The bard - what the?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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OK. Here it is.
Why nerf the bard? Am I talking about the rounds per day? no. I like the rounds per day. What I'm talkingt about is:
a) Inspire Courage don't stack with Inspire Greatness = Inspire Greatness useless.
b) lots of songs went poof. OK. I get it. Too many songs but why remove Song of Freedom
c) see invisiblity is a third level spell

Of all this stuff I really don't get "See invisiblity".
Just give me one answer and don't say "you can Houserule" cause our DM/GM won't.
So WHY? Why does the bard, who is all about enchantment, illusion and divination get see invisibility as a third level spell? WHY?
Is the bard too good or what?


And the spell list is still odd. No bull's strength, etc.

Grand Lodge

I guess Inspire Courage now stacks with the Heroism spell? So that's something. But yeah, I don't know what to tell you.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

I don't know what to say either.

Now that bardic songs don't linger, why worry about stacking anyway since you can't have two bardic song effects at once? Maybe it is so it would stack with heroism due to the 1 song limitation.

Taking See Invisibility as a 2nd level spell was painful in it's limited use, but 3rd level? Ouch.

Grand Lodge

I guess maybe it's part of the shift away from bardic music being the only worthwhile thing a bard can do. Now they have better hit dice and don't suffer spell failure for shields, they're more viable as second-rank fighters. Plus their spell progression is faster and they end up with more spells known and slots per day.


Eric Tillemans wrote:

I don't know what to say either.

Now that bardic songs don't linger, why worry about stacking anyway since you can't have two bardic song effects at once?

"Starting a bardic performance is a standard action, but it can be maintained each round as a free action.is a standard action,

but it can be maintained each round as a free action."
At higher levels it's a swift action to start a bardic performance so you could have two songs going at the same time if it wasn't for the text:
A bard cannot have more than one bardic performance in effect at one time.

This could be done in 3.x. Nerf? Yes. I guess bards needed bad to be nerfed..Ironi!


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber
Zark wrote:

"Starting a bardic performance is a standard action, but it can be maintained each round as a free action.is a standard action,

but it can be maintained each round as a free action."
At higher levels it's a swift action to start a bardic performance so you could have two songs going at the same time if it wasn't for the text:
A bard cannot have more than one bardic performance in effect at one time.

This could be done in 3.x. Nerf? Yes. I guess bards needed bad to be nerfed..Ironi!

Yes, I was referring to the "A bard cannot have more than one bardic performance in effect at one time."

For my game it's not a big deal because no one would play a bard in 3.5. But it's also a shame that the Pathfinder bard will probably receive the same treatment.

Liberty's Edge

FWIW I played my Beta bard 6 under the new rules and I didn't notice a decrease in power to between rounds/day from uses/day. I liked being able to cast spells while maintaining the effect, and barely used half of my rounds/day in a major encounter.

If we were doing a whole day's adventuring, I would probably have used them all up, but would quickly adjust to managing the resource differently (using it only when it counts, not all the time). First time I ever used countersong too! :)

Give it a shot and if you don't like the way it works, splice in the old durations.


Zark wrote:
b) lots of songs went poof. OK. I get it. Too many songs but why remove Song of Freedom

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

*sings*
Won't you help me sing
These soooooongs of freedom...

Zark wrote:
Just give me one answer and don't say "you can Houserule" cause our DM/GM won't.

*sings some more*

..are all I ever have
Oberooooooooooni's songs

Okay I'M SORRY I APOLOGIZE lmao... I'm human! I had to say that one, I just had to! =P


Zark wrote:

OK. Here it is.

Why nerf the bard? Am I talking about the rounds per day? no. I like the rounds per day. What I'm talkingt about is:
a) Inspire Courage don't stack with Inspire Greatness = Inspire Greatness useless.

I'm not sure why this matters, bards can only have one performance effect active at a time in any case so whether they stack is meaningless. Am I misreading this somehow?


They have been nerf'd perhaps a little too much. I would have liked to see their bardic performances structure be more like the barbarian rage powers. Every 2nd level you would be able to choose a new performance you would have access to. This would allow for more performance options (instead removing some from the Beta and giving less options like they have done).

