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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Devil

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    Default Please sell me on why I'd want to ever play a bard, when they seem so weak...

    So bards are rare in my group (only one player has played one once so far in our group). Admittedly I tend to focus on combat effectiveness and it feels as if so much of the bard abilities and spell list seem geared more towards rp-ing than combat, making them very weak when it comes to fighting.

    How can a bard be effective in combat? (I have some pretty good ideas on how to play them in rp situations)
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Please sell me on why I'd want to ever play a bard, when they seem so weak...

    Bards aren't offensive casters. They're very focused on support, and they excel at that. Bardic Inspiration means you can give your allies free bonuses to their checks for up to a minute, which can let attacks land when they otherwise wouldn't. Lore Bards get Cutting Words, which is the opposite - you can affect enemy rolls as a reaction. Beyond this, their spell lists are pretty much entirely focused on support. They've got few truly offensive spells (Thunderwave, Shatter, Heat Metal), but they have support spells like Dissonant Whispers, Blindness/Deafness, Hypnotic Pattern and Phantasmal Force that can lock down enemies.

    You can build a Bard that doesn't deal a single point of damage in a fight, but your control spells can still change the entire layout of a fight.

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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Please sell me on why I'd want to ever play a bard, when they seem so weak...

    By being a team player, and realizing that you can make other characters much more effective at what they do.

    Crowd control effects can be pretty powerful in this edition, allowing for more crits from melee and ranged characters, advantage on attacks, or just being able to tie up adversaries instead of needing to kill them all.

    Or, go Swords and be a bit more selfish, using spells as necessary, but mainly doing duel-wield attacks in combat.

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    QuickLyRaiNbow's Avatar

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    Default Re: Please sell me on why I'd want to ever play a bard, when they seem so weak...

    In combat, you're a full caster with a list full of save-or-sucks. You're the best user of telekinesis and counterspell. You can get find greater steed and fireball on your spell list. Stuff like fear, phantasmal force, enemies abound and suggestion can auto-win certain combats. You can be a healer, if the party needs one. Because you're Cha-dependent, you can multiclass into paladin, sorcerer or warlock, dependent on what kind of character you want to be.

    I honestly think bards are, along with warlocks, the best-designed and most interesting class in 5E.

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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Please sell me on why I'd want to ever play a bard, when they seem so weak...

    Bards don't do well in small parties in my opinion, but if you put them as the 5th man in a party, suddenly you've got a dangerous party. Between all the great buff and debuff spells, bardic inspiration, and magical secrets, you have a class that can fill any gaps nicely and make everyone else better.

    It does gear more towards RP than combat, but it's no slouch when it comes to a fight. Jack of all trades applies to counterspell and dispel magic too, which is a bonus unto itself.

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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Please sell me on why I'd want to ever play a bard, when they seem so weak...

    Bards can be quite effective in combat, especially if you don't just focus on doing damage. I'm just going to restrict my discussion to spells, since all bards get them. If you want to play Lore bard and pick up Fireball or Counterspell, that'll increase your in-combat effectiveness substantially. You can also go College of Swords or Valor if you want to do more reliable direct damage.

    • Healing Word is a great healing spell for picking up your allies at 0 hp, and still lets you fire a bow or attack with a rapier.
    • Dissonant Whispers is a fantastic damage dealing spell at low levels, since it provokes attacks of opportunity. You can also chuck people off of cliffs if you're lucky.
    • Suggestion is a 2nd level save or lose spell, keyed off of a Wisdom save.
    • Heat Metal is continuous decent-scaling damage on a bonus action, which also acts as a significant debuff to an enemy wearing metal armor.
    • Phantasmal Force and all the other illusion spells are, depending on your DM, save or lose spells keyed off of Intelligence.
    • Silence completely shuts down enemy spellcasters.
    • Shatter does area damage if you really have to.
    • Hypnotic Pattern is an area save or lose spell. If you have any of the bardic magic instruments, all opponents are at disadvantage to save against it, too.
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    Imp

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    Default Re: Please sell me on why I'd want to ever play a bard, when they seem so weak...

