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Kantolin
2007-02-17, 03:55 PM
I admit, there must be something I'm clearly not seeing here. At any rate, I was analyzing bards lately compared to a lot of the more physical classes.

Important: I am very, very much aware that a bard is rather inferior to Clerics, Druids, Wizards, and Sorcerors. I am also, for the purpose of this analysis, not looking outside of core for races and classes.

But besides that... I was comparing bards to the remaining noncaster classes. Isn't a bard much, much more useful for the party than a, say, fighter? From a sheer mechanics standpoint, that is.

I'm looking almost entirely at spells for this analysis. At first level spells, they get a decent amount of will save-or-dies, the general usefulness of grease, and interest in lesser confusion. They also get Tasha's a bit earlier than even purecasters would.

Then, second level, there's mild Alter Self utilization (as that's the only one of the polymorph series people tend to keep around), Glitterdust niftyness, Invisibility, Area of effect stun in sound burst, potentially scare

Third, there's the glory of haste, fun of glibness, more images, invisibility sphere, slow, Phantom Steed for nifty mobility.

They seem potent on the save-or-lose/suck section, and get extremely mild oompfs on a few more levels (You can utilize illusions for battlefield control). And of course, free wand use to go with it (Most groups are willing to chip in for a wand of haste).

Again, I'm aware that a wizard/sorceror/cleric/druid is almost certainly more useful (mostly, if you ask me, due to save DCs scaling up a bit faster), but bards get some fairly potent spells on their spelllist. As the logic is that magic wins D&D, doesn't that mean bards (who at least have quite a few very potent spells) beat out the melee'rs in general usefulness as a kind of limited 'casters' alone?

Then you get the mild perks such as an existant BAB, almost acceptable weapon selection, a heck of a lot of skills, bardic knowledge niftyness, and bardic music utilization. But with all the other ways they can make a party more overall effective, charisma-pumped bards seem to have decent potential.

Remember, this is basically 'Is a bard more mechanically useful to a party than the non-full-caster base classes'. I'm aware that splatbooks and the like can slightly skew this, as I'd rather a beguiler than a bard, but eh.

DaMullet
2007-02-17, 04:01 PM
Honestly? It depends on if there's a moron running the bard. I've had some bards try to seduce the king with their Suggestion Music Effect. If it's an actual player playing for the good of all, I'd much rather have a bard than a ranger, for example.

The Valiant Turtle
2007-02-17, 04:09 PM
It really depends on what the party needs. If a party already has several full casters, then they probably need something tougher than a bard.

That being said, if a party already has everything it really needs, then a bard is going to be more useful than just about any other class

Noneoyabizzness
2007-02-17, 06:36 PM
That being said, if a party already has everything it really needs, then a bard is going to be more useful than just about any other class

this has gone into the 5th man arguement. with the factotum, it's a hrder sell, but it still stands true in a core only or a core+ complete arguement.

bards qualify for a lot of varied prcs, have some skill monkey and some magic both healing and utility, plus bardic music. he covers a lotof bases in an emergency

Yvian
2007-02-17, 06:45 PM
It depends on who you are gamming with and what your DM is like.

If you play with munchkins who have optimized there characters, then you are going to feel like a 3rd wheel. The fighter will dish out damage in the 20+ range, the druid will dish out damage in the 20+ range, and the mage will be batman. You will have no fun at all.

If your party is 2 strong then it is a hard argument not to go with one bard and one monk.

If you are looking to help out in any situation, a bard can help out in any situation. This works best if there are at least 3 other players [Fighter, Arcane Spell Caster, Divine Spell Caster]. The more party members the better for you. Your flexibility will provided help in more situations. But you will rarely be the one who makes or breaks a situation.

I have always had a great fondness for Bards as being one’s cohort. Allows one to save one’s skill points for things that matter, while letting your cohort load up on social skills. I say this only in jest.

Ikkitosen
2007-02-17, 06:48 PM
I'd like to see a rule that allowed Bards to take any feat as if they had one pre-requisite feat. For example, can take imp trip without CExpertise. This might help make them the jacks of all trades they're supposed to be.

Kantolin
2007-02-17, 07:11 PM
The fighter will dish out damage in the 20+ range

That's what I'm comparing this to, however. While the fighter dishes out damage, you're turning the enemies against themselves with dominate, or making many of them ineffective with slow, and generally doing nifty spellcasting things.

I dunno... wizards are batman, so you're Robin? I think that's the point I'm sort of getting at... you aren't as good as a wizard at spellcasting, but bardic spellcasting is potent enough that I think it sort of overwhelms fighters in a similar / identical fashion as a wizard. I really don't think they're quite as bad as they're made out to be, just can't keep up with CoDzilla, Wizards, or Sorcerors.

I can in fact glance at the majority of the logic ninja's suggested first level wizard spells... many of which are also on the bard's list.

Luircin
2007-02-17, 07:30 PM
I think that the bard has been largely maligned because most people tend to think of what character builds can do solely on their own, whereas the bard's strength lies in teamwork. IE: They make everyone else better at what they do. Well, except casters (unless there's a bardsong that increases CL that I'm not aware of), but do full casters REALLY need the help?

A partially optimized bard build (Based off the Frostfell bard I ran a few years ago) will be giving the entire party at least +10 to attack and damage by 20th level from inspire courage alone, not to mention the various (stacking) bonuses from inspire greatness and heroics. That's 10 (at least) more than can be sunk into power attack by the fighters of the group and a +50% chance that the flanking rogue will hit on his sneak attacks.

The bonuses also give the bard at least a chance to hit most enemies. Add improvization from the Spell Compendium and some defensive spells like blink and improved invisibility, and you'll last more than a few melee rounds too. Hideous laughter and irresistable dance to temporarily neutralize powerful enemies are also good things.

You won't fight as well as the fighters or alter the nature of reality as well as the full casters, but you will at least be useful, yes?

Oh, and nothing irks a DM more than ending a battle by going on the surprise round and fascinating every foe with your obscene perform check.

Tor the Fallen
2007-02-17, 07:39 PM
I'd like to see a rule that allowed Bards to take any feat as if they had one pre-requisite feat. For example, can take imp trip without CExpertise. This might help make them the jacks of all trades they're supposed to be.

Or any bonus feat they qualify at first level, fifth level, and every 5 levels there after.

Maybe have their bonus first level feat be Jack of All Trades.

I think that would make them much more attractive, as you could diversify a little bit more.

Zincorium
2007-02-17, 07:44 PM
Bardic Knack variant class feature from PHB 2 combined with the jack of all trades feat. You don't have a good chance, but you can at least attempt any skill you can think of.

Yvian
2007-02-17, 07:46 PM
Do you wish the world to quake at your footsteps? Do you wish to slay the dragon with a single trust from your sword? Do you wish to leap from the shadows to assassinate the king? If you do, don’t take bard. As you said “just can't keep up with CoDzilla, Wizards, or Sorcerers” – and I would say in a fight they are not as good as a fighter or a rouge. They can not go toe to toe with somebody who has highly optimized a subset of their abilities.

Which is not to say their not fun to play, nor to say they can’t be a great help in battle. They can shift, be vestigial and be flexible. But you have to be a team player and work with your team. So how effective you are depends a lot on your team.

If you got 3 fighters on your team, go with a wizard or cleric. If you got a wizard, cleric and fighter, then adding a bard to the mix can punch the whole thing up a notch - much more effectivly then adding a rouge.

Of course, it depends on where you are adventuring. If you are going on a dungeon crawl, less efficive. If you are crusing a city, more effective.

Kantolin
2007-02-17, 08:09 PM
Mrr... I think you're missing the real point of my statement, though, Yvian.

*Attempts to reword it a bit* Generally, people state that wizards and CoDzilla contribute a heck of a lot more to the party than the melee-types.

I am suggesting that a bard also has the same general effect, due to the potency of bardic spellcasting. Not nearly as effective as a wizard does it, but they still can do save-or-lose, still can whip out some save-or-sucks, still can utilize some grease and a few other battlefield controls to do nifty things, etc. These are the primary reasons people suggest that a wizard helps more than a fighter, and a bard gets a lot of it.

Space-Is-Curved
2007-02-17, 08:23 PM
I'm gonna have to agree. Bards are more usefull than usually given credit for.

Woot Spitum
2007-02-17, 08:32 PM
The trick to using the bard is to play him as a BARD. If you try to play him as a replacement for another class he will do what the other class does less effectively. If you focus on his strengths, however, he will contribute to the party.

Saph
2007-02-17, 08:46 PM
Mrr... I think you're missing the real point of my statement, though, Yvian.

*Attempts to reword it a bit* Generally, people state that wizards and CoDzilla contribute a heck of a lot more to the party than the melee-types.

Yes, but the people on these boards tend to overestimate the power of casters, IMO. Casters are strong, no argument there, but they aren't the win buttons some people make them out to be.

Case in point: We just finished a session of our regular D&D campaign a few hours ago. We're at 7th level and the normal party is 2 Wizards, 1 Cleric, 1 Fighter/Rogue, 1 Bard, and 1 Fighter, but today the fighter was away, so nearly everyone in the party was a caster.

We REALLY missed the fighter. I would have much rather have had the fighter there than the bard (or the other wizard, for that matter). We ran into a mohrg which paralysed the rogue and would have wiped out the entire party if the cleric and I hadn't managed to hold it off. For about five rounds the mohrg was trying to paralyse the cleric while me and the other wizard were pelting it with spells. Meanwhile the bard was singing and doing . . . not all that much else, really. The trouble with bardic spellcasting is that nearly all their offensive spells are mind-affecting, which more and more things are immune to as you go up the levels. They also don't get that many spells known and very few spells per day. The result was that the bard spent most of his time hovering around, unwilling to go into melee and unable to do anything very useful.

I'd say that bards are the least combat-oriented of all the D&D basic classes. They're good in a more social campaign, but they're going to struggle in a combat-heavy one.

- Saph

Kantolin
2007-02-17, 09:08 PM
Mrr. I'm mostly giving these general statements from the point of view of my favorite class: Fighter.

As my team's primary fighter-player, I note with frequency the times that I more or less am there for entertaining graphic effect, and have since noticed that the bard is capable of doing similarly, just most bards seem to... to not.

I dunno.


The trouble with bardic spellcasting is that nearly all their offensive spells are mind-affecting, which more and more things are immune to as you go up the levels.

Possibly, but they get a sizeable variety of very potent spells that are not. At a quickie glance, Slow would have significantly helped your problems up there, Displacement is present, Haste is always useful,

At second, there's Glitterdust or Blindness (Edit: Er... or not blindness, but the remainder of these stand) possibly some buffs for the cleric. Heck, if you're in a situation with a ton of mindless creatures, summon swarm.

Sure, you're not able to have everything, but even one of the above options would've let the bard contribute. I believe a bard's just fine in combat; a lot of their abilities focus there.

Saph
2007-02-17, 09:26 PM
Possibly, but they get a sizeable variety of very potent spells that are not. At a quickie glance, Slow would have significantly helped your problems up there, Displacement is present, Haste is always useful, At second, there's Glitterdust or Blindness (Edit: Er... or not blindness, but the remainder of these stand) possibly some buffs for the cleric. Heck, if you're in a situation with a ton of mindless creatures, summon swarm.

The thing is, though, if you've got a wizard there already, they can handle all that and do it better. My enchanter knows Slow, Haste, and Glitterdust, and used all three of them in that fight. A 7th-level bard, on the other hand, can cast only one third-level spell a day and needs a 16+ Charisma to do even that.

A bard is a better-than-nothing fill-in for a wizard, but if you've got no arcane caster in your party, wouldn't a wizard or sorcerer be more useful?


Sure, you're not able to have everything, but even one of the above options would've let the bard contribute. I believe a bard's just fine in combat; a lot of their abilities focus there.

Oh, a bard can always contribute somehow - that's the selling point of the class, they're so flexible that there's always SOMETHING they can do. The problem is that with a couple of exceptions, there's nothing they can do all that well.

A bard can manage in combat, but I stand by what I said earlier - they're the least combat-focused of all the D&D base classes.

- Saph

Noneoyabizzness
2007-02-17, 09:28 PM
bards can be played a variety of ways. My fave bard is Egil, My battle based bard. there are a few good damage spells, soem utility (identify, healing, soinc damage, not a bad mix)

ken-do-nim
2007-02-17, 09:44 PM
I think that the bard has been largely maligned because most people tend to think of what character builds can do solely on their own, whereas the bard's strength lies in teamwork. IE: They make everyone else better at what they do. Well, except casters (unless there's a bardsong that increases CL that I'm not aware of), but do full casters REALLY need the help?


In fact there is a 2nd level bard spell called harmonic chorus from the Spell Compendium that gives another caster +2 to their casting level. One of my favorite tricks is for a high level wizard, when making a spell permanent, to first summon a lillend with summon monster VIII who casts harmonic chorus on him to make the permanency tougher to dispel.

As to the main subject of this thread, I feel that bards should always take the leadership feat and get some big brute. Now who's tougher in combat, the party's 16th level fighter or the 16th level bard with his 14th level barbarian (who just got inspire greatness to make him essentially 16th anyway)? I know that some DMs don't allow the leadership feat, but I think that it should always be available for bards. This would solve Saph's problem where the player running the fighter didn't show up, so the bard wasn't as effective.

Kantolin
2007-02-17, 09:49 PM
The thing is, though, if you've got a wizard there already, they can handle all that and do it better. My enchanter knows Slow, Haste, and Glitterdust, and used all three of them in that fight.

That, however, was part of the point of my post.

I mean, a wizard or sorceror is generally better than the bard at pretty much everything. I know this, and it's fairly factual.

I'm pointing out that the fact that a bard can cast extremely potent wizard spells makes said bard likely more useful at contributing than a melee'r.

As a comparison. You already had a cleric up front taking hits, that covers the 'someone/something to tank'. Soo, a fighter could have been spending that time doing additional melee damage.

Even assuming you have an enchanter who knows Slow, Haste, and Glitterdust... the bard could have taken one (Likely glitterdust) and done it several rounds sooner - beginning the fight with a Slow and a Glitterdust is quite a bit more potent than beginning it with a Slow and a bit of melee damage.

I mean... the enchanter has limited amount of spells to cast, and limited amount of turns to do it in. Assuming those three are Slow, Haste, and Glitterdust... the bard can then cast displacement. Possibly work things out with the enchanter for optimum teamwork and efficiency (Such as, Hey I'll utilize glitterdust this matchup, feel free to memorize something else).

So yes, you need someone tanking. But in a party with a Cleric and a Wizard... a bard won't be up front tanking, but will be popping save-or-dies, greases, and the like. I really believe this makes a bard more helpful overall of a character than a fighter to a party, especially when fighters start to have real trouble doing anything at all.


A bard can manage in combat, but I stand by what I said earlier - they're the least combat-focused of all the D&D base classes.

I also don't think that's quite accurate. Bards get what, three abilities that are not focused on combat, and Suggestion and Fascinate are wizard spells. Comparably, they have a variety of abilities that are almost strictly useful in combat.

The major reason I think they make good social juggernauts is because they can afford to focus on charisma while still being very potent in combat. But due to this, they make very, very capable in-battle units.

Or well, they can. They don't have to, anymore than the wizard with Hold Portal and Alarm isn't terribly combat-helpful, nor is the Fighter who selected Skill Focus (Diplomacy) and Endurance. Likewise, a bard who selects all mind-effecting spells and glibness is going to be strongly limited when he fights something that is immune to mind-effecting spells.

But eh. Bards need more credit, and as the party fighter I personally find the bard more useful of a party member than I am. Sure, I can hit things... that's about it, and that's not as useful as what a bard can do unless the enemy is throwing around tons of Fortitude Save or dies (And no Reflex or Will save requiring spells... bards, after all, get both).

Edit: Er, forgot to address this:


wouldn't a wizard or sorcerer be more useful?

Well... yes. A wizard or sorceror are more effective than a bard. A cleric or druid is also more effective than a fighter.

I like playing bards for fun purposes, and enjoy utilizing the sizeable chunk of a bard's spell list which are spells devoted to combat. I also like playing fighters, since I just happen to like the class. That doesn't negate the fact that Bards are more useful for the party than fighters.

Saph
2007-02-17, 10:04 PM
Even assuming you have an enchanter who knows Slow, Haste, and Glitterdust... the bard could have taken one (Likely glitterdust) and done it several rounds sooner - beginning the fight with a Slow and a Glitterdust is quite a bit more potent than beginning it with a Slow and a bit of melee damage.

True enough. Remember, though, that since Bard spells are lower-level than Wizard spells and since Bards usually have a lower spellcasting stat than Wizards do, a Bard spell is likely to have a DC several points lower than the equivalent cast by a Wizard.

But what really hurts bards is their terrible spells-per-day allowance. They start off with zero spells per day at a new level, and take ages and ages to get past the three spells per day mark. Our seventh level bard gets one third-level spell and three second-level spells per day. You could use that up in one encounter!


