Is a tripping Bard feasible?


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@Pirate Robot Ninja: You sound like I should simply be casting spells constantly, because I won't run out anyway? Because that would mean that my plans to take Dazzling Display are also unnecessary. I really like the idea of being able to intimidate everybody without using up daily resources (though Dazzling Display does it through weapon prowess, which may not be entirely appropriate for my politician), but if I'm never going to run out of spells anyway, I guess I don't really need a non-magical debuff.

If I also skip the trip tree, that means I can focus on Leadership, item creation (it seems everything needs to be imported, so being able to make your own stuff sounds useful), and whatever else strikes my fancy. Ignore the big combat-related feat trees.

Somehow that prospect does sound attractive.


Wasum wrote:

I think everyone knows by now that bards can trip some stuff at low levels. But please do not claim roleplaying and out-of-combat stuff make up for in fight viability because those two are not connected in any way ...

You missed my point entirely. A Kingmaker bard is never going to be a one-trick pony, because the encounters are so short that their host of resources go way further. You can cast spells, start your performance, throw alchemist fire and tanglefoot bags, fire your crossbow, or (if you take the feats) trip with a whip. And remember, the AP only goes up to around level 15-17.

mcv wrote:

@Pirate Robot Ninja: You sound like I should simply be casting spells constantly, because I won't run out anyway? Because that would mean that my plans to take Dazzling Display are also unnecessary. I really like the idea of being able to intimidate everybody without using up daily resources (though Dazzling Display does it through weapon prowess, which may not be entirely appropriate for my politician), but if I'm never going to run out of spells anyway, I guess I don't really need a non-magical debuff.

If I also skip the trip tree, that means I can focus on Leadership, item creation (it seems everything needs to be imported, so being able to make your own stuff sounds useful), and whatever else strikes my fancy. Ignore the big combat-related feat trees.

Somehow that prospect does sound attractive.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to go the Dazzling Display route because I chose a halfling, so I suffer a size penalty on intimidate checks. I don't really regret it because I loved my character concept, but it definitely hamstrung me in combat. That said, dazzling display is a pretty cool debuff. Note, though, that an Order of the Cockatrice cavalier gets it for free at second level, can use it as a standard action (instead of a full-round), and doesn't even need a weapon in-hand for it.

The Herald Squire archetype would also fit in well with a multiclassed Cavalier-Bard. Roll twice for the first diplomacy check to influence attitude? With no daily use limits? Yes please! At level two they gain fast movement (+10 speed in medium armour or less), and at level 3 they gain three uses of tongues per day. You lose your second level order power though (Dazzling Display in this case).

For item creation, yeah everything needs to be imported early on, but once your realm is developed enough you can get pretty much everything in your home town. Plus "importing" is a fluid concept, since you have obscene amounts of down time in between encounters. You can literally go six months without fighting anything in Kingmaker, if you want to.

The problem with bards though is that they're super MAD. You need high CHA to keep your DCs up (plus they help your most important skills). You'll also need INT for skill ranks (and those all-important knowledge skills). Plus you rely on DEX for your armour, since you're a light-armour class. That really doesn't leave much for anything else. Weapon Finesse should be your first level feat no matter what, and combined with an agile weapon you'll do alright in combat. It also helps with your whip.

So Weapon Finesse (lvl 1) and Weapon Focus-Whip (Human). With a decent DEX score you'll have some decent trip chances in there, plus you can use your rapier if you want to get closer. From there you can take Dazzling Display, Whip Mastery > Improved Whip Mastery so that you don't threaten (and can do all sorts of cool s~&+ with your whip). Leadership at level 7 if your DM allows you to take it.

Or take some levels of cavalier, as I mentioned before, and get that Dazzling Display for free. It'll hurt your spellcasting and skills, but help your BAB.

TL;DR My point here isn't to convince you that tripping is the be-all-and-end-all of Kingmaker bards. It's just a cool option that gives you something really helpful to contribute.