    The Bard in my campaign saved the Cleric from being killed by the boss's gun with a Vicious Mockery.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Please sell me on why I'd want to ever play a bard, when they seem so weak...

    Quote Originally Posted by samcifer View Post
    So bards are rare in my group (only one player has played one once so far in our group). Admittedly I tend to focus on combat effectiveness and it feels as if so much of the bard abilities and spell list seem geared more towards rp-ing than combat, making them very weak when it comes to fighting.

    How can a bard be effective in combat? (I have some pretty good ideas on how to play them in rp situations)
    Bards are terrific at support and crowd control (Fear, Hypnotic Pattern), but their main downside is that they don't have a lot of built-in ways to do direct damage without spending spell points. You can deal with this by playing a Valor Bard or especially Sword Bard, but you can also deal with this and also boost your AC tremendously with a couple of levels of Hexblade. I'd recommend something like:

    Level 1: Hexblade 1 (for Wis/Cha save proficiencies, medium armor + shields, Shield spell, Hex)
    Level 2-10: Bard 1-9 (for Hypnotic Pattern/Fear/Polymorph/Raise Dead/Animate Objects/etc.)
    Level 11: Hexblade 2 (Agonizing Repelling Eldritch Blast)

    At mid-levels, you don't have +CHA or Repelling on your Eldritch Blast, but it's still valuable to have another source of magical damage in the party, and if your concentration isn't busy you can throw Hex on there too from a warlock spell slot to increase damage and/or help out a party grappler at the same time. If you go Valor or Sword bard you can even dual-wield short swords for 6d6+4ish (three attacks at 2d6 each from Hex, +Dex bonus on the first two) though it requires an initial setup round for Hex and personally I would just stick with sword + shield.

    Edit: oh yeah, I forgot about Hexblade's Curse. That would add another +9 points of damage to the dual-wielding scenario, at the cost of yet another round of setup. Yet another reason I would stick with sword-and-shield instead of dual-wielding.

    Edit2: BTW, if you want to be a grappler, I'd go with Valor Bard for Extra Attack and eventual Battle Magic, but I don't get the sense you'd enjoy grappling/proning enemies, I think you'd rather attack, so I'd recommend Sword bard for you + Dueling style. Lore Bard is also excellent if you like Cutting Words and more spells, which I do.
    Last edited by MaxWilson; 2019-05-21 at 04:08 PM.
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Please sell me on why I'd want to ever play a bard, when they seem so weak...

    Quote Originally Posted by samcifer View Post
    So bards are rare in my group (only one player has played one once so far in our group). Admittedly I tend to focus on combat effectiveness dealing damage and it feels as if so much of the bard abilities and spell list seem geared more towards rp-ing than combat, making them very weak when it comes to fighting dealing damage.
    I've edited the relevant bits.

    The Bard has Healing Word, Sleep, Heat Metal, Hypnotic Pattern, Greater Invisibility. You'll note that each of those spells are all best in class (Healing Word is probably the best healing spell, Sleep is the best low level control spell, Hypnotic Pattern is the best mid level control spell, etc).

    Unlike other classes, their resource regenerates on a Short Rest, and can be highly effective when used appropriately (Cutting Words reduces enemy attacks by -3.5 or more). Most other primary features would get in the way of casting spells, but not the Bard's.

    Additionally, Bards happen to have the same attribute that works with Inspiring Leader, as well as having Song of Rest. What this means is that the Bard can heal an entire team by having them only take flesh wounds, and then effectively heal those flesh wounds super-efficiently. Where a Cleric might burn through several spell slots, a Bard only needs to use a Bonus Action to spot-heal with Healing Word as-needed as his friends reach 0 HP.

