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    Default Bard Redux Brainstorming Thread

    Ok, so the bard is pretty universally regarded as the weakest class ever. How can we make it better and at the same time keep the flavor of the class?

    My personal idea is one of "minimal changes". Keep pretty much everything about it as is, but let them do more with their bardic music. Like, instead of granting them set musical abilities, give them a progression. Like, every third level, the bard learns a new song (or "performance". Let's call them performances). And each performance can have prerequisites, in the form of ranks in the Perform skill.

    I really ony have one idea for a new performance at the moment:
    Battle Performance: Grants the bard and his allies full BAB and some temporary HD.

    But there could be metaperformance feats, like, say,

    Opening Flourish [Metaperformance]
    Your performances begin with a flourish.
    Prerequisites: Bardic music ability, Perform X ranks.
    Benefit: In the first round of a performance to which you apply this feat, the save DC (if any) is increased by 10, and any numerical effects granted to your allies are doubled. After the first round, the save DC and numerical effects return to normal. Using this metaperformance feat requires 3 extra bardic music uses.

    That's probably not very balanced, but I think you get the idea.

    Reactions? Advice? Differing opinions?

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    Default Re: Bard Redux Brainstorming Thread

    Here's a version I ran in one game that worked out pretty well. Keep everything pretty much the same except the following.

    1- bump the class hit die up to a d8

    2- At level five, and then again at levels 10, 15, and 20, they gain a bonus feat. They can choose from a small list of fighter feats (can't remember offhand, just which ones we used) Basic metamagic/item creation, the bard specific feats, and a handful of others like armored mage, extra spell, The spell-like ability feats, Armor proficiency: medium...you get the idea

    Over the course of 20 levels, it doesn't overburden them with power, but it does allow them to better hold their own with the other classes.

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    Default Re: Bard Redux Brainstorming Thread

    My brother has been after me for a long time to mess with the bard class for him. He thinks it should be less based on a jack-of-all-trades, and more on the bardic music powers. I like the idea of performances, as well as metaperformance feats. Maybe it would be a good idea to remake most of their abilities: weakening spellcasting, maybe a little less power in melee, then better bardic music.
    Fascinate should just be a normal Performance, with 3 or more ranks to get.

    My first Performance idea:
    not sure of a name, because Quick Performance and Jazzy Performance don't really sound good.
    Bard selects a "tempo", which is any positive whole number. The DC of the perform check to succesfully make this performance is 10 +5/point of tempo. If the check is made succesfully, The bard and his allies gain a dexterity bonus equal to the tempo of the song. The song lasts '10 - tempo' number of rounds. If the Bard fails the check by 10 or more, him and his allies get -1 to dexterity for 1d4 rounds.

    What do you think?
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    Default Re: Bard Redux Brainstorming Thread

    I like that. I like that alot. How about... Double Time? A Dex bonus, and a bonus to base speed.
    Last edited by Lord Iames Osari; 2007-02-06 at 09:45 PM.

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    Default Re: Bard Redux Brainstorming Thread

    bump the thread Yoda does.

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    Default Re: Bard Redux Brainstorming Thread

    Would something like this work as part of his abilities?

    Scary performance (Mind-affecting fear-effect):
    The bard's performance heightens the intimidating presence of his group. All creatures hostile to the party and whom can hear the bard must make a will save vs. the bard's perform check or be affected as by a fear spell.
    Prerequisites: Bard 7, Perform 10

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    Default Re: Bard Redux Brainstorming Thread

    I don't think the bard really needs buffing, but here's some ideas:
    * Put back the physical enhancer spells.
    * Instead of starting with only 0 level spells, let him start with 0 first level spells , and 1 first level spell at 2nd level, and allow him to have a max of 5 spells/level instead of 4
    Hmm... I don't know about what others performances could be added. Maybe make a list of available ones and allow the bard to pick them as he level up?

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    Default Re: Bard Redux Brainstorming Thread

    First of all, I love the idea of meta-performance feats. Spectacular. I'd hug you if it wouldn't make everything awkward.

    Anyway, I don't think the bard need balancing per se, just more options. The spellcasting, saves, hit die, attack bonus and weapon/armor selection is decent as is. What would make the bard a more interesting class would be a choice of the bardic music abilities gained, and a wider selection. I'll mull around and come up with some on my own, but I wanna throw the idea out first.

    Along the idea of feats, I was considering a group of feats based on the expenditure of bardic music uses, somewhat like the Divine feats, but hopefully less cheesy. Any of you who have Complete Arcane should take a peek at the Seeker of the Song for an idea of what I mean.

