View Full Version : What Else Can a Bard Do?

2008-05-15, 09:10 AM
This isn't really a tactics and tips thread, though, those are welcome.
I'd like to know what different (and useful) alternate class features are available for bards. I've read the Unearthed Arcana (via SRD) ACFs, but I'm looking for more. Really, I just don't know how often I'd use my Bardic Music. Are there any ACFs, or feats, that would replace, or give me alternate uses for my Bardic Music, the way that clerics can use their Turn Undead attempts to power metamagics and such?

2008-05-15, 09:12 AM
There are plenty of bardic music feats, but really the only one that is useful is Lyric Spell (spend bardic music to cast spells at 1+spell level uses)

I happen to like the Half-Elf ACF... Soothing Voice. Diplomacy vs Will Save, failure means the creature is under the effect of a calm emotions spell and it lasts until the half elf stops talking.

2008-05-15, 09:24 AM
That actually sounds really neat, Sam. Yet again, you've brought something to my attention that makes me want to giggle with excitement.
:smallredface: Maybe I should keep these things to myself...

Anyways: What book is that from? 3.5, yeah? The bard would be one half of a gestalt, with the other half being Warlock. (Backstory floating around this forum...somewhere.)

2008-05-15, 09:43 AM
Lyric Spell is in Complete Adventurer.

Soothing Voice is in Races of Destiny.

You may also like Melodic Casting (can cast spells while singing, use perform in place of concentration checks). Its a feat in Complete Mage.

2008-05-15, 09:47 AM
First, let me direct you to this:


Second, I believe there is a feat (a dragon-esq I believe) that turns your bardic music into extra melee damage.

2008-05-15, 10:18 AM
Could you explain that link, CartoonPartyRuler? I can't get into the gleemax stuff, for multiple reasons. (Work ban, and my home computer has forbidden me from going to any site that requires you to log in...)

Keld Denar
2008-05-15, 11:18 AM
Bardic Sage (UA, p 49): Adds additional spells and bonus to knowledge in exchange for reduced Bardic music abilities.

Divine Bards (UA, p 50): Wisdom used to determine if you can cast a spell, Charisma used for all other factors, some spells added to the the bard spell list.

Savage Bard (UA, p 50): Must be chaotic, good fortitude and will save, poor reflex. Modified skill and spell list. Illiterate.

Nature Bard (UA, p 58): gain animal companion, nature sense, resist nature's lure, and wild empathy as a druid. Lose bardic knowledge, inspire courage, inspire competence, inspire greatness, and inspire heroics.

Half-Elf Bard Substitution Levels (RD, p 157):
1st level: Soothing voice, no countersong
6th level: Command, no suggesion
8th level: Secrets of the Diplomat (bonus spells known), lose 4th level spell known

Gnome Bard Substitution Levels (RS, p 147):
1st level: Gnome Cantrips (swap some 0-level spells), Counter Fear (replaces countersong)
3rd level: Inspire Defiance (resistance to mind-affecting), lose inspire competence
6th level: Phantasmal Song (fear-like song), lose suggestion
11th level: Secrets of Bardic Trickery, lose a 4th level spell known, get new spells

Spellscale Bard Substitution Levels (RDr, p 110):
1st level: Draconic Bardic Knowledge (bonus on bardic lore checks involving dragons)
3rd level: Inspire Arcana (music gives +1 caster levels), no inspire competence
6th level: Superior Suggestion (higher DC's with suggestion)

Spellbreaker Song (CM, p 35): Lose countersong, can use bardic music to disrupt casters, giving them 20% spell failure chance.

Healing Hymn (CC, p 47): lose fascinate, boost natural healing and healing spells.

Hymn of Fortification (CC, p 47): lose inspire competence, use bardic music to generate protection from evil type effects.

Bardic Knack (PHB 2, p 35): Lose bardic knowledge, gain the ability to use half your class level in place of skill ranks.

Inspire Awe (DrM, p 13): Gain ability to inspire awe instead of courage.

Loresong (DS, p 8): Give up bardic knowledge. Once per day (more at higher levels) add +4 bonus to an attack, save, or check roll.

Mimicking Song (DS, p 8): Give up countersong. Use bardic music to give allies a +2 bonus on move silently.

