Bard Advice


Advice


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So, I have finally gotten into a Jade Regent game that meets on Fridays. I am playing a bard that is a bit of a melee skirmisher. I read a bit of Treantmonk's guide then went my own way with it. Here is the level one build, not really including skills for the moment:

Spoiler:
Elard Elwynn, the male human bard (no archetype)

STR: 16
DEX: 13
CON: 12
INT: 12
WIS: 08
CHA: 16

HP 10
AC 17

Feats:
Dodge, Arcane Strike

Heavy wooden shield and studded leather armor

Spells: Message, Ghost Sound, Prestidigitation, Detect Magic, Silent Image, CLW

I designed him to be a skirmisher to help out the party's damage dealer. I surprisingly enough have the highest AC in the party, although we have a gnome syntheticist with a great deal of hit points. We also have a witch and a monk (martial artist) in the group. It's fairly rounded so far so I'm curious as to ideas for where to take my bard build come time for the third level feat and so on.

Liberty's Edge

Important notes:

1. You can't cast while using a heavy shield and a weapon, so I'd probably drop the shield down to light. Or ditch it altogether for a two-handed weapon.

2. I'd make sure somebody in the group has the Light spell. It doesn't need to be you, but that's an invaluable spell to have.

3. Personally, I'd advise something that forces a Save or something bad happens, like Grease or Sleep over Silent Image at this level, grabbing Silent Image a bit later. Still, I suppose either way works.

As for future stuff:

At third level grab Power Attack. At that point, you'll probably want to switch to a two-handed weapon (if you haven't already), so you might (or might not) want to consider what that'll be. A longspear has reach, which helps the skirmisher role a bit, and a longsword wielded two-handed isn't awful.

At 4th level, I'd raise Dex. +1 AC and Reflex save is nice. Up to you what you raise therafter, but I'd pick Strength, and whatever you pick stick with it.

Check with your GM if he'll let you reassign skill points when you get a new Versatile Performance. If he will, cool, if he won't plan ahead and don't waste skill points.

Silver Crusade

Deadmanwalking wrote:

1. You can't cast while using a heavy shield and a weapon, so I'd probably drop the shield down to light. Or ditch it altogether for a two-handed weapon.

That was actually my first thought, too. My bard and cleric characters have bucklers for this reason.


Deadmanwalking wrote:

Important notes:

3. Personally, I'd advise something that forces a Save or something bad happens, like Grease or Sleep over Silent Image at this level, grabbing Silent Image a bit later. Still, I suppose either way works.

+1

I don't play the most melee-heavy bard in the game, but grease is one of the best spells out there! Good for slipping, relieving baddies of their weapons and giving a buddy a hand out of a grapple, it's all good! I seriously have found this to be one of the best spells ever!

And yeah, lose the heavy shield.

Otherwise, looks pretty solid to me! Good luck and have fun!

Dark Archive

Bucklers are the Bard's best friend. Also make sure you are dropping levels in Performance Singing or Oratory. Two handed weapon, with a chance to drop a spell if you have to, and later your performance will be basically free to do. I love Bards.


Yeah I've actually got Perform Comedy which allows me to play him sarcastically against enemies

As for the heavy shield, while I did think about getting a buckler, I always felt that I'd be casting first and then switching over to melee if the casting is taken cared of. Admittedly, one less AC isn't a big deal at later levels.

Definitely getting Grease next level. I don't think that one is on the witch's list. I did take CLW for the wand activation for out of combat healing. Which I think we'll need a decent amount of :)

Silver Crusade

You don't have to know a spell to use a wand of it. As long as it's on the class's spell list, you can activate the wand. So as long as you're sure you'll be able to get ahold of wands of CLW in your campaign, you don't have to have it as a known spell.

Speaking of wands, that's one more reason to go with a buckler over a heavy shield.

Silver Crusade

I made the same type of build for PFSP. The first thing if your not going for Cha. Stay away from save DC spells. There are very good bard spells that are utility and buffing. At low level your saves will be good enough to work most of the time. As you level up that will not be the case.

The other thing you must have a free hand to cast spells. That means no items for one hand. Starting the fight with your weapon out, or shield in your off hand. Shield out and haven quick draw can help. Unless you go two handed fighting as suggested, or make a dex build and go for two weapon fighting. With inspire courage two weapon fighting is not a bad way to go because the extra damage is done for both weapons.

Remember as well with versatile performance you will need to take two performance skills to max out the effects of this class ability. Yes it means you don't start out as good at some skills but you end up better over all because of planing. My two top picks are (2nd level) oratory(Diplomacy/Sense Motive) (6th level) act(Bluff/Disguise).

I went with a dex build for two reasons. One inspire courage can make up for your lower str score for damage.

