The bard - what the?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Zark wrote:


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.

I never said multiple performances could be maintained, just that they can be run concurrently with other actions. Direct damaging offensively speaking, bards are awful - they are often gear dependent on serious offensive firepower. But then, that's been the case I believe for bards throughout 3e and perhaps even 2e.

I do agree that some things you point out don't make much sense - just that I don't see it changing. The forthcoming APH may well address the situation for us though!

You and several others are very correct in that perhaps that could/should have been changed - but, if no one pointed that out in play testing during the Alpha/Beta phases (or if Monte Cook explained it to Jason Bulmahn during his consultations that Bards' access to see invisible was deliberately engineered into the 3e structure) - the chance was lost during that phase of development to correct the matter.

With the scroll/wand explanations I was merely attempting to demonstrate that it can be dealt with.

Then again, with a bard as the primary or sole caster in a group ... well, the GM then has to take that into account, IMO.

I do admit to often coming across as ... well, "abrasive" I suppose - and that was not my intent. My apologies for that.

I would still play a PRPG bard though, just to flex some mental muscles as it were. A Bard of Cayden Cailien, perhaps, with an improvised weapon fetish ... yeah, yeah ...


As for the comments about the bard being too weak now, having played a beta bard for a while, I have a few observations:

For the first few levels, the bard rocks. . . but then again, all you need is a nice weapon like a longsword and bardic music going to deal substantial damage. I cannot wait to play a sneaky half-orc bard with a greataxe -- that's going to be quite devastating in the early levels.

One thing that is easy to overlook is how effective the bard is at boosting the rest of the party. A +2 bonus to hit at 5th level combined with a heroism spell is a huge percentage increase in the ability of a melee character to hit. I know it's hard to take credit for the fighter or rogue hitting more often, but trust me, a melee-oriented party can deal obscene damage given the bard's buffing capabilities.

Another mistake I see with bards is the gimping of physical stats in order to overly buff Charisma. Bards eventually can't compete with wiz/sorc/cleric/druid in save-based casting. I'd say a bard can compete through 2nd level spells -- after that, it just won't work well. All the other casters get higher level spells; it's just more effective to buff the party and/or use saveless spells.

And since bards need physical stats, they need to get melee or archery feats. Bards that just sit back and rely on UMD in the later levels are going to be *blah*. I mean, a wand of magic missiles or staff of fire is great in some encounters, but the bard overall needs to be able to personally bring physical damage to the table.

One thing that was borderline ridiculous in my playtesting was the new PF knowledge abilities. Knowledge skills used appropriately can make many encounters much easier (bypass DR, finding weaknesses, avoiding monster strengths, etc.) I wanted to throw so many points in knowledges, but I found I just couldn't get enough skill points (even as human with 14 int and favored class bonus)! Versatile performance was just what the doctor ordered based on my beta playtest.

So while it's easy to fault the bard as a sucky class -- quite frankly, it's easy to play the bard in a sucky way. If you aren't a team player or you're focused on outdoing a specific class at something particular that they mechanically *will* do better, then you're bound for failure.


Turin the Mad wrote:
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?

A 1st-level bard can use his

performance to inspire courage in his allies (including
himself
), bolstering them against fear and improving
their combat abilities. To be affected, an ally must be
able to perceive the bard’s performance
.

What's vague?
Boost all allies that "perceive the bard’s performance", inluding the bard himself.
But if the bard is a woman she is not included, because the text doesn't say so. She bards may not boost them selfs.


meabolex wrote:
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)

I didn't say so. Potion refered to Bull's str.

meabolex wrote:


You can't make a wand at 4th level

I didn't say you could. You can buy it from a 3:d level wizard.

meabolex wrote:


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.

Wands are drawn just like a weapon. - not clumsy

Yes they are more money intensive, I never say they were not.
We go by the book. 1 wand = 50 charges.
Getting wands sure is "DM dependent"
meabolex wrote:


but you have a point otherwise

Thanx

meabolex wrote:


I don't think bull's strength was necessarily cut for balance concerns

I thought you implied it was.


What's so bad? Well, sure, there is the part where you cannot have more than one song active at a time. Maybe harmonic performance needs to be made official. And versatile performance partially depends on a nice GM who lets you redistribute stuff.

But beyond that? In final, the bard has lost a song or two he never had in 3e, anyway, and I wasn't that impressed with those.

On the other hand, bards are now the kings of knowledge. Seriously, Even wizards will at times be hard-pressed to keep up with them - and for important stuff, Loremaster lets bards become nearly omniscient.

Add to that the already generous amount of skill points, versatile performance, and jack-of-all-trades, and you have the god of skills - especially social and knowledge skills, but others, too.

And they're still good at buffing others. Heroism now stacks with inspire courage, for example.

And if you want to become active yourself: Arcane Strike is basically made for bards.

The stuff that allows bards to mess with others' heads is just a bonus.

Are you concerned that the class cannot wade through armies or perform arcane omnicide on a regular basis? You shouldn't be. The class was never meant for that. If you want to do that stuff, there's plenty of other classes around for that sort of thing.

But the bard has a definite field of competence.


KaeYoss wrote:
But beyond that? In final, the bard has lost a song or two he never had in 3e, anyway, and I wasn't that impressed with those.

Song of Freedom existed in 3.5.

KaeYoss wrote:
On the other hand, bards are now the kings of knowledge. Seriously, Even wizards will at times be hard-pressed to keep up with them - and for important stuff, Loremaster lets bards become nearly omniscient.

