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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Tags: Pathfinder Playtest Wayne Reynolds
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3 people marked this as a favorite.

Strong spell progression.
Single action buff cantrips.
Potent reactions.
Lots of skills.
Great muse class features.

Looks like Paizo has been seduced by the Bard.

Great work.


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.

I, for one, don't get the "dark vibe" from occult as a term, but my exposure to the term has not been coloured by that sort of exposure - not a fan of horror films and the like.

I am liking the bard itself. Occult seems fitting (original definition something close to "knowledge of the hidden")

Buffs are hitting my watch list though. I hope to see more longer lasting buffs without the ongoing upkeep.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

I have no problem with Bard as Occult, it matches with the folk spiritual magic suppressed by totalitarian monotheisms often being grounded in voice, song, rhythm (which monotheisms themselves used for own purposes, no surprise since they were ultimately grounded in pagan culture). Bard was never about "hard" magic like Arcane Wizards, and their Cure magic always conflicted with that typing anyways. Seems more a matter of people ignoring old inconsistencies because that's just what they were used to. "Sorcery" was just as much "connoted" as sinister, yet nobody complained there, or why it wasn't classed as divine since it was "connoted" as worshipping evil deities.

Does make me wonder what will happen re: Fey magic, monsters and Sorc bloodlines.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Drewg wrote:


The word "Occult" has a sinister connotation.

No it doesn't. It just means supernatural or magical


Ok, I admit, the theory is true: the Bard is an occult caster.
I'm still not familiar with that, although I should know the definition of each magical traditions...
Other than that (not bad, just different and a little weird), I loved everything about the Bard here. I like bards very much, thank you, and I think they should be right along all the other classes instead of being the underpowered spoony bard of so many editions and other games.
I think the Muse idea is great, and the three of them are just right for the game's beginning: one which focuses on magic music, other one that focuses on lore, and a third one that focuses on being a jack-of-all-trades - another favored character concept that so many people just can't pull it off!

As a note: in my table , it will be a house-rule: everyone's first bard must be named Edward.
Come on! This poor guy deserves some time in the spotlight!


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. They can replace every component with an instrument? If we get any weapon that can be used as an instrument [or vice versa] that'll be pretty sweet. A mace maraca? A new version of a totem spear?

Scarab Sages

7 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm really liking what I see in terms of crunch here. Chapeau!

However, the nomenclature... ugh.


  • A composition is a sizable piece of music, not something you shake out of your sleeve at a moment's notice. A much better choice here would be «tune», or if you want to keep it less specific to music, «flourish»... or just «performance», how about that? (Incidentally, «composition» is also pretty music-centric.)
  • A muse is an external source of inspiration. «Maestro» and «polymath» are descriptions of the Bard themselves. That's an absurd mismatch of concepts. I would suggest either renaming the muse to passion, or rolling with «muse» and actually naming them after external concepts, like «art», «lore», and «skill».

Paizo Employee Designer

14 people marked this as a favorite.
Quandary wrote:

I have no problem with Bard as Occult, it matches with the folk spiritual magic suppressed by totalitarian monotheisms often being grounded in voice, song, rhythm. Bard was never about "hard" magic like Arcane Wizards, and their Cure magic always conflicted with that typing anyways. Seems more a matter of people ignoring old inconsistencies because that's just what they were used to. "Sorcery" was just as much "connotated" as sinister, yet nobody complained there, or why it wasn't classed as divine since it was "connoted" as worshipping evil deities.

I couldn't read the last sentence without hearing the derisive "Sorcery!" in the tone constantly used in the BBC Merlin series.


Huh, with playing an instrument providing components instead of the actual components, does that mean that we have some good incentive to play an Instrument Bard instead of a Singing Bard?


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Igwilly wrote:

Ok, I admit, the theory is true: the Bard is an occult caster.

