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The guide to the buffer bard!


Advice

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Hello travellers! I've never posted on the messageboard but I'm lurking here for some years. From my experience in a Rappan Athuk campaign I decided to write a guide focused on buffs a bard can provide his party. I hope you like it.

the guide!

Grand Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

One thing to note, while the Master Performer feats are found in the Faction guide they are not actually PFS legal. Make sure you check the additional resources page at paizo for what is allowed from the books.

Lingering performance is a great feat but using the finale spells is exactly why you want it, so that when you do end your performance the bonuses keep going til you can start them up again on your turn.

Freebooter Ranger btw is a great 1 level dip to help with Fort saves, and the move action mark a target for an extra +1 to hit/damage that stacks with everything.

Retraining Rules in Ultimate Campaign can let you retrain your 9th level feat at 10 into discordant voice, which imho is so worth it.

Good guide btw, I am definitely going to come back to it while working on my buff bard.


I'm reading it right now! Very interested in this role for the party, thanks for writing it


Not to sound like a douche but isn't that the whole point of the bard? And isn't the core bard already fully equipped to do that without anything else? I'm not sure i understand.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Very informative.

We had a 'buff bard' serve as our captain in Skull n Shackles all the way through. After witnessing it firsthand for almost a year, a few thoughts come to mind:

You're very quick to dismiss healing as effective or important. I'd like to make the point that there is a difference between combat healing (rarely the best use of an action) and between combat healing which basically makes Pathfinder go. As such, as part of a Human Bards expanded spell list, one should have almost every Cure spell available... and for a non damaging Bard the achievement feat Healers Touch should be very seriously considered.

Discussing gear is an important part of any guide, but I always caution players from building characters that are going to be dependent on specific gear unless they know for a fact that gear will be available. I think that Flag Bearer can be a good feat, but it offers a morale bonus which overlaps (doesn't stack) with one of the Bard's signature spells Good Hope. Its not necessarily ideal for action economy, but you can save yourself a feat and a fair bit of coin (to buy something that may or may not be available) if you go another way.

Perhaps more than any other class, I find Bards often benefit from a dip in other classes. Two levels of Lore Warden will gain you very valuable feats early for instance, and a one level dip in Summoner grants access to one of the best scouts in the game.

Buff Bards do not need to be utterly incapable of dealing damage to still be effective in their roles.

There are some other excellent archetypes for this role that you don't touch on, such as the Lotus Geisha.


I'd mention Pageant of the Peacock masterpiece as a must have; it pretty much obsoletes your advice of pumping Intelligence as it lets you use Bluff in place of any intelligence based check.


@Taenia: I will correct the guide, thank you for the imput. I will also add advice about freebooter ranger (I should add a chapter about dips) and about retraining feats.
I do not like to take lingering performance because I prefer using harmonizing armor enchant, so I can use the feat slot for something else, this bard is a little feat starved at the beginning of the game :P.

@Wiggz: First thank you for the imput!
-Healing; I really dislike healing durign combat, and I think out of combat healing should be provided by CLW.
-Gear; While flagbearer and banner of the ancient kings are very important for the build, the buffer bard can live whitout them thanks to good hope (buy a wand!) and heroism.
-Dips; i will add a section about dips ;)
-Damage; I do not feel dealing damage is Buffer's role, but with some archetypes this can be achieved.
-Lotus Geisha; I did not write about lotus gheisha because I do not like them, I found Enrapturing Performance not very useful.

@Chaos effect: Thank you for your advice!
You should note that Pageant of the Peacock needs a standard action to be performed, preventing you to cast a spell in the same round; I do not feel like dumping INT, please note that high int give you more skill point, not just better knowledge, and that Bardic Knowledge gives a high bonus to your skills. However, it's a very good masterpiece, I will add it in the guide and I will update the ability score section accordingly.


Great guide.

I believe that you should also mention the Chelish Diva at the archetype section. It is one of the best archetypes that every bard should consider. It allows you to increase the DCs of your performances, cast in heavy armor and has a no-save single target fear bardic performance. It might not give buffing power, but the seer amound of benefits that come with the archetype compliment nicely a bard focusing on supporting its allies.


