Questions about the bard class


Classes

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

The following are a few assorted questions I had while reading through the bard class.

Spellcasting: Why can’t each bard choose their own spell list instead of all bards using the occult spell list? Sure, many bards delve into occult lore. Aren't others inspired by nature and trained by druid circles? Aren't others professors at arcane academies? Aren't others inspired by deities to perform sacred hymns in temples? The bard is supposed to be the jack-of-all-trades class that can follow any number of paths, so it seems like a better candidate for the “choose your own spell list” benefit than the sorcerer class.

Bardic Lore: Shouldn’t your proficiency in Bardic Lore improve if you are legendary in any skill with the Recall Knowledge action, not just Occultism? Bardic Lore has no more of a connection with Occultism than it does with any other knowledge skill.

Eclectic Skill: Shouldn’t the benefit of this feat improve if you are legendary in any skill with the Recall Knowledge action, not just Occultism? Eclectic Skill has no more of a connection with Occultism than it does with any other skill.

Mental Prowess and Mental Stronghold: Why do these require Bardic Lore? Neither of these feats builds upon the benefits of Bardic Lore in any way, so the Bardic Lore prerequisite seems completely arbitrary, in a way that PF2 feat prerequisites are not supposed to be.

Silver Crusade

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I'll go farther and flat out stat the bards as occult is completely the wrong flavor. It could perhaps be an interesting option in some specific cases, but thematically makes no sense. I can understand backing away from the very esoteric mechanics of the various occult classes, but they really nailed theme well.


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Disclaimer: This is feedback from attempting to make a bard for the playtest - we haven't yet got the crew around the table to play, where experiences may differ.

Lack of Options: I must ask whether the limited array of class feats, and their daisy-chained nature (e.g. Lingering Performance is a prerequisite for Inspire Competence) is intended to represent the final class design, or is merely a product of restricted page count for the playtest?

Skills: Historically, the bard has been adept at a great many skills, and the 7+Int trained skills appears to represent this also (noting the Sorcerer is 5+Int, for comparison). Contrasting this, however, is the same skill increase advancement as all classes other than rogue. This results in the exact same number of legendary (one of which will usually be Performance) skills as most other classes. Would Paizo considering offering more variation in the rate of skill, between the standard 9-over-20-levels and rogue's 19-over-20-levels? This would allow middle-ground to be found with classes such as the bard.

Combat Options: Appreciating that the bard has been revised to be a full caster and many compositions are unlimited in use, there is an appreciable absence of more direct combat-focused options within the roster of class features. Historically martial combat was a crucial part of most bards that I have both played and seen played (as I usually GM), however the baseline bard class feats do not appear to support such. Is it the intent that more martially inclined bards use their class feats to instead multiclass into fighter or similar classes?

Doubled-Down on Support: The current incarnation of the bard appears to have doubled-down on the "support" niche rather heavily, with most of the unique and interesting options being entirely geared towards making the rest of your party better, and your enemies worse. I could be missing something, or it could simply be a product of lack of options. I also appreciate that many players love playing support (and that is totally okay!), but many others find it rather frustrating and unrewarding, which seems an unfortunate state for an entire core class. Again, I may just be missing something, but I struggled to assemble a bard character that could match the antics and style of my PF1 dervishes or arrowsong minstrels.

Spell Selection: I appreciate that the design intent of the bard is to be the primary occult caster (even if I had hoped otherwise*), but I find it strange that they begin play with the ability to freely choose only one first level spell, with the latter being defined by their 'muse' - which incidentally also defines both their starting class feat, and in essence their 2nd level class feat (unless they take a 1st level feat at 2nd). While trying to assemble a character this felt highly restrictive, as I struggled to match both the class feat and spell provided by the muse to the intended theme.

*Segue:

I must admit to having hoped to see the bard remain the hybrid 6-of-9 (i.e. max 6th level spells) caster, only taking a leaf from the book of the PF2 sorcerer: With the option to become something akin to a hunter-lite, inquisitor-lite, magus-lite, mesmerist-lite, via access to the different spell lists and themed abilities.

That being said, I understand the design space and philosophy demands a full occult caster, though I find it a difficult fit for the design goals I have for a bard character.

Muse Design: Would Paizo consider an approach to the design of the bard's muse to be closer to that of the druid's order, where class feats grant additional benefits to bards of a particular muse? This would be, preferably, in lieu of a the muse acting as the starting point a form of soft 'class feat tree' that it currently is.

Dexterity to Damage: This is a broader question, however it is pertinent to the bard, so I will add it here - what is the design philosophy around the ability to add Dexterity to damage? At present it appears to be a unique rogue ability, and must ask whether that is a firm design goal of PF2.


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Raynulf wrote:


Lack of Options: I must ask whether the limited array of class feats, and their daisy-chained nature (e.g. Lingering Performance is a prerequisite for Inspire Competence) is intended to represent the final class design, or is merely a product of restricted page count for the playtest?