    Summary: the Bard is best at damage control. They nullify the most amount of damage, so that the party lasts longer. What little damage the party sustains, the Bard either mitigates via Inspiring Leader, or patches them up after a Song of Rest. This allows the party to push on, since few resources are being used for HP and sustainability.
    Last edited by Man_Over_Game; 2019-05-21 at 04:13 PM.
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    Kobold

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    Default Re: Please sell me on why I'd want to ever play a bard, when they seem so weak...

    Quote Originally Posted by samcifer View Post
    How can a bard be effective in combat?
    First off, you are full caster with as many freakin' spells as a wizard at lower levels. You are a support class, if that helps your conceptualizing. You are not a DPR or really a tank, you are the jack of all, master of none. Except combat controller. You're pretty darn good at that.

    The following will NOT be the best ideas on the thread, or even optimal ones. But they are what I've done to be a factor in many combats when playing a bard.

    I prefer valor bard for the shield and combat inspiration. Combat inspiration is versatile. As a bonus action you can select an ally to buff for their to hit (normal), their damage, or even their own AC.

    Vicious Mockery is a one target one time bane with low scalable damage. How many other cantrips impose a disadvantage?
    Mage hand can cause all kinds of problems with oil flasks, caltrops, ball bearing bags
    Dissonant Whispers damages (avg 10) and on the failed save makes target run away, creating an AOO for an ally.
    Silence at 2nd is a wonderful caster no save shutdown situationally. So's Blindness/Deafness, but it has a save. A single one timer. And Calm Emotions is a potential fight-ender, great if your side is LOSING...saving everyone's butt and making you the MVP.
    Phantasmal Force vs low IQ types can do 10d6 AT SECOND LEVEL! Put 'em in a never ending 10x10xinfinity sulfur-fumed mineshaft to hell with jagged rocks on the walls they bounce off. Lasts one minute, 1d6 a round. Speak with your DM about it to concur this is good.
    Honorable mention to shatter.
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    Hypnotic pattern takes out 30x30 worth of foes for a minute. They are incapped, some DMs allow that as advantage to hit and auto-crit within 5'. Incap reads as paralyzed. That's a one shot thing, but what a shot!

    I don't write guides. See the bard guides for probably better advice.
    Last edited by Kurt Kurageous; 2019-05-21 at 04:07 PM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Please sell me on why I'd want to ever play a bard, when they seem so weak...

    Quote Originally Posted by samcifer View Post
    So bards are rare in my group (only one player has played one once so far in our group). Admittedly I tend to focus on combat effectiveness and it feels as if so much of the bard abilities and spell list seem geared more towards rp-ing than combat, making them very weak when it comes to fighting.

    How can a bard be effective in combat? (I have some pretty good ideas on how to play them in rp situations)
    Bards require a little more awareness than some fighters, rogues or wizards.

    As a Lore Bard you CAN steal any two spells at Level 6, Fireball or whatever just like a Wizard if Thunderwave and Shatter don't do it for you. You also get Healing Word and Vicious Mockery as well. Not to mention Cutting Words.

    Dissonant Whispers kicks butt. Used properly it causes opportunity attacks!

    Wanna save everyone from the Lich? Lore Bards can steal Counterspell and Counterspell with the best thanks to that Jack of All Trades business.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Griffon

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    Default Re: Please sell me on why I'd want to ever play a bard, when they seem so weak...

    Quote Originally Posted by samcifer View Post
    So bards are rare in my group (only one player has played one once so far in our group). Admittedly I tend to focus on combat effectiveness and it feels as if so much of the bard abilities and spell list seem geared more towards rp-ing than combat, making them very weak when it comes to fighting.

    How can a bard be effective in combat? (I have some pretty good ideas on how to play them in rp situations)
    they are not very weak (plenty of folks before me gave examples of what they can do), but they definitely are lacking in the damage department. If combat is the main focus of your campaign, I don't wanna sell you the bard, to be honest. Even if you would like a support / heal / controll character and don't mind damage too much, I'd rather recommend a cleric (with heavy armor and shield) or Druid (shepard is great for that). Let's be fair: a Bard is really, really good with skills and had very nice utility spells, the trade off is combat abilities. If you don't use the former in your game, there's no compensation for the relative weak latter, and it simply isn't a great class for your game.