Spells that I have found go along way when playing a bard. Both from my home game and from PFSP.
1st
Saving Finale : Not a good starting spell. Past level 5 this spell is very good. Made even better with Lingering Performance.
Touch of Gracelessness : If you going to take a spell that needs a save DC. This should be the one you take if your going for a combat build. This spell has ended more fights in my favor then any other. Combine this with a spell storing weapon for a little extra evil.
Anticipate Peril : The look on the DM face. The first time I used this spell in PFSP was Pericles. Giving a initiative bonus equal to your level up to +5. Can make sure you go first. My total bonus +9 at level 3. Now level 4 +12. And with it a first level spell just start casting it on the other players until your out.
CLW : Is a very good spell to start with at lower level. Trading it out at level 4 is a good idea. At this time just change over to wands for healing.
Moment of Greatness : After getting heroism or good hope. This spell is very good to have in effect before the fighting starts. Level 7 or higher is where you will get the most out of this spell.
2nd
Blur : One of the best defensive spells ever.
Gallant Inspiration : This changes the out come after the result is known. What more could you ask for. (Level 4 Fighter rolls 18 to hit and miss. Bard immediate action +2D4 to the to hit roll and the fighter hits.)
Heroism : This is a very good spell but one you will trade out after you get good hope.
Invisibility : Just a good spell to have.
Tactical Acumen : This spell depends on the group make up. If you do have a combat heavy group this spell is great. As it centers on you and affects every one in a 30ft burst.
Bladed Dash : Almost forgot this one. I really like this spell for getting in to position.

My PFSP character.
Str 14
Dex 17 (All level points here)
Con 14
Int 12
Wis 7
Cha 14
Skill Point's Per Level : 6 + 1 Int +1 Human +1 Favord Class = Total 9
Yes I know it's lower hp but im not a main fighter. And the skill points are very useful for bards.
Feets :
Human: Weapon Finess
1st: Lingering Performance
3rd: Improved Initiative
Looking to take
5th: Quick Draw
7th: Two Weapon Fighting
9th: Improved Two Weapon Fighting
11th: Discordant Voice

Liberty's Edge

Odraude wrote:
As for the heavy shield, while I did think about getting a buckler, I always felt that I'd be casting first and then switching over to melee if the casting is taken cared of. Admittedly, one less AC isn't a big deal at later levels.

That's...perhaps not safe to assume. Planning for ideal situations isn't safe, always plan for really needing that spell in the middle of combat.

Odraude wrote:
Definitely getting Grease next level. I don't think that one is on the witch's list. I did take CLW for the wand activation for out of combat healing. Which I think we'll need a decent amount of :)

As others have stated, you bon't need to actually know the spell to use a Wand.

That said, having it will be a potential lifesaver at 1st level, and not a bad call even thereafter. By 5th level, it's not a bad emergency measure to keep a party member up and heals nearly double what a charge of the wand does.

calagnar is right long-term on spells with a Save DC, but not necessarily short term. Cha 16 is enough to give you decent DCs for now, and Grease, Glitterdust, and other 1st or 2nd level save involving spells aren't bad ideas at all...but by 7th level, when you get 3rd level spells, I'd be focusing more on buff spells (Good Hope and Haste are both that level, for example).


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Odraude wrote:
As for the heavy shield, while I did think about getting a buckler, I always felt that I'd be casting first and then switching over to melee if the casting is taken cared of. Admittedly, one less AC isn't a big deal at later levels.

That's...perhaps not safe to assume. Planning for ideal situations isn't safe, always plan for really needing that spell in the middle of combat.

Odraude wrote:
Definitely getting Grease next level. I don't think that one is on the witch's list. I did take CLW for the wand activation for out of combat healing. Which I think we'll need a decent amount of :)

As others have stated, you bon't need to actually know the spell to use a Wand.

That said, having it will be a potential lifesaver at 1st level, and not a bad call even thereafter. By 5th level, it's not a bad emergency measure to keep a party member up and heals nearly double what a charge of the wand does.

calagnar is right long-term on spells with a Save DC, but not necessarily short term. Cha 16 is enough to give you decent DCs for now, and Grease, Glitterdust, and other 1st or 2nd level save involving spells aren't bad ideas at all...but by 7th level, when you get 3rd level spells, I'd be focusing more on buff spells (Good Hope and Haste are both that level, for example).

Huh I hadn't seen Haste in the spell list. I'll check that again. I also haven't quite cracked open the bard spells in Ultimate Magic and Combat yet.

Liberty's Edge

Odraude wrote:


Huh I hadn't seen Haste in the spell list. I'll check that again. I also haven't quite cracked open the bard spells in Ultimate Magic and Combat yet.

Oh yeah, Bards absolutely have Haste. By 7th it's better if your Wizard (or whoever else has it) casts it instead of you, so your first round can be Bardic Performance (Move Action at 7th) + Good Hope (which is phenomenal), but if you don't have anyone else to cast it, it's probably a better first round buff than Good Hope.

And UM and UC have some decent Bard spells, but the basic stuff in the Corebook and (to a lesser extent) the APG is also really good.


