The bard - what the?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Abraham spalding wrote:

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.

1.) Woo, a couple AC.

2.) There are more. They are not better. They are not faster, either - in 3.5, you could bard song as a swift action at first level if you took the appropriate feats.
3.) So did everybody else.
4.) Feats such as power attack are better for everybody. Are you going to tell us that bards got better because they got more feats too?
5.) Truth. The stacking is nice.
6.) ...do you honestly think this matters?
7.) And it encourages you not to take Diplomacy and Bluff at first level. Dumbest...rule...ever.

Basically, you listed some marginal bonuses. Sweet. Meanwhile, every other class got a massive power boost.

Fact remains: Bards don't particularly have anything interesting or effective to do in rounds 2-N. You're pretty much best off going and reading a book while the rest of your party does the combat.

-Cross


DigMarx wrote:
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

That's awesome! XD

Liberty's Edge

Crosswind wrote:


Fact remains: Bards don't particularly have anything interesting or effective to do in rounds 2-N. You're pretty much best off going and reading a book while the rest of your party does the combat.

-Cross

Just saying that something is a fact doesn't make it so. I submit that you've either got your facts wrong or you're looking at the class from the wrong perspective.

If you use a free action to maintain your performance, you can still cast spells (grease, glitterdust, charm monster etc...it's all good), attack (arcane strike is pretty much a must for bards and it gives you the only magic weapon in the party at low levels), or do other things (like set up flanks or heal the wounded).

I've been playing a Beta (now PRPG Core) bard for seven or eight months now, and there's only been one combat where I was struggling to find less than 3 things to do each round, besides inspire courage.

The bard, IMO, is the "little bit of everything" class. They fight as well as the cleric, skillmonkey almost as well as the rogue, have good buff/debuff powers to free up the wizard/sorcerer for laying down the hurt, and come with many other abilities to make up for thier apparent lack of brute strength (loremaster saves a lot of hassles). Their true strength lies not in their ability to be the best in one narrow field, but being able to contribute *something* meaningful to every encounter.


Crosswind wrote:


1.) Woo, a couple AC.
2.) There are more. They are not better. They are not faster, either - in 3.5, you could bard song as a swift action at first level if you took the appropriate feats.
3.) So did everybody else.
4.) Feats such as power attack are better for everybody. Are you going to tell us that bards got better because they got more feats too?
5.) Truth. The stacking is nice.
6.) ...do you honestly think this matters?
7.) And it encourages you not to take Diplomacy and Bluff at first level. Dumbest...rule...ever.

Basically, you listed some marginal bonuses. Sweet. Meanwhile, every other class got a massive power boost.

Fact remains: Bards don't particularly have anything interesting or effective to do in rounds 2-N. You're pretty much best off going and reading a book while the rest of your party does the combat.

-Cross

1.) A couple? Try 7, and include heavy fortification while you are at it.

2.) They are faster to use, all bardic musics were a standard action to start in 3.5 unless you took feats... now it'll improved without the feats leaving the feats for better things. The music improves faster (for inspire courage) or finally improves (inspire competence -- or in 3.5 noisily aiding other! --) or adds whole new abilities (mass cure serious wounds with additional effects, kill someone out right, shaken an entire group without a save throw). These are huge.
3.) False, Fighter didn't, Barbarian didn't, cleric didn't, druid didn't, paladin didn't, monk didn't. Even if they did extra hit points are still extra hit points, just because others got them doesn't mean the Bard isn't better for them too.
4.) Yes but they got more feats they can actually use. Inspire courage doesn't prevent spell casting now so you could actually cast a spell in combat, and you have several good ones, for buffs: Good Hope (the best morale buffing spell available), Haste -- for area control: Grease, pyrotechnics -- for creature control, for magical defense even a few (very few) direct damage spells.
6.) Yes actually it matters a lot. More proficiencies means you are more likely to come across a weapon you can use in combat. For example you might start out with a long sword and find a +1 keen rapier. There is no worry about proficiency anymore since you get both.
7.) Seriously? You can just not take that performance skill. I don't know about you but I like the idea of using my Great charisma and performance check for an acrobatics check with no armor check penalty or worrying about my dex score. yes some are better than others but having sense motive based off my charisma, using my perform check for the roll is much better than not. But hey if you can't see beyond two skills you could choose to take anyways then that's your problem.

In the end not only does all this add up but a bard can do quite fine on damage by himself , in addition to the fact that everyone else is also better for him being there.

