How should this Bard participate in combat


Thinking of making a street performer. Focused on skills and performance. IE taking both heart of the streets or slums and the focused study which will be used on performance skills at 1st and 8th to maximize versatile performance

Probably have the following stats, bump a 4 to CHA and 8 to WIS

STR 10
DEX 14 (5)
CON 12 (2)
INT 14 (5)
WIS 11 (1)
CHA 15+2 (7)

Obviously not optimized at all. But the question becomes how to make myself useful in combat. Without the bonus human feat ranged seems difficult at best.

Other than the CHA and INT scores I am willing to move the attribute scores around, but not change the numbers.


Liberty's Edge

Ranged combat is still totally an option. You can shoot at people who aren't in melee yet, or use your spells when that isn't an option (Grease is a must) till you hit 3rd and can grab Precise Shot. It's a perfectly workable tactic, even with the stats you've got. Maybe not ideal, but solid.

Though, personally, I'd rearrange stats a bit to facilitate that. I mean, with Wis dumped you could get Dex to 16 and be really good at it, too. Maybe switching Str and Con as well (since HP aren't the biggest deal ever).

Also, Wis 7 is always hilarious to roleplay, and not too bad mechanically, for a Bard. Bad life choices being something most PCs make regardless of their listed score...and a Bard focusing on Sing or Oratory as their 2nd level Versatile Performance needn't worry about it's effects on Sense Motive, either.

Liberty's Edge

Take Weapon Focus and Dazzling Display to Intimidate opponents in battle. If a Rogue is commited enough to go down that line and get Shattering Defenses that opens up lots of Sneak Attack Opportunities.

Range is also an option, it will take awhile to get good at it though.

Int means you could take Combat Expertise and take the Trip line of Feats - then you could use a Whip which is a fun one to play...however, with low Str and Dex you may struggle to trip things even with the bnuses from the Feats.

I guess you could go down the Scimitar route and use Dancing Dervish Feat chain.

I am playing a bard character in a game currently at mid-levels. This character had a hard time figuring out what their role in combat was during the earlier levels, but since gaining access to 3rd level spells BUFFING has been most of what is on their agenda. So many buffs, so little time. I took leadership for a bard cohort, because I just don't have enough rounds to start all of the things I need to start!

I had Weapon Focus and Dazzling Display initially, but when Ultimate Combat was released, the spell Blistering Invective is a much, much, much better choice for a bard character. The breakdown between the two:

Blistering Invective - Standard action, works within 30 ft, make an intimidate check to demoralize, can also do fire damage, "costs" a 2nd level spell to take
Dazzling Display - Full-round action, works within 30 ft, make an intimidate check to demoralize, "costs" a feat to take, has a feat pre-requisite

I enjoy playing my bard as a combat buff character, though. My setup includes getting Inspire Competence, Haste, and Coordinated Effort up as quickly as possible, after which I work on casting Good Hope, Blistering Invective to debuff, and Jester's Jaunt with a metamagic reach wand as needed.

Also Saving Finale is the best 1st level bard spell ever. Ever. Especially if you take the Lingering Performance feat.

I guess how many spells you want to lay down on a single combat is going to depend on the pace of your game, but in my experience, my actions are better spent on casting spells than they would be doing anything else -- be that melee or ranged attack, trying to do combat manoeuvres, or whatever else you're thinking about.

When it comes down to it, what's going to do more damage: you make 1 attack, or everyone else in your party gets an extra attack on their turns? You make one attack, or everyone else in your party does extra damage with theirs? Do you want to make that one attack, or do you want to deprive your enemies attacks by confusing them, slowing them, Jester's Jaunt-ing your allies out of full attack range, or lowering your enemies ABs with demoralize?

You can make your attacks, or you can use your spells and class abilities to orchestrate the whole rest of the battle from the comfort of your mirror images.

Liberty's Edge

Only thing I disagree with is Blistering Invective, simply because it's a spell. It's true it is better being a standard (thus allowing you to start a song from lvl 7) but spells are very precious to the Bard because they are so good, while Intimidate is nice, I couldn't justify using a spell to do it.

One thing Anetra is absolutely right about though is that Saving Finale IS the best first lvl Bard spell EVER. So make sure you have that chosen as a spell known!

Hmm, with the focus you've revealed so far, perhaps grabbing Combat Expertise and then going for Disarm / Dirty Trick. Will you be the most effective? Probably not. But you could help out now and then. The main problem with this would be the necessity of Agile Maneuvers for dirty trick, as well as the fairly quickly scaling CMD of enemies. If you face a lot of human opponents, it won't be such a huge problem. You can probably figure out which enemies are 3/4ths BAB or less and focus on them. It's generally easy to figure out which guys are the big beefy ones and avoid them :)

Short of that, archery is also an option. You could use that shortbow proficiency to good effect. It'll be fairly feat intensive though.

If you swap around Dex and Str, you could try for a longsword / buckler fighting style. The buckler will help with some AC, and if necessary, you can swallow the -1 to hit and two-hand the longsword.

Or you could swap Dex and Str, and use a longspear to poke things from out of facesmash-range.

This free PDF has some feats that focus on Aid Another, if you want to go for more support. Yours truly wrote them, and they were actually written with your type of character in mind.

