D&D 5e: Bard Class Guide
So you want to insult enemies to death. Well, you’ve come to the correct place. Needless to say, Bards do more than insult enemies to death. The subclasses for a bard have a large variety of spread so they all do different things. They’re very unique and can’t be compared to each other very well.
It’s important to note that all Bards use charisma as the stat for spellcasting and abilities unlike some other classes where the subclasses depend on which stat should be highest e.g Artificer’s Armorer and Alchemist. So having your Charisma being the highest stat to start with is a good idea. You don’t have to worry about having different stats depending on the Bard subclass that you choose.
This class guide will give you advice on race selection, feats, armor, weapons, and skills useful as a Bard.
STR If you’re planning on using longswords, you need STR.
DEX This should be your second highest.
CON This should be your third highest since it gives you hit points.
CHA This needs to be your highest. Bards need all the Charisma.
Aarakocra This race gives you a boost to your DEX and WIS.
Aasimar This race gives +2 to Charisma.
–Protector Nothing good for Bard.
–Scourge Gives you CON which is useful for hit points.
–Fallen This gives a boost to STR so it’s helpful if you’re wielding longswords/ weapons that require strength.
Bugbear Gives you both DEX and STR. I recommend a race that at least gives a CHAR boost instead.
Centaur This race gives you STR and WIS boosts but isn’t the most helpful race to choose as bard.
Changeling Choosing this race gives you +2 to CHAR.
Dragonborn STR and CHAR. Not a bad combo to have if you’re planning on using strength based weapons.
Dwarf CON increases by 2 so it’s good to have for hit points.
–Hill Nothing good for Bard.
–Mountain Your STR gets an increase by 2. Definitely an option to consider.
–Duergar Nothing good for Bard.
Elf For DEX based
–Drow CHAR +1 but you get disadvantage on attack rolls during the day due to sunlight sensitivity.
–Eladrin CHAR +1 which is really helpful as a Bard.
–High Nothing good for Bard.
–Wood Nothing good for Bard.
–Sea Elf: CON +1 is always useful. All classes need hit points.
–Shadar-kai: Increase to CON is good too. You need to survive using hit points instead of AC.
Firbolg This race gives you WIS and STR. Useful but it’s not the greatest option for a Bard.
Genasi This gives you CON.
–Air You get a boost to DEX which is useful for all bards.
–Earth Gives only a boost to STR and it’s an option to consider if you’re using strength based weapons.
–Fire Nothing good for Bard.
–Water: Nothing good for Bard.
Gith You get INT.
–Githyanki Nothing good for Bard.
–Githzerai Nothing good for Bard.
–Deep This gives you a boost to DEX.
–Forest You receive a DEX boost. Plus, it helps with AC too.
–Rock Nothing good for Bard.
Goblin DEX and CON are a good combo to have for AC and hit points.
Goliath You receive a boost to STR and CON which are useful with strength based weapons and CON isn’t bad to have but there are better races.
Half-Elf 2 ability scores to increase by 1 and +2 to Charisma. Great option to start with.
Half-Orc Boost to STR and CON aren’t bad but I would recommend another race for a Bard.
Halfling Your DEX gets a +2. Great since all types of Bards need DEX.
–Lightfoot Your charisma gets a +1. Great since it’s your main stat.
–Stout DEX + 1 is useful.
Hobgoblin You receive a boost to CON and INT. Not the greatest option but not bad.
Human: Each ability score gets a +1. As a variant human, you get a feat which can be very useful.
Kalashtar WIS +2 and CHAR + 1; Not the greatest option, I would recommend more CHAR.
Kenku: DEX and Wisdom; You get more DEX than WIS so it’s not too bad of an option.
Kobold DEX and STR + 1; You get more DEX than STR which isn’t bad.
Leonin CON and STR; You get more CON than STR. Not too bad of an option but not the greatest.
Lizardfolk CON and WIS; CON is always good while WIS isn’t needed. I recommend choosing a race that will give a boost to DEX or Char.
Loxodon There’s a boost to CON and WIS. Useful for hit points.
Minotaur You receive a boost to STR and CON but it’s more STR than CON. Not the greatest option.
Orc STR +2 and CON +1, INT – 2; Not the best race to be as a Bard since having a high charisma score will be better.
Satyr: CHAR + 2 and DEX+1. Super good.
–Beasthide You get CON and STR. MOre CON than STR. Also not too bad of an option.
–Longtooth Get STR and DEX but more STR than DEX. Wouldn’t recommend it too much.
–Swiftstride You get a boost to DEX and CHAR which is great to have.
–Wildhunt You get DEX and WIS. More DEX than WIS so it’s not bad.
Simic Hybrid You get CON and +1 to another stat you choose. Not a bad option for a bard.
Tabaxi DEX and CHAR is a great combo for a bard.
Triton STR, CON, and CHAR. While you don’t necessarily need STR, this isn’t a bad race.
