5E Time to remake the Bard

Ashrym

Adventurer
So in that sense, Bards were kind of like a full caster even as far back as 2e.
Definitely.

I cannot count the number of times we had clerics who capped out at 5th level spells. Max spell level didn't dictate what made a full caster because top spell levels varied among editions for other spell casters considered full. Caster level progression demonstrated full spell casting ability. Bards cast spells at full caster level.

Casting more potent spells than mages was gravy. XP progression favored bards a lot and auto-scaling spells were their bread and butter.
 

Zardnaar

Hero
Lore bards still have all the drawbacks I mentioned. The chassis of the bard gives spells but it enhances skills instead of spells or spellcasting, or combat ability. The tools aren't there to compete with focused classes.

Trying to do cover too much spreads thin too fast because of the spells known compared to clerics, druids, or wizards. It's easy for a cleric or druid to cover healing spells and still have other spells prepped to cover other aspects of the game.

Lore bards also suffer from too much competition for bardic inspiration dice. Cutting words is good but using it loses the opportunity to use the standard options that are also good, or peerless skill. Using peerless skill just cost uses of inspiration or cutting words. Those dice can disappear fast. The 2 spells known don't give enough to focus in multiple areas or change the fact the class chassis doesn't enhance or support addition casting like we see in other casters.

There is no uber bard.
Start looking at bard dice as additional like level 1 spells that refesh on short rests.

Cutting words more or less functions as a shield spell that you can stick on other people. And that's just one use.

At level 3 it's more or less 9 extra level 1 spells you can use as reactions.

The bard us primary spellcaster comparing it to average damage from rogue is a bit silly.

They can also steal those broken spells in the Paladin and Ranger spell lists. Destructive Wave 7 levels early with hex, fireball and Eldritch blast.

Or take fireball and healing spirit level 6.

So yeah they can match rogue damage at range with hunters quarry/hex and Eldritch blast. Plus they can drop fireball.

Rogues take a bit long to come online.
 

Ashrym

Adventurer
Start looking at bard dice as additional like level 1 spells that refesh on short rests.
Why would I do that? It's an arbitrary analogy. I did that with 3.5 spell songs because fascinate, suggestion, and inspiration came earlier and were potent. There's a direct comparison with suggestion as the spell and suggestion as the song to validate it, and even better songs like freedom and mass suggestion later that correspond directly to spells.

Bardic inspiration is better than guidance but more limited because it's not at will, and behind spells like bane or bless with because of their durations and multiple targets even with similar effects. 1d4 on 3 targets for 2-3 rounds is much better than 1d6 on one roll 3 times per day, which is where we're really at initially.

Eventually 5 dice at d12 per short rest after scaling up is better, but it's really more comparable to the 6 dice at d12 per short rest expertise dice with more options from which to choose that battle masters get. Unless you're about to tell me battle master maneuvers are the equivalent of 1st level spells I think your argument falls short here. ;-)

Cutting words more or less functions as a shield spell that you can stick on other people. And that's just one use.
Shield lasts a full round and provides the benefit to multiple attacks while cutting words is only good against 1 attack. +5 is a high roll bonus until cutting words gets up to d10's at 10th level. Shield also has the situational perk of blocking magic missiles. Immunity to charm doesn't prevent shield like it does cutting words. +5 AC against multiple attacks is better than a die roll against a single incoming attack.

At level 3 it's more or less 9 extra level 1 spells you can use as reactions.
At level 3 the bard doesn't have font of inspiration so it's only 3 times per day and it's still a d6 so it's a -3 penalty to attacks compared to a +5 bonus to AC that you're applying a false equivalence on top of the other advantages shield has over bardic inspiration.

At that level, a shield that's blocked 4 attacks has outdone the entire day's worth of bardic inspiration, and it's more likely to block attacks.

Since you are using shield to try and compare, just take a look at spell mastery. Shield at will. This is because the wizard chassis supports casting additional spells, unlike the bard chassis, and this is comparing the base class to your uber subclass example. That's not even adding in wizard tradition benefits.

The bard us primary spellcaster comparing it to average damage from rogue is a bit silly.
What's silly is it's an argument without context or demonstrating how it refutes my point. The rogue skill benefits come online earlier than the bard benefits, the rogue has more proficiencies, and the rogue has combat benefits built into the class bards don't.

Are you comparing d4 vicious mockery to sneak attack when you say primary spell caster damage is better? Because bards don't have good damage spells, and they don't have room to add them while continuing to "do everything" as has been suggested.

They can also steal those broken spells in the Paladin and Ranger spell lists. Destructive Wave 7 levels early with hex, fireball and Eldritch blast.
So a 5th level spell is really a 9th level spell just because a paladin is a half caster? Sound legit, lol. Spells are ranked by spell levels and not class levels so your argument is extremely flawed here.

Or take fireball and healing spirit level 6.
Well, one subclass can. Bards cannot. The real question is what did the bard not take to get that? For starters, no AC boost. Next, no eldritch blast, hex, or hunter's mark. They only got two so sustained damage is given up to become and better healer and fodder killer.

The next thing to really consider is how does that make them better than any other caster who has those spells one level sooner? Casting healing spirit didn't make it heal more than the druid does, and fireball doesn't do more damage than the wizard did. The wizard can cast more fireballs, however, because the class supports casting and adding a subclass geared toward that type of spell is going to open up evoker for better casting of the same fireball as well. Or a sorc could also cast it a level earlier and better with metamagic.

The last thing to consider, is that the spell slots are already available for hypnotic pattern or fear or any other good bard spell already taken. Adding fireball when the bard is likely going to cast hypnotic pattern with the slot anyway doesn't make fireball somehow more powerful either.

