Bard Class Preview

Monday, July 16, 2018

The bard—it's arguably the most iconic support character. For some reason, bards are often the butt of goofy jokes, even though they're powerful force multipliers who can contribute to just about every aspect of play. Bard is one of my favorite classes in Pathfinder, and it has some of the most exciting changes of any of the classes in the Pathfinder Playtest, but I'm going to start you with a big one first. Are you sitting down yet? OK, good:

Bards are full 10-level spellcasters.

Spellcasting

As before, bards are spontaneous spellcasters who make up for having not quite as many spells as the other spontaneous caster, the sorcerer, by having special bardic performances. But this time around, bards don't have a delayed spellcasting progression. Instead, they have one fewer spell in their repertoire and one fewer spell slot per day at each spell level, compared to the sorcerer. That's pretty awesome already, but here's the even cooler part: bards have collected all sorts of esoteric bardic knowledge since forever, right? With an offbeat spell list that combines mental magic, a handful of unique additions, and a little bit of healing, bards are the primary occult spellcasters, blending mental and spiritual essences. That brings bards, whose spell list has grown with far less than that of wizards, to the forefront among the other primary spellcasters. This has given us the opportunity to create a bunch of cool never-before-seen bard spells for the playtest. Also, as I mentioned in the spells blog, bards can replace the Somatic Casting and Verbal Casting components of spellcasting by playing a musical instrument, in case you want a bard who plays the violin to cast his spells! But what about their performances? How do those come into play?

Compositions

Compositions are a special type of spell that only bards gain. You might be thinking these are probably powers like other classes, right? Not so! In exchange for their slightly lower number of spells bards get, most of their compositions are cantrips, usable at will, meaning you no longer need to worry about running out of bardic performance rounds per day. Not only that, they're often cast with a single action. They start out with a composition that will likely look familiar.

Inspire Courage Cantrip

Cantrip, Composition, Emotion, Enchantment, Mental
Casting [[A]] Verbal Casting
Area 60-foot aura
Duration 1 round

You inspire your allies with words or tunes of encouragement. You and all allies in the aura gain a +1 conditional bonus to attack rolls, damage rolls, and saves against fear.

Usually, a bard can cast only one composition per turn and have only one active at a time.

Bards have powers and Spell Points in addition to their compositions. Many bard powers allow you to manipulate and customize your performances as you desire, including increasing the duration, granting a more significant bonus (an extremely powerful benefit), or having multiple compositions active at a time. Typically, these extra benefits require a successful Performance check to activate and provide an even more powerful effect on a critical success. Take for example, lingering composition.

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Lingering Composition Power 1

Enchantment, Power
Casting [[F]] Verbal Casting; Trigger You finish casting a cantrip composition with a duration of 1 round.

You attempt to add a flourish to your composition to extend its benefits. Attempt a Performance check. The DC is usually a high-difficulty DC of a level equal to the highest-level target of your composition, but the GM can assign a different DC based on the circumstances. The effect depends on the result of your check.

Success The composition lasts 2 rounds.
Critical Success The composition lasts 3 rounds.
Failure The composition lasts 1 round.

But altering your performances with special modifications like this is just one of several paths represented by a new bardic class feature…

Muses

A bard's inspiration comes from a unique place—his muse. There are three muses in the Pathfinder Playtest. The first is maestro, focused on powers that alter compositions. Next is lore, focused on Occultism, willpower, and unusual knowledge. The third is polymath, focused on being a jack of all trades with increased skills and ability to handle unexpected situations, including the ability to keep a spellbook to prepare a small number of new spells to add to your repertoire each day. As befits the individualistic nature of a performer's muse, none of the initial muse abilities are exclusive, so you can use your feats to traverse as deeply as you want into the abilities from each path; your muse merely represents a starting point on your bardic journey.

For example, if you select the maestro muse at 1st level, you gain the Lingering Composition bard feat (granting you the lingering composition power detailed above) and add soothe to your spell repertoire, but any bard can take this feat or learn this spell—selecting the maestro muse just grants them as a default.

Bard Features

As a bard, you gain spellcasting and occult spell proficiency at the same levels as the other spellcasters, new spell levels at every odd level except 19, expert proficiency in occult spells at 12th level, master proficiency at 16th level, and legendary proficiency at 19th level. You also have the most trained skills at 1st level except for rogues, just barely edging out rangers. Finally, you begin play at 1st level with two compositions, the inspire courage cantrip (which has been detailed above) and the counter performance power.

