3rd level Bard with ridiculously high stat


Advice


Hello guys, I'm going to start a new campaign in a couple of days and I'm starting to think about my new character. Me and the GM were speaking about the features on the campaign when we decided to let me roll the stats in front of him, so that I could be able to arrive at the first session with my character sheet ready. Here are my stats:

17, 16, 16, 16, 14, 13

Of course they are really really great stats, and this troubles me a little bit because we'll probably run a round-robin campaign in which me an the current GM switch roles letting both me and him be players for a while. For this reason I don't want to play a character which is too optimized and therefore too strong w.r.to the other players who could misunderstand the strength of my character.

So I decided to play a Bard, so that the rest of the party could love me XD

Now, my first thought was to make an Archaeologist and a luck-based character, but then came out that one of the other players will make a rogue, so we could cover the same role and this is not too good. So I will play a vanilla Bard, but I need some advices:

1) I would like to play a buffer bard, but I would like to keep the luck thing since we will play Harpers in the Forgotten Realms setting and I want to be a follower of Tymora (goddess of Luck). I will play a Human, so I thought about the Racial Feats Defiant Luck and Inexplicable Luck. Are they a solid choice? And if so when could I take them? Is it worth it to pick them both at first level?

2) I read that bards are good archers, but I lack of feat. Is it worth it to start a ranged feat chain, or should I focus more on other Feats? I was thinking about picking them since I can't find good feats to increase my buff capability. Do you have any advice?

3) In order to increase my fighting capability is it worth it to dip into two fighter levels?

Short story:

BUILD 1 - Buffer Bard

STR 16
DEX 16
CON 14
INT 16
WIS 13
CHA 17+2=19

Feats: Defiant Luck, Inexplicable Luck, Lingering Performance (5th Point Blank Shot, 7th Precise Shot, 9th Deadly Aim...)
Weapon: ?

BUILD 2 - Archer Bard no multiclass

STR 16
DEX 17
CON 14
INT 16
WIS 13
CHA 16+2=18

Feats: Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Deadly Aim (5th Defiant Luck, 7th Inexplicable Luck, 9th Rapid Shot...)
Weapon: shortbow

BUILD 3 - Archer Bard 1 /Fighter 2

STR 16
DEX 17
CON 14
INT 16
WIS 13
CHA 16+2=18

Feats: Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Deadly Aim, Rapid Shot, Lingering Performance (5th Defiant Luck, 7th Inexplicable Luck, 9th Manyshot...)
Weapon: longbow

Which one would you suggest me (if any)? Remember that I want to play a buffer, but also be able to do something offensive if it is necessary.

Race: Human
Class: Bard (Fighter?)
Manuals: Core, APG, UM, UC, Advanced Race Guide


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With those stat, a Reach bard could be really nice.

STR 16+2=18
DEX 17
CON 16
INT 14
WIS 13
CHA 16

You don't need that much Charisma, especially if you want to play buffer (no need for high save). And a 14 in Int is far than enough with human, you will have 9 skills pts per level, far enough with a bard. Use a longspear and get attack reflex at level 1: any monster who charge you provoque an AoO. And it will be usefull for all his career (and need far less feat.

So for the feat:
Feats:
1: Attack reflexe
HB:Defiant Luck
3: lingering performance
5: Inexplicable luck
7: Lunge
9: Toughness/ improved init

(...)

With this build, at level 3:
HP: 28
CA: around 17
AB: +6
Damage: 1d8+6
Vol:4
Ref:6
Vig:4


Archer Bard:
STR 16
DEX 17+2 = 19
CON 16
INT 13
WIS 14
CHA 16
Feats: Point-Blank Shot (H), Precise Shot (1), Rapid Shot (3), Deadly Aim (5), Arcane Strike (7), Manyshot (9).

Some of the stats can be swapped around (Con, Int and Wis), Deadly Aim and Arcane Strike can be swapped (probably).

If you go human with 16 Int, you get 10 skills/level, which makes archetypes that trade away Versatile Performance much less painful. Consider the Arcane Duelist, to free up a feat slot.

Also, make sure to carry a buckler and some sort of melee weapon. With your stats, you won't look like a fool in melee, so worst case scenario, you can still go help someone get a flank.


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I'm with Saigo on this one, with those stats you should put your highest one into strength or DEX. Depending if you want to do ranged or Melee attacks of course. You only need 16 in Cha in the long run to cast level 6 bard spells.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Justin Sane wrote:

Archer Bard:

STR 16
DEX 17+2 = 19
CON 16
INT 13
WIS 14
CHA 16
Feats: Point-Blank Shot (H), Precise Shot (1), Rapid Shot (3), Deadly Aim (5), Arcane Strike (7), Manyshot (9).

Some of the stats can be swapped around (Con, Int and Wis), Deadly Aim and Arcane Strike can be swapped (probably).

If you go human with 16 Int, you get 10 skills/level, which makes archetypes that trade away Versatile Performance much less painful. Consider the Arcane Duelist, to free up a feat slot.