This is a good comment. The Bard appears much more stovepiped than, say, the Wizard, and has fewer options at each level. That said, they have one more class feat (the muse selection) than the Wizard, and they're less stovepiped than the Sorcerer is by their bloodline. I would hope and cautiously expect more class feat options at release. I'm not sure whether prerequisites should be relaxed, I think they make sense.

Raynulf wrote:


Skills: Historically, the bard has been adept at a great many skills, and the 7+Int trained skills appears to represent this also (noting the Sorcerer is 5+Int, for comparison). Contrasting this, however, is the same skill increase advancement as all classes other than rogue. This results in the exact same number of legendary (one of which will usually be Performance) skills as most other classes. Would Paizo considering offering more variation in the rate of skill, between the standard 9-over-20-levels and rogue's 19-over-20-levels? This would allow middle-ground to be found with classes such as the bard.

I agree that skills feel a bit lacking (and note that due to what is probably an oversight Sorcerers actually have 9+ skills, as their bloodline signature skills come trained...), but this is traditionally done through Bardic Lore and Versatile Performance. The issue is those abilities, not the baseline skill offerings.

Bardic Lore lets you Recall Knowledge from four "real" skills (Arcana, Religion, Nature, Society) and all the profession/specialized Lore skills. Theoretically it saves you four trained skills (and gets you four expert skills once you are Legendary in Occultism), but this assumes you don't want to be trained in those skills for other reasons (rituals, other uses of the skill).

Is that the case? Definitely for Nature (everything else you can do untrained or is irrelevant for your class), very probably for Arcana (unless you want to read magical writings), very probably for Religion (unless you want to read scripture), but not necessarily for Society (you may want forgery or decipher writing capability). The Lore skills might also come up often for fringe knowledge that might help solve problems, but that's somewhat GM dependent. I don't think missing out on rituals is a big deal, because the better ones require Master, which you can't get, and Occultism alone covers a lot of rituals for you.

I'm comfortable calling Bardic Lore a trade of a class feat for the functional utility of four trained (later expert) skills. Is that worth it? It depends, but it certainly can be. I would be comfortable selecting it if I want to specialize in or cover the bases of knowledge for the party, and the next in the chain, Loremaster's Recall, makes you better at a very acceptable cost of 1 spell point at the same action economy.

Versatile Performance has more problems, I think. It gives you part of three skills (Deception, Diplomacy, and Intimidation), but you probably want to be trained in Diplomacy anyway for Gather Information and especially Request, and you probably want to be trained in Deception anyway for Lie. Essentially you're getting a limited bonus

Compared to Bardic Lore, which gives part of 4+ skills that you can probably (with one exception) afford not to train, Versatile Performance only gives you three (albeit three important functions), and you probably still need to train two of them. So it's saving you one skill (Intimidation) and giving you an extra bonus (your improved proficiency) to those overlapping functions. Unfortunately you can't apply an item bonus from any of the Performance boosting magic items, which require you to be using an actual performance type. (Those hips don't Lie or even Impersonate when dancing with a Dancing Scarf.)

Is that worth a class feat? Probably not, especially since there isn't any follow on ability to enhance it, like with Loremaster's Recall. My main incentive in taking Versatile Performance would be as a tax to take Esoteric Scholar.

So I think Versatile Performance needs a boost.


Raynulf wrote:


Combat Options: Appreciating that the bard has been revised to be a full caster and many compositions are unlimited in use, there is an appreciable absence of more direct combat-focused options within the roster of class features. Historically martial combat was a crucial part of most bards that I have both played and seen played (as I usually GM), however the baseline bard class feats do not appear to support such. Is it the intent that more martially inclined bards use their class feats to instead multiclass into fighter or similar classes?

I think core Bard feats support martial combat just as much as core Bard class features did in PF1 - not at all, except through self buffing. Inspire Courage gives you better to hit and damage, and you have both cantrips (well, Telekinetic Projectile and sometimes Daze unless you use an ancestry feat) and adequate weapon proficiencies to put that to use.

Melee: Inspire Courage, Strike with rapier, either Strike/Move whatever
Ranged Cantrip: (While holding rapier) Inspire Courage, Telekinetic Projectile
Ranged: Inspire Courage, Strike with bow, either Strike/Move whatever

Your exciting decisions are how to use your compositions and spells as you advance and get more options, not your physical attack options. You're going to have to multiclass if you want that. Even martial classes get limited access to the various combat feats and tricks.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Based on the reading of the Class progression table, the Bard does not get a 'Bard Feat' outside the choice of their Muse. So you only get one Bard feat at level one. It does look like you get one choice of a 1st level spell, and due to the wording, a 1st level spell based on Muse.


Xenocrat wrote:


I think core Bard feats support martial combat just as much as core Bard class features did in PF1 - not at all, except through self buffing. Inspire Courage gives you better to hit and damage, and you have both cantrips (well, Telekinetic Projectile and sometimes Daze unless you use an ancestry feat) and adequate weapon proficiencies to put that to use.