So yeah they can match rogue damage at range with hunters quarry/hex and Eldritch blast. Plus they can drop fireball.
That's 3 spells so we're at 14th level bards or 10th level lore bards. Presumably the 4th spell is healing spirit because you're trying "to do" everything with this uber bard.

So think about what you are giving up again. The destructive wave argument went out the window having taking those four spells. Considering destructive wave is 10d6 in a 30' cone with prone and fireball in the same slot is 10d6 with a 20' radius and more commonly resisted damage type. Personally, I think the range and AoE wins out over conditional damage type benefit and prone. In either case it demonstrates why "7 levels earlier than a paladin" is meaningless. It's still just a 5th level spell that your examples replaced with fireball.

It also presumes the bard didn't take a great 5th level spell like animate objects one level earlier. Or important healer spells like mass cure wounds, raise dead, or greater restoration. This gets back to the point on about what the bard did not take in order to take the spells in your example.

That 10th level bard knows 16 spells going lore per your example. Technically 15 because you gave one up for a cantrip. That's spread across 5 spell levels. That's not that bad, but it still forces choices, and it's on the cusp of the massive slowdown in new spells know that hits known spells casters in the 3rd tier.

Hex and hunter's mark kill using your concentration so you either don't have that damage or you don't have the use of those other spells. Like hypnotic pattern. Just because a spell comes from another class doesn't make it better than the spells of the same level within your own class, but the compete for the same spells known and the same spell slots.

Getting back to damage, we're looking at 2d10+2d6, soon to be 3 and really it's not a bad way to pick up damage. The 10th level rogue thief has 5d6 sneak attack (soon to be 6), plus base weapon damage 2d6 TWF, plus DEX mod +5, plus fast hands ball bearings trying for prone and advantage for more accuracy (decent enough chance even without high success). Sneak attack itself is fairly easy so if we're going to assume the hex isn't lost to a concentration check or given up to a useful spell then we're going to assume something as easy as sneak attack also applies.

That still looks like the rogue is ahead in damage to me at 10th and 11th level. Like I said, bards make an investment to catch up and still remain behind. Probably better off to cast dissonant whispers and trigger the AoO and extra sneak attack for the rogue. No magical secrets needed for that at all.

Rogues take a bit long to come online.
Expertise, sneak attack, cunning action, uncanny dodge, evasion? What's your reasoning for coming late online? Their best abilities are in the first 2 tiers of play and then they get reliable talent.

Cantrips, the argument you gave for damage, are the epitome of coming online late. Bardic inspiration starts off per day and requires CHA ASI's to build up, and the dice take a while to scale up. That's taking a while. Magical secrets doesn't even start until 10th level in the class.

Magical secrets are extremely over-rated. They can add nice options but all they are doing is taking the place of the other nice options that already exist in the bard spells. It's can add some flavor or versatility so it's not a zero sum exchange, but it's not the game breaker people make it out to be. Not even remotely close.

Bards are fantastic support and can fill in other areas. Definitely not a "do it all" class.
 
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Zardnaar

Hero
Bard damage build comes online around level 6.

Damage is more like 8d6 or 10d6 then 2 rounds of Eldritch blast. If your using hex/hunters quarry obviously your not

That's more damage than a level 10 rogue.

And you get all the other bard stuff.

The blaster bard is dealing competitive damage with the rogue, is a lot better at range and is still a primary caster and has bard dice and can heal and good at skills.

Yeah the Roguevwill win at damage level 1-5 but it's not dropping sleep spells or shatter either.

The Rogues the easiest class to replace in the game. Guidance alone is basically better than expertise and you only get 2 skill expertise early on for a whopping +2 on two skills while bard gets 1.

So if you replace the rogue with something better at combat with the right background and guidance in the party you're not really missing out on anything.

Rogues are better in featless game.

Good at skills isnt a strong niche when multiple classes are good at skills and are close enough that a rogues ability isn't that significant. Trickery/knowledge cleric spamming guidance with urchin background.

Bounded accuracy as well makes being really good at skills matter less or you mc out of rogue at level 5 or 9.

Rogues fun though I like the class but from an optimization view in a typical party would probably prefer something else.

A lore bard can easily replace a Rogue or Wizard.
 

dnd4vr

Hero
Hopefully my experience gives insight. :)
Wow... okay first off, personally, I dislike lengthy posts. It encourages me not to read the whole thing. Brevity is the soul of wit. ;-)

Now, I still took the time and read the whole thing. It is a lot of insight so thank you for taking the time to offer your input.

No, I don't have a lot of experience playing a bard. I tried one once, for one session, and promptly dropped it. I do not like the the feel or flavor of the bard class. I am also not big into playing a class that seems primarily build for support because IME all the main classes can already fill that role.

Primary combat? Fighter. Support? Cleric or Rogue.
Primary social? Any really, but often Cleric or Rogue. Support? Any also, typically Wizard.
Primary explorer? Rogue. Support? Fighter or Wizard usually.
Primary caster? Wizard. Support? Cleric. (this can be reversed, of course).

In prior editions, the Cleric was often the support role. Healer, back-up/secondary combat, back-up caster, and in many situations (due to high WIS and sometimes CHA) main or back-up social, but could just as easily take on a main role in any facet as well.

The 5E Bard smacks too much of being the fighter/m-u/thief from 1E. But, they made it better at all those things than a traditional multiclass would be I think.

I mean, honestly, why is the class so popular???

Because, even if not optimal, it pretty much can do it all. And it can do it to an extent that makes other classes nearly obsolete. If you played a 4-6 player party of all a single class, your best chances of success would be all Bards. This is because with the different archetypes, you could well cover everything you needed, definitely more so than if you had all clerics, fighters, monks, or whatever else.
 

