And the same is true for any caster - sorcerers need to learn uncommon and rare spells via Learn a Spell before they can add them to their spell repertoire, and druids need to do so too to pick such spells during daily preparation.
I don't think it's mandatory - the list of common spells is big. However, it is clearly a good choice for casters.
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Atalius wrote:Does a Bard need to have Occultism
A Bard is Trained in Occultism by default.A Bard can choose not to increase Occultism, I could see reasons for that, but without reasons, I would find that weird. Occultism and Performance are your 2 main class skills.
A bard I built kept Occultism at trained only, and pursued Legendary in Performance, Diplomacy, and Deception. The character was a Maestro Muse and didn't pick up an additional muse.
Unless you pick up the Engima muse which focuses around Bardic lore I see little reason to spend your precious few skill increases on Occultism.