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D&D 3E
Bards and Classes 
13th-Oct-2004 11:08 am
What's with everyone's beef about the bard? It seems no one has anything good to say about this class.

In your opinion, what is the favored class of 3rd edition, and the worst class? I dread the mass response of bard being the class nobody likes.
13th-Oct-2004 11:10 am (UTC)
I'm playing a bard character now (well, with a single level of fighter) and he's a lot of fun. He's able to hold his own in combat, and I must say the entire party LOVES the inspire courage ability (I mean, +1 to hit and damage? Every time we roll inititative something asks "are you singing yet?").

My favorite class seems to be the barbarian. I'm not sure why. I think raging is pretty fun, and some of the later abilities are pretty spiffy. But I really am enjoying my bard, so that might be a close second.

My least favorite class is probably the cleric, just because I don't play clerics. I don't think they're weak, I just don't like playing them. I also don't really like playing wizards in 3e, but I think that will change once Complete Arcane comes out and I can find some direction for a character :p.
13th-Oct-2004 11:18 am (UTC)
The chocobo from Final Fantasy Unlimited. I love that icon.

Really, the cleric is your least favorite? That's actually my favorite class. The bard is like a mid-ranged class for me to pick, but I just have tons of players/friends who all think it's the worst creation in D&D history. I personally am not a big fan of the rogue, although I think they're useful. I just don't like playing them.

I'm always the healer when I'm a player, though. ^_^

It's nice to hear from a bard player that they like the class! Go bard!
(Deleted comment)
13th-Oct-2004 11:20 am (UTC)
I played a modified 3e bard for 17 levels, and I loved her. I think a well planned bard is a good thing. Although she was only somewhat useful in combat, outside of combat she was versitle and seemed to always be saying "Oh, I can do that."

I'd look into prestiege classes early though, if you're playing 3.0, as after about 8th level a Bard doesn't really "Grow" that much. I took mine into Virtuoso (from Song and Silence) and then a cleric/bard hybrid class I created, since my bard ended up being the main healer.

The main modification we made, though, was taking the 3.5 rule where a bard in light armor suffers no Arcane Spell Failure penalty. This ended up being pretty necessary for survival.

A few spells I found particularly useful as a bard:

All of the healing spells she could get at every level.
Leomund's Secure Shelter - nothing rocks better than a nearly garunteed night of sleep.
Haste (Duh!)

The Lingering song feat is also very useful.
13th-Oct-2004 11:49 am (UTC)
Thank you for the pointers on the bard. If I don't have a player that picks one, I intend on introducing an NPC with this class to show my closed minded players just how versatile of a class this can be. I think it got a bad rap from 2nd edition.
13th-Oct-2004 11:22 am (UTC)
The big issue with the Bard class is the slow magic progression.

The Bard abilities are neat, bardic music keeps getting used for inspire courage. The other songs are useful, but rarely seem to come up in games I play. THe other bard abilities, namely magic, has a very slow progression. They have 3 areas of expertise, and never get truly good at any of them.

Bards compare closest to Rangers. Same skill points, a blend of magic, special abilities and skills. Bards are a little up on the magic side, but way behind on the combat side. As for special abilities, the Ranger track usually seems more powerful than the Bardic Music. In my opinion, Bard's should advance on the spell progression a little faster, for a better balance.
13th-Oct-2004 11:56 am (UTC)
My favorite class... I'd have to go with Rogue. They get a ton of skill points, and they can focus in different areas:
  • Cat-burglar (open locks, disable device, and search)
  • Scout (spot, listen, hide)
  • Negotiator (appraise, bluff, diplomacy, intimidate, sense motive)