I'm still not familiar with that, although I should know the definition of each magical traditions...
Other than that (not bad, just different and a little weird), I loved everything about the Bard here. I like bards very much, thank you, and I think they should be right along all the other classes instead of being the underpowered spoony bard of so many editions and other games.
I think the Muse idea is great, and the three of them are just right for the game's beginning: one which focuses on magic music, other one that focuses on lore, and a third one that focuses on being a jack-of-all-trades - another favored character concept that so many people just can't pull it off!

As a note: in my table , it will be a house-rule: everyone's first bard must be named Edward.
Come on! This poor guy deserves some time in the spotlight!

Well that's what my bard in Kingmaker is named. He is somewhat traumatized about the death of his family, though, especially Anna.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
graystone wrote:
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. They can replace every component with an instrument? If we get any weapon that can be used as an instrument [or vice versa] that'll be pretty sweet. A mace maraca? A new version of a totem spear?

https://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/File:ARR_Bard.png


Mark Seifter wrote:
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).

That's even worse. You can spend an action on your turn to not be able to use your reaction? Spending an action for bardic performance already seems quite a high cost. Not getting to use multiple at the same time is just too high. Do you get countersong for free? Or does it cost a feat/class feature? I don't see anyone taking countersong and inspire courage together unless it's essentially free to take.

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

I don't mind that the bard has gone psychic. I think it will help eat up the mesmerist whose flavour I liked but found the mechanics to be very much not what I like (on a conceptual level not on a balance level). Bards in PF1e were all about mental control and effects as well as hitting things with their sword with a minor amount of other utility spells like healing. Making that psychic just works too well together.

I do worry that 1 power source = 1 spell list is very much going to result in a plethora of power sources in the future. I also worry with the complication of power = a spell that's not a spell. It seems like a lot of unnecessary repetition will eventually occur, much like D&D 4th ed had 5 different expressions of healing word.


Oh my god yes! Finally my favorite class gets the buff it so rightfully deserves! Bards rock!


John Lynch 106 wrote:

I don't mind that the bard has gone psychic. I think it will help eat up the mesmerist whose flavour I liked but found the mechanics to be very much not what I like (on a conceptual level not on a balance level). Bards in PF1e were all about mental control and effects as well as hitting things with their sword with a minor amount of other utility spells like healing. Making that psychic just works too well together.

Well, the main cause of repetition in 4e was the always exclusive power-list. I don't think they will do that here, but perhaps include other classes with those same spell lists later, varying in features, feats and all of that. Or at least I hope so.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It will be interesting comparing the Bard against the rogue.

Is versatile performance still a thing? That was one of the things that caused the Bard to really excell at skills.

I look forward to finally reading the full rules soon. Hopefully with them I will finally make sense of some of the rules and interactions.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Mark Seifter wrote:
Vessa wrote:
Mark, I remember one of you guys saying that there wasn't arcane spell failure chance for armor in 2e. Can you please confirm or deny? If it helps I even remember the dev going on to say that they'd actually like to see if arcane casters will grab the proficiency feats and find them worth it.
I remember that too but not who said it. Whoever said it was right.

What I'd actually like is spell failure for EVERYONE, arcane or not, when wearing armor they're not proficient in. And no spell failure in armor they ARE proficient in :)


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Igwilly wrote:
graystone wrote:
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. They can replace every component with an instrument? If we get any weapon that can be used as an instrument [or vice versa] that'll be pretty sweet. A mace maraca? A new version of a totem spear?

https://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/File:ARR_Bard.png

HarpBow? LuteAxe? FluteSpear? I'd use that if they can function as both an instrument and a weapon.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

But the biggest question of all:

Do Bard's have Weapon Proficiency: Instruments like El KaBong?


Igwilly wrote:
Well, the main cause of repetition in 4e was the always exclusive power-list. I don't think they will do that here

AFAIK that is exactly what they're doing. From what I've seen each power is unique to the class that gets it.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I once had a player who wanted a Guitar-Axe for her Bard. I mean, electric guitar and rock-and-roll and that. No sane DM would ever allow such a thing!