Tiefling +2 to CHAR; Great for Bards.
–Asmodeus This one gets you INT and CHAR. While you don’t need INT, tieflings make great bards.
–Baalzebul INT and CHAR. Same as before and INT can still be your lowest stat.
–Dispatcher You get a boost to CHAR and DEX which are excellent to have.
–Fierna You receive a boost to CHAR and WIS and WIS can be a low stat.
–Glasya CHAR and DEX; A great combination to have starting out as a Bard.
–Levistus CHAR and CON; While DEX should be your second highest, it doesn’t hurt to have CON.
–Mammon INT and CHAR; More INT than CHAR but not a bad choice.
–Mephistopheles INT and CHAR. You get more INT than CHAR.
–Zariel CHAR and STR; more CHAR than STR. Decent option for a bard.
–Feral DEX and INT. More DEX than INT and it’s not a bad choice.
Tortle Nothing good for Bard.
Warforged CON and you also get to increase another ability of your choice by 1.
Yuan-Ti Pureblood You get CHAR and INT but you don’t need the INT.
Hit points: 1d8
Armor: light armor
Weapons: simple weapons, hand crossbows, longswords, rapiers, shortswords
Spellcasting – As a Bard, you’re able to cast spells.
Bardic Inspiration – This ability gives you extra dice to use as a bonus action. Players can use this dice for an ability check, attack rolls, or saving throw.
Jack of All Trades – Half proficiency is added to an ability check you make that doesn’t have a proficiency bonus to it.
Song of Rest – During a short rest, you can give your party members an extra d6 of hit points when they use their Hit Die to regain hit points.
Expertise – You get to choose two skills to be proficiency in. This proficiency is doubled for an ability check you make.
Font of Inspiration – You regain your Bardic Inspiration when you finish a short or long rest.
Countercharm – Using a performance, you can have advantage on saving throws against being charmed/frightened. Situational but very useful to have.
Magical Secrets – You learn two spells from any spell list but they must be of a level that you can cast.
Superior Inspiration – Rolling initiative will give you one Bardic Inspiration if you don’t have many.
College of Lore – You are the skill monkey. More skills and more spells. Best counter-speller.
College of Valor – You want to be upfront; the fighter of the bards.
College of Creation – Your voice grants life to inanimate objects. Think ‘Beauty and the Beast “Be our Guest”.
College of Eloquence – You’re the master debater. Bardic inspiration is upgraded.
College of Glamor – These are your rockstars. These are your performers with glamour and entertainment.
College of Spirits – You are a fortune teller of sorts.
College of Swords – You are a blade dancer/ performer.
College of Whispers – For those of you who want to play rogue this is a good choice. They do more damage.
Acrobatics Situational but you can wiggle out of things and do parkour.
Animal Handling WIS based. Best leave this for druids or rangers.
Arcana INT based. You know magic but you don’t know magic.
Athletics STR base. Mostly used to push or carry.
Deception As a bard, you can definitely lie very well.
History Very situational and not often used.
Insight You can judge people’s intentions.
Intimidation CHAR based, sometimes STR based.
Investigation INT based. This skill is used often to look for traps.
Medicine Very situational and not often used.
Nature INT based. Not used as often.
Perception WIS based. Good to have since it’s used so much.
Performance CHAr based. How well you can perform and you should be able to as a bard.
Persuasion CHAR based. You got a silver tongue.
Religion Very situational and not often used.
Sleight of Hand DEX based. Used if you want to steal stuff.
Stealth DEX based. Great to have when sneaking.
Survival WIS based. Mostly left to rangers or druids.
Top 3 Backgrounds
Entertainer – You get 2 extra skills proficiencies and proficiency with a disguise’s kit.
Urchin – You receive proficiency in sleight of hand and stealth. Receive proficiency in thieves’ tools and Disguise kit.
Charlatan – You get proficiency in deception, sleight of hand, Disguise and forgery kit.
Top 3 Weapons
Rapier is always a good choice for melee. A light crossbow is a good option to have too for range.
It also depends on the Bard and the subclass you choose since you can get proficiency in medium armor and other types of weapons like a shortsword.
You’ll start off with light armor, specifically leather armor but I recommend upgrading to studded armor when you can to give you the boost in AC. As a Valor bard, you can get medium armor like a breast plate.
Top 5 Feats
Tough – always useful to have hit points.
War Caster – this gives you advantage on Con saving throws.
Magic Initiate and choose Sorcerer if you’re going for a Jack of All Trade type of character.
Actor for role play heavy character/ campaign
Linguist – if you want all the languages
Normally, you would multiclass into a Bard and not out of it. However, if you do want to multiclass you can choose warlock or Sorcerer. I would recommend multiclassing until after you reached level 17 because that way you have the option of getting the wish spell.
Warlock – gives you a damage cantrip
Sorcerer – if you want more cantrips to use plus a draconic sorcerer would give you more AC.