D&D 5E Magical Secrets for the Bard that has everything...already covered by other party members :(

WASDHammer

Explorer
I am in a campaign at level 5 that is very combat intensive (I usually have run out of all spells and BIs well before combat even ends in a day).

For this reason I actually dipped a single level in DS Sorcerer (Bard 4/DS Sorcerer 1) for this reason (for Shield, Firebolt/Mind Sliver dmg cantrips, the Favored by the God pseudo Res(con) on SR.

The party is pretty well rounded:
Vengeance Paladin
Divination Wizard
Life Cleric
Way of Mercy Monk
Artificer
Lore Bard (me)

I am planning ahead for my magical secrets at 6/10/14 and am finding that my current team makes many of my traditional selections redundant with other PC member strengths (Fireball - CHECK, Aura of Vitality - CHECK, Revivify - CHECK).

I mean, what fun is it to have your Wizard blast a Fireball in all its glory, then have my Bard just toss another one? How droll!

Perhaps a controller would be the best niche that wouldn't step on another PC's glory, but curious if there are some Magical Secrets that are a bit off the beaten path that others may have had great success with. Right now, I'm thinking:

Level 6: Counterspell & <I have no idea, Maybe Spiritual Weapon?>
Level 10: Wall of Force & Telekinesis???
Level 14: Simulacrum (is that even useful in practice?) & Reverse Gravity/Chain Lightning??
Level 18: Wish & maybe True Polymorph?

Anyways, first time Bard so interested in any combo's that work well, helped your Bard carve its own niche, and was just fun to play with, especially in a party that seemingly already has everything covered. Lastly, with the combat heavy nature of the campaign, I'm worried summoning spells (like Conjure Animals) will absolutely GRIND everything to a halt.

Any thoughts out there? Much appreciated!
 

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jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
You can do some amazing and creative things with Enlarge/Reduce.

Also, does your party have illusions and/or charm spells covered elsewhere?
 

tommybahama

Adventurer
Druid spells like conjure animals and plant growth are pretty good. Plant growth is good for control. Conjure animals is OP if your DM lets you pick the animals. Volunteer not to pick pixies in exchange for picking the summons and get 8 wolves to do ~50 damage per round to a single target.
 

WASDHammer

Explorer
You can do some amazing and creative things with Enlarge/Reduce.

Also, does your party have illusions and/or charm spells covered elsewhere?
I think illusions/charms may be the most fertile ground. The Divination Wizard could cover that but as of now he hasn't completely gone that route. It actually fits with my backstory too (not the performance bard, more a spy/broker of information & deception).

Any thoughts on some good ones in the illusion/charm space that isn't already on the Bard list? I planned on taking:
  • Hypnotic Pattern
  • Suggestion (but thinking of swapping for Phantasmal Force since the DM always seems to initiate combat whenever I try to use the spell in a non combat setting, rendering it much more useless if there isn't the element of surprise)
  • Hold Person
  • Disguise Self
  • Hold/Dominate Monster
  • Mass Suggestion (feels like it could be better in combat setting vs. normal suggestion).
 

Never doubt the usefulness of a second Revivify. The first completely permanent death we had in 5E was when the cleric bit the dust. Without a way to bring him back, and no way to transport the body for a (hopeful) raise dead, he was left behind. It also lets the cleric have a bit of leeway with 3rd level slots, since they don't have to hold one if you have one unused (just make sure to communicate spell slot usage).
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
Never doubt the usefulness of a second Revivify. The first completely permanent death we had in 5E was when the cleric bit the dust. Without a way to bring him back, and no way to transport the body for a (hopeful) raise dead, he was left behind. It also lets the cleric have a bit of leeway with 3rd level slots, since they don't have to hold one if you have one unused (just make sure to communicate spell slot usage).
This, just make sure you communicate this to the cleric player. It might be a weight off their shoulders or taking away from the spotlight.
 

TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
Since the bard is a force multiplier, I'd suggest you'd go with a more support spell list and a few damage enhancer to buff the usually low-damage output the bard:
6: Slow and Haste
10: Swift Quiver and Bigby's Hand
14: Heroes' Feast and Wind Walk
18: Illusory Dragon and True Polymorph

A fun tactic with a party like this is to get multiple concentration spells going at the same time, which is of course something a single caster can never do. Even simple combos like bless+fairy fire or haste+protection from evil (+bane) can be effective.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
I am in a campaign at level 5 that is very combat intensive (I usually have run out of all spells and BIs well before combat even ends in a day).