Of course I said yes.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
John Lynch 106 wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
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).
That's even worse. You can spend an action on your turn to not be able to use your reaction? Spending an action for bardic performance already seems quite a high cost. Not getting to use multiple at the same time is just too high. Do you get countersong for free? Or does it cost a feat/class feature? I don't see anyone taking countersong and inspire courage together unless it's essentially free to take.
The Blog wrote:
Finally, you begin play at 1st level with two compositions, the inspire courage cantrip (which has been detailed above) and the counter performance power.

So yeah you do get them both for free. That said, based on personal experience with PF1e (where I have seen a great many Bards) I do have a similar worry. Bards were basically Inspire-bots in my experience, with any performance besides Inspire Courage being seen as worthless and any archetype that would replace Inspire Courage being seen as a trash archetype in 99% of cases. As such, I will be paying close attention to the various Compositions in the playtest to make sure that other options are in fact worth using sometimes instead of Inspire Courage.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Looks good to me. Can't wait to try a Gnome Bard in the playtest.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Malthraz wrote:

Strong spell progression.

Single action buff cantrips.
Potent reactions.
Lots of skills.
Great muse class features.

Looks like Paizo has been seduced by the Bard.

Great work.

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEE!

I am jumping up and down and applauding. I mean, who isn’t seduced by bards?

★ ---- ★ ---- ★ ---- ★

♫ Where have all the good blogs gone
Did they hide amongst the gobs?
Where's Seifter’s previews to enlighten us poor slobs?
Isn't there a pundit to give us detailed screed?
Late at night I toss and I turn
And I dream of what I need
I need a Bard blog!
I'm holding out for a bard blog to my endless delight
It’s gotta have spells
And it’s gotta have muse
And it’s gotta buff up our fight

I need a Bard blog!
I'm holding out for a Bard blog to make us feel right
I wanna be sure
The Dawn of our Dooms
Day’s gonna be larger than life!
Larger than life

Somewhere after Playtest
In my wildest fantasy
Just beyond my resonance pool
There's Maestro muse reaching for me
Racing on the rhythms and rising with the beat
Our operatic encores lifting the audience to its feet

I need a Bard blog!
I'm holding out for a Bard blog to rock Paizo’s site!
It's gotta be strong
Make us burst into song
With occult casting no chance for stage fright!
I need a Bard blog!
I'm holding out for a Bard blog to make us feel right
I wanna be sure
The Dawn of our Dooms
Day’s gonna be larger than life
I’m reading a Bard blog!
I'm reading a Bard blog 'til the end of the night

Up where the Playtest meets players now in love
Out where Gencon now heralds 2e
I could swear there is someone, somewhere
Watching me
Through surveys, and forums, and this refrain
With the feedback comes the flood
I can feel Playtest’s approach like a fire in my blood!

We read a Bard blog!
We’re reading a Bard blog to make us feel right
It’s got compositions, it all the notes
It’s gotta have skills outta sight!
We read a Bard blog!
I'm reading a Bard blog 'til the morning light
It’s got real allure
And it’s got lots of room
For concepts larger than life

I need a Bard blog!
I'm holding out for a Bard blog to rock Paizo’s site!
It's gotta be strong
Make us burst into song
With occult casting no chance for stage fright!
I need a Bard blog!
I'm holding out for a Bard blog to make us feel right
I wanna be sure
The Dawn of our Dooms
Day’s gonna be larger than life
I’m reading a Bard blog!
I'm reading a Bard blog 'til the end of the night
End of the night ♫

Sovereign Court

2 people marked this as a favorite.
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John Lynch 106 wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
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).
That's even worse. You can spend an action on your turn to not be able to use your reaction? Spending an action for bardic performance already seems quite a high cost. Not getting to use multiple at the same time is just too high. Do you get countersong for free? Or does it cost a feat/class feature? I don't see anyone taking countersong and inspire courage together unless it's essentially free to take.