Given all the Bards other "skill enhancement" abilities, Versatile performance really wasn't needed. Who the heck cares that you can pick other performance types at higher levels. Chances are the bard is only going to spend skill points on 1 audible perform, and 1 visual perform. This ability really wasn't needed and given the way its worded it feels like it was crammed in at the last moment.

I really would have also suggested converting the Perform skill to just two types: Perform (audible) and Perform (visual), rather than have it be so specific.

Scarab Sages

Zark wrote:

OK. Here it is.

Why nerf the bard? Am I talking about the rounds per day? no. I like the rounds per day. What I'm talkingt about is:
a) Inspire Courage don't stack with Inspire Greatness = Inspire Greatness useless.
b) lots of songs went poof. OK. I get it. Too many songs but why remove Song of Freedom
c) see invisiblity is a third level spell

Of all this stuff I really don't get "See invisiblity".
Just give me one answer and don't say "you can Houserule" cause our DM/GM won't.
So WHY? Why does the bard, who is all about enchantment, illusion and divination get see invisibility as a third level spell? WHY?
Is the bard too good or what?

I agree the bard feels nerfed and weak. The removal of the linger effect feels forced and really reduces bard contribution to a group. Song of greatness is now nothing more than 2d10 temp hit points for a single round. The new additions for the most part duplicate much lower level spells. There are also no feats that help out bards in their nerfed capacity.

The bard got hit with the nerf bat while being one of the weakest characters in the rules. Every other character simply brings more to a group than this bard. The level of thought and balance put into pathfinder's bard feels very minimalistic.

I am simply extremely disappointed with the Pathfinder Bard.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Well, the good news is that now I can implement my "bards get full BAB" houserule without re-breaking the game.

Not 100% sure if that will do it, though. Maybe if I also throw them a bonus feat here and there...


Yeah I am a little bothered by the NERF factor on a lot of things. I am beginning to wonder if they shouldnt have released the book as GAMMA test. I think they should have racheted things back up a little on a lot of things. They obviously got some stuff right but I have to say I find my self somewhat disappointed and scratching my head a lot.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

You may have heard this before, but I'm positive it will all look better in hindsight.

It's the stubborn little problems that jump out at us (because, after three rewrites of the game, we're just ticked off that they're still there). As you play the game, I think you'll come to appreciate the blanket improvements more and begrudge the poking springs less. There was a kind of "bed" visual analogy there, in my head, but I'm not sure I got it all the way out of it.

More importantly, they could have done a dozen "playtest versions" of the book, bankrupt their company, and there would still be tons of rants about this rule or that. You can't please everyone.


Darren Ehlers wrote:
Yeah I am a little bothered by the NERF factor on a lot of things. I am beginning to wonder if they shouldnt have released the book as GAMMA test. I think they should have racheted things back up a little on a lot of things. They obviously got some stuff right but I have to say I find my self somewhat disappointed and scratching my head a lot.

On the plus side, this opens up more revenue possibilities for Pathfinder v2.0 *sighs*

Towards the end of the Beta, it was apparent that there were still a LOT of decisions to be made and options to consider. I even suggested that they delay the release until the game is really ready... similar to Blizzard's philosophy (maker of Diablo and Warcraft). Usually it comes down to investors wishes and prior commitments though (such as booked press time).

The book is pretty much what I suspected given that... 95% refined and improved, and 5% which still needs some significant tinkering.

It is sad though, that the bard has had a legacy of being under-powered, and it seems that Paizo has, for their own amusement, decided to keep that legacy alive along with the Marvelous Pigments reference to a stick with bristles :)


Xuttah wrote:

FWIW I played my Beta bard 6 under the new rules and I didn't notice a decrease in power to between rounds/day from uses/day. I liked being able to cast spells while maintaining the effect, and barely used half of my rounds/day in a major encounter.

If we were doing a whole day's adventuring, I would probably have used them all up, but would quickly adjust to managing the resource differently (using it only when it counts, not all the time). First time I ever used countersong too! :)

Give it a shot and if you don't like the way it works, splice in the old durations.

I'm not talking about rounds/day.

I actually like that rounds per day mechanics.


