View Full Version : [3.5] Bard wants Trapfinding - help?

2009-05-26, 11:25 AM
Hi everyone,

In my current campaign (3.5 + Pathfinder) we have four casters: a druid, wizard, cleric and bard. Even though our setting slightly nerfs the full casters, you can guess who will have the hardest time long-term keeping up in terms of power level.

So far he has been quite useful at Level 1 with his whip + improved disarm feat, his unlimited 0-level spells (thanks Pathfinder!) and his all-around tactical thinking.

However, the party is worried by not having a rogue. The bard is thinking about taking a level of Rogue to get Trapfinding. He likes the idea of having sneak attack, but it's mostly Trapfinding he wants. I told him that it will only hurt him to put his spell progression even farther behind the rest of the party, but my players (gods bless 'em!) really don't know a thing about optimising and power imbalance.

So my question for everyone is, any ideas on a Bard variant that gets Trapfnding? PrC's are possible too, though he is currently Level 1 and probably wants to get trapfinding at Level 2 or at latest 3.

ANY ideas are appreciated. Thank you!

2009-05-26, 11:30 AM
I would give it more or less freely.

It isn't as much an ability that improves a character as a dull requirement for a party.

I don't know Pathfinder, but if Inspire Competence is as bad there as it is in 3.5, let him swap that out.

Or just make it a feat. It should have been one in the first place.

2009-05-26, 11:32 AM
I also do not know Pathfinder, but there are Arcane Thieve's Tools in 3.5's Magic Item Compedium which give Trapfinding. If they don't fit as an item in your setting, maybe you can use them as a basis to homebrew an item that gives Trapfinding.

Keld Denar
2009-05-26, 11:34 AM
Bards...don't really get trapfinding.

One level in Rogue, Scout, Ninja, Artificer, Factotum, Ranger, or Barbarian would get trapfinding though.

Alternatively, a level in Geometer (CArcane, PrC thats all about glyphs and runes) give trapfinding for magical traps. That would make a great 1 level dip for your wizard or cleric. You can find traps with a DC of 20 or less without Trapfinding, so from level 2 on, the bard's Improvision spell will boost his search significantly, then the Cleric gets the 2nd level Find Traps spell, and by the time they start encountering DC20+ traps, someone will be 5th+ and can take a level or 10 of Geometer.

2009-05-26, 11:35 AM
Heh, just the thing:
Pick the feat "Planar Touchstone" from Planar Handbook. It allows you to bind with a planar site to get abilities from the site. Bind with "Catalogues of Enlightement", a location in Mechanus perfect for sages et al. (Bard with his Bardic Knowledge and all certainly fits) - it is likewise detailed in Planar Handbook. This gives you one Domain-power as a constant ability.

The domain you should choose to get the ability from is Kobold (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/we/20060420a). This gives you, among others, Trapfinding and you could argue to get Search and Disable Device in class (normally it gives them to Cleric, but as you got the Domain as a non-Cleric, it's reasonable enough to ask for them in class for that class).

Of course, the drawback is that you need to be at least level 5 to pick the feat (requires Knowledge: The Planes 8 ranks), but as a DM you could handwave some of that.

The other option, though much more DM-dependent, is the "Apprentice"-feat in DMGII. Apprentice: Trapsmith could very well contain Search + Disable Device and throwing Trapfinding isn't unreasonable. The shtick is that he'd have apprenticed under a trapsmith (or maybe his father was one?) and thus learned of the craft even though his actual studies took him another way; so he still knows how to find and disarm traps even though he's a Bard.

Those two feats seem like the best alternatives. Others would cost caster levels :/

2009-05-26, 11:39 AM
Had the exact same issue - bard providing trapfinding. Couldn't come up with any class that fits the bill in the end. He took a level of rogue, as it didn't matter a ton if his advancement suffered - none of the PrCs were any better. Sorry, I just couldn't find anything that worked better than a level or two of rogue (two levels of pathfinder rogue is not shabby - evasion and a bonus feat is nice). The bard picked up Practiced Spellcaster to keep his CL up, but he obviously suffers having fewer spells, which he makes up for via UMD.

2009-05-26, 11:42 AM
Well, using what variants we have in the SRD, we might be able to find precedent for what constitutes a valid way to substitute in Rogue abilities.

We have the Fey Bard (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/variantCharacterClasses.htm#bard), Bardic Sage (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/variantCharacterClasses.htm#bardVariantBardicSage) , Divine Bard (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/variantCharacterClasses.htm#bardVariantDivineBard) and Savage Bard (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/variantCharacterClasses.htm#bardVariantSavageBard) .

If all he wants is Trapfinding, then perhaps you can stunt his progress for gaining new Bardic Music by a level, or maybe make all songs last one-or-two rounds less. Although if he wants a Sneak Attack progression, you'll probably have to drop significantly more; Losing all bardic knowledge and all bardic music might be appropriate for gaining both Rogue abilities.

2009-05-26, 11:43 AM
Also consider a level of Spellthief, followed up with the Master Spellthief feat once he qualifies. Obviously this costs him a caster level - but he can borrow spells from his allies, so it will feel as though it hasn't!

Berserk Monk
2009-05-26, 11:46 AM
I'd just multiclass. I'm sure there are a ton of prestige classes designed for a bard/rogue.