Counter Performance Power 1

Composition, Enchantment, Fortune, Mental, Power
Casting [[R]] Verbal Casting or [[R]] Somatic Casting; Trigger You or an ally within 60 feet must roll a saving throw against an auditory or visual effect.
Area 60-foot aura

You protect yourself and allies through performance. Choose an auditory performance if the trigger was auditory or a visual performance if it was visual, then roll a Performance check for the chosen performance. You and allies in the area can use the higher result of your Performance check or their saving throws.

Since you need to use only a reaction to cast counter performance, rather than needing to activate it ahead of time like in Pathfinder First Edition, creatures that rely on visual or auditory effects will have a really hard time messing with you!

Bard Feats

Bard feats tend to fall in two categories: feats associated that are loosely associated with one of the three muses, and those that grant you a new composition.

For instance, the Cantrip Expansion feat at 4th level allows you to add two cantrips from the occult spell list to your spell repertoire, which can come in handy for those bards with the lore or the polymath muses. The powerful 14th-level Allegro feat, on the other hand, grants you the following cantrip to add a spring to an ally's step.

Allegro Cantrip

Cantrip, Composition, Emotion, Enchantment, Mental
Casting [[A]] Verbal Casting
Range 30 feet; Targets one ally
Duration 1 round

You perform rapidly, speeding your ally. The ally is quick and can use the action to Strike, Stride, or Step.

There's plenty of favorites in there from among bardic masterpieces from Ultimate Magic too, like house of imaginary walls, which Cosmo used with his goblin bard to mime a box around my ranger, trapping me with a dangerous enemy while Cosmo remained safe and sound.

In a nutshell, bards now have a vast number of quality-of-life improvements, while fundamentally staying true to the way they worked before. Fellow bard fans, what do you think?

Mark Seifter
Designer

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ErichAD wrote:
I like moving the songs over to spells. Much slicker. I wonder though, since we have inspire courage as an occult cantrip, does that mean a sorcerer with the occult spell list has access to it, or are cantrips class locked rather than spell list locked?

Compositions like Inspire Courage are basically Bard-exclusive cantrips, so they're not available to any occult caster, just the Bard.

As a matter of fact, from the looks of things, so far Bards are the only class that get cantrips exclusive to their class, so it's pretty interesting where this sort of concept might go in the future.

Sovereign Court

Mark Seifter wrote:
Darkorin wrote:

Quick question...

Does Counter Performance count in the 1 composition/turn limit? Ex: if you cast inspire courage on your turn, you cannot react with Counter Performance since you already have an active performance

I sure hope it does not, otherwise it's still really limited... (even if that would make sense)

It's off your turn so you can use it; I worded very very carefully to make sure it didn't block reactions. However, without some of the crazy maestro mix-and-match stuff, it will end any current effects of inspire courage when you use it (this may not matter if the monster goes right before you though).

Really nice then! It will make some nice decision, between protecting an ally, or let it take the hit and keep on buffing the others.


Blog wrote:
bards have collected all sorts of esoteric bardic knowledge since forever, right? With an offbeat spell list that combines mental magic, a handful of unique additions, and a little bit of healing, bards are the primary occult spellcasters, blending mental and spiritual essences.

Now that sounds (no pun intended) great. Feels very cohesive and complimentary. Any chance we can do something on this level for the Ranger with tracking in place of Bardic Knowledge?


worldhopper wrote:


I also notice, between this and the character sheets being released at ENWorld, that most buff effects seem to be conditional bonuses now? Which presumably means they don't stack. Bless in particular is looking kinda sad next to Inspire Courage! (Sure, it lasts longer, but it doesn't affect damage, lost its bonus on saving throws against fear, had its AoE reduced, AND still eats a spell slot while IC now consumes no resources besides actions...) As someone who's been playing a support oracle in RoW, I can appreciate not having to spend multiple rounds casting nearly-identical buffs like Bless and Prayer (I hope the former scales into the latter, now?), but it would still be nice if different classes' support abilities played well together.

If Bless can be heightened it likely has a faster progression than the auto heightening of Inspire Courage, as cantrips have the slowest/lowest progression. Spell > power > cantrip.