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    Beholder

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    Default Re: Please sell me on why I'd want to ever play a bard, when they seem so weak...

    How many classes can say they killed a dragon by insulting it? Only the bard.

    Vicious Mockery alone is enough of a reason for me to play the class. Throwing disadvantage on an enemy and whittling him down is sweet.

    But like the other posters have said, bard's make a great control/support caster class. And they're not as squishy some of the other caster classes (wizards in particular). So they can handle themselves in a pinch (some schools better than others).

    I'm currently just looking for an excuse to play a glamour bard. Suggestion as a bonus action for an entire turn? Heck yeah.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Please sell me on why I'd want to ever play a bard, when they seem so weak...

    Quote Originally Posted by xroads View Post
    How many classes can say they killed a dragon by insulting it? Only the bard.
    I have never seen a bard do this and it's hard to imagine that one ever could. Vicious Mockery has pathetic damage and targets a strong save. Even ignoring legendary resistance, a 20th level bard with Cha 20 would have to cast Vicious Mockery 25 times in a row to deal the 178 HP of damage needed to kill even a Young Red Dragon, and it would take 48 castings to kill an Adult Red Dragon. Long before that happens, the dragon will have killed and eaten the bard.

    You could kill an orc by insulting it though. :-P

    P.S. The disadvantage from Vicious Mockery is decent at low levels and nigh-irrelevant at higher levels, because it only works on one attack. If you Vicious Mockery a CR 5 troll at 5th level, even if he fails the save you're only imposing disadvantage on the d6+4 (7) bite attack, but the 2d6+8 (15) of claw attacks are unhindered.
    Last edited by MaxWilson; 2019-05-21 at 04:27 PM.
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    ElfWarriorGuy

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    Default Re: Please sell me on why I'd want to ever play a bard, when they seem so weak...

    Early on Bards can be a little weak in combat, when most enemies have around 10 hp, dealing 1d10 damage is likely more useful than 1d4 and disadvantage on an attack, vs "bosses" though that can be a life saver. However, as lvls start pilling up, I say bard is amongst the most powerful classes, capable of pulling spell combos no other class can, and if what you want is pure damage on combat, all it takes is proper use of your magical secrets.

    Find Greater Steed + Armor of Agathys + Tenser's Transformation lends to one of the most powerful pets (if not THE most powerful pet), on a Whisperbard with XBE and SS the DPR rivals or surpasses Battlemaster (a dip for archery style would be preferable though, than single classing)
    Last edited by Rukelnikov; 2019-05-21 at 04:32 PM.

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    PirateCaptain

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    Default Re: Please sell me on why I'd want to ever play a bard, when they seem so weak...

    I've been playing a glamour bard.

    Their bardic inspiration really is a game changer. Healing and movement in one package to many members of the party can completely change how combats work. Particularly when you can also use it to move allies around the AoE of spells.

    Plus I'm a full caster who is also the parties go to person for skills and the party face.

    And honestly my damage isn't even that bad of late between Dissonant Whispers and the Wand of Magic Missiles we found.

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    Default Re: Please sell me on why I'd want to ever play a bard, when they seem so weak...

    Bards.... Weak?

    LOLNOPE

    Bards are amongst the most OP classes there are. And they donít even take much to exploit.

    The first thing to know is that Bards can do anything.

    The second thing you have to acknowledge is that Bards shine best when shutting down foes, and enhancing allies. You need to EMBRACE that.

    Bards donít crush in the damage department. If built right, they can absolutely hold their own, for sure. But to reach maximum potential, you should embrace what the Bard was designed to do and thatís to make everyone better.

