Bard 5e Guide: Dungeons & Dragons

This Bard 5e Guide


The Bard class in Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition will be covered expansively in this Bard 5e Guide. Benefits of this class and notable abilities will be discussed. After reading through this Bard 5e Guide, you should be able to create an optimized and thoughtfully designed Bard. The Bard Colleges will be covered, as well as Bard spells that are worth considering, and multi-classing options. 

The Bard Class

The Bard class in D&D 5e is the most highly utility focused class in the game. While Bards are capable of holding their own in combat, most would likely be happier influencing the happenings of a court, signing a song to an excited crowd of tavern dwellers, or casting spells to aid their allies in battle. Bards can inspire their allies through Bardic Inspiration, double the proficiency bonus applied to two skills through the Expertise ability, and gain a small boost to skills they don’t already have proficiency in. 

Class Features


As a Bard, you gain the following class features.

Hit Points


Hit Dice: 1d8 per Bard level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per warlock level after 1st

Proficiencies

Armor: Light armor
Weapons: Simple weapons, hand crossbows, longswords, rapiers, shortswords
Tools: three Musical Instruments of your choice
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Charisma
Skills: Choose any three

Equipment


You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background: * (a) a Rapier, (b) a Longsword, or (c) any simple weapon * (a) a Diplomat’s Pack or (b) an Entertainer’s Pack * (a) a lute or (b) any other musical instrument * Leather armor, and a dagger.

Bard Multi-classing


The Bard class is a well-rounded class that does not benefit as much from multi-classing as some of the other classes. However, there are a few combinations that have potential to make your character more effective, or at the very least more fun to play. 

Rogue + Bard

The Rogue class is a master of intrigue, much like the Bard. This multi-class offers the most effective combination if your intentions are to influence people and navigate intrigue. 

Fighter + Bard

The Fighter class is a master of combat, which the Bard is adept at social interaction and buffing allies. This multi-class offers a well-rounded character that is more than capable of avoiding combat all together, but who can defend themselves if the time comes. 

Wizard + Bard

The Wizard class is a master of spellcasting, while the Bard’s spellcasting ability leaves something to be desire. This multi-class strengthens the Bard’s spellcasting and gives them more ability to do damage in combat. 

Spells for Bards

The Bard spell list is not the most awe-inspiring assortment of spells in this game, but the variety and quantity of spells available to this class make up for their relatively unexciting effects. At Level One, the Bard is able to cast Charm Person, Disguise Self, Healing Word, and Cure Wounds, the first two of which help with intrigue, and the second two of which help with combat and helping allies. At Level Two, the Bard unlocks Calm Emotions, Detect Thoughts, Invisibility, and Zone of Truth, all of which combine to make for some really great heists.

Bard Colleges

At Level Three, the Bard must select a Bard College to learn a speciality from. The lessons a Bard learns from their College will shape their means of influencing the people and world around them. There are seven approved Bard Colleges in D&D 5e. Those are: Creation, Eloquence, Glamour, Lore, Swords, Valor, Whispers. A Bard’s choice of College will continue influencing the way they operate throughout the character’s lifetime. 

Creation – A College that teaches about the Song of Creation and its power.
Eloquence – A College that teaches the art of interpersonal communication. 
Glamour – A College who’s lessons must be learned from someone who trained in the Feywild.
Lore – A College that teaches the importance and power of expansive knowledge.
Swords – A College that incorporates swordplay into their performances. 
Valor – A College that teaches the importance of retelling tails of bravery.
Whispers – A College that teaches a Bard to influence others and navigate intrigue. 

Bard Level Breakdown


At Level One, the Bard gains the ability to alter reality through their performance, granting them magical ability. A Level One Bard knows two cantrips and four spells, and has two first level spell slots. Bardic Inspiration is also unlocked at Level One, an ability that allows you to grant a free d6 roll to an ally which can be added to a roll within the next five minutes. At Level Two, the Bard learns a fifth spell and gains a third first level spell slot. The Jack of All Trades ability is also unlocked, which grants a bonus of half the Bard’s proficiency bonus to any skill that the Bard is not already proficient in. Song of Rest is also unlocked at Level Two and grants an additional 1d6 points of healing when recovering health during a long rest, assuming allies could hear you perform your song. Level Three introduces the Bard College decision, which grants abilities as the Bard levels up. A Level Three Bard knows six spells and has four first level spell slots and two second level spell slots. At Level Four the Bard learns a seventh spell and earns a third second level spell slot. Also at Level Four, the Bard can choose to select a feat or take an Ability Score Improvement. Given the importance of Charisma for Bards, increasing Charisma by one or two points is advised.

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