For this reason I actually dipped a single level in DS Sorcerer (Bard 4/DS Sorcerer 1) for this reason (for Shield, Firebolt/Mind Sliver dmg cantrips, the Favored by the God pseudo Res(con) on SR.

The party is pretty well rounded:
Vengeance Paladin
Divination Wizard
Life Cleric
Way of Mercy Monk
Artificer
Lore Bard (me)

I am planning ahead for my magical secrets at 6/10/14 and am finding that my current team makes many of my traditional selections redundant with other PC member strengths (Fireball - CHECK, Aura of Vitality - CHECK, Revivify - CHECK).

I mean, what fun is it to have your Wizard blast a Fireball in all its glory, then have my Bard just toss another one? How droll!

Perhaps a controller would be the best niche that wouldn't step on another PC's glory, but curious if there are some Magical Secrets that are a bit off the beaten path that others may have had great success with. Right now, I'm thinking:

Level 6: Counterspell & <I have no idea, Maybe Spiritual Weapon?>
Level 10: Wall of Force & Telekinesis???
Level 14: Simulacrum (is that even useful in practice?) & Reverse Gravity/Chain Lightning??
Level 18: Wish & maybe True Polymorph?

Anyways, first time Bard so interested in any combo's that work well, helped your Bard carve its own niche, and was just fun to play with, especially in a party that seemingly already has everything covered. Lastly, with the combat heavy nature of the campaign, I'm worried summoning spells (like Conjure Animals) will absolutely GRIND everything to a halt.

Any thoughts out there? Much appreciated!

I actually would say that the party is not that well rounded. The party has a ridiculous amount of healing, and 3/6 PCs are support characters. A strong archer or a tank might have been more beneficial, perhaps one with "nature" skills... but the party is what it is.

Perhaps some warlock-only spells might be interesting...
 

Stormonu

Legend
The bard is primarily support and pinch hitter. When everyone's up, they do their best making them better. When one of them goes down or is unavailable, they step in and fill in for them. They are the Fifth party member to the Big Four.

That by no means you can't try and go in your own direction, but I also wouldn't try to fight against the grain. Being useful never hurts.
 


Armor of agathys.
I think it is a quite underrated spell:
No concentration
Lots of temp hp if upcast
A lot of damage against low level creatures
Long duration
Everyone wants to hit the bard, so you are good.
Now find something to give you resist vs damage and you are good to go.
 


I always picture the bard as the preeminent communicator. So I try to have either charm or summoning spells for them. They can make deals (charm) and have made pacts with beings not of this world. I remember we had to repair a house or something with a Helltide* approaching. So I summoned a squad of hobgoblins to help with the construction effort. It had the side-effect of being a rather defensible house.

* A swarm of giant army or fire ants. Most people fled, we couldn't for some reason.
 

Undrave

Hero
You could always pick spells with the ritual tag so you can just do stuff while conserving spell slots?

Druid spells like conjure animals and plant growth are pretty good. Plant growth is good for control.
Plant Growth is great, especially since it's non-concentration. Great way to funnel enemies and the 8 hours version is a good negotiation tool.
 

WASDHammer

Explorer
I always struggled with Plant Growth in its practical utility, but maybe I'm not thinking about it the right way. How have you used it successfully in combat? Out of combat? It always felt so niche for me.

I have been thinking about maybe making my Bard's theme "manipulation". To me, that leads to options that create misdirects or confusion vs. a straight summoner.

So for Bard spells, things like
Phantasmal Force
Suggestion - (although my DM has been harsh on this spell to date. Whenever I cast out of combat, he immediately initiates combat first because he essential gives them a reaction to my verbal spell. To me, that renders this useless because half the fun is the subterfuge).
Hypnotic Pattern
Major Image
Mass Suggestion
Hold Person
Hold Monster

With that in mind, outside of Telekinesis I don't see a ton of other options to use Magical Secrets that fit this same mold.
 


WASDHammer

Explorer
Yeah I think I am leaning that way myself, Quartz. Part of my indecisiveness is actually the feeling that by taking Counterspell & Revivify, I am selecting spells that, while HUGE when they are needed, are needed on very rare occasions. So for 10 levels (until my next MS), I am taking spells that largely offer little to no value to my every day campaign.
 

MarkB

Legend
There's nothing particularly wrong with having some overlap, even of damage-dealing spells. E.g. if you and the cleric both have spirit guardians running covering the same area, that's basically a big cloud of death around the entire party.
 


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