Tallifer

Adventurer
Playing a Bard is all about the fluff, nothing about the mechanics. Indeed the less mechanically effective the better. <laughs gaily in a Tom Bombadilicious peal of merriment>
 

TheCosmicKid

Adventurer
I do not like the the feel or flavor of the bard class.
This has been the overall thrust of your statements on this thread so far. Can you see how that might cause me to wonder if remaking the bard would even do anything to change your feelings about it?

I mean, honestly, why is the class so popular???

Because, even if not optimal, it pretty much can do it all. And it can do it to an extent that makes other classes nearly obsolete. If you played a 4-6 player party of all a single class, your best chances of success would be all Bards. This is because with the different archetypes, you could well cover everything you needed, definitely more so than if you had all clerics, fighters, monks, or whatever else.
Alternative hypothesis: even though you do not like the feel or flavor of the bard class, others do.
 

Zardnaar

Hero
Wow... okay first off, personally, I dislike lengthy posts. It encourages me not to read the whole thing. Brevity is the soul of wit. ;-)

Now, I still took the time and read the whole thing. It is a lot of insight so thank you for taking the time to offer your input.

No, I don't have a lot of experience playing a bard. I tried one once, for one session, and promptly dropped it. I do not like the the feel or flavor of the bard class. I am also not big into playing a class that seems primarily build for support because IME all the main classes can already fill that role.

Primary combat? Fighter. Support? Cleric or Rogue.
Primary social? Any really, but often Cleric or Rogue. Support? Any also, typically Wizard.
Primary explorer? Rogue. Support? Fighter or Wizard usually.
Primary caster? Wizard. Support? Cleric. (this can be reversed, of course).

In prior editions, the Cleric was often the support role. Healer, back-up/secondary combat, back-up caster, and in many situations (due to high WIS and sometimes CHA) main or back-up social, but could just as easily take on a main role in any facet as well.

The 5E Bard smacks too much of being the fighter/m-u/thief from 1E. But, they made it better at all those things than a traditional multiclass would be I think.

I mean, honestly, why is the class so popular???

Because, even if not optimal, it pretty much can do it all. And it can do it to an extent that makes other classes nearly obsolete. If you played a 4-6 player party of all a single class, your best chances of success would be all Bards. This is because with the different archetypes, you could well cover everything you needed, definitely more so than if you had all clerics, fighters, monks, or whatever else.

All cleric wouldn't be to bad.

Forge plus war as beatsticks, light as your wizard trickery or knowledge as your bard/rogue.

Nature and Arcana would be useful as well.
 

OB1

Jedi Master
All cleric wouldn't be to bad.

Forge plus war as beatsticks, light as your wizard trickery or knowledge as your bard/rogue.

Nature and Arcana would be useful as well.
In 5e, all anything isn't too bad. It just limits the types of approaches you can take to a given problem.
 
I mean, honestly, why is the class so popular???
Because Bard was a cool/awesome character in the Hobbit?

No one's done the "Bard would just be a high-level fighter or ranger with an Arrow of Red Dragon Slaying" joke yet, right?

Or, because you can insult your enemies to death?

If you played a 4-6 player party of all a single class, your best chances of success would be all Bards. This is because with the different archetypes, you could well cover everything you needed, definitely more so than if you had all clerics, fighters, monks, or whatever else.
IDK about /best/. But, sure all-full-casters of some sort, with some secondary melee ability. So all clerics with a Life & War Cleric to form a front line when necessary. Or all Druids, including some Moon Druids to mix it up when you're not all shapechanged into inconspicuous forest critters, raining Call Lightning on your bewildered enemies (ah, good times). Or all Wizards with the odd Bladesinger (and the even shield golem or whatever).
 

Zardnaar

Hero
Because Bard was a cool/awesome character in the Hobbit?

No one's done the "Bard would just be a high-level fighter or ranger with an Arrow of Red Dragon Slaying" joke yet, right?

Or, because you can insult your enemies to death?

IDK about /best/. But, sure all-full-casters of some sort, with some secondary melee ability. So all clerics with a Life & War Cleric to form a front line when necessary. Or all Druids, including some Moon Druids to mix it up when you're not all shapechanged into inconspicuous forest critters, raining Call Lightning on your bewildered enemies (ah, good times). Or all Wizards with the odd Bladesinger (and the even shield golem or whatever).
People online know the lore bard is very good.

Hell I think I was one if the first to notice it not long after the phb dropped.

Wizard might be better later but the charisma based classes are probably better earlier and that's what matters.

And jokes about 6E being Dex and Cha based.
 
People online know the lore bard is very good.
Yeah, sheer daborken OP-ness doesn't have a strong record of inducing popularity with the D&D crowd (maybe the hardcore charop RaW-uber-alles 3.x crowd).

I mean, the Fighter was the most popular class /in 3e/, when it was Tier 5.
 

Zardnaar

Hero
Yeah, sheer daborken OP-ness doesn't have a strong record of inducing popularity with the D&D crowd (maybe the hardcore charop RaW-uber-alles 3.x crowd).

I mean, the Fighter was the most popular class /in 3e/, when it was Tier 5.
Yeah but forums skew towards hardcore players and why the bard is up there I suspect is power level. And it's a fun class.

I liked the bard a lot in 2E and 3.5 as well. Bards and rangers are usually on my list of favorites along with Druid.

Fighters always going to be popular. I hardly saw Druids in 3.5 they're always going to be less popular and not that many wizards either.

Normally I've had the wizard player or the cleric player etc. Outside them I hardly see wizards until recently.

New players like the charisma classes a lot esp bard, warlock, paladin.
 
Yeah but forums skew towards hardcore players and why the bard is up there I suspect is power level. And it's a fun class.
Oh, in the "Best Class" poll. Yeah, 'best' was left open to interpretation, so we didn't just get another popularity-and-tradition contest, with the Fighter out front, followed by the rest of the Big 4 (possibly with something edging out the Cleric).
 