Whoop-te-do. Being king of knowledge does jack s@*+ for you in combat (unless you multiclass or gestalt to Archivist, of course), and one of the primary complaints about bards in 3.5 was that they had too little combat effectiveness and too much non-combat effectiveness. Their combat effectiveness hasn't really increased at all, while their out-of-combat effectiveness did. Yay balance?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Last time I checked, PF was a role-playing game and not tactical combat boardgame, but you never know. :)


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Zark wrote:

What's vague?

Boost all allies that "perceive the bard’s performance", inluding the bard himself.
But if the bard is a woman she is not included, because the text doesn't say so. She bards may not boost them selfs.

The words "them" and "their" are not exclusionary. They are both words that can apply to single or multiple objects.

BTW what's with your statement about female bards? Is that some kind of an attempt at a joke, or are you taking offense that Paizo didn't use gender-neutral pronouns throughout the book?

Lastly, if you read what you typed again you'll see it is the bard's ALLIES who must perceive the performance to be affected. There is no requirement stating that the bard themselves must perceive their own performance to receive the benefits.


Last I checked people feel very disheartened and apathetic when playing a character that pales in comparison to the majority of the party in combat, hence the efforts made to balance everybody to accomplish the same rough amount of 'contribution' to a fight, be it battlefield control, buffing, debuffing, damage, healing, etc etc.

That's why the bard was a problem in 3.5 core. With splats and some creative thought you could make a strong character out of the bard (infact I've been in games where my bard carried either the casting or melee for the party to great effect) but the goal of Pathfinder was to eliminate the need for that, to make the base functional and roughly equal in it's own way.

I might not agree with the changes to the monk, or think that enough has been done, but it has been brought closer to parity with the rest of the non-casters. The bard has not been brought up, but let down.

Hurting their best spells (few of which really rocked anyway) taking away the ability to get multiple performances having effect at once, making some not stack that used to, all of these are small pains in the butt, items that, compared to the other changes, probably about come even.

The problem, is that the bard was one of the weakest base classes in core, and it wasn't made mechanically stronger in Pathfinder (attributes may have been made better, it might play a little smoother, but it contributes the same as it did before) which, when compared to the now mostly enhanced classes, translates into making the bard relatively weaker than everything else.

Making Versatile performance give the ranks back would be one nice step. Giving the ability to run multiple performances at once, again, would be a nice step. There are alot of good ideas floating around guys, I just wish we could have some direct input from HQ(the staff, Jason, James, somebody) on what they thought of notably Errattaing(sp?) the bard to the point of equivalent value.

Dark Archive

If you think that the Pathfinder bard is to weak, you will certainly have no problem with granting him access to two noncore 3.5 feats called 'Knowledge Devotion' and 'Snowflake Wardance'.
Let's build a 6th level human bard with 25 point buy.
Str 14, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 10, Cha 16 (18 with human bonus), Wis 10
Feats: Arcane Strike, Power Attack, Snowflake Wardance, Knowledge Devotion
Skills: Perform (dance) 6 ranks, Peform (sing) 6 ranks, Knowledge (arcana, dungeoneering, local, nature, planes, religion) each 1 rank, Linguistics 6 ranks, Perception 6 ranks, Stealth 6 ranks, Use magic device 6 ranks.
By using his Versatile Performance with Perform (sing) and Perform (dance) ge gets the following skills:
Acrobatics +13, Bluff +13, Fly +13, Knowledge (arcana, dungeoneering, local, nature, planes, religion) +7 , Linguistics +9 , Perform (dance) +13, Peform (sing) +13, Perception +9, Sense Motive +13, Stealth +11, Use magic device +13. Not to bad.
Let's take a look at his combat capabilities.
His BAB is +4 at this time, with his 14 Strength that's a +6 on attack rolls. Rather unimpressive. This is where his feats come in:
Snowflake Wardance allows him to add his Charisma bonus on attack rolls for a number of rounds equal to his ranks in Peform (dance) for one use of bardic music, granting him a +4 bonus on attack rolls. The Knowledge Devotion allows him to gain a bonus on attack and damage rolls against creatures, according to the result of a knowledge check. Since the bard has the ability to take 10 on all knowledge checks, that's another +2 on attack and damage rolls. He'll also use arcane strike to gain a +2 bonus on damage.
Let's say he uses a masterwork longsword:
longsword +13 (1d8+6) or, with Power Attack, Longsword +11 (1d8+10).
If he uses the crystal echoblade from the Magic Item Compendium, and inspires courage, he will do the following:
Longsword +13 (1d8+13 plus 3 sonic). And he hasn't used any spells yet.

This build, of course, requires the use of Frostburn, Complete Champion and the Magic Item Compendium, but even without those books, it's possible to build a viable combat bard, although I'd probably use an archer build in that case.


Zurai wrote:

Song of Freedom existed in 3.5.

Damn. I completely forgot about that. I guess it does need to come back. No subtractions and all. Not exactly a deal breaker for me, though.

Zurai wrote:


KaeYoss wrote:
On the other hand, bards are now the kings of knowledge. Seriously, Even wizards will at times be hard-pressed to keep up with them - and for important stuff, Loremaster lets bards become nearly omniscient.
Whoop-te-do. Being king of knowledge does jack s#*% for you in combat

So? If you just want to fight, bard is not the right class, anyway. The bard should not be changed to become a fighting machine.

Not everything needs to be all about combat. Not in a roleplaying game. In fact, I woudln't play Pathfinder if it was a wargame in disguise.