Dennis da Ogre wrote:
Zark wrote:

OK. Here it is.

Why nerf the bard? Am I talking about the rounds per day? no. I like the rounds per day. What I'm talkingt about is:
a) Inspire Courage don't stack with Inspire Greatness = Inspire Greatness useless.
I'm not sure why this matters, bards can only have one performance effect active at a time in any case so whether they stack is meaningless. Am I misreading this somehow?

It doesn't matter. 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.

At level 9 the bard can start Inspire Courage as a move action and get
+2 to attack, damage and +2 bonus on saving throws against charm and fear effects and cast Cure Serious Wounds

At level 11 the bard can start Inspire Courage as a move action and get +2 to attack, damage and +2 bonus on saving throws against charm and fear effects and cast Cure Critical Wounds.

At level 13 the bard can start Inspire Courage as a swift action and get
+3 to attack, damage and +3 bonus on saving throws against charm and fear effects and cast Cure Light Wounds, Mass.

Why would the bard use Inspire Greatness? Inspire Greatness is not great.

But the two things that upset me most are:

a) See invisibility as a third level spell - Why?
b) why remove Song of Freedom? Bards had it in 3.x, in the Alpha and in the beta. Now it when poof. And I think Song of Freedom is so much a bard thing.

No song of freedom, I can live with it, but See invisibility as a 3 level spell? It's back to 3.x and getting a wand from a wizard or sorcerer.

Then we have the Versatile Performance. It's cool but you don't get a refund on all the skills you all ready have investeed in.

Scarab Sages

Kor - Orc Scrollkeeper wrote:
Darren Ehlers wrote:
Yeah I am a little bothered by the NERF factor on a lot of things. I am beginning to wonder if they shouldnt have released the book as GAMMA test. I think they should have racheted things back up a little on a lot of things. They obviously got some stuff right but I have to say I find my self somewhat disappointed and scratching my head a lot.

On the plus side, this opens up more revenue possibilities for Pathfinder v2.0 *sighs*

Towards the end of the Beta, it was apparent that there were still a LOT of decisions to be made and options to consider. I even suggested that they delay the release until the game is really ready... similar to Blizzard's philosophy (maker of Diablo and Warcraft). Usually it comes down to investors wishes and prior commitments though (such as booked press time).

The book is pretty much what I suspected given that... 95% refined and improved, and 5% which still needs some significant tinkering.

It is sad though, that the bard has had a legacy of being under-powered, and it seems that Paizo has, for their own amusement, decided to keep that legacy alive along with the Marvelous Pigments reference to a stick with bristles :)

In general, I am fairly happy with the book. I really like the changes to Rogues as well as removal of the stat Christmas tree for items for example. There was obviously alot of time and effort put into the Rogue class. I like Blizzard games for similiar reasons because they take the time to polish there games.

This was not the case with Bards thou. The write up feels forced, unimagative, and rushed out the door. I would have prefered that Paizo remove the bard from the book if this was going to be the result. The quality of the PF roleplay game is a sum of all of its parts. The quality of the Bard write up lowers that quality.

Dark Archive

Hmmm... I liked the Song of Freedom, so I'm a bit disappointed to see it go. And, I agree that 'See Invisibility' is so limited in its use that it should be 1st or 2nd level spell (giving it as an ability to bards, i.e. 'Song of Revelation' or something would have been fully appropriate).

I'm most disappointed that bards didn't get the ability to convert spell levels/performance rounds into sonic damage (e.g. 1D6 per round/spell level).

I can understand the 'backwards compatibility' argument, but that didn't apply to the paladin (which is now probably the "strongest" core class, IMO), so it feels a bit moot.

Maybe bard will get these (or other useful abilities) in PF RPG 2nd Edition, hey?


Pretty puzzled and disappointed with the rounds/day change here. :(

We'll see how it goes though.


Hydro wrote:
[...]More importantly, they could have done a dozen "playtest versions" of the book, bankrupt their company, and there would still be tons of rants about this rule or that. You can't please everyone.

This argument can be used to meet any complaint, right. So it's a pretty lame argument.

