A Bard is a charismatic performer who supports allies with an array of magic, knowledge, and mystical performances. Bards excel at smooth-talking, enhancing allies, and confounding foes with magic and charm.
This class can be used to portray a wandering minstrel, con-artist, infamous entertainer, suave businessman, or any other charming, talkative, creative character with a multitude of skills & some magical tricks ups their sleeve.
In a party, Bards are valued for their numerous support abilities that allow them to enhance allies and inhibit foes. They provide an unparalleled breadth of knowledge, irresistible charm, entertainment, and the ability to negate enemy magic.
Bard characters from fiction & history: William Shakespeare, Homer, Scheherazade, Bragi, Alan-a-Dale, Snorri Sturluson
Hit Rating (HR): Medium
Saves: Bad Fort / Good Ref / Good Will
Skill Ranks: 13+INT Mod
Weapon Proficiency: Simple, Shortsword, Smallsword, Rapier
Armor /Shield Proficiency: Simple, Light Armor, Light Shields
Hit Points Per Level: 6+CON Mod
Initiative Rating: Average (+1 per 4 levels)
Morality & Motivations: Must have at least 1 motivation of Glory.
BARD – Class Level Table
Possible Ratings: Excellent/Good/Average/Poor
Literate: Bards must place at least 1 Rank in Craft(Academia) at Level 1. They may read and write all languages they can speak.
Bardic Knowledge: You add half your Bard Level (minimum+1) as a Class Bonus to all Knowledge Skill checks, and are considered trained in all Knowledge Skills, even if you do not have any Ranks.
Bard Spells: A Bard is a spontaneous arcane caster. You discover your powers through practice and determination. You cast arcane spells from the “Arcane” spell list, and you can cast any spell you know without preparing it ahead of time. Every arcane spell a Bard casts has a Verbal (V) component, meaning something must be said or sung to make it work.
To know & cast a Bard spell, you must have a Charisma score equal to at least (10+Spell Level). The Difficulty Class (DC) for a Saving Throw against one of your Bard spells is 10+Spell Level+CHA Mod. Like other spellcasters, you can cast only a certain number of spells of each Spell Level (SL) per day, as indicated in the adjacent table.
You begin play knowing four SL0 Arcane spells and two SL1 Arcane spells of your choice. At each new Bard level, you gain one or more new spells, as indicated in the Bard Daily Spells Table. It is assumed that throughout your adventures you have been training to advance your magic powers. Select the new spells you like from the Arcane Spell List and add them to your character sheet.
When you cast a spell, make a mark indicating that one of your daily Spell Level slots has been used. Once you have used all your daily spell slots for a Spell Level, you cannot cast any more spells of that Spell Level until you complete a Long Rest.
If the “spells per day” is left blank in the table, you cannot cast any spells of this Spell Level; you are not yet strong enough to harness their power!
BARD – Daily Spells Table
Level | Spells Known | Daily Spell Slots
How do I get my spells back?
You need a Long Rest to regain your daily allotment of spells. If you complete a Long Rest, you awaken with a fully restored spell allotment for the day. If you do not get a full night of rest, you continue using spells from the previous day’s allotment. You may only regain your full daily allotment of spells once per day.
Bard Spell Materials & Components:
All Arcane spells cast as a Bard require Verbal (V) components and may never be cast using the Silent Spell Feat. You may use the music from an instrument you play as Verbal (V) components for your spells.
You ignore the Focus (F) component required for arcane spells cast as a Bard.
What if I don’t like a spell I know, or I want to swap out my old spells?
Upon reaching 5th level, and every level after that at which you gain a new spell known, you can choose to replace one of your known spells with a different spell. In effect, you “lose” the old spell in exchange for a new one. The new spell must be the same SL as that of the spell being exchanged, and it must be at least one level lower than the highest SL you can cast. You may swap only a single spell in this manner when you gain a level.
Bardic Casting: You ignore the Focus (F) component requirement required to cast arcane spells granted by Bard levels. However, all spells you cast require Verbal (V) components, even if none are listed by the spell. You may use the Music from an instrument you play as verbal (V) components for your spells.
