accessories, you ought to prioritize the Cap of Curing, which can be obtained from the Gilded Chest near the Druid Grove. This is perfect for the Bard because it also lets you heal allies for a small amount of HP when you use Combat or Bardic Inspiration on them. Next, you should wear Boots of Striding from Minthara. For every Concentration Spell that you cast, your Movement Speed increases by 3m. And in the process of Concentrating, you won’t be knocked back or Prone. Finally, you’ll want the Absolute’s Talisman since this restores a portion of your HP when you deal damage as long as your HP is low.
At earlier levels, you need to manage Combat Inspiration as this can easily be consumed in a single challenging encounter, and it only increases to 4 when you reach Level 5. If you’re facing multiple enemies, be sure to use Combat Inspiration to enhance your party member’s hit rate or to prepare Valiant Reactions in response to the enemy’s attacks. Doing so will increase the chances of ending the encounter sooner. Additionally, it doesn’t require Concentration so the College of Valour Bard is free to cast a Concentration Spell in the same turn.
Luckily, there are no restrictions to the amount of Long Rests you can take in Early Access so as long as you have enough Camp Supplies, then you’ll always be ready to inspire allies with your melodies.
Next, Combat Inspiration only lasts for 1 action. This means that you can’t keep using it on the same character, expecting them to receive bonuses on their Attack Rolls, Damage Rolls, and AC. They’ll need to take a Long Rest to reap the benefits of Combat Inspiration once again. Your ally can either use it immediately with Valiant Attack or reserve it later on to trigger Valiant Damage or Valiant Defense. Valiant Damage is added on top of your Weapon Damage and is best used to initiate combat while Valiant Defense is initiated when an enemy attacks you.
Lastly, you’re not limited to the One-Handed Weapon and Shield setup since you’re able to wield Martial Weapons. Instead of taking Necrotic Damage from Loviatar’s Scourge, you can equip the Everburn Blade by killing Commander Zhalk. This is an incredibly powerful Two-Handed Weapon due to the extra Fire Damage and the ability to set your surroundings on fire when coupled with Grease. Although your AC will go back to 17, your melee damage will be greater.
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!