Interesting bard builds?


Whenever I play a bard I usually just boost my dex and cha, dump wisdom if I must, choose either melee or ranged and choose feats appropriately. Bam! Done. Which seems strange when bards are my favorite class and I have all kinds of strange build ideas for other clases. I mean it is true I have a lot of fun playing my standard bard builds, but I'd like to do something a little more out of the box. The only time I have done so is playing an Archaelogist for a couple sessions before the GM quit, which was also a lot of fun. So what are some interesting places to take a bard's crunch?

Sound Striker Duettist for familiar-based sonic blasting.

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Arcane strike coupled with riving strike can be great- riving strike causes anything you hit with arcane strike to take a -2 to saves vs spells for 1 turn (so similar to a failed evil eye..but that is strong because it works even if it fails, so eh).

Combine it with an intimidate build, and you can cause a -4 to saves with one hit (using cornugon smash). So that means you can be a great debuffer.

Buff-Debuff-Damage. That is a fine set of roles. Maybe go with reach and a fortuitous weapon as well in order to make yourself a circle of pain 25' across as well.

I'm going arcane strike feat voice of the wild archtype and arcane archer prestige for my next bard.

Can still buff, cast and with ranger spells gets some great boosts to archery.

It's not going to out damage everyone, do everything but really has some fun options.

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Riving strike would be great on my arcane archer. Will add that! Thanks lemeres

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I made a Lore Warden 3/Archivist Bard with a whip focus, played him kinda like Steve Irwin, crocodile hunter, "See that there... that's a Bearded Devil. The most dangerous Devil at our APL. Poke him with a blessed or silver stick. That'll really make him mad!"

Some liked it... others hated it, but a lot of fun.

I have a Dirge Bard, I play Type O or some other Emo stuff when he performs, with Blistering Invective followed by a move/swift Dirge of Doom (and Imp Dirge of Doom, everyone runs or cries in a corner).

I dropped a level of Mysterious Stranger Gunslinger onto a Dervish bard, he plays completely different going Dex based Sword and Pistol style (with an unseen servant to reload for him because why not save the feat). Would also have worked with Spellscar Drifter Cavalier, depending on if you want to go a 2nd level for challenge and an order, possibly Cockatrice for Dazzling Display for free as a standard.

My friend has been proposing to me the idea of a juggler bard who dual wields bastard swords and also juggles a banner with the flagbearer feat.

Four builds:

1. Magician Bard VMC Magus You can get Magus spells to your list that you can use with Spellstrike at level 11th. Pretty sweet!

2. Dirge Bard VMC Magus Similar, but mostly using Chill Touch and Vampiric Touch. Dirge Bard on its own is hilariously fun too, get Necromantic Affinity or VMC Bones Oracle and you can do some pretty cool stuff.

3. Goblin Dervish of Dawn Take the Battle Singer feat and make your Battle Dance also provide you with your Inspire Courage bonus to all saves as well! With high as hell Dex and good saves overall, you can be pretty great at soaking hits. Too bad about that CHA penalty...

Liberty's Edge

Strength Bards can be a lot of fun. Go Str primary, and eventually wield a weapon two-handed and fight like a Barbarian. It can be loads of fun if you do it right with rather high DPR (by 8th, we can easily be talking Str 22, Power Attack, Arcane Strike, and a +1 weapon, plus Good Hope, Haste and Inspire Courage for a total of +16/+16/+11 for 1d8+22 damage, or more if you pick a race with good weapon proficiencies).

At low levels you might want to go sword and board for AC, but by 5th if you go Chelish Diva or a bit higher with Mithral you can be wearing medium armor and doing fine.

So...yeah, that can be fun.

Arcane Duelist is ideal for STR bards. Sword + board early, then switch to Medium.

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To be fair, skald is a better Str build med armour bard.

Liberty's Edge

Cavall wrote:
To be fair, skald is a better Str build med armour bard.

Depends on party makeup and how much you care about skills. If you've got archers, Bards are notably better buffers, and they have more skills either way.

