Maybe I should have titled it, “Reasons why my GM should always let me play a bard,” since that is pretty much my hope with this article.
I love bards. In D&D, there is no doubt that they are the best character class. For full disclosure, my opinion may have been shaped by my first major character that I ever played. I loved that bantering, bartender bard. So I may be biased, but even at looking at the multitudes of other character options, I still remain steadfast in this belief. And this is why:
1. Good at pretty much everything
Even without the mechanic of “Jack of all Trades”(which makes your skill set without equal), bards are notoriously able to be put in other’s combat spots for short periods of time. Sometimes your team is weak in one area. But with a bard, they can jump in when you need more brute force, need some magicing (it’s a new word - deal with it), or even if you need to have some cannon fodder in your fight.
2. Magic or something
One of my favourite parts of the bard is their limited magic (which is not always so limited). I find it a hilarious addition that you can pull out at the most opportune of times. Sometimes, it will be in the form of a small show for raising much needed capital for your group. Seriously, adventuring doesn’t always pay too well. Or you can spring it during a pitched battle! You nonchalantly can pull it out of your pack and see how your adventuring group reacts. From Feather Fall and Speak with Animals to something damage inducing like Thunderclap, these spells can be super helpful in a pinch.
3. Charming I think
I see your run-of-the-mill bard as that character which can bridge gaps within any group. Since they are a little skilled in everything, it means they can relate to everyone. In fact, I am currently playing a bard who has somehow become the leader of a group, simply due to a storytelling culture where she has those stories at her disposal. Who knew that the one with the best stories could lead?
4. Bardic Inspiration
Seriously, so useful. An ever increasing die (or dice) to be given to your group members which they can use for damn near anything. It can be a phrase or a gesture to indicate how awesome you think they are (and who doesn’t like that). I like phrases along the lines of “Aye, you be a capt’n!” or “You, do you!” But whatever the suggestion, you are a gift that keeps on giving.
5. Song of Rest
The age old quandary of taking short or long rests can be helped along with this ability. Sometimes, you don’t have the time or place for that long rest to occur. Maybe you just got walloped by some wandering goblins. Instead you can convince your party to take just a minor break in your day. During a short rest, you help all who hear your melodic tones gain extra hit points during that rest.
6. 3rd level decision making
I love the idea of specializing later on with your character. Did they end up more combat intensive than you thought they would be? Then you can head through the College of Valor at 3rd level. Maybe they are just ridiculously skillful in helping with the planning and the spellcasting for your group,then you can head down the College of Lore. Seeing where your roleplaying takes you and having a malleable character is a great way to add depth with the skills to match. Who knows how your character will turn out within your group?
I am sure people can add more to the simply gargantuan amount of reasons why the Bard is truly the best of the best. Or maybe now you are convinced to give this class a try. I will always lobby to play this class (though often it will be shut down.) Perhaps it is my flair for the dramatic that caused this love affair with bards. But I never want off this ride.
This is where Vanessa writes. Who is Vanessa? Well, she is a sarcastic, 30-something wife and mother. She likes things and stuff, but not simultaneously. When she isn’t involved in things and stuff, she teaches middle school math and art. She loves new teenagers in action. They make her laugh and shake her head and her world is much better with laughter. She thinks everyone should be roleplaying. She sometimes bothers her friends to help with her blog articles and other times it all comes from her head… scary. . She is also trying out this new twitter handle at @sarasma_nessa
12/5/2016 10:15:13 am
I think a better title would be, "Why the Last Person To Come Up With Their Character Should Consider a Bard". 5th Edition D&D has seen the best iteration of the bard to date, well rounded and no longer a "hybrid caster" who was pretty restricted in their usefulness. However, as Vanessa writes, they can do just about anything, but few of those things can they do as well as the class best-suited for the role. For instance, if you're in a save-the-world style campaign against some Army of Darkness, a bard is a poor replacement for a fighter as a front-line wall or a wizard's crowd-clearing. If you're in a dungeon crawl, the bard's healing is decent, but a full Cleric of Life will get you more mileage to delve deeper between rests.
5/3/2018 06:53:27 pm
"need some magicing (it’s a new word - deal with it)"
6/12/2020 08:33:32 pm
I really enjoyed your blog posts, thank you
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