Oh, and you're wrong: knowledge means you know about enemies, about their strengths and weaknesses. Knowing that fireball is useless and that only cold iron weapons really work will mean a lot in combat, as it saves you wasted actions.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
Last I checked people feel very disheartened and apathetic when playing a character that pales in comparison to the majority of the party in combat

Check again. It only happens when people want to be effective in combat. If they don't, they won't care how much damage they did or how many rounds they have denied their enemies or whatever.

kyrt-ryder wrote:


hence the efforts made to balance everybody to accomplish the same rough amount of 'contribution' to a fight

Not quite true. The changes were made so the classes could contribute to the fight in a manner that befits their role. Fighters are all about fighting, so they should be really good at it, for example.

kyrt-ryder wrote:


The bard has not been brought up, but let down.

I disagree. The only thing that's really worse is the lack of multiple performances. On the other hand, they're better casters now, they can combine casting and performance now (not just action-wise, but often effect-wise, too), and on top of that two areas in which they were supposed to be strong were strengthened.

kyrt-ryder wrote:


Hurting their best spells

I must have overlooked something here. What bard spells were hurt?


I share the opinion that the pathfinder bard feels broken. The delay of core skills to later level due to the versatile performer class feature is in contradiction to what a Bard should be.
My main issue with the Bard though is not the decreased power compared to the other classes but the bad backward compatibility of the Bard to existing 3.5 products.
Over the years Wizards of he Coast published some nice character options (Feats, Spells Magic Items, Prestige Classes). Pathfinder changed several related core feature as a result many of these options went obsolete or seem (at least to me) a bit overpowered.
Several of the nice Bardic Music feats: e.g. Melodic Casting Lingering Song (and in context the Harmonizing weapon enchantment) are no more valid to take and would be substituted by Extra Music.
More exotic feat options like Windsinger (stormwrack) and Snowflake Wardance do not fit in the new rounds per day mechanic and require heavy adjustment.
As mentioned before Inspire greatness feels useless now in contrast Inspire courage got even better than it was in 3.5 to a point that I would say it is broken if you consider all basic options. Let me give you an example:
A 7th level Bard gives a +2 inspire courage bonus.
Taking the Song of the Heart Feat (Eberron Campaign Setting) and the Inspirational Boost Spell (Spell Compendium) raises this Bonus to +4.
If he Bard uses a mw Drum (Complete Adventurers) the Attack and Damage bonus increases to +5. As This bonus is no longer a moral Bonus it stacks with Good Hope Spell to +7. To grand this bonus the bard only need one round of actions (swift action move action and Standard action) The next Round he casts Haste increasing the Attack bonus further and granting an additional Attack.
A 7th level Bard who is accompanied by a 7th level Cleric pushes it over the top when the Cleric casts Recitation (Spell Compendium , luck bonus) resulting in a:

+11 Attack +7 Damage +5 to all Saves (+8 to fear effects) +3 to AC in round 2 for all Party members plus enhanced movement or additional Attacks.

I’m pretty sure this is not the kind of boost the pathfinder designers had in mind when they changed the Bard and the types of Boni different spell grant. At this point boni stacking does not end spells like Rage, and other enhancement spells like Enlarge stack with this already insane combat bonus.

In conclusion the bard is not weak as stated before but in my opinion it is the part of the book that is least thought thru. He lacks the versatility and Jack of all trade feeling but instead mutated into a bonus giving monster. There are no real Feat options for the Bard in the book like for Clerics and Barbarians.
I hope the designers think again on the bard and provide him with valid options in future supplements and fix the backward compatibility.


Zurai wrote:
Whoop-te-do. Being king of knowledge does jack s#@@ for you in combat (unless you multiclass or gestalt to Archivist, of course), and one of the primary complaints about bards in 3.5 was that they had too little combat effectiveness and too much non-combat effectiveness. Their combat effectiveness hasn't really increased at all, while their out-of-combat effectiveness did. Yay balance?

Really?

Quote:
You can use [a knowledge] skill to identify monsters and their special powers or vulnerabilities. In general, the DC of such a check equals 10 + the monster's CR. For common monsters, such as goblins, the DC of this check equals 5 + the monster's CR. For particularly rare monsters, such as the tarrasque, the DC of this check equals 15 + the monster's CR, or more. A successful check allows you to remember a bit of useful information about that monster. For every 5 points by which your check result exceeds the DC, you recall another piece of useful information.

Knowledge skills are a mechanical way for you to "metagame" in that the character can sync its in-game knowledge up with your out-of-game knowledge. It drives me crazy when I go up against a certain monster for the first time -- let's say, a rakshasa -- and the party wastes a ton of spells on it trying to pierce its massive SR or the party can't pierce it's heavy DR easily. Wouldn't it be nice to know immediately how to get by the DR? Or to not bother with spells that have spell resistance? Just a single knowledge check can greatly increase an entire party's combat effectiveness.

Yes, you need a high knowledge check to find out that much information (Knowledge: Planes DC 25 to 30). But guess what bards are really good at? (:


Taurec wrote:


A 7th level Bard gives a +2 inspire courage bonus.
Taking the Song of the Heart Feat (Eberron Campaign Setting) and the Inspirational Boost Spell (Spell Compendium) raises this Bonus to +4.
If he Bard uses a mw Drum (Complete Adventurers) the Attack and Damage bonus increases to +5. As This bonus is no longer a moral Bonus it stacks with Good Hope Spell to +7. To grand this bonus the bard only need one round of actions (swift action move action and Standard action) The next Round he casts Haste increasing the Attack bonus further and granting an additional Attack.
A 7th level Bard who is accompanied by a 7th level Cleric pushes it over the top when the Cleric casts Recitation (Spell Compendium , luck bonus) resulting in a:

+11 Attack +7 Damage +5 to all Saves (+8 to fear effects) +3 to AC in round 2 for all Party members plus enhanced...