XMorsX wrote:

Great guide.

I believe that you should also mention the Chelish Diva at the archetype section. It is one of the best archetypes that every bard should consider. It allows you to increase the DCs of your performances, cast in heavy armor and has a no-save single target fear bardic performance. It might not give buffing power, but the seer amound of benefits that come with the archetype compliment nicely a bard focusing on supporting its allies.

You are right, I will add this archetype to my guide. It loses well versed and bonuses to knowledges but the possiblity to control the battlefield indefinitely through Scathing Tirade is really a strong choice.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Another good masterpiece is symphony of the elysium heart, group freedom of movement is pretty strong in the right setting and easily worth the feat or 3rd level spell known.


Very nice guide. Couple things.

1.) Blistering Invective is worth your time. Guaranteed standard action to turn almost all your enemies shaken for a round or two (that intimidate check is facile to make), and do a bit of damage.

2.) I think your 3rd level spell list is a bit questionable. Specifically, you're missing out on:

2a.) Glibness, a spell so good it's almost broken. Auto-success on a bluff check is just ridiculous. Can't emphasize this enough.

2b.) Symphony of the Elysian heart pretty much negates the need for mass featherstep, because you can freedom of movement everybody on the cheap.

2c.) Sculpt Sound is a really excellent utility spell that no bard should be without.

-Cross


Fiznab wrote:
XMorsX wrote:

Great guide.

I believe that you should also mention the Chelish Diva at the archetype section. It is one of the best archetypes that every bard should consider. It allows you to increase the DCs of your performances, cast in heavy armor and has a no-save single target fear bardic performance. It might not give buffing power, but the seer amound of benefits that come with the archetype compliment nicely a bard focusing on supporting its allies.

You are right, I will add this archetype to my guide. It loses well versed and bonuses to knowledges but the possiblity to control the battlefield indefinitely through Scathing Tirade is really a strong choice.

Well versed is very situational anyway. Lore Master is a good ability, but as you say the archetype more than makes up for that loss. It is on of the rare archetypes that are close to a "straight" upgrade to the vanilla bard instead of specializing him or just giving him different flavor.


I think you dramatically underestimate the importance of combat.

Even if you never swing a weapon you shouldn't be squishy.

Int is unimportant. 12 should be more than enough on a human. Int is a non-combat stat and you're already good enough at that. Invest in not dieing. Dead bards can't buff. This is supposed to be a buffer guide, not a squishy useless skill monkey guide.

Don't dump strength. You need it to wear armor. Armor helps you not die. Dead bards can't buff.

Review all the core and notable hardcover spells. A guide that only points to one character build isn't a real guide. Spells are the heart of building a spontaneous caster and you're not covering them.

Always have something useful to do that doesn't consume resources. Taking exotic weapon proficiency and carrying a bunch of nets is one of the easiest, but watch your carrying capacity and don't dump strength.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, nothing bad with a Kitsune Lotus Geisha Bard.
You loose some, but gain some other.
Kitsune realistic Likeness is one of the most fun roleplaying feats, combine with disguise self.
Kitsune magic helps with enchantments and Lotus Geisha too.
Crank out that nice enchantment controll spells.

If you are good and mean, Peacemaker feat and Mediator trait prohibit any combat with calm emotions or take out individual foes for a while.

Enrapturing Performance is more specific, but it´s a nice solo/one person buff or DC raiser.

Only sad thing is the loss of exotic weapon proficiency whip, which is not replaced by something worthwhile. Fighting fans and sai look awesome, but Lotus Geisha are probably not melee bards.


First of all thank you for the nice advices!

@Taenia: you are absolutely right, FoM for all your party is too good to be missed. This masterpiece will be added.

