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Thread: [3.5] Bard help

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    Default [3.5] Bard help

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    My DM placed me in a group with the less-experienced players of our massive collection of people and asked that, for this next campaign, I play some sort of support character. My initial reaction was to make a buffing-focused wizard, but when I brought it up, it was shut down immediately (my DM doesn't want me to try out a full caster). So, looking around a bit for ideas, I realized that I've never played a bard before and I've always heard that they're fantastic at aiding teammates.


    So, I've never played a bard before and I'm eager to try one out. I looked up the Bard Handbook over on the d20 CharOp board, but it was somewhat lacking on good PrCs for bards. So, my question for the playground is this: what good bard PrCs are there for supporting my teammates and having a lot of options?

    all books available and I could probably get some dragon mags okayed, but absolutely no homebrew would be allowed.
    *note: not all advice by this poster is meant to be taken seriously.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Bard help

    Sublime Chord. I can't remember the book now, but it gives you a handful of neat abilities and Sorcerer Spellcasting. Alternately, Bard/Sublime Chord/Virtuoso gives you Sorcerer Spellcasting, and sacrifices the SC abilities for some decent Virtuoso ones, that are kind of like Bardic Music on steroids.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Bard help

    hmmm, those sound interesting. Do they both progress bardic music? Particularly Inspire Courage? I'm thinking of picking up Dragonfire Inspiration, Words of Creation, and Draconic Heritage (choosing some sort of force dragon) to boost my party's damage to crazy levels.
    *note: not all advice by this poster is meant to be taken seriously.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Bard help

    If you're going that path, you do NOT need SC cheese to be awesome. I think Virtuoso does increase Bardic Music, but SC doesn't. The general build is Bard 9/SC 1/Virtuoso 10. Virtuoso increases spellcasting 9 levels, so you get full SC spellcasting and Virtuoso abilities. If I'm right about Bardic Music, that would give you level 19 Bardic Music.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Bard help

    Well if you want to optimize Inspire Courage I would suggest looking here and here. Also a quick read through the Bard's Handbook may give you some more ideas. As for builds, I'm kinda partial towards Bard 6/ Lyric Thaumaturge 2/ Virtuoso 2/ Sublime Chord 2/ Virtuoso 8. Add in the feat Chaos Music from Dragon #326 to make up for any lost Bardic Music abilities and you should have a fairly decent build. However Chaos Music may have wonky interactions with some of the Inspire Courage Optimization tricks.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Bard help

    I find the best build for Bardic Music is Bard 9/Virtuoso 1/Sublime Chord 2/Virtuoso +8.

    The reason is simple; you get all the best songs. Most notably:

    Inspire Courage
    Inspire Greatness
    Song of Arcane Power
    Jarring Song (only in enclosed spaces but there it's close to Global Silence++ [stops all spells including Quickened and Silent and such]; Perform-check is far easier to optimize than Concentration already only because it's Charisma-based (hello Circlet of Persuasion!) and because it's tied to your primary casting stat)


    Also, Song of Fury is a decent stack with Inspire Courage especially if you have planar bound or summoned or such allies who have no class features and thus can't do it themselves. Melody of Revelation is nice, but comes too late to base your build around getting.

    Don't forget to pick up the free Healing Hymn from Complete Champion; as Virtuoso grants you Fascinate if you don't have it, this is a free extra song to add to your repertoire. It's not very useful but options are never bad.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Bard help

    One bit of advice - invest in a wand of cure light wounds if you are playing a bard. That will save you having to take the spell (the bard spell list has a lot of good spells and it will be hard to pick from them) and it's a really economical way of healing battle damage.

    Are you certain your DM will let you play a bard? Technically they are a full caster class as well.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Bard help

    Do you want a great build?
    Bard 1 level. Whatever other class, the rest of your levels.