To put it bluntly the bard looks around now and says, "I'm awesome so you will be too."

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Abraham covered most of the same points I would. For the one that I do agree on (Versatile Performance is badly designed), this is from my current house rules draft:

When using the Versatile Performance class feature you can roll both a Perform check and a check with the actual skill, taking the better result. You can only do this if you are trained in both the performance type and the associated skill.


Abraham spalding wrote:

Right for the fifth thread now:

1. Bards can now cast spells with shields with no ASF.

Only if they have nothing in the other hand. Bards that use tools to perform (drums, violin, whatever) or bards that fight with weapons (very rare to see an unarmed bard) still can't use a shield and cast spells.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Zurai wrote:
Only if they have nothing in the other hand. Bards that use tools to perform (drums, violin, whatever) or bards that fight with weapons (very rare to see an unarmed bard) still can't use a shield and cast spells.

1. Weaponless bard. (At least until there are no more spells to cast.)

2. Buckler. (You lose AC when you cast a spell.)
3. Spiked gauntlet. (Not the highest-damage option, but it works.)
4. Improved Unarmed Strike. (Even less damage, costs a feat, but opens up some potentially good future options.)
5. Quick-draw. (Costs a feat, potential action-economy issues depending on tactics. Effectively a more option-rich version of weaponless.)
6. One monk level. (-1 bard level.)
7. Ring of Force Shield. (Limited to +2 bonus unless GM allows greater enchantment, but I think this one wins for style!)
8. Dancing weapon. (Pile o' cash.)
9. Shield gauntlet. (non-core, Races of Stone; make it mithral, take a feat, or get -2 on attacks.)

Of these: #1 through #6 are available at 1st level to anyone; #7 is available (in combination with bard spells) at 2nd level to anyone lawful. I probably missed a few possibilities, too. Basically: if you want to leverage that ability, there are options. Don't discount #1, either... I think part of the reason a bard always has a weapon is because they couldn't cast spells while inspiring courage.


Just to point out...

In 3.5, using bardic music required effectively no action at all, as a Bard player could activate the ability before combat began.

Unfortunately, the rounds/day change was a huge nerf. No longer can a Bard inspire his companions as they travel. Thus, since the Bard is required to wait until combat begins to start up his bardic music, even as a swift action, it's slower in Pathfinder.

-Matt

The Exchange

The first time I read through the PF Core Book Classes chapter, the one class that jumped out to me as being the most improved was the Bard. But hey, that's just me. They're going to be the most skilled and knowledgeable member of the party if you stick with Bard all the way through their development. The ability to Use Perform instead of two other skills (and make them charisma based) is awesome, their extra hit points mean they can conceivably take an extra hit or two. I am going to run our group's first PF game, but the first one where I actually get to PLAY, I'm going to be a Bard. And that's not something I've done a ton of.

To each their own though...it may of course depend on the nature of the game in which you play. For those who don't tend to use skills much, and are more combat oriented, I could see the possible cause for complaint.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Fiendish Dire Weasel wrote:

The first time I read through the PF Core Book Classes chapter, the one class that jumped out to me as being the most improved was the Bard. But hey, that's just me. They're going to be the most skilled and knowledgeable member of the party if you stick with Bard all the way through their development. The ability to Use Perform instead of two other skills (and make them charisma based) is awesome, their extra hit points mean they can conceivably take an extra hit or two. I am going to run our group's first PF game, but the first one where I actually get to PLAY, I'm going to be a Bard. And that's not something I've done a ton of.

To each their own though...it may of course depend on the nature of the game in which you play. For those who don't tend to use skills much, and are more combat oriented, I could see the possible cause for complaint.

I am in total agreement, Bardic Knowledge and Versatile Performance has made the bard my favorite class. The change to Bardic Performance is made up in my mind by the other enhancements. After a few levels the limit becomes less of an issue. Now we just need something along the lines of Inspirational Boost from the Spell Compedium.

Doug

The Exchange

Yep totally. And if your group allows 3.5 splatbooks still like mine does, consider the Knowledge Devotion feat from Complete Champion in conjunction with the Bard. Just as a for instance.

I think people who are disregarding the Bard as useless haven't thought it through all the way. :)


I found a spell that pretty much single-handedly saves the Bard for me. Lingering Chorus, from Complete Mage. 1 swift action to cast, lasts rounds/level, and has the effect of "This spell continues any one bardic music effect you are currently maintaining or on which you are concentrating" (with various explanatory text afterwards). It's a 4th level spell, so it takes a while to get to, but it solves the stupidity of the rounds-per-day mechanic.