@Crosswind:
-Blistering invective is ok, I can add it to the guide, and i will suggest to swap it with other spells when you can use dirge of doom together with inspire courage. Problem is that level 2 spell choices are very tights.
-Gilbness is really a Broken spell, but it purpose is different from the one of the buffer bard.
-Same here for sculpt sound

@Atarlost:
-Combat: I'm not sure what you are saying. If the problem is low CON iI suggested to buy +6 CON belt. If you we're talking about AC I feel that it is te less effective layer of protection you can have. I rated high mirror image for a purpose. Also, a Flying, invisibile, mirror imaged bard it is not so easy to kill. Please note that I played him through floor 1 to 14 in Rappan Athuk.
-INT is NOT used out of combat. Knowledges are fundamental to buff your party in the right way.
-STR is to be dumped, you can alter your carry capacity in many ways.
-Spells: please note that I examinated ALL core and APG, UM and UC spells. I listet only some of them because you can learn only a few ad a bard, and there are not so many useful bard spells anyway.
-guide for a build: have you ever read Kbrewer great guides? Many of them are about a certain build, I liked and get inspired by them anyway.
-Nets: I Agree. Nets are great.


Hayato Ken wrote:

Well, nothing bad with a Kitsune Lotus Geisha Bard.

You loose some, but gain some other.
Kitsune realistic Likeness is one of the most fun roleplaying feats, combine with disguise self.
Kitsune magic helps with enchantments and Lotus Geisha too.
Crank out that nice enchantment controll spells.

If you are good and mean, Peacemaker feat and Mediator trait prohibit any combat with calm emotions or take out individual foes for a while.

Enrapturing Performance is more specific, but it´s a nice solo/one person buff or DC raiser.

Only sad thing is the loss of exotic weapon proficiency whip, which is not replaced by something worthwhile. Fighting fans and sai look awesome, but Lotus Geisha are probably not melee bards.

Nice combo here! But I feel that calm emotion screw you party as well as enemies. Truth to be told it also can resolve many problems.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Too much emphasis on gear in my opinion, especially to shore up weaknesses.

Just my take. We play in a lower magic campaign and learned long ago the value of focusing on what you can do rather than what you can buy.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Fiznab wrote:
Hayato Ken wrote:

Well, nothing bad with a Kitsune Lotus Geisha Bard.

You loose some, but gain some other.
Kitsune realistic Likeness is one of the most fun roleplaying feats, combine with disguise self.
Kitsune magic helps with enchantments and Lotus Geisha too.
Crank out that nice enchantment controll spells.

If you are good and mean, Peacemaker feat and Mediator trait prohibit any combat with calm emotions or take out individual foes for a while.

Enrapturing Performance is more specific, but it´s a nice solo/one person buff or DC raiser.

Only sad thing is the loss of exotic weapon proficiency whip, which is not replaced by something worthwhile. Fighting fans and sai look awesome, but Lotus Geisha are probably not melee bards.

Nice combo here! But I feel that calm emotion screw you party as well as enemies. Truth to be told it also can resolve many problems.

Calm emotions is a 20ft radius burst. If you go first or even if not, you decide when combat begins and have time to buff. Maybe you can even target only your foes and take them out one by one.


Fiznab wrote:


@Atarlost:
-Combat: I'm not sure what you are saying. If the problem is low CON iI suggested to buy +6 CON belt. If you we're talking about AC I feel that it is te less effective layer of protection you can have. I rated high mirror image for a purpose. Also, a Flying, invisibile, mirror imaged bard it is not so easy to kill. Please note that I played him through floor 1 to 14 in Rappan Athuk.
-INT is NOT used out of combat. Knowledges are fundamental to buff your party in the right way.
-STR is to be dumped, you can alter your carry capacity in many ways.
-Spells: please note that I examinated ALL core and APG, UM and UC spells. I listet only some of them because you can learn only a few ad a bard, and there are not so many useful bard spells anyway.
-guide for a build: have you ever read Kbrewer great guides? Many of them are about a certain build, I liked and get inspired by them anyway.
-Nets: I Agree. Nets are great.

You seem to not really understand gear. You can't rely on high level magic items to overcome a low level problem. You won't live long enough to buy a con belt if you don't have enough con to start with. You won't live long enough to get mirror image if you don't have any AC. Lots of things have true seeing or blind-sight as well. Like pretty much all demons over CR 13 for example. Having only one defense is not adequate. Besides, every action spent on in-combat defense spells is an action spent not doing your job.

