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Updated Pathfinder Bard Guide


Advice

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I started this thread for discussion of my updated Bard Guide. This was one of the few that hadn't been updated since Treantmonk did it and it was somewhat incomplete even then.

Any suggestions are more than welcome. I've only just started the Spells section (as you can likely tell) and I haven't quite gotten to equipment or Multiclassing, but the bulk of the work is there so I wanted to get it out for people to get a look at.

Hope you like it.

Pathfinder Bard Guide


Nice guide so far! I love the historical bits about the bard at the beginning- it really helps build a perspective of the class.

I'm really concerned about your stat array here. The bard is a partial caster with about half the spells per day as a sorcerer. This means that she needs to have something to do when she can't cast spells- which is more than half the time. I don't understand why you'd build a hybrid character with less than a 14 in an attack stat.

A stronger array for any bard would be to take a 14/15 in either strength or dexterity so that you can contribute with a weapon between castings. Only the super-specialized should ever truly focus on charisma. Charisma is necessary, but never more than 16 or so (before items).


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In general, I am not of fan of Treatmonk as he suggests Mix/Max builds. In general, I don;t think heroes should be drooling morons, fools, or social outcast. True, it's very hard to build a MAD class with only 15 pts and not put a 8 somewhere.

I am glad there's no "8" in your 25 pt build, but I think that the 20 pt buy would be better with a 10 in WIS and one less in Con, as there's no effect.

Otherwise, I have no issues. Nice work on the Archetypes.


Archaeologist needs updated it can disarm magic traps just like the rogue.


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DrDeth wrote:
In general, I am not of fan of Treatmonk as he suggests Mix/Max builds. In general, I don't think heroes should be drooling morons, fools, or social outcast.

I've never been a min/maxer, either. Starting your wizard with a 7 strength makes it hard to walk at low levels, before you can have magic to compensate. Ant Haul helps, but there goes a spell slot. So much for your 20 int.


Gnome, Half-Elf, and Half-Orc are all blue races for the bard.

Gnome: Boost to charisma and constitution, as well as small size to cancel out the penalty to strength. Gnome magic is an easy boost to illusion spells (something the bard specializes in). Eternal Hope is spectacular and replaces two traits you won't miss. Magical Linguist is a good replacement for Gnome Magic for the interested bard, and the favored class boost is great.

Half-Elf: Boost to charisma and medium size for weapon-types. Skill focus is nice for some builds, but is easily traded for a +2 will save, weapon proficiency (longbow, maybe?), or Sociable for the diplomatically inclined. Sociable is particularly nice for a bard. The favored class boost, like the gnome, is awesome. Feats allow for the human's Skilled bonus.

Half-Orc: Boost to charisma and medium size for weapon-types. Bards are excellent intimidators, and half-orcs are better. Free access to good weapons, and Orc Ferocity can be traded for some really great stuff. Sacred Tattoo is worth roughly a feat, and Toothy is particularly valuable to a class that can buff all attacks with inspire courage. As the gnome and half-elf, the favored class is great.

Taldor

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

What, no Dawnflower Dervish? Best archetype ever!


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Uh, Sound Striker is amazingly awesome. Weird Words absolutely can hit one enemy multiple times, which can deal a tremendous amount of damage. The only major downside is that it's a performance, so it stops your Inspire Courage.


I'd touch up the spelling and grammar a bit, too.

dependent, affect/effect, and apostrophes. I didn't read it all.

Not trying to be mean. It's a fine guide, and far prettier than mine.


I am going to second Sean's concern with your array. An 18 to charisma to start for a bard?

I think a 14 - 16 spread in Cha depending on what you build.

16 cha for a caster focus bard, 16 agility for an archery bard, 16 strength for the melee bard.

For the 20 point builds I would recommend get 4 abilities to 14, str, dex, con and cha than use the floater to put it to 16 depending on what you want to focus on as a bard.

With 25 point builds you can probably afford to start with two 16 or one 18 ability after racial.


This is pretty spectacular.

I noticed in the Archetypes, you had Dervish Dancer, but not Dawnflower Dervish. Any reason? I'd love to see a good comparison of the two.