The Exchange

Zurai wrote:
I found a spell that pretty much single-handedly saves the Bard for me. Lingering Chorus, from Complete Mage. 1 swift action to cast, lasts rounds/level, and has the effect of "This spell continues any one bardic music effect you are currently maintaining or on which you are concentrating" (with various explanatory text afterwards). It's a 4th level spell, so it takes a while to get to, but it solves the stupidity of the rounds-per-day mechanic.

See, to me the rounds/day is an upgrade. How many times have you used your music and wasted half of it because the combat was over in 3 rounds? Also you had to try to guess when the combat was going to end and try to stop playing 5 rounds in advance. No more worrying about that.

The rounds/day increases by 2 per level, and your charisma mod is included, which is likely your highest stat, or close to it. And I'm sure there are feats to increase your rounds/day further if you should choose to do so. If that's not your thing, you can use the spell you're describing as well.

When you combine that with their improved casting and more hit dice, AND all that cool skill stuff, I think they get a little better at everything, which is really what the bard is all about anyway. Like I said, on my first read-through, bard was the class that jumped out at me as most improved. But I tend to do lots of skill usage and out-of-combat stuff in my games, so those other abilities matter more in mine than they might in yours. So to each their own.


Fiendish Dire Weasel wrote:

See, to me the rounds/day is an upgrade. How many times have you used your music and wasted half of it because the combat was over in 3 rounds? Also you had to try to guess when the combat was going to end and try to stop playing 5 rounds in advance. No more worrying about that.

Uh.... no, no you didn't. Performances didn't end just because combat did. More than once I've used the same performance for several combats in a row. Can't do that any more. Previously you could stretch one performance out over an entire day if you needed to; can't do that any more.

As for feats to increase rounds/day ... no matter how you look at Extra Music, it was nerfed. The 3.5 Extra Music feat is 4 uses/day. The PF version is 6 rounds/day. Even going by the (seriously very poor) 2 rounds = 1 use/day conversion that PF gives, that's still only 3 uses/day.

The Exchange

Zurai wrote:


Uh.... no, no you didn't. Performances didn't end just because combat did. More than once I've used the same performance for several combats in a row. Can't do that any more. Previously you could stretch one performance out over an entire day if you needed to; can't do that any more.

Wow, we certainly never did that, and I've not been around other gaming groups that did either, including at conventions or elsewhere. The assumption was always that you stopped singing after the encounter. I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just saying it's an interpretation we had never used before. No wonder you hate this rule change! :)

Zurai wrote:


As for feats to increase rounds/day ... no matter how you look at Extra Music, it was nerfed. The 3.5 Extra Music feat is 4 uses/day. The PF version is 6 rounds/day. Even going by the (seriously very poor) 2 rounds = 1 use/day conversion that PF gives, that's still only 3 uses/day.

Sure, I get that - I'm just saying that for me, it's enough usage of performance, even WITHOUT the feat, especially since your character is now better at other things now too. You have more hit points to be able to go in and go toe to toe with the bad guys if you choose (and again, look at the Knowledge Devotion feat too!!), you have more spell ability and spells known (hence more versatility there too).


Zurai wrote:
Previously you could stretch one performance out over an entire day if you needed to; can't do that any more.

No reasonable DM would allow this.


meabolex wrote:
Zurai wrote:
Previously you could stretch one performance out over an entire day if you needed to; can't do that any more.
No reasonable DM would allow this.

All day? No, probably not, but there have been times I've had a bard keep singing, just drop it to a hum as we travelled from fight to fight in a dungeon type setting, or as we walked through the forest after a fight.

Once you need to start talking you have to drop it, but perform sing or oratory or comedy can last a long time in game in 3.5. I'd set a max of maybe 1 or 2 hours realistically, but RAW there is none.


meabolex wrote:
Zurai wrote:
Previously you could stretch one performance out over an entire day if you needed to; can't do that any more.
No reasonable DM would allow this.

On the contrary; only an unreasonable DM would nerf a weak class without cause.


Performing "all day" is pretty reasonably 'nerfed' so as to not be happening all day. If you've attended a theatrical performance IRL, the actors are usually pretty much spent by the end of the performance. Dancers are often 'toast' within a few minutes depending upon the intensity of the routine.

