How To Multiclass Bard In DnD 5e

There’s plenty to recommend a bard in Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition. The bard class’s ability to excel in all aspects of D&D is a perk few other classes can match. Their range of skills, abilities, and spells sets them apart from nearly every other D&D 5e character in terms of versatility.

The D&D bard’s versatility and variability make it one of the more open classes to play. This even extends into D&D bard multiclasses. Bards have more viable options than many other characters. However, some classes synergize far better with the bard than others, creating some bard multiclass combos that are mechanically more powerful than others.

Updated August 30th by Isaac Williams: Bards are one of D&D 5e’s best and most versatile classes. As a result, it can be overwhelming to add even more abilities into the mix with multiclassing. This list has been updated to give even more information about the best bard multiclass options in D&D 5e.

RELATED: 15 Best Feats For Bards In D&D 5e, Ranked

12 Barbarian

Multiclassing Prerequisite: 13 Strength

A barbarian wielding a hammer in DnD.

D&D barbarians are a challenge to multiclass with spellcasters for very straightforward reasons. They can’t cast or concentrate on spells while using their Rage. This effectively means a barbarian and bard multiclass in D&D would have to decide which class it wanted to behave like in combat — while doing neither as effectively as a single-classed character.

However, a D&D character could theoretically work around the limitations. They could still combine the two classes effectively if they used their spellcasting primarily outside combat or emphasized spells without Concentration. Nonetheless, it’s many hurdles to leap when each class is more effective in its own right.

11 Wizard

Multiclassing Prerequisite: 13 Intelligence

A Wizard with a staff in DnD

Multiclassing spellcasters is a challenge in D&D 5e because each class keeps its own spellcasting progression and uses its own ability score for the power of its spells. As a result, combining classes that use different ability scores to cast spells is a challenge rarely worth the effort.

Ultimately, a D&D bard and wizard have little to offer one another. A bard can eventually learn a wide selection of wizard-exclusive spells through its Magical Secrets feature. For its part, the wizard is likely to build too far into Intelligence to use the bard’s spellcasting or non-magical class features effectively.

RELATED: Every Wizard Multiclass Combo In D&D 5e, Ranked

10 Druid

Multiclassing Prerequisite: 13 Wisdom

A druid casting a water-based spell in DnD.

The D&D bard and druid are interesting from a mechanical perspective because they have some overlap. Both are casters with plenty of spells for healing, support, and debuffing enemies. However, this is part of the problem with a druid and bard multiclass in D&D 5e. They’re too similar, with little to complement one another.

A druid doesn’t have much use for a bard’s abilities, and the D&D bard doesn’t get much out of Wild Shape. Most of the druid’s features require either a high Wisdom score or many levels in druid. These facts hold back any bard D&D multiclass combining the two.

9 Monk

Multiclassing Prerequisite: 13 Dexterity & Wisdom

A bald Barbarian Monk fighting with a spear in DnD 5e

Many D&D players multiclass their bard with a martial build to help them hold their own in a fight. While many D&D martial classes work well for this, the monk is more likely to underwhelm. Mechanically, D&D bards don’t benefit from using their entire turn to strike foes. They have too many uses for their Bonus Action to benefit from the monk’s best abilities.

In addition, ability scores provide a significant barrier. Monk features require Dexterity and Wisdom. Any combat character benefits from high Constitution. There isn’t much room in this setup for decent Charisma, meaning this build would have to sacrifice valuable bard features to be functional in combat.

8 Ranger

Multiclassing Prerequisite: 13 Dexterity & Wisdom

A Beast Master Ranger in DnD.

Rangers struggle mechanically in D&D 5e with several underwhelming features. They are effective combatants who excel at dealing lethal damage. A D&D ranger and bard multiclass could theoretically hold its own in combat. However, the combination falls short in other ways.

Other D&D bard multiclasses can give better weapons and armor, Extra Attack, and a Fighting Style without the baggage of a ranger’s largely incompatible spellcasting. The bard can get any ranger spells they want through Magical Secrets. The ranger’s unique benefits fall short compared to other D&D classes.

RELATED: Every Ranger Multiclass Combo In D&D 5e

7 Cleric

Multiclassing Prerequisite: 13 Wisdom

A Cleric spellcasting in DnD

Clerics run into a common problem for bard multiclasses in D&D 5e. They cast with Wisdom instead of Charisma. This isn’t as severe as certain other classes. Bards benefit from high Wisdom due to the ability score’s valuable skills and saving throws. However, they must prioritize Charisma. Cleric levels for a D&D bard have little payoff.

