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#1 ShadeOfRed

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Posted 11 March 2010 - 08:26 PM

Has anyone ever made or played a truly impressive Bard?

What kind of build would it be?

What kind of magic items are needed if necessary...

Just how can you make a Bard that isn't as useless as everyone says, in other words...if you had a four member party, and there was a Bard in it, taking any of the standard spots, thief, mage, fighter, cleric...how would you fit it in best?
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#2 Keener

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Posted 11 March 2010 - 08:35 PM

Well Glenn played a pretty impressive Bard in Labour of Love and Tomb of Hagemoth. :D
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#3 Snappyapple

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Posted 11 March 2010 - 08:45 PM

Ragnor Hellstrom was certainly powerful in personality... otherwise I was busy shifting my headphone aside more often than not whenever Glenn came on to actually hear what he does. :P

Aside from making a good face-man, as bards don't have as many thiefy skills as the rogue to focus on, the value of the bard is in making the rest of the party better. So anyway to pump up those Inspire Courage bonuses or Perform skill is good.
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#4 Telemergion

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Posted 11 March 2010 - 09:03 PM

The only bard I've ever played past 1st lvl was a barbarian who carried a flute and insisted he was a skald. I took a lvl of multiclass, but people didn't seem to buy it. However, I have put some thought into how to make a good one.

First off, the simplest answer is to play 4th edition where bards are a fairly potent and powerful leader class.

In 3rd edition, it's all about working with the party. Maybe you're a 4 person group with the typical array of classes, or maybe you're a little more specialized; the key is to figure out what you as a bard can do to support that and either fill in the gaps with your versatility or improve on a strength so that it becomes easier to use that as the group's focus. For instance, maybe your group is melee heavy. You could get some buffs, ranged spells, and/or healing and either support them from behind or hop right in the middle. Good bards play smart.
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#5 Ieqo

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Posted 11 March 2010 - 10:35 PM

In a four-person party, a bard would be very very hardpressed to adequately fill any of the roles...unless of course the DM tailored the adventure for the specific makeup of the party. But in a published adventure that all but assumes you've got the iconic "top four", no way. The bard is either a very bad fighter, or an underskilled rogue, or a caster without the right spells.
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#6 Pheonix

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Posted 11 March 2010 - 11:40 PM

I Played a bard for a long while in 3rd ed, initially against the wishes of my party that were convinced that bards were useless. Its an odd class. First forget about raw combat power. The Bard excels in assisting the party in combat, casting illusions to distract the enemy, basically being a super bless spell in the party, assisting with cures and what not.

ALSO I was a kind of detective, using my charisma to persuade people to tell me stuff they didn't want to. Also after the first time that I went to a merchant and came back with loads of cash for the loot the oarty had been getting pennies for, they really started to appreciate me. In the memorial words of one of the guys, "How much for your daughter" was not the best negotiating technique to get a good price for your loot :)

I found I was very busy in towns as a bard, but in the wilderness I was essentially fairly useless aside from my combat support abilities. That said, everyone in my party said I proves that bards were bloody useful if you have a good player and accept their limitations. Thing is I thought I was a lousy bard as I cant make up a story to save my life!

The funniest part though was when I brought a Tuning fork to the session and tried to get all the guys to hum in key with me before a fight to promote unity. Their faces were just priceless. wish I had a camera. :D
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#7 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 04:59 AM

Has anyone ever made or played a truly impressive Bard?

I can't believe no-one's mentioned GILLARAN! yet. :D
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#8 Isis

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 07:30 AM

I made a 3.5 bard/sorceror fighter gnome once which seemed pretty good (only played it Level 1 and 2). I guess bards work best at lower levels when multiclassed to balance out their inadequacies. :D
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#9 CrazyMLC

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 08:30 AM

Bards, just like mages or warriors, excel in their elements.

Warriors can't cast spells or be streetwise.
Mages can't fight or be streetwise.
Bards can't fight or cast spells.

Unfortunately in 'war' games like DnD most of the fun is combat, which bards aren't so good at. But they really scratch that itch that most other classes can't reach.

Anyway, bards should be more combat-capable, especially in games like DnD.

Also, yes, GILLARAN was an impressive bard! (lol, literally.)
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#10 Snappyapple

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 09:25 AM

(Disclaimer: Crunchiness below, not for those with allergies.)

It's hard to make a combat-worthy bard without channeling some powergaming and planning your character a bit. But, it's easy enough to get your whole party a very high Inspire Courage with just a few feats and the Inspirational Boost bardic spell from Spell Compendium. I made one for self-amusement in some pick-up games, and though he was still fragile as bards are, the party will love your support and protect you from the glaring DM. :D

A bard's typical offensive arsenal are his illusion and enchantment spells (silence, sound burst, shatter, etc.) and bardic abilities (fascinate+suggestion can be surprisingly effective pre-combat) to keep the enemy off his party's back. He can also occasionally chuck out a cure light wound from spell or wand to save the party healer when they go down. Weapon-wise, keep to archery and a high dexterity score to keep your tiny d6 HD self safe. If you must wade into melee, I'd recommend a whip dagger (made more effective with Snowflake Wardance) and a brown fedora. 8)

Simple prestige classes I'd recommend looking into is the Lyric Thaumaturge from Complete Mage (for a bard who wants to embrace spellcasting side), or the Stormsinger from Frostburn (who can turn uses of bardic music into powerful spell-like abilities).

IMO, the best part of playing a bard is when the rest of your party is surprised that the rhinestone-studded backup singer they hired out of desperation from the roadside inn 10 miles back, actually doesn't suck. :wink:

(Final Disclaimer: I still don't like to play bards though, creative differences.)
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#11 ross

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 03:02 PM

bards are fun :-)
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