Saving the Bard

DMMike

Game Masticator
Sounds like you made a well rounded person. He sounds like the kind of guy who is pragmatic and would argue he is a fighter, a bard or maybe a wizard in whatever the situation called for.
So, not a bard. Dammit, I thought I was helping the cause! :geek: He seems like more of a Factotum (Dungeonscape - great book). Hey, look! There's a much cooler Inspiration rule in that class...

There were bards in the world before D&D.
And did these bards help during adventures? Or would they make for better NPCs?
 
And did these bards help during adventures? Or would they make for better NPCs?
Like the inspirations for wizard, druid, cleric, sorcerer, and warlock, they did not tend to actually go on adventures with the hero, and would have made better NPCs. Though, unlike the wizard, sorcerer, cleric (EHP, if you remember that one), or warlock, bards in the source material at least tended not to be villains.
 

pemerton

Legend
did these bards help during adventures? Or would they make for better NPCs?
Like the inspirations for wizard, druid, cleric, sorcerer, and warlock, they did not tend to actually go on adventures with the hero, and would have made better NPCs.
Bilbo Baggins can easily be thought of as a bard - knowledgeable, personable, negotiates truces, outwits spiders, tricksy and riddling.

And he went on an adventure.

In RPGing, it depends very heavily on the sorts of situations that the GM puts in front of the players.
 

pemerton

Legend
Reply was ultimately in response to:
Yes. And the question was then asked, by the OP, whether they were NPCs or could be adventurers. And I pointd to one of those "bards in the world" - ie Bilbo Baggins - who was an adventurer. The fact that he doesn't fit a certain D&D model of bard doesn't mean that (i) he wasn't in the world before D&D, and (ii) that he wasn't suited to be an adventurer.

You said that bards in the source material tended not to be villains. As the Bilbo Baggins example shows, they also are not uniformally magicicans.

Even in the D&D context, I've seen many posts over the years suggesting that a ranger's spells can be "reflufffed" as non-magic survival knacks, and presumably the same would be true of some bard spells. This also comes up in some Bard=Warlord threads.
 
. And I pointd to one of those "bards in the world" - ie Bilbo Baggins - who was an adventurer. The fact that he doesn't fit a certain D&D model of bard doesn't mean that (i) he wasn't in the world before D&D, and (ii) that he wasn't suited to be an adventurer.
It illustrates that he wasn't an inspiration for the D&D Bard, that and he was an inspiration for the D&D hobbit/halfling/thief.

You said that bards in the source material tended not to be villains.
was I mistaken?

Even in the D&D context, I've seen many posts over the years suggesting that a ranger's spells can be "reflufffed" as non-magic survival knacks, and presumably the same would be true of some bard spells. This also comes up in some Bard=Warlord threads.
Yeah, those suggestions run aground on the mechanics of D&D magic.
 

pemerton

Legend
@Tony Vargas, I don't understand what you are trying to do with your posts.

This is a thread about "saving the bard" - where what is meant is not the D&D bard, let alone the 5e D&D bard, but rather the bard archetype. It has been pointed out that the bard archetype predates D&D and is not dependent on D&D. Over the course of this thread I have pointed to various characters in well-known fictional works who exemplify the archetype, and also to some RPG examples, and talked about their suitability as PCs rather than NPCs. Some of the RPG examples have been magicians (eg the Rolemaster one I described upthread) but not all (eg the Prince Valiant one I described upthread).