There are times where I'm fighting creatures I can't trip where I get frustrated that I can't do much, but those are the times where I just rely on all the cool stuff I put into my handy haversack. When you're not burning all your cash on +2 plate you'd be surprised what you can afford.

That said, I did personally replace my tripping bard with a cavalier (who were practically made for Kingmaker). Though we're missing all of my bard's great buffs and utility spells, it is fun to be the one doling out all the damage in combat.


My Dex is only 12, while my Strength is 14. I don't think I need Weapon Finesse. Yes, my AC of 16 isn't spectacular, but I don't intend to spend much time on the front lines if I can help it. (Maybe I just need a reach weapon?)

And as a Bard, I can't take Weapon Focus on level 1. I wanted to, but I have to wait until my BAB is at least +1, which means it's going to be my level 3 feat at the earliest.

Multiclassing? While Cavalier sounds appropriate for someone with aspirations of nobility, 2 levels in a melee class is a lot. It postpones lots of interesting support spells for two levels. I don't know if that's worth it for getting an improved Dazzling Display early, attractive though that sounds..

Sounds like we're missing out by not having a Cavalier in our group, though. I thought Ranger was the biggest thing we were missing, but maybe it's Cavalier. Maybe I'll get a Cavalier as Leadership cohort.

I think I'll just stick to all sorts of support and other spells, maybe item creation, possibly dazzling display, and only do the occasional trip when the situation calls for it. Possibly assisted by True Strike.


yes, especially in kingmaker you do not need trips - because you HAVE enough spells to have something to do all the time


Are you using point buy? If you dropped STR to 10 and pumped the rest into DEX your AC would increase, and you could use weapon finesse and agile weapons to get some more oomph out of your melee attacks. Weapon Finesse also works on trip attacks with a whip.

Also remember that in Kingmaker, the role bonuses for your government positions all key off your ability modifiers. You're better off jacking up a small number of attributes than spreading them across a bunch of them. Also with character deaths and NPC assassinations you're likely to have to jump into a few different roles over your career to prevent vacancies. WIS is the most useful attribute for council positions, with CHA probably being the second. STR is important for a bunch of positions, but since there are so many classes who max strength you rarely need to worry about it.

But yea, item creation might be a better way to go. Though honestly, that's one of those things people like using their Leadership cohort for.

Really though, just do whatever you like. Kingmaker isn't built for an optimized party, and you'll likely be steam-rolling the encounters anyways. Early on you'll spend most of the time wandering around the wilderness making survival and perception checks, with a few random fights here and there. Later on you'll spend most of your time fighting fires in your city, with maybe one combat encounter a session. Or, at least that's how our game's ended up so far.

Knowledge (nature) and knowledge (religion) come in handy a lot in Kingmaker. As does survival. Extremely Fashionable is also a pretty good trait, if you're allowed it. +1 to all your face skills, and all you have to do is wear 150 gp worth of clean clothes. At high levels that's pretty trivial, especially since you probably won't be the one getting dirty very often.


I played a spiked chain wielding trip specialist fighter up to level 9 as I recall.

At lower levels he was fun. As we got to higher levels, starting around level 6 or 7, the monsters became much, much harder to trip. Between fighting lots of four (and more) legged creatures, large or huge creatures and eventually flying creatures, it became a fairly rare encounter where his tripping even worked anymore.

Now, the GM may well have skewed the encounters that way since early on his tripping was pretty friggin' awesome, but I dunno, it seemed that most of the monsters we fought came right out of the module he was running.


Play has already started, and we've played about 3 sessions, so it's too late to move my stats around. I went for Strength 14 partially because Treantmonk recommended it for controller bards, and partially because I figured it would make my limited melee contributions as easy and investment-free as possible. (Until I started looking at trip, that is.)

Of the role bonuses for government positions in Kingmaker (fortunately clearly laid out in the players guide), the vast majority requires Charisma, which I have maxed out. My impression was that you need only one of the two listed stats. (Incidentally, our paladin and rogue also have insanely high charisma, and the rogue seems crippled because of it.)

