The bard - what the?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Wealth isn't permanent in the way that class feature or skillpoints are. Saving gold is a liability, as it is likely to get stolen before you can use it; further, the exponential scaling of wealth means you can save every penny you find between 1st and 5th level and by the time you reach 20th all that will be a drop in the bucket.

Note that sorcerers now have the ability to swap some of their spells. This is so that they don't have to choose between a utility spell that sucks now but will be useful later, verses a spell like sleep or color spray that rocks now but will be useless later.

Likewise, note that fighters can now change out some of their feats. Same concept.

There is no such thing as "balancing out over time". Balance is something that matters in an immediate sense, level by level, session by session. No fighter player has ever said "my character was as good as yours on average" to the wizard player. What they say is "I had to babysit you until 4th level and then you were way better than me".

In other words, a character that sucks now and rocks later is either underpowered or overpowered, except perhaps at some point in the middle of his career.

Now, skillpoints aren't as big a deal, I admit, but on that level the same balancing principle holds. Comparing a bard to a rogue of the same level, you will find that one who holds out is much worse than the rogue at his core skill until mid level, at which point his extra skillpoints make him much better.

Two wrongs don't make a right. The classes are intended to be balanced against eachother at every level.


Frostflame wrote:
Well here is a thought on the bard instead of havng it a core class make him a prestige class. A ten level prestige class gaining a song or bardic ability at every level. And then the bard can focus more what he wants to do, be more martial be more rogish, more bookish. He can choose what kinda of path he wants

They already did! It's called the Pathfinder Chronicler.


I am disappointed to see Song of Freedom go, as it was useful for rescuing party wizards or rogues who had been accidentally petrified by basilisks/medusae, once the fighting was over.
Soothing Performance (which I take to have replaced it) might be useful, since heroes' feast has been nerfed to the point of no longer giving PCs a blanket immunity to poison, so just occasionally high level PCs may need the sickened condition removed - although Soothing Performance would be more useful if it removed the nauseated condition too.

I have never been able to see much point to Inspire Greatness. Now that the 'lingering' effect of songs has been removed, the only value I can see in it is when PCs are in some sort of (highly unusual?) HD sensitive situation, such as if one of a very few spells such as blasphemy and its ilk are being tossed around. (Or banishment is being employed against extra-planar PCs???)

I am unsure if the bard has been nerfed; I suspect it depends on the type of game played. In some games the changes will hardly have any impact at all (or may make the bard better in the case of heavy social-skills games).


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Karui Kage wrote:

It's a game mechanic I've seen in plenty of other games besides RPGs. Save up the whole game to buy the big prize but have a hard time getting there, or buy small things as you go along to make it easier to get to the big prize.

[snip]

The same logic applies here. Do you invest skill points in things you know will be overlapped by the Perform later on to make the journey easier, or do you just wait for the free points and go...

Firstly, I disagree with this line of thinking because I happen to share a design mindset (on this issue at least) similar to Hydro's.

More importantly however is the issue of verisimilitude. In otherwords, does this sort of design methodology make for a believable character in the context that we are already suspending our disbelief by accepting we are in a fantasy world?

IMO, the 'payoff' design principle simply fails this test. It is difficult to believe that someone who has lacked any social poise their whole career suddenly becomes Mr. Machismo overnight.

It would be like an IT professional rising to a position as a network engineer without knowing how to send an e-mail with file attachments, or troubleshoot an Internet outage because they were saving up their aptitude for landing a job as a network manager.

I see a bard who never learns bluff, diplomacy, sense motive, etc. until 6th, 10th, etc. in the same way. The character simply isn't believable.

That's the chief problem I have with how this otherwise really cool class ability is designed.


Karui Kage wrote:
Yes, you get a bigger end reward by not investing in the skills early. But going through those levels is more difficult because of the lack of skill.

There are many problems with balancing out power over time instead of immediately. The biggest one comes with campaigns that don't cover the entire 1-20 span which, to be frank, is most of them. For example, most of the "big campaign" modules (Expedition to Castle Ravenloft, Red Hand of Doom, Eyes of the Lich Queen) published by WOTC start at level 5 or so - and that's pretty much what my group prefers as well. And because of the game's complexity, many campaigns do not progress very far into the double digits.


Laithoron wrote:


The problem we have with this ability is that any prior investment in the associated skills are lost.

I houseruled this so that you can redistribute skill points in those substitute skills - though you have to raise the relevant Perform skill to at least the level of the highest substitute skills before you can go nuts with the other points.

Example: Have Acrobatics 8 ranks, Fly 3 ranks, Perform (dance) 4 ranks, and choose versatile performance (dance) at 10th level. That frees those 11 ranks from Acrobatics and Fly, but you have to put at least 4 of them into Perform (dance) to match the old Acrobatics 8 ranks.


Hydro wrote:
Song of Freedom honestly wasn't that impressive. It was a 12th level ability which required a full minute just to duplicate a 4th level spell (break enchantment; which is a very handy utility spell, to be sure, but he certainly wasn't going to cast it in combat).

Break enchantment has a 1 minute casting time, so it wouldn't be cast in combat anyway.

There's really no reason whatsoever for Song of Freedom to have been removed. I'd be astounded if it wasn't an oversight and doesn't get errata'd back in at some point.


I'm not going to push the reply button on all your lovley posts :-) so I just sum up some of the stuff feel needed to be adressed in this post and then add aditional post later on if needed.
Edited:

  • I don't like stuff like "the bard has had a legacy of being under-powered, and it seems that Paizo has, for their own amusement, decided to keep that legacy alive" I don't believe they wanted to make a waek class. They did their best. Let's keep this thread clean.

