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D&D 5E Rogue, Bard, Assassin, Tinker, (Tailer, Spy)

Greg K

Hero
And here we see why they left it up to crowd sourcing. :) Personally, I prefer the bard as less rogue-y, but more buff oriented and fey magic oriented (illusions, enchantments, etc), so I'm pretty happy with the 5e direction.
I agree (not necessarily on fey magic oriented, but regarding buffs, llusions, enchantments, etc.). However, as I stated in another post, I would change a few class features and spells.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I feel like demoralizing enemies should be a basic bard feature.
Forgot to actually reply to this. Yes! I would say that the dice pool the bard uses to inspire can also demoralize, for sure. A high level boost could be choosing multiple effects per use.
 

ART!

Hero
It would be worth looking at "bards" in mythology, legend, and folklore to see what kind sof "powers" they have...but even as I type that I realize I recently played a 5E College of Spirits bard who was basically an old lady spirit-talker, shaman sort of character, and it worked really well.

Regardless, I think some kind of lore feature should be a basic bard thing. Skalds, minstrels, troubadors, storytellers, spirit-talkers who communicate with their people's ancestors - they're all people whose job it is to know a lot of useful/meaningful/entertaining things. Some of that is covered with Performance, of course.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
It would be worth looking at "bards" in mythology, legend, and folklore to see what kind sof "powers" they have...but even as I type that I realize I recently played a 5E College of Spirits bard who was basically an old lady spirit-talker, shaman sort of character, and it worked really well.

Regardless, I think some kind of lore feature should be a basic bard thing. Skalds, minstrels, troubadors, storytellers, spirit-talkers who communicate with their people's ancestors - they're all people whose job it is to know a lot of useful/meaningful/entertaining things. Some of that is covered with Performance, of course.
here are my thoughts on the bard so far;

Bard

  • Spellcasting changes, no magical secrets, mystic arcanum style access to 6+ level spells, more limited/focused spell list. I'm open to fewer spell slots of levels 3-5 as well, basically a weak full caster.
    • Add Guidance, Druidcraft, Hex, Call Lightning, Identify, and some of the summon spells, ditch lightning bolt and a few others
  • Lose jack of All trades, gain ability to spend dice to add to an Int or Charisma ability check.
  • Bardic Inspiration Dice need new name (Story and Song), more dice, group buffs and debuffs, single target curses, and eventually a mechanic to “smite” an ally’s attack.
  • Keeper of Knowledge – similar to keen mind, plus ability to make knowledge checks to Help another as part of another action 1/turn
  • A Turn The Crowd ability, perhaps usable to gain an audience or safe passage out of trouble, signifying that a Bard is someone people listen to. Maybe tied to the dice pool mechanic.
Basically the idea is that you lose a decent chunk of spellcasting, but don't slow down your spellcasting, and in exchange you gain a bigger pool of dice that starts out refreshing on a short rest, and that you can use to do bigger stuff.
 

auburn2

Adventurer
I think the Bard class is silly, on the rare occasion I play one, I wonder why the heck I am lugging this lute into the dungeon ..... alright guys we are going to sneak up and hit the bandit camp, grab the princess and get out. We need to be light and fast, only weapons and explosives .... oh yeah and the guitar too.

If I make a Bard (which is rare) he uses a harmonica. The only time the Bard did not seem like it was a complete doofus was when we had a multi-class Druid/Bard who got shillelagh and the DM ruled he could use his bandolin as a Shillelagh .... whacking people with a stringed instrument made it seem like it at least belonged.

My vote is to just do away with the Bard class completely. The 1E bard was ok if you went through the trouble to build it, but the rest of them have sucked IMO. The Bard should be an NPC you bring to the ball, performs at the tavern, helps you get into the Duke's court .....
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I think the Bard class is silly, on the rare occasion I play one, I wonder why the heck I am lugging this lute into the dungeon ..... alright guys we are going to sneak up and hit the bandit camp, grab the princess and get out. We need to be light and fast, only weapons and explosives .... oh yeah and the guitar too.

If I make a Bard (which is rare) he uses a harmonica. The only time the Bard did not seem like it was a complete doofus was when we had a multi-class Druid/Bard who got shillelagh and the DM ruled he could use his bandolin as a Shillelagh .... whacking people with a stringed instrument made it seem like it at least belonged.

My vote is to just do away with the Bard class completely. The 1E bard was ok if you went through the trouble to build it, but the rest of them have sucked IMO. The Bard should be an NPC you bring to the ball, performs at the tavern, helps you get into the Duke's court .....
This post seems to miss entirely out on having any idea on any level what a Bard even is, so I don't think I'll be taking your advice.

