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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Aug 2017

    Default Graduating the Bard's College: A Post MToF Bard's Guide

    Well, my Barbarian guide turned out to be a hit, it seems. People comment on what they agree or disagree with, and I imagine at least one person found it useful. As such I thought to myself, why not bang out another one? This one on the first kind of character I ever played as, the Bard!

    Bards, in DnD 5e, are a bit of an odd class, but an effective one if well-played. While you may have heard Bards are the "Jack of all trades and masters of none", this is only half-true in 5e. Bards get healing, support, and buffing, but not much in the way of damage options. Martial options are a bit weak too. In other words, you do poor damage compared to everything else even with your versatility. You also use Spells Known and not Prepared Spells. The good news is, though, that Bards have a lot of good effect spells and can learn a good amount of them, and your subclasses specialize you without watering down your core spellcasting. Bards ARE jacks of all trades, but be prepared to make investments in your build to make them the best they can be.

    Overall, the pros and cons of going to the Bardic College.

    If you want to get creative with your powers
    If you're wanting to be a support character that's not another Cleric
    If you're looking to be a good party face/roleplayer (you're the flashiest party member, probably)

    If you're looking for raw numerical damage
    If you're looking to be a healer first and foremost
    If you're just wanting to kick back and relax for the afternoon by killing some Orcs in a traditional dungeon crawl

    Bards are excellent for roleplayers and support characters but you're not a Fighter and you're not a Wizard neither, Buster. Just keep that in mind and you'll do good.

    And now, color coding for the rest of the guide.
    Blue: This is very important to you, and is probably a central function of how a Bard operates.
    Green: A good option overall.
    Black: A pretty "baseline" option, might be situational or there might be something better but its not bad in all honesty.
    Red: A "bad" choice, although ultimately, it's your character.
    Last edited by Protato; 2018-08-23 at 10:26 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
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    Default Re: Graduating the Bard's College: A Post MToF Bard's Guide

    A Bard playing happily playing a lute.

    Bard Stats, Proficiencies, Equipment, Party Roles, and Class Features

    Your ability scores are what you're good at, and what you want to be good at, is casting spells, or occasionally weapon wielding depending on build. I'm putting numbers after the analysis of each stat, taken from the Standard Array (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8), meant to represent roughly what you want to have. Of course, the numbers listed are 1.Fairly low (to me) and 2.A guideline. You may roll numbers (which I tend to do at my tables), use a higher array (I tend to give my players 18 16 14 12 10 8 but that's pretty high for most tables) or use point buy but either way these scores are roughly where you'd want your numbers to go.

    Strength: Depends on if you multiclass. Even if you, Charisma will probably still be more important. If not, itís worth dumping. Iíd put 8 here.
    Dexterity: A good primary (for some builds) or secondary (for most builds) stat. 14 goes here.
    Constitution: Good on everyone, you more than most casters if you use a melee build. 12 here.
    Intelligence: You went to charm school, not UNT. Put a 10 in here.
    Wisdom: Not worth dumping but not essential. A good candidate for 13.
    Charisma: Very fitting for you, and works real well for you, being a casting score. Iíd put 15 here.

    1d8 Hit Die: Completely average for 5e. Not bad, but youíre not facetanking.

    Dexterity and Charisma Saves: Dexterity is good because of how common it is, even if itís just used for damage. Charisma is usually banishment, rare but good to have on the rare occasions it happens.

    Armor: Light Armorís not a bad pick since youíre likely to get good Dexterity for it. Melee subclasses get you Medium anyhow, but you donít get shields. Consider getting Shields if youíre not a dual wielder.

    Weapons: Simple (Alright, especially daggers and staves plus the ranged options arenít too bad), Hand Crossbows (good and very flavorful), Longsword (not too good on you probably but lets you use Sun Swords), Rapiers (a solid pick for most Bards), and Shortswords (best if dual wielded).

    Tools: Three musical instruments. These are fluffy and might just come in useful.

    Skills: ANY of them, pick three, plus race, plus background. I think a good way to get skills (since you get five regardless of race or subclass) would be: Lore skill (like Arcana, History, or Religion), Physical skill (Athletics or probably Acrobatics), Social skill (Deception, Persuasion, Intimidation, Performance), Investigative skill (Perception or Investigation, Perception being a bit more common), and something else. Stealth is a good pick. Ultimately, pick what you feel works well for your character or compliments your party.

    Basic Equipment
    Bards will generally want Light or Medium armor. If you go Light, take Studded Leather ASAP. If Medium, Iíd go Breastplate because chances are youíll have decent Dexterity for Stealth, and Half-Plate gives you disadvantage on Stealth. For weapons, Rapiers are a good bet, or two Shortswords/Scimitars (Rapiers if youíve got the Dual Wielder feat), and taking a Shortbow with you might be good as well. If youíre a Valor bard, taking a Longbow instead might is a good pick.

    Class Features
    Spellcasting: Youíre a good spellcaster, with a decent amount of spells known and a couple of Cantrips. You can swap spells as you level too, and might able to before then if your DM is generous. Youíre definitely a full-caster with level nine spells and all. You also get Ritual Casting like the Wizard, which is a plus.

    Bardic Inspiration: Give allies a boost on skills, saves, or attacks! Uses a bonus action rather than a full one, and cements you as a versatile support unit. It scales, too, even though the original ability was plenty good.

    Jack of All Trades: Youíre not ever going to be AWFUL at skills as long as you didnít completely dump a stat. Even then, your proficiency will improve and make this feature scale just fine as you level up. Plus, you have a slight bonus to initiative and to Counterspelling.

    Song of Rest: This makes you a healer on a Short Rest, making your hit dice last longer between long rests. Also scales.

    Expertise: You get this and your subclass at third level. You get extra-good at two skills, and then two more at tenth level! This feature is also what a Rogue gets and makes you just as a good a skill monkey, along with Jack of All Trades.

    Ability Score Improvement: Standard amount.

    Font of Inspiration: Martials get an extra attack, you get Level Three spell slots and the ability to recover your main resource on a short rest.

    Countercharm: And now, a situational power. Still, giving an ally advantage is good, even if its situational.

    Magical Secrets: Cherry-pick spells from ANY class. Even if they take spells know, thatís a really good power.

    Superior Inspiration: This would be a lot better if you regained more than one use. Unless your DM says you can get all of them back, or roll for them, or otherwise get more than one, Iíd use your excuse of a capstone as an excuse to multiclass.

    Magic Items

    A note on Magic Items from people coming from other editions: 5e doesn't have the "magic mart" as an assumed mechanic anymore. Not to say no one's used it but its not the way the game is "meant to be played" as it were. Even so, I felt making a list of magic items that could help Bards out might be prudent. Also worth noting, every character only has three attunement slots.

    + Weapons: They go from +1 (Uncommon) to +3 (Very Rare). Not a lot to write home about, but this is good on any character that might use an attack.

    + Armor and Shields: Go from +1 (Rare) to +3 (Legendary). If you find one Iíd give it to your frontline martial but if youíre in that role or they donít need the armor, itís pretty good on you.

    Sun Sword: A really good weapon, probably the best weapon for most Bards. Does Radiant damage to undead and counts as a +2 weapon, too.

    Circlet of Blasting/Wand of Magic Missiles: You lack blasting, and these items give you more.

    Instruments of the Bard: ALL of these are good! You can fly, turn invisible, and on top of that, you get more spells depending on the specific Instrument. They run from Uncommon to Legendary. Oh, and if you find one, youíre the only one in the party that can use it, so no competition.

    Party Role

    I'll divide the roles into Heavy Hitter (single-target damage), Meat Shield (taking hits), Utility (doing things out of combat to help explore or solve puzzles), Skill Monkey (using skills) Minionmancy (summoning allies), Face (being good at social encounters), Healing (recovering from damage and status effects), Nuking (multi-target damage), Control and Debuffs (being able to disable enemies before they die/go down), and Buffing (giving a temporary increase to a character)

    Heavy Hitter: Youíre not good a damage dealer but you can be better with multiclassing, spell selection, and subclasses. You could range from ďpretty goodĒ to ďmeh at bestĒ.

    Meat Shield: Your HP is average. You get only Light (or Medium) armor and no shields. Youíre not so good at this, in other words.

    Utility: You have a good number of spells for this, like Mage Hand and Identify, plus your skill money tendencies help out too.

    Skill Monkey: You have a lot of skills, and Expertise lets you be really good at them.

    Minionmancy: You get Unseen Servant (more Utility but worth mentioning), Geas, Animate Objects, and Awaken. Youíre not a Conjuration Wizard or Shepherd Druid but you have some options here.

    Face: You have access to all skills and good Charisma, so a social or two might be a good choice. Plus, Bards encourage roleplaying and being a little flashy, so itís a natural role to fill.

    Healing: You get the Restoration spells, along with Cure Wounds and Healing Word. Youíre a good healer in a pinch in a fight (especially with Mass Cure Wounds unlocked later on) but most of your healing is from Song of Rest. Still, your healing is probably good enough for most parties. You also get Raise Dead

    Nuking: You get only a few damage spells of note. Other than the fifth level Xanatharís spell Synaptic Static has pretty good damage.

    Control and Debuffs: You get a bunch of these! Calm Emotion, Geas, Fear, Hypnotic Pattern, Polymorph against enemies, Sleep, Hideous Laughter, See Invisibility, and more! You also get an alternate Bardic Inspiration use with a few subclasses that gives effects.

    Buffing: You get a good amount of this. Faerie Fire (also a good debuff), Polymorph on party members, and Truesight (among others) are all pretty good buffs. You also get your Bardic Inspiration of course.

    Bard Tactics

    While it depends on build a bit, youíre probably going to be a support character, or relying on self-buffing if you decide to be a melee fighter. Buff, debuff, and avoid taking hits. Youíre not sturdy enough to take them, even if you focus on melee, with your health. AC is more important for you instead. Outside of fights, go to town with utility and rituals. Also, flirt with everything. I feel like I don't emphasize it much in the guide as that's a very roleplay heavy thing rather than something easy to list in a guide but I feel its important to a Bard's identity. Seduce things as much as possible. You WILL regret it, but that's the fun in doing so, isn't it.
    Last edited by Protato; 2018-08-04 at 11:07 PM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
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    Default Re: Graduating the Bard's College: A Post MToF Bard's Guide


    A Tiefling Bard strikes a pose.

    Races, with PHB and supplements.

    Your choice of race is very important to both your numbers and potentially RP experience. Please note that races that begin with flight are not allowed in Adventurer's League, and may not be allowed by your DM.

    Dragonborn: Charisma is good. Strength is less good. Resistance is good. The elemental breath isnít all that.

    Dwarf: Constitution and ribbons are good! And you get subraces! But none offer bonuses your main stats. Hill Dwarves are a good bet due to their Wisdom and HP increases but Mountainís Strength and Armor Proficiency probably wonít be good on you, due to having low scores and getting Medium Armor by default when selecting a melee subclass. Duergar get some decent self-buffs and a bit of Strength in return for disadvantage on attacks when the sun is out. Iíd pass, even in campaigns where sunlight isnít a problem unless you're a Strength build. Mark of Warding subrace from Wayfinder's gets Dexterity (alright!) and Intelligence (okay I guess?), and you're better at locking things up. Not the worst pick but wouldn't be my first.

    Elf: Elves get dexterity (a good score for Bards), useful ribbons, and a lot of subraces. High Elves get Intelligence (not so good) and a Cantrip (good). Wood Elves get Wisdom, improved ability to hide in nature, and a faster movement than other races. Drow get Charisma and a few spells, but Sunlight Sensitivity offsets it pretty bad. If you can get away from Sunlight Sensitivity or play in a setting where it doesn't matter, Drow are a pretty good pick on a Melee bard, especially one with a dark aesthetic. Mark of Shadows from Wayfinder's has Charisma, Performance or an instrument, buff to Performance and Stealth, a mini Cunning Action that can be used to hide, and a useful utility cantrip. Overall, not a bad choice on a bard at all.