Zardnaar

Hero
Oh, in the "Best Class" poll. Yeah, 'best' was left open to interpretation, so we didn't just get another popularity-and-tradition contest, with the Fighter out front, followed by the rest of the Big 4 (possibly with something edging out the Cleric).
I would almost argue big 8. Big 4 plus Druid, Ranger, Paladin, Bard with the Druid getting edged out.
 

Zardnaar

Hero
What did you mean to type there instead of Druid twice?.
I find I'm actually curious, for some reason. ;)

The Druid is top contender at getting edged out in popular/best classes type polls.

Fighters always going to be popular regardless, Druids probably never going to be that popular regardless.

But these 8 classes in particular I would not cut in any edition ever. I probably wouldn't cut any of the others in the phb either at this point but if a directive came down to pick 8 classes that's it they're the ones I would pick
 

Ashrym

Adventurer
Bard damage build comes online around level 6.

Damage is more like 8d6 or 10d6 then 2 rounds of Eldritch blast. If your using hex/hunters quarry obviously your not

That's more damage than a level 10 rogue.

And you get all the other bard stuff.
8d6 base one round IF you are managing to avoid friendly fire AND haven't used the spell slots already AND the bard went lore. Heck, the bard might even do that twice in the entire day if he's lucky. The 5th level rogue with 3d6 SA, 2d6 TWF, and +4 DEX is already approaching that a level earlier for the first round.

Out of the 3 rounds in your example it's 8d6+4d10 vs 15d6+12. The 5th level rogue still ends up ahead over those rounds of combat compared to your "damage build uber bard" 6th level bard when the rogue isn't even trying to come up with some "uber damage build". The bard could fireball twice and then eldritch blast a 3rd round and edge out the rogue that one combat. It's only really better at fodder damage a few times.

I don't think you really comprehend how quickly you are going to blow through spell slots trying to white room gymnastics an attempt to prove the bard can keep up to the rogue with damage. Fireball first round of 3 combats to try and compete with the rogue's damage. Then what? Shatter? Cloud of daggers? Just eldritch blast? All that falls behind the rest of the time.

Your build also gave up healing spirit or other healing spell to focus on damage, and slots to cast healing. You might not realize it, but you are demonstrating my point when I say bards don't do everything. They have options available in every direction but in the end they only actually have what they actually select. You are selecting damage, and losing out in healing. That's how it works.

You said that's more damage than a 10th level rogue. It wasn't more direct damage than the 5th level rogue aside from peripheral fodder (don't get me wrong, that is useful) but let's get back to 10th level. The 3rd level fireball slots do the same damage, you have some 9d6 4th level slots, and you have some 10d6 5th level slots. The bard has enough slots that he actually can fireball for the first round of a day's worth of encounters. Still always working around friendly fire.

Now the lore bard also has hex because you think you'll have it up all day. The concentration mechanic locked out far more spells than the bard will ever add via secrets by never dropping hex but it's your scenario. ;-)

Now we're 10d6+4d10+4d6 vs 21d6+15 and the rogue is still going strong compared to the highest slots and . At 11th level when that 3rd eldritch blast comes online (and sneak attack goes up and I'll even upcast to that lonely 6th level slot) we're at 11d6+6d10+6d6 vs 24d6+15 and the bard is still trailing behind. Plus, he's not actually doing anything else. His combats are all full of trying to blast damage so he's not applying control, status effects, or any other type of damage mitigation. He might be out-of-combat healing by this point but skipped taking cleric support spells and can only apply low level slots (mostly 2nd level because maintaining hex).

That's comparing your uber lore bard damage build to a basic before subclasses striker. That bard is being played to be a jack-of-one-trade master-of-nothing to boot. Before I move on, I'm going to burst your bubble a bit. Everything the "uber" bard subclass did can be replicated by the "meh" bard subclass, as you put it. That sets 14th level up for battle magic. The valor bard will do the exact same damage plus the bonus attack damage in all 3 rounds and do significantly more damage than the lore bard.

At this point you seem to be convincing yourself that bard blasters do good damage by comparing that damage to a rogue.

Replace "rogue" with "warlock". Your claim is that magical secrets is awesome powerful because it takes spells from other classes. Well, eldritch blast came from warlock so hypothesis to the test we go. For apples to apples it's the fiend patron to also poach fireball (because it's overpowered when a bard does it via secrets but not when any other spell caster does it consistency flaw). 2 short rest standard assumption just as you used earlier when you were trying to upsell bardic inspiration as spells.

Right off the bat the warlock smokes the lore bard's ass with fireballs at the beginning of 6 encounters instead of the bard's 3 at 6th level so there's that. The bard could not take fireball and eldritch blast and hex, and never had the option for agonizing blast. I could write the obvious here but I probably don't need to. "Poaching" that warlock cantrip left the bard far behind the warlock when they both use it and your scenario. That's because the warlock chassis supports spell casting, which is what I pointed out.

This looks even worse for the bard taking tome pact. Adding guidance on a CHA class that can add skills and at-wills via invocations, and will have more rituals and cantrips than the bard on top of outclassing the bard in damage is what we're looking at here. Making a bard who's trying to play like a warlock eldritch blaster is a pale imitation.

Replace "rogue" with "sorcerer". I don't want to get too repetitive here so I'll just cut to the sorcerer going red draconic for a damage base starts with elemental affinity damage bonus to the primary target on the fireballs and firebolt. This leaves the bard behind at 6th level. It gets a bit more complicated later because hex adds ~24 avg damage at 11th level vs 15 from affinity (as long as hex is up, anyway). The lore bard example would be competitive at 10th level and better 11th level+ as long as the sorcerer isn't using metamagic. The sorc wins out applying metamagic in the long run or in bursts, however, via empower and / or quicken. A quickened fireball plus create bonfire maintains damage over time on top of subsequent firebolts leaves the bard in the dust if the target is immobilized somehow. That's situational but uses with same concentration slot as hex without the 1st level spell slot for better damage than just another cantrip. That's because the sorc chassis supports bursts and novas with spells.