    Seriuosly. I wast trying to convince someone about ParhFinder, he said "Everyone in pathfinder is god-like"
    and I said "Everyone in pathfinder is god-like, but the bard, who is, for first time in his existence, USEFUL!"
    That guy cried manly tears.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Bard help

    Quote Originally Posted by Souhiro View Post
    Do you want a great build?
    Bard 1 level. Whatever other class, the rest of your levels.

    Seriuosly. I wast trying to convince someone about ParhFinder, he said "Everyone in pathfinder is god-like"
    and I said "Everyone in pathfinder is god-like, but the bard, who is, for first time in his existence, USEFUL!"
    That guy cried manly tears.
    You, my friend, are mislead. If you know what you're doing the PHB Bard is the fifth most powerful class in the book right after Wizard, Cleric, Druid and Sorcerer. And with SC, he's comparable to Sorcerer. Or do you plan on telling me getting +12d6 damage for the entire party and getting 4 of those attacks with Cha to hit yourself is weak for level 9? Or giving everyone +12+12d6 to damage, and +12 to hit? Or enabling Polymorphing the party melee into a 12-Headed Hydra with every head getting said +12d6? Or making the BBEG your fanatical follower forever with one standard action?

    No, the Bard is not weak. The Bard can be utterly broken if one decides to build him so. The Bard can also be a great teamplayer, acting as a force multiplier for everyone using weapons in the party (and all the summons, called creatures, underlings and so on). And a Bard can be a great caster on his own right. And among the best skill monkeys in the game. Indeed, a party of 4 Bards would be perfectly viable in all aspects of the game.
    Last edited by Eldariel; 2010-10-21 at 04:47 AM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Bard help

    Straight Bard without prestige classes can be quite good for a support character. Sublime Chord is a great prestige class, but it is also pretty close to a full caster, being just one level behind sorcerers.

    If you're going to use all of the options that boost Inspire Courage, you may not need a prestige class that continues bardic music, since it will be pretty high already. You could look into a prestige class that isn't specific to bards, such as the War Weaver from Heroes of Battle.

    War Weaver is a good option for a bard, since you have some good touch-range buffs (blink, displacement) as well as cure spells that can be cast through your eldritch tapestry, allowing you to buff or heal your entire team with a single casting of a spell. This is extremely useful since bards have fewer spells per day than wizards and sorcerers. At 12th level, you can basically cast mass cure critical wounds twice in one round if you have it charged in your tapestry.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Bard help

    Another Option would be Harmonious Knight Paladin 2/ Bard 1/ Paladin X with the feats Able Learner (RoD), Devoted Performer (CAdv), From Smite to Song (CoV), and Initiate of Milil (CoV). Otherwise Bard 1/ Crusader (ToB) X with the feat Song of the White Raven (ToB) would also be an effective support character.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Bard help

    ...yeah, if your DM would rather you didn't play a full caster, Sublime Chord probably won't be to their liking.

    All the good options have been mentioned so far it seems (Lyric Thaumaturge, Virtuoso, War Weaver, multiclass with Crusader or Warblade).

    A short dip in Dirgesinger (Libris Mortis) might be OK if you want a couple of bardic music abilities that debuff enemies. It doesn't advance casting though.

    Other options out there for bards seem to focus on making the bard more individually powerful rather than a better support character. Which is a shame.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Bard help

    Quote Originally Posted by Violet Octopus View Post
    A short dip in Dirgesinger (Libris Mortis) might be OK if you want a couple of bardic music abilities that debuff enemies. It doesn't advance casting though.

    Other options out there for bards seem to focus on making the bard more individually powerful rather than a better support character. Which is a shame.
    Harbinger Bard (Dragon #337) + Doomspeak (CoR) + Dreadful Wrath (PGtf) + Imperious Command (DoTU) + Never Outnumbered (CS) + Dread Witch (HoH) + Nightmare Spinner (CM) = Very scary debuffing bard

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    Default Re: [3.5] Bard help