Planar Bard (PlH, p 29):
3rd level: Planar Inspiration (can use music to protect people from planar effects), lose inspire competence
6th level: Planar Dissonance (can temporarily redirect portals to new locations), lose suggestion
12h level: Planar Discordance (can use bardic music as a precipitate breach spell), lose song of freedom

Undead Bardic Knowledge (ECR, p 206): Replace Bard Knowledge with specialized knowledge about the undead, works like normal bardic knowledge but with a +5 competence bonus.

Inspire Turning (ECR, p 206): Replace Inspire Competence with the ability to boost an ally's ability to turn undead by spending a bardic music attempt they gain +2 levels on their turn check.

Repel Domination (ECR, p 206): Lose suggestion power. +2 bonus on saves vs mind affecting spells and abilities of the undead, if you succeed in the save they become shaken.

Animefunkmaster was refering to Dragonfire Inspiration from the book Dragon Magic. I don't think it would add damage to Eldrich Blast though. I can't explain why, but I just can't get past it. If it did though, you'd be golden. Tossing out 4d8+5d6 per hit would be pretty nice around mid levels, especially if you put that on an Eldrich Spear and drove it through multiple foes in a line. More on this later....

Tempest Fennac
2008-05-15, 01:06 PM
I know this isn't really what you're looking for, but if you're struggling to come up with uses for Bardic Music, you may like a few of the Bard songs which I've homebrewed: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=79861&highlight=Pale+Shelter (the link in my first post leads to some more songs, and that also has a link which leads to some other songs which I made).

2008-05-15, 01:25 PM
Metamagic Song (http://realmshelps.dandello.net/cgi-bin/feats.pl?Metamagic_Song,all) deserves a special mention, too.

Surfing HalfOrc
2008-05-15, 02:45 PM
I'm not sure if this is what you're looking for, but when people ask me what can a bard do besides sing and buff, I point out all the different types of music, and how those performers affect the moods of the listeners...

If you want to calm people and critters down, think R&B/Cool Jazz :smallcool:

If you want to fire up your fighters and fellow party members, think AC/DC or other heavy metal

If you want to be an investigator, think Josie and the Pussycats :smallwink:

If you want to be a summoning expert, think country and western

If you're going for a more "historical" look but are tired of the "Renaissance Faire" lute playing bard, don a kilt and get your bagpipes out.

(Then when your fellow party members ask if you're wearing anything under your kilt, just remember these two quips:
"Aye, I'm wearing me boots and me socks..."
or the ever popular:
"Good girls don't ask. Bad girls find out for themselves!") :smallbiggrin:

Other than that, consider some of the things bards do that other characters don't or can't. They are entertainers, so they can get into castles and other places than armed entry wouldn't be allowed. They can disguise themselves, and act the role of a slave master or slave buyer, they can be visiting royalry, they can be members of the King's Elite Guard, or they can be a homeless vagrant, overlooked by everyone... Think any of those roles might be handy?

Focusing on a few specific areas rather than "across the spectrum" allows for a better defined bard, which can be more enjoyable than just being a buffbot. But that's just my take on things.

2008-05-15, 03:15 PM
Jobs bard can fill:
-Skill Monkeying (more precisely, Bards make for excellent talkers and sneaks; they lack the Rogue's abilities to disarm traps and the like without other sources though though)
-Distracting and handling hordes (many different songs are great for this)
-Fight (you can make a good Fighter Bard; Snowflake Wardance, Dragonfire Inspiration, Inspire Greatness et company, especially with Lingering Song, makes you able to boost yourself while fighting, either in melee or with bow; TWF is probably the best with Dragonfire Inspiration)
-Cast (any Sublime Chord-build is a fine spellcaster with both, an assortment of Arcane powers and access to some Divine abilities)
-Heal (Healing Hymn-builds can be perfectly fine healers on their own right, given Melodic Casting to cast spells while singing - also, 5 levels of Combat Medic (Heroes of Battle) gives him spontaneous Heal on his list, something that goes great with Sublime Chord; just get Restoration from some source along with Revivify-scrolls through UMD and perhaps Resurrections and you're good to go)
-Summon (some Prestiges and Sublime Chord make you a decent summoner, if not Conjurer Wizard-level)
-Perform! Of course, that's the whole point of the class so they're gonna be able to give you quite an amazing performance, especially with Versatile Performer/multiple maxed Performs to play, sing and dance or so at the same time.