Replace "rogue" with "wizard". It's a damage build comparison so evoker. Sculpt spells already guarantees fireball is safe against friendly fire and will be used more often in actual game play. Arcane recovery means more fireballs. Right off the bat we're at more fireballs and more opportunities to use them. At level 6 potent cantrip gives damage on a save to evocation cantrips so create bonfire just became more effective than firebolt. This also has the situational advantage of damage over time if the target is immobilized somehow. If this is the case the pro-tip is to switch it up and create bonfire first, then fireball, then firebolt. That lets the bonfire damage stack all 3 rounds and also destroys your lore bard's system. Without immobilization the bonfires can simply be recreated for full or half damage, plus INT bonus with empowered evocation. Again, the wizard chassis supports better spellcasting. The bard just has baseline spells.

Compared to the 3 other arcane casters, the bard is ultimately behind as well. Replicating the eldritch blast method of the warlock is way behind the warlock. The point that was made about the bard was that they can be decent in a few areas. Adding a damage option doesn't mean that damage option is good, and all your example does is shows a decent damage option while doing almost nothing else with combat actions or spell slots.

Replace "rogue" with "druid". Druids are pretty much in the same boat as bards when it comes to damage. They have a few more options in the spell list for damage but the chassis supports exploration and wildshaping instead of spells. Like bards, they tend toward the lower side of damage. They do, however, still get create bonfire for a decent damage cantrip. At 1st through 5th level the druid has better damage options than the lore bard in cantrips and spells. At 6th through 9th level there's no significant difference between going mountain circle to poach lightning bolt and primal savagery other than range, and is more likely to go with create bonfire.

Natural recovery still gives more castings of lightning bolt, and the situational damage at 10th level going create bonfire, lightning bolt, produce flame is a possible combo because the bonus cantrip can still fit in guidance for checks.

Recapping bard at 10d6+4d10+4d6 the standard for the druid is 10d6+4d8. That's clearly in favor of the bard, for sure. The lore bard started from behind and catches up to druids in that style (not the best plan for druids but I'll get to that; just apples to apples for now). The situational damage for the druid is 10d6+8d8 so still competitive. The question is how often that immobilization tactic can realistically be applied to leverage the bonfire DoT. At 11th level it's 10d6+6d10+6d6 vs 10d6+12d8 situationally.

The bard can get ahead of the druid in typical damage blow through spell slots on fireball and the druid blows through slots on lightning bolt. Neither should be because they are both failing at using those slots or actions for anything else. That removes options forcing the style. The difference is the druid wasn't forced to not learn rituals or healing spells, has room for guidance, WIS is also a good skill attribute, and wildshape is phenomenal for versatility outside of spells. That druid is still going to be more versatile than that bard even if both are trying to force something into the class that the chassis doesn't support. A damage option isn't the same as good damage.

Replace "rogue" with "cleric". As far as caster damage options go they aren't the best either. Spiritual weapon saves it as long as we're blasting through slots. So light domain we're toll the dead and spiritual weapon, fireball, toll the dead. At 6th level that's 3d8+4, 8d6, 2d12+1d8+4. At 10th level that's 3d8+8, 10d6, 2d12+1d8+8. The cleric also started with better armor, didn't lose out on spells prepped over known, and has guidance and room for rituals.

Replace "rogue with "fighter". I wasn't going to go into too much detail, but a greatsword at 6(2d6+4) compared to 8d6+4d10 is also better direct target damage over those 3 rounds before looking at any other ways to increase the damage. Extra multiplying bonuses is obviously the track you were going for but the lore bard doesn't have the bonuses to be multiplied out.

Your bard is going to be behind extra attack classes in target damage because of that.

The blaster bard is dealing competitive damage with the rogue, is a lot better at range and is still a primary caster and has bard dice and can heal and good at skills.
The bard in your example is better at range, anyway. I think I illustrated how your uber lore bard us behind the curve on individual target damage repeatedly.

A person cannot just say "primary caster" like is a magic argument wand. It's a label without context and doesn't demonstrate anything. All casters are not created equal and have different foci.

Yeah the Roguevwill win at damage level 1-5 but it's not dropping sleep spells or shatter either.
So doubling down on a damage spell to also stay behind in damage and warn people we're there? Way to diversify, lol. That's still dealing with weaker fodder, which is part of control and support.

Shatter lets you do damage more combats from 6th level when you're out of 3rd level slots, at least.

The Rogues the easiest class to replace in the game. Guidance alone is basically better than expertise and you only get 2 skill expertise early on for a whopping +2 on two skills while bard gets 1.
I am not sure I'm following you here regarding expertise with "you only get 2 skill expertise early on for a whopping +2 on two skills while bard gets 1", sorry. Are you thinking of the +1 bonus from jack-of-all-trades?

Guidance is good and I brought it up earlier. It's broader than expertise but also shallower. It's hard to say expertise is a whopping +2 and then say the average +2.5 is better from guidance. It's better than jack-of-all-trades. If you mean levels 1 through 4 then sure, but you're also talking about your lore bard coming online at 6th level when expertise means +6 in a proficiency and the rogue has four of them. We also talked about 10th level when reliable talent is right around the corner.

Guidance is nowhere near as good as reliable talent, and bards also gain expertise only 1 level after jack-of-all-trades so the distinction seems pointless.

As far as rogues being easy to replace, sure. That's like saying it's easy to replace a druid with a cleric or a barbarian with a fighter. There isn't a single class in 5e that cannot be replaced.

People play a rogue because the rogue is still better at skills and plays differently. That gets back to things like cunning action, evasion, uncanny dodge, and sneak attack. I can easily replace a bard with a druid or cleric, and the playstyle you described I could do easily with a warlock (although I'd probably go celestial).

