5E Time to remake the Bard

dnd4vr

Hero
To be fair, they only do it because bards are awesome. ;-)

View attachment 114914
Inspired by my Which Class is "The Best" thread, and several people's belief that Bard is the best class, let's examine why.

At the core of the class, you have inspiration (still meh to me-- powerful as it is I am not a fan of the mechanic), spells, and expertise. With the proficiency system, bards can fight about as well as warrior classes, especially if you take an archetype that grants Extra Attack. The Lore bard allows you to be a skill monkey. Other archetypes fill other roles as well.

So, a bard could really just be a Fighter/Rogue/Sorcerer or some other combination. Now, since 1E PHB the bard was a Fighter then Rogue then (druid) Bard.

I am sure many of you are happy with the Bard as is. I'm not.

It steps on way too many toes. I would rather see the Bard as the skill monkey (Jack of all Trades is one of my favorite class features just purely based on the flavor idea) and develop an alternative role for the Rogue. I like the idea of Bards having spells, but fewer with enormous variety potential more meets my idea of the spells a Bard would know (various charms, etc. picked up "along the way"). A spell progression similar but a bit better than Paladins and Rangers might work well, or even something like the Warlock with few spell slots but other spell-like abilities akin to their invocations.

Finally, PLEASE do not waste my time (or yours...) simply by saying "the bard is awesome, and great as it is" or something similar. I am looking for ideas on how to remake the bard into something I would actually want to play. Characters already can support each other, so I don't want a class primarily designed to support others. Maybe I am not being clear, but hopefully for anyone who feels the way I do about bards, you get the idea...
 

Tallifer

Adventurer
I like to imagine the bard as a traveling troubadour. Mostly impressing people especially the ladies with his music, poetry and social graces.
 

bedir than

Explorer
I love the idea of a Bard on a chassis more similar to Warlock. I think the fiction of using their art to create spells that they have less control over than Wizards makes sense.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Like you, I think it steps on too many toes. Especially by being able to steal other classes spells. I would get rid of that. Have it's own spells only (mostly around charming and illusion---things we associate more with music than a fireball).
 
It steps on way too many toes.
5e has mostly given up on niche protection, so not the issue it used to be.

I would rather see the Bard as the skill monkey (Jack of all Trades is one of my favorite class features just purely based on the flavor idea) and develop an alternative role for the Rogue.
Skill Monkey is only remotely viable in 5e with Expertise, and, even then, it's more a side-line. The Rogue is already (like all non-casters in 5e) primarily DPR. The Bard gets Expertise, already, and is a full caster.

I like the idea of Bards having spells, but fewer with enormous variety potential more meets my idea of the spells a Bard would know (various charms, etc. picked up "along the way"). A spell progression similar but a bit better than Paladins and Rangers might work well, or even something like the Warlock with few spell slots but other spell-like abilities akin to their invocations.
It'd be cool to see a second class adopt the Warlock spell resource model. Maybe make the Bard - or lore bard, specifically - a prepped version?
 

dnd4vr

Hero
Sounds like you want the 3e bard.
I didn't play 3E for long, less than a year really. I glanced through the 3.5 PHB (I don't have the 3E, but I don't think it is much different?) and that is a good place to start.

A mixture between a 3/3.5E bard but with some warlock casting/feature flavor might be good.
 

MonkeezOnFire

Explorer
Currently the bard is second best at a lot of things which is okay but I find in play they rarely get the spotlight as they don't have a lot of tools to make big power plays (apart from Magical Secrets, that is the only thing I find interesting in the bard but it looks like other in this thread feel differently). In this way I feel that they are more the side kicks of the party.

I'd really like to see the system of bard songs that have different effects come back from 3rd edition. This way the bard can definitively become the king of party buffs (and some debuffs but with competition from other caster classes for top spot). In exchange you can bump them down to half casting progression.
 

bedir than

Explorer
Interestingly enough, the interplay of Pact/Patron could work for warlock-like Bard.

College/Art would be a fun distinction. Song, dance, speech, etc would have different mechanics and not just narrative that diverges from RAW
 

dnd4vr

Hero
Interestingly enough, the interplay of Pact/Patron could work for warlock-like Bard.

College/Art would be a fun distinction. Song, dance, speech, etc would have different mechanics and not just narrative that diverges from RAW
The only bard that nearly got played in our games was a dwarven bard who was an orator. He didn't sing or dance or play an instrument, he just made speeches, etc. That was the idea anyway but never got played.

So, having different mechanics/features for different types would be nice, maybe with 4-5 options.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
My idea of a bard:
  • Cha-caster
  • Warlock chassis.
Level 1: College (Lore, Sword, Skald), Spellcasting, Bardic Inspiration
Level 2: Songs
Level 3: Jack of all trades


  • Songs instead of Invocations: replicate spells or give an effect in an aura.
  • Magical Secrets instead of Arcanums: Take a spell of 6th to 9th level from any class. Cast once per day.
  • Eldritch Master replaced by Master of Songs: Regain all slots and Inspiration after 1 minute, 1/day.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Inspired by my Which Class is "The Best" thread, and several people's belief that Bard is the best class, let's examine why.

