D&D 5E Bards: How did these become a thing?


First Post
Obvious question for your follow-up question: what makes you think books are commonplace in D&D worlds?

Absolutely right. Fact is most in this world are illiterate and it's really only the scholarly few who can truly read. Scrolls, books, etc are not cheap nor are they incredibly common place. The facilities to create them are also quite few and it's why basic parchment is considered of value. The only reason why we might feel books are commonplace is because the heroes we play are legends with gifts and skills above the norm, and we surround ourselves with like-minded individuals of accomplished adventurers.

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Even if your background is peasant, it's just a given that you're literate. That says something about the world as a whole.

Not at all. It says something about using a modern convenience in a game, because very few players are going to bother to actually roleplay illiteracy.

Not at all. It says something about using a modern convenience in a game, because very few players are going to bother to actually roleplay illiteracy.
Illiteracy isn't an RP trait. Being able to read something is a pure mechanical advantage.

I mean, there's an RP hook to go with it, but the character who can't read is unable to find many important clues, and is more likely to get in serious trouble.


I mentioned this earlier, but I have to believe the original bard depicted as a minstrel in D&D was heavily influenced by The Chronicles of Prydain, more specifically Fflewddur Flam. The first books were written in 1964, and they appear in Appendix N. If you haven't read those books, I highly suggest it. The Disney move, The Black Cauldron was from one of the books. Granted, even though the books seem to be written for younger adult readers, they are much more darker than the animated movie, and hold up quite well.

Really, Lloyd Alexander was a bit ahead of his time as well, as the princess in those books, Eilwony, was not your damsel in distress type of character. In fact, she was the toughest fighter of the group and didn't put up with crap from anyone. Truly a rare and good thing for a book written 50 years ago.

Those books are priceless classics. Alexander was drawing on traditional Welsh legend and fairy tales very heavily, and that was certainly one of the main channels that ancient tradition made it's way into D&D.


Replying directly to OP, skipping all other commentary, and merely remarking my complete agreement. When I sit down and visualize a typical D&D adventure, I simply can't imagine how bardic music (even if it's "magical music") has any plausible basis of effect. Yes, there are bard fans out there who clearly imagine a scenario that "works" for them and to each their own, and I'm not trying to stir that old pot, but a jack-of-all-trades middle class can easily be cobbled together that doesn't depend on music/poetry/taunting/jokes/etc. My two cents.


Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
That is one small woman, standing still playing the violin. She barely even moves her feet. The gist of the video is lots of editting cuts in different places and different angles. She could have done the same performance on any small stage in the world.

I'm not sure how anyone could categorize her dance as "barely moves her feet". I'll give you that she doesn't traverse a lot of area in any one shot - hard to do with limited cameras and budget.

I'm unsure how to take your points that she is small and a woman in light of the possibility of the bard class. If you're not trolling, I'll point out that halflings and gnomes are definitely smaller yet they adventure, and point you to a rather well written part of the PHB on page 121 which I'm fairly sure allows a woman as well as any other gender or inclination be an adventurer.


First Post
To me Bards seem like they work well with whatever amount of "musical fluff" you want to put into it. I just started a bard who is based on Paul from the Dune books. He can pitch his voice to get into peoples heads and bend them to his will, fun stuff. Use as little or as much music you want, its all good.

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