Skald is cool, does this build well, and has advantages, but it's not necessarily flat-out better.

I just meant for Str build and armour, and being a variant bard (for hybrid sakes) I thought should be mentioned.

But you're 100% correct.

Builds mean everything to a skald. Current group for skull and shackles has a skald, samurai, alchemist, freebooter/trapper ranger, brawler and finally a tattoo sorc. As you can imagine they are enjoying the skald quite well. I've also found linnworm curses are a thousand times better with a skald.

But isn't that mostly the case with bards.. see what the group needs and adjust. Luckily they are by far one of the most versatile classes in the game.

Almost a shame the OP has been doing it in a very boxed in method. I'm looking forward to seeing what else people offer too. It's my fav class.

why not try something different than ranged or melee? Do a spellcaster buffer/debuffer with spells such as cacophonous call, slow, haste, heroism, saving finale, glitterdust, soundburst, etc...

The Drill Sergeant:

Diva bard. You are famous in a certain region for being a tough SOB.
You can use perform: Oratory to yell at your party inspiring them to fight better (Inspire courage).

from level 3 on you can yell so hard you deal damage with it.

At higher levels you gain additional armor proficiencies because you are used to carry more stuff around than those maggots around you.

As to the build, you are rather free. A lot of races work for this but the classic would be human.
For stats I'd go for a more balanced approach.

Flavourful feats would include endurance. Depending on how you want to play him add flagbearer (for mainly support duty), melee or ranged feats.

I've seen a build (never played it) that focuses around weapon focus (whip or net) and then using cha, str, and display feats to disable and debuff opponents round after round, in a reasonable area.
nets force concetration checks on casters, prevent charging, and generally keep the other guys nearby.
stat order is cha>str>other stuff>wis

I've enjoyed an Archeologist build for PFS as a skirmisher/trapfinder. Archeologist's Luck/Lingering Song/Arcane Strike, Heroism, Haste, and a few other buffs help me and the party out. Trapspotter talent and the archeologist's take 10 on Disable Device quickly makes traps a breeze. A nice spellcasting rogue named Varisia Jones.

Soundstriker, with net and trident.

Silver Crusade

Dervish Dancing Bard
Option 1...Solo TWF (using Kukri or Half Elf with Ancestral Arms Wakizashi)
Level 1 Arcane Strike
Level 3 OPEN (I threw in Deific Obedience Irori...+4 to all Knowledges)
Level 5 TWF
Level 7 Weapon Focus
Level 9 Imp TWF

At Level 9, your Battle Dancing Full Attack is +9/+9/+9/+4/+4. Your weapons crit on a 15-20.
I did not include your STR modifier and weapon enhancements. This build does have room for Weapon Finesse.

Option 2...Butterfly Sting (using Kukri or Half Elf with Ancestral Arms Wakizashi)
Level 1 Combat Expertise
Level 3 Butterfly Sting
Level 5 TWF
Level 7 Weapon Focus
Level 9 Imp TWF

At Level 9, your Battle Dancing Full Attack is +9/+9/+9/+4/+4. Your weapons crit on a 15-20. You pass your criticals off to your heavy hitting buddy.
I did not include your STR modifier and weapon enhancements.

Juggler with guns. Now you always have a free hand to reload.

Low Intelligence crafter Bard with the Pageant of the Peacock masterpiece.

Do a little dance, make a little magic.

Orcish tribal guy with a standard:


improvised defence


Tribal standard

You buff passively just by holding your standard. Nice for everyone accepting your standard, better for tribal orcs.
And you can still do whatever you want except things needing two hands.

Arcane duellist is a good fit.

I really like the idea of taking VMC with a Bard, it's always been a class where I haven't worried about my feats too much, so adding some major versatility to an already incredibly versatile class seems dandy!

Juggler also looks like hilarious good fun.

Using a Banner of the Ancient Kings seems like it would be awesome too, lots of additions to the buffing for little cost.

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