[Closed] Are bards better in Pathfinder?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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I'm fine with that. I didn't want to have that argument anyway.

Silver Crusade

My personal experience is that a Dawnflower Dervish can be a highly effective front-line warrior (I've played one up to 14th lvl).


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Ok, I don't really want to argue with someone who's slave to some outdated concept of must-have party composition with characters solely dedicated to one role (that actually comes from a different game), but there's one comment I simply can't let pass:

Piccolo wrote:
Rogues have skills (and more skill points to work with) Bards lack class access to.

­First, what game are you even playing? There is no such thing as "class access" in Pathfinder, class skills are merely a +3 to trained skills. With traits (and some racial traits), grabbing additional class skills is super easy.

Second, there are only two (in numbers: 2) class skills that Rogue have but Bard lack, Disable Device and Swim! Meanwhile, Bard has nine (9) class skills that Rogue lacks (various Knowledges and Spellcraft).
Third, with Versatile Performance kicking in at 2nd level, Bard is a mere one skill rank per level behind Rogue (and breaks even at 6th level if you're willing to go without training in a skill until then).
All in all, with Inspire Competence, Bardic Knowledge, Lore Master, and more class skills, versus merely +1 skill rank/level and Trap Finding, there's no way that Rogue can objectively be said to be overall better at skills than Bard, unless you only look at 1st level!

@Taudis: You forgot something for you archery Bard's damage: That Bard is also responsible for the damage of every party member's attack that would have missed but for the attack roll bonus from Inspire Courage, which alone is something like ~15% of all attacks at +2 (resulting in ~25% total damage increase for martials from Inspire Courage).


After thinking about it a bit, I realized why Piccolo thinks the Bard was unfit for a four man party: If you build your party with a dedicated skillmonkey, a dedicated healer, a dedicated warrior-type, and a dedicated arcane caster, it is indeed a fairly weak class. Especially when you try to replace something other than the skillmonkey with the Bard (because Bard doesn't have CRB given Trap Finding) - in such a party, it can't adequately fulfill any of the three remaining roles (at least not without some archetypes). With at most one character that does some proper martial stuff in combat, the Bard's buffs also fall flat.
If you, on the other hand, realize that this isn't the 70's (or whenever such a strict party composition made sense, if ever), and build a your party based on Pathfinder instead of (past versions of) D&D, it looks completely different. Due to traits, archetypes, racial traits, and more hybridish classes, the traditional party roles are split between multiple characters in a proper Pathfinder party. In such a party, where "tanking", damage dealing, skills, casting and sometimes even healing are done in part each by multiple characters, there is indeed room for a Bard, as is for hybrid classes (both the ACG ones and others).

I've played in a party where HP healing was done by the Magus' spell recalled Infernal Healing (plus a wand if needed) and the condition removal was split between the Druid and the Sorcerer (both were needed vs. Mummy Rot), plus hired NPC. Said party also didn't have a d10/12 HD class, the melee job was done by the Magus, the Druid+Pet, and my Summoner's Eidolon - each of those had either low HP or AC. The Druid was the only class with more than 2+int skill ranks per level.

Here's the crux: We ended the campaign earlier than intended because that party was too efficient!


Derklord, I don't appreciate the trolling.


Piccolo wrote:
Derklord, I don't appreciate the trolling.

If you believe there is trolling here, I politely suggest you reconsider your definition of that word. Fairly neutral, factual, statements were made by the user in question, but unsupported assertions of negative behaviour only serve to degrade the tone and content of the conversation further. Please consider the impact of these actions/words. If the outcome is indeed what you desire, then you be you, but if not, perhaps a different course of action?


"Ok, I don't really want to argue with someone who's slave to some outdated concept of must-have party composition "

"If you, on the other hand, realize that this isn't the 70's (or whenever such a strict party composition made sense, if ever)"

This is trolling.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, that tangent aside, how do you support your claim that Rogues have access to skills Bards don't have access to, or that Bards cannot disarm traps?


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Piccolo wrote:

"Ok, I don't really want to argue with someone who's slave to some outdated concept of must-have party composition "

"If you, on the other hand, realize that this isn't the 70's (or whenever such a strict party composition made sense, if ever)"

This is trolling.

I would disagree. You are stuck to an outdated party composition that doesn't take into consideration Pathfinders greatest strength: giving options to the players.

If you don't consider that, then you're ignoring it willfully. I dont think its trolling to point that out. Its factual.

I've played parties consisting entirely of bards. They are just that fantastic. I guarantee that theres an archtype AND option for every role in your traditional 4 man party. And then some.


Cavall wrote:
Piccolo wrote:

"Ok, I don't really want to argue with someone who's slave to some outdated concept of must-have party composition "

"If you, on the other hand, realize that this isn't the 70's (or whenever such a strict party composition made sense, if ever)"

This is trolling.

I would disagree. You are stuck to an outdated party composition that doesn't take into consideration Pathfinders greatest strength: giving options to the players.

If you don't consider that, then you're ignoring it willfully. I dont think its trolling to point that out. Its factual.

I've played parties consisting entirely of bards. They are just that fantastic. I guarantee that theres an archtype AND option for every role in your traditional 4 man party. And then some.