I really like the looks of this. I really want to look at the Occult spell list. This rules set makes me want to summon and buff minions.


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Counter Performance looks like a great reason to take Assurance in performances. The ability to "take 10/15/20/25/30", no matter the debuffs, on saving throws against those annoying gibbering, hissing, dancing, fascinating monsters sounds very powerful.

Sovereign Court

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Friendly Rogue wrote:

Compositions like Inspire Courage are basically Bard-exclusive cantrips, so they're not available to any occult caster, just the Bard.

As a matter of fact, from the looks of things, so far Bards are the only class that get cantrips exclusive to their class, so it's pretty interesting where this sort of concept might go in the future.

Hmm, witch other class might use exclusive cantrips in its design?


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Friendly Rogue wrote:
As a matter of fact, from the looks of things, so far Bards are the only class that get cantrips exclusive to their class, so it's pretty interesting where this sort of concept might go in the future.

One could have a magical instrument that grants it's player the Inspire Courage cantrip (by being invested in like a staff). For bards such an item might grant some other, even more esoteric benefits; or it might just improve the effects of Inspire Courage slightly.


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Friendly Rogue wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
ErichAD wrote:
I'd think the occultist would make for a simple archetype for alchemist. Sub out alchemy/bombs for wonderous items/trinkets, give them a boost to rituals, add some spell point casting and you're good to go. When it comes down to it, they're the same sort of class with a focus on magic items rather than alchemical items.

Sub out bombs and alchemy. I mean, sure, but since "alchemy" includes basically all class abilities I'm not certain that it is as minor a swap as you're thinking.

Although I do agree that the class when it arrives will likely focus around trinkets, spell point powers, and have the same increased resonance that alchemists have (possibly even more). Hey, maybe they can call it a hedge mage.

Honestly, while I don't think making it an archetype would be either simple or practical, I feel that basing the Occultist pretty heavily off of the Alchemist (no spellcasting, but a lot of neat tricks involving magic items and class abilities that focus in on these abilities) would be a really smart way to approach it, especially now that 6th level casters are somewhat being phased out in favor of default full casters (and this is assuming this doesn't change in the future, or that it's easy for classes like the fighter to invest into spellcasting and get partial magic).

It would be pretty complicated to do this in PF1, but in PF2 occultist's abilities are easier to spin out of the class itself. The have some on the fly magic item creation like abilities, a few spell effects and a limited spell list. If they had a daily item budget like the alchemist has, replaced bombs with trinkets/runes to emulate their focus powers and mutagens with wonderous items to emulate their resonance powers, you've almost finished making the class. Since their casting is often redundant with their abilities, it's probably better to make their spells power point based rather than caster level based.

And I feel like I'm a bit too off topic. Sorry.


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KingOfAnything wrote:
Hmm, witch other class might use exclusive cantrips in its design?

The Shaman?! I'm right aren't I, I can see it on your icon.


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Too... different...
Brain... hurt...

But whatever it is sounds cool, so I'll reserve my opinions till I actually see it. Not that it's much of a wait anymore.

It's going to be very entertaining if the occult spell list starts getting muddled with bardy bard music spells. Delve not into eldritch knowledge, for the tune will stick in your head and drive you mad!


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KingOfAnything wrote:
Friendly Rogue wrote:
ErichAD wrote:
I like moving the songs over to spells. Much slicker. I wonder though, since we have inspire courage as an occult cantrip, does that mean a sorcerer with the occult spell list has access to it, or are cantrips class locked rather than spell list locked?

Compositions like Inspire Courage are basically Bard-exclusive cantrips, so they're not available to any occult caster, just the Bard.

As a matter of fact, from the looks of things, so far Bards are the only class that get cantrips exclusive to their class, so it's pretty interesting where this sort of concept might go in the future.

Hmm, witch other class might use exclusive cantrips in its design?

I couldn't say, perhaps the next blog will provide us with that revelation.


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DFAnton wrote:
Regarding "quick," perhaps capitalizing or italicizing statuses would alleviate the confusion?

Yeah, I think that would help a lot.

I really wasn't sure whether "speeding" or "quick" was a rules term being referenced, or whether it was just an editing error that had left out a relevant rules term.
Either way, it's very hard to discern what is actual rules text vs. fluff description.
Even the part I think is pure fluff, the very first part of first sentence, sounds very awkward IMHO: "You perform rapidly, speeding your ally" ...ugh.