So yes, you need someone tanking. But in a party with a Cleric and a Wizard... a bard won't be up front tanking, but will be popping save-or-dies, greases, and the like. I really believe this makes a bard more helpful overall of a character than a fighter to a party, especially when fighters start to have real trouble doing anything at all.

. . .

But eh. Bards need more credit, and as the party fighter I personally find the bard more useful of a party member than I am.

Well, I can't argue with that - it's your campaign. Maybe you play at a much higher level than we do. All I can say is that in our game, the party fighter is a much more essential part of the team than the bard is. I suppose I'm arguing your class' side of this. Playing as a wizard, I much prefer having one more fighter around than having one more spellcaster.

- Saph

jjpickar
2007-02-17, 10:08 PM
I have seen bards do some pretty amazing things and not be optimized either. Bards get charm monster:smallbiggrin:. Charm Monster gets the bard a big critter friend like a (I have seen this happen before) dragon. That he might choose to buff said dragon. Which in turn might be the most powerful addition to the party ever.
So yeah, I think bards are one of the BEST classes in D&D.

Note: I didn't say they were THE BEST so don't get on me with the whole wizard/cleric ultra pwnage. I know they're better than the bard. But ask yourself what you would rather have, a fighter or a buffed dragon. Choose carefully.

clarkvalentine
2007-02-17, 10:18 PM
The bard's usefulness is largely dependent on the type of campaign. For a mostly urban campaign, or a game with lots of intrigue, bards are tremendously useful. They're not as good a fit in a more traditional dungeon-based game.

Edit: Incidentally, their mechanical usefulness aside, I think bards are one of the most fun classes to play. I absolutely love 'em.

Kantolin
2007-02-17, 10:20 PM
Remember, though, that since Bard spells are lower-level than Wizard spells and since Bards usually have a lower spellcasting stat than Wizards do, a Bard spell is likely to have a DC several points lower than the equivalent cast by a Wizard.

They actually tend to be (at least at lowish levels) of identical level. All of the spells I mentioned are the same level for bards as they are for wizards. And the 'higher requisite stat' depends on the bard... I almost always pump charisma as a bard.


But what really hurts bards is their terrible spells-per-day allowance.

Now this I agree with. Their significantly lower spells-per-day are why I think they're not even on par with a wizard/sorc. But I think it's enough to matter.


Well, I can't argue with that - it's your campaign.

I'm trying, in general, to state points that are not campaign-specific, but are instead more general. If you get campaign-specific, you get 'But in antimagic field land...'


Maybe you play at a much higher level than we do.

The particular game where I'm noticing this takes place at currently 6th level. At lower levels, the fact that a bard can sing everyone a +1 is amazingly potent anyway, so I was ignoring that. :P Focusing on the area when bards are between second and third level spells mostly, but the trend continues at higher levels.


All I can say is that in our game, the party fighter is a much more essential part of the team than the bard is. I suppose I'm arguing your class' side of this.

But what does the fighter do? In your specific example, the fighter would have been contributing melee damage and possibly another melee target. A bard could have contributed a series of much more useful effects, from displacement to glitterdust to haste to slow. If anything, your complaint suggests more that the bard in your party is built poorly for combat than anything else.

[This, note, is perfectly fine. There is nothing wrong with playing a character who is not built for combat. At the same time, if you build your bard to not be very good at combat, odds are he won't be good at combat anymore than if you build a fighter to be not very good at combat.]


Playing as a wizard, I much prefer having one more fighter around than having one more spellcaster.

Meh. I've played wizards, and I completely agree with you that having some form of a meat shield is dramatically important until 3rd levelish, when I can use summons to fill the gaps. To compare, at level 2, having two people both sleep the orc barbarians is much more pleasant than having one person use sleep and the second perform an action which is much less likely to completely incapacitate both orc barbarians. And this is at extremely low levels where fighters are at their best.


They're not as good a fit in a more traditional dungeon-based game.

That is, in fact, exactly what I'm saying they are skilled at doing with this topic, with potent save-or-dies. A nice quote came from space-is-curved, who stated:


I'm gonna have to agree. Bards are more usefull than usually given credit for.

Only I'm adding the addendum, 'Due to their spellcasting prowness', insofar as combat is concerned.

Edit:


Edit: Incidentally, their mechanical usefulness aside, I think bards are one of the most fun classes to play. I absolutely love 'em.

If anything, that's part of why I started this topic. ^_^

I like bards a lot... and in a world of CoDzilla, bards perform surprisingly well compared to my favorite class.

clarkvalentine
2007-02-17, 10:28 PM
That is, in fact, exactly what I'm saying they are skilled at doing with this topic, with potent save-or-dies.

Honestly, it's not an angle I've looked at very closely. I wouldn't want to play a bard in a dungeon crawl, but you could have a point in that they're better than they look on the surface (while not being the killing machine that a druid can be).


If anything, that's part of why I started this topic. ^_^

You know, this point is perhaps more important than it seems - a player who's really having a blast playing his character is almost always going to play that character better than someone who isn't - so bards have that going for them, too. People who play bards tend to do so because they really love it. :smallwink:

Jade_Tarem
2007-02-17, 10:39 PM
This has been covered before. See the thread labeled "controversial value." There's a farily solid rebuttal to every anti-bard arguement.

1. "I was in a party with a bard once, and he never did anything useful. Meanwhile, the wizard/cleric/druid/something else handled everything. Doesn't that mean that bards are inherantly 'teh suck?' "

No. Think about how silly that is. One sample of a bard in action is statistically insignificant. Let me give you an opposing example: I was in a party once with a cleric who literally never helped the party in any way, shape, or form. (true story) Does this mean that clerics are underpowered and useless, and should all be replaced with fighters? (the fighter was far more helpful to the party that game). Of course not. Yet people post this or some spinoff of it every time bards are mentioned. It's called the "confirmation bias," a term used in psychology to define the human tendency to look only at evidence that supports an already-held assumption. Look at Miko for an extreme example. Meanwhile, if your bard isn't able to do anything in a given situation, he isn't being played correctly.

2. "The bardic music ability doesn't measure up to a wizard's empowered hightened quickened maximized extended greater super magical leprichaun buff and complimentary bag of chips."

Right. What's your point? The wizard can, given the correct spell selection, also enter melee combat more effectively than even the most crazily optimized fighter. I, for one, would rather allow the bard to do the party buffs to free up spell slots for forcecage and the like.

3. "The bard can't do X-action as well as Y-class."

Probably. But this is really just an extension of #2. And chances are, the bard should have been doing something else. Do recall the amazing versatility of bards. It really frosts my shorts when someone posts a "comparison" between bards and something else and the only thing the bard can purportedly do is bardic music. Then the poster expects to be taken seriously. Or else each individual bard ability is compared to its counterpart in the class that focuses on the abilities under consideration. The bard really doesn't have any extreme weaknesses as all the other classes do.

4. "Bards are the least combat-able class in DnD."

Assuming you're right, so what? DnD, if you can believe it, frequently features other situations besides combat. Observe...

DM: "You come across a man in your travels who introduces himself as Iros Larticus, and he-"
Bard: "I have a bardic knowledge roll of 57. Tell me his class, level, past exploits, credit history, and the maiden name of his high school sweetheart."

And at that, I don't understand where you're coming from on the combat thing. Yes, the bardic offensive spells tend towards enchantment. Yes, many creatures are immune to enchantment. Thats when you break out the sonic spells, or else start buffing the party, or go flank with the fighter, or start singing, or look for something else to do using the brains you were born with.

Is there anything else? Oh yes, how about:

5. "There's no way to optimize a bard for...."

Hold it. Hold it right there. What is it, combat? Are we still stuck on that? Try this: Bard 10/Sublime Chord 10. Grats, you now have a bard with the overlapping spell lists of sorcerer and bard. That's an improved sorcerer spell list. At level 20 you will have bard abilities as if you were level 15 and sorcerer spells as if you were level 19, as well as the Sublime chord abilities, which ironically work better if used on yourself than your enemies. That's almost up to gestaltian hieghts. And now you're a full caster, which many consider to be automatically superior to the non-casters. Optimizing a bard as a skills-in-general type thing is something I've never seen done, but I'd bet there's a way. I've seen more than one bard turned into a bluff/diplomacy powerhouse, one bard's bluff was so high he could tell you that your pants were on fire and you would stop, drop, and roll before looking down. There's other things as well - a UMD bard can even be the healbot for the party.

6. "Well, I still think bards are stupid and underpowered."

That's your problem.

Bards for the win.

Zincorium
2007-02-18, 12:01 AM
Hold it. Hold it right there. What is it, combat? Are we still stuck on that? Try this: Bard 10/Sublime Chord 10.

Y'know, I believe that this and that one feat, Words of Creation, seem to get brought up every time someone wants to defend the bard. They're good. Folucan (sp?) Lyricist is also a good one.

But I think the key is that like the fighter the advantage of certain prestige classes over the base class is flat overwhelming.

A point that you didn't address is that too many people I've seen have taken bard because they thought it would synch up well with whatever else they were doing, from an archer type character to a sorceror who was a little new to the rules.

Bards don't really play well with other classes, and that seems illogical to me. Bard should be a good dip class, like fighter is for most melee characters, for casting classes, augmenting their existing portfolio with some additional useful abilities. Also like the fighter, bards have a lot to gain if they gained abilities later on that truly cement the bard as what the class is supposed to be. That would go a lot towards encouraging players who aren't die-hard fans of the class to try them out occasionally.

Jade_Tarem
2007-02-18, 01:00 AM
It can be taken at level one to add a whole bunch of skill points to your character. I've seen a couple bard multiclass types before that seemed to work well, but I've never kept track. I'll give it a try sometime.

I think in 3.0 a single level of bard would grant you access to all iterations of bardic music so long as you take ranks in perform each level, making bard the ultimate dip class. Perhaps WotC overreacted a bit?

As is, Bardic Knowledge and Countersong still sort of increase with levels outside of bard, and as above, the lvl 1 bard gets a few interesting cantrips and a ton of skill points. Is that reason enough to dip? Either way, It's just long been my opinion that bards don't need to be spit on as so many do.

Leush
2007-02-18, 05:06 AM
*Smells a pro-bard thread from far away and comes running*




Bards for the win.

Just because you're going to beat me... -.-

But I agree. Besides being the most fun class to play, there are some very nifty things you can do with a bard. Did you know that a bard's countersong can be used to counterspell wail of the banshee? Perhaps not that useful, but interesting, no?

Flexibility is the greatest strength of a class in D&D. Since bard is the ultimately flexible class (perhaps bar the wildshaping, natural-spelling druid), it is the strongest. They're useful in a team due to the buffage, healing potential, and if well built, the melee potential to fill the meatshield gap (suboptimally, but it can be done). They're useful on their own, because well, a solitary bard isn't going to treat situations head on, but rather go around trouble, which I must say, they are rather good at.

A lot of people underestimate the power of fascinate (of an innane save DC if you have *GASPS* skill focus...) followed by serial suggestions. If I correctly recall, bards have certain sonic damage spells, which very few things have immunity to, and although are weak, are still useful. I could argue the case for bards further, and attempt to insinuate that they are, in fact "more powerful" than a lot of pure casters, but I don't whether that's actually true or not.

As an afterthought, in my gaming group, the fighter is always the greatest terror, so I think that spellcasters being best is rather circumstancial... Rather circumstancial indeed...

Saph
2007-02-18, 06:35 AM
They actually tend to be (at least at lowish levels) of identical level. All of the spells I mentioned are the same level for bards as they are for wizards. And the 'higher requisite stat' depends on the bard... I almost always pump charisma as a bard.

Only at level 1. From suggestion on up, bard spells are almost always a level lower than wiz/sorc equivalents (check out hold person, charm monster, hideous laughter, etc). And if the bard wants to fight in melee, he can't dump Str and semi-dump Dex the way a wizard can, and he doesn't have wizard bonus feats for stuff like Spell Focus.


But what does the fighter do? In your specific example, the fighter would have been contributing melee damage and possibly another melee target. A bard could have contributed a series of much more useful effects, from displacement to glitterdust to haste to slow. If anything, your complaint suggests more that the bard in your party is built poorly for combat than anything else.

The fighter could have done DAMAGE. He could have actually killed the monster, soaked up its attacks, and stopped it from paralysing the rest of the party. Inspire courage is not much use when there's only one character in the party attacking. Save-or-suck and save-or-lose spells are NOT always the best option - as a character who specialises in them, I'm very familiar with this. Sometimes you just need characters up front beating on the monster.


Meh. I've played wizards, and I completely agree with you that having some form of a meat shield is dramatically important until 3rd levelish.

Well, like I said, we're at 7th level and need our meat shield/damage dealer just as much as ever. I know people on this board go on and on about CoDzillas and wizards of death, but it's nowhere near as one-sided as that in practice.


I like bards a lot... and in a world of CoDzilla, bards perform surprisingly well compared to my favorite class.

And I still think you're selling yourself short. Casters are not the be-all and end-all of D&D, and a really good fighter is always useful, at least until you get to the higher levels (by which point D&D balance is pretty out of whack anyway).

Maybe we could trade our bard for your fighter or something. :P

I suppose part of the reason I'm so negative about bards at the moment is that the one in our party is such a coward. He and the other wizard spent most of last session hiding behind me whenever something dangerous showed up. Given that my character's half his size, has 27 HP, and an AC of 15, I really wasn't impressed.

Anyway, I'm not saying that bards suck (as Jade seems to think). It's really only players that make a character suck, not classes. I'm just disagreeing when you say that a combat party would do better with a bard than with your fighter.

- Saph

Zincorium
2007-02-18, 06:57 AM
But I agree. Besides being the most fun class to play


Entirely subjective. While it might be true for you, there are few reasons it should be the case for most people, and it would be a delusion to state that as a fact. Personally, I find the most fun class to play is a barbarian. I'm sure that many other people have their own favorite class, sometimes it's bard, most of the time it's not if only because of the sheer variety of classes available.



Flexibility is the greatest strength of a class in D&D. Since bard is the ultimately flexible class (perhaps bar the wildshaping, natural-spelling druid), it is the strongest.

Strictly false. Specialization, with as little loss in other abilities as possible, is the key to power in D&D. Why? D&D is a team based series of contests. Combat, traps, diplomacy, it's all a series of contests between the player and the environment or NPCs. When you always have a member of the team who is strong enough to beat any particular challenge, the group survives and does well.

Being able to compete but not able to win hurts the group. A bard must be at least as good as the relevant specialist in any given arena if they want step up to that challenge and succeed. Most encounters are intended to present a meaningful competition for those involved, and a competition in melee combat is going to be suited for those classes devoted to melee, a challenge of spellcasting will be suited to the full casters, and the traps will be suitable for the rogue.

If the bard was the strongest due to flexibility, it would mean they could compete and have a strong chance at winning those contests they took on. But they can't. A bard cannot take on in melee combat an opponent suitable to the fighter and hope to win. They don't have the spells available that a wizard will. They can't sink as many skill points into searching for and disabling a trap as the rogue will.

Above all, no bard made can fulfill all those roles. They are not the masters of flexibility, they have their own areas of expertise. And they are poor to useless substitutes for a specialist in any given area. If you make a bard who is good at magically influencing their enemies, or convincing others in roleplaying, or adept at helping the party, then the bard can be an excellent choice. One who divides their feats and skills between all areas of adventuring is going to fail at every one they try, barring the vicissitudes of luck.

D&D is a cooperative game. You learn to rely on others to assist you when you cannot forge ahead on your own, and this is a good thing. A class that can do everything well is far too powerful, a class that does everything poorly isn't an adventurer at all. A bard can fill a necessary role in the party, not a unique one, but one they are geared towards as best is possible.

In any case, my position is clear. Don't pretend the bard is the greatest mechanically, and I have no argument with you. Don't claim that the bard somehow is always more fun or always better at roleplaying, and I have no argument with you. Say that you have lots of fun with your bard, they work well mechanically for what you try to do, or you can roleplay them really well, and I likewise have no argument.

Maglor_Grubb
2007-02-18, 12:03 PM
I'm in the 'bards can be one of the best' camp, if they take Sublime Chord. Seriously, you cast spells as a 19th level sorceror, but with a better spell list and many mid-level spells take up a lower spell slot. Furthermore: bardic music atempts. A bard10/Sublime 10 has 15 of them and they are teh win (!!!111!!!lol), bardic music attempts are like turn undead, but can be used for even better things (metacheese with bardic music /and/ giving yourself or allies damage reduction and using your attempts to cast more spells).

So you're a 19th level sorceror with a better version of a clerics metacheese, the ability to cast cure spells, some cool new spells (glibness), a lot of spells that can be cast in a lower spell slot, a lot more skill points and a way better skill list, more hitpoints, bardic knowledge and more songs than a normal bard.

Show me a non-full spelcaster+PrC who can beat this. Hell, it's one of the best full casters!