    Whatís better: Hitting for 11 damage, or casting Faerie Fire and giving all your allies Advantage to hit?

    Whatís better: Your set spell list or the ability to steal whatever spells you want?

    Youíve got action economy out the butthole. Use your Bardic Inspiration as a bonus action, which can absolutely turn the tide of battle (Help the ally make a saving throw, ensure that Sharpshooter attack hits, etc), or cast a bonus action spell like Healing Word to bring the Rogue back up?

    Make the Paladin and Ranger cry because you can use Magical Secrets to steal their exclusive 5th level spells. Circle of Power is a fine thing to have.

    And if you DO want to rock in the damage department.... Magical Secrets help there, too. Crossbow Expert Valor Bard with Holy Weapon? 1d6+Dex+2d8*3 is damn good for a full caster to be able to pump out every single round.

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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Please sell me on why I'd want to ever play a bard, when they seem so weak...

    Quote Originally Posted by samcifer View Post
    So bards are rare in my group (only one player has played one once so far in our group). Admittedly I tend to focus on combat effectiveness and it feels as if so much of the bard abilities and spell list seem geared more towards rp-ing than combat, making them very weak when it comes to fighting.

    How can a bard be effective in combat? (I have some pretty good ideas on how to play them in rp situations)
    Your group's focus on individual combat effectiveness has probably handicapped the party more then it has helped them.

    Not every party member needs to deal damage at all. Damage is actually very weak. An opponent is 100% combat effective so long as they are alive, and enemies tend to have very large hp pools.

    Healing too, is very weak. Worse then damage. It really functions quite similiar as dealing damage, except it runs on smaller hit dice.

    So, if you want to be combat effective you should be focusing on things that don't deal damage or heal. This the bard has in spades. The bard is a force multiplier. He makes everyone around him better in combat, and makes his enemies worse. Honestly the list of ways bards can do this is so large its not even worth writing. I can just provide an example to help you see.

    Glamour bards seem pretty RP-heavy at a glance. But they have 5 charges on a short rest ability that gives every party member temporary hp and lets them reposition without provoking attacks of opportunity on a bonus action. The third level spell hypnotic pattern doesn't deal any damage, but it does take multiple enemies out of the fight entirely. The bard can do both of these in one turn too. So the party is overwhelmed by a bunch of monsters. The bard not only heals every party member, but also moves the party out of the way of his spell, which takes most of the enemies out of the fight entirely. And he can do this multiple times in a single combat if he wanted to. The healing itself is incredible, but the value of taking multiple creatures out of the fight is ridiculous.

    The glamour bard could honestly do nothing the rest of the combat encounter and still be the MVP.
    Last edited by sophontteks; 2019-05-21 at 05:15 PM.

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    Default Re: Please sell me on why I'd want to ever play a bard, when they seem so weak...

    Bards can fill in as skill monkeys, utility casters, battlefield controllers, and healers all at once. I'm a Life Cleric 1 / Lore Bard 13 and I didn't kill anyone until I hit level 13. But I am also the reason not a single PC has died yet.
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    Imp

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    Default Re: Please sell me on why I'd want to ever play a bard, when they seem so weak...

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    I have never seen a bard do this and it's hard to imagine that one ever could. Vicious Mockery has pathetic damage and targets a strong save. Even ignoring legendary resistance, a 20th level bard with Cha 20 would have to cast Vicious Mockery 25 times in a row to deal the 178 HP of damage needed to kill even a Young Red Dragon, and it would take 48 castings to kill an Adult Red Dragon. Long before that happens, the dragon will have killed and eaten the bard.

    You could kill an orc by insulting it though. :-P

    P.S. The disadvantage from Vicious Mockery is decent at low levels and nigh-irrelevant at higher levels, because it only works on one attack. If you Vicious Mockery a CR 5 troll at 5th level, even if he fails the save you're only imposing disadvantage on the d6+4 (7) bite attack, but the 2d6+8 (15) of claw attacks are unhindered.
    You don't need to deal all of the damages on an enemy to kill them. Only the final blow is the "killing blow".