  • GAMMA test or / and delay the release until the game is really read. I go with Hydro here. They can't go on playtesting until they blue in the face.
    Still meeting complaits with You can't please everyone is a bit lame. It's obvious you can't please everyone. This thread is not about "I want the bard to be exactly like I wanted to and now I want to be pleased in all my wishes. In that case I would have namned it "the bard is too weak and need a total rework". I didn't. I think the new bard is better and more fun than the 3.x. Bard

  • My DM won't houserule - he should? I think my DM is absolutely correct. Let's play the game for some months and see what needs to be fixed before we start fixing things.

  • Versatile Performance. Not getting a refund on skills spent doesn't make Versatile Performance bad. It's only ..not funny. OK you get a bonus skill as well. Fly is a nice one...if bard had fly on the spell list. I agree with KaeYos suggestion. The bard should be able to "redistribute skill points in those substitute skills". However, this houserule should not be needed. It should already be in the rules.

  • "A bard cannot have more than one bardic performance in effect at one time" Yes. I think this is a nerf, but I don't wanna talk about nerfs.

  • "Song of Freedom honestly wasn't that impressive"? Perhaps not but why remove it? It's a bard thing and then we have the backwards compatibility issue.

  • See invisibility as a SPA would have been nice, but now it's not. It's a 3 level spell and honestly I don't understand why it is.

  • Inspire Greatness is useless. Yes I think it is. Using this song means you don't use Inspire Courage. Inspire Courage + cure spell is far better than Inspire Greatness especially since Inspire Courage now stack with heroism, bless and good hope.
    Inspire Greatness had a purpose in 3.x and the beta.
    A) it stacked with heroism, etc. and Inspire Courage didn't.
    B) Songs lingered in 3.x and the beta. The bard could start Inspire Greatness before you entered the room with the big evil boss and then swap to another song or use spells. The 2d10 would thus linger 5 rounds or until you got hit. Now the 2d10 don't linger. If you don't get hit the 2d10 are lost and you are still not healed.

  • Inspire Greatness - refresh the 2d10 each round? The the bard have to start a new song each round. Thus no other songs can be used.

  • Contributor

    Remember when 3.0 came out? The first thing that happened was that people started making variant rangers. It seems to me that in a game that is supposed to simultaneously provide game balance and simulationism, at least one class ends up getting left out in the cold. I really have no opinion about the bard. In fact, in twenty five years of playing D&D, I have yet to be in a game where a bard was being played. The bottom line, though, is that if the bard is the clunker of this edition, someone who cares about bards will make a better version.


    Perhaps you are right.
    I just would like to get Jasons feedback on why.
    Especially on the see invisibility issue and why Inspire Greatness hasn't been fixed. I don't like that the Song of Freedom got cut out, but it's not a game breaker.


    Zark wrote:

    Perhaps you are right.

    I just would like to get Jasons feedback on why.
    Especially on the see invisibility issue and why Inspire Greatness hasn't been fixed. I don't like that the Song of Freedom got cut out, but it's not a game breaker.

    So...just out of curiosity, are you saying that See Invisibility should have been fixed and wasn't? Because it's a third level bard spell in the 3.5 SRD...

    Scarab Sages

    I guess you could call me a moron, but I'm playing a bard in the society. I'll see how it goes when we resume. But right now, I see no problems with it given the way my bard has acted in the past. If he EVER gets into combat, then someone (everyone else in the party) has terribly, dramatically failed in their role.

    Sovereign Court

    I'm a Paladin in the Society, but I intend to make my second level Bard (with a focus in Oratory, lol), 1- because I think it would be cool to be a Paladin-knight figure that can inspire courage, etc. and 2-because many people are complaining about how underbalanced it is and I'm interested in seeing if that's the case. :)

    With a headband of alluring charisma, I can see how Versatile performance would be a huge boon, especially for a big buff to my Sense Motive skill (which would normally rely on Wisdom). The ability to cast Bard spells in light armor and shield (which I have as a Paladin anyway) is pretty cool to me.

    I'm looking forward to it.


    Keep in mind that if you're wielding a weapon and a using a shield, you won't be able to cast spells with somatic components without special feats or class features. Somatic components normally require a free hand.

    On topic, I think I've figured out what happened to Song of Freedom. With the change to rounds-per-day, pricing a song that exactly duplicates a 4th level spell with a 1 minute cast time becomes problematic.

    Do you keep the 1 minute perform time, and make it cost 10 rounds of music? That's awful steep for a spell that's only situationally useful; at 12th level, when song of freedom used to be available, that'd be roughly 1/6 of your daily rounds (equivalent to 2 daily uses in 3.5).

    Do you reduce the perform time to keep the cost down? That makes a purely non-combat spell suddenly potentially usable in combat, which could have snowballing implications.

    Do you assign it some arbitrary rounds/day cost that doesn't correspond to the actual rounds it takes to perform? That's a very, very slippery slope, because it undermines the very foundation of the change to rounds/day.

    In other words, extended performances (or performances that mimic extended spells/abilities) become problematic to price.

    RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

    Marcellius wrote:
    ...bard/paladin...

    Bards can be lawful now? Huh, I hadn't noticed that.

    That's really cool. ^_^


    phantarch wrote:
    Zark wrote:

    Perhaps you are right.

    I just would like to get Jasons feedback on why.
    Especially on the see invisibility issue and why Inspire Greatness hasn't been fixed. I don't like that the Song of Freedom got cut out, but it's not a game breaker.
    So...just out of curiosity, are you saying that See Invisibility should have been fixed and wasn't? Because it's a third level bard spell in the 3.5 SRD...

    I'm saying it should be a 2 level spell. The fact that Bards get it as a level 3 spell in 3.x and in the beta and in the final doesn't make much sence.


    Zurai wrote:


    On topic, I think I've figured out what happened to Song of Freedom. With the change to rounds-per-day, pricing a song that exactly duplicates a 4th level spell with a 1 minute cast time becomes problematic.

