Level Up (A5E) Are Bard Hymns Overpowered?

steels12

Explorer
how would making using a hymn a bonus action (ala bardic inspiration) affect things, do you guys think?

It would be heavily dissuasive towards BA spellcasting, but I haven't done a deep-dive into how reliant bards are on their bonus action. It could also pigeon-hole the bard a lot, where they feel like their BA is now dedicated to helping the party instead of being theirs to do with as they please on their turn
 

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It would be heavily dissuasive towards BA spellcasting, but I haven't done a deep-dive into how reliant bards are on their bonus action. It could also pigeon-hole the bard a lot, where they feel like their BA is now dedicated to helping the party instead of being theirs to do with as they please on their turn
hm. what about making hymns take up your spellcasting focus while they're active like some of the bard spells? same thing?
 

Pedantic

Legend
That being said, sticking with the "+CHA amount of players effected" we also have to keep in mind that this is a level 4 choice of 3 options and we shouldn't nerf this ability to the degree that it becomes useless. Most non-minstrel bards are probably only gonna have 4-5 bardic inspirations, so making it more expensive is hard to do effectively without changing a lot of other things in how the class functions
I don't necessarily think it's a problem that hymns get away from concentration, particularly if they're only affecting 1 person. It's a clear differentiation point from spells, and choosing between affecting another person and making the ability difficult to disrupt is a reasonable an interesting trade-off. I think the real issue with +Cha is that it's a huge swing from 1->5 targets, I don't really see an issue with 1-> and extra expenditure for more.

I do take the point that disruption of these abilities in general is lacking. Obviously there's always just "knocking the bard unconscious" but I wouldn't mind another way to turn them off. How about tying it back to the performance choice, and either requiring the bard's target clearly see them or that they produce sound for musical/verbal performances? That gives you the ability to mess with the bard through repositioning to break line of sight or silence, and to limit their targets through blindness/deafness. You can throw in some anti-stealth stuff too for flavor if you like.
 

steels12

Explorer
hm. what about making hymns take up your spellcasting focus while they're active like some of the bard spells? same thing?

The first idea wasn't inherently bad, I just genuinely don't know if BA usage would become oppressive to bards. My party's bard is multiclassed with Warlock and uses Quickling Sprint quite a bit, and the BA would prevent spells like healing word too. Not to mention if the DM made a weapon that had BA abilities. But all of that could just be hyper-specific to my party and how I DM / make items

I don't necessarily think it's a problem that hymns get away from concentration, particularly if they're only affecting 1 person. It's a clear differentiation point from spells, and choosing between affecting another person and making the ability difficult to disrupt is a reasonable an interesting trade-off. I think the real issue with +Cha is that it's a huge swing from 1->5 targets, I don't really see an issue with 1-> and extra expenditure for more.

I do take the point that disruption of these abilities in general is lacking. Obviously there's always just "knocking the bard unconscious" but I wouldn't mind another way to turn them off. How about tying it back to the performance choice, and either requiring the bard's target clearly see them or that they produce sound for musical/verbal performances? That gives you the ability to mess with the bard through repositioning to break line of sight or silence, and to limit their targets through blindness/deafness. You can throw in some anti-stealth stuff too for flavor if you like.

Generally 100% agree, the jump is too huge with no scaling whatsoever. I guess in theory you can always Stun your bard into losing concentration but... ah man I have whole other issues with Stun / Paralysis and how unfun it is to lose entire turns because of a single status effect. Yet another thing my party has homebrewed to fix. No hate on a5e, that's been an issue since 5e as well
 

Selganor

Adventurer
Speaking of Battle Hymn power level and balance... Either I misunderstood the previous postings or completely misread the rules, but my take on the basic rules on hymns is:

1. At the start of your turn you can spend a Bardic Inspiration to activate one the Hymns you know. (No Action)
2. This doesn't actually affect a specific target yet, so it has no effect (yet).
3. You can assign a target/audience to the hymn at any time. The specified target then would have the effects of the Hymn.
4. At the start of you next turn the Hymn would end unless you sustain it (but this only works if you haven't assigned a target for the Hymn)

So while hymns might have nice effects they usually would only last for a maximum of one round (from the moment you assign an audience to the start of your next turn). Their great advantage is that you can just keep the effect "on hold" to let it fly the moment you need it (like a bonus to a bad save)
 

