D&D 5e Bard Class Guide

D&D 5e Bard Class Guide

What are Bards?

Bards are spellcasters with a musical twist. Rather than wield their power through wands and staves, they instead weave their magic through the strings of their lutes and the words on their tongues. Bards are storytellers by trade; historically, bards were literally wandering poet-singers. They’re also one of the most versatile classes in D&D, boasting a high number of skill proficiencies. (This is particularly true if you choose the College of Lore, which grants you proficiency in any three additional skills of your choice.) 

Bards use their magic to bewilder and beguile, opting to hang back and manipulate the battlefield like mystical puppet masters. Not a fan of a mace to the face? Play a Bard. Huge fan of lying? Play a Bard. Love the sound of your own voice no matter what anyone else says? Bard it up. 

Popular Bard Builds

When it comes to the best Bard class/race pairing, Half-Elves are tough to beat. Not only do they get a +2 to Charisma, but they get a +1 to two other ability scores of their choice. If it were me, and it is, I’d put those +1s into Dexterity and Intelligence. Dexterity will give you a much needed boost to your Armor Class, and Intelligence will come in handy for a lot of those skill checks. And if that weren’t perfect enough, Half-Elves also have the Skill Versatility racial trait, granting them proficiency in two additional skills of their choice. At first level, you’ll already be proficient in seven skills (counting those granted by your Background). If you go College of Lore, you’ll be proficient in ten skills by third level.

For your Background, you’ll want to look at either Entertainer or Charlatan. Entertainer for obvious reasons, but if you’ve got a nefarious side, Charlatan might be a better fit. 

My Favorite Bard Build

There are any number of interesting builds you can make with a Bard, and I’d be lying if I said the image of a Half-Orc troubadour didn’t tickle my fancy. The Half-Elf option is also highly appealing, but we’ve obviously covered that and anyway the whole point of this section is to get outside the ol’ four walls as it were. So, after some looking around, I finally settled on the Tabaxi Bard as my favorite Bard class combo.

A harp weilding tabaxi bard in Dungeons and Dragons.

Tabaxi make good Bards for a number of reasons. One, Tabaxi get a natural +2 to Dexterity, which helps with their Armor Class, as well as a +1 to Charisma, which of course is a Bard’s primary spellcasting ability. Two, Tabaxi’s natural curiosity lends them a playful edge that suits an entertainer right down to the ground. And three, Tabaxi are natural wanderers who value knowledge over material wealth. This is perfect for a Bard, since the study of lore and collection of stories is so central to their being. 

All this I’d pair with the Entertainer Background because, well, there honestly just isn’t a better fit. The Entertainer Background grants you proficiency in Acrobatics and Performance, so you can

Sam

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