The Many Faces of The Bard

Bards suck! Uh. Maybe. The Bard is one of those classes that has changed the most through the editions. And has always been one of my favorites. There’s been a running joke in our Pathfinder games. What classes am I playing? Yeah, I do a lot of multiclass characters. I like to call them Swiss Army Knife characters. They may not be right for the job but in a pinch they got a shot at just about anything. And maybe that’s why I like the Bard so much.
Way back in the ADD days, the bard was a bad ass. He started off as Fighter then became a Thief and then Druid/Bard. It wasn’t an easy journey but once you got there, you were a force to be reckoned with.
Second Edition was the Bard’s heyday. That is when they really just kicked ass. Bards had some Thief skills but better armor and weapons and they had access to the entire Wizard’s spell list. Added bonus they had lower XP progression than a Wizard. Bards were bad asses back then.
Then came 3.X. Bards sucked. Pathfinder helped a little but they still just seemed lame. Not as cool the Second Editions version. I have no idea what happened in 4E.
As far as DNDNext goes. Damn I haven’t even downloaded that last couple play test packets. So I have no clue there. But dang it I want a kick ass Bard back like in Second Edition.
That’s it for today’s rant.

2 thoughts on “The Many Faces of The Bard”

  1. I think 1E Bards were either totally badass or pretty regular, based on whether the DM considered the pre-Bard Fighter and Thief sections like dual-classing for HP purposes. That is, one way of interpreting it was that you’d have 8d10 HP from Fighter, then 9d6 from Thief, then whatever from Bard. Or you cound say if you went to 6th level Fighter you’d have 6d10, then if you went 8th level Thief you’d get 2d6, then at Bard you’d get nothing more until another d6 at 9th level.

    2E Bards kinda sucked too. Only the useless Thief skills, fight as a Thief. Can’t wear armor with your Thief skills or casting. Sure advancement is faster than Wizard but casing progresses slower so on the balance you’re gonna be casting lamer spells than the party M-U. In all you’re better off just playing a F/M or M/T. Legend Lore doesn’t do anything good. Singing to inspire is lame, and the Skald class from the Bard Handbook is how the inspiration should have been done for the base class. If your DM says that Legend Lore does ID, singing gives +1 per 4 levels to hit and saves and you can do it 1/day/level for 1 rd/lv with no othr restrictions, and you can cast in chainmail, then the class is worth it.

    3E Bards still sucked. The super bonuses gained from singing in the Neverwinter Nights games are just good enough to make the class worthwhile in a big group, though the 3E books (even the Thief / Bard expansion book) still didn’t make it as useful as the video game.

    I hear 4E made everything equally viable because now you can sing at something to damage it as much as anyone else can, or something. Never played, grain of salt.

  2. Much depends on what you want the bard to be. Me, I like the jack-of-all-trades types. On one note 2E bard, “I cast Fireball!” Later Edition Bards look on jealously.

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