5E Help me with good RP/Optimization balance for Half-Elf (probably)Valor Bard (archer?)
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  1. #1
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    Help me with good RP/Optimization balance for Half-Elf (probably)Valor Bard (archer?)

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    Please refer to my new thread with last few questions for building




    Edit:
    doesn't need to be the combat star of the party - just a partial-support type as far as attacks.

    I am just getting back into DND and it's my first time playing 5e. Please help me with my character build.

    Basically, I want my character to be able to do some decent attacks in combat as well as cast spells, and I love skills and RP. By his backstory the character is almost certainly a skald type- he's very social with a genuine interest in the world, wanting to develop himself and inspire others, using the spoken word and song a lot. He's also from the North and good with wilderness stuff.


    I imagine him being good at many skills and talking to others, casting utility and combat spells, buffing his teammates and also getting some attacks in while keeping himself away from the main brunt of the enemy - perhaps shooting arrows.


    Would a Valor Bard Archer be a good way to have all this? I've seen many mention it as a great combat strategy, with 4 attacks later on, for this type of character and it would fit my guy RP-wise, as he stays away from the front line, but still gets to yell **** out, do some buffing of others, cast spells, but also have significant attacks.


    Questions:

    1. If he's the archer build, would rapier be good as a backup melee weapon (for epic flavor in some situations)? Should he have a shield for when he's using the rapier or just a sword?
    2. Is casting with a bow going to be a problem? What about with a sword and shield?
    3. Armor-wise - since this build would have a high DEX (I imagine), is breastplate or something else worth it (capping out the modifier at 2)? Or should he use only light armor?
    4. Will I be sacrificing any cool stuff (magic, skills, abilities etc.) optimizing his ranged attack?
    5. Is getting feats going to leave him on the low end with ability scores? If I raise scores, should it be straight DEX and CHA?
    6. What would be the optimal progression by levels to build this guy?


    Ability Scores (char is half-elf):

    Our DM is letting us use standard array or point-buy. So I was thinking of doing:

    10 16(+1 incl.) 12 (+1 incl.) 10 12 16 (+2 incl.)

    or

    10 16(+1 incl.) 14(+1 incl.) 10 10 16(+2 incl.)

    I hate negative modifiers and I'm really into skills, which is why the 10s being lowest and why I'm debating of having the 12 in wisdom (survival, perception, maybe animals). I also don't want my char being weak or dumb.

    Spells:Could really use help on choosing spell for my char as well!

    Multiclassing: Open to it if it's not too all over the place or complex. Also, I'd like to stay away from things like sorcerer or paladin, as they might be effective but make no sense RP in my case.

    What are your suggestions/advice?

    (Please keep in mind I want to keep my character's theme for RP purposes.)


    Thank You so for any feedback!
    Last edited by OlegRu; Monday, 20th May, 2019 at 10:06 PM.
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  2. #2
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    You're not going to be a great archer no matter how you build it. This is because you lack the classes features to bump up your damage and the +2 archery style to off set the -5/+10 part of sharpshooter. You also lack shells like hunters quarry and hex.

    You can steal the level 5 ranger spell at 10 but blowing a level 5 spell slot for an extra two average attacks is a bit underwhelming. Level 10 is also a long time to wait to get the spells.

    A lore bard can steal he and Eldritch blast at level 6 and fireball or lightning bolt at level 10 plus destructive wave.

    You can still build an effective PC, but you'll be average at best at archery (fighters and rangers are best, assassin rogue with the CBE feat works as well).

    If you have rolled stats and roll well and can start with crazy high scores it can mitigate this since you in effect get extra ASIs and using high stats to make a average build better is less of a problem than using them to make a great build absurd and valor bards are a bit MAD (you want good dex, con, charisma). Without multiclassing or playing a different class there is only so much you can do though as the bard is a primary caster so being good at combat is a bit much. If you're happy with that its fine but if there is a well built archer in the party you'll probably find your character underwhelming in comparison.
    Last edited by Zardnaar; Monday, 6th May, 2019 at 11:59 PM.
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  3. #3
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    So I want a guy who can fight and cast, and mainly is good for RPing and social, with good skills.

    Is there anything better than a valor bard in my situation? Something that can do all that and deal damage that doesn't have to be a prime-combatant like our fighter and all.

    I can't roll for stats as our dm only gave us the two options I mentioned, unfortunately.

    Also, what you think of the other questions?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zardnaar View Post
    You're not going to be a great archer no matter how you build it. This is because you lack the classes features to bump up your damage and the +2 archery style to off set the -5/+10 part of sharpshooter. You also lack shells like hunters quarry and hex.
    I wouldn't go that far. A bard isn't as good an archer as a fighter or ranger, for sure. But archer-bard is one of the few ways to do a full caster that doesn't sacrifice a tremendous amount to get a good at-will attack pattern, outside of a sorlock or bardlock.

    My personal recommendation for an archer bard with point buy would be to go elf if possible, ideally eladrin (or drow if Mordenkainen's tome of foes isn't available). 15 Dex to start with a 17 after the +2, 13 Cha to bump to 14, 14 Con, and 12, 10, 8 (or 10, 10, 10) into the other stats to taste.

    Grab Elven Accuracy as your level 4 feat (which bumps Dex to 18), and Sharpshooter at 8. (You can flip these if you'd like, but Sharpshooter really takes off once you can leverage Elven Accuracy.) Your standard tactics are to get advantage by any means necessary, and pump out 2 bow shots a round, and use your bonus actions to hand out Inspiration Dice. Greater Invisibility at level 7 will be a godsend of a 4th level spell, and obviously grabbing Swift Quiver as one of your Bard Secret spells is fantastic. (I personally am a fan of Find Greater Steed as the other spell, so you can do all this while flying on a griffon, but you gotta do you.)