    MToF Elf Subraces: Mordenkainenís Tome of Foes offers a LOT of Elf subraces. Eladrin have a teleport and get +1 Charisma which is really good, and they get a few sub-subraces. Spring lets you teleport an ally, which is good on a support character. Summer lets you deal a little extra damage after teleporting into battle, which is nice to have on a melee-focused Bard. Autumn gets a Charm on all creatures (best in either social games where Charm is more likely to be useful, or on a Glamour Bard for their focus on charming things), and Winter gets a Fear effect, both triggered via teleporting. [B]Winter's Fear effect could be good on melee characters. Iíd pick Summer or Spring for most characters, including yours. Sea Elves get Constitution, water breathing and swimming, talking to underwater animals, and ribbons, not a bad pick for a Bard. Shadar-Kai get Constitution, a resistance to a common damage, a teleport, AND resistance to ALL damage for one round after teleporting. Iím still amazed this is in an official book. Shadar-Kai are like Drow in that theyíre both edgy and good for melee Bards.

    Gnome: 2 Intelligence isnít very good on Bards. Advantage on mental score saving throws arenít too bad. Forest Gnomes get Dexterity, Minor Illusion, and minor speaking to animals. Rock Gnomes have Constitution, investigating machines, and the ability to manufacture simple toys and gadgets. Deep Gnomes have a racial feat that gives some cool spells and advantage on hiding in rocky areas, and better Darkvision than regular, along with a bit of Dexterity. Theyíre probably the best bet but I wouldnít use Gnomes on a Bard.

    Half-Elf: 2 Charisma is really good on you, and the other +1s are super good! You canít be put to sleep or charmed. Also, bonus two skills! Other than two skills you can get a Cantrip, Perception, Mask of the Wild from Wood Elf, 30ft. swim speed, 35ft. movement, Elf Weapon Training, or Drow Magic. Overall, this is one of the best races for you. Mark of Detection and Mark of Storm's are from Wayfinder's, but how to they stack up to earlier options on Bard builds? Detection has Charisma (your best score) and Intelligence (not awful on you?), and a score of your choice goes up by +1 (the best kind of stat boost). You're better at investigating things, and have some spells to detect things to cast as rituals. Not half bad. Storm meanwhile gets Charisma and Dexterity, and another score. You also get a swim speed, better at maintaining waterborne vehicles, lightning resistance, and some spells. Overall its a good pick even outside of aquatic/pirate games.

    Halfling: Dexterity isnít bad, neither is a mini-Luck or advantage on being Frightened. You can move through Medium or bigger creatures (i.e, most) as well. Oh, and thereís subraces. Lightfoot has Charisma and the ability to hide behind someone, Stout gets resistance to both poison status and damage, and Ghostwise get telepathy and Wisdom. Lightfoot is probably the best for a Bard. Mark of Healing and Mark of Hospitality are from Wayfinder's. Healing has Wisdom (okay enough), along with medicine and healing. I'd not take it unless you have 16 in Charisma to start with but this makes for a pretty okay healer, as you might guess from the name. Hospitality has Charisma, just what you need, the Friends and Prestidigitation cantrips, and you're better socially. A bit of an odd choice but you keep your friends happy and other people entertained wherever you go and the Charisma means you won't falter in a fight.

    Half-Orc: The de-facto ďwarriorĒ race, its Strength, Charisma, and other bonuses arenít too good on you even though a Fighter, Barbarian, or Paladin would love it. You get Intimidation, Relentless Not-Rage, and Not-Brutal Critical. Oh, and Darkvision. Iíd skip it in spite of the nice melee if you're a Dexterity build but if you're a Strength melee bard build, sure. Mark of Finding from Wayfinder's gives Strength and Wisdom instead, not your best scores. You're also better at tracking things but ultimately I'd not pick it on most builds.

    Human: +1 to everything isnít too bad, but youíre not likely to be very MAD, only really needing two stats for most builds and even Strength builds might be better off with higher Strength rather than a bit of everything. Variant Humans get +1 to two scores of your choice, a skill, and a Feat. In other words, good for a lot of builds. Wayfinder's Guide has variants that replaces your main human features. Mark of Finding gives Dexterity and Wisdom, off to an okay start, and lets you be Doctor Doolittle. I'd go with Druid if you want this but its not awful in any case, so you're not totally awful if your heart's set on it. Mark of Making has Dexterity and Intelligence, and you can further boost either one. Your scores might not be best but you can basically bless armor like a Forge Cleric, and learn a new cantrip and swap it on a long rest. Mark of Passage has +2 Dexterity and +1 to literally any other score, a solid start. Faster walking, ignorning difficult terrain when dashing, and a teleport are all good and this race is begging for a few levels in Rogue. Mark of Sentinel gets Strength and Wisdom, which is okay enough on Strength builds. Their most notable feature lets them mark an ally and from there be better at keeping them safe. Also, the Shield spell and Blade Ward cantrip and Perception to find threats. I'd say not an awful pick but probably not as generally good as other options.

    Tiefling: Intelligence isnít so hot. Charisma, though, is. You resist Fire and get Thaumaturgy, Hellish Rebuke, and Darkness, all of them are pretty good on you. Sword Coast Adventure Guide gets Tiefling variants. Feral gets you Intelligence and Dexterity, Devilís Tongue gets Vicious Mockery (see in the Cantrip review section), Charm Person, and Enthrall instead of the base spells, Hellfire gets Burning Hands instead of Hellish Rebuke, and Winged gets you, well, wings. None of these are too shabby.

    MToF Tiefling Subraces: Like Elves, Tieflings have a lot of subrace options. Mordenkainenís Tome of Foes introduces a bunch more. Baalzebul get Ray of Sickness and Crown of Madness. Dispater gets Charisma +2 and Dexterity +1 (just what we need!), Disguise Self, and Detect Thoughts. This is especially good on Whisper Bards. Fierna gets Wisdom, Friends, Charm Person, and Suggestion, with Suggestion being the only really good pick in my eyes. Glasiya has Dexterity (again), Minor Illusion, Disguise Self, and Invisibility, not a bad pick on most Bards. Levistus gets Constitution, Ray of Frost, Armor of Agathys, and Darkness. Armor of Agathys works best with Warlock but its not bad, and Ray of Frost is a decent damage Cantrip with a rider, and Bard damage is in fairly short supply. Mammon still has Intelligence, and gets Mage Hand, Tenserís Floating Disc, and Arcane Lock, good for carrying things off and locking them up, as is fitting. Mephistophles still has Intelligence, and you know Mage Hand, Burning Hands, and Flame Blade. Zariel has Strength, Thaumaturgy, Searing Smite, and Branding Smite. Theyíre all pretty good, in the end, due to the Charisma increase, even if some picks are better than others.

    Elemental Evil Player's Companion Races/Tortle Package/Mordenkainen's Tome of Toes

    These three supplemental books are unrelated, but since EEPC, Tortle Package, and Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes offer so few options (MToF offers a lot of subraces but only one new race), why not combine them here? Aarakocra and Genasi are from EEPC, Gith is from Mordenkainen's, and Tortle is from Tortle Package.

    Aarakocra: Dexterity is nice, Wisdom less so. Flight speed of 50ft. at first level is really nice though, and the claw attack is a nice boost. Not a bad choice for weapon Bards.

    Genasi: Constitution is good on anyone, and you have subraces, each with lots of flavor. Air Genasi get Dexterity and Levitation spell, plus holding your breath. This isnít a bad pick. Earthís Strength isnít likely to be very good on you, and while Pass Without Trace and walking over uneven terrain is good, I donít think it offsets the Strength bonus. Fire gets Intelligence (not good on you) and the spells, Darkvision, and Fire Resistance is easy to get elsewhere. Waterís Wisdom isnít awful but it doesnít bump a major number. The spells are mostly ribbons, and water breathing and swimming can be gotten from other places. Acid resistance is nice, though.

    Gith: Intelligence and subraces. Githyanki get Strength (not too good for you), language or a skill/tool isnít bad for a skill monkey, but the real draw is the spells. Invisible Mage Hand, Jump, and Misty Step arenít bad. Is it enough to offset levelling a dump stat? Not in my book. Are Githzerai better? They get Wisdom, advantage on Charm and Fright, and some more spells. Invisible Mage Hand, Shield, and Detect Thoughts are the spells you get. Still not very good on you, in all honesty but it doesnít raise a dump stat.

    Tortle: Static 17 AC is anywhere from ďgood, Iím not focusing on Dexterity or armorĒ to ďmy Dexterity matches it and I have other benefitsĒ. On the other hand, Shell Defense. Strength and Wisdom are a bit bad on Bards. Claws arenít super strong but an improved unarmed is an improved unarmed. You also get Survival. Iíd pass on this race but the AC is nice enough. If you have a good Charisma and donít care about Dexterity this isnít too bad a choice.

    Plane Shift Races

    Aether-Born: Charisma and stats of your choice is a healthy start. Intimidation is nice, and necrotic resistance is pretty good. As for the Gift, I'd ask your GM more on that and its something for you to decide on.

    Aven: +2 Dexterity and flight speed (but only in light armor). Iblis gets Intelligence, not the absolute worst thing and you're better at skills. Hawks get Wisdom and Perception, plus better ranged attacks with weapons. Overall, this race is probably best on Lore/Glamour builds, but Hawk might be a nice fit for Longbow Valor builds in light armor. Since you don't get Charisma, I'd bump it ASAP or pick this race if you otherwise start with +3 or more in Charisma. There's a variant with 2 Dexterity and 2 Wisdom and it gets the Hawk features, and so receives the same rating.

    Dwarf: Constitution is nice, Wisdom is alright. Basically similar to your base Dwarf.

    Elf (Kaladesh): Dexterity good, Wisdom okay, otherwise similar to main game's Elf. Bishtahar and Tirahar get better walking speed/nature hiding, Vadahar gets a Druid cantrip.

    Elf (Vendikar): Wisdom is okay. Tajuru is like a mini-Half-Elf, with some skills/tools and a point of Charisma. Joraga can hide in nature like Bishtahar/Tirahar/Wood Elf, is a bit faster, and gets both a few decent weapons and a point of Dexterity. Mul Daya has Strength, Chilltouch, Hex, weapons, better darkvision, and Sunlight Sensitivity. I'd go with Tajutu or maybe Joraga, but Mul Daya is a little short due to both Sunlight Sensitivity and MADness in its spellcasting.

    Goblin: Defined mostly by subraces. Almost all of them get +2 Constitution, along with an AC boost and some damage resistance. Ixalan doesn't though, it gets a climb speed and some Dexterity. Grotag has Animal Handling, Lavastep can hide in rocky terrain at advantage, and TukYuk has Thieves' Tools proficiency. None of these are bad but just bear in mind that none bump Charisma.

    Human: Gavony is standard. Kessig's auto-Disengage is good, as is its dashing, skill proficiency, and walking speed. Bumping Dexterity and Wisdom and not Dexterity and Charisma holds it back a bit though. Nephalia gets a variety of skills, Intelligence, and Charisma, good on Lore builds. Stensia is good on Strength builds but I'd otherwise pass. The same can be said about Keldon.

    Khenra: Strength is anywhere from good to bad, usually bad on non-two handed weapon Valor Bard builds, but Dexterity is good on anyone. Twins seems useful and cool, and the walking speed is too.

    Kor: Lucky is a good trait, and Dexterity and Wisdom are pretty alright. Climbing and not being Frightened are both bound to be useful too, but once more, no Charisma here.

    Minotaur: Strength and Constitution race. Much like a Half-Orc, they're not all that great outside of Strength builds. If you do have one though, then better critical hits, horns, Intimidation, and more survivability are all good traits.

