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Bard Weapon Proficiencies. Do they make sense?

I've never paid much attention to Bard weapon proficiencies (I never play as one and if I recruit them I usually keep them with the type of weapons they start with) but I noticed that they can use all weapons apart from composite longbows.

So your charming rogue of a Bard can wander round with a two-handed sword in his hand and a heavy crossbow over his shoulder. Where does he put his lute or his harp or his bongos? How do you pick pockets when you are carrying a two-handed sword?

I can understand a Skald being able to use martial weapons but shouldn't other Bard classes be restricted to the simple weapons a Thief can use?

And come to that, shouldn't all thieving abilities be turned off when you have got a two-handed weapon equipped? I know people enjoy backstabbing with quarterstaves but it would make a lot more sense to let thieves use one-handed weapons like maces and flails and let them backstab with those instead.

JuliusBorisov

Comments

  • ZilberZilber Member Posts: 253
    I think weapon restrictions are silly anyway, except for worldview reasons (religious or otherwise).

    A two handed sword worn at the hip really is not all that cumbersome, similar to a historic rapier (the 1m20 ones). A bow with arrows is less convenient.
    Even if you keep it in hand, you have a free hand.
    Convenience of wear should not limit a person's ability to use it.

    I do think that the instruments are woefully ifnored in the BG series.

  • Permidion_StarkPermidion_Stark Member Posts: 4,406
    edited September 2017
    If you wear a two-handed sword at your hip it is going to stick out three-feet behind you. You'd be tripping people up every time you turn around. And once a blade gets over a certain length you can't keep it in a scabbard because it would be almost impossible to get it out.

    The Thief restrictions kind of make sense to me in game terms because they force you to use weapons that are easy to sheathe or to sling over your shoulder. Basically, they make you play your Thief as a thief. I just can't see why the same restrictions don't apply to Bards.

    StummvonBordwehrAerakar
  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 5,508

    If you wear a two-handed sword at you hip it is going to stick out three-feet behind you. You'd be tripping people up every time you turn around. And once a blade gets over a certain length you can't keep it in a scabbard because it would be almost impossible to get it out.

    The Thief restrictions kind of make sense to me in game terms because they force you to use weapons that are easy to sheathe or to sling over your shoulder. I just can't see why Bards aren't forced to do the same.

    I think it's a limitation of computer games. Of course they wouldn't be able to pick pockets while wielding a halberd, but would you rather have to put it in his pack every time you wanted to pick a pocket? Wizards can cast spells when they have a staff in their hands. I would think that would be difficult as well. Maybe the paperdoll just represents which weapon they grab in a pinch and doesn't mean that they're carrying those weapons around the whole time they're interacting with the world...

    ThacoBell
  • Permidion_StarkPermidion_Stark Member Posts: 4,406
    I understand the limitations of the computer game but that really isn't the point I'm making. I just find it hard to imagine a charming rogue, known for his quick wit and repartee, who wanders round carrying a halberd, which is why I feel the Thief weapon restrictions would make more sense for Bards (with the exception of Skalds, who come from a different tradition).

  • DrakeICNDrakeICN Member Posts: 623
    edited September 2017
    According to that bearded "finish them rightly" guy on youtube, two-handed swords (and I assume also halberds etc) almost never had scabbards, but where typically carried in your hands, and perhaps balanced on one shoulder when you get tired, or, preferably, chucked on a supply wagon so you don't have to lug it around.

    I therefore assume very few RL warriors that needed a lot of acrobatics or climbing or swimming or crawling or whatnot's actually used two handed swords in daily life or when on a covert mission. They would probably have a comfy length sword, either carried in a scabbard on the hip or, even better, a scabbard over the back.

    Yes, I know that same bearded guy don't believe in carrying swords over the back because if you pull a sword from your back quickly, you risk cutting yourself in the neck. But I would like to see him finish an obstacle course with a scabbard on his hip.

    Also note that knights had squires who carried their heavy and / or bulky shit.

    The equipment used pretty much depends on what you are doing. If a soldier knows when and where he will do battle, he would probably have two handed weapon or a one handed weapon and a shield. If a soldier is not expecting battle, but never the less wish to be prepared for the worst, he would probably have a lighter side arm, such as a saber, hanging in a scabbard from the hip, so it is fast and easy to reach when shit hits the fan. Possible also a shield carried on the cloak, as some did, but whether he would reach it in time or had to rely on a one handed weapon of course depends on the situation. Finally, a soldier on a cloak and dagger mission would likely hang the scabbard over his back.