I would consider it unreasonable to put on a performance for more than perhaps 2 to 3 hours. Putting on one with magical power is certainly within reason to be limited to a few minutes (being as exhausting to do as professional dancing).

I am sure there are board members with more personal experience in these matters.


Turin the Mad wrote:
I am sure there are board members with more personal experience in these matters.

There are. I'm one of them.

EDIT: Not to mention... Fighters can fight all day long. Why can't bards perform all day long? I assure you that fighting is exhausting.


Zurai wrote:
Turin the Mad wrote:
I am sure there are board members with more personal experience in these matters.

There are. I'm one of them.

EDIT: Not to mention... Fighters can fight all day long. Why can't bards perform all day long? I assure you that fighting is exhausting.

I agree - the rules on fatigue/exhaustion are a tad vague though ...

Hrm...


Zurai wrote:
Fighters can fight all day long.

Not if the GM does his job - which is empower the rules with an actual, thinking brain to fill in the blanks.

"I know the fancy rulebook doesn't say anything about you becoming exhausted after hacking at a stone door with your knife with full power attack for 8 hours, but I'm GM around here and I say something about it.

And before you try to throw the book at me - read up where the book says the GM cannot sic a great wyrm dragon of each type in the book at you at once. You might find that rule as absent as the exhaustion details.

Now, how do you want me to run my game?"

I find that speeches like this are quite effective.

But maybe I've perfected that "evil glee" look long ago.

Took me many an hour in front of a mirror, or a target group (random people I abducted from the streets to serve as guinea pigs), but I got it right. Think my avatar I use has got it right? That's the toned-down version suitable for little girls' cartoons compared to my true EGL.


KaeYoss wrote:
Zurai wrote:
Fighters can fight all day long.
Not if the GM does his job - which is empower the rules with an actual, thinking brain to fill in the blanks.

I'm glad to hear you support the 15-minute workday, then.

And that you disbelieve in a variety of historical battles where people actually did fight for 8 hours or more.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
kyrt-ryder wrote:


All day? No, probably not, but there have been times I've had a bard keep singing, just drop it to a hum as we travelled from fight to fight in a dungeon type setting, or as we walked through the forest after a fight.

Once you need to start talking you have to drop it, but perform sing or oratory or comedy can last a long time in game in 3.5. I'd set a max of maybe 1 or 2 hours realistically, but RAW there is none.

Frankly, that's an attempt at a rules exploit I would be squashing too. If the fight happened on right on top of the other (probably because you attracted trouble with the noise), I'd be lenient. But not keeping it up for hours in a dungeon or forest setting.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Zurai wrote:


I'm glad to hear you support the 15-minute workday, then.

And that you disbelieve in a variety of historical battles where people actually did fight for 8 hours or more.

And for how many of those battles was the fighting pretty much constant, no lulls, no moving around for better positioning, etc, but actual fighting?

Fighters may be able to fight all day, theoretically. But practically, there are limits, even within the D&D rules - the limit mainly dealing with hit point management.


Bill Dunn wrote:
And for how many of those battles was the fighting pretty much constant, no lulls, no moving around for better positioning, etc, but actual fighting?

You act as if forced marches from location to location on the battlefield are leisurely strolls in the park.

I say, again, that only an unreasonable DM would nerf a class that is already considered one of the weakest classes in the game. Rules as written and rules as intended, the 3.5 bard could maintain a performance as long as he didn't cast a spell or get interfered with (silence on a singing bard, etc).


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Zurai wrote:


You act as if forced marches from location to location on the battlefield are leisurely strolls in the park.

I didn't say that, but then, not all maneuvering around the battlefield is a forced march.

Zurai wrote:
I say, again, that only an unreasonable DM would nerf a class that is already considered one of the weakest classes in the game. Rules as written and rules as intended, the 3.5 bard could maintain a performance as long as he didn't cast a spell or get interfered with (silence on a singing bard, etc).

As intended? Do you have a citation from Jonathan Tweet or other 3x designer that says the bard was supposed to be able to do his inspire courage performance even while the rest of the party was looting the bodies, eating lunch, or otherwise moving about from location to location, encountering nothing in particular, on the chance that another fight might be coming hours later?


Bill Dunn wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:


All day? No, probably not, but there have been times I've had a bard keep singing, just drop it to a hum as we travelled from fight to fight in a dungeon type setting, or as we walked through the forest after a fight.