^This so much this^

Scarab Sages

Absolutely. Off the top of my head an all bard party with Arcane Duelist, Archaeologist, Songhealer, and Studious Librarian should be able to handle whatever comes their way. Even if there are some critical spells missing, there's so much UMD going on it's ridiculous.

There are plenty of other good party combinations that can be used to tweak the party to meet the demands of a particular campaign type, wilderness, urban, etc.


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Cavall wrote:
I've played parties consisting entirely of bards. They are just that fantastic. I guarantee that theres an archtype AND option for every role in your traditional 4 man party. And then some.

I've always wondered how hard Archaeologists backed by a normal Bard and an Archivist would wreck face. That's three sorts of Inspire Courage that all stack!


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Not only are Pathfinder Bards fantastic, but Paizo also did an incredible job exploring and utilizing the 6-level caster space (which WotC severely under-utilized).

In fact, 6-level casting classes are all easily my favorite in the game, and bard is near the top of that list (along with alchemist).

Grand Lodge

6th-level casting classes have become the norm in Starfinder for these exact reasons, and I agree that some of the most fun classes I've seen are 3/4 bab 6th-level casters. I've had an 11th level bard with Flagbearer/banner of ancient kings enable my oracle to 1 shot a drake with one casting of scorching ray.

I've played a lv1 one shot as a half-orc archeologist bard with a greataxe that was the party front line.

Warpriests are godzillas on the battlefield.

Hunters have the best Companions in the game.

Inquisitors can shoot down enemies without breaking a sweat.


For the most part, the ACG is the opposite of power creep. Most of the options are a little weaker than you’d expect based on the APG classes. Shaman is the only one that’s really close to OP, and that’s just because of the human FCB letting you grab cleric spells, while the lore spirit lets you grab some wizard spells.

The archaeologist bard archetype makes the bard a better rogue than the rogue in most situations. And Aram Zey’s focus can do a lot for a trap disarming bard.


Taudis wrote:
Cavall wrote:
I've played parties consisting entirely of bards. They are just that fantastic. I guarantee that theres an archtype AND option for every role in your traditional 4 man party. And then some.
I've always wondered how hard Archaeologists backed by a normal Bard and an Archivist would wreck face. That's three sorts of Inspire Courage that all stack!

I can answer that. Kind of. The skull and shackles game I ran had a cleric evangelist, a skald and a freebooter ranger. So basically what you've described.

By end game they were adding 9 to hit and 9 +2d6 to damage.

Just walked through challenges with even the power swings on last of full attacks hitting.


Piccolo wrote:
Second, as GM I don't allow anything from the ACG. It's precisely the sort of thing you cite that makes me disallow them.
Piccolo wrote:
I don't allow the ACG for several reasons: The first is that by reputation the classes are more potent overall than any other source of classes, to the point that they make the rest "underpowered". I don't allow power creep in my games.

I have much the same attitude as you when it comes to my games. It's actually not as bad as it first looks (especially after they issues errata).

After some very serious consideration I'm allowing the arcanist, bloodrager, brawler, hunter, skald, slayer, swashbuckler and warpriest. None of them really replace any of the core classes. A Skald's inspire rage is strictly inferior to inspire courage. The slayer is a fighter with some inferior mechanics in return for more skill points.

This is without archetypes. Some of ACG's archetypes (especially for the arcanist) are completely overpowered. But if you allow the base ACG classes you aren't going to get power creep or any classes from the CRB negated. The only exception to this is the Investigator which I wouldn't allow. Primary INT character + boosts to knowledge skills = why bother with a bard.

Piccolo wrote:
I run APs, which means I need to have a balanced party or the players get frustrated and PC's die. Within that framework, there just isn't room for hybrids (the classic example is the Bard, which was usually the 5th man of a 4 member party).

Your group isn't going to be substantially worse off with an arcanist and bloodrager instead of a sorcerer and barbarian. The classes will play differently to the CRB classes, but they're not going to be worse at their job (not better either of course. Simply different). If your cleric went warpriest you'd have more trouble.

Piccolo wrote:
To be frank, I am tired of all the hate Rogues get on this website, and I don't want to get into that again. I have no problems with them.

How a group plays is a big part of it. In my group non-casters never become irrelevant because as a group we work together to ensure that everyone is able to contribute equally (liberal casting of freedom of movement at high level, heroism quickly becomes an assumed buff that's constantly running from mid level onwards).

Taudis wrote:
being able to play a dexterous debilitator right out of the box with Unchained is very nice.

I'm currently playing a CRB Rogue. I'm equal to the party fighter (although admittedly the party fighter is a cavalier). We are only level 5 though. I do dislike rogues, simply because I've seen so many die in an attempt to get sneak attack. I've not been suicidal and simply make do with "less damage" when I can't get a flank. I've certainly felt on par with the rest of the group.

Taudis wrote:
[bards] can also do well in the role of 3rd player (replacing the healer or controller)

I strongly disagree on them replacing the healer. As Picolo points out they can only restore HP damage. That is the lowest responsibility a healer has.

doomman47 wrote:
if you need a spell to be on a bard spell list research it until it is.

I have never seen that fly and I doubt I ever will. If your group plays with wizards who can cast cure <word> wounds, heal, remove blindness/deafness, lesser restoration and raise dead then that's great for your group. I think you'll find very few GMs who are as lenient as that when it comes to the research spell rules.

