Convince me to build a bard


Advice

Liberty's Edge

Personally, I can't find a reason to build a character that is a bard, I have almost no experience with music and suffer from extreme shyness at the gaming table. I don't see anything that screams out to me about them being awesome aside from the massive sonic damage they can do. Even then, I would rather wait and build a skald, also when are we getting an archetype that is exclusive to dwarves for skalds? I want a wisdom based skald sooo badly.

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snickersimba wrote:
Personally, I can't find a reason to build a character that is a bard, I have almost no experience with music and suffer from extreme shyness at the gaming table. I don't see anything that screams out to me about them being awesome aside from the massive sonic damage they can do. Even then, I would rather wait and build a skald, also when are we getting an archetype that is exclusive to dwarves for skalds? I want a wisdom based skald sooo badly.

I've never heard of bards doing massive sonic damage.

Bards are not inherently tied to music.
Bards don't have to be a "face" character.

A bard is someone who can fight better than a fighter, and have a lot of versatility through skills and spells as well.

Try the archaeologies archetype. They can do, like, everything. Just make sure you take Lingering Performance and Fate's Favored.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
snickersimba wrote:
Personally, I can't find a reason to build a character that is a bard, I have almost no experience with music and suffer from extreme shyness at the gaming table. I don't see anything that screams out to me about them being awesome aside from the massive sonic damage they can do. Even then, I would rather wait and build a skald, also when are we getting an archetype that is exclusive to dwarves for skalds? I want a wisdom based skald sooo badly.

Then don't. i don't believe in convincing anyone to build a character they don't feel the soul, the zeitgeist for. In fact, the idea of me convincing someone else to build a character they feel against sounds nothing short of asinine.


An archeologist bard has nothing to do with performances of any sort. They are a rogue replacement that trades away all performances for a luck bonus. They get a smaller number of rogue talents, but that is ok since there are only a few decent rogue talents. Pretty much they can do everything a rogue can except they do it better, other than sneak attack. They get the bards spells and bardic knowledge so end up better at skills than a rogue.

Liberty's Edge

I have only the advanced players guide, they are kind of bred to be face characters, because of the charisma focus. Also, you wanted to know where I pulled the bards doing massive sonic damage from, heres the archives for you. http://www.archivesofnethys.com/SpellsCustom.aspx

Silver Crusade

Bards don't actually have to be about music. There are many types of 'performance', and singing with a lute is only one. Bardic performance can also be a dance. Magda sometimes Inspires Courage with Shelyn's battle dance, which is basically a beautifully executed martial arts kata. Anyone able to see the Bard receives the benefit of Inspire Courage.

Bards are usually a type of 'Support Character'. They need not be talkative or flamboyant, that's just a common stereotype. They do require some form of performance, but you can be quite flexible as to what that is. It seems like a Bard might be a great option for one who is shy at the table. A 'support character' rarely takes center stage in combat.

For one thing, every party loves to have a Bard around. This is because a Bard makes everyone else better. About the only way to be more welcome at a table is to play an Evangelist Cleric, who makes everyone else better and cures their owies. Oh right, a Bard also gets Cure spells and makes a competent healer.

Bards can do the sonic damage thing, but that's not actually a very effective approach. For example, a Bard with decent strength who fights with a longspear will inflict more damage while also casting more spells.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
snickersimba wrote:
I have only the advanced players guide, they are kind of bred to be face characters, because of the charisma focus. Also, you wanted to know where I pulled the bards doing massive sonic damage from, heres the archives for you. http://www.archivesofnethys.com/SpellsCustom.aspx

The problem with that is that it's clear the player doesn't want to be a face character, and he's probably not that keen on support. Maybe an arcane duellist is more his kettle of tea.


I had a bard I based off Scheherezade who had used the Oratory form of perform and was literally 'encouraging' people to be more heroic like the tales of old.

She was a lot of fun. But I do agree with LazarX, if you aren't feeling the character, then don't force it. I'd make an allusion to it being like trying to force passing gas, but we're all far too mature for that to work. ;)

Seriously though, I suggest finding a character *concept* that excites you to play, and then look at the classes and try to figure out how to pull it off. If anything it's a fun little exercise.

Liberty's Edge

Magda Luckbender wrote:


For one thing, every party loves to have a Bard around. This is because a Bard makes everyone else better. About the only way to be more welcome at a table is to play an Evangelist Cleric, who makes everyone else better and cures their owies. Oh right, a Bard also gets Cure spells and makes a competent healer.

Bards can do the sonic damage thing, but that's not actually a very effective approach. For example, a Bard with decent strength who fights with a longspear will inflict more damage while also casting more spells.

Thats the reason why I want to play a bard, so that way I can at the very least I don't run the risk of angering my tablemates.

pretty much, its more of a fluff thing, I can't find a way to fluff the character in a way that isn't a face character.

Shadow Lodge

Everyone loving to have a bard around is a myth perpetuated by lying bards. They should change inspire courage to remind bonuses because that is what you are doing most of the time.

