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5E [GUIDE] A party without music is lame: A Bard Guide

Flididdle

First Post
Loving this bard guide, thanks alot Mellored.

I was looking at the UA 'Blade' subclass and I think that they should drop combat magic at 14, give the bard the shield spell at 3 and at 14 do some sorta thing where the bard can sacrifice spell slots for attacks. A mega action surge ability of some sort, then it looks a truly different flavor than valor. Hopefully we will see quite a few new bard builds, looking at my old 2e bardbook there a few interesting ones. The 'Gallant' could be a fun rebuild, just make him a tank sorta character.

I'm gonna go ahead and speculate on what, I think, are some great multi-class options for Bard that haven't been broached upon as of yet.

Bard 17/Rogue 3

Though you do mention it, it's more in passing. Not sure if it's sky blue but it's a ton of flavor. Traveling from city to city no one suspects the great bard of actually being a killer. Even moreso if Simulacrum is chosen as a 14th lvl magical secret. You mention lightning arrow as a crazy nova, but dropping an 8th -9th level slots are for 9th lvl spells- onto heat blade is also crazy damage. The main point is Simulacrum, the cost for the spell is insignificant as the pay for such a service would be substantial. What worse player to face than someone than this character? You'll be able to give eah other bardic inspiration all the time. If you pick alert as an expertise, have a dex based character, with bardic inspiration and jack of all trades the chances of not having initiative on the next attack are sparse. With assassin comes the ability to have advantage on attacks in the second round, maybe you don't get the auto-crit, but maybe you just wanna teleport outta there.

With this character I think the Symbol spell also becomes pretty important during a mass slaughter. I mean, I could just imagine this character ambushing around 6-8 characters of 13th-16th level and just massacring them. You cast True Polymorph onto your Simulacrum after he/she cast power word kill to dispose of a MU, maybe forecage is in effect or maybe a some spamming of Otto's Dance. This may be the most single dangerous character in the game. I'm not sure if it's sky blue, but dang, the flavor is spot on.

A couple of other quick ones that I'm surprised you didn't cover. Seeing as how the Bardic Capstone is laughably sad, it's almost a neccessity to multi-class as a bard. It's really all about Magical Secrets, keep that since it grants you two 8th or 9th lvl spells of your choice, that will be the capstone for

Oh yeah, look at all that Expertise :)

Diviner 2/Lore Bard 18

Are you missing that 19th lvl feat or ASI? Don't worry you already pick up the highly useful Ritual caster feat at first level and with the second level you get Portent, one of the top abilities in the game. Plus, if you take the Wizard levels early enough you gain access to spells like Shield for when times get tough. Definitely a spellcasting Bard. In this class I would actually say the Lucky feat turns to Gold here since Portent + Lucky + Cutting Words is a killer, it loses a bit of juice toward the end, but to me this is sky blue all the way. Wish and something else are your accolades to a great run.

Evoker 2/Valor Bard 18

You wanna capstone? You wanna capstone? How about being able to run into the middle of battle, hold your own and then throw down a meteor swarm at your feat? Now that, that's a capstone. Not much needs to be said here, though I think, this would go Valor 6, Evoker 2 then Valor the rest of the way as an optimum. Another character whose Symbol spell is practically fatal, imagine facing this character in their own lair? Uhhhhhhhhh, no thanks. This is THE path for Valor Bard I believe.

Notable is

Necromancer 2/Bard 18

You get Grim Harvest which can be useful and can have some flavor, and like the other two classes you maintain full casting ability. This one isn't sky blue to me except on a flavor level but it can still be very useful. I would say it's more for a Valor Bard though it could certainly work well with a Lore Bard who has chosen attacking spells with Magical Secrets.

All right, that's all I got for now, really enjoyed this thread -the cover picture is exceptional- and hope I was able to add something to it.
 
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mellored

Explorer
Seeing as how the Bardic Capstone is laughably sad, it's almost a neccessity to multi-class as a bard.
It's only a no-brainier after you are bard 18.

Doing so before means you slow down your spells.

i.e.
compare bard 5/diviner 2 vs bard 7. You're missing out on magic secrets and polymorph.
compare bard 7/diviner 2 vs bard 9. You're missing out on animate objects and a ABI.
compare bard 9/diviner 2 vs bard 11. Your're missing out on magic secrets and mass suggestion.
ect...

worth it? maybe. divination is definitely a strong feature. But i wouldn't put it flat out ahead.


And even the, getting 1 more ASI isn't bad for 19. There's more then enough feats to take, or just +2 Con to make yourself more robust.


Though, i do agree that the capstone is pretty much always worse then anything else you get. I'll change that to gold.
 





Pandaemoni

First Post
I notice you say that the spell Silence helps with stealth. As written, Silence is not cast on an object but emanates from a point chosen within range. I think it is an immobile 20'-radius sphere.
 

mellored

Explorer
I notice you say that the spell Silence helps with stealth. As written, Silence is not cast on an object but emanates from a point chosen within range. I think it is an immobile 20'-radius sphere.
Fixed.

Bumped it down a notch too. It's really powerful, but only against a limited number of foes.
 

Enthrall: A wisdom save to give disadvantage to a wisdom check, just doesn't make sense. This should just be a skill (perform) check.