Saph
2007-02-18, 12:41 PM
I don't think how powerful a character is at 20th level is very important. The vast majority of D&D games begin, play out, and end between levels 1 and 10. So saying that character class X is great because it can take prestige class Y at high levels and do Z by level 20 doesn't make much sense. Do your games usually start at levels 16-20?

- Saph

Kantolin
2007-02-18, 03:01 PM
Only at level 1. From suggestion on up, bard spells are almost always a level lower than wiz/sorc equivalents

Well, I was analyzing Blindness/Deafness, Glitterdust, Dispel Magic, and Slow.


And if the bard wants to fight in melee, he can't dump Str and semi-dump Dex the way a wizard can

This is absolutely correct, but that's an optimization thing more than anything else such as how many points does one need to place into physical stats to be useful, does the bard want to melee, etc. I am focusing on the example bard who is primarily a spellcaster, whether through focusing on pumping charisma or through having a 13ish charisma, boosting it to 14 at level 8, and utilizing only spells that do not require saves (Haste, Silence, Mirror Image, any buff, illusions). The fact that bards can do more than this, if anything, helps my case.


and he doesn't have wizard bonus feats for stuff like Spell Focus.

No, he doesn't. Bards are not as good as wizards. Neither, on that note, are sorcerors who also lack the bonus feats. Either way, Bards are not as good as sorcerors either. Or, while on the subject, Clerics or Druids. These are stated as essentially facts.


The fighter could have done DAMAGE. He could have actually killed the monster,

That is indeed a potentialitiy: That's what fighters are good at (damage). However...


soaked up its attacks, and stopped it from paralysing the rest of the party.

A bard, now, could've helped considerably with this. It was already attacking the cleric; displacement would've essentially doubled the cleric's chances of survival. Hasteing the cleric gives the cleric slightly more oompf to hit, slightly more AC, and most importantly a second attack. Pretending for a moment that the bard started off with haste, then commenced with firing a shortbow every turn... that doubles the cleric's damage and throws in (two shots of) shortbow damage. Is your fighter particularly optimized for damage over your cleric, such that Cleric + Bard + Bard damage is not equal to fighter damage?

And stopping it from paralyzing? Clap it with slow. Merrily remain however many feet away from it... as I'm unsure about it in particular, let's guesstimate 45 feet as plenty. With haste especially, you can achieve this with no problems. Hail it with arrows and spells.

Or possibly glitterdust it... the fighter is trying to 'stop it from paralyzing the rest of the party'. If it's blind, odds are it's not at all going to connect with the rest of the party. Thus, the bard has done an extremely good job of preventing it from paralyzing everyone.

Is it intelligent? If not, chase it around the room with illusions. If so, you'll have to be more crafty... try to illusion things it'd react to. There's a whole topic devoted to illusions now with some good ideas on how to use them.

Really, any of the above options are win buttons. You are playing a wizard who utilizes them with similar effect; the bard can easily be tagging along doing identically. And do note, the bard is not as good as a wizard, so you'll be doing it better, but that's the life of a non-full-caster. It's just that a bard can be in CoDzilla's throne room along with the Wizard, and still behind their Sorceror advisor... he's just not in the doghouse with the fighter hoping for scraps.

....that... was a very fun analogy to make. ^_^


Save-or-suck and save-or-lose spells are NOT always the best option

Maybe not in general, but here... man, a half-dozen save-or-suck spells would have made the very battle you stated now mopup, and they're spells a bard could have casted. They are also effective in fashions that are unlikely for a fighter to be able to match. The fighter, as you said, could do damage or soak damage. Dealing damage is an attempt to incapacitate the monster; slow or glitterdust or blindness is a much more fierce attempt to incapacitate the monster, but instantly this time. Highish hit points and armour class are an attempt to soak damage... so is displacement, and the aformentioned slow makes it easy to stay away from being pummeled.


I know people on this board go on and on about CoDzillas and wizards of death

Insofar as CoDzilla, it's just a matter of 'Does your cleric in any way like being a frontline attacker?'

If so, odds are they will use the core divine power, and thus be perfectly acceptable tanks with their plenty of AC, plenty of hit points, and full spellcasting ability for 'on the side'. Then, overwhelming or not, the cleric will be very, very capable at 'tanking' for about anything a fighter can do, as apparantly happened in your very fight. So whether or not the cleric is best at it, the cleric can certainly function at being a tank and do a good job, which is all you need as a wizard.

On a vaguely similar note, if your cleric does not like tanking, then you will need someone to actually tank. (In which your cleric is essentially a wizard... in full plate, which is strong enough, but nevermind that, as CoDzilla arguments can happen elsewhere). Conversely, if your fighter is an archer who refuses to be on the front lines... you do not have a tank still. If your fighter has weapon specialization(net) and Skill Focus(Perform(Exotic Dance)), then he's not going to be much of a tnak compared to the cleric with power attack. If your cleric took Spell Focus(Conjuration) and has a strength and constitution of 6, then you cleric isn't going to be much of a tank compared to the fighter with power attack.

In this particular case, though, the wizard (Or, in this case, bard) just needs anything at all to be present between said caster and the baddy. So at low levels, I'm rather content to have something there. But after awhile (and not a terribly long while), summons are a more solid option, walls or grease are an option, hirelings... heck, maybe charm. Or phantom steeding way, way the heck over there. Remember, all your fighter is doing is standing there being present and maybe dealing some damage.


Casters are not the be-all and end-all of D&D, and a really good fighter is always useful

I... hm.

Let me see here. I think I do agree, a fighter can indeed be fairly useful at low levels. Level 1 is the glory level for a fighter who has hit points to survive a hit (maybe), unlike almost everyone else, his high AC is absolutely manditory for surviving one hit from the enemy orc, and one swing can possibly incapacitate an enemy.

The trouble is that at level 1, a wizard/sorceror's save-or-lose can still end a battle rather instantly. So while a fighter can do something, frequently the fighter's just present to stand there for a moment while the caster wins the battle. A bard can do the majority of these... or well, a whole lot of these. The reliance on a fighter, thus, starts off kinda meh from the very beginning, and then drops off wildly when the party's wizard or bard starts throwing glitterdusts around.

So it's not that a fighter can do /nothing/ at low levels... just that a bard contributes a good deal more with spellcasting alone. Then you get to skills, two good saves instead of one, and bardic knowledge. Maybe some bardic music on the side.


I'm just disagreeing when you say that a combat party would do better with a bard than with your fighter.

Well... I suppose you are free to disagree, but I'm trying to avoid relying on opinion and trying to state general facts.

To try one more time, though... a fighter primarily brings "I can take damage" to the table. In that respect, teh bard brings 'I can pre-emptively ensure that the party does not take damage through illusions, stopping the enemy, or alternately blur/displacement/blink/etc'. Heck, cast mirror image and you can tank.

The fighter then brings physical damage to the table. The purpose of damaging your enemies is to kill (or possibly incapacitate) them. Bards, utilizing save or dies, are more capable of killing or incapacitating enemies.

Therefore, a bard at the very least brings to the table exactly what the fighter brings to the table. That's my general point... although it seems people do agree that bards are a lot more nifty than they seem at a glance. They're certainly not hte worst class in D&D.


I suppose part of the reason I'm so negative about bards at the moment is that the one in our party is such a coward.

Now that I can understand. In an earlier campaign of mine where I was one of two frontliners, the other fighter took point blank shot and seem to absolutely refuse to use it.

So when the wizard slow'd enemies, I'd keep the heck out of reach and start using arrows. He'd... irritatingly charge forward and get himself maimed, then demand the cleric heal him. Eventually, the cleric snapped at him, 'Sure, I'll heal you, if you keep your worthless carcass way the heck out of melee like everyone else is doing once slow works'.

But eh... mechanically poor characters are frequently fun to play, and some people simply have no grasp of tactics. But beyond this, bards are still a very potent class, and tend to bring more to the table than the melee'rs.

Starbuck_II
2007-02-18, 03:16 PM
Why do these examples of the Bard not have grease. It is the one of the best low level save or be messed ip spells.
Even against Golems or mindless creatures. Heck, it neutralizes Frenzy Berserkers (can't use dex check so fall prone).

I always take grease if i ever play a Bard now.

Kantolin
2007-02-18, 03:19 PM
Why do these examples of the Bard not have grease. It is the one of the best low level save or be messed ip spells.

Oh, I love grease. ^_^ I don't know how I used to run bards and wizards without it... man. Nothing happens to coincidentally have ranks in balance, and anything in armour tends to autofail. My only trouble with grease is that at low levels it's not as awesome (It becomes very useful at level 2, and doesn't stick around really long enough until level 5ish).

Closet_Skeleton
2007-02-18, 03:44 PM
Savage Species has some fun Bard spells.

Timespike
2007-02-18, 04:08 PM
Bards benefit tremendously from supplements. They are also easily able to be the second-best at a lot of stuff. They can sneak around with the rogue, help the cleric patch the others up, contribute to combat (they're proficient with a nice assortment of weapons) buff themselves and others, and generally make themselves useful. There's virtually no situation where the bard will be the best at it, but there's also virtually no situation where they'll be unable to assist in some way.

Once you start multiclassing or adding prestige classes, it gets even better. One of my favorite bard builds is Bard 16/Paladin 4 (those paladin levels should be levels 4, 5, 6, and 7, by the way and this is facilitated by the Devoted Performer feat.) The abilities of the Bard and Paladin classes compliment each other nicely.

ken-do-nim
2007-02-18, 04:12 PM
Oh, I love grease. ^_^ I don't know how I used to run bards and wizards without it... man. Nothing happens to coincidentally have ranks in balance, and anything in armour tends to autofail. My only trouble with grease is that at low levels it's not as awesome (It becomes very useful at level 2, and doesn't stick around really long enough until level 5ish).

We had an earlier thread about grease, but it is a controversial spell because it depends on how you rule the balance skill works. If you rule that merely standing in a slippery area makes someone "balancing", then it is a great spell because unless the foe has 5 ranks in balance they are flat-footed. If however you rule that one must be making balance checks to be considered "balancing" then only when they move might they become flat-footed.

Getting back to this thread about bard value, I had an earlier thread about class-balance rankings, and here's what we came up with (I compiled this by taking everyone's suggestion as a vote):

Tier 1: Wizards, Clerics, Druids, Artificer, Beguiler
Tier 2: Psion, Favored Soul, Sorcerer, Warblade, Shugenja, Wu Jen, Wilder
Tier 3: Barbarian, Paladin, Fighter, Knight, Swordsage, Crusader, Psychic Warrior
Tier 4: Ranger, Rogue, Swashbuckler, Duskblade, Warmage, Scout, Hexblade, Bard
Tier 5: Monk, Warlock
Tier 6: Samurai, Ninja, Soulknife

Then after the thread nearly ended, another user Gramalin gave this list containing many classes others didn't mention:
1. Wizard (Battlefield controllers only), Druid, Cleric, Psion, Artificer, Archivist, Erudite, Beguiler
2. Wizard (Blaster), Sorcerer, wilder, Dread Necro, Warblade, Wu Jen, Favored Soul, Shadowcaster, Ardent
3. Duskblade, Scout, Rogue, Swordsage, Crusaders, Hexblade, Paladin, Ranger, Barbarian, Fighter, Warmage, Lurk, Divine Mind, Knight, Shugenja, Spirit Shaman, Totemist
4. Swashbuckler, Monk, Bard, Warlock, Binder, Truespeaker, Incarnate, Dragonfire Adept, Dragon Shaman
5. Ninja, Spell thief, Samurai, Soulborn

Personally, I can't say I agree with either list, and I gather that the thrust of this thread is that if there are 5 tiers, bard should make the third.

Kantolin
2007-02-18, 04:21 PM
Personally, I can't say I agree with either list, and I gather that the thrust of this thread is that if there are 5 tiers, bard should make the third.
Yes, I also disagree with those lists for a couple reasons... but among other things, I'd put the bard above everyone else in option 3 for reasons I've mentioned.

I generaly find grease most useful for essentially sticking someone in place, though. ^_^ It's like a creative wall.

Saph
2007-02-18, 05:08 PM
A bard, now, could've helped considerably with this. It was already attacking the cleric; displacement would've essentially doubled the cleric's chances of survival.

It was grappling the cleric. Displacement wouldn't have worked.


Hasteing the cleric gives the cleric slightly more oompf to hit, slightly more AC, and most importantly a second attack.

I cast that already.


Pretending for a moment that the bard started off with haste, then commenced with firing a shortbow every turn... that doubles the cleric's damage and throws in (two shots of) shortbow damage.

The fight was in a snaking 5' wide corridor, everyone else was in the way, and the cleric was in a grapple.


Is your fighter particularly optimized for damage over your cleric?

Nope, he's a bog-standard dwarven fighter - and, like I'm saying, the team member who I rely on the most, along with the cleric.


And stopping it from paralyzing? Clap it with slow.

I cast that already.


Or possibly glitterdust it...

I cast that already. Twice.


Really, any of the above options are win buttons.

They're win buttons? Really?

Then how do you explain the fact that in that fight I cast haste, slow, glitterdust, grease, another glitterdust, three more greases, alter self, protection from evil, and shield, and we still wouldn't have won without the cleric? If those save-or-suck spells are 'win buttons', how come we don't win when I cast them?

(And by the way, how is a level 7 bard supposed to know/cast haste AND slow AND displacement? You know that at level 7 they get a max of one spell per day and two spells known, right? That's barely enough for one encounter, let alone a whole day's worth of fighting.)


Maybe not in general, but here... man, a half-dozen save-or-suck spells would have made the very battle you stated now mopup

I already CAST a half-dozen save-or-suck spells, and it WAS NOT mopup.

Look, when it comes to save-or-suck spells, I know what I'm talking about. I play a wizard who specialises in save-or-X spells. I don't have a single damage spell in my spellbook. The spells you're talking about - glitterdust, haste, slow, grease, charm, and the sleep series - are the spells I've been casting non stop ever since I started playing this character at 2nd level. You don't have to tell me that these spells are good. I know they're good. But I've also found their limitations, and they are NOT the win buttons people make them out to be. Lots and lots of things counter or limit them, and the perfect situations to use them do not come up that often.


If so, odds are they will use the core divine power, and thus be perfectly acceptable tanks with their plenty of AC, plenty of hit points, and full spellcasting ability for 'on the side'. Then, overwhelming or not, the cleric will be very, very capable at 'tanking' for about anything a fighter can do, as apparantly happened in your very fight. So whether or not the cleric is best at it, the cleric can certainly function at being a tank and do a good job, which is all you need as a wizard.

Sure, and the cleric did a great job. We wouldn't have got out of that fight without him. On the other hand, before he managed to cast a spell, he'd been grappled for several rounds and hit three times by the mohrg's tongue. If he'd failed even one of those saves he would have been out of the fight, and it would have been a mostly undamaged mohrg versus me, the evoker, and our cowardly bard. That fight would probably have been hilarious for a spectator (watch the bard and the evoker hide behind the enchanter! Watch them run away and try and get the mohrg to eat someone else!) but I'm very, very glad I didn't have to do it.


The trouble is that at level 1, a wizard/sorceror's save-or-lose can still end a battle rather instantly. So while a fighter can do something, frequently the fighter's just present to stand there for a moment while the caster wins the battle. A bard can do the majority of these... or well, a whole lot of these. The reliance on a fighter, thus, starts off kinda meh from the very beginning, and then drops off wildly when the party's wizard or bard starts throwing glitterdusts around.

But that's simply not how it is in our game. Look, if you like bards, that's great. I'm the first to admit that they can be very good. But it is simply wrong to say that our party would be better off with another bard instead of our fighter.


Therefore, a bard at the very least brings to the table exactly what the fighter brings to the table.

And here's where we disagree. The bard in our game DOES NOT bring to the table anything like what the fighter brings to the table, and it's not just a matter of character design/optimisation. Save-or-suck spells are not a reliable substitute for damage - they don't always work and lots of things are immune to them. Defensive buffs are not a reliable substitute for HP - they require casting time and lots of things are immune to them. The bard brings an altogether different set of abilities than the fighter.

Look, it's not going to be much help to keep on staying so general, so how about we make this a bit more specific? Design a 6th-level bard for me, point buy 28. Then I'll give you a description of the last . . . oh, let's say . . . eight encounters our party's been through, encounter level 5-8, and you can figure out what your bard would have done in each of them. You might find it interesting, anyway, since it sounds like you haven't actually tried a lot of the tactics you're describing. If you design the bard well, you should find that you're useful in each of them, but I seriously doubt that you'll be able to one-shot the encounters and I promise you'll find yourself needing the fighter's help at least once.

- Saph

Saph
2007-02-18, 05:16 PM
Oh, and yeah, grease is awesome. My enchanter's cast it more times than any other spell in her spellbook. There are SO many cool things you can do with it. I've actually been thinking of making a thread dedicated to all the fun uses of the grease spell.

- Saph

Viscount Einstrauss
2007-02-18, 05:16 PM
Hey, I love a good bard. They're the most balanced casters in the game, instantly winning my DMing heart.

Plus, they've got some awesome fluff.