For reference the entire text is "You perform rapidly, speeding your ally. The ally is quick and can use the action to Strike, Stride, or Step."

IMHO "Quickened" is 100% more clear than "Quick", since in this case it flows more logically as the Condition resulting from something the Caster did to them, vs a new sentence starting with "The ally is quick" which doesn't obviously imply any relation to spell effect or duration, it simply states the ally "is" something. I think all Conditions should be phrased as resulting from causation/action, e.g. Slowed 2, Enlarged 1, Stunned 3.* "Is quick" doesn't read like crunch designation of condition, because can you imagine "is slow 2" being used? If it's a condition, it should be referenced like other conditions would be.

So instead, I could see it being written as...
"Your performance energizes [/invigorates/lends vigor to] your ally's movements. [That was fluff text]
The target gains Quickened condition and can use the action to Strike, Stride, or Step."
Alternatively, "target becomes Quickened" works while not explicitly mentioning "condition", which is still clear from capitalization,
and "becomes" reinforces "causation->effect", unlike vague "is".

* I suppose there is scope for 'natural states of being' which use these same rules, but those are so rare (and in some cases could be implemented distinctly from the conditions, e.g. 'The Zombie has 2 actions', although in some cases coherence with Conditions is desired, re: stacking) that IMHO the construction which implies causation is clearer.

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1of1 wrote:


It's going to be very entertaining if the occult spell list starts getting muddled with bardy bard music spells. Delve not into eldritch knowledge, for the tune will stick in your head and drive you mad!

You seem to have figured out the unfathomable song spell in advance! That was funny when Cosmo used it on those giants.

Grand Lodge

I always play a Rouge but I think now want to sing..


Xenocrat wrote:
worldhopper wrote:


I also notice, between this and the character sheets being released at ENWorld, that most buff effects seem to be conditional bonuses now? Which presumably means they don't stack. Bless in particular is looking kinda sad next to Inspire Courage! (Sure, it lasts longer, but it doesn't affect damage, lost its bonus on saving throws against fear, had its AoE reduced, AND still eats a spell slot while IC now consumes no resources besides actions...) As someone who's been playing a support oracle in RoW, I can appreciate not having to spend multiple rounds casting nearly-identical buffs like Bless and Prayer (I hope the former scales into the latter, now?), but it would still be nice if different classes' support abilities played well together.
If Bless can be heightened it likely has a faster progression than the auto heightening of Inspire Courage, as cantrips have the slowest/lowest progression. Spell > power > cantrip.

That may or not be the case given Mark's comments. It sounds like the Bard is top notch for basic buffing or the cleric is for healing or the rogue is for sneaking.


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Robert Mirabile wrote:
I always play a Rouge but I think now want to sing..

You could be a Moulin Rouge.


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Cantriped wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
Hmm, witch other class might use exclusive cantrips in its design?
The Shaman?! I'm right aren't I, I can see it on your icon.

I was thinking Kineticist.

But more seriously, I could see Hexes being used for this of course, but I can think of a few other class concepts I might want to see use that kind of limitation. I'll have to ponder it.


Mark Seifter wrote:
...I said he could be an imperial sorcerer if he wants, he decided to stay with wizard for the concept...

Is "Imperial" the new take on "Imperious"? I gotta say I prefer the former... Or even "Legendary" seems more appropriate.

"Imperial" just feels too specific to actual specific dynasty, when IMHO it's really about Heroic (or Villainous) mode of will and domination, "apex" of mortal soul.


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Quandary wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
...I said he could be an imperial sorcerer if he wants, he decided to stay with wizard for the concept...

Is "Imperial" the new take on "Imperious"? I gotta say I prefer the former... Or even "Legendary" seems more appropriate.

"Imperial" just feels too specific to actual specific dynastic rulership. It's really about Heroism IMHO (or Villainy).

I'm 90% sure Imperial is an indirect reference to the Azlanti Empire, who in setting advanced arcane magic in ways no one has touched since.

Edit: Ah, I see what you mean. I'd forgotten that was their official name in the ARG. In that case, yes, I think so.


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Ok, this ranks up with the ranger preview. Two thumbs up.

