I'm thinking of retiring one of my characters who never really got off the ground, and I have a yen to play a Divine Bard. Split casting stat, divine spells chosen from the bard list or from a handful of cleric spells. How about it?
Mechanicswise, I think the Divine Bard is perfectly reasonable. In fact, I voted it in in LEB already. Unlike LEB, LEW has more of an emphasis on adding RP elements, however, so I'd like to see a little bit of thinking on what it means to be a Divine Bard in LEW, which gods are often patrons, how the DBs fit in, etc. Not a requirement for me to pass it, though.
Like Rystil, I think it looks balanced. However, I'm always opposed to increasing our ruleset. Why not play a regular bard, with arcane spells, and simply attribute his spells to a divine power? Or play a cleric with a high charisma? Multi-classing bard/cleric would be pretty useless, I think...
Right now, I'm inclined to vote no, simply because it's another rule. But if your heart is absolutely set on playing a divine bard and you've got some good arguments, then by all means, persuade me.
They boil down to:
Clerics don't cast illusions!
Bards don't wear heavy armor!
Wouldn't a character that does both be cool?
Since arcane bards will have a slight edge in spellcasting due to their single stat dependency, I'd suppose that a lot of divine bards would make full use of their only other difference - freedom from arcane spell failure - by dipping in a class that gives heavy armor proficiency (putting their spellcasting further behind) or by taking the appropriate feats (also suboptimal), which would generally push them into a less roguish, more martial role, further from an arcane bard and closer to, yes, a cleric.
If a divine bard didn't dip for heavy armor, then the differences from an arcane counterpart would be mostly RP, but I see that as the same sort of problem/challenge as trying to, for example, distinguish two NG clerics with the Fire and Earth domains, one worshipping Chennet' and one Geoth - absolutely identical mechanics there, but probably very different end results.
If you want a divine caster (in heavy armor), why not just play a high Cha cleric? Well, bards have a completely different spell list, besides the other mechanical differences. You're trading 9th level cleric spell progression for spontaneous bardic spellcasting to 6th level (or possibly less good than that), supplemented by bardic music, and extra skill points wrt the cleric, or better BAB etc wrt the cloistered cleric.
Paladins are heavily armored half-casters, in that sense somewhat like a divine bard could be, but they come with their own enormous RP baggage, so let's ignore them as a general substitute.
I like the idea of a heavily armored guy brandishing his holy symbol and longsword, looking all for the (en)world like a paladin or cleric, then casting Mirror Image or Greater Invisibility (or Glitterdust, or Sleep, or Silent Image, or...)!
As for deities that might be patrons of divine bards, looking down the list, I can see a lot that would fit well: Phyrah as the most obvious, but also Galatea, Halina, Valessa, Zephos, Azwan, Verdante, Amphousa, Geoth, Grendath, Jareth, Taurusk, Ahrianna, Mongrel, and Ulura, at the least. Divine bards of some of these gods would be very restricted in alignment choices.
I, uh, don't think I'm going to spend any time right now attempting to create fluff for divine bards of specific traditions. Seems a little pointless for an unapproved class variant! If it passed, I'd contribute where I felt I had something to say, of course, but I'd rather leave a lot of it up to (a) anyone who has particularly proprietary feelings towards a deity, as well as (b) any eventual divine bard player. As usual, I'd not like to see anything too proscriptive: I'd not want someone who had a firm idea for a divine bard of Zephos as a Good (well, true neutral!) Shepherd-type figure (incidentally, you can't take two steps without tripping over medieval songs about shepherds! Hé, bergier! Pastorele, gente et bele!) to be told that it was out of the question, because his divine bards conduct funerary rites, or recite odes in memory of fallen heroes, for example.
I vote Yes to the Divine Bard. I've switched to a fairly low standard for the UA variant classes, since we've already adopted many of them. As long as the class is balanced, I find it a good way to add more flavour options for characters without unduly confusing GMs (since the classes are well-known, easily accessible via the hyperlinked SRDs, and very similar to standard classes).
Color me persuaded. I hadn't even considered the possibility of armored casting, and it does seem like the minor changes have a lot of bang for their buck. In the past I've requested fluff for new classes, but I realize now that it tends to feel forced and ends up constricting rather than freeing. Also, as Orsal said, we've already approved many of the other class variants, and one more can only help.
A small matter. Should divine bards exhibit an alignment aura? Clerics do, except those who follow a TN deity or an ideal and do not have the Law, Chaos, Good or Evil domains. Paladins do, whether or not they follow a specific deity. Druids don't, even though these three casters and the divine bard are unable to cast spells of opposed alignments. Rangers aren't stated to have an alignment restriction - but then they don't have any aligned spells on their list (in core at least). Divine bards seem to be worse off than other casters, since "[n]eutral divine bards can't cast any spells associated with an alignment (and are thus relatively rare)." Harsh! Good or evil clerics have no problem casting 'neutral' spells, since I don't think there's any such descriptor, not even when a Summon Monster spell is used to summon a N creature ("When you use a summoning spell to summon an air, chaotic, earth, evil, fire, good, lawful, or water creature, it is a spell of that type"). And I've always thought that neutral clerics could cast good, evil, lawful and chaotic spells. Or am I mistaken there?
sorry to post this here not sure if you got my thank you e-mail so i wanted to say thanks and the divine bard looks kool you ll be singing a lot of hymns i take it just a thought though
you said bards don t where heavy armor there really is not much of a need look at the following:
chain shirt +4 armor bouns +4 Max dex total = +8 to armor class
platemail +8 armor bonus +1 Max dex total = +9 to armor class
are you really worried about that 1 point of armor bonus I would go for an AC of 18 with a ACP of -2 over an AC of 19 with a ACP of -6 (SWIM -12) hmmm give him a shield and his AC is 20 and ACP -4 not bad i think i would like to run a character like that at 1st lvl
Thanks again hope to be bashing badguys next to your Divine Bard soon