Jade_Tarem
2007-02-18, 05:51 PM
Being able to compete but not able to win hurts the group. A bard must be at least as good as the relevant specialist in any given arena if they want step up to that challenge and succeed. Most encounters are intended to present a meaningful competition for those involved, and a competition in melee combat is going to be suited for those classes devoted to melee, a challenge of spellcasting will be suited to the full casters, and the traps will be suitable for the rogue.

Emphasis mine. See also: WHAT? Did you honestly just say that in order to be an effective party member the bard should be better than everyone at everything? Or are you saying that the bard needs to be better than everyone at something? Either way, you're saying that there needs to be a specific party role for the bard to fill to make it a worthwhile class, which, by extension, means that you also think that everything but wizards, sorcerers, fighters, barbarians, clerics, and rogues is a waste of time because they can't fill a main party role as well as those classes can.


If the bard was the strongest due to flexibility, it would mean they could compete and have a strong chance at winning those contests they took on. But they can't. A bard cannot take on in melee combat an opponent suitable to the fighter and hope to win. They don't have the spells available that a wizard will. They can't sink as many skill points into searching for and disabling a trap as the rogue will.

But that's just it. That's it exactly. The bard's biggest advantage is that they are the entirety of the rock-paper-scissors game. I imagine that, in your personal experience, you've seen bards "suck" time and time again because they lost in melee to melee units, spellcasting to spellcasters, healing to clerics, and trapfinding to rogues. Now look at it this way: a smart or at least experienced bard player would use his spellcasting or roguish charm on the fighter's target, his unique abilities and skills to aid the wizard, his casting on the traps and locks he's supposed to bypass, and his brain on everything else. If you're at a loss for what to do, buff the party. Congrats - the bard has just competed and won at every challenge handed to him, since "winning" DnD is so important...:smallconfused:


Above all, no bard made can fulfill all those roles. They are not the masters of flexibility, they have their own areas of expertise. And they are poor to useless substitutes for a specialist in any given area. If you make a bard who is good at magically influencing their enemies, or convincing others in roleplaying, or adept at helping the party, then the bard can be an excellent choice. One who divides their feats and skills between all areas of adventuring is going to fail at every one they try, barring the vicissitudes of luck.

Once again, I really don't think you've given bards enough credit. But let's assume that you're right - that despite having the second highest skill total in the game, despite having some decent spellcasting to back them up (in armor, no less), that despite having the nigh-unheard of arcane healing, that despite having a decent BAB and two "good" saves, that the bard is only - only - good if he restricts himself to the traditional singing and bardic knowledge roll, so what? It's still a good class to play, for reasons mentioned above.


In any case, my position is clear. Don't pretend the bard is the greatest mechanically, and I have no argument with you. Don't claim that the bard somehow is always more fun or always better at roleplaying, and I have no argument with you. Say that you have lots of fun with your bard, they work well mechanically for what you try to do, or you can roleplay them really well, and I likewise have no argument.

Bard = Greatest Mechanically? Who argued that? A bard is "as fun" as you make it, and like everything else has it's own set of rules and tactics. Sure, you're never going to level cities or make the BBEGs pee themselves with your sheer, ungodly power, but you're an instant hit with the ladies! That's what's really important, right?:smallamused:

Kantolin
2007-02-18, 06:14 PM
It was grappling the cleric. Displacement wouldn't have worked.

I was unaware that grappling was involved. Grease, then? On the cleric?


I cast that already.

I cast that already.

I cast that already. Twice.

...what, did the bard start the battle four rounds after you did? Did you on round 1 start the battle casting slow, haste, and two glitterdusts? Could the battle not have started, on round one, with a slow and a glitterdust from the two of you?


The fight was in a snaking 5' wide corridor, everyone else was in the way, and the cleric was in a grapple.

If he was unable to get line of sight, or even get close, what could a fighter have done in that scenario?


Then how do you explain the fact that in that fight I cast haste, slow, glitterdust, grease, another glitterdust, three more greases, alter self, protection from evil, and shield, and we still wouldn't have won without the cleric? If those save-or-suck spells are 'win buttons', how come we don't win when I cast them?

Miserable, miserable luck?

I mean, nothing I've stated has utilized much information about a Mohrg short of them being undead. Sooo, let's do some math. A Mohrg has a +9 will save. Level 7 Caster, 16-17 main stat, 3rd level spell, that's a DC 16 save. That at least means that it should have failed every other save or so. Two glitterdusts, mathmatically, should've left it blinded. As it apparantly didn't, I sense we have some miserable luck here.

I mean... it's just as feasible for the fighter to miss on every swing. Just because the fighter spent an entire battle whiffing until he (Assuming a 16 con, +8 total fort bonus) rolled an 8 or below on his fortitude save and was paralyzed.

So sure, it's possible that save-or-dies don't make you autowin. It is equally probable that the fighter would've stepped forward and been paralyzed.

Pluus, if the Mohrg wasn't blinded... then the bard could've glitterdusted additional times to make it blinded.


(And by the way, how is a level 7 bard supposed to know/cast haste AND slow AND displacement?)

I am giving examples on spells a bard could use that would be very useful in that situation. The bard doesn't necessarily need all of them, it's just an option that a bard can use to help in combat, half of which would've helped in this combat.

I mean, the only problem the bard has is that sorcerors and wizards do it better, since sorcerors and wizards are better than everybody. :P Kinda like the wizard memorizing knock when there's a rogue in the party.


Lots and lots of things counter or limit them [save or sucks], and the perfect situations to use them do not come up that often.

I'm more of the mentality that certain ones, such as slow, kind of work in 90% of situations. And a lot of others falter only when facing off against mindless creatuers. But hey, casters get multiple spells.


Sure, and the cleric did a great job. We wouldn't have got out of that fight without him.

I think there's a slight error occuring here.

Sure, it's better to have a Complete Warrior Samurai or a commoner than it is to have a blank spot on your roster. :P The argument isn't that 'you would be better off simply not having a fighter', as having another unit present can't really hurt things (Unless the enemy is a caster with dominate or sommat). It's that there are better options.


But it is simply wrong to say that our party would be better off with another bard instead of our fighter.

But it would be.

Really, a fighter brings hit points, melee damage, and armour class to the party. Here, I'll analyze those points:

1 - The fighter is just as likely to whiff as the opponent is to make their save. If the fighter does not whiff, he deals melee damage. If the enemy does not make their save, they are slow'd or blinded. A slowed or blinded enemy can be, with mild tactics, dealt with easily (Retreat down the hallway, pepper with arrows? Stay away from partial charge range and laugh?) An enemy who has taken melee damage is perfectly fine until they die.

Given those two options, the latter is more effective. Chance at reducing the opponent's hit points so they can continue whacking at you, or chance of being able to then win the battle. If you're unlucky, it doesn't matter which you choose.

2 - Hit points and exist for when the opponent pierces your armour class. Both exist to keep the opponent from killing you (and your remaining party members). One option on how to get around this is to, say, summon something. Summoning something keeps the opponent from killing you (and your remaining party members) and is in fact preferable in some situations.

Another option is to simply exist out of reach, if that's an option.

A third is to utilize spells like mirror image and displacement. Those have the added bonus of snuffing paralysis and the like, and touch spells.

And a fourth, of course, is to simply incapacitate them first.


The bard in our game DOES NOT bring to the table anything like what the fighter brings to the table

If you mean 'the bard does not bring armour class and hit points like the fighter', you are correct.
If you mean 'The bard is unable to do the fighter's job', then you are not. You seem to have completely missed my point about what a fighter brings to the table.

Remember, the fighter's job is 'keep the enemy at bay so the soft tender wizards can solve the problem, while attempting to incapacitate the enemy through hit point damage'.

Given that fact, a bard can do it. Really, a bard can 'keep the enemy at bay' through a variety fo spells mentioned above.

Are any of these methods surefire? No. Things can always go badly. But, glance down a bit, since you also stated:


Save-or-suck spells are not a reliable substitute for damage - they don't always work and lots of things are immune to them.

Well, sure. The same can be said of melee damage. A fighter can walk forward and swing at something, this will not always work and lots of enemies are very resistant to this strategy through merit of flight, damage reduction, etc. I suppose I could say: Damage is not a reliable method of incapacitating enemies - they don't always work, have comparably less effect when they occur, and lots of things are highly resistant to them.


Defensive buffs are not a reliable substitute for HP - they require casting time and lots of things are immune to them.

I wouldn't at all say 'Lots of things' are immune to defensive buffs. Sure, you can beat displacement, blindness, or slow... but how many things do? Certainly not the Mohrg mentinoed before. And in the case of hit points, one round of displacement essentially doubles both your HP and AC, while providing additional bonuses if the opponent can do anything special (For example, hit points do not help you save vs paralysis. A fighter has a good fort save, but he'll fail eventually just like the enemy will eventually fail their save vs Save-or-suck.


You might find it interesting, anyway, since it sounds like you haven't actually tried a lot of the tactics you're describing.

You mean save or suck spells? I use those a lot. I'm more generally fond of buffs and walls, though, but that's a different story.


I seriously doubt that you'll be able to one-shot the encounters and I promise you'll find yourself needing the fighter's help at least once.

Uh. You have a party to help you cover something that stops you from one-shotting an encounter. I am not saying a bard should run around alone solo-ing things anymore than a fighter should run around solo-ing things. Simply that a given party would be more useful with a Bard, Rogue, Wizard, Cleric over a Fighter, Rogue, Wizard, Cleric.

Exhibit A: The bard attempts glitterdust, but the enemy makes their save. The fighter is now useful as the enemy will go attack him. The fighter is then attacked in turn, and has an equal chance to be paralyzed as the save vs glitterdust.

Compared to

Exibit B: The bard attempts glitterdust, but the enemy makes their save. The second bard, noting this, also casts glitterdust. The enemy has about an equal chance to be blinded as the fighter has to be paralyzed.

I mean, I'm not arguing setups or anything here, I'm analyzing math. I stated that a bard has access to many save-or-dies and some mild crowd control in a fashion which is comparable to wizards and sorcerors (Albeit a bit inferior to both of them). These effects tend to have a greater result than the fighter simply standing there and swinging with a chance of missing. When the fighter 'connects', he does XdY + str melee damage. When the bard 'connects', he blinds or slows the enemy, making said enemy extremely easy to defeat.

I do not believe setups are in the slightest necessary to state these points. Your example with the Mohrg just proves my point; a bard with half of the above spells could have handled that battle with greater ease than a pretty good fighter.

Saph
2007-02-18, 07:59 PM
I was unaware that grappling was involved. Grease, then? On the cleric?

Good choice. A lot of people forget about that use of grease. That was the first spell I cast.


...what, did the bard start the battle four rounds after you did? Did you on round 1 start the battle casting slow, haste, and two glitterdusts? Could the battle not have started, on round one, with a slow and a glitterdust from the two of you?

The bard spent his first round hiding behind me, his second round using his stupid inspire courage, his third round casting invisibility on himself, and by the time his fourth round came up everyone else had filled up all the squares with a line of sight to the battle. I half-considered asking for a will save to negate the inspire courage. I mean, how inspiring is it to have a guy stronger and tougher than you hiding behind you, singing 'come on everyone! Stride boldly forward!'


If he was unable to get line of sight, or even get close, what could a fighter have done in that scenario?

He would have been up front instead of the cleric, with the cleric immediately behind him. As soon as he was grappled, the cleric would have been able to start casting. The fighter's good Fort save would probably have kept him safe from paralysis, but if he'd failed the cleric could have cast freedom of movement on him the turn after.


I mean, nothing I've stated has utilized much information about a Mohrg short of them being undead. Sooo, let's do some math. A Mohrg has a +9 will save. Level 7 Caster, 16-17 main stat, 3rd level spell, that's a DC 16 save. That at least means that it should have failed every other save or so. Two glitterdusts, mathmatically, should've left it blinded.

Your math is wrong. You're right that Glitterdust is a great spell, but if you like it so much you really should at least know what level it is - it's level 2, not 3. So from a 16 Cha Bard, that gives a spell DC of 15. The Mohrg needs a 6 or more to pass the save - a 75% chance. The chances of it passing both saves (assuming you can get line of sight and effect and it doesn't splat you after the first spell) is 0.75 x 0.75 = 56%. So two glitterdusts, mathematically, have less than a half chance of leaving it blinded. By the way, you noticed the 'improved grab' feature on mohrgs, right? You know what happens when you fire an AoE burst at two grappling things, right?

And you're still not taking into account the bard's awful spells-per-day allowance. At 7th-level your 16 Cha bard has 3 second-level spells and one third-level spell. That's three glitterdusts and one haste - full stop. Not per encounter, per day. So if your bard fires two glitterdusts and a haste in the above situation, he's used up nearly all of his higher-level spellcasting for the day. Most D&D parties meet more than one encounter per day. So how are you planning to go firing off spells all day long?


I'm more of the mentality that certain ones, such as slow, kind of work in 90% of situations. And a lot of others falter only when facing off against mindless creatuers. But hey, casters get multiple spells.

And I'm telling you you're wrong. Slow does not work in 90% of situations. It doesn't even kind of work in 90% of situations. I know this from experience. You have to break the enemy spell resistance, you have to get them to fail their will save, and they have to be in a position where reducing them to a partial action has a significant hampering effect on them in the first place. Multiply those probabilities and you're at more like 30% than 90%. And bards get very, very few spells.


But it would be.

No. It wouldn't. I don't care what you think you can prove with your math. We have a fighter and we have a bard, and I've had plenty of time to see exactly how effective both are. The fighter is more effective in combat. It's not just me who thinks this - pretty much everyone else in the group agrees. It's not an optimisation thing, either. The fighter is a bog-standard core-only dwarf, while the bard is played by a fairly experienced player who's pulled material from lots of different books. If anything, the bard player is the more optimisation-oriented.

We've had sessions where the bard was away and we've had a session where the fighter was away. We barely noticed the absence of the bard, but got really hurt by the absence of the fighter. The idea of replacing the fighter with yet another bard is ridiculous. We have three arcane casters already and, quite frankly, we're stepping on each other's toes as it is. The last thing we want is to lose our highest-HP and highest-damage-output tank for another bard.


I mean, I'm not arguing setups or anything here, I'm analyzing math.

And you got the math wrong. That doesn't inspire confidence.


I do not believe setups are in the slightest necessary to state these points.

To state them? Of course not. You're completely free to state them.


Your example with the Mohrg just proves my point; a bard with half of the above spells could have handled that battle with greater ease than a pretty good fighter.

The bard has half of the above spells and accomplished almost nothing.

Look, this is going in circles. I fully understand your points, and I fully understand your arguments. It's just that none of them are the slightest bit convincing. You're telling me how effective you think our bard should be compared to our fighter, whereas I have actual experience of how effective they actually are. And since I use all these spells you're talking about, I can estimate very accurately how powerful a bard would be who focused on them.

My recommendation to you: retire your fighter and play a bard. It sounds like you really like the class and the abilities, and playing one will give you the chance to try all this stuff out first-hand. You won't have to calculate how powerful your bard should be - you'll be able to find out first-hand. And playing a class is much more fun than doing math for it.

- Saph

Kantolin
2007-02-19, 05:53 AM
The bard spent his first round hiding behind me, his second round using his stupid inspire courage, his third round casting invisibility on himself, and by the time his fourth round came up everyone else had filled up all the squares with a line of sight to the battle.

Hey, I didn't mean your bard. I meant _a_ bard... one who was trying to be useful in combat. Again, just because your particular bard isn't combat-useful doesn't mean bards cannot be combat-useful. I would like to again cite the Fighter who took Skill Focus (Perform(Exotic Dance))... this does not make fighters less or more useful than another class. A NPC Warrior who takes power attack and two-hands his great sword will likely be more effective in combat than the Endurance Run Weapon Focus(club) fighter. This does not make the Warrior class better than the Fighter class at all.


Your math is wrong. You're right that Glitterdust is a great spell, but if you like it so much you really should at least know what level it is - it's level 2, not 3.

Yeek, no need to bite at my throat, I messed up on the spell level. At any rate, you're right - two glitterdusts doesn't necessarily succeed, it takes three, so I apologize. Of course, that's incentive to aim for a second type of save, or utilize the aformentioned buffs instead.


By the way, you noticed the 'improved grab' feature on mohrgs, right? You know what happens when you fire an AoE burst at two grappling things, right?

Well, yes. This is why, once grappling was mentioned, I mentioned grease. Hey, look, contribution!


You have to break the enemy spell resistance, you have to get them to fail their will save, and they have to be in a position where reducing them to a partial action has a significant hampering effect on them in the first place. Multiply those probabilities and you're at more like 30% than 90%.

Fail their will save - yes. That is a universal issue you're going to run into. It's just that frequently, saves are easy enough to beat, especially given the relative ease in pumping a casting stat.

