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Non-Musical Bard

I've always hated bards. The song and dance flavor just irks me in a way I can't fully express through words. But maybe there's a cool class in there trapped under all that singey, feely stuff.

If I understand correctly, no ranks in perform means you can't sing the bard song, or whatever it's called? How viable would a non singing, non performing bard be? I'm open to multiclassing and various different builds, my only hard limit is performance.

Note: At first I thought a bard would pretty much need performance to stay relevant, but taking anothet glance at the bard skill list and the skill lists of some of the more interesting multiclass options I'm starting to realize that discipline, hide, move silently, taunt, listen, spellcraft, tumble, search, disable device and a rogue or ranger's set trap all look like viable options competing for space with perform.

Comments

  • sarevok57sarevok57 Member Posts: 4,059
    the only time i choose bard, is when i need 1 class level to become a dragon disciple, in NWN 1 you can have 3 classes, so for a power gamey build you start with 4 levels of fighter, then take 1 level of bard, and crank that tumble skill for AC ( and then spell craft if you have extra points ) and then voila, you can now start taking dragon disciple levels,

    with 9 levels of fighter, 1 level of bard and 10 levels of dragon disciple, you will still hit +16 for your base attack giving the 4 attacks per round, with a nifty +8 to STR, +4 to AC, + 2 con/int/cha and immunity to fire, simply awesome

    but with that being said, i never choose bard at level one, because it forces you to have some actual charisma ( lols ) so thats why i take it at level 2 so then i can have a bard with 8, instead of 11

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 402
    In my experience, @sarevok57 has it exactly right. The NWN bard just isn't very strong at high levels so a fighter/bard/RDD build is generally going to be your best bet power-wise.

  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 2,857
    One level in bard class also unlocks that arcane quest in the OC, the one where you can join the (forgot the name ) tower.
    Also, a couple of bard levels helps you increase your tumble and persuasion skills.

    sarevok57
  • Lightmaker89Lightmaker89 Member Posts: 14
    I understand that bard is often taken as a one level dip for RDD levels. What I'm asking about is a little different though: could a character with 10 or more actual bard levels be good, even if he neglected perform and bard song?

  • tfoxtfox Member Posts: 70
    Sure it could, Bards a very very powerful class, decent buffs (GMW, Hastes, Mass Hastes, Bulls/Cats, Imp Invis, Warcry and silence aura onself for screwing over other casters without a save), 3/4 BAB, all the solid skills to choose from (Discipline, UMD, Tumble, Spellcraft for saving throws), but you're neglecting alot of mechanical power in the form of bard song/curse song if you're intending to take 15+ bard just to save a few skill points really.

    But that being said you can certainly make it work, it won't be as powerful either solo or as party support, but it can certainly be made to work fine.

    16 bard, 4 whatever full BAB class you want to take gets you 4 attacks per round, your biggest issue will depend on if you can find some sort of armour with very little or no spell failure. Greatswords are good on a bard as you don't have to worry about the spell failure from a shield then (or equiping/unequiping a shield to cast buffs).

  • MeandreMeandre Member Posts: 23
    Compared to Icewind Dale's bards that can play a couple different songs or the bard class in Neverwinter Nights 2 with all their songs, countersongs, and inspirations I find the "song and dance flavor" of Neverwinter Nights' bard to be rather easy to ignore. A few notes appear over your chars' head and that's it, basically. :)
    But I can see where you're coming from. I was never fond of the "lute playing minstrel" bard archetype, myself.

    As for class combinations, I find that bards and blackguards go rather nicely with each other:
    The blackguard adds full BAB progression, proficiencies with simple and martial weapons as well as the ability to wear heavy armor. Their turn undead ability unlocks the "divine might" & "divine shield" feats, which make use of the bard's charisma (i.e. spellcasting) score.
    Last but not least, the bard spell "bull's strength" and the blackguard's feat of the same name stack, meaning your char can get a 2-10 strength boost on top of any equipment!