My only minor complaint is that some of the text is worded in a way that's confusing: The quicken [no capitalization or italization] and the bit about "high-difficulty DC of a level equal to the highest-level target of your composition". One just blends in while the other reads like top grade legalese.

PS: I may have to blow off the dust from my didgeridoo, ocarina and rhombus for a new bard. ;)


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Mark Seifter wrote:
ENHenry wrote:

Anyone else besides me blowing a gasket while trying to figure out what classes to play for the playtest? :) I know that Doomsday Dawn will have at least two chances for players to make PCs to play, but I can't narrow it down from twelve choices!!!

Mark, why couldn't you ladies and gents have intentionally made at least one or two classes suck, to make my life easier??? ;-)

If you are playing all of Doomsday Dawn and you never repeat classes except when it's the same character, you will get to play 5/12 classes. Still doesn't help you though, I think. Sorry, which do you recommend we make suck?

Make the paladin suck. Oh the tears...

Grand Lodge

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I really, really love this. The Pathfinder Bard has always been one of my favourite classes in any system, and this takes all the same heart and whimsy and adds a whole bunch of pizzazz.

I was a little perturbed when I saw the tenth-level spells thing because... well... I was scared that you'd go the 5e route of power over performance. I should never have doubted you guys. This Bard is an artist and spellsinger over anything else, and that's just about perfect.

This is one of my absolute favourite additions to this new system.

P.S. Really appreciate the way you're not tying it just to more traditional modes of performance! Lots of room for a battle-dancer or storyteller. Anyone with art in their soul and soul in their 'art should be able to be a Bard.


Captain Morgan wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
worldhopper wrote:


I also notice, between this and the character sheets being released at ENWorld, that most buff effects seem to be conditional bonuses now? Which presumably means they don't stack. Bless in particular is looking kinda sad next to Inspire Courage! (Sure, it lasts longer, but it doesn't affect damage, lost its bonus on saving throws against fear, had its AoE reduced, AND still eats a spell slot while IC now consumes no resources besides actions...) As someone who's been playing a support oracle in RoW, I can appreciate not having to spend multiple rounds casting nearly-identical buffs like Bless and Prayer (I hope the former scales into the latter, now?), but it would still be nice if different classes' support abilities played well together.
If Bless can be heightened it likely has a faster progression than the auto heightening of Inspire Courage, as cantrips have the slowest/lowest progression. Spell > power > cantrip.
That may or not be the case given Mark's comments. It sounds like the Bard is top notch for basic buffing or the cleric is for healing or the rogue is for sneaking.

A Bard can be top notch because he has infinite buff time from Inspire Courage and can layer spells on top of that (haste + Inspire Courage > Bless/prayer + whatever a Cleric can do), not because he violates the general rule.

Grand Lodge

Getting more and more excited as the previews keep rolling in!


redpandamage wrote:


You level faster in 2e and the goal is to make it so higher levels are more played. So the bonus at 12 is less extreme than it seems. Also, DMW (I think it was him) did an analysis on save progression and it matched up with the caster bonuses.

Do you have a source for this?

As I understand it, it's unlikely to level more than once a session, and it's impractical to have more than one session a week. So it's still three months to get to 12.


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First World Bard wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
LoreKeeper wrote:

From my read of this, Mark, doesn't this essentially lock in the monk-bard as the ultimate multi-class build?

[/onlyhalfserious]

I like ranger-bard, personally.
I fully intend to go druid-bard at some point during the playtest, to see how that behaves.

Actually seems like a really good stand-in for the witch during the playtest to sate that witch-itch...

...unless remove curse isn't on either of their spell-lists. Then I suppose you'll have to ask your party cleric to look at your witch-itch...

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Nitro~Nina wrote:

I really, really love this. The Pathfinder Bard has always been one of my favourite classes in any system, and this takes all the same heart and whimsy and adds a whole bunch of pizzazz.

I was a little perturbed when I saw the tenth-level spells thing because... well... I was scared that you'd go the 5e route of power over performance. I should never have doubted you guys. This Bard is an artist and spellsinger over anything else, and that's just about perfect.

This is one of my absolute favourite additions to this new system.

Glad you like, it was important to me that we get bards right, so I based a lot of the initial modeling on my experiences playing bards in PF1, what was good, what wasn't as good, what was effective, what could be more flexible.

