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Baldur's Gate 3 best Barbarian build

Here's how to build a beefy and brutal Barbarian in Baldur's Gate 3

A Berzerker Barbarian in Baldur's Gate 3.
Image credit: Larian Studios / Rock Paper Shotgun

Do you need a strong Baldur's Gate 3 Barbarian build? If you're aiming to build a Baldur's Gate 3 character ready to deal hardcore damage, the Barbarian is your best bet. These melee characters are so heavy hitting they don't even need armour, making them ideal choices to run as tanks for your crew. They're also a relatively straightforward choice that can benefit any group composition looking for a character specialising in combat and warfare, with a threatening aura sure to help you get anything you want from the locals.

If you're looking for an all-out brawler who's ready to take on anything Faerun throws at them, here's everything you need to know about the Barbarian class in Baldur's Gate 3. We'll go over the benefits of running this class, your subclass options, and our choices for feats as you level up.

Note: Looking for lots more builds to choose from? Check out our dedicated list of the best builds in Baldur's Gate 3 for each class!

Now that Baldur's Gate 3 has left early access, vid bud Liam reckons it was worth the wait.Watch on YouTube

Baldur's Gate 3 best Barbarian build

Barbarians are beasts trapped in humanoid form with the ability to Rage as a Bonus Action, which immediately makes you very powerful from the start of the game. Rage allows you to deal extra damage with melee and improvised weapons and when throwing objects. Rage also grants resistance to physical damage and advantage on strength checks and saving throws. You don't even need to wear armour as a Barbarian, as one of the class features will add your Constitution modifier to your armour class (though eventually, you may find it beneficial to switch to armour anyway, as some especially high-stat armour will allow you to respec your Constitution points if desired).

Barbarian subclass options

At Level 3, you'll have the option to choose a subclass. You can choose from the following Barbarian subclasses:

  • Wildheart: An attunement with nature allows you to choose from a number of animal-inspired actions and aspects.
  • Berserker: Emphasising Barbarian fury, this allows you to enter a Frenzy, granting both the Frenzied Strike and Enraged Throw Bonus Actions, as well as physical damage resistance and advantage on strength checks and saving throws.
  • Wild Magic: Grants a random magical effect, along with resistance to physical damage and advantage on strength checks and saving throws.

Barbarian weapon, armour, and class proficiencies

  • Barbarian weapon proficiencies: Simple weapons, martial weapons
  • Barbarian armour proficiencies: Light armour, medium armour, shields
  • Barbarian skill proficiencies: Choice of two: Athletics, Insight, Perception, Religion
  • Barbarian saving throws: Strength, Constitution

Best Barbarian race, background, and skills

In Baldur's Gate 3, your race, background, and chosen skills can grant you additional actions and traits that help strengthen your character. Here are the best picks for your Barbarian build.

The best Barbarian Race is Half-Orc.

The Half-Orc race has several special features that make it a powerful choice. Half-Orcs have Darkvision, which allows them to see in dark areas. They also have the Savage Attacks trait, which means critical hits with melee weapon attacks triple damage dice rather than double them. Furthermore, with Relentless Endurance, Half-Orcs reduced to 0 HP will instead go to 1 HP, allowing them to potentially recover and heal by your next turn. The Half-Orc race also gains proficiency in Intimidation, which is always handy for social encounters where regular diplomacy just isn't enough.

The best Barbarian background choice is Soldier.

Soldier grants skills in Athletics and Intimidation. Athletics improves Shove, resistance to Shove, and Jumping, while Intimidation affects attempts to influence through threats and hostile actions.

The best Barbarian skill proficiencies are Survival and Animal Handling.

Survival provides benefits in following tracks, hunting wild game, terrain navigation, and avoiding other natural hazards, while Animal Handling allows you to calm domesticated animals and intuit animal intentions.

The best Barbarian subclass

Berserker is the best Barbarian subclass. If you choose to run with this class, using a two-handed weapon is ideal because it can deal more damage than other weapons. Further, at Level 4, you can select the Feat Great Weapon Master for added damage and a bonus action on kills or critical hits.

Though this subclass option removes the variety of choice you'd get with the Wild Magic and Wildheart subclasses, you'll gain a few powerful abilities as you progress. Frenzied Strike lets you make an additional melee attack as a Bonus Action and Intimidating Presence lets you inflict the Fear effect on a target to make them run away.

Best Barbarian feats

Barbarians can choose feats at Levels 4, 8, and 12. The best Barbarian feats are:

  • Level 4: Great Weapon Master
  • Level 8: Savage Attacker
  • Level 12: Durable

With Great Weapon Master, you can make an extra melee attack after getting a critical hit or a kill and can also take a -5 penalty to attack rolls in exchange for 10 extra damage. Savage Attacker allows you to roll your damage dice twice and select the higher result. Durable restores all HP with a Short Rest and raises your Constitution score by one.

If you've followed our suggestions, you'll have a powerful Baldur's Gate 3 Berserker Barbarian capable of leading your team into the most challenging boss battles. Your character will both be able to deal major damage and handle significant blowback. However, you'll want to ensure your crew's composition includes a strong healer and a character proficient in spellcasting to keep your Barbarian standing throughout long battles.

For the full rundown on how to spec other classes, see our Baldur's Gate 3 best builds guide. We also have guides if you require insight on multiclassing or are interested in romancing a special somebody as you journey through Faerun. And, if you don't like the build we recommended, there's always the option to respec in Baldur's Gate 3, too.

Disclosure: Former RPS deputy editor Adam Smith (RPS in peace) now works at Larian and is the lead writer for Baldur's Gate 3. Former contributor Emily Gera also works on it.

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