You have a good point. Here are some comments:

1) Unless you have a 24 Charisma by level 7, you're now out of 3rd level spells (haste and good hope). That's a substantial amount of resources to blow all at once.

2) 3.5 has a tradition of not balancing feats buffing the same thing from multiple sources. Song of the Heart + Inspirational Boost + MW Drum was broken before Pathfinder. Is it necessary for PF to go back and fix every broken feat or item or spell in 3.5?

3) Considering that the spells enable (as oppose to disable or destroy the bad guy), they're not that out of hand. A wizard could cast 2 empowered scorching rays in the same time at the same level. No one is going to argue that is overpowered, but it is 84 average damage. . . enough to kill most CR 7 encounters by itself.


meabolex wrote:


1) Unless you have a 24 Charisma by level 7, you're now out of 3rd level spells (haste and good hope). That's a substantial amount of resources to blow all at once.

2) 3.5 has a tradition of not balancing feats buffing the same thing from multiple sources. Song of the Heart + Inspirational Boost + MW Drum was broken before Pathfinder. Is it necessary for PF to go back and fix every broken feat or item or spell in 3.5?

3) Considering that the spells enable (as oppose to disable or destroy the bad guy), they're not that out of hand. A wizard could cast 2 empowered scorching rays in the same time at the same level. No one is going to argue that is overpowered, but it is 84 average damage. . . enough to kill most CR 7 encounters by itself.

My point was not to say that Pathfinder should rebalance all previusly published feats and spells but at least they should look an the boni certain abilitys provide and look for stacking outrages befor they introduce them (for example inspire courage, Good Hope and recitation)

I agree that Insprirational boost and song of the hart in conjunction is broken by itself (the drum is something different because who can play a drum and fight the same time?).

Adding Good hope and at the same time removing other options like inspire greatness song of freedom is something that bothers me here. This and the lack of options to refine / broaden your bardic music with feats like the Cleric with his Channel energy can is my point. At the moment all i see is more stacking less options for the bard and his bardic music. Everything points to inspire courage wether you use the above discribed options or not.

As for the recources there is alway the option to use scrolls or let the wizard/cleric cast the haste spell. If you do the math you will soon find out that the enhance spells/abilitys are by far better than the damage spells because they enance everybody: characters animal companions, Horses (take a look at the former war horse) and gods forbids summoned Monster.
Add up the damage and your evoker starts multicassing with fighter out of frustration.

Dark Archive

Darrin Drader wrote:
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.

Although I may be slightly disappointed in the bard, I'm still of the mind that he's WAY better than his 3.5 counterpart (BTW, if you ask me, it's the fighter that really got "shafted" in PF RPG; they lost the AC bonus from 'Armor Training' *plus* about half of the 'Fighter Only' feats). It's just that since the bard was mechanically the weakest (and kind of a mish-mash) class, I had high hopes the problems would be addressed in PF RPG (some of them were, but I don't feel it's "enough" by my standards).

We've played a number of bards (ever since AD&D) in my group over the years -- I'm even playing a 3E halfling Bard/Temple Raider of Olidammara at the moment. Still, most of them have been either "fun" characters (diverse skills and spells that mostly concentrate on RPing aspects) or min-maxed "diplomancers", and only rarely can I remember a bard being actually a true asset to the party in combat (not a big issue in my group; combat is usually quite rare anyway).


Zark wrote:

A 1st-level bard can use his performance to inspire courage in his allies (including himself ), bolstering them against fear and improving their combat abilities. To be affected, an ally must be able to perceive the bard’s performance .

What's vague?
Boost all allies that "perceive the bard’s performance", inluding the bard himself.
But if the bard is a woman she is not included, because the text doesn't say so. She bards may not boost them selfs.

I take it your gender reference is an attempt at humor. grins

However, my presumption stands - all other abilities have a specified range and number of targets (also with a personal usefulness inclusion).

  • Inspire Competence lists a range (30 feet) and a singular target.
  • Suggestion is part of fascinate, which has a 90 ft. range and attendant stipulations as both part of the base fascinate ability as well as the suggestion ability. Suggestion is particularly nasty because the only limitation is on how long the bard can maintain the fascination to deliver a barrage of suggestions.
  • Dirge of Doom has a range (30 ft.), although its wording is nebulous as regards how many foes can be affected by the ability.
  • Inspire Greatness starts off with a stated range (30 feet) and starts out with personal/one targeted ally at 9th level, increasing by one more potential target at 12th, 15th and hitting the maximum of four at 18th.
  • Soothing Performance has a stated range and targets (all allies must remain within 30 ft. for the duration of the four-round performance).
  • Frightening Tune has a stated range (30 ft.) and clearly targets all foes within that range.
  • Inspire Heroics has a stated range of 30 ft., is single target at acquisition (15th level) then improves to two targets at 18th level - and unlike any previous ability has no cap stated on the number of potential targets with sufficient levels of bard beyond 18th.
  • Mass Suggestion is like Suggestion, being linked to the bard's fascinate ability.
  • Deadly Performance has stated range (30 ft.) and number of targets (one enemy).

Based on the precedent set by all of the bard's later class abilities, I am of the opinion that there is a requirement for stipulation of range to allies - the ability already clearly includes the bard in its benefit - as well as the number of creatures that can be affected.