Thanks for making the updated guide :)


I'd personally rate Aasimar higher if you're going for a buffing bard. The racial is unique in its ability to boost bard level for performance purposes. I would also suggest including the Master Performer and Grand Master Performer feats from the paizo faction guide. Those two boost your performance buffs to allies. Combine the two and you can have a bard throwing out ludicrous bonuses with inspire courage at relatively low levels.


I also can't believe you made Master Alchemist blue, but Lingering Performance (what I consider to the no-brainer first choice for just about every bard) is only Green.

Master Alchemist is of dubious use in general, never mind rating it so highly for a Bard.

And yeah, for stat arrays, I think taking Charisma as your highest stat is a poor choice in general. You absolutely can build around that, but there are definitely hurdles--you need something to do round to round early on when you don't have enough spells to cast every round. To that end, you probably want the Two-World Magic trait so you can get a damaging cantrip on your list. Yes, the damage on something like Acid Splash is a joke, but your weapon attacks will be, too, if you don't have at least a 16 in your Strength or Dexterity.

Starting from level 6, though, you can use Weird Words from Sound Striker to actually contribute damage to combat, on rounds when you're not buffing/controlling.

But yeah, Archer Bards and Dervishes should have Dex be their highest stat, while the rest probably want Strength.


mplindustries wrote:
Uh, Sound Striker is amazingly awesome. Weird Words absolutely can hit one enemy multiple times, which can deal a tremendous amount of damage.

Depends on GM's fiat - the description says "each sound affect[s] one target within 30 feet," which to me reads that each attack has to hit a different enemy. That's probably the RAI, too, given that using a round of Performance to inflict 10d8+40ish points of damage to a single target way, way outclasses any other use of Performance in the game (all at level 10, to boot!).


Someone said wrote:

Additionally, because you’re max spell level is only level 6, you don’t need to pump every available point into Charisma like a Sorcerer or other full spellcaster.

So Charisma is your main stat. It should be your highest stat at character creation and all of your ability bonuses should go into it.

Is is just me, or are you completely contradicting yourself here? You don't need that much charisma because your max spell level is 6, but you should put all your efforts into increasing it? What?


Some more detailed commments:

Regarding Inspire Greatness: You say it will stack with IC if another bard uses it, but you should note that only the hp boost will stack, the attack bonus will not. Which makes it not particularly useful.

Arcane Duelist: You rate it blue, and particularly praise the bladethirst ability. But I don't really see how bladethirst is ever going to beat Inspire Courage. The only fringe case I can see is to make a weapon Ghost Touch, otherwise I think you are almost universally better off with IC. Making bladethirst a pretty dead ability.

Archaeologist: I would argue Lingering Performance is way better than Extra Performance to increase your effective use of Luck each day.

Magician: I'm not sure Spell Supression is green. To have it do anything at all you need to have had it up for an obscene amount of rounds - rounds where you aren't using a more immediately useful performance, to boot. Contrarily, I would certainly rate Expanded Repertoire as blue as can be, it really is the main attraction of this archetype.

Sandman: Dramatic Subtext seems like an amazing ability to me. It's surely intended for out-of-combat, discreet spellcasting - and for that it excels. I think it's extremely useful to be able to cast Suggestion on the city guard without any bystanders realizing what's happening. You may also add that Stealspell is excellent for "borrowing" spells from casting allies.


Cataphor wrote:
mplindustries wrote:
Uh, Sound Striker is amazingly awesome. Weird Words absolutely can hit one enemy multiple times, which can deal a tremendous amount of damage.
Depends on GM's fiat - the description says "each sound affect[s] one target within 30 feet," which to me reads that each attack has to hit a different enemy. That's probably the RAI, too, given that using a round of Performance to inflict 10d8+40ish points of damage to a single target way, way outclasses any other use of Performance in the game (all at level 10, to boot!).

If you look at this thread here, you'll see that someone asked a similar question, citing that he believed the RAI was that each sound could only hit one character, several people FAQ'd it, and the developers felt no response was necessary (i.e. the self evident answer--that the words can all target the same guy--is true).

Further, SKR even answered an entirely different question later in the thread without bothering.

The power says, "each sound affects one target within 30 feet." That just means they're single target, not that they have to hit different targets.