So if you replace the rogue with something better at combat with the right background and guidance in the party you're not really missing out on anything.
That would be more convincing if you had demonstrated the rogue failing in combat and "better" is subjective. A bard tossing spell slots into damage as fast as possible still doesn't do the high target damage and isn't as tanky.

You also might look funning trying to guidance your way out of a grapple compared to reliable talent.

Rogues are better in featless game.
What feat do you think is creating the gap between a rogue and your lore bard example? For that matter, why mention feats at all. Everything you post is low level with the 1 or 2 ASI's going towards capping ability scores in your discussion.

It's obvious not every character is human, or variant human so mentioning feats that haven't been taken doesn't make any sense.

Good at skills isnt a strong niche when multiple classes are good at skills and are close enough that a rogues ability isn't that significant. Trickery/knowledge cleric spamming guidance with urchin background.
Good at skills isn't a niche, and it's not the only reason I play rogues. Rogues are mobile and survivable in combat, and the best at skills as well. If all you see is skills your blinders are on.

Bounded accuracy as well makes being really good at skills matter less or you mc out of rogue at level 5 or 9.
Thief's reflexes, death strike, and slippery mind are hard to pass up, let alone reliable talent.

Rogues fun though I like the class but from an optimization view in a typical party would probably prefer something else.
That would be more convincing if I saw evidence of optimization. Using secrets to add spiritual weapon better leveraging the bonus action would catch the valor bard using the battle magic and the same strategy your lore bard is, for example.

Using a buzzword like "optimization" is just another example of the magic argument wand. It's just a word without context. Your example was a basic strategy that doesn't hold up to other basic strategies. I didn't even include strategies to trigger a secondary sneak attack other than earlier saying the bard should just dissonant whispers for the rogue.

That gets into actual drawbacks of the rogue instead of damage one you are trying to present. Cunning action does compete for bonus actions and uncanny dodge does complete for off turn sneak attacks.

A lore bard can easily replace a Rogue or Wizard.
Still like saying you can replace a druid with a cleric or a fighter with a barbarian. There are shared traits among the classes. In this case, however, the bard isn't showing the durability and mobility the rogue has at this point. "But range" doesn't stop closing or mean much when you enter a 30'x30' chamber, for an example.

I'm open-minded. Post your full build and what you are taking at each level and then you might convince me.
 

Ashrym

Adventurer
Wow... okay first off, personally, I dislike lengthy posts. It encourages me not to read the whole thing. Brevity is the soul of wit. ;-)
This one should be shorter. Good luck with my last one though, lol.

In prior editions, the Cleric was often the support role. Healer, back-up/secondary combat, back-up caster, and in many situations (due to high WIS and sometimes CHA) main or back-up social, but could just as easily take on a main role in any facet as well.
A lot of people complained and things changed. Druids were almost always alternatives and bards were almost always backup bonus healing even with the cleric healing as typical.

The 5E Bard smacks too much of being the fighter/m-u/thief from 1E. But, they made it better at all those things than a traditional multiclass would be I think.
That's always what they've been and also has a basis in history, The original had rogue abilities, magic user spells, and some basic combat in the progression and weapons. AD&D changed to dual-classing and swapping druid for magic user in it. Those bards also had backstab and shapechanging without some recommended house ruling. Druids were a cleric / wizard hybrid design with some unique class abilities. 2e was back closer to the original but the thief abilities were more limited. 3.x added the healing heritage back in that 2e removed and they were still a type of skill class with a mix of spells from the arcane and divine classes, and a slight bit of combat ability.

Now they are still the same. Major casting, a small nudge to combat (shown in the proficiencies and hit die), and a skills focus. The jack-of-all-trades trope was always applied to bards.

I mean, honestly, why is the class so popular???
Because the class does have relevant options in almost every scenario. They are not really the best at anything but they can be decent at a lot. Skills plus a very wide selection of spells has that effect. They also have a tradition as the fifth member for supporting multiple roles in a pinch and generally being a party multiplier. A lot of players like the flavor concepts too.

Real answer, because they are fun.

Because, even if not optimal, it pretty much can do it all. And it can do it to an extent that makes other classes nearly obsolete. If you played a 4-6 player party of all a single class, your best chances of success would be all Bards. This is because with the different archetypes, you could well cover everything you needed, definitely more so than if you had all clerics, fighters, monks, or whatever else.
Lol, they don't make any class obsolete. I've played in a group of 4 bards and a rogue. Squishy as hell other than the rogue, and multiple opponents are generally bad for rogues. We spent most of the time avoiding direct conflict. ;)
 

Zardnaar

Hero
8d6 base one round IF you are managing to avoid friendly fire AND haven't used the spell slots already AND the bard went lore. Heck, the bard might even do that twice in the entire day if he's lucky. The 5th level rogue with 3d6 SA, 2d6 TWF, and +4 DEX is already approaching that a level earlier for the first round.

Out of the 3 rounds in your example it's 8d6+4d10 vs 15d6+12. The 5th level rogue still ends up ahead over those rounds of combat compared to your "damage build uber bard" 6th level bard when the rogue isn't even trying to come up with some "uber damage build". The bard could fireball twice and then eldritch blast a 3rd round and edge out the rogue that one combat. It's only really better at fodder damage a few times.

I don't think you really comprehend how quickly you are going to blow through spell slots trying to white room gymnastics an attempt to prove the bard can keep up to the rogue with damage. Fireball first round of 3 combats to try and compete with the rogue's damage. Then what? Shatter? Cloud of daggers? Just eldritch blast? All that falls behind the rest of the time.

Your build also gave up healing spirit or other healing spell to focus on damage, and slots to cast healing. You might not realize it, but you are demonstrating my point when I say bards don't do everything. They have options available in every direction but in the end they only actually have what they actually select. You are selecting damage, and losing out in healing. That's how it works.

