The Best College Of Lore Bard Build In Baldur’s Gate 3

As fun as the many different party members in Baldur’s Gate 3 might be, none of them take up the Bard class. If you want to fill that game in party balance, why not do so as a College of Lore Bard? This subclass offers a more support-centric option, providing a wide variety of spells and abilities perfect for hindering your enemies. Blind, hypnotize, and insult your enemies into submission while your tank goes in for the easy kill.



RELATED: Baldur’s Gate 3: Complete Guide To Bards

But with all of the various debuff options available, it can be tough to decide how to best go about building your character. Sleep or laughter? Hold Person or Crown of Madness? How should you spend your precious Bardic Inspiration?? Fear no longer. Read a little further to learn everything you could need to know about making the best College of Lore Bard build.

College Of Lore Bard Overview

The College of Lore Bard, thematically, shifts focus away from the idea of music and more toward the idea of storytelling. Words are your weapon more than a song is. This is primarily represented with the Cutting Words subclass feature, which allows you to use a reaction to hinder enemies.

Beyond that, you’ll also be given access to additional spells otherwise unavailable to the Bard class.

With that, this subclass is often played in a more defensive, supportive, or utilitarian role. It also gives them access to some potentially powerful spells, opening the door for a more offensive build. Remember that much of this can change depending on your party composition. Don’t be afraid to tweak the build further to make the most of your overall team.

The Best Starting Stats, Species, And Spells For A College Of Lore Bard Character

Bard character Menu in Baldur's Gate 3

Building the initial character is vital in setting them up for success further down the class line. While you won’t have access to the College of Lore subclass just yet, we can start laying the groundwork for your benefit later.


Because there are no stat differences between species, none play a major influence in your class. For this reason, we recommend playing as a human. Their Human Versatility means more skills to be proficient in, supporting the all-arounder style they’re good for. More importantly, it comes with Civil Militia, which will expand your weapon abilities and give you proficiency with a shield.

Cantrips And Spells

Start with Vicious Mockery and Mage Hand. Vicious Mockery is a Bard-only spell that, while not heavy on damage, can inflict disadvantage on attacks from the target. This is a great way to debuff enemies from the start. Mage Hand is useful in the overall game. It can be, however, replaced with another cantrip of choice if you intend on keeping Gale in your party since he already knows it.

For starting spells, we recommend the following spells for the following reasons:



Cure Wounds

Healing spells are valuable, especially if you don’t intend to keep Shadowheart in your party. If range is a concern, Healing Word is weaker but does not require contact.

Tasha’s Hideous Laughter

It’s one of the best early-game spells for disabling an opponent for multiple turns


It hinders multiple enemies at once, which is very valuable if anyone gets surrounded.


Its an early-game spell that can potentially disable multiple targets, with limitations, though.

Instrument And Background

The instrument you choose makes zero difference, so go with whatever one you fancy most.

As for Background, while Entertainer may make sense, Performance and Acrobatics checks are much less common. Instead, try Guild Artisan. Insight Proficiency is helpful in dialogue, and the many opportunities to use Persuasion checks will help with both dice rolls and Inspiration rewards.

Stats And Skills

The recommended stats for a Bard are close but not quite ideal. With that in mind, we recommend the following starting stats.













By taking one point off charisma and moving it to dexterity, we can get a better Dex score, boosting AC and weapons without lowering your charisma modifier. You can then increase your charisma more with a feat later on.

As for Skills, this will mostly depend on playstyle, but we recommend the following skills.





Tips To Best Play A College Of Lore Bard

Baldur's Gate 3 Player Halfling and Omellum

The best way to play a College of Lore Bard is as a powerful supportive role. You want to utilize both your Cutting Words feature and wider variety of spells to debuff or disable opponents, making them easy targets for your damage-dealing party members. Stay in the background instead of on the front lines, and choose spells that complement that playstyle.

Don’t dish out Bardic Inspiration. Instead, save it for Cutting Words. This subclass-exclusive reaction allows you to roll your bardic dice as a reaction to an enemy’s attack, ability check, or damage. This can be the difference between life and death in some moments.

Once you reach level 5, be more liberal with your usage since you can restore bardic inspiration from a short rest. This pairs very well with your Song of Rest ability, which is essentially an extra short rest.

Go to your character’s info screen and find the reactions panel. Set Cutting Words to ask for confirmation first, or you’ll burn through them in early encounters.

College of Lore Bards also get an extra instance of Magical Secrets. For how to make the most of that, consult our Best Spells section below.

The Best Spells For A College Of Lore Bard

Baldur's Gate 3 Halfling Player Bowing In Respect

Following the aforementioned theme of being a support role that debuffs and hinders the enemy, we recommend the following spells. This will be how it looks when you’ve reached a maximum level of 12. For details as to why for each spell, consult the recommended levels to learn each spell in the Level Up Choice section below. Otherwise, pick them at your leisure.

Spell Level



Vicious Mockery, Mage Hand, Friends, Blade Ward


Cure Wounds/Healing Word, Tasha’s Hideous Laughter, Bane, Sleep, Dissonant Whispers, Magical Secrets (Chromatic Orb), Ritual Caster Feat (Jump, Speak With Animals)


Shatter, Detect Thoughts, Invisibility (replace with Greater Invisibility later), Knock,


Hypnotic Pattern, Magical Secrets (Haste, Counterspell),


Dimension Door, Greater Invisibility (replaces Invisibility), Magical Secrets (Banishment)


Dominate Person, Mass Cure Wounds


Eyebite, Otto’s Irresistible Dance

RELATED: Baldur’s Gate 3: The Best Cantrips

The Best Equipment For A College Of Lore Bard

Drow Player In Adamantine Armor Inspects Curious New Moonlantern And Pixie

Best Weapons

For your main hand, you should wield a Rapier. Already dealing 1d8 damage, the finesse quality means you can still use dexterity as your attack modifier. It also comes with two debilitating weapon skills and Flourish. Flourish lets you make an attack as a bonus action and potentially inflict yet another debuff.