The ability is awesome, but the power you give up for it (Suggestion, with a scaling DC) is also awesome and can end combats (usually more efficiently than with Weird Words). 10d8+10(Cha) is nice, but it requires both a hit roll and a save for half. It also stops your current bardic music because it's a new performance. There are drawbacks, but it's still worth it.


Dotted for future read!

@ Sean FitzSimon: See, I knew you were a bard fan *smirks*

Ruyan.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Weird Words is also not restricted to targeting creatures, meaning it can easily hit most objects (weapons? armor?) and as a SU ability it ignores DR and hardness.


Some comments:

1.) Lingering performance is _unquestionably_ blue, particularly given the utility of the various Finale songs.

2.) Agree with the previous comments about Arcane Duelist.
2a.) Bladethirst is not that great. You can only have one performance going (until 4th level spells), and that performance will be inspire courage.
2b.) Weapon Bond is blue. Not orange. Your weapon costs half-price, you can cast while holding it, and you get a free spell of any level per day. The only downside is that being disarmed is bad - get a locked gauntlet and be virtually immune.

3.) Half orcs are good. Take half-orcs vs. halflings. Half-orc stats are a bit better (+2 to any stat vs. +2 to charisma), medium size vs. small size is a toss-up, and they both get +1 to all saves (swap sacred tattoo for orc ferocity).

After that, half-orcs have free access to the best martial 2-hander (falchion), and 60 feet of darkvision vs. a halfling's bonuses.

At a minimum, they're even.

-Cross


Crosswind wrote:

Some comments:

1.) Lingering performance is _unquestionably_ blue, particularly given the utility of the various Finale songs.

2.) Agree with the previous comments about Arcane Duelist.
2a.) Bladethirst is not that great. You can only have one performance going (until 4th level spells), and that performance will be inspire courage.
2b.) Weapon Bond is blue. Not orange. Your weapon costs half-price, you can cast while holding it, and you get a free spell of any level per day. The only downside is that being disarmed is bad - get a locked gauntlet and be virtually immune.

3.) Half orcs are good. Take half-orcs vs. halflings. Half-orc stats are a bit better (+2 to any stat vs. +2 to charisma), medium size vs. small size is a toss-up, and they both get +1 to all saves (swap sacred tattoo for orc ferocity).

After that, half-orcs have free access to the best martial 2-hander (falchion), and 60 feet of darkvision vs. a halfling's bonuses.

At a minimum, they're even.

-Cross

Agree with most of your comments particularly on the Arcane Duelist.

Bladethirst is probably not a blue unless you have another party member providing inspire courage or it's equivalent, like maybe an evangelist or sensei.

Weapon bond is totally a blue, even a weapon cord will mean you are immune to disarm. It is also the only way to cast while wielding a two hand weapon.

Silver Crusade

Gignere wrote:

I am going to second Sean's concern with your array. An 18 to charisma to start for a bard?

There is one kind of bard that is very effective with a very high charisma and lowish other stats.

This is a "helpful bard". Almost certainly has the helpful halfling trait (its just amazing how many bards halflings adopt :-) :-)).

With a 20 pt stat array you can afford a starting Cha of 20 (an extra bonus Level 1 spell. Woot). When you're not casting spells or starting a performance as your standard action you're getting into combat, flanking and aiding another to hit. Maybe even using your whip for trip attacks. You have decent AC and hit points and don't tend to be the major target so this is pretty safe.

It works really well in a group with at least one heavy hitter for you to aid but is effective in most groups that do not contain another dedicated buffer/aider (in PFS, we once nearly had 2 helpful 1/2lings in the same group until I switched to my barbarian :-)).


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Sean FitzSimon wrote:

Nice guide so far! I love the historical bits about the bard at the beginning- it really helps build a perspective of the class.

I'm really concerned about your stat array here. The bard is a partial caster with about half the spells per day as a sorcerer. This means that she needs to have something to do when she can't cast spells- which is more than half the time. I don't understand why you'd build a hybrid character with less than a 14 in an attack stat.

A stronger array for any bard would be to take a 14/15 in either strength or dexterity so that you can contribute with a weapon between castings. Only the super-specialized should ever truly focus on charisma. Charisma is necessary, but never more than 16 or so (before items).