Bilbo Baggins is a character who is a suitable model for a PC, who goes on an adventurer, and who exemplifies the bard archetype (tricky, lives by his wits, very personable and at times even charming, likes to tell stroies). The fact that D&D decided to create a halfling thief build instead which has none of Bilbo's trickery or charm as part of it; and the fact that D&D makes all bards magicians - is irrelevant to the point I am making.
 

aramis erak

Explorer
This is a thread about "saving the bard" - where what is meant is not the D&D bard, let alone the 5e D&D bard, but rather the bard archetype. It has been pointed out that the bard archetype predates D&D and is not dependent on D&D.
And the Archetyical Bard pre-D&D was different than the post D&D one. Or should I say, Bard Archetypes, plural
  • The wandering chanter of the Druidic Histories. no magic.
  • The rare reference to magic via musical prayers
  • The poet of the 17th C English use... Poets and playwrights...
  • The 16th-17th C Scots derogatory for a low-competence wandering musician.
  • Tolkien's Bard the Bowman - total left-field to the rest. Probably be a Ranger in D&D terms.
No one of these fits the D&D Bard, even though the article introducing them mentions several.
 

DMMike

Game Masticator
Bilbo Baggins can easily be thought of as a bard - knowledgeable, personable, negotiates truces, outwits spiders, tricksy and riddling.

And he went on an adventure.
And he was a gifted (?) orator (see 111th birthday), but more importantly, a writer. One who transmits knowledge. This means that a bard... is one of the most celebrated characters of all time!

Too bad he didn't carry a lyre.

And the Archetyical Bard pre-D&D was different than the post D&D one. Or should I say, Bard Archetypes, plural
  • The wandering chanter of the Druidic Histories. no magic.
  • The rare reference to magic via musical prayers
  • The poet of the 17th C English use... Poets and playwrights...
  • The 16th-17th C Scots derogatory for a low-competence wandering musician.
  • Tolkien's Bard the Bowman - total left-field to the rest. Probably be a Ranger in D&D terms.
Some types of priests do a lot of singing/chanting (prior to D&D). That does a bit to reinforce the magical (and historical) power of music, if not the bard archetype.
 

DrunkonDuty

Adventurer
I can accept Bilbo as a version of a bard. Not musical, but that's not necessary, he does fill several other parts of the role.

So, not a bard. Dammit, I thought I was helping the cause! :geek: He seems like more of a Factotum (Dungeonscape - great book).

And did these bards help during adventures? Or would they make for better NPCs?
I'd say your character would be a troubadour version of a bard. Not a classic Celtic bard, no. More based on a much later archetype, the mediaeval musical trickster and hell raiser, a Caravaggio who uses music instead of painting. It's an archetype that certainly informs the modern gaming concept of a bard.

As for bards going on adventures - there's the Taliesin cycle from Celtic myth. He is by definition the protagonist. So yeah, there's a (very strong) precedent for the bard being a PC. Not that we need a precedent, these are our stories after all.
 

Arnwolf666

Adventurer
As an Irishman 😉I would kind of like the bard to be a Druidic order kind of like it was historically. But a skald archetype would be great for a fighter.
Maybe a separate minstrel archetype for the rogue.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
As an Irishman 😉I would kind of like the bard to be a Druidic order kind of like it was historically. But a skald archetype would be great for a fighter.
Maybe a separate minstrel archetype for the rogue.
IC fluff-wise that’s easy!

Give some druids the entertainer Background ;)

Or some Bards an Acolyte/Outlander combo Background.

Throw together a Druidic order that is a mix of those classes plus some Nature domain clerics and Rangers with the Acolyte Background and BOOM

new Druid circle! :D

if you mean as a subclass... yeah, that’d be cool too :)
 

Arnwolf666

Adventurer
As an Irishman 😉I would kind of like the bard to be a Druidic order kind of like it was historically. But a skald archetype would be great for a fighter.
IC fluff-wise that’s easy!

Give some druids the entertainer Background ;)

Or some Bards an Acolyte/Outlander combo Background.