The only positions that don't have Charisma listed are Marshal, Royal Assassin, Spy Master, Treasurer and Warden. Admittedly Spy Master and Treasurer would sound attractive to my PC, but most likely he'll be aiming for Councilor, Grand Diplomat, or, of course, Ruler. Even Magister is an option. Cha works for 6 positions, whereas Wis is only for 4 positions. Is there anything in particular that makes Wisdom better than its frequency on that list suggests?

I've heard cohorts as item creators idea before, but if Kingmaker has such a large time scale, I think I'll have plenty of time to create stuff myself. And I was just leaning towards a Cavalier as cohort. But I've got plenty of time for that decision.

As for steamrolling the encounters, last session we were perilously close to having some deaths. Camping in the woods, our watch didn't notice wolves approach, and the surprise round started with one of them nibbling on the halfling's toes. Everybody suffered attacks of opportunity getting out of their beds, and I think my use of Grease saved at least two lives there. (But maybe it's because our party is properly unoptimized.)

Extremely Fashionable sounds nice. Where's it from? Too late to take it now, though (unless people start complaining about me having Reactionary in two different campaigns).


mcv wrote:

Play has already started, and we've played about 3 sessions, so it's too late to move my stats around. I went for Strength 14 partially because Treantmonk recommended it for controller bards, and partially because I figured it would make my limited melee contributions as easy and investment-free as possible. (Until I started looking at trip, that is.)

Of the role bonuses for government positions in Kingmaker (fortunately clearly laid out in the players guide), the vast majority requires Charisma, which I have maxed out. My impression was that you need only one of the two listed stats. (Incidentally, our paladin and rogue also have insanely high charisma, and the rogue seems crippled because of it.)

The only positions that don't have Charisma listed are Marshal, Royal Assassin, Spy Master, Treasurer and Warden. Admittedly Spy Master and Treasurer would sound attractive to my PC, but most likely he'll be aiming for Councilor, Grand Diplomat, or, of course, Ruler. Even Magister is an option. Cha works for 6 positions, whereas Wis is only for 4 positions. Is there anything in particular that makes Wisdom better than its frequency on that list suggests?

I've heard cohorts as item creators idea before, but if Kingmaker has such a large time scale, I think I'll have plenty of time to create stuff myself. And I was just leaning towards a Cavalier as cohort. But I've got plenty of time for that decision.

As for steamrolling the encounters, last session we were perilously close to having some deaths. Camping in the woods, our watch didn't notice wolves approach, and the surprise round started with one of them nibbling on the halfling's toes. Everybody suffered attacks of opportunity getting out of their beds, and I think my use of Grease saved at least two lives there. (But maybe it's because our party is properly unoptimized.)

Extremely Fashionable sounds nice. Where's it from? Too late to take it now, though (unless people start complaining about me having Reactionary in two different campaigns).

It's an equipment feat, found here. For starting level 1 characters it's a little tough to squeeze in 150 gp of clothing and jewelry, but at level 5 it's trivial.

As for kingdom roles, it's actually a little more complicated than that. Your atheist scholar probably won't be able to become the High Priest just because her CHA is high, and your rogue can't be the Magister if he can't cast spells.

More importantly, though, not all roles are created equal. Lose your Magister and you're down 4+their modifier economy. Lose your Councilor and you're down 2 loyalty, you lose benefits from festivals (but they're per-year, so you're still paying for them!), and unrest increases by 1 every turn (so -1 to stats across the board). Depending on how many PCs you have, you probably also have 6 unfilled roles that you'll need to recruit NPCs for. Most of the NPCs are only suitable for certain roles, and they bunch up around certain roles. There are tonnes of good generals, but very few good magisters. Depending on how your DM roleplays them, there might also be none willing to take on certain roles.