2008-05-15, 11:44 PM
If I may, I'd like to suggest using Bardic music rather than seeking to replace it with a feat.

More details can follow if you're interested, but here are some things to consider:

Bardic Music at level 8, using only Inspire Courage:

Minimum: +2 to hit and +2 damage on every melee attack your group makes
Use a masterwork drum to add +1 atk/damage
Add Lingering Song (Cad 111) your songs last a minute after your allies stop hearing you.
Add Song of the Heart (ECS 60) you now add +1 to hit and damage
Add Words of Creation (BE48) you double the base effect
Cast Inspirational boost first (swift action, spc124) add +1 to hit and damage

If you have this setup, if you sing the first round of a fight (or just before the fight), you are adding
2+2+1+1+1 = 7 attack and damage to every melee attack you or your allies make for a full minute.
In a given fight, you make the party 40% more likely to hit, and will add 100+ damage to the group.

That's like being able to add a couple fireballs to the fight 8 times a day, and is more effective the more melee your group has.

At higher levels, it becomes even more interesting. Maybe become a Seeker of the Song and do this:
Cast Greater Harmonize (4th), you can start and maintain songs as a move action.
Combine songs: your move action now activates two songs

All together, this means your group starts a fight with:
Inspire Courage (+7 Atk/Dam)
Inspire Greatness (with a masterwork Lyre and WoC) add 6 HitDice and +6Atk to 3 allies of your choice
-and- you can maintain them both for 12 minutes as a move action, or break concentration to do other things and the effects still last another full minute.

You're free to attack, cast other spells, or use the Seeker AE damage songs to your heart's content.

2008-05-16, 08:30 AM
The biggest reason why I don't want to use bardic music: My bard is an actor, not a musician. I know that any perform check will work for the Bardic Music, but...still. He's an actor who made a mistake with props and lines during an audition, and (accidently) sold his soul to a demon. He won't be carrying musical instruments or anything, and his performances will be comedic or something to the like. He's also fairly self-centered, believing that the powers he gained from the demon (warlock powers) were granted to him by some god as a reward for being such a fine actor. He's adventuring to gain fame through it art, and, eventually, be inducted into the Guild of Amazing Thespians, gaining access to the Master of Masks prestige class.


So...yeah. I don't want bardic music.

2008-05-16, 10:16 AM
You could use your acting skill to perform moving speeches from famous plays, or to tell jokes that either cheer your friends up or annoy them to the point of a minor beserker rage (where they take out their frustrations on the enemy instead of you: "Now smite them or I'll tell you the one about the druid, the cleric, and the necromancer!").

As for being self-centered, you don't have to use your music because you think it'll benefit your party. You can also use it because you like taking the center stage and feel it your right as a fine actor to take every opportunity to grace enemy and ally alike with your (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calculon) unholy... acting... talent!

2008-05-16, 12:48 PM
He won't be carrying musical instruments or anything, and his performances will be comedic or something to the like.


So...yeah. I don't want bardic music.

Um, you do know that Perform (Comedy) is perfectly acceptable to use for Bardic Music, right?

2008-05-16, 01:07 PM
Interesting thread, I'll keep tabs on this. I'm about to start a Bard campaign where my 3 PCs are gypsy-like wandering bards with a huge stage-carriage. I'm looking for ways to diversify them. :smallcool:

Count Chumleigh
2008-05-16, 01:14 PM
Well, no offense, Burley Warlock, but if you don't want bardic music, Bard might not be the best class for you. If you have access to the Dragon Compendium book, however, you ought to be able to play a Jester--a Bard-like class that uses buffoonery and shenanigans to confound, flummox, bamboozle, and any number of other turn-of-the-century Carny verbs, his foes.

--Count Chumleigh

2008-05-16, 01:57 PM
Interesting thread, I'll keep tabs on this. I'm about to start a Bard campaign where my 3 PCs are gypsy-like wandering bards with a huge stage-carriage. I'm looking for ways to diversify them. :smallcool:

One goes Lyric Thaumaturge/Sublime Chord. That's your primary arcanist. One goes Virtuoso/Seeker of the Song. That's your primary musicalist. Etc.

Check out Chapter 1 of the Complete Scoundrel for more tips on how to diversify the party.