I mean, attacks aren't automatic either. You have to beat their armour class, which everything has an existant one of, and you have to deal with irritating damage reduction/potato. Nothing in D&D (Uh... well, very little) is automatic. It's just that the gamble for melee attacking is usually equal to the gamble for casting a spell. The prior does 2d6 + 10, the latter blinds the enemy who is thus rather ineffective. So...

And I suppose slow isn't effective when you are trapped in a small room with no way out, but if you have even the slightest bit of room to maneuver you pretty much auto-win. It also shuts down on any other full-round actions. Just comparably, fighters aren't effective when the enemy does a heck of a lot of things.


We have a fighter and we have a bard, and I've had plenty of time to see exactly how effective both are.

Nonono, you've had plenty of time to see how effective your personal fighter and your personal bard are compared to each other. There is a significant difference. Your bard is playing a coward who is hardly ever casting spells in combat or, beyond singing, even trying to contribute. Your fighter is stepping forward and interposing himself between the enemies and you. Therefore, your fighter is more useful than your bard, who isn't doing anything.

This does not mean that the bard class is less useful. I am stating very firmly that an effective bard does not spend the first round of combat hiding behind someone else as combat occurs.


We've had sessions where the bard was away and we've had a session where the fighter was away. We barely noticed the absence of the bard, but got really hurt by the absence of the fighter.

I'd hardly notice the absence of that particular bard myself, mechanically. (Although if you didn't notice his presence on a roleplay factor, that's a different story which may be problematic). If the bard is playing the coward because he'd like to roleplay a coward, that's cool (Unless it's harming your fun, which it sounds like it is from your desire to will save away his inspiration, in which perhaps a poke to be more effective would be effective). There is nothing wrong with deciding to do that, it's just not effective. To repeat: Your bard is not effective. Do not take your bard's actions as a summation of what the bard class can do, anymore than you would to anyone else who did anything similar to what your bard is doing.


The last thing we want is to lose our highest-HP and highest-damage-output tank for another bard.

Let me see. I am suggesting that the bard can use a spell or so to equal the fighter's ability to keep the enemies from harming the party. That is 'HP'. I am also suggesting that the bard can use a spell to incapacitate the enemy. That is 'damage output'.

Really, I'm simply stating things a bard is more than capable of doing. If yours personally doesn't, that's cool; I wouldn't trade what sounds like a competent fighter for what sounds like a highly incompetent bard. This does not mean the bard class is inferior to the fighter class, it just means, frankly, your particular bard sucks.


And you got the math wrong. That doesn't inspire confidence.

Sheesh, I apologize for making a mistake. :P A one-point mistake, too.


The bard has half of the above spells and accomplished almost nothing.

According to your own words, the bard spent the first three or so rounds of combat not casting the above spells at all.

I mean, if you had the fighter, and he spend the first three rounds of combat not at all staying near the front lines, then he wouldn't be very effective at contributing either.


I fully understand your points, and I fully understand your arguments.

I, in total honesty, do not believe this is true. You keep mentioning the fighter's damage output as a sure thing, and keep mentioning a lot of relatively basic spells as not sure things. You keep mentioning your particular bard and your particular fighter and not what the bard class can do compared to what the fighter class can do.

I do believe I'm understanding your argument, though. You are primarily stating that your bard was not effective, while your fighter was effective, and are using this as an example to compare the two classes.


My recommendation to you: retire your fighter and play a bard. It sounds like you really like the class and the abilities, and playing one will give you the chance to try all this stuff out first-hand.

Yigads.

First of all, note that this topic is 'Bards are better than people give them credit for'. :P I posted this topic as I like bards, and they are usually considered extremely weak classes compared to most other ones. I'm merely giving examples as to why this is not the case.

And secondly, I have played bards - spell-bards, melee-bards, support-bards, highly noncombat-bards, the works. My favorite three classes, in order, are Fighter, Wizard, and Bard, and I've played at least a couple examples of pretty much every base class that's not barbarian. I've seen slow end combats from both casting the slow and being the fighter while the slow is being cast. I been vividly unlucky as a wizard, and have been extremely lucky as a fighter. I am not doubting the amount of time you have played D&D, or played bards, or played casters who utilize saves... just am stating that connecting with glitterdust is generally more useful than connecting with a melee attack.

I mean, I've also seen a lucky run where the DM's monster was incapable of striking a level 3 commoner we had tagging along, while the level 3 commoner got a flurry of violent critical hits for maximum damage, utterly upstaging pretty much everyone else.

Does this mean the commoner class is suddenly better than the (say) fighter who was attempting the same thing and missing? No, it does not. A fairly basic analysis of the two classes can prove this. Now, if the commoner spends his time doing something, while the fighter spends his time not doing something... then yes, the commoner will be more useful.

To put this yet another way, let's say that the bard can 'attack'. The bard can 'attack' something. If he hits their 'Armour class' with this attack, they are blinded. Some things have 'damage reduction' against his choice of weapon, but these things are more few than the type who have 'damage reduction' that effects the fighter's attack. The fighter, now, can also 'attack' something. If he hits their 'armour class' with this attack, they take 2d6 + 5 hit point damage. They may then react normally.


You won't have to calculate how powerful your bard should be - you'll be able to find out first-hand. And playing a class is much more fun than doing math for it.

As I've stated: I'm perfectly enjoying playing as my fighter. Lately, he coincidentally rolled awesomely on his Craft(Tailoring) check and hand-made elegant clothing for the ruler of a sizeable elven empire that he liked - and he's a half orc. Ha!

I simply don't have any illusions that I could be much more effective in combat as a bard. Sometimes, I lose initiative and the wizard starts off with a slow, relegating me to staying away and using a bow to autowin safely instead of stepping forward with my trusty Guisarme. Sometimes, I get lucky and hit with a critical hit, don't kill the enemy, and have the cleric then hold person them, relegating me to coup de grace-duty (I swear, I should pick up a scythe). Sometimes these effects fail, sometimes I miss with my attack.

But far more frequently than I am useful, the casters are useful. And when mathed out, that's about right... due to what I can do and what they can do, that's about standard. Just that a bard can do many of these things as well, should said bard choose to. I mean, this requires no unusual snarking or anything, just pump charisma as the PHB says you should, and take a few nifty save-or-dies.

Or in short, Bards are awesome. ^_^ No wizards/clerics/druids/sorcerors, but a firm fifth insofar as core is concerned.

...and I dunno, I'm having great entertainment analyzing and explaining mechanics on why bards are useful. Especially as playing a bard means I'd have to give up my far-less-effective-in-combat-than-he-would-be fighter, which would likely result in my having less fun. Leave my +15 on Craft(Tailoring) checks character be. ^_^

Saph
2007-02-19, 07:27 AM
Let me see. I am suggesting that the bard can use a spell or so to equal the fighter's ability to keep the enemies from harming the party. That is 'HP'. I am also suggesting that the bard can use a spell to incapacitate the enemy. That is 'damage output'.

And I am saying that at seventh level he can do that four times a day. Four. Times. A day. Do you usually fight only four rounds of combat in a day? That's assuming the enemies are affected by his spells in the first place.

You talk about Bard spells as 'output' and 'HP' as though the bard will always have them up when needed and can just keep flinging them all day long. They do not have enough spells to do that! You're not taking this into account, and this is why you're wildly overestimating their combat power.


I do believe I'm understanding your argument, though. You are primarily stating that your bard was not effective, while your fighter was effective, and are using this as an example to compare the two classes.

Only half right. Well, more like quarter-right. I'm saying that I am very, very experienced with all the spells you're talking about, and I know how effective they are. I play a character who focuses on them, remember? I've been the glitterdust/slow/grease caster of our party since the campaign started. Our bard does not focus on these spells - but I can estimate very accurately how good he would be if he did, and I can compare that to our fighter. The point of the comparison with our bard is not to say 'all bards are the same as ours!' but to point out that I also know how strong abilities like bardic music are in combat, and I know roughly how melee-effective a Cha-focused bard is.

If you're saying 'Bards can be good and fun!' then I agree with you completely. If you're saying 'A bard can contribute in combat too!' then I agree with you completely. If you're saying 'People who say bards suck are wrong!' I agree with you completely. But if you're saying 'Spells >>> attacks, so if you replaced your dwarf fighter with a glitterdust/slow/grease bard your group would be stronger!', which I think you are, then you're just flat wrong.

- Saph

DeathQuaker
2007-02-19, 09:41 AM
This sentiment has been shared, but I'll reiterate to show my agreement: a bard--just like any other class--is as good as the player who plays him.

I have seen useless fighters, clerics, and wizards (you would not believe the useless clerics I've seen, to the point that I used to be baffled by discussions of the cleric being overpowered.) I've seen monks and bards Get To Win. It depends a lot on the circumstances at hand, the party composition overall, and the player controlling the character.

The OP has a very good point that Bards are flexible, skilled--and they are excellent for a proper D&D game where success relies upon the entire party to do well, not just one person. The Bard is an excellent supporter. Played well, the Bard can also hold his own when he has to.

I had a lot of fun playing a human Bard for a couple FR campaigns. Mostly core rules, just a few extra feats and items from the FR sourcebooks; standard rolled stats. She was a straightup bard--no multiclasses or prestiges. Charismatic and fast; she was highly skilled, and with a good feat tree she also supported the party in melee combat very nicely. No, she was nowhere near the meleer the Lizardman Fighter was or the Half-Drow Ranger, but she buffed them and then provided flanking, contributing to many successful party combats. (I find that any party that relies on only one person for melee is a weak party.) Moreover, she managed to get the Lizardman and Half-Drow through suspicious city guard check points with minimum fuss using her natural wit and charm. :smallamused:

Her moment of glory was in a fight in a tavern--the party was split between the upstairs and the downstairs--Shambling Mounds attacking her, the Cleric, and the Lizardman on the upper floor; Ranger was getting attacked by JujuZombies on the first floor. Ranger was getting hurt quickly. One shambling mound was completely blocking the staircase. While cleric and Lizardman dealing with one Shambling Mound, Bard in 3.0 had Used Magic Device to Reduce Shambling Mound on the stairs, Tumbled over the Now-Shambling Lettuce, landed gracefully next to the Ranger (who had all of two hit points), tossed him a healing potion, and helped hold off the JujuZombies--doing some fair damage to them--until Lizardman could come to help finish them off. Of course, 3.5 limited the Reduce spell to "Person" so that exact tactic couldn't work nowadays, but I'm sure she would have come up with something. As it was, the Ranger probably would have been killed without her help, and several of the monsters much hard to kill without her, with more casualties all around.

'Course, you say, many classes with the right build could have done that. And sure they could. But that's the point--she did have the right build, and it was easy to do with a Bard build. It's easy and fun to play a very resourceful and multitalented and useful character using the Bard class. You just have to know how to and be willing to do it. It is a good class. There just aren't always good players.

jjpickar
2007-02-19, 09:51 AM
And don't forget about DM meddling. Sometimes (actually a lot of times) DMs cause monsters to fail their saves. If a DM feels that a situation is going to make everyone have a miserable time (i.e. all but one character disable for the whole session or total party annihilation) the DM just sorta goes, "Um yeah, the Dragon takes a will save. (DM winces at the natural 20) Eh, the dragon fails, he is now disabled." Trust me it happens more times than most DMs would admit.

Kantolin
2007-02-19, 02:20 PM
First of all, about this:


If you're saying 'Bards can be good and fun!' then I agree with you completely. If you're saying 'A bard can contribute in combat too!' then I agree with you completely. If you're saying 'People who say bards suck are wrong!' I agree with you completely.

That is indeed the primary purpose of the opening post, so hooray there. ^_^ At least we're mostly in agreement on this.

Okay now...


I'm saying that I am very, very experienced with all the spells you're talking about, and I know how effective they are. I play a character who focuses on them, remember? I've been the glitterdust/slow/grease caster of our party since the campaign started.

And my response is that a second caster helping you out would've been very useful, especially in a battle where you utilized:


haste, slow, glitterdust, grease, another glitterdust, three more greases, alter self, protection from evil, and shield

That's... that's a lot of spells. If you're unlucky enough to have had to use all of those spells before anything nifty happened, then yes I believe the bard is entitled to utilize up the majority of his spells there.

But either way, pretending he didn't. It would've gone round 1: Enemy grabs cleric, bard or you fixes this, bard or you either hold for the cleric to slip out or use something like slow, cleric slips out. Round two, this is potentially repeated, except as Grease is still about it can be to focus on incapacitating it, and let's assume the save is succeeded again. Round three, say the bard has utilized his third level spell, he either covers the 'three more greases' that you deemed were worth casting, or waits for the cleric to be very likely freed due to grease and glitterdusts.

I mean, with grease on the cleric it shouldn't have been terribly hard for him to become ungripped, right?

Plus, you are suggesting that the fighter would have been grappled and remained there so someone more useful can act. That suggests that the fighter can't do much short of stand there. I mean, if anything, that suggests he's replacable by a summon or something as then you can have more people who are 'doing stuff'.

Anyway, assuming fighter, round one enemy grabs fighter. Round 2 fighter is greased, and he connects with his weapon for some damage. Round 3 he is freed again, and this time either misses or fails his fort save - that's a lot of random chance he's been throwing around, but let's say misses. Now there is going to be a round four, as he's not doing a whole lot on his rounds. Then there's going to be a round five, as he's not doing a whole lot on his rounds. Then...


You talk about Bard spells as 'output' and 'HP' as though the bard will always have them up when needed and can just keep flinging them all day long.

You talk about fighter 'Hit points' as though they will always be up and be around all day when the fighter is spending his time grappled by a Mohrg.


They do not have enough spells to do that! You're not taking this into account, and this is why you're wildly overestimating their combat power.

They're an extra five or six rounds of doing nifty things. If you have people doing nifty things, battles take significantly reduced time. Especially with the friendly wizard also helping out.

If anything, you're not helping in that very situation because you coincidentally have half the useful spells on the bard's spell list and tend to use them in order from 'easiest for a bard to use' to 'hardest for a bard to use'. :P But hey, spellbards are simply worse than Wizards, so eh. I know this.

But, to slow down for a second. Are you suggesting that, if bards did have infinite spells, they would be better than fighters? As at seventh level, a bard has 8 useful spells through bonus charisma. 2 per battle may be plenty, and otherwise he can try a bit harder - comparably, a fighter would be doing very little during those precious turns.

So hey. *Shrug* I've been in a party with no 'tank'. We had to do some planning, but not a whole lot of it - the real trouble was levels one and two. But four chain-sleeps can solve a lot of problems.

LotharBot
2007-02-19, 04:13 PM
Bards are traditionally viewed as underpowered for a few reasons:

1) The role in which they really shine is, in my experience, the most likely to be neglected/glossed over by the DM. Don't have diplomacy? That's OK, the king will give you the quest anyway, because you'll be real bored sitting on your butts all day while some other party does it. Don't have gather information? That's OK, the BBEG's plans are all written on a letter you'll find in the mid-level minion's lair. So it's not often you'll think "man, if only we had a bard!"

2) If you have a bard trying to fill in for another area, he'll normally do a less-than-stellar job. A bard might be a passable tank, healer, scout, or blaster, but he's not as good at any of those roles as a specialist.

3) Bards are very hard to play well. That means it's unlikely you'll run into a really good bard unless you're playing with a very experienced group. And you're very likely to run into several bad bards played by new-ish players.

4) A lot of people are inclined to play D&D like an individual game first and a team game second. That means they're unlikely to appreciate the contributions of someone who's doing the "background" stuff a bard often does -- providing flanking and other +2 bonuses, neutralizing the occasional enemy, etc.

I'm currently playing a character (in a campaign where I'm the DM) who, while not actually a bard, fills a similar role. He's a halfling ranger6/rogue3/barbarian1 who acts like everyone's little brother (which is why he took the rogue and barbarian levels -- "I wanna be just like you!") He doesn't deal as much damage or have as many HP as our fighter or barbarian. He doesn't disable traps as effectively or provide as much sneak attack damage as our rogue. He doesn't provide as much healing (via wands) as our cleric does (via spells). He was widely teased for the first couple levels of the campaign for "plinking" enemies for d4 damage. But he's slowly endeared himself to the party -- he sets up flanking, sometimes even using "aid another" to give one of the tanks a net +4 to hit. He assists the rogue in disabling traps and opening locks. On occasion he'll get to sneak attack something with his holy shortsword and deal a decent bit of damage. He keeps people alive with a quick zap of the healing wand when the cleric is out of range. He never really "steals the show", but everyone realizes he makes them more effective and lets them really focus on doing what they do best. But, it took the party a while to come around to liking him, because he doesn't particularly shine in any one area, he just makes everyone else shine a bit brighter. And that's what bards are really good at, too.

Saph
2007-02-19, 04:27 PM
That is indeed the primary purpose of the opening post, so hooray there. ^_^ At least we're mostly in agreement on this.

Arrrrgh! I've been saying the same thing from the beginning! I NEVER said that bards sucked! If I thought that, why would I be playing a character with so many spells from the bard spell list? The problem is that you're not satisfied with just establishing that bards can be good - you seem determined to try and debate me into believing that bards are better than fighters.


