This topic was derailing another thread so I started a new one.
I don't have "magic item shops". I do, however, use the % chance based on GP limit presented in the PRPG. I assume that, if a player is buying a Handy Haversack, they probably found it at the Adventurer's Guild or from a bag shoppe. A +2 longsword was probably bought from a weaponsmith or the city guard.
I houseruled that the moment someone in the party fails their % chance, that item is not in the city and they must wait a period of time before the % chance increases a bit, to a maximum of 70%. How much it increases per week depends on the size of the city.
Cities with hospitals generally always have some curative potions, scrolls, and wands on hand for sale (best way to fund the hospital, actually).
Maybe he really means things like finding traps or teleporting or whatever. Either way, although the only utility a Fighter gets is from what you choose in skills and feats... look on the bright side... the only utility you HAVE to do is what you get from your skills and feats. Heh heh heh.
"Transportation to the dungeon? Trapfinding? Heh, not my job, bro. Fighters' Guild Local 329."
Yeah, watch out the 4e bashing. That can get your post deleted. (Speaking from experience.)
Anyways, Hydro, you're making me want to smash my head with my keyboard repeatedly until clear liquid leaks out of my ears.
You don't have to be better than or as good as the "pure" classes at their own job to be viable.
The point is that the Bard can serve as either a backup or a case-by-case stand-in for another character. It's helpful for the player that shows up to the game a lot to play a Bard, because if one of the other players isn't there, he can fill in without too much trouble.
And, of course, the Bard does knowledges better than anyone. My wife is playing a Jester with Perform (comedy) in my next campaign and I am both dreading and loving it because her concept is great and the whole gather information/figuring crap out won't be bogged down at all. It will be very easy.
Also, some people like being able to do several things. These people might also make strange multiclassing choices that have no bearing whatsoever on optimization. It's nice for them to have an actual balanced class they can play that at least some of the optimizers won't scoff at.
So there are several reasons to play a Bard.
One of them is not "The Bard is as Good as if Not Better Than Another Pure Class at Their Niche Role". Nobody's arguing that.
The Bard IS better at healing than a Fighter.
The Bard IS better at buffing than a Rogue.
The Bard IS better at melee combat than a Wizard.
The Bard IS better at illusions than a Barbarian.
The Bard IS better defended than a Sorcerer.
The Bard IS better at social interaction than a Cleric.
In general, the Bard is BETTER at most things than any other character EXCEPT that one thing that makes that character shine.