Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

PaizoCon 2014!

The non-combat Bard...


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion


I have a group of four whom I build the characters for and we've recently added a fifth member, a female, who really liked the idea of playing a character inspired by Inara Serra of Firefly fame. Our group's current composition is made up of some pretty heavily optimized combat-oriented characters who were light on healing, had no 'face' to speak of, no real skill monkey and no one with control or enchantment-type magic. They got by well-enough, but there was a definite niche to fill. After some discussion we decided on the Geisha archetype for Bards. There was some serious consideration of the Lotus Geisha instead, and I got some great advice on the Advice boards when I brought up the character concept, but after everything we knew what we wanted to do.

The existing group (as the builds are intended to evolve):

Half-Orc Oath of Vengeance Paladin 11/Draconic Sorcerer 1/Dragon Disciple 8
Halfling Master Summoner 20 with an Eidolon tricked out as the party rogue
Elven Cross-Blooded Sorcerer 1/Admixture Evocationist 19
Human Fighter 1/Transmuter 5/Arcane Archer 4/Eldritch Knight 10

To that we'll be adding her:

Human Bard (Geisha) 18/Paladin 2

I guess the main point of this post is the bias in much of the advice I got when putting the Bard together which suggested that they simply weren't viable without combat options. Be an Archer, weild a whip or a net or both and so on... but this character is being deliberately built to be almost useless in melee or ranged combat, and the early returns suggest that she will be very, very effective.

Some of the concerns were that she would not have enough spells to be an every round caster, which is true to a point though the ability to scribe Scrolls should help with that to a degree. Other options like Pearls of Power and Wands exist as well but the truth is that our combats rarely last more than a few rounds. On the other hands, the group now has its healer, and many of the enchantment spells the character has taken last days or more - she offers a way to deal with foes that can not simply be beaten down. A well-played Enchanter is woefully under-rated when it comes to effectiveness it seems.

Anyway, just wanted to chat about my newest venture and how much fun I've had playing with the Bard class, one of few that I have never fully explored until now.

Human Bard (Geisha) 18 / Paladin 2 (8th and 9th levels)

Attributes: (25 point buy)
Str 8
Dex 14
Con 14
Int 10
Wis 10
Cha 18 (+2 racial bonus, +1 at 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th and 20th level)

Traits:
Magical Knack
Reactionary

Feats:
1st - Scribe Scroll
1st - Improved Unarmed Strike
1st - Skill Focus: Perform (Sing)
3rd - Lingering Performance
5th - Snake Style
7th - Spell Focus: Enchantment
9th - Greater Spell Focus: Enchantment
11th - Discordant Voice
13th - Spell Penetration
15th - Greater Spell Penetration
17th - Quicken Spell
19th - Improved Initiative

The Human alternative class trait for Bards is to be used at levels 1st, 4th, 7th, 12th, 15th and 18th to gain an additional known spell of each level when it is first available.

Snake Style is a superb take for this character. She already will have massively high saves and fully intends to stay out of combat as much as possible - when circumstances dictate, she'll be able to duck one attack a round, including touch attacks with near absolute certainty as her boosted Perform skill will be able to stand in for Sense Motive.

Not having to buy armor or weapons means that she'll be able to invest in pearls and a circlet early on, and with such a high Charisma her spells shoud be difficult to resist.


Starting level? There's nothing worse than playing an "immature build".


Why the levels of paladin? Mostly for the boost in saves?


Quick note: You mention Pearls of Power, but they aren't an option for you. They only work for prepared casters.


Rasmus Wagner wrote:
Starting level? There's nothing worse than playing an "immature build".

She'll be joining the party at 6th level. Early indications are that the build will really 'mature' at 7th and then again around 11th.

Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
Why the levels of paladin? Mostly for the boost in saves?

Mostly. She does like the idea of her role being almost spiritual in nature and the concept of fighting evil without the traditional sword and board in hand. The ability to Detect Evil strongly appealed to her. Of course she also liked the idea of being nearly impossible to pin down - that high Charisma is too appealing to not take full advantage of.

Mort the Cleverly Named wrote:
Quick note: You mention Pearls of Power, but they aren't an option for you. They only work for prepared casters.

You're absolutely correct. Chalk that oversight up to my inexperience with Bards.


there is a version of the pearl of power for spontaneous casters, but i cannot remember what they are called...runestones maybe


Runestone of Power. They're in the PFS Field Guide, and cost twice what a Pearl costs.


You're going to need to figure out what kind of game you and your players want. It seems to me that your existing players don't want much non-initiative time in the game.

Bringing in this character is going to cause all sorts of problems. Either you increase the non-initiative time which will make the other players unhappy or you don't which will make this player unhappy.

Its better that you nip this problem in the bud, NOW. Get all the existing players together and tell them about your concerns and about the fact that you are considering increasing non initiative time in the game. Get their feedback. THEN decide whether this character is viable.

It is not your job to make every possible character concept viable in your game. It is your job to be clear about the kind of game you want to play.

Andoran

It's not a bad build per se. In fact, it's quite a good one for various reasons, IMO, but just as a thought exercise...