You do have a very good point there - the PF2 baseline bard is not too dissimilar in feel to the PF1 CRB Bard. This is notable as other classes had many of the later advancements rolled into their class:

  • The martial flexibility feature of the brawler is now part of the fighter
  • The warpriest sacred weapon damage boost is now (sort of) part of the cleric
  • Unchained rogue perks got folded straight into the rogue

    Thus, given the popularity (at least in my experience - YMMV) of bard archetypes such as the archaeologist, arrowsong minstrel (which may have been OP), arcane duelist, court bard and dervish dancer, I was surprised that Paizo didn't try to broaden the class a little with some of their previous offerings.

    The comment from some of my players was that the PF2 bard felt like it lacked passion, which is a little ironic. It is also possible that our gaming group, with its long history of pushing the bard away from the stereotypical minstrel, may simply be an outlier and our expectations are thus unlikely to be met.

    Xenocrat wrote:

    Melee: Inspire Courage, Strike with rapier, either Strike/Move whatever

    Ranged Cantrip: (While holding rapier) Inspire Courage, Telekinetic Projectile
    Ranged: Inspire Courage, Strike with bow, either Strike/Move whatever

    Your exciting decisions are how to use your compositions and spells as you advance and get more options, not your physical attack options. You're going to have to multiclass if you want that. Even martial classes get limited access to the various combat feats and tricks.

    I would comment that given that only the rogue deals Dex to damage, bards who use weapons at all will probably want at least a 14 in Strength, both for carrying capacity and damage.

    Telekinetic projectile is an interesting cantrip (with a typo, as the 3rd level heightening states 1d8 + spellcasting ability modifier, while all other references state 1d10), and I believe that inspire courage applies to it, as it is an "attack". That being said, I would argue a composite shortbow would likely be a superior choice, though the gap wouldn't be too dramatic.

    Some numbers:

    Assuming inspire courage applies to the cantrip...
    At first level a Str 14, Dex 16, Cha 18 bard could spend one action to inspire courage and then two actions to either TP +6 (1d10+1), or shortbow +5/+0 (1d6+2)
    At third level they would be looking at +8 (1d10+5) vs +7/+2 (1d6+2), as they might not have a magic bow
    At 5th level with a +1 bow, they'd be looking at +11 (2d10+6) vs +11/+6 (2d6+3)
    At 9th level with a +2 bow, they'd be looking at +15 (4d10+6) vs +16/+11 (3d6+4)
    From there on the cantrip plateaus, while more powerful bows continues to improve.

    Summary:
    telekinetic projectile has the cons of being close range (30ft), and requires two actions to cast - making it less tactically flexible, it has typically a bit less potential damage than a bow, and finally it does stop improving significantly after 9th level. It has the pros of requiring no ammunition, no significant investment in equipment, and only one ability score to be effective - Charisma.

    A composite shortbow has the cons of needing ammunition, spending resources to obtain better runes for your bow, and requires both Strength and Dexterity for best effect. It has the pros of having typically higher damage than a bow early on, better range, more flexibility in actions and continues to improve at higher levels as more powerful runes are acquired.

    TL;DR: Bows can be more powerful if you invest in them, but telekinetic projectile is a good workhorse damaging spell otherwise.


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    I would have personally liked to see more options at 1st level. I feel that the muses are a little underwhelming. Perhaps if they gave you muse-specific powers (like cleric domains) or boosted the effectiveness of certain later bard feats (like druid orders), the bard would feel like it got a bit more from its 1st level choice.

    Currently, I feel the muses are much of a muchness with one another... there is very little difference in play between a bard with the lore muse or a bard with the polymath muse; they still use largely the same abilities, but gained certain feats at different levels. Conversely, two clerics with the confidence and passion domains, both "emotional" domains, have different powers and probably very different gods, contributing to a distinct difference between each cleric that lasts from level 1 to 20, even if they mostly chose the same feats.

    A polymath (polymathēs "having learned much") incidentally, is not a dabbler but someone like Leonardo da Vinci, who was an expert in a broad variety of areas, including anatomy, architecture, astronomy, botany, geology, literature, mathematics, painting and sculpture. In many respects, this is really what a lore or knowledge-focused muse should be about: learning as much as you can in one lifetime.

    Muses (in the PF2 sense of a creative focus or sphere of interest) that I might have considered for the playtest: cosmos (inspired by the magnitude of the universe, its secrets and its dangers; the explorer or lorekeeper), innovation (inspired by the mere process of creating something new or different; the great improviser), legend (inspired by the great legends of the past with a focus on building your own; the celebrity or writer of epics), rapport (inspired by people, their connections to one another and emotions; the extrovert or beguiler).

    Short Version: This is getting a bit long and rambly. In short, I feel that muses could stand to be a bit clearer in scope, add in a composition or power specific to that muse, and then boost the effects of certain thematically-linked bard feats down the line - in the interest of giving bards more versatility and some distinction from another bard in the party.