Quote:
P.S. Really appreciate the way you're not tying it just to more traditional modes of performance! Lots of room for a battle-dancer or storyteller. Anyone with art in their soul and soul in their 'art should be able to be a Bard.

This part is really important to us. Bards aren't just musicians, they are just as you describe, and the soul in the art is a strong part of what ties them to the spiritual essence as well as mental!


Isn't haste likely to be a vital essence spell and thus not likely to be on the bard list? Hence why they probably have access to spell powers that give the [quick] condition.


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Unicore wrote:

Isn't haste likely to be a vital essence spell and thus not likely to be on the bard list? Hence why they probably have access to spell powers that give the [quick] condition.

haste and it's big brother time stop have carried connotations of the user acting faster because their brain is moving faster with their use and various descriptions in pathfinder, and slipping out traditional wizard spells into the druid and cleric would feel incredibly off, so with both facts in mind, haste and time stop are decidedly mental spells.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Ultimatecalibur wrote:
Voss wrote:
Why is the lingering composition performance check expressed so oddly? Why not X+level rather than the ' convoluted high difficulty based on highest level or GM messing with you?'
I think it is so that the GM can actually make it easier rather than harder. If the Bard opts to use an incredibly appropriate piece of performance for the composition the effect would have an easier time lingering.
Yes, it's mostly to make it easier. In theory I guess if you sing an "inspiring" song to the dwarves of the Five Kings Mountains about the glory of Taldor's Fourth Army of Exploration (which attacked the dwarves) or something contrived like that, you might make it tougher on yourself.

Obligatory OOTS comic.


Okay this time I dont see anything wrong with this but a few questions Mark.

1) Are Bardic Abilities that effect Skills (ie: Inspire Competence) still a thing? If so can they be used outside of battle?

2) Are some of the old group buff spells (EX: Marching Chant) still here, or have they been removed/made into feats?


Mark Seifter wrote:
LoreKeeper wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
LoreKeeper wrote:

From my read of this, Mark, doesn't this essentially lock in the monk-bard as the ultimate multi-class build?

[/onlyhalfserious]

Oh in what way? It could be pretty effective, if also pretty MAD.

One action to inspire courage (wise sensei's advice), one action to flurry, one action to do whatever is required in the current situation.

This is obviously not for a caster-centric build, but for a battle-bard the two classes seem to compliment each other mechanically nicely. The monk part solidifies the bard as a melee combatant; the bard part escalates the combat effectiveness and significantly increases out-of-combat options.

Not to mention that "occult" seems a natural thematic fit for a monk.

I picture a monk 8 / bard 2 kind of split.

I thought it might be that; flurry+performance is indeed a potent combination. It's also pretty solid for other situations like fist ranger with pet (as someone else mentioned upthread).

Shelyn bless.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So, bard performances can be dispelled, and don't function in areas of anti-magic.
Bards just lost a lot of their appeal.


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KingOfAnything wrote:
Finally! Oh, I could just sing!

Just how long have you been waiting on this blog so you could say that?


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Ched Greyfell wrote:

So, bard performances can be dispelled, and don't function in areas of anti-magic.

Bards just lost a lot of their appeal.

If someone uses a real spell slot and two actions to dispel your cantrip that lasts one round you should...thank him? Then cast it again.


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I am looking forward to testing some variations of Bard during the Playtest. So much scope.


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Ched Greyfell wrote:

So, bard performances can be dispelled, and don't function in areas of anti-magic.

Bards just lost a lot of their appeal.

Inspire courage in PF1 is a supernatural ability, and so doesn't function in an antimagic field.

Edit: I double checked, and all core bardic inspirations are either Spell-like or supernatural, and so wouldn't function in areas of antimagic.


So I have two questions. One, is Long John Silver a bard or a rogue?

And the second, and I understand perfectly if this can't be answered... but... can a Bard counter perform a dragons frightful presence?


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Occult doesn't make sense to me for the Bard, especially as the only Occult caster in the core rules, Sorcerer notwithstanding.

What is the reasoning behind this? I'm sure they're are many reasons, but I'm trying to wrap my head around the decision.

The word "Occult" has a sinister connotation. It evokes images of ouija boards, summoning circles, sacrificial daggers, old relics, rituals, tombs, etc. Many of the Occult classes in 1e exemplified these themes well. Bards being Occult casters? It seems shoehorned in.

Bards have always struck me as the "whimsical" class. Am I alone in this?