Least favorite class is Monk. I have an issue with martial arts in standard occidental D&D. I don't like the way they're designed, the way they're implemented, etc.
13th-Oct-2004 12:07 pm (UTC)
I had a DM who felt the same way about martial arts during 2nd edition and forbid the monk from the Spells and Magic expansion.
13th-Oct-2004 11:57 am (UTC)
the bard... i think that the reason so many old school gamers dislike the bard is because of the change from the first edition uber-bard to the wimpy second edition mage/theif thing they turned into, and are now in 3e or 3.5. i never played a bard and don't have much use for them, except in baldur's gate when its always nice to have someone who can identify everything. i'll have an opportunity to play soon, i've been dming, and i've been trying to think of what to play. i want to go for something different as i've always been sucked into being a rogue or a mage, not because i particularly like either class but because no one else wanted to be either. i had an interesting idea for a drow monk, but there are no drow in this game, so i was thinking about making a ninja type monk, heavy on the stealth skills. i NEVER play a warrior type so i was also thinking of going for a paladin. at any rate, your post has me considering playing a bard now. but before i go there, why don't you explain why you like the bard. i'm just not sure how to play one, what sort of a concept to make. my favorite part of character creation is making a history, coming up with a good concept. i just always draw a blank when it comes to a bard. i guess i personally can't relate to the class.
13th-Oct-2004 12:05 pm (UTC)
I enjoy the bard because of its benefit to large groups. I feel the bard is the perfect "fifth class," so to say, after there's been the standard rogue, cleric, wizard, fighter (or equivalents to these four such as paladin in place of fighter, sorcerer in place of wizard, etc.) Bards, as mentioned in the post, are role-playing heavy. They're not as good in battle because they don't specializing in magic or fighting, but during scenarios where you need that oddball skill or someone needs to handle a situation with their versatility, a bard is perfect. They can do a little of everything. I also think they are a lifesaver when one person can't make it to a game; they can heal if the cleric can't show that session, they can cast haste and other small arcanes if the sorcerer can't show, etc. They are, in all standards, a group crutch. And role-playing the storyteller, the person always seeking to make legendary stories out of themselves instead of further good or find treasure, is a refreshing change from the ultimate motives of other classes.

And, of course, I like the bard because it is the underdog. I like proving that all classes have potential, and playing what other people are not comfortable with. The bard is often overlooked when it brings so much potential to a group that always seems to be missing that special something.
13th-Oct-2004 11:58 am (UTC)
The bard is my favorite class for an investigator type character. For a pure roleplaying campaign-- it is awesome, because you get a good range of skills, you can fight a little, cast a few spells, and even heal a little. I guess overall I like it second or third best.

But for pure flash I like the wizard or sorcerer best.

There's really no best or worst for me, just what I like the best.
13th-Oct-2004 12:00 pm (UTC)
It makes me feel so much more at ease to hear praise about the bard. Perhaps I should pose to the players the benefits of the bard for role-playing purposes (since my campaign isn't just a hack and slash, I found the bard to be quite powerful.)
13th-Oct-2004 12:14 pm (UTC)
I think my main gripe with the bard is the fact that the core version has a bunch of nifty abilities but doesn't excel at any of them. Normally I love the 'jack of all trades, master of none', but I feel the basic bard is the 'jack of all trades, but can't really do any of them that well at all'.

Maybe it's just the environment I play in, but I don't care for them. Guess it's just not for me.

However, once you define a roll and tack on a nice PrC you can turn a bard into a great piece of group utility.

As for my favourite class, I'm torn between fighter and rogue. I do also love playing a caster once and a while (I'm currently playing an enchantress who's sitting with nine classes at level twelve... long story).

Class I can't stand? Barbarian. Does not do a /single/ think for me.
13th-Oct-2004 12:15 pm (UTC)
Ahem. Define a /role/. Guess the roll-player in me got out ;)
13th-Oct-2004 01:44 pm (UTC) - bard fan
The Bard is actually one of my favorite classes, especially in campaigns with a significant amount of ROLE-playing. The type of DM really makes or breaks the class, though.

IMO, it's the most flexible core class and suits my tendency to take on the leadership role whenever I'm in a group of non-team players and/or hack-and-slashers. After 5th level, I'd generally opt to multi-class or go with a rogue-oriented PRC.

Least favorite is the Monk. I just don't get them contextually, even within the almost-anything-goes Forgotten Realms setting.
13th-Oct-2004 01:47 pm (UTC)
so i'm thinking about playing a bard, but i don't like the ideas i'm coming up with. the tough guy wise cracky indiana jones thing isn't working for me. and i don't like the traditional wandering minstrel who for some reason can cast spells deal. AND i have a history of using sorcerers as semi-divine spell casters. the source of their arcane magic is divine, or they pose as sorcerer priests, that sort of thing. so i had this idea, what about a divine bard, a worshipper of loki or some other trickster god. i know i'll be starting at at least third level, so i'm thinking first level bard, for the skill points, second level multi as sorcerer for some more spells, and so i can have a raven familiar, then onward as a bard. so he worships a trickster god, moseys about causing trouble, likes to sing, has a raven familiar... yeah, this i kind of like. i'm thinking... halfling. maybe gnome since their pref-class is bard, and they get nifty spell-like abilities. mmm... gotta crunch numbers and see which i like better, gnome or halfling.
13th-Oct-2004 01:57 pm (UTC)
Go gnomes!
13th-Oct-2004 03:02 pm (UTC) - sorry
not to piss you off, but bards really do suck in my opinion. however, if ur managing a big group of like, eight, bards really can help.
13th-Oct-2004 03:04 pm (UTC) - Re: sorry
AHA! That was the "bard sucks ass, why don't you play a rogue" response I was looking for. The old school way of thinking, it is.