By ditching Geisha and with Wis 8, Dex 12 and a Cha of 18 instead of 20, she could easily have Str 16 and (by ditching the Snake Style) Power Attack and Arcane Strike, and be a solid melee combatant on top of everything she does right now for the loss of only -1 to Will and Reflex Saves (meaningless after the Paladin dip), -1 AC, and that immunity to one attack per round (which, I think, would both be effectively compensated for by the ability to wear armor and some investment therein).

That wouldn't have quite the social skill mods the character has now...but with a +16, is +20 really a must-have? The existing build is also really screwed if an enemy actually ever focuses on her which, logically, someone's gonna do eventually.

If the player's having fun and is effective, that's great, character build success...but a character can be basically as effective an enchanter and good at melee combat as well, if they wish.

I think that's basically where people are coming from with the 'not a good build' stuff. It's not bad, but it does have weaknesses, and might well not be enjoyed by many players. It might also be a real problem in a group that was lower on offensive damage output than yours apparently is.


Darkwing Duck wrote:

You're going to need to figure out what kind of game you and your players want. It seems to me that your existing players don't want much non-initiative time in the game.

Bringing in this character is going to cause all sorts of problems. Either you increase the non-initiative time which will make the other players unhappy or you don't which will make this player unhappy.

Its better that you nip this problem in the bud, NOW. Get all the existing players together and tell them about your concerns and about the fact that you are considering increasing non initiative time in the game. Get their feedback. THEN decide whether this character is viable.

It is not your job to make every possible character concept viable in your game. It is your job to be clear about the kind of game you want to play.

I may have given an incorrect impression - the characters are role-players first - they like challenging encounters and enjoy playing effective characters, which is why they leave most of the character building to me ... they are all excited about bringing in a new character who gives them a lot of what they need and none of what they don't. I personally don't have the slightest concerns about the character's viability nor how well she will fit into the group dynamic as it exists.

The only people who have seemed to have problems with the build/concept are those on the boards who feel like a Bard who doesn't contribute directly in combat isn't pulling their weight. I wanted to throw this particular build up here as an example of how effective a Bard can be at the things they're really good at when they aren't trying to spread themselves too thin. The last thing this group needs is the Bard pew-pew-pewing and drawing unneeded heat when they are going to be relying on her for healing, buffing, lock-down control and out-of-combat situations.

I should probably post the spell list, because without it its difficult to get a good idea of what kind of Bard you're building... but safe to say at every level she has one healing spell, at least one enchantment/control type spell and at least one solid buff to choose from. The Human's favored class trait for Bards is a really good one in my opinion.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
I think that's basically where people are coming from with the 'not a good build' stuff. It's not bad, but it does have weaknesses, and might well not be enjoyed by many players. It might also be a real problem in a group that was lower on offensive damage output than yours apparently is.

I totally get this, looking at a character from a 'how independently survvable character is this' perspective rather than how well she'll fit on a team. I have to say, Inspire Courage + Discordant Voice alone will have her responsible for as much damage as any other party member and that's pretty much just from a free action. Nothing better than watching her power up the Master Summoner's hordes... unless its locking down a Purple Word with a Hold Monster spell while the rest of an injured and otherwise out-manned party flees to safety or hacks it to pieces.

Really surprised - and disappointed - that Feeblemind isn't on the Bard's spell list, incidentally.


UMD is your friend and ally, especially with such a high CHA.


I would suggest the Sacred Shield archetype for the Paladin levels. While it risk bringing the heat down on the character, she just doesn't sound like someone who Smites.


For a Bard/Paladin support char I'd always think about the holy tactician. But he needs 3 levels to really come together as a supporter.

For every support PC with Cha 13+ I'd take a look at the flagbearer feat.
Sure it doesn't stack with inspire courage because it's both moral bonus but it doesn't use up actions and might stack with some other stuff the bard can do instead of inspire courage.


HaraldKlak wrote:
I would suggest the Sacred Shield archetype for the Paladin levels. While it risk bringing the heat down on the character, she just doesn't sound like someone who Smites.

I was originally trying to work in Protector's Strike, but your suggestion is a much better one. I only get 1 Smite a day but talk about the ideal way to support the party against the BBEG.


Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
UMD is your friend and ally, especially with such a high CHA.

Yeah, definitely not opposed to slinging a wand of Scorching Ray around if the situation warrants it.

Silver Crusade

I would be very interested in hearing how this goes, because I was considering a somewhat similar concept. Not quite Inara from Firefly, but a lightly armed/unarmored traveling performer sort who is not a direct combatant. Would help the party with cures, control spells, etc. but isn't all that great in directly hitting the target.

Please let me know if her build ends up working out; it would be very encouraging.


Umbranus wrote:

For every support PC with Cha 13+ I'd take a look at the flagbearer feat.

Sure it doesn't stack with inspire courage because it's both moral bonus...

Partly correct. :)

Inspire Courage wrote:
...An affected ally receives a +1 morale bonus on saving throws against charm and fear effects and a +1 competence bonus on attack and weapon damage rolls.


MacFetus wrote:
Umbranus wrote:

For every support PC with Cha 13+ I'd take a look at the flagbearer feat.

Sure it doesn't stack with inspire courage because it's both moral bonus...

Partly correct. :)

Inspire Courage wrote:
...An affected ally receives a +1 morale bonus on saving throws against charm and fear effects and a +1 competence bonus on attack and weapon damage rolls.

That makes flagbearer even viable for bards :)

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder RPG / General Discussion / The non-combat Bard... All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.