KestrelZ wrote:
Back to the original post, competent bards are easier to make in PF than 3.5; though lack the prestige class combinations that highly optimizing 3.5 players could use (unless you "convert" 3.5 stuff into your home game - not an option in organized play).

Eagle Knights from the original Andoran player's book plus Dragon Disciple actually have good synergy with the bard if you're willing to multiclass to get proficiencies and are looking to make a beatstick. I have a strength based full plate wearing halfling bard in PFS who is able to outdamage your average fighter. But the character is ridiculously optimised (once you get over the handicap of having a strength based halfling bard that is).

Gorbacz wrote:
Well, that tangent aside, how do you support your claim that Rogues have access to skills Bards don't have access to, or that Bards cannot disarm traps?

It's reasonable to say that a non-archetyped bard cannot disarm magical traps. Removing the word magical from the conversation does yourself and everyone else a disservice.

Now why someone would allow Pathfinder Unchained material in their game and yet not allow an APG bard archetype I don't understand. But that's the position Picolo has staked out so it's best to just move on.

To answer the original question: If you're willing to allow even the most conservative archetypes (APG bard archetypes are by no means overpowered) then a bard can most definitely be a rogue replacement. They'll do things differently (they won't deal as much damage if you go straight bard compared with a rogue, but they will be able to buff the rest of the party and not die in an attempt to get a flank), but they will be able to have enough skill ranks to be a skill monkey and will be able to disarm magical traps.

rdknight wrote:
Absolutely. Off the top of my head an all bard party with Arcane Duelist, Archaeologist, Songhealer, and Studious Librarian should be able to handle whatever comes their way. Even if there are some critical spells missing, there's so much UMD going on it's ridiculous.

They're going to need a lot of consumables:

* Scrolls or wands of lesser restoration from level 3 onwards.
* Scrolls or wands from level 5 onwards for remove disease.
* Scrolls of remove curse from level 5 to level 7.
* Scrolls of restoration from level 13 onwards.

Sure. You could do it. But by that definition you could play an all rogue party and have every role covered. You're going to be lagging behind with expected treasure due to the excessive amount that's going to be spent on consumables.

Gulthor wrote:
Not only are Pathfinder Bards fantastic, but Paizo also did an incredible job exploring and utilizing the 6-level caster space (which WotC severely under-utilized).

Agreed. It's very disappointing to see 6th level casters gone from PF2e. Still, lots of great classes to play with in PF1e.


The vast majority of traps don’t even have to be disarmed. You just need someone with a high save to go in front of the party and tank the things while some sort of healer will just reverse the effects suffered.

And most locks can be bypassed by simply hitting them rather hard, over and over. Disable device is really only useful if you are interested in stealth, which the average party usually fails at anyway.


Derklord wrote:
After thinking about it a bit, I realized why Piccolo thinks the Bard was unfit for a four man party: If you build your party with a dedicated skillmonkey, a dedicated healer, a dedicated warrior-type, and a dedicated arcane caster, it is indeed a fairly weak class. Especially when you try to replace something other than the skillmonkey with the Bard (because Bard doesn't have CRB given Trap Finding) - in such a party, it can't adequately fulfill any of the three remaining roles (at least not without some archetypes). With at most one character that does some proper martial stuff in combat, the Bard's buffs also fall flat.

Even with just the CRB anyone can find traps, including magical traps. Anyone can disable non-magical class.

Using just the CRB, any caster, including bards, can take down magical traps with Dispel Magic or Summon Monster I. Magical traps are not particularly common, so in most circumstances this is not going to be a huge drain on resources. Magical traps are much easier to find using Detect Magic than with a perception check.

Between Heroism, which bards should have up most of the time, and their songs, a bard's skill checks should be better than a rogues. As an arcane caster, the bard should already have the necessary spells if the party's arcane caster does not routinely keep them prepared. Both Dispel Magic and Detect Magic are just too valuable not to have available. Summon Monster I, or its cousin Mount, are available in wand form.


The very soonest any class has access to dispel magic is level 7, bards even later than that. That’s a significant portion of the game that you will not be able to deal with magical traps by the means you describe. I find the oversimple solutions to dealing with traps and trapfinding about as relevant to my irl gameplay experience as the oversimple solutions to dealing with healing, which is to say, not particularly relevant at all. In my game, we suffer without a proper healer and we suffer without a proper trapfinder. Not to say that a party requires a cleric or rogue. This really isn’t a rogue vs bard issue though as rogues aren’t the only class that have access to trapfinding in the first place and healing isn’t really a cleric vs non-cleric issue either.


born_of_fire wrote:
The very soonest any class has access to dispel magic is level 7, bards even later than that. That’s a significant portion of the game that you will not be able to deal with magical traps by the means you describe. I find the oversimple solutions to dealing with traps and trapfinding about as relevant to my irl gameplay experience as the oversimple solutions to dealing with healing, which is to say, not particularly relevant at all. In my game, we suffer without a proper healer and we suffer without a proper trapfinder. Not to say that a party requires a cleric or rogue. This really isn’t a rogue vs bard issue though as rogues aren’t the only class that have access to trapfinding in the first place and healing isn’t really a cleric vs non-cleric issue either.

