Baldur's Gate 3 classes and subclasses: how to pick your playstyle

Baldur's Gate 3 artwork of a character with white hair reaching for a weapon on their back while facing a dungeon wall
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When you're starting out in Baldur's Gate 3, picking your class is one of your earliest and most important choices. Pulling directly from Dungeons and Dragons, your class determines your the bulk of your playstyle and ability options. Maybe you want to dabble in the Druid's shapeshifting and nature magic. Or maybe you want to play the frothing berserker, wading bare-chested into battle as a Barbarian.

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Luckily, it's an important decision with pretty low stakes. While your class is a fundamental part of your character, it's not one you're stuck with. You can respec in Baldur's Gate 3 for only a fistful of gold, once you've done an early sidequest.

In addition to all of D&D's main classes, Baldur's Gate 3 offers its many subclasses too, each one offering additional wrinkles to the class playstyle. Some, like the Rogue's Assassin subclass, are self-explanatory. But others... not so much. If you want to read descriptions of the less obvious ones, here are the weirdest subclasses in Baldur's Gate 3.

Whether you're beginning a fresh game or respeccing an existing character to a different flavor of adventuring, here's a Baldur's Gate 3 class primer to help you on your way.

Every Baldur's Gate 3 class

Barbarian | Bard | Cleric | Druid | Fighter | Monk | Paladin | Ranger | Rogue | Sorcerer | Warlock | Wizard

What about multiclassing?

Multiclassing is available in Baldur's Gate 3. Unlike in tabletop D&D, there won't be any restrictions based on your character's ability scores. Every time you level up, you'll have the option to take a level in a different class. While it's not necessary to get the most out of 5E, multiclassing can be fun if you're familiar with the ins and outs of the system. Here are the best multiclass builds in Baldur's Gate 3, if that sounds like your cup of tea.

In addition to classes, Baldur's Gate 3 lets you choose three more important character attributes that will shape your playthrough. You can choose your Baldur's Gate 3 race, Origin, and your Background, which will affect your story and how other characters in the game react to you.


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Subclasses: Berserker, Wildheart, Wild Magic
Proficiencies: Simple weapons, martial weapons, light/Medium armor, shields
Playstyle: "I'd like to rage"

Tyler Wilde, Executive Editor: The fantasy Barbarian archetype doesn't inspire the imagination like it did back when Frank Frazetta was painting Conan in the '70s, but it's still a fun D&D class. The key ability is Rage, which can only be used in combat, and increases the Barbarian's weapon damage while giving them resistance to physical damage and other bonuses. Rage ends if the Barbarian doesn't attack or take damage during a turn, so they are always busy. If you want to play sort of beefy Druid-lite, Wildheart Barbarians get Speak With Animals (a fun spell to have) and a special animal-themed Rage ability, like the Elk's "Primal Stampede." The Wild Magic subclass casts a random spell when you enter Rage, which is a fun extra dab of chaos, and Berserkers just go extra wild, making extra Frenzied Strike attacks at the cost of accuracy and, if that doesn't work, picking up large objects or other creatures and hucking them at a target.


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Subclasses: Lore, Valor, Swords
Proficiencies: Simple weapons, hand crossbows, longswords, rapiers, shortswords, light armor
Playstyle: Memelord cheer squad

Lauren Aitken, Guides Editor: My charm offensive is unmatched and the bonuses that come with Lore means it is nigh on impossible for me to fail Perception or Charisma rolls. I am absolutely crap in battle, however, and spend the majority of the time healing folk or strumming my lute to boost their morale. While it makes conversing with the locals—animals included—quite whimsical, and my performance is stellar, it is very frustrating when you've put all your points into lore and not into, say, becoming better at stabbing people, making fights desperately trying. So do lean on those melee classes in your party and allow them to do the heavy hitting while you provide support from the back line.


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Subclasses: Life, light, trickery, knowledge, nature, tempest, or war domain
Proficiencies: Simple weapons, morningstars, light/medium armor, shields
Playstyle: Your mom just wants you to play safe

Jody Macgregor, Weekend Editor: Druids, bards, and paladins can heal, but clerics are best at it, with Cure Wounds and Healing Word in your arsenal from the drop. Note that Cure Wounds gives back more HP, so even though Healing Word can be cast at range (and as a bonus action), you want a Cleric who can move around the battlefield to get near whoever's hurt. With access to medium armor and varied weapons, they make a decent switch-hitter who hops between the melee frontline and the Rogue/Caster Party Zone as necessary.

