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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Which build would you pick? (Bard)

    Campaign starts at level 5.
    Looking at Bard, probably College of Swords.
    Half-Elf (Drow Ancestry) is my favorite option for race, but Variant Human is always an alternative.

    Stats Str Dex Con Int Wis Cha
    Original 11 15 12 9 9 16
    Half-Elf 11 16 12 9 10 18

    Have not picked an ASI, as I'm leaning towards a Feat instead. There are several that would be useful. I'm leaning towards using a Hand Crossbow, and taking Crossbow Expert (with sharpshooter in the future, along with Warcaster or Resilience for Concentration saves). Always having a free hand means I can draw my sword for spellcasting / melee easily enough.

    So the two options:

    1) Pure Swords Bard
    • + Short Rest Inspiration Dice
    • + 1 level to Extra Attack
    • + Normal level progression to high level spells and Magical Secrets
    • - MAD, Only 16 Dex for Crossbow and Sword (Unless I swap stats around)


    2) Swords 4 / 1 Hexblade
    • + SAD, 18 CHA for Spells and main weapon
    • + Gain Hexbringers Curse
    • + Gain 2 Cantrips (Toll the Dead, Booming Blade? Eldritch Blast?)
    • ++ Gains Shield spell (Which is really good for a gish I feel) plus 1 other level 1 spell (Cause Fear maybe, or Hellish Rebuke, or Hex)
    • - Level progression for Spells, Extra Attack, Inspiration Dice and Magical Secrets 1 level slower.


    Pretty much seems to boil down to being able to use CHA as a main weapon stat, and gaining the Shield spell (along with a couple other really good low level spells and abilities), in exchange for a slower access to bard abilities.

    There is of course the option to take the warlock dip later on, maybe after Extra Attack.

    Have to say, if Bard had access to the Shield spell normally, the Warlock dip would be a bit less desirable. Shield (for a short-range / melee Gish especially) seems to be incredibly good.
    Last edited by nirurin; 2017-12-07 at 01:35 PM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Which build would you pick? (Bard)

    Quote Originally Posted by nirurin View Post
    Campaign starts at level 5.
    Looking at Bard, probably College of Swords.
    Half-Elf (Drow Ancestry) is my favorite option for race, but Variant Human is always an alternative.

    Stats Str Dex Con Int Wis Cha
    Original 11 15 12 9 9 16
    Half-Elf 11 16 12 9 10 18

    Have not picked an ASI, as I'm leaning towards a Feat instead. There are several that would be useful. I'm leaning towards using a Hand Crossbow, and taking Crossbow Expert (with sharpshooter in the future, along with Warcaster or Resilience for Concentration saves). Always having a free hand means I can draw my sword for spellcasting / melee easily enough.

    So the two options:

    1) Pure Swords Bard
    • + Short Rest Inspiration Dice
    • + 1 level to Extra Attack
    • + Normal level progression to high level spells and Magical Secrets
    • - MAD, Only 16 Dex for Crossbow and Sword (Unless I swap stats around)


    2) Swords 4 / 1 Hexblade
    • + SAD, 18 CHA for Spells and main weapon
    • + Gain Hexbringers Curse
    • + Gain 2 Cantrips (Toll the Dead, Booming Blade? Eldritch Blast?)
    • ++ Gains Shield spell (Which is really good for a gish I feel) plus 1 other level 1 spell (Cause Fear maybe, or Hellish Rebuke, or Hex)
    • - Level progression for Spells, Extra Attack, Inspiration Dice and Magical Secrets 1 level slower.


    Pretty much seems to boil down to being able to use CHA as a main weapon stat, and gaining the Shield spell (along with a couple other really good low level spells and abilities), in exchange for a slower access to bard abilities.

    There is of course the option to take the warlock dip later on, maybe after Extra Attack.

    Have to say, if Bard had access to the Shield spell normally, the Warlock dip would be a bit less desirable. Shield (for a short-range / melee Gish especially) seems to be incredibly good.
    Am playing 2), can confirm is very good. SAD, cantrips, hex make you a good damage dealer, the one extra pact slot gives you a bit more longevity than the other casters, plus you can heal.

    Shield plus AC flourish can give you enormous spike AC, which makes you durable, if not tanky.

    Mostly I end up playing a sort of halfback in battles, either helping guard my rear line and healing the front, or joining the front to help burst down some big mob.