    Do you keep the 1 minute perform time, and make it cost 10 rounds of music? That's awful steep for a spell that's only situationally useful; at 12th level, when song of freedom used to be available, that'd be roughly 1/6 of your daily rounds (equivalent to 2 daily uses in 3.5).

    Do you reduce the perform time to keep the cost down? That makes a purely non-combat spell suddenly potentially usable in combat, which could have snowballing implications.

    Do you assign it some arbitrary rounds/day cost that doesn't correspond to the actual rounds it takes to perform? That's a very, very slippery slope, because it undermines the very foundation of the change to rounds/day.

    In other words, extended performances (or performances that mimic extended spells/abilities) become problematic to price.

  • Soothing Performance had a 1 minute 'cast time' or shall we say it was 10 rounds of continuous performance now it's 4 rounds of continuous performance. They could have used the same fix for Song of Freedom.

  • They could have made Song of Freedom a spell-like ability with 1 minute casting time or they could just let it be 4 rounds of continuous performance.

  • "Do you reduce the perform time to keep the cost down? That makes a purely non-combat spell suddenly potentially usable in combat, which could have snowballing implications."
    Jason has said that rounds per day mechanics are based on a fight beeing 5 rounds. So making it 4 rounds of continuous performance is still not too powerful. Even making it 3 or 2 rounds would be good. It would be really powerful to have a bard in the party.

  • It only situationally useful? Well perhaps, but that's cool. How many clerics or sorcerers/wizards leave one, two or 3 slots with break enchantment? The bard in 3.x and in the beta was always prepared.

    And some other argumenst that might come in play

  • Too many songs? To me they could just as well removed Inspire greatness and given the bard Song of Freedom at level 9 or as a spell-like ability at level 9 to be use more times per day as the bard level up.

  • The bard can pick it as a spell? Cmon. It duplicated a 4th level spell at level 12. So now the bard must pick it as a spell? At level 12 sorcerers/wizards have 6 level spells. Sure the bard can pick it at level 10, so can sorcerers/wizards. They can even pick 5 level spells at level 10.
    Spells like: Teleport, Summon Monster V, Prying EyesS, Permanency, Baleful Polymorph, Cone of Cold, Wall of Force. Shall I go on?

  • Dark Archive

    So, actual Bard eratta type question;

    Under the Perform skill listing (p 103), Sing was added to the end of the alphabetical list after Wind instruments, but under the Bard write-up of Versatile Performance (p 38), Sing isn't listed as one of the options, and therefore has no associated skills.

    Has that been mentioned or addressed already? (I might well have missed it.)

    I'm converting over a Bard, and he has Oratory and Sing as his Perform types, and not having associated skills for Versatile Performance: Sing is a bit of a stumper.


    Set wrote:

    So, actual Bard eratta type question;

    Under the Perform skill listing (p 103), Sing was added to the end of the alphabetical list after Wind instruments, but under the Bard write-up of Versatile Performance (p 38), Sing isn't listed as one of the options, and therefore has no associated skills.

    Has that been mentioned or addressed already? (I might well have missed it.)

    I'm converting over a Bard, and he has Oratory and Sing as his Perform types, and not having associated skills for Versatile Performance: Sing is a bit of a stumper.

    Jason said in another thread they were going to fix this when they came back.

    Dark Archive

    Zark wrote:
    Jason said in another thread they were going to fix this when they came back.

    Sweet, thanks!

    Looking at the synergies, taking Act and Oratory might better suit the character anyway, so it might be a moot point, but I'd still like to know. :)

    Scarab Sages

    The inclusion of Sing to Versatile Performance is in the free errata for the Core Rulebook.


    Zark wrote:
  • Soothing Performance had a 1 minute 'cast time' or shall we say it was 10 rounds of continuous performance now it's 4 rounds of continuous performance. They could have used the same fix for Song of Freedom.
  • Soothing Performance duplicates a spell with a 1 standard action cast time, so there's no issue with decreasing the "cast time" of the performance to less than the cast time of the spell. Actually, I object to it being even 4 rounds of performance, to be honest.

    Zark wrote:
  • They could have made Song of Freedom a spell-like ability with 1 minute casting time or they could just let it be 4 rounds of continuous performance.
  • Bards have no SLAs, so they wouldn't have gone there, and reducing it to 4 rounds would mess with the balance of the break enchantment spell (which is very powerful, but balanced by the cast time).

    RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

    Zurai wrote:
    Actually, I object to it being even 4 rounds of performance, to be honest.

    Letting him do this for 1 round of bardic performance would let him heal about five times as much as a cleric (with channel energy) of the same level. That's not counting the status ailments that it restores, either.

    Just FYI. You may well feel that, being above 10th level and all, out-of-combat healing is irrelevant.

    edit:

    Zurai wrote:
    Bards have no SLAs, so they wouldn't have gone there, and reducing it to 4 rounds would mess with the balance of the break enchantment spell (which is very powerful, but balanced by the cast time).

    You really think so?

    I'm pretty sure that, as far as casting time goes, anything between 4 rounds and 20 rounds is roughly equivilent. It all amounts to "you aren't doing this in combat but can easily do it after".

    Granted, past a certian point you start to see wandering monsters coming in before you're done casting (ex: battlefield resurrections), but six more rounds out of combat really isn't a big deal.


    Zurai wrote:
    Zark wrote:
  • Soothing Performance had a 1 minute 'cast time' or shall we say it was 10 rounds of continuous performance now it's 4 rounds of continuous performance. They could have used the same fix for Song of Freedom.
  • Soothing Performance duplicates a spell with a 1 standard action cast time, so there's no issue with decreasing the "cast time" of the performance to less than the cast time of the spell. Actually, I object to it being even 4 rounds of performance, to be honest.

    And Song of Freedom has 1 minute castingtime so 4 rounds is no no? My point is spending 4 rounds or 10 rounds doesn't matter. Jasosn said the bard was designed on the assumption that a fight is 5 rounds. So it's still basically a whole fight to use Song of Freedom.