The array does have a 14 in Dex/Str and a 16 in Cha, so I'm not sure what the problem is?


Seems like a nice guide. Very extensive, as is your way. I've just skimmed, but a couple of things popped out immediately.

You have Human Spirit as a green. I find that surprising. I mean, it gives you 4 skill ranks. Just take Skill Focus. You get +3 immediately instead of a total of +4 spread over 4 levels, it eventually goes up to +6, can boost a skill over the rank limit, and it can serve as a prerequisite for things. I would call Human Spirit the reddest of reds, myself.

Likewise for Fast Learner. The feat is simply a worse version of Toughness, in that you don't get the large HP boost at level 1, can't choose +2 HP at a level, and can't choose the racial favored class option without losing all benefit. Its only use is as a pre-req for Improvisation, which you rightly have as red for a Bard. So seriously, there is no reason this should even be considered.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
DrDeth wrote:

In general, I am not of fan of Treatmonk as he suggests Mix/Max builds. In general, I don;t think heroes should be drooling morons, fools, or social outcast. True, it's very hard to build a MAD class with only 15 pts and not put a 8 somewhere.

I am glad there's no "8" in your 25 pt build, but I think that the 20 pt buy would be better with a 10 in WIS and one less in Con, as there's no effect.

Otherwise, I have no issues. Nice work on the Archetypes.

I agree, switched.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
tifton wrote:
Archaeologist needs updated it can disarm magic traps just like the rogue.

Where are you getting that? Archaeologist gets trap sense, trapfinding gives magical traps.


j b 200 wrote:
tifton wrote:
Archaeologist needs updated it can disarm magic traps just like the rogue.
Where are you getting that? Archaeologist gets trap sense, trapfinding gives magical traps.
Clever Explorer wrote:
At 2nd level, an archaeologist gains a bonus equal to half his class level on Disable Device and Perception checks. He can disable intricate and complex devices in half the normal amount of time (minimum 1 round) and open a lock as a standard action. At 6th level, an archaeologist can take 10 on Disable Device checks, even if distracted or endangered, and can disarm magical traps.

Clever Explorer (at 6th level, anyways) is categorically better than Trapfinding, whose bonus to Perception is only to find traps.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Sean FitzSimon wrote:
Gnome, Half-Elf, and Half-Orc are all blue races for the bard.

I agree with the Gnome. I put the Halves a step below since the the blues have a little more to offer than them. skill focus is nice, but humans now do it better. For the Orcs, they are good weapons, but to use them you also dump shields, which really helps to balance the bard. but they are a strong green


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
mplindustries wrote:
Uh, Sound Striker is amazingly awesome. Weird Words absolutely can hit one enemy multiple times, which can deal a tremendous amount of damage. The only major downside is that it's a performance, so it stops your Inspire Courage.

the wording for Weird words is ambiguous, but getting an ok blast isn't worth loosing suggestion and mass suggestion.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
mplindustries wrote:

I also can't believe you made Master Alchemist blue, but Lingering Performance (what I consider to the no-brainer first choice for just about every bard) is only Green.

Master Alchemist is of dubious use in general, never mind rating it so highly for a Bard.

And yeah, for stat arrays, I think taking Charisma as your highest stat is a poor choice in general. You absolutely can build around that, but there are definitely hurdles--you need something to do round to round early on when you don't have enough spells to cast every round. To that end, you probably want the Two-World Magic trait so you can get a damaging cantrip on your list. Yes, the damage on something like Acid Splash is a joke, but your weapon attacks will be, too, if you don't have at least a 16 in your Strength or Dexterity.

Starting from level 6, though, you can use Weird Words from Sound Striker to actually contribute damage to combat, on rounds when you're not buffing/controlling.

But yeah, Archer Bards and Dervishes should have Dex be their highest stat, while the rest probably want Strength.

The blue Master Alk is a hold over from my ninja guide, I used the framework for building this one and I may have missed the occasional issue. I agree w/ lingering.