2009-05-26, 11:53 AM
I told him that it will only hurt him to put his spell progression even farther behind the rest of the party, but my players (gods bless 'em!) really don't know a thing about optimising and power imbalance.If the second part of your sentence is true, the first part may well be false. Casters do run the show in D&D, don't get me wrong, but if optimal choices aren't part of their primary goals than the power imbalance is much less pronounced than it would be otherwise. If they're not concerned about power imbalances, they may not even notice them. I wouldn't worry about it and just have him take a level in rogue; it sounds like the trade-off is one the player is willing to make.

2009-05-26, 11:56 AM
The following ways are to get trapfinding that seem viable in this situation:
Rogue 1
Ranger 1, Dscape variant, replaces Track
Beguiler 1, PHB2
Ninja 1, CAd
Scout 1, CAd
Spellthief 1, CAd
Artificer 1, Eberron
Factotum 1, Dungeonscape
Cleric 1, Kobold Domain (webenhancement from Races of the Dragon I believe)

Nightsong Infiltrator 1, CAd
Temple Raider of Olidammara 1, (and Trap sense +1) CD
Stonedeath Assassin 1, (goblinoid subtype requires) RoS
Hoardstealer 1, Draconomicon

Theft Gloves, soulmeld, Magic of Incarnum
Planar Touchstone (Catalogues of Enlightenment), feat, Planar Handbook, gain the ability of a chosen doman (pick Kobold, Webenhancement)

Other mentions:
Arcane Thieves Tools (MIC) do not grant trapfinding, they require trapfinding to function... which you can emmulate with UMD to get a fairly large bonus to disabling traps that have a dc under 20.

Magic that helps:
Detect Magic (I find magic traps to be the most deadly... also magic/psionic transparency helps find psionic traps)
Detect snares and pits (druid/ranger 1st level spell that finds none mechanically complex traps)

From a DM perspective:
Alternatively you could just make trapfinding class feature irrelevant (anyone can find traps and disable them that have a DC higher than 20 provided they make the check), putting ranks in search and disable device should be enough to find traps IMO

2009-05-26, 11:57 AM
Thanks guys, I think I will offer him an Apprenticeship feat to gain Trapfinding, as feats are abundant in Pathfinder and spending a feat on a career option is very much in keeping with the setting we're using (Iron Kingdoms). He might like that option a lot.

If he decides he doesn't want to do it that way, or if he wants Sneak Attack also, then he can just multiclass.

Thanks guys!

edit: wow Animefunkmaster, quite a list! I'll look at the Nightsong Infiltrator PrC, as I do have CAdv and he might like a cool prestige class.

2009-05-26, 12:18 PM
Sounds like you have your solution (Apprenticeship to gain Trapfinding is a great idea), but just 2 more cents if you want'em:

If he does want to take a level of rogue or two, that's not so bad. Especially considering how caster heavy your party is--everyone else is going to be out-casting him anyway, so his role is going to be skills and fighting. Adding a few levels in a more focused skillmonkey class could come in quite handy. In fact, if he did it, I'd suggest going at least to Rogue 2 to get Evasion and a Rogue Talent (if you're using the Pathfinder Rogue--some of those Talents in turn could support his bardic abilities nicely).

Alternatively, if you are allowing splats, and he wants to rebuild his character entirely, and he's been playing an enchanty/illusiony/party-face kind of Bard.... check out the Beguiler from the 3.5 Player's Handbook II. It's another enchanty/illusiony/buffy/party-face skilled character class, and it has Trapfinding as a class feature.

Another option would be to include the Divine Spell "Find Traps" in his Bardic Spell list (if you want to fluff in a way for that to be possible, he could go on a quest to research the song).

2009-05-26, 01:36 PM
Ive been thru a simular situation with no true rogue in the party... what our dm did was hand wave trapfinding and instead just gave classes with trapfinding a bonus to search for traps that way any one could see the magical glyphs that was obviously a trap and know know it was instead of just the rogue -.-
worked well for my dragon shaman kobold.... until i decided to convinve my dm to let me trade in dragon shamamn for rogue mwhahahah

2009-05-26, 01:51 PM
Personally I think the bard should have had both trap finding and disable device from the get go. Some may say that this would step on the rogueís toes. But the sorcerer steps on the wizardís toes, so I donít think itís such a big deal.

Besides rogues typically get more mileage out of sneak attack than they do trap finding, but then that depends on the campaign.

2009-05-26, 02:00 PM
Whenever I'm DMing I just say there's no such class feature as Trapfinding, anyone can find a trap if they make the Search DC. To make up for it, any class that normally gets Trapfinding instead gets a +2/+2 skill feat of their choice such as Alertness or Stealthy whenever they would otherwise have gained Trapfinding. Everyone I play with has liked this so far, and it hasn't lead to any problems.

2009-05-26, 04:35 PM
I'd say that if Search should be restricted in the way it is at all, Trapfinding should be a feat that anyone can take. As with tracking, there's no need to require levels in any class for it; just give it to some classes free as a bonus feat.

2009-05-26, 04:46 PM
I'd say that if Search should be restricted in the way it is at all, Trapfinding should be a feat that anyone can take. As with tracking, there's no need to require levels in any class for it; just give it to some classes free as a bonus feat.Search, DD, and Trapfinding are all given by one domain. Because of that, and the fact that some of the better domain abilities are Feats(Planning, Undeath, or Knowlege), it seems reasonable to just consider it equivalent to a feat and let the Bard take it.