    Merfolk: Charisma and water mobility are nice. Blue has more Intelligence, History and Nature, and a Wizard cantrip. Cosi has Intelligence and also Charisma, plus a Bard cantrip, along with Stealth and Sleight of Hand. Emeria has Deception, Wisdom, and a Druid cantrip. Green is like Emeria but has the Mask of the Wild trait that several other subraces get. Ula has Survival, Navigation Tools, Intelligence, and a Wizard cantrip. Cosi is the clear winner for Bards if you ask me.

    Naga: Constitution is nice but Intelligence isn't as nice. Poisonous bites, speed boosts, and not taking poison are all okay.

    Orc: Literally the PHB Half-Orc. Strength builds good, otherwise pass.

    Siren: Charisma and flight speed married together, along with the Friends cantrip. Probably your best flying race if the DM permits it.

    Vampire: Drain life, gain a minion from it, Necrotic resistance, subraces. Zendikar has Intelligence and Charisma, not too bad. Ixalan has a feat that lets them fly around as a black cloud, become stronger after draining blood, and they get both Charisma and Wisdom. I'd go Ixalan.

    Vedalken: Magic saves are good. Aether Lore is honestly quite situational though, and the stats aren't that good on Bards.

    Volo's Guide to Monster's Races

    Aasimar: Charimsa, two resistances, Darkvision, healing, ribbons, and subraces? This is really nice for you. All the subraces are good, and Iíd go Scourge Aasimar. You make a good melee Bard with the aura effect.

    Bugbear: Dexterity isnít bad even if you only have a +1 bonus, but Strength isnít very good. Reach, Stealth, and Surprise Hit are very good, but the Strength is wasted for most builds.

    Firbolg: Wisdom and Strength arenít that essential. Magic is nice, Hidden Step is nice, and the ability to talk to animals for free is a good ribbon. The stats and fluff arenít that good for you though.

    Goblin: Dexterity is a good secondary stat and Constitution is a good tertiary. Mini Cunning Action and Fury of the Small are good on you. This could be a good race for a weapon-using Bard.

    Goliath: Strength, Constitution, Athletics, and the ability to lower damage. Good on a Strength Bard, but not on most Bards. If you are, however, lowering damage makes this an attractive pick.

    Hobgoblin: Constitution is nice but not vital and Intelligence is worth dumping. Saving Face is good on a skill monkey, but not good enough to justify the rest. The weapons can be gained elsewhere.

    Kenku: Their speech is weird, so Iíd ask your DM about how that works. Otherwise, Dexterity is good but Wisdom isnít that important on you, although the ability to forge documents and gain skills are flavorful.

    Kobold: Your Strength is lowered but your Dexterity goes up. Sinlight Sensitivity is bad, Pack Tactics is nice, and Grovel isnít that good on you because of your low hit die and requiring you to be close to enemies. For melee Bards, this still isnít very good.

    Orc: Strength, Constitution, lower Intelligence, Intimidation, and a bonus action that lets you move closer to an enemy. I think it's kind of meh, even on Strength builds.

    Lizardfolk: Constitution is good on anyone, but Wisdom isnít well-suited to you. You get a bite attack but it doesnít use Dexterity, although the Natural Armor is nice. You get Hungry Jaws which restores a bit of HP and Cunning Artisan, helpful to manufacture items. I wouldnít pick this race on a Bard personally but itís not awful at all.

    Tabaxi: This is a really good choice on a melee or bow Bard with the +2 to Dexterity and +1 Charisma. Free Dash, climb speed, Perception and Stealth are both good, and an improved Unarmed Attack. Probably one of the better races.

    Triton: Strength and Constitution arenít super important but Charisma is. You get a few spells (Wall of Water being the standout), talking to aquatic creatures, resistance to cold and immunity to crush-depth. You can breathe underwater and swim too. Not too bad but some of the benefits depend on being around water and I'd just go Sea Elf usually.

    Yuan-Ti Pureblood: Charisma is good, Intelligence is not. Poison Spray is alright, Animal Friendship is okay but the limitation on snakes isnít so good, and the magic and poison resistance is VERY good. Overall? Some things go to waste, but not many. This is a good choice for a Bard.

    Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron Races

    Changeling: Charisma and Dexterity? Sign me up! But wait, there's also skill/tool proficiency and the ability to impose disadvantage, and the ability to shapeshift! This is excellent for you all-around.

    Kalashtar: Charisma is a good start. Wisdom is nice to have, and the ability to pump any other stat by +1 is really nice. Advantage on Wisdom saves, damage resistance to Psychic (even if its a rare type, that's still useful), telepathy, and advantage on a skill of your choice all make this a good pick on a Bard.

    Shifter: Dexterity and perception isn't a bad start. You get a subraces and a shapeshifting super mode though. Beasthide has Constitution and AC boost, and some temporary HP, good on most anyone and pretty nice on melee Bard builds. Longtoothgets Strength (only really good on Valour builds that use Strength weapons), Intimidate, and an unarmed attack. Not recommended outside of Strength builds but can be good on one. Swiftstride has both Dexterity and Charisma, good on many Bard builds, and the +2 Dexterity from race and subrace make it a natural pick on most weapon builds, with the exception of polearm/great weapon builds. Your improved walking speed is a welcome boon, you get an even better speed from Shifting, and Acrobatics on top is gravy. Finally, Wildhunt has Wisdom and tracking-related features. Not the best pick on you but if you like the flavor a lot, figure it might come in handy, or you start with good stats, then this is a nice pick.

    Warforged: Constitution! Be a sentry that doesn't need as much sleep! Be a robot, with all the benefits that carries! Oh, and did I mention your AC will be FANTASTIC? And there's subraces too. Envoy has a tool built into you and expertise to go with it. You also get a skill, a language, and probably the best bit, a +1 in any two scores. Juggernaut is excellent on Strength builds but not all that hot outside of them. Meanwhile, Skirmisher gets a stealth buff, +2 Dexterity, and improved walking speed.

    Unearthed Arcana and Other Races

    Ask your DM if you can use these races. None of these are avaliable in Adventure's League organized play unless stated otherwise, and your DM may not allow them to be used.

    Centaur: Fast, can be used as a mount, and has an unarmed weapon! But, Strength and Wisdom. Still, the other traits are VERY good.

    Dungeon Master's Guide Aasimar: Wisdom isn't your best but Charisma is good. Resistance and spells are nice to have, and so are your spells.

    UA Elf Subraces and Dungeon Master's Guide Eladrin: Avariel are Elves with flight speed. No Charisma, sadly, so again, I'd ask the DM about starting with a 16 Charisma or something, but if you really want to be an elf with flight, this race has you covered. Eladrin get weapons, Intelligence, and teleportation. MToF Eladrin are better on most Bards.

    Grung: Dexterity is usually good, Constitution is okay enough I suppose. Climbing, amphibious breathing, jumping, poison...not too bad. But, you need to be in water, and don't get charisma.

    Minotaur: A dashing attack, natural weapons, and Strength or Constitution. Not the best. 2015 UA had a similar Minotaur but with less Strength and more customization for your stats, and the horns are stronger.

    Revenant: Game dependent. Constitution isn't too bad.

    UA Tiefling Subraces: For Abyssal, Charisma and Constitution are both good. Your random spells are all pretty good too.

    Warforged: Strength and Constitution. The AC and other benefits are not too bad though.
    Last edited by Protato; 2018-09-01 at 01:34 AM.

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    Default Re: Graduating the Bard's College: A Post MToF Bard's Guide

    Bard Spells

    A Bard enchantress, strumming her harp to weave a spell.

    You have a lot of situational spells, but you also have a lot of spells that would be good in almost any party or any game. Also, don't be afraid to swap spells out when you level up! Thinking Calm Emotions looks cool but turns out you never had a chance to use it? Swap it for another known spell. You can't do that to Cantrips, though.

    If a spell has uses Concentration or is a Ritual itíll be colored thusly.

    Spoiler: Bard Cantrips
    Blade Ward: Mini-Rage! But itís a full action. Still, with Healing Word, Bardic Inspiration, and your low hit die, this might be an okay pick if the DM gives you free extra Cantrip or something.

    Dancing Lights: Concentration. It Isnít very good in a fight, but outside of a fight this has a number of creative uses, especially the ability to turn the lights into a humanoid shape.

    Friends: Charm spell except at the end of being charmed, the target knows and probably isnít all that pleased with you. Use cautiously.

    Light: General purpose light spell, saves you from taking torches with you at the cost of eating a Cantrip slot.

    Mage Hand: A general-purpose telepathy spell. Not very strong telepathy, but itís all day every day and needs no Concentration.

    Mending: Situational but good to have when needed.

    Message: Telepathy spell used to communicate to people without anyone knowing. Situational, but in a socially-minded game this could be very useful.

    Minor Illusion: One of those spells that lets you be creative, but has no real numerical effect. Itís really good, but only if you make it. Just remember the limitations.

    Prestidigitation: Mostly used for flavor. Possibly, literally. Still, a flashy and silly spell like this with no cost could be quite fun.

    Thunderclap: Not the worst option on a melee Bard, but even then, itís pretty weak.

    Truestrike: Concentration. Gives advantageÖas an action. Youíre not likely to keep this up the whole dungeon waiting for a fight.

    Vicious Mockery: Cons of this spell include: Low damage, only effects one attack, puts you on the spot. Pros: Psychic isnít resisted much, itís still a really good rider, and allows you to call the Big Bad out for having a silly evil giant tower. Itís fun, and potentially useful. Plus, itís the only ranged Bard Cantrip there is at time of writing.

    Spoiler: Bard Level 1 Spells
    Animal Friendship: Seems too situational to Know versus prepare, especially without also having Speak to Animals or similar.

    Bane: Concentration. Not a bad debuff, but it doesnít scale well. Iíd consider it early on and swap it later.

    Charm Person: More of a social spell than a combat spell, it takes someone out of a fight but they arenít controlled by you, they just perceive you as friendly. If you're a Glamour Bard, this might be a good thing to keep around at lower levels.

    Comprehend Language: Ritual. Iíd let the Wizard use it as a Ritual, but for you? Competes with Spells Known too much.

    Cure Wounds: The classic healing spell. You need to be in melee range and it uses an action, and doesnít heal that much considering, but its good to use on rests if your hit dice are low.

    Detect Magic: Ritual. A Ritual thatís okay to know, although still better on the Wizard.

    Disguise Self: Good to have if youíre the Rogue replacement.

    Dissonant Whispers: Bards are the only ones that can learn this spell. It does okay damage, and does a mini-Fear effect if it hits. Saves are only half damage. Not a bad pick for a single target spell.

    Earth Tremor: Prone is good, and difficult terrain isnít too bad. But, the range is short and the terrain could impede your escape.

    Faerie Fire: Concentration. Grants allies advantage and can make invisible creatures visible by shedding light. Also, it creates pretty colors. This is a good buff overall, and is well worth keeping on your list for a long time.

    Feather Fall: On one hand, this isnít likely to be useful. On the other, if it is, it stops anything from ďa LOT of damageĒ to ďcertain deathĒ. Maybe think about the campaign youíre in before picking it. It can be used in urban games to escape a high place among other things.

    Healing Word: Bonus action for meh healing at range, a really nice in-combat healing spell to keep party members from dying.

    Heroism: Concentration. The temporary HP doesnít scale, and you only know so many spells. If you learn this, I'd swap it out.

    Identify: Ritual. Now this is a good ritual. Know if the Excalibur is the Excalipur, and or what that weird potion the witch gave to you is!

    Illusory Script: Ritual. A social/utility spell thatís best suited for political shenanigans and the like.

    Longstrider: Not a bad little buff! 10ft. of extra speed is nothing to sneeze at.

