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Bards, just how useful are they?


Advice


Just how useful are bards? Arround level 7-10 and onwards.


depend on the REST of the party.......
if you have 1-2 front liners and 1 summoner caster (cleric, wizard etc)
than WOW.
at level 11 all get +3 and 1d6 extra damage .......
also, with heroism and bard boosting, a bard "archer" can work well at all levels.


Well, the current party is 1 Bloodrager, 1 crossbow using Investigator, 1 sword using Magus, 1 Claw and bite using Lizardfolk Ranger, 1 melee Rogue, 1 Crossbow Rogue. And I'm trying to figure out what to make..


you LACK a cleric. badly.
go Evangelist (bard cleric)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If I could get away with it, I'd play a bard in every game. This is not a joke. I really would.


Our Investigator has the Cure infusions and our Ranger has a Cure Light Wounds wand for our healing. Do we realy need more healing?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I would say bards are more useful the higher level they get. Not even any archetype. Just a straight bard. All you need is the core book and the APG, and you're pretty much the hero of the party. Who wants extra saving throws? Who wants bonuses to hit and damage? Who wants bonuses on saves?
Everyone, that's who. Bring your bard on every adventure, and you're good to go.

Liberty's Edge

The evangelist cleric actually has significantly weaker healing than the regular cleric. Instead it focuses much more on Buffing, with a little bit of enchantment here and there.

Plus, it's still a cleric, with the cleric's full spell list. What a cleric would help your party with is the ability to remove things like negative levels and curses, fire off dispels, raise the dead.

You'll still have enough magic under your belt to do shape the battlefield to your will, too!

Otherwise, I think an archer bard would be incredible for the party - one of the best possible fits. Bards are an extremely useful force multiplier who can hold their own in combat, turn their allies into gods of war, and make your party of murderers seem like legendary heroes to the local populace. Great in every campaign, and in no way forced to be a goofy minstrel. They can be a tactician, spy, scholar, whatever you want.


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OK, Providing the party is willing to work together, and, you know, stay within buff range, especially with a ensemble style, large party like yours appears to be, bards are very useful. Performances up everyone's game. Add to this, they have impressive general utility and support abilities, and acceptable healing. You can get past the lack of a cleric if your GM isn't trying to make you all pay for any weaknesses in party make-up. You aren't in a MMO-RPG, so your environment is being controlled by a person who can adapt to the party. Added to that, the rules have evolved and the lines in even the most hidebound games are blurred, so the core classes are not a hard requirement anymore.


Merellin wrote:
Our Investigator has the Cure infusions and our Ranger has a Cure Light Wounds wand for our healing. Do we realy need more healing?

I wouldn't say cure spells would be the main reason to get a healer- you can just grab a wand of CLW for that.

Typically, you want a healer for longer lasting problems, such as long term status effects. Blindness, negative levels... death.

But investigators use the alchemist list. And that includes a lot of the long term status problems. So you shouldn't see too much of a problem. And bards actually help with some of the rest (such as remove curse). Other what seems to be a lack of raise dead, you seem fine.

Anyway, bards- think of them as a multiplier for martials. Sure, a lot of their buffs help everyone... but they shine the most when they are buffing attack rolls. Your party is made up of a bunch of melee and archery focused characters.... so even if you just stand there play a lute, you are adding a lot to the fight.


I will throw my hat in for the evangelist cleric. Hit point healing is pointless in combat without a lot of optimization and even than it is arguable that being offensive is not better.

The cleric will get the remove spells and restoration spell earlier than any other class in the group you will also have a significant number of spells so casting these is a small portion of your resources. You also spontaneously cast more useful spells than the standard cleric. If you pick your deity and domain well you can be a potent support caster.

If the game is designed to be difficult having breath of life or raise dead if very useful.

Option 2

Another option is there is a newish oracle that also gets inspire courage, Ocean's Echo. It is a good option oracles offer a lot of good support as well. Mystersy will let you fill what ever other role you would like to.