    -It duplicates a spell so decreasing the "cast time" can't be done? Sure it can. I haven't read any law telling me it can't be done.
    - Even 4 rounds of performance is too good? I don't see how giving the bards some fluff would make it too powerful. (I don't even see how they would be able to make the bard too powerful at all. ..but that's another thread) and 4 rounds would still be a whole fight, more or less.

    Zurai wrote:
    Zark wrote:
  • They could have made Song of Freedom a spell-like ability with 1 minute casting time or they could just let it be 4 rounds of continuous performance.
  • Bards have no SLAs, so they wouldn't have gone there, and reducing it to 4 rounds would mess with the balance of the break enchantment spell (which is very powerful, but balanced by the cast time).

    This argument is strange. They don't have it?

    We could just as easily say:
    - Paladins didn't have mercies in 3.x, or in the beta so....
    - Or Sorcerers didn't have bloodlines in 3.x so .....
    Sure they could have given the Bard SLAs and they did give them one: Frightening Tune is a SLA.
    And if SLA wasn't the way not the way to go, Supernatural Ability was another choise.

    And If anyone tells th the bard is to clustered I say level 13 seems pretty empty.


    Hydro wrote:
    Letting him do this for 1 round of bardic performance would let him heal about five times as much as a cleric (with channel energy) of the same level.

    You're comparing apples to oranges. By the time Bards get Soothing Performance, Clerics can spontaneously cast mass cure serious wounds, mass cure light wounds, cure critical wounds, cure serious wounds, cure light wounds, and will likely have at least one heal prepared. Saying "oh noes! A bard can outheal a cleric!" is a, to be blunt, blatant hyperbole. Also ... who gives a damn? One of the biggest criticisms I've heard of Pathfinder is that it makes Clerics "required" because no one else can even approach them healing-wise.

    And the condition curing is useless with a 4 round lead-up time. Who gives a damn if you can cure sickened if you have to wait 4 rounds for the cure? Just about anything that's going to sicken you is going to do it for either 1 or 1d4 rounds, and it and shaken are generally combat-only conditions. Fatigue can be cured cheaper, quicker, and more easily with a wand of lesser restoration.

    Hydro wrote:
    I'm pretty sure that, as far as casting time goes, anything between 4 rounds and 20 rounds is roughly equivilent.

    When your cleric is petrified, there's a massive difference between "hold them off me for 4 rounds!" and "hold them off me for 10 rounds!". 4 rounds might be doable in a pinch. 10 rounds is totally out of the question.


    phantarch wrote:
    Zark wrote:

    Perhaps you are right.

    I just would like to get Jasons feedback on why.
    Especially on the see invisibility issue and why Inspire Greatness hasn't been fixed. I don't like that the Song of Freedom got cut out, but it's not a game breaker.
    So...just out of curiosity, are you saying that See Invisibility should have been fixed and wasn't? Because it's a third level bard spell in the 3.5 SRD...

    Thank you - when I read through post 50 and no one had pointed this out... I was losing faith in the Paizo Boards :)

    *Not* making a change does not equal nerfing.


    This just in (from my Houserules/Conversion stuff)

    Harmonic Performance
    You are trained to blend several performances into one to produce more than one effect at once
    Prequisites: Perform (any two) 5 ranks, bardic performance ability
    Benefit: When using your bardic performance ability, you can use two bardic performance abilities at once. The effort to activate or maintain these abilities does not change, and when you activate a new ability, you can choose to maintain the other. Using this ability costs two rounds of bardic performance per round.


    Majuba wrote:
    phantarch wrote:
    Zark wrote:

    Perhaps you are right.

    I just would like to get Jasons feedback on why.
    Especially on the see invisibility issue and why Inspire Greatness hasn't been fixed. I don't like that the Song of Freedom got cut out, but it's not a game breaker.
    So...just out of curiosity, are you saying that See Invisibility should have been fixed and wasn't? Because it's a third level bard spell in the 3.5 SRD...

    Thank you - when I read through post 50 and no one had pointed this out... I was losing faith in the Paizo Boards :)

    *Not* making a change does not equal nerfing.

    So you don't agree that they nerfed the gnomes by not giving them +10 to charisma because they're so damn cute? BLASPHEMER!

    Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

    Set wrote:

    So, actual Bard eratta type question;

    Under the Perform skill listing (p 103), Sing was added to the end of the alphabetical list after Wind instruments, but under the Bard write-up of Versatile Performance (p 38), Sing isn't listed as one of the options, and therefore has no associated skills.

    Has that been mentioned or addressed already? (I might well have missed it.)

    I'm converting over a Bard, and he has Oratory and Sing as his Perform types, and not having associated skills for Versatile Performance: Sing is a bit of a stumper.

    The Errata PDF file lists versatile performance for sing as: sing(bluff, sense motive).


    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
    KaeYoss wrote:
    So you don't agree that they nerfed the gnomes by not giving them +10 to charisma because they're so damn cute? BLASPHEMER!

    Well... at least they didn't give gnomes "treasure" and order them to lay-in-wait for adventurers to come gank them. ;)

    As for Song of Freedom, perhaps a workable houserule would be to append a line to Soothing Performance that states, "Alternately, the bard can use music or oratory to create an effect equivalent to the break enchantment spell (caster level equals the character’s bard level). A bard can’t apply this effect on himself."

    That would keep both the new hotness as well as ensuring backwards compatibility with the 3.5 version.

    RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

    If anyone cares I'm working on a bard redux that'll probably go up in the Homebrew forum some time in the next week.

    It was inspired by a comment that someone made to the effect of giving bards elective powers tied to their music (similar to what the paladin or barbarian get, except affecting other party members). Also a wider range of songs to choose from.