Also, make sure to carry a buckler and some sort of melee weapon. With your stats, you won't look like a fool in melee, so worst case scenario, you can still go help someone get a flank.

I'd go with this basic build. No archetype to be more straight forward. I'd also consider Saving Finale and Liberating Command as spells for support. Pick up a composite short bow (str +3) or wait and save up for adaptive (+1000 gp).

Liberty's Edge

Don't multiclass on a Bard. Basically ever.

Justin Sayne's build is very solid and I'd probably go with that if going archer (though I'd switch Deadly Aim and arcane Strike...at 5th level very specifically Arcane Strike is flat-out better, and that's half the time you have one and not the other).

A melee Bard is also very possible, though the build suggested above is...less than ideal.


Well, it's not ideal since Pandamonium1987 wants the luck feat for human. Sure you can build a better build, but that way he get what he want's way faster than the archer build (and, depending on the team, with a good efficacity IMO)

Liberty's Edge

Saigo Takamori wrote:
Well, it's not ideal since Pandamonium1987 wants the luck feat for human. Sure you can build a better build, but that way he get what he want's way faster than the archer build (and, depending on the team, with a good efficacity IMO)

I'm not going to get into a huge debate, but, with very few exceptions, any devoted melee build not including Power Attack at a very low level is not going to fare well. Add to that Lingering Performance which, while handy is not a high priority Feat...and I'm not just talking the luck stuff. And then there's the fact that you actually can't take Lunge as a 7th level Bard since it requires BAB +6...

And the archer build presented by Justin Sane is online at level one, and gets better from there.


Lingering performance is a trap on straight bards. Maybe a few archetypes will benefit like that blaster bard archetype, Sound Striker I think. You will have enough rounds based on charisma and levels to not have to worry. It doesn't let you stack any songs so it only adds a few rounds if you should be knocked out or some such. I guess if distance is an issue too, but I never see that.

I always want to take it and then I realize I'm feat starved and never seem to run out of rounds anyway.


.

Power attack, mandatory? Not in my opinion: the bard don't have a good BAB, the minus of power attack will hurt a lot, even while performing. To go for lunge (ok, I missed the BAB part but he can take it 2 level later) instead (let's forget Power Attack + Lunge, the minus will hurt too much) is far better for a reach bard. Well, if he really think that it's mandatory, he could always swap one of the first feat for power attack. He will have plenty of feat on the road of Reach Bard...

The archer bard is good, bu miss one point: he wan't to be a support. here, all the feat goes for marksmanship, nothing for a more ''support'' way.

And I disagree about Lingering Performanche: with it, the bard can get Perfomance all day long, even at low level. For a support bard, it is quite usefull. But I admit, it depends of your group/ Dm. In my experience, I often went with no performance at the end of the day, even while abusing of Lingering Perfomance...


The power attack negatives are mitigated by inspire courage so you get big damage at no bonus to hit. Power attack is a boon to any Melee DPR.

You can have enough rounds to last all day without lingering performance. It only seems good at the early levels which is why it's a trap. By level 5 you'll have 15 rounds of inspire with a 16 charisma and no traits to bump it more. That's already enough rounds to last a full adventuring day. Before level 5 you have other spells you can be providing in the rounds you're not inspiring.


Khrysaor wrote:

The power attack negatives are mitigated by inspire courage so you get big damage at no bonus to hit. Power attack is a boon to any Melee DPR.

You can have enough rounds to last all day without lingering performance. It only seems good at the early levels which is why it's a trap. By level 5 you'll have 15 rounds of inspire with a 16 charisma and no traits to bump it more. That's already enough rounds to last a full adventuring day. Before level 5 you have other spells you can be providing in the rounds you're not inspiring.

Oups, my bad. I was thinking that Lunge give a -2 to BAB, but it give a minus -2 to AC. So yeah, power attack may be better than Versatile performance here.

But 15 rounds at level 5? Sure, you can go Inspire Courage almost for all the encounter, but it will be difficult to use it outside of combat (for Inspire Comptence, for example). And it let you go out of the traditional ''3 encounters per day'': I've seen some quest where you will be force to sleep in the middle of a dungeon if you use too much abilities (Jorgenfist anyone?).

Liberty's Edge

Saigo Takamori wrote:
.Power attack, mandatory? Not in my opinion: the bard don't have a good BAB, the minus of power attack will hurt a lot, even while performing. To go for lunge (ok, I missed the BAB part but he can take it 2 level later) instead (let's forget Power Attack + Lunge, the minus will hurt too much) is far better for a reach bard.

Bards, especially melee bards are buff spell specialists. Any Bard doing melee should have at least Performance, and probably by 7th level (when the penalty from Power Attack is more than -1) Good Hope or Haste active.

In my experience, and I've run for or played something like half a dozen Bards everywhere from 1st to 15th level...hitting is not the main problem for a Bard. Damage is. Because almost all their buffs add flat numbers to both. And heck, even for most classes where that isn't true, Power Attack is still basically always the right decision.

Let's look at an 8th level Bard, shall we?