Once you need to start talking you have to drop it, but perform sing or oratory or comedy can last a long time in game in 3.5. I'd set a max of maybe 1 or 2 hours realistically, but RAW there is none.

Frankly, that's an attempt at a rules exploit I would be squashing too. If the fight happened on right on top of the other (probably because you attracted trouble with the noise), I'd be lenient. But not keeping it up for hours in a dungeon or forest setting.

So your saying it's unreasonable for a bard to hum a battle hymn as the party is making their way through a dungeon or to keep pace while their marching?

Or how about this, think of the drummers and flute players that used to travel with armies on the march and play in battle. They kept it up all day long.

It's not a rules exploit, it's a facet of the rules. As long as the bard doesn't stop performing, whether to talk or cast a spell or whathave you, he could go as long as he wanted. (I already agreed it would be reasonable to make it end after a few hours, whether by instant ending or forced constitution checks or becoming fatigued, or whatever else you can think of.)


Zurai wrote:
meabolex wrote:
Zurai wrote:
Previously you could stretch one performance out over an entire day if you needed to; can't do that any more.
No reasonable DM would allow this.
On the contrary; only an unreasonable DM would nerf a weak class without cause.

That depends entirely on your definition of "nerf" and "weak class" (:


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
kyrt-ryder wrote:


So your saying it's unreasonable for a bard to hum a battle hymn as the party is making their way through a dungeon or to keep pace while their marching?

Or how about this, think of the drummers and flute players that used to travel with armies on the march and play in battle. They kept it up all day long.

It's not a rules exploit, it's a facet of the rules. As long as the bard doesn't stop performing, whether to talk or cast a spell or whathave you, he could go as long as he wanted. (I already agreed it would be reasonable to make it end after a few hours, whether by instant ending or forced constitution checks or becoming fatigued, or whatever else you can think of.)

Is it unreasonable? Pretty much. The assumption here is that the bard doesn't even let up for a round. That's 6 seconds in which he takes a break from his performance.

I'd be willing to bet that even those fife and drummers got more than 6 seconds off during the course of a marching day.


Zurai wrote:
Fiendish Dire Weasel wrote:

See, to me the rounds/day is an upgrade. How many times have you used your music and wasted half of it because the combat was over in 3 rounds? Also you had to try to guess when the combat was going to end and try to stop playing 5 rounds in advance. No more worrying about that.

Uh.... no, no you didn't. Performances didn't end just because combat did. More than once I've used the same performance for several combats in a row. Can't do that any more. Previously you could stretch one performance out over an entire day if you needed to; can't do that any more.

As for feats to increase rounds/day ... no matter how you look at Extra Music, it was nerfed. The 3.5 Extra Music feat is 4 uses/day. The PF version is 6 rounds/day. Even going by the (seriously very poor) 2 rounds = 1 use/day conversion that PF gives, that's still only 3 uses/day.

I would let a player sing all day if he wanted with uses per day, but he'd have to start making fort saves vs larengitis eventually. All enemies would get a surprise round.


grasshopper_ea wrote:
I would let a player sing all day if he wanted with uses per day, but he'd have to start making fort saves vs larengitis eventually. All enemies would get a surprise round.

And what if he wasn't singing? Even in 3.5 there were silent forms of performance.


Zurai wrote:
grasshopper_ea wrote:
I would let a player sing all day if he wanted with uses per day, but he'd have to start making fort saves vs larengitis eventually. All enemies would get a surprise round.
And what if he wasn't singing? Even in 3.5 there were silent forms of performance.

Dancing.. sprained ankle

guitar.. fingers start to bleed
mime.. barbarian bashes you in the head

Level 1 bards bardic music as far as I can tell was meant to work for one encounter a day, possibly more in back-to-back fights. If someone wants to sing for 6 hours without stopping to take a drink, I'm calling foul. In fact, there's very little you can do for hours on end without taking a break of some sort. You need a break from almost anything.

Liberty's Edge

I've tried both styles of bardic performance and I don't find the rounds per day to be particularly harmful to the bard power level. In the course of a strenuous encounter, I may use up half of my performance allotment, but then don't bother with minor encounters where I'd rather use another ability. As a player or a pretty successful bard, I don't feel nerfed.

BTW those musicians in a marching army may be playing all day, but they are not creating a magical effect.

The Exchange

OK this has gotten a little bit silly on this tangent. Again I won't judge Zurai's take as right or wrong, it's not how I would play it but it's not my problem either.