If proficient, you do not need to make a Perseverance check to cast Arcane Bard spells due to the Mobility Penalty caused by wielding, wearing, or carrying armor or shields.
Bard - Spellcasting Info Summary: Key Ability Score = CHA
To know a Bard Spell: Requires minimum Charisma of 10+Spell Level
Bard Spell DC: 10+Spell Level+CHA Mod
Regain Daily Spells: 1 Long Rest
Bard Spell Info: Arcane Magic, Spontaneous = No preparation required
Special Info: All spells cast by a Bard require Verbal (V) components.
Bardic Performance - lvl1: You may use any one of your Perform Skills to create helpful and harmful effects on those around you. Exactly how a Bardic Perfomance works is explained later in this section.
-Upon gaining this ability, you are Fortunate on all Saves made to resist enemy Bardic Performances.
-As a Bard, you are not considered distracted while playing your instrument or performing.
Jack of All Trades – lvl2: You gain Jack of All Trades as a Bonus Feat (ignore prerequisites).
Cantrips - lvl4: Cantrips: Your most basic magic spells are easily refreshed. You need only 1 minute of concentration to regain one of your expended SL0 spell slots. You must remain still & undisturbed to do so.
-Depending on the situation, you may be required to make a Perseverance check. (DC at GM Discretion)
-You must still select which SL0 spells you wish to have available during the day.
-If you take a Short Rest, you automatically refresh all SL0 spells you have expended that day.
Lore-Master - lvl5: You may always choose to Take 10 on any Knowledge Skill check, even if under duress. (This works like Take 5, but functions as if you rolled a 10) You may always choose not to Take 10 and roll normally.
-In addition, once per day, you can Take 20 on any Knowledge Skill check as an Immediate Action (treat the check as if you rolled a Nat20). You may use the Take 20 ability 2/day at Bard lvl 11, and 3/day at Bard lvl 17.
Bonus Feat – lvl10: You may gain a single Feat for which you meet all prerequisites.
Song of Freedom (Su)-lvl20: While maintaining a Bardic Performance with any Perform Skill in which you have at least 15 Ranks, you and your allies within a 30’ Radius are treated as if under the effects of a Freedom of Movement spell (functions as the SL4 Priest Spell).
How Does Bardic Performance work?
-You may start a Bardic Performance a number of times per day equal to 1+Half Bard Level. (Min 2/day)
-Starting a Bardic Performance is a Big Action (Provokes AOO).
-All Bardic Performances have a listed Minimum DC Perform Check upon starting the performance. If you cannot pass this check, the performance fails to have any effect and is wasted. For every 5 points by which you surpass this minimum DC check, you add +1DC to any Save needed to resist the effects.
-You may choose to activate any of the Bardic Performances that you have available. You must possess at least 1 Rank in the Perform Skill you wish to use for a Bardic Performance.
-Normally, a Bardic Performance lasts for 1 full round, plus 2 additional rounds after you stop the performance (unless otherwise indicated). These 2 additional rounds are called the “lingering effects.”
-You may keep the same Bardic Performance going for 1 additional round on your turn as a Swift Action. This is called “maintaining” your performance. The performance may be maintained round by round up to a maximum of 1 hour. Certain performances may have different durations, as indicated in their descriptions.
-Regardless of duration, you may only ever have 1 of your own Bardic Performances active at a time. If you start a new performance during the lingering effects of another song, the lingering effects are immediately ended when you start your new performance.
-Your Bardic Performance stops if you do not maintain it with a Swift Action, or if you are unable to make the Perform check (unconscious, paralyzed, etc). The lingering effects begin immediately after this occurs.
-A Bard is not considered distracted while playing an instrument or performing.
-Each Bardic Performance is listed as having audible components, visual components, or both.
-Performances listed as “Audible” must be able to be heard by those you wish to affect.
-Performances listed as “Visual” must be able to be seen (have line of sight) by those you wish to affect.
For performances listed as either Audible OR Visual, you must choose to use either the visual (Dance&Motion) or audible (Music[Aerobic/Manual]/Song&Poetry/Comedy&Stories) version upon starting your performance.
-Most Bardic Performances have a listed Range (normally 30 foot radius). While you may be able to be seen or heard from a longer distance, the magic from your performance only works out to the listed Range. All effects of your performance persist for as long as you maintain the performance, unless indicated otherwise.