Assuming items, we're talking Str 22 or so, and a +2 weapon or so...so a base of +14 to hit. Then we add Performance and Good Hope and Haste and we have a +19...enough to hit an average CR 8 foe on a 2. For a mere -2, and hitting them on a 4, you can go from 1d8+15 damage to 1d8+21. Or a 10% reduction in accuracy for around a 30% increase in damage. And that ratio actually gets even better the fewer buffs are up. Heck, with none he's normally hitting them on a 7 for 1d8+11 and can make it hitting them on a 9 for 1d8+17 for more like a +40% increase in damage.

Saigo Takamori wrote:
Well, if he really think that it's mandatory, he could always swap one of the first feat for power attack. He will have plenty of feat on the road of Reach Bard...

If I'm swapping out a third of the Feats...I think that qualifies as a 'less than good' build.

Saigo Takamori wrote:
The archer bard is good, bu miss one point: he wan't to be a support. here, all the feat goes for marksmanship, nothing for a more ''support'' way.

Which would be what Performances and spells are for.

Saigo Takamori wrote:
And I disagree about Lingering Performanche: with it, the bard can get Perfomance all day long, even at low level. For a support bard, it is quite usefull. But I admit, it depends of your group/ Dm. In my experience, I often went with no performance at the end of the day, even while abusing of Lingering Perfomance...

Your experience is not typical. Pathfinder is built around a four encounters per day model, and most fights go four to six rounds, tops. That's a max of 24 rounds, and usually more like 16-20. You won't have it at 1st level, but by even 3rd, you've got 11 or so...and by 7th, 19 of them. It's potentially useful for a few levels in there, but hardly a necessity.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Which would be what Performances and spells are for.

Yes, but in my opinion, a Reach Bard will do better support. Not only will he give flank, but he will control a large area (with lunge, it's 15fts). And with those stat, he will be able to protect the weaker character behind while helping the strong one in front. But that depend of th party.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Your experience is not typical. Pathfinder is built around a four encounters per day model, and most fights go four to six rounds, tops. That's a max of 24 rounds, and usually more like 16-20. You won't have it at 1st level, but by even 3rd, you've got 11 or so...and by 7th, 19 of them. It's potentially useful for a few levels in there, but hardly a necessity.

But if you want to use it for the other purpose, you will need more rounds. Sometime, to give a +3 on nearly all competence check during the day can do a huge difference.


What about the abilities that let you maintain two performances at once?

Liberty's Edge

Saigo Takamori wrote:
Yes, but in my opinion, a Reach Bard will do better support. Not only will he give flank, but he will control a large area (with lunge, it's 15fts). And with those stat, he will be able to protect the weaker character behind while helping the strong one in front. But that depend of th party.

Possibly, but they'll also be in somewhat less of a good position to be Johnny-On-The-Spot, dealing with specific threats or using specific spells as needed. Fire support is extremely nice to have. Fire support that can stabilize the dying effectively is even nicer.

Saigo Takamori wrote:
But if you want to use it for the other purpose, you will need more rounds. Sometime, to give a +3 on nearly all competence check during the day can do a huge difference.

True to some degree...but how many skill checks outside combat take a round or less? Precious few in my experience. Heck even those that take five or six aren't that common, IMO. And more than that and you're getting into the realm where even with Lingering Performance you can't afford the number of rounds investment.

RDM42 wrote:
What about the abilities that let you maintain two performances at once?

Those are all spells as far as I know, and the lowest is 4th level...and not the best 4th level spell at that. By 11th or 12th level when you get it you have around 30 rounds of Performance...which is enough to afford the doubled cost for one fight. And the 5th level one doesn't even cost rounds of Performance...


Pandamonium1987 wrote:

Hello guys, I'm going to start a new campaign in a couple of days and I'm starting to think about my new character. Me and the GM were speaking about the features on the campaign when we decided to let me roll the stats in front of him, so that I could be able to arrive at the first session with my character sheet ready. Here are my stats:

17, 16, 16, 16, 14, 13

Of course they are really really great stats, and this troubles me a little bit because we'll probably run a round-robin campaign in which me an the current GM switch roles letting both me and him be players for a while. For this reason I don't want to play a character which is too optimized and therefore too strong w.r.to the other players who could misunderstand the strength of my character.

So I decided to play a Bard, so that the rest of the party could love me XD

Now, my first thought was to make an Archaeologist and a luck-based character, but then came out that one of the other players will make a rogue, so we could cover the same role and this is not too good. So I will play a vanilla Bard, but I need some advices:

Killer stats - the equivalent of a 51 point buy. Which, of course, is why we never roll stats... and did you ever find it funny, we constantly have people on the boards posting character builds with the incredibly lucky stats they rolled, but never seem to have anyone posting about what can they do with a line up of 13, 13, 10, 9, 7 and 7. I suspect the reason why is because players with sub-par rolls inevitably trash the characters and the end result is that 'rolling randomly' for attributes ends up being not so random after all...

...but I digress.