    If you're locked in on half-elf, this will still work, but you'll have to delay getting an 18 Dex until level 12 with point buy. There are other ways to make the concept workable, mostly involving Hexblade Warlock or Fighter multiclass dips, but then you're moving into bardlock territory, which is a bit different than archer bard.

    If you have Xanathar's guide, you may also want to look at College of Blades, which works surprisingly well with ranged weapons.

    As for your other questions, I'm not sure about the hands and casting issue, my tables always play and loose with those rules. A Ruby of the War Mage (a common magic item from Xanathar's) will let you get around it if needed.

    Rapier and shield is probably ideal for backup melee, yes.

    Your AC will be better with medium armor until you get a 20 Dex, so I would go for that.

    Yes, you will be sacrificing to be good with a bow. You could easily have a 20 Cha by level 8 and be a much better spellcaster, at the cost of having a solid at-will attack option. You could dip 2 levels into warlock and do damage on par with the bow with eldritch blast, at the cost of delayed bard progression. Everything is a trade-off, sadly.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoSix View Post
    I wouldn't go that far. A bard isn't as good an archer as a fighter or ranger, for sure. But archer-bard is one of the few ways to do a full caster that doesn't sacrifice a tremendous amount to get a good at-will attack pattern, outside of a sorlock or bardlock.

    My personal recommendation for an archer bard with point buy would be to go elf if possible, ideally eladrin (or drow if Mordenkainen's tome of foes isn't available). 15 Dex to start with a 17 after the +2, 13 Cha to bump to 14, 14 Con, and 12, 10, 8 (or 10, 10, 10) into the other stats to taste.

    Grab Elven Accuracy as your level 4 feat (which bumps Dex to 18), and Sharpshooter at 8. (You can flip these if you'd like, but Sharpshooter really takes off once you can leverage Elven Accuracy.) Your standard tactics are to get advantage by any means necessary, and pump out 2 bow shots a round, and use your bonus actions to hand out Inspiration Dice. Greater Invisibility at level 7 will be a godsend of a 4th level spell, and obviously grabbing Swift Quiver as one of your Bard Secret spells is fantastic. (I personally am a fan of Find Greater Steed as the other spell, so you can do all this while flying on a griffon, but you gotta do you.)

    If you're locked in on half-elf, this will still work, but you'll have to delay getting an 18 Dex until level 12 with point buy. There are other ways to make the concept workable, mostly involving Hexblade Warlock or Fighter multiclass dips, but then you're moving into bardlock territory, which is a bit different than archer bard.

    If you have Xanathar's guide, you may also want to look at College of Blades, which works surprisingly well with ranged weapons.

    As for your other questions, I'm not sure about the hands and casting issue, my tables always play and loose with those rules. A Ruby of the War Mage (a common magic item from Xanathar's) will let you get around it if needed.

    Rapier and shield is probably ideal for backup melee, yes.

    Your AC will be better with medium armor until you get a 20 Dex, so I would go for that.

    Yes, you will be sacrificing to be good with a bow. You could easily have a 20 Cha by level 8 and be a much better spellcaster, at the cost of having a solid at-will attack option. You could dip 2 levels into warlock and do damage on par with the bow with eldritch blast, at the cost of delayed bard progression. Everything is a trade-off, sadly.
    Context I was talking about a half elf valor bard, yes there are other races and options available. Your elf build is a lot worse at being a bard with 13 charisma so you're sacrificed bard dice and spell casting ability to make an archer who is worse at being an archer than other classes.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by OlegRu View Post

    What are your suggestions/advice?

    (Please keep in mind I want to keep my character's theme for RP purposes.)


    Thank You so for any feedback!
    I strongly recommend Treantmonk's three part guide to Valor Bards. It will help you with exactly this question (and he builds a half-elf bard from levels 1-20).

    Last edited by Mistwell; Tuesday, 7th May, 2019 at 12:50 AM.
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    Wow - you guys are really giving me a lot of info. I will reread it all more thoroughly when I'm home and reply with questions/comments. This is great so far, thank you! I hope all the responses are like this lol.

    P.s. I put some edits at the end of my OP RE multiclassing and stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mistwell View Post
    I strongly recommend Treantmonk's three part guide to Valor Bards. It will help you with exactly this question.

    That's so funny, I have that exact video playing minimized, just audio, in my car while I'm driving! I am kind of a noob though so I get a bit lost and can't ask questions to a video haha

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    Quote Originally Posted by OlegRu View Post
    That's so funny, I have that exact video playing minimized, just audio, in my car while I'm driving! I am kind of a noob though so I get a bit lost and can't ask questions to a video haha
    Oh that's OK, you have the ability to cast summon @Treantmonklvl20 and he should show up to answer your questions right here!

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    Quote Originally Posted by OlegRu View Post
    I am just getting back into DND and it's my first time playing 5e. Please help me with my character build.
    Just curious: when were you last into D&D?

    Basically, I want my character to be able to do some decent attacks in combat as well as cast spells, and I love skills and RP. By his backstory the character is almost certainly a skald type- he's very social with a genuine interest in the world, wanting to develop himself and inspire others, using the spoken word and song a lot. He's also from the North and good with wilderness stuff.
    Yep, sounds like a Valor Bard.


    I imagine him being good at many skills and talking to others, casting utility and combat spells, buffing his teammates and also getting some attacks in while keeping himself away from the main brunt of the enemy - perhaps shooting arrows.
    Mostly sounds like a Valor Bard. Or you could focus more on CHA, skip the arrows, and substitute stinging insults (Vicious Mockery, it's a cantrip, you can insult enemies to death - how is that not awesome?).

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