There’s something about already challenging games that just makes players drawn to making it even harder on themselves. Baldur’s Gate 3 has a difficult combat system as it is, even if you’ve chosen a well-designed party structure. For many, that isn’t enough, and people are experimenting with the added difficulty of playing Baldur’s Gate 3 with intentionally challenging race and class combinations.
In Baldur’s Gate 3, players are able to choose their own ability score bonuses, regardless of character race. This is a major departure from Dungeons & Dragons, in which every playable race has a set ability score bonus—usually receiving +2 to one score and +1 to a secondary score. Thus, in D&D, you have to really think about which class/race combos will work and which ones won’t.
Baldur’s Gate 3 is not bound by this constraint—because you can choose your own bonuses, any class/race combo is theoretically completely viable. The key word here is “theoretically.” Sure, it may be more difficult to be a masochist, but it’s not impossible, not by a long shot. You just need to be a bit more creative.
For the sake of legitimacy, we’re disregarding ability score sabotage—there’s no fun in that. Intentionally distributing your ability points poorly is a bit like deciding to not use spells as a Wizard. Sure, it adds difficulty, but only because you aren’t playing the game as designed. For this list, we’re including challenging class/race combinations that are challenging no matter what.
No, you didn’t read that wrong. As counterintuitive as it seems, Githyanki make awful Barbarians, despite being a race that places a high focus on physical prowess. The combination won’t make your character completely useless, but it will effectively negate every Githyanki racial bonus.
A Barbarian is only a Barbarian because of one specific and completely awesome Feature—Rage. Rage enables Barbarians to do bonus damage, take less damage, and receive a number of other benefits depending on Subclass choices. Rage also prevents Barbarians from being able to cast spells, and only works if the Barbarian is unarmored.
Githyanki racial bonuses grant them Mage Hand, a spell, which cannot be used by a raging Barbarian. Githyanki also start the game with proficiency in medium armor—a massive benefit, unless of course you’re a Barbarian, in which case wearing armor is akin to actively nerfing yourself.
This combination does not necessarily contradict itself; rather it is taking advantage (disadvantage?) of the race and class that suffer most in the transition from Dungeons & Dragons to Baldur’s Gate 3. In other words, it’s a combination of what many consider to be the worst race and worst class in the game.
Halflings in Baldur’s Gate 3 have pretty significant disadvantages compared to other races. Primarily, they have reduced movement speed because of their small stature. Further, while they do receive a bonus Advantage against certain adverse conditions, they are the only race in the game that does not receive a cantrip or ability as a racial bonus.
Druids, on the other hand, are still relatively strong in Baldur’s Gate 3, but they’re missing their greatest tool—role playing. In D&D, one of the greatest strengths of the Druid class is the limitlessness of the game. If you can think it, you can do it. This means that Druids can turn into birds to eavesdrop, or turn into rats to move through high danger zones undetected, or turn into a cow to be sold to a target for an assassination. The possibilities are endless.
In Baldur’s Gate 3, developers did an amazing job of making the game feel almost limitless. It is truly incredible how free players feel in this game, but still, it doesn’t compare to Dungeons & Dragons in this regard, and especially to a D&D Druid.
This follows the same logic as the Githyanki Barbarian, only working in the other direction. In Baldur’s Gate 3, Half-Orcs have one of the best racial bonuses for melee classes—critical hit damage is tripled instead of doubled. The caveat is that this bonus only applies to melee weapon attacks.
If you play a Half-Orc as a Wizard (or a Sorcerer for that matter), you won’t ever be using a melee weapon attack unless something has gone EXTREMELY wrong. By choosing this combination, you are nullifying one of best racial bonuses in Baldur’s Gate 3.
The Jack of All Trades
This combination doesn’t actually become better or worse depending on your chosen race, but it’s so creative and self-sabotaging that we simply had to include it on this list of challenging race and class combinations. Partly because it’s so funny, and partly because there is actually an achievement that you’ll unlock for building this character.
As the title suggests, the Jack of All Trades is just that—a character of every class in Baldur’s Gate 3. Probably not by accident, you’ll need to be max level to become the true Master of None, because achieving this combination is done by multiclassing into every single class.
Once you reach level 12 with this build, your character will be a first level Barbarian/Bard/Cleric/Druid/Fighter/Monk/Paladin/Ranger/Rogue/Sorcerer/Warlock/Wizard. Once the final class is collected and the Baldur’s Gate 3 Gauntlet is complete, you can finally rest and watch the sun set on a grateful universe, as you’ll unlock the achievement Jack of All Trades.
Here’s the “best” part: you only get the achievement if you achieve this build without the help of Withers. You cannot respec your character to become the Jack of All Trades, you must do it like our ancestors did—by playing through the entirety of Baldur’s Gate 3 and selecting a new class every time you level up. One redditor did find a loophole for earning the achievement, but where’s the fun it that? You’re here for a challenge, not an achievement.