If there is no such clarification, then I completely agree with the complaint regarding the later abilities of the bard - the "king" of the bard's class abilities as regards benefiting both the bard and all allies will remain Inspire Courage - and the only 'metagame' reason to continue taking bard levels past 1st level is to improve this ability's benefits - and pick up the other goodies along the way. Its flexibility and theoretically infinite range - so long as one's allies are able to see or hear the bard, they receive the benefit - as it is currently written make it the single best ability to use, every time. Only situational requirements to deal with illumination (darkness) or a lack of audibility (silence) will hinder the bard and his/her/its allies from receiving this not-inconsiderable boon at almost every encounter. And once the bard hits 7th level, with access to dispel magic, the likelihood of magical silence or darkness being an issue drops generally quite close to nil.


Eltanin24 wrote:

No one plays Bards anyway.

I had several Bards in the PFS games I ran at Gen Con. In each case these Bards held thier own with the rest of the Party and got to doo a lot of cool stuff. SO I think the Bards are fine


I've always found the bard to be one of the classes that's more effective OUT of combat. It's especially effective in heavy roleplaying games.

In one game I run the Bard is the party leader.

I was hopeing they would have added some abilities that would help the noncombat experience....Bardic Diplomacy maybe? how bout Flattering Song?


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Ah, here we are again. Playing a bard is like being a Cub's fan. You'll be disappointed every time, but you keep coming back.

I'm glad to see that Paizo has allowed the bard to eventually become a skill monster. But I'd like to address this notion that one should be grateful for out-of-combat abilities at the cost of being feeble in combat.

In general, if a skill is not useful in combat, it isn't useful.

Yes, yes. I know. It's all really about the roleplaying. But, seriously. If the bard's skills were actually effective, it would mean a lot more work for the GM. You wouldn't walk into the carefully planned ambush, because the bard would have seen through the kindly old lady's facade. Encounter difficulty would drop precipitously because the bard played up on tensions among mixed groups of bad guys, or because the bard negotiated a surrender or mutiny among the battered remnants of the necromancer's minions.

Yes, there may be certain junctures in the module where it tells the GM what can be gained with a Diplomacy check, or Gather Information, or something. You want your social skills maxed out at that point, because if you miss that chance, you won't get another to use it until the next module. And anyway, if the GM wants you to know a piece of information he'll get it to you whether you've got a bard in the party or not. And if he doesn't, you're not going to get it until he's ready to give it to you. Plot, after all, is not just about who does what. It's about who knows what and how they found out, and your GM is not going to let you ruin the surprise he's got waiting for you no matter how much combat usefulness you sacrificed to get that knowledge.

Maybe you're lucky enough to have the kind of GM who can re-organize the story around your bard playing both sides against the middle, or revealing the traitor too soon, or managing to disguise yourself as the baron long enough that the kingdom-unifying wedding actually takes place. But I'll bet you that that GM will decide the success of your efforts based on player creativity, even if the player's character is a beefy sword jock who can scarcely remember to keep breathing in-and-out. In fact, that GM will be the type who disdains the very idea that your success in social situations should be decided by a die roll.

So, for the GM who won't let you do anything useful outside of combat, the points you spent on social skills are wasted. For the GM who does, the points you spent on social skills are wasted.

But suppose you find a balanced GM. He'll let you walk into town and start working the locals. He'll let you play enemies against eachother. He'll let you realize the barmaid is a doppleganger. And all of this taking your actual sky-high skill ranks which are your compensation for being so marginal at everything else. Imagine the eye-rolling from the other party members who really want to get on with the part of the game they're good for, and probably won't let the bard take center stage anyway -- and all it takes is one stroke of the sword to put the situation back in their court, with the bard pushing his minor buffs and trying to keep out of the way once again.

The bard is at best designed for a game nobody ever plays. And if the game did start playing in the bard's arena, he would be nerfed ad hoc by a conspiracy of the GM and the other players. All the other character classes are designed for the game as it is actually played.


Ouch, sounds like someone played a bard and got shut down hard. 8)

I'll agree with some of your points. Because yes, not matter how much diplomacy you use, it's all going to end in blood, or boredom for 80% of the party.

But I still think in a proper group the bard is a fun character.


*Applauds* VERY well said JohnyAngel, that's most of the points I was trying to get across regarding combat fragility and more that I hadn't even thought to present.

I honestly don't understand why some people get the idea that a character should be weaker in combat 'just because' it doesn't make sense to me. A character should be able to contribute just as well as anybody else in their own way(s)

(Yes I know I was given a rebuttal to some points I made and haven't directly responded to them yet. Johny's statement tells it better than I could.)


Cause I can argue both sides of a point for fun, I'll agree with the combat fragility this way. If you take a party of 5 all of the same class and send it up against a number of different types of threats, the results should be somewhat similar (assuming proper level to deal with the treat.) Say 5 fighters or wizards, monks, rangers, or rogues vs ...a giant, should produce a dead giant..5 bards would end up singing themselves a lovely funeral dirge.

Shadow Lodge

Johnny Angel wrote:
But suppose you find a balanced GM. He'll let you walk into town and start working the locals. He'll let you play enemies against eachother. He'll let you realize the barmaid is a doppleganger. And all of this taking your actual sky-high skill ranks which are your compensation for being so marginal at everything else. Imagine the eye-rolling from the other party members who really want to get on with the part of the game they're good for, and probably won't let the bard take center stage anyway -- and all it takes is one stroke of the sword to put the situation back in their court, with the bard pushing his minor buffs and trying to keep out of the way once again.

I respectfully couldn't disagree more ...