That's why I say it's good to concentrate on a couple attributes. High DEX and CHA and you can take on all those charisma roles plus Spymaster, Assassin, and Marshall. It doesn't seem important in the early game, but later game if you lose a couple characters or NPCs you're suddenly short council members, and eating some serious penalties when you can least afford to. That's why I say WIS is the best attribute, because high WIS characters can fill all sorts of slots from Councillor to High Priest to Marshall, all important roles that you take big penalties for not having filled.

Then again, that's just been our experience. Kingmaker is going to be unrecognizable from one campaign to another. Depending on how you interact with the NPCs you might not have the same problem. We...sorta killed a lot of people. And didn't get along with others. It was unfortunate.

Sounds like you're having fun with your character, and that's all that really matters. Once he stops being fun it's really easy to add new characters in kingmaker anyways. Many DMs even let you have 2 or 3 when you get into the serious kingdombuilding phase. We all have 2 right now (though some of them are 6 feet underground right now).


My bard has already tried to recruit our enemies (some bandits) into our service (unsuccessfully so far). If talented NPCs need to be recruited, he's definitely your man.

Your point about some roles being more important than others is a good one. None of this is explained in the Player's Guide, though, and I'm not sure if I'm supposed to know that stuff already.

In any case, my bard only has his Cha ridiculously high. The sickly, weak halfling rogue, however, has both Cha and Dex insanely high. If he survives long enough, he might be able to fill in some of those roles. I have no idea what our archery cleric's Wisdom is like. Should be high of course, and him being an archer, he probably has high Dex too. I think we've got Dex covered reasonably well.


Have you considered playing a whip-wielding Magus? As a Magus, you could cast True Strike and make a trip attempt in a single round. The +20 bonus provided by True Strike would make your trip attempt an auto-success, and your whip would let you deliver touch spells from a safe distance.


He was asking whether to use a whip with his bard or not and you suggest to play a whip-magus instead even though he seems to be fine with his bard and was just looking fo an advice?:P I honestly do not think he considers of changing his class at all:P


I'm surprised nobody has mentioned this, but Eldritch Heritage sounds like an excellent choice for your bard. For the low cost of only two feats (skill focus & eldritch heritage) you can get a 3+CHA times per day ranged trip attack. Deep Earth allows for a 30' ranged trip with no chance of them tripping you, while Verdant allows a 15' ranged trip that can also be used to disarm or steal. Both use your character level + CHA - 2 for your CMB, which functions as medium BAB for half of your career.

It's only a few times per day, but really, how many do you need? Plus it keeps you from having to take Agile Maneuvers, and you can avoid the combat expertise/improved trip if you didn't want to spend 13 on INT (I usually cap at 10 or 12 on a bard). The best thing is that there's a lot of benefit to sticking with a strong charisma on a bard. You'll have better luck with your offensive casting, definitely.


Although mechanically different, the Bard and the Magus share a similar ''theme'': both can play the role of a warrior-spellcaster. Since a tripping Bard is not really viable, the OP could ask is GM if he can change the class of his character (if he really, really wants to play an effective tripper). If this is not a possibility, at least the OP will know that Magi make great trippers for his next campaing.


He's playing a bard in kingmaker and you're telling him a magus is about the same - just better?:P

No, it was just about wether trip is worth the feat investment - not about he wanting to play a trip focused build.

Honestly I wouldnt play a Magus as tripper anyway. He makes an ok tripper, but he shines doing other stuff, so yea, magus tripper is meeh.

edit: and honestly the only thing both share is BAB and spell progression. The roles, the style, the fluff, the feeling and - as you said - the mechanics are not even similar.


