View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Feedback/Advice on a Bardic Inspiration ability

2016-03-06, 02:13 PM
Hey all,

I'm working on a bardic college with a specific sort of spellcasting focus, and I am looking for ideas for a 3rd level bardic inspiration use: the design goal would be to emphasize and increase the impact of offensive or controlling spells. I'm considering something like "When you cast a spell that requires a saving throw, you may use a bonus action and expend one of your uses of Bardic Inspiration, rolling a bardic inspiration die and subtracting the number rolled from the result of one target's saving throw".

Ultimately this seems too powerful compared to cutting words, though it lack's that feature's flexibility. One solution I thought of was to make this power require a successful check (probably Arcana or spellcasting mod) vs. something like 10+spell slot level, or the ability (and the die?) is wasted. I don't know if this really balances it though, and more-so, 'save or save' abilities are generally frowned upon from a design standpoint.

Any thoughts on how to balance this ability, or for an alternative feature to make this college's spellcasting feel emphasized and powerful?


2016-03-06, 05:02 PM
I think hitting saves is much too strong. The only comparable ability is Heightened spell, which costs a hefty chunk of a daily resource rather than a portion of a short rest resource. As long as you have at least hold person left this use of inspiration is the best by a wide margin.

My suggestion would be to allow them to spend a die to raise the slot level of a spell by 1 as they cast the spell, though I'm worried that might be a bit too strong as well. Note that this does NOT let a 7th level bard cast more than 1 4th level spell per day, only more 3rd level spells in 4th level slots.

2016-03-06, 11:07 PM
I agree that as proposed it's too strong - I'm not sure *any* save effect is too strong, however I'm not totally prepared to throw out the concept. I feel like a scaling check might make it fairer? If you assume disadvantage is ~-5, bardic inspiration die (or even 1/2 die result?) is going to be fairer.

Increasing effective spell slot of a cast spell seems plausibly even more powerful than a penalty to a save, depending obviously on the spell.

Any ideas for alternate effects in the realm of enhancing spellcasting/controlling power that fits with bardic inspiration? In theory it could be more complex, or I could avoid an expansion to bardic inspiration altogether at 3rd, but I'm not sure that's an improvement.

2016-03-06, 11:15 PM
Personally, I think you need to have a good idea of what your sub-class is before saying you want to have this ability. That being said the ability is powerful and your suggestion is not only a little tedious but it isn't going to restrict it from happening all that much. Bards have expertise too so the check is small. Ultimately with an ability like this ask yourself what is more likely going to be a potential situation in which the die is wasted? Additionally when is this ability going to come up? If this were to be its capstone than honestly it probably is good as is without the check. In comparison Peerless Skill doesn't even require any kind of action to use, but you are using your bonus action. The only qualifier I would put on it would be to make it so they must be able to hear you specifically in some way so that it could be blocked.

2016-03-07, 08:25 AM
While the results of the bardic inspiration die will usually be less than disadvantage the sorcerer spends a 2nd or 3rd level spell slot to get this effect while the bard spends something he's getting 6-15 of per day by level 5 on top of his full spell progression. Plus bardic inspiration isn't that far behind. Advantage ~ 5, d8 ~ 4.5.