It does seem that most of the rest of us generally play it as encounter at a time, with some possible situational exceptions. It also seems that many/most of us recognize that the performance abilities comprise only one of the bard's many uses.

If we do choose to take as given that the performance based abilities have been weakened somewhat (which is debatable, but let's take it as given nonetheless), then I still would contend that the balance of the abilities of the rest of the changes to the class STILL make it a very compelling option. They get more hit points. They can use perform/charisma in place of some of their other skills, depending on what kind of performance they take (Versatile Performance). They can cast more spells a day, and have more to choose from in their knowledge bank. Their skill abilities are improved (Jack of All Trades and Lore Master abilities).

In short, I don't think there's any doubt that they are a very playable class. Maybe not exactly the way you used to play them, Zurai, but in some ways, that's what a rules change is all about. OF COURSE it's not going to be identical - it's going to require some alteration in how you play. Or, of course, you could house-rule it and do it however you want, pending the approval of the rest of your group.


Xuttah wrote:

I've tried both styles of bardic performance and I don't find the rounds per day to be particularly harmful to the bard power level. In the course of a strenuous encounter, I may use up half of my performance allotment, but then don't bother with minor encounters where I'd rather use another ability. As a player or a pretty successful bard, I don't feel nerfed.

BTW those musicians in a marching army may be playing all day, but they are not creating a magical effect.

Good to hear. I think pathfinder bards are a great class. I would definately play one if I was in the mood to play a non-rogueish skillful class.


Xuttah wrote:
I've tried both styles of bardic performance and I don't find the rounds per day to be particularly harmful to the bard power level. In the course of a strenuous encounter, I may use up half of my performance allotment, but then don't bother with minor encounters where I'd rather use another ability.

I don't see how that can be anything but a nerf. In 3.5, you could inspire courage every fight (even at first level and having to start anew every fight, if you took Extra Music). In 3.P, you can't. That's pretty straight-forward.

Furthermore, it shatters backwards compatibility. There's no simple, easy, internally consistent way to convert any of the bardic performance feats to Pathfinder except to revert the system to uses/day.

EDIT: And for the record, I am playing a bard in our current campaign, which uses the Pathfinder rules. I'm absolutely feeling the pinch on bardic performances where before, when we used the beta rules, it was much more fluid. My party is also feeling that same pinch, because they aren't getting that +4 to hit/+4 to damage buff nearly as often. It's also pretty much prevented me from taking Snowflake Wardance, because the only internally consistent ruling (uses up rounds of performance/day equal to its duration) nerfs it to the ground.

Dark Archive

Zurai wrote:
Xuttah wrote:
I've tried both styles of bardic performance and I don't find the rounds per day to be particularly harmful to the bard power level. In the course of a strenuous encounter, I may use up half of my performance allotment, but then don't bother with minor encounters where I'd rather use another ability.

I don't see how that can be anything but a nerf. In 3.5, you could inspire courage every fight (even at first level and having to start anew every fight, if you took Extra Music). In 3.P, you can't. That's pretty straight-forward.

Furthermore, it shatters backwards compatibility. There's no simple, easy, internally consistent way to convert any of the bardic performance feats to Pathfinder except to revert the system to uses/day.

EDIT: And for the record, I am playing a bard in our current campaign, which uses the Pathfinder rules. I'm absolutely feeling the pinch on bardic performances where before, when we used the beta rules, it was much more fluid. My party is also feeling that same pinch, because they aren't getting that +4 to hit/+4 to damage buff nearly as often. It's also pretty much prevented me from taking Snowflake Wardance, because the only internally consistent ruling (uses up rounds of performance/day equal to its duration) nerfs it to the ground.

Here's the thing, since you can activate it, it means on the easier fights, you don't need to do your music. Its an easy fight anyways so no point on doing it. If the fight takes a turn for the worse, then you have problems. I get that you're frustrated that you can't do things like snowflake dance, but that doesn't mean they are all useless.

For instance how would you rule lingering song? Would you state that it works for five rounds? Ten? If it works for ten, then for ONE round of bardic music you get almost a whole fight.

I think that's a VERY fair trade.


Dissinger wrote:
For instance how would you rule lingering song?