    Silent Image: Concentration. Can be used to create a humanoid figure, and you might be able to use Minor Illusion or even Message to talk to people. Or, create a monsterís image and get people to run scared. It depends on what the DM allows, and if the NPC can pass an Intelligence check.

    Sleep: Doesnít scale well, so Iíd ditch it after a few levels. Until then, itís incredible and lets you lock enemies down amazingly.

    Speak with Animals: Ritual. Itís a bit too situational to know.

    Tashaís Hideous Laughter: Concentration. While it gives the enemy a lot of chances to escape, Prone is a decent effect. The fact that the opponent keels over with laughter makes this a fun spell to use, too.

    Thunderwave: Itíd be a bit better if it didnít say ďeach creatureĒ and instead said ďeach creature you chooseĒ. As-is itís not too bad, but you need to watch out for friendly fire.

    Unseen Servant: Ritual. A flavorful little minion that could be useful for roleplay most of the time, and good for opening doors in dungeons. As with most Rituals, might not really be worth a Spell Known but it could be good if you get it from elsewhere.

    Spoiler: Bard Level 2 Spells
    Animal Messenger: Ritual. Carrier Pidgeon the Spell. You need a Tiny beast around, too. As with most Rituals, you can use it but you need to know it which isnít all that good. Still, could be a good not-telepathy early on.

    Blindness/Deafness: Two solid debuffs for the price of one known spell! Iíd consider it.

    Calm Emotions: Concentration. Useful to either get someone to sit still long enough to kill them, or can be used to get someone in a situation where theyíre willing to negotiate. The end of the spell basically says ďThe DM makes the target hostile, unless she says otherwiseĒ, which I would take to be ďtheyíre calmed down temporarily but if you can negotiate with them further while theyíre under the effect, theyíll stay calmĒ. Your DM might not rule it as such though.

    Cloud of Daggers: Concentration. An AoE with kind of low damage, and a very small area. Good for locking down a bottleneck and not much else.

    Crown of Madness: Concentration: If the enemy is near all its friends (when this might be useful), why not use Faerie Fire or get the Wizard to launch a Fireball instead? If the enemy is closer to you, then theyíre attacking you anyway! Iím not a fan of this.

    Detect Thoughts: Concentration. A great spell for social games, where learning whatís on Vizier Darkness van Bloodlustís mind might be helpful. Just know that they know their mind is being invaded and it might fail.

    Enhance Abilities: Concentration: You only get one buff per use, but theyíre all pretty good, mostly out of combat.

    Enthrall: Mostly a social spell, but if you can get it to work in combat (even with disadvantage) itíll take someone out of the fight while they gawk hopelessly at you.

    Heat Metal: Concentration. Okay damage that you can keep up with a bonus action, and you can make enemies drop their weapons with it. The DM might allow other uses, but many probably wonít. Either way, a good spell.

    Hold Person: Concentration. Paralysis is good and humanoids are fairly common, so even with the ability to keep saving I think this spell will come in handy.

    Invisibility: While the recipient canít attack or use spells, a Level 2 spell slot isnít that much for a solid buff like this.

    Knock: Iíd take Thievesí Tools instead.

    Lesser Restoration: On one hand, the opportunity cost is high, and its not like you can prepare it as needed. On the other, if you need it, you need it. Maybe use if you don't have a Cleric or Druid and plan to be doing the healing.

    Locate Animals or Plants: Ritual. This seems VERY specific. I wouldnít bother.

    Locate Object: Concentration. On the other hand, THIS spell is pretty nice. It helps you to find a McGuffin in a dungeon, and in a game I was in, helped accurately judge height of a pit we had to go down by throwing an object in and locating the object.

    Magic Mouth: Ritual. This spell seemsÖinteresting. I mean, giving a message to someone might be needed and this is certainly a way to do it, but a Clutch Cargo mouth coming out of the wall might be a bit much. It seems too fun to rate below Black, though.

    Phantasmal Force: Concentration. Can be useful to make someone seem like theyíre losing it, or to take heat off the party. It also does a bit of extra damage on your turn, not much but enough to be useful alongside the debuffing effect.

    Pyrotechnics: You donít have Create Bonfire so I wouldnít bother. If you got the spell or otherwise had easy ability to make fires, this could be a good debuff.

    See Invisibility: Its situational, but invisible enemies are tough to battle. Then again, you also have Faerie Fire, which grants advantage too. The Ethereal Plane bonus might be useful in some campaigns though.

    Shatter: A small AoE for an okay amount of damage. Iíd take it just to have a blasting spell.

    Silence: Ritual, Concentration. This spell can help a lot with stealth, and acts as a solid debuff for casters with verbal spells, but that includes you as well. Have a plan before using it.

    Skywrite: Too situational to know.

    Suggestion: Concentration. Now THIS is a Charm spell. Even if you canít get someone to do something obviously harmful, that gives you a lot of leeway in how to treat your new pal. It works for 8 hours as well, even if you have to concentrate for that time.

    Warding Wind: Concentration. Situational, with mostly ribbon effects, but the real treat is the ability to lock down archers, slingers, and the like. I still wouldnít take it though.

    Zone of Truth: Needs a save, the target knows theyíre in a Zone of Truth, and they can still use exact words, weasel words, and other ways of getting out of things. Still a good way to interrogate people but itís got quite a few limitations that make it not an auto-pick.

    Spoiler: Bard Level 3 Spells
    Bestow Curse: Concentration. Not a bad little spell! You can do 1d8 extra damage, lock enemies down, impose disadvantage, and more! Plus, you can talk to your DM for other curses, the rules say so. It's a touch spell, meaning you either need to be melee, or have a Familiar, if you want to use this spell.

    Catnap: You can take short rests anyway, right? If you usually canít this might be better.

    Clairvoyance: Concentration. Not too bad as a scouting spell, but you have to pick sight or hearing, not both. Still, this might be nice if youíre the scout of the group.

    Dispel Magic: The ultimate Concentration ender! Also, safely disable magic alarms, traps, fields, or other harmful effects. Not a bad pick.

    Enemies Abound: Concentration. Itíd be better if the effect didnít end as soon as it takes damage.

    Fear: While friendly fire is a concern, this is still a really good spell that can set up ambushes, chases, and otherwise lock down enemies. The radius does effect party members though, so Iíd use this if youíre a melee Bard because it can provoke attacks of opprotunity.

    Feign Death: Ritual. This seems WAY situational.

    Glyph of Warding: Magic trap spell. This seems situational but if you know youíre defending a place for a time you could use it and swap it later on a level.

    Hypnotic Pattern: Concentration. This potentially Charms a lot of targets from far away, and is a good pick for your ďbig spellĒ to use in combat. Iíd take this or Fear, with Hypnotic Pattern being used on not-melee builds.

    Leomundís Tiny Hut: Ritual. Really cramped, but it lasts the duration of a Long Rest and could be considered an ďadvanced tentĒ so to speak. Might be worth knowing in come campaigns.

    Major Illusion: Concentration. This is like Silent Image but with sound and smell. If you had Silent Image, replace it with this.

    Nondetection: This is situational.

    Plant Growth: Iíd take this only in a wilderness sort of game, otherwise the opportunity cost is pretty high for a situational spell.

    Sending: Situational, but telepathy to an unlimited distance isnít a bad tool to have. Just weigh it against other options.

    Speak with Dead: Situational, but can be a good spell when spelunking ancient tombs (and you probably will). Just weigh your options.

    Speak with Plants: Situational. Iíd maybe take it in a game in the wilderness.

    Stinking Cloud: Concentration. Other than fart jokes, this spell can lock down encounters. However, a lot of enemies are immune to poison. Still, could be a decent crowd control spell, I just wouldnít use it over Hypnotic Pattern.

    Tongues: Situational, especially when you can just learn more languages.

    Spoiler: Bard Level 4 Spells
    Charm Monster: Strictly better than Charm Person, except that it uses a fourth level slot.

    Compulsion: I wouldnít take this when you have the Fear spell available.

    Confusion: Concentration. Even if they fail the wisdom save, thereís a 20% chance the spell does nothing anyway.

    Dimension Door: Teleport yourself and allies up to 500ft.! This is really a good spell, and while the range might be excessive in combat, it can be used to get around in a fight in a pinch or to explore dungeons, or to just teleport over gaps or traps in your way.

    Freedom of Movement: A nice enough buff, but it might not be worth a fourth level slot unless youíre planning to get captured and need to escape.

    Greater Invisibility: Concentration. Invisibility but you can also attack while invisible.

    Hallucinatory Terrain: This could be handy for setting up a trap or ambush, but at the same time, youíre not an Illusion Wizard that can make the terrain real. If you have no Illusion Wizard in the party, itís worth considering.

    Locate Creature: A bit too situational to know, much like Locate Animals or Plants.

    Polymorph: Concentration. Now THIS is a good spell. Transform an enemy into a frog and throw him off a bridge, or turn your low-HP Wizard into a T-Rex! If youíre turning an enemy into something, youíll need a Wisdom check, but this spell saved the day SO many times.

    Spoiler: Bard Level 5 Spells
    Animate Objects: A pretty good minion spell. You can get ten objects as pets, they can be thrown as weapons, used as shields, or otherwise come in handy. Itís pretty good, and Iíd recommend it.

    Awaken: You can get big dumb animals as friends! It depends on what sort of creatures you can find, and Iíd say itís less good than Animate Objects, even if you could theoretically find a T-Rex or something. Regardless, it can be a good spell.

    Dominate Person: Concentration. This is like Charm Person but really good. Enslave someone! Make someone hit themselves! Make them hit their friends! They need to be humanoid but otherwise, this is a pretty good spell.

    Dream: I canít think of many uses for this.

    Geas: This is a pretty good spell to get a temporary ally. The only real problem is the minute-long casting time. Find the target and restrain him and you can control him, or else he risks a nasty headache.

    Greater Restoration: Strangely, it doesnít cover the things Lesser Restoration does. This spell recovers things like Petrified, basically everything that Lesser Restoration doesnít recover, or being dead. Itís something useful to know if youíre the Cleric-equivalent for your group.

    Hold Monster: Hold Person 2. Itís pretty good.

    Legend Lore: This is cool, but not all that mechanically useful. Also, your DM probably didnít prepare rhymes for their lore descriptions.

    Mass Cure Wounds: Now this is a good in-combat healing spell. It uses a full action but 3d8 + Charisma for 6 people (i.e the whole party, probably) is an average of 13-14 HP plus Charisma. Not a half bad little spell to know, even if you have a Cleric.

    Mislead: Concentration. A solid mix of invisibility, an illusion, and a familiar. Worth considering.

    Modify Memory: Concentration. Situational.

    Planar Binding: You need a certain type of creature to get this to work.

    Raise Dead: Even with the stat penalties that need time to recover from, itís a really good spell that brings people back to life, as youíd expect.

    Scrying: Concentration. Itís a pretty good spying spell.

    Seeming: This could be good to disguise an entire party! Itís pretty alright.

    Skill Empowerment: Concentration. This spellís pretty good to use on a skill monkey (which you are).

    Synapse Static: Suddenly, from out of nowhere comes a spell with a good range, a decent AoE radius, good damage, and a good debuff. Iíd pick this just to have a decent damage spell.

    Teleportation Circle: This depends on what your game is like, but if you have a base of operations or otherwise frequent a few locations, this is pretty good.

    Spoiler: Bard Level 6 Spells
    Eyebite: Concentration. Except for maybe Sleep (because of how low-level it is), other spells can replicate the effects with a lower slot.

    Find the Path: Concentration. I imagine this could be good if it were prepared. Youíre a Bard though, you learn spells and donít prepare them.

    Guards and Wards: Are you protecting a stronghold for an extended period? This could be good. Are you not? Then no.

    Mass Suggestion: Suggestion, on a LOT of people, for a day MINIMUM. This is incredible.

