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You are here: Home --> Forum Home --> General Forum --> Gaming surveys --> Why We Love to Hate Them: Episode 1- Bards
Parent thread: And yada-yada this is why we can\'t have nice things,...
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Finn Mac Cuel
Regular Visitor
Karma: 11/1
66 Posts

Why We Love to Hate Them: Episode 1- Bards

Cheers Everyone!
I’ve been playing RPGs, in particular D&D, since 1993
In that brief time I’ve been enjoyed many lively debates over the idiosyncrasies that our games offer.

In particular the love-hate relationships that roleplayers have for certain icons, archetypes, and memes.

I’ve decided to start a series of conversational threads entitled “Why we love to hate them”.

The purpose is to once again mull over those proverbial “thorns in our sides” and remind us all why we feel so passionately about them.

So please post your favorite “Love & Hate” opinions, experiences and stories. I'm new to the Inn, so If you'd like to learn more about me check out my Introduction Post in comings and goings.

If you have any suggestions for future episodes of "Why We love to Hate Them" send me a PM. Popular responses will get attention first.

This thread’s victim: BARDS Vibrant passionate debate and witty banter are encouraged.

Disclaimer: This thread is not meant to start a flame war or poke already sensitive feelings. The thoughts expressed by the posts on this thread are solely those of the authors, and do not reflect sentiments of myself or the moderators, especially if they wrong or just plain stoopid.

Posted on 2013-11-12 at 04:39:16.
Edited on 2013-11-12 at 04:39:45 by Finn Mac Cuel

RDI Staff
Karma: 357/190
6192 Posts


I like bards. Come at me.


Posted on 2013-11-12 at 04:42:38.
Edited on 2013-11-12 at 04:43:11 by Grugg

Fun is Mandatory
RDI Staff
Karma: 365/54
6858 Posts

I'll bite

Sure, why not?

This thread probably fits better in gaming surveys, but that's okay. (Moved this to surveys then noticed your post...awkward. -- Grugglington IV)
I think you get a lot of hate from rollplayers (note the spelling) due to the fact that they aren't good at anything. If you want to optimize your build, a bard causes you to wake up in cold sweats.

Note that I throw rocks at those kinds of players, but there it is.

Posted on 2013-11-12 at 04:43:20.
Edited on 2013-11-12 at 04:46:14 by Grugg

Finn Mac Cuel
Regular Visitor
Karma: 11/1
66 Posts

My thoughts

I have never played a bard,… as a player character.

I’ve used at least one, in different iterations, as an NPC that could provide flavorful exposition, back-story and generally annoy the PCs.

But secretly I am a closeted bard lover.

So,… not so secret any more I guess.

As a character class I was first introduced to was the AD&D 1st edition Bard.

It was an optional “prestige class” (though for you younglings who only know the sunset years of 3rd edition, that term hadn’t been created yet) that was tucked all the way in the back of the appendices of the 1st Editon AD&D Players Hand book.

He was a Bad-Ass!
Here’s an excerpt from the original appendix
“…this character class subsumes the functions of two other classes, fighters and thieves, and tops them off with magical abilities; it is often not allowed by Dungeon Masters. Even though this presentation is greatly modified from the original bard character class, it is offered as supplemental to the system, and your DM will be the final arbiter as to the inclusion of bards in your campaign.

Bards begin play as fighters, and they must remain exclusively fighters until they have achieved at least the 5th level of experience. Anytime thereafter, and in any event prior to attaining the 8th level, they must change their class to that of thieves. Again, sometime between 5th and 9th level of ability, bards must leave off thieving and begin clerical studies as druids; but at this time they are actually bards and under druidical tutelage. Bards must fulfill the requirements in all the above classes before progressing to Bards Table I. They must always remain neutral, but can be chaotic, evil, good or lawful neutral if they wish.”

DUDE! A 9th level multi-class Fighter/Thief/ Druid? Dude! Completely BADASS!

If you don’t believe me check out this free downloadable PDF of the AD&D 1st Edition Bard, provided by WotC(and their dark overlords at Hasbro).