See, that's another thing. Lingering song breaks the system the other way. It essentially multiplies your rounds per day by 6 to 11 (depending on conversion) and allows you to "twist" (forgive the Everquest reference) all the relevant songs at once. That wasn't really very viable with 1 use/level/day, but with 2 uses/level/day + 2 + Cha mod uses/day, it's very viable and probably overpowered.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Lingering Song is 3.5 splat. Screw trying to interpret it, just rewrite the bugger. I'd go with something like:

"When you cease to maintain a bardic performance, its effects continue for as many rounds as that performance had been active."

Roughly the same mechanic as the barbarian's post-rage fatigue.

Dark Archive

Zurai wrote:
Dissinger wrote:
For instance how would you rule lingering song?
See, that's another thing. Lingering song breaks the system the other way. It essentially multiplies your rounds per day by 6 to 11 (depending on conversion) and allows you to "twist" (forgive the Everquest reference) all the relevant songs at once. That wasn't really very viable with 1 use/level/day, but with 2 uses/level/day + 2 + Cha mod uses/day, it's very viable and probably overpowered.

So I take it your DM hasn't ruled one way or another on lingering song? I mean I'm sure some bardic music feats are coming down the pipe merely to deal with this, but I just want to know what your group is doing about these feats? Honestly, so I can show my DM.

I'm actually willing to try it, and I highly disagree with the "Why nerf an already weak class?" Argument you're presenting Zurai, you're better than that and I KNOW it. I've seen you argue far better than that. Going around singing all day was highly questionable to begin with, and if you feel that the music is the only thing keeping the bard afloat I just can't agree with you. As time went on more music came out (in the form of things like iron skin chant and chant of fortitude) as well as options for that music. (Lyrical Thaumaturge immediately springs to mind)

It was possible in 3.5 to play a strong bard, now I want to see if its possible to play a good straight bard.


Dissinger wrote:
So I take it your DM hasn't ruled one way or another on lingering song? I mean I'm sure some bardic music feats are coming down the pipe merely to deal with this, but I just want to know what your group is doing about these feats? Honestly, so I can show my DM.

I havn't even asked my DM about it because, like I said, it's pretty overpowered if used even vaguely as written in Pathfinder, and we are trying to give the rounds/day a fair shake. The spell I mentioned earlier (PHB2, I believe, or Complete Mage) is a much more balanced alternative. It lasts longer (rounds/caster level), but it's a 4th level spell so a very limited and valuable resource for a bard. My DM has already OK'd that spell as written.

Quote:
It was possible in 3.5 to play a strong bard, now I want to see if its possible to play a good straight bard.

The bard was (and is) a weaker class than any of the full casters and was arguably weaker than rogue and barbarian (just counting core classes here). In pathfinder, I'd say it's ahead of the barbarian now, but behind the paladin and monk, and still behind the rogue. That puts it firmly in the bottom half of the power scale.

My real objection to all of this is that the rounds/day change did nothing positive for bards. It didn't extend the amount of time they could perform and it didn't increase the flexibility of performances. It's just a change for the sake of change that wasn't even beta-tested. That would be tolerable -- if only barely so -- if it didn't break backwards compatibility as badly as it does. Bards right now are by far the least backwards-compatible of all the core classes, and that's just silly when it was done for no apparent reason.

The Exchange

What you seem to continually be missing, though, is that there's a LOT more to what a Bard is about than JUST performances! If you were playing the Bard THAT one-dimensionally, then that's your own problem bro.

Bottom line is that all else considered, Bards got a LOT better overall.


Fiendish Dire Weasel wrote:

What you seem to continually be missing, though, is that there's a LOT more to what a Bard is about than JUST performances! If you were playing the Bard THAT one-dimensionally, then that's your own problem bro.

I'm only discussing performances because performances were by far the biggest change to the bard. Bardic Knowledge was really just a usability change (before it was basically just a "make your 'can the DM spoon-feed me information?' check" ability), Versatile Performance is definitely nice but it's again a fairly minor overall gain since you either lose skill points in the deal or can't effectively use the skills for X levels, and Jack of All Trades is also a pretty minor ability.

Those are the only non-Performance changes to the bard.

So, when discussing how the bard changed, especially from a power perspective, the focus is obviously going to be on the Performances.

The Exchange

Zurai wrote:
Fiendish Dire Weasel wrote:

What you seem to continually be missing, though, is that there's a LOT more to what a Bard is about than JUST performances! If you were playing the Bard THAT one-dimensionally, then that's your own problem bro.