The soonest bards have access to Summon Monter I is 1st level, and it has uses beyond just triggering traps.

As soon as you step beyond the CRB, any class can find and disable magical traps. You just need to take the appropriate traits.


Volkard Abendroth wrote:
born_of_fire wrote:
The very soonest any class has access to dispel magic is level 7, bards even later than that. That’s a significant portion of the game that you will not be able to deal with magical traps by the means you describe. I find the oversimple solutions to dealing with traps and trapfinding about as relevant to my irl gameplay experience as the oversimple solutions to dealing with healing, which is to say, not particularly relevant at all. In my game, we suffer without a proper healer and we suffer without a proper trapfinder. Not to say that a party requires a cleric or rogue. This really isn’t a rogue vs bard issue though as rogues aren’t the only class that have access to trapfinding in the first place and healing isn’t really a cleric vs non-cleric issue either.
The soonest bards have access to Summon Monter I is 1st level, and it has uses beyond just triggering traps.

Sure but that’s not what you described nor what I replied to, it is? Many traps reset and spells are a limited resource. There are a huge variety of traps out there and I’m not really interested in countering every specific scenario you can come up with one at a time. I will reiterate that, in my game, we suffer without a proper trapfinder.


born_of_fire wrote:
In my game, we suffer without a proper healer and we suffer without a proper trapfinder.

Depends on what you mean by suffer. For traps, you use up a couple of resources to go the simple route. That could be called suffering, but it rather cheapens the word. The game even assumes many parties will go this route, hence why Barbarians have anti-trap class features. Essentially, barbarian is a possible and expectable rogue replacement.


born_of_fire wrote:
Volkard Abendroth wrote:
born_of_fire wrote:
The very soonest any class has access to dispel magic is level 7, bards even later than that. That’s a significant portion of the game that you will not be able to deal with magical traps by the means you describe. I find the oversimple solutions to dealing with traps and trapfinding about as relevant to my irl gameplay experience as the oversimple solutions to dealing with healing, which is to say, not particularly relevant at all. In my game, we suffer without a proper healer and we suffer without a proper trapfinder. Not to say that a party requires a cleric or rogue. This really isn’t a rogue vs bard issue though as rogues aren’t the only class that have access to trapfinding in the first place and healing isn’t really a cleric vs non-cleric issue either.
The soonest bards have access to Summon Monter I is 1st level, and it has uses beyond just triggering traps.
Sure but that’s not what you described nor what I replied to, it is? Many traps reset and spells are a limited resource. There are a huge variety of traps out there and I’m not really interested in countering every specific scenario you can come up with one at a time. I will reiterate that in my game, we suffer without a proper trapfinder.

Specific?

It's about as generic as it comes. Perceptions works on every single trap in the game. For any class.

Even traps that reset have reset times included in their descriptions.

A wand of Summon Monster I will last most of an adventurer's career if used only on magical traps. Hardly a huge expenditure of resources.


Melkiador wrote:
born_of_fire wrote:
In my game, we suffer without a proper healer and we suffer without a proper trapfinder.
Depends on what you mean by suffer. For traps, you use up a couple of resources to go the simple route. That could be called suffering, but it rather cheapens the word. The game even assumes many parties will go this route, hence why Barbarians have anti-trap class features. Essentially, barbarian is a possible and expectable rogue replacement.

By suffer I mean we have to turn back and leave the area we are exploring because we can’t find or disable the trap that is putting us all to sleep every time we try to walk past it. This means we can’t progress the adventure any further because what we need is on the other side of the magical trap no one can find or disable.

We did eventually get past this because the player playing the elf remembered he was an elf and that elves are immune to magical sleep. He was able to drag us all past the trap.


Volkard Abendroth wrote:
born_of_fire wrote:
Volkard Abendroth wrote:
born_of_fire wrote:
The very soonest any class has access to dispel magic is level 7, bards even later than that. That’s a significant portion of the game that you will not be able to deal with magical traps by the means you describe. I find the oversimple solutions to dealing with traps and trapfinding about as relevant to my irl gameplay experience as the oversimple solutions to dealing with healing, which is to say, not particularly relevant at all. In my game, we suffer without a proper healer and we suffer without a proper trapfinder. Not to say that a party requires a cleric or rogue. This really isn’t a rogue vs bard issue though as rogues aren’t the only class that have access to trapfinding in the first place and healing isn’t really a cleric vs non-cleric issue either.
The soonest bards have access to Summon Monter I is 1st level, and it has uses beyond just triggering traps.
Sure but that’s not what you described nor what I replied to, it is? Many traps reset and spells are a limited resource. There are a huge variety of traps out there and I’m not really interested in countering every specific scenario you can come up with one at a time. I will reiterate that in my game, we suffer without a proper trapfinder.

Specific?

It's about as generic as it comes. Perceptions works on every single trap in the game. For any class.

Even traps that reset have reset times included in their descriptions.

A wand of Summon Monster I will last most of an adventurer's career if used only on magical traps. Hardly a huge expenditure of resources.

So, from my in game example above, we could summon 50 things to run to the trap and get put to sleep and then still be unable to pass the trap ourselves. This is why I don’t care to argue individual examples with you. It is folly and though I’m not terribly busy today, I do have better things to do. Good day.