Let's imagine the final bard but without spells. Meet the complaints with:
- "they could have done a dozen "playtest versions" of the book, bankrupt their company, and there would still be tons of rants about this rule or that. You can't please everyone."
Look at the facts. The bard isn't one of the more powerful classes so why not give them some cream on top of their not so delicious cake?
The bard did loose some from the beta. I hade hoped for some improvements it got nerfed. I don't get why.

But am I happy with the book? Yes. Looking at it I say 98% is refined and improved, and 2% still needs some tinkering.


Asgetrion wrote:
Hmmm... I liked the Song of Freedom, so I'm a bit disappointed to see it go. And, I agree that 'See Invisibility' is so limited in its use that it should be 1st or 2nd level spell (giving it as an ability to bards, i.e. 'Song of Revelation' or something would have been fully appropriate).

Agree and Song of Revelation sounds cool. Or why not just give them see invisibility as a spell like ability.

Asgetrion wrote:


I'm most disappointed that bards didn't get the ability to convert spell levels/performance rounds into sonic damage (e.g. 1D6 per round/spell level).

I would have like that too. Perhaps something like 3 times per day.

Asgetrion wrote:


I can understand the 'backwards compatibility' argument, but that didn't apply to the paladin (which is now probably the "strongest" core class, IMO), so it feels a bit moot.

I don't understand the 'backwards compatibility' argument. They removed Song of Freedom. How's that for backwards compatibility? And they did a total rework on the bardic music. Hows that for backwards compatibility?

Asgetrion wrote:


Maybe bard will get these (or other useful abilities) in PF RPG 2nd Edition, hey?

Perhaps, but wouldn't it have been nice to have it now.

I agree with Alceste007. The write up feels forced and rushed out the door. I do like the rounds per day I just don't like the execution.
But still the rounds per day mechanics isn't something that upset me. It's the littel bits and pieces that indicate that the Bard was "forced and rushed out the door".

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Zark wrote:
Hydro wrote:
[...]More importantly, they could have done a dozen "playtest versions" of the book, bankrupt their company, and there would still be tons of rants about this rule or that. You can't please everyone.

This argument can be used to meet any complaint, right. So it's a pretty lame argument.

It can and should indeed be used to meet any complaint about the books. It's a very important thing to keep in mind here.

What it doesn't do is answer or counter said complaint. Nor was that my intent. I agree with everyone else that the final bard is poorly executed, and I wish more work had gone into it.

However, I do think "you can't please everyone" is very relevant here in particular. I dare say that if they had made some bold change there would have been almost as much of a negative outcry, if not moreso. Imagine if they had improved his BAB or HP for a swashbuckly bard, like I am ("OMG WHY DOES PAIZO HATE FIGHTERS?!?"), or given him 8th and 9th level spells ("MY CLERIC IS NOW USELESS"), or significantly improved his bardsong ("GREAT NOW EVERYONE NEEDS A BARD THEY'RE JUST LIKE 2E CLERICS THANKS A LOT"). Etcetera, etcetera.

The bard's evolution through 3.5, 3.P alpha, 3.P beta, and finally the Pathfinder RPG really looks like developmental paralysis to me. No one can agree on what he should be better at, so in the end he has gone basically unchanged.

Which, I agree, totally sucks.

Zark wrote:


But am I happy with the book? Yes. Looking at it I say 98% is refined and improved, and 2% still needs some tinkering.

So it looks like we're on the same wavelength here. :)

Sovereign Court

No one plays Bards anyway.

Shadow Lodge

Zark wrote:

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.

It also has +1 on Fort Save ...

My bard will be using it as he wont be doing Inspire Courage by visual components. He is orator / singing focused ... dancing/acting around doesn't work for him.

As far as people not playing bards ... you could have fooled me.

edit: Just realized Oratory is considered a visual oriented performance (used to Distracts as opposed to Countersong ... that seems counter intuitive).


Eltanin24 wrote:

No one plays Bards anyway.

Agreed! In my campaign, they are not even an available character class. The only place you should see a bard is onstage in the local tavern or theater.

Shadow Lodge

Wu Chi wrote:
Eltanin24 wrote:

No one plays Bards anyway.

Agreed! In my campaign, they are not even an available character class. The only place you should see a bard is onstage in the local tavern or theater.