    Ottoís Irresistible Dance: Concentration. While it can be ended early, the effect is good and even if it does end early, it uses an action. Flavorful on a Bard too.

    Programmed Illusion: Itís an illusion. In other words, its as good as your imagination and your DMís tolerance for shenanigans.

    True Seeing: You can pull back the veil of this worldís reality for only 25GP! You get a bunch of benefits and might be able to mess up your DMís plans.

    Spoiler: Bard Level 7 Spells
    Etherealness: Move through walls and scout ahead for 8 whole hours. Plus, being a spirit world traveler is very flavorful.

    Forcecage: This locks people down HARD. Even if they try to use Etherealness, Plane Shift, Misty Step, or other means of getting out, they need a check. This is really good control.

    Mirage Arcane: Army approaching? Slow their advance with up a mile with difficult terrain! It lasts 10 hours and you also might be allowed to make pits, collapsed trees, and other items. Also, if one mile it too large, it doesnít NEED to be a mile. While youíre not an Illusion Wizard (for whom this is probably a game-breakingly good spell, or close to it), this is still a great tool to have.

    Mordenkainenís Magnificent Mansion: Very fluffy but not really worth knowing.

    Mordenkainenís Sword: Concentration. Bards lack damage spells, but this isnít really a good one.

    Project Image: Concentration. An illusion, you know the drill. The fact that you use it to pretend to be you for a day makes for some fun shenanigans though.

    Regenerate: Only targets one person but gives a good amount of healing and a small buffer. Iíd consider this if youíre trying to be a healer.

    Resurrection: Raise Dead but better. Costs 1000GP though.

    Symbol: A magic trap. Its like Glyph of Warding Part 2.

    Teleport: Teleport yourself or others MILES away!

    Spoiler: Bard Level 8 Spells
    Dominate Monster: Concentration. Dominate Person 2! Itís pretty good.

    Feeblemind: This can turn people into near-vegetables, in addition to a bit of damage. Morally iffy though, so your table might find its use controversial.

    Glibness: Never fail a social situation, Counterspell cast, magic dispelling, or telekinesis again.

    Mind Blank: Situational, but can be good depending on the BBEG.

    Power Word Stun: They get the chance to save and they need to have lower than 150 HP, but Stun is a good condition.

    Spoiler: Bard Level 9 Spells
    Foresight: This is an amazing buff! You canít be surprised, and get advantage on the most common types of rolls. It lasts 8 whole hours, to boot.

    Mass Polymorph: Concentration. Polymorph for 10 people! 10 T-Rex friends!

    Power Word Heal: Touch range, but still good. Get rid of conditions except death, and restore all HP the target has.

    Power Word Kill: If they have less than 100 HP, you can kill it easily enough, probably. Still, could come in handy in a protracted fight where youíre low on resources.

    Psychic Scream: Do a metal scream so hard it explodes heads. Good damage is hard to come by on bards, but youíve finally found some.

    True Polymorph: Concentration. Turn things into people! People into things! Turn a person into a strong monster! The world is your oyster, cupcake.

    Non-Bard spells

    While I wonít examine each and every spell in the game, Iíll mention some good spells and Cantrips that Bards can get with Magical Secrets, race, feats, or multiclassing. Iíll only tell you if a Wizard or Druid gets a spell if Sorcerers or Warlocks donít.

    Spoiler: Non-Bard Cantrips
    Fire Bolt: Pretty good damage and long range, but in a commonly resisted type. Sorcerers can get this.

    Ray of Frost: Alright, if commonly resisted, damage and okay range, and reduces enemy speed a bit. Sorcerer spell.

    Chill Touch: Common damage type but has two good riders. Theyíre situational but theyíre bound to come in handy. Sorcerers and Warlocks have this.

    Thorn Whip: A Druid spell (you might be a bit bad at Wisdom though) that synergizes well with War Magic, and might generally be useful for getting enemies you want to attack closer to you, or to prevent an enemy from escaping.

    Guidance: Concentration. Makes an ally a lot more likely to pass an ability score. In other words, really good. Druid and Cleric spell.

    Lightning Lure: See Thorn Whip, but Lightning and not Piercing damage, and comes from Sorcerer and Warlock, so this is probably a better pick for you.

    Produce Flame: Not a very good attack due to the short range, but could be a solid replacement for the Light spell, or a Wood Elf Magic feat Cantrip choice. Itís certainly adequate except its range, really. Druids are the only ones with this spell.

    Eldritch Blast: A really good damage spell that gives you pseudo-extra attacks. This spell is best gained by multiclassing into Warlock (the only character to learn this), as detailed below.

    Booming Blade: You canít use Extra Attack with this (until you get War Magic), itís a pretty good means of controlling enemies and dealing damage at once. Itís even better with reach weapons but you need Spell Sniper to work with it.. Sorcerers and Warlocks get this.

    Spoiler: Non-Bard Level 1 Spells
    Chromatic Orb: You need a 50GP diamond but otherwise, itís pretty good, being used to deal okay damage in most damage types. It can also scale. Can be gotten from Sorcerer.

    Entangle: Concentration. Comes from Druids. While many creatures do have Strength to resist being restrained, the difficult terrain happens either way.

    Find Familiar: Ritual. Scouting! Advantage! Scratch damage! Utility! Iíd get this with Ritual Caster, as Wizards are the only ones that know this spell.

    Grease: Only comes from the Wizard sadly, but covering 20ft. with difficult terrain and possibly causing people to fall prone is good, and your DM might also allow Grease to be flammable.

    Shield: +5 AC against attacks for a turn. Do I need to explain why itís good? Sorcerers get this, as do Hexblade Warlocks.

    Spoiler: Non-Bard Level 2 Spells
    Healing Spirit: Concentration. This is extremely good for in or out of combat healing. It only comes from Druid, however.

    Web: Concentration. Sorcerers can get this, and itís a good spell to control enemies. It can be used to damage enemies too.

    Misty Step: Enemies surround you? Not anymore! Sorcerers and Warlocks get this.

    Spiritual Weapon: While it's fairly weak, about as strong as a mundane weapon attack, the damage type is good and so's the range. If you're looking for a means to upgrade your damage, this is a decent option. From the Cleric only. It makes a good Lore Bard Secret, especially because they lack Psychic Blade from Whisper or the extra attacks/flourishes/combat inspiration from Valor and Swords.

    Enlarge/Reduce: Concentration. A good buff and a good debuff in one spell known. Sorcerers can learn this.

    Blur: Concentration. Other than needing Concentration, this spell is really good, just a straight accuracy debuff. Sorcerers can get it.

    Alter Self: Concentration. Sorcerers get this spell. You can get a social buff, a buff to melee, or the ability to go underwater, furthering your exploration.

    Scorching Ray: Okay damage, and the ability to choose targets is okay. Sorcerers get it, and I wouldnít use a Magical Secret to get it, but itís nice to get if you level up as a Sorcerer.

    Find Steed: Summon a horse to ride on, and it lasts until it does. Then, summon a new one. Paladin or Magical Secret only.

    Spoiler: Non-Bard Level 3 Spells
    Fireball: A classic, and slightly overpowered AoE damage spell. Sorcerers get this if you get to Level 5 in that class, and itís a good spell for Magical Secrets.

    Conjure Animals: Concentration. A good Level 6 Magical Secrets pick on Lore Bards because it gives you some pretty good (and reasonably early) minionmancy. Beasts are fairly weak enemies but even so, adding more turns to the turn order means you have heat taken off you and you can do more damage.

    Counterspell: The enemy tries to cast Fireball on you? Not anymore, he doesnít. If you level to 5 in Sorcerer or Warlock, you could pick this, otherwise it might be a good Magical Secret.

    Spiritual Guardians: Concentration. Does good damage in one of two flavors once you're close to the enemy. If you're not a melee build I wouldn't pick, but if you are? This is a really good pick.

    Erupting Earth: 3d12 damage isnít too bad, and it causes difficult terrain. Sorcerers learn this.

    Mass Healing Word: If youíre the main healer, this is a pretty good. Helps to get a bunch of people up after a Fireball knocks them down or something.

    Blink: Sorcerer spell. The ďmisprint of 5eĒ, a good buff to both movement, and your evasion. While it doesnít always work, a Concentration-free buff that does not one, but two useful things, makes this spell a worthy Magical Secret.
    Phantom Steed: Ritual. A good pick for Magical secrets, as its only on the Wizard list. Itís somewhat similar to Find Steed but serves more as a scouting spell than a combat one, as you have a faster mount with Flight, but it has Riding Horse and not Warhorse stats.

    Fly: Concentration. Lets you fly. Warlocks get this at Level 5, and its well worth getting. You can also give flight to others, which I feel is the biggest draw for your Magical Secret versus Phantom Steed.

    Melfís Minute Meteors: Concentration. Less damage at first versus Fireball, but can do more over time. Sorcerers get this.

    Spoiler: Non-Bard Level 4 Spells
    Conjure Woodland Beings: Concentration. Ranger and Druid spell, and might be worth a Magical Secret. You can maybe get away with summoning Pixies with Polymorph and Goodberry. If so, then this is strong. If not, itís not as good a pick.

    Vitriolic Sphere: A pretty good damage spell, like an acidic super-Fireball. Worth considering, but it takes a Magical Secret and a fourth level slot.

    Banishment: Concentration. Charisma saves are rare. This is a genuinely good save-or-suck, and can remove a monster from a fight for up to a minute, giving you time to regroup.

    Find Greater Steed: Find Steed but better.

    Spoiler: Non-Bard Level 5-9 Spells
    Destructive Wave: Paladin spell that does a good amount of damage and can knock people prone. Itís a good Magical Secret for a melee Bard damage spell.

    Holy Weapon: Concentration. Give this to your weapon users and stand back as they hit people. In addition to 2d8 Radiant damage, it gives the opportunity for an extra 4d8 Radiant plus blindness. In other words, this is a really good buff.

    Swift Quiver: Concentration. This is good on archery Valor Bards, and also could be a good buff if you have any Champion Fighters in the party, giving them more opportunities to get critical hits. In terms of raw damage, it's a bit worse than Holy Weapon, but Swift Quiver is from the core rulebooks and if your DM doesn't allow Xanathar's content this is a good ersatz pick in place of Holy Weapon. Also, more chances to hit rather than Holy Weapon's raw damage could be useful. It's ultimately a toss-up and while I'd pick Holy Weapon in general, Swift Quiver is a very good spell and shouldn't be underestimated.

    Telekinesis: Concentration. Throw people into inconvenient place, or throw objects into people! Simple idea, but allows for creativity and damage in one spell. Sorcerer spell (unlikely that youíll go that high though) and a good Magical Secret pick.

    Bigbyís Hand: Concentration. A magical hand that can attack, grab objects, grapple, or give cover. Another potential Secret pick. Otherwise, you can only get it from being a Wizard.

    Heal: The best way to get is to spend a Magical Secret on it. This spell may use a high level slot but it restores a bunch of health and restores people from status effects.

    Disintegrate: Save or take so much damage, they might as well be dead. Can also destroy magical energy barriers, but thatís just a ribbon.

    Bones of the Earth: Block passages, do damage, and control enemies.

    Sunbeam: Concentration. Good damage in a good type that gives disadvantage to undead. The DM might also rule it as being sunlight. Itís on the Sorcerer list but by the time youíd have gotten it, you should really be reading a Sorcerer guide.

    Reverse Gravity: Concentration. Send enemies into the air and if the grab something, itíll still make them better targets for archers. If they passed, you can concentrate on something else and just drop the enemies on the ground, probably killing them. Magical Secrets would be the best way to get this, without a doubt.

    Delayed Blast Fireball: Like Fireball but stronger.

    Wish: Cast ANY spell with a ninth level slot, no material cost, and have a host of other benefits (though your DM might make it a monkeyís paw).
    Last edited by Protato; 2018-08-22 at 06:05 PM.