I never said that a magus and a bard are about the same, nor did I say that a magus is ''better'' than a bard, I only said that they were better at tripping, since they are. Also, unlike you, I believe that both classes can fill a similar role, although neither of them are forced into such a role. You can play a Magus as a team player (which most Bards are) by memorizing party-buff spells like haste and such. Thanks to their high Int score, Magus can also fill the role of a lore master (by investing skill point into the various knowledge skills), although they will never be as good as a Bard in that field. Like you said, a tripping Magus is not an optimal build, but neither is a tripping bard, which doesn't mean that the OP shouldn't play one if that's what really he wants to do. I was only presenting an alternative to the OP: a rather radical alternative, I admit, but still, only an alternative that can be easily ignored if switching his character class is out of question. :)


The Deep Earth/Verdant Eldritch Heritage thing is cool, albeit you will never be able to use them on AoOs, unlike Whip with Whip Master (which obviously requires further investment beyond basic Whip proficiency and Improved Trip). If you don't need the AoOs (eventually), they seem like a good bet unless you already had your eye on a DIFFERENT Eldritch Heritage Bloodline.


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There basically aren't enough feats to do a Treeantmonk controller.

Lingering Performance you can live without in Kingmaker because you won't encounter any serious dungeons until you've leveled up enough to have the rounds/day to last multiple fights without it, but if you're using finales a lot it keeps the performance up. Discordant Voice is big. It's worth a +1 enhancement bonus to every weapon in the party. That's going to be worth more than the whole trip chain.


mcv wrote:

@Belefauntes: I'm not really looking to be Jack the Tripper. If anything, I'd prefer to be Jack the Battlefield Controller. Trip would merely be one tool of many. But if it's that feat intensive, it's not going to be worth it.

I do suddenly really want to play a Bard Archaeologist for some reason. Next campaign, I guess.

For this campaign, I don't need to be super optimized, but I don't want to suck either. Many other players are already of the opinion that Bards suck, and I'd like to prove them wrong. (I already saved their asses once with a well-placed Grease.) And I'm a bit afraid that with my handful of spells, after activating Inspire Courage, I won't have much to do except stab stuff with my longsword. I was hoping tripping would provide me with another option, but that option sounds too cumbersome to work. Maybe using a net might be more effective? Touch attacks are often easy.

I also have my doubts about the effectiveness of some of the other characters, though. The halfling rogue may be a crack shot with his bow, but his Str and Con of 7 make him very vulnerable in my opinion (the rest of his points are in Cha; we're playing Kingmaker, and I'm clearly not the only player who expects Charisma to be important). The Aasimar Paladin with Str 15 and Cha 20 seems more eager to tread on my turf than to fight effectively. (So far he's gone unconscious almost every fight.) The two-handed fighter and the ranged Travel cleric seem quite effective, though.

I have a Halfling archeologist and I would highly suggest rather than going the tripping route, you go the Dirty Trick route instead... it has a lot more utility, affects a wider array of foes and doesn't even require a weapon.

A high UMD and attack wands aren't a bad way to go either.


It depends. Is your GM running an adventure that builds off of the player's abilities, or is it a preconstructed story/module? If the latter, your GM probably has a set list of encounters and things the party will face, so it's best to go with what's statistically going to be the most useful.

If you GM is making his own adventure and building it as you go, I'm sure he's going to throw enemies at you guys that let you make use of your abilities. Of all the combat maneuvers though, tripping is probably one of the harder ones to consistently make use of.


We're playing Kingmaker, a sandbox/hexcrawl adventure path (at least at the start). Apparently that means we rarely have more than a single fight per day, so I can just burn through my spells.

I'm definitely not looking for a different class, or even an effective tripper. I'm looking for an effective Bard, and was wondering how much investment tripping is worth. The answer is clearly: not much. Maybe I'll do it occasionally with True Strike. I'll hang on to the whip for now and maybe experiment a bit, but I won't do big investments in it.

Discordant Voice is on my list of things to look at (I look forward to leading a whole pile of low level soldiers and boosting them with everything I've got; looks like I could turn them into a terrifying army).

I'll also look at Eldritch Heritage.


What was the rest of your party looking like again? Do other people have combat reflexes and stuff? If they're into some AoO shenanigans then maybe getting to Greater Trip is worthwhile? Even if it's not useful all the time, on the rare chance you do get a trip off the rest of the party would nuke the guy with a deluge of opportunity attacks.