My current group has a bard, and he does very well out of combat, and nobody is waiting impatiently for him to be quiet. In fact the various players are always asking the bard to tag along as they go out on the town. Like wise, he has been good in combat and from what I can tell his player has enjoyed it all. Our GM must be one of those super rare "balanced" GMs because our role-playing effects combat and which combats we are in as much as our fighting skills. And if we aren't smart enough to ask the correct questions, we don't get the info ... and if we think our way around something he is fine with that too.

I guess we must be lucky.


You are lucky Gully, that's the kind of GM I strive to be and even then I find myself falling short all too often lol. It's so hard not to get wrapped up in the story as to allow the dice rolls to contribute to whether or not the party gets the info. (Not the questions mind, it's easy to roleplay interactions, it's hard mechanizing it.)

Dark Archive

Remember, experience is awarded for overcoming the challenge. NOT for beating said challenge into a bloody pulp. I have a campaign where the guys were working a gambling hall. They got in good with their co-workers, and in the end, the owner of said casino, tried to get them killed, and told the rest of the staff they had sold out the casino to their enemies.

The PC's came in and they made their case. In the end, the bouncers for the casino, who were the only ones present for the fight, walked out on the owner, because the PC's had put enough hard work and effort into getting to know them.

I gave them the EXP for overcoming the fellow workers, because they put the time and effort into it. They roleplayed and created a situation where they managed to get past the workers, without lifting a rapier.

The Owner BTW was disemboweled. (quite literally, that crit hit deck is VICIOUS)

Ultimately it comes down to rule -1. This is a game, and you're supposed to have fun. You can accomplish this any number of ways, but I would hardly call the bard underpowered. You also forget that heroism counts as HIT DICE, and that these hit dice count against things such as blasphemy, and other Hit Dice related effects.

I actually like the new bard, and I will have a blast when I go and I play it in the near future. Until then? I'm going to continue running my campaign, and generally enjoying myself.


Turin the Mad wrote:
Zark wrote:

A 1st-level bard can use his performance to inspire courage in his allies (including himself ), bolstering them against fear and improving their combat abilities. To be affected, an ally must be able to perceive the bard’s performance .

What's vague?
Boost all allies that "perceive the bard’s performance", inluding the bard himself.
But if the bard is a woman she is not included, because the text doesn't say so. She bards may not boost them selfs.

I take it your gender reference is an attempt at humor. grins

yes. A bad one ;-)

Anyway. I've read todays blogg and Jason has promised new bardic performance options in the next book. I'm gonna cool down now and give the new bard a chance. I played our NPC bard using the new rules today. It was alight. More flexible. I just have to wait and find out how she works out at higher levels.


Are people just not trying? The bard is fine.


KaeYoss wrote:


So? If you just want to fight, bard is not the right class, anyway. The bard should not be changed to become a fighting machine.

Theres more to being useful in combat that hitting things. In fact, three of the four songs the bard learns at 1st level revolve around combat, so saying it isn't a combat class just isn't true. It might not be as combat focused as others, but still has a fair bit, as do all classes.

KaeYoss wrote:
Not everything needs to be all about combat. Not in a roleplaying game. In fact, I woudln't play Pathfinder if it was a wargame in disguise.

The main basis for about 3/4 balance problems in 3.5 was due to combat abilities. If you don't like battle games, you might want to try elsewhere. Classes that aren't direct combatants gain abilities to stil make them useful in combat (such as sneak attack, bardic music, wildshape). Again, the game doesn't have to revolve entirely around combat, but you aren't exactly going to have a combat starved campaign are you? Besides, if you're looking for RP heavy games theres far better choices more suited to that style of play.

KaeYoss wrote:
Oh, and you're wrong: knowledge means you know about enemies, about their strengths and weaknesses. Knowing that fireball is useless and that only cold iron weapons really work will mean a lot in combat, as it saves you wasted actions.

Not really a distinct strength, since every part of your knowledge essentially relies on DM fait. Besides, what about monsters never enountered before? Or monsters the PC's would have had no chance of knowing a thing about?


Your right about the bard having potential, when properly applied Abraham, it just feels like the bard hasn't been given the boost the other classes have.

Though in my defense I hadn't actually noticed Arcane Strike. Definitely a useful feat and if your GM lets you use practiced spellcaster you can squeak in 4 fighter levels for an extra BAB, a bunch of feats, and martial weapons without losing the benefit of the feat. Inspire Courage drops a notch but the damage is more than made up for and the attack bonus loss is equally compensated by the extra BAB.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Quote:
I guess we must be lucky.

Indeed.

Look at what the bard can do at 12th level:

Quote:
Soothing Performance (Su): ...quivalent to a mass cure serious...removes the fatigued, sickened, and shaken conditions...requires 4 rounds of continuous performance...all targets that remain within 30 feet throughout the performance.

Look what a Cleric can do only one level later in 1 round where it will be useful in combat right when it's needed the most:

Quote:

Cure Serious Wounds, mass as a standard action

Freedom's Call (Su): ...30-foot aura ...allies within this aura are not affected by the confused, grappled, frightened, panicked, paralyzed, pinned, or shaken conditions.

Freedom's Call seems like a perfect idea for a bard ability, but it's given to the cleric at 8th level. I only cranked it up to 13th to include Cure Serious, Mass for the total package. The closest equivalent for the bard is more permanent, but less broadly useful and clearly designed to be used after the party no longer needs it quite so desperately. The difference between the power allowed to the bard and that allowed to the cleric seems stunning. And to think they removed Song of Freedom, which allowed the bard in a rare pinch to take the place of a scroll that doesn't get a share of the XP.


