Baldur’s Gate 3: BEST Bard Race [Ultimate Guide]

After investing 60+ hours in Baldur's Gate and looking at different builds and races, here is my opinion on the best bard race!

Baldur's Gate 3: Best Race for Bard

Of the 12 classes in Baldur’s Gate 3, Bard is the most flexible, as you can tune your character to play offense and defense. However, to modify it according to your needs, you must choose the correct Race, and subclasses that allow additional cantrip and spell slots. Let’s look at some of the best Bard race in Baldur’s Gate 3.

Key Takeaways

  • Bard is an adaptable class in Baldur’s Gate 3, with Light Armor and diverse playstyles.
  • Charisma is the key ability score for negotiation and deception.
  • The best races for Bard include Shield Dwarf, Githyanki, and Forest Gnome.
  • Shield Dwarf offers speed and Dark Vision, along with armor and weapon proficiency.
  • Githyanki provides Astral Knowledge and Martial Prodigy for skill expertise.
About The Author

Reeshail Qureshi has played Baldur’s Gate 3 for 60+ hours and you can easily trust the information and the hands-on experience he provides for Baldur’s Gate 3.

1. Shield Dwarf

Best Bard Race for Better Combat.

Why did I Choose Shield Dwarf?

I chose this for its blend of survivability and combat prowess. Shield Dwarves make the Bard more resilient, allowing for a focus on support and offense without excessive vulnerability.

shield dward race choice in baldur's gate 3
Shield Dwarf Race for Bard | Captured By: VeryAli Gaming

As the Bard class has light armor and expertise in a few weapons, we need to back it up by choosing the Dwarf Race that fills the hole. Dwarf is a potential race that improves your weapon usage and provides several features. Let’s look at them.

  • Base Racial Speed: It reduces your meters moved per turn by 1.5m, reducing it to 7.5m. This makes you faster and allows Bard to make swift movements in intense combat situations.
  • Dwarven Combat Training: The Dwarf race learns weapon usage through this feature. This helps you master the weaponry and use it to dominate the opponents on the field.
  • You will master the following guns: Warhammer, Light Hammer, Battle axe, and Hand axe.
  • Dark vision: This is a level 2 spell players will only receive if they choose the Dwarf race. It allows you to have clear vision in dark areas for up to 12 meters. It is a useful feature as you can see your enemies in the dark when they expect not to. 
  • Dwarven Resilience: This is a resistance Dwarf Race feature as it provides Resistance over the Poison Damage. Poison is one of the most common damages in Baldur’s Gate 3 that can come from spells and enemy types such as Ogres. It is not good for your health so Dwarven Resilience helps you retain it.

I recommend that you pair this with the Shield Dwarf Subrace. It has Dwarven Armor Training as its feature, which makes you an expert with light and medium armor. This introduces a tanky nature in Bards, allowing them to take more damage while staying alive.

  • Improved movement speed compensates for lower Bard agility.
  • Darkvision helps in low-light combat situations.
  • Weapon proficiency and armor training enhance combat potential.
  • Poison resistance offers valuable protection.
  • Slightly slower base movement speed.

2. Githyanki

Best Bard Race for Skill-based gameplay.

Why did I Choose Githyanki?

I chose this for its focus on skill mastery and magical utility. Githyanki Bards can excel in both social and combat situations, with spells adding a unique dimension.

githyanki race choice baldur's gate 3
Githyanki Race for Bard | Captured By: VeryAli Gaming

Githyanki is another potential Race choice for Bard class. It does not require you to choose a Subrace with it, as all the features are linked with the Githyanki race. Here are the features of this Race.

  • Base Racial Speed: Players will get the base racial speed of 9 meters moved per turn with Githyanki Race.
  • Astral Knowledge: This is the essential action for the Githyanki Race as it gets you expertise in all the skills you choose while it is activated. Players can use these skills during combat or while they are exploring the realms of Baldur’s Gate 3.
  • Martial Prodigy: The Light Armour of Bards is backed up by this feature as it will get you proficiency in Light and Medium Armour.
  • You will master the usage of Longsword, Shortsword, and Greatsword. This is a combat-oriented feature due to its relation with Armour and Weaponry.

Other than these features, players will receive Githyanki Psionics: Mage Hand Cantrip at level 1, Githyanki, Psionics: Jump spell at level 3, and Misty Step spell at level 5.

Spell Githyanki Psionics: Mage Hand Githyanki Psionics: Jump Misty Step
Level Cantrip 0 2
School Conjuration Transmutation Conjuration
Casting Time Action Bonus Action
Range 18m 22.5m 18m
Requires Concentration 18m 18m
  • Astral Knowledge grants skill expertise, ideal for versatile Bards.
  • Martial Prodigy provides proficiency with useful weapons and armor.
  • Access to powerful spells like Misty Step enhances tactical options.
  • Lacks the survivability bonuses of other races.

3. Forest Gnome

Best Bard Race for Exploration.

Why did I Choose Forest Gnome?

I chose this for its utility and stealth potential. Forest Gnome Bards excel at exploration, and quick movement, and possess a more subtle touch thanks to animal communication.

forest gnome race choice baldur's gate 3
Forest Gnome Race for Bard | Captured By: VeryAli Gaming

Gnome is a unique Race that can interact with Animals for multiple purposes. They use their intelligence and energy to work around different locations. They appear small in appearance but use magic to do the big things. Here are the features of the Gnome Race.

  • Base Racial Speed: Gnome has an improved movement over the other classes. It allows the Bard to make sudden movements for running away from a dangerous situation, or to help an ally in need.
  • Gnome Cunning: This is a race-specific feature as it provides benefits over the Saving Throws on Wisdom, Intelligence, and Charisma. For the unknown, a Saving Throw is an act to avoid any harmful attack by doing a roll.

I suggest that you pair this Race with the Forest Gnome Subrace, as you will be able to talk and converse with different animals. This is possible through the Animal Speaking level 1 spell. It will get Darkvision to have clear visuals in dull areas to locate and eliminate the enemies.

  • Enhanced movement speed improves Bard’s positioning.
  • Gnome Cunning boosts saving throws for several key stats.
  • The ability to talk to animals opens up unique interactions.
  • Darkvision aids exploration and combat in low-light scenarios.
  • No direct combat advantages.

Why Others Were Not Chosen?

  1. Halfling (Lightfoot or Stout): No direct combat benefits, lower Strength can be detrimental.
  2. Human (Standard or Variant): Lacks specialized bonuses that enhance Bard’s strengths or cover weaknesses.
  3. Drow (Seldarine or Lolth-Sworn): Sunlight Sensitivity is a major disadvantage, Charisma might need boosting depending on the subrace.
  4. Tiefling (Varied subraces): Charisma might not be the primary stat for some subraces, lack of direct synergy with Bard abilities.

My Choice Of Best Bard Race

The Bard is a good option for a flexible character because of these qualities, which go well with its light armor and proficiency with particular weapons. The Shield Dwarf is the best choice for a Bard because of its general usefulness and tankiness, even if Githyanki and Forest Gnome have their own special benefits.

I hope that you found this guide useful and informative. You can leave feedback in the comments below if you want more guides like this.

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