Silver Crusade

Bards are hugely useful in an adventuring party. 7th level is when they really spike up in the power level. At 7th level, bards can start their performances as move actions. Which means in round one of combat, the bard can as a move action do inspire courage and as a standard action cast Good Hope (a 3rd level Bard Spell). This turn gives the party: +2 competence bonus to damage and attacks, +2 morale bonus to attack rolls, damage rolls, and saves. All those bonuses stack! By just one action turn, everyone in the party is getting +4 to hit, +4 damage and +2 on saves.

Plus, the Bard can stop his/her performance as an immediate action to cast Saving Finale to grant a party member a re-roll on a failed save.

Bards are awesome support characters.


That does sound pretty awesome! Giving +4 to to hit and damage is awesome! Would be very much useful, And a Bard is a good party face too right? (Our last party face got murderd by a blind orc and was replaced by a bloodrager)


bards are awesome, and lv7 is a really nice spot for them as that's when they get the double buff in one round going.
build it right and they are also a melee or ranged damage dealer.


I have an idea of a Half Elf Bard, Who is traveling the world, Seeking inspiration for epic masterpieces as he tries to become the best and most famous bard in the world! Trying to master as many diferent performance types as possible! Silly idea but ehh... I am bad at ideaing.. xD


if melee, go grab the Flag bearer feat. another +1 to hit and damage ,
and work well with either dervish dance bard (1 handed scimitar, other the flag) or long spear with a banner.
if melee, than after level 7 add some Dragon archthype (super STR) and elfritch heritage (orc) for more STR and vital strike a hard blow.

if archer, than there is a archtype that top the damage of most classes and a very good entry point for arcane archer 3 dip.

Lantern Lodge

I have not played a bard but have seen them in action in PFS.

Bard's are insane level 7 and beyond. Every battle if you move action inspire courage, standard action cast haste you are effectively raising the party's offensive power by about 4 character levels (due to bonus to hit / damage and extra attack).

Combined with Flag Bearer and some other feats / items that buff inspire courage they turn every encounter to a cake walk provided you have 2-3 martials.


Flag bearer, banner of ancient kings (level 7 or 8) you are giving a +6 to hit after round one. Haste +1, double flagbearer +2, inspire +3.

There is an archtype for almost every play style, archer, melee, Dex melee, control caster (thundercaller), buffer, rouge etc.

You also get a set of amazing spells with the word finale in them. Saving finally let's you give a reroll to your allies.


Bards are amazing. They're the grease in your party's wheels. They make everything just run smoother. I've once read the quote "A Bard is like beer. Not every party needs it, but every party becomes better with it." And I agree. Unless you get fancy with archetypes, there's not really a way to build a bad Bard. I wouldn't want to play one all the time, but being a Bard is awesome, just as being in a party with one is.

Aside from that, I agree that your party needs a Cleric more than a Bard. Being a Cleric isn't just about healing, but also about status removal and such. Evangelist Cleric seems like the perfect compromise.


If I go bard, I think I'l go archer bard who buffs the party a lot. Cus we have many people that charge into melee, So striking from a distance would be good! ^_^

Though.. I must admit.. Where we are at right now.. I kind of wish we had/i played a cleric.. We fought a specter (I think it was.. Some kind of green ghostly thingie) and it level drained both my Cavalier and our Ranger.. From level 7 to level 5..


Random thought.. Paladin? Can they handle healing and such? Archery paladin? Hmm...


If you do go Bard, I'll recommend the Arrowsong Minstrel. You lose some spells per day, but you can expand your repertoire with some cool Wizard spells and you get to be a pretty awesome archer.


Paladins are MOSTLY self-healing tank types with some status removal and the potential to murder evil real good. A great class, but you have plenty of beef.

Paladin with Oath of the People's Council swaps Smite for Inspire Courage. You can also take bard, cleric, or inquisitor spells with a feat (unsanctioned knowledge). Archer paladins work fine, too.

Evangelist cleric is really good for your group.

Arrowsong Striker Bard is good.


I dont realy like the Evangelist Cleric.. If I'm going to be a cleric, I dont want to give up my spontaneous cures, Or make my channel energy that much worse..

Maybe a Archery cleric with a Reach weapon for when not wanting to waste arrows though.. Hmm..