Yqatuba wrote:
I remember in normal 3.X they were really weak and hardly anyone played them.

Uh, well, maybe not...unless they learned about Sublime Chord PrC, which turned them into a 9th-level spellcasting class.


born_of_fire wrote:
Melkiador wrote:
born_of_fire wrote:
In my game, we suffer without a proper healer and we suffer without a proper trapfinder.
Depends on what you mean by suffer. For traps, you use up a couple of resources to go the simple route. That could be called suffering, but it rather cheapens the word. The game even assumes many parties will go this route, hence why Barbarians have anti-trap class features. Essentially, barbarian is a possible and expectable rogue replacement.

By suffer I mean we have to turn back and leave the area we are exploring because we can’t find or disable the trap that is putting us all to sleep every time we try to walk past it. This means we can’t progress the adventure any further because what we need is on the other side of the magical trap no one can find or disable.

We did eventually get past this because the player playing the elf remembered he was an elf and that elves are immune to magical sleep. He was able to drag us all past the trap.

That kind of seems to prove my point though. There was another simple, non-rogue option for overcoming that trap. And I could think of many others depending on what else the party had available.

It seems less like suffering and more like a fun opportunity for problem solving.


Piccolo wrote:
Derklord, I don't appreciate the trolling.

If you really think I was/am trolling, then press the "flag" button above my post to report it.

born_of_fire wrote:
By suffer I mean we have to turn back and leave the area we are exploring because we can’t find or disable the trap that is putting us all to sleep every time we try to walk past it. This means we can’t progress the adventure any further because what we need is on the other side of the magical trap no one can find or disable.

First, "no one can find" means Rogue wouldn't help at all - Trap Finding is merely a not-that-high bonus to Perception. Second, if you can't get to it without it instantly and repeatedly sleeping you, how would a Rogue disable it? And third, how many no-save sleep instant reset Alarm activated traps do you encounter at levels where Dispel Magic, Dimension Door, Burrow etc. aren't aviable?

Actually, either the sleep inducing spell allows a saving throw (in which case with enough time, you can try until everyone passed the save), or it's a custom spell resulting in a trap with neither attack roll nor saving throw, in which case the rules say "A never miss trap always has an onset delay.", meaning you should be able to rush past it.

If that's a published trap, please send us a link or tell us where it's from. If it's a custom trap, it probably doesn't follow the trap building guidelines, and is thus irrelevant to this discussion.

born_of_fire wrote:
The very soonest any class has access to dispel magic is level 7 5, bards two level even later than that.

Fixed that for you. Dispel Magic is still at 3rd level spell.

@John Lynch 106: Starting at 6th level, the Studious Librarian can use scrolls without consuming them. Not that you'd need many Remove Curse spells in a party where everyone has a good base will save, and everyone is under the effect of a save improving buff probably all the time.


Melkiador wrote:
For the most part, the ACG is the opposite of power creep. Most of the options are a little weaker than you’d expect based on the APG classes. Shaman is the only one that’s really close to OP, and that’s just because of the human FCB letting you grab cleric spells, while the lore spirit lets you grab some wizard spells.

I would like to respond to this one, even if it's not strictly on topic:

Power level is per definition relative. As the CRB contains both extremely strong (Wizard, Cleric, Druid) and extremely weak (Rogue, Monk) classes, there are basically two ways to determine a classes power level (and if the containing book results in power creep): Comparing the classes to the overall best class (Wizard), and to classes of similar design (alternativly, we could go by class tier).
No ACG class is as good as the Wizard, and archetypes don't change that (*cough* HHH Pact Wizard *cough*). That takes care of the first evaluation.
For the second one: No ACG pure martial is stronger than Barbarian, and Bloodrager isn't stronger than Paladin, so the martial classes (tier 4&5) are fine. Arcanist and Shaman aren't stronger than Wizard, so the prepared full casters (tier 1) aren't overpowered either. There are no spontaneous full casters (tier 2) in the ACG. For 6/9 casters (tier 3), Skald does look pretty good compared to your average 6/9 caster (mostly because Spell Kenning is awesome), but it's still way below Summoner.

@Java Man, Cavall, and doomman47: Thanks!


John Lynch 106 wrote:

You should check out an unchained version of a Rogue. Deadly as all heck, and even more of a skill monster than a regular rogue.

And I just loved how you pointed out the vast amount of charged items that the party would have to keep on hand at all times without a Cleric. Too many people out there dismiss them as healbots, without taking into consideration what they can do with restorative spells and the rest of their spell selection.

Melchiador, that's a very risky way to get past traps, and you know it. Very expensive too. Guaranteed to tap out your healers at top speed.

I love it. These people automatically assumed that the tertiary spellcaster somehow has enough spells and forethought to take out all the magical traps AND heal. You wouldn't last an hour of game time if your GM was being fair and typically evil like I usually am.

HA! BTW, each charge on that wand lasts all of 3 rounds. What makes you think you can control said beastie for 3 rounds when they almost always have a very low Int and can't speak your language and still communicate enough to disable traps? Combat is one thing, but anything more intricate is quite another.

Oh, Derklord? I already HAVE flagged your posts. They just haven't gotten around to nailing you. It's the weekend. Wait.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
I strongly disagree on them replacing the healer. As Picolo points out they can only restore HP damage. That is the lowest responsibility a healer has.