For magical options, the standard +1 Rapier can be found as early as the Druid Grove, purchased by Dammon. The better choice, however, is the Sword of Screams, a Rapier that deals an additional 1d4 psychic damage to all attacks. You can get it from True Soul Nere in Grymforge.

For ranged attacks, we recommend a Light Crossbow. It deals more damage than the starter Hand Crossbow, hitting for 1d8. You can also find a magic Light Crossbow +1 very early, purchased from Dammon at Druid Grove,

Best Armor And Accessories

While there are arguably better pieces of equipment available, those will be better suited for your other party members, whereas this setup is designed to make the most of your support-role position on the team. The only hard ‘must-have’ on this build is the Boots of Brilliance.



Helm of Autonomy

Proficiency with Wisdom Saving Throws

Cloak of Protection

+1 to AC and Saving Throws



Studded Leather Armor +1

Highest AC armor available

Amulet of Lost Voices

Free casting of Speak With Dead



Herbalist’s Gloves

Healing a target also rids of poison

Ring of Color Spray

Can cast Color Spray



Boots of Brilliance

Can restore Bardic Inspiration slots

The Whispering Promise

Bonus 1d4 on attacks and saves to creatures you heal

Off Hand/Shield


Shield +1

+3 to AC

Your Choice

It’s common to wear the Blazer of Benevolence since it gives Temp HP when you give someone bardic inspiration. But since this build focuses on using Cutting Words instead, we don’t recommend this armor. But if you like how fancy it looks, don’t let us stop you.

If you’re more interested in leaning into the party healer role, we recommend swapping out the helm for Wapira’s Crown. This allows you to make greater use of healing your teammates.

Every Level Up Choice For A College Of Lore Bard

Conversation Options in Baldur's Gate 3

Want a level-by-level guide for accomplishing this build? Here’s how to do that. Each table will represent reaching that level, citing the new things unlocked and what spells we recommend taking. Note that it will skip level one since that is covered above.

Things earned at every level, like more health and a greater number of spell slots, are assumed and will not be included in the table.

Level 2

New Unlocks

Song of Rest

Jack of All Trades

Recommended Spell

Dissonant Whispers

It’s one of the stronger level 1 spells available, best to get early

Level 3

New Unlocks

2nd Level Spell Slots

Gain 2 Expertise (Deception, Performance)

Subclass (Collage of Lore)

Cutting Words

Sleight of Hand, Intimidation, and Arcana skill proficiency

Recommended Spell


Powerful damage. Better to get now while Tasha’s Hideous Laughter still disables most enemies.

Level 4

New Unlocks

Additional Cantrip

Song of Rest

Jack of All Trades

A new feat


Ability Improvement: Charisma +2

Better to do early to improve your spellcasting modifier and DC

Recommended Cantrip


Will further boost charisma checks (may cause conflict in certain game modes)

Recommended Spell

Detect Thoughts

Will open more conversational options to utilize.

Level 5

New Unlocks

Font of Inspiration (regain Bardic Inspiration on short rests)

Bardic Die is now a d8

Level 3 spell slots

Recommended Spell

Hypnotic Pattern

Great for disabling multiple targets. Amulet option covers only other level 3 spell (Speak with Dead)

Level 6

New Unlocks


Song of Rest

Jack of All Trades

Magical Secrets (learn 2 non-Bard spells)

Recommended Spell


Good for stealth, positioning, or escaping trouble.

Haste (Magical Secrets)

Powerful buff, perfect for casting on a tank, or on yourself for an escape

Chromatic Orb (Magical Secrets)

It’s the most diverse and powerful level 1 attack spell

Level 7

New Unlocks

Level 4 spell slots

Recommended Spell

Dimension Door

It’s the best teleportation spell, great for rescue or tactical positioning

Spell Replacement

Replace Invisibility with Greater Invisibility

Level 8

New Unlocks

A new feat


Ability Improvement: Charisma +2

Get your Charisma up to 20 now to make the most of the +5 modifier

Recommended Spell


Diversify your options. This is very optional and can be replaced accordingly

Level 9

New Unlocks

Level 5 spell slots

Recommended Spell

Dominate Person

Great control spell. If taking on a healer role, can be replaced by Mass Cure Wounds

Level 10

New Unlocks

Bardic Die is now a d10

Gain 2 Expertise (Persuasion, Stealth)

New Cantrip

Magical Secrets

Recommended Cantrip

Blade Ward

Easy defensive option

Recommended Spell

Mass Cure Wounds

Unless you took that instead of Dominate Person. In which case, take Dominate Person now

Banishment (Magical Secrets)

One of the best ways to remove problem targets

Counterspell (Magical Secrets)

Interrupt and waste power enemy spells, can be a lifesaving option

Level 11

New Unlocks

Level 6 spell slots

Recommended Spell


A powerful debuff spell that can be repeatedly cast and offers multiple options

Level 12

New Unlocks

A new feat


Ritual Caster

Learn two ritual spells. Further diversify your spell selection with ones that won’t eat up spell slots. If this doesn’t appeal to you, consider the Durable feat instead

Recommended Spell

Dissonant Whispers

It’s one of the stronger level 1 spells available, best to get early

Jump (Ritual Caster)

Take advantage of hight bonus for ranged attacks

Speak With Animals (Ritual Caster)

Enables additional narrative and environmental options

NEXT: Baldur’s Gate 3: Class Tier List

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