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    Default Re: Graduating the Bard's College: A Post MToF Bard's Guide


    A very theatrical bard, practicing his acting chops.

    Actor: Your Charisma goes up, and you get even better at social skills. If youíve got odd Charisma, this is a really good spell to have.

    Athletics: Dexterity (or strength I guess) goes up and you can get up from prones easily, among other things.

    Alert: +5 to initiative and no surprise? Good on everyone.

    Charger: Not all that good for you.

    Crossbow Expert: If you like to use crossbows, pick this up.

    Defensive Duelist: This could be pretty good on a melee Bard.

    Dual Wielding: If youíre a Swords Bard that dual-wields, this is a nice boost to damage.

    Dungeon Delver: Youíre not a bad Rogue replacement. If youíre acting as one, this feat is worth considering.

    Durable: More self-healing is nice, but youíre not a tank and thereís opportunity cost here.

    Elemental Adept: Would be good on you if you actually had elemental spells.

    Grappler: Be a Barbarian or Fighter if you want to wrestle.

    Great Weapon Master: You donít use two-handed weapons, do you?

    Healer: Healer kits are cheap, and while this doesnít scale very well, it could be useful if youíre the healer-equivalent.

    Heavily Armored: If youíve not got Heavy Armor, this is okay, but Iíd pick it up via multiclassing if the DM allows it.

    Heavy Armor Master: You reduce a bit of damage. Not too bad, honestly, if youíve got Heavy Armor.

    Inspiring Leader: You have good Charisma, and youíre likely to be the party face. This is worth considering.

    Keen Mind: Gain Intelligence. Not all that good on you.

    Lightly Armored: You donít need this.

    Linguist: More languages are nice to have but is it worth a Feat?

    Lucky: Iíve heard to some DMs wonít allow it, as its so good on any build.

    Mage Slayer: Pretty good on a melee build Bard but otherwise I wouldnít.

    Magic Initiate: This feat allows you to grab a bunch of good spells! Iíd recommend either going Warlock or Sorcerer and getting at least one damage Cantrip.

    Martial Adept: Unless youíre a multiclass Battlemaster build, Iíd skip this.

    Medium Armor Master: Improve your AC. Obviously, its good on Medium Armor wearers.

    Mobile: Even if you focus on melee, your spells ensure youíve got plenty to do at range. An always-on mobility buff is good, but probably not worth it considering other chocies.

    Mounted Combat: This can be a good Feat (especially if you get a Cavalier multiclass). It goes well if you grab Find (Greater) Steed, too.

    Observant: An alright way to bump an odd Wisdom score, and it increases Perception by 5 to boot.

    Polearm Master: If youíre a melee Bard with a polearm (except spears) this is a good feat, like the other weapon feats.

    Resilient: This is extremely good! Iíd take Wisdom or Constitution, as theyíre common and can debilitate your character if you fail.

    Ritual Caster: Get a few useful extra powers, including a Familiar!

    Savage Attacker: Not all that good on you, even for a melee build.

    Shieldmaster: If youíre using a shield and melee weapon, this gives you more defense and a shove as well.

    Sentinel: Best if you can get whips or pole weapons but either way, this is a good feat for a melee Bard to have.

    Sharpshooter: This is pretty important on a lot of archery builds.

    Skilled: You might be playing the part of the skill monkey in your group. If you are, this featís worth considering.

    Skulker: Might be nice on a Rouge-ish build.

    Spell Sniper: A good alternative to Magic Initiate if all youíre looking for is the ability to get a decent ranged attack.

    Tavern Brawler: Not very good on you. Unarmed attacks arenít your forte, and the Strength or Constitution bonuses arenít too important on you, nor is grappling. Pass on this one.

    Tough: Not a bad way to shore up your pretty average HP but youíre still not a tank.

    War Caster: This is great, and pretty important to have on melee Bards. Advantage on Constitution saving throws to keep up a spell, and not needing to use somatic spell costs means its easier to cast in melee. In other words, this is worth picking up, possibly even as a Variant Human Feat or at Level 4.

    Racial Feats

    Barbed Hide: Tiefling is a great race for you, and this is a good feat for you to have. Bump a stat, get a proficiency, and do a little more damage. Itís a host benefits for one feat.

    Bountiful Luck: Give luck to allies. This is a REALLY good support skill.

    Critter Friend: Unless this is a wilderness game, Iíd skip this. Certainly doesnít make Gnomes a good pick.

    Dragonfear: Requires Dragonborn, which I donít find all that good. The stat increase can be gained elsewhere and the Fear spell is on your list.

    Dragonhide: The AC bonus could be gotten from Dragon Sorcerer but if you canít grab that, this is okay. Also, you get a little bit better unarmed damage.

    Dragon Wings: Gain a flight speed. Thatís pretty alright, even if the race isnít that good on you.

    Drow High Magic: You learn some pretty good spells, and picked a pretty alright race for you too.

    Dwarven Fortitude: Get better at taking/avoiding hits.

    Elven Accuracy: Bump one of four stats (two of which are really good on you), and get better odds to hit. Hitting enemies is good.

    Everybodyís Friend: Makes you better at social skills, and since you might be the partyís face anyway, this could be a really nice pick. Half-Elf is a good race for you too.

    Fade Away: Gnomes still arenít a great pick for you but the ability to turn invisible is nice.

    Fey Teleportation: Misty Step is a good spell, the stat boost is welcome, and a language is good to have.

    Flames of Phlegethos: If you have a fire spell from your race that you use a lot, this is a good feat to have around.

    Grudge-Bearer: Mini Favored Enemy isnít bad at all, but the stat boost isnít as good as other racial feats.

    Infernal Constitution: Several resistances to common damage, alright!

    Orcish Aggression: Aggressive from the Orc, except now on a Half-Orc. Not bad.

    Orchish Fury: Do more damage!

    Prodigy: A bunch of extra skills on a skill monkey is pretty good.

    Second Chance: Make enemies less likely to hit.

    Squat Nimbleness: If youíre a melee Bard this could be good, you move into or out of the fight faster and can escape grapples more easily.

    Svirniblin Magic: Good spells, but you have to go Gnome.

    Wondermaker: Flavorful, and some devices might be useful, but it probably isnít worth it.

    Wood Elf Magic: Druid Cantrip and two spells. Not a bad pick, you could grab a damage Cantrip and some alright utility.

    Unearthed Arcana Weapon Feats - UA is playtest material, so ask your DM if UA content is allowed at your table.

    Blade Mastery: Get better with your sword (probably a Rapier or some Shortswords) and also get a little boost to defense. If youíre a melee Bard and your DM lets you grab this feat, itís a good pick.

    Fell Handed: Good, but you need to get proficiency in two-handed weapons, and that generally means racial bonuses, multiclassing, or feats, but War Caster. I donít know if Iíd take it because of all the steps to get it, plus thereís Great Weapon Master, but if youíve come that far, you might as well I suppose.

    Flail Mastery: A bit of an odd weapon, but a cool one, and this Feat makes it a unique pick for a shield build.

    Spear Mastery: Reach, damage, and a charge to boot. Spears are cool, reach is cool, damage is cool. Good for a melee build.

    UA skill feats are pretty much the same. Iíd take any you focus on, but Acrobat or a Charisma skill would be good picks, as does Stealthy.
    Last edited by Protato; 2018-06-05 at 10:21 AM.

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    Default Re: Graduating the Bard's College: A Post MToF Bard's Guide

    Subclasses and Multiclassing

    A Valor Bard, kitted out with their weaponry, preparing to accept their employer's offer.

    College of Glamour: Xanatharís brings us a Bard archetype focusing on the flash and glamour of the Bard, this one has my favorite fluff and some good abilities to boot.
    Mantle of Inspiration: Maneuverability and temporary HP buff that scales! Not a bad start.
    Enthralling Performance: Charming may not be super-powerful, but it can be a decent effect. Unfortunately, it takes a full minute to work. An out of combat ribbon feature, albeit one with a LOT of flavor and that might come in handy a few times.
    Mantle of Majesty: Use Command, a pretty good spell that lets you make enemies put themselves in bad situations, as a bonus action for free and the only resource spent is Concentration. Itís a long rest feature though, thatís itís only real flaw but its not enough to make it a bad power by any means.
    Unbreakable Majesty: Lasts a full minute (i.e, pretty much a full fight), uses only a bonus action to impose an accuracy debuff and might even make them waste an action. It can be used once a rest, but this includes short rests.

    College of Lore: Not my favorite flavor, but undeniably effective. If you intend to focus on spellcasting or being a skill monkey, this is a good pick.
    Bonus Proficiencies: Get three extra skills, excellent for a skill monkey (which as a Bard, you are).
    Cutting Words: The first big draw of the subclass. Make enemies weaker, itís that simple.
    Additional Magic Secrets: The other big draw. Learn two spells up to level 3, from ANY class. This is obviously good.
    Peerless Skill: Be better at passing skill checks, and has good synergy well with your skills.

    College of Swords: If you want to go into melee, this is pretty good, and makes a good dual wielder build. From Xanatharís Guide.
    Bonus Proficiencies: You donít get Shields, but you do get Scimitars (alright) and Medium Armor (pretty good).
    Blade Flourish: The draw of this subclass. You spend a Bardic Inspiration die to get a few good self-buffs as listed below.
    Defensive Flourish: Extra damage AND armor. If you donít know what Floursh to use, this is a good pick.
    Slashing Flourish: Do a spinning attack! One that doesnít do much damage.
    Mobile Flourish: Damage, a shove, and mobility, all in one!
    Extra Attack: A chance for more damage. You only get one though.
    Masterís Flourish: Never not flourish ever again. This also frees up your inspiration dice to actually buff the party with them again.

    College of Whispers: Xanatharís gives us another subclass. Youíre creepy and manipulative. This subclass has a good damage ability at the start, and then features to help with social situations. As such, this is how Iíll be rating the subclass. Otherwise, this subclass will be pretty bad.
    Psychic Blade: Good, scalable damage of a good type one per round, with a common resource that refreshes on a short rest as of level 5. I can get behind this.
    Words of Terror: This seems REALLY situational even in social games. Theyíre only really afraid of you for an hour. Still, could be used to set up an assassination.
    Mantle of Whispers: Steal someoneís shadow and use their appearance to do get close to others for an hour. Thatís creepy, and potentially effective.
    Shadow Lore: Get someone to follow you into a secluded area for eight hours, then kill him, and steal his shadow. Pretty good and very flavorful feature in the right kind of game.

    College of Valor: The base game melee bard, and allows you to be a classic triclass Jack of all trades Bard.
    Bonus Proficiencies: Shields, Medium Armor, and all Martial Weapons.
    Combat Inspiration: Use Baric Inspiration to add to weapon damage, or give an ally an AC boost.
    Extra Attack: Another attack, enough said.
    Battle Magic: Cast a spell, make a sword swipe too. Basically doubles your actions.

    College of Satire (Unearthed Arcana): A good Rogue replacement, and one with flavor that encourages you to be silly, which is always good. Ask your DM before using.
    Bonus Proficiencies: Thievesí Tools, Sleight of Hand, and another skill. These are all solid.
    Tumbling Fool: You get to dash, disengage, climb, and avoid fall damage, all for no resource cost.
    Foolís Insight: Detect Thoughts (a solid spell in social games) but funnier. A pretty good ribbon.
    Foolís Luck: Even with the drawback (which further encourages silliness), this can be good in the right situations.

