Trying to build a melee bard - no melee attack cantrip?


Creating a Character


I'm currently trying to build my first character. Am I missing something or is there no cantrip available that empowers a melee attack? Thinking of 5e's green flame blade or booming blade...

I know true strike exists (but is a 1st level spell) and so does chill touch (quite different from making an empowered weapon attack), but nothing seems to fill this niche I'm thinking of..


No, there's nothing better than a basic strike for any class. A basic melee attack is always a viable choice.


citricking wrote:
No, there's nothing better than a basic strike for any class.

True for the Bard at this point but I wouldn't go so far as claiming it for all classes. Monks, Fighters, and certain Sorcerer Bloodlines get some fun toys.


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I think it might be interesting to have a 1 action cantrip that adds a scaling 1d4 energy damage to your next strike. Probably a net decrease in DPR compared to attacking twice but situationally useful for exploiting weaknesses.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, Inspire Courage does help you as much as it helps the rest of the party. That doesn't count for nothing.

Silver Crusade

I suggest taking Fighter Dedication and wielding a Bastard Sword.


Most damage now comes from damage die scaling, so all a melee bard needs to be effectively competent in melee is possessing a maxed potency weapon. It is one benefit of damage scaling in P2.

I would suggest either picking up Expert proficiency in his weapon at 13th vs ancestry feats, or picking it up at 12th level with Fighter dedication. True Strike is going to have plenty of uses, I wouldn't look past self haste, blurr, blink, etc etc for self buffing. Inspire Courage with Lingering composition will also be effective, for you and everybody else and lingering composition means it will cost you an action every other turn if you're lucky.

Silver Crusade

PCScipio wrote:
I suggest taking Fighter Dedication and wielding a Bastard Sword.

Or just blow a feat. Getting weapon proficiency is super easy and super cheap right now (most general feats aren't worth much a lot so there is a low opportunity cost in spending one on weapon proficiency)


One of the good aspects of Gish Bard is that inspire Heroics is a free action power (see: not a cantrip) that's tied to a 1 action cantrip that either way you want to use.

What this means basically is that you gain a 1 action activator for Magical striker.

Magical striker imo is the true essence of a Gish in this edition, and being able to proc it while getting a stacking +2 (on average) attack and damage on top of it is really great.


I while the problem might be solved numbers wise by multiclassing into fighter or the like it doesn't solve wanting to make a magical strike from a character perspective.

I worry that because of the new multiclassing style and action economy that we won't see something like the magus for a long time because it's "easier to make a Gish now", but that hasn't made it so you can combine your spells and attacks into a single thing though and that's something I really want to see be part of the game.


shroudb wrote:

One of the good aspects of Gish Bard is that inspire Heroics is a free action power (see: not a cantrip) that's tied to a 1 action cantrip that either way you want to use.

What this means basically is that you gain a 1 action activator for Magical striker.

Magical striker imo is the true essence of a Gish in this edition, and being able to proc it while getting a stacking +2 (on average) attack and damage on top of it is really great.

Oh this is fun.

And to think I was previously happy enough with a Ki-strike ki monk-wizard idea.

Depending on character level, this could be relatively reliable for a character with the 9th level human feat for a second MC without prerequisites, so you can dabble with both sorcerer and fighter/ranger?


Elleth wrote:
shroudb wrote:

One of the good aspects of Gish Bard is that inspire Heroics is a free action power (see: not a cantrip) that's tied to a 1 action cantrip that either way you want to use.

What this means basically is that you gain a 1 action activator for Magical striker.

Magical striker imo is the true essence of a Gish in this edition, and being able to proc it while getting a stacking +2 (on average) attack and damage on top of it is really great.

Oh this is fun.

And to think I was previously happy enough with a Ki-strike ki monk-wizard idea.

Depending on character level, this could be relatively reliable for a character with the 9th level human feat for a second MC without prerequisites, so you can dabble with both sorcerer and fighter/ranger?

I played the character as an Archer before the ancestry rewrites.

But at the same point, heroics was running off SP and not focus.

Due to the focus rework, it's expected that all powers will either get a boost or classes will get extra focus.

Frankly, with just 5 or so focus/day, inspire heroics is pretty bad as it is atm, and we don't know the "reworked" version (we might not even get it, since focus is not part of the playtest per se)

Since we don't know the Bard rework yet, it's fairly easy to wait until Monday and see if the new rules use focus/sp or whatever.


Yeah. I've been planning with spell points so far.

I am a little worried still if focus happens, with regards to every class running off charisma.


pauljathome wrote:
PCScipio wrote:
I suggest taking Fighter Dedication and wielding a Bastard Sword.
Or just blow a feat. Getting weapon proficiency is super easy and super cheap right now (most general feats aren't worth much a lot so there is a low opportunity cost in spending one on weapon proficiency)

While it is possible to just take a general feat to pick up martial weapons, it is generally much more effective to go the Fighter Dedication route. Weapon Proficiencies and Armor Proficiences in the one feat.

Perhaps more importantly though, it allows you to grab fighter class feats, which actually improve one's combat style and martial capacity, unlike... pretty much all the bard class feats. So for any bard with a martial inkling, I'd strongly suggest looking at the fighter multiclass, if not another martial multiclass.

Silver Crusade

Raynulf wrote:
pauljathome wrote:
PCScipio wrote:
I suggest taking Fighter Dedication and wielding a Bastard Sword.
Or just blow a feat. Getting weapon proficiency is super easy and super cheap right now (most general feats aren't worth much a lot so there is a low opportunity cost in spending one on weapon proficiency)

While it is possible to just take a general feat to pick up martial weapons, it is generally much more effective to go the Fighter Dedication route. Weapon Proficiencies and Armor Proficiences in the one feat.

It depends a lot on where you're starting from and what your goals are. Fighter dedication does have the major opportunity cost that you're NOT taking another, different multiclass feat.

Silver Crusade

I think there is definitely design space for more melee cantrips (or the ability to deliver cantrips with melee attacks, not unlike PF1 spell strike or PF2 channel smite) somewhere down the line.


Not sure why you would need a cantrip to help buff the melee bard. I don't see how any cantrips would ever be worth the action cost over the other options available depending on how you build the melee bard.

But most rounds you would likely want to sing or dance (otherwise why be a bard), unless you managed to buff your last performance with lingering composition. Then there is the options of casting spells like true strike (especially if you build into magical striker via multiclass), using your awesome perfomance or intimidation skill to demoralize opponents, using a shield cantrip or a parry action (if multiclassed into fighter) for more ac or simply attacking twice in a round.

This is not counting on all the turns you might rather spend 2 actions casting a spell (since you are a full spellcaster, and if you don't want that then a fighter with bard dedication might be more your speed for a duelist like character).

Overall bard seems like a character with a lot of flexibility, so there is a lot of different combinations of suitable actions depending on how you build the bard and which dedications you pick up. (If you stay with just bard, then melee likely isn't the most effective strategy with the current selections of class feats)

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