    In addition to, or as an alternative to the above, perhaps there could be a greater array of compositions to choose from at 1st level. If inspire courage is considered integral to the PF2 bard, then perhaps "inspire courage + one other composition of your choice" rather than "you get these two specific compositions" :)

    Some suggestions for additional 1st level compositions...:

    BRUTAL SATIRE | CANTRIP
    Auditory, Cantrip, Composition, Emotion, Enchantment, Mental
    Casting O> Verbal Casting
    Area 60-foot aura
    Duration 1 round
    You undermine the confidence and capability of nearby enemies with cutting wit or cruel humor. All enemies in the aura take a -1 conditional penalty to attack rolls, damage rolls, and saves vs fear.

    DWEOMERCRAFT | CANTRIP
    Cantrip, Composition, Divination, Mental
    Casting O> Verbal Casting
    Area 60-foot aura
    Duration 1 round
    You use your knowledge of occult and psychic forces to manipulate the energy of those around you. You and all allies in the aura gain a +1 conditional bonus to saving throws, spell attack rolls, and to the DCs of all spells with the divination, emotion or mental traits.

    RESOUNDING WEAPON | POWER 1
    Composition, Evocation
    Casting O> Verbal Casting
    Requirements Your last action was a Strike that dealt damage.
    You release a thunderous note that reverberates through your weapon, disrupting the inner harmonics of your enemy. The effect is determined by the creature's Fortitude save.
    - Success The target is deafened for 1 round.
    - Critical Success The target is unaffected.
    - Failure The target is deafened and hampered 5 for 1 round.
    - Critical Failure The target is deafened and hampered 10 for 1 round.

    I thought of some others of various levels, but as mentioned above, this post is going to get a bit long if I keep going, and I only intended to throw a couple of forms down as an example. I talk too much...


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    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

    One thing I'm wondering is... Why was Summon Monster the preselected spell for the Polymath muse? It seems to me that Charm compliments the theme of Versatile Performance much more closely.

    The only thing I can think of as to why monster summoning would be relevant to using one's skill at performance to influence others would be if we're going for some sort of Disney-princess-who-sings-to-animals shtick. :-\


    I think summon monster is itself a versatile spell (choose from a menu of options) that can solve a variety of problems (theoretically, given spells they have).

    Dark Archive

    In thinking more if were going with the 10th level caster or no caster paradigm in 2E, it makes more sense to trying and make the bard more like the Alchemist and not a cast, but with more hard wired special abilities, or just keep stealing from the 1E Masterpieces and bard get a selection of those, and also gets rids of the mysterious some how the bard is now occult, which does not match any lore from any incarnation of the game.


    Davor Firetusk wrote:
    In thinking more if were going with the 10th level caster or no caster paradigm in 2E, it makes more sense to trying and make the bard more like the Alchemist and not a cast, but with more hard wired special abilities, or just keep stealing from the 1E Masterpieces and bard get a selection of those, and also gets rids of the mysterious some how the bard is now occult, which does not match any lore from any incarnation of the game.

    i always saw bards as the kind of people who meddled in everything, trying to find bits of lore and stories about legends, cursed places, magical items, rumors and such.

    that fits nicely with the wider scope that "occultism" received in the 2nd edition.


    I'm hoping to see an ability to acquire spells from other lists beyond occult. I was also hoping to see Inspire abilities being expanded beyond basic combat.

    Maybe a drummer feat that gives a bonus to Shoves and Trips.

    RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

    shroudb wrote:
    Davor Firetusk wrote:
    In thinking more if were going with the 10th level caster or no caster paradigm in 2E, it makes more sense to trying and make the bard more like the Alchemist and not a cast, but with more hard wired special abilities, or just keep stealing from the 1E Masterpieces and bard get a selection of those, and also gets rids of the mysterious some how the bard is now occult, which does not match any lore from any incarnation of the game.

    i always saw bards as the kind of people who meddled in everything, trying to find bits of lore and stories about legends, cursed places, magical items, rumors and such.

    that fits nicely with the wider scope that "occultism" received in the 2nd edition.

    If bards are supposed to meddle in everything... why can't they meddle in arcane, divine, and primal magic?

    Making the jack-of-all-trades class the iconic occult specialist seems weird to me.


    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
    Xenocrat wrote:
    I think summon monster is itself a versatile spell (choose from a menu of options) that can solve a variety of problems.

    Well yes, there's a lot you can do with summon monster, but that seems kind of apples to oranges...

    Versatile Performer with Summon Monster: "I'm good at using my force of personality and understanding of the mortal psyche to influence people and get what I want, now watch me pull a hell hound out of my hat!"

    *record screech*

    Versatile Performer with Charm: "I'm good at using my force of personality and understanding of the mortal psyche to influence people and get what I want, now watch as the king demands the warden set us free and embraces me like we're old friends!"


    Xenocrat wrote:
    Raynulf wrote:


    Lack of Options: I must ask whether the limited array of class feats, and their daisy-chained nature (e.g. Lingering Performance is a prerequisite for Inspire Competence) is intended to represent the final class design, or is merely a product of restricted page count for the playtest?