I'm going to offer an option here that's quite a bit different than what everyone else is suggesting, just to broaden the horizons a bit. It sounds like you'll be starting off at 3rd level based on your title line (?) which would be ideal. My first bit of advice:

Forget about being a Bard.

Just for a little, little while. Take the idea of dipping two levels of Fighter and instead dip four, specifically into Lore Warden, one who uses a stylish spear or pole arm with dexterity and speed. Think Oberyn Martel whom was a renowned warrior (and fought with pole arms) but also a philosopher and poet and lover of... well, pretty much anything. Here's what your first four levels of feats would look like as a Human:

1st - Power Attack
1st - Cleave
1st - Dodge
2nd - Combat Expertise
2nd - Mobility
3rd - Combat Reflexes
4th - Spring Attack (retrain Cleave to Whirlwind Attack)

Now you have the ability to basically attack everyone on the battlefield if you wish, and you'll be doing it at full BAB before anyone else in the game even gets their second iterative. That's not even counting extra attacks from wielding a reach weapon and then maybe you work in something down the road like Lunge and Dazing Assault, or maybe Weapon Focus and Dazzling Display. There's all kinds of directions you can go with this 'second line' fighter. Let the tanks charge in and do their thing, let the casters stay back and do their thing - you stay in the middle, finishing off softened targets or offering up friendly buffs as needed. You can be 'teh uber' or just really helpful without stepping on anyone's toes as you see fit.

Attribute spread would look something like:

STR - 17 (+2 racial bonus, +1 @ 4th, 8th & 12th)
DEX - 16
CON - 16
INT - 14
WIS - 13 (+1 @ 16th)
CHA - 16

Traits that would likely benefit you would be:

Reactionary or Magical Knack
Maestro of the Society

As your official Bard career begins, I'd recommend something like this, though there are many other options to worth exploring depending on your preferences and playstyle:

5th - Weapon Focus: (Reach whatever)
7th - Weapon Specialization: (Reach whatever) or Dazzling Display
9th - Arcane Strike
11th - Discordant Voice
13th - Lunge
15th - Dazing Assault

If you want to absolutely start off with Bard levels, thats' certainly doable - take a level of Bard to start and then do the four levels of Lore Warden, giving you that wicked whirlwind attack at 5th instead. Easy peasy.

I can offer additional advice on this concept if its something you think you'd want to play - feel free to drop me a line if you'd prefer. The upside is that it will give you a ton of playability early on and throughout the middling levels without quite as much hurt as some might think (this character at 9th level and a full 9th level Bard would have the same Inspire Courage bonuses for instance). Where it would fall off is the later levels (13 or 15+) but its been my experience that the vast majority of play takes place before these levels are ever reached.

Happy Adventuring.


Bards don't need to cast offensively and aren't very good at it at their best between lower DCs and a poorer selection of offensive spells than a wizard or sorcerer.

I'd actually consider just putting those stats in descending order.

str 17+2
dex 16
con 16
int 16
wis 14
cha 13

13 is generally a good starting charisma. You'll put your level 4 or 8 bump there and wear a +2 or +4 headband and that's enough.

Feats should be boring but practical, not story driven. Story driven feats never fit well into a build, even if they're backstory driven, and you'll never regret passing on them when you can still play your character the same. Archaeologists should always take Lingering Performance at first level. Human bards that retain Versatile Performance should always take the alternate for multiple skill focuses.


If you're going archaeologist you want the fate's favored trait 100%. Automatic +1 bonus to any luck bonus which triggers off your main class skill. That's +2 attack, damage, skills, saves at level 1.

Atarlost wrote:
Archaeologists should always take Lingering Performance at first level.

Why?


Just remember the potential conflict in actions between maintaining Inspire Courage and activating Arcane strike (and full attacks).


Khrysaor ... because going by straight RAW, the archaeologist never gets more performance rounds.

He loses the normal bard performance ability, and gets 4+Cha rounds per day of the other ability.

Since that ability doesn't have the text of "+2 rounds every level", and since the normal bard getting +2 rounds every level is part of the Bardic Performance ability, he never gets any more after level 1.

Now, I don't think this was intended by the author of the ability, but by completely replacing the only ability that gives extra rounds, and not including extra rounds in the replacement, that's how it works.

Dark Archive

If you really want your party to love you, go with a buffing, healing bard. Split levels between Songhealer and a Cleric with the Luck domain. You'll have nice buffs, channels to heal the party with, and you'll be able to harm undead too. Make Str your lowest stat and stay out of the fights. Stand behind the main melee damage dealer and hit him with "Bit of Luck" from time to time. Then keep a CLW wand in hand and keep him in the fight.


TGMaxMaxer wrote:

Khrysaor ... because going by straight RAW, the archaeologist never gets more performance rounds.

He loses the normal bard performance ability, and gets 4+Cha rounds per day of the other ability.

Since that ability doesn't have the text of "+2 rounds every level", and since the normal bard getting +2 rounds every level is part of the Bardic Performance ability, he never gets any more after level 1.