I will reiterate that something your bard should DEFINITELY invest in is a handy haversack packed with utility items. Wands of CLW, bags full of crushed glass, smokebombs, alchemist fire, +1 nets of ghost-touch, bags full of flour for tagging invisible creatures, flaming/acid bolts for preventing regeneration, tanglefoot bags, etc. Your teammates pretty much have to use their standards to lay on the hurt, but you're free to use yours wherever they'll be most helpful.


I don't know if they have combat reflexes. What we've got is:

A Paladin with maxed out Charisma
An archery Rogue with maxed out Dex and Charisma
An archery Cleric with the Traveling domain
A Fighter with high Strength and a two-handed weapon

In a different group, with a different campaign (Council of Thieves) where I play a Wizard, the Rogue's player is playing a Polearm Master Fighter with tons of AoOs, but that's of no use to my Bard.

I could ask if the Paladin and the Fighter are planning on maximizing their AoOs, but I doubt it. I think the fighter is focusing on damage, while the paladin is focusing on other stuff than simple melee (his Strength is 15, I believe).

I do like the idea of throwing lots of weird stuff around. The only problem with that is that my Wizard in the other campaign is also kinda doing that already. I don't want these characters to become too similar.


You're probably going to be tied up using magic to try to get the rogue sneak attacks because archery is widely considered the worst rogue build, and with the recent monk fixes rogue is once more in the running for worst PC class.

And it's Kingmaker so you won't be running out of spells for a while. There are some dungeons in later books, but by the time you might want something to do that isn't casting a spell tripping will be obsolete. Expect to spend a lot of rounds casting vanish on the rogue.

With that many people making weapon attacks you can do nothing beyond inspire courage and be worth a slot in the party for combat purposes. (Level 5 inspire courage is, by comparison to monster templates, probably worth about +1 CR or APL for a combat class, which is the same a fifth character is nominally worth.)

Where you go depends on what your existing feats are. If you've sunk into

mcv wrote:
@Atarlost: Dazzling Display's range is 30 feet, though. That's 6 squares. If you're in combat at all, chances are quite a number of enemies are within range. Particularly all the enemies that are in melee with your allies (who definitely want to stay within 30 feet of the Bard.

I played a similar bard through the first three books of kingmaker. I was a half orc and my first feat was skill focus: intimidate. I decided to skip dazzling display after never once winding up in a situation to use it by the time I qualified for it. I never regretted skipping it. There are a lot of single opponents and dispersed opponents and not a lot of opponents that are in convenient groups. 6 squares isn't as far when you're playing on the battle mat as it is when you're theorycrafting.

There is no range limit on inspire courage. Technically your allies should be making perception checks to hear you, but while the DC is unspecified it must be easier than hearing the details of a conversation, which is 5 + distance at worst (0 + terrible conditions). I would guess a -5 base DC, intermediate between hearing a battle and the details of a conversation, and by the examples battle may constitute merely unfavorable rather than terrible circumstances for a -3 + distance DC, or a 40' range to make the perception check on a 1 with 7 wisdom and no skill ranks.


Ironically the Rogue's player is one of the people who keeps insisting that Bards suck. He's one of the people I want to prove wrong. At the same time, I fear for the survivability of his PC: his Con is 7.

My current feats are Skill Focus: Perform (Oratory) which I got through the Focused Study alternate racial trait (it's going to give me two more Skill Focuses at later levels), and Lingering Performance. I kinda regret that last one. Originally I'd taken Weapon Focus so I could get Dazzling Display at level 3, but that turned out to be illegal (you need +1 BAB for Weapon Focus), so I replaced it with what seemed to be the obvious choice: Lingering Performance. Now I'm wondering if maybe I should have gone for Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Net instead.

Are all opponents using ranged weapons? We fought some bandits with bows, but even they had groups close enough together for Dazzling Display. And when wolves attacked us, well, they had to get close. Bites don't have much range.

I suppose this also depends on GM and group style. If the GM lets opponents flee and the players want to pursue, then Dazzling Display gets pretty useless.

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