I think it's safe to say that everyone who is taking the premise of the discussion seriously disagrees with you pretty fundementally about the identity of the Bard class, so your post seems to really just be a lazy attempt to threadcrap.
 

Minigiant

Legend
I think the biggest issue with the Rogue and Bard is WOTC forcing all skillmonkeys into them and not creating new classes.

The Rogue should be focused on Stealth, thieves tools, and the fantasy application of skilled Sneakiness (Sneak Attack)
The Bard should be focused on Conversation instruments, and the fantasy application of skilled Music (Song Magic)
The Mastermind be focused on Knowledge, lore, and the fantasy application of skilled Academia (Insightful Fighting and Lore Magic)
The Scout be focused on Perception, Mobility and the fantasy application of skilled Watchfulness (Precise Strike)

Thank Horus that they made Artificer major and didn't shove crafting in rogue and bard.

That's just me.
 

Greg K

Hero
here are my thoughts on the bard so far;

Bard

  • ditch lightning bolt and a few others
This is the second time that I have seen you mention LIghtning Bolt. When was Lightning bolt added to the list? It is not on the Bard list in the copy of the SRD that I have. Is it in the PHB or was it added later?
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
This is the second time that I have seen you mention LIghtning Bolt. When was Lightning bolt added to the list? It is not on the Bard list in the copy of the SRD that I have. Is it in the PHB or was it added later?
I might be wrong, actually. Perhaps a bard had it via magical secrets.
 

rgoodbb

Adventurer
There was an edition where the rogue and the bard could take the same subclass. I think it was called the rogue barber and I quite liked that idea.

4th essentials had the bard auras. Liked the idea of them.

I once tied to make a warlord style PC for Doom Vault. It was Glamour x/Battle Master 5. Didn't have a good enough feel to it. I think a subclass of what you are looking at would probably fit the bill better. Especially if made for the job.

Like this thread, btw.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
There was an edition where the rogue and the bard could take the same subclass. I think it was called the rogue barber and I quite liked that idea.
Hmmm. Very interesting. That might require a more ground up rewrite of the Bard than I’d planned for, but it’s certainly a fun idea.
4th essentials had the bard auras. Liked the idea of them.
Yeah, those were good.
I once tied to make a warlord style PC for Doom Vault. It was Glamour x/Battle Master 5. Didn't have a good enough feel to it. I think a subclass of what you are looking at would probably fit the bill better. Especially if made for the job.

Like this thread, btw.
Thanks! And yeah a Bard that fits that warlord niche would be great. Once I’ve hammered out the changes to the Bard, I’ll give some thought to a Herald subclass that fits that role.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I think the biggest issue with the Rogue and Bard is WOTC forcing all skillmonkeys into them and not creating new classes.

The Rogue should be focused on Stealth, thieves tools, and the fantasy application of skilled Sneakiness (Sneak Attack)
The Bard should be focused on Conversation instruments, and the fantasy application of skilled Music (Song Magic)
The Mastermind be focused on Knowledge, lore, and the fantasy application of skilled Academia (Insightful Fighting and Lore Magic)
The Scout be focused on Perception, Mobility and the fantasy application of skilled Watchfulness (Precise Strike)

Thank Horus that they made Artificer major and didn't shove crafting in rogue and bard.

That's just me.
I would leave the mastermind, but also have a similar class to what you describe. If players didn't want so badly for most folk to be non-magical, I'd say a scholarly class like that should have ritual casting but no other spellcasting, and then help as a bonus action, and stuff like insightful fighting but as a debuff, which would make it effectively a team buff. IE, the target is more vulnerable to attacks, rather than the scholar gaining bonuses to attack it.
 

Xetheral

Three-Headed Sirrush
I think it says something that “use the warlock chassis” gets suggested as a fix for basically every class. The warlock is, in my opinion, the single best-designed class in 5e, and every class could benefit from following its lead. Of course, if you actually do that you get 4e, and everyone gets mad for some reason.
I think there's room to thread the needle and refashion classes on something similar to the 5e Warlock chassis without ending up with 4e. One could probably end up closer to Star Wars Saga Edition, which managed to have the classes on identical chassis without the same level of pushback that 4e got concerning class similarity.

I'm thinking something like each class gets an "invocation" every level, but have each level of increased spell access require an invocation. So, for example, being able to prepare third level arcane spells would require selecting the "Arcane Spell Preparation: Third Level" invocation (with prereqs of class level 5 and "Arcane Spell Preparation: Second Level"). Subclasses would simply add to the list of invocations available to select, making them very flexible and modular.

This type of chassis would give individual Bards the ability to choose how much of a caster they wanted to be by varying the number of invocations spent on Spell Access. So this would allow for both a full-caster Bard and a spell-less Bard with the same class.

