Baldur’s Gate 3 Barbarian Class Guide – In this Baldur’s Gate 3 Barbarian Class Guide, I’m going to be covering the Barbarian Class, including all 3 Subclasses, and providing you some useful information. I’ll be doing more Build Guides for Baldur’s Gate 3, but for now, let’s just look at how a Barbarian functions and its basics.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Barbarian Class Guide
Barbarians are a martial Class in BG3 that focuses on melee combat, typically favoring offense over defense, which allows them to shell out a lot of damage with each attack. They also have the highest health pool of any Class in the game, giving them solid survivability.
They can Rage, putting them in a state that increases their melee damage, thrown damage and damage with Improvised weapons, and also provides them Damage Resistance vs. Physical Damage. This allows them increased performance in martial combat, but they cannot wear Heavy Armour or cast Spells while doing so.
Barbarians also add their Constitution Modifier to their Armour Class as long as they are not wearing Armour, and they can gain Advantage on their Melee Attacks each turn by granting enemies Advantage on their attacks against them for the same turn.
BG3 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. We’ll begin with Abilities first, since this is arguably the most important part, aside from choosing your Subclass.
Your primary Ability as a Barbarian is Strength because it improves melee attacks and throwing, however, Barbarians also make good use of Constitution since it can apply to their Armour Class when Unarmoured, and because they typically get hit often, providing them a cushion to survive those hits. Note that Barbarians can play as Dexterity based characters, but they will not be able to Throw nearly as well.
- Strength increases your melee hit chance, melee damage, thrown damage, increases Carry Weight and chance to Shove someone successfully and resist being Shoved, as well as increases Jump distance, and improves Athletics Checks and Strength Saving Throws.
- Constitution is there to help keep you alive via HP, since Barbarians typically soak up a lot of damage when on the front lines.
For this reason, I strongly recommend that you invest 16 in STR and 16 in CON during Character Creation. Some Dexterity is also not bad to further boost Armour Class (AC), improve Initiative, and to improve DEX Saving Throws.
- STR 16
- DEX 14
- CON 16
- INT 8
- WIS 10
- CHA 10
Note I’ve changed this from the recommendations as it more optimizes your Character during the early goings of the game.
Barbarians have nearly all Proficiencies in Weapons, Armour and Shields, so choosing a Race will come down to what else they can bring to the table, since these are not needed.
For instance, Drow have Superior Darkvision, Fey Ancestry and Perception Proficiency, which are all decent pick ups for the Barbarian.
Gold Dwarf is also not a bad choice for Darkvision, Dwarven Resilience, and Dwarven Toughness, though they have lower Movement Speed, which isn’t ideal for Barbarians.
Half-Orc is also a good choice, since they have Darkvision, Relentless Endurance, and Savage Attacks.
For Skills what you select will not have a huge impact in the game. Barbarians don’t typically handle the dialogue of their group, though they can use Intimidation quite well compared to some Classes. Athletics is good to pick up for Shoving and helping to resist being Shoved, but beyond that the choice of skills is really up to you.
BG3 Barbarian Guide – Level 1
At level 1, Barbarians gain Unarmoured Defence, which allows them to add their CON Modifier to their Armour Class (AC), but only if they are not wearing Armour. Barbarians need significant CON and the right gear in order to have higher AC than using Medium Armour. So consider using Medium Armour early on in the game.
Also at this level, Barbarians can Rage twice as a Bonus Action for 10 turns, every Long Rest. While Raging, Barbarians gain +2 damage to melee attacks, thrown weapon attacks, and improvised weapon attacks. They also gain Damage Resistance to Slashing, Blunt and Piercing Damage, and have Advantage on Strength Checks and Strength Saving Throws.
However, they must attack every turn or take damage or Rage ends early. They also cannot cast or Concentrate on Spells while Raging or wear Heavy Armour. Note that Way of the Four Elements Spells of the Monk can still be used while Raging.
The number of times Rage can be used per Long Rest will increase as the Barbarian gains levels, as well as the extra damage they deal.
BG3 Barbarian Guide – Level 2
At level 2, Barbarians gain Danger Sense giving them Advantage on Dexterity Saving Throws made against Traps, Spells and Surfaces.
Also at this level, Barbarians gain Reckless Attack, allowing them to gain Advantage on their melee attack roll, by allowing enemies to have Advantage on their attack rolls against them for one round. The best way to set this up is in your Reactions and click it on and to “Ask”. This will allow you to attack with Weapon Actions and Class Features if you Multiclass, and use Reckless Attack only if you would Miss. Note this only works with Melee Attacks, making Barbarians more melee-oriented than some other martial Classes.
BG3 Barbarian Guide – Level 3
At level 3, all Barbarians will select a Subclass and gain Subclass Features based on what they chose. We’ll cover these more in the Subclasses section, but for now let’s continue with things all Barbarians gain at each level.