I have Cha as the highest because many of your abilities are dependent on Cha. many of your spells allow saves, and they are heavily SOS, so a passed save makes it a waste. Also performance is based on Cha, both the bonus and the number of times per day and the save if any. The stat array is before racial bonuses, I added a line saying that I assume that you will likely adjust this depending on Racials.


j b 200 wrote:
I have Cha as the highest because many of your abilities are dependent on Cha. many of your spells allow saves, and they are heavily SOS, so a passed save makes it a waste. Also performance is based on Cha, both the bonus and the number of times per day and the save if any. The stat array is before racial bonuses, I added a line saying that I assume that you will likely adjust this depending on Racials.

For many Bards, these Charisma based things are actually really minor concerns. There are plenty of buffs/utility spells, such that you can ignore the SoS (mostly Enchantment) stuff from the list. Performance is technically based on Charisma, but it is seriously minor. A round or two extra stops being relevant quickly given the natural +2 rounds/level, and most of the popular performances don't have saves. For anyone building a combat Bard, you can safely start with a 12-13 Charisma. Unless you are going caster-Bard, 16 before Racial Bonus seems excessive.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Crosswind wrote:

Some comments:

1.) Lingering performance is _unquestionably_ blue, particularly given the utility of the various Finale songs.

2.) Agree with the previous comments about Arcane Duelist.
2a.) Bladethirst is not that great. You can only have one performance going (until 4th level spells), and that performance will be inspire courage.
2b.) Weapon Bond is blue. Not orange. Your weapon costs half-price, you can cast while holding it, and you get a free spell of any level per day. The only downside is that being disarmed is bad - get a locked gauntlet and be virtually immune.

3.) Half orcs are good. Take half-orcs vs. halflings. Half-orc stats are a bit better (+2 to any stat vs. +2 to charisma), medium size vs. small size is a toss-up, and they both get +1 to all saves (swap sacred tattoo for orc ferocity).

After that, half-orcs have free access to the best martial 2-hander (falchion), and 60 feet of darkvision vs. a halfling's bonuses.

At a minimum, they're even.

-Cross

I like the flexibility of bladethirst, I think I missed that it was a performance. It will outpace courage at level 12, so I will drop it to green. Weapon bond is orange because of all the good thing associated with it. If you are disarmed or it is stolen or taken from you for any reason, you lose access to all spells for a week and at a significant cost.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mort the Cleverly Named wrote:

Seems like a nice guide. Very extensive, as is your way. I've just skimmed, but a couple of things popped out immediately.

You have Human Spirit as a green. I find that surprising. I mean, it gives you 4 skill ranks. Just take Skill Focus. You get +3 immediately instead of a total of +4 spread over 4 levels, it eventually goes up to +6, can boost a skill over the rank limit, and it can serve as a prerequisite for things. I would call Human Spirit the reddest of reds, myself.

Likewise for Fast Learner. The feat is simply a worse version of Toughness, in that you don't get the large HP boost at level 1, can't choose +2 HP at a level, and can't choose the racial favored class option without losing all benefit. Its only use is as a pre-req for Improvisation, which you rightly have as red for a Bard. So seriously, there is no reason this should even be considered.

I agree with Human Spirit, I probably just missed the second line. It drops to orange, only being useful if you want to put 4 in 4 spots instead of 6 in one.

Fast learner is green b/c my reading is that you can take +1 skill point and the favored class racial option. It also stacks with Toughness.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Killstring wrote:

This is pretty spectacular.

I noticed in the Archetypes, you had Dervish Dancer, but not Dawnflower Dervish. Any reason? I'd love to see a good comparison of the two.

Thanks for making the updated guide :)

I made a conscious decision to not include any non-core material. As I said in the intro: 1) non-core books will have limited usefulness for many players, 2) the guide is already 30+ pages long before doing any spells and adding every option would bloat it beyond any manageable level.


j b 200 wrote:
the wording for Weird words is ambiguous, but getting an ok blast isn't worth loosing suggestion and mass suggestion.

Whether or not it is ambiguously worded doesn't change developer clarification. It can hit the same guy. And the damage is not "ok," it is tremendous, assuming you buffed Charisma. Starting with an 18, getting 20 via leveling, and getting a +2 item, you're dealing up to 10d8+60 (avg. 105) with Weird Words. Yes, it will probably be less than that due to errant attacks (even though they are touch attacks) and a few good save rolls (The DC will be 21 after all), but even half of that (57.5) would be considered a decent round.

j b 200 wrote:
I have Cha as the highest because many of your abilities are dependent on Cha. many of your spells allow saves, and they are heavily SOS, so a passed save makes it a waste.