And my response is that a second caster helping you out would've been very useful. It would've gone round 1:

(Snip long hypothetical reconstruction of a battle which gets several things wrong. Look, I know you enjoy these discussions, but I just don't have the energy to go through this again point by point.)


If anything, you're not helping in that very situation because you coincidentally have half the useful spells on the bard's spell list and tend to use them in order from 'easiest for a bard to use' to 'hardest for a bard to use'.

Don't make me hurt you.


:P But hey, spellbards are simply worse than Wizards, so eh. I know this.

*blood pressure returns to normal levels*


So hey. *Shrug* I've been in a party with no 'tank'. We had to do some planning, but not a whole lot of it - the real trouble was levels one and two. But four chain-sleeps can solve a lot of problems.

Um. I've been getting a pretty weird impression of how your DM seems to run things. You never mention running out of spells, you never mention not having the right spell for the occasion, you never mention getting caught by surprise, you never mention . . . actually, you never mention ANYTHING going wrong for your spellcasters. From listening to you, your games sound something like this:

Monster: Grarrgh! I surprise you!
Bard: Ah! I'm surprised!
Monster: I attack in the surprise round! I roll a-
Bard: Wait, wait, you can't do that.
Monster: Why not?
Bard: Because I don't have my defensive buffs up!
Monster: . . . And?
Bard: But without those, I can't tank effectively!
Monster: And?
Bard: But my whole character is built around having those spells in effect. See, having displacement up gives me effectively twice the hit points, especially if I have mirror image up too! This makes me more effective than a fighter, see?
Monster: And I'm supposed to care about this why?
Bard: You're nerfing my character! The DM's job is to allow everyone to shine, right? So it's not fair to surprise me like that. You have to pass your action.
Monster: . . . Whatever. Fine. I pass. Normal round - NOW I attack you.
Bard: No, it's my turn!
Monster: No it isn't. I won initiative.
Bard: You have to let me get a spell off, at least.
Monster: Oh, for- Fine. Cast your stupid spell.
Bard: Ha! Mirror Image! Now you have almost no chance to hit me! Watch as I make the tank irrelevant and prove how superior I am to-
Monster: That's great. Now can I attack you?
Bard: You can try.
Monster: Attack roll 19. I hit. Now I use improved grab to-
Bard: Wait! You have to roll to see if you hit an image!
Monster: Blindsight.
Bard: That counters mirror image?
Monster: Yes.
Bard: Oh. In that case I wouldn't have cast mirror image, then. I'm going to cast something else.
Monster: FFS! Will you just make your mind up and do something?
Bard: I cast Grease on the ground under you instead! You have to make a Reflex save.
Monster: 19. I pass. Now I hit you for-
Bard: What? You only rolled an 8 on your save!
Monster: And I've got +11 Reflex, so what's your point? Now I-
Bard: In that case I cast - um, what's your weakest saving throw?
Monster: One of the others.
Bard: Great! I cast glitterdust on you! Much more effective than any fighter's attack! Now you have to make a-
Monster: I auto-fail the save and hit you anyway. Blindsight. Now, you take twenty-one damage and have to make a-
Bard: Oh, I forgot about that. Umm . . . in that case I cast slow. After all, that's like an auto-win spell.
Monster: Fine. I roll a-
Bard: Uh, actually I don't. I forgot that I only get one third-level spell a day and I used it already.
Monster: . . .
Bard: Let's see . . . Charm Person? You're a humanoid, right?
Monster: . . .
Bard: Maybe not.
Monster: . . .
Bard: Would you consider a small pause in this battle? Say for eight hours or so? I could fit you in for a combat round at 9:30. Only you'd have to promise to start from a distance to give me plenty of time and turn your blindsight off.
Monster: You know what? I've changed my mind. I'm not going to attack you.
Bard: Really? Hooray! You decided that you couldn't stand against the awesome power of my spells, right?
Monster: No, I just remembered that I shouldn't be eating junk food.


- Saph

Zincorium
2007-02-19, 06:15 PM
Emphasis mine. See also: WHAT? Did you honestly just say that in order to be an effective party member the bard should be better than everyone at everything? Or are you saying that the bard needs to be better than everyone at something? Either way, you're saying that there needs to be a specific party role for the bard to fill to make it a worthwhile class, which, by extension, means that you also think that everything but wizards, sorcerers, fighters, barbarians, clerics, and rogues is a waste of time because they can't fill a main party role as well as those classes can.


No, No, and stop telling me what I think, I feel I'm a far better expert in that particular area than you are :smallwink:. What I was trying to convey, and obviously didn't to you at least, is that a bard is not better than any other class at their area of expertise. As they shouldn't be. And I think that it's counter productive to remove the wizard and not have something that can do what the wizard does at least as well.



But that's just it. That's it exactly. The bard's biggest advantage is that they are the entirety of the rock-paper-scissors game. I imagine that, in your personal experience, you've seen bards "suck" time and time again because they lost in melee to melee units, spellcasting to spellcasters, healing to clerics, and trapfinding to rogues. Now look at it this way: a smart or at least experienced bard player would use his spellcasting or roguish charm on the fighter's target, his unique abilities and skills to aid the wizard, his casting on the traps and locks he's supposed to bypass, and his brain on everything else. If you're at a loss for what to do, buff the party. Congrats - the bard has just competed and won at every challenge handed to him, since "winning" DnD is so important...:smallconfused:


All I'm saying, is that the bard is not better than these characters in their area of expertise, because they have their own. A true jack of all trades, master of none, cannot win anything. But bards can. Why is this such a hard thing to glean from my post? And by 'winning' D&D, I mean succeeding at the various challenges found in adventures so that the plot can advance. It's rarely a fun game unless you get a sense of accomplishment once in a while.



Once again, I really don't think you've given bards enough credit. But let's assume that you're right - that despite having the second highest skill total in the game, despite having some decent spellcasting to back them up (in armor, no less), that despite having the nigh-unheard of arcane healing, that despite having a decent BAB and two "good" saves, that the bard is only - only - good if he restricts himself to the traditional singing and bardic knowledge roll, so what? It's still a good class to play, for reasons mentioned above.


Put the straw man down, he's been hurt enough. They've got decent spellcasting, but you're still going to want a wizard if you're into disintegrating stuff rather than charming it. They've got a high skill point total, but wouldn't it be better if the rogue was doing the trapfinding, letting the bard concentrate on personality-type skills? And a bard standing at the front is going to die facing opponents the fighter or barbarian would simply need a few healing spells after. And at no point did I say they weren't a good class, read the last freaking paragraph to see that I have no issue with people saying they're a good class. But they're not better than everyone else, if you've got a refutation of that statement we've got a debate, otherwise there's not much to discuss.



Bard = Greatest Mechanically? Who argued that? A bard is "as fun" as you make it, and like everything else has it's own set of rules and tactics. Sure, you're never going to level cities or make the BBEGs pee themselves with your sheer, ungodly power, but you're an instant hit with the ladies! That's what's really important, right?:smallamused:

Like I said, the last paragraph can show you pretty conclusively I never argued any of the things you've taken offense to. It's starting to seem like you're one of the trigger happy 'stop saying bad things about the bard!' types that convinced me to put 'proud not to be a member of the bard defense league' in my sig. I don't hate bards. People who defend bards by dodging legitimate concerns and whining about how they have fun, when that's never, ever been the issue with the bard class, annoy the heck out of me. Play things for what they are, not what the description says. An all bard party is going to struggle terribly, a party with only one and some variant of the four archetypes is doing pretty good.

ken-do-nim
2007-02-19, 09:42 PM
Bard: Really? Hooray! You decided that you couldn't stand against the awesome power of my spells, right?
Monster: No, I just remembered that I shouldn't be eating junk food.


- Saph

Vote for funniest post of the year!

Viscount Einstrauss
2007-02-19, 09:51 PM
It does sort of give tanks a sort of small relevance, too- protecting the casters from surprise attacks.

...what? At least it's SOMETHING before the whole fight's ended by one or two cheap spells.

Kantolin
2007-02-20, 12:11 AM
Arrrrgh! I've been saying the same thing from the beginning! I NEVER said that bards sucked

Ai again. I didn't mean to imply you did say that bards sucked; I was simply agreeing with you on those points as that was a major part of the opening post. The followup debate was indeed a debate to suggest that bards were very capable of replacing the fighter. You are quite correct in your analysis of what exactly I am debating.


Snip long hypothetical reconstruction of a battle which gets several things wrong. Look, I know you enjoy these discussions, but I just don't have the energy to go through this again point by point.

I... apologize? I'm not trying to intentionally rile you up, I just feel that you are wrong just as you feel I am wrong. If anything, not posting anymore on the subject would be acceptable. If anything, I'm mostly replying as I disagree with you and this overall topic is about this exactly.


Don't make me hurt you.

*blood pressure returns to normal levels*

...Yeek again? If I'm really riling you up that much I do apologize; let's stop this discussion/debate before it gets out of hand? Threatening someone across the internet...

The point of that statement is that yes, a wizard can do most of what a bard does and better. They're CoDzilla and Wizards after all, followed by sorcerors. It's just that a bard can do these things and be potent with them, for the same reason a wizard can do so. If any two spellcasters memorize the exact same spells that aren't damage spells, you're bound to have some overlap. *Shrug* So if anything, these were responses to you stating 'I already cast that' a bit ago.

I, however, don't mind tearing apart your arguments and explaining what I find wrong about them. Soo...

1) Let's say the monster surprises you. First of all, a bard is far more likely than a fighter to solve this before it happens, due to fighters (for some bizzare reason which there have been other topics complaining about) lacking either spot or listen.

2) When the surprise happens, what forces this surprise to hit the fighter? How is a fighter being present any more nifty for the party wizard? Remember, the purpose of a fighter is to be present between the enemy and the notably softer wizard. In the situation of an undetected ambush, neither the bard nor the fighter can do much. The bard can then, say, grease the wizard if the enemy Mohrg's ambush is to tackle the wizard.

3) Unless said enemy does enough damage to kill a bard, but not the bit more damage to kill the fighter... the bard can take the hit in the face, and defend himself. I mean, if you do not have a tank of any sort, you have to take mild care to ensure that you can prevent ambushes.

4) Remember, the 'setup phase' is one round. As in, a single round and blam! Unless you're dying in one hit.

5) What does the fighter do three seconds later? As Viscount pointed out, if the purpose of a fighter is to stand there during a surprise round just before the fight's ended by one or two cheap spells... that's... that's a very shallow purpose of existance.

I mean, let's assume you have two fighters. The first has a dexterity of 20 and an AC around 15 through dex alone (and is not wearing armour). The second person has a dexterity of 10 but with armour bonuses and natural armour bonuses entirely, has an AC of 48. There are situations where the former is more useful than the latter (Touch spells, as the latter has only armour bonuses), but there are infinitely more reasons to go with the second.

Bards are that way. Wizards can cover all of their bases with relative ease, bards can cover a decent chunk. I mean, one round, and that's usually plenty.

But hey: that story idea is fun looking. ^_^ Let me take a shot at it! I'll have to clip out a ton, since fighters can't do a whole lot.

Monster: Grarrgh! I surprise you!
Party: Ah! I'm surprised!
Bard: Phew, I made my listen check. At least I can act in the surprise round. I -
Fighter: Wait, wait, you can't do that.
Bard: Why?
Fighter: Because if you get that round to buff you'll be more effective at my job than I am.
Bard: Huh?
Fighter: C'mon, you're making me feel useless.
Bard: O... okay then. Nevermind, I don't do anything. Uh, well, maybe I bull's strength the fighter, there.
Monster: Uh... well... I attack in the surprise round! I roll a-
Fighter: Wait, wait, you can't do that.
Monster: Why not?
Fighter: Because you're attacking the wizard!
Monster: . . . And?
Fighter: But I'm the tank! If you attack the wizard I'm not doing my job!
Monster: And?
Fighter: But my whole character is built around standing between the enemy. See, having hit points gives me about as much overall defense as displacement, especially if I have the bard cast bear's endurance on me! This makes me more effective than a bard, see?
Monster: And I'm supposed to care about this why?
Fighter: You're nerfing my character! The DM's job is to allow everyone to shine, right? So it's not fair to surprise me like that then go attack the wizard. You have to come attack me.
Monster: . . . Whatever. I attack you.
Fighter: Ha! Hey everyone, watch my awesomeness.
Wizard: *Hands a note to the DM* [When he's done with whatever he's doing, I'll glitterdust away the other seven orcs or maybe get the bard to do it. Just so you know]
Monster: That's great. Now can I attack you?
Fighter: You can try.
Monster: Attack roll 23. I hit. Now I use improved grab to-
Fighter: Wait! You hit me?
Monster: Yes.
Fighter: But... but you only rolled an 11?
Monster: I have a +11 to hit. I don't actually need that total, I can hit you on a 9.
Fighter: Oh. In that case I would have told the bard to cast cats grace instead.
Monster: Wha? But there's no -
Fighter: C'mon, bard, you meant cat's grace, right?
Bard: Uh. Sure. I meant cat's grace. I use a charge from my wand.
Fighter: Ha! now go ahead!
Monster: A 23 still hits you? I needed to roll a 9 before you got a +2, now I need to roll an 11. Anyway, I hit you for 9.
Fighter: Welp... good thing I've got hit points. You wouldn't have survived that, would you, bard?
Bard: ...yes? The elven wizard has more than nine hit points?
Fighter: but... but...
Bard: I mean no. No I wouldn't have. Way to go! *Pat on head*
Fighter: Yay!
Monster: So now, improved grab?
Fighter: But... but I'm not using a light weapon! My weapon specialization is in my ranseur!
Monster: Don't care?
Bard: Look, it's okay. I can use grease and get you out of the grapple.
Wizard: Please don't waste our time doing that. Just glitterdust both of them.
Bard: But -
Wizard: All he'd do is stab it for something like 9.
Bard: But it'll hit the fighter too?
Wizard: Eh. Then he won't be hitting it for something like 9. I'm sure I'll deal with it. Glitterdust them so I can use slow.
Bard: ...wow you're mean.
Wizard: I'm an elf? Comes with the ears.

That was indeed fun. Not terribly pointed, but fun. ^_^

Rigeld2
2007-02-20, 08:10 AM
Wizard: I'm an elf? Comes with the ears.

That was indeed fun. Not terribly pointed, but fun. ^_^
*groan*

And yes, Fighter "tankability" is something that is massively overrated. Noone cares if you have 1021312398127412748394742389hps, because the enemy can (usually) safely ignore you, or suck up the damage youre doing and still smite the softies.

In D&D, tanking sucks. Versatility wins. Which class has more versatility? Bards, or Fighters?

Saph, in your example combat, it took you 11 spells (I cast haste, slow, glitterdust, grease, another glitterdust, three more greases, alter self, protection from evil, and shield) plus the Cleric to win. Having the Bard actually do something in that combat wouldve shortened it immensely. The Morhg was a CR 8. From the rest of the posts, I'm guessing yall were level 7? Black Tentacles wouldve been a better I Win spell for you, but analyzing the ones you used, you had horrible, horrible luck. As a primary caster, you should have at least a 17 save DC with the slow, which wouldve crippled the Mohrg. Want to know why noone thinks Zombies are tough (indeed, thier CR is ~1/4 of thier HD)? Its because of the single action only thing. If the bard was contributing, and cast the greases instead of you, youd have 4 out of those 11 rounds to do something else...

I should stop typing and go to sleep after being at work for 30 hours, but you get my point (I hope I didnt ramble too much).

Saph
2007-02-20, 08:59 AM
Saph, in your example combat, it took you 11 spells (I cast haste, slow, glitterdust, grease, another glitterdust, three more greases, alter self, protection from evil, and shield) plus the Cleric to win. Having the Bard actually do something in that combat wouldve shortened it immensely. The Morhg was a CR 8. From the rest of the posts, I'm guessing yall were level 7?

Yup, 7.


Black Tentacles wouldve been a better I Win spell for you.

The mohrg was grappling the cleric. I don't think zapping the area with Black Tentacles would have been appreciated much, especially since it would have squished the paralysed rogue as well. Anyway, I don't know the spell yet - we've been in this dungeon for a long time and the only new spells I've gotten have been ones from levelling up. I'm not even sure I'll take Black Tentacles at all, even after we get back to town - it's a great spell when you catch enemies by surprise, but most of our dangerous combats are in cramped conditions and start with the monsters surprising/charging/grappling us. This is why I make sure to always have a few precision-targeted spells like Slow.


but analyzing the ones you used, you had horrible, horrible luck. As a primary caster, you should have at least a 17 save DC with the slow, which wouldve crippled the Mohrg. Want to know why noone thinks Zombies are tough (indeed, thier CR is ~1/4 of thier HD)? Its because of the single action only thing. If the bard was contributing, and cast the greases instead of you, youd have 4 out of those 11 rounds to do something else...

I should stop typing and go to sleep after being at work for 30 hours, but you get my point (I hope I didnt ramble too much).