Silver Crusade

Of course bards are amazing! The issue to keep in mind is that somewhere around level 10 damage dealing becomes less important. Everyone can deal a ton. Having a good defensive game and mobility with things like dimension door is key to surviving. The enemies will land shots and have ridiculous abilities that will hurt. Investing in a solid UMD to go with the normal bard spell list can go mobility, debuff, defense with things like saving finale or timely inspiration, and scrolls for condition removal. Bard's Escape at 6th level is also amazing for completely controlling the battlefield.

Scarab Sages

As someone who recently played an evangelist into high levels... trust me. It's AMAZING.

Channel Energy being weaker really doesn't mean anything. People tend to overvalue channeling, and really all Evangelist does is make it cure 9 fewer hit points per use... by level 17-ish. Not exactly game-breaking. Being a cleric of Freedom also gives you access to tons of condition restoration, and as a cleric your best Healing spells aren't even your spontaneous cures! They're Path of Glory, Greater Path of Glory, and Heal, all of which you have to prepare, and all of which are worth preparing.

And the main reason Evangelist Cleric is powerful? Because Inspire Courage is so powerful in its own right that it makes up for the losses. If you're planning on engaging in combat, it makes you a downright better cleric than any other cleric, simply because it stacks with all your other bonuses, and at higher levels is super easy to use. I had a spear-wielding cleric with Flagbearer, and a +6 attack/damage basically makes you a martial character.

And don't get me started on bards. Between Thundercaller, Arcane Duelist, Arrowsong Minstrel, and Archaeologist, they're basically the best versatile class in the game.


+1 for thundercaller bards. As a thundercaller, I am both a force multiplyer and an aoe damage dealer/stunlocker. Thundercaller bards are so good at dealing aoe damage and stunlocking simultaneously that it allowed me to solo a lethal encounter recently, which was a good thing as an absurd trap had just inflicted 8 negative levels of everyone except me, putting them at or near level 1.

It's so powerful that I basically have to constantly question myself on what the suboptimal play is so it doesn't become oppressive to the other players in terms of sheer power. So it's a good thing that as perfectly fine combat alternatives and side benfits you can build this to also be an ultimate damage and to hit buffer with flagbearer, haste and inspire courage and have rediculous social and knowledge skills everywhere (average of +22 on all skill checks and +24 on all social checks at level 9). All the while packing spells that allow allies to reroll saves, make their missed attacks still hit, give them haste with your pimped intitiative which always makes you go first and always insures everyone has those buffs before they go.

And this is just one possible archetype build. There are similarly powerful buiulds that do other things. I've seen Quentin Coldwater's arrowsong minstrel and he seems fun for having wizard spells in addition to archery and buffing for instance.

So yeah, I'd say bards as a class are incredibly powerful, though less so if you are in a party without martial characters to use your buffs. Without any experience above level 11 my guess is that their power only falls off at very high levels when the only thing that still matters is that you are a full caster, but that's a problem every non caster faces eventually. The level 7+ spells are just too broken for balance to exist, even if casters don't use mass summoning or planar binding shenanigans.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Here's a back-of-a-napkin math breakdown on how a bard can benefit the party in that level range. This breakdown focuses more on the attack bonuses than the damage bonuses.

Level 11 bard bonuses
Inspire Courage +3 (competence)
Flagbearer (after Banner of Ancient Kings), Good Hope, or Heroism +2 (morale)
Haste +1
Total: +6

Level 11 fighter
Bab +11
22 strength +6
Weapon training +2
Greater Weapon Focus +2
Magic weapon +2 (low-balling this)
Full-attack Totals without buffs: +23/+18/+13
with buffs: +29/+29(haste)/+24/+19

Using the average AC of CR+15, so 28 for a single CR 13 (challenging):

Die rolls needed without buffs: 5/10/15

die rolls needed with buffs: 2/2/4/9

It's effectively a %30 improvement on each iterative roll.


That is quite good! I'm liking the idea of buffing the party to be awesome! ^_^


Depending on how your group plays the next spell you cast, on round 2 could be something like tactual acumen which will stack and scales well.