You said that's more damage than a 10th level rogue. It wasn't more direct damage than the 5th level rogue aside from peripheral fodder (don't get me wrong, that is useful) but let's get back to 10th level. The 3rd level fireball slots do the same damage, you have some 9d6 4th level slots, and you have some 10d6 5th level slots. The bard has enough slots that he actually can fireball for the first round of a day's worth of encounters. Still always working around friendly fire.

Now the lore bard also has hex because you think you'll have it up all day. The concentration mechanic locked out far more spells than the bard will ever add via secrets by never dropping hex but it's your scenario. ;-)

Now we're 10d6+4d10+4d6 vs 21d6+15 and the rogue is still going strong compared to the highest slots and . At 11th level when that 3rd eldritch blast comes online (and sneak attack goes up and I'll even upcast to that lonely 6th level slot) we're at 11d6+6d10+6d6 vs 24d6+15 and the bard is still trailing behind. Plus, he's not actually doing anything else. His combats are all full of trying to blast damage so he's not applying control, status effects, or any other type of damage mitigation. He might be out-of-combat healing by this point but skipped taking cleric support spells and can only apply low level slots (mostly 2nd level because maintaining hex).

That's comparing your uber lore bard damage build to a basic before subclasses striker. That bard is being played to be a jack-of-one-trade master-of-nothing to boot. Before I move on, I'm going to burst your bubble a bit. Everything the "uber" bard subclass did can be replicated by the "meh" bard subclass, as you put it. That sets 14th level up for battle magic. The valor bard will do the exact same damage plus the bonus attack damage in all 3 rounds and do significantly more damage than the lore bard.

At this point you seem to be convincing yourself that bard blasters do good damage by comparing that damage to a rogue.

Replace "rogue" with "warlock". Your claim is that magical secrets is awesome powerful because it takes spells from other classes. Well, eldritch blast came from warlock so hypothesis to the test we go. For apples to apples it's the fiend patron to also poach fireball (because it's overpowered when a bard does it via secrets but not when any other spell caster does it consistency flaw). 2 short rest standard assumption just as you used earlier when you were trying to upsell bardic inspiration as spells.

Right off the bat the warlock smokes the lore bard's ass with fireballs at the beginning of 6 encounters instead of the bard's 3 at 6th level so there's that. The bard could not take fireball and eldritch blast and hex, and never had the option for agonizing blast. I could write the obvious here but I probably don't need to. "Poaching" that warlock cantrip left the bard far behind the warlock when they both use it and your scenario. That's because the warlock chassis supports spell casting, which is what I pointed out.

This looks even worse for the bard taking tome pact. Adding guidance on a CHA class that can add skills and at-wills via invocations, and will have more rituals and cantrips than the bard on top of outclassing the bard in damage is what we're looking at here. Making a bard who's trying to play like a warlock eldritch blaster is a pale imitation.

Replace "rogue" with "sorcerer". I don't want to get too repetitive here so I'll just cut to the sorcerer going red draconic for a damage base starts with elemental affinity damage bonus to the primary target on the fireballs and firebolt. This leaves the bard behind at 6th level. It gets a bit more complicated later because hex adds ~24 avg damage at 11th level vs 15 from affinity (as long as hex is up, anyway). The lore bard example would be competitive at 10th level and better 11th level+ as long as the sorcerer isn't using metamagic. The sorc wins out applying metamagic in the long run or in bursts, however, via empower and / or quicken. A quickened fireball plus create bonfire maintains damage over time on top of subsequent firebolts leaves the bard in the dust if the target is immobilized somehow. That's situational but uses with same concentration slot as hex without the 1st level spell slot for better damage than just another cantrip. That's because the sorc chassis supports bursts and novas with spells.

Replace "rogue" with "wizard". It's a damage build comparison so evoker. Sculpt spells already guarantees fireball is safe against friendly fire and will be used more often in actual game play. Arcane recovery means more fireballs. Right off the bat we're at more fireballs and more opportunities to use them. At level 6 potent cantrip gives damage on a save to evocation cantrips so create bonfire just became more effective than firebolt. This also has the situational advantage of damage over time if the target is immobilized somehow. If this is the case the pro-tip is to switch it up and create bonfire first, then fireball, then firebolt. That lets the bonfire damage stack all 3 rounds and also destroys your lore bard's system. Without immobilization the bonfires can simply be recreated for full or half damage, plus INT bonus with empowered evocation. Again, the wizard chassis supports better spellcasting. The bard just has baseline spells.

Compared to the 3 other arcane casters, the bard is ultimately behind as well. Replicating the eldritch blast method of the warlock is way behind the warlock. The point that was made about the bard was that they can be decent in a few areas. Adding a damage option doesn't mean that damage option is good, and all your example does is shows a decent damage option while doing almost nothing else with combat actions or spell slots.

Replace "rogue" with "druid". Druids are pretty much in the same boat as bards when it comes to damage. They have a few more options in the spell list for damage but the chassis supports exploration and wildshaping instead of spells. Like bards, they tend toward the lower side of damage. They do, however, still get create bonfire for a decent damage cantrip. At 1st through 5th level the druid has better damage options than the lore bard in cantrips and spells. At 6th through 9th level there's no significant difference between going mountain circle to poach lightning bolt and primal savagery other than range, and is more likely to go with create bonfire.

Natural recovery still gives more castings of lightning bolt, and the situational damage at 10th level going create bonfire, lightning bolt, produce flame is a possible combo because the bonus cantrip can still fit in guidance for checks.

