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Theres
2009-03-04, 09:31 PM
I for one believe that bards have the potential to be a leading member of the party and not just the "face" used to negotiate and make a grand entrance but as an all around functioning member of the party. Usually when i take bard people are like "whats wrong with you?" and "BARDS SUCK" but actually when the fighter can't get past the stone door and the cleric cant talk to anyone or the rouge just focused on locks and not negotiating my bard comes into play. and i might even pull my dying compatriots behind cover and revive the fighter. my level 2 bard got lucky and has max hp and loaded with weapons and went from "HAHA! BARDS SUCK" to battle field commander leading the party to victory through precise formations. arcane spell casting okay attack bonus and passable saves when used properly with all the skills i want makes the bard my fave. yes bards are stupid when they "go into dungeons and sing at people"but there awesome when they come in reciting the epic of the hero that smited the legendary hydra right before i blast you. :smallsmile::smallbiggrin::smallbiggrin:

Nohwl
2009-03-04, 09:42 PM
bard is pretty low on the list of things i play. i just dont like the idea of a guy singing to help do things. especially when the dm makes you sing every time your bard does.

ridly
2009-03-04, 09:45 PM
BARDS ARE AWESOME

I mean they can summon an instrument with a spell.
so imagine a bard summoning a grand piano to inspire courage in the middle of battle.:elan:

Lycan 01
2009-03-04, 09:46 PM
I would play a bard, actually... :smallcool:

Seriously, if I had the stats and stuff, I can see myself more as playing a Bard than anything else. I'm usually the diplomat of our group, and I'm also a tactition by heart... So it seems like something right up my alley. Plus, I'd love to ply a little tune on a mandolin... and then bash an orc's face in with it. :smallbiggrin:

LordZarth
2009-03-04, 09:49 PM
W-w-wall of text? The-the punctuation, why? WHY AREN'T YOU THERE?!?!

Undead Prince
2009-03-04, 10:02 PM
Usually when i take bard people are like "whats wrong with you?" and "BARDS SUCK"

They're right. Even not comparing the Bard to the really powerful classes, he is totally and entirely outclassed by Beguiler.


but actually when the fighter can't get past the stone door

Bards don't have Open Lock. Or Disable Device, for that matter. Beguiler does, and has Trapfinding, so he can spot and disable high-level traps, like the Rogue.


or the rouge just focused on locks and not negotiating

Why would the rogue be negotiating when he's busy picking locks? Hardly the time for business transactions 8=) Or do you mean the Rogue doesn't have enough skill points to take Open Lock AND Appraise? Because he does.


and i might even pull my dying compatriots behind cover and revive the fighter.

I suppose this means that you wasted one of your precious few known spell/spell per day slots on a Cure spell. Instead of just using a healing potion. Or, you know, let the Cleric do it.


battle field commander leading the party to victory through precise formations.

You're thinking of Marshal. Bard doesn't have any such capabilities.


arcane spell casting okay attack bonus and passable saves when used properly with all the skills i want makes the bard my fave.

The Bard's arcane spellcasting is not okay. A Sorcerer's spellcasting is "okay", or a Beguiler's. Bard's spellcasting is "severely gimped", in terms of spells per day, spells known, spell availability and spell progression. As are his fighting capabilites (medium BAB, no decent armor, no shield, no extra feats, forced to use Weapon Finesse etc. - he's not a fighter at all).


yes bards are stupid when they "go into dungeons and sing at people"but there awesome when they come in reciting the epic of the hero that smited the legendary
hydra

They may be awesome with reciting (after all, that Perform has to count for something). But beyond evening entertainment, they're not useful.

Mushroom Ninja
2009-03-04, 10:10 PM
With the right sources, bard can be a really dangerous melee master.

Harperfan7
2009-03-04, 10:20 PM
I think bards stretch belief. Even if magic existed, who would go and play music with the actual intention of helping when doing dangerous things?

As to their role, marshall and warlord make much more sense.

However, if bards made more sense, like focusing on enchantment magic and psychological skills in combat instead of music (saving music for some non-combat encounters), then it would just be a decision between supporter-light and supporter-heavy.

Overall, I think bards are ok.

dyslexicfaser
2009-03-04, 10:25 PM
It's not so unbelievable. Historically, armies have musicians to keep up morale; drums, bagpipes, flutes, whatever. What about the holy warrior who, while fighting, shouts a hymn to his god to bolster his own spirits? Or a leader who has Perform(Oratory) to warm up his troops?

It's only silly if you play it in a silly manner.

EDIT: Now Elan from OotS? That is one silly bard.

aje8
2009-03-04, 10:26 PM
The reason why so many people hate bards is they don't havea particular area in which they accel. However, they can do just about anything.

Skills: Fine
Spells: Fine
Melee; Okay, if built right
Songs: Fine

But people think it sucks because it's like "Rogue is a better skill monkey! Wizard is a better spell caster, buffs (i.e. cleric) are more effective than songs! (Fine so wizard and cleric are bad metrics cause they beat everybody at everything but you get the idea) The thing is though, a Bard's power is in his versatility. He isn't amazing at anything, but he's fine at anything (Espeically with Jack of all trades alternate class feature) he's comparable to the factotum in that regard.

I'm not saying I like bards, I don't particularly. But I'm not saying I hate them. They're decent but not amazing. Low Tier 3 in other words. They can do nothing amazingly but everyhting passably. The polar oppisite of an ubercharger in other words.

Verdict: There will always be a better option. Just like any other class (for anything) Wizard does it better. But assuming you don't want to be a wizard/cleric/druid, However barring them Bard is a reasonable choice. Beguiler is probably better overall as is Factotum but that's ok. Bard is still decent.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-03-04, 10:28 PM
Bards take a lot of effort to build well, but when you do, they go beyond what other characters can do. Snowflake Wardance can make a cha-based melee build(one of the few ways to do so), Words of Creation, either on it's own or with Dragonfire Inspiration, goes so far beyond what normal buffers can achieve it's insane, and Bardians or Bardblades are very tough melee combatants. Yeah, they're not the best at anything without a lot of work, but good build can do a lot in addition to being one of the best possible at his primary role.