Zark wrote:

My point is Inspire Greatness is useless. It hade a place in 3.x and the beta since it stacked with Inspire Courage but now it's useless. at level 9 you get 2d10+con in temp hit points and +2 to hit.

Just a thought but what if you as the bard restart the performance instead of maintaining it. It would cost a standard action, but wouldn't it reset the 2d10+con hp(actually you get con on both the HDs so a 18 CON would make it 10-28 Temp hps enough to blunt a hit or two or really blunt a single damage spell). Also your forgeting the +1 Fort save...ok not much but it is there and the fact that the effected individuals are considered 2 Hit Dice larger to spell effects based on Hit Dice(not sure how useful that is, since I haven't reread the spells with HD based effects yet but it could be useful)


I just realized what would make inspire greatness better. Monk's already have a "Some of the time" BAB that doesn't qualify them for anything, one could do the same with those two D10 hit dice. They're Full BAB hit dice (d10) so instead of a +2 competence bonus it would give +2 temporary BAB, meaning that, among other things, it stacks in more places, and could at times be used to grant the recipient an extra attack for the turn.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
I just realized what would make inspire greatness better. Monk's already have a "Some of the time" BAB that doesn't qualify them for anything, one could do the same with those two D10 hit dice. They're Full BAB hit dice (d10) so instead of a +2 competence bonus it would give +2 temporary BAB, meaning that, among other things, it stacks in more places, and could at times be used to grant the recipient an extra attack for the turn.

That's a good, simple solution. They wouldn't increase caster level, and could be keyed to give a +1 temporary bonus (instead of competence or whatever) to Fortitude saves along with the +2 temporary BAB - going with the 2d10 temporary HD and the (2d10+ [2x CON modifier]) temporary hit points. Added to the increased resistance to HD-dependant effects (such as deep slumber, blasphemy/dictum/holy word/word of chaos, color spray, and so on) that "tastes" a little better.

Much to ponder ...


Look, let me simplify my request:

Paizo, please give the bard something effective to do in the 2nd through 5th rounds, after level 7.

Because every bard is going to start off with Inspire Courage...because all the other bardic songs are strictly worse. And they're going to cast a buffing spell (Haste or Good Hope).

And then they're going to realize that their spells have all been nerfed in Pathfinder, and their DCs weren't that great anyways. And that their melee prowess is pathetic, because of a lack of feats and an inability to focus on physical stats (Charisma, among others, is more important). So they're basically as good as a wizard with a crossbow.

Every other class in the game can continue to do important things for the party after the first round. Bards can't. This is a bad game design - who wants a player tuning out every combat?

-Cross


Scott Viverito wrote:
Zark wrote:

My point is Inspire Greatness is useless. It hade a place in 3.x and the beta since it stacked with Inspire Courage but now it's useless. at level 9 you get 2d10+con in temp hit points and +2 to hit.

Just a thought but what if you as the bard restart the performance instead of maintaining it. It would cost a standard action, but wouldn't it reset the 2d10+con hp(actually you get con on both the HDs so a 18 CON would make it 10-28 Temp hps enough to blunt a hit or two or really blunt a single damage spell). Also your forgeting the +1 Fort save...ok not much but it is there and the fact that the effected individuals are considered 2 Hit Dice larger to spell effects based on Hit Dice(not sure how useful that is, since I haven't reread the spells with HD based effects yet but it could be useful)

Yes true. meanwhile the rest of the party is waiting for your Inspire Courage.

At higher levels Inspire Courage + mass CLW/CMW/CSW is far better. Or Inspire Courage and CMW/CSW/CCW.
But as far as I'm concern this thread is dead.
The thread was badly named and the opening post was badly formulated and now it has a life of it's own, which is OK.
But the bard sucks v.s the bad is great was not the intention ofd this thread.
Then there are people who can't bother reading what's been posted so far. And there are those who can't take a no for an answer.
Sometimes I'm one of those people and I'm getting bored with them and me. To debate if Inspire Courage affects only one or more persons doesn't amuse me anymore. I'm out.
Thanx for your input. I agree that restarting Inspire Greatness could be good, but only with combined cure spells.

Sovereign Court

I am adding my TALENTED bard to the house rules section please take a look at it and let me know what you think.


Zurai wrote:
Whoop-te-do. Being king of knowledge does jack s~*& for you in combat (unless you multiclass or gestalt to Archivist, of course), and one of the primary complaints about bards in 3.5 was that they had too little combat effectiveness and too much non-combat effectiveness. Their combat effectiveness hasn't really increased at all, while their out-of-combat effectiveness did. Yay balance?

hmmm Increased hitdie and being able to maintain a performance as a free action seems to free the bard to do other actions that may improve combat effectiveness....I might be wrong but I didn't see anything to indicate a bard cannot cast or use a bow while his performance is ongoing(common sense does seem to indicate performances that require something in hands(lute) or a verbal(singing) could limit the choises some but still it removes the ok I'm performing, over and over again as your action in a long fight.


Scott Viverito wrote:
Zurai wrote:
Whoop-te-do. Being king of knowledge does jack s~*& for you in combat (unless you multiclass or gestalt to Archivist, of course), and one of the primary complaints about bards in 3.5 was that they had too little combat effectiveness and too much non-combat effectiveness. Their combat effectiveness hasn't really increased at all, while their out-of-combat effectiveness did. Yay balance?
hmmm Increased hitdie and being able to maintain a performance as a free action seems to free the bard to do other actions that may improve combat effectiveness

Not technically true, since none of the real combat options took any action at all to maintain in 3.5, not even a free action. And it only took one feat (that was good for other reasons too) to be able to cast while performing.