    So, basically,
    Two handed swords - Grunts
    Sword on the hip - Knights
    Sword on the back - Ninjas

    With adventurers, I image you would have two body guard types, carrying one shield always, and a weapon in the other hand, always, or possibly somewhere easy to reach. The leader type likely have an easy to reach weapon, such as a sword on the hip. The backups would likely have ranged weapons or polearms. The body guards would position themselves on either side of the leader, and look grim, while the leader would try to downplay the "I carry a weapon" aspect. The rest just hangs back a bit, checking the surroundings for any sign of danger.

    During an ambush, the backup people will notice it, and during a negotiation gone sour, the bodyguards will buy the leader the time he or she needs to gather his or her bearings.

    A bard is likely the leader type, so I imagine he or she would not be likely to openly carry a two-handed weapon. But, for one of the backups to carry it, or some miscreant street orphan in lieu of a squire saved from the streets by the bard for the very purpose of lugging the bards shit around in exchange for food and shelter, and then hand it over or throw it, when needed, I can definitely see that happen.

    So, my answer is, yes, it makes perfect sense for bards to specialize in two handed weapons, albeit they likely would not carry it themselves. So, if they did use a two handed weapon, they would likely also have a handy side arm for unexpected events. Now, the game engine is a bit limited, so you cant have a runt hanging around and passing you weapons, but just use your imagination, and you are good to go.

    Hope that helps.

    Aerakar
  • ZaghoulZaghoul Member, Moderator Posts: 4,130
    I always figgered bards, as they are good thespians, should at least be able to learn the basic skills of any weapon and look like they know what they are doing if nothing else, but not specialize.

    On a side note, when I go to the Carolina Renaissance Faire here in the fall, wearin my kilt, I have a handy back scabbard for my claymore. That way I have one hand free to hold my 'beverage' of choice in my drinking horn, and the other to hold the hand of my lady. B)

    ThacoBellBalrog99Aerakar
  • ZilberZilber Member Posts: 253
    I happen to run around with a (foam) sword of 145 cm quite a bit, I have it at my hip. I know the weight isn't comparable, but the bulk is. I can run, jump, duck and dance with this without issue, even when wearing mail. I hang it from the shoulder, but at the hip (a baldric) and it's in about a 20 degree angle, but quite securely at that angle and place (mostly by balance). I even fought a bit with this weapon and my other four foam swords, a buckler and a dagger on me*. That was a bit unwieldy, four quick slots are quite enough (main weapon, sword, dagger, maybe a small hammer or mace or axe, buckler for the shield slot). Do note that switching from main to secondary weapon means dropping the main weapon.

    You can draw a sword of 145 cm length (109 cm blade length) with ease as a 1m83 person. I found a sword that is a bit longer to be more of a hassle (and I based the dimension off of Vadi's reccomendation, so this is the upper end of a longsword). I can't draw a sword with a blade length longer than 85 cm from my back. Note that I transport this, or practice weapons of the same length on my back, but mostly because it is easier on my bike or in public transport (in a base guitar bag with the handle sticking out).

    Sure, standing in line isn't going to be as nice, and when sitting down you'll have to do something with your sword.

    A rapier from the Solingen museum (the first one I opened the book at) is 120 cm long, with a 104,4 cm blade length. The guard is about as wide (25 vs 24,4 cm) and both have some rings to them. The primary difference would be the grip that is quite a bit longer in the two hander, and blade width. This rapier is 1349 grammes, a two hander of comparable dimensions to my foam one is 1650 grammes, so that is not all that great a difference either.

    Noone is going to state that a rapier is no weapon for a swashbuckler.

    Now non swords are more interesting in how you carry them. A hafted weapon can be worn on the belt, but the head must be the highest bit (you don't want the hitty bit hitting your legs) so drawing that will always be a bit of a hassle. When armed with a buckler, you can draw the head and then grip it with your axe/mace arm, but it still is a bit more of a hassle than grabbing a sword.
    You could have a metal bar in a scabbard, but anything that would stick to the enemy has a big chance of sticking to the scabbard as well, but it is my theory that a bar mace came into existence because this is possible to draw from a scabbard.
    With the head up, you can wear a hafted weapon in a half scabbard, even a two handed axe.

    Polearms (including staves) are always going to be in your hand, you can't carry them on your back.

    Bucklers can easily be worn on the belt, or on the scabbard of a single handed sword, shields longer than the length between your armpit and seat cannot. These can be on your back with a guige, a long rope that allows you to use the shield with it still attached. If you have to strap the shield to your arm, you will have to have it ready. Large shields are really awkward.