    Being a level behind does really hurt though.
    Last edited by krugaan; 2017-12-07 at 01:57 PM.
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    Pixie in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Which build would you pick? (Bard)

    Quote Originally Posted by krugaan View Post
    Am playing 2), can confirm is very good. SAD, cantrips, hex make you a good damage dealer, the one extra pact slot gives you a bit more longevity than the other casters, plus you can heal.

    Shield plus AC flourish can give you enormous spike AC, which makes you durable, if not tanky.

    Mostly I end up playing a sort of halfback in battles, either helping guard my rear line and healing the front, or joining the front to help burst down some big mob.

    Being a level behind does really hurt though.

    If you were to do it again, would you pick the same? Or did being a level behind annoy you a lot?

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    Default Re: Which build would you pick? (Bard)

    Quote Originally Posted by nirurin View Post
    If you were to do it again, would you pick the same? Or did being a level behind annoy you a lot?
    Currently I'm playing in a Storm King's Thunder campaign at exactly 5th level as well.

    The only thing I currently miss is not being able to hypnotic pattern, which is sort of a big thing, but much less so if you party has another caster. Otherwise, I'm playing quintessential bard, with a strong focus on survivability and melee. If you have squishy casters in the backline, I would definitely consider it, because pure sword bard has some pretty glaring holes that the hexblade dip fills rather perfectly.

    You'll pretty much always be second best or third best ... but you'll be second best or third best at *everything*.

    Plus, with hexblade, you can safely dump dex and put extra points in con instead.
    Last edited by krugaan; 2017-12-07 at 04:01 PM.
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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Which build would you pick? (Bard)

    Quote Originally Posted by krugaan View Post
    Currently I'm playing in a Storm King's Thunder campaign at exactly 5th level as well.

    The only thing I currently miss is not being able to hypnotic pattern, which is sort of a big thing, but much less so if you party has another caster. Otherwise, I'm playing quintessential bard, with a strong focus on survivability and melee. If you have squishy casters in the backline, I would definitely consider it, because pure sword bard has some pretty glaring holes that the hexblade dip fills rather perfectly.

    You'll pretty much always be second best or third best ... but you'll be second best or third best at *everything*.

    Plus, with hexblade, you can safely dump dex and put extra points in con instead.

    I dont mind being jack of all trades.. im Bard! Trying to focus on medium-short range as we have a ranger already and a barbarian so me being a skirmisher seeems suitable.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Which build would you pick? (Bard)

    Quote Originally Posted by nirurin View Post
    I dont mind being jack of all trades.. im Bard! Trying to focus on medium-short range as we have a ranger already and a barbarian so me being a skirmisher seeems suitable.
    Have fun!

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    HalflingRangerGuy

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    Default Re: Which build would you pick? (Bard)

    Quote Originally Posted by nirurin View Post
    Stats Str Dex Con Int Wis Cha
    Original 11 15 12 9 9 16
    Half-Elf 11 16 12 9 10 18
    Erm... typical half-elf bard is 10 16 14 10 10 16... I don't know how you can get such low numbers.
    Even using the standard array, you still get 15+1 14+2 13+1 12 10 8.
    Last edited by bid; 2017-12-07 at 08:58 PM.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Which build would you pick? (Bard)

    Quote Originally Posted by bid View Post
    Erm... typical half-elf bard is 10 16 14 10 10 16... I don't know how you can get such low numbers.
    Even using the standard array, you still get 15+1 14+2 13+1 12 10 8.
    Rolled stats, probably?

    Really looks like straight 3d6, which hurts.
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    Daemon

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    Default Re: Which build would you pick? (Bard)

    Quote Originally Posted by bid View Post
    Erm... typical half-elf bard is 10 16 14 10 10 16... I don't know how you can get such low numbers.
    Even using the standard array, you still get 15+1 14+2 13+1 12 10 8.
    They were indeed rolled, 4d6 keep 3.

    It wasn't in order, I chose those places, because at the time I figured highest in CHA and next in DEX was the better option, though swapping DEX and CHA is an option.

    Though in the game I started the DM actually said I could add +4 stats wherever I liked (but with no stat ending up higher than 18) because the stats were pretty poor.

    Stats Str Dex Con Int Wis Cha
    Original 11 15 14 10 10 16
    Half-Elf 11 16 15 10 10 18
    Half-Elf (ideal) 10 16 16 10 10 18


    I dunno, it depends on if I go warlock dip or not. Though Dex has it's uses still either way. The 'ideal' is I guess the best outlook. Not sure really.