BG3 Barbarian Guide – Level 4
At level 4, Barbarians gain their first Feat. Ability Improvement is a solid choice in order to increase Strength or Constitution, but there are other good choices as well.
Great Weapon Master is a good pick up, allowing Barbarians to use their Bonus Action to make an attack if they Critically Hit or defeat an enemy. It also allows them to deal +10 Damage when using a Two-Handed Weapon, in exchange for a -5 penalty to their Attack Roll. Reckless Attack can offset this somewhat so it’s not a bad trade off. Keep in mind though, that Berserkers can already make an Attack with their Bonus Action, so they don’t get quite as much from this as other Subclasses.
Tavern Brawler is also a solid choice, allowing you to increase your STR or CON by +1, and double your STR Modifier when making Unarmed Attacks, using Improvised Weapons, or Throwing something. This is added to both your Attack and Damage Rolls, and is great for Berserkers who can make an Enraged Throw each turn as a Bonus Action.
BG3 Barbarian Guide – Level 5
At level 5, all Barbarians gain Extra Attack, allowing them to make an additional Attack each turn they use their Action to make an Attack. This is a huge power increase for the Barbarian, and does not stack with other Extra Attacks from other Classes.
Also at this level, Barbarians can move an additional 3m in combat as long as they are not wearing Heavy Armour.
BG3 Barbarian Guide – Level 6
At level 6, all Barbarians gain a Subclass Feature that is specific to their Subclass. We’ll cover what these are in the Subclasses section.
BG3 Barbarian Guide – Level 7
At level 7, Barbarians gain Feral Instinct giving them +3 to their Initiative Rolls, and making it impossible for them to be Surprised. This means they will take their turn in combat sooner more often, and if you are ambushed by enemies and Surprised, they will not forfeit their first turn of combat.
BG3 Barbarian Guide – Level 8
At level 8, all Barbarians gain a second Feat. You can choose Ability Improvement or any of the other ones I recommended, depending on your Barbarian setup.
BG3 Barbarian Guide – Level 9
At level 9, Barbarians gain Brutal Critical, adding an extra Damage Die when they Critically Hit with an Attack. This also adds a damage die to Divine Smite or Sneak Attack if you Crit while using them should you Multiclass. Note that Brutal Critical only adds an extra Die to Melee Weapon Attacks, not Spell Attack Rolls, Ranged Weapon Attack Rolls, or Unarmed Attack Rolls, though it does not say this on its description.
BG3 Barbarian Guide – Level 10
At level 10, all Barbarians gain their final Subclass Feature. We’ll cover what these are in the Subclasses Section.
BG3 Barbarian Guide – Level 11
At level 11, all Barbarians gain Relentless Rage, preventing them from being Downed if their HP would reach 0 while Enraged once per Short Rest.
BG3 Barbarian Guide – Level 12
At level 12, Barbarians gain their final Feat. Ability Improvement is still good here, or any of the others I already mentioned.
BG3 Barbarian Guide – Equipment
Barbarians in BG3 will typically wear Medium Armour or no Armour. Medium Armour gives them very good protection since they will typically have 12 or 14 Dexterity, and no Armour allows them to make use of Unarmoured Defence. Which you choose is really up to what gear you find and how high your CON is, but you definitely won’t wear Heavy Armour since you cannot Rage and you don’t gain the benefit of Fast Movement while wearing Heavy Armour.
When it comes to Weapons, Barbarians will typically use a Two-Handed Weapon since many like to take the Great Weapon Master Feat for increased damage, while offsetting the -5 Attack Roll penalty with Reckless Attack. This also gives them the most damage possible with each attack, including their Bonus Action if they use Great Weapon Master or are a Berserker. However, they can also dual-wield effectively.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Barbarian Guide – Subclasses
Choosing a Barbarian Subclass in BG3 can be a little confusing, because it’s not inherently clear what each specializes in, and many players will play their Barbarians similarly regardless of Subclass anyways.
Of the 3 Barbarian Subclasses, Berserker is the most straightforward to play, simply giving you Bonus Actions you can use each turn you are Ebnaged, and some passive Features mostly. It’s easy to get into.
Wildheart is a bit more dynamic than Berserker, giving you a lot of different options for your Barbarian, and each Wildheart Barbarian will likely differ from one another somewhat. I highly recommend this one to players looking to have a bit more “fun” with their Barbarian.