Disagree. Being able to operate the Wand of Cure Light Wounds is a healer's #1 responsibility. You use it all the time and a lot of dungeons and other similar multiple-encounters-in-a-short-span-of-time scenarios are difficult or impossible without it.

John Lynch 106 wrote:

* Scrolls or wands of lesser restoration from level 3 onwards.

* Scrolls or wands from level 5 onwards for remove disease.
* Scrolls of remove curse from level 5 to level 7.
* Scrolls of restoration from level 13 onwards.

Lesser Restoration: You cast this? Even when playing classes that have access to it like Cleric or Alchemist, I almost always use consumables for this. Level 2 is cheap.

Remove Disease: Most diseases have a slow onset time, so getting back to town isn't an issue. You can use Antiplague if you know you're fighting enemies where disease is a high risk factor (guess who knows stuff? It's the Bard). Even with a full on healer type, I'd still buy and use that Antiplague. And same question as Lesser Restoration: you cast this? It's been my experience that you're better served by removing your disease before any negative effects occur, which most of the time means using a scroll and not relying on having someone prep it. The Studious Librarian Bard mentioned by rdknight can also just straight up cast this with a one time scroll purchase.

Remove Curse: This is literally on the Bard spell list. And, once again: you cast this? I know I'm repeating myself but uncommon conditions are something that you should be dealing with via consumables. You either need to deal with them on the spot and relying on someone having prepared spells for every situation is not a great idea or it's fine to sleep on it, which means you can get it dealt with in town for cheap enough that it's not a real dent in your WBL.

Restoration: Costs money anyways and has a specific material component so you can't just prep it whenever you feel like it. May as well get it as a consumable since the big advantages of having it on your spell list (free and easy to access) aren't there.

The actual hole in the all-Bard party's spell list is no in-combat flight. It's sort of solved by Inspire Courage making even a back-up ranged weapon a threat but it can be real issue before items that truly solve it become affordable. It's not as solvable by consumables as the healing spells because the situation it comes up in is more common and often requires that each member of the party uses a consumable.

You really shouldn't be behind on WBL from healing, though, because that's most of what consumables account for in WBL. You might have a little less overall but it's not significant enough to be a real hit to your effectiveness.

Piccolo wrote:
I love it. These people automatically assumed that the tertiary spellcaster somehow has enough spells and forethought to take out all the magical traps AND heal. You wouldn't last an hour of game time if your GM was being fair and typically evil like I usually am.

Can't deal with magical traps is still only an issue if you don't allow archetypes, no one was saying that a single Bard should be taking on both roles, and what kind of game are you running where there's more magic traps than a caster can spare slots? clearly not one with Paladins if you're using fair and evil to describe the same thing :)

Also, for reference DC=25+spell level means a Rogue can't disarm a magic trap reliably until 5th level (take 10, +5 ranks, +3 Class Skill, +4 Dex, +2 Tools, +2 Trapfinding). That's for a 1st level spell trap though obviously item access and hitting an even level can jump it up quite a few spell levels at 6th. That's a 2 level window where a Bard wouldn't have access to Dispel Magic and at each of those levels, a Bard has access to 5 castings of either Summon Monster or Unseen Servant. This of course assumes that your Rogue is finding those traps - a Rogue's Wisdom is not as good as its Dexterity, and there's no Mwk Thieves' Tools for Perception.


Re: Studious Librarian: That actually works quite effectively. I'm going to remember that archetype for next time I play a Bard. Lesser restoration tends to get used too much in my group to allow it to be the primary healer. But if it's compatible with a trapfinding archetype then it would certainly work well as party face/trapfinder/backup healer

Piccolo wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
You should check out an unchained version of a Rogue. Deadly as all heck, and even more of a skill monster than a regular rogue.

Oh I get Unchained Rogue is a straight improvement over the CRB Rogue. But I don't necessarily agree with common wisdom that the rogue needs the upgrade. I'm playing a CRB rogue to look at it's performance with a critical eye so I can decide if it does need the boost from Unchained or if CRB ROGUE performs perfectly fine in my group.


Re: Taudis in your rush to prove me wrong you overlooked the qualifier I put on remove curse. And yes. Playing a cleric witg those spells prepared is ela perfectly viable tactic thanks to spontaneous casting of cure spells. Or if you are playing an Oracle then you don't need to prepare at all. This is why the cleric/Oracle are superior healers.

Also as the rogue in the party I have compensated with my low wisdom by having skill focus and eventually (away from my character so I may already have it) eyes of the eagle. If your going to dump wisdom then you should invest other resources into doing your job. Saying "I'm only the rogue" isn't good enough

Scarab Sages

@John Lynch 106: Yes, an all bard party would require the use of more consumables to cover certain spell needs. That's why I mentioned UMD, which bards are ace at, and the need to cover some spells that way.

But, the gap might not be a big as it seems at first glance. There are Bard Options that allow some casting off other spell lists. Also the buffing from performance and spells like Saving Finale, should cut into the saving throw failures, taking care of a portion of those needs by preventing them in the first place.

Also, in my experience at least, if a spell like Lesser Restoration is having to be used all the time, the cleric buys or makes a wand to use for it so they can keep their spell slots for other things. In practice, having a spell on the spell list doesn't mean a character doesn't use consumables for it anyway.