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Drewg wrote:
The word Occult has a sinister connotation. It evokes images of ouiji boards, summoning circles, sacrificial daggers, old relics, rituals, tombs, etc. Many of the Occult classes in 1e exemplified these themes well. Bards being Occult casters? It seems shoehorned in.

It bothers me too, fwiw. I'd have preferred "psychic" but I'm trying to remain open minded.


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Ched Greyfell wrote:

So, bard performances can be dispelled, and don't function in areas of anti-magic.

Bards just lost a lot of their appeal.

All performances in PF1e were (Su) except suggestion and mass suggestion, which were spell like. So the only difference is that they can be dispelled. Which, if you're a wizard who's using their precious spell slots on dispelling a bard's performances, go ahead, honestly. Waste your precious spell slots.

Also, like, were AMFs really all that common in 1e? I rarely played at high levels, so I could be off base, but it seems to me that one of paizo's main goals is to eliminate the need for AMFs just because wizards would break things otherwise.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
There is one very neat skill trick the polymath can eventually take that might make the rogue a bit jealous in the situations where it comes up (the rogue can actually be better in some ways at that niche even then by spending tons of skill feats but probably wouldn't do that, and the polymath spends way less) . Meanwhile, in many other skillsy situations, the polymath is jealous of the rogue's faster proficiency rank and skill feat advancement...but of course, he also spells!

Hmmm... Now I wonder what a rogue/polymath bard would look like. Is he a bit jealous of himself? ;)

Silver Crusade

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I haven't been posting much recently, but feel the need to say that this looks *great*!! Bards have always been a favorite and now they threaten to become *the* favorite. Can't wait to build one.


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AnimatedPaper wrote:
Drewg wrote:
The word Occult has a sinister connotation. It evokes images of ouiji boards, summoning circles, sacrificial daggers, old relics, rituals, tombs, etc. Many of the Occult classes in 1e exemplified these themes well. Bards being Occult casters? It seems shoehorned in.
It bothers me too, fwiw. I'd have preferred "psychic" but I'm trying to remain open minded.

The occult community hired the bards on as a PR stunt to try and turn around their negative image.


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Drewg wrote:

Occult doesn't make sense to me for the Bard, especially as the only Occult caster in the core rules, Sorcerer notwithstanding.

What is the reasoning behind this? I'm sure they're are many reasons, but I'm trying to wrap my head around the decision.

The word "Occult" has a sinister connotation. It evokes images of ouija boards, summoning circles, sacrificial daggers, old relics, rituals, tombs, etc. Many of the Occult classes in 1e exemplified these themes well. Bards being Occult casters? It seems shoehorned in.

Bards have always struck me as the "whimsical" class. Am I alone in this?

Occult actually makes a ton of sense to me. I always downplayed the whimsy (never once have I played a lute-strummer, nor will I ever), and focused on them being skilled, especially in areas of knowledge and lore, and especially the type of lost-to-all-but-legend style ancient knowledge. There are too many archetypes to count right now, but for bard archetypes, at least as many of them play into the esoteric and lore side than 'whimsy.'


Mark,

How do Bards provide material spell components?

Paizo Employee Designer

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graystone wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
There is one very neat skill trick the polymath can eventually take that might make the rogue a bit jealous in the situations where it comes up (the rogue can actually be better in some ways at that niche even then by spending tons of skill feats but probably wouldn't do that, and the polymath spends way less) . Meanwhile, in many other skillsy situations, the polymath is jealous of the rogue's faster proficiency rank and skill feat advancement...but of course, he also spells!
Hmmm... Now I wonder what a rogue/polymath bard would look like. Is he a bit jealous of himself? ;)

Probably instead everybody else, rogues and polymaths alike, are jealous of her sometimes.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Xenocrat wrote:

Mark,

How do Bards provide material spell components?

Like how clerics can present a deific symbol, bards can play an instrument as the Material Casting as well, if they want. Or just provide the materials as normal.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:

Mark,

How do Bards provide material spell components?

Like how clerics can present a deific symbol, bards can play an instrument as the Material Casting as well, if they want. Or just provide the materials as normal.

Oh, I thought each class had a unique and fixed method: arcane focus, holy symbol, or blood. So these are optional replacements for the old goofy dad joke components?

Bards need a helmet mounted harmonica.

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