You don't really need to invest in anything to use rapiers, whips or a shortbow, if you start with a 16 dex you'll be good with them and can have all 3, switching up when you see fit. I don't like using an instrument.
I think maestro is best for a combat focused bard, but I like the knowledge focus of enigma.
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I’ve been doing the Spellcasting/Face/Knowledge (thanks to Bardic Lore)and enjoying it. It’s been working out good, been able to support with knowledge checks, spells, and making friends while also throwing out the occasional offensive spell (loving Phantasmal Calamity.). However, because Int went in favour of Dex, (will end up maxing out at 18 for Dex) weapon attacks tend to be the Plan D, and he likes to stay back in battle. (Jack of all trades can’t be master of all of them.).
For a small period, I was considering taking the Druid dedication feat/other Druid feats to make a pathfinder 2e take of a Fochlucan Lyricist, but decided against because it did not fit the character. Still, I think there is a cool concept to be made with a Gnome Bard, and the ‘Burrow Elocutionist/Animal Elocution.” Ancestry feats, along with ‘Green Empathy’ Druid feat, to make a character the can pretty well talk and make friends with anything alive. (And even things that aren’t, as long as they got a mind)
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I went with a dhol, a 2 handed drum, wielding full caster bard. I use my Wand of Manifold Missiles in my second hand to hit the bass side of my drum. Planning on getting a Mentalist's staff with a shifting rune to turn it into a gauntlet to try to cast hypercognition at the beginning of each combat, but I haven't gotten there yet.
Took an 18 cha, 16 dex, 14 int build, and I bumped all of those stats at 5. With the virtuoso muse, high int, and my elf ancestry, I have access to all the face and knowledge skills. I also picked up Electric Arc using the general feat to pick up another level 1 ancestry feat. My character is the most responsible for getting jobs, especially side jobs, for our adventuring company. My bard is also a pretty serious ritualist with additional lore(ritual) to research new rituals in his downtime. The rituals could provide him with some undead minions through occult rituals, but the character is currently refraining from that due to his party face role.
I went Virtuoso muse for the spellbook. I spent my level 4 feat going into Maestro and my level 6 getting dirge of doom. Level 8 will be Inspire Heroics. With Dirge alternating with Inspire Courage/Heroics, you can swing the numbers by 2, usually 3, or 4 every other turn. That should make minions and other party members have really incredible output on those turns, so I'm looking forward to that.
Planning on retraining out of occult and into arcane when my bard can get the legendary arcane feat to give me universal magic understanding. That's really what's keeping me away from the Enigma muse.
I also feel the lack of melodious spell to make the most of illusion.
Bard gives you so many choices in class that I've barely even registered dedication possibilities, but I'm sure they are out there.
Between the spellbook upkeep, wand, staff, need for magical trinkets to improve rituals and knowledge rolls, my armor, instrument, and everything needed to buy for the minions my bard's going to have, he needs more money than most party members. The loot table allows for a lot of stuff, but I'm really pushing it. Not having a weapon to upgrade is helping keep down costs.
I decided to play a relatively low charisma bard. My elf bard has 16 str and 16 dex, and only 14 cha. By choosing only spells that do not rely on my spellcasting modifier (no saves or spell attacks), I get the best of both worlds in terms of martial and magical prowess.
I also took the Rogue dedication for Quick Draw at level 4, so I can switch between weapons (or even my instrument) more easily.
Still, my character usually stays in the back a bit, mainly casting summoning and buff spells, and throwing javelins or using a whip from 10 ft. range. By pumping Athletics I can trip even most boss creatures.