Now, I don't think this was intended by the author of the ability, but by completely replacing the only ability that gives extra rounds, and not including extra rounds in the replacement, that's how it works.

Wow! That's a terrible nerf I never noticed. This never made a FAQ?

Liberty's Edge

Atarlost wrote:
Bards don't need to cast offensively and aren't very good at it at their best between lower DCs and a poorer selection of offensive spells than a wizard or sorcerer.

This is poor advice. Not because offensive casting is the best way to make a Bard (it's not) but because of bonus spells and social skills, both of which rely on Charisma. Charisma should be at least your second or third priority on any Bard...and you have a 17 and two 16s.

Liberty's Edge

Kwauss wrote:
Just remember the potential conflict in actions between maintaining Inspire Courage and activating Arcane strike (and full attacks).

This is utterly incorrect. Maintaining is a free action, not a Swift like Arcane Strike. Archaeologists have a little trouble since they tend to need to spend a Swift every three rounds...but standard Bards are fine.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Kwauss wrote:
Just remember the potential conflict in actions between maintaining Inspire Courage and activating Arcane strike (and full attacks).
This is utterly incorrect. Maintaining is a free action, not a Swift like Arcane Strike. Archaeologists have a little trouble since they tend to need to spend a Swift every three rounds...but standard Bards are fine.

Oops, my bad.


Kwauss wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Kwauss wrote:
Just remember the potential conflict in actions between maintaining Inspire Courage and activating Arcane strike (and full attacks).
This is utterly incorrect. Maintaining is a free action, not a Swift like Arcane Strike. Archaeologists have a little trouble since they tend to need to spend a Swift every three rounds...but standard Bards are fine.
Oops, my bad.

Also, you can make a full attack and still use a swift action in the same turn.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Atarlost wrote:
Bards don't need to cast offensively and aren't very good at it at their best between lower DCs and a poorer selection of offensive spells than a wizard or sorcerer.
This is poor advice. Not because offensive casting is the best way to make a Bard (it's not) but because of bonus spells and social skills, both of which rely on Charisma. Charisma should be at least your second or third priority on any Bard...and you have a 17 and two 16s.

Just not dumping charisma and putting points in with the class skill bonus will make you the best face in most parties. The bonus spells aren't really there. 13 with a boost at level 4 gets you your first and second bonus spells. Getting a +2 headband by level 7 gets you your third. The fourth would take 18 and level 3 is the one where you have the good hope haste dispel magic jester's jaunt collision. Also, by the time 18 charisma does you any good you're level 10. It's better to spend the first two thirds of an AP with better stats than the last third with one more spell slot.

Liberty's Edge

Atarlost wrote:
Just not dumping charisma and putting points in with the class skill bonus will make you the best face in most parties. The bonus spells aren't really there. 13 with a boost at level 4 gets you your first and second bonus spells. Getting a +2 headband by level 7 gets you your third. The fourth would take 18 and level 3 is the one where you have the good hope haste dispel magic jester's jaunt collision. Also, by the time 18 charisma does you any good you're level 10. It's better to spend the first two thirds of an AP with better stats than the last third with one more spell slot.

Let's just say I strongly disagree with your assessment of how valuable higher bonuses in social skills are and leave that bit at that.

And you're recommending foregoing Str 20 for Wis 14 at 4th? That's bad policy. You should at least go Wis 13, Cha 14 so you can use the level 4 boost on Str.

Also, if you go Cha 16, you can actually be a respectable offensive caster at need for the first several levels by grabbing either Grease or Charm Person and Gliterdust. You'll fall behind eventually, but it's a solid early option to have (and you'll want Glitterdust anyway to deal with invisible stuff).


Bards aren't offensive casters. They only get 6 levels of spells reducing their DC potential by 3, have need for other stats reducing their DCs further, and don't get all that many great offensive spells.

Why invest into something that's not going to be useful later as you're saying? Why do you need a 20 steength by level 4?

His suggestion was charisma 14 at 4 which is perfect timing to get the bonus spell for second level spells as you get second level spells. Then a headband by level 7 to ensure you get the bonus 3rd when you get 3rd level spells. It's a bare minimum build that works. Bards are more so a support class. They have good buffs and this plays to their strength.

By level 8 that next point goes into strength and you'll have a +2 strength belt to boost you to 22 which is a sweeter spot for a 2 hander than 20.

You're talking a difference of 1 for social skills between the 14 and 16 charisma or a 2 from levels 1-3. This isn't a substantial difference and won't be very noticeable most of the time. This is the difference of having a 5 vs. 7 at level one scaling to 7 vs. 9 at level 3. Level 4 is the boost and puts you to 9 vs. 10. Somewhere between level 4 and. 7 you'll get the headband and you're on par. You may not even invest this much into a social skill of you have versatile performance to compensate along with grabbing a trait to boost performance. Inspire competence can pick up the slack at levels 3 and beyond.

The higher base wisdom benefits perception, will saves, and sense motive in social situations.