They sure generate a lot of heat on the message boards for a class no one plays ...


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Gully13 wrote:
Wu Chi wrote:
Eltanin24 wrote:

No one plays Bards anyway.

Agreed! In my campaign, they are not even an available character class. The only place you should see a bard is onstage in the local tavern or theater.
They sure generate a lot of heat on the message boards for a class no one plays ...

Gully, including the above flame-bait, Eltainin's got 2 posts in the last 2 years. Just stop, drop, and roll. ;)

REMEMBER: Only YOU can prevent Forum Fires!

Dark Archive

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

For all the "Paizo's nerfed the Bard!" talk, I can't help but point out a new 6th level Bard spell in the Cheliax Companion: Dirge of the Victorious Knights. 120' line, 10' wide. d6/caster level, max 20. Half Cold, half "arcane power" and thus not subject to energy resistance or immunity. Full round casting time and they can't bypass force barriers or things that hedge out incorporeal creatures, but still... Pretty powerful for a Bard spell. Usually their damage spells are just sonic.

Shadow Lodge

Laithoron wrote:


REMEMBER: Only YOU can prevent Forum Fires!

Yeah, I almost included an aside about feeding trolls :) heh ...


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Zark wrote:
Then we have the Versatile Performance. It's cool but you don't get a refund on all the skills you all ready have investeed in.

That's a sticking point that I've been contemplating quite a bit since I read that ability. At first I thought, "Oh, that makes me feel better about sinking points into multiple perform skills."

This was quickly followed by thinking, "Hmm, but then I guess I'll want to hold off on putting points into any of my traditional bardic social skills until levels 2, 4, 6... er..."

It would be far too contrived to expect that such a character wouldn't develop a knack for diplomacy, bluffing, etc. until well into their career. However, I could see the further developing of different performance types helping to heighten existing abilities.

For this reason, I'm considering a houserule that allows ranks in the perform skill to stack with ranks in the social skill up to the character's bard level, with the final sum capped at their total hit dice.

Example 1: The character is a multiclass Ranger 5 / Bard 2. They have 3 ranks in Bluff, and 4 ranks in Sing. They would have a total of 5 ranks in Bluff.

Example 2: The character is a Bard 6. They have 4 ranks in Bluff, and 4 ranks in Sing. They would have a total of 6 ranks in Bluff.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber
Zark wrote:
Eric Tillemans wrote:

I don't know what to say either.

Now that bardic songs don't linger, why worry about stacking anyway since you can't have two bardic song effects at once?

"Starting a bardic performance is a standard action, but it can be maintained each round as a free action.is a standard action,

but it can be maintained each round as a free action."
At higher levels it's a swift action to start a bardic performance so you could have two songs going at the same time if it wasn't for the text:
A bard cannot have more than one bardic performance in effect at one time.

This could be done in 3.x. Nerf? Yes. I guess bards needed bad to be nerfed..Ironi!

OUCH! that's a HUGE nerf!!! this should be errated! (who cares if you have more than one at a time? you pay twice the cost for 2/round, thrice for 3/round, etc.)


Alceste007 wrote:


I agree the bard feels nerfed and weak. The removal of the linger effect feels forced and really reduces bard contribution to a group. Song of greatness is now nothing more than 2d10 temp hit points for a single round. The new additions for the most part duplicate much lower level spells. There are also no feats that help out bards in their nerfed capacity.

The bard got hit with the nerf bat while being one of the weakest characters in the rules. Every other character simply brings more to a group than this bard. The level of thought and balance put into pathfinder's bard feels very minimalistic.

I am simply extremely disappointed with the Pathfinder Bard.

Um if the bards song gives 2d10 temp HP's for a round, does that mean the HPs refresh next round? That um, doesn't seem weak to me.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
The Forgotten wrote:
Um if the bards song gives 2d10 temp HP's for a round, does that mean the HPs refresh next round? That um, doesn't seem weak to me.

When you start Inspire Greatness, you grant the recipient(s) two bonus Hit Dice. (That's where the temp HP come from.) The bonus HD last so long as the performance is maintained.

