D&D 5e: Tabaxi Bard Guide
Those Elder Scrolls fans among you may be familiar with the race known as the khajiit, or perhaps more specifically with one known as M’aiq the Liar.
Whether or not you know of them or not, both the tabaxi and the khajiit are a race of anthropomorphic cat-like peoples, who share a curiosity for all things and a wanderlust to explore and see the world.
The tabaxi of Dungeons & Dragons in particular are the children of the Cat Lord, a divine figure who has gifted the tabaxi with feline traits. This makes the tabaxi a well-suited race of explorers and storytellers, and it’s the exploring storyteller that makes the best background for any bard.
How to Make a Tabaxi Bard
Charisma is the primary statistic of any bard and should be your first priority. Tabaxi start with a bonus there, and their biggest bonus is in the bard’s 2nd priority, dexterity. Respectively, these scores will power your spells & class features, or boost your armor class, initiative, and weapon damage, and hit chance.
This stat allocation will prove beneficial regardless of subclass, and this leaves you free to choose your other stats at your leisure. Your d8 hit die is alright, but not fantastic, so consider boosting your constitution next if you plan to play in a way that might see yourself taking damage more often, such as choosing College of Swords or the College of Valor.
Constitution is also important for maintaining concentration on spells that require it, and bards have access to a few. After this, I’d recommend boosting wisdom, and finally, strength or intelligence, whichever you think better suits the character you want to play.
Most bards play a supporting role in their parties, and your Bardic College will determine how you best achieve this. The College of Glamour for example leans into charming or mind control effects, whereas the College of Lore is balanced, granting you more tools for dealing with enemies, more proficiencies, and even more spells. Unless you plan to fight in melee with the College of Swords or the College Valor, I’d recommend the College of Lore for the tabaxi bard.
How to Play a Tabaxi Bard
Assuming you chose the College of Lore, combat is a matter of positioning yourself where you can best use your spells and making sure you’re within 60ft of enemies that are active threats to your party. This enables you to use your Cutting Words ability to debuff enemy attacks if necessary and should leave you close enough to your allies to grant them bardic inspiration.
Bardic spells are usually not directly offensive in nature but will grant you a good deal of utility during battle. Dissonant Whispers and Sleep are both excellent 1st level spells that can scale and will help control the battlefield. Phantasmal Force is a simply fantastic 2nd level spell that scales with your creativity. At 6th level you can learn spells from other classes, gaining spells like Fireball or Counterspell.
How to Roleplay as a Tabaxi Bard
Remember, tabaxi make for great minstrels. Consider what sort of bard your tabaxi is, and more importantly, where and how they like to share their talents. Do they have many stories to tell of their homeland? Do they tell these stories in song?
Suppose you’ve gained more since leaving on adventures, do you aim to someday return home and share all the stories you’ve heard? Come up with a compelling reason for why you became a bard, building on your inherent tabaxi curiosity if you can, and make sure your character has interesting goals that they can work towards. Speak to your DM about how this might come into play in-game at some point.