And now I have an urge to make a Bardblade for PBP that recites epic speeches in time with swings of his axe. Think the death speach from 13th warrior. Thanks, I needed yet another concept that only works in 3.x.

Frosty
2009-03-04, 10:42 PM
Use the pathfinder bard. Its songs are much better,and you get actual USEFUL class abilities. Also, decent capstone ability. Save or Die at level 20 by expending a single Bardic Music. Even if you save, Stunned for 1d4 rounds.

Bonecrusher Doc
2009-03-04, 10:47 PM
Out of curiosity, do those of you who like bards sing or play a musical instrument IRL? Do those of you who dislike bards? I'm curious if there is a correlation. My hypothesis is that those who are passionate about music IRL like to carry that enthusiasm over into their characters.

I've never actually played a bard except in one very short-lived PbP game, but I must say that anytime I hear bagpipes, especially live, I feel the urge to draw a claymore from behind my back, yell at the top of my lungs, and go lop off King Crookshank's head.

dyslexicfaser
2009-03-04, 10:51 PM
Maybe there is some correlation.

I haven't played the flute since high school, but I love music, and I do greatly enjoy bards.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-03-04, 10:53 PM
Out of curiosity, do those of you who like bards sing or play a musical instrument IRL? Do those of you who dislike bards? I'm curious if there is a correlation. My hypothesis is that those who are passionate about music IRL like to carry that enthusiasm over into their characters.

I've never actually played a bard except in one very short-lived PbP game, but I must say that anytime I hear bagpipes, especially live, I feel the urge to draw a claymore from behind my back, yell at the top of my lungs, and go lop off King Crookshank's head.I don't really like music. I listen to it in the car, but more because I can't stand anything else on the radio than out of an actual appreciation of music. Maybe that's why, despite the fact that I love bards, they're always Warchanters/Tacticians/Inspirational Speakers rather than musicians when I envision them.

krossbow
2009-03-04, 11:13 PM
A bard dual wielding crystal echoblades and a feathered pimp hat is badass.

Arbitrarity
2009-03-04, 11:13 PM
With the right sources, and decent PrC choice, bards can beat almost any class but the Tier 1's, and seriously boost up their teammates.

Inspirational Boost, Words of Creation, Song of the Heart, Badge of Valor, Vest of Legends, Lute, Snowflake Wardance, Draconic Heritage, Dragonfire Inspiration, Harmonizing Crystal Echoblade, Heartfire Fanner, Sublime Chord, Chaos Music, Virtuoso.

Broler
2009-03-05, 12:42 AM
I play a bard. seriously not worth it. they become average with spell compendium but otherwise they really suck. don't go there

Mark Hall
2009-03-05, 12:45 AM
All of the universe explained by mathematics.

The function of music is based in mathematics.

Bards don't kick your ass. They rewrite the equations of reality to do it for them.

Damn, that seems like a cool idea.

Biffoniacus_Furiou
2009-03-05, 02:34 AM
With the right sources, and decent PrC choice, bards can beat almost any class but the Tier 1's, and seriously boost up their teammates.

Inspirational Boost, Words of Creation, Song of the Heart, Badge of Valor, Vest of Legends, Lute, Snowflake Wardance, Draconic Heritage, Dragonfire Inspiration, Harmonizing Crystal Echoblade, Heartfire Fanner, Sublime Chord, Chaos Music, Virtuoso.

This.


A Rogue 3 with Weapon Finesse, TWF, and Shortswords deals 3d6 damage on two attacks/round. With a Bard 3 ally he gets +4d6 fire damage to each of those attacks, without even using flaws. Aside from buffing his allies so hard the DM won't know how to properly challenge them, a Bard can go into Sublime Chord in the late game to get spellcasting just as good as any Tier 2 class, which is better than what any other Tier 3 class gets including Beguiler. This can be done with just a few books outside of Core, which most players will easily have access to. On top of being the most spectacular buffer a party can get, a Bard can be good enough to fill in for nearly any other role the party needs. It is ignorant and misinformed to say that the Bard is a weak class.

Eeezee
2009-03-05, 02:49 AM
I used to play piano and saxophone, but I don't play bards because I think they're gimpy.

Come on, music? Why would I sing when I can be a real spell caster? :smallbiggrin:

But seriously, I like the idea, they're just not executed well.

Tempest Fennac
2009-03-05, 03:13 AM
I tend to think of the class as being quite fun to use due to its ability to do a lot of different things. I would only play as one if the main rolls were covered by more specialized classes, though. I don't play instruments in real life by the way.

Satyr
2009-03-05, 03:20 AM
The great advantage of Bards is that they are the only tolerable spellcasters in vanilla D&D core. I personally don't like to play them that much, but I would always prefer a game with a bard as the sole player spellcaster to the more traditional group set-up, when I am not using tons of houserules.

goram.browncoat
2009-03-05, 03:29 AM
Bard in and of itself is not bad but sort of 'meh' compared to the real powerclasses.

Bard with multiclassing though, that can be really good. There are various feats designed specifically to encourage bard multiclassing (e.g. devoted performer, Song of the White Raven, ..)

Bard+Paladin makes for an interesting melee character. Tank with good saves that can do decent damage when mounted.
Bard+Crusader is also a very good tank.
Bard+Warblade is a very offense based melee fighter and with the right stances/songs also a very good party buffer for a melee heavy party.
Bard+Marshall is also a very good party buffer and there are items in MiC to support this build.

All of the above build are better if exalted, words of creation is awesome. Dragonfire inspiration can be very good also, but is quite feat heavy (if you want a decent elemental type) and doesnt fit in everywhere.

Not really a multiclass but also good:
Bard/SublimeChord/Incantatrix is a good caster build, capabale of party buffing as well as cheaty metamagic abuse. If your party has a lot of casters in it, this build will be their best friend.

TheThan
2009-03-05, 03:36 AM
Dungeons and dragons is a game where the emphasis is on filling a niche, and the bard doesnít really fill any particular niche, except that of the diplomat. But bards can do far more than just that. Bards fill in for other classes, they donít really replace another class, but they support the others.