    This is a good comment. The Bard appears much more stovepiped than, say, the Wizard, and has fewer options at each level. That said, they have one more class feat (the muse selection) than the Wizard, and they're less stovepiped than the Sorcerer is by their bloodline. I would hope and cautiously expect more class feat options at release. I'm not sure whether prerequisites should be relaxed, I think they make sense.

    Raynulf wrote:


    Skills: Historically, the bard has been adept at a great many skills, and the 7+Int trained skills appears to represent this also (noting the Sorcerer is 5+Int, for comparison). Contrasting this, however, is the same skill increase advancement as all classes other than rogue. This results in the exact same number of legendary (one of which will usually be Performance) skills as most other classes. Would Paizo considering offering more variation in the rate of skill, between the standard 9-over-20-levels and rogue's 19-over-20-levels? This would allow middle-ground to be found with classes such as the bard.

    I agree that skills feel a bit lacking (and note that due to what is probably an oversight Sorcerers actually have 9+ skills, as their bloodline signature skills come trained...), but this is traditionally done through Bardic Lore and Versatile Performance. The issue is those abilities, not the baseline skill offerings.

    Bardic Lore lets you Recall Knowledge from four "real" skills (Arcana, Religion, Nature, Society) and all the profession/specialized Lore skills. Theoretically it saves you four trained skills (and gets you four expert skills once you are Legendary in Occultism), but this assumes you don't want to be trained in those...

    I agree with that, the worse part of Versatile Performance is it kinda of locks you into pumping up Performance. This would not be so bad if the skill itself wasn't lackluster. Untrained, with a Performance check, you MAY make observers DC for Diplomacy checks lower (up to GM discursions, and you still need to make another different Skill check for this to have any impact) Being Trained allows to stage a performance to make money during your downtime, similar to Craft (however the Craft skill also lets you make things). The Skill Feats with Performance are also pretty lackluster (and because you are using Skill increases on Performance, instead of others, less likely to qualify for other Skill feats.)


    You need max Performance to optimize your compositions.


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    I really love a lot of the suggestions in this thread.

    I want to add that I really love the idea of Inspire Courage leveling like a cantrip. I really love it, so very, very much. It makes total sense and synergizes with the 2E cantrip system so well: bravo.

    I love that Counter Performance (& other Compositions) uses the Spell Point system, making it much easier for multiclassing options and not having to reinvent each class feature as some new name for the same stuff.

    I welcome the addition of more Muse options in further splat books; as it stands, I think the base three here are good ideas. It would be really, really cool to use the Muse selection to choose between the different class spell lists:

    Lore --> Arcane
    Maestro --> Divine
    Polymath --> Occult
    ??? --> Primal

    I wish there was a way to see all the composition cantrips/performances on one table, but I totally understand that page count is a factor.

    I wish Versatile Performance got more powerful as it leveled (gaining other ways to use Performance checks in place of other Skill checks) but that is my own prejudice toward loving PF1e's Versatile Performance.


    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
    extinct_fizz wrote:

    I welcome the addition of more Muse options in further splat books; as it stands, I think the base three here are good ideas. It would be really, really cool to use the Muse selection to choose between the different class spell lists:

    Lore --> Arcane
    Maestro --> Divine
    Polymath --> Occult
    ??? --> Primal

    Oooh, I really like this idea! :O

    extinct_fizz wrote:
    I wish Versatile Performance got more powerful as it leveled (gaining other ways to use Performance checks in place of other Skill checks) but that is my own prejudice toward loving PF1e's Versatile Performance.

    Right? P1's Versatile Performance was a skill monkey's dream come true!


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    extinct_fizz wrote:

    I really love a lot of the suggestions in this thread.

    I want to add that I really love the idea of Inspire Courage leveling like a cantrip. I really love it, so very, very much. It makes total sense and synergizes with the 2E cantrip system so well: bravo.

    I love that Counter Performance (& other Compositions) uses the Spell Point system, making it much easier for multiclassing options and not having to reinvent each class feature as some new name for the same stuff.

    I welcome the addition of more Muse options in further splat books; as it stands, I think the base three here are good ideas. It would be really, really cool to use the Muse selection to choose between the different class spell lists:

    Lore --> Arcane
    Maestro --> Divine
    Polymath --> Occult
    ??? --> Primal

    I wish there was a way to see all the composition cantrips/performances on one table, but I totally understand that page count is a factor.

    I wish Versatile Performance got more powerful as it leveled (gaining other ways to use Performance checks in place of other Skill checks) but that is my own prejudice toward loving PF1e's Versatile Performance.

    it's the same page count if bard powers are under bard instead of the spell list.

    same for sorc, same for paladin, same for... everyone really.

    going back and forth the spell lists for powers is a pain

    Grand Lodge

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    I'm concerned about some of the Compositions as well. Specifically, the skill checks for Inspire Heroics and Lingering Performance. Rolling skill checks every round to figure out basic things like what your attack bonus looks like it will slow things down dramatically. Having wildly varying bonuses to allies looks frustrating to track for everyone. I'm honestly not sure how someone who's played with PF1 bards could think having their bonuses change round to round would be anything other than annoying. Finally, spending Spell Point on buff abilities only to have them fizzle ~50% or more of the time looks completely un-fun.