Clerics can be fun when you don't need healing too, he said, like your mother trying to convince you to include the boring kid. The Spiritual Weapon spell is no joke, and Spirit Guardians summons a bunch of dead old priests who can do 3d8 damage to anyone in 15 feet, presumably while shouting their battle cry, "That would be an ecumenical matter!" Plus, having the Guidance cantrip to give a bonus d4 to ability checks is great for all those persuasion and sleight of hand rolls. Yes, they talk about the gods, but please take a cleric when you go out to play. The person who shows up to rollerskate night with a first-aid kit is a saint and you should be nice to them.


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Subclasses: Land, Moon, Spores
Proficiencies: Clubs, daggers, javelins, maces, quarterstaffs, scimitars, sickles, spears, light/medium armor, shields
Playstyle: Nature-loving jack-of-all-trades

Robin Valentine, Senior Editor: What druids bring to the table is versatility. With medium armour and shield proficiency they're among the most durable spellcasters; their selection of spells includes potent offensive options, powerful support, and great utility with picks like Speak With Animals; and Wild Shape allows them to be a tanky melee threat, a stealthy scout, and even fly to inaccessible areas at a moment's notice. The flipside is they don't excel in any of those roles as much as more dedicated specialists, and it can be difficult to settle into what your best role in the party actually is. 


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Subclasses: (Pick at level 3) Battle Master, Eldritch Knight, Champion
Proficiencies: Simple weapons, martial weapons, light/medium/heavy armor, shields
Playstyle: Some guy with a sword

Tyler Wilde, Executive Editor: The closest you can get to being 'just a regular ol' sword-wielding adventurer' is the Fighter's Champion subclass. When you pick it at level 3, you get Improved Critical Hit, which gives you crits on natural 19s as well as 20s, and that's it. Champions get no complicated maneuvers like the Battle Master, who uses special dice to evade, goad, trip, and otherwise befuddle enemies with tactics, or spells like Eldritch Knight, who can cast spells like Thunderwave and Ice Knife (put some points into Charisma if you plan to pick this subclass). Whichever you choose, being a Fighter is about mastering weaponry and staying in the fight, using Action Surge to take extra attacks and Second Wind to regain health. A Fighter is always busy like a Barbarian, but more tactical.


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Subclasses: Open Hand, Shadow, Four Elements
Proficiencies: Simple weapons, shortswords
Playstyle: Weaponized therapist

Lauren Morton, Associate Editor: This is the first cRPG in which I've not regretted trying a Monk character. They start out with few proficiencies and effectively no spells either, but since Baldur's Gate 3 adapts so many actions like leaping, shoving, and improvising melee weapons you've got permission to get creative. You'll start with relatively high dexterity and strength, surviving fights by dealing decent damage and avoiding getting hit while relying on your party for additional buffs. In dialogue, monks can avoid combat and impose their will about as adeptly as deceptive characters with the sheer force of their "I'm not mad I'm just disappointed" vibes.


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Subclasses: Ancients, Devotion, Vengeance, Oathbreaker
Proficiencies: Simple weapons, martial weapons, light/medium/heavy armor, shields
Playstyle: Co-parent of the party

Lauren Morton, Associate Editor: As a Paladin you'll start off with a weapon and shield primarily fighting at melee range and using spells to provide buffs to your party. You'll also begin with your class healing spell Lay on Hands to heal a party member within melee range. In dialogue, Paladins can sometimes pull rank to mediate disputes thanks to their devotion to justice. But there's a catch, even though Baldur's Gate 3 doesn't have a formal morality system, Paladins that break their chosen oath (which you picked in character creation) will become an Oathbreaker subclass instead.


