BR:Bard

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A Breton bard plays a joyous tune in a tavern.
Bard
Personality | Agility
Bard class symbol
Difficulty
Offense
Defense
Support
2 stars
2 stars
2 stars
4 stars
5e Base Class | Full Spellcaster

Class Overview. The Bard is a spellcasting class specializing in aiding others through weaving song and music into their magic.
Bardic Inspiration. Allows you to aid allies in their attribute checks and saves.
Magical Secrets. Allows you to learn any spell from any spell list.

Humming as she traces her fingers over an ancient monument in a long-forgotten ruin, a Bosmer in rugged leathers finds knowledge springing into her mind, conjured forth by the magic of her song— knowledge of the people who constructed the monument and the mythic saga it depicts.

A stern Imperial soldier bangs his sword rhythmically against his scale mail, setting the tempo for his war chant and exhorting his companions to bravery and heroism. The magic of his song fortifies and emboldens them.

Laughing as she tunes her cittern, a Nord weaves her subtle magic over the assembled nobles, ensuring that her companions’ words will be well received.

Whether scholar, skald, or scoundrel, a bard weaves magic through words and music to inspire allies, demoralize foes, manipulate minds, create illusions, and even heal wounds.

Magic and Music

In the world of Nirn, words and music are not just vibrations of air, but vocalizations with power all their own. The bard is a master of song, speech, and the magic they contain. Bards say that the Mundus was spoken into existence, that the words of the et’Ada gave it shape, and that echoes of these primordial Words of Creation still resound throughout both Aetherius and Oblivion. The music of bards is an attempt to snatch and harness those echoes, subtly woven into their spells and powers.

The greatest strength of bards is their sheer versatility. Many bards prefer to stick to the sidelines in combat, using their magic to inspire their allies and hinder their foes from a distance. But bards are capable of defending themselves in melee if necessary, using their magic to bolster their swords and armor. Their spells lean toward charms and illusions rather than blatantly destructive spells. They have a wide-ranging knowledge of many subjects and a natural aptitude that lets them do almost anything well. Bards become masters of the talents they set their minds to perfecting, from musical performance to esoteric knowledge.

Learning from Experience

True bards are not common in Tamriel. Not every minstrel singing in a tavern or jester cavorting in a royal court is a bard. Discovering the magic hidden in music requires hard study and some measure of natural talent that most troubadours and jongleurs lack. It can be hard to spot the difference between these performers and true bards, though. A bard’s life is spent wandering across the land gathering lore, telling stories, and living on the gratitude of audiences, much like any other entertainer. But a depth of knowledge, a level of musical skill, and a touch of magic set bards apart from their fellows.

Only rarely do bards settle in one place for long, and their natural desire to travel—to find new tales to tell, new skills to learn, and new discoveries beyond the horizon—makes an adventuring career a natural calling. Every adventure is an opportunity to learn, practice a variety of skills, enter long-forgotten tombs, discover lost works of magic, decipher old tomes, travel to strange places, or encounter exotic creatures. Bards love to accompany heroes to witness their deeds firsthand. A bard who can tell an awe-inspiring story from personal experience earns renown among other bards. Indeed, after telling so many stories about heroes accomplishing mighty deeds, many bards take these themes to heart and assume heroic roles themselves.

Creating a Bard

Bards thrive on stories, whether those stories are true or not. Your character’s background and motivations are not as important as the stories that he or she tells about them. Perhaps you had a secure and mundane childhood. There’s no good story to be told about that, so you might paint yourself as an orphan raised by a hag in a dismal swamp. Or your childhood might be worthy of a story. Some bards acquire their magical music through extraordinary means, including the inspiration of fey or other supernatural creatures.

Did you serve an apprenticeship, studying under a master, following the more experienced bard until you were ready to strike out on your own? Or did you attend a college where you studied bardic lore and practiced your musical magic? Perhaps you were a young runaway or orphan, befriended by a wandering bard who became your mentor. Or you might have been a spoiled noble child tutored by a master. Perhaps you stumbled into the clutches of a hag, making a bargain for a musical gift in addition to your life and freedom, but at what cost?