You know, just read this
Thethanís bodacious bard booklet (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=93859&highlight=bard)

(keep in mind all the info is core only, its also a bit old, and can use some updating, Iíll have to get to work on it some time).

skywalker
2009-03-05, 03:36 AM
But people think it sucks because it's like "Rogue is a better skill monkey! Wizard is a better spell caster, buffs (i.e. cleric) are more effective than songs! (Fine so wizard and cleric are bad metrics cause they beat everybody at everything but you get the idea) The thing is though, a Bard's power is in his versatility. He isn't amazing at anything, but he's fine at anything (Espeically with Jack of all trades alternate class feature) he's comparable to the factotum in that regard.

I just want to distill this down here: Versatility sucks. What does the rogue do? He sneak attacks. What does the wizard do? He casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down. What does the cleric do? He keeps the other party members alive. Etc, etc.

The bard? He's an entire concept based around versatility, which D&D hates. Beyond that, he's supposed to be really good at buffing, and then he also does the social stuff. Problem 1, 3.x killed the bard's buffing. Bad misstep there. Problem 2, social stuff is very role-play heavy, and thus YM is largely dependent on subjective factors.

I personally am looking forward to the 4e bard, because they have done so well with getting back to the core of the other classes so far.


Out of curiosity, do those of you who like bards sing or play a musical instrument IRL? Do those of you who dislike bards? I'm curious if there is a correlation. My hypothesis is that those who are passionate about music IRL like to carry that enthusiasm over into their characters.

I've never actually played a bard except in one very short-lived PbP game, but I must say that anytime I hear bagpipes, especially live, I feel the urge to draw a claymore from behind my back, yell at the top of my lungs, and go lop off King Crookshank's head.

I actually am rather musical, play an instrument, am in various stages of learning others. I don't like bards at all. I see them as a design failure. Now, I think people have fun playing bards. But I think that's, by and large, because it says "bard" on the tin, and the particular frame of reference that puts them in. Not because of anything fun inside the tin.

I agree with your second paragraph.

Aki
2009-03-05, 03:40 AM
I suppose this means that you wasted one of your precious few known spell/spell per day slots on a Cure spell. Instead of just using a healing potion. Or, you know, let the Cleric do it.

If the cleric's incapacitated and the DM doesn't give out (or let the party buy) healing potions, though, having a bard who's learned Cure spells can be useful. I play a bard in the 3.5 campaign I'm in, and in our most recent session the cleric got cornered by a Blackguard who was doing enough damage per round that the cleric kept on having to heal himself on his turn to keep from getting killed in the next round. I used up almost all of my spells for that day keeping rest of the party alive long enough to get rid of the other attackers. If there hadn't been a secondary healer around, I doubt the party would have made it out alive without our DM producing some incredibly obvious deus ex machina solution.


As for why I play a bard, since Bonecrusher Doc asked what drew people to it... well, part of it is that I love the idea of working magic with words and music, but most of it is that I joined our campaign after everyone else had already figured out what they wanted to do. We already had a wizard, a sorcerer, and a cleric, and I didn't want to be a fighter-type. I then asked if bards were actually at all useful (my only knowledge of them before that being Elan from the Order of the Stick) and, on being told that they were, said, "Well, it can't hurt to try."

Spiryt
2009-03-05, 03:51 AM
Playing some big high strenght Skald guy (whateever that's supposed to mean) inspiring the men with horn or some bigpipe like stuff would be fun.

And striking enemies with greataxe under self buffs... Although I guess Longspear would have to do unless DM is ready for some rules adjusting.

Kurald Galain
2009-03-05, 04:28 AM
They're right. Even not comparing the Bard to the really powerful classes, he is totally and entirely outclassed by Beguiler.

The beguiler is one of the "really powerful classes". Just sayin'.

FatR
2009-03-05, 04:55 AM
Bards are pretty awesome if you maximize their buffing potential. With SC, they have quite good spellcasting (as long as you don't compare it with Tier 1), and with a few choice PrCs they can cast almost as good as sorcerers, while keeping their music. They also can do well in melee, if optimized for that. You just need to pick one of the things a bard can do and optimize for it. Overall, bard is one of the few PHB classes that are balanced just right.

Eldariel
2009-03-05, 05:25 AM
Bard is fine powerwise, but really, really dumb flavourwise. That said, optimized Inspire Courage can be adding upwards to +12/+12 to attack/damage or +12d6 to damage around level 10, Sublime Chord/Virtuoso gets 9th level spells, Bards have the capability to be great melee'ers (Snowflake War Dance + Inspire Courage) & they can also make for good healers with some work (Combat Medic/War Weaver).

Oh, and Bards have UMD in class. That alone makes them awesome. But yea, Bards with enough works can be great in any job and cover two separate jobs very decently.

Kaiyanwang
2009-03-05, 05:32 AM
Bard is fine powerwise, but really, really dumb flavourwise. That said, optimized Inspire Courage can be adding upwards to +12/+12 to attack/damage or +12d6 to damage around level 10, Sublime Chord/Virtuoso gets 9th level spells, Bards have the capability to be great melee'ers (Snowflake War Dance + Inspire Courage) & they can also make for good healers with some work (Combat Medic/War Weaver).

Oh, and Bards have UMD in class. That alone makes them awesome. But yea, Bards with enough works can be great in any job and cover two separate jobs very decently.

Well, once i was thinking the opposite... great flavour, but weak. After a friend of mine rolled a Bard (actually a Spellscale Bard//Hexblade, kinda glam metal bard) I realized how much brings on the table both in support and in roleplay this wonderful class.

Eldariel
2009-03-05, 05:53 AM
Well, once i was thinking the opposite... great flavour, but weak. After a friend of mine rolled a Bard (actually a Spellscale Bard//Hexblade, kinda glam metal bard) I realized how much brings on the table both in support and in roleplay this wonderful class.

My problem with them is that adventuring party is a group of heroes going to kill Dragons, steal its treasure and cleanse the world of evil. What the hell is a singer doing tagging along? Singers' place is in villages singing to the smallfolk of your heroism, not singing to the Dragon to kindly sit down and shut up.

