Sword Bard Guide 5e


The bard is a full caster class boasting a strong spell list and can steal a total of 6 spells from any other list in the game. The majority of the bard’s subclasses do that very thing. However, only the College of Swords and the College of Valor are the exception, with the first one being the more important and more powerful one. So, you might ask: Where can I find a Sword Bard guide?

Well, you’re in luck. Take a look below to understand this very interesting and very helpful subclass.

What Is A Sword Bard

The College of Swords and College of Valor are subclasses that try to aid the bard’s casting ability with some options and increased survivability. Out of the two, Swords is by far the better option. It has more exclusive features, higher damage output, and even additional defense. You gain a +3 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon. It has the following additional properties.

Sword Bard Features


  • Human – Variant: Polearm Master

While some martial characters can get away without a starting feat, sword can’t. Their subclass features are simply too weak to support a martial play style without the assistance of feats.

Starting Stats

  • Str – 15: This is our main stat. We’re taking a feat at level 4 that grants +1 strength, so we start with a 15.
  • Dex – 8: Dump stat
  • Con – 16: (secondary stat)
  • Int – 8: Dump stat
  • Wis – 8: Dump stat

Sword bard opts for a strength-based build over the more common dex focus. This is due to the one-handed spear combined with Polearm Master and the Dueling Fighting Style used as our source of martial damage.

This use of strength over dexterity isn’t without cost. Since the dex modifier is -1, the highest AC that you can get is 14 in half-plate. While this can’t be fixed at level 1, the 4 ASI will remedy the issue quite handily.

Level by Level for Sword Bard Guide

Levels 1-3

At these early levels, the math for  Swords in a real game is challenging to understand. Having an 11 AC, d8 hit die bard probably doesn’t want to be in melee, meaning their only damaging option would be Vicious Mockery, the saddest damage cantrip. This means the Swords bard would play a more supportive role, similar to a caster-focused bard.

It’s important to note that the weak early levels are an intentional investment of a build that expects to make it into the mid-levels.

Levels 4-5

Level 4 is where it starts to come online. As level 4 ASI is reached, you take Heavily Armored, which grants heavy armor proficiency and added strength by +1 to a total of 16.

Swords bard build cannot be replicated by the Valor bard. This is due to Valor lacking both the Duelist Fighting Style and Blade Flourish that pushes the Swords’ movement, damage, and AC ahead of its competitor.

Levels 6-9

The upgraded offense and defense make our Swords bard a reasonably competent frontline martial character.

Levels 10-13

The Swords bard take Find Greater Steed as one of its Magical Secrets, as the spell gives permanent flying and a robust combat companion. However, the second selection is quite different.

For Sword bards, it is a melee build and takes Spirit Guardians.

Levels 14-20

Swords bard simply up-casts their Spirit Guardians for even higher group damage with another round of Magical Secrets.

The Sword bard’s offensive martial capabilities run away with the prize if three or more enemies are involved. They can cast Spirit Guardians much more often than the Valor bard can cast Tenser’s. Its damage only decreases slightly by launching Spirit Guardians with a lower spell level.

Conclusion To Sword Bard Guide

The sword bard is a very powerful subclass for those who want to be skilled in using weapons. Its valuable skills at every level make it a subclass to beat.

Want to learn more about this amazing form of magic? Check out this Reddit link and the video below from Urge TV. Happy playing!

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