    Distance weapons except for pistols and slings will be a pain, crossbows suffer from the same problem as hafted weapons, and bows are either very long, or quite shaped. Arrows or bolts also take a lot of room.


    *from top to bottom left: 90 cm sword, 100 cm sword, 104 cm sword, 145 cm sword, the 90cm being quite high under my armpit and the 145 cm at hip height.
    From top to bottom on my right: 51 cm sword, large buckler (37cm 900 grammes), dagger underneath the buckler, 80 cm (4000 grammes) center gripped shield on my back (I have not fought with the shield on my back).

    StummvonBordwehrGrond0Aerakar
  • Permidion_StarkPermidion_Stark Member Posts: 4,406
    Thanks for the replies everyone. It seems I am very much in the minority on this one.

    Anyone want to have a crack at why Bards can't use Composite Longbows?

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 10,025
    Because the Bards don't want to make all the other inferior classes TOO jealous ;)

    Permidion_StarkBalrog99
  • tbone1tbone1 Member Posts: 1,995
    edited September 2017
    Bards were originally, in AD&D v1, a truel class: you had to get something like 5-8 levels as a fighter, switch to thief for 6-9 levels, THEN become a bard. I wonder if the access to all those weapons might be a holdover into v2.

    Post edited by tbone1 on
    Permidion_StarkAerakar
  • Permidion_StarkPermidion_Stark Member Posts: 4,406
    tbone1 said:

    Bards were originally, in AD&D v1, a truly class: you had to get something like 5-8 levels as a fighter, switch to thief for 6-9 levels, THEN become a bard. I wonder if the access to all those weapons might be a holdover into v2.

    Actually, in AD&D1 to become a Bard you had to train as a fighter, then a thief, then you learned druid spells. I have no idea what they were thinking about with that one.

    tbone1
  • VallmyrVallmyr Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 2,380
    edited September 2017
    If this sheds any light, at least for the blade bard, in the 2e Complete Bard's Handbook it gives an example of a blade wielding a halberd. He twirls and spins it to look quite deadly which causes enemies to have a morale failure and be intimidated. The ability was called Weapons Display if I recall and while the blade focuses on two weapon fighting mechanically it talks in the book about how blades can use any weapon in this intimidating fashion.

    Later I'll see if I can find the book and read the part on true class bards to see if it explains their expansive weapon proficiency options.

    I will say I'm glad for it as on my first full trilogy run my blade ended up using Carsomyr with use any item and 2 handed sword proficiency.

    As others have stated the Bard is a Fighter/mage/thief so the proficiency comes from the fighter part. And to be more in depth for 1e, a Bard had to be a human or half-elf with a 15 in Strength, Wisdom, Dexterity, and Charisma along with 12 in intelligence and a 10 in constitution. They must level to at least 5th level fighter but no higher than 8th. Then you dual class into thief and reach 5th but no higher than 9th. Then you dual class into Druid, though now you use the Bard class table. Alignment must be any variant of neutral.

    They were restricted to leather or magical chainmail only with no shield proficiency. They could use Clubs, Daggers, Dart, Javelin, sling, scimitar, staff, bastard sword, broad sword, long sword, and short sword. Neutral Evil Bards could use poison.

    ThacoBellPermidion_StarkAerakar
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 10,025

    tbone1 said:

    Bards were originally, in AD&D v1, a truly class: you had to get something like 5-8 levels as a fighter, switch to thief for 6-9 levels, THEN become a bard. I wonder if the access to all those weapons might be a holdover into v2.

    Actually, in AD&D1 to become a Bard you had to train as a fighter, then a thief, then you learned druid spells. I have no idea what they were thinking about with that one.
    Probably something along the lines of, "You know what would be the most awesome thing ever?". It still bugs me that 2E Bards are arcane rather than druidic. Thank goodness the Might and Guile mod gives us the Meistersinger.

    tbone1Permidion_StarkPokota
  • DrakeICNDrakeICN Member Posts: 623
    ThacoBell said:

    tbone1 said:

    Bards were originally, in AD&D v1, a truly class: you had to get something like 5-8 levels as a fighter, switch to thief for 6-9 levels, THEN become a bard. I wonder if the access to all those weapons might be a holdover into v2.