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    Default Re: Please sell me on why I'd want to ever play a bard, when they seem so weak...

    Bards aren't the flashy heavy lifters, they make everyone else better at whatever it is they do. They fully subscribe to the Treantmonk school of thought except as a Cha based class rather than Int.

    Bards are consummate force-multipliers. Wizards, Clerics and others can also do this but it's what the Bard was designed around doing. You know how Guidance and Bless are really good? Bardic inspiration is like that.

    Bards are also decent at pretty much everything on their own so they aren't dead weight when caught out.
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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Please sell me on why I'd want to ever play a bard, when they seem so weak...

    Debuffs and controls, my good fellow! Who needs to cleave a foe in half when you can ruin the fight for the opposing side? Bane, Hypnotic Pattern, Blindness/Deafness, Silence, creative illusions if your DM is on-board, etc.

    Mid-level, things really kick into gear. Synaptic Static is a fun way to deal a smattering of damage while sticking non-concentration debuff riders on a big clump of foes. Then you can chase it up with Blindness Deafness. That's also non-concentration, so maybe throw out a bigger con spell like Confusion while you're at it.

    Congratulations: in three rounds, you've blinded, befuddled, and nerfed over half the opposing team. It came with a light kiss of damage, and you've been using your bonus action to make your allies even better at slicing or surviving the leftovers.

    High level stuff like Forcecage can completely lock certain encounters down.

    Dispel Magic is great for ruining an enemy caster's day after they debilitate your comrade or set up some big trap. Counterspell is a good choice whether you pick it up at lv 6 (Lore) or 10 (any subclass). Grab Healing Word at some point too and help stop a death.

    You become the best at saying "no" to most any toy the enemies can try to pull out. And you don't worry about damage when you're busy guiding the flow of the whole battle.
    Last edited by dragoeniex; 2019-05-21 at 05:46 PM.

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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Please sell me on why I'd want to ever play a bard, when they seem so weak...

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    I have never seen a bard do this and it's hard to imagine that one ever could. Vicious Mockery has pathetic damage and targets a strong save. Even ignoring legendary resistance, a 20th level bard with Cha 20 would have to cast Vicious Mockery 25 times in a row to deal the 178 HP of damage needed to kill even a Young Red Dragon, and it would take 48 castings to kill an Adult Red Dragon. Long before that happens, the dragon will have killed and eaten the bard.

    You could kill an orc by insulting it though. :-P

    P.S. The disadvantage from Vicious Mockery is decent at low levels and nigh-irrelevant at higher levels, because it only works on one attack. If you Vicious Mockery a CR 5 troll at 5th level, even if he fails the save you're only imposing disadvantage on the d6+4 (7) bite attack, but the 2d6+8 (15) of claw attacks are unhindered.
    while I didn't per se kill the dragon myself, my first character in 3.5 was a bard, and talking it into taking a nap in the middle of combat to let the rest of the party (including a rogue and a dread necromancer), and later making a dragon chasing us (flying chase) do an aileron roll (commonly called a barrel roll) to really upset the tummy of the epic level drow priestess riding its back to ruin the spell she was about to cast at us.

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    Devil

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    Default Re: Please sell me on why I'd want to ever play a bard, when they seem so weak...

    What if I were to go the sharpshooter route? Would that allow for halfway decent damage? Is valor bard the only route to go without missing lots of spell slots and spell levels through multiclassing in order to get a second attack per turn?
    Last edited by samcifer; 2019-05-21 at 06:04 PM.
    "I'll have my revenge, and Deathstalker (part) II! ô"

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Devil

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    Nov 2015

    Default Re: Please sell me on why I'd want to ever play a bard, when they seem so weak...