    Grand Lodge

    I'll just throw in here that Triple Time could use a line about using it as a Exploration Tactic. Or Exploration tactics should have a different tactic for single-action spells like Compositions. I'm having a hard time trying to figure out a good use for it, unless you happen into the sweet spot where your enemies are 40' (or 80') away and you can save two allies actions.


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    I think the same, the Rolling Will be slowing the game a LOT, a 12 lvl bard Will have to roll twice every round to extend the inspire courage and to give better bonuses, and he Will be succesful perhaps 50 % of the time, as the dificulty is greater every level. Not fun at all

    Markov Spiked Chain wrote:
    I'm concerned about some of the Compositions as well. Specifically, the skill checks for Inspire Heroics and Lingering Performance. Rolling skill checks every round to figure out basic things like what your attack bonus looks like it will slow things down dramatically. Having wildly varying bonuses to allies looks frustrating to track for everyone. I'm honestly not sure how someone who's played with PF1 bards could think having their bonuses change round to round would be anything other than annoying. Finally, spending Spell Point on buff abilities only to have them fizzle ~50% or more of the time looks completely un-fun.


    wujenta wrote:

    I think the same, the Rolling Will be slowing the game a LOT, a 12 lvl bard Will have to roll twice every round to extend the inspire courage and to give better bonuses, and he Will be succesful perhaps 50 % of the time, as the dificulty is greater every level. Not fun at all

    Markov Spiked Chain wrote:
    I'm concerned about some of the Compositions as well. Specifically, the skill checks for Inspire Heroics and Lingering Performance. Rolling skill checks every round to figure out basic things like what your attack bonus looks like it will slow things down dramatically. Having wildly varying bonuses to allies looks frustrating to track for everyone. I'm honestly not sure how someone who's played with PF1 bards could think having their bonuses change round to round would be anything other than annoying. Finally, spending Spell Point on buff abilities only to have them fizzle ~50% or more of the time looks completely un-fun.

    you can't simultaneously both lingering AND inspire heroics.

    only 1 free action per trigger and the trigger is the same for both:
    finish casting a composition
    finish casting inspire courage (which is a composition)

    as for flavor. I'm a plyer that usually loves playing Support classes. And having to roll the performance to make them better is actually really, really nice (feels wise).

    it turns a "fire and forget" ability to something active.

    The main buff (the +1) will always be there (and always provides the same % bonus due to how bounded accuracy works), but you spend spell points trying to make it better. Having a potential +3 on a critical always feels like you accomplished something.

    To turn it around, from a support perspective, it's the same as having to roll your attacks vs having them always hit and do the same.

    Would you like more rolling for attacks, or would you like attack rolls to always be a static (lower) damage that you do each turn simply by declaring them? That's how great the new system feels, you get to roll for your buffs!

    chance wise, maximizing your performance will give you something like 65-70% of success and ~20-25% of crit, which is about right imo. It isn't autosuccess (which will just bring it to the previous "fire and forget" category, but it has a high chance of success so you don't feel like you're wasting SP


    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
    Epic Meepo wrote:

    The following are a few assorted questions I had while reading through the bard class.

    Spellcasting: Why can’t each bard choose their own spell list instead of all bards using the occult spell list? Sure, many bards delve into occult lore. Aren't others inspired by nature and trained by druid circles? Aren't others professors at arcane academies? Aren't others inspired by deities to perform sacred hymns in temples? The bard is supposed to be the jack-of-all-trades class that can follow any number of paths, so it seems like a better candidate for the “choose your own spell list” benefit than the sorcerer class.

    Sorcerers' "style" of magic being tied to their bloodline IMO makes more sense than a bard choosing to "specialize." The occult spell list also seems to focus a bit more on mental effects and divination than the other lists, which makes sense for the bard being (traditionally) the class that charms people with music and knows bits of lore and history.

    Raynulf wrote:
    Thus, given the popularity (at least in my experience - YMMV) of bard archetypes such as the archaeologist, arrowsong minstrel (which may have been OP), arcane duelist, court bard and dervish dancer, I was surprised that Paizo didn't try to broaden the class a little with some of their previous offerings.

    An "arrowsong minstrel" is actually pretty easy: increase Crafting from trained to expert and take the Magical Crafting feat at 3rd level (as general feats can be used to take skill feats). Research or purchase the formula for spellstrike ammunition. You can now cast a spell and use your bow (bards are trained in short bows) to shoot an arrow that applies the spell effect to the target of the arrow. If you want to use a longbow, be an elf with Weapon Familiarity (Elf) or take the Fighter Dedication multiclassing feat*.