    We'll see how it turns out.


    Hydro wrote:

    If anyone cares I'm working on a bard redux that'll probably go up in the Homebrew forum some time in the next week.

    It was inspired by a comment that someone made to the effect of giving bards elective powers tied to their music (similar to what the paladin or barbarian get, except affecting other party members). Also a wider range of songs to choose from.

    We'll see how it turns out.

    Nice


    Majuba wrote:
    phantarch wrote:
    Zark wrote:

    Perhaps you are right.

    I just would like to get Jasons feedback on why.
    Especially on the see invisibility issue and why Inspire Greatness hasn't been fixed. I don't like that the Song of Freedom got cut out, but it's not a game breaker.
    So...just out of curiosity, are you saying that See Invisibility should have been fixed and wasn't? Because it's a third level bard spell in the 3.5 SRD...

    Thank you - when I read through post 50 and no one had pointed this out... I was losing faith in the Paizo Boards :)

    *Not* making a change does not equal nerfing.

    OK: The opening post was sloppy. So let me refrase it

    Edit: Naming the thread "what the [h*ll]?" was not nice, but to late now.

    OK. Here it is. the new opening post
    The new bard is a bit strange and nerfed, why?
    Nerfed: I am not talking about the rounds per day I like the rounds per day mechanics (but they are not perfect). What I'm talkingt about is:

  • Lots of songs got cut out, why? Perhaps too many songs, but why remove Song of Freedom?

  • Inspire Greatness doesn't linger so it is now useless. Why wasn't it boosted or replaced by Song of Freedom?
    a) The 2d10 HD only last for one round = useless.
    b) The attack bonus is no big deal since Inspire Courage now also give competence bonus on attack AND on weapon damage..to the whole part.
    c) bards can now perfom and cast spells during the same round so Inspire Courage + cure spells are more powerfull. At higher levels the bard can also start a Performance as a move or even a swift action.
    d) Inspire Greatness still affect only one target at level 9. Inspire Courage affects the whole party. Inspire Greatness affects a maximum of four targets at 18th level (and party with a bard will probably be 5 persons: rogue, tank, healer, fireballer, bard).
    e) at level 11 Inspire Courage will give +3 (attack, damage, saves vs fear + charm) thus maxing the attack bonus from Inspire Greatness redundant
    f) Inspire Greatness gives +1 to fortitude saves, this is no big deal. Just because an ability gives a bonus it doesn't make it great. It could just as well give +1 to charisma skill checks or give the target green hair or pink shoes.

    Now to the strange part:

  • See Invisibility is still a third level spell. I really don't get it. Just give me an answer and don't say "you can Houserule" because our DM/GM won't during the first 6 months.
    So Why? Why does the bard, who is all about Divination and Enchantment (and some Illusion) get See Invisibility as a third level spell? Why?

    The argument "it's a third level bard spell in the 3.5 SRD so it must be a third level spell now" is false logic. The Paizo bard and the 3.x bard are not the same.
    The bard get many spells on lower spell levels or at equal spell levels compared to other casters with the same spells. Why Bards should get See Invisibility on a higher spell level don't make much sence.


  • Reflection on the problems with Song of Freedom and Inspire Greatness.
    Edit:

    These problems derive from the problems of 3.x mechanics vs. the final mechanics.

  • A) rounds per day vs. songs per day
  • B) lingering Performance vs Performance that don't linger
  • C) Moral bonus vs. Competence bonus. Since songs lingered and since they stacked they could be combined. Also Inspire Courage stacked with bless, heroism, Good Hope etc. Inspire Courage did not. Inspire Greatness had a point in 3.x now it doesn't. To make it work now you have to change it.

    Inspire Greatness:
    First suggestion. Boost it or/and let it linger. Or boost it and let the 2d10+con linger or let the bard heal 2d10+con. Healing 2d10+con is good but not ûber.
    ...and make it affect more targets.
    Second suggestion. Remove Inspire Greatness and replace it with song of freedom.

    Song of Freedom:
    Song of Freedom would have to cost 10 rounds. It would be too expensive so we removed it.
    One Performance in the beta equal to about 5 Performances in the final if I get it right. That's why Soothing Performance cost 4 rounds. If a Paladin can "expend two uses of her smite evil ability to grant the ability to smite evil to all allies within 10 feet, using her bonuses." Why can't a bard during 1 minute expend 4 uses of her Performance to use Song of Freedom? Or why not just give the bard this ability as a spell-like ability to be use xxx times per day?

    Here is my suggestion on a fix:

    A bard of 9th level or higher can use his performance
    to create an effect equivalent to the break enchantment spell
    (caster level equals the character’s bard level). Using this
    ability requires 1 minute of uninterrupted concentration
    and music, and it functions on a single target within 30
    feet. A bard can’t use song of freedom on himself.
    Using this ability doesn’t count against a bard’s daily
    limit on bardic performances.

  • and: By expending four of her daily performances the bard can use this ability aditional times per day. The ability till requires 1 minute of uninterrupted concentration.

  • Or: You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Cahrisma modifier.

  • Or: The bard can may this ability once per day. At 12th level, and at every three levels thereafter, the bard may use this ability one additional time per day to a maximum of four times per day at 18th level.


  • Hydro wrote:

    edit: [...], note that fighters can now change out some of their feats. Same concept.

    There is no such thing as "balancing out over time". Balance is something that matters in an immediate sense, level by level, session by session.
    [...]
    Two wrongs don't make a right. The classes are intended to be balanced against eachother at every level

    Great post. Also, I hadn't noticed Fighters could change out some of their feats. Cool.


    The punch line here is that every other class in the game got dramatically better from 3.5 to Pathfinder, and the bard stayed basically the same. Seeing as the bard was already one of the worst classes in 3.5, this is probably a bad idea.