It works just the same as Saving Finale from PF1. Use an immediate/reaction to bolster the saves of your allies, but end your current performance.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Tholomyes wrote:
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.'

It maps really well to some of the more prominent bards from the history of the world's oldest fantasy TTRPG, like Finder Wyvernspur (the first bard I can remember reading about). Finder was a bard obsessed with preserving his music "as it was intended" and engaged in some very messed up experiments towards that end, like creating a clone of himself and then abusing it as he attempted to teach it how to play his songs (very in line with a Lore muse bard). Johann Georg Faust is also a good literary example of an occult-flavored bard (polymath, perhaps?), and Leliana from Dragon Age fits the bill very well also (though it doesn't hurt that in Dragon Age all magic is viewed as scary and dangerous.) And while Paizo went a different direction with him in Reign of Winter, Rasputin would have made a great bard, given historical accounts that refer to him as "an intensely and inexplicably charismatic figure, seen by some Russians as a mystic, visionary, and prophet, and by others as a religious charlatan" (prophet being the only part of that that isn't straight-up unequivocal bard territory.)


Not that surprised PF2!Bard being an Occult full-caster, especially when the old Mesmerist's iconic is Lem's evil brother by birth...

Now I just want to know every single alternatives each casting class has for the spell component actions (like holy symbols, instruments, magical blood, and so forth).


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Now this makes me want to make a Bard inspired by Dishonored's Overseers. Will it be possible to wield an anti-magic music box in the playtest?


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Eh, I'm less interested in this than the 1e Bard and Bard was one of my least liked classes in Fantasy RPGs to begin with. Do we know if we can have a bard with no musical abilities at all yet?

No 6th casters + Skill Feats so far sounding very very specific + Skill feats needing to wait till legendary before they reflect even low-level spells = Martial/Caster disparity is probably going to be worse in 1e than it was in 2e.... At least in 1e I could have people play 6th casters for some balanced supernatural characters.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
John Lynch 106 wrote:
I also worry with the complication of power = a spell that's not a spell. It seems like a lot of unnecessary repetition will eventually occur, much like D&D 4th ed had 5 different expressions of healing word.

I wish we had signatures, because I know what mine would be for the entirety of the playtest. Ahem:

Spell: a thing you can do using magic. By default, a spell requires a slot of the appropriate level.
Power: a spell that uses spell-points (*cough*mana*cough*) instead of a slot. All other rules apply.
Cantrip/Orison: a spell that requires neither slot nor spell-point, and so can be cast at will.
Chanelling: *insert rude words here*

I haven't figured out how to phrase "innate magic" but I will take a stab at it once we get the complete rules.

But seriously, we've had cantrips/orisons in PF1 for years. And spell-likes/supernatural abilities for decades. They're all spells that aren't really spells, but haven't inspired the level of consternation that powers seem to.

Edit: I apologize for my snarkiness, but I'm genuinely surprised that this is so often brought up.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
Igwilly wrote:
Well, the main cause of repetition in 4e was the always exclusive power-list. I don't think they will do that here
AFAIK that is exactly what they're doing. From what I've seen each power is unique to the class that gets it.

While I've seen nothing that contradicts this assumption, I also don't think it'll stay that way. The Artistic Flourish domain power never once references being divinely inspired. So you could use that power verbatim by a metal-school wizard or a con artist bard, and not have it out of place on either spell-list. Or the firebolt domain power might also be an evocation school power.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
Wandering Wastrel wrote:

It's a shame we can't mark blog entries as favourite, as this one would be a shoo-in :-)

Bravo, Paizo - and encore!

If you're looking for an encore, I'll be on Know Direction talking about the bard (and other stuff but I think the episode has the bard in the title) this Wednesday!

Ooh! I’m looking forward to that!

Hmm

Grand Lodge

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Long John wrote:
So I have two questions. One, is Long John Silver a bard or a rogue?

Yes.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Hmm wrote:
Malthraz wrote:

Strong spell progression.

Single action buff cantrips.
Potent reactions.
Lots of skills.
Great muse class features.