Many, many bards go their entire 20 levels without taking a single spell that requires a good Save DC. Buffs don't need them at all, most illusions only allow a save if the enemy is suspicious and interacts with it, Grease still screws people up even if they make the save (not to mention it's other utilitarian uses). Sure, you won't be throwing Charms and Confusions, but not all bards need to.

j b 200 wrote:
Also performance is based on Cha, both the bonus and the number of times per day and the save if any.

A few points there is fair inconsequential--Inspire Courage is going to be the music of choice for 90% of bards, and that doesn't care about your Charisma whatsoever. Further, while high Charisma helps your rounds per day at level 1, it stops mattering even around level 5. Lingering Performance (I'm glad you agree) adds way more on that front than another 2 points of Charisma does).

j b 200 wrote:
The stat array is before racial bonuses, I added a line saying that I assume that you will likely adjust this depending on Racials.

It doesn't matter that it's before racials. If you are a Dervish (either one) or an Archer, your main stat is Dex, not Charisma. Charisma is your second stat. You only ever need a 16 total to be at full effectiveness.

If you are some other kind of melee bard (Arcane Duelist, for example), your main stat is Strength. Charisma is, again, second. You use a big two-handed weapon, power attack, inspire courage, and go to town (yeah, you get more AC from a Shield, but you get so much more damage from a two-hander).

The thing is, during the course of a normal game, there will be vastly more rounds in which you're not casting a spell or using all your actions performing than rounds in which you do those things. You need something useful to do during all those other rounds, and most bards choose fighting (melee, archery, dervishing, even whip maneuvers, whatever) and all of those require Str or Dex. Since there are vastly more rounds in which you need Str or Dex, it only makes sense that you'll want them higher than Charisma.

There is one kind of bard that does take Charisma as high as possible. Those are the kinds of bards I like making most, actually. But there are all kinds of hurdles to deal with. You almost have to be a Sound Striker so you always have something useful to do, because your weapon use will be ineffective at best (oh, you can deal like 1d6+2 or something--whoop-de-doo). And the first 6 levels are a serious challenge--you'll be Aiding Another a lot, throwing splash weapons, and feebling using your Shortbow/Longspear while 1d6 damage is still useful. The only saving grace there is that early, your bardic music takes your standard action to start, so even though you have fewer options (spells), you also have fewer actions.

When you write a general bard guide, though, you have to take into account all sorts of bards, not just the one.


I have to agree on Sound Striker, it just takes a little time to warm up.


j b 200 wrote:


I like the flexibility of bladethirst, I think I missed that it was a performance. It will outpace courage at level 12, so I will drop it to green. Weapon bond is orange because of all the good thing associated with it. If you are disarmed or it is stolen or taken from you for any reason, you lose access to all spells for a week and at a significant cost.

Wait, let's be clear here: At level 12, Bladethirst gives +3/+3, and so does Inspire Courage. At level 15, Bladethirst "outpaces" Inspire courage, if by "outpaces" we mean "Gives an additional +1/+1 while ONLY AFFECTING ONE MEMBER OF THE PARTY".

So, there is almost no reason to use it for 14/20 levels, and _mostly_ not reason to use it for the next 6. So Bladethirst is pretty much trash.

On the other hand, we have Arcane Bond. It is a half-price magic weapon that you can make yourself, which gives you an extra spell per day _and lets you cast with a weapon in hand_. Those bonuses are worth about 3 feats. Meanwhile, the downside is virtually nonexistent. This is like rating a wizard an orange class because the DM can steal your spellbook.

It's your guide - you're obviously welcome to rate things however you want. But the utility of the guide will be somewhat limited if the absolute best abilities of a class (Arcane Bond for duelist) are rated poorly.

-Cross


*shakes fist* Damn you, RuyanVe!

Mplindustries summed it all up very well. I think the biggest issue I'm having with this guide is that its written from the singular perspective of "caster bard" being the only viable choice for the class. I've always seen it as a wildly diverse class capable of going in many directions.