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    Default Re: Which build would you pick? (Bard)

    Half Elf Hexblade definitelly. I also suggest to start off at 2 levels of Hexblade, for some invocations, if you don't want to invest a 3rd and take an actual Pact of the Blade (wich can work wonders in your build imo)

    From that point on, you're free to go as deep into College of Swords as you Wish and can't go Wrong about it.

    You get Medium Armor, a Shield, Charisma as your Spellcasting stat for Eldritch Blast, Warlock/Bard Spells, and Attack/Dammage rolls with all weapons you can immagin, one of wich is your pact weapon (takes whatever form you want) and the other is an other weapon of your choice.

    Charisma covers mostly everything. Agonising Blast will always be great, and you can take the Improved Pact Weapon as the second Invocation. Due to this Invocation, your Pact weapon is both your spellcasting focus for your Warlock spells and your Bard spells (as per the College of Swords description). Not only that, but it also becomes a magical+1 weapon, in case those are rare in your campain.

    A +2 to Dexterity is all you need, as you'll be wearing medium armor, and you can't profit from more. Add to that your shield, and you'll have a static 19 AC+Bardic Inspiration per deffensive flourish. By level 17 (Bard 14) this becomes a static d6. AND if you really need the buff, you can always use the Shield spell for more AC on demand in the rare case something actually meets your already high AC.

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    HalflingRangerGuy

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    Default Re: Which build would you pick? (Bard)

    Quote Originally Posted by nirurin View Post
    They were indeed rolled, 4d6 keep 3.
    Stats Str Dex Con Int Wis Cha
    Original 11 15 14 10 10 16
    Half-Elf 11 16 15 10 10 18
    Half-Elf (ideal) 10 16 16 10 10 18


    I dunno, it depends on if I go warlock dip or not. Though Dex has it's uses still either way. The 'ideal' is I guess the best outlook. Not sure really.
    Yeah, if you can fix your luck of the dice that's good.
    With medium armor, Dex14 / Wis12 might be better.
    Beyond that, pretty much what Asmotherion said.

    I felt bladelock was a mostly useless dip, but improved pact weapon reverses my opinion.
    I'd rather be wrong than roundabout. Use your judgement.
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    Daemon

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    Default Re: Which build would you pick? (Bard)

    Quote Originally Posted by Asmotherion View Post
    Half Elf Hexblade definitelly. I also suggest to start off at 2 levels of Hexblade, for some invocations, if you don't want to invest a 3rd and take an actual Pact of the Blade (wich can work wonders in your build imo)

    From that point on, you're free to go as deep into College of Swords as you Wish and can't go Wrong about it.

    You get Medium Armor, a Shield, Charisma as your Spellcasting stat for Eldritch Blast, Warlock/Bard Spells, and Attack/Dammage rolls with all weapons you can immagin, one of wich is your pact weapon (takes whatever form you want) and the other is an other weapon of your choice.

    Charisma covers mostly everything. Agonising Blast will always be great, and you can take the Improved Pact Weapon as the second Invocation. Due to this Invocation, your Pact weapon is both your spellcasting focus for your Warlock spells and your Bard spells (as per the College of Swords description). Not only that, but it also becomes a magical+1 weapon, in case those are rare in your campain.

    A +2 to Dexterity is all you need, as you'll be wearing medium armor, and you can't profit from more. Add to that your shield, and you'll have a static 19 AC+Bardic Inspiration per deffensive flourish. By level 17 (Bard 14) this becomes a static d6. AND if you really need the buff, you can always use the Shield spell for more AC on demand in the rare case something actually meets your already high AC.
    Quote Originally Posted by bid View Post
    Yeah, if you can fix your luck of the dice that's good.
    With medium armor, Dex14 / Wis12 might be better.
    Beyond that, pretty much what Asmotherion said.

    I felt bladelock was a mostly useless dip, but improved pact weapon reverses my opinion.

    So you'd both actually take 3 levels of Hexblade instead of just 1?

    When would you take those levels? If I take them early, it would mean no Extra Attack until level 9, and no higher levels spells until level 10+.

    Game starts at level 5.

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    HalflingRangerGuy

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    Default Re: Which build would you pick? (Bard)

    Quote Originally Posted by nirurin View Post
    So you'd both actually take 3 levels of Hexblade instead of just 1?

    When would you take those levels? If I take them early, it would mean no Extra Attack until level 9, and no higher levels spells until level 10+.