Knowledges are already covered. Knowledge DCs scale with CR, not 1.5x CR. There's little reason to more than half-max any knowledge as a bard. That's 6 int you don't need. There are also patterns to monsters. You're not going to get anything useful on high level humanoids so you don't need local and unless you're in a fey themed AP there's nothing important under nature. That's 4 skill points per level you're wasting on knowledges and therefore 8 points too many of int. That's a lot of point buy.

There is nothing you can do about carrying capacity at low level. Ant haul doesn't have enough duration and muleback cords occupy the all important back slot. Only paladins and monks can even consider wearing anything that isn't a cloak of resistance in that slot.

You claim you examined all the core and first three other hardcover spells, but I don't see them. If you can't think of uses for more than you listed you're not very imaginative.


Casters shouldn't be wearing Cloaks of Resistance either... Otherwordly Kimono is a thing after all. But ya CON is a key stat on everyone and the higher the better.


Nice guide.

I second a section on class level dips. I play a 2nd level fighter/bard in PFS and love it! I took fighter at 1st level so I could grab Dazzling Display right off the bat (otherwise, I would have had to wait till level 5 if I were straight bard). The bonus to Fort saves are nice too.

My feats at 2nd level are: Flagbearer, Weapon Focus, and Dazzling Display. I took WF (unarmed strike) so my bard can use Dazzling Display and cast spells without needing to worry about holding a weapon.

I actually think that magic items are less important for the buffing bard than other bard builds. For one, you can't use a weapon with Banner of the Ancient Kings if you want the full benefits of the item...you need to hold the banner in two hands if you want the +4 bonus to Initiative.

I actually think Dazzling Display should be blue, not green - it should be the buffing bard's second round action. Add in the Antagonize feat, and you can give everyone a +2 Attack/Damage and a -4 to your enemies attack by the 3rd round - and all without casting am all-too-rare bard spell.

I can see why you put diplomacy, bluff, and intimidate as red skills - with Versatile Performance, any bard can substitute all of those skills. However, this doesn't happen till lvl 6. That's half a character's life in PFS and many games that start at level 1 won't get there for a while. Furthermore, by RAW, Perform (keyboards) takes two hands to use which means 1) no Flagbearer and also 2) no Banner of the Ancient Kings since both take up at least one hand to use.

Just some thoughts. Otherwise, good guide.


Dot.


Also, you might want to add the traits Maestro of the Society (+3 Bardic performances per day) and Extremely Fashionable (+1 social skills without needing to worship a specific god).


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I love the Banner of Ancient Kings. But.

There's no way to keep it from getting sundered. It's cloth. Any creature from a tribal or feudal culture will recognize the importance of morale in a fight, and cut the thing off your spear. Ditto for military opponents. Ditto for anything with enough spell knowledge to recognize the magic item.

One swipe of a blade from some 2-HD mook and your big Flagbearer bonus becomes a debuff for an hour. All the bonuses that you and your companions would normally get from Courageous weapons are gone. And on top of that, it takes a 16th-level casting of Make Whole to fix it, so until your party is leveled that high, you'll pay thousands of gold every time it's destroyed, if you even have a scroll or can jet back to a city.

If you can provide ways around that problem, you will have written a very useful guide.


Wiggz wrote:

Too much emphasis on gear in my opinion, especially to shore up weaknesses.

Just my take. We play in a lower magic campaign and learned long ago the value of focusing on what you can do rather than what you can buy.

As I wrote before if you can't afford banner of the ancient kings there is no problem, good hope is your friend!


Atarlost wrote:
Fiznab wrote:


@Atarlost:
-Combat: I'm not sure what you are saying. If the problem is low CON iI suggested to buy +6 CON belt. If you we're talking about AC I feel that it is te less effective layer of protection you can have. I rated high mirror image for a purpose. Also, a Flying, invisibile, mirror imaged bard it is not so easy to kill. Please note that I played him through floor 1 to 14 in Rappan Athuk.
-INT is NOT used out of combat. Knowledges are fundamental to buff your party in the right way.
-STR is to be dumped, you can alter your carry capacity in many ways.
-Spells: please note that I examinated ALL core and APG, UM and UC spells. I listet only some of them because you can learn only a few ad a bard, and there are not so many useful bard spells anyway.
-guide for a build: have you ever read Kbrewer great guides? Many of them are about a certain build, I liked and get inspired by them anyway.
-Nets: I Agree. Nets are great.