Then AD&D 2nd Edition came and ,… well we won’t speak of that sad little creature.

Let’s just say the apple fell Faaar from the tree,…

down a ravine, onto some barren rocks,…

rocks soaked in discarded Melf’s acid,…

and buried in a landslide,…

of Lava.

3rd Edition brought a resurgence of bard players with the flexibility to choose any race, and a few new abilities like Spontaneous Spell Casting, and the ever useful Bardic Knowledge.

The main thing that 3rd Edition D&D did was it gave the bard a much needed personality makeover.

He was no longer reduced to a tone deaf, lute strumming clone of Lil’ Lord Fauntleroy.

A bard could be anything so long as he was a performer.

An orcish tribal drummer, a dwarven baritone chanter, a halfling comedian, a gnomish juggler, a salty sea shanty with a squeeze box and a horn pipe…

And if you really wanted to, a foppish elf with a lute and a raspberry beret.

Still with all that going for him, the stigma remains. And probably always will. Why?

For the same reason that no one who read LotR was able to keep a straight face at Boromir’s Funeral.

Our hero, the undisputed badass of the book, the once and future King of Middle Earth, Aragorn decided that then was the perfect moment for him and Legolas to launch into 2 hours of verbal masturbation in iambic pentameter .

And they wonder why they didn’t catch the Orcs that abducted Merry and Pippin.

So for better or worse that’s my two cents on the topic.

To Recap: I am a closeted bard lover and I hope one day to play one,… WELL.

To any GM that may be reading, consider that a challenge.

Till then, may all your Hits be Crits and may your Fumbles be Epic and worthy of song.


Posted on 2013-11-12 at 05:49:40.
Edited on 2013-11-12 at 07:00:47 by Finn Mac Cuel

RDI Fixture
Karma: 122/12
2005 Posts

I like the type, but not the class (much)

I'm a fan of the performer-type character, but not the bard class (though, truthfully, there are few classes I would want to take all the way through). But, as an archtype, I like the "showman", the "jester", the "ringmaster", the "cheerleader" and the "story-teller".

I've often thought about (but haven't gotten around to putting it to text) creating a travelling troupe of performers (the ringmaster, the strongman, the acrobat/escape artist, the animal tamer and the illusionist) that travelled around Pardinal.

In game mechanics terms, I appreciate what Pathfinder has done for the Bard class with it's "Archtypes".

Posted on 2013-11-12 at 19:32:20.

Finn Mac Cuel
Regular Visitor
Karma: 11/1
66 Posts

What Ayrn Said,...

I've often thought about (but haven't gotten around to putting it to text) creating a travelling troupe of performers (the ringmaster, the strongman, the acrobat/escape artist, the animal tamer and the illusionist) that travelled around Pardinal.

That is Brilliant! I am so stealing that Idea!

In game mechanics terms, I appreciate what Pathfinder has done for the Bard class with it's "Archtypes".

Agreed. Pathfinder gives me warm fuzzies. Their improvments tothe 3.5 system are all things I've considered doing myself.

Posted on 2013-11-13 at 06:57:21.
Edited on 2013-11-13 at 06:59:11 by Finn Mac Cuel

Karma: 138/3
1049 Posts

Bards: A Story

My very first D&D character was a bard.

Which, to tell you the truth, was a bad idea. Actually, my very first D&D game was awful. No one helped me with my character, I never got the rules explained to me, and when we actually played (with an overfull party of seven players) I stood in the back of the party saying things like “I don’t know what I’m doing. Uhh, I’m just going to stand here?” and the rest of the group LET ME DO IT. It’s a miracle that I actually kept playing pen and dice games after that, but I knew I had stumbled into a good thing.

I didn’t play a bard after that first time. I never had a player play one in my games either. It seemed like bards were jacks of all trades and masters of none. Low hit points, no special abilities for combat; more of a “let’s stand in the corner and cheer the team on!” kind of class.

But this year, on Easter, my DM ran an Easter Egg Hunt for myself and a friend. It was then that I decided, what the heck, this is going to be a ridiculously Easter-trope filled game, might as well play a light hearted character to go with it.