    Melee-focused bards are a bit more difficult, requiring Wizard Dedication, Basic Arcana (Reach Spell or Widen Spell might make sense), and then Advanced Arcana (Magical Striker; must be 8th level). To get expert proficiency in a melee weapon group also requires Fighter Dedication and Weapon Expert.

    *- Which also allows you eventually to pick up Point Blank Shot (with Basic Maneuver) and Double Shot (with Advanced Maneuver), as well as expert proficiency in bows (with Weapon Expert).

    RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

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    Agree that different muses should probably grant different spell lists. Thematically, a staple fantasy bard should probably be arcane, a classic "old Irish" bard - a nature caster, while certain bardic traditionhs in my setting call for the divine spell list... can't invent any backstory for occult bards though.

    Versatile performance needs a boost. It was so sweet in PF 1, and now there is little reason to pick it.


    Laithoron wrote:

    One thing I'm wondering is... Why was Summon Monster the preselected spell for the Polymath muse? It seems to me that Charm compliments the theme of Versatile Performance much more closely.

    The only thing I can think of as to why monster summoning would be relevant to using one's skill at performance to influence others would be if we're going for some sort of Disney-princess-who-sings-to-animals shtick. :-\

    I would have given them a healing spell instead since that's one of the glaring absences of the bard's occult spell list.

    extinct_fizz wrote:


    I welcome the addition of more Muse options in further splat books; as it stands, I think the base three here are good ideas. It would be really, really cool to use the Muse selection to choose between the different class spell lists:

    Lore --> Arcane
    Maestro --> Divine
    Polymath --> Occult
    ??? --> Primal

    Neat idea. I would worry that it steps on the Sorcerer's toes flavorwise, but neat.


    Aldarc wrote:
    Laithoron wrote:

    One thing I'm wondering is... Why was Summon Monster the preselected spell for the Polymath muse? It seems to me that Charm compliments the theme of Versatile Performance much more closely.

    The only thing I can think of as to why monster summoning would be relevant to using one's skill at performance to influence others would be if we're going for some sort of Disney-princess-who-sings-to-animals shtick. :-\

    I would have given them a healing spell instead since that's one of the glaring absences of the bard's occult spell list.

    Soothe is the Bard's healing spell, and Maestro muse grants it as a spell known.


    Laik wrote:

    Agree that different muses should probably grant different spell lists. Thematically, a staple fantasy bard should probably be arcane, a classic "old Irish" bard - a nature caster, while certain bardic traditionhs in my setting call for the divine spell list... can't invent any backstory for occult bards though.

    Versatile performance needs a boost. It was so sweet in PF 1, and now there is little reason to pick it.

    Why, the occult bard, obviously, is the honourable perpetuator of an ageless covenant, funnelling their musical energy to the nameless paws that hold the monotonously piping demoniac flute, lulling the Daemon Sultan in its eternal slumber. Whenever there is no bard playing at any time, the Nuclear Chaos will awaken and end Existence, tradition has it.

    At least, that's what one of those right respectable Saviors of the Universe told me, when asking for a small contribution.

    And, no, I do not really believe, making the bard the prime occult caster was, thematically, the soundest choice.


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    A Bard should be able to charm people, heal people, and create illusions.
    A Bard should not be able to sling fireballs or turn into a dinosaur.

    A spell list has been created to satisfy those constraints, and it’s called the occult spell list.


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    QuidEst wrote:

    A Bard should be able to charm people, heal people, and create illusions.

    A Bard should not be able to sling fireballs or turn into a dinosaur.

    A spell list has been created to satisfy those constraints, and it’s called the occult spell list.

    I simply dislike the Cthulhu Mythos mix-in with the bard stuff. I prefer my bards to be happy-go-lucky, not weighted down by insane secrets man were not meant to know.


    Mats Öhrman wrote:
    QuidEst wrote:

    A Bard should be able to charm people, heal people, and create illusions.

    A Bard should not be able to sling fireballs or turn into a dinosaur.

    A spell list has been created to satisfy those constraints, and it’s called the occult spell list.

    I simply dislike the Cthulhu Mythos mix-in with the bard stuff. I prefer my bards to be happy-go-lucky, not weighted down by insane secrets man were not meant to know.

    This is my main issue with the class. It's actually not so much the list, it's more the theoretic origins and naming of it, and that it's tied *only* to the "aberrant" bloodline right now. Also, the migration of Bard away from being a skill master and decent fighter is pretty upsetting as well. Bards are now just pure casters, and have no real combat abilities. They are on par with/slightly worse than sorcerers and wizards, and significantly worse than clerics...


    Mats Öhrman wrote:
    QuidEst wrote:

    A Bard should be able to charm people, heal people, and create illusions.

    A Bard should not be able to sling fireballs or turn into a dinosaur.

    A spell list has been created to satisfy those constraints, and it’s called the occult spell list.

    I simply dislike the Cthulhu Mythos mix-in with the bard stuff. I prefer my bards to be happy-go-lucky, not weighted down by insane secrets man were not meant to know.

    you don't have to be dark cthulu bard (ala Pied Piper), you can be the same happy-go-lucky bard that learned his tricks and knacks by hearing, learning, and studying all those legends, stories, and myths.

    occult isn't only about what's outside but also about the hidden powers inside stuff.