You seem to not really understand gear. You can't rely on high level magic items to overcome a low level problem. You won't live long enough to buy a con belt if you don't have enough con to start with. You won't live long enough to get mirror image if you don't have any AC. Lots of things have true seeing or blind-sight as well. Like pretty much all demons over CR 13 for example. Having only one defense is not adequate. Besides, every action spent on in-combat defense spells is an action spent not doing your job.

Knowledges are already covered. Knowledge DCs scale with CR, not 1.5x CR. There's little reason to more than half-max any knowledge as a bard. That's 6 int you don't need. There are also patterns to monsters. You're not going to get anything useful on high level humanoids so you don't need local and unless you're in a fey themed AP there's nothing important under nature. That's 4 skill points per level you're wasting on knowledges and therefore 8 points too many of int. That's a lot of point buy.

There is nothing you can do...

Thank you to be rude, I won't answer you anymore.

Sovereign Court

I'm afraid I don't see the benefit of getting Int up that high. Skills are good, knowledges are good, but these things are typically spread throughout the party; trying to cover EVERYTHING by pumping up Int will just leave you with a bard too weak to do anything in combat. You don't have enough buffs to cast every single round - you'll need to be doing something besides cast or start a performance most rounds.

Speaking of which, the Helpful Halfling is worth mentioning. Take the trait Helpful (or maybe adopted -> helpful, if your GM will let you), and the feats Combat Reflexes and Bodyguard. Use a whip. Now you can Aid anyone within 15 feet for +4 to attack, and use your AoOs to get +4 to AC. Grab Arcane Strike and the Gloves of Arcane Striking and you can get the bonus to scale with your level. There, now you can regularly distribute massive bonuses to your allies by hitting an AC of 10.


There are also some spelling & grammar mistakes in the guide: Chapter 8.14 uses the word 'scadent"' to name the most perplexing example.


Fiznab wrote:

@Chaos effect: Thank you for your advice!

You should note that Pageant of the Peacock needs a standard action to be performed, preventing you to cast a spell in the same round;

To be fair, Pageant of the Peacock last 10 minutes per bardic performance spent. Pretty sure it wasn't meant to be cast in combat so much as a buff before dungeon/social encounter.


Emmit Svenson wrote:

I love the Banner of Ancient Kings. But.

There's no way to keep it from getting sundered. It's cloth. Any creature from a tribal or feudal culture will recognize the importance of morale in a fight, and cut the thing off your spear. Ditto for military opponents. Ditto for anything with enough spell knowledge to recognize the magic item.

One swipe of a blade from some 2-HD mook and your big Flagbearer bonus becomes a debuff for an hour. All the bonuses that you and your companions would normally get from Courageous weapons are gone. And on top of that, it takes a 16th-level casting of Make Whole to fix it, so until your party is leveled that high, you'll pay thousands of gold every time it's destroyed, if you even have a scroll or can jet back to a city.

If you can provide ways around that problem, you will have written a very useful guide.

I will add a section about this, because it is a very important topic. Remember that magic broom is cheap and let you ignore sundering problems


@Reynard: you can't use whip and banner togheter. Anyway your performance+ spell selection+dazzling display (or dirge of doo)+ any debuff (slow) should cover at least the first 3 round of combat. In my experience rarely fights last longer. Anyway It's very difficult not to have anything to do.

@Morgan: unfortunately english is not my native language, and in my country the teaching of this language is poor. I am really sorry for every mistake you are finding. However i will correct any you will point to me.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Actually I have used Pageant in combat if it looked like the knowledge would be useful, Standard to activate, and at 7th move action to sing, followed by haste the next round. Versus some outsiders, fey, undead or aberrations knowing what they can do is crucial.

