5E Which magical secret would you take for AOE damage on a Bard?
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  1. #1

    Which magical secret would you take for AOE damage on a Bard?

    I'm going to be rolling a Bard for my next character, and since we're starting at level 11, I already have the choice of two magical secrets (I'm planning on taking the college of Glamour, and am dipping one level in Cleric for Heavy Armor). I really don't want to use both of my secrets on blast spells, but I do want some form of AOE damage (Single target damage can be done with Animate Objects on ten spoons). Here are the spells I'm currently considering:

    -Spirit Guardians (level 3): 3d8 damage per round (13.5), 1d8 scaling, friendly, and it slows, but it requires my concentration. I'm playing a Warforged Envoy with 16 Con, so I'm confident I'll be able to stay in melee with my enemies.

    -Destructive Wave (level 5): 10d6 damage (35), friendly, knocks prone, but it doesn't scale at all.

    -Vitrolic Sphere (level 4): 10d4 (25) damage now and 5d4 (12.5) damage later, 2d4 scaling.

    -Melf's Minute Meteors (level 3): 2d6x2 (14) damage per shot for three shots (plus one per level), AOE is very small, requires concentration.

    -Cone of Cold (level 5) 8d8 (36) damage, 1d8 scaling, but it's a cone and unfriendly.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    First, Bard is choke full of bardic spells with Concentration - any direct damage with concentration means one or the other doesn't get cast. I strongly suggest don't go for one with concentration.

    From a damage output, Fireball wins over a lot, upcast or not. And having one you can use lower level slots on means more castings per day. But if you're starting at 11th and going up from there, fire gets more and more resisted.

    Destructive Wave doesn't do enough for it's level, and it doesn't scale.

    Vitrolic Sphere is acid, which isn't as commonly resisted as fire. It has less chance to kill "this round" for action denial. Still, might check enough of the boxes to be my recommendation of those given.

  3. #3
    I would pick none of them. It is very wasteful when there are so many other premium options available. If you want AOE, I recommend picking Synaptic Static. Synaptic Static is already on the Bard's spell list, does psychic damage(good damage type) and targets intelligence(weak saving throw for most monsters).

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by FullCaster View Post
    I would pick none of them. It is very wasteful when there are so many other premium options available. If you want AOE, I recommend picking Synaptic Static. Synaptic Static is already on the Bard's spell list, does psychic damage(good damage type) and targets intelligence(weak saving throw for most monsters).
    What would you recommend I take then?

  5. #5
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    I'm partial to find greater steed. Paladin and Ranger lists have some very strong spells for their level.

  6. #6
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    Counterspell and Shield can be real lifesavers. As a bard you'll be throwing out a lot of control effects and buffs, which will paint a bit of a target on you.
    XP FreezerBurnedDM gave XP for this post

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by ClockworkNinja View Post
    Counterspell and Shield can be real lifesavers. As a bard you'll be throwing out a lot of control effects and buffs, which will paint a bit of a target on you.
    Agreed. Counterspell and Shield are fantastic tools to have at your disposal.

    Additionally, depending if you're doing more melee or ranged attacks, consider paladin and ranger spells. They have some fantastic options for boosting normal attacks and you get them earlier then those classes.

    Fireball is also a classic choice. Never hurts to have it at your disposal.

  8. #8
    An area damage spell is certainly no bad idea. Clearing up mobs to focus on the big target helps.

  9. #9
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    Find Greater Steed is great.

    Destructive Wave is fine, huge radius (30', that's more then double the area of a fireball) its V only, 2 damage types, and knocks prone which can spring people for critical hits. Valor Bards will be near the front so its better for them. Your Great Weapon Master will love attacking prone people with advantage.

    Remember Destructive Wave is a radius, so it goes in all directions. If you are flying its a 30 sphere, so you can blast those all around you. Remember if a flying creature is knocked prone it falls, and it falls 500' per round instantly (XGTE.) That's 20d6 instantly if they cant stop the fall in some way and hit the ground.

    Sphere and Cone are bad.

    Spirit Guardians is always a fine choice. Remember its "when it enters the area for the first time on a TURN or starts its TURN there," so a creature can take damage multiple times per ROUND. Creatures can be forced into it to take damage that turn and then when their turn starts they get damaged again. Its also a 15' Radius, so you can affect all those creatures above or below you and get them, if you are 20' in the air the spell reaches down until 5' above the ground so check a creatures height to see if its taller than 5' so it will take damage.

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