Barbarian Class: Best Builds and Subclasses


The Barbarian is one of the 12 available main classes in Baldur's Gate 3 (BG3). Check out our guide for an overview of the Barbarian class, including its related subclasses, class features, best races to use, and best builds.

Barbarian Class Overview

Barbarian Basic Information

Class Overview
Baldur Barbarian
The strong embrace the wild that hides inside - keen instincts, primal physicality, and most of all, an unbridled, unquenchable rage.
Hit Die d12
Primary Ability Strength
Saving Throw Proficiencies Strength and Constitution
Starting Class Features
・Access to the Rage Class Action
・Gains the Unarmored Defence Passive
Light Armor Proficiency
Medium Armor Proficiency
Shield Proficiency
Simple Weapon Proficiency
Martial Weapon Proficiency

The Barbarian is a melee-focused class whose playstyle revolves around the Rage mechanic. While enraged, the Barbarian can tank hits, survive the most grievous of wounds, and deal increased damage.

Barbarian Skill Proficiencies

As a Barbarian, your character can choose 2 out of the 6 skills below to be Proficient in. When you are Proficient with a skill, you get a bonus to any Checks tied to that skill. Proficiency bonuses increase as you gain levels for your chosen class.

Available Skills (Pick 2 of the 6)
Animal Handling

What is a Proficiency Bonus?

All Barbarian Subclasses

Once your Barbarian reaches Level 3, you will be asked to choose a Subclass in the form of a Primal Path. In Baldur's Gate 3, the Barbarian will have 3 Subclasses to choose from: the Path of the Berserker, the Path of the Wildheart, and the Path of Wild Magic.

Subclass Subclass Description
BaldurBerserker Violence is both a means and an end. You follow a path of untrammeled fury, slick with blood, as you thrill in the chaos of battle, heedless of your own well-being.
Subclass Starting Features:
・Your Rage becomes Frenzy
・Grants Frenzied Strike
・Grants Enraged Throw
BaldurWildheart Your attunment with nature and its beasts inspires your rage, empowering you with supernatural might.
Subclass Starting Features:
・Grants Speak with Animals
・Unlocks Bestial Heart Mechanic
BaldurWild Magic The wild influence of magic has transformed you, sutfusing you with an arcane power that churns within you, waiting to be released.
Subclass Starting Features:
・Grants Rage: Wild Magic
・Grants Magic Awareness
・Grants Bolstering Magic: Boon
・Grants Unstable Backlash

All Barbarian Class Features

Barbarian Features
Rage Unarmored Defense Reckless Attack
Danger Sense Primal Path Extra Attack
Fast Movement Feral Instinct Brutal Critical
Relentless Rage
▼ Level Progression and Features Chart ▼

Rage - Grants Bonus Damage and Resistances

The Barbarian's entire class identity revolves around their ability to Rage. During combat (and only during combat), you will be able to spend a Bonus Action and a Rage Charge to enter into a seething Rage, empowering your Barbarian for 10 Turns.

While enraged, your Barbarian will gain bonus damage, resistance to physical damage, as well as Advantage on Strength checks and Saving Throws. However, do note that Rage ends early if you have not attacked a creature or taken damage since your last turn.

Rage Charges and Bonus Damage Increase with Character Level

Level Rage Charges Rage Bonus Damage
1 2 Rage Charges +2 Damage
3 ↑ 3 Rage Charges +2 Damage
6 ↑ 4 Rage Charges +2 Damage
9 4 Rage Charges ↑ +3 Damage
12 ↑ 5 Rage Charges +3 Damage

Unarmored Defense Grants Bonus Armor

Shed your clothing and revel in the bare-chested power of the Barbarian.

The Barbarian's body is as tough as any armor. Harnessing the power of the Unarmored Defense passive, Barbarians are granted a bonus to their Armor Class (AC) when not wearing armor as shown below.

Unarmored Defense AC Formula
Armor Class = CON Modifier + DEX Modifier + 10

Math aside, the simple explanation is that the higher your AC, the harder it is for you to get hit. However, do note that wearing Heavy Armor removes all positive effects of your Rage. Avoid wearing Heavy Armor at all costs if you're a Barbarian.

What is Armor Class?

Unarmored Defense Mileage Depends on Your Equipped Armor

Players will find that Unarmored Defense's mileage will vary depending on the armor they find and equip. Some Medium Armor options can result in a higher AC rating (despite the disadvantage to Stealth rolls), especially during early game, so weigh your options carefully and consider the tradeoffs between unarmored and armored.

For the unarmored enthusiasts out there, fear not, as the game gives you ample opportunity to raise your Dexterity and Constitution using Ability Score Improvements at levels 4, 8, and 12, as well as via equipment. With the right ability point distribution, you can opt out of high level armor and return to your bare-chested ways further into BG3.

Reckless Attack Gives Your Attacks an Advantage

Once you reach Level 2, your Barbarian will gain access to the Reckless Attack action. When using this instead of your normal attack, your Barbarian will gain Advantage for their Attack Roll, allowing you to roll 2 Damage Dice when hitting instead of the usual 1 (higher chance to hit).

However, do note that Reckless Attack also has a tradeoff. Until your next turn, enemies will also have Advantage on Attack Rolls against you. If you're at death's door, perhaps reconsider using Reckless Attack (or opt to go down in blazing glory).

What is Advantage?

Danger Sense Grants Advantage Against Hazards

Reaching Level 2 on your Barbarian also grants you the Danger Sense passive. This gives you Advantage on Dexterity saving throws against traps, spells, and hazardous surfaces. In order for this passive to stay active, your Barbarian cannot be Blinded or Incapacitated.