Oh, I get the point - but, as usual, the combat had some additional conditions on it that made it more difficult than you're implying. We were indoors, in a network of corridors and rooms. The party was in a 5' twisting corridor, the mohrg standing in the entrance to a 20' square room, grappling the cleric. Two other people at max could get line of sight/effect to them. The rogue was lying paralysed in a sarcophagus at the other side of the room.

Once I got into range I cast grease first, slow second. The mohrg actually failed its save against the slow (DC 18), which made things easier, but it could still keep grappling and managed to hit the cleric three times with its tongue before the cleric got out of the grapple, pulled out his holy symbol, and cast freedom of movement. From that point the battle was pretty much won (the rest of the spells were cleanup assistance) but, like I said, if the cleric and failed any of those three saves things would have gotten real nasty, since we would have been left with no real damage-dealer. I still might have been able to win it from that position, since my enchanter has a whole lot of tricks and contingency plans up her sleeve, but it would have been tough.

This is why I get annoyed when people start telling me about how easily casters 'win' D&D. It made me a bit snippy earlier, so, sorry Kantolin. The 'casters win' faction say things like 'Just cast Slow and you win!' or 'Just cast Black Tentacles and you win!' or 'Just cast Glitterdust and you win!' as though it's about as challenging as clicking your fingers. The implication, whether intended or not, is that if you're a decent level caster and you're not winning with a wave of your hand, you must be incompetent somehow. After all, all you need to do is cast a high-level spell and win, right?

But it's not that easy, especially if you have a DM who plays monsters intelligently. Glitterdust, for instance - do you know how many things can make that spell ineffective? I could give you a list if you like. So I get irritated when people tell me that all I need to do is cast it and the battle's over.

- Saph

Zincorium
2007-02-20, 09:06 AM
And yes, Fighter "tankability" is something that is massively overrated. Noone cares if you have 1021312398127412748394742389hps, because the enemy can (usually) safely ignore you, or suck up the damage youre doing and still smite the softies.

In D&D, tanking sucks. Versatility wins. Which class has more versatility? Bards, or Wizards?


Wizards. More spells, of higher levels, with extreme variety interspersed. A bard will have, barring feats, five spells known per level at maximum. A wizard's maximum should be a lot higher. There are a few things the bard can do which the wizard cannot, but that's why you want both if possible. Just one, the wizard is going to be a better bet as far as flexibility goes.

As far as tanking goes, my party usually starts fights with the sorceror dishing out improved invisibilities on the squishies (himself, the bard, the archivist, and our rogue in that order) while my dwarven barbarian goes out front and presents a really nice and tempting target so that the bad guys are less inclined to swing about randomly or waste spells determining where everyone else is. It works well. If the casters draw attention to themselves by using their biggest and flashiest spells and wearing the trademark robe and pointy hat, that's a tactical error on their part. The tank's job is to attract attention, because they can survive being the focus of it.

Ranis
2007-02-20, 09:08 AM
I just finished reading this whole thread and wanted to express my views.

I'm playing a bard in a campaign that was started last month. I have to say, it's pretty freakin' awesome being the Encyclopedia Bull****ica, but aside from that, I think that simply sitting there and singing adds a lot of things that are not counted for in the battlefield; er go I actually kept a running total of all of the extra damage that was tracked when we were taking out a small bugbear encampment; there are 7 people in the party and we are all 8th level: Bard, Paladin, Ranger, Fighter, Wizard, Swordsage, and Cleric. Out of roughly 40 rounds of combat, I as the bard had contributed to over 120 points of the overall damage done just by standing still. (There were about 35 bugbears, all with class levels of some kind.)

That said, I inadvertently became the unofficial party leader, and in this campaign, there tends to be more story and plot than fighting, which makes my job as the Encyclopedia Bull****ica to really shine. (Let's just say that ventriloquism is a very, very fun spell.) Anyway, I'm a believer in the notion that while bards may not do lots of things better or even as well as other classes, bards to make an enhancement to the party in ways that I don't think any other class could do as well. I see you guys limiting the subject to only a few spells as usable to make them better in combat, but I think what a lot of people overlook is that not every campaign is combat-oriented and that some spells, when used logistically, are a lot better than when looked at from a first glance.

Take the cantrip Dancing Lights. More often than not, I give the little balls of light mental commands to bounce, bob, and weave around enemies' heads as a distraction. Just an example, but I find myself thinking more about the spells I know than when I play a socerer or warmage, for example, because bards get spells that no one else does, and the insinuation to use them are much higher than with many other classes.

Rigeld2
2007-02-20, 09:23 AM
Wizards. More spells, of higher levels, with extreme variety interspersed. A bard will have, barring feats, five spells known per level at maximum. A wizard's maximum should be a lot higher. There are a few things the bard can do which the wizard cannot, but that's why you want both if possible. Just one, the wizard is going to be a better bet as far as flexibility goes.
...
Assign that typo to my lack of sleep (and the only reason im still up is I got a phone call that woke me back up). I meant Bards or Fighters.


The tank's job is to attract attention, because they can survive being the focus of it.
But in D&D its almost impossible to attract attention.

Rigeld2
2007-02-20, 09:25 AM
Out of roughly 40 rounds of combat, I as the bard had contributed to over 120 points of the overall damage done just by standing still. (There were about 35 bugbears, all with class levels of some kind.)
So... 3 damage per round? By standing still? I guess thats impressive..........

ken-do-nim
2007-02-20, 09:26 AM
That said, I inadvertently became the unofficial party leader, and in this campaign, there tends to be more story and plot than fighting, which makes my job as the Encyclopedia Bull****ica to really shine.

Yeah, I don't think the out-of-combat usefulness has been stated clearly enough. I was playing a bard, and the party was caught spying on upstanding citizens by the town guard. The guard leader threatened that if anbody tried to cast a spell they would get attacked. The rest of the party was ready to surrender, but my bard talked his way out of it. He fascinated the guard leader and one other, and kept them occupied. It was really funny; the rest of the party slinked away. The unfascinated guards kept saying, "Hey boss, shouldn't we be stopping them?" but the leader said, "Quiet I am listening to what this guy [my bard] has to say." Then when the rest of the party had gotten away, my bard walked off the platform he was on [we were in Sharn] and plummetted safely away (activating feather fall as he did so).

So in a city or detective-style adventure where the bard's fascinate, suggestion, and knowledge can really be useful, I think bards are a tier A class. In a dungeon crawl, I agree with Saph, tier C. If the bard has the leadership feat and brings a bodyguard as I suggest all bards do, that makes them tier B.

jjpickar
2007-02-20, 09:29 AM
Well it would be nice to see the other characters damage totals for an accurate comparison but 3 damage per round without getting into harms way, casting a spell, or otherwise using up resources is pretty neat.

Ranis
2007-02-20, 09:36 AM
So... 3 damage per round? By standing still? I guess thats impressive..........

I was mainly wanting to express that there has been a severe lack of attention toward the other class abilities the bard has and that the main focus has been on what else he can do to make him effective in places that aren't just combat. I was never suggesting 3 damage/round was 'effective' by any means, just that I know for a fact that the damage and the modifiers given, at least in my group, would be missed if I were playing a different class.

Ikkitosen
2007-02-20, 10:07 AM
A Bard can offer a significant + to hit and damage via Inspire Courage and the various feats/spells that enhance this, and can continue casting spells whilst doing so. Added to their out of combat abilities I don't see what the massive issue is. I would like to see their spells per day increased, but that's not SO bad.

Starbuck_II
2007-02-20, 11:09 AM
my dwarven barbarian goes out front and presents a really nice and tempting target so that the bad guys are less inclined to swing about randomly or waste spells determining where everyone else is.

What is so tempting? A melee tank. Why should I as a monster focus ion you?


It works well.

DM help of course.


If the casters draw attention to themselves by using their biggest and flashiest spells and wearing the trademark robe and pointy hat, that's a tactical error on their part.

Only in MMORPGs do spells draw hate. Well, there is that spell in complete adventure that works lke Goad but forces target to attack them, but best to cast if a Gish only. Called Mindless Rage but one target only. M indless rage stops 1 enemy spellcasting/range attacks as a bonus feature but will save so few casters will fail it. Warrior types will.


The tank's job is to attract attention, because they can survive being the focus of it.
How? Goad does'nt force the.
You have to be a Knight to force them.

A Bard with can cast it and scrolls/wands (2nd level spell) can do it now that I think about it. But Fighters have no draw attention ability.

Tobrian
2007-02-20, 11:15 AM
I'll like to start by saying that I don't have anything against the bard class, from a roleplaying standpoint, and they can be extremely useful in a city adventure. But those bardic music abilites suck. (And I play a rogue/bard in one group, and have a bard minstrel PC in another group that I GM.)

As for the Bardic Knowledge ability... at lower to mid levels, a bard's bonus on that roll is very low. Have you seen the DCs to know anything useful? And whenever I try to give the group some info by forcing the bard's player to roll on his Bardic Knowledge, it feels like exposition. Because while in-game it may be the bard coming up with some info and telling it to his friends, in real life it's me the game master sitting at the table telling the player "Your bard thinks he has heard that name before..." blablabla exposition cakes. And then he can parrot it to the other players? It's always awkward if a character knows more than the player.

I try to encourage my players to put points in Knowledge skills in general, but except for rogues and bards the other classes just have too few skills points to "waste" on knowledge skills (especially the wizard who by rights should have a lot of knowledge in obscure topics, after all he usually gets shafted compared to a cleric or druid because he's supposedly the geeky bookworm.) And the bard in my group prefers to put all his points into Diplomacy and Bluff, which he pumped up to obscene levels. Heh.


Oh, and nothing irks a DM more than ending a battle by going on the surprise round and fascinating every foe with your obscene perform check.

You can't use the bardic Fascinate class ability during a fight. Sorry.

Check the PHB, the situations where you can actually use Fascinate (not the spell, the bardic music thingy) are extremely limited. You can't even sneak up to an opponent and fascinate him and then let the other characters attack him or grapple him, because anyone drawing a weapon or making a threatening move towards the fascinated opponent or casting a spell in his vicinity will break the Fascinate effect. Same goes for the opponent already being in combat mode - if he sees you coming, for example. And keep in mind that you have to sing for bardic music, which means unless your bard took that non-core-rulebooks feat (or was it a spell?) that allows him disguise his singing as "ambient noises", other people in the area might know something's up, even if the target fails his save and gets fascinated before he can draw a weapon.

ANY combat going on around the fascinated character breaks the effect. And if he isn't fascinated, you can't use your Suggestion Bardic class ability on him either. Meh. You'd have more luck trying a straight Suggestion spell if you have it.

As for Fascinating several foes at once... um, how high level are the characters in your group?? :smalleek:


A lot of people underestimate the power of fascinate (of an innane save DC if you have *GASPS* skill focus...) followed by serial suggestions.

See above. It's a nifty effect if you can pull it off, but the ugly truth is, a simple fascinate or dominate person SPELL is far more useful AND can be used in combat, too.

Sometimes I think the only time ever that a bard used Fascinate to his advantage was Orpheus putting Cerberus, three-headed dog guardian of the Underworld, to sleep with a lullaby to slip past him on his quest for Eurydice. *sigh*


If I correctly recall, bards have certain sonic damage spells, which very few things have immunity to, and although are weak, are still useful. I could argue the case for bards further, and attempt to insinuate that they are, in fact "more powerful" than a lot of pure casters, but I don't whether that's actually true or not.

Certain sonic spells that are most useful against... crystalline creatures?

They're not more powerful that pure casters. They only thing a bard can do that other arcane casters can't is (potentially) cast Cure Wounds spells... but not Heal or anything. And really, if you want to waste all your meagre spells known as a bard on learning Cure spells why didn't you take a few levels of Cleric instead?

And keep in mind, bardic music and enchantment spells don't work on animals or constructs or undead, unless your bard takes special feats that allow him to influence undead, AND is high enough in level to have the prerequisite ranks in Perform.


True enough. Remember, though, that since Bard spells are lower-level than Wizard spells and since Bards usually have a lower spellcasting stat than Wizards do, a Bard spell is likely to have a DC several points lower than the equivalent cast by a Wizard.

But what really hurts bards is their terrible spells-per-day allowance. They start off with zero spells per day at a new level, and take ages and ages to get past the three spells per day mark. Our seventh level bard gets one third-level spell and three second-level spells per day. You could use that up in one encounter!

Amen.

The D&D 3.5 Complete Spell Compendium contains some nifty new spells for bards, but again... people seem to overestimate how many spells a bard (or wizard or sorcerer for thast matter) can actually cast per day. Plus, the number of spells a bard can select to know is very low, too.

I'd rather take a fighter with a bagful of bonus feats into the dungeon with me.

As for bardic music enhancing and supporting the group, it takes a long time for a bard's Inspire Courage to scale up... at 8th level you only get a +2 to hit if I remember correctly. Meanwhile, the cleric is casting Prayer at much lower level, and if you have a paladin in the group he's already bolstering the group against Fear effects.

I think the designers of AD&D and later D&D tried to stuff too much into the bard class instead of making up several... they tried to make him part spellsinger, and part Renaissance minstrel, and part Nordic battlefield bard, and part Celtic bard (the guy who kept the history records of the tribal ancestors in his head, and recited ballads and meditated between arguing parties, which was the prerequisite on your career path to becoming a Celtic druid). You end up with a class that can do all sorts of things on paper, but in reality sucks at all of them.

Actually I can't be the only one to think so, otherwise D&D game designers such as Monte Cook or others wouldn't have tried to come up with their own Bard class variants.

I wish they'd thrown out the whole badly cobbled together edifice of giving the bard a couple of lame bardic music effects bolstered by a few bardic arcane spells, and instead given him his own spellsinging ability from the start. Make his music effects more flexible (similar to channeling from the Unearthed Arcana, or like the SAGA magic system TSR tried out on Dragonlance 5th Age in the 1990s).
Give him the chance to influence everyone who hears him in a radius around him. Make his spells less powerful than a pure wizard's or cleric's, but give him more flexibility and DON'T limit him to a few casting per day. What, do the strings on his lute break after singing x=level times or what? :smallconfused:

If WotC can invent a class as ridiculously overpowered as the Warlock, with Eldritch Blast at will and a heap of other powers, they've broken the power balance anyway.

Thus endeth my rant.

Tobrian
2007-02-20, 11:46 AM
A Bard can offer a significant + to hit and damage via Inspire Courage and the various feats/spells that enhance this, and can continue casting spells whilst doing so. Added to their out of combat abilities I don't see what the massive issue is. I would like to see their spells per day increased, but that's not SO bad.

A bard can fight while he sings, but he cannot cast other spells while he uses Inspire Courage or other bardic music effects.*) If he plays an instrument to activate his bardic music, he can't even fight with weapons.

He could of course drop the bardic music ability and cast a spell while the bardic music still lingers for a few moments... but a wizard or cleric can enhance the group with protection and buffing spells and prayers just as well or better.

*) From the PHB, p.29:

"Starting a bardic music effect is a standard action. Some bardic music abilities require concentration, which means the bard must take a standard action each round to maintain the ability. Even while using bardic music that doesn't require concentration, a bard cannot cast spells, activate magic items by spell completion (such as scrolls), or activate magic items by word (such as wands).

The only spell that is really nifty and can help out the spellcasters in the group if the enemy casts Silence on them is the 1st level bard spell Joyful Noise... ok, that's cool.


As for the usefulness of Countersong, as a previous poster mentioned... how many spells or monsters actually use sonic mind-influencing spells or spell-like abilities on a regular basic? I actually sat down with the MM to try and make a list of monsters that have such abilities and work one or two into my campaign just so that the guy playing in bard in my group will have a chance to shine from time to time. But there aren't a lot of monsters that apply. And not every creature that uses sonic attacks can be countered by Countersong.. for example the Destrachan has a sort of sonic-based ray emitting from its mouth that can do all sorts of things like desintegrate stuff, but it deals physical damage. Countersong won't help there. A straight Silence spell however will. So unless you have Satyrs and Harpies with prestige classes from Savage Species and Banshees turning up on a regular basic in your campaign, or lots of enemy enchanters, the Countersong ability is not nearly as useful as it looks on paper because what help is the best ability if you cant use it?

Saph
2007-02-20, 11:55 AM
A Bard can offer a significant + to hit and damage via Inspire Courage and the various feats/spells that enhance this, and can continue casting spells whilst doing so. Added to their out of combat abilities I don't see what the massive issue is. I would like to see their spells per day increased, but that's not SO bad.

There's no issue. Bards aren't terrible, but they aren't amazing either. The only reason the argument's been going on so long is that Kantolin's insisting that bards own fighters. So according to him, they don't need any more spells per day.

- Saph

Ikkitosen
2007-02-20, 12:30 PM
Lol. I'd like to see a Bard do 100+ damage on a non-cheesed charge (well, not terribly cheesed)!