Shadow Lodge

I have to point out a critical flaw in this build idea. Namely that you can't use the banner of ancient kings and cast any spells.

"As long as the longspear or pole to which the banner is attached is firmly wielded in two hands...."

When using the banner you must hold it in Two Hands to get the effect. This means that you can't cast spells because you have no free hands.

The easiest way to fix it though is to make the guy an arcane duelist.

Pros, cast spells while wielding the flag, blade thirst and mass blade thirst (over some DR and ghost touch), and ability to wear armor.

Cons your skills are destroyed, you have to rely on your own abilities for skills. It also comes with a bunch of useless feats (if your not planning on attacking).


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Seriphim84 wrote:

I have to point out a critical flaw in this build idea. Namely that you can't use the banner of ancient kings and cast any spells.

"As long as the longspear or pole to which the banner is attached is firmly wielded in two hands...."

When using the banner you must hold it in Two Hands to get the effect. This means that you can't cast spells because you have no free hands.

The easiest way to fix it though is to make the guy an arcane duelist.

Pros, cast spells while wielding the flag, blade thirst and mass blade thirst (over some DR and ghost touch), and ability to wear armor.

Cons your skills are destroyed, you have to rely on your own abilities for skills. It also comes with a bunch of useless feats (if your not planning on attacking).

RAW, easy to get around. Might annoy the piss out of your DM:

Your turn starts.
Shift to hold it in one hand (free action)
...do whatever.
Shift to hold it in two hands (free action)
Allies get all the bonuses during their turn.

-Cross


Seriphim84 wrote:
When using the banner you must hold it in Two Hands to get the effect. This means that you can't cast spells because you have no free hands.

Casters, arcane and divine, use the free hand rules to cast. Take one hand off, cast, put one hand back on. If you use a light hand or buckler you use that hand to hold the weapon and the other to cast.

Edit: oh! Didn't see Crosswind beat me to it.

Shadow Lodge

@ Crosswind and MRSin

I am aware that you can do that but I don't think it works RAW.

First all immediate action spells that use somatic components are out. your can't use free actions if it isn't your turn.

Second, if you take one hand off the spear all the benefits of the flag are gone. This may (and this one I am not sure about) drop the power of inspire courage because you are not getting the bonus. yes you can put your hand back on at the end of your turn but that's after spells songs are sang.

Edit: So I am clear, I really love this idea and may use it in the future and just want to make sure it all works :)


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Seriphim84 wrote:
First all immediate action spells that use somatic components are out. your can't use free actions if it isn't your turn.

Which means giving up saving finale and foe to friend. There aren't very many immediate action spells with somatic components.


Emmit Svenson wrote:

I love the Banner of Ancient Kings. But.

There's no way to keep it from getting sundered. It's cloth. Any creature from a tribal or feudal culture will recognize the importance of morale in a fight, and cut the thing off your spear. Ditto for military opponents. Ditto for anything with enough spell knowledge to recognize the magic item.

One swipe of a blade from some 2-HD mook and your big Flagbearer bonus becomes a debuff for an hour. All the bonuses that you and your companions would normally get from Courageous weapons are gone. And on top of that, it takes a 16th-level casting of Make Whole to fix it, so until your party is leveled that high, you'll pay thousands of gold every time it's destroyed, if you even have a scroll or can jet back to a city.

If you can provide ways around that problem, you will have written a very useful guide.

How to prevent your BoAK from being sundered. This is actually fairly difficult. Here's what my brainstorming has produced:

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE BANNER TO WORK:

a.) Pole or spear of at least 8 feet
b.) Two hands!

1.) This guy doesn't need to actually attack. ...nothing much preventing him from putting his banner on like, a 30 foot pole. At least make it hard as hell for a non-giant melee guy to attack it. Ok, this is like a C- idea.

2.) ...can't we just cast invis on the banner? It's an object, and we're not going to attack with it. Would make it hard as hell to detect, and therefore attempt to sunder. If the bad guys don't know it's there, seems like they won't sunder it. This _feels_ wrong, though - how does the party get inspired by a banner they can't see. Still, we're going with a B+ idea here.