    If you don't mind the alignment restrictions, bards with 4 or more blackguard levels thrown in make for some interesting builds.
    Of course, using the song and curse song would make such a combination even more powerful, but it should be playable in any case.

    tfox
  • Nic_MercyNic_Mercy Member Posts: 377
    edited January 11
    Even something as simple as a Bard 38/Shadow Dancer 2 (taken at 21 and 22) can be quite powerful. Then again I measure power based on what a character is actually capable of doing without OP gear

    With nothing but a normal rapier, a normal large shield, and self buffs from spells and song, this character has: AC: 46, AB: 51, and saves: Fort: 19, Reflex: 38, Will: 26. These numbers can all be 1 to 2 points higher with buffs like cat's grace and owl's wisdom.

    It has a ton of utility too. High UMD, HIPS, extended Haste (invaluable in setting without perma-haste), Curse Song (which effectively adds another +5 AB and +2 AC (or more if there's high perform gear) to the above numbers.), +5/Keen weapon, Improved Invis for a concealment bonus, etc.

    Spell choices can be tailored to the setting you're in too so much redundancy can be avoided. The high number of bard levels allows for reaching Great Dexterity X via bonus feats and the build can be stupidly powerful with enchanted gear.


    A more popular build that can showcase the power of more than one bard level is some variation of the Bard 10/RDD 10/PM 20 (some take a few less PM levels for a few more bard).

    Don't underestimate the Bard class. Its versatility thanks to spells and the powerful buffing effects of Bard Song (and debuff effects of Curse Song), can make it quite powerful on its own and moreso when mixed intelligently with other classes like Fighter, Blackguard, Assassin, etc.

    Post edited by Nic_Mercy on
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 402
    Bards are an interesting and flavorful class in NWN and you can certainly get through the game with a singleclass bard if you so choose. But their high-level spells (5th and 6th especially) are surprisingly weak and their overall melee contribution is just too low to be competitive with most other builds you might try. That's why pretty much all the agreed-upon meta builds combine a few levels of bard with fighter and red dragon disciple. Again, that doesn't mean bards are useless or non-viable, only that a singleclass bard isn't among the strongest options available in the game.

  • ShadooowShadooow Member Posts: 305
    Bard is not strong?

    Bard is basically a strongest class of all of them especially in combination with RDD.

    At least if we are talking about lvl 40 environment. In singleplayers player is usually just getting bard levels and never get to the breaking point of the super power you will get from 10 levels of RDD at least without sacrificing ammount of attacks per round.

    In a lvl 40 environment, a classic bard20/rdd10/fighter10 has:
    26 BAB thus maximum attacks
    - all weapon feats including epic weapon specialization
    - +4ac, +8str, +2 con, +2int, +2char, immunity to fire, immunity to paralysis, immunity to sleep (RDD bonuses)
    - +5ac from song, +2ab, +3dmg, +3 will, +2fort, +2reflex, +8 to all skills for eternity with lasting inspiration
    - curse song = -5ac to enemies, -2ab, -3dmg, -3will -2fort -2reflex -8 to all skills, cursing your opponent is virtually giving you 5more ab, 2more ac and better chance to dev crit and knockdown/disarm
    - access to good skills, tumble (+8AC), UMD (ability to use spell scrolls and items restricted to other classes - this is probably the strongest ability but it depends what you can buy from merchants and what is the price,) spellcraft (+bonus to saving throws against pretty much everything except dev crit), appraise (better prices for buying/selling, can be very strong on some PWs), discipline (against kd/disarm)
    - acces to good spells, keen edge (for scimitar the most used weapon by bards), improved invisibility, mage armor, war cry, ability buffs, elemental protection and haste if haste is not available in that environment
    - additionally, servers not using community patch (majority of them) will have all their spellscrolls for wiz/sorc also available to bard even if he doesn't have to spell, and crafted wands will also be available to bard even if he doesn't have the spell - this means he doesn't need to have UMD ranks to use them

    with the +X buff to all skills bards are very versatile, even if they don't heve rogue levels, with the high ammount of skill points they are often able to disarm any trap and picklock any lock

    and this is the basic bard build, you can get better values with 4 levels of BG/paladin variant and 26 levels of bard (at 26 level bard song can grant +6ac and curse song -6 and +15 to all skills)

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 402
    edited January 11
    The OP wondered whether singleclass bards are strong, which they aren't. Completely agree that multiclassed bard/fighter/RDDs are strong.

