The Bard

Creating a Character

A friend of mine is looking to play a Bard. I personally don't have any experience with this class so I told him I would get the good folks on the Paizo forums to help build his character. I have a few questions I was hoping to get answered for my friend.

1) Which attributes are most important for a Bard besides Charisma.

2) Which race is mechanically best?

3) Which Muse do would you recommend?

4) Which level 1 and 4 feats?

5) Which skills are best to focus on?

Thanks everyone!

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1) Same as everyone else: save stats (Wis/Con/Dex). Dex also applies to AC and TAC so be sure to bump it a fair bit, the chain shirt you ought wear shouldn't be a problem for the dex cap.

2) That's a bit of a groty question for a lot of the people who frown on power-gaming. To parrot a variation of what will be inevitably said by someone: "having an interesting character is more important than a mechanically robust one." Now that that's out of the way the question is whether or not your friend is willing to be boring and go human because humans are the catch-all of all catch-alls. Their heritages are all solid and their feats allow you to do things like have 2 of the 1st level bard feats at first level.

3) Lore or Polymath, bardic lore feels good as a player and versatile performance lets you just focus on being good at performance instead of rating out skill increases to stay viable as a party face. The spells true strike and summon monster are both pretty usable so go hog wild with either. I don't recommend maestro because it feels like someone other than bard should be spending the action economy for healing in this game and their name is cleric.

4) Being a human means you can take another 1st level feat via (bards get class feats in their progression only on even levels and from Muse) if that's what you mean, In that case I'd grab any of them. Every 1st level bard feat is at least decent. 4th level I'd say cantrip expansion because cantrips are utilitous and can be used creatively by players to make the game more enjoyable for everyone. Unless you want to do steady spellcasting by RAW (don't. Technically it makes bards immune to counterspelling).

5) Performance. It's kind of your thing as a bard. You should roll it a lot as a bard. If you aren't idk what you're doing as a bard.

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1) probably Dexterity, for AC, attacks and saves.

2) oddly enough, Goblin is great there. But all races work fairly well for all classes. However, only Goblins have the gobling song feat!

3) probably Lore or Maestro. Lore helps with knowledges and Maestro starts you on the path of song modifiers.

4) i’ll skip because I don’t have the book here at the moment, will be back

5) oddly enough, NOT PERFORMANCE. You are better off using your skill increases on skills that have actual uses rather than holding yourself back by leveling a skill that does not actually have a use. If you are a Maestro, consider the feat that gives you a +2. If you don’t use song modification, ignore Perform completely.

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I view bards as one of the most versatile classes, so it really depends on what the goal with the character is. That said here are some of my overall thoughts.

1) It really depends on the direction you are going but like most other classes dex, wis and con is always good (I would say in that order). If you are going for Bardic Lore and a skill monkey aspect I would also value intelligence to buff the lore skill. If you are a swashbuckling type strength is obviously important to increase damage.

2) I think all but Dwarf is actually pretty decent for Bards. Elf isn't that good either unless you value intelligence. Darkvision is always good to have, but I think Bards can go without it easier than a lot of others. Humans are always a good choice but overall I think your friend can go with the race he prefers without it being a big deal powerlevel wise.

3) The difference between the muses aren't big (you can always get the level 1 feat of another muse; so the spell might be a deciding factor. I think bard can do well with summoning monster and true strike is also pretty strong. Soothe is a worse heal, but if the group could use the extra healing the option is always good to have.

4) Well you get your first level feat from the muse, the second level feat is likely just expanding on what you picked earlier or getting a second first level feat if that is more interesting for your build. I think I like triple time the best of the 3 possible choices, but I would seriously consider picking another first level feat or a second level feat if you already have 2 first level. Of course there is also the option of going with class dedication on level 2 and 4 (I think bards can do a lot of good things with class dedication feats, but the options are simply to broad to mention here).

5) I like Performance as well, especially if you have Versatile Performer. Demoralize is likely one of your go to actions most turns so having a high modifier in that is very good. I would still get trained in intimidation, diplomacy and deception even if you do go for Versatile Performer, but it lets you focus on increasing Performance instead of all of the skills.
Stealth, Thievery and several knowledge skills is always a good choice. Bards gets more skills than most, so the bard can help cover some of the areas the party might otherwise be weak in skill wise.

I know most of what I have stated isn't very specific. If you (or your friend) can tell us more about what you are trying to do with the bard (and maybe what the rest of the party looks like) it would be easier to come up with more precise recommendations, because the bard can easily be build several different ways all of them being strong in their specific area.

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