3.) ...can we somehow make an item immune to sunder? I haven't found a convenient way to do this. Build an adamantium cage? Not terribly expensive (couple of thousand). Still, looks dumb. I'm going with B- here.

4.) Obviously, you can just spam windy escape attempts to save your poor flag, once a round. Vulnerable to multiple sunders a round, spends resources and immediate actions. C- idea.

5.) Flying helps a lot, because you have to be in melee to sunder. Lots of times you can't do this. Similar to (1).

-----

Ultimately, I think invising the item is probably the best RAW way to prevent it from being sundered, or flying.

-Cross

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Pretty sure invising the flag breaks Flagbearer.

Quote:

Flagbearer (Combat)

Prerequisites: Cha 15.

Benefit: As long as you hold your clan, house, or party’s flag, members of that allegiance within 30 feet who can see the flag (including yourself ) gain a +1 morale bonus on attack rolls, weapon damage rolls, and saving throws against fear and charm effects. You must hold the flag in one hand in order to grant this bonus. If the standard is taken by the enemy or destroyed, this bonus becomes a penalty, affecting all creatures that the bonus previously affected for 1 hour (or until you reclaim the lost flag).


Seriphim84 wrote:

@ Crosswind and MRSin

I am aware that you can do that but I don't think it works RAW.

First all immediate action spells that use somatic components are out. your can't use free actions if it isn't your turn.

Second, if you take one hand off the spear all the benefits of the flag are gone. This may (and this one I am not sure about) drop the power of inspire courage because you are not getting the bonus. yes you can put your hand back on at the end of your turn but that's after spells songs are sang.

Edit: So I am clear, I really love this idea and may use it in the future and just want to make sure it all works :)

You're right.

Stupid question: Isn't this problem easily solved by taking eldritch heritage: arcane and making the longspear your bonded weapon?

It's not, honestly, like buffer bards have an assortment of good feats. It's Improved Initiative, Lingering Song, and Dischordant Voice. Those are actually the only 3 feats that should be blue - everything else is pretty superfluous. Plenty of feats left over to pick up an arcane focus by level 7 or 9, when you can afford a banner.

-Cross (You don't get a familiar, but whatever.)


Seriphim84 wrote:

I have to point out a critical flaw in this build idea. Namely that you can't use the banner of ancient kings and cast any spells.

"As long as the longspear or pole to which the banner is attached is firmly wielded in two hands...."

When using the banner you must hold it in Two Hands to get the effect. This means that you can't cast spells because you have no free hands.

The easiest way to fix it though is to make the guy an arcane duelist.

Pros, cast spells while wielding the flag, blade thirst and mass blade thirst (over some DR and ghost touch), and ability to wear armor.

Cons your skills are destroyed, you have to rely on your own abilities for skills. It also comes with a bunch of useless feats (if your not planning on attacking).

Please note that holding the banner in two hand is only required to get the bonus to initiative. After you rolled it you can hold it in one hand.


Imbicatus wrote:
Pretty sure invising the flag breaks Flagbearer.

Turn the flagbearer invisible, then cast See Invisible on everyone who wants the buff. :) If the bard really is buffing to the exclusion of offense, there's no reason not to have him invisible in every fight.

Alternately, Mirror Image should give the same protection against Sunder as it does to other melee attacks, and leaves the Banner visible.


Imbicatus wrote:

Pretty sure invising the flag breaks Flagbearer.

Quote:

Flagbearer (Combat)

Prerequisites: Cha 15.

Benefit: As long as you hold your clan, house, or party’s flag, members of that allegiance within 30 feet who can see the flag (including yourself ) gain a +1 morale bonus on attack rolls, weapon damage rolls, and saving throws against fear and charm effects. You must hold the flag in one hand in order to grant this bonus. If the standard is taken by the enemy or destroyed, this bonus becomes a penalty, affecting all creatures that the bonus previously affected for 1 hour (or until you reclaim the lost flag).

whores. you are totally right.

