Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A bard is proficient with all simple weapons, plus the longsword, rapier, sap, short sword, shortbow, and whip. Bards are proficent with light armor and shields (except tower shields).
Because somatic components required for bard spells are relatively simple, a bard can cast bard spells while wearing light armor without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance. However, like any other arcane spellcaster, a bard wearing medium or heavy or using a shield incurs a chance of arcane spell failure if the spell in question has somatic components (most do). A multiclass bard still incurs the normal arcane spell failure chance for arcane spells received from other classes.
Spells: A bard casts arcane spells (the same type of spells available to the sorcers and wizards), which are drawn from the bard spell list (page 181). He can cast any spell he knows without preparing it ahead of time, the way a wizard or cleric must (see below). Every bard spell has a verbal componet (singing, reciting, or music).
To learn or cast a spell, a bard must have a Charisma score equal to at least 10 + the spell level (Cha 10 for 0-level spells, Cha 11 for 1st-level spells, and so forth). The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a bard's spell is 10 + the spell level + the bard's Charisma modifier.
Bardic Knowledge: A bard picks up a lot of stray knowledge while wandering the land and learning stories from other bards. He may make a special bardic knowledge check with a bonus equal to his bard level + his Intelligence modifier to see whether he knows some relevant information about local notable people, legendary items, or noteworthy places. (If the bard has 5 or more ranks in Knowledge(history), he gains a +2 bonus on this check.)
Bardic Music: Once per day per bard level, a bard can use his song or poetics to produce magical effects on those around him (usually including himself, if desired). While these abilities fall under the catagory of bardic music and the descriptions discuss singing or playing instruments, they can all be activated by reciting poetry, chanting, singing lyrical songs, singing melodies, whistling, playing an instrument, or playing an instrument in combination with some spoken performence. Each ability requires both a minimum bard level and a minimum number of ranks in at least one Perform skill, he does not gain bardic music ability until he acquires the needed ranks.
Starting a bardic music effect is a standard action. Some bardic music abilities require concentration, which means the bard must take a standard action each round to maintain the ability. Even while using bardic music that music that dosen't require concentration, a bard cannot cast spells, activate magic items by spell completion (such as scrolls), or activate magic itmes by magic word (such as wands). Just as for casting a spell with a verbal component, a deaf bard has a 20% chance to fail when attempting to use bardic music. I he fails, the attempt still counts against his daily limit.
Countersong (SU): A bard with 3 or more ranks in a Perform can use his music or poetics to counter magical effects that depend on sound (but no spells that simply have verbal components). Each round of the countersong , he makes a Perform check. Any creature within 30' of the bard (including the bard himself) that is affected by a sonic or language-dependent magical attack (such as sound burst or command spell) may use the bard's Perform check result in place of its saving throw if, after the saving throw is rolled, the Perform check result proves to be higher. If a creature within range of the countersong is already under the effect of a noninstantaneous sonic or language-dependent magical attack, it gains another saving throw against the effect each round it hears the countersong, but it must use the bard's Perform check result for the save. Countersong has no effect against that don't allow saves. The bard may keep up the countersong for 10 rounds.
Fascinate (SP): A bard with 3 or more ranks in Perform skill can use their music or poetics to cause one or more creatures to become fascinated with them. Each creature to be fascinated must be within 90', able to see and hear the bard, and able to pay attention to them. The bard must also be able to see the creature. The distraction of a nearby combat or other dangers prevents the ability from working. For every three levels a bard attains beyond 1st, they can target one additional creature with a single use of this ability (two at 4th level, three at 7th level, and so on).
To use the ability, a bard makes a Perform check. His check results is the DC for each for each affected creature's Will save against the effect. If a creature's saving throw succeeds, the bard cannot attempt to fascinate that creature again for 24 hours. If its saving throw fails, the creature sits quietly and listens to the song, taking no other actions, for as long as the bard continues to play and concentrate (up to a maximum of 1 round per bard level). While fascinated, a target takes a -4 penalty on skill checks made as reactions, such as Listen and Spot checks. Any potential threat, such as am ally of the bard approaching the fasinated creature, requires the bard to make another Perform check and allows the creature a new saving thow against a DC equal to the new Perform check result. Any obvious threat, such as someone drawing a weapon, casting a spell, or aiming a ranged weapon at the target, automatically breaks the effect. Fascinate is a ehchantment (compulsion), mind-affecting ability.
Inspire Courage (SU):A bard with 3 or more ranks in a Perform skill can use song or poetics to inspire courage in his allies (including themself), bolstering them against fear and improving their combat abilities. Te be affected, an ally must be able to hear the bard sing. The effect lasts for as long as the ally hears the bard sing and for 5 rounds thereafter. An affected ally receives a +1 morale bonus on attack and weapon damage rolls. At 8th level, and every six bard levels thereafter, this bonus increases by 1 (+2 at 8th, +3 at 14th, and +4 at 20th). Inspire courage is a mind affecting ability.
Inspire Competence (SU):A bard of 3rd level or higher with 6 or more ranks in a Perfrom skill can use their music or poetics to help an ally suceed at a task. The ally must be within 30' and able to see and hear the bard. The bard must also be able to see the ally. Depending on the rask that the ally has to hand, the bard may use his bardic music to lift the ally's spirits, to help him or her focus mentally, or in some other way. The ally gets a +2 competence bonus on skill checks with a particular skill as long as he or she continues to hear the bard's music. The effect lasts as long as the bard concentrates, up to a maximum of 2 minutes. A bard can't inspire competence in themselves. Inspire competence is a mind-affecting ability.