Really, I've kinda gotten over it, but when I first read PHB, I went very "WTF?" The other classes mostly make sense (although since when is "Barbarian" a class still eludes me...), but Bards? They have no business putting their prizzy, tender necks in the line of fire! And what do you mean they can cast spells? Or fight... Bards are supposed to be useless in combat and yet they're closer to Mage/Fighters than friggin' Sorcerers. I mean, yea, Finnish folklore calls spellweaving "singing", but I hardly believe that's what the designers based the class on.


It's simply my perception of a "Bard" that has everything to do with a bumbling fool with a tendency for trouble, but heavenly performance and nothing to do with a spellcasting warrior whose songs make even a layman fight like the greatest hero...

Tempest Fennac
2009-03-05, 05:59 AM
I was just thinking about some people commenting on the Bard's songs being weak: I know these aren't ideal due to needing feat slots, but would some of the homebrew Bard songs I invented help? http://forum.mydndgame.com/index.php/topic,137.0.html

jcsw
2009-03-05, 06:22 AM
So, wait, a sorcerer can move his hands around and speak some latin and make fireballs and no one thinks that's silly.
But a bard makes music so well that people get noticeably inspired and people have an issue?

Personally I'd say normal spellcasting requires a greater suspension of belief than supernatural music.

Tempest Fennac
2009-03-05, 06:30 AM
That is a good point. I think it's just how it happens more then anything (eg: in real life, which is almost a no magic setting, people are used to singing which has no special effects most of the time*. However, magic tends to be something most people don't have any interest in, and it typically requires more time and resoruces then D&D magic for less reward, so in a fantasy game the idea of fireballs and healing spells which can be cast in the space of a second doesn't seem as surreal as taking something that's common to real life and making it more powerful).

*Playing Revolution 9 by the Beatles backwards makes me fell how I would if a Fear spell was used, but that may just be me being a coward. :smalltongue:

Eldariel
2009-03-05, 06:35 AM
So, wait, a sorcerer can move his hands around and speak some latin and make fireballs and no one thinks that's silly.
But a bard makes music so well that people get noticeably inspired and people have an issue?

Personally I'd say normal spellcasting requires a greater suspension of belief than supernatural music.

The difference is that the existence of spellcasting is a basic assumption of the world. It's the state of affairs; the very concept of a D&D fantasy world (and most other fantasy worlds for that matter) is based on magic existing and being well. However, basically everything else is like it is in this here world. So D&D world is our world + magic. Which means that singing there is the same as singing here.

Now, it isn't much of a suspension of disbelief for a character with magic in their blood being able to cast spells. Same goes for that old Wizard having studied magic for a better part of his life. However, a guy who plays an instrument? How the hell does playing music teach him to cast spells? Or to fight for that matter? I mean, what the hell?

And sure, the greatest singer in the world can uplift spirits, but I have a hard time seeing that teaching people new skills. Realizing the maximum potential of what they know? Sure. Reaching levels beyond their maximum potential? I think that requires some development. And the songs are supernatural. WTF? What about the...y'know, Bards? The singers? Are there any singers whose songs aren't supernatural?

Neithan
2009-03-05, 06:41 AM
Bards can be great, if the gm runs the campaign in a way, that has place for the bards abilities, and if the gaming group has a style of play, that supports bards. I'm sure there are ways to use four splatbooks to make a bard a good dungeon crawler, but usually the gm has run a game, that has a place for abrds.

My campaign is very animistic, and bards don't do actual magic with their bardic music, but they chant to the spirits to support them im battle. They can play an instrument, if it's their style, but the actual effect comes from the bards ability to call spirits, that guide their allies hands, deflect attacks from enemies, infuse their allies with greater power, and the like.

Kaiyanwang
2009-03-05, 07:10 AM
And sure, the greatest singer in the world can uplift spirits, but I have a hard time seeing that teaching people new skills. Realizing the maximum potential of what they know? Sure. Reaching levels beyond their maximum potential? I think that requires some development. And the songs are supernatural. WTF? What about the...y'know, Bards? The singers? Are there any singers whose songs aren't supernatural?

Not only bard can have the perform skill. Bards are unique because they develop the magic side of the music. See how Oriental Adventures managed this, saying that even in OAdv settings there are no Bards, rogues and experts "pimp" perform to entertain people. but they haven't magic spells.

There are fantasy setting in wich music has is own magic (or vice versa): see the Song of Shannara by Terry brooks. Why can't be the same in D&D?

IMHO, is very cool that a class cast spells thanks to his Dancing Star. Or his sense of Beauty.

In my campaings, there are places of situations in wich I want to insert a fairy tale feeling. Maybe a Glaistig want to dance with the fighter instead of take his blood, and the giant is tired and only want to chat.

In these situations, Just imagine the fighter and the glaistig slowly dancing at the moonlight (nothing difficult, the fihgter has 1 rank in perform! And is too much!) while the bard, behind a tree, make the scene more magic with his music and his spells.

Obviously, if players see monsters only as things to kill and loot, these situations don't arise.

Paramour Pink
2009-03-05, 07:14 AM
The difference is that the existence of spellcasting is a basic assumption of the world. It's the state of affairs; the very concept of a D&D fantasy world (and most other fantasy worlds for that matter) is based on magic existing and being well. However, basically everything else is like it is in this here world. So D&D world is our world + magic. Which means that singing there is the same as singing here.

So you can't imagine (at all) that magic, in all it's incredibly vague, earth-shattering, reality-warping glory, is possible of introducing itself in the form of music? Or that it can't mix with music to get Bardic effects? :smallconfused:



Now, it isn't much of a suspension of disbelief for a character with magic in their blood being able to cast spells. Same goes for that old Wizard having studied magic for a better part of his life. However, a guy who plays an instrument? How the hell does playing music teach him to cast spells? Or to fight for that matter? I mean, what the hell?

It's really not a stretch of the imagination unless you insist on making it one. If you're desperate for some kind a reason for the magic and supernatural abilities of a Bard, see the Seeker of the Song (Complete Arcane, page 56).


Beyond magic, beyond sound, beyond good or evil, lies music
so profound and powerful that even deities quake at its sound.

Clerics can draw from a domain, so it makes just as much sense that Bards get their some (if not all) of their magical abilities from the force described in that prestige class. This is assuming you wouldn't want to accept simplier explainations ("they're wanderers; they pick up a little of everything in their travels", "some of them have a lesser verson of that magic in the blood sorcerers boast about").