    Post edited by jsaving on
    Lightmaker89
  • Nic_MercyNic_Mercy Member Posts: 377
    edited January 11
    Another good Bard build I have is a Human Bard 29/Blackguard 8/Assassin 3
    It has a stupidly high AC potential and damage output for a finesse build thanks to Divine Shield, Divine Might, Bard Song, Curse Song and Power Attack. That's not even factoring in Knockdown's triggering sneak/death attack damage.

    The combined power of a high level Bard Song and Curse Song is really strong especially if you have Lasting Inspiration. Even without any +perform gear you can basically get +7 AB (+2 AC for you and -5 AC for foes) and +7 AC (-2 AB for foes +5 AC for you) on demand. That's a huge shift in power that people often overlooked and that's not even factoring things like mixing in RDD.

    Torgrimmer
  • FreshLemonBunFreshLemonBun Member Posts: 644
  • Lightmaker89Lightmaker89 Member Posts: 14
    Thanks for the responses. It seems that no one who addressed the question of music-free bards thinks they can be as powerful as musical bards. I therefore have no business using this class, single or multiclassed in any way, shape or form whatsoever. Enjoy your musical theatre, I'll stick to attacking things.

  • Nic_MercyNic_Mercy Member Posts: 377
    edited January 11

    Thanks for the responses. It seems that no one who addressed the question of music-free bards thinks they can be as powerful as musical bards. I therefore have no business using this class, single or multiclassed in any way, shape or form whatsoever. Enjoy your musical theatre, I'll stick to attacking things.

    It's a shame you view it that way. As was pointed out by several in this thread, the Bard's "musical theater" makes him better at "attacking things" than many other classes or class combos. Especially if magical gear is limited in the environment you choose to play in.

    But if all you want is to "attack things" then something along the lines of a very basic Fighter/Weapon Master/Rogue might be a better fit for you.

  • ShadooowShadooow Member Posts: 305

    Thanks for the responses. It seems that no one who addressed the question of music-free bards thinks they can be as powerful as musical bards. I therefore have no business using this class, single or multiclassed in any way, shape or form whatsoever. Enjoy your musical theatre, I'll stick to attacking things.

    Well I really don't get it. NWN implementation of the bard is so simplified it hurts (and the reason why is he so powerful). Especially at epic levels with Lasting Inspiration you just use song once and it will be up for your entire play session basically.

    I also don't understand how it annoys you, it is not like it woul be making some music sounds every second, it plays sound on use and thats it, after that it works as hidden passive bonus that is 100% undispellable too (yeah another thing I forgot to mention).

    There is absolutely no point to make a high level bard character that won't use song. It just grants stupidly high bonuses almost for free, you just need to spent few skillpoints to get it. But if you just hate it then don't use it maybe?

    I am not sure what do you want to play and why it must be bard, because if you want to play something that looks like bard but it has no music then cleric is the closest, if you don't want to cast spells either then play fighter ? Bard is played as fighter anyway it will just selfbuff few spells and use song before entering fombat that is it.

    ricoyung
  • Prince_RaymondPrince_Raymond Member Posts: 134
    DJKajuru said:

    One level in bard class also unlocks that arcane quest in the OC, the one where you can join the (forgot the name ) tower.
    Also, a couple of bard levels helps you increase your tumble and persuasion skills.

    The Cloak Tower Guild.

  • tfoxtfox Member Posts: 70
    Yeah I'm not even sure what to say, people have pointed out that you can do it and do it successfully because Bard is one of the more powerful classes in the game, but of course if you choose not to use their most powerful ability it's not going to be as mechanically powerful, but even without it, it can still be decent.

    I'd akin his stance to, I wanna play a single class cleric but I don't want to invest more then 15 wisdom, guys is this going to be as strong as a cleric that has 19 Wisdom? Wuuut do you mean I won't be as powerful as the guy that has level 6, 7, 8 and 9 divine spells, I'm outta here.