Looks like Paizo has been seduced by the Bard.

Great work.

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEE!

I am jumping up and down and applauding. I mean, who isn’t seduced by bards?

I'm glad it's here!

Some Bard Blog to Love:
♫ Can anybody find me some bard blog to love?

Each morning I get up I read the forum
Can barely wait two more weeks

(Take a look at your posts)

Take a look at the screen and cry
Mark, what you're doing to me
I have spent all my days in rereading you
But I just can't get no relief, Mark!
Somebody, somebody
Can anybody find me some bard blog to love?

I work hard (he works hard) every day of my life
I work 'till I ache in my bones
At the end
(at the end of the day)
I spend my hard earned pay on some Paizo
I sit down
(down) at my game (game)
And I start to play
Till the tears run down from my eyes
Lord somebody, somebody
(Please) can anybody find me some bard blog to love? ♫


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

My first long-term character was a bard. I dearly love the class. This blog suggests to me that it will be just as fun to play a bard in PF2, if not more so. I can't wait to sink my teeth into it!

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I was all in before.
I'm twice as all in now.

SM

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

Finally.

We get a class that will better enable character concepts that we couldn't with 1.0. In looking towards the future, I am more interested what we can do in 2.0 that we couldn't (or not do as well) in 1.0.

Though, with bard as a full caster, I am concerned we might not get good support for a magus or a spellcasting warrior character.


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Cyrad wrote:
Though, with bard as a full caster, I am concerned we might not get good support for a magus or a spellcasting warrior character.

I am holding out hope that one can build a reasonable spellcasting warrior from the multiclassing system in this edition.


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Cyrad wrote:
Though, with bard as a full caster, I am concerned we might not get good support for a magus or a spellcasting warrior character.

I sort of suspect one of the design goals for PF2 was to first ensure the "pure warrior" (of various types) classes are on par with the "pure spellcaster" (of various types) classes, before we start trying to mix the two together.

Make the Fighter good, make the Wizard good, make sure the Fighter is as good as the Wizard (and vice versa), then later on start mixing the two together to get the Magus.


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AnimatedPaper wrote:


I wish we had signatures, because I know what mine would be for the entirety of the playtest.....

I get it. But here's what I'm seeing:

Actions: We've consolidated these to be a universal action system + 1 reaction for simplicity.

Skill Ranks: We've removed these and replaced them with +level+proficiency for simplicity.

BAB: We've removed this and replaced it with +level+proficiency for simplicity.

Resonance: We've removed (but not really) X times per day magic items and replaced them with Resonance for simplicity.

Saving Throws: We've replaced this with +level+proficiency for simplicity.

Spell Point Pool: We've replaced ki pool and other x times per day abilities with spell points for simplicity.

Powers: We've got these powers that we're making work like spells and use spell points but not allow spell points to cast actual spells with or allow spell slots to be used with these powers.

If we're changing so much of the system in the name of consistency and ease of use these powers stick out like a sore thumb.


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Mark Seifter wrote:


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!

OK. A request here, when we're talking about class mechanics in a preview and the resulting discussion, can we talk about the spell list mechanically, and not in terms of in-game metaphysical...handwavy...stuff?

Its a real barrier, and I haven't the faintest idea what you mean by any of it. What kind of spells do they get? Dominate, hold person and similar enchantments? Bolts of force? Sonic damage effects? What kind of actual spell effects and useful abilities can the party expect out of the bard? A sampling that have counterparts in 3.X and PF1 would be fantastic, as would some new things.

And how does the overlap with the occult sorcerers work? Can we expect that aberrant (I think they get the occult list) sorcerers will be throwing out random musical effects, or again, is it focused on mind affecting, sonic and other themes that hopefully don't primarily reflect the bard as the primary occult user.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
Powers: We've got these powers that we're making work like spells and use spell points but not allow spell points to cast actual spells with or allow spell slots to be used with these powers.