Maybe make a mom type that's always reminding the rest of the party to eat their vegitables and take their vitimins change their socks etc.


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Magda Luckbender wrote:

Bards don't actually have to be about music. There are many types of 'performance', and singing with a lute is only one.

The only bard I've ever made was a clown. Big shoes, red nose, face paint, and a horn. His greatest desire was to sneak up and yell "*honk honk*, Mr. Orc!" and run away without being hurt.

Liberty's Edge

rungok wrote:

I had a bard I based off Scheherezade who had used the Oratory form of perform and was literally 'encouraging' people to be more heroic like the tales of old.

She was a lot of fun. But I do agree with LazarX, if you aren't feeling the character, then don't force it. I'd make an allusion to it being like trying to force passing gas, but we're all far too mature for that to work. ;)

Seriously though, I suggest finding a character *concept* that excites you to play, and then look at the classes and try to figure out how to pull it off. If anything it's a fun little exercise.

Its not my first character, its actually my fourth, I just suffer from the fact that upsetting a fellow member of the society who I am actually meeting in person is something that I dread, I literally stutter out of fear.

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So I guess your problem is you want nothing to do with roleplaying Cha skills, hence the desire for a Wis based Skald?

Why not play an Evangelist archetype Cleric?

Liberty's Edge

I only own the CRB and the advanced players guide, so I don't have it. Sorry, im a bit poor.

Silver Crusade

You don't need to own anything. You can do all the research on paizo.com/prd or d20pfsrd.com. In fact it's easier than having hardcopy, because the websites have much of the information centralized, especially d20pfsrd.com.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Can you use online sources, like http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/ or http://www.d20pfsrd.com/home?

Liberty's Edge

Its for the society, More or less, I have seen the evangelis archetype and it looks solid, but I am not thinking about buying the book just yet. Im looking at inner sea gods first, then people of the north, then champions of balance.

Silver Crusade

I think you would enjoy a helpful halfling bard. The helpful trait makes aid another +4 and there are lots more ways to stack and increase its usefulness.

http://taking10.blogspot.com/2014/07/aid-another-in-pathfinder-is-more.html ?m=1

If you chose dance as your main performance, no one would expect an impromptu song or speech. And you could pull up some Beyonce moves on a screen and say this is how I inspire the party.

And being the face doesn't mean you do all the talking. A lot of time great ideas come from the wizard or barbarian players, whose characters need help getting their ideas across. For diplomacy checks, you could role play your whole check as "I go up to the mayor of the terrified town, and with a polite smile and a nod say, my friends have an idea you might like to hear." Then you roll d20 for diplomacy and let the rest of the table talk to a very helpful NPC.

Hope this makes the Bard flavor more to your liking. They are my fav by far.


I have a bard cohort, if you Perform Oratory you can Inspire Courage in combat (so your friend's appreciate the bonus to hit and damage), and you can still fight in melee a little bit. A buddy based his off a well-known film character and just says quotes from them as his "performances".

Mine focuses on intimidation, so when it's fight time he rolls to demoralize the enemy, then buffs the party, hits my main PC with some spells, and then throws nets or Falchion's (he's a half-orc)enemies in half. He's fun, but low-key, think an inspirational Clint Eastwood.

Bards come in all shapes and sizes, if you have an idea that could be fun, there are plenty of ways to give it a go. If if fills you with dread, then maybe play as something else that firts you a bit better.


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Read Julius Caesar. Every major character except Caesar's wife and Cassius would be well represented as a bard. Henry V would be a bard.

Pretty much any charismatic leader is well represented as a bard or battle herald (which requires bard).

Sovereign Court

Bards are lots of fun to play as support characters.

I played one up to lvl 7 or 8 in PFS

Get you some lvl 1 wands, enlarge person, stuff like that, you can really buff up a party


Bards are awesome at group support. Easily can be a face to the group. If you don't want to do that others have mentioned archetypes that change that role into something else.

Personally, I think bards used in the classic group support/face function are simply awesome and make things easier for others in the group.


There are a couple archetypes in the APG that downplay the drama of being a bard. Check out the Archivist and the Magician.


Inspire Courage is a competence bonus to attack and damage, so I prefer to play it as good tactical advice, via perform oratory.
After a couple of levels, you have message up constantly, providing your unit with comm gear and oversight, and never need to speak louder than a whisper. Knowledge skills mean you've got useful Intel on whatever your opponents are.
Plenty of bard spells help with the calm competent advisor vibe rather than silly entertainment magic.

You could play a bard as a magical cheerleader, but I think their abilities work better as a competent military officer.


Play an Arcane Duelist. (APG)
You get to wear medium armor by 10th level and heavy armor at 16th.
Get the Eschew Materials feat and by 5th level with Arcane Bond, you will be able to cast spells and use up to a heavy shield.
I use the Mirror Image spell and I am a front line fighter.
Also, just because you have a high Charisma or are playing a bard doesn't mean you have to be the party Face (unless the rest of the group is dumping Charisma?)