-Cross


Seriphim84 wrote:
First all immediate action spells that use somatic components are out. your can't use free actions if it isn't your turn.

Is this actually a rule that's written in a book somewhere?

I can't find anything in Chapter 8 of the core book, but I might have missed a FAQ or something. Imay have to start informing players at my table that I'd misunderstood free actions.

Shadow Lodge

It is actually more of an implied rule, I will show the logic.

"Free actions don't take any time at all, though there may be limits to the number of free actions you can perform in a turn. "

First, it defines free actions as being taken in a turn not in a round.

"In general, speaking is a free action that you can perform even when it isn't your turn."

Then under speaking we see that it is a free action that can be taken when it isn't your turn, implying that this is an exception to the rule.

"You can ready a standard action, a move action, a swift action, or a free action."

The fact that you can ready a free action again implies it must be done on your turn.

Finally there is the FAQ about snap shot.

"Snap Shot: Can a character with Snap Shot (page 119) and Combat Reflexes make multiple attacks of opportunity with a ranged weapon, assuming that loading the ranged weapon is a free action?

Yes. As long as you can reload your weapon with a free action you can reload your weapon as part of the ranged attack attack of opportunity you are making with the Snap Shot feat."

Again this is showing an exception to a rule that they don't quite spell out. That with snapshot you can reload as a free action even if it isn't your turn.

Hope that helps!


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There is a way of getting War Singer as a feat without being a half-orc. Since you recommend Aasimar already, they can take the Scion of Humanity alternate racial trait which lets them be treated as human for things like feats. Then the Scion of Humanity qualifies for the Racial Heritage feat from the Advanced Class Guide. Take this feat and select Orc or Half-Orc, then take War Singer.

A second level spell you should mention is called Blood Rage from Orcs of Golarion. Gives up to a +10 morale bonus to strength but comes with up to a -5 penalty to AC. Courageous weapons add to the morale bonus giving up to +12 Strength and -5 AC. This is a fantastic buff for any non-Barbarian martial in the party. Combine this with the normal Rage spell for truly phenomenal buffing. Notice, both Blood Rage and Rage can effect more than one person when you cast the spell. Use a Rod of Quicken to cast both spells in the same round and let the damage flow. Save Blood Rage for important fights though, as it's very short lasting. Rage, at least, has the benefit of having a duration of concentration + 1 round/level so Rage could, theoretically, last forever.

I didn't see it mentioned, but Pageant of the Peacock lets you not worry about Int for skill bonuses anymore. Put 1 rank in each knowledge check and never touch it again as you can substitute a Bluff check for every knowledge check as long as you have Pageant running.


BTW, even though it might not be obvious, the spell Jester's jaunt is a good "buff" spell in someway...

Can tell you that when I cast this spell on the group's fighter and he suddenly appears right beside our enemy, I'm his new best friend in town (he can now full attack and not waste a move action)...


Cuttler wrote:

BTW, even though it might not be obvious, the spell Jester's jaunt is a good "buff" spell in someway...

Can tell you that when I cast this spell on the group's fighter and he suddenly appears right beside our enemy, I'm his new best friend in town (he can now full attack and not waste a move action)...

It's a great spell. I'd prefer the Bard picked up a wand of Telkinetic Charge instead. Gives me a free attack with a +2 bonus on the roll, then I can full attack.


This is slightly out of theme... and it seems a little naïve too but...

how do you play a keyboard bard? Do you appear a piano with that cantrip than I don't remember it's name?

This is because I am DMing a bard and the piano is very umpopular for him...

By the way terrific job... I will do this bard in herolab and maybe I will play him in other table.

Last advice for now. Go human and take Focused Study. You willo take Eldritch Heritage much more easily. /And the extra knowledge bonus are awesome and flavourful).


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Keep in mind, a Bard that takes Perform (keyboard) isn't actually playing a keyboard when he uses Versatile Performance or Bardic Performance. Neither is the Bard singing, dancing, using a wind instrument, playing a guitar etc. for Versatile or Bardic Performance.

All it means is your Bard is good at playing the keyboard (like a piano, or possibly xylophone).

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