I don't know how much of a difference it would make, I've never considered it closely but it merits keeping it in mind.

@Piccolo: I'm not sure what you're wanting out of this thread. The OP asked if bards are worth playing in Pathfinder. People have posted quite a few answers showing that they are in fact good, and quite a lot of fun to play.

You seem to want this thread to be about Rogues being awesome and how they get no respect, amongst several other gripes. Those things are not the subject of this thread. The OP never defined "good" or "fun" as performing every task a more specialized class, or one of the classes in a "core four" party, better than those classes.

I will grant you that obviously bards won't heal as well as clerics, fight as well as fighters, etc. by the numbers. But they can do enough things well enough to substitute for a more specialized class well enough to meet the party's needs. Sorry, Rogue is the easiest and most obvious substitution to make, though not the only possible one. I like Rogues just fine, but other classes can fill their role.

So while a bard will be 7.37% less perfect or whatever at filling a Rogue's niche, the party really will be okay. The all bard party is not a hypothetical. I personally know of people who have run it as a campaign theme, and they did not meet with disaster. I mentioned the all bard party not because bards do everything better than every other class, but to highlight their incredible versatility. I'm not sure an all x party is possible with any other class except Alchemist, which I think could do it too.

Of all the campaigns I've played, I have played in a party with a rogue exactly once. We have done just fine all those other times, and didn't notice any particular advantage when we had the rogue. We rarely have a full arcane caster and we do just fine. The answer to the OP's questions is yes, you can have a bard in the party, even a small one, and the world won't end. And yes, bards can do lots of cool stuff and are a blast to play. The rest of the debate is just wonkery.


It may be hard to see how the CRB rogue underperforms, unless you team it with other similar options. And the rogue can do better or worse depending on the team composition and its tactics. The more melee allies you have, the more sneak attack opportunities you will get. And of course, if you roll for stats, that can drastically effect power levels.

But the existence of the unchained rogue should tell you that the professionals found the CRB rogue to be underpowered. And that is backed up by the advice of the vast majority of the boards.


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The professionals also produced stamina points for fighters which is vastly unnecessary in my group as the fighter is a top contender when it comes to combat (the only reason wizards are better is because they can also contribute out of combat which fighters struggle with. Something that stamina points does nothing to address). They're also in the process of removing 3.5 from Pathfinder with PF2e because it's "old" and "not fun" which goes completely against my group's experience.

All this is a long winded way of saying what the professionals think happens doesn't always happen at every table. At the end of the day if the CRB rogue is able to keep up with everyone else then I don't see a need to buff it. Professionals are also fallible and are often influenced by the groupthink on the forums. Last time a company listened to the groupthink too much we got D&D 4th edition and then Essentials.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
Re: Taudis in your rush to prove me wrong you overlooked the qualifier I put on remove curse. And yes. Playing a cleric witg those spells prepared is ela perfectly viable tactic thanks to spontaneous casting of cure spells. Or if you are playing an Oracle then you don't need to prepare at all. This is why the cleric/Oracle are superior healers.

I didn't notice that but that's not a fair analysis. You might as well be saying that it's never worth it to play a Sorcerer because every odd level you can't cast spells available to a wizard.

As for preparing situational spells because you can convert them into cures, that's not an effective strategy. It might be fine for a Druid with SNA III but your back-up plan of healing 3d8+CL doesn't justify preparing a slot just in case of the need for Remove Disease. Pathfinder very much works on the "ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" principle. If you're telling me that your Cleric is using any of their three 3rd level spell slots at 5th on Remove X spells, then I don't think your Cleric is doing a good job of preparing spells. I can see having one at the ready at 11th level and beyond but at that point the cost of a scroll is negligent.

Similarly, Oracles spending a spell known on something as situational as Remove Curse is definitely a bad call before 11th. I'd put Dispel Magic, Magic Vestment, and Summon Monster as all easily being higher priority for a spontaneous caster.

I'm not saying that Bards are better than Clerics at healing. I'm saying that they can cover the role fine because it's fine to cover the role with mostly items.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
Also as the rogue in the party I have compensated with my low wisdom by having skill focus and eventually (away from my character so I may already have it) eyes of the eagle. If your going to dump wisdom then you should invest other resources into doing your job. Saying "I'm only the rogue" isn't good enough

Cool, still kind of an issue if your DM is throwing magic traps at you before the 5-7 level range. Eyes of the Eagle are cheap enough but lower in priority than a Cloak of Resistance, a magic weapon, good armor, etc. Also wasn't saying Rogues dump Wisdom, I was saying that it's almost definitely lower than their Dexterity. I'd still put 12-14 for Wisdom on an average Rogue but that's only able to match DC 22 at 5th level (take 10, +5 ranks, +3 Class Skill, +2 Wis, +2 Trapfinding). Obviously there's some variation in there for race, etc. A Half-Elf could find the trap but at that point we're looking at specifics.

Rogues still don't disarm magical traps for a meaningful number of levels before Bards access Dispel Magic. A Rogue being able to Disable the lowest level magic traps two levels before a Bard gets their catch-all magic trap disabling spell (that has a lot of other uses) just isn't that meaningful


Piccolo wrote:

You should check out an unchained version of a Rogue. Deadly as all heck, and even more of a skill monster than a regular rogue.