    Quote Originally Posted by Man_Over_Game View Post
    Summary: the Bard is best at damage control. They nullify the most amount of damage, so that the party lasts longer. What little damage the party sustains, the Bard either mitigates via Inspiring Leader, or patches them up after a Song of Rest. This allows the party to push on, since few resources are being used for HP and sustainability.
    Do they only mitigate damage through healing or are there other ways to lower damage to party members for bards? Admittedly I tend to focus on blasters for spellcasting, hence my difficulty in seeing the value of bards.
    "I'll have my revenge, and Deathstalker (part) II! ô"

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    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Oct 2014

    Default Re: Please sell me on why I'd want to ever play a bard, when they seem so weak...

    Quote Originally Posted by samcifer View Post
    What if I were to go the sharpshooter route? Would that allow for halfway decent damage? Is valor bard the only route to go without missing lots of spell slots and spell levels through multiclassing in order to get a second attack per turn?
    Sword Bard actually has slightly better damage than Valor Bard, without multiclassing.

    I wouldn't go the Sharpshooter route though. With limited ASIs and only two attacks (three if you take Crossbow Expert, but see: limited ASIs) it just seems unlikely to be worth it. You're not trying to have the best damage in the party, you're just trying to have decent damage and fantastic crowd control/party support.

    Why are you so set on playing a bard, anyway?

    Quote Originally Posted by samcifer View Post
    Do they only mitigate damage through healing or are there other ways to lower damage to party members for bards? Admittedly I tend to focus on blasters for spellcasting, hence my difficulty in seeing the value of bards.
    Healing, Inspiring Leader, and especially crowd control, e.g. Hypnotic Pattern. It's not that wizards, warlocks, and sorcerers can't do crowd control too, but it's always great to have yet another crowd control caster in the party especially if you can pull your own weight in the damage department.

    Just last night I saw a fight get turned completely around by a Hypnotic Pattern which turned a fight from a 4-on-4 (level 7 PCs vs. 4 Babaus who were absolutely destroying the party with repeated Fear spells) into a 3-on-1 (a cluster of 3 Babaus + 1 PC Barbarian all got taken out by the same Hypnotic Pattern, about 60' away from where the last Babau was fighting 2 other PCs, while the 4th PC was still running away). Without that spellcaster the fight could very well have killed one or all of the PCs.

    Crowd control helps you out in tough fights where the party is outnumbered. When you outnumber the monsters, you don't need it, and you can focus on just doing damage or nullifying the enemy in other ways (grappling, throwing nets, trying to trick enemies into chasing you, etc.). It's nice to be good at both.
    Last edited by MaxWilson; 2019-05-21 at 06:14 PM.
    June 17, 2019: No longer on GITP due to frustrations with forum technology and culture. Find me on Reddit as hemlockR.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Devil

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    Nov 2015

    Default Re: Please sell me on why I'd want to ever play a bard, when they seem so weak...

    Quote Originally Posted by Waazraath View Post
    they are not very weak (plenty of folks before me gave examples of what they can do), but they definitely are lacking in the damage department. If combat is the main focus of your campaign, I don't wanna sell you the bard, to be honest. Even if you would like a support / heal / controll character and don't mind damage too much, I'd rather recommend a cleric (with heavy armor and shield) or Druid (shepard is great for that). Let's be fair: a Bard is really, really good with skills and had very nice utility spells, the trade off is combat abilities. If you don't use the former in your game, there's no compensation for the relative weak latter, and it simply isn't a great class for your game.
    In this campaign, there's lots of interactions with npcs and mystery-solving, but the dm has upped the challenge of combats by making stronger than normal encounters pretty much every time. Often, foes will get high bonuses to hit and do several dice-worth of damage on each attack. We've already lost our gunsmith artificer and nearly lost the hexblade the player replaced him with during that character's very first battle. We've had 2 other times were death saves have been required and my barbarian has nearly dropped 3 times in 5 sessions because of taking so much damage even with resistances. I want to do a bard, but I would need high survivability AND good damage to have a chance of not losing the character. I was hoping that the bard support spells and healing would help with this, but it sounds as if they're too fragile to work in this campaign. :(
    "I'll have my revenge, and Deathstalker (part) II! ô"

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    Troll in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Please sell me on why I'd want to ever play a bard, when they seem so weak...