    Picture an old adnd/3rd/pf1 bard with Legend lore and Bardic knowledge. The esoteric knowledge about ALL those (literally uncountable) magical objects, legends, and myths, is how you learned your magic.

    no need to be dark at all.

    imo, that's the whole bard-occult relation anyways:

    -"Let me see that wound. Hmm... I recall a chant of a hearth witch from a ballad, it goes like that *casts soothe*"
    -"Oh crap, this Y is charging... Thankfully it is written on the epic of Mage the Magnificent Bastard that he chanted those words *casts X spell* and stopped it. Take that Y!"

    and etc


    I honestly really really like that bardic magic is all intangible and ephemeral, music that lifts the spirit and distracts the mind.

    In all fairness I don't actually object to the Lovecraftian link. But even without that I think it sits way more comfortably for me than the same sort of magic a wizard uses to blow houses up.


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    Apart from the occult-aberrant issue, what possibly concerns me more is the bard's being the primary caster for that tradition.

    The bard, up to this point has been passable in most fields, good in some, but best in none. They are, for what it's worth, dabblers, jacks o' all trades, not dedicated luminaries of magic.

    For more than thirty years, Bard has been my favourite class, by far. But, I wouldn't ever consider playing one as is.


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    i don't know, I find this iteration of Bard one of the best I've ever played in various systems.

    and it's solely because of how composition cantrips and powers interact.

    changing the class from "auto enable a static buff" to a (basically) "attack with your performance for higher bonus" gives it a more real feel to me.

    "missing" with your performance does suck, but on the flipside, criting with it does feel awesome, exactly like I was in the thick of it, and that's good.

    Occult list also feels very well designed, with bits and pieces from everything else, giving it that free-flow aura that you'd expect from a bard.

    I do agree that he's lacking a bit on the martial side, but the way I see it, with how multiclassing works now, I can see it working, with martial based bards taking fighter multi, archeologists like can pick up rogue, even wizard for gish like with magical striker at 8 seem legit (I mean, inspire->true strike->bow strike seems more than solid)


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    Now, my concerns do not concern mechanics, but flavour alone. Quite possibly, this "bard" is a well-rounded and powerful class; how would I know (refusing to play one)? It just doesn't taste of bard anymore.

    I don't mind having a curry from time to time. But, when I order a blancmange, I'm looking for something sweet and wobbly, not exotic spices and cubes of proto-cheese.

    And, the proposition of multiclassing for a remedy is, to me, rather confirmation than refutation.


    Grimmerling wrote:

    Now, my concerns do not concern mechanics, but flavour alone. Quite possibly, this "bard" is a well-rounded and powerful class; how would I know (refusing to play one)? It just doesn't taste of bard anymore.

    I don't mind having a curry from time to time. But, when I order a blancmange, I'm looking for something sweet and wobbly, not exotic spices and cubes of proto-cheese.

    And, the proposition of multiclassing for a remedy is, to me, rather confirmation than refutation.

    No, what I'm getting at, is that bard feels way more like a bard now, because, finally, it's much more Performance based than before.

    The base class, using the class feats, is one of the best renditions of being "bard".

    The multiclass (which people should start reading them as class paths really, because that's what they are) is more like if you want a sweeter or wobblier blancmange than the regular one.


    Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    I'm wondering if the only issue is the name of the spell list, because enchantment, illusion and divination are truly the Bard's domain and that's exactly what's on that list.

    The name of the spell list doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the personality of the person who knows it or where they got their powers.

    Having looked at the other three lists, none of them fit the nature of the bard as well and I, for one, do not want to go back to individual class spell lists.

    If they renamed the list to Spiritual then would people still have a problem? I think the issue with that is that what would the skill name be in that case?

    Arcane => Arcana
    Divine => Religion
    Primal => Nature
    Spiritual => ???


    The thing about the occult spell list is that it isn't strictly aberrations anymore than divine is strictly devils. The traditionally happy go lucky bard is basically the anti-Lovecraft, with the ability to break through the madness and aliveness of the black tapestry by using something structured and familiar, their art. Much like a good divine Caster has the best tools for fighting fiends.

    As for skills, I think the bard is fine where they are, with the second most trained skills in the game. I don't think they need more skill increases to be the jack of all trades. I'd rather more skill increases go to the Ranger who is supposed to be the best at several things.

    Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

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    Please change the name of muses. It’s not in any way what a muse is, the descriptive text even indicates this. The muses as described are really methods or specialties. The description given is more in line with what a muse actually means - a physical creature, deity, philosophy, or something which would inspire a bard in some way. The choices given though aren't any of those. So if music is your muse, then you ARE a maestro, if knowledge is your muse, your specialist in Lore (this one isn't too far off really). I don't know what muse would fit for making a polymath, but maybe that's the option if you have all muses or none, since everything inspires you.

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