Excellent, thanks. I have a better idea of what to get for spells.

As for feats, though, what do you think I should do? I thought about continuing down a skirmisher path, like Power Attack/Cleave. MAYBE Vital Strike...

Liberty's Edge

Odraude wrote:

Excellent, thanks. I have a better idea of what to get for spells.

As for feats, though, what do you think I should do? I thought about continuing down a skirmisher path, like Power Attack/Cleave. MAYBE Vital Strike...

Power Attack is wonderful. Cleave is pretty good.

Vital Strike isn't worth it, as it just adds what, 1d8 to damage? And can't be combined with Cleave, charging, Spring Attack, basically anything.

Speaking of which, Mobility followed by Spring Attack is another possibility that might fit what you're going for. Weapon Focus and Dazzling Display are also potentailly good, if heading in another diretion than the skirmisher route per se. Furious Focus is spectacular if you're using a two-handed weapon. Nimble Moves isn't a bad idea either, and Great Fortitude is nice for any Bard, ever.

In the direction of skill Feats (which you may or may not care about) at 10th level, a single Skill Focus can effectively give you +6 to two separate skills (by putting it in a Versatile Performance with 10 ranks)...which might (or might not) be worth it to you.

The Eldritch Heritage Feat lines are also available to you, and might be worth it for some Bloodlines (Abyssal and Orc eventually add a +6 inherent bonus to Strength, and Arcane lets you add Wizard/Sorcerer spells to your spells known, as well as giving you a Familiar or bonded item), if you wanted.


I thought you couldn't combine Cleave with Spring Attack either?

Liberty's Edge

Odraude wrote:
I thought you couldn't combine Cleave with Spring Attack either?

You can't, it's just worth it anyway. At least potentially. Getting both is...less than ideal, but either's alright on it's own...and Vital Strike combines with neither.

Silver Crusade

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Speaking of which, Mobility followed by Spring Attack is another possibility that might fit what you're going for. Weapon Focus and Dazzling Display are also potentailly good, if heading in another diretion than the skirmisher route per se. Furious Focus is spectacular if you're using a two-handed weapon. Nimble Moves isn't a bad idea either, and Great Fortitude is nice for any Bard, ever.

Or you can just cast bladed dash, and do the same thing. And use the 2 feet's for something else.

Liberty's Edge

calagnar wrote:
Or you can just cast bladed dash, and do the same thing. And use the 2 feet's for something else.

Assuming you are willing to burn a level 2 spell slot every time you do it, yes.

Bladed Dash is definitely a good and valid option, especially since it adds your Charisma to the attack, but it's hardly something you can do every turn like Spring Attack is. So it really depends on how often you want to use that particular tactic.


Interesting. Alright, definitely logging this down. I'll get a buckler though still a tad hesitant since I apparently have the highest AC (I think 15 is the next highest) so my skirmisher has to kind of fill the front liner role without dying. But, we are all pretty experienced players and work well tactically together.

I may deviate from the martial path a wee bit with Expanded Arcana and Lingering Performance. Spellsong looked very interesting. I can imagine the applications of that feat.

Liberty's Edge

Odraude wrote:
I may deviate from the martial path a wee bit with Expanded Arcana and Lingering Performance. Spellsong looked very interesting. I can imagine the applications of that feat.

Lingering Performance is worth it if you think you won't have enough rounds per day without it (something I'm doubtful of). Expanded Arcana is silly. You're a Human Bard, use your Human Favored Class option. It does the same thing every two levels, and is one of the best deals of the Favored Class options.

Silver Crusade

Lingering Performance is worth it. With the new spells out that are cast by ending your performance. You can cast them and still have two rounds of bonus going.
Saving Finale, Reviving Finale, Purging Finale, and Heroic Finale.


calagnar wrote:

Lingering Performance is worth it. With the new spells out that are cast by ending your performance. You can cast them and still have two rounds of bonus going.

Saving Finale, Reviving Finale, Purging Finale, and Heroic Finale.

I see, I didn't even know about the finales. I definitely need to crack open Ultimate Magic now.

Speaking of which, how are the masterpieces?

Silver Crusade

The Finales are in APG. Not sure about the Masterpieces not allowed in any game I'v played in.


Deadmanwalking wrote:

Oh yeah, Bards absolutely have Haste. By 7th it's better if your Wizard (or whoever else has it) casts it instead of you, so your first round can be Bardic Performance (Move Action at 7th) + Good Hope (which is phenomenal), but if you don't have anyone else to cast it, it's probably a better first round buff than Good Hope.

Oh yes, oh yes, a thousand times yes!

A bard was the first PF character I ever played, so admittedly I was pretty ignorant about what they could and could not do as well as the overall game rules. I thought for a long time that bardic performance precluded attacking! In spite of my noob-ness, by the time I was casting Haste and Good Hope and then inspiring courage, I was handing out more damage through buffing than if I was actually fighting! Of course *then* I learned that I could actually attack too! :P

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