Throw together a Druidic order that is a mix of those classes plus some Nature domain clerics and Rangers with the Acolyte Background and BOOM

new Druid circle! :D

if you mean as a subclass... yeah, that’d be cool too :)
one of the flaws for me in the bard class is them being primarily and entertainer where (imho only because modern gaming changer the expectation) bards should be more focused on lore than entertainment. Entertaining is a fine teaching method to pass on the lore. But they should be portrayed as preserving the history of their people (my opinion only as modernity has changed the expectation for fun purposes). And I find it annoying that the primary role of a Druid seems to be shapeshifter. But I have learned to sit back and let players enjoy themselves on that one. Rarely do I see a Druid really get into Druidism unless it is as a ecohippy. It’s generally they want to be a shapechanger. I almost wish they would just rename it the shapechanger class and be done with it.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
one of the flaws for me in the bard class is them being primarily and entertainer where (imho only because modern gaming changer the expectation) bards should be more focused on lore than entertainment. Entertaining is a fine teaching method to pass on the lore. But they should be portrayed as preserving the history of their people (my opinion only as modernity has changed the expectation for fun purposes). And I find it annoying that the primary role of a Druid seems to be shapeshifter. But I have learned to sit back and let players enjoy themselves on that one. Rarely do I see a Druid really get into Druidism unless it is as a ecohippy. It’s generally they want to be a shapechanger. I almost wish they would just rename it the shapechanger class and be done with it.
I mean, the D&D Bard is far more based off of The Bard, Shakespeare and that era of theater and entertainment than they are tied to anything else.

whatever their origins, and this is the first I’m hearing of a Druidic connection (not saying it’s not there, just I’ve never heard of it), they are a catch all class for both the Shakespeare era entertainers as well as the lore/teacher trope of like a Homer with their oral Epics and such.
 

DMMike

Game Masticator
Or some Bards an Acolyte/Outlander combo Background.
These have potential for coolness. The acolyte-bard is the guy in the dark, ceremonial robe who plays a recorder between the passages of the head priest. Maybe the recorder helps the congress see fantastic visions. Or maybe the acolyte also has a nasty stiletto under his robe, just in case.

I'm a fan of the outlander-bard. Yeah, she sings and plays some odd, foreign instrument, but she's weathered and tough - because traveling for a living isn't safe or easy.

one of the flaws for me in the bard class is them being primarily and entertainer where (imho only because modern gaming changer the expectation) bards should be more focused on lore than entertainment. Entertaining is a fine teaching method to pass on the lore. But they should be portrayed as preserving the history of their people (my opinion only as modernity has changed the expectation for fun purposes). And I find it annoying that the primary role of a Druid seems to be shapeshifter. But I have learned to sit back and let players enjoy themselves on that one. Rarely do I see a Druid really get into Druidism unless it is as a ecohippy. It’s generally they want to be a shapechanger. I almost wish they would just rename it the shapechanger class and be done with it.
A knowledge-carring bard could possibly be more practical - especially for adventuring parties that can't afford to hire a sage (and keep him alive). But I think there should still be room for the rock-star bard: the hero who contributes to adventures by being famously awesome. Sort of like having John Lennon in your party. Undead. Anyway, the knowledge bard makes sense if the other members of the party have poor/no educations (which ought to be the norm, but isn't). After all, wasn't it Confucius who said "knowing is half the battle?" :sneaky:

Off-topic:
Shape-shifting Druids is weird. But, you know, the marketers said that they were getting a good, high-dollar response, so it snowballed. According to Etymology Online, "druid" means "they who know the oak." So, you know, I guess that means they turn into grizzly bears every once in a while.
 

Arnwolf666

Adventurer
I mean, the D&D Bard is far more based off of The Bard, Shakespeare and that era of theater and entertainment than they are tied to anything else.

whatever their origins, and this is the first I’m hearing of a Druidic connection (not saying it’s not there, just I’ve never heard of it), they are a catch all class for both the Shakespeare era entertainers as well as the lore/teacher trope of like a Homer with their oral Epics and such.
Yeah. But that’s just because minstrel’s stole the name bard to make themselves sound cool. The Celtic bard is much more suited to adventuring. The English were killing them after all because they were trying to preserve their culture and heritage.
 

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