    Game starts at level 5.
    You are a bard first, lock is just a way to be Cha-dependent only.
    Get bard 6 for the Cha ASI and extra attack, then hexblade 1 to use it. Dex14 might be enough until then if you can risk it.
    I'd rather be wrong than roundabout. Use your judgement.
    A point too clear stands on its own, I won't add to it.

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    Default Re: Which build would you pick? (Bard)

    My own planned course was 1 hex 6 Bard 1 lock rest Bard.

    My rolled stats were much better than yours though, 18/17/15/11/9/8

    Extra attack is nice, but not necessary IMO.
    Last edited by krugaan; 2017-12-08 at 01:57 AM.

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    Default Re: Which build would you pick? (Bard)

    Definitely grab a level of Hexblade. In the lon run, youíll want 2-3 level of Hexblade at least. Level 2 gives you two invocations which are basically Devilís Sight and Agonizing Blast in addition to a second warlock slot. Level 3 gives you 2nd level slots plus your Pact. Being SAD is huge. Not hitting Extra Attack until 7 is fine especially since you can just Eldritch Blast or use the SCAG cantrips for damage. Plus, itís not like youíll be missing much in exchange. Itís been pretty common for casters to dip a level into Fighter (as level 1) or Cleric for proficiencies. Being a level behind is far from the end of the world especially since youíre increasing your DPR with Hex and survivability with Shield.

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    Default Re: Which build would you pick? (Bard)

    I've planned a Sword Bard, skipping the Warlock dip, though. And I'd really not want to go 3 levels of lock.

    Bard has too many good things to dip out early: if you go Bard 4/Warlock 1, you're missing out on Short Rest flourishes and 5th level spells. The next level you're missing out on Extra Attack, then 4th level spells, an ASI and then MS.

    And I love the idea of taking Steel Wind Strike and Shadow Blade as MS for a Sword Bard: both just make a ton of sense flavor-wise. And yes, a Warlock 3 dip can get Shadow Blade, but it can't be either the weapon you touch to get Chr attacks or your Pact Blade, due to the 1 min duration, so you'd need to rely on Dex for attacks anyway.

    If your campaign is going to 14, you'll want the d6 flourishes as well, I'd imagine. At least I would.

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    Default Re: Which build would you pick? (Bard)

    Quote Originally Posted by nirurin View Post
    So you'd both actually take 3 levels of Hexblade instead of just 1?

    When would you take those levels? If I take them early, it would mean no Extra Attack until level 9, and no higher levels spells until level 10+.

    Game starts at level 5.
    Sure, but extra attack is over-rated on you (Don't flame, half joking) :P You're a Super-Charismatic Gish. You Have booming Blade and Hex and Warlock's Curse to pack some serious damage, and a +1 super weapon on top of that, so extra attack can wait IMO. If you want it sooner, invest in a feat that gives something similar, like crossbow expert or PAM (though with PaM you won't be able to take full advantage of both reach weapons and Shield proficiency, restricting you to Quarterstaffs if you want both... Good thing your Pact Weapon is a Shapechanger and you can give it whatever form you want...).
    Last edited by Asmotherion; 2017-12-08 at 11:31 AM.

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    Default Re: Which build would you pick? (Bard)

    Quote Originally Posted by Asmotherion View Post
    Sure, but extra attack is over-rated on you (Don't flame, half joking) :P You're a Super-Charismatic Gish. You Have booming Blade and Hex and Warlock's Curse to pack some serious damage, and a +1 super weapon on top of that, so extra attack can wait IMO. If you want it sooner, invest in a feat that gives something similar, like crossbow expert or PAM (though with PaM you won't be able to take full advantage of both reach weapons and Shield proficiency, restricting you to Quarterstaffs if you want both... Good thing your Pact Weapon is a Shapechanger and you can give it whatever form you want...).

    I had in fact intended to take Crossbow Expert as my feat at level 4, with the intention of using a Hand Crossbow and getting 3 attacks per turn at level 6. Just seemed like it would be kinda fun to be a short-range skirmisher bard, with a hand-crossbow and a rapier on standby.

    So if I take a level in Warlock, booming blade and hex would both be useless as Hex uses bonus action (and so I'd not get any benefit from crossbow expert at all) and booming blade is melee only. Would also mean that Eldritch Blast would probably be the better choice until I get Extra Attack.

    In fact eldritch blast allows me to do Hex still, and gives 2/3/4 attacks, so I'm not not sure if the Crossbow Expert part is even useful. But I do hate it when a game is balanced so that you get multiple choices in weapons, but one of the choices (Eldritch Blast) is always superior. So dull.