    Quote Originally Posted by gorfnab View Post
    Harbinger Bard (Dragon #337) + Doomspeak (CoR) + Dreadful Wrath (PGtf) + Imperious Command (DoTU) + Never Outnumbered (CS) + Dread Witch (HoH) + Nightmare Spinner (CM) = Very scary debuffing bard
    Thanks for those suggestions! I have a harpy character in mind (i.e. refluffed raptoran bard), and some of those will do quite nicely.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Bard help

    wow, thanks for all of the suggestions, guys. So far, it looks like my best bet as a support is Bard 5/Sublime Chord 1/Virtuoso 9/war weaver 5 (the levels would be broken up a bit, though) (I'm AFB, but this should work, right?). I'd be maxing out my Inspire Courage and picking up the sorcerer casting mostly for those "oh s**t" moments that always seem to come up in our games.

    Also, as I'm not very experienced with casters (never played a fullcaster ) what are some good/fun bard spells and some buff/save-ass spells on either the bard or sorcerer spell list? I know about glibness, but that's the extent of my experience with bardic casting.
    *note: not all advice by this poster is meant to be taken seriously.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Bard help

    Quote Originally Posted by The Rabbler View Post
    wow, thanks for all of the suggestions, guys. So far, it looks like my best bet as a support is Bard 5/Sublime Chord 1/Virtuoso 9/war weaver 5 (the levels would be broken up a bit, though) (I'm AFB, but this should work, right?).
    Needs 10 levels to enter SC. Virtuoso loses first level of casting.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Bard help

    Quote Originally Posted by The Rabbler View Post
    wow, thanks for all of the suggestions, guys. So far, it looks like my best bet as a support is Bard 5/Sublime Chord 1/Virtuoso 9/war weaver 5 (the levels would be broken up a bit, though) (I'm AFB, but this should work, right?). I'd be maxing out my Inspire Courage and picking up the sorcerer casting mostly for those "oh s**t" moments that always seem to come up in our games.
    Not going to work.
    You need 10 ranks in Perform for Virtuoso and War Weaver requires 3rd level spells. You won't be able to have both classes maxed out. At best you could do Bard 7/ Virtuoso 3/ Sublime Chord 1/ War Weaver 5/ Virtuoso 4.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Bard help

    You might also consider adding the feat Song of the Heart (Eberron Campaign Setting, pg. 60) which adds various bonuses to your Bardic music, including the ever popular Dragonfire Inspiration/Inspire Courage. You'll also want a Badge of Valor, which adds a +1 to your IC. Oh, and if you can spare two caster levels (and an okish feat) then Seeker of the Song 2 gets you Combine Songs, allowing you to use IC and Dragonfire Inspiration at the same time (for massive bonuses).
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    Default Re: [3.5] Bard help

    Quote Originally Posted by gorfnab View Post
    Not going to work.
    You need 10 ranks in Perform for Virtuoso and War Weaver requires 3rd level spells. You won't be able to have both classes maxed out. At best you could do Bard 7/ Virtuoso 3/ Sublime Chord 1/ War Weaver 5/ Virtuoso 4.
    not even with human and able learner?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalaska'Agathas View Post
    You might also consider adding the feat Song of the Heart (Eberron Campaign Setting, pg. 60) which adds various bonuses to your Bardic music, including the ever popular Dragonfire Inspiration/Inspire Courage. You'll also want a Badge of Valor, which adds a +1 to your IC. Oh, and if you can spare two caster levels (and an okish feat) then Seeker of the Song 2 gets you Combine Songs, allowing you to use IC and Dragonfire Inspiration at the same time (for massive bonuses).
    I do believe that I'll take that feat, if my build permits it. As for Seeker of the Song, what book is that in?
    Last edited by The Rabbler; 2010-10-21 at 05:11 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Bard help

    Quote Originally Posted by The Rabbler View Post
    not even with human and able learner?
    Only way to increase your max cap aside from HD cheating is Primary Contact-feat from Cityscape. That gets you one extra rank in one skill and has a prerequisite.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Bard help

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    Only way to increase your max cap aside from HD cheating is Primary Contact-feat from Cityscape. That gets you one extra rank in one skill and has a prerequisite.
    hmm... couldn't bard 5/war weaver 2/virtuoso 4/sublime chord 1/virtuoso 5/war weaver 3 work?
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    Default Re: [3.5] Bard help

    War Weaver needs 3rd level spells. Bards don't get 3rds until level 8 IIRC. You could get in at 5 with Sanctum Spell, or Heighten Spell + Versatile Spellcaster, provided that there aren't any other skill requirements.