    Bad Things:
    Many spells on the bard's spell list got worse (Tasha's, Glitterdust)
    No bardsongs linger
    Fascinate no longer has a DC based on perform check.

    Good Things:
    Eventually, can bardsong as a move action.
    Slightly improved Inspire Courage progression
    Extra skills/bonuses.

    Basically, in a given combat, your bard is going to:
    Inspire Courage
    Cast a spell or two.
    Hope combat is over, otherwise it's wading into battle with crappy AC, BAB, etc.

    Which sucks, with all the new, cool options everybody else gets. This is a bad design. =/

    -Cross

    Dark Archive

    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

    Basing any DCs on the result of a skill check quickly lets things get waaaaaay out of hand. 10th level bard, started with a 15+2, 17 Cha +2 at 4th and 8th, +2 more from a headband of charisma = 21 Cha. Skill Focus (Perform) now grants a +6, and a masterwork musical instrument adds another +2. 10 ranks +5 stat +6 skill focus +2 competence = +23 Perform check.

    What 10th level character can reliably make a DC 33 Will save? Or even have a chance to make it all, beyond a natural 20? A 10th level Rogue would likely only have a +6 or +7 Will save at the same time as the Bard is forcing targets to make a DC 33 Will save or be fascinated.


    Kvantum wrote:

    Basing any DCs on the result of a skill check quickly lets things get waaaaaay out of hand. 10th level bard, started with a 15+2, 17 Cha +2 at 4th and 8th, +2 more from a headband of charisma = 21 Cha. Skill Focus (Perform) now grants a +6, and a masterwork musical instrument adds another +2. 10 ranks +5 stat +6 skill focus +2 competence = +23 Perform check.

    What 10th level character can reliably make a DC 33 Will save? Or even have a chance to make it all, beyond a natural 20? A 10th level Rogue would likely only have a +6 or +7 Will save at the same time as the Bard is forcing targets to make a DC 33 Will save or be fascinated.

    I'm not defending the 3.5 bard's abilities. I'm arguing:

    1.) The 3.5 bard was not among the best classes in 3.5.
    2.) All other classes got improved, dramatically.
    3.) The bard did not get improved, and may have been nerfed.

    Therefore, the Pathfinder bard is -by far- the least powerful class.

    -Cross


    Zark wrote:
    c) see invisiblity is a third level spell

    Not speaking as an authority here -- since I'm not an original designer -- but I'm guessing that see invisibility (SI) was moved to 3rd level on the bard spell list because of balance issues going on during the 3.0 -> 3.5 transition. Bull's strength very well could have been lumped into the same boat.

    Assuming SI is 2nd level, if you take 4 levels of bard and then focus on full bab classes, you give up 1 bab and putting 14 points in Cha to gain 4 inspire courages that give +1 morale hit/damage to the party, see invisibility for 4 minutes once a day, and 3 1st level spells castable in light armor (expeditious retreat and feather fall come to mind as strong spell choices). This was superior to multiclassing wizard/sorc (can't cast in armor) or druid/cleric (don't have access to invisibility purge until 5th level).

    Balance issues are probably completely different now, so I'm not sure if SI needs to stay 3rd level or not. Also I don't know if Bull's strength was removed because of this or because of class thematics (see 3.5 ranger/paladin options for 2nd level stat boosters).

    Sovereign Court

    Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

    I just wish Versatile Performance stacked w/ ranks in those skills rather than replaced existing ranks. I'm multiclassing bard and can't wait that long to put ranks into the skills that get replaced. I wish it stacked or added 1/2 Perform ranks or something on top of existing ranks.


    The bard slam fest is a bit much. This is the first version of the bard since 1e I've ever liked. Ever.

    Gripes about Inspire Greatness

    At the time you get this supernatural ability (9th level), it is a move action to activate and a free action to maintain. When you first get it, either yourself or one ally within 30 feet gets

    • 2 bonus d10 HD - that is HIT DICE, not hit points, giving one the ability to ignore quite a few effects and granting 2d10 +/- CON modifier per HD in temporary hp (which go away first);
    • +2 competence bonus to attack rolls;
    • +1 competence bonus to Fortitude saving throws.
    If your buddy needs a steady supply of temporary hit points, you're only a move action away from granting them, at the cost of a round of bardic performance. Not a bad deal.

    The [insert buddy hacking stuff up front here] gets tougher, harder to take down and even more accurate. And unlike most of the other ally-buffing stuff in the game, it cannot be dispelled. Silence and darkness can - but that's it.

    This stacks with

    • enhancement bonuses, such as almost all the usual buff spells from the cleric and wizard;
    • luck bonuses, such as the typical cleric "CODzilla" fare of divine favor and divine power;
    • morale bonuses, such as from AID, BLESS and so on;
    • Any other bonuses, typically ones like insight, sacred, profane ad nauseam.

    Compared to Inspire Courage: At 9th level, the activation and maintenance times are the same, it is an either/or ability (sight or audible), it cannot affect more than one creature, and the bonuses are

    • a +2 morale bonus on saves against charms and fear effects and
    • a +2 competence bonus on attack and weapon damage rolls.

    Bonuses are technically better - but the extra HD can make the difference between your meat shield or backstabber snogging the dirt after getting dropped by a deep slumber. Also, the things I have yet to see pointed out are:

    • The bardic performances can be cherry picked to match up with the bard's own spells.
    • The bard can drop a good hope giving better bonuses for several minutes - ones I might add that stack with Inspire Courage and Inspire Greatness - and can easily target most parties and companion critters even at the earlier caster levels.
    • Heroism only benefits one target, lasts about an hour or more, is not quite as good as good hope but is available at Bard 4. It, like good hope, stacks with Inspire Courage and Inspire Greatness.
    • People also seem to be forgetting that the bard has access to haste at this point, adding even more stackable bonuses to the bard and any allies. Slow is similarly available.
    I'm sure there are more than I am forgetting.