    Edit: Basically, if my CHA and my DEX are both on 18, and I don't intend to raise either of them to 20, does that reduce the need for Hexblade? All I would seem to get then is shield proficiency and the Shield spell, and hexblades curse. Which is really good obviously, and I do want the shield spell...
    Last edited by nirurin; 2017-12-08 at 01:08 PM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Which build would you pick? (Bard)

    Quote Originally Posted by nirurin View Post
    I had in fact intended to take Crossbow Expert as my feat at level 4, with the intention of using a Hand Crossbow and getting 3 attacks per turn at level 6. Just seemed like it would be kinda fun to be a short-range skirmisher bard, with a hand-crossbow and a rapier on standby.

    So if I take a level in Warlock, booming blade and hex would both be useless as Hex uses bonus action (and so I'd not get any benefit from crossbow expert at all) and booming blade is melee only. Would also mean that Eldritch Blast would probably be the better choice until I get Extra Attack.

    In fact eldritch blast allows me to do Hex still, and gives 2/3/4 attacks, so I'm not not sure if the Crossbow Expert part is even useful. But I do hate it when a game is balanced so that you get multiple choices in weapons, but one of the choices (Eldritch Blast) is always superior. So dull.


    Edit: Basically, if my CHA and my DEX are both on 18, and I don't intend to raise either of them to 20, does that reduce the need for Hexblade? All I would seem to get then is shield proficiency and the Shield spell, and hexblades curse. Which is really good obviously, and I do want the shield spell...
    If you wanted xbow expert, I think valor is just the better choice. Eldritch blast is superior ... without all the feats. The Xbow build is feat and stat intensive. After you get everything, though, the xbow is kind of stupidly strong.
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    Default Re: Which build would you pick? (Bard)

    Quote Originally Posted by krugaan View Post
    If you wanted xbow expert, I think valor is just the better choice. Eldritch blast is superior ... without all the feats. The Xbow build is feat and stat intensive. After you get everything, though, the xbow is kind of stupidly strong.
    How would you make the crossbow build, out of interest? I'm guessing Crossbow Expert and Sharpshooter, which I don't see as being too terrible feat-wise.

    My alternative idea would be a more melee focused character, and maybe go with the Mobility feat. Though I still can, as I can use a rapier with my hand crossbow. (Yes this involves a bit of clunky moving around of weapons, but my DM is going to ignore that part).

    I'm tempted to stick with a max of 18 in my CHA, at least until much higher levels. It's not optimal but the feats are more interesting to play with ha.


    Edit: Not sure why Valor is better, as it doesn't actually give me anything before level 14. Far as I can see Swords is just superior, until maybe 14 when the battle magic comes into play.
    Last edited by nirurin; 2017-12-08 at 01:28 PM.

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    Default Re: Which build would you pick? (Bard)

    Quote Originally Posted by nirurin View Post
    How would you make the crossbow build, out of interest? I'm guessing Crossbow Expert and Sharpshooter, which I don't see as being too terrible feat-wise.

    My alternative idea would be a more melee focused character, and maybe go with the Mobility feat. Though I still can, as I can use a rapier with my hand crossbow. (Yes this involves a bit of clunky moving around of weapons, but my DM is going to ignore that part).

    I'm tempted to stick with a max of 18 in my CHA, at least until much higher levels. It's not optimal but the feats are more interesting to play with ha.


    Edit: Not sure why Valor is better, as it doesn't actually give me anything before level 14. Far as I can see Swords is just superior, until maybe 14 when the battle magic comes into play.
    If you're doing it for flavor? Play like Bullseye. Don't use a rapier, use daggers. Stab, then throw! Hand crossbow for funsies.

    Crunchwise? The extra feat is hard to swing and get max dex, I would think.

    I'm actually not sure either ... can flourishes be used with ranged weapons? Valor gets more proficiencies.
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    Daemon

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    Default Re: Which build would you pick? (Bard)

    Quote Originally Posted by krugaan View Post
    If you're doing it for flavor? Play like Bullseye. Don't use a rapier, use daggers. Stab, then throw! Hand crossbow for funsies.

    Crunchwise? The extra feat is hard to swing and get max dex, I would think.

    I'm actually not sure either ... can flourishes be used with ranged weapons? Valor gets more proficiencies.

    Flourishes can indeed be used with ranged weapons RAW. Little weird, but there's nothing saying that you can't.

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