Fighters: Good for doing the HP damage everyone else is too high brow to bother with :)

Kantolin
2007-02-20, 02:29 PM
Bards aren't terrible, but they aren't amazing either. The only reason the argument's been going on so long is that Kantolin's insisting that bards own fighters.

Sigh.

Rigeld and Starbuck have also helped in explaining that fighter tanking, while pseudo-nice, isn't nearly as effective as people tend to make it out to be. Enemies walk around you, enemies stay nowhere near you, enemy counteract whatever means of mobility you happen to have. Then finally, when you do get a turn... you smack them. At level 7, let's guesstimate a good 30 damage - that's a ton. If you connect, you do 30 damage.

Provided there aren't problems with damage reduction, no miss chances, you can connect against their AC despite power attacking...

Which is great and all, really. It's just not an automatic success. Neither, by mandate, is (say) glitterdust; they could make their save, could potentially be uneffected by it, and a bard is notably more vulnerable to this fact than a wizard since a bard gets less spells. (Bard < Wizard. I know).

I'm simply pointing out that, on average, you'll connct with an attack roll about as frequently as the opponent will fail a will save. This will end the battle more swiftly than successfully attacking, in general. If the battle continues for six turns, that's six turns that the fighter (assuming he has managed to commence 'tanking) is being swung at - likely losing hit points.

The result is, after three or four fights, the fighter's low enough on hit points that spells/wands are being burned to fix this, and it's time to rest.

No, a bard can't go forever. Neither can a fighter. Nobody can go forever (except maybe, if he has at least a bit of time to relax, a warlock). So yes, your low spells per day are problematic and require them to be rationed more thoroughly than a wizard. Now during those turns, you are quite a bit more useful than the fighter. It tends to only take one or two per tough battles assuming a party's with you helping out, maybe three in a really tough battle, maybe against the goblins you don't even need to bother.


So according to him, they don't need any more spells per day.

Because obviously, if one class is better than another class mechanically, the first class doesn't need any boosting and is perfectly balanced. Hey look, the Complete Warrior Samurai is better than the DMG Warrior class! So obviously, Samurai don't need any additional boosts.

I'd personally like a few class abilities that give mild boosts to something. Maybe a mild boost at a few of the otherwise 'empty' levels... perhaps a skill which lets you either boost your Singing, Skill Points, Martial capability, or Spells (And let you pick which)? That way you still maintain the 'jack of all trades' values, but you can start to customize your bard towards what you'd like to do with him.

Edit:


Lol. I'd like to see a Bard do 100+ damage on a non-cheesed charge (well, not terribly cheesed)!

Uh. That's partially why I was keeping to core; easier to explain. An optimized fighter can charge for a heck of a lot of damage; an optimized bard can cast spells as a 19th level sorceror with a heightened list. Deal 100+ damage... or (say) wish? One of them tends to work on Balors who can teleport at will, and it's not 100+ damage.

LotharBot
2007-02-20, 03:01 PM
In D&D, tanking sucks. Versatility wins.

Caveat: party versatility wins.

A party which is made up entirely of, say, versatile bards... isn't actually all that versatile. They'll excel in a few situations and be underpowered in a lot, especially against a well-balanced encounter. But a party with each of the four archetypes plus a bard is incredibly versatile and incredibly capable.

If you were referring to bards from a military standpoint, you'd probably call them "force multipliers". On their own, they're not much to write home about, but they'll turn a moderately powerful force into an extremely powerful force.


I'm simply pointing out that, on average, you'll connct with an attack roll about as frequently as the opponent will fail a will save. This will end the battle more swiftly than successfully attacking, in general. If the battle continues for six turns, that's six turns that the fighter (assuming he has managed to commence 'tanking) is being swung at - likely losing hit points.

If most of your fights are against one melee-style opponent, you're right -- it's about as easy to hit them for 1/6 of their HP as it is to make them blow a save-or-suck spell. But really, what kind of crappy DM just throws a string of single melee-style opponents at your party?

Against certain other opponents, hitting them for 1/2 their HP is far easier than making them blow their save. And in those fights, the fighter will end it in one or two turns while the bard will take 6 to end it, over which time, the enemy will cast 4 extra nasty spells or use 4 nasty special abilities or whatever.

And against certain other opponents, they'll keep hitting the fighter with fort-save-or-suck abilities, and the fighter will be like "I rolled a 2, so I'm fine."

In the party I'm currently DM'ing, our fighter and barbarian consistantly do the most damage, and don't often require much healing because they tend to take things down so fast. There are some fights where they're not so useful -- the salamander at the end of a 300-foot-long room casting fireballs at us, for example -- but most of the time, they just get right up in the middle of things and smash the enemy (and force lots of concentration checks. Readied actions for the win!) Now, granted, when our barbarian joined I wished he'd taken a bard or sorcerer instead... but that's only because we've already got a capable fighter and two rogue types.

Zincorium
2007-02-20, 05:02 PM
What is so tempting? A melee tank. Why should I as a monster focus ion you?

DM help of course.

Only in MMORPGs do spells draw hate. Well, there is that spell in complete adventure that works lke Goad but forces target to attack them, but best to cast if a Gish only. Called Mindless Rage but one target only. M indless rage stops 1 enemy spellcasting/range attacks as a bonus feature but will save so few casters will fail it. Warrior types will.

How? Goad does'nt force the.
You have to be a Knight to force them.

A Bard with can cast it and scrolls/wands (2nd level spell) can do it now that I think about it. But Fighters have no draw attention ability.

Right, because every monster in the entire encounter will metagame by searching for invisible casters and whatnot rather than attempt to respond to the enraged bear that just ripped into it for 70+ damage by retaliating.

Even intelligent foes will usually decide 'hey, this might need to get taken care of...' rather than 'oh, I can just shrug this guy off, because the sorceror has to be back there somewhere and that's more important'.

If you can't roleplay well enough to be an obvious target and get the monster's attention (in which case you shouldn't be playing a bard either), then the damage is usually enough to get them focused on you from a game mechanic standpoint.

If your DM is so obtuse as to have the monsters go after the casters despite an immediate threat right in front of them that keeps making it's presence known, then I don't know what to say.

Rigeld2
2007-02-20, 06:28 PM
If your DM is so obtuse as to have the monsters go after the casters despite an immediate threat right in front of them that keeps making it's presence known, then I don't know what to say.
It depends. If the casters are doing things like Black Tentacles, Glitterdust, Slow, etc (just to name a few low level spells) and the Fighter is just doing his damage and trying to be annoying enough for the bad guys to focus on him, I would think that lots of creatures would head for the casters.

If theyre invisible, then theyre not really contributing much (ignoring Greater Invis for now), so yeah, of course the baddy will beat on the tank. Not that thats much of an accomplishment.

Zincorium
2007-02-20, 11:19 PM
It depends. If the casters are doing things like Black Tentacles, Glitterdust, Slow, etc (just to name a few low level spells) and the Fighter is just doing his damage and trying to be annoying enough for the bad guys to focus on him, I would think that lots of creatures would head for the casters.

If theyre invisible, then theyre not really contributing much (ignoring Greater Invis for now), so yeah, of course the baddy will beat on the tank. Not that thats much of an accomplishment.

Well, Improved Invisibility is what I said, and thus what I probably meant. The casters are casting spells (the sorceror being rather fond of blindness and fireballs), but with the improved invisibility they aren't convenient targets. And it's a great accomplishment when my tank absorbs nearly harmlessly enough damage to kill all the other members of the party.

Lastly, why is it that when someone picks on the bards, a horde of people climb out of the woodwork to defend them on things that really weren't an issue, but someone claims that tanking doesn't work ever, despite a pretty good example of when it should, all those people bash the very idea of tanking as useless? Show some consistency, fellow forum members.

Starbuck_II
2007-02-21, 12:36 AM
Well, Improved Invisibility is what I said, and thus what I probably meant. The casters are casting spells (the sorceror being rather fond of blindness and fireballs), but with the improved invisibility they aren't convenient targets. And it's a great accomplishment when my tank absorbs nearly harmlessly enough damage to kill all the other members of the party.

Lastly, why is it that when someone picks on the bards, a horde of people climb out of the woodwork to defend them on things that really weren't an issue, but someone claims that tanking doesn't work ever, despite a pretty good example of when it should, all those people bash the very idea of tanking as useless? Show some consistency, fellow forum members.
We don't bash tanking. We bash the useage of Fighters as good tankers.

Your example is: he is the only one they can see (others invisible).
Wait, are all 3 other characters invisible? (normal partied have 4 characters)


A commoner in full plate could tank like that if that is all that is needed (commoner would miss more but that was required).

Zincorium
2007-02-21, 04:36 AM
We don't bash tanking. We bash the useage of Fighters as good tankers.

Your example is: he is the only one they can see (others invisible).
Wait, are all 3 other characters invisible? (normal partied have 4 characters)


A commoner in full plate could tank like that if that is all that is needed (commoner would miss more but that was required).

1. Not a fighter. Or a cleric, although I'm well aware they make good tanks. Barbarian/battlerager/bear warrior (I like alliteration). It works for me.

2. He's the first into melee combat. He's loud. The other players aren't automatically invisibly, but given the way we take on combat as a group, the others make use of cover and defensive positions to avoid getting jumped before we can figure out what's going on.

3. The commoner would be dead. And wouldn't have dealt any damage against most of our foes, which is the primary method of gettting their attention. That's fairly understandable, right? That I can survive getting the full attention of what we're facing, while most of the others couldn't, means that they're smart to let me make myself known while they remain subtle.

4. We have usually 5-6 characters, of which I'm the only one who's reasonably adept at melee combat, most of the others are ranged and support with considerable overlap. And usually at least the sorceror is imp. invisibled (he actually does not know the regular invis spell, only the improved version).

5, and last, because this is way out in tangent-ville. Why is it so hard to understand this? It's as if everybody is talking about a system where all creatures other than the PCs have some sort of caster-detection spell going 24 seven and have such a grudge against any and all casters that they will ignore severe damage from a known source to attempt to find one instead. Imagine that you know there's a terrorist somewhere in the mall you're in planting a bomb. And you also have a rabid weasel on your face. Are you seriously going to just shrug off the rabid weasel? You know the terrorist is more important, logically, but the weasel is more immediate and is causing you more pain now.

I am that rabid weasel.

Rigeld2
2007-02-21, 07:07 AM
Imagine that you know there's a terrorist somewhere in the mall you're in planting a bomb. And you also have a rabid weasel on your face. Are you seriously going to just shrug off the rabid weasel? You know the terrorist is more important, logically, but the weasel is more immediate and is causing you more pain now.

I am that rabid weasel.

Hmmm.... certain death, possibly long and painful, that I have to find and stop or something really annoying, but not guaranteed to be deadly, immediately in my face. I think I'll ignore the weasel.


Well, Improved Invisibility is what I said, and thus what I probably meant. The casters are casting spells (the sorceror being rather fond of blindness and fireballs), but with the improved invisibility they aren't convenient targets.
So, in most combats, you regularly spend 4-5 level 4 spells before actually doing anything to the bad guys? In some fights, sure thats feasible. In most, I seriously doubt it - plus youre taking out an arcance spell caster for 4-5 rounds while those buffs get cast, meaning your efficiency goes way down. And are the casters doing nothing until theyre invisible?


Lastly, why is it that when someone picks on the bards, a horde of people climb out of the woodwork to defend them on things that really weren't an issue, but someone claims that tanking doesn't work ever, despite a pretty good example of when it should, all those people bash the very idea of tanking as useless? Show some consistency, fellow forum members.
Show me a lack of consistency here. Someone said that a Fighter is better than a Bard because they can tank. I said that tanking is a useless abaility.

Saph
2007-02-21, 10:31 AM
Show me a lack of consistency here. Someone said that a Fighter is better than a Bard because they can tank. I said that tanking is a useless abaility.

I can't actually remember anyone saying that, but I might have missed it. Anyway, I don't see how it matters. The fighter in our campaign doesn't draw attention because he's 'tanking', he draws attention because he does almost as much damage as any two other characters combined. The fact that this makes monsters try and hit him rather than the wizards is nice, but not really necessary. If the monsters are dumb enough to play 'hunt the caster' while he sits there and beats on them, they're going to die.

Our fighter isn't good because he can tank, he's good because he IS a tank - high HP and high damage.

- Saph

Zincorium
2007-02-21, 04:58 PM
Hmmm.... certain death, possibly long and painful, that I have to find and stop or something really annoying, but not guaranteed to be deadly, immediately in my face. I think I'll ignore the weasel.

...Riiiight. Because you can just ignore something like that. At the very minimum, you're going to be stumbling around blind and screaming while you try and take care of the more important stuff.



So, in most combats, you regularly spend 4-5 level 4 spells before actually doing anything to the bad guys? In some fights, sure thats feasible. In most, I seriously doubt it - plus youre taking out an arcance spell caster for 4-5 rounds while those buffs get cast, meaning your efficiency goes way down. And are the casters doing nothing until theyre invisible?

If the situation allows. Generally it's only one if the enemies either ambush us or close rapidly. As an 8th level sorceror, our guy either casts imp. invisibility or blows his 4th level slots on lower level spells. Next level things will probably be a bit different, when he learns another spell.



Show me a lack of consistency here. Someone said that a Fighter is better than a Bard because they can tank. I said that tanking is a useless abaility.

No, although several people have said that fighters are better than bards at tanking. And thus bards should not attempt to tank while the fighter stands back. That would be suicide.

And the consistancy is that everyone seems to agree that it's wrong to bash the bard class no matter how mechanically useful or useless it is, but someone (else, not me) mentions fighters and it's 'bash the fighter and his role and everything he stands for' time for you. You're ignoring the entire point of my original statement to demean my character and tell me I'm stupid for playing a fighter at all.

You are dead wrong if you tell me that tanking doesn't work when the party cooperates. Maybe you're right at other times, and maybe the person who's told to tank in your group just doesn't get it and fails. But really you seem to be completely and willfully ignorant as to the entire system of tactics and strategies that make tanking useful.

Anyway, let's kill this discussion in this thread, I'll open a new one.

Tobrian
2007-02-22, 06:16 PM
Once you start multiclassing or adding prestige classes, it gets even better. One of my favorite bard builds is Bard 16/Paladin 4 (those paladin levels should be levels 4, 5, 6, and 7, by the way and this is facilitated by the Devoted Performer feat.) The abilities of the Bard and Paladin classes compliment each other nicely.

Ye-es.... only unless you use house rules a bard can NEVER be of lawful alignment, while a paladin MUST be lawful good.

PHB, page 26:

Alignment: Bards are wanderers, guided by whim and intuition rather than by tradition or law. The spontaneous talent, magic, and lifestyle of the bard are incompatible with a lawful alignment.

Now, personally, I have nothing against bending the rules if someone comes up with a great character concept that makes sense internally.*)

But from your remarks it sounds like you only took that antithesis of classes as combination to optimize and min-max the character build. :smallconfused: Sure, the rules about "Ex-Bards" also state (PHB p.30) that bards that become lawful cannot further progress as bards but retain all bard abilities, so by willfully "breaking" the bard alignment and progressing as paladin the character suffers no game-related drawbacks and gets all the bonuses. Meh. Sleek. :smallannoyed:

But if your "perfect build" (how I hate that word) has 20 levels and paladin is levels 4, 5, 6, and 7, it means the character then abandoned being a paladin and switched back to bard... how does that work? If he remains lawful he can't progress further as bard, if he for some convoluted reason has a second change of heart and becomes non-lawful again, he would lose all his paladin powers.

Oh wait... I checked the DEvoted Performer feat... oh, they didn't! I give up. I rest my case. *throws hands in air* :smallmad: Meh. The power of Cheese compels you! With all the new feats, is there any class left the paladin can now NOT freely multiclass with regardless of previous restrictions?

So, to sum it up, bards can be The Most Powerful EVAH if they get cheesed up?

---
*) (I myself run an NPC in my group who started out as bard and then became a knight to try and prove himself worthy of the hand of a margrave's sister he fell in love with.
And I gave that same margrave NPC a single level in Barbarian as a sort of pseudo-prestige class, despite being a LG (LN) noble/fighter; while I know that technically the rules prohibit a barbarian from being lawful, the whole concept of that NPC is built around him having the Short Temper flaw and a combat style built around feats such a Brutal Strike, Intimidating Strike, Power Attack, Improved Sunder, Improved Trip, Shield Ward and Active Shield Defense, namely closing on on an enemy and beating him to a pulp, and taking a level in Barbarian seemed the easiest way to simulate that he had learned to go berserk in combat.)

Norsesmithy
2007-02-22, 07:06 PM
Devoted performer feat, Tobrian, removes the Nonlawful Alignment restriction, allows paladin to multiclass freely with Bard. I think it also makes the classes stack for certain features.

Noneoyabizzness
2007-02-23, 09:31 AM
With all the new feats, is there any class left the paladin can now NOT freely multiclass with regardless of previous restrictions?


I don't see any psionics or ninja feat. so paladin ninja mentalists are not available save for in gestalting. or the battle dancer, or the dread necromancer.