I'd honestly be more inclined to leave intelligence at 13 or 14 as bards get enough skill points with the base class.


The higher Charisma will be usefull for:

Spell DC (yeah, even if it's not their predilection, they still use some spell on monster)

Bardic performance round (even if it's not that much, it may do a difference).

Skills: Sense motive will be Charisma based, just like Acrobatics.

Bardic performance DC: yeah, you can use it for something else than Inspire Courage.

RP: You are a Bard: you wan't to be the charismatic actor of your party.

And the STR/ Dex will do what? By level 8, chances are that your turn will go more ''I cast'' than ''I hit with my pole arm'', so if the 20 STR is attracting low level, it lose it later. While the Charisma base fluff will be used all the time.

The higher Wisdom will get him better Perception and better will save, true. But not by a huge marging here, and it's not are where the Bard need a good Wisdome to work.


One idea for an Archer Bard that could work out well with those stat is, maybe, a Zen Archer dip

17, 16, 16, 16, 14, 13
For:16
Dex:17+2
Con:14
Int:13
Wis:16
Cha:16

With it, you would go:
1st: monk
2-3:Bard
1:Flurry of bow (rapid shot-ish)
1:feat: Improved init
Bonus monk: precise shot
Bonus human: weapon focus: long bow
3:Arcane strike
5:Deadly aim
7: Snake style (you will have a really good Sense motive, so having it as AC for one attack per round may be good)

With one dip in Zen Archer, you get all you need to be a good archer by level 1 (rapid shot and precise shot), you will be able to start nearly all encounter (so your ally wil get your inspire courage at their first strike) with a +8 on init, and arcane strike by level 3. And proficiency with longbow. So we are talking of +7/+7 1d8+1(arcane strike)+1(inspire courage)+3 (str) by level 3 with a masterwork longbow of strenght. Your AC will be good enough (17 without Bracer of armor) and your save will be awsome (Fort: +4, Ref:+9 Will:+8). And you don't count unarmed fo AoO.


Saigo Takamori wrote:

And the STR/ Dex will do what? By level 8, chances are that your turn will go more ''I cast'' than ''I hit with my pole arm'', so if the 20 STR is attracting low level, it lose it later. While the Charisma base fluff will be used all the time.

By level 8 your combat will be:

Round 1 - move action inspire, standard action haste, 5 ft. Step
Round 2 - free action maintain performance, swift action arcane strike, move to position attack, standard action attack.
Round 3 - free action maintain performance, swift action arcane strike, full attack OR repeat round 2 or maneuver and put up a secondary buff.

You are either a melee or ranged combat participant not a full caster. You cast a couple spells in combat while buffing with performance and providing DPR.

You can obviously use other performances or cast an offensive spell, but if you're not going to add the feat investment and other means to increase your DCs this is a terrible route and you shouldn't be half investing or claiming it as a benefit without the added investment.

1 round of performance or +1 to your versatile skills isn't so grandiose to think its a huge benefit.

I'm not saying you should put charisma to 13. I already suggested putting that into intelligence that doesn't offer much to a bard, but a 13 charisma is still effective using the provided method Atarlost gave.


Khrysaor wrote:

By level 8 your combat will be:

Round 1 - move action inspire, standard action haste, 5 ft. Step
Round 2 - free action maintain performance, swift action arcane strike, move to position attack, standard action attack.
Round 3 - free action maintain performance, swift action arcane strike, full attack OR repeat round 2 or maneuver and put up a secondary buff.

You are either a melee or ranged combat participant not a full caster. You cast a couple spells in combat while buffing with performance and providing DPR.

You can obviously use other performances or cast an offensive spell, but if you're not going to add the feat investment and other means to increase your DCs this is a terrible route and you shouldn't be half investing or claiming it as a benefit without the added investment.

1 round of performance or +1 to your versatile skills isn't so grandiose to think its a huge benefit.

Or it would be:

Round 1 - move action inspire, standard action haste, 5 ft. Step
Round 2 - Miror Image
Round 3 - Invisibility
Round 4 - Counter song/ heal/ silence near the enemy caster or wathever the party need.

You will attack probably less than 50% of your turn by level 8 if you really play a support bard (and not just say'' I use Inspire courage so I support'')

And the 1 rounds of perform and the +1 to 6 skills with Versatile and the +1 to DD of some good spell (heck, charm person is good at all level. Not all guard are CR=Character level), better at counter song and other spell....

While wisdom: better at your good save. Better at perception. That's almost all...


Saigo Takamori wrote:
Khrysaor wrote:

By level 8 your combat will be:

Round 1 - move action inspire, standard action haste, 5 ft. Step
Round 2 - free action maintain performance, swift action arcane strike, move to position attack, standard action attack.
Round 3 - free action maintain performance, swift action arcane strike, full attack OR repeat round 2 or maneuver and put up a secondary buff.

You are either a melee or ranged combat participant not a full caster. You cast a couple spells in combat while buffing with performance and providing DPR.

