D&D 5E Bards Should Be Half-Casters in 5.5e/6e


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Fun fact:
Bards got their 6th level spells before wizards or clerics advanced to 7th level spells in ADnD 2nd edition.

They had fewer slots however. And they had to put a precious 15 into charisma...
But they were not so much behind as you might expect. Especially if you use the optional class based experience bonuses for the bard class. Although as a rogue they would get 2xp per gp found... Which is usally more than 200xp per spell level cast.

So relegating bards to 3/4 would be possible. But within 5e it would be ill advised.
 


Joshy

Explorer
I intend to make a 1/2 caster bard like class that uses some form of auras. I haven't gotten around to it yet so I'm not sure how effective it would be.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
4e threw the very concept of the Bard as a jack of all trades in a fire, and 5e spread the ashes and gave it one feature that bore the name that has only to do with skills.

The Bard in the last two editions was NEVER meant to be the jack of all trades as you knew it from 2e and 3e.
That's not true at all, with one of their class features and a Feat, my 4e Bard was almost as good at his non-proficient skills as he was with his proficient skills. Now granted, the Bard had fewer "swing weapon at people" powers, though they did exist, but I was having too much fun kill stealing with Vicious Mockery to care. I could cast spells, heal allies, buff my friends, and make all the skill checks. If that's not versatility I don't no what is!
 

Fun fact:
Bards got their 6th level spells before wizards or clerics advanced to 7th level spells in ADnD 2nd edition.
That was because they used the rogue XP table and gained levels much faster. Their power maxed out at that point though, whereas wizards' just went on growing. And growing. And growing.
 
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hat was because they used the rogue XP table and gained levels much faster. Their power maxed out at that point though, whereas wizards' just went on growing. And growing. And growing.

Yes... but as far as we were concerned, we usually retired our characters around that time (or even before that).

And up to that point, wizards were just behind and really short on hp usually.
Chances that a wizard made it this far were slim.
(My most powerful spellcaster was actually a bard/wizard class combination)
 

Yes... but as far as we were concerned, we usually retired our characters around that time (or even before that).

And up to that point, wizards were just behind and really short on hp usually.
Chances that a wizard made it this far were slim.
(My most powerful spellcaster was actually a bard/wizard class combination)
Played Baldur's Gate 2? If you are a bard you will feel real sad.

There are other casters that gained spells quickly, then capped out: druids, Black robed wizards of high sorcerery. They where good if the campaign ended early, but horrible if you kept on playing.
 

Played Baldur's Gate 2? If you are a bard you will feel real sad.

There are other casters that gained spells quickly, then capped out: druids, Black robed wizards of high sorcerery. They where good if the campaign ended early, but horrible if you kept on playing.

I would not compare computer game with a rpg, even if they use the same rules.

I don't consider level 12 in ADnD2e early... but that may vary from group to group. Which is why I was specifically talking about my experience.
 

I would not compare computer game with a rpg, even if they use the same rules.

I don't consider level 12 in ADnD2e early... but that may vary from group to group. Which is why I was specifically talking about my experience.
🤷‍♂️ It's equivalent to being a full caster up till level 12, then gaining nothing thereafter. I doubt that would be popular, even if a majority of campaigns end before that point. Players care about what their character could potentially do. Non-linier progression was not a popular feature, and was broadly considered unfair, which is why 3rd edition changed to 2/3 casters, keeping the maximum spell level but levelling out the progression.
 

🤷‍♂️ It's equivalent to being a full caster up till level 12, then gaining nothing thereafter. I doubt that would be popular, even if a majority of campaigns end before that point. Players care about what their character could potentially do. Non-linier progression was not a popular feature, and was broadly considered unfair, which is why 3rd edition changed to 2/3 casters, keeping the maximum spell level but levelling out the progression.

Generalizations are always wrong...

I was a player back then and changing the bard to 2/3 caster while unifying xp progression was seriously nerving the bard.
You also do forget, that the bard also lost effective hp by not being levels ahead. Also the attack bonus in 2e increased way faster than the wizard's, making them better for spells that used attacks while also increasing the effect of spells (fireball) or both (chromatic orb... cough...)
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
I wouldn't call it "way faster". When the Bard is level 10 and the Wizard is level 9 (160,000 xp), the Wizard's Thac0 is one point worse. Let's be quite real here, Thief/Bard Thac0 is horrible for someone actually intended to attack things with weapons.
 

I wouldn't call it "way faster". When the Bard is level 10 and the Wizard is level 9 (160,000 xp), the Wizard's Thac0 is one point worse. Let's be quite real here, Thief/Bard Thac0 is horrible for someone actually intended to attack things with weapons.

No, it is a 2 point difference, bit yes, way faster might be a bit of an overstatement.
The xp table however is not all that counts. It is also the way rogues gain class based xp. 2xp per gold found. That usually translates into huge amunts of exra xp.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Oh oops, I somehow looked at Wizard 10 instead of 9 on the chart. Also, gaining xp from treasure is sadly an optional rule in 2e.
 

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cbwjm

Legend
I still would have preferred to be a 2e wizard than a bard, the only thing they lose out on compared with bard spell progression is caster level. At the level that the bard gained access to new spell levels, the wizard was there first and now has more spell slots available. Wizards are probably more likely to learn new spells if the chance to learn spells is enforced (though I never enforced this or the max spells/level).
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Technically, there are a few xp points where Bards get new spells first, like when they get their first 6th level spell. But yeah, getting spells on a Bard can be rough. At least Wizards can be specialists and get free spells on level up.
 

cbwjm

Legend
Technically, there are a few xp points where Bards get new spells first, like when they get their first 6th level spell. But yeah, getting spells on a Bard can be rough. At least Wizards can be specialists and get free spells on level up.
That's when a bard hits level 16, a wizard is level 13 at that point and already has a couple of 6th level spell slots and are close to hitting 14th level where they get 7th level spell slots.
 

Bards. What do we do with them? What's special about them?
Music.
They get music? Great? We build a class all around music and magic. Who wants to create a whole new magic system around music?
...
Anyone?
...
That's not how they have traditionally worked. Remembere you said it has to feel like D&D?
Ok what'a traditional about them besides music?
They suck.
I mean appart from that?
They get a little bit of everything but are not particular good at any one thing.
I said apart from sucking.
Ummm....
Ok then. Let's just keep the stealing a little bit from everyone else but in a sucky way and add full spellcasting to it.
Umm...? Won't that just make them like Sorcerers, but better?
Good point. Ok. Mess around with their spell list a bit so that they look different. Make sure they don't get fireball. Everyone knows fireball is the best spell, so as long as they don't get that Sorcerers will be fine.
 
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