Honestly I can't think of a single class that you could narrow down to just one stat array. Every single class in the game has at least two different approaches to develop from.

I think the guide would benefit a lot more from this widened perspective. Step back from the whole thing and think of 2-4 different roles the bard can fill in a party. It's obvious that they're supposed to- look at all the archetypes. Then with those roles try to decide what the most effective way to build those is and write from there.

As it stands this is not a bard guide, it's a caster bard guide. And I think that's a disservice to the class. If you wanted to keep going from where you are I'd recommend laying this out at the start of the guide, and perhaps changing the title/subtitle to include this fact. I started reading it thinking it would explore all the options, and yeah, that's where most of my conflict comes from.


DrDeth wrote:

In general, I am not of fan of Treatmonk as he suggests Mix/Max builds. In general, I don;t think heroes should be drooling morons, fools, or social outcast. True, it's very hard to build a MAD class with only 15 pts and not put a 8 somewhere.

I am glad there's no "8" in your 25 pt build, but I think that the 20 pt buy would be better with a 10 in WIS and one less in Con, as there's no effect.

Otherwise, I have no issues. Nice work on the Archetypes.

An 8 in INT is not a drooling imbicil. You do realize that (assuming equal stat distribution across the planet) 1/6th of the population has an 8 in INT right?


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Jodokai wrote:
DrDeth wrote:

In general, I am not of fan of Treatmonk as he suggests Mix/Max builds. In general, I don;t think heroes should be drooling morons, fools, or social outcast. True, it's very hard to build a MAD class with only 15 pts and not put a 8 somewhere.

I am glad there's no "8" in your 25 pt build, but I think that the 20 pt buy would be better with a 10 in WIS and one less in Con, as there's no effect.

Otherwise, I have no issues. Nice work on the Archetypes.

An 8 in INT is not a drooling imbicil. You do realize that (assuming equal stat distribution across the planet) 1/6th of the population has an 8 in INT right?

Which explains the popularity of shows like 'Duck Dynasty' and 'Here Comes Honey Boo Boo'.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Sean FitzSimon wrote:

*shakes fist* Damn you, RuyanVe!

Mplindustries summed it all up very well. I think the biggest issue I'm having with this guide is that its written from the singular perspective of "caster bard" being the only viable choice for the class. I've always seen it as a wildly diverse class capable of going in many directions.

Honestly I can't think of a single class that you could narrow down to just one stat array. Every single class in the game has at least two different approaches to develop from.

I think the guide would benefit a lot more from this widened perspective. Step back from the whole thing and think of 2-4 different roles the bard can fill in a party. It's obvious that they're supposed to- look at all the archetypes. Then with those roles try to decide what the most effective way to build those is and write from there.

As it stands this is not a bard guide, it's a caster bard guide. And I think that's a disservice to the class. If you wanted to keep going from where you are I'd recommend laying this out at the start of the guide, and perhaps changing the title/subtitle to include this fact. I started reading it thinking it would explore all the options, and yeah, that's where most of my conflict comes from.

Added expanded section on ability scores with sections on Str and Dex builds. It will take some time to make changes to the feats section to reflect new additions.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Crosswind wrote:

Wait, let's be clear here: At level 12, Bladethirst gives +3/+3, and so does Inspire Courage. At level 15, Bladethirst "outpaces" Inspire courage, if by "outpaces" we mean "Gives an additional +1/+1 while ONLY AFFECTING ONE MEMBER OF THE PARTY".

So, there is almost no reason to use it for 14/20 levels, and _mostly_ not reason to use it for the next 6. So Bladethirst is pretty much trash.

On the other hand, we have Arcane Bond. It is a half-price magic weapon that you can make yourself, which gives you an extra spell per day _and lets you cast with a weapon in hand_. Those bonuses are worth about 3 feats. Meanwhile, the downside is virtually nonexistent. This is like rating a wizard an orange class because the DM can steal your spellbook.

It's your guide - you're obviously welcome to rate things however you want. But the utility of the guide will be somewhat limited if the absolute best abilities of a class (Arcane Bond for duelist) are rated poorly.