The Bard

Level Proficiency Bonus Class Features Cantrips Known Spells Known Magicka Points Spell Level
1 +2 Spellcasting, Bardic Inspiration (d6) 2 4 4 1st
2 +2 Jack of all Trades, Song of Rest (d6) 2 5 6 1st
3 +2 Bard College, Expertise 2 6 14 2nd
4 +2 Attribute Score Improvement 3 7 17 2nd
5 +3 Bardic Inspiration (d8), Font of Inspiration 3 8 27 3rd
6 +3 Countercharm, Bard College Feature 3 9 32 3rd
7 +3 - 3 10 38 4th
8 +3 Attribute Score Improvement 3 11 44 4th
9 +4 Song of Rest (d8) 4 12 57 5th
10 +4 Bardic Inspiration (d10), Expertise, Magical Secrets 4 14 64 5th
11 +4 - 4 15 73 6th
12 +4 Attribute Score Improvement 4 15 73 6th
13 +5 Song of Rest (d10) 4 16 83 7th
14 +5 Bard College Feature, Magical Secrets 4 18 83 7th
15 +5 Bardic Inspiration (d12) 4 19 94 8th
16 +5 Attribute Score Improvement 4 19 94 8th
17 +6 Song of Rest (d12) 4 20 107 9th
18 +6 Magical Secrets 4 22 114 9th
19 +6 Attribute Score Improvement 4 22 123 9th
20 +6 Superior Inspiration (d10) 4 22 133 9th
If your group uses the optional rules on multiclassing in the 5e Core Rules and the Basic Rules, here’s what you need to know if you choose bard as one of your classes.

Attribute Score Minimum. As a multiclass character, you must have at least an Personality score of 13 to take a level in this class, or to take a level in another class if you are already a bard.

Proficiencies Gained. If bard isn’t your initial class, here are the proficiencies you gain when you take your first level as a bard: light armor, long blades, marksman, short blades, and three musical instruments of your choice.

Magicka Points. Add all your levels in the bard class to the appropriate levels from other classes to determine your available magicka.

Quick Build

You can make a bard quickly by following these suggestions. First, Personality should be your highest attribute score, followed by Agility. Second, choose the entertainer background. Third, choose the dancing lights and vicious mockery cantrips, along with the following 1st level spells: charm person, detect magic, healing word, and thunderwave.

Class Features

Hit Points
Hit Dice 1d8 per Bard level
HP at 1st Level 8 + your Endurance modifier
HP at Higher Levels 1d8 (or 5) + your Endurance modifier per Bard level after 1st
Proficiencies
Armor Light armor
Weapons long blades, marksman, and short blades
Tools Three musical instruments of your choice
Saving Throws Agility, Personality
Skills Choose any three.
Equipment
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
  • leather armor and a dagger
  • (a) a rapier or (b) a longsword
  • (a) a diplomat's pack or (b) an entertainer's pack
  • (a) a lute or (b) any other musical instrument

As a bard, you gain the following class features.

Spellcasting

1st-level bard feature

You have learned to untangle and reshape the fabric of reality in harmony with your wishes and music. Your spells are part of your vast repertoire, magic that you can tune to different situations. See chapter 10 of the Basic Rules for the general rules of spellcasting and chapter 11 for the bard spell list.

Cantrips (0-Level Spells)

You know two cantrips of your choice from the bard spell list. You learn additional bard cantrips of your choice at higher levels, as shown in the Cantrips Known column of the Bard table.

Magicka

The Bard table shows how much magicka you have to cast your bard spells of 1st level and higher. To cast one of these spells, you must expend magicka, as noted in the spell's description and the Magicka Cost table found in chapter 10 of the Basic Rules. You regain all expended magicka when you finish a long rest. For example, if you know the 1st-level spell cure wounds and have a spell level of 2nd, you can use magicka to cast cure wounds at either level.

Spells Known of 1st Level and Higher

You know four 1st-level spells of your choice from the bard spell list.

The Spells Known column of the Bard table shows when you learn more bard spells of your choice. Each of these spells must be of a level for which you can cast, as shown on the table's Spell Level column for your bard level. For instance, when you reach 3rd level in this class, you can learn one new spell of 1st or 2nd level.

Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the bard spells you know and replace it with another spell from the bard spell list, which also must be of a level that you can cast.

Whenever you finish a long rest, you can replace one spell you learned from this Spellcasting feature with another spell from the bard spell list. The new spell must be the same level as the spell you replace.

Spellcasting Attribute

Personality is your spellcasting attribute for your bard spells. Your magic comes from the heart and soul you pour into the performance of your music or oration. You use your Personality whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting attribute. In addition, you use your Personality modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a bard spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.

Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Personality modifier
Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Personality modifier

Ritual Casting

You can cast any bard spell you know as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag.

Bardic Inspiration

1st-level bard feature

You can inspire others through your stirring words or music. To do so, you use a bonus action on your turn to choose one creature, other than yourself, within 60 feet of you who can hear you. That creature gains one Bardic Inspiration die, a d6.