    Actually, in AD&D1 to become a Bard you had to train as a fighter, then a thief, then you learned druid spells. I have no idea what they were thinking about with that one.
    Probably something along the lines of, "You know what would be the most awesome thing ever?". It still bugs me that 2E Bards are arcane rather than druidic. Thank goodness the Might and Guile mod gives us the Meistersinger.
    Eh, I never liked the Weave. I like my magic to be about wrestling arcane knowledge not meant for mortals from the universe itself, to the chagrin of arrogant Gods jealously wishing a monopoly on the supernational, just so they can feel speshul. A God handing magic out like it's candy!!? Blargh. In fact, magic is ONLY possible by licking her arse (or that of her evil twin). Mortals actually have NO magical talents at all, they MUST make a pact with some God or Daemon or Nature or whatever.

  • ZilberZilber Member Posts: 253
    DrakeICN said:

    ThacoBell said:

    tbone1 said:

    Bards were originally, in AD&D v1, a truly class: you had to get something like 5-8 levels as a fighter, switch to thief for 6-9 levels, THEN become a bard. I wonder if the access to all those weapons might be a holdover into v2.

    Actually, in AD&D1 to become a Bard you had to train as a fighter, then a thief, then you learned druid spells. I have no idea what they were thinking about with that one.
    Probably something along the lines of, "You know what would be the most awesome thing ever?". It still bugs me that 2E Bards are arcane rather than druidic. Thank goodness the Might and Guile mod gives us the Meistersinger.
    Eh, I never liked the Weave. I like my magic to be about wrestling arcane knowledge not meant for mortals from the universe itself, to the chagrin of arrogant Gods jealously wishing a monopoly on the supernational, just so they can feel speshul. A God handing magic out like it's candy!!? Blargh. In fact, magic is ONLY possible by licking her arse (or that of her evil twin). Mortals actually have NO magical talents at all, they MUST make a pact with some God or Daemon or Nature or whatever.
    I like my character's theory from Ars Magica: After the world was created, there's a lot of magic power left, it seeps into the world from the otherworld. Part of this will become souls, part will be formed unconsciously by faith (forming the gods) part of it is still free to be used by the knowing.

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    For my jester, this is a humor angle similar to Harley Quinn and her comically oversized weapons like giant mallets or rocket launchers (or giving the Mad Hatter a claymore in the Alice in Wonderland remake). The thief paperdoll looks kinda amusing (and cool) wielding a two-handed sword or a longbow after seeing so many short swords, daggers and shortbows.

    Historically speaking, weren't the big weapons used on battlefields of war where you have a lot of room to maneuver and you know a fight is imminent? You let your horse carry the sword, or your squire, or the page, or the porter. If you're poor, it was probably a spear or a pike and you had to carry it yourself. Off the battlefield? Carry something lighter, more concealable, and less threatening for daily life. Compare it to modern weapons: in the U.S.A., you can carry a pistol on your hip, or concealed with a license, and while people might look at you funny they mostly shrug and go on. You probably don't carry a shotgun around, but maybe you leave it on the gun rack in your pickup. Battlefield weapons like automatic rifles, mortars, anti-tank cannons, grenades? Yeah, those don't get carried around in real life, not only are they illegal, they are impractical.

    Balrog99ThacoBell
  • ZilberZilber Member Posts: 253
    edited September 2017
    Well, halberds are a staple for town guard as well. Montante two-handed sword techniques are used for vip defense, and a staff is used by travelers quite a bit.

    Pikes, halberds and other pole arms (except for pole axes maybe) excel when used en masse, not when you have lots of room. When you have lots of room, you can use fencing techniques.

    People in the middle ages seemed more eager to advertise themselves being armed than hiding it.

    tbone1
  • AerakarAerakar Member Posts: 674
    I think the 1st edition AD&D bard was more of a skald type of bard. They were lore-masters and dabbled in druidic magic (instead of arcane magic as in later D&D editions, as noted by @Zaghoul ). They had some basic thieving and decent fighting skills from their time training as fighters and thieves, but were neither master fighters nor master thieves.

    Myself, I have always preferred this original concept of the bard to the later edition versions, especially if role-play considerations are part of the equation. bards were really hard to qualify for, but you got to play as basically 3 classes during your adventuring career, step-by-step building up your traveling bard skill-set in fighting, thievery, and druidic arts/lore.

    Permidion_StarkZaghoulThacoBell
  • ZaghoulZaghoul Member, Moderator Posts: 4,130
    @Aerakar When Unearthed Arcana came out with weapon specializations for fighters and rangers it made the bard even more dangerous, and I always took them to 7th lvl fighter then, before switching to thievery.
    They were darn tough to qualify for, with 15's needed in Str, Wis, Dex, and Chr., a 12 Int, and a 10 con. Made them pretty rare.
    I like that version as well. I've adapted to the new bard for BG and is still one of my favorite classes, but always remember the ol guy, heh. B)

    Aerakar
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