And sure, the greatest singer in the world can uplift spirits, but I have a hard time seeing that teaching people new skills. Realizing the maximum potential of what they know? Sure. Reaching levels beyond their maximum potential? I think that requires some development. And the songs are supernatural. WTF? What about the...y'know, Bards? The singers? Are there any singers whose songs aren't supernatural?

Of course there are singers without supernatural ability. Just like not every magic user is a wizard or sorcerer, some are just adepts (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/npcClasses/adept.htm). The PC classes, I've always assumed, are not the run-of-the-mill. NPC classes help show that fact. At least, assuming your DM doesn't say the exact opposite. I'd guess singers without supernatural powers are just experts (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/npcClasses/Expert.htm) of their trade, if only because their skill lists are open to choice.

Eldariel
2009-03-05, 07:17 AM
Surely that doesn't require a Bard? But yea, to me Bard means "a dedicated performer" and I frankly don't see them having a place in adventuring party. Now, if you called it "Spellsinger" or something that makes a clear distinction between the storyteller/singer Bard and the magician/spellweaver/warrior Bard...

As you probably notice, my issue with the concept comes from the name "Bard" and its immediate connotations. D&D Fighter is a fighter, Wizard a wizard, Druid a druid (well, it does somewhat fall under the potential category of Druid at any rate) and so on, but D&D Bard really just really has so little to do with "a bard". So yea, I'll call the name "Bard" stupid and the class "Spellsinger" interesting.

Cheesegear
2009-03-05, 07:26 AM
Of course there are singers without supernatural ability.

Like a Fighter with Able Learner and Versatile Performer.

Leon
2009-03-05, 07:29 AM
The Gonnagle

Paramour Pink
2009-03-05, 07:35 AM
I just don't like the name Bard.

...oh. Well. Yeah, they could have made it sound more exciting. But I think they saved all those kind of names for the prestige classes. I mean, really, if you wouldn't want to play a normal class with the name, would you ever glance at a prestige class by the same name? :smalltongue:


Like a Fighter with Able Learner and Versatile Performer.

LMAO. Exactly! :smallbiggrin:

*continues not slaying dragons and begins busking for gold, because my Perform rank is just that high*

:smallsmile:

Eldariel
2009-03-05, 07:43 AM
*continues not slaying dragons and begins busking for gold, because my Perform rank is just that high*

:smallsmile:

Wait, I thought that's why people took ranks in Tumble? :P

Gorbash
2009-03-05, 07:43 AM
They may be awesome with reciting (after all, that Perform has to count for something). But beyond evening entertainment, they're not useful.

Giving all of the party fighters +5 on attac, +3 on attack rolls, 2d10 + 2xCon modifier HP, +3 on saves vs charm and fear, and +1 on fort is not useful?

And all of that on 9th lvl, since that particular Bard has Vest of Legends. Not to mention he has access to some reall good Wizard buffs - Haste, for example. And since he sucks at fighting (this one doesn't have Snowflake Wardance), he'll be spending whole combat buffing the party.

Eldariel
2009-03-05, 07:58 AM
Giving all of the party fighters +5 on attac, +3 on attack rolls, 2d10 + 2xCon modifier HP, +3 on saves vs charm and fear, and +1 on fort is not useful?

And all of that on 9th lvl, since that particular Bard has Vest of Legends. Not to mention he has access to some reall good Wizard buffs - Haste, for example. And since he sucks at fighting (this one doesn't have Snowflake Wardance), he'll be spending whole combat buffing the party.

Let's not hold back. Our base Inspire Courage is +2. So with Inspirational Boost, Mw. Drums, Song of the Heart, Harmony, Vest of Legends and Words of Creation (he was focusing on it, right?), he'll sing like an angel at +10/+12 attack/damage and +8 to saves vs. Fear/Charm. And because he's a Silverbrow Human, his Dragonfire Inspiration allows him to add +12d6 elemental on top of that. And his Inspire Greatness adds +6 to attacks, 6 HD, +4 Fort-saves.

In other words, the total aftermath is +16 to attacks, +12+12d6 fire (or any other element for some races) to damage, +6 d10 hit dice, +4 to Fortitude-saves and +8 to saves vs. charm/fear effects.

So our two very modest level 1 commoners become 7 HD warriors with attack bonuses in the high teens and enough damage to drop few Ogres per hit. This was a level 9 Bard, mind you. It takes him 3 turns to get all those effects up and they last 10 turns (because he has Lingering Song) (after he stops performing, which he has to for two of the three). The only drawback is that his Inspire Greatness only affects two creatures. If you could make that a mass effect, it'd truly allow you to convert a bunch of commoners into a veritable army capable of slaying Dragons.

Fixer
2009-03-05, 08:30 AM
There are different sorts of 'spotlights' in D&D: Combat, Social, and Party

It is unfortunate that most people focus only on the Combat spotlight when determining a character's value. It is understandable, however, as Combat is the only situation in which a character is likely to die if they perform badly.

In Social spotlights, Bards are 1st tier. These are those situations where fighting is a bad option and talking is the most important thing you can do. Rogues and beguilers are in that same category but rank behind the bard. The bard can, for example, recite a speech giving all the remaining party members a +2 morale bonus to their diplomacy checks to take that 10 to provide assistance to the speaker. In a decent sized party that can result in a very large circumstance bonus for the primary speaker, who is likely the bard themselves. There isn't another class that can do that that subtly (oh, sure, a spellcaster can try to cast a spell to boost everyone, but spellcasting in tricky negotiations is likely to move things to combat in a hurry).

In Party spotlights, the Bard CAN be low 1st tier, or high 2nd tier. A Party spotlight is the one that happens after a fight, and not involving any NPC interactions on a Social scale. This is the recovery/discussion phase between characters. They can help heal, their knowledge base can help make sense of things, and often their charisma can help temper down any potential internal conflicts in the party.