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Subclasses: Hunter, Beast Master, Gloom Stalker
Proficiencies: Simple weapons, martial weapons, light/medium/heavy armor, shields
Playstyle: Sneaky animal lovers

Sean Martin, Guides Writer: The Ranger class is perfect if you enjoy being sneaky and planting arrows in unsuspecting foes, but don't quite feel like the Rogue lifestyle is for you. It's a class with lots of versatility, letting you befriend animals and call upon bestial minions in the form of spiders, cats, ravens, wolves, rats, bears, and even a little frog friend. If you want to be a bit tankier, you can also be a Ranger Knight, gaining proficiency in heavy armor, though that might be counterproductive if you're trying to be stealth. Generally, the Ranger is a class for those who desire a sneaky playstyle, but with more of a nature-loving twist. In a world packed with dangerous animals, there are plenty of situations you can resolve by charming and befriending them, or simply sneaking around.


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Subclasses: Arcane Trickster, Assassin, Thief
Proficiencies: Simple weapons, hand crossbows, longswords, rapiers, shortswords, light armor
Playstyle: Fleet of foot and all that

Joshua Wolens, News Writer: In my experience, Rogue is all about using your natural speed and slipperiness to navigate the battlefield better than your enemies can. It's about dropping into stealth, identifying the most hapless, vulnerable schmuck in your opponents' ranks, and taking them out before anyone can register your presence. Abilities like Cunning Action—which lets you do things like double your allotted movement or drop into stealth using your bonus action—give you a huge degree of flexibility when it comes to picking your targets and making your moves, letting you get your blows in and dance away before foes can react. Plus, you can teach children how to run simple scams on their elders. It's really the perfect class.


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Subclasses: Wild magic, draconic bloodline, storm sorcery
Proficiencies: Daggers, quarterstaffs, light crossbows
Playstyle: The charismatic caster

Philip Palmer, Contributor: Starting as a sorcerer makes you a proper spell slinger who’s best in the back ranks. While you share the same pool of spells, you aren’t like those book nerd Wizards. Instead, you’ve traded their versatility and Intelligence for a big dose of Charisma and the ability to modify your spells on the fly to make them hit harder, last longer, or go further. When it comes time for dialogue, you’ve still got insight into how magic works, but you’re also a natural smooth talker, thanks to all that charisma—so you’ll be a shoe-in for skills like deception and persuasion.


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Subclasses: The Fiend, The Great Old One, The Archfey
Proficiencies: Simple weapons, light armor
Playstyle: The Charismatic Caster 2: Eldritch Boogaloo

Sarah James, Guides Writer: I usually go with wizards or some other magic-slinging ranged class but this time I thought I'd try a warlock. It's still very early days so it's hard to have any real feel for the class as a whole but I'm enjoying the range of spells it has to play around with. You can summon a companion to help you out in battle, though these seem to be better used as distractions in most cases, rather than proving a real threat to the enemy. You can also make use of spells to shield yourself, or gain additional hit points and damage reduction. And then, of course, you have your offensive spells, which are a mixture of ranged and melee. One of my personal favourites is Cloud of Daggers, which you can place down to deal AoE damage to any enemy that steps into it.


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Subclasses: Abjuration, Conjuration, Divination, Enchantment, Evocation, Necromancy, Illusion, Transmutation
Proficiencies: Daggers, quarterstaffs, light crossbows
Playstyle: Chaotic spell hoarder

Sean Martin, Guides Writer: If you want to see the most of what Baldur's Gate 3's absurd number of spells have to offer, then wizard is definitely the right class for you, focused, as it is, around stealing everyone else's magic. While wizards specialise in a particular school of sorcery, they are by no means limited to it, and can still learn other spells by paying gold and consuming the scrolls you find out in the world. Your magic school mainly defines your playstyle and gives bonuses based on that type of spell—Abjuration, for instance, grants you a ward of temporary hit points when you cast a related spell. It also massively reduces the gold cost of learning spells of that type. So, if you want to mess around with lots of different magic, or crave that fun experience of finding a dumb spell and immediately rolling it into your repertoire, wizard is the best choice.

Lauren Morton
Associate Editor

Lauren started writing for PC Gamer as a freelancer in 2017 while chasing the Dark Souls fashion police and accepted her role as Associate Editor in 2021, now serving as the self-appointed chief cozy games enjoyer. She originally started her career in game development and is still fascinated by how games tick in the modding and speedrunning scenes. She likes long books, longer RPGs, has strong feelings about farmlife sims, and can't stop playing co-op crafting games.

With contributions from