You can obviously use other performances or cast an offensive spell, but if you're not going to add the feat investment and other means to increase your DCs this is a terrible route and you shouldn't be half investing or claiming it as a benefit without the added investment.

1 round of performance or +1 to your versatile skills isn't so grandiose to think its a huge benefit.

Or it would be:

Round 1 - move action inspire, standard action haste, 5 ft. Step
Round 2 - Miror Image
Round 3 - Invisibility
Round 4 - Counter song/ heal or wathever the party need.

Just wow! Why would you waste so many resources? You've spent 4 rounds casting and now the average combat is over and your spells were wasted along with never attacking. Seriously this is not a good use of time in combat.

Saigo Takamori wrote:


You will attack probably less than 50% of your turn by level 8 if you really play a support bard (and not just say'' I use Inspire courage so I support'')

Inspire courage and haste are two support actions. Followed up by supporting with DPR and possibly a secondary buff spell. Support does not mean you sit back and cast spells. Support characters are middle row that aren't optimized to be the best at something. You're not the best healer, but you have heals to support a primary healer. You're not the main DPR but you provide support with some DPR. You have buffing capabilities that further help others.

Saigo Takamori wrote:


And the 1 rounds of perform and the +1 to 6 skills with Versatile and the +1 to DD of some good spell (heck, charm person is good at all level. Not all guard are CR=Character level), better at counter song and other spell....

1 round of perform becomes useless as you level and get more rounds than you can use in a day. +1 to 6 skills is not impressive. What spell are you talking about providing a +1 to DD? Charm person loses it's use as you level. Low level spell with a low caster stat make for terrible DCs. Unless you plan to invest feats this isn't a good option. Bards are also spontaneous casters and that spell known is better used elsewhere.

Saigo Takamori wrote:

While wisdom: better at your good save. Better at perception. That's almost all...

It doesn't matter that it makes you better at your good save. It makes you less susceptible to many of the save or suck spells which is a better benefit than a few +1s to skills (especially charisma skills where you can get a circlet of persuasion), and a single round of performance. Failing a save is far worse than gaining those few minor benefits.

Perception being one of the most, if not the most, useful skill in the game improving it is worthwhile.


Let's see...

the average day in pathfinder is 4 encounter, of 4 to 6 rounds. At level 8, you should get 8 spell of level 2 or 3, so 2 spell per encounter. It's almost 50% of your round, and I'm not counting the spell level 1 and the other performance (dirge of doom, counter song, etc...) that will prevent full attack. So maybe not at level 8, but by level 10 you will cast probably more than 50% of your time.

Charm person don't loos that much. The guard at the gate should not be of your level that often, and charm person may be quite usefull for various RP situation. And it boost the DD of Fascinate and Suggestion of the Bard.

Sure, Perception is good, but every character max it. Chances are that the 1 pts difference will not do anything in a party where you will have at least an other character good in perception. While the +1 in (Sense motive, Acrobatic, perform for counter song and distraction, Bluff, Diplomacy, use magic device, disguise, intimidate (...) ) is quite more important for a Bard: those are the skill that your party will expect you to shine.

Liberty's Edge

I'd like to note, for the record, that I, for one, am not arguing Charisma as better than Strength for a melee character. I'm arguing it's more useful and important than anything except Str and maybe Dex.

You could argue it's on par with Con and I might not even disagree...but we're talking a character with three 16s and a 17...all it needs to be to get a 16 is be more important than Int and Wis. Which I'd say is pretty true for a melee Bard, with the archer or spellcasting-focused versions (both viable, by the way) having different priorities, naturally.


Saigo Takamori wrote:

Let's see...

the average day in pathfinder is 4 encounter, of 4 to 6 rounds. At level 8, you should get 8 spell of level 2 or 3, so 2 spell per encounter. It's almost 50% of your round, and I'm not counting the spell level 1 and the other performance (dirge of doom, counter song, etc...) that will prevent full attack. So maybe not at level 8, but by level 10 you will cast probably more than 50% of your time.

Your initial post said 3-4 spells in a single combat, not 2. That was my post. Casting more than 50% of your time in a non full caster class is an exaggeration. Either way the OP is making a melee or ranged support bard, NOT an attempt at a full caster.

Saigo Takamori wrote:


Charm person don't loos that much. The guard at the gate should not be of your level that often, and charm person may be quite usefull for various RP situation. And it boost the DD of Fascinate and Suggestion of the Bard.

Will saves of monsters continue to increase as you level. Your DC is limited by caster stat and is a level 1 spell. And DCs(not DD) of fascinate and suggestion. Again this is all dependent on investing feats and many stat increases to be effective. Level 1 is a DC 11 vs 13 on fascinate. By the time you get to level 6 for suggestion it's a DC 16 vs. 17. At level 6 creatures will have a good save of 10 or bad of 6. That 5% difference isn't adding much to your success. 70-75% resist on good saves or 45-50% on bad saves. Without some bigger investment your chances of being successful are still terrible.

