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D&D doesn't need bards


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Need? No.

There have been versions and editions of D&D without them. There have been settings where the bard as we know it doesn't exist.

It isn't needed.

There's more to D&D than what is needed though.

It is a part of making a main edition of D&D complete enough to encompass the expectations of the player base and cover all the playstyles that players want.

The only classes that have been in all 5 main editions were Cleric, Fighter, Wizard, Rogue (called Thief in 1st and 2nd edition), Paladin and Ranger. . .and going to Basic D&D you didn't even have Paladin and Ranger. Bard was in 1e, as a proto-prestige-class, but not as a base class.

However, as D&D generally tries to include all the archetypes, classes, races that fans expect in its core rules, it needs them to be able to do everything fans expect from an edition of D&D. The lack of bards in the core rules of 4th edition was one of the MANY complaints against it.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
If you think about it, D&D doesn't even need Fighters because there's plenty of other characters who can fight, or Wizards because the majority of classes cast spells anyway. Nothing's strictly necessary, and if you take away anything that isn't, you end up with nothing.
 

Undrave

Hero
The lack of bards in the core rules of 4th edition was one of the MANY complaints against it.

Oh yeah, the Bard, Barbarian, Druid, Sorcerer, Gnome and Half-Orc were in the PHB2 and people FLIPPED THE EFF OUT, like it was the end of DnD that they weren't in PHB1...

So, DnD doesn't NEED Bards, but the player base WANTS Bards... so, in effect, DnD NEEDS Bards.
 

Oh yeah, the Bard, Barbarian, Druid, Sorcerer, Gnome and Half-Orc were in the PHB2 and people FLIPPED THE EFF OUT, like it was the end of DnD that they weren't in PHB1...

So, DnD doesn't NEED Bards, but the player base WANTS Bards... so, in effect, DnD NEEDS Bards.
Well, by normal D&D logic, if it's not in the Player's Handbook, it's not in the core rules, which means that the game presumes that most games won't be using it and most players won't have it and that most settings won't be supporting it.

People didn't assume the Duskblade, Dragon Shaman, Beguiler and Knight classes were suddenly added to the 3.5e core rules because they were in the 3.5e Player's Handbook 2.

I think 4e was trying something new, like spreading core classes out over multiple books to encourage people to buy more books, but it really ignored a lot of the culture of the game in the process.
 

The bard is a hybrid class, stealth as the rogue, but also musical spellcasters, the opposite of the silence.

The wandering minstrel is a good cover for spies, but in infiltration operations when you have to be undetected you can't play music. If I was the sentinel in the vampire lord's castle and I listened sacred music used against undead guardians I would sound an alarm.

And bards can be hired as sidekicks if nobody wants to play with a bard PC. And we can use the archetypes of pathfinder.

* What do you think about a bard playing music to reload spell slots instead short rests? Or to reload some special single-use magic amulets.





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bards


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Undrave

Hero
I think 4e was trying something new, like spreading core classes out over multiple books to encourage people to buy more books, but it really ignored a lot of the culture of the game in the process.

Well yeah, they said from the start 'Everything is core'. The classes just took way too much room due to the 4e design that they couldn't fit all the old classes AND the new ones (Warlord and Warlock, even the Martial Ranger was basically new) in a single book so in that sense, splitting it into two was a decent idea. People just wanted those classes (and races) and they wanted them NOW.

-Snipped exemple of bards-
Here's an exemple of two bards dueling while being assaulted by guards.

(also, those are GLOVE puppets. The heads are hand-carved and about the size of a kiwi fruit or so)
 


Well yeah, they said from the start 'Everything is core'. The classes just took way too much room due to the 4e design that they couldn't fit all the old classes AND the new ones (Warlord and Warlock, even the Martial Ranger was basically new) in a single book so in that sense, splitting it into two was a decent idea. People just wanted those classes (and races) and they wanted them NOW.
Well, despite WotC's marketing hype, the standard is, that if it's in the Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, or Monster Manual, then it's core.

Saying "Everything is Core" ignores the whole point of what "core" rules are.

It really all comes down to 4e being driven more by marketing than game design. That or, as I heard someone describer it once, 4e was designed assuming the old WotC forums were a representative sample of D&D gamers, and not outliers. Thus, the game was designed to assume that every player bought every book and that strict mathematical balance between the classes was a goal because most players would work hard to actively "break" the system through elaborate "builds" if they didn't.

Getting this back to talk of Bards, bards have long been hated by powergamers as not specialized enough to work with powergamer logic. They're great for players that want a versatile character. They are great for characters that can fit into a variety of jobs in the party. They are a popular roleplaying archetype among fans. What they aren't, and probably never will be, is raw optimized power (especially while remaining true to their concept). This mentality probably shaped why 4e didn't have a bard in its initial release, and why it's perennially complained about as being an under-powered class.
 

Warpiglet-7

Adventurer
I'm just responding to @Morrus request for more suggestion threads for testing.

However, I don't like bards and think the game would be better without them. Certainly not as full casters and in no way should they be able to swap spells on a long rest.

Edited for grammer.
I don’t like Bards much. I really cannot fathom standing around and inspiring others in deadly situations. It’s boring and not very cool imagery for me. HOWEVER, more choices are a good thing. Really do we NEED anything aside from a fighter cleric rogue or wizard?

do we need the plethora of subclasses? One for each would be workable.

options are good. Unless they break the game, just don’t take the ones you dislike! If we start slashing and burning I am in trouble. I play blasé pact warlocks and don’t like hexblade....

options are good, even ones I don’t like much...
 

Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
I like bards as jacks of all trades who happen upon different abilities and traits. I love the card as a half-caster who has a random assortment of spells and tricks, a la the 2nd Edition AD&D version. That concept fills a design space, especially as a prepared cater with a humble of spells in their spellbook.

Bards as full casters l, or even as more focused casters, rub me the wrong way. Of course, I don't really like so many full casters in 5e anyway, so that's part of the problem right there IMO.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I'm just responding to @Morrus request for more suggestion threads for testing.

However, I don't like bards and think the game would be better without them. Certainly not as full casters and in no way should they be able to swap spells on a long rest.

Edited for grammer.
I'm going to violently disagree. D&D does need bards. Without Bards....

Who would you feed to the alligators while visiting the city zoo?

Who would you kneecap while being chased by hungry monsters?

Who would you trade to the evil extraplanar creature for the artifact you need to save the day?
 

pemerton

Legend
wingsandsword said:
It really all comes down to 4e being driven more by marketing than game design. That or, as I heard someone describer it once, 4e was designed assuming the old WotC forums were a representative sample of D&D gamers, and not outliers. Thus, the game was designed to assume that every player bought every book and that strict mathematical balance between the classes was a goal because most players would work hard to actively "break" the system through elaborate "builds" if they didn't.

Getting this back to talk of Bards, bards have long been hated by powergamers as not specialized enough to work with powergamer logic. They're great for players that want a versatile character. They are great for characters that can fit into a variety of jobs in the party. They are a popular roleplaying archetype among fans. What they aren't, and probably never will be, is raw optimized power (especially while remaining true to their concept). This mentality probably shaped why 4e didn't have a bard in its initial release, and why it's perennially complained about as being an under-powered class.
Both these paragraphs are bizarre.

4e is entirely driven by game design. It sacrifices many received notions of how D&D should look and play in pursuit of design.

5e is clearly very concerned with "mathematical balance" between classes - hence why the fighter's second attack is gained at 5th rather than the traditional 7th level, so as to balance it with the mage's fireball; and hence why fireball does 8d6 rather than its traditional 5d6 for a 5th level caster.

And I've never seen anyone complain of either the 4e or 5e bard being underpowered. I do see occasional complaints of the 5e bard being overpowered.
 
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Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
The only classes that have been in all 5 main editions were Cleric, Fighter, Wizard, Rogue (called Thief in 1st and 2nd edition), Paladin and Ranger. . .and going to Basic D&D you didn't even have Paladin and Ranger. Bard was in 1e, as a proto-prestige-class, but not as a base class.

The Ranger wasn't in OD&D (it was published in Strategic Review, but wasn't an official class until 1e).

The classes that you can trace back through all editions are Fighting Man (Fighter), Magic User (Wizard), Cleric, Thief (Rogue), and Paladin.

....Druids and Monks were in OD&D, but had issues depending on how you define "base class" in further editions (both appeared in all editions, but not in the first publication).

Bards? They are really not so bad, provided that you do not play them nor allow them at your table.
 

The Ranger wasn't in OD&D (it was published in Strategic Review, but wasn't an official class until 1e).

The classes that you can trace back through all editions are Fighting Man (Fighter), Magic User (Wizard), Cleric, Thief (Rogue), and Paladin.

....Druids and Monks were in OD&D, but had issues depending on how you define "base class" in further editions (both appeared in all editions, but not in the first publication).

Bards? They are really not so bad, provided that you do not play them nor allow them at your table.
I don't count OD&D as a main edition of D&D.

I was talking about the core D&D design lineage from 1st edition AD&D to 5e, intentionally not counting BD&D or OD&D, as side-projects or precursors to the main design lineage.
 


Bard should have the spellcasting format of Warlock, replacing Invocation per Songs that can add effect to an aura around the bard and replacing Boons (at 1st level) with Performer's Focus: Blade (prof with martial, medium armor and Accro), Minstrel (Instrument as focus, prof in social skills) or Loremaster (tomes as focus, prof with knowledge skills and languages).
Considering that I hate Warlocks, I actually like this idea. The mechanics make way more sense for a bard.

Having your instrument or focus of study actually have a mechanical benefit is a great idea.
 

Starfox

Adventurer
d20 Legend fo the 5 rings had a class like amny here seem to want the bard to be - was it called Courtier? Anyway, it had absolutely superb courtly and diplomatic abilities and was next to useless on adventures outside of the social stage. This was a VERY BAD idea! Basically, gameplay got divided into 2 sphere, one where all players but the courtier could leave the table, and the other where the courtier could leave the table. Each group was so much better at their chosen tasks that the others were more of a hindrance. Not fun. It might be simulationist (simulating what, exactly?) but was the opposite of heroic and fun.
 


Jack Daniel

Engines & Empires
D&D doesn't need bards, but it's certainly nice to have them around. I wouldn't play AD&D without them.

The only classes that have been in all 5 main editions were Cleric, Fighter, Wizard, Rogue (called Thief in 1st and 2nd edition), Paladin and Ranger. . .and going to Basic D&D you didn't even have Paladin and Ranger. Bard was in 1e, as a proto-prestige-class, but not as a base class.

0th edition has:
Fighter, Mage, and Cleric in Men & Magic.
Thief and Paladin in Greyhawk.
Monk and Assassin in Blackmoor.
Druid in Eldritch Wizardry.
Bard, Ranger, and Illusionist in The Strategic Review.

They all reappeared in 1st edition (the Bard gets a base class variant in Dragon #56), and they all reappeared in 2nd edition (with Monks and Assassins found in The Scarlet Brotherhood sourcebook), arguably with the exception of the Illusionist. A Mage specialized in the school of Illusion just doesn't feel quite the same.

I don't count OD&D as a main edition of D&D.

You should probably expect to be alone in that regard.
 

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