The downside, of course, is that the invocations other than Spell Access need to be powerful enough to be worthwhile choices. (That could be partially ameliorated by gating some of a full casters' normal daily spell slot allotment behind other invocations, raising the opportunity cost of investing in spellcasting.)

With a large number of such "invocations" devoted to the separate spellcasting subsystem (e.g. spell access, spell slots, metamagic for sorcerers, school-specific spell buffs for wizards, magical secrets for bards, eldritch blast buffs for warlocks, smiting for paladins) and "invocations" devoted to the skill subsystem (e.g. expertise, jack-of-all-trades, reliable talent, peerless skill), on top of the diversity seen in existing passive and activated Warlock invocations (e.g. Aspect of the Moon [passive] vs Book of Ancient Secrets [passive/active] vs Lifedrinker [passive enhancement to activated ability] vs Sign of Ill Omen [activated]), I think such a system would be perceived as having a greater diversity of "invocations" than some of the detractors saw in 4e's AEDU powers, despite still having a unified chassis.
 

The bard has a complex history through DnD editions.
He changes from Druid spell to Wizard spell,
He has been a leader, thus a healer, in 4ed,
Was under the rogue class in second edition,
Was a kind of prestige class for very high stat character in Advanced DnD, and requiring rogue and fighter level,
The jack of all trade is an addition from 4ed,

So the concept of the bard is something wide and malleable.
Is it a fighter that can charm,
Or a rogue with elegance
Or a Wizard with a mandolin,
Or a jester on steroid,
Each DM and setting can have its personal view of the Bard.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Okay. So, I think the way to figure out how to level gate debilitating conditions is to start with Sneak Attack damage by level compared to spell damage by spell level, and then compare to what sort of conditions cannot be applied via spell until what level.

Obviously things like “when can the monk do it and for how much ki” will also be taken into account, but spell level will help.

I’m also just curious how much Spellcasting sneak attack is worth, tbh.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
ignore me I'm gonna calculate some stuff.

Let's find out what percentage of full casting a Rogue's sneak attack is worth!

Assume a world where a wizard has a spell every level that just does the recomended damage from the DMG for that spell level to a single target.

Assume as well, that the the Rogue's weapon damage is taken into account for the purposes of balancing Sneak Attack, since SA adds to an attack, and they didn't give the rogue extra attack. I'll treat each weapon die + modifier damage as 2d6 at lower levels and 2d8 at higher levels, because those will get us very close without making it complicated.

Lastly, we are assuming every attack hits, no one crits, and the rogue is making 1 attack per round.

A level 5 wizard can do 27d10 (148.5) over 9 rounds in a day, in this model.

Converting to d6s, we get roughly the same damage with 42d6 (147). Rounding up gets 150.5, which might be a safer bet since I'm treating the modifer to damage as either 3 or 4, and thus putting it at 3.5, but lets run with the lower average for now.

A rogue's round at level 5 will average 17.5, which means it will take 8.4 rounds to deal 147 damage. So at level 5, we're even, or close enough. We can call it 8.5, since the higher average of 150.5 takes 8.6 rounds.

Let's jump up to level 11.

Wizard jumps up to 76d10 (418) over 16 rounds.

That is roughly 120d6 (420).

The Rogue is doing 6d6 per SA. We will keep the attack damage at 2d6 so we don't have to try to split things. 8d6 is 28, which can reach 420 in 15 rounds.

Level 17, wizard does 114d10 (627) in 19 rounds. 179d6 is 626.5. Call it the same damage. Rogue is doing 38.5 per hit (9d6+2d6=11d6). 16 rounds for the rogue.

If we don't count the weapon damage, it takes 20 rounds for the rogue to get as much from Sneak Attack as the Wizard does from spellcasting.
It seems like sneak attack plus weapon attacks is worth about the same as full casting, and by itself is worth about 3/4. That actually feels about right, to me, considering all the rogue gets, and the fact he can keep that damage rate up all day, no matter how many rounds. The wizard's backup option is around 4d10 (22) per round at 17th level, which is well behind the rogue's 31.5 from just sneak attack, or roughly 39+ total, without taking chance to crit into account (the rogue should be criting more often, but I don't want to try and calculate how much more often and then factor it in).

Now, obviously the rogue gets a lot to make up for not having the versatility that the wizard has, and this ignores the power of stuff like banishment, polymorph, and spells that punch about their level.

Interesting.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I think that when you factor in just what high level spells can do, many are worth much more than the damage listed for that level.

Sneak Attack just does damage, so I think I will revise my assessment from another thread, and say that Sneak Attack is roughly worth half casting.

This has implications here, and for my “give rangers Sneak Attack” idea, and the “build a class” idea.
 

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