And lastly, Wild Magic Barbarians trigger Wild Magic effects when they Rage, but these effects are always positive. They can also support their group by restoring Spell Slots every Long Rest, and eventually they will trigger Wild Surge whenever they take damage in combat.
|Speak with Animals
|Rage: Wild Magic
|Bolstering Magic: Boon
Bolstering Magic: Lvl 1 Spell Slot
Bolstering Magic: Lvl 2 Spell Slot
|Land’s Stride: Difficult Terrain
|Bolstering Magic: Lvl 3 Spell Slot
At level 3, all Barbarians gain their first Subclass Features based on which they select. Then they will gain their second Subclass Feature at level 6, and then finally again at level 10. However, Wildheart Barbarians will also gain a Subclass Feature at level 8, and Wild Magic Barbarians will gain one at level 9. These are the only exceptions.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Barbarian Guide – Berserker
At level 3, Berserkers gain Frenzy, which is a modified form of Rage that allows them to make a Frenzied Strike, Enraged Throw, or Improvised Weapon Attack as a Bonus Action while Frenzied. All other aspects of Frenzy remain the same as Rage.
While Frenzied, Berserkers can use Frenzied Strike as a Bonus Action to make another Attack with their equipped Weapon. They gain a stacking -1 penalty to their Attack Rolls though each time they do this, until their Frenzy ends. Note they can only use Frenzied Strike once per turn, even if they have more Bonus Actions available.
While Frenzied, Berserkers can also make an Enraged Throw as a Bonus Action, which allows them to throw an object at a target with increased damage and knocking it Prone. The higher your Strength, the heavier items that you can throw and more damage you will deal. Remember that you have Advantage against enemies that are Prone when making melee attacks against them.
At level 6, Berserkers gain Mindless Rage preventing them from being Charmed or Frightened, and the Calm Emotions Spell will no longer end their Rage if cast on them.
At level 10, Berserkers can use Intimidating Presence as an Action. This allows then to Fear an enemy, which gives them Disadvantage on Ability Checks and Attack Rolls, as well as makes them run from the Berserker and not take any additional Actions. It targets the Wisdom of the character, and Berserkers can reapply this to extend its duration. However, since Berserkers have no native Spellcasting Ability Modifier, they only apply 8 + Proficiency Bonus to the Difficulty Class of this, making it much easier to Save against.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Barbarian Guide – Wildheart
At level 3, Wildheart Barbarians will choose 1 of 5 Bestial Hearts, which improves Rage in various ways, and also provides the Wildheart Barbarian another Action they can perform while Enraged. This can be changed later as you level up, so don’t be paralyzed about which to select.
|Passive Rage Improvement
|Damage Resistance to all by Psychic Damage
|Foes have Disadvantage on Opportunity Attacks
Dash can be used as a Bonus Action
|Movement Speed increased by 4.5m
|Jump Distance increased by 4.5m
|Allies have Advantage on Melee Attack Rolls made within 2m of you.
At level 6, Wildheart Barbarians will gain an Animal Aspect from a list. These are passive benefits that will always apply to the Wildheart Barbarian, regardless of whether or not they are Enraged. Wildheart Barbarians will also choose another Animal Aspect at Wildheart Level 10, so keep that in mind when making your selection.
Land’s Stride: Difficult Terrain
At level 8, Wildheart Barbarians are no longer slowed down by Difficult Terrain and their Movement Speed is no longer halved when moving through it.
At level 10, Wildheart Barbarians will gain a second Animal Aspect from the list. This is the last Subclass Feature of Wildheart Barbarians.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Barbarian Guide – Wild Magic
Rage: Wild Magic
At level 3, Wild Magic Barbarians will always trigger a random Wild Magic effect when they use Rage. And unlike the Sorcerer’s Wild Magic Subclass, these effects are never negative, and will always benefit the Wild Magic Barbarian in some way. However, 2 are hostile AoEs around them, so it’s best to move to enemies before Raging, just in case you trigger one of these.
|Wild Magic Surge
|Wild Magic Effect
|Bolt of Light
|Until end of Rage, shoot a Bolt of Light from your chest that Blinds the target for 1 turn and does 1-6 Radiant Damage. 9m range and CON Saving Throw
|Shadowy tendrils lash around you, sucking the life from all creatures within 9m dealing 1-12 Necrotic Damage on failed CON Save, and granting you 1-12 temporary hit points.
|Until end of Rage, you can summon a spectral flumph within 9m of you. The flumph explodes at the end of your turn, dealing 1-6 Force Damage to each creature within 2m on a failed DEX save.
|Until end of Rage, enemies that hit you take 1-6 Force Damage in retaliation.
|Until end of Rage, you and any allies within 3m of you have a +1 bonus to Armour Class.
|Until end of Rage, as a Bonus Action each turn, you can Teleport up to 18m to an unoccupied space you can see.
|Until end of Rage, the ground within 5m of you is Difficult Terrain for everyone other than you, halving movement speed.
|Until end of Rage, your equipped weapon deals an additional 1-6 Force Damage and gains the Light and Thrown properties. If Thrown, it immediately reappears in your hand.