Mind you, I suppose you could re-start Inspire Greatness each round provided you don't mind using your move or swift action each round to do so...

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber

...but then you'd have to maintain two songs, which is illegal now... so yeah, you could refresh the 2d10, but not add to the previous one...

That one is ok IMO, but the one that's a little harder to swallow is not being able to countersong while you inspire courage...


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
...but then you'd have to maintain two songs, which is illegal now... so yeah, you could refresh the 2d10, but not add to the previous one...

I didn't say anything about maintaining the previous instance of Inspire Greatness (or its temp HP) — hence the word "re-start".

My comment about the 2 bonus HD lasting while the performance was maintained was to indicate that the temp HP do not "refresh" on their own — you'd have to do the restarting trick to do that.

Of course, the mental image of a Bard repeating the same line of a song over-and-over is kind of lame. It would probably be easier to simply run Inspire Greatness as providing a pool of 10 temp HP that refresh each round. (Which is kind-of bad-a$$ IMO.)


Laithoron wrote:


Of course, the mental image of a Bard repeating the same line of a song over-and-over is kind of lame. It would probably be easier to simply run Inspire Greatness as providing a pool of 10 temp HP that refresh each round. (Which is kind-of bad-a$$ IMO.)

Doesn't make much sense with a song, but I can see a repeating drum cadence.


Yeah, the bard is a little....I just don't see what happened. Between 3.5 and final PFRPG, every single class got better, cooler and/or more balanced BUT the bard. The bard, which did need a boost, got hosed. They got free ranks in skills they would realistically buy anyway (if a bard doesn't have social skills at level 1, there's a problem), and music got a nerf (the rounds mechanic isn't inherently bad...if the abilities were stronger.) I don't know what happened here, as there were some really cool suggestions made during the dilettante threads in the bard beta (I hate the idea of a performanceless bard, but some of the other suggestions, such as rogue talents or some shiny combat skills, were spot on).

What I will say is that, other than the bard, there's been some really great work done in this game(I reallly like the new paladin. Hell, I think the new fighter is ultimately decent). If your DM won't houserule, remind him that it is supposed to be backwards compatible, and find some feats or items to help you out in other supplements.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Velderan wrote:

The bard, which did need a boost, got hosed. They got free ranks in skills they would realistically buy anyway (if a bard doesn't have social skills at level 1, there's a problem)

[snip]
If your DM won't houserule, remind him that it is supposed to be backwards compatible, and find some feats or items to help you out in other supplements.

That aspect of versatile performance bugged me too, so I've decided to houserule it:

IMPROVED VERSATILE PERFORMANCE
The synergy of your past training and current versatility enhance your performances.
Prerequisites: Versatile Performance class ability, and at least one rank in each of your chosen performance types’ associated skills.
Benefit: When using your chosen Perform skill(s) to make skill checks in an associated skill, your effective ranks in the Perform skill are added to by the number of ranks in the associated skill. Additionally, any bonuses in the associated skill are applicable to the Perform check.
Normal: Ranks and bonuses in the associated skill have no bearing on the Perform check.
Restrictions: The total effective number of ranks used in the skill check cannot exceed your current hit dice. Ranks that would be in excess of your current hit dice are ignored. Bonuses in the associated skill overlap with bonuses of the same type in the Perform skill.

Spoiler:
For the sake of remaining as compatible as possible with "stock" PfRPG, I'm trying to keep most of my houserules in the form of feats. Whether I or another DM grants the feats for "free" or "charges" characters for them is their own business.

Sovereign Court

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

IMPROVED VERSATILE PERFORMANCE[/url]

The synergy of your past training and current versatility enhance your performances.
Prerequisites: Versatile Performance class ability, and at least one rank in each of your chosen performance types’ associated skills.
Benefit: When using your chosen Perform skill(s) to make skill checks in an associated skill, your effective ranks in the Perform skill are added to by the number of ranks in the associated skill. Additionally, any bonuses in the associated skill are applicable to the Perform check.
Normal: Ranks and bonuses in the associated skill have no bearing on the Perform check.
Restrictions: The total effective number of ranks used in the skill check cannot exceed your current hit dice. Ranks that would be in excess of your current hit dice are ignored. Bonuses in the associated skill overlap with bonuses of the same type in the Perform skill.