That's just it, they are actual spells. They have minimum spell levels, can be heightened, interact with the action economy in the same manner as every other kind of spell. They simply have a different associated cost to cast.

I think the name "spell point" is slightly confusing, since as you point out if you can't use them to cast any spell you'd like, why are they called that? And while Paizo never used or advocated Spell Point or Power Point casting systems that Psionics, Spheres of Power, or 3.5 unearthed arcana used, pretending those systems don't exist and won't be conflated with this iteration of spell points seems silly.

I push "mana" as a replacement term a lot, but really almost anything would be better. I believe Mark once commented that "spell point" is a step up from the PF1 term, which is often "use", but honestly "use" might have been better.


I am confused if the ability to cast spells with a musical instrumant if that means any preform skill or just an instrument


First World Bard wrote:
Cyrad wrote:
Though, with bard as a full caster, I am concerned we might not get good support for a magus or a spellcasting warrior character.
I am holding out hope that one can build a reasonable spellcasting warrior from the multiclassing system in this edition.
PossibleCabbage wrote:


I sort of suspect one of the design goals for PF2 was to first ensure the "pure warrior" (of various types) classes are on par with the "pure spellcaster" (of various types) classes, before we start trying to mix the two together.

Make the Fighter good, make the Wizard good, make sure the Fighter is as good as the Wizard (and vice versa), then later on start mixing the two together to get the Magus.

When it comes to the classic Sword-and-Spell Gish, I think one should be doable by multiclass. We could have a new class just for that but...

Now, if we enter into Spell Blade territory, then we need a new class. Or a new prestige something...


From what we know, it should be possible for even a Wizard to become an Expert in a martial weapon (such as Longsword), giving the sword-mage a similar statline as a 1E Eldritch Knight (but with feat-taxes instead of the class level tax).

Beyond that most of what defined a Magus (or Arcane Archer) could as easily be encapsulated in an Archetype (feat chain) that granted the ability to deliver a spell through a Strike with a weapon, and related features like not provoking while doing so.


Looks like this is the most heavily changed class from PF1. The description is intriguing and exciting... I don't know how well it will work but I sure would like to test it.

The only thing I'm not completely sure of is the terminology. "Occult" doesn't sound bad per se, but it denotes secrecy and mystery, not sure if this is a natural match for the bard. "Muse" is strange as well: The definition as a source of inspiration is good, but it doesn't correspond to either "maestro", "lore" or "polymath".


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While Arcane is probably going to be the type of magic that is a clear and exact science, I think that Occult is going to be the sort of magic that is a more cobbled craft. Occult could well be piecemeal, eclectic. It could take up bits from multiple sources and build into something workable from disparate sources.

So you could just as likely get an Occult caster who has experimented with the music of the spheres and has learned from a wide breadth of lore how to work wonders as you could have somebody who has delved into cultish territory and learned things one was Not Meant to Know from aberrations and things from beyond the stars.

I'm also alright with Muse, since while the source of inspiration is fairly open ended, the actual class feature describes what form the inspiration takes. A muse could be Sheylyn, but the bard is driven to become a Maestro. A muse could be devotion to the Pathfinder Society which drives a hunger for Lore. There could very well be a better term for it, or Muse and Passion could wind up separate things for a Bard to describe their self with.

I'm really looking forward to how it all turns out though.


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I'm really impressed by the changes in the Bard, especially in terms of flavor.


Stone Dog wrote:

I'm also alright with Muse, since while the source of inspiration is fairly open ended, the actual class feature describes what form the inspiration takes. A muse could be Sheylyn, but the bard is driven to become a Maestro. A muse could be devotion to the Pathfinder Society which drives a hunger for Lore. There could very well be a better term for it, or Muse and Passion could wind up separate things for a Bard to describe their self with.

Thought about that, too. It would be better to create demi-generic Muses than going with specific ones, and I think they just chose the easy way of naming the mechanics by what the bard is going to be, I guess.