I already have 1 pfs bard w a dumped wisdom, so want to switch it up. The swapping of str and dex is possible. Going to check out that pdf, aid other is something I had thought of. The issue w dazzling display is that it is level 5 before I can get it, but maybe.

ty for the feedback so far!

If you have any feedback, let me know. I think it's quite noble to use up your limited resources just to help your allies out :)

You want to take the Street Performer archetype, so look at that archetype and what it gets. You're giving up Inspire Courage for Disappearing Act -- a mind-affecting effect with visual components that relies on a will save (10+ 1/2 level + charisma).

There's no reason to be a Street Performer and get this ability if you aren't going to use it, so you're going to want to be using it on enemies your allies are engaged with, and you're going to want it to work when you do it. Is the Ability Focus feat legal in Pathfinder Society? I have no idea, but if it is, you may want to consider Ability Focus in Disappearing Act.

However, Disappearing Act has two big pitfalls. Firstly, it's a mind-affecting effect, which means it won't work on any of the many things that are immune to those. You will need a back-up plan when you encounter undead and the like. Secondly, it makes enemies treat your ally as if they were invisible. Once you get to the levels where enemies can see invisibility, Disappearing Act is going to STOP BEING USEFUL. Which sucks, because it's replacing the greatest thing ever.

I will look through it and let you know cheap, via pm

As to the character I am leaning toward taking the weapon focus and dazzling display at 3 and 5

fighting w a longspear and using aid another when necessary

i don't see any pfs legal feats for aid

maybe skill focus intimidate for my other first feat

OH, this is for PFS? Nevermind about the PDF then.

cheapy i figured that out, but i do play some home games so I will still look at it and give you feedback

Remember, the Whip gives you reach,which in turn can grant you attacks of opportunity (reason enough to take Combat Reflexes) which in my opion is usually best used on trip attempts, +2 with whips remember, and if you are not within their threat range then even if you don't have improved trip you will not provoke.

You can do all this even if you spend all your actions on buffing.

Unfortunately, whips don't threaten out-of-the-box, so you'd need another 2 feats to threaten. Even then, you only threaten out to natural reach (usually 5') + 5'.

Cheapy wrote:
maybe skill focus intimidate for my other first feat

With Versatile Performance, you can use a Perform check instead of Intimidate. So i would suggest taking Skill Focus on that particular Perform instead.

Cheapy wrote:
Unfortunately, whips don't threaten out-of-the-box, so you'd need another 2 feats to threaten. Even then, you only threaten out to natural reach (usually 5') + 5'.

Oops, just re-read the Whip description. My bad.


Plan is to take Oratory first (with the other skill focus in that one, then Dance at level 6, and probably percussion at 10

so it wouldn't be until then that the perform would matter.

The problem with the Dazzling Display tree is that it's only really worthwhile to go as far as Dazzling Display with a bard character. Because you have 3/4 BAB, it's much more difficult for you to benefit from the other feats in the tree, which all rely on getting hits in combat. Bards get buffs, but you don't want to spend every combat buffing yourself for 3 rounds before you get started; if you do, you'll find that as soon as your buffs are up, the combat is over.

This character is starting to look somewhat feat-starved if you're going for Dazzling Display. What is it that appeals to you about the Street Performer bard? What about the bard interests you? You're posting asking what your bard can do in combat, what is it that you want to do in combat? Why bard?

If you want to go down the Dazzling Display tree and be a melee combatant, have you considered multiclassing into fighter to bump up your BAB and pick up a few feats? If that idea is unappealing to you, why? What is it that you don't want to lose from Bard?

I plan to stop at Dazzling display, rest of the tree is silly for me

The idea is to play a true performer, that is all. He is not a fighter, and will not be a fighter (i.e. true combatant, not the class). He is someone that got himself into trouble on the streets, scammed the wrong person

Hence the skill focuses that will go mostly into perform skills, and perhaps intimidate.

Dazzling display seems like something that could fit that concept. He uses Dazzling display to act like he can fight.

So the answer to your questions is really not what do I not want to lose, but how do I find a way to make this kind of character effective in some way. See what I mean? And until I can do that and will use aid another with a long spear

played him tonight.

Used up everything!

I went with Skill focus Oratory, and Harrowed (I know not a great feat, but i like the +1 save and love the randomness of the card a day)

I made him an almost pacifist. He doesn't like to do damage cause he doesn't want to get blood on himself.

His mode in combat was to make his party members invisible with his BP (disappearing act) so they could get to hit bonuses. This worked alright but the judge was killing the saves.

Used both his spells to talk our way through another encounter.

Then he used his whip to aid another. Eventually he will have dazzling display so he can talk a big game but do nothing about it.

I'm not sure dazzling display is ever worth it. You can't move and use it, which means you need a target within 30' at the start of your turn. Two actually, since you can single target demoralize out of the box.

I think you'll find that you just never wind up in a position where dazzling display would be useful. At low levels you won't have it. At higher levels you have dirge of doom if you need to hit everyone, and unlike real bards you have no performances that really compete with it. In between you can have blistering invective, which lets you move into position before intimidating and has a burn effect as a rider.

HEY!!! Careful with that real Bard stuff!!!!

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Advice / How should this Bard participate in combat All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.