Recapping bard at 10d6+4d10+4d6 the standard for the druid is 10d6+4d8. That's clearly in favor of the bard, for sure. The lore bard started from behind and catches up to druids in that style (not the best plan for druids but I'll get to that; just apples to apples for now). The situational damage for the druid is 10d6+8d8 so still competitive. The question is how often that immobilization tactic can realistically be applied to leverage the bonfire DoT. At 11th level it's 10d6+6d10+6d6 vs 10d6+12d8 situationally.

The bard can get ahead of the druid in typical damage blow through spell slots on fireball and the druid blows through slots on lightning bolt. Neither should be because they are both failing at using those slots or actions for anything else. That removes options forcing the style. The difference is the druid wasn't forced to not learn rituals or healing spells, has room for guidance, WIS is also a good skill attribute, and wildshape is phenomenal for versatility outside of spells. That druid is still going to be more versatile than that bard even if both are trying to force something into the class that the chassis doesn't support. A damage option isn't the same as good damage.

Replace "rogue" with "cleric". As far as caster damage options go they aren't the best either. Spiritual weapon saves it as long as we're blasting through slots. So light domain we're toll the dead and spiritual weapon, fireball, toll the dead. At 6th level that's 3d8+4, 8d6, 2d12+1d8+4. At 10th level that's 3d8+8, 10d6, 2d12+1d8+8. The cleric also started with better armor, didn't lose out on spells prepped over known, and has guidance and room for rituals.

Replace "rogue with "fighter". I wasn't going to go into too much detail, but a greatsword at 6(2d6+4) compared to 8d6+4d10 is also better direct target damage over those 3 rounds before looking at any other ways to increase the damage. Extra multiplying bonuses is obviously the track you were going for but the lore bard doesn't have the bonuses to be multiplied out.

Your bard is going to be behind extra attack classes in target damage because of that.



The bard in your example is better at range, anyway. I think I illustrated how your uber lore bard us behind the curve on individual target damage repeatedly.

A person cannot just say "primary caster" like is a magic argument wand. It's a label without context and doesn't demonstrate anything. All casters are not created equal and have different foci.



So doubling down on a damage spell to also stay behind in damage and warn people we're there? Way to diversify, lol. That's still dealing with weaker fodder, which is part of control and support.

Shatter lets you do damage more combats from 6th level when you're out of 3rd level slots, at least.



I am not sure I'm following you here regarding expertise with "you only get 2 skill expertise early on for a whopping +2 on two skills while bard gets 1", sorry. Are you thinking of the +1 bonus from jack-of-all-trades?

Guidance is good and I brought it up earlier. It's broader than expertise but also shallower. It's hard to say expertise is a whopping +2 and then say the average +2.5 is better from guidance. It's better than jack-of-all-trades. If you mean levels 1 through 4 then sure, but you're also talking about your lore bard coming online at 6th level when expertise means +6 in a proficiency and the rogue has four of them. We also talked about 10th level when reliable talent is right around the corner.

Guidance is nowhere near as good as reliable talent, and bards also gain expertise only 1 level after jack-of-all-trades so the distinction seems pointless.

As far as rogues being easy to replace, sure. That's like saying it's easy to replace a druid with a cleric or a barbarian with a fighter. There isn't a single class in 5e that cannot be replaced.

People play a rogue because the rogue is still better at skills and plays differently. That gets back to things like cunning action, evasion, uncanny dodge, and sneak attack. I can easily replace a bard with a druid or cleric, and the playstyle you described I could do easily with a warlock (although I'd probably go celestial).



That would be more convincing if you had demonstrated the rogue failing in combat and "better" is subjective. A bard tossing spell slots into damage as fast as possible still doesn't do the high target damage and isn't as tanky.

You also might look funning trying to guidance your way out of a grapple compared to reliable talent.



What feat do you think is creating the gap between a rogue and your lore bard example? For that matter, why mention feats at all. Everything you post is low level with the 1 or 2 ASI's going towards capping ability scores in your discussion.

It's obvious not every character is human, or variant human so mentioning feats that haven't been taken doesn't make any sense.



Good at skills isn't a niche, and it's not the only reason I play rogues. Rogues are mobile and survivable in combat, and the best at skills as well. If all you see is skills your blinders are on.



Thief's reflexes, death strike, and slippery mind are hard to pass up, let alone reliable talent.



That would be more convincing if I saw evidence of optimization. Using secrets to add spiritual weapon better leveraging the bonus action would catch the valor bard using the battle magic and the same strategy your lore bard is, for example.

Using a buzzword like "optimization" is just another example of the magic argument wand. It's just a word without context. Your example was a basic strategy that doesn't hold up to other basic strategies. I didn't even include strategies to trigger a secondary sneak attack other than earlier saying the bard should just dissonant whispers for the rogue.

That gets into actual drawbacks of the rogue instead of damage one you are trying to present. Cunning action does compete for bonus actions and uncanny dodge does complete for off turn sneak attacks.



Still like saying you can replace a druid with a cleric or a fighter with a barbarian. There are shared traits among the classes. In this case, however, the bard isn't showing the durability and mobility the rogue has at this point. "But range" doesn't stop closing or mean much when you enter a 30'x30' chamber, for an example.

I'm open-minded. Post your full build and what you are taking at each level and then you might convince me.
I'm will aware other builds out damage vardsbut bards can put out reasonable damage.

And also da age scaling what about level 7, 8,9?

With the 6-8 encounters a day and dice refreshing and being able to heal the bard can do other stuff as well.

And that's doing something lore bards actually aren't very good at. By level 10 you can pick up destructive wave and can drop a level 3+ spell every combat. Not much is immune or resistant to force damage either better hope Mr Rogue gets a magic weapon.

The damage won't be that far behind the rogue, probably exceeds it later (lvl 8) and is close enough on skill checks and can use invisibility as well. You also have the options of every other spell on the bards list as options to pick.

But a rogue is still stuck doing SA which is also unreliable and not that good at range either.

So yeah it's the total package.
 

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