    College of Eloquence: Another Unearthed Arcana playtest class, so ask the DM for use, and know that it's not Adventure League legal. It's basically Bardic Inspiration as a whole subclass.
    Universal Speech: A univsersal translator that uses your Bardic Inspiration and gives advantages on Charisma, its situational but can be VERY good in the right kind of game.
    Soothing Words: Calm Emotions with a unique resource that nothing competes with, plus Universal Speech, equals very good negotiator. Also useful in combat if you find yourself in an unwinnable situation or the like.
    Undeniable Logic: Uses Bardic Inspiration. Fun and flavorful and can do a little bit of damage and a potentially very good debuff versus saves, or a heal and a buff towards saves for your allies. Not bad.
    Infectious Inspiration: Even MORE Bardic Inspiration shenanigans. Basically negates a waste of BI, AND allows you to buff another party member with a free use of it when BI goes off successfully.

    Multiclassing Tips

    Fighter: Battlemaster is a good pick for you. I would use it for weapon Bard builds mainly. A good trick is to start Fighter for the Constitution saving throws. Just know that since Extra Attacks donít stack, you really shouldnít go more than level 4 if youíre a Valor or Sword Bard, and even if you aren't, Iíd only go up to level 5 or 6.

    Rogue: Another class that uses Dexterity for damage over Strength (usually) with a good way to do damage, get more skill monkeying, and a subclass. Swashbucklers add your Charisma to your initiative, making them a good pick, and Arcane Tricksters can be good if you just pick utility spells due to them using Intelligence for their casting. Iíd grab Uncanny Dodge if you want to go above two or three levels, and then run and not look back.

    Ranger: They tend to use Dexterity too, but their spells key off Wisdom. Iíd get Paladins, Fighters, or Rogues for weapon attacks. If you're not MAD this pick has some nice options for damage on archer builds and Zephyr Strike is EXCELLENT on pretty much all melee builds, but it does compete with Concentration. Gloomstalker is good on ambusher builds with Alert and/or a few levels in Assassin Rogue, Hunter is solid generally, and Beastmaster has a bunch of flavor.

    Paladin: Excellent for melee builds. Their spells use Charisma, they have a Smite for more damage, gain immunity to disease, a Fighting Style, subclasses, and a bit of healing. I wouldnít start with Paladin in your build for saves though, as you donít get Constitution.

    Sorcerer: A really good class for you, with Charisma casting, a lot of damage spells, a subclass right out of the gate, and Sorcery Points/metamagic if you progress to Level 3. Most of the subclasses could work pretty well for you, too, with Wild Magic being flavorful on a Bard and potentially effective, if youíre willing to accept some unpredictability. Otherwise, Shadow is a solid bet, and Draconic gets you a resistance, unarmored AC, and some extra spell damage for whatever damage Cantrip you select. Iíd pick a fire dragon, myself.

    Monk: Wisdom isnít that good on you, and youíre not really likely to need the unarmed fighting. You already have good Dexterity weapons too. Even if you're not MAD there's better picks I feel.

    Barbarian: Tanky Strength class that eschews all spellcasting. Iíd skip it.

    Wizard: Intelligence is probably a dump stat but at least you can get some good utility spells. If you aren't, then you can get some solid blasting or control and the ability to inscribe spells you'd otherwise not know, along with rituals and an early subclass feature. Due to the fairly harsh HP loss due to their low hit die, I'd only really go for this on non-melee builds.

    Druid: Druids key off Wisdom (not good) but Wildshape (ideally from Moon Circle) can add utility, and possibly some tankiness at lower levels. Youíre better off just preparing utility spells if you did go this route. If you're not MAD however, taking a few levels in Druid (I'd still not take many) is nice, as you can get Frostbite or Thornwhip for an attack Cantrip with a bit more bite than Vicious Mockery or Thunderclap, and the Druid list has some good picks, like Entangle.

    Warlock: A Charisma caster class with a really good attack Cantrip, Eldritch Blast. Get up to level 2 and you can give it some other effects, like improved damage. You also get some short rest spell slots and subclass spells as options to learn. Hexblade is a unique case. I wouldnít pick them outside of weapon builds, but if you do use weapons, this is an EXCELLENT subclass, making it harder to disarm you (good) and giving you Charisma in place of Strength or Dexterity for weapon attacks (REALLY good). Additionally, your Pact Boon at third level grants you a Familiar, the ability to store your weapon in a pocket dimension, or a bunch of Cantrips from ANY class. This is an EXCELLENT class for most characters to dip into, and given that both of you use Charisma, it's even better on you.

    Cleric: Wisdom-based class and youíre alright at healing and support as is, but they can learn Healing Word and the Cantrip Guidance, among other spells. Even without decent Wisdom, you have some good options, but I wouldn't take more than a few levels. If you have good Wisdom a Bard/Cleric makes for a solid supporter.

    Sample Multiclass Builds - These are around Level 10, give or take, and use 27 point buy or standard array (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8). Don't feel restricted by this list of course, do what you want with your build! It's just food for thought and might give you ideas for making your own Bard.

    Warrior-Poet: Fighter 2/Hexblade Warlock 2/Sword Bard 6. Tabaxi 8/16/13/10/12/18. Equipment: Breastplate, Two Shortswords/Scimitars (Rapiers if youíve got Dual Wielder). ASI from Sword Bard 4 is spent on increasing Charisma for more damage, or could be substituted for Dual Wielder (which youíd want to get later anyway). Tabaxi increases both Deterity (from 14) and Charisma (from 1) to 16 to start with +3 in each, good for defense. The first level is spent as Fighter for the Constitution, then Hexblade 2 for Eldritch Blast and Charisma modifier to pretty much all damage, and then finally Swords Bard for the support and Flourishes, and to make Dual Wielding more effective. This build relies on being a melee attacker that uses Mobile Flourish and Feline Agility to escape bad situations, and then casts support spells. Haste, Blink, and Mirror Image are all good spells to use for self-buffs. For your Invocations from Warlock, Iíd pick Agonizing Blast so you have a good ranged attack after retreating or if you canít get close, and either Devilsight or another Blast Invocation. If you took more levels in either Fighter or Warlock (or both), Iíd go only up to Level 3. More than six multiclassed levels mean that, barring epic levels, you donít get Masterís Flourish, an excellent capstone if you play that far along (unlikely as it might be). Battlemaster might be a good pick if you take another level in Fighter. Another Feat to consider would be Medium Armor Master. Either way, if you play to a high enough level, Iíd try to get Charisma to 20.

    Red Mage: Divine Souls Sorcerer 3/Battlemaster or Champion Fighter 3/Valor Bard 6. Variant Human 8/16/13/10/14/16. Equipment: Rapier, Shield, Breastplate, Longbow. Feats: War Caster. This build is made to replace something similar to the Red Mage from Final Fantasy, being okay at most things in a fight. The Bard Level 4 ASI went to Dexterity. 13 went into Dexterity with the Variant Human +1, and Charisma got 15 + 1. War Caster lets you cast even with a shield. Divine Soul Sorcerer gets a few more Cleric spells, and Sorcerers have some good attack spells to shore up the Bardís lack thereof. Fighter (a class to start with) gives you some general-purpose buffs and extra HP, and I said to go 3 for the subclass. You could also try going Hexblade 1 or 2 instead. This makes you better with only one important score and Iíd upgrade Charisma instead of Dexterity but you lose what Fighter gets, including HP. In general, you could upgrade both Charisma and Dexterity if you donít splash Hexblade in, and you can either get 18 in both Charisma and Dexterity, or get one stat into 20. If you instead want to get Feats, Iíd get Medium Armor Master and then Athlete for 18 Dexterity and some other good bonuses to boot. You possess decent HP, healing spells, damage spells, support spells, weapons, and okay AC. You also have good skills from being Bard and Variant Human gets you one more. There, now youíre pretty good at everything. A few levels of Paladin instead of Fighter might also be good on this build, as while you lose Fighter abilities, you gain some more Charisma spells and some impressive damage bumps. Vengeance might not fit your flavor but it's pretty powerful.

    Bardic Sage: Lore Bard 6/Archfey or Great Old One Warlock 2. Half-Elf 8/14/14/10/14/18. Equipment: Studded Leather, Rapier (for emergencies). The Warlock dip is mostly for Eldritch Blast with Agonizing Blast, giving you a bit of damage as a Bard. The rest of your Bard spells should be focused on support or healing, with Magic Secrets being used for things like Counterspell. If you went Archfey, I'd probably not use Sleep, but knowing Faerie Fire is pretty good. If you were to go Great Old One, Tasha's Hideous Laughter and Dissonant Whispers are both pretty nice spells to know. Additionally, having a few slots of on a short rest is good to have and it goes well with your level 5 Inspiration short rest. If you were to keep going in Warlock, I'd take the Tome Boon and Ancient Secrets invocation. I'd not go beyond level 6 as Warlock. The Level 4 Bard ASI was spent on getting Charisma to 18 and Dexterity to 14. While your AC is low, your main goal is to support the party from behind with buff/debuff spells, doing the occasional damage with your empowered Eldritch Blast. You should take your Bard and Half-Elf skills for knowledge like Arcana and History, along with Investigation and Perception, possibly with a few other skills from background. Perception is competitive for your Expertise. Once you have Charisma to 20, Ritual Caster and Magic Initiate are good Feats to have. If you want another ASI, Dexterity (for a little AC bump) and Wisdom (Perception) are good choices.

    Manipulator: Whisper Bard 6/Rogue Mastermind 3. Variant Human 8/14/14/10/12/16. Feats: Actor. Equipment: Studded Leather, Rapier, Dagger, Hand Crossbow (the Dagger and Crossbow are concealed usually since you're sneaky.) This build is recommended only really in social games. I'd start at Rogue for the skills and then go Bard at level 2, and from there, level how how you wish. You should take Stealth, social skills, and some knowledge skills. Actor was taken immediately as a Variant Human to become even better at social skills than a Bard might be already. Your ability to mimic others you've observed as a Rogue will synergize well with Words of Terror. For combat, your bonus action Help will give you something to do if you've used your Bardic Inspirations for the Wshiper's damage boost. While it'd be good to get Charisma high, Dexterity might be useful because of your Sneak Attack (although the Sneak Attack itself will probably do more damage than the Dexterity bonus). Alert might also be a good Feat to know if you decide to take one, since it means you won't have any uninvited guests sneaking up on your assassination attempts. For spells, I'd focus on Charming spells and Disguise Self.
    Last edited by Protato; 2019-10-28 at 10:06 PM.

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    Default Re: Graduating the Bard's College: A Post MToF Bard's Guide

    (Reserved if needed)

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    Default Re: Graduating the Bard's College: A Post MToF Bard's Guide

    And that's all the posts put in. I just need to organize spells and color-rate everything, and then I'll adjust the guide for feedback. I might also include information about using Strength as a Bard if there's enough demand, like how I wrote about Dexterity-focused Barbarians in that guide after there proved to be enough demand.
    Last edited by Protato; 2018-06-04 at 06:34 PM.

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    Default Re: Graduating the Bard's College: A Post MToF Bard's Guide

    And now, the guide is basically done and is ready for feedback. I'm curious to see what people think of this guide, especially considering it's my second attempt to make one. My small section on builds and on non-Bard spell candidates is something that I hope is both useful, and something to help this guide stand out from similar ones.
    Last edited by Protato; 2018-06-04 at 08:56 PM.

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    Default Re: Graduating the Bard's College: A Post MToF Bard's Guide

    I am currently playing a Bardlock as a pure support character and having a fantastic time with him. Didn't even take Eldritch Blast. While there is almost zero damage output, he is effectively the "Easy" button for most encounters. I figured out how to maximize my action economy to buff/debuff/control & provide utility.

    I would say that Guidance is one of those cantrips that if not grabbed via a Tomelock multiclass, may very well be worth a Magical Secret for a support build. Also: Sanctuary + Vicious Mockery can both be cast in the same round to break the venerated bounded accuracy in playing defense.

    As long as you are adding UA: the Menacing feat combined with Shield Master shove allows you to inflict two status conditions as a melee option. Frightened + Prone? Pure gold for the rest of the party.