At the core of the class, you have inspiration (still meh to me-- powerful as it is I am not a fan of the mechanic), spells, and expertise. With the proficiency system, bards can fight about as well as warrior classes, especially if you take an archetype that grants Extra Attack. The Lore bard allows you to be a skill monkey. Other archetypes fill other roles as well.

So, a bard could really just be a Fighter/Rogue/Sorcerer or some other combination. Now, since 1E PHB the bard was a Fighter then Rogue then (druid) Bard.

I am sure many of you are happy with the Bard as is. I'm not.

It steps on way too many toes. I would rather see the Bard as the skill monkey (Jack of all Trades is one of my favorite class features just purely based on the flavor idea) and develop an alternative role for the Rogue. I like the idea of Bards having spells, but fewer with enormous variety potential more meets my idea of the spells a Bard would know (various charms, etc. picked up "along the way"). A spell progression similar but a bit better than Paladins and Rangers might work well, or even something like the Warlock with few spell slots but other spell-like abilities akin to their invocations.

Finally, PLEASE do not waste my time (or yours...) simply by saying "the bard is awesome, and great as it is" or something similar. I am looking for ideas on how to remake the bard into something I would actually want to play. Characters already can support each other, so I don't want a class primarily designed to support others. Maybe I am not being clear, but hopefully for anyone who feels the way I do about bards, you get the idea...
Make an Arcane Trickster, and choose Entertainer as a Background. Already does everything it sounds like you want to do with a character.

The Bard is a support Class: if you do not want to play support, then it is not for your playstyle.
 

MechaTarrasque

Adventurer
I think an alternate rogue spell casting subclass might be the best choice: something that works less on mage hand and more on vicious mockery. Skill monkey + stabs people + low level spell casting.

Or make a warlord class, and make the 1/3rd caster subclass be the "fixed" bard.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
I think an alternate rogue spell casting subclass might be the best choice: something that works less on mage hand and more on vicious mockery. Skill monkey + stabs people + low level spell casting.

Or make a warlord class, and make the 1/3rd caster subclass be the "fixed" bard.
Sounds like a good option for players who want a Bard-like alternative.

Arcane Trickster with more customizability, to focus on Vicious Mockery instead of Mage Hand. Even allowing Cha as the casting ability to substitute Int. Call it Troubadour. With Rogue as a chassis, what else would the Troubadour need to satisfy the player niche?



As for the 5e Bard − I love it! It is awesome! Best Bard ever.
 

dnd4vr

Hero
Thanks all for the suggestions, when I have time this weekend I plan to work on the class and a revamping of it.

Adventures in Middle Earth’s Warden is in my opinion a fantastic example of a “fixed” bard.
Is there any open-license material that I can see on the Warden?

Sounds like a good option for players who want a Bard-like alternative.

Arcane Trickster with more customizability, to focus on Vicious Mockery instead of Mage Hand. Even allowing Cha as the casting ability to substitute Int. Call it Troubadour. With Rogue as a chassis, what else would the Troubadour need to satisfy the player niche?

As for the 5e Bard − I love it! It is awesome! Best Bard ever.
LOL really? I knew someone would have to get this in! Fine. Enjoy your 5E bard. :p
 

Gadget

Explorer
It steps on way too many toes. I would rather see the Bard as the skill monkey (Jack of all Trades is one of my favorite class features just purely based on the flavor idea) and develop an alternative role for the Rogue. I like the idea of Bards having spells, but fewer with enormous variety potential more meets my idea of the spells a Bard would know (various charms, etc. picked up "along the way"). A spell progression similar but a bit better than Paladins and Rangers might work well, or even something like the Warlock with few spell slots but other spell-like abilities akin to their invocations.
While the bard on the Warlock chassis sounds like an interesting alternative, most of what you are describing here sounds like the 3.X bard, which--pardon me for speaking for the crowd--was almost universally panned as being a poor class. The "jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none" concept was largely disparaged as a result. I do agree that the ability to raid other class's spell lists through magical secrets is a bit too much. Being promoted to a full nine level spell caster was enough.
 

dnd4vr

Hero
Being promoted to a full nine level spell caster was enough.
What do you think of more limited casting, but allowing the bard to chose spells from ANY class?

For 5E, they still have their own list, but can raid from anywhere else. With the restricted spells and possible slots if a Warlock-like build, I think it might be okay and a fun option.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
Thanks all for the suggestions, when I have time this weekend I plan to work on the class and a revamping of it.



Is there any open-license material that I can see on the Warden?



LOL really? I knew someone would have to get this in! Fine. Enjoy your 5E bard. :p
Instead of changing the official Bard, build a new one from scratch. Using the Rogue as a chassis, seems like a good idea to cover the skillster theme, and the cunning flavor of combat. Plus the appropriate cantrips, and spell progression. All that is necessary is musical or oratory effects. It might even make a good nonmusical leader archetype, at the same time. As well as ‘seductive celebrity’ possibilities. Drop sneakiness and hiding for charm.
 

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