Making my bard Melee


Advice

Sovereign Court

Okay so I came to a new game with my bard built, I was told we had a player leaning towards paladin and another towards witch and no idea what the last player would be. so as the only person with a character ready to go the other players had a chance to work together to build a party for carrion crown. These players chose to build an elven witch, a dwarven wizard, and a gunslinger with the crossbow archetype.

So as the only player with melee capability, I'm gonna have to step up. Problem is, I've already made my archetype and stat selections.

I am a prankster gnome bard with stats (we rolled for stats and I hit jackpot)

Str 16
Dex 13
Con 16
Int 17
Wis 10
Cha 18

my spells are cure light wounds and hideous laughter

I wield a human sized earthbreaker (DM granted feat based on backstory I am proficient with and take no penalties for using that earthbreaker only) I also have the antagonize feat.

I need suggestions and advice going forward to make him as effective as possible as our parties melee guy.

Silver Crusade

I hope you and/or your elven witch don't plan on using enchantments or illusions to any real effect. The AP's name is Carrion Crown, which aptly implies an abundance of undead. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that you actually read the player's guide and are avoiding those spells or are willing to deal with frequent uselessness.

That said, without knowing the witch's archetype, I'd strongly suggest that player change to be your main melee. If you must be the melee, be prepared to replace your character within the first book. It's not a soft one, and a bard could almost never cover in it. You'll need good saves, plenty of HP, and a decent AC, including touch.

The lack of a cleric - yes a cleric, not some other class that can cast cures - will also be felt rather harshly in the first book.

If it's up to you to fill the group's holes, you'll have to consider not only how to be a primary melee, but also how to cover healing and condition removal. You might be able to swing it with a paladin. Best of luck to you all. It's an interesting group comp, to say the least.

Sovereign Court

I didn't, my character focuses on debilitation and my original plan was to stand behind the paladin and make anything intelligent try to focus on me which means ignoring the divine beat stick. I knew that with mindless undead I'd be less useful hence why I took cure light wounds so I could at least aid somewhat in healing. Then the guy leaning paladin went crossbow gunslinger instead. I straight up told the guys that I hope our second set of characters shows more cohesion when the first set dies.

Grand Lodge

I was going to recommend a Bard 7/Dragon Disciple build.

Reach using a Long spear with Banner of the ancient Kings and reach tactics. Flag-bearer Feat to get that major Boost. Spells would focus on Boosting both you and the teammates...like Haste, Heroism, Good Hope, Saving Finale.

The Dragon Disciple will help you get more HP and some Natural armor. As well as +4 Strength all for the cost of -1 CL. Its a nice trade off.

Your Stats are really good tho.


Having played in Carrion Crown (which rates as one of my all time campaigns incidentally - our GM asked us not to play clerics and Paladins on the understanding they would be too effective in comparison to other classes. I played a witch but my GM let me have a wizards spell per level - which I thought was quite useful. Healing hex is ace against undead!

In terms of a bard that's good in combat. It sounds like you have already decided your build, feats, spells and equipment, so a lot of the decisions that might influence combat have already been made. I would suggest finessing a weapon but if you want to use an earth breaker that rules that out. Good luck with the path it really is excellent.

Sovereign Court

Here's what happened, my DM told me that we were playing carrion crown, one guy was going for witch, one guy for paladin, and one guy he didn't know. I built my character, got it approved, got a backstory bonus feat, then the other players showed up, the paladin player chose to go with a gunslinger instead and the player we didn't know made a dwarf wizard because he only plays dwarf wizards. then we started first session. If I knew when making my character what I know now I would have done it differently. I can't change what I've got now, I'm looking for advice going forward.


*Reads party makeup*

For Carrion Crown? You guys are dead. I'd bet my beard on it.

If you want help with a melee bard build, the only viable ones are usually supporting ones. As a meaty frontliner, a bard will fail.