  • FreshLemonBunFreshLemonBun Member Posts: 644
    In D&D 3rd edition a bard can perform various songs that each provide their own bonuses and reduce the number of remaining bard song uses by one. The song either has a very short duration or it must be maintained in a similar way to a concentration spell, causing a bard to focus on their performance to aid their allies. When the performance stops the bonuses linger for a short duration depending on the song and the bard song feats of the bard.

    The bard song feature in NWN is not anything like that. It is just a single buff that provides a mix of all of the basic D&D bard songs together. It lasts for a number of rounds and does not require any concentration so that a bard can just click on the song and then attack without any case.

    It is not musical theater, it is a magical combat buff that can significantly improve the character's fighting capability. It's like the choice of do you wear the +5 full plate, or do you say nay no magic for me because magical items destroyed my village as a youth. That's certainly a choice that a player can make but it might be a silly choice.

    Shadooow
  • ShadooowShadooow Member Posts: 305
    edited January 12
    tfox said:

    I'd akin his stance to, I wanna play a single class cleric but I don't want to invest more then 15 wisdom, guys is this going to be as strong as a cleric that has 19 Wisdom? Wuuut do you mean I won't be as powerful as the guy that has level 6, 7, 8 and 9 divine spells, I'm outta here.

    Because Heals are full heals and caster level doesn't matter and most of clerical buffs are either for quite long (ability buffs, death ward, neg protection, freedom of movement, bless, weapon+armor buffs) or static duration (divine favor) having just 5 levels of cleric's spells is enough. In a lvl 40 environment you can often see builds like ranger 20+ cleric 11 something as those 11 levels really provide all you need. Of couse it is question whether you want to keep levelling as cleric when you don't get next slots. But still might be worth it for duration and stronger buffs.

    Post edited by Shadooow on
  • Lightmaker89Lightmaker89 Member Posts: 14
    Shadooow said:

    tfox said:

    I'd akin his stance to, I wanna play a single class cleric but I don't want to invest more then 15 wisdom, guys is this going to be as strong as a cleric that has 19 Wisdom? Wuuut do you mean I won't be as powerful as the guy that has level 6, 7, 8 and 9 divine spells, I'm outta here.

    Because Heals are full heals and caster level doesn't matter and most of clerical buffs are either for quite long (ability buffs, death ward, neg protection, freedom of movement, bless, weapon+armor buffs) or static duration (divine favor) having just 5 levels of cleric's spells is enough. In a lvl 40 environment you can often see builds like ranger 20+ cleric 11 something as those 11 levels really provide all you need. Of couse it is question whether you want to keep levelling as cleric when you don't get next slots. But still might be worth it for duration and stronger buffs.
    Interesting. I haven't given much thought to that idea, the cleric as a secondary class with an 11 or 12 level investment. Thread totally derailed, but I don't care. What would a 12 cleric go well with? I'm thinking rogue could be interesting.

  • Nic_MercyNic_Mercy Member Posts: 377
    edited January 17

    Shadooow said:

    tfox said:

    I'd akin his stance to, I wanna play a single class cleric but I don't want to invest more then 15 wisdom, guys is this going to be as strong as a cleric that has 19 Wisdom? Wuuut do you mean I won't be as powerful as the guy that has level 6, 7, 8 and 9 divine spells, I'm outta here.

    Because Heals are full heals and caster level doesn't matter and most of clerical buffs are either for quite long (ability buffs, death ward, neg protection, freedom of movement, bless, weapon+armor buffs) or static duration (divine favor) having just 5 levels of cleric's spells is enough. In a lvl 40 environment you can often see builds like ranger 20+ cleric 11 something as those 11 levels really provide all you need. Of couse it is question whether you want to keep levelling as cleric when you don't get next slots. But still might be worth it for duration and stronger buffs.
    Interesting. I haven't given much thought to that idea, the cleric as a secondary class with an 11 or 12 level investment. Thread totally derailed, but I don't care. What would a 12 cleric go well with? I'm thinking rogue could be interesting.

    I'd mix 4 levels of fighter and 4 levels of rogue pre 20. You'd get 4 attacks per round, weapon specialization Discipline, UMD and Tumble that way. You could also take a few more fighter levels post 20 for epic feats and at least 1 more rogue level (if not more) at 37 for 40 Tumble to get the full AC bonus.

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