So, the bard isn't bad. It just isn't great in Combat spotlights. It can serve just fine in campaigns that aren't all about combat.

mcv
2009-03-05, 08:43 AM
The difference is that the existence of spellcasting is a basic assumption of the world. It's the state of affairs; the very concept of a D&D fantasy world (and most other fantasy worlds for that matter) is based on magic existing and being well. However, basically everything else is like it is in this here world. So D&D world is our world + magic. Which means that singing there is the same as singing here.
No! No no no. D&D is not by any stretch our world + magic. D&D is faux-medieval world + magic + gods + dragons + monsters + weird planes + lack of logical consequences of those put together + unrealistically restrictive classes + unrealistic feats and class abilities + illogical but fun adventuring locations + anything else the DM deems fun enough to include.

There is no reason whatsoever to assume that singing in D&D-world is the same as singing in our own world. Particularly when that singing is done by a Bard. The existence of that class (a singing spellcaster) makes it pretty obvious that singing in D&D world can be just as different from our world as chanting and waving your hands about can be different from our world.

If you want gritty realism, you shouldn't be looking at D&D.

Nai_Calus
2009-03-05, 08:48 AM
Bards in concept == The Phantom of the Opera, except possibly less psychotic and murderous, depending on the character. (And possibly *more*...)

Bards in play == ehhhhh...

Mind you, I keep playing in entirely the wrong campaigns for Bards, and my ideas for Bard concepts largely *don't* involve a major component of the class, the spellcasting. >_> Campaign that was almost entirely dungeon crawl, campaign in which I never actually got to roll my +20 Diplomacy check even though we were in social situations and I was trying to negotiate at the time... Yeah. Doesn't make it very fun.

(The second campaign, compounding the problem, the Bard was Bard 4/Swashbuckler 5 and we were limited to PHB gear/feats/spells only and had no money at all. I think the 2GP 5SP 3CP I threw on his sheet so he'd have coins to do coin tricks with was the entire extent of the party's cash. So he was ever so slightly the wrong character in the wrong campaign, he would have been mechanically weak in a campaign allowing the normal WBL and weapons out of the same splatbook one of his classes came from.)

I dig the 'I can fight a bit' part though I'd rather it were more fight-y. I dig the 'I know a bunch of random stuff from my travels' part. I dig the 'I can negotiate like a pro from dealing with people constantly, and do some other stuff too that I probably learned doing odd jobs' part. I dig the 'I've made an intense focused study of music and how it interacts with the world and with people and I can use that knowledge and my own inner abilities to influence people' part. I don't dig the 'whee I can cast spells too!' part. It's that that makes it stupid for me. I've put all this effort into learning how to channel magical energies through my music, and then I just go and cast normal spells anyway. How... Dull. Uninspiring.

For the record, I sing, and I love music. It's one of the few things I've never lost interest in, even temporarily, and the thing that constantly inspires and moves me.

Which makes Bard not working for me suck twice as much.

I keep hearing it's a great class properly optimized, but I have yet to be able to play in a campaign where I actually *could* optimize it, and I'm not much of an optimizer anyways, heh.

Kaiyanwang
2009-03-05, 08:53 AM
There is no reason whatsoever to assume that singing in D&D-world is the same as singing in our own world. Particularly when that singing is done by a Bard. The existence of that class (a singing spellcaster) makes it pretty obvious that singing in D&D world can be just as different from our world as chanting and waving your hands about can be different from our world.

Even if I agree with you, consider that not everyone has the same feelings about classes and fluff associated.

The "there's something wrong" feeling about Bards reminds me the "there's something wrong" feeling about some ToB maneuvers. If something does not fit your tastes, does not fit your tastes.

Said this, I think that, speaking for me, you beat the essence of the bard.
Singing has not the same meaning in D&D. Think about how Eru made the world singing in the Silmarillon. Or the Lillend, outsiders putting the beauty of art above all.

Bard are great because bring mystery and holy to the Beauty. Speaking a language that every creature know, beyound culture and alignments. This is wonderful.

Theres
2009-03-06, 12:51 AM
okay first off im way to broke to be buying all these source books and stuff for an extra class even if it is on the internet because it pisses everyone off when my level 1 begulier can kill anything that gets in the way and my reason is "i got it off the internet" second i rolled awesome stats and the point of D&D is not to fill a niche is but to have fun and you all keep making cracks about music but the bardic song ablility is based on whatever performance skill you want so i renamed it epic poems and now instead of singling falalalalalala at dragons i recite stories of mighty warriors who slay dragons as sear there face off with firey power than enlarge my simple gnomw to the size of an ogre and blow away the whole party and they dont say anything because a moment ago they doubted my bard. and the jack of all trades feat makes a bard almost as good as if not better than a rouge becuz you cant sneak around a dragon.

Bonecrusher Doc
2009-03-06, 12:54 AM
Sounds like your bard is a good character for you with this gaming group.

krossbow
2009-03-06, 12:57 AM
Well, if you want to play a bard with more magical abilities, the pathfinder version of the bard is pretty good. Its basically 3.5's with some new songs.


Plus, since its download is free, it doesn't cost you anything to use.





However, that being said, i think a bard is, unfortunately, best left to larger groups. If your group is 3 or less, i think its generally a better idea to pick another class to fill it out with.

JellyPooga
2009-03-06, 06:12 AM
Personally I'm a big fan of Bards...they're the original Gish build; they get both swords and sorcery, but as a base class. I like the idea of a wandering traveller who makes his way in the world by whatever means he can, whether that means serving in the local guard for a couple of months, playing for coppers in taverns and inns or even petty theft. He picks up little tricks and bits of advice from everyone he meets, so he knows a little swordplay, a few spells and a lot of odd bits of knowledge.

His role in the party is not simply the Elan-like "sing sing sing to help the other guys"...that indeed is quite ridiculous. The Bard is the worldly wise adventurer, the one that knows where the local tavern is (because he's been there before), who the local lord is (because he's seduced his daughter) and what all the local legends are. He's the one that the Party turn to when their specialised field of knowledge doesn't have an answer to the problem at hand. In a party of a noble duellist (Fighter), a scholarly wizard (Wizard) and the towns priest (Cleric), the Bard is the one that knows how to set up camp when they're on the road, how to contact the criminal element in cities and the stealthy spy. He fills the role that others don't because he's done more different things than everyone else has put together.

That's how I see them anyway...when I think "adventurer", I'm thinking "Bard".