    If using UA: Raven Queen pact multiclass. Cheese the Perception rolls something awful with your fauxmiliar, get limited Darkvision, send your bird on suicide runs for combat advantage, and that expanded spell list? Yummy. Who needs to cast touch spells from range unless you make frequent use of Bestow Curse?
    Last edited by Ventruenox; 2018-06-04 at 09:46 PM.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Firbolg in the Playground

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    Default Re: Graduating the Bard's College: A Post MToF Bard's Guide

    Something that I think is worth noting about the Autumn Eladrin is that the Charm rider to its Fey Step works on any creature and not just humanoids, and has no provision for whether or not your allies are in combat with it unlike Charm Person/Monster. This makes it a fantastic choice specifically for Glamour Bards who can try to Charm two enemies one turn and then next turn activate their Mantle of Majesty to start Commanding one of those enemies for 9 more rounds.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Bugbear in the Playground

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    Default Re: Graduating the Bard's College: A Post MToF Bard's Guide

    Life/Knowledge Cleric is a pretty decent 1 level dip for Lore Bard.

    You get access to Medium/Heavy Armor + Shield, Guidance, better healing or 2 extra skills with expertise, Bless, and you can use the Cleric's version of Healing Word & save a Bard spell. Definitely not Red, probably Blue in fact.

    Similarly Hex Blade dip is great for Lore Bard, you get access to the Eldritch Blast, the Hex Blade Curse, Medium/Heavy Armor + Shield, and the Shield spell. Together, the last two can give you +9AC over other Warlock patrons, so it's definitely something to consider.

    As for feats, you didn't describe the Moderately Armored feat, which Lore Bard may consider for the +4 AC it can provide.

    All Bards should also pick at least 1 of their instrument proficiencies to be a Wind instrument, so they can use Pipes of Haunting or Pipes of the Sewer should the party finds them.

    Overall I find this guide more oriented toward Valor/Sword Bards than Lore Bards, but it is quite good regardless.

    Btw, Shadar-Kai gives +1 con, not charisma.
    Last edited by Merudo; 2018-06-05 at 06:15 AM.

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Graduating the Bard's College: A Post MToF Bard's Guide

    I would be interested in your suggestions for a Strength Bard.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Halfling in the Playground

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    Default Re: Graduating the Bard's College: A Post MToF Bard's Guide

    I don't think rating Dex as high as you do is necessary for bards (unless you're doing a martial dex build). Several of the effects of Dex are offset by the abilities (prof in Dex saving throws, Jack of all trades for initiative). And it doesn't help you with athletics (RAW), though I'm aware that probably most people are fine with acrobatics and athletics being interchangeable (though I am not happy about it).

    I'm also a bit confused why you think that Arcana is a good skill to have, while Nature, History and Religion aren't. Also this:
    College of Lore: Rather poor flavor, but undeniably effective. If you intend to focus on spellcasting or being a skill monkey, this is a good pick.
    Bonus Proficiencies: Get three extra skills, good on a skill monkey but its not why you picked this subclass.

  15. - Top - End - #15
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    Default Re: Graduating the Bard's College: A Post MToF Bard's Guide

    I have a spell to add to the spell lv5 area of Magical Secrets, especially for a Valor Bard (or Ranged College of Swords).

    Holy Weapon.

    Its +2d8 Radiant on all attacks, Concentration for ONE HOUR. As a Valor, you're certainly capable of Crossbow Expert or Polearm Master shenanigans. It also does, at the cost of ending the spell, a 4d8 ally friendly blinding effect.

    So its pretty darn good for an Archer Bard. Typically the spell is only available to Clerics and Paladins. Of course, you can also take it not only for yourself, but for any Melee party member lacking in the ability to do Radiant damage to the Lich you're going to fight.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Graduating the Bard's College: A Post MToF Bard's Guide

    While I have yet to include a section on more UA things, or on Strength builds, I wanted to take the time to thank everyone for feedback thus far, and I hope to receive more as I go on in updating this guide. I want at least one more build in the Sample Builds section, and it'll probably be a Lore Bard build, possibly with some levels in Sorcerer or Warlock, with a large focus on support.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Dwarf in the Playground

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    Default Re: Graduating the Bard's College: A Post MToF Bard's Guide

    You added holy weapon as a bard spell instead of as a spell from another class...

    Nice guide. I actually like there's only four ratings. But you might be a little to liberal with the blue rating...

    The magical secrets section is opening a can of worms, but it is obviously something the community have requested. Here's a few options i think you should add:
    Conjure animals : Need to be here. Probably the optimal pick for lore bards at level 6 along with Counterspell.
    Spiritual weapon
    Spirit guardians (for melee bards)
    I dont think you mentioned swift quiver? (makes valor bard among the best archers in the game)

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Pixie in the Playground

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    Default Re: Graduating the Bard's College: A Post MToF Bard's Guide

    Anyone who rates any skill as a "bad" skill is either a.) a garbage DM or b.) plays under a garbage DM.

    If you're not finding value in a skill you've chosen then that can be directly tracked straight to your DM.

    The over emphasis on Perception and other "popular" skills is comical to me. I did a stand in DM session once and EVERYONE at the table had proficiency in Perception. Ok, great. Well, you all see the exact same broken glass but since no one has Investigation I guess none of you know what the f*ck that could possibly imply.

    When EVERYONE picks the same skills, no one shines and everyone suffers because you leave gargantuan sized holes in your group skill composition.
    Last edited by Trickshaw; 2018-06-06 at 01:56 AM.

  19. - Top - End - #19
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    Default Re: Graduating the Bard's College: A Post MToF Bard's Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by Snivlem View Post
    You added holy weapon as a bard spell instead of as a spell from another class...

    Nice guide. I actually like there's only four ratings. But you might be a little to liberal with the blue rating...

    The magical secrets section is opening a can of worms, but it is obviously something the community have requested. Here's a few options i think you should add:
    Conjure animals : Need to be here. Probably the optimal pick for lore bards at level 6 along with Counterspell.
    Spiritual weapon
    Spirit guardians (for melee bards)
    I dont think you mentioned swift quiver? (makes valor bard among the best archers in the game)
    I'm actually going to contest Swift Quiver being good.

    If you're restricted to the PHB? Yeah, its pretty darn good.

    Crossbow Expert users? Not quite as good, but still good.

    So let's assume 20 Dexterity and a mundane weapon. You're at 1d6+5 damage with a Hand Crossbow. Average it out to 9. Four attacks via SQ, that's 36 damage. Pretty good.

    But it lasts one minute. One. Minute. Concentration.

    Holy Weapon is +2d8 on your attacks, for a whole hour. Still Concentration. With Crossbow Expert's three attacks, that's 9+9 per attack. 18x3 = 54.

    Swift Quiver is only worth it if you're also going for Sharpshooter shenanigans, really. Or if you went for a Longbow and not a Hand Crossbow, but why would you ever do such a thing?

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Graduating the Bard's College: A Post MToF Bard's Guide

    I've deleted the guide on skill selection and instead I'll broaden it to say "Perception is a common skill and Stealth lets you get surprise rounds", and the like. I think my basic advice will instead be, try and take a social skill, an investigative skill, a lore skill, and an athletics skill, at least on a Bard, since they start with a minimum of five skills from both class and background, not counting subclass, Feats, and racials.

    I've also added all the spells suggested, although with the caveat that Holy Weapon is probably better than Swift Quiver in some circumstances. With that, I hope the guide is looking pretty good thus far.

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Pixie in the Playground

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    Default Re: Graduating the Bard's College: A Post MToF Bard's Guide

    A nice post, really!

    I would like to suggest including the flying Tieflings from SCAG as a blue race option. +2 Car, darkvision 60, resistance to fire damage and FLY. A permanent 3ļ level spell.
    (I strongly suggest learning feather fall spell if you pick this race, just in case)

    The winged tiefling was included, but I missed it.
    Last edited by Antarx; 2018-06-07 at 08:08 AM.

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Graduating the Bard's College: A Post MToF Bard's Guide

    Updated the multiclass section a bit with clearer wording.

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Ogre in the Playground

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    Default Re: Graduating the Bard's College: A Post MToF Bard's Guide

    Good stuff. I'm always down for more bard guides. Here's my critique. Just a few things.

    Jack of all trades is sky blue. Its a ridiculously good level 2 ability. You've missed the important things it does:
    - It's ALL ability checks. There is no other way to add proficiency to vanilla ability checks.
    - Initiative is an ability (dex) check, so JoaT adds initiative.
    - Counterspell, dispel magic, and telepathy are ability checks too. Makes these spells crazy strong for bards.

    Blind/deaf should probably be blue just because its a low level debuff that doesn't require concentration. For bards thats big.

    Glamour bards charm is always underestimated. Its one of the most powerful out of combat abilities in the game. But everyone rags on non-combat abilities so I get it. Its just, how much of the average dnd game is combat? Glamour can undetectable charm 3-5 people into adoring fans that will automatically foil plots against you and do everything outside of fighting to help you. A simple persuasion check afterwards and they probably will fight for you too. I mean, a simple persuasion with advantage and they will do pretty much whatever you say.

    Spesking of which. Commanding presense never fails on charmed targets, so make them drink poison or jump off a balcony. They will love it.

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Graduating the Bard's College: A Post MToF Bard's Guide

    Wow, I completely forgot to update this thing with the last changes suggested. I finally got around to it though and I hope its at least a little better for it. I might also add in some UA races.

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Pixie in the Playground

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    Default Re: Graduating the Bard's College: A Post MToF Bard's Guide

    Nice guide!

    Just nitpicking, in the color coding section, I think that you need to update the reference to Barbarian

    Quote Originally Posted by Protato View Post
    And now, color coding for the rest of the guide.
    Blue: This is very important to you, and is probably a central function of how a Barbarian operates.
    Green: A good option overall.
    Black: A pretty "baseline" option, might be situational or there might be something better but its not bad in all honesty.
    Red: A "bad" choice, although ultimately, it's your character.
    Keep up with the good work and the guides!

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Barbarian in the Playground

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    Default Re: Graduating the Bard's College: A Post MToF Bard's Guide

    You have rated Glibness as green, where I think it should be rated much higher. Never rolling less than a 15 on a charisma check is amazing if you also know Counterspell or Dispel Magic or Telekinesis. It lasts for an hour with no concentration. You also get your Jack of all Trades bonus with that. You're an encounter wrecker against spellcasting foes.

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Ogre in the Playground

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    Default Re: Graduating the Bard's College: A Post MToF Bard's Guide

    Thanks for this Guide.

    Currently reintroducing wife to D&D after 30+ year gap.

    Playing AL because it is easy locally to get a game and if she likes that there might be a group with more social pillar she could enjoy.

    Started a new character (Half-Elf Hexblade going to MC into Bard at 3rd level, just made 2nd,) that is a friend of her Moon Druid (achieved 2nd.). She really is interested in Wild Shape.

    This Guide May help with choices very much.
    Last edited by ZorroGames; 2018-06-29 at 08:41 AM.
    With one exception, I play AL games only nowdays.

    I am the eternal Iconoclast.

    Mountain Dwarfs Rock!

    Song of Gorm Gulthyn
    Blessed be the HAMMER my strength which teaches my hands to war, and my fingers to fight.

    Otto von Bismarck Quotes

    When you want to fool the world, tell the truth.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Graduating the Bard's College: A Post MToF Bard's Guide

    Changed the Barbarian text, Glibness' rating, and even made another two multiclass builds, one with a little damage, but mostly support and knowledge skills, and one with a focus on more social games as a sort of face/assassin.
    Last edited by Protato; 2018-06-29 at 03:18 PM.

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Graduating the Bard's College: A Post MToF Bard's Guide

    Much like my Barbarian guide, stay tuned for the Eberron races. Should be added soon.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Graduating the Bard's College: A Post MToF Bard's Guide

    I'd still be interesedin your suggestions for a Strength Bard.

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