Once within the next 10 minutes, the creature can roll the die and add the number rolled to one ability check, attack roll, or saving throw it makes. The creature can wait until after it rolls the d20 before deciding to use the Bardic Inspiration die, but must decide before the GM says whether the roll succeeds or fails. Once the Bardic Inspiration die is rolled, it is lost. A creature can have only one Bardic Inspiration die at a time.

You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Personality modifier (a minimum of once). You regain any expended uses when you finish a long rest.

Your Bardic Inspiration die changes when you reach certain levels in the class. The die becomes a d8 at 5th level, a d10 at 10th level, and a d12 at 15th level.

Jack of All Trades

2nd-level bard feature

You can add half your proficiency bonus, rounded down, to any ability check you make that doesn't already include your proficiency bonus.

Song of Rest

2nd-level bard feature

You can use soothing music or oration to help revitalize your wounded allies during a short rest. If you or any friendly creatures who can hear your performance regain hit points at the end of the short rest by spending one more more Hit Dice, each of those creatures regains an extra 1d6 hit points.

The extra hit points increase when you reach certain levels in the class to 1d8 at 9th level, to 1d10 at 13th level, and to 1d12 at 17th level.

Bard College

3rd-level bard feature

You delve into the advanced techniques of a bard college of your choice. Additionally, you can choose any bard's Bard College outlined in the 5e Core Rules. Your choice grants you features at 3rd level and again at 6th and 14th level.

Bard College Source
College of Courtesy Legionnaire's Guide to Cyrodiil
College of Divines Legionnaire's Guide to Cyrodiil
College of Reveries Basic Rules
College of Solitude Basic Rules

Expertise

3rd-level bard feature

Choose two of your skill proficiencies. Your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make that uses either of the chosen proficiencies.

At 10th level, you can choose another two skill proficiencies to gain this benefit.

Attribute Score Improvement

4th-level bard feature

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one attribute score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two attribute scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an attribute score above 20 using this feature.

Font of Inspiration

5th-level bard feature

You regain all of your expended uses of Bardic Inspiration when you finish a short or long rest.

Countercharm

6th-level bard feature

You gain the ability to use musical notes or words of power to disrupt mind-influencing effects. As an action, you can start a performance that lasts until the end of your next turn. During that time, you and any friendly creatures within 30 feet of you have advantage on saving throws against being frightened or charmed. A creature must be able to hear you to gain the benefit, The performance ends early if you are incapacitated or silenced or if you voluntarily end it (no action required).

Magical Secrets

10th-level bard feature

You have plundered magical knowledge from a wide spectrum of disciplines. Choose two spells from any classes, including this one. A spell you choose must be a level you can cast, as shown on the Bard table, or a cantrip.

The chosen spells count as bard spells for you and are included in the number in the Spells Known column of the Bard table.

You learn two additional spells from any classes at 14th level and again at 18th level.

Superior Inspiration

20th-level bard feature

When you roll initiative and have no uses of Bardic Inspiration left, you regain one use.

Bard Colleges

The way of a bard is gregarious. Bards seek each other out to swap songs and stories, boast of their accomplishments, and share their knowledge. Bards form loose associations, which they call colleges, to facilitate their gatherings and preserve their traditions.

Diplomats, ambassadors, and negotiators understand the importance of appearances and when words can be more powerful than a sword. Bards of the College of Courtesy use their talents in speechcraft to make connections with virtually anyone. They can speak to royalty with confidence while also blending in with the common rabble, allowing them to gain favor with all manners of people.
Gifted in the art of oratory, a Speaker of the Divines devotes themselves to spreading the worship of the Imperial Temple through song, dance, and art. They are given gifts from the patron that smiles upon them the most, who demands little more than respect and praise. Unlike priests and crusaders, these individuals do not necessarily drive their life by every wish, whim, and tenet set by the divines but they accomplish little deeds across Tamriel.
Bards of the College of Reveries are renowned performers and artists. All members of the college are handpicked for their passion and are taught to live for the love of their craft, and for the thrill of the performance.

Unlike many other colleges, those who study under the Grand Maestro are encouraged to discard their identities and take on a new persona. All of the players in the College of Reveries wear anonymous painted masks and take up new names, often associated with their act.

Any bard willing to remove the shackles of selfishness to live solely for the art will find a place in the college. They use their anonymity to gain a thousand faces, though they never show their own.
High in the frigid north, the College of Solitude is found in the city of the same name, the capital of Skyrim. Living and studying in the north comes with its own challenges, and the bards that attend this college are taught how to endure the harsh conditions while rallying their allies to keep pushing through.

Optional: Community Subclasses

For those that seek to expand upon the available possibilities for this class, there exist several options among the community subclasses. The existing community creations may surprise you and can add a new perspective to your adventures in Tamriel. The community subclasses have yet to be playtested and will require permission to use from your GM.