Snip.

very risky way to get past traps, and you know it. Very expensive too.

URogue *is* a lot better but the original rogue is probably the weakest class in the game. A 3/4 bab class with no class features to boost accuracy and all the hastle with landing sneak attacks makes for lackluster gameplay.

Funny thing is archeologist bards are a better rogue than the rogue.

Incidentally traps in my experience are underwhelming in PF1 based off Paizo's APs. Trapfinding generally isn't necessary.


Melkiador wrote:
born_of_fire wrote:
Melkiador wrote:
born_of_fire wrote:
In my game, we suffer without a proper healer and we suffer without a proper trapfinder.
Depends on what you mean by suffer. For traps, you use up a couple of resources to go the simple route. That could be called suffering, but it rather cheapens the word. The game even assumes many parties will go this route, hence why Barbarians have anti-trap class features. Essentially, barbarian is a possible and expectable rogue replacement.

By suffer I mean we have to turn back and leave the area we are exploring because we can’t find or disable the trap that is putting us all to sleep every time we try to walk past it. This means we can’t progress the adventure any further because what we need is on the other side of the magical trap no one can find or disable.

We did eventually get past this because the player playing the elf remembered he was an elf and that elves are immune to magical sleep. He was able to drag us all past the trap.

That kind of seems to prove my point though. There was another simple, non-rogue option for overcoming that trap. And I could think of many others depending on what else the party had available.

It seems less like suffering and more like a fun opportunity for problem solving.

That was pure luck and we’d have never gotten past the trap without the elf. The game would have ended which, to me, is a pretty serious form of suffering.

The very best way to get past the trap is a character that can find and disable magical traps. This doesn’t necessarily mean a rogue but it does mean someone with the trapfinding ability since that is required to disable magical traps.

Derklord: thanks, you’re correct, it is 5th level for dispel magic and 7th for a bard to have that spell.


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Melkiador wrote:

@Piccolo: I'm not sure what you're wanting out of this thread. The OP asked if bards are worth playing in Pathfinder. People have posted quite a few answers showing that they are in fact good, and quite a lot of fun to play.

You seem to want this thread to be about Rogues being awesome and how they get no respect, amongst several other gripes. Those things are not the subject of this thread. The OP never defined "good" or "fun" as performing every task a more specialized class, or one of the classes in a "core four" party, better than those classes.

Nope. I am fine with Bards as they are, and with Rogues as they are. What annoys me is the concept that a Bard can somehow be superior to a Rogue in their own niche. They can't be, and on top of that I dislike all the Rogue hate I encounter on this website. I happen to like the class, as I do all the others.

Bards are a great 5th man, but they can't really top any other class in what they do. They're a generalist, and I am fine with that.

As for the idea that the Rogue was underpowered, even the core rulebook version was fine with me. In many games, I have found them to be quite sufficient.


FangDragon wrote:


URogue *is* a lot better but the original rogue is probably the weakest class in the game. A 3/4 bab class with no class features to boost accuracy and all the hastle with landing sneak attacks makes for lackluster gameplay.

Funny thing is archeologist bards are a better rogue than the rogue.

Incidentally traps in my experience are underwhelming in PF1 based off Paizo's APs. Trapfinding generally isn't necessary.

That's funny. I never found flanking to be a hassle. Ever, and I have been playing for over 20 years now.

And no, archeologist bards are not better than rogues, period.

Traps are a typical feature in dungeons, and have been around for a very long time. They are also quite deadly. Paizo's APa are an aberration in a very long history, one that has traps all over in almost every canned adventure. You lack perspective. Oh, and try getting around in an AP like Mummy's Mask without a Rogue, I dare ya.

Silver Crusade

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Piccolo wrote:
Oh, and try getting around in an AP like Mummy's Mask without a Rogue, I dare ya.

My Crypt Breaker Alchemist was the party trapfinder/disabled in Mummy's Mask, which worked out very well. Our GM even put in a trip to Rappan Athuk (we went down the well).

Scarab Sages

@PCScipio: Obviously your GM lacked perspective, otherwise you all would have been SO dead.

Just kidding! I’m in a Mummy’s Mask campaign right now with an archaeologist as the party’s trap expert and we’re not dead yet!


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Piccolo wrote:
Traps are a typical feature in dungeons, and have been around for a very long time. They are also quite deadly. Paizo's APa are an aberration in a very long history, one that has traps all over in almost every canned adventure. You lack perspective. Oh, and try getting around in an AP like Mummy's Mask without a Rogue, I dare ya.

The AP with the Trapfinder campaign trait?

My bladebound kensai handled the traps for that AP.


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I've played campaigns with my barbarian being the trap finder, either the traps were 1 time use only and I soaked the dmg on a failed save or took no dmg via evasion(dipped monk because my gms allow fun) assuming reflex or just passed the saves if it were will or fort, their disable device was sunder/full attack.

Paizo Employee Customer Service & Community Manager

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I'm going to close this thread as it appears to have gone pretty far off the rails. If you don't want to get in an argument about something but find yourself repeatedly posting in a thread, the best thing to do is to stop posting replies. You can use the hide feature to help if needed.

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