I'll share a little thing that motivates me to play as a bard for the Core Only PFS. It inspired me to make a sort of Battlefield Commander type who uses perform (oratory) to inspire his allies.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nb6cSEI1FLk

Do note that I plan on redirecting the threats of execution towards the enemy as opposed to the rude (and not PFS legal) tactic of executing a panicked ally to inspire bravery in the others. I recommend you do the same if you go this route.


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Bards can do so many things well that they can't do them all, because you can only build for some of them. You have to build around what you want your abilities to be.

Bardic Knowledge can make you the one who identifies monsters for the group better than any other class can, if you choose to max the key Knowledge skills.

Performance skills should be leveled up some for Versatile Performance, and will also allow you to buff your party, but you can focus on one or two and be fine if you don't want to put much into performance (or ignore performance altogether with the Archeologist archetype if you want).

You can focus on Charisma to make your spells harder to save against to make the most of your casting, but you can instead choose to focus on physical stats and healing/buffing spells (which of course have no save) and make a good combat/healer combo. You won't fight as well as a martial and won't resurrect like a divine caster, but you can do some of both.

If you don't want to be the party face, use your good number of skill points in other skills. Bards have lots of class skills, so you have a lot of options.

What you can't be is:

1) As good with magic as a full caster.
2) As good at martial combat as a martial class, though you can come close with some archetypes.
3) As good a trickster as an Investigator, or with "dirty combat" as a Slayer or Ninja.

But you can buff (through performance and spells) better than anyone else if you choose, or do Knowledge better than anyone else if you choose, combine good casting (offensive or defensive) and martial abilities (just not great at either) if you choose, be a party face if you choose (though you don't seem to want that), and there are other options as well.

You can do more than one of the above, though not all: You'll have to give up something.

If you want to be as good an offensive caster as a wizard/sorcerer/arcanist, then you shouldn't play a Bard.

If you want to heal conditions, including death, as well as a cleric or oracle, then you shouldn't play a Bard (though you can heal wounds as a Bard pretty well).

If you want to be a great martial character, then you shouldn't play a Bard.

You have to want to be useful out of combat (if only by identifying monsters, though there are many other ways) and also versatile, rather than being the best at something in combat. If being useful out of combat isn't for you, the Bard isn't a good class for you.

What you value is, at bottom, a personal thing, and you should choose based on that. I'm just pointing out what the class can (and can't) do.

Liberty's Edge

Oli, you won. I am going to atleast try to write a bard out, Thank you everyone, atleast now I might be able to write out something. This is why paizo has a great community, the people aren't jerks.


Atarlost wrote:

Read Julius Caesar. Every major character except Caesar's wife and Cassius would be well represented as a bard. Henry V would be a bard.

Pretty much any charismatic leader is well represented as a bard or battle herald (which requires bard).

Oh god yes with Henry. He knew that the only way to play a role was to take something he wanted to do anyway, and make an act out of it (he chose to lower expectations by playing the irresponsible rich kid because he wanted to live life before going into responsibility).

And that is my advice-play a role you want to play, and don't try to be someone you do not wish to be. Hold off until you can play a skald if you feel that you cannot find the proper voice through the bard's flavor.

Just read over some of the appeals from everyone in the thread, to see if anything lights your fire, and if not.... BE THE HEAVY METAL BAND SINGER YOU WERE ALWAYS MEANT TO BE as a skald.

Liberty's Edge

I am going to eventually buy the advanced class guide.
the issue remains that pathfinder unchained is coming out, that seems like a required purchase. Unless paizo hands them out for free.

Dark Archive

I never wanted to play a Bard, either. But now the Skald exists and it's pretty much a cooler Bard based around getting so mad your friends get mad. A Dwarf Skald can already work just fine, you just need to either boost his Cha a little more than normal, or just build him more fighter-y.


Arcane duelist is a bad ass. if you ever play a mythic campaign and gain access to mythic arcane strike, its basically like your weapon has a bane enchant against anything you want it too.

Liberty's Edge

A wisdom based skald trait, feat or archetype is needed.
I actually houseruled in an online campain that the war drummer archetype is based on your strength rather than charisma.
A dwarf skald is so thematically awesome it hurts. I like smashing people with a flail so a gargantuan spiked mace swinging bard of rage is awesome.


It's also worth considering that historians and poets could be represented by Bards, and could be fairly introverted types with a passion for poetry/history/lore etc. Charisma may be their casting stat but it can represent strength of personality as well as just personal attractiveness and magnetism.

Another example of a Bard being nontraditionally charismatic could be using Perform (comedy). Some stand-up comics are shy offstage, and I know at least one person who has tried their hand at stand-up to overcome fear of public speaking. Think Woody Allen (stuttering comedy, not marrying your ex's daughter).


Yah, i was about to suggest a greataxe-wielding half-orc arcane duelist.

... but, ya know, Skald.

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