Playing with DnD5 Characters – 6th level Bard

Once again, I’ll be using the same stat rolls – good ones, but not the six 18s that my old friend Carl swears he rolled.

For a Bard, the obvious choice is the Half-Elf. He’s got the CHA. He’s got the pretty. He’s got that artsy angst that makes the girls swoon. And the guys. Half-elf, ya know.

Half-Elf Entertainer Bard

I chose DEX and INT for the extra racial bonuses, in addition to the mighty +2 to CHA.

STR 14 (+2); DEX 16 (+3); CON 14 (+2); INT 12 (+1); WIS 13 (+2); CHA 18 (+4)

Saves:
STR +2; DEX +6; CON +2; INT +1; WIS +1; CHA +7

AC 18; Hit Points: 45

Key Skills:
Acrobatics +6; Arcana +7; Deception +7; History +4; Intimidation +5 (due to CHA; he’s not even particularly invested in it); Medicine +4; Performance +10; Persuasion +5; Sleight of Hand +6; Stealth +4.

So in his element, he’s quite the stud, with sky-high performance skill and decent levels at stealth, lying (hey, he’s a performer), medicine, and figuring out what that magic item we just looted might be.

Fighting:
Rapier for 1d20+6 to hit and 1d8+3 piercing damage; ranged weapons include Longbow, also at 1d20+6 to hit and 1d8+3 piercing. Goodly long range, too . . . up to 600 feet.

Here’s the full skinny


RACE: Half-Elf
• +2 Charisma, +1 two other ability score of your choice
• Size: Medium
• Speed: 30ft
• Darkvision 60ft
• Fey Ancestry: advantage on saving throws against being charmed, magic cannot put you to sleep
• Skill Versatility: gain proficiency in two skill of your choice
• Languages: Common, Elvish, one additional language

BACKGROUND: Entertainer
• Feature: By Popular Demand You can always find a place to perform, usually in an inn or tavern but possibly with a circus, at a theater, or even in a noble’s court. You receive free lodging and food of a modest or comfortable standard, as long as you perform each night. Your performance makes you something of a local figure. When strangers recognize you in a town where you have performed they typically take a liking to you.
• Entertainer Routines: Instrumentalist
• Skills: Acrobatics, Performance
• Tools: Disguise kit, one type of musical instrument
• Languages: none

CLASS: Bard
• Armor: Light armor
• Weapons: Simple weapons, hand crossbows, long swords, rapiers, short swords
• Tools: Three musical instruments of your choice
• Saves: Dexterity, Charisma
• Skills: Choose any 3
• Spellcasting Cast any known bard spell as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag. Spellcasting focus: musical instrument
• Bard College (Valor)
• Bardic Inspiration (d8) Use a bonus action to grant one creature within 60 ft who can hear you 1 Bardic Inspiration die. Once within the next 10 min, it can roll the die and add it to one ability check, attack roll, or saving throw. This feature can be used 4 times, expended uses are regained after a short or long rest
• Jack of All Trades Add +1 to any ability check that doesn’t include your proficiency bonus
Songs of Rest You and any friendly creatures who can hear your performance regain 1d6 hit points if they spend one or more Hit Dice after a short rest
• Expertise (Performance, Arcana)
• Bard College Feature (Bonus Proficiencies) Gain proficiency with medium armor, shields, and martial weapons
• Bard College Feature (Combat Inspiration) A creature that has a Bardic Inspiration die from you can roll that die and add the number rolled for weapon damage. Alternatively, when an attack roll is made against the creature, it can use its reaction to roll the Bardic Inspiration die and add the number rolled to its AC against that attack, after seeing the roll but before knowing if it hits or misses
• Ability Score Improvement / Feat: Level 4
• Font of Inspiration Regain all expended uses of Bardic Inspiration after a short or long rest
• Countercharm Use your action to give you and friendly creatures within 30 ft advantage on saving throws against being frightened or charmed until the end of your next turn
• Bard College Feature (Extra Attack)

ABILITY SCORE IMPROVEMENT & FEATS
• Ability Score Improvement – Level 4 – Increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or increase two ability scores of your choice by 1

SPELLCASTING


I went with

Cantrips: Blade Ward, True Strike, Vicious Mockery
Level 1: Sleep;
Level 2: Crown of Madness; Hold Person
Level 3: Dispel Magic; Fear; Glyph of Warding

I can choose up to 3 more, and have 4 1st level, and 3 each of 2nd and 3rd level spell slots.

Parting Shot

Obviously the Bard isn’t a front-line combatant. Still, he’s a fierce support player, with good AC, not-awful hit points (my paladin is 55 at the same level, while the Barbarian is over 70), and a crap-ton of buffing abiltiies. The d8 inspiriation die to attacks, saves, or ability checks, and even damage is a nice feature, especially since you can do four d8s per short rest. That’s a lot of inspiriation.

He’s a good backup to a lot of other guys. He’s got moderate thiefy skills with the right tools – more a spy than a thief. He’s got some interesting spells he can throw, and Glyph of Warding is like a freakin’ claymore mine for D&D. It’s a great FRONT TOWARDS ENEMY kind of trap, with the right preparation time. He’s not as badass as a Ranger for bow damage (no Hunter’s Mark and Colossus Slayer), but he’s not bad either, capable of launching 2 piercing attacks from 50 yards or more. If given the Sharpshooter Feat later in life, he’s a great standoff bowman.

And of course, he can sing for his supper, and with his performance score, he can roll anywhere between 11 and 30 on a Performance check. Sandwiched in the rules are that he can maintain a Wealthy lifestyle by performing during downtime. With this high a skill roll, at high level on the average he might be rolling 25, which might actually be enough to qualify for an Aristocratic lifestyle. Certainly his social circle will be Court-Bard level.

Given the right access to books and general knowledge, there won’t be many failed Arcana checks either.
The bard will thrive in an arena where social interaction is important to a game. If it’s hack-and-slash all the time, there are more powerful melee characters, more sneaky and subtle rogues, and the Battle Master has better dice to throw around. But this guy’s as likable as a Paladin and is not particularly poor at anything.
He is, however, a very potent spellcaster. It surprised me to find out that the bard spell slot list goes to 9th level and is as versatile as a Wizard in terms of spell slot totals. There’s a lot of Cleric in his spell list – it includes Cure Wounds, Healing Word, and even Regeneration and Resurrection – and a whole lot of mind-bending and shapeshirting. Polymorphs, illusions, curses and mind-altering magic. It’s not flinging fireballs around, but putting Foresight (9th level Bard divination spell) on your best fighter and he’s got a real leg up for 10 rounds. Feeblemind does 4d6 psychic damage and drops the foe’s INT to 1 for a month. Shaping the battlefield through illusions and seemings is no joke, and don’t forget that this guy can be the spy with the right focus, and can probably ghost in and out of places as well or better than any rogue, boosted by magic and a ridiculous ability to disguise himself and talk himself out of trouble.

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