    Regardless, you want to make sure that SC1 is at exactly level 11. Not before, not after. You want to make sure you have full casting from 11-20, as this ensures that you get full 10/10 SC casting. There isn't really any margin for error with Sublime Chord.
    Last edited by Keld Denar; 2010-10-21 at 05:21 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Bard help

    alright, so it looks like my build will be something along the lines of bard 7/virtuoso 2/war weaver 1/sublime chord 1/seeker of the song 2/war weaver 2/virtuoso 5.

    by my count, this should get me level 18 SC casting, level 8 bard casting, and lvl 16 bardic music. Does anyone have any ideas that might make this any better?

    note: I am fine with giving up level 9 spells. I wanted the sorc casting to compliment the party, not to make sure that the answer to any of our problems is only 5k xp away (500 with a thought bottle).
    Last edited by The Rabbler; 2010-10-21 at 05:40 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Bard help

    The Seeker songs you get at 1 and 2 are kinda crappy, especially as late as you get them. I'd take the 5th level of War Weaver (so you can weave 5th level spells) instead. Also, its not just the 9s...+2 spellcaster levels should give you close to +1 spell/day for all levels of spells you know. Thats like, 5 extra spells per day from 4 to 8.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Bard help

    While you won't get all of the Virtuoso's goodies, this build can get you enough:

    Bard8/Virtuoso 1/War weaver 1/Sublime Chord 2/War weaver 5/Virtuoso 5

    This will give you 9th level spells and War Weaver's shennanigans, but your inspire courage won't be as good (but still quite awesome). You can also be Bard 9/Virtuoso 1/Sublime Chord 2/Virtuoso 9

    Also, note that Spell casting progression is of PrCs is done on a class you can cast arcane spells on. This is why Virtuoso 2 is not good before sublime chord. Doing that, each level of virtuoso will level up Bard's spell casting, not the Sublime Chord's
    Last edited by Random NPC; 2010-10-21 at 05:59 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Bard help

    The wording on Virtuoso indicates that you can choose at east level up which class you apply that level of spellcasting to. Not all of them do, but Virtuoso does.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Bard help

    I'm really only interested in seeker of the song so I can use combine song to have dragonfire inspiration and inspire courage work at the same time, giving allies (when using words of creation) +8 to attacks, +8d6 sonic damage on each hit, and +8 damage. with song of the heart I can get that to +10s, so my party should be demolishing things. I don't plan on needing my sorc casting for more than a couple of spells/day, so losing out on that extra spell/day each level shouldn't hurt me much.
    *note: not all advice by this poster is meant to be taken seriously.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Bard help

    Quote Originally Posted by The Rabbler View Post
    I'm really only interested in seeker of the song so I can use combine song to have dragonfire inspiration and inspire courage work at the same time
    Bard song lasts 5 rounds after you stop singing, 10 if you have Lingering Song feat. It takes two rounds, but you can have both up. (If you grab Song of the White Raven and forego using Inspirational Boost, you can start both on the same round.)
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    Default Re: [3.5] Bard help

    Quote Originally Posted by Greenish View Post
    Bard song lasts 5 rounds after you stop singing, 10 if you have Lingering Song feat. It takes two rounds, but you can have both up. (If you grab Song of the White Raven and forego using Inspirational Boost, you can start both on the same round.)
    I might just do that. Bard 8/virtuoso 1/war weaver 1/sublime chord 1/war weaver 4/virtuoso 5 it is.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Bard help

    For multi-singing, there's also Harmonize, a 2nd-level spell from Races of Stone that lets you start a song as a move action.

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