-Cross

Changed Bladethirst to orange, since inspire courage is better. I put bond up to green.


I would rate skill focus as blue for a bard. Take it for a perform skill you have tagged with versatile performance and you effectively get skill focus for three skills with one feat.

Its defintely yellow for other classes though.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I cannot imagine Sound Striker staying in its current state after the next printing of UM. It has a lot of issues no matter which way you look at the "one or multiple targets" issue.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
mplindustries wrote:
Cataphor wrote:
mplindustries wrote:
Uh, Sound Striker is amazingly awesome. Weird Words absolutely can hit one enemy multiple times, which can deal a tremendous amount of damage.
Depends on GM's fiat - the description says "each sound affect[s] one target within 30 feet," which to me reads that each attack has to hit a different enemy. That's probably the RAI, too, given that using a round of Performance to inflict 10d8+40ish points of damage to a single target way, way outclasses any other use of Performance in the game (all at level 10, to boot!).

If you look at this thread here, you'll see that someone asked a similar question, citing that he believed the RAI was that each sound could only hit one character, several people FAQ'd it, and the developers felt no response was necessary (i.e. the self evident answer--that the words can all target the same guy--is true).

No Reply Required is not so clear here. I still think they can be focus-fired, but not because of No Reply Required. They use that just as often for "you're wrong."


Jodokai wrote:
DrDeth wrote:

In general, I am not of fan of Treatmonk as he suggests Mix/Max builds. In general, I don;t think heroes should be drooling morons, fools, or social outcast. True, it's very hard to build a MAD class with only 15 pts and not put a 8 somewhere.

I am glad there's no "8" in your 25 pt build, but I think that the 20 pt buy would be better with a 10 in WIS and one less in Con, as there's no effect.

Otherwise, I have no issues. Nice work on the Archetypes.

An 8 in INT is not a drooling imbicil. You do realize that (assuming equal stat distribution across the planet) 1/6th of the population has an 8 in INT right?

An 8 is marginal. TM regularly suggests a 7, which (using std rules) only occurs in races with a stat minus.


For a more combat oriented human bard, I usually end up (using 25 point buy):

Melee:
Str 16 (+2)
Dex 12
Con 14
Int 10
Wis 8
Cha 16

Ranged:
Str 12
Dex 16 (+2)
Con 12
Int 13
Wis 8
Cha 16

Ruyan.

Grand Lodge

Great Stuff.... Keep working with it and dont be afraid to steal from Treatmonks Guide


Evil Dave wrote:
Jodokai wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
I am glad there's no "8" in your 25 pt build, but I think that the 20 pt buy would be better with a 10 in WIS and one less in Con, as there's no effect.
An 8 in INT is not a drooling imbicil. You do realize that (assuming equal stat distribution across the planet) 1/6th of the population has an 8 in INT right?
Which explains the popularity of shows like 'Duck Dynasty' and 'Here Comes Honey Boo Boo'.

Along with Teen Mom and Jersey Shore

=========================================================================== =========================================================
That being Said:

j b 200 wrote:
the wording for Weird words is ambiguous, but getting an ok blast isn't worth loosing suggestion and mass suggestion.

I dont have my books but the SRD does NOT have it replacing Mass suggestion.

j b 200 wrote:
I agree with Human Spirit, I probably just missed the second line. It drops to orange, only being useful if you want to put 4 in 4 spots instead of 6 in one.

You can expand here that by taking this you can uses these 4 skill points in Knowledge skills to activate your class bonus. Thats a +16 over 4 levels


RuyanVe wrote:

For a more combat oriented human bard, I usually end up (using 25 point buy):

Melee:
Str 16 (+2)
Dex 12
Con 14
Int 10
Wis 8
Cha 16

Ranged:
Str 12
Dex 16 (+2)
Con 12
Int 13
Wis 8
Cha 16

Ruyan.

For melee bards I like to use the longspear + combat reflexes and fight with reach. To me d8 for hps is still a little low even with a shield and light armor to constantly stay in the front lines.

Although a bard can't use armor spikes, they are proficient with the cestus. So if the mobs get adjacent to you, you can punch them in the face.

This is also why I think half elves make a great race for bards, EWP fauchard is just too good.

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