Love this... although I agree, it ought to work like this all the time, without a feat.


I guess we now know how to change harmonic spell: Harmonic Performance: blablabla use two bardic performances at once.

Scarab Sages

Velderan wrote:

Yeah, the bard is a little....I just don't see what happened. Between 3.5 and final PFRPG, every single class got better, cooler and/or more balanced BUT the bard. The bard, which did need a boost, got hosed. They got free ranks in skills they would realistically buy anyway (if a bard doesn't have social skills at level 1, there's a problem), and music got a nerf (the rounds mechanic isn't inherently bad...if the abilities were stronger.) I don't know what happened here, as there were some really cool suggestions made during the dilettante threads in the bard beta (I hate the idea of a performanceless bard, but some of the other suggestions, such as rogue talents or some shiny combat skills, were spot on).

What I will say is that, other than the bard, there's been some really great work done in this game(I reallly like the new paladin. Hell, I think the new fighter is ultimately decent). If your DM won't houserule, remind him that it is supposed to be backwards compatible, and find some feats or items to help you out in other supplements.

I just don't get this. How is the Bard *not* better than they were in 3.5? I hardly ever had a player use them back then, now I have a player doing one in Society games, another in a campaign. And they are *much MUCH* more useful.

I've heard the arguments again and again that their Bardic Music got a big nerf, and this just isn't true. We've been using the mechanic ever since we found out it changed in both high and low level games, and the Bard player always seems to have enough time for their Music. Not to mention that the extra flexibility of it being round based allows them to actually *use* the other bard abilities, instead of just Inspiring Courage all day long.

The Bardic Knowledge revision was amazing as well. It was always a pain to adjudicate exactly what it covered, and now it just is so much better. Half your level as a bonus to all Knowledges, make any untrained? Finally if an adventure calls on an obscure Knowledge check, if there is a Bard around it can at least be attempted.

Spells per day went up too, I seem to remember them not even getting 1st level spells until level 2, and even then it was only bonus spells.

Lastly, Versatile Performance. How is this *not* amazing? The Bard in question used one of his Traits and a Skill Focus to bump up a single Perform, one he put full ranks in, got his class bonus, high Charisma, etc. As soon as he hit level 2, he can now use it (String) as both his Bluff and Diplomacy modifier. +15 in all three! That effectively triples the usefulness of the Skill Focus, the trait, the ranks, etc.

All this 'the Bard got nerfed hard' talk just isn't right. The only plausible argument I've heard is how their Bardic Music can't be used as long (which only really matters if you're used to having a Bard that just never stops Inspiring Courage to do anything else). Everything else... I just don't get how it isn't better. Jack of All Trades, take 10 in any skill, take 20 in some things, more types of Bardic Performances.

They are *much* better in PRPG. Much. Much. Much.


WEll the bard I think has been the most broken of classes ever since first edition the old schoolers will know what Im talking about. It is maybe one of the most diffcult game designs. The bard by his nature is the Jack of all trades but master of none. So what direction do you take such a character without stepping on the toes of another clss or unbalancing the concept. Personally I think Paizo should not have taken anything away from the bard. Its not a very offensive class to start with, and he is mainly a buffer in combat. Great help for the wizards and clerics who can dont have to worry so much about buffing the fighters and Rogues. The bard truly shines outside of combat. He is the performer, negotiator, deceiver etc...More focus should have been given on these skills. My personal opinion


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


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Karui Kage wrote:
Lastly, Versatile Performance. How is this *not* amazing? The Bard in question used one of his Traits and a Skill Focus to bump up a single Perform, one he put full ranks in, got his class bonus, high Charisma, etc. As soon as he hit level 2, he can now use it (String) as both his Bluff and Diplomacy modifier. +15 in all three! That effectively triples the usefulness of the Skill Focus, the trait, the ranks, etc.

The problem we have with this ability is that any prior investment in the associated skills are lost. This isn't a big deal when it is gained for the first time at 2nd level, but by 6th... 10th levels and beyond, a competent bard should already have a substantial investment in many of the associated skills.