Also at this level, Wild Magic Barbarians can give everyone with 3m of them their Proficiency Bonus to their Spell Saving Throws for 1 turn as a Bonus Action. Considering how short the range and duration is, this is almost unusable on anyone besides the Barbarian.
Bolstering Magic: Boon
At level 6, Wild Magic Barbarians can grant themselves or an ally 1D4 on their Attack Rolls or Ability Checks for 10 Turns, as an Action, once per Long Rest. Since this is an Action, it’s best to use before combat if possible, in order to not consume your Action on turn 1 of combat.
Bolstering Magic: Level 1 & Level 2 Slots
Also at this level, Wild Magic Barbarians can give themselves or an ally a Level 1 and Level 2 Spell Slot back as separate Actions. You’ll obviously want to use this outside of combat, and unless you Multiclass, you will only use this on other spellcasters in your party.
Bolstering Magic: Level 3 Spell Slot
At level 9, Wild Magic Barbarians can also give themselves or an ally a Level 3 Spell Slot back as an Action.
At level 10, Wild Magic Barbarians will trigger a Wild Magic Surge when taking damage or failing a Saving Throw while Enraged. This Wild Magic Surge will replace the current one you triggered when you used Rage, so you won’t have multiple Features from this at the same time.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Barbarian Guide – Multiclassing
In this section of our Baldur’s Gate 3 Barbarian Class Guide we’ll take a look at Multiclassing a Barbarian in BG3, and what other Classes you might Multiclass with. Keep in mind this is not a complete list, but rather helpful suggestions to that make good pairings.
When To Multiclass
Barbarians are heavily front-loaded, meaning they gain Rage and Unarmoured Defence at level 1, Reckless Attack and Danger Sense at level 2, and they gain a lot from their Subclass at level 3. It’s not uncommon for some Classes to dip 2 levels into Barbarian just for these Features, but the first more likely place to Multiclass would likely be level 3.
From this point onward, it really depends on whether they are Multiclassing with another Martial Class or not, since Barbarians gain Extra Attack at level 5, and Rogues and Spellcasters typically don’t. You may want to go to level 5 Barbarian when Multiclassing with one of these Classes.
I like 3 Berserker and 9 Oath of Vengeance Paladin. This gives you 3 charges of Rage, Reckless Attack, and an Bonus Action that can also be used to Attack while Enraged. Berserkers don’t really gain a lot past level 3, so Multiclassing them here is ideal. This allows you 3 Divine Smites per turn, as long as you have the Spell Slots for them, and Divine Smite can be used while Enraged. This also gives them access to Paladin Level 3 Spells and Spell Slots.
I like 6 levels of Wildheart and 6 levels of Way of the Open Hand Monk. This allows you have Rage which gives +2 damage to Unarmed Attacks, Reckless Attack, gain Bestial Heart, and you can take Animal Aspect of the Stallion to gain Temporary Hit Points whenever you Dash equal to your Character Level, not Barbarian Level. Just remember to take the Eagle Bestial Heart so that you can use Dash as a Bonus Action while Enraged, since Step of the Wind: Dash does not work with Stallion.
Monk will give you Unarmed Attack as a Bonus Action, and Flurry of Blows, which takes advantage of Rage 2 times when used, since it hits twice. You gain Deflect Missile, and Ki Improved Strikes, which helps with Resistances and Immunities. You also gain Manifestation of Body, Mind and Soul further boosting your Damage. Make sure to take Tavern Brawler with one of your Feats to further boost Unarmed Damage.
I also like 6 levels of Wildheart and 6 levels of Thief in order to gain a second Bonus Action, to be able to Dash as a Bonus Action and still gain the benefit of Stallion’s temp HP, while selecting a different Bestial Heart like Bear or Tiger. You also gain some Skills from Rogue, as well as 3D6 Sneak Attack Damage which you can trigger every turn with Reckless Attack. This works really well if you have Great Weapon Master, as you can then use your second Bonus Action more effectively.
Multiclassing Wild Magic
I like 6 levels of Wild Magic and 6 levels of Circle of Spores Druid. This allows you Wild Magic Surge every time you Rage, and still cast Spells when you don’t from the Druid (up to level 3). You’ll also still have Extra Attack, and Reckless Attack, and can use Halo of Spores as a D6 every turn as a Reaction. And you can further boost your HP by using Symbiotic Entity, which also boosts your damage on each Attack. This still gives you access to Fungal Infection as well, so you can still have an undead Army if you wish! And you can use Shillelagh to makes your Attack and Damage Rolls use Wisdom, when using a Staff or Club, so you don’t need Strength.
I hope you found these tips helpful, and we’ll have some more Builds out really soon that showoff more of these Multiclassing aspects!
That wraps up our Baldur’s Gate 3 Barbarian Class Guide! 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, as well as our Baldur’s Gate 3 Guides.