    So, a 9th level bard can

    • provide a long-duration buff to multiple allies and himself good hope for 9 minutes - or even saves 3rd level slots to instead set up a small group with heroism;
    • a fight starts and a haste is cast, lasting 9 rounds at the SAME time the bard buffs an ally with either inspired courage or inspired greatness;
    • subsequent rounds the inspirations are free actions to maintain - which permits them to then attempt such fun things as a dirge of doom, make any number of Knowledge checks at not-inconsiderable bonuses to ferret out useful information for his buddies to waste the baddies with or cast any number of other spells at his disposal. Say, a see invisibility.

    See Invisibility as a 3rd level Bard spell has been that way, and there isn't anything a bard can do, in any iteration of 3e, to change that. Well, that I am aware of at least. However, since it is a spell on the bard's class spell list, it is retardedly easy for the bard to cast from a scroll or wand (although not drink from a potion as a personal spell). And there is NO check needed, at all, for a bard to cast one from said scroll or wand. Complaining about the delayed access to this spell for bards strikes me as being rather silly, since there are plenty of other things for the bard to be doing - not to mention that the bard has a unique spell list with spells that other classes do not get, ever. By the time the bard is even considering see invisibility, the wizard/sorcerer argueably should have already been in the habit of having at least one prepared for the previous FIVE levels' worth of adventuring (since 3rd level: 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and now 7th). The cleric is right behind them with an invisibility purge, stopping almost anything except invisible stalkers and maybe dust of disappearance and having had access to that spell since 5th level.

    Note that using an arcane scroll of see invisibility, a bard already meets all requirements save that it is not (yet) on the character's class spell list. The DC to cast the spell from a CL 3 scroll is ... a four (3 +1 = 4), against which the bard rolls a caster level check. Thus, scrolls of see invisibility are literally guaranteed to work. Problem solved, and the Use Magic Device skill didn't even have to become involved.

    "Market cost" is 150 gp per spell on the scroll - and you can do one scroll (with the Scribe Scroll item creation feat) in 2 hours at a materials cost of 75 gp, or a scroll with six spells in an eight hour day at a materials cost of 450 gp. (Granted, this also requires the crafter has six (6) see invisibility spells prepared/available, but that is easy enough to do at 5th level using higher level spell slots to pick up the slack.) The Spellcraft DC to create it is all of an 8. This goes up a paltry DC of 13 if you accelerate the creation process, permitting a scroll with as many as 13 spells in a single eight hour day to be scribed at a materials cost of 975 gp (market cost of 1,950 gp). Granted, it is improbable to be able to actually provide that many spells in a single day by a single item crafter before having at least an 8th level sorcerer or a 9th level wizard. A common combination for such a scroll could be "paired" see invisibility and glitterdust spells - say, three of each on the scroll of six spells mentioned above, at the same costs.

    Wands, as spell trigger items, are also guaranteed, since even Paladins without any spell casting ability can use wands with spells that appear at any point on the Paladin spell list. So, a bard can use a wand of see invisibility just as easily as the wizard/sorcerer can, whether or not they can actually cast the spell. Problem solved without even having to dust off the Use Magic Device skill.

    A fully charged wand of see invisibility costs 4,500 gp. With the Craft Wand feat (at 5th level), it takes 5 days to make and has a materials cost of 2,500 gp with the same Spellcraft DC of 8 to craft it. At the "hurried" DC of 13, it takes 3 days to craft it.

    If your GM is particularly generous, as a house rule it may be permitted to craft partially charged wands. Perhaps the crafting character makes one with only 10 charges (20%) at a materials cost of 450 gp or a "market cost" of 900 gp - this only takes an 8 hour day to craft the wand, but it certainly permits getting the capability literally back in hand fairly quickly.


    Turin, you got a bunch of stuff wrong there.

    1.) Inspire Courage affects all your allies. Making it -way the crap- better than Inspire Greatness.

    2.) You can't have more than 1 bard song active at the same time. Which means that your 1st bard round, at level 9, is going to be pretty great:

    Haste and Inspire Courage.

    And your 2nd-Nth rounds are going to be incredibly boring, as you have no remaining abilities that will affect the world worth a damn. Your spells are terrible, and your melee/ranged attacking abilities are laughable.

    -Cross


    Turin the Mad wrote:
    The bard slam fest is a bit much. This is the first version of the bard since 1e I've ever liked. Ever.[...]

    I'm not saying the bard is bad (not in this thread). I only say there are things I don't get.

    And as Crosswind pointed out you got some stuff wrong.


    meabolex wrote:
    Zark wrote:
    c) see invisiblity is a third level spell

    Not speaking as an authority here -- since I'm not an original designer -- but I'm guessing that see invisibility (SI) was moved to 3rd level on the bard spell list because of balance issues going on during the 3.0 -> 3.5 transition. Bull's strength very well could have been lumped into the same boat.

    Assuming SI is 2nd level, if you take 4 levels of bard and then focus on full bab classes, you give up 1 bab and putting 14 points in Cha to gain 4 inspire courages that give +1 morale hit/damage to the party, see invisibility for 4 minutes once a day, and 3 1st level spells castable in light armor (expeditious retreat and feather fall come to mind as strong spell choices). This was superior to multiclassing wizard/sorc (can't cast in armor) or druid/cleric (don't have access to invisibility purge until 5th level).

    Balance issues are probably completely different now, so I'm not sure if SI needs to stay 3rd level or not. Also I don't know if Bull's strength was removed because of this or because of class thematics (see 3.5 ranger/paladin options for 2nd level stat boosters).

    There are wand and potions.

    You don't need to pick 4 levels bard to use a wand. One will do.
    You don't have to pick any level bard to use Bull's str. Potions or take 3 levels cleric or one level and use wands. And some of their domain Powers are really powerfull. I say just as good (or better) as he bards powers. And you can cast spells in any armor. And you can boost wis instead of char.
    The 4 levels of bard and then you get 2 level spells argument can be used on all spells you get as a 4 level bard. So why give the bard any 2 level spells at level 4?