Ellye
2009-03-06, 06:23 AM
I once played a Bard/Barbarian. It was a pretty cool character. He played his Bard Song with horns and sometime drums.
Certainly not the most useful character, but he was cool and fun to play. The party enjoyed it a lot.

Eldariel
2009-03-06, 08:55 AM
No! No no no. D&D is not by any stretch our world + magic. D&D is faux-medieval world + magic + gods + dragons + monsters + weird planes + lack of logical consequences of those put together + unrealistically restrictive classes + unrealistic feats and class abilities + illogical but fun adventuring locations + anything else the DM deems fun enough to include.

There is no reason whatsoever to assume that singing in D&D-world is the same as singing in our own world. Particularly when that singing is done by a Bard. The existence of that class (a singing spellcaster) makes it pretty obvious that singing in D&D world can be just as different from our world as chanting and waving your hands about can be different from our world.

If you want gritty realism, you shouldn't be looking at D&D.

Ok, so our world+magic+monsters (most of which are a derivative of magic; the point is that unless stated otherwise, the rules we know apply). A sword is still a sword, a bard is still a bard. I already spelled out my problem with the class is the name; let bards be bards and singing magicians be singing magicians. Don't call apples oranges, no amount of convincing is going to make that true.

krossbow
2009-03-06, 02:17 PM
Well, there's 2 things here to consider.


1 is that the bard does have access to magic normally; so his songs could truly be actual spells that only someone studying bardic ways could learn and perform.

the second thing is that there is some implications that the universes in some settings are supposed to have been created via song (shamelessly stealing from tolkien); For example, the seeker of the song.




So its not entirely implausible for a bard to be able to work magic with their music.

Theres
2009-03-09, 08:57 AM
my bard doesnt sing or play an instrument

kalt
2009-03-09, 10:55 AM
I've had great success with Dragonfire Inspiration and your allies probably won't complain either. Everyone likes to be buffed so it is pretty easy to be a party favorite.

SmartAlec
2009-03-09, 12:37 PM
I already spelled out my problem with the class is the name; let bards be bards and singing magicians be singing magicians. Don't call apples oranges, no amount of convincing is going to make that true.

Wouldn't the non-magical musicians be minstrels?

Optimystik
2009-03-10, 01:41 PM
I don't mind bards, but what the hell is it about playing an instrument that forces you to be non-lawful? You'd think that learning an instrument would be as much about practice and dedication as it is about talent.


With the right sources, and decent PrC choice, bards can beat almost any class but the Tier 1's, and seriously boost up their teammates.

"With the right sources and decent PrC choice" can buff any base class through the stratosphere. Yes, even the lowly monk!

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-03-10, 01:45 PM
"With the right sources and decent PrC choice" can buff any base class through the stratosphere. Yes, even the lowly monk!But the Monk can't get full-casting through the right PrC. That's the difference. Bards start off really weak, but with a bit of knowledge, they get godlike, whereas most classes take a lot moe work to make that jump.

Keld Denar
2009-03-10, 01:57 PM
But the Monk can't get full-casting through the right PrC. That's the difference. Bards start off really weak, but with a bit of knowledge, they get godlike, whereas most classes take a lot moe work to make that jump.

Ah, but they CAN! Monk > Ur-Priest > Sacred Fist = Sacrelgious Fist, a decently potent build. Granted, there is a bit more to it than that, but with it, even the lowly monk can aquire full spellcasting whoopass. Divine Powah + Righteous Might + ZOMGRAPPLE is pretty decent. Contemplative in some Animal Domain and you got yourself a monk who casts Shapechange to turn into a Solar or Ethergaunt and you've got more spellcasting than you can shake a fist at.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-03-10, 02:03 PM
Ah, but they CAN! Monk > Ur-Priest > Sacred Fist = Sacrelgious Fist, a decently potent build. Granted, there is a bit more to it than that, but with it, even the lowly monk can aquire full spellcasting whoopass. Divine Powah + Righteous Might + ZOMGRAPPLE is pretty decent. Contemplative in some Animal Domain and you got yourself a monk who casts Shapechange to turn into a Solar or Ethergaunt and you've got more spellcasting than you can shake a fist at.That says far more about Ur-Priest than it does Monk.

Falling Out
2009-03-10, 02:51 PM
Orc Bard(Dance)/Veiled Dancer - best BBEG ever. The PC's were too stunned by the thoughts grating through their minds to really take it seriously until nearly too late. Used bones and animal hides in a deadly strip-tease.

But really, all the best villains have a bard element and EVIL bards are just plain fun.

Now lets talk Meta-Bard. What effect does the Bard have on the game and players? A bard player often brings 'bardiness' to the table and adds something to the game. I find that games I have played with a bard-type character 1) last longer and 2) are more enjoyable (due to the meta-bard effect).

The downside is that (in my experience) the bard rules are too extensive and too many bonuses apply all over the place...players and DM simply forget to constantly add/subtract the multitude of things. On top of that, most player (by no means not all) tend to be very self-focused. If it's not their turn its hard to keep players focused at the table. Anything that adds extra time to someone elses rolls (all those extra bard boosts) means longer Not-Me time=more distraction=more frustration=less enjoyable

As much as helping others might give ya the warm tinglies...it's just not as satisfying to the average player compared to being the one to cleave the foes head in twain or reduce masses to smoldering ashes.

Arbitrarity
2009-03-10, 03:01 PM
"With the right sources and decent PrC choice" can buff any base class through the stratosphere. Yes, even the lowly monk!

This is true. Even without full casting, I think some size abuse and Shadow Sun Ninja allows the monk to heal more health than a cleric and deal hundreds of damage per hit.

Keld Denar
2009-03-10, 04:43 PM
That says far more about Ur-Priest than it does Monk.

And Sublime Chord gives a Bard full 9th level casting. That says more about Sublime Chord than Bard. Either way, the base class wouldn't get 9th level casting on its own, but with the help of a PrC, it does. Sure, you don't need levels of Monk to get into Ur-Priest, but then again, you don't need levels of Bard to get into Sublime Chord, since you can get in with an Initiate of Millie (sp?) Paladin or Heartfire Fanner or other class/PrC that grants Bardic Music.