Sovereign Court

I know it is not RAW, but the bard that I have added here does address many of the problems that people are having with it and it is conceptually very pathfinder like. The biggest thing is it added talents that are selectable.


They could just return them to what they were in 1st edition...uber prestige class almost no one can get into...

Honestly, bards are in a very unhappy spot. They are, it seems, supposed to be a backup anything, which means a specialist will always eclipse them. The one thing they excell at (making everyone else better) isn't gratifying to many people (who want to be the hero) and so its hard to balance them.

Thats how I see it...I think Paizo did an acceptable job...with some careful feat selection, and intelligent skill/magic item usage, I can see one being more useful than they have been...but they still probably won't be center stage often.

And no...other than eliminating it as a core class and returning it to being a prestige class, I don't have any suggestions for a fix.

Scarab Sages

Crosswind wrote:

Look, let me simplify my request:

Paizo, please give the bard something effective to do in the 2nd through 5th rounds, after level 7.

Because every bard is going to start off with Inspire Courage...because all the other bardic songs are strictly worse. And they're going to cast a buffing spell (Haste or Good Hope).

And then they're going to realize that their spells have all been nerfed in Pathfinder, and their DCs weren't that great anyways. And that their melee prowess is pathetic, because of a lack of feats and an inability to focus on physical stats (Charisma, among others, is more important). So they're basically as good as a wizard with a crossbow.

Every other class in the game can continue to do important things for the party after the first round. Bards can't. This is a bad game design - who wants a player tuning out every combat?

-Cross

The problem with balancing out of combat with combat is the need for an adventure to flow. Most DMs will not stop the adventure because someone failed a diplomacy check to get information. The game will go on even if the person with skills (ie Bard) is missing because otherwise you have very bored players.

I also agree that having a character that is fairly poor during combat is pretty boring. I want my players to be involved and active. The pathfinder bard is definitely a ineffective and boring character atm.


Turin the Mad, I just think it's nice when people are enthusiastic and take an active interest in a thread. We don't have to agree, it's no problem :-)

Turin the Mad wrote:


I never said multiple performances could be maintained, just that they can be run concurrently with other actions.[...]

You forgot this then? ;-)

Turin the Mad wrote:


[...]
* 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 [...]

;-)

Spoiler:

Turin the Mad wrote:


I do admit to often coming across as ... well, "abrasive" I suppose - and that was not my intent. My apologies for that.

No problem, it's cool :-)

You didn't came across abrasive. (I tend come across as abrasive from time to time I'm afraid. I will try to be more cool.) As I said before, I think it's nice when people are enthusiastic.
Meet you soon in another thread.
Kind regards


Zark wrote:

Turin the Mad, I just think it's nice when people are enthusiastic and take an active interest in a thread. We don't have to agree, it's no problem :-)

Turin the Mad wrote:


I never said multiple performances could be maintained, just that they can be run concurrently with other actions.[...]

You forgot this then? ;-)

Turin the Mad wrote:


[...]
* 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 [...]

;-)

** spoiler omitted **

I didn't write my first thing very well *shakes fist at himself*, but you are correct - I couldn't do the dirge without dropping the buff. Just goes to show my unfamiliarity with post-1e bards... ;-)

Spoiler:
Looking forward to seeing you in many other threads - you have a passion and I like that!


I just read the new Facinate DC, and how bardic music don't stack so I would either use Dirge of doom or Inspire Courage (most likely, Inspire Courage by far in most (Realy most) of the situations.. and got sad all over again

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
pontoark wrote:
I just read the new Facinate DC, and how bardic music don't stack so I would either use Dirge of doom or Inspire Courage (most likely, Inspire Courage by far in most (Realy most) of the situations.. and got sad all over again

A bard has been reduced to having a single song of inspire courage due to not lingering and not stacking. Yeah, the bard needs alot of help.

Sovereign Court

Zurai wrote:

Whoop-te-do. Being king of knowledge does jack s@~* for you in combat (unless you multiclass or gestalt to Archivist, of course), and one of the primary complaints about bards in 3.5 was that they had too little combat effectiveness and too much non-combat effectiveness. Their combat effectiveness hasn't really increased at all, while their out-of-combat effectiveness did. Yay balance?

Knowing whether a monster has weaknesses, immunities, special attacks that will eviscerate you if you get too close... that doesn't help a group in combat? It's not flashy, but it helps.


Right for the fifth thread now:

1. Bards can now cast spells with shields with no ASF.
2. More, better, and faster bardic music abilities.
3. Bards Got a hit dice increase
4. Feats such as power attack are now better for these classes, and arcane strike has just be introduced to core... that feat screams "BARDS TAKE ME!"
5. Bardic spells like Good Hope now stack with inspire courage: At 7th level you can give everyone in your party +4 to hit, +4 to damage with one spell and one use of your bardic music
6. More weapon proficiencies.
7. Versatile performance opens up more skills to you with fewer skill points spent.
8. Bards get more use out of points spent on Knowledge checks due to their class bonus. They can spend 1/2 the points and have as good of a check as someone who maxed the knowledge skill out.


Dogbert wrote:

Poor Bob Marley... if he was still alive, he'd have to either stick to 3.5 or multiclass to Cleric.

Totally off-topic, but I converted and painted up a Warhammer fig awhile ago. I gave him a chalice with static grass for herb. Bob Morkley

Zo

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