    Here's a quick crack at one:

    Aria of Alacrity [Bardic Music]
    Prerequisites: Bardic Music ability, Perform 9 ranks.
    Benefit: This rapid, encouraging melody spurs you and your allies to quick action and reflexes. By expending a number of your daily uses of bardic music, you may grant you and your allies a +10 ft bonus to land speed and a +2 morale bonus to reflex saves and AC for a number of rounds equal to the number of uses expended.
    Last edited by Catch; 2007-02-08 at 07:22 PM.
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    Default Re: Bard Redux Brainstorming Thread

    Mmmm... I would make Aria of Alacrity a performance, personally.

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    Default Re: Bard Redux Brainstorming Thread

    We could also introduce bardic-specific metamagic.

    For instance, you cast a spell, and make a Perform check. Divide the Perform check by 4, round down, and add the result to the spells' save DC. Spell level +1.

    ...or would that be _too_ powerful?

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    Default Re: Bard Redux Brainstorming Thread

    Hmm... what about increasing the effects or lowring the DC of the aid another ability. And what bard's need is a great capstone ability.
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    Default Re: Bard Redux Brainstorming Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Indon View Post
    We could also introduce bardic-specific metamagic.

    For instance, you cast a spell, and make a Perform check. Divide the Perform check by 4, round down, and add the result to the spells' save DC. Spell level +1.

    ...or would that be _too_ powerful?
    Actually, I like that the best of anything on this thread (except maybe the option to bump the Bard's HD up to d8).

    It might be too powerful on a Wizard or Sorcerer, who already have amazing Save DCs. But since the Bard caps out at Level 6 spells, he could use some boosts to his save DCs.
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    Default Re: Bard Redux Brainstorming Thread

    Bardic Music could be made something more like a fighter's bonus feats. If we come up with a few chains of abilities, they could be available to everyone with the perform ranks as normal feats, but a bard would be able to take more of them and use them more effectively.

    the feat progression chain could start with:

    Enchanting Performance
    Prerequisite: Perform 4 ranks
    You have learned to affect others with your performance
    Benefit: Once per day, you may use song, poetics, or other performances to produce a magical effect on creatures around you.

    I'm not really sure how to format the rest of it, or what the base feat should be, but you get an extra use per day for each Bardic Music feat you have or for each bard level you have, whichever is greater. Only bards will be able to get all three first level abilities at first level, although a rogue might be able to get two of these and use them effectively.

    Some questions about this: Should effectiveness of the abilities scale with Perform, Bardic Music feats, or only bard class levels? Could a bardic music fighter be an effective variant, along the lines of Unearthed Arcana's sneak attack fighter? How much will other classes be able to intrude on the bard's only unique class ability? How much should this be broken into chains, and how much should it require large numbers of different bard feats?

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    Default Re: Bard Redux Brainstorming Thread

    To follow their Jack of all traits/master of none theme one of the DM's I played under did the following changes:

    HD: D8

    Sneak Attack: Starting at level 3. Increasing every 4 levels.

    Bonus Feats at 4, 8, 12, 16, 20

    Virtuosic master: Free Leadership feat at 8th level.


    Even with these buffs the class was still pretty weak in any 1 vs 1 situations but provided an adequate jack of all traits support roll.
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    Default Re: Bard Redux Brainstorming Thread

    Well we've always played:

    "So you want to join our group? ...We already have four players... all the roles are filled... you'll have to be a bar-I mean buffer... no, I meant bard."

    Don't get me wrong, it's not that the bard is reserved for new people to the table, it's just the class is... well... not really needed. But in a group of 5, as so other happens, 2 melee, 1 blaster, 1 healer, 1 buffer woks heaps good... almost as good as a group of six without a bard. The bard isn't suposed to hold his own: he's suposed to get someone else to do that for him.

    That said, a d8 hit die would help him survive melee a bit better, and I've always imagined a bard as a 8+int mod skill point person.

    ...and here's me about to pull all spellcasting off the bard and deligate the poor soul to the NPC ranks with the warrior and adept.
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    Default Re: Bard Redux Brainstorming Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by magic8BALL View Post
    Well we've always played:

    "So you want to join our group? ...We already have four players... all the roles are filled... you'll have to be a bar-I mean buffer... no, I meant bard."

    Don't get me wrong, it's not that the bard is reserved for new people to the table, it's just the class is... well... not really needed. But in a group of 5, as so other happens, 2 melee, 1 blaster, 1 healer, 1 buffer woks heaps good... almost as good as a group of six without a bard. The bard isn't suposed to hold his own: he's suposed to get someone else to do that for him.

    That said, a d8 hit die would help him survive melee a bit better, and I've always imagined a bard as a 8+int mod skill point person.