I'm mostly thinking about it because I've just made a devil's tongue tiefling bard/rogue, but can't enthrall be used to give your allies a surprise round? You, having proficiency (and maybe expertise) in stealth, sneak near enough to the enemies to cast the spell, and then your allies move into range and ambush them. The foes would have -5 to passive perception due to having disadvantage, wouldn't they?
 

mellored

Explorer
I'm mostly thinking about it because I've just made a devil's tongue tiefling bard/rogue, but can't enthrall be used to give your allies a surprise round? You, having proficiency (and maybe expertise) in stealth, sneak near enough to the enemies to cast the spell, and then your allies move into range and ambush them. The foes would have -5 to passive perception due to having disadvantage, wouldn't they?
The way i've mostly seen it played is that any V spell (including enthrall) will break stealth. It's also only a 60' range.

It's also a Wisdom saving throw. So anyone who has high Wis (preception), also has high Wis (save).
Plus one creature is likely to save.


So you need a lot of good die rolls to make use of it. But yes, it could potentially help.


Personally i would houserule it to be no-save, concentration, over 120'. As long as you keep talking, people are distracted.
 

LightningArrow

First Post
I see Enthrall as more of a booster to another player's Stealth/Sleight of Hand roll.

You can, for instance, talk to a guy on the tavern and infect him with your ideas about love and magic so that he won't notice your Thief buddy taking all his cash. Or ask a guard for directions and confuse him with your life story while the Ranger enters the keep he's supposed to watch. A very good spell with proper planning.
 

mellored

Explorer
I see Enthrall as more of a booster to another player's Stealth/Sleight of Hand roll.

You can, for instance, talk to a guy on the tavern and infect him with your ideas about love and magic so that he won't notice your Thief buddy taking all his cash. Or ask a guard for directions and confuse him with your life story while the Ranger enters the keep he's supposed to watch. A very good spell with proper planning.
Or you cast cat's grace, which doesn't require a save, lasts much longer, and can help the ranger get out of the keep as well as in.

Or suggestion to make the guard go away.

The only advantage i see of enthrall is that it doesn't take concentration. So if you want to burn 2 spells for a single check (along with inspiration dice and cutting words), you can potentially let your 8 dex plate army paladin sneak in. Though it doesn't seem like something that would come up alot. And will still take a lot of luck.
 

The way i've mostly seen it played is that any V spell (including enthrall) will break stealth.

Seems to me like a DM call, and one dependent on details of the location and the mindset of the targeted creatures.

It's also a Wisdom saving throw. So anyone who has high Wis (preception), also has high Wis (save).

That's an exaggeration. There are plenty of creatures--thinking especially of dragons, but also mundane things like big cats, bears, wolves--which have ordinary Wis saves but higher perception. Some also have advantage on perception checks made with particular senses, and enthrall would eliminate that. Besides that, the opposite of your statement is just as likely to be true; creatures with low perception also have low Wis saves, making enthrall all the more valuable.

Plus one creature is likely to save.

Even so, it's possible for some enemies to be surprised even if they all aren't.

It's not that I think you're entirely wrong or even mostly wrong, but I think enthrall has more use than you give it credit for.

Edit: Thanks for a great guide, by the way. I meant to say that in my first post.
 
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Rub

First Post
First, I have to say I love this thread and find myself referencing it on an ongoing basis, particularly any time I level up. Question- in the section that discusses spells that can be picked up through Magical Secrets, I read this:
"Counter Spell (level 3): You can add jack of all trades to the check, and lore bard's inspiration dice."

-Can you explain how the Inspiration dice are used with Counter Spell? Maybe give an example? Thanks!
 

Pandaemoni

First Post
First, I have to say I love this thread and find myself referencing it on an ongoing basis, particularly any time I level up. Question- in the section that discusses spells that can be picked up through Magical Secrets, I read this:
"Counter Spell (level 3): You can add jack of all trades to the check, and lore bard's inspiration dice."

-Can you explain how the Inspiration dice are used with Counter Spell? Maybe give an example? Thanks!

They mean use the Lore Bard's Peerless Skill and an inspiration die to add to your roll, as that can be used with any ability check. Of couse, you have to be at least 14th level for that...
 

Rub

First Post
They mean use the Lore Bard's Peerless Skill and an inspiration die to add to your roll, as that can be used with any ability check. Of couse, you have to be at least 14th level for that...

Ah, thanks for clarifying. I had to re-read the wording of Bardic Inspiration, but kept scratching my head on the part that says "one creature other than yourself". Was not looking far enough to the future to see Peerless Skill.
 

mellored

Explorer
First, I have to say I love this thread and find myself referencing it on an ongoing basis, particularly any time I level up. Question- in the section that discusses spells that can be picked up through Magical Secrets, I read this:
"Counter Spell (level 3): You can add jack of all trades to the check, and lore bard's inspiration dice."

-Can you explain how the Inspiration dice are used with Counter Spell? Maybe give an example? Thanks!
Yea, peerless skill.

I clarified in the original post.
 



Rub

First Post
Interesting comparison. For a Bard, I would say Circle of Power for a few reasons. First and foremost, a Bard can "plunder" this spell 4 levels earlier, at level 10 instead of 14. Second, a Bard can cast Circle of Power more often, using the 2 to 3 level 5 spell slots he has in addition to the levels 6 and higher that are required for Globe of Invulnerability. Also, CoP has a 30ft radius and works on spells of ANY level as opposed to GoI's 10ft radius and restrictions on spells versus the level used to cast it.

But the main reason I prefaced it "for a Bard" is that he can also use Bardic Inspiration and possibly Cutting Words to add to the Advantage CoP provides. Just my thoughts, I'd love to read anyone else's reason for GoI - especially if they have been in a campaign where both were used.
 
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