As a bard, even as a beefy one, I would not suggest trying to stand close with most things. Focus on supporting and helping your allies. I would have suggested a reach weapon instead of an earthbreaker, but it´s what it is. If you go dedicated melee Dragon Disciple is an option - your team is somewhat low on muscle and divine casters, and you aren´t going to be so good in the latter position.


While I am not going to say that bards can't be good in melee... you are the only character that is melee. Everyone else is casters or ranged. So you are going without backup.

Silver Crusade

lastknightleft wrote:
Here's what happened, my DM told me that we were playing carrion crown, one guy was going for witch, one guy for paladin, and one guy he didn't know. I built my character, got it approved, got a backstory bonus feat, then the other players showed up, the paladin player chose to go with a gunslinger instead and the player we didn't know made a dwarf wizard because he only plays dwarf wizards. then we started first session. If I knew when making my character what I know now I would have done it differently. I can't change what I've got now, I'm looking for advice going forward.

Plant the suggestion of needing a barbarian/paladin, manipulate events to "accidentally" get the witch killed, and hope that player makes the right choice ;P

More seriously, you could just start taking barbarian at level 2. Your one level of bard gives you some inspire courage on top of your rage, the ability to use cure wands, and some nice class skills. With your cha you could even go for an intimidate build. All you have to do is survive level 1. There isn't really a way to increase your durability without sacrificing too much of your damage (with either heavier armor or a shield).

Alternatively, if you already happen to be LG you could go paladin. Then you can really put your high cha score to work! Point is, having a 1 level dip in bard won't cripple your character, so multiclassing isn't a terrible solution here.

Sovereign Court

If you really want melee survivability - ask your GM if you can re-stat your character. Then go halfling instead of gnome, and flip dex & str #s. (making STR 11 & Dex 20 - dropping Con to 14 because of racial changes)

Aim for Fencing Grace and use a heavy shield. You damage will be respectable starting at level 5. Your AC should be very solid.

At level 1 with leather armor and a heavy shield your AC will be 21. If you take Armor Expert you can upgrade to a mithril breastplate later without burning a feat.

Of note - depending upon your GM - you'll have trouble 'tanking' as your AOOs won't do amazing damage - especially before level 5. But you'll have very solid survivability.

(Also - gotta say - dwarf wizards are terrible. In 3.5 they were amazing if silly from a fluff perspective. In Pathfinder they don't have the right stats.)

Grand Lodge

Quote:
Also - gotta say - dwarf wizards are terrible. In 3.5 they were amazing if silly from a fluff perspective. In Pathfinder they don't have the right stats.)

Doesn't let you get a 20 in INT. But I think Having Hardy + Dwarf Trait is very nice on a Wizard. Getting bonuses on saves against Poison is a very nice defensive ability. And getting them to spells and spell like abilities is great in the late game when failing a Save against spells can kill you. The race also lets you start with a Higher con for better HP and Fort saves.

Wouldn't be on my list of first choices but it defiantly isn't on the bottom of the list Like Orc or Nagaji as Wizard races.

Sovereign Court

Fruian Thistlefoot wrote:
Quote:
Also - gotta say - dwarf wizards are terrible. In 3.5 they were amazing if silly from a fluff perspective. In Pathfinder they don't have the right stats.)

Doesn't let you get a 20 in INT. But I think Having Hardy + Dwarf Trait is very nice on a Wizard. Getting bonuses on saves against Poison is a very nice defensive ability. And getting them to spells and spell like abilities is great in the late game when failing a Save against spells can kill you. The race also lets you start with a Higher con for better HP and Fort saves.

Wouldn't be on my list of first choices but it defiantly isn't on the bottom of the list Like Orc or Nagaji as Wizard races.

Fair enough - I should have said "weak" instead of "terrible". I suppose I overstated it. :P

Grand Lodge

Eh its OK...I'm known for overstatements too.