Primal Path Subclasses Allow for Other Playstyles

Upon reaching Level 3 on your Barbarian, you will be asked to choose between 3 different subclasses called Primal Paths. Each path will modify your Rage Mechanic, with some like Wildheart offering multiple types of sub-paths to follow.

Barbarians can choose to follow either the Path of the Berserker, the Path of the Wildheart, or the Path of Wild Magic.

Hit Twice in Combat with Extra Attacks

At Barbarian Level 5, you become twice as deadly with the Extra Attacks feature. During combat, Extra Attacks does as advertised, allowing your Barbarian to Attack twice so long as you use any type of Attack action during your turn.

Being Unarmored Grants Fast Movement

In Baldur's Gate 3, movement pertains to the distance you can travel during a turn. The Fast Movement passive (which you unlock at Level 5), instead of making you speedy, actually allows you to cover larger distances while unarmored. This, coupled with the Unarmored Defense passive, will allow you to run down enemies with ease at higher levels.

Feral Instinct Grants Initiative Advantage

At Level 7, your Barbarian will get the Feral Instinct passive. This grants you Advantage during Initiative rolls at the start of combat, giving you a higher chance of starting first in the turn order.

If your party is Surprised during a combat encounter, the passive will allow your Barbarian to act normally during their first turn so long as you enter Rage before doing anything else. The passive will not work if your Barbarian is Incapacitated at the start of combat.

Brutal Critical Gives an Extra Weapon Damage Die

At Level 9, your Barbarian's critical hits become stronger. During combat, you roll an extra damage die when calculating your Critical Hit damage against an enemy.

Become Too Angry to Die with Relentless Rage

At Level 11, your Barbarian gains access to the Relentless Rage passive. With the effect active, you literally become too angry to die as this passive grants you the chance to perform a Constitution saving throw if your HP drops to zero while Raging (provided you don't die immediately).

If you pass the Difficulty Class (DC) 10 Constitution saving throw, your Barbarian gets up with 1 HP remaining. Each time you trigger Relentless Rage, the DC for the saving throw increases by 5.

Barbarian Class Level Progression

Lvl Features Unlocked Rages & DMG Proficiency Bonus
1 Rage
Unarmored Defense
2 Rages
+2 DMG
2 Reckless Attack
Danger Sense
2 Rages
+2 DMG
3 Subclass (Primal Path)
Wild Magic
3 Rages
+2 DMG
4 Ability Score Improvement or a Feat of your choice. 3 Rages
+2 DMG
5 Extra Attack
Fast Movement
3 Rages
+2 DMG
6 Subclass (Path) Feature 4 Rages
+2 DMG
7 Feral Instinct 4 Rages
+2 DMG
8 Ability Score Improvement or a Feat of your choice. 4 Rages
+2 DMG
9 Brutal Critical (1 die) 4 Rages
+3 DMG
10 Subclass (Path) Feature 4 Rages
+3 DMG
11 Relentless Rage 4 Rages
+3 DMG
12 Ability Score Improvement or a Feat of your choice. 5 Rages
+3 DMG

Barbarian Builds

17(+2) 14 15(+1) 8 10 10

Strength should be the highest ability score for Barbarians due to them being a physical class.

Dexterity grants you AC and Initiative during combat. Having it at 14 should be advantageous enough for Barbarians.

Constitution should be the second highest ability for Barbarians to gain more defensive numbers. This should also give you the confidence to go armorless with the Unarmored Defense class feature.

Intelligence is a dump stat for Barbarians as it does not provide any beneficial bonuses on actions and overworld interactions.

Wisdom at 10 should be enough to help on your explorations and pass WIS checks.

Charisma can also be safely set at a low score of 10 as you won't be relying on it too much on decision-making prompts.

Best Subclasses for Barbarian

Berserker for Aggressive Barbarian Play

Berserker provides the best features for physically-offensive Barbarians. When picked as a subclass, it changes your Rage to Frenzy which allows you to use Frenzied Strike and Enraged Throw during combat. Frenzied Strike allows you to make another attack during the bonus action phase, while Enraged Throw allows you to throw items and creatures on enemies to deal damage. At level 6, you will also get Mindless Rage which gives you full immunity to charm, calm emotions, and frightened status conditions when frenzied.

Best Barbarian Equipment

  • Armor: None. Since Barbarians have Unarmored Defense as their main class feature, it's best to not equip any armors to take advantage of the Constitution Modifiers to AC .
  • Amulet and Rings: The Ring of Flinging provides Throwing Boost that greatly improves Berserker Barbarian's Enraged Throws.
  • Weapons: Greataxes are great and reliable weapons for Barbarians.

Best Races to Use As a Barbarian


Half-Orc provides both offensive and defensive advantages to Barbarians with its race features. Savage Attacks can help you triple your damage output when landing Critical Hits with melee attacks. Relentless Endurance, on the other hand, can help you resist fatal blows and instead survive on 1 HP when receiving attacks that would reduce your HP to 0.

  • Relentless Endurance grants 1 Hit Point when reaching 0 HP, preventing you from getting Downed during combats. This is a great trait to have for Barbarians as it allows you to fully take advantage of Unarmored Defense which requires to go armorless to get the Constitution Modifier bonuses.
  • Savage Attacks enhances your Critical Hits as it triples your damage output instead of double.
  • Dark Vision grants vision when exploring dark areas.

Half-Orc Race Guide and Best Classes

Baldur's Gate 3 Related Guides


Class Guide: All Classes and Subclasses

All Classes

All Class Guides
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