Pedantic

Legend
Speaking of Battle Hymn power level and balance... Either I misunderstood the previous postings or completely misread the rules, but my take on the basic rules on hymns is:

1. At the start of your turn you can spend a Bardic Inspiration to activate one the Hymns you know. (No Action)
2. This doesn't actually affect a specific target yet, so it has no effect (yet).
3. You can assign a target/audience to the hymn at any time. The specified target then would have the effects of the Hymn.
4. At the start of you next turn the Hymn would end unless you sustain it (but this only works if you haven't assigned a target for the Hymn)

So while hymns might have nice effects they usually would only last for a maximum of one round (from the moment you assign an audience to the start of your next turn). Their great advantage is that you can just keep the effect "on hold" to let it fly the moment you need it (like a bonus to a bad save)
That's all correct. You set up the effect at no action cost on your turn, and then you're essentially suspending the spent resource until you need it. The effect expires on your turn, where you can set it back up again for no action cost. If you have 5 Bardic Inspiration, there's no reason you can't give the same benefit to someone for 5 rounds in a row.

They're essentially aura effects with a per-round used cost, and the assorted hymn features give you customization features, either expanding the targets, removing concentration, letting you use multiples, cast spells with the resource, etc.
 

steels12

Explorer
Speaking of Battle Hymn power level and balance... Either I misunderstood the previous postings or completely misread the rules, but my take on the basic rules on hymns is:

1. At the start of your turn you can spend a Bardic Inspiration to activate one the Hymns you know. (No Action)
2. This doesn't actually affect a specific target yet, so it has no effect (yet).
3. You can assign a target/audience to the hymn at any time. The specified target then would have the effects of the Hymn.
4. At the start of you next turn the Hymn would end unless you sustain it (but this only works if you haven't assigned a target for the Hymn)

So while hymns might have nice effects they usually would only last for a maximum of one round (from the moment you assign an audience to the start of your next turn). Their great advantage is that you can just keep the effect "on hold" to let it fly the moment you need it (like a bonus to a bad save)

The only complication to that interpretation is that Hymns are specifically stated to function "like spells" requiring concentration. This implies that while they CAN be targeted on an "as you need it" basis, they absolutely can function as a full-round buff that can be placed on a PC at the start of your turn (or as a reaction at the end of another creature's turn at later levels) and just kept their until the start of your next turn comes around.
 

Pedantic

Legend
The only complication to that interpretation is that Hymns are specifically stated to function "like spells" requiring concentration. This implies that while they CAN be targeted on an "as you need it" basis, they absolutely can function as a full-round buff that can be placed on a PC at the start of your turn (or as a reaction at the end of another creature's turn at later levels) and just kept their until the start of your next turn comes around.
Unless you're mass targeting with the +Cha buff (and likely even then), wouldn't you always prefer to wait until the buff/debuff is relevant? Otherwise you're giving up the choice of targeting earlier than you need to. There's no downside that I can see.
 

steels12

Explorer
Unless you're mass targeting with the +Cha buff (and likely even then), wouldn't you always prefer to wait until the buff/debuff is relevant? Otherwise you're giving up the choice of targeting earlier than you need to. There's no downside that I can see.

If you wanted to be the most optimum possible, yeah probably, but this is a human game with human actors, and players feel a lot safer knowing they currently HAVE +5 to all saving throws, or that the enemies currently ARE taking -1d8 to damage rolls, rather than having to remember that those are a possible option at the bard's discretion, on top of having to remember everything else going on in combat
 

Jacob Vardy

Explorer
IN RE: bards OP? I've got players running bards in a couple of long running campaigns. The queen bee berserker sharing her rage abilities with the whole front line while the bard sings harmony of pain to disadvantaged attacks against the front line... can be challenging. But i still don't think bards are OP. As others have mentioned, battle hymns are more likely to effect allies than spells, and reach further than auras. But they are more limited in number. An encounter that has ability checks (such as climbing or stealth), saving throws (fireball), and to hit rolls can suck up a lot of bardic inspiration die. Even with being able to change battle hymns without spending new die. If there are five encounters between long rests, i find that bards rarely have any die left at the end of the day.
 

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