Scarab Sages

Can you switch to Arcane Duelist instead of prankster? All of a pranksters tricks are mind-effecting, and won't work on any of the undead you'll be facing. Arcane Duelist gets nice bonus feats for melee, and You can also eventually upgrade to heavier armor, which will help with your low dex and use of a two-handed weapon.


Multi Class 1 level into Elemental Annihilator Overwhelming Soul Kineticist Water and 2 hand your kinetic blade with a water shield. Strength to hit and 1.5X Charisma mod damage.

Silver Crusade

With out a rebuild from this point. Their is not really any why to cover melee. Your ability score layout just dose not support it.

Scarab Sages

calagnar wrote:
With out a rebuild from this point. Their is not really any why to cover melee. Your ability score layout just dose not support it.

Not true. That's a fine stat spread for melee. 16 attack score is more than adequate, especially with the +1 to hit form small size. 16 con, and a positive dex covers defenses. You just need to add heavier armor for AC, but being small helps here.

Prankster Bard is hurting more than the race or ability scores.


lastknightleft wrote:
I need suggestions and advice going forward to make him as effective as possible as our parties melee guy.

You'll do plenty fine with damage with a medium sized earth-breaker and a 16 STR. Inspire Courage, Arcane Strike, and Power Attack will keep you relevant.

Heroism is a great spell to keep your "to hit" relevant, and is a boon for saves (especially for those Will saves) and skills while adventuring. This will become a very important spell.

Your biggest difficulty will be your defenses. Mirror Image will be a staple spell just to be able to absorb hits in the fight. Your AC is going to hurt with a low dex, light armor, and not using a shield. Your Will save is going to be a big Achille's Heel.

Life is going to be "pain" until level 7, when you can put up both Inspire Courage and your needed defense spell in one round.

AC Strategies:

I too would encourage you to "re-train" to Arcane Duelist, given the party make-up, at the first opportunity. That will allow you to eventually transcend to better and better armor. It will also save you lots of gold on your enchanted weapon to be spent for defenses.

Put 3 ranks into Acrobatics. When you find yourself against multiple enemies attacking you, remember the ability to attack defensively. This will greatly slow your damage intake.

Use Magic Device should be a natural for you. A wand of Shield will be incredibly good at boosting your AC quickly in tight situations.

Feats:
Improved Initiative (1st)
Arcane Strike (Arcane Duelist 1 - after re-training)
Iron Will (3rd)
Power Attack (5th)
(adapt from there)


Imbicatus wrote:
Can you switch to Arcane Duelist instead of prankster? All of a pranksters tricks are mind-effecting, and won't work on any of the undead you'll be facing. Arcane Duelist gets nice bonus feats for melee, and You can also eventually upgrade to heavier armor, which will help with your low dex and use of a two-handed weapon.

This. Even intelligent undead are for some unfathomable reason completely immune to anything mind effecting so the character concept wouldn't have worked even if you'd had that paladin to back.

I'd suggest Chelish Diva over Arcane Duelist, though, if the fluff is acceptable. You have to pay for arcane strike, but you get the armor upgrades a lot earlier. None of the other arcane duelist bonus feats are that useful. CD also doesn't give up versatile performance. AD keeps dirge of doom, though, which for some reason isn't mind effecting and will help the witch and wizard land save or lose spells later on.


Yes, especially considering he is using a medium weapon without penalty (and retains the +1 to attack and AC from being small), the physical scores are pretty solid. No 18+, but 2 16s in strength and constitution can be fine for a barbarian, bloodrager, paladin or cavalier. If you are okay with picking another class at level 2 (and particularly if you can pick it as a favored class) it might work pretty well.


I'm of the opinion that unless you have at least 2 pcs who want to focus on melee and be the front line, you are better off not having a front line at all.

One character trying to hold the line by himself is usually just a recipe for a dead character (some exceptions apply of course). This is particularly true of a class that while capable of melee probably isn't going to excel at it.

What I would look at doing is working with your party to make sure you have an alternate way of providing a 'front line' through battlefield control, particularly summon spells, and the actual PCs focus on delivering damage at range.

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