And here I was all hyped up by everyone praising the class in this thread. It was a healthy change, for once. :p
13th-Oct-2004 03:11 pm (UTC)
I think the bard was kind of weak in 3e, but I really like them in 3.5. I feel the same way about the Ranger and Druid actually.

My favorite class really is Wizard, given the variety of ways you could take it. Cleric is a close second. My least favorite I guess is Barbarian, I seem to keep sidestepping them as choices. I guess if I want to mash things, I like the feat juggling of the fighter better.
13th-Oct-2004 03:27 pm (UTC)
My favorite campaign was the all bard campaign. We all played different versions of the bard focused on different areas. We had a thieving bard, a spellcasting bard, a healing bard, a fighter bard, a ranged bard and a straight support character bard. We were only allowed to gain a non bard class for every five bard levels so that we just didn't take a bard level and called our char a bard.
13th-Oct-2004 03:29 pm (UTC)
That's hilarious. How long did that campaign run?
13th-Oct-2004 03:35 pm (UTC)
Oh I suppose I should add what character I hate I like the most. I love the monk because it is so easy to twink esp with psionics. Well hte old book don't know about the expanded psionics handbook. And my least favorite is the Paladin because I always have such a hard time roleplaying it well.
13th-Oct-2004 03:41 pm (UTC)
Bards are a bad class IMHO, because where's the fun in giving everybody else a +1 to stuff? I'd much rather, and I'm sure most other players would rather do something themselves. This is the same reason I refuse to play Clerics, ever since my Cleric of Kord. People expect and even demand you to heal, when they could just as easily withdraw, without you having to maneuver through 30 attacks of opportunity to attempt to cast a healing spell on them. But hey, you're the cleric, that's your job! Phooey.

That said, I've been seriously considering playing another Cleric, and refusing to heal party members, and taking advantage of their ability to wear armor, and have an amazing spell list - other than healing - for a while now. Going through with a Druid and using some of the spells they share has confirmed that it could be mediocre at the very least.

But back to the subject at hand...Bards. Again, I don't like them. Rogues, to my mind, are more jack of all trades, AND more useful in their niche. I've seen half a dozen people decide to play a Bard, then just end up multi classing, and then advancing that more than they do the Bard. Our groups are usually under sized and under strength, so we tend to need to multi class anyway, but in classes that give you a wide range of abilities AND have their specific strengths too - Rangers, Rogues, Fighters being the most common.

The one thing I do admire in the Bard is his ability to be relatively self sufficient as far healing goes. Same with Paladins, Rangers, and Druids - they get enough healing to take care of themselves, but usually not enough to take care of the rest of the party. But even in those cases, all the other listed classes get better hit points, better attacks, and I believe better saves. They also get what amounts to more useful abilities, IMHO. Even the Bardic Knowledge thing is all but useless. If you need to know something, you can find out with the proper application of cash, which a Rogue can acquire, a Cleric can borrow from a Church, and anybody else can fight or cast for, usually.

Maybe if we had 8 people parties I'd feel differently, but our average is 3, 2 isn't entirely uncommon, and 4 is the max. With those numbers, there just isn't room for some dude to stand there and add +1 to our hit and damage rolls :-\.
13th-Oct-2004 06:11 pm (UTC)
I quite like the 3.5 bard, even though I wasn't keen on 3rd ed version, they're definately a good roleplay class.
My favourite would be fighter, just because I like the versatility of the feats. As to least, I'd probably say that I don't like playing rogues, even though they're one of the "harder" classes; I'm not massively keen on monks or barbarians either, mostly because they're just fighters from a different angle.
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