Stone Dog wrote:

While Arcane is probably going to be the type of magic that is a clear and exact science, I think that Occult is going to be the sort of magic that is a more cobbled craft. Occult could well be piecemeal, eclectic. It could take up bits from multiple sources and build into something workable from disparate sources.

So you could just as likely get an Occult caster who has experimented with the music of the spheres and has learned from a wide breadth of lore how to work wonders as you could have somebody who has delved into cultish territory and learned things one was Not Meant to Know from aberrations and things from beyond the stars.

I thought Occult was just re-named Psychic Magic. However, I can see that…

I guess we’ll find out soon ^^

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Impressions of the bard:

1) I'm officially sick of spells. Too many powers in the game are simply spells in both name and structure, and it makes it seem very repetitive and lacking distinction between classes.
2) Not really a fan of occult spellcasting being the same as bard spell list. I think there's a lot of overlap with charm/mind control effects, but there's a lot of occult stuff which in no way feels bardlike. In addition, some of Mark's comments suggest that force effects are part of the occult spell list, and therefore we'll have magic missile shooting bards. 2nd edition D&D let bards cast magic missile and it was a very poorly received change, for good reason.
3) playing a music instrument counting as somatic and verbal components is great!
4) inspire courage giving a conditional bonus which therefore doesn't stack with most other bonuses seems the wrong direction. It re-enforces that most effects in 2E are pretty much the same, and a fairly blatant gamist rules change to reduce the number of stacking effects a character can have at once.
5) inspire courage costing an action every round (and presumably other cantrip compositions acting the same) seems like a bit of a power boost compared to low levels PF1, since you can still cast a spell in the same round, and a bit of a nerf at higher levels when it's a swift action. Not having free action to continue also seems like a nerf. Bardic performances now seem to use 1/3 of your actions every round (unless there's bard feats you can take later to change this), which makes it much more limiting to play a bard and have the actions to do other stuff the way you used to be able to.
6) Lingering composition wording for the DC is horribly clumsy to read. The fact that it's a common thing in PF2 and you can easily look it up means that you have the same horribly clumsy wording throughout the rules of PF2, which is also bad. I strongly hope the "but the GM can assign a different DC" is removed from this and all other specific rules in the game. That's true of any DC in the game - why clutter up the rules on what the DC is for a particular power with that, and not even give the DC or formula to calculate it? I"m looking it up and want to know what it is, not be told to look it up elsewhere, and hope the GM doesn't mess around with it.
7) having to make a Performance check every 2-3 rounds to make it linger sounds like an awful lot of die rolling. Can't it just be a flat +1-2 rounds or 1d2, or whatever? Seems like the current version is a lot of rolling and checking against DCs to just see if you get 1-3 extra rounds - and for longer fights, you do this repeatedly, rather than spending valuable table time dealing with something more fun.
8) Not at all a fan of the barbarization of the word Muse. That's not really what it means - as presented its just a specialization. I'd much rather muses be things like a deity, a romantic inspiration, a ruler, a family member, etc. with relevant benefits based on that choice.
9) Counter performance - what does a "visual effect" mean exactly? The PF1 definition was nice and specific - illusion glamers or illusion patterns. Is a fireball a visual effect, since you sure can see that ball of fire explode? What about gaze attacks? Auras which are described as blinding beauty like a nymph? What about attacks that blind you due to flashes of bright lights, like glitter dust, blinding ray, etc?
10) Do the bard cantrips like inspire courage and allegro have heighten effects? I thought all cantrips heighten as you rise in levels, but I don't see anything for either of these which indicates how they heighten.


Thurmanator-Omega wrote:
I am confused if the ability to cast spells with a musical instrumant if that means any preform skill or just an instrument

With an instrument. The bugler needs to be able to cast with his instrument because his mouth and hands are both occupied, while a dancer or actor doesn't (though now that I mention it props should totally count as an instrument for Perform: Acting).


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I wonder if the bard is endlessly extensible via printing "additional muse options" like how the sorcerer is sure to get a bunch of bloodlines.

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