Quirinus_Obsidian
2009-03-10, 07:57 PM
Bards have to be built a certain way to really be effective.

Feats like focused performer, Song of the Heart, and any spells or effects that increase 'Inspire Courage' are welcome additions to any melee based party. I had a 5th or 6th level bard that could get away with a +6 bonus from Inspire Courage. That is begging to be put into combat expertise or power attack :smallsmile: They can also do some light healing and buff spells. If your DM allows a bard to use Knowstones (Dragon 331 or 341, cant remember) for a Bard; so much the better.

I liked playing the bard character. They are a great DM/PC in my opinion; they don't overrule the group, and they are designed to help. If you are a DM that needs to play a PC due to lack of participation or not enough party members for the group; play a bard.

krossbow
2009-03-10, 08:23 PM
While bards may not be terribly effective in combat when compared to such individuals as druids, wizards or clerics, they can still be a joy to have around.





I can personally say from experience that a bard in a large group is great fun to have around, especially in urban campaigns. Bardic knowledge means you essentially have medieval wikipedia with you, and they make a great face for the party when your alignments restrict using magic to force your opinions on others.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-03-10, 10:27 PM
I love music, so I love bards.

My brother thinks bards are the most kickass awesome of the kickass awesome classes.

Weirdlet
2009-03-11, 12:16 AM
One of the things that has occurred to me in my recent stint of having bard levels in things like a barbarian or a rogue/shadowdancer, is that I keep wishing there were more things I could do with the main class feature- the Bardic Music.

Now, everyone speaks of the bard as almost purely someone there to help out the other guys, inspiring them and supporting them. That's well and good- but I think that there are some possibilities to 'magic-music' flavor-wise that aren't really supported mechanics-wise. If you think of it as just another way to affect your enemies, done by sheer skill at an art, much like a sorcerer or wizard's spells, then there seems to be many possible effects that are missing.

Some of the issues that have come up- Fascinate would seem to be the huge thing that a bard could do, distract and beguile someone or something so that it's mesmerized, allowing others to get into position or around them. Unfortunately, this isn't allowed to happen once battle has started, and even if the bard does get a chance to sneak in and fascinate an enemy before the cavalry arrives, it doesn't last past the first round- it breaks the instant someone looks like they could be acting aggressively, and cannot be reclaimed. I understand that *not* doing so would be much too powerful, but there must be some happy medium to be found.

Some of the feats I've seen intrigue me with what they let you do with a perform check, but their status as feats, often with prerequisites that make them costly, makes them less than helpful when you're trying to build something that is dangerous without being a one-trick pony. Chord of Distraction, for instance- the ability to sacrifice *three* bardic-music uses in order to purchase one round of a single foe being vulnerable to other players' attacks. That strikes me as something one should be able to just *do*, as a basic option, perhaps gained between 'inspire competence' and 'suggestion'.

The Harbinger class is a bard that does almost exactly the same thing as a regular bard, but does them in a negative way to the enemy. That notion can be fun, but it takes a little flexibility out of things and it still leaves one mostly trying to affect a very small range of enemy beings (living, low will-saves) and having limited options in how to do so.

I suppose my complaint is that there should be the option to focus one's abilities either on aiding others or being more aggressive, and it's an area that hasn't really been supported in the core. The idea that a supernatural performer can only do silly tricks or play second-fiddle to others irritates me.

dyslexicfaser
2009-03-11, 01:15 AM
I admit that vanilla bardic music is rather lacking, but there's lots of cool bard PrCs out there. Sure, most of them are subpar from an optimizing standpoint, but they're cool.

I recall I played a Dirgesinger (from Libris Mortis) once that was always raising corpses to fight for him, always with some cheesy one-liner or quote or pun ("When I play, even the dead dance to my tune!"). Then the Thriller jokes started. And didn't stop. All night.

Pitiful compared to Rebuking or Create Dead, but fun all the same.

BlueWizard
2009-03-11, 01:47 AM
I like the modern bard.

It sure beats 1st eds; and I must also say I love most everything else about 1st ed.

Optimator
2009-03-11, 10:14 PM
okay first off im way to broke to be buying all these source books and stuff for an extra class even if it is on the internet because it pisses everyone off when my level 1 begulier can kill anything that gets in the way and my reason is "i got it off the internet" second i rolled awesome stats and the point of D&D is not to fill a niche is but to have fun and you all keep making cracks about music but the bardic song ablility is based on whatever performance skill you want so i renamed it epic poems and now instead of singling falalalalalala at dragons i recite stories of mighty warriors who slay dragons as sear there face off with firey power than enlarge my simple gnomw to the size of an ogre and blow away the whole party and they dont say anything because a moment ago they doubted my bard and the jack of all trades feat makes a bard almost as good as if not better than a rouge becuz you cant sneak around a dragon.

Ooooouuuch...

Anyway, Bards are boss. My favorite bard I have made is a Warforged Bard, headed toward Bard 9/Seeker of the song 2/Bard +9 with the Improved Resilience and Words of Creation combo. He's like a superhero, righting wrongs across the land with beat-boxing and breakdancing.

Also, my friends and I all made characters to represent ourselves. Not as if we were transported to some D&D universe, but as if we were born there but all knew each other and retained our personalities. I chose Bard and in-game I call myself a mage. I'll be doing something like Bard 6/Lyric Thurmaturge 3/Virtuoso 1/Sublime Chord 2/Virtuoso +8. Definitely flavored as some sort of scholar of music behind magic/magic of music/etc. I had already made a character of myself 8 years ago, who is now a Wizard 3/Human Paragon 3 (:smallamused:)/Intactatrix 10. I figured on my next "Me" I would tone down the cosmic power a few notches, so I'm pretty happy with the way the new bard is going to turn out.

I am fully aware that Bards aren't the super class, but having proper expectations about the bard's strengths and roles will lead to a rewarding character, given the proper group and/or campaign. It doesn't take a lot of contrived scenarios and DM worshipping for bards to shine IMO.


Ah, but they CAN! Monk > Ur-Priest > Sacred Fist = Sacrelgious Fist

Heheh, "Sacrilegious Fist". That made me genuinely laugh out loud. Way to be, mister.