Trevor86 wrote:

+1 for thundercaller bards. As a thundercaller, I am both a force multiplyer and an aoe damage dealer/stunlocker. Thundercaller bards are so good at dealing aoe damage and stunlocking simultaneously that it allowed me to solo a lethal encounter recently, which was a good thing as an absurd trap had just inflicted 8 negative levels of everyone except me, putting them at or near level 1.

It's so powerful that I basically have to constantly question myself on what the suboptimal play is so it doesn't become oppressive to the other players in terms of sheer power. So it's a good thing that as perfectly fine combat alternatives and side benfits you can build this to also be an ultimate damage and to hit buffer with flagbearer, haste and inspire courage and have rediculous social and knowledge skills everywhere (average of +22 on all skill checks and +24 on all social checks at level 9). All the while packing spells that allow allies to reroll saves, make their missed attacks still hit, give them haste with your pimped intitiative which always makes you go first and always insures everyone has those buffs before they go.

And this is just one possible archetype build. There are similarly powerful buiulds that do other things. I've seen Quentin Coldwater's arrowsong minstrel and he seems fun for having wizard spells in addition to archery and buffing for instance.

So yeah, I'd say bards as a class are incredibly powerful, though less so if you are in a party without martial characters to use your buffs. Without any experience above level 11 my guess is that their power only falls off at very high levels when the only thing that still matters is that you are a full caster, but that's a problem every non caster faces eventually. The level 7+ spells are just too broken for balance to exist, even if casters don't use mass summoning or planar binding shenanigans.

can you link tou build of the thundercaller ?

5d8 at level 11 isnt good ..... how are you a "blaster" ?


Ched Greyfell wrote:

I would say bards are more useful the higher level they get. Not even any archetype. Just a straight bard. All you need is the core book and the APG, and you're pretty much the hero of the party. Who wants extra saving throws? Who wants bonuses to hit and damage? Who wants bonuses on saves?

Everyone, that's who. Bring your bard on every adventure, and you're good to go.

Agreed. Core bards (also paladins) are so good out-of-the-box that most of their archetypes are notably worse.

They're quite the end-loaded class, too.


666bender wrote:
Trevor86 wrote:

....

can you link tou build of the thundercaller ?

5d8 at level 11 isnt good ..... how are you a "blaster" ?

The point of the build is that you are using a bardic performance so you're doing it as a move, or a swift at higher level, on top of casting. The power is not the damage but stun locking with a move action that also has some damage on top of it. It's just a matter mislabelling the build as a blaster. You are blasting but that's not what the point of the build.

Sovereign Court

I'm having a blast as an archer bard (arcane duelist) at lvl 5 - arcane strike/point blank shot/precise shot/rapid shot/deadly aim. Allegro yourself and inspire courage/heroism for everyone! Firing 3 shots when buffed.
At 6th level, you can add weapon properties or ehancement bonus via bladethirst and your damage increases from deadly aim. At level 7 you can haste your party. At 8th level you shoot 4 arrows. At 9th level you get manyshot.

Liberty's Edge

Just a heads up, the reprint of the Thundercaller in Ultimate Wilderness made Thunder Call always a standard action.


The mention of arcane duelist always brings up the band party.
Raging Song, Inspire Courage and Bladethirst all stack.


If you go the archer bard route, I'd recommend the wind song feat from elemental master's handbook, this lets you center your performance anywhere within 120' of you, thus you could potentially be archering from nearly an entire range increment (on a longbow) and still be buffing the party with your performances/debuffing enemies with your performances in melee.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Quote:
Bards, just how useful are they?

"Very."

Otherwise, things seem to be covered well by others. Carry on.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I always refer to bards as force multipliers.

The more people that would benefit, the better they are.

In a small party, the bard can serve as a Jack of all trades, covering several roles. This is especially with archetypes that allow them to focus on the needed role.

In a larger party, the benefits of bardic performance and spellcasting can turn the tide in battle. We recently did a PFS scenario bonekeep 2, normally designed for 6 players but we only had 3 and a pregenerated character. Went with the bard and made it through with very few problems. Some lucky rolls helped and one key failed save at the end but overall bard was definitely the difference.

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