    ...and here's me about to pull all spellcasting off the bard and deligate the poor soul to the NPC ranks with the warrior and adept.
    This is why I always prestige my bards into Seeker of the Song or War Chanter. I become the blaster or the stabber, and make everyone else good at it too.
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    Default Re: Bard Redux Brainstorming Thread

    Yeah, the seeker of the song is really good. Also bardic enchantment spells really help. Bards with charm/dominate monster can stop fights before they begin. My group's bard actually had a charmed red dragon ally for a while. Bard's are awesome.

    I've never used the warchanter so I don't know how good it is but they sound powerful from the class description.

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    Default Re: Bard Redux Brainstorming Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by jjpickar View Post
    I've never used the warchanter so I don't know how good it is but they sound powerful from the class description.
    They're a melee bard. Better hit die, full BAB, and a bunch of combat songs.
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    Default Re: Bard Redux Brainstorming Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by zeruslord View Post
    Bardic Music could be made something more like a fighter's bonus feats. If we come up with a few chains of abilities, they could be available to everyone with the perform ranks as normal feats, but a bard would be able to take more of them and use them more effectively.

    the feat progression chain could start with:

    Enchanting Performance
    Prerequisite: Perform 4 ranks
    You have learned to affect others with your performance
    Benefit: Once per day, you may use song, poetics, or other performances to produce a magical effect on creatures around you.

    I'm not really sure how to format the rest of it, or what the base feat should be, but you get an extra use per day for each Bardic Music feat you have or for each bard level you have, whichever is greater. Only bards will be able to get all three first level abilities at first level, although a rogue might be able to get two of these and use them effectively.

    Some questions about this: Should effectiveness of the abilities scale with Perform, Bardic Music feats, or only bard class levels? Could a bardic music fighter be an effective variant, along the lines of Unearthed Arcana's sneak attack fighter? How much will other classes be able to intrude on the bard's only unique class ability? How much should this be broken into chains, and how much should it require large numbers of different bard feats?
    If you're going to make it a chain of feats, it should scale with Perform ranks. That said, I am highly opposed to making bardic music abilities available through feats.

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    Default Re: Bard Redux Brainstorming Thread

    The best thing about adding bonus feats is that you have a lot of tweak room with them. You could add a few bonus feats, from a large list to choose from, or many bonus feats, from a fairly worthless list that only has +2 to two skills type feats. At least as a start, I'd favor bards getting some extra feats, maybe one every 4 or 5 levels. As for the list, any feat related to bardic music such as Subsonics or Requiem should be included at the least.

    Another idea I've thought of before is much bolder, and possibly somewhat volatile. The inspiration is from the 2nd Ed. bard, who's spells were the same as a wizard.

    And so, the implementation is just that: make the bard's spells prepared, instead of spontaneous (making them Int based in the process), and give them a spell book. The removal of spontaneous spells may seem a bit odd, but if the bard is supposed to be a jack of all trades, I think this improves his versatility by giving him a potentially larger list to choose from. Also, since he can copy spells into his book, it allows him to capitalize on gaining knowledge, which is supposed to be a key part of the bardic class.

    And if that's not enough, you can increase the list. Perhaps with a Use Magic Device or Spellcraft check, at a fairly high DC, the bard can scribe arcane spells not normally on his list, at the level given for Sorcerers/Wizards (or Assassins, if the spell is exclusively for assassins). There. That should send a bard's spell ability and versatility to what could be a potentially broken level. Granted, I haven't thought out the full implications of such a modification, since I haven't scanned over every 0-6 level wizard spell there is.

    However, I think this final modification not only is in line with their concept, but at the same time gives them something not only unique, but useful. The caveat is that the DM will have to pay attention to the ability, and may have to restrict the bard from copying certain spells to his list. A bard still has relatively few spells to cast per day, and no matter how much he wanted to, still couldn't learn Limited Wish, or the like.

    Thoughts? Criticisms? Have I gone too far? Not far enough?

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    Default Re: Bard Redux Brainstorming Thread

    Well, here we are: My redone bard, still in process...

    And I love the idea of making them wizard-like casters instead of sorcerer-like ones... hmmm... I'll have to retool that...

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    Default Re: Bard Redux Brainstorming Thread

    Okay playing with the jack of all trades theme this is what I did for my group
    all skills are class skills and the bard starts with one rank in every skill
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    Default Re: Bard Redux Brainstorming Thread

    I'm not sure if I like the idea of making a bard more like a wizard....yes, a wider selection of spells would be fun and useful, but it we forget that a bard has a small alignment restrictions:
    putting spells in a book and preparing them studiously = lawful act
    and it would be a lawful act that the bard would have to do EVERY single day the bard wants to be effective. For a simmilar effect...maybe increase the number of spells known or increase the bard's spell list? (besides, making them INT based casters is a serious blow to CHA, which struggles to keep its usefulness in the eyes of most players...like the bard.)
    Last edited by Deme; 2007-02-24 at 08:37 AM. Reason: aded something in
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