-An Audible Bardic Performance using (Song&Poetry) or (Comedy&Stories) may be made language-dependent if you desire; only creatures that understand the language will be affected by the performance.
-All Bardic Performances are Mind-Affecting abilities. All Audible Bardic Performances are purposefully loud: All Listen checks to hear something apart from the performance are made at +5DC.
-You gain access to more performances as you increase in level, as noted in the Bard Class table.
Using Bardic Performances in Combat: Activating a Bardic Performance is a Big Action that Provokes AOO.
Here is a list of what you can & cannot do while you maintain a Performance:
-You CAN produce somatic (S) components for all spells while maintaining any Bardic Performance.
-You CAN cast spells with verbal (V) components while maintaining any Bardic Performance.
-You CAN fight with a weapon and/or use a shield while maintaining a Bardic Performance using dance&motion, song&poetry, or comedy&stories.
-You CANNOT activate or maintain a Bardic Performance with Music(aerobic) or Music(manual) without having two hands on your instrument.
-You CANNOT fight with your hands while maintaining a Bardic Performance using Music(aerobic) or Music(manual) as these instruments are played with 2 hands. If you make an attack, any active performance ends.
-A Bard with Unarmed Combat may make unarmed strikes (kicks, knee strikes, etc) while maintaining a performance with a two-handed instrument. A Bard with a Natural Attack, such as a tail swipe, may be allowed to strike at GM Discretion.
-You CANNOT properly wield a shield while maintaining a Bardic Performance using Music(aerobic) or Music(manual). A buckler may remain strapped to your arm, but it grants no Shield Rating while performing.
If you take damage while maintaining a Bardic Performance: You must make a Perform check (DC10+Damage taken) to maintain a performance after being struck. If you fail, your performance ends!
If you are grappled: You may attempt to activate or maintain a verbal Bardic Performance using Song&Poetry or Comedy&Stories, assuming you can still speak. However, you must make a DC20 Perseverance Check to succeed!
List & Description of all Bardic Performances:
Snap Out Of It (Su): Level 1, Audible OR Visual – Minimum Perform DC10
-Your performance allows you to counter ongoing mind-affecting spells and abilities.
-On your turn, any creature in range that is under the influence of a mind-affecting spell or ability gains a new Saving Throw against the effect each round you continue your performance. (New Perform check each round)
-For every 5 points by which your Performance Check beats the Perform DC, each affected creature gains an +1 Morale Bonus on their new Save made that round. (Ex: A Perform check of 22 grants a +2 Morale Bonus.)
-If the creature passes their new Save, the creature is immediately freed from the spell’s grasp.
-Snap Out Of It does not work on effects that don’t allow Saves.
-Snap Out Of It does not know friend from foe (meaning that enemies in range will also gain the benefits!)
-You are not affected by your own Snap Out Of It performance.
-A creature must already be affected by a spell or ability before you can “Snap them out of it.”
Fascinate (Su): Level 1, Audible OR Visual – Minimum Perform DC10
-Your performance causes creatures to pay attention to you and become distracted to everything else around them. As you begin your performance, all creatures within 30 feet must make a WILL Save DC(10+½ Bard level+CHAMod) to negate the effect. (Reminder: add +1DC per 5 points by which you surpass the Perform DC)
-A creature that passes the Save does not notice anything out of sorts. They cannot be affected by your Fascinate ability for 24 hours. They may choose to watch or leave your performance on their own volition.
-Creatures that fail the Save gain the distracted condition and are Unfortunate on WILL Saves. They simply watch and listen, participating as a normal crowd that truly enjoys a performance. However, they cannot voluntarily stop watching your performance. While fascinated, they will NOT look behind themselves unless someone or something can manage to get their attention. (Flat-footed if someone were to attack them from behind)
Your audience will STOP being fascinated if:
-they take any sort of damage or if someone slaps, grabs, or shakes them to get their attention.