However, there are some perks that might make a dip valuable. Certain D&D cleric Domains give heavy armor proficiency with a single level, which is a vast improvement over what most bards get. Furthermore, the Life Domain boosts healing spells significantly without care for class. One level in D&D 5e‘s Life Domain cleric can make a surprisingly capable bard healer.

6 Artificer

Multiclassing Prerequisite: 13 Intelligence

An Artificer shooting lightning in DnD

The artificer class has a lot of overlap with the D&D bard. They are both versatile classes that focus on supporting their allies, but they go about it in different ways. The bard gets access to many more buffing spells and can grant Inspiration that a character can use to improve their rolls.

An artificer improves allies’ equipment and can use its Flash of Genius feature to help allies with ability checks and saving throws. A D&D artificer and bard multiclass could lean strongly toward helping other creatures succeed. Although it wouldn’t be as effective with either single class’ abilities, the two together could become one of the best bard multiclasses for buffing in D&D 5e.

5 Fighter

Multiclassing Prerequisite: 13 Strength or Dexterity

A fighter wielding a glaive in DnD

As one of D&D‘s best martial combat classes, the fighter is a good choice for any multiclass that wants to increase its mettle. It’s also a class that a character might want to start in, even if they prioritize the bard. A D&D character only gets proficiency in heavy armor and Constitution saving throws if they start as a fighter.

Extra armor and weapon proficiencies, a Fighting Style, and the ever-useful Action Surge are all helpful for a bard. Ultimately, the player must decide how much they’re willing to sacrifice in spellcasting and D&D bard features. However, even a few levels in fighter can create a character who can protect themselves and allies in combat.

RELATED: Every Fighter Multiclass Combo In D&D 5e, Ranked

4 Sorcerer

Multiclassing Prerequisite: 13 Charisma

A Sorcerer casting magic in front of a flying spellbook in DnD

One of the few holes in the bard’s toolkit is that they lack any significant at-will damage. It doesn’t get Extra Attack to use weapons effectively, and none of its cantrips deal much damage. Specific D&D bard subclasses, such as College of Swords or College of Valor, are their most effective combatants. Taking even a handful of levels in sorcerer can boost the bard in offense and versatility.

A D&D bard/sorcerer multiclass sacrifices some higher-level spellcasting. In return, it gets several valuable cantrips, including reliable choices like Fire Bolt or Ray of Frost. This D&D build also gets access to several effective low-level spells, all of which use Charisma. A small amount of the D&D sorcerer’s Metamagic proves invaluable for any caster.

3 Rogue

Multiclassing Prerequisite: 13 Dexterity

An Arcane Trickster Rogue casting an invisible Mage Hand in DnD 5e

D&D rogue levels make for an effective multiclass with almost any build. No D&D character will have more or better skill proficiencies than the bard and rogue multiclass. Each class brings unique features regarding skills. A rogue and bard multiclass in D&D 5e has two separate sources of Expertise alongside the Jack of All Trades ability.

Rogue levels are the best bard multiclass for any D&D character going all-in on skills. Although the character’s spellcasting will suffer, they’ll have access to a lot of magic to overcome even more obstacles. Additionally, Sneak Attack helps bards deal more damage with their weapons in combat.

2 Paladin

Multiclassing Prerequisite: 13 Strength & Charisma

A Dragonborn Paladin in DnD

The paladin is one of the bard’s best multiclasses for combat in D&D 5e. This is partly because of complementary spellcasting. Even though the bard’s high-level spells will be delayed, they gain access to several unique paladin spells. These use Charisma, meaning the bard will be at least as effective with them as the paladin.

However, the real meat of a bard and paladin D&D multiclass comes from how effectively the bard can use Divine Smite. A bard with access to Divine Smite can use it more frequently than a paladin of the same level due to their higher spell slots. As long as a D&D bard is comfortable in melee combat, two paladin levels can boost their damage significantly.

RELATED: Every Paladin Multiclass Combo In D&D 5e, Ranked

1 Warlock

Multiclassing Prerequisite: 13 Charisma

A flying warlock using dark magic in DnD 5e

D&D bards multiclass best with other Charisma casters. Of these, none offer more than the warlock. A handful of levels in warlock give bards a wide selection of unique spells, Pact Magic slots that return on a short rest for more low-level casting, and Eldritch Invocations to further improve a bard’s versatility.

However, the real boon is the D&D warlock’s Eldritch Blast cantrip. A bard can take Eldritch Blast and Agonizing Blast with two warlock levels. This provides competitive damage with martial characters all the way throughout the game. This alone makes it the best bard multiclass in D&D 5e, even without its other valuable bonuses.

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