As far as your other points, I generally agree that the PfRPG Bard is an improvement over the 3.5 version. The rounds vs. uses mechanic doesn't bother me too much, but the loss of Song of Freedom seems uncalled for. (Even the conversion guidelines PDF advises against removing or delaying existing class abilities.)

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

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

This is probably why it was cut; because it wasn't that great anyway and keeping it as it was would have thrown a wrench in their "rounds per day" thing. Not that I agree, but just say'in.

Scarab Sages

Laithoron wrote:
Karui Kage wrote:
Lastly, Versatile Performance. How is this *not* amazing? The Bard in question used one of his Traits and a Skill Focus to bump up a single Perform, one he put full ranks in, got his class bonus, high Charisma, etc. As soon as he hit level 2, he can now use it (String) as both his Bluff and Diplomacy modifier. +15 in all three! That effectively triples the usefulness of the Skill Focus, the trait, the ranks, etc.

The problem we have with this ability is that any prior investment in the associated skills are lost. This isn't a big deal when it is gained for the first time at 2nd level, but by 6th... 10th levels and beyond, a competent bard should already have a substantial investment in many of the associated skills.

As far as your other points, I generally agree that the PfRPG Bard is an improvement over the 3.5 version. The rounds vs. uses mechanic doesn't bother me too much, but the loss of Song of Freedom seems uncalled for. (Even the conversion guidelines PDF advises against removing or delaying existing class abilities.)

I don't see it as a waste of ranks, it's just the cost of using that ability well before you get VP. You either spend them early on to be good at that ability until the VP, or you wait and save the skill points.

All in all, it's still a bonus, so long as they're short at least one rank in either of the skills. Not to mention the possibility of the Skill Focuses boosting it, the masterwork bonus from an instrument, other bonuses, etc.

By level 10, three Performs can be used for six other skills. I think that's incredible. When I first saw the Bard preview, my mind went to Versatile Performance first with the 'omghax'. It *is* a great ability, and I think a lot of people are discounting it's utility. Magic items that merely gave a bonus to Perform before now will apply it to the two other associated skills. A feat that applies to one skill now applies to three. Heck, on some, a high Charisma bonus from the Perform can be used in place of a low Dex bonus (like for Acrobatics).

I love the ability. :)

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Karui Kage wrote:
Laithoron wrote:
I don't see it as a waste of ranks, it's just the cost of using that ability well before you get VP. You either spend them early on to be good at that ability until the VP, or you wait and save the skill points.

This game-design flaw is called "pay now power later" (or vice-versa). Any mechanic that allows a character to suffer now (i.e. not have ranks in bluff) in order to benefit later is a poorly designed mechanics, without exception.

There are a number of reasons for this. I could talk about them if you would like.

In this case, it rewards bards for not investing in the things that bards should be good at (or punishes them for doing so; same thing), which is the opposite of what a good mechanic should do.

Scarab Sages

Hydro wrote:
Karui Kage wrote:
I don't see it as a waste of ranks, it's just the cost of using that ability well before you get VP. You either spend them early on to be good at that ability until the VP, or you wait and save the skill points.

This game-design flaw is called "pay now power later" (or vice-versa). Any mechanic that allows a character to suffer now (i.e. not have ranks in bluff) in order to benefit later is a poorly designed mechanics, without exception.

There are a number of reasons for this. I could talk about them if you would like.

In this case, it rewards bards for not investing in the things that bards should be good at (or punishes them for doing so; same thing), which is the opposite of what a good mechanic should do.

I think that's a 'glass is half empty' argument. It balances out.

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

If you invest some ranks in those skills, you won't get as big of an end reward, but it will make the getting there much easier.

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

Think of a game where you can spend money to buy a new gun. There's 10 different types of guns, and it's obvious one is the best, but it's extremely expensive. The others are good, better then what you have, in various increments up to that final gun.

What do you do? Do you spend most of the game just saving for that final weapon, or do you buy some weapons along the way, knowing it will be a waste of money in the end but will make getting to that final gun much easier?

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

I don't think it's a 'game design flaw' at all, and if it is then a lot of the games I play seem to have it. Doesn't make any of them less enjoyable.

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