-they pass a distracted Listen check to hear something concerning. (Ex: a scream of pain, the sound of a building collapsing, or being yelled at by name from someone unaffected)
-they pass a distracted Spot check to notice something concerning within their field of view (Ex: a friend being attacked, a raging fire in the town, a dragon walking up behind the performer)
*Remember: Distracted = Unfortunate on Listen & Spot, Passive Awareness of surroundings adds +5DC.
-Fascinate cannot affect creatures that are already hostile towards you or otherwise engaged in combat or another-life threatening scenario.
Inspire Courage+X (Su): Level 1, Audible – Minimum Perform DC15 (DC20 for +2, DC25 for +3, DC30 for +4)
-At Bard Level 1, the highest bonus this grants is +1. This increases to max +2 at Bard Level 5, +3 at level 11, +4 at level 17
You can use your performance to inspire courage in your allies (and yourself), bolstering Saving Throws and improving combat abilities. All allies within 30 feet gain a +X Morale Bonus on Saving Throws & Attack Rolls.
-If you have access to a higher power ability, but fail the Minimum check, it will function as the lower power version.
Inspire Competence+X (Su): Level 1, Audible – Minimum Perform DC15 (DC20 for +2, DC25 for +3, DC30 for +4)
-At Bard Level 3, the highest bonus this grants is +2. This increases to max +3 at Bard Level 7, +4 at level 11
You can use your performance to help a single target ally within 30 feet succeed at various tasks or avoid enemy attacks. You may choose one of two available effects:
Your ally gains a +X Morale Bonus on all Skill checks (except for Hide, Move Silently, Listen).
Your ally gains a +X Morale Bonus to Armor Class and Attack Rolls.
-If you have access to a higher power ability, but fail the Minimum check, it will function as the lower power version.
Sound Burst / Silence (SLA): Level 4, Audible - Minimum Perform DC15
This creates a version of either the Sound Burst spell or the Silence spell.
-These spells function as Priest SL2, Save DC based off your CHAMod.
-These “performances” last only the single Big Action required to cast them.
-You may use this ability while maintaining a different Bardic Performance.
Dispel Magic (SLA): Level 6, Audible – Minimum Perform DC15
Using 2 of your daily activations of your Bardic Performance, you may cast Dispel Magic, which functions exactly as the Arcane Spell of SL3, with your Caster Level equal to your Bard level.
-This “performance” lasts only the single Big Action required to cast it.
-You may use this ability while maintaining a different Bardic Performance.
-You may use this ability as a Counter-Spell.
-When you reach Bard Level 10, this functions as Dispel Magic used at SL4. When you reach Bard Level 12, this functions as Dispel Magic used at SL5.
-You may use your Perform Check in place of the Perseverance Check normally used to determine if the magic was dispelled successfully. (See Dispel Magic, Ch11.4-p76)
Fortune’s Favor (Su): Level 8, Audible - Minimum Perform DC20 (Max Duration 10 Minutes)
-Your performance allows every ally within 30 feet one Luck reroll per round. (Does not affect you)
-Each affected ally may re-roll any d20 roll one time per round AFTER the success/failure of the first roll is known.
Minstrel’s Misfortune (Su): Level 9, Audible – Minimum Perform DC20 (Max Duration 10 Minutes)
-You use your performance to turn fortune against your foes. All foes within 30 feet who can hear your performance automatically become Unfortunate. (No Save)
-Foes who are deaf or otherwise unable to hear the performance are unaffected. Creatures may use both hands to cover their ears to negate the effects as long as their ears are covered, but this requires use of both hands!
Soothing Performance (Su): Level 12, Audible OR Visual – Minimum Perform DC20
-Activating this performance costs 2 uses of your daily Bardic Performances.
All allies within 30 feet (including yourself) are soothed by positive energy. They heal +2HP per round and may ignore the Distressed and Agonized conditions for as long as you maintain this performance.
-This performance may be maintained for a maximum number of rounds equal to your Bard level. Allies that are not healed by Positive Energy are unaffected.
-To better keep track of HP, denote the 2 points of healing at the end of the Bard’s turn.
-This ability may affect a maximum number of allies equal to your Bard level at one time, affecting those closest to you first. If a close ally does not require healing, the ability affects the next closest.