Saigo Takamori wrote:


Sure, Perception is good, but every character max it. Chances are that the 1 pts difference will not do anything in a party where you will have at least an other character good in perception. While the +1 in (Sense motive, Acrobatic, perform for counter song and distraction, Bluff, Diplomacy, use magic device, disguise, intimidate (...) ) is quite more important for a Bard: those are the skill that your party will expect you to shine.

Being good at perception isn't just needed on one person. It allows you to not be surprised in combat and the more people not surprised is a good thing. Chances are just as equal someone else will be good at bluff, diplomacy, UMD, disguise, intimidate, any other skill you can be good or bad at. This is based on an assumption that you are playing a role that no one else will partially cover.


Deadmanwalking wrote:

I'd like to note, for the record, that I, for one, am not arguing Charisma as better than Strength for a melee character. I'm arguing it's more useful and important than anything except Str and maybe Dex.

You could argue it's on par with Con and I might not even disagree...but we're talking a character with three 16s and a 17...all it needs to be to get a 16 is be more important than Int and Wis. Which I'd say is pretty true for a melee Bard, with the archer or spellcasting-focused versions (both viable, by the way) having different priorities, naturally.

I agree and have said as much, but I know the approach Atarlost suggested works. In a 20 pt buy you could go with these stats and be an effective bard:

Str 16+2
Dex 12
Con 14
Int 7
Wis 12
Cha 13

With the stats listed by OP I'd put the 13 in INT and throw the 16 in CHA. A 14 is fine for WIS.


Will save of monster don't continue to increase. You will meet high CR creature with high save, but low will continue to exist in the game (we are not in D&D4 where the DC is determined by your level). The CR2 guard will still be at the gate of the city, asking for tax. The BBEG will still have some low level follower to do the kitchen and anything... and on those, Charm Person will always be usefull. And even if your DC is not that high, it's may still be a good gamble to try to finish a fight in one action. Scrapping Charisma will just make it impossible.

And the 5% difference on Fascinate, Suggestion and Charm Person, is the same on the will save. One way it's good, the other not?

For the skill: the bard is made to be one of the best face, if not the best face, of the game. Versatile Performance give hime the hability to max all those skill, and made them on CHA. No other class will get mechanic improved by good charisme + that much skill points (oh yeah, there is the ninja too). While for perception, there is a lot of class better at it than the Bard (Ranger, Druid, Monk, Inquisitor...) or as good (Rogue, ninja...). And here, we are talking of what, 5%? Not sure if it's that important...

For your stat:
Str 16+2
Dex 12
Con 14
Int 7
Wis 12
Cha 13

I would prefer to get a 14+2 in STR for a better int. Sure you want to do something in combat, but the Bard shine more in skills than in raw damage, and the -1 in int hurt for the number of skill and all the knowledge.

Liberty's Edge

Khrysaor wrote:
I agree and have said as much, but I know the approach Atarlost suggested works.

Oh, sure. I'm just arguing what works better.

Khrysaor wrote:

In a 20 pt buy you could go with these stats and be an effective bard:

Str 16+2
Dex 12
Con 14
Int 7
Wis 12
Cha 13

Sure, though I'd probably arrange that somewhat differently even then.

Khrysaor wrote:
With the stats listed by OP I'd put the 13 in INT and throw the 16 in CHA. A 14 is fine for WIS.

I'd swap Int and Wis from that. 1 skill point per level seems worth more to me than +1 Will Save.


Anything invested in save DCs on a bard is wasted against

Any high will save encounter. You have a handful of fort save sonic blasts, but they suck. Everything that can have useful effects is will save based except one solitary first level spell. Heighten spell ruins your action economy because you really need your early move actions.

Any undead, constructs, oozes, or anything else immune to mind affecting effects. All your offensive spells except the aforementioned sonic blasts and grease are mind affecting. The enchantment school sucks apart from a few buffs like heroism. They don't care about DC and neither should you.

Anything under Protection from Alignment or any of its derivatives. One Circle of protection and you can't even touch the BBEG's minions.

Yes, you have illusions, but the thing about illusions is that to be effective any illusionist must learn to use them in ways that don't provoke saves. If you can do that the saves don't matter. If you can't you're better off not wasting spells known on weak spells.

Liberty's Edge

At high levels, all that is correct. But at 1st through 6th level or so? Not so much.

And I'm not advocating a spellcasting-focused Bard (though there are ways to pull that off), just that having it as an option for the first third of the game is a viable choice given the absurd stat rolls involved. You can always just murder things with your Str 19 and two-handed weapon if magic seems unlikely to be efficacious.


I would pump Cha up to 20 asap to get 2 bonus 1st level spells and then keep pumping to do the same for 2nd and 3rd level spells.
Bards don't get that many spells/day and having more is vital for haste almost every encounter, not to mention Good Hope.

As others have mentioned, Bards do target the monsters with a selection of very good spells - I love the Bard spell list.

Having a maxed out Cha will make all those face skills even more powerful and Bards need to cast spells so either go ranged or reach (cast in turn - attack with AoO's), never straight melee imo. If you want to melee, play an Inquisitor.

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