Baldur’s Gate 3‘s Barbarian class is a primal force capable of dealing devastating damage with little regard for personal safety (though they’re still tanky). If you’re looking to create a character that excels in melee combat and can disrespect even the fiercest foes, this is the definitive Baldur’s Gate 3 Barbarian build guide for you.
You’ll be roaring at both strangers and conversation partners while throwing both your enemies and allies off cliffs in no time.
Choosing your Barbarian playstyle
Pure Barbarians are known for their primal strength and fury, and they have several playstyle options to choose from to suit your preferences. But like the Fighter, we recommend Great Weapon Fighting for the Barbarian since it’s hard to beat the selection of two-handed weapons in Baldur’s Gate 3.
Still, you can consider the following options:
- Archery: Perfect for ranged weapon enthusiasts, this style grants a +2 bonus to ranged weapon attacks, ensuring accuracy and damage from a distance.
- Defense: If you prefer to be a durable tank, go for this style. It offers a +1 bonus to Armor Class while wearing armor, enhancing your survivability.
- Dueling: Ideal for those who favor one-handed melee weapons, this style adds two additional damage when wielding a melee weapon in one hand without a second weapon.
- Great Weapon Fighting: Designed for users of two-handed melee weapons, this style allows you to reroll a 1 or 2 on a damage die for better damage outcomes.
- Protection: A supportive style that requires a shield, imposing a Disadvantage on attacks against your allies when within 1.5 meters, provided you can see the attacker.
- Two-weapon Fighting: Enhances your off-hand weapon attacks by allowing you to add your Ability Modifier to the damage.
Choosing your Barbarian subclass
At Level 3, you’ll make a crucial choice by selecting a Barbarian subclass, each offering unique abilities and strengths. For the ultimate Barbarian experience, we recommend choosing the Berserker subclass.
- Berserker: This subclass emphasizes Barbarian’s fury, allowing you to enter a Frenzy (which is a specialized form of Rage), granting both the Frenzied Strike and Enraged Throw Bonus Actions, as well as physical damage Resistance and Advantage on Strength Checks and Saving Throws. It’s all about raw power and relentless assault.
The two other Barbarian subclasses, Wildheart and Wild Magic, are less direct and allow you to dabble into either Druid or spellcaster disciplines, in which case you might as well just multiclass. Besides, Berserker lets you weaponize just about anything.
Best Race, Background, and Skills for Barbarians
To optimize your Barbarian’s capabilities, it’s important to choose the right race, background, and skills. You can opt to pick another race or background, or even skills, depending on your playstyle, but we find that this combo gives out the best balance of damage and defense, perhaps even a bit of roleplaying.
Here are the recommended choices:
The Half-Orc race offers several valuable features for Barbarians, making it the ideal (and the thematic) choice:
- Darkvision: You gain the ability to see in dark areas, a useful trait for exploring dungeons and dimly lit environments.
- Savage Attacks: Critical Hits with melee weapon attacks deal triple damage dice instead of double, maximizing your damage potential.
- Relentless Endurance: When reduced to 0 HP, you can stay at 1 HP instead, potentially allowing you to recover and continue fighting.
- Proficiency in Intimidation: Enhance your ability to intimidate foes and assert dominance on the battlefield.
The Soldier background provides proficiency in Athletics and Intimidation, complementing your Barbarian’s natural strengths. These skills are valuable for combat and social interactions, making you a formidable force both in and out of battle.
Skills: Survival and Animal Handling
Consider investing in Survival and Animal Handling skills.
Survival improves your ability to navigate terrain, track foes, and forage for resources. Animal Handling allows you to calm animals and understand their intentions, which can be useful in certain situations. You don’t get along well with humans, so you might as well make buddies with animals.
You can also consider the following skills:
- Insight (not ideal, but it helps in ferreting out the liars)
Ability Score allocation
For a Barbarian build, prioritize the following Ability Scores:
- Strength (17): Your primary stat, Strength, increases your damage output and ensures you hit harder in melee combat. You’ll have to prioritize getting this to 20 (or close) later.
- Dexterity (15): Dexterity improves your Initiative.
- Constitution (16): Constitution increases your hit points (HP), making you more resilient in battle.
- Wisdom (8), Intelligence (8), Charisma (8): These can be safely set to 8 points each to allocate more to your core stats.
It’s rather imperative that you bring the Strength stat to 20 since that way, you can easily pick up and throw human-sized enemies. It’s pretty handy and funny as a capability. Dexterity is also great if you want to stay on top of fights since pumping it up to maybe 16 (quest rewards or items) ensures that your Barbarian doesn’t always go last in fights.
Of course, more health with Constitution is welcome; it lets you afford more mistakes. Everything else is unimportant for a Barbarian. Why say many word when big stick handle talking?
Barbarian leveling guide 1-12
To create the ultimate Barbarian build in Baldur’s Gate 3, follow this level progression:
- Level 1: Rage
- Level 2: Reckless Attack — Danger Sense
- Level 3: Subclass: Berserker
- Level 4: Ability Improvement: Strength
- Level 5: Extra Attack — Fast Movement
- Level 6: Additional Rage Charge
- Level 7: Feral Instinct
- Level 8: Feat: Great Weapon Master
- Level 9: Brutal Critical
- Level 10: —
- Level 11: Additional Rage Charge
- Level 12: Feat: Mobile
This progression focuses on enhancing your combat capabilities, granting you more attacks, improving your damage output, and increasing your mobility on the battlefield. The playstyle is simple: just keep attacking and make sure to keep the Frenzy or Rage active while doing so. If the enemy is too far away, consider throwing one of your allies at them. They won’t mind.
While Barbarians are formidable on their own, you can also consider multiclassing to further diversify your abilities and strengths. Here are two compelling multiclass options:
- Barbarian and Rogue: Combining the Berserker’s Frenzy with the Rogue’s extra attack can result in even more damage. This combo allows for potential one-hit kills, especially when adding sneak attack damage. Consider leveling eight times in Rogue and the rest in Barbarian, or up to you to experiment.
- Barbarian and Fighter: This classic combination pairs the Barbarian’s high HP pool and damage potential with the Fighter’s impressive AC and multi-attack abilities. The result is a formidable tank with excellent damage-dealing capabilities. Adjust the order of leveling as needed,d though armor might become an issue if you pick Heavy Armor.
Remember that nothing can stop you as a Barbarian (and nothing should). So do what you will to the world of Baldur’s Gate 3 as long as you follow our Barbarian build guide. It’s simply one of the most fun classes in the game.