Tune of Terror (Su): Level 14, Audible - Minimum Perform DC25
-All enemies within 60 feet who can hear your tune must make a WILL Save DC(10+½ Bard Level+CHA Mod) or be Terrified. These creatures must flee to at least 100 feet away from you, and they remain Terrified as long as they can hear your performance. If the Saving Throw succeeds, the creature is unaffected and cannot be affected by this type of performance for 24 hours.
Inspire Greatness (Su): Level 15, Audible – Minimum Perform DC25
-Your performance helps a single target ally within 60 feet reach the pinnacle of their abilities: Your target is Fortunate on all d20 Rolls. All Attack Rolls, Saves, and checks made against your target are Unfortunate.
-While maintaining this performance, you may spend a Big Action(No AOO) on your turn to shift the effects of this performance to a different target ally within range.
Aerobic: This uses the Perform(Music-Aerobic) Skill.
Manual: This uses the Perform(Music-Manual) Skill.
Played Stationary: This instrument cannot be played while moving. It must be set-up in order to play. Preparing to play this instrument is a Move Action (such as setting the instrument up or sitting down at a stool to play it). If the instrument is moved out of the current hex, you must set-up again before it can be played again. (If you and the set-up instrument are moved as a unit, such as on a cart, then you may play continuously)
RADIUS: This indicates the increased radius of all your Bardic Performance affects. A 0 indicates no change, while +10 indicates an increase of 10 feet.
Instruments & Special Bard Effects: These special bonuses are only granted to Bards using the instrument. An ability that affects allies or enemies is specifically stated above. (Similar instruments are shown in parenthesis)
-All these effects persist throughout the duration of the performance and its lingering effects.
-Any Bonus granted to the performer by an instrument is a Gear Bonus unless otherwise indicated.
Bagpipes: +2 on Snap Out Of It Perform checks. +2 DC on Tune of Terror.
Cello: Likeable, Healing spells you cast heal +50% more HP, Soothing Performance heals +3HP/rnd. (Harp, Sitar)
Flute: +2DC on Fascinate Bardic Performance. (Harmonica, Piccolo, Pan Pipes, Recorder)
Lute: Likeable, +1DC on all Guile&Glamer (G) spells you cast. (Banjo, Cittern, Guitar, Lyre, Ukelele)
Oboe: All enemies within the radius of your active Bardic Performances suffer a -1 penalty to WILL Saves. (Clarinet, Saxophone, Shawm)
Percussion Set: All your spells that deal Hit Point damage deal +50% more damage, Your Inspire Courage performance increases all granted bonuses by +1. (Various Drums & Cymbals, Xylophone & Chimes)
Piano: Likeable, All spells & performance effects gain +2DC and +10% to any damage & spell durations. While maintaining a performance, you may give commands to your own conjured creatures through your Music as if you could communicate with them fluently. (Harpsichord, Organ)
Portable Drum: Allies (including yourself) affected by any of your Bardic Performances also gain a Morale Bonus of +5 feet to all base Move Speeds. These drums are usually equipped with a sling to be slung over your shoulder, taking up a back sheath slot. (Marching Drum Set, Snare, Tabor)
Trumpet: May be played with 1-hand with -4 penalty on Perform checks. (Bugle, Horn)
Violin: You and allies within 30 feet gain +2 Morale Bonus on rolls to confirm critical hits. (Fiddle, Viola)
Tambourine: This item is not considered an individual instrument, and may not be used alone to do a performance. If used to compliment a (dance&motion) or (song&poetry) performance, you gain a +1 Gear Bonus on your perform check. (Castanets, Maracas, Spoons)
Note: All Musical instruments are treated as requiring two hands to play. Also, large or stationary instruments (Piano, Cello, Percussion Set, etc) may be attacked as objects! This may become very important if an enemy realizes the instruments are being used to harm them! Note that most instruments are not very effective after taking a hit from an axe!
Likeable: When making a Perform check to earn money, you earn +50% the listed amount, as explained in the Perform Skill in Ch 4.15.
Masterwork Instruments: Masterwork Instruments cost twice as much as a standard instrument (Min +50gp, max +1000gp) MW Instruments grant a +2 Gear Bonus on Perform checks, and are more resilient than their standard counterparts. They also come with a case to keep them safe (if the size of a 2-handed weapon or smaller).