    Quote Originally Posted by samcifer View Post
    Do they only mitigate damage through healing or are there other ways to lower damage to party members for bards? Admittedly I tend to focus on blasters for spellcasting, hence my difficulty in seeing the value of bards.
    Mitigating damage can come in the form of disabling an enemy.

    For example, Heat Metal:
    • Has NO save if the creature can't drop the item (so target their armor)
    • Deals 2d8 damage
    • Causes Disadvantage to attack each turn
    • Requires a Bonus Action to continue to deal damage and Disadvantage.



    Knocking out several Kobolds with a single Sleep spell cost the Bard an Action. In return, the kobolds that are awake might attempt to awaken their sleeping comrades, costing additional actions. For a level 1 spell and a single action, you have cost the enemy team about 3 or so actions. With the action economy value in 5e, we call that profit.

    Hypnotic Pattern is just like Sleep, except not limited by hitpoints and uses a Wisdom Saving Throw, and it covers 2x as much of an area.

    Damage mitigation can be more than just numbers. Imagine what would happen if you gave your Fighter 3+ more attacks per turn. That'd be freakin' awesome, right? Now imagine the reverse, removing that many attacks from the enemy team. That's what a Bard does.
    Last edited by Man_Over_Game; 2019-05-21 at 06:21 PM.
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    MOG, design a darn RPG system. Seriously, the amount of ideas Iíve gleaned from your posts has been valuable. Youíre a gem of the community here.
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    5th Edition Homebrewery

    Prestige Options, changing primary attributes while maintaining balance with default options.
    Adrenaline Surge, fitting Short Rests into combat to fix bosses/Short Rest Classes.
    Pain, using Exhaustion to make tactical martial combatants.
    Fate Sorcery, lucky winner of the 5e D&D Subclass Contest VII!

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Oct 2015

    Default Re: Please sell me on why I'd want to ever play a bard, when they seem so weak...

    Quote Originally Posted by samcifer View Post
    In this campaign, there's lots of interactions with npcs and mystery-solving, but the dm has upped the challenge of combats by making stronger than normal encounters pretty much every time. Often, foes will get high bonuses to hit and do several dice-worth of damage on each attack. We've already lost our gunsmith artificer and nearly lost the hexblade the player replaced him with during that character's very first battle. We've had 2 other times were death saves have been required and my barbarian has nearly dropped 3 times in 5 sessions because of taking so much damage even with resistances. I want to do a bard, but I would need high survivability AND good damage to have a chance of not losing the character. I was hoping that the bard support spells and healing would help with this, but it sounds as if they're too fragile to work in this campaign. :(
    No, you just want to play a valor bard. Full caster with a shield and medium armor. You can even take expertise in athletics and up your strength to control individual enemies better. Trip + push is an easy way to give the team advantage and the enemy disadvantage.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BloodSnake'sCha's Avatar

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    Sep 2016

    Default Re: Please sell me on why I'd want to ever play a bard, when they seem so weak...

    Quote Originally Posted by Atalas View Post
    while I didn't per se kill the dragon myself, my first character in 3.5 was a bard, and talking it into taking a nap in the middle of combat to let the rest of the party (including a rogue and a dread necromancer), and later making a dragon chasing us (flying chase) do an aileron roll (commonly called a barrel roll) to really upset the tummy of the epic level drow priestess riding its back to ruin the spell she was about to cast at us.
    3.5 bards and 5e bards are different.
    3.5e bards were the only class that could make a god fail his saves, they were the a very big and strong buffers with great PRCs.

    5e bard are the I want to do everything class.
    The one who control the fight, the who heal and the one who kills.
    They scream versatile and buff the party up to 11.

    They are different, both good at what they do.

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