I'm only discussing performances because performances were by far the biggest change to the bard. Bardic Knowledge was really just a usability change (before it was basically just a "make your 'can the DM spoon-feed me information?' check" ability), Versatile Performance is definitely nice but it's again a fairly minor overall gain since you either lose skill points in the deal or can't effectively use the skills for X levels, and Jack of All Trades is also a pretty minor ability.

Those are the only non-Performance changes to the bard.

So, when discussing how the bard changed, especially from a power perspective, the focus is obviously going to be on the Performances.

I disagree. I think the improvements they got elsewhere MORE than make up for any loss in performances, perceived or otherwise. They get more hit points so they can fight better. They get more spells per day and a bigger known spell list, so they're better overall casters. The knowledge stuff you mentioned isn't "fairly minor overall" it's pretty substantial, or at least it will be in our group. And especially when you consider the Knowledge Devotion feat.


Fiendish Dire Weasel wrote:

They get more hit points so they can fight better. They get more spells per day and a bigger known spell list, so they're better overall casters. The knowledge stuff you mentioned isn't "fairly minor overall" it's pretty substantial, or at least it will be in our group. And especially when you consider the Knowledge Devotion feat.

I did forget the extra hit points and the extra spells, but the spells are balanced out by the fact that all the powerful spells got nerfed.

And Knowledge Devotion is overpowered compared to all the other Devotion feats; it's not generally allowed at our table, and when it is it's nerfed to be more in line with the other Devotion feats.

The Exchange

I don't think Knowledge Devotion is overpowered - it requires a large expenditure of skill points, not to mention the feat, for a + to hit and damage. To get a really big + you have to have a TON of skill points AND roll well on the check. In my mind, Travel and Animal devotions both come to mind as being better. I think Sun is too but I'd have to reread it, don't have it in front of me.

I have a Cleric with Travel Devotion right now and she's a terror. She has Cha18 and lots of daily turn attempts so she can do Travel Devotion generally every encounter every day, and still have a few turn attempts left if some actual undead should happen by.


I've said before that by even the generius assumpition made by the paizo crew that a typical fight would last 5 rounds the current bard is down almost 50% of the 3.5s possible ability with bardic music use. The base total works out to something just under 10 uses per day (5 rounds per use). That is nerf. If any other class got nerfed that hard in one of thier central class abilities it would a major backlash.

Even paizo own PrC that uses Bardic performace is totally missed referanced. The pathfinder cronicoler is a disgrace on it's current form and nearly unuseable, or majorly broken.

As everyone is dumping their personal Bard experace I'll add mine with three solid Bard charcters from 3.0 throug 3.5. Once I got passed low to mid levels I never had an issue of running out of Bardoc music in a day, although I tended to use my Knowledge checks in the first round of fighting a new type of foe and check to see if I even needed to boost the party. By the later mid-levels I would actually use the 5 round linger on my effects to stack up things like Inspire courage and greatness, just because I knew I'd have mire then enough uses to boost during key fights.

While I an most happy for the fix to Bardic Knowledge which was by raw basically unuseable (read the 3.5) version close and see what it really covered, very narrow. I detest the state of Rounds per day, there are just to few from what there were, now there are even more intersting uses for them, and they van really be used almost constantly and interchanginly in combat.

Liberty's Edge

I think that much of the disconnect here is that many of the posters are referring to rules that are not part of the Core Rules set (3.x or PRPG). The latter day 3.5 materials were the far swing of the pendulum in power creep, and PRPG represents a more moderate baseline in power levels.

If you're using the final, suppliment-bloated version of 3.5 as the benchmark for comparison, then I admit the PRPG bard will fall short of your expectations. If, OTOH, you compare core rules to core rules, I believe you'll find the PRPG bard is superior to the 3.5 bard both in mechanics and power level.

Just IMHO. JMMV. And I have widely been considered to be stark raving mad. :)


Xuttah wrote:

I think that much of the disconnect here is that many of the posters are referring to rules that are not part of the Core Rules set (3.x or PRPG). The latter day 3.5 materials were the far swing of the pendulum in power creep, and PRPG represents a more moderate baseline in power levels.

If you're using the final, suppliment-bloated version of 3.5 as the benchmark for comparison, then I admit the PRPG bard will fall short of your expectations. If, OTOH, you compare core rules to core rules, I believe you'll find the PRPG bard is superior to the 3.5 bard both in mechanics and power level.

Just IMHO. JMMV. And I have widely been considered to be stark raving mad. :)

Since very, very few people play core-only (there isn't one single group I'm aware of in my city that does), that's a bit of a specious comparison.

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