    Dark Archive

    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
    Crosswind wrote:

    I'm not defending the 3.5 bard's abilities. I'm arguing:

    1.) The 3.5 bard was not among the best classes in 3.5.
    2.) All other classes got improved, dramatically.
    3.) The bard did not get improved, and may have been nerfed.

    Therefore, the Pathfinder bard is -by far- the least powerful class.

    -Cross

    I don't know about that. The barbarian's rage powers aren't that impressive compared to the fighter's weapon and armor training and all of the new fighter-only feats, or the paladin and their smite one target continuously till it dies, along with Mercies.


    Zark wrote:


    There are wand and potions.
    You don't need to pick 4 levels bard to use a wand. One will do.
    You don't have to pick any level bard to use Bull's str. Potions or take 3 levels cleric or one level and use wands. And some of their domain Powers are really powerfull. I say just as good (or better) as he bards powers. And you can cast spells in any armor. And you can boost wis instead of char.
    The 4 levels of bard and then you get 2 level spells argument can be used on all spells you get as a 4 level bard. So why give the bard any 2 level spells at level 4?

    You can't make a potion of see invisibility. (PF pg. 551)

    You can't make a wand at 4th level (craft wand requires 5th caster level), but yes, you could buy a wand. Wands are a bit clumsier than having the ability to cast the spell, are more money intensive, and DM dependent ("I go to the Itam store to get my wand of see invisibility with 14 charges only plz.") -- but you have a point otherwise.

    I don't think bull's strength was necessarily cut for balance concerns -- it was probably for flavor purposes.

    Scarab Sages

    Eltanin24 wrote:

    No one plays Bards anyway.

    Strangely enough this quote shows how little bards bring to the table now. If a class is seen as useful, helpful, or powerful that class is played alot. Bards definitely do not qualify as having any of the above traits especially the pathfinder one.

    The bard was already the weakest/ among the weakest toons in 3.5. In pathfinder after the nerfs there is never really a reason to create a bard over another character. Nerfing the bard was simply very poor balancing. The bard is indeed the "clunker" of pathfinder atm.

    I especially dislike the straight jacket feel of the early bard levels of play in pathfinderwith just play, play the song. With 3.5, a bard could play a song then let the lingering factor kick in and do other things. This freedom of play is lost in pathfinder.

    Grand Lodge

    "" wrote:

    No one plays Bards anyway.

    Yet so many would love to play them it seems. I have personally tried building a couple of bards but when it comes to playing them in a game they simply fall down too quickly or get overlooked by the group and I end up switching toons.

    The issue with the bard was also present with the monk (and druid to a minor degree) and thats what role they serve in a 4 man group (the average party size). for me these 3 classes have always been the 5th wheel after the 4 archetype roles had been filled; tank, skill monkey, healer, and arcane caster.

    The PF Monk now nicely fits into the tank role and the druid received some nice tweaks although it fit the healer role well in 3.5. Bards though don't fit any still although they did get easier to manage in the skills department.

    Bards for me have 2 main styles. the first is the jack of all trades which is adopted by D&D since AD&D... back then the bard was the first ever prestige class, you had to build up in other classes before taking a bard and back then I think only humans could achieve it. This style of bard is what 3.5/PFRPG tries hardest to achieve but fails because its a core class not a prestige class.

    The second style is what I call the Everquest bard... The Everquest bard is all about his instruments, songs and nothing else. This archetype is the easiest to build into 3.5/PF as a core class and if anyone has the Everquest Roleplaying Book they can see it has been done very well in there (however that has 30 levels). The EQ bard can mix his songs up to greater effect also which adds a lot of options to the player.

    The problem with the EQ bard is its not very 3.5 friendly when looking at compatability but my view is if there's a class that needed more work, regardless of how backwards compatible it was, then the bard was it.

    I don't quite know how best to fix the bard short of adopting the two options above and myself I'll probably house rule bards as a PRC.


    Crosswind wrote:

    Turin, you got a bunch of stuff wrong there.

    1.) Inspire Courage affects all your allies. Making it -way the crap- better than Inspire Greatness.

    2.) You can't have more than 1 bard song active at the same time. Which means that your 1st bard round, at level 9, is going to be pretty great:

    Haste and Inspire Courage.

    And your 2nd-Nth rounds are going to be incredibly boring, as you have no remaining abilities that will affect the world worth a damn. Your spells are terrible, and your melee/ranged attacking abilities are laughable.

    -Cross

    I sat down with the book - and the inspire courage/competence seems to be either one target or personal only until you hit Inspire Greatness.

    There is no description of range or number of targets at all for Inspire Courage - so my operating assumption is the worst case scenario, one target, which I should have made clear in my earlier post. If I am incorrect - and it is simply "all allies able to perceive my performance plus myself", then Inspire Courage is clearly superior. On that basis, I freely admit the written rules are far too vague.

    Perhaps they intended the first two abilities to be one target within 30' or personal?


    Crosswind wrote:

    Turin, you got a bunch of stuff wrong there.

    1.) Inspire Courage affects all your allies. Making it -way the crap- better than Inspire Greatness.

    2.) You can't have more than 1 bard song active at the same time. Which means that your 1st bard round, at level 9, is going to be pretty great:

    Haste and Inspire Courage.

    And your 2nd-Nth rounds are going to be incredibly boring, as you have no remaining abilities that will affect the world worth a damn. Your spells are terrible, and your melee/ranged attacking abilities are laughable.

    -Cross

    The attack options of a bard are no worse than most other 3/4 BAB characters - actions are actions, even if they are "aid another".

    The bard has never been much for direct offense since 1e though...

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