So I created a Gnome Bard. My friend created a Halfling Barbarian (Cade, actually, if any of you followed Breaking the Fourth), and we went on a quest for Dragon Eggs. It was third edition and a pretty amazing game, complete with Dire Peep (which Richard ate after its defeat), a hatching red dragon, and a clan of anthropomorphic rabbits. We were captured by this tribe of bunnies, and to make a very long story short, were faced with the choice of killing a dragon that had been plaguing the tribe, or be killed ourselves.

Deciding that death by dragon would be a much more epic fate than death by bunny, so off we went, along with a disgraced member of their tribe, to the mountain where the dragon lived. We were told that the dragon had stolen a vorpal sword from the rabbits; the only condition in coming back was that the sword must be returned but the rest of the hoard was ours.

It was in this moment that I learned a very crucial lesson about bards. You can’t just decide to play one, roll up the stats and be done with it. No no no, you must pick a trope or an archetype and play one. Because the thing about bards is that they aren’t just another class, but a class that demands character development in order to play it successfully. I’m not saying that other classes don’t benefit from developing the character, what I’m saying is that in order to enjoying being a bard you’ve got to create a living breathing character.

Thus my metal bard was born.

We walked into the cave and I immediately fascinated the dragon inside with bardic song. I pulled out my ipad and began playing Tenacious D’s Tribute to set the mood. As I played my lute, both Cade and our rabbit companion edged around either side of the dragon, hoping to flank it and maybe increase our odds. Unfortunately, the dragon saw through our ruse, swallowed the rabbit whole, and told me to keep playing. At this point we switched tracks over to Dragon Force, which is suitably epic for a fight for such a legendary beast.

Cade had gotten the slip on him, and proceeded to jump on the dragon’s back. Why? Who knows. I hid behind a pillar, clutching my lute, weighing my options and thinking about how much bards suck. I dug in my pouch for some blinding powder that I had on me just as the dragon’s head popped around the corner. I threw the powder in his face and then did the only thing a metal bard could have done.

I smashed my lute on its head.
This gave me enough time to escape the gaping maw of certain death. As I ran around the dragon, I noticed where the Vorpal Sword had been hiding underneath its girth. I ran towards it, knowing full well that I couldn’t wield this two handed weapon that was taller than my gnome bard and weighed almost as much. Why? Because bards barely know how which end is the one that goes into the other man.

Or so I had thought, until I remembered taking Master’s Touch, a spell found in the Complete Adventurer, that allows the caster to gain complete proficiency with the weapon or shield held in their hands at the time the spell is cast.

So I ran over, grabbed the sword and cast Master’s Touch. Vorpal swords have a ten percent chance of decapitating the head off of the intended victim. I took my first swing at the dragon and managed to hit it. My DM told me to roll percentage, and that I was aiming low. I released the dice, and they came up 6%. I stared at it, he stared at it, and I timidly ask, “Did I make it?”

“Yup. You just chopped its head off.”

In such an event, my DM likes to have the creature have one last death throw. I held my breath at the DM threw his dice to decide the fate of my little, low hit point character. The dragon’s head toppled from the beast’s neck, opened its mouth, and chomped down on my bard.

I remember thinking, “Oh yeah! If she dies right here, THIS WOULD BE THE MOST EPIC METAL DEATH EVER KNOWN TO A BARD.” A small part of me hoped she would eat it, because what a grand ballad that would make!

The bite took her down past zero hit points, and I was sure she was a goner. But wait! Remember Cade? He had been thrown bodily from the dragon, and managed to rush to my bard’s side and shove a healing potion down her throat just before she hit negative 10. The rabbit that had been swallowed managed to wedge himself in the throat, and when the dragon’s head was chopped off, the rabbit was puked out onto the floor. Cade managed to revive him; he too was a round away from permanent death.

The point of this whole story is that you can’t play a bard like every other meat shield out there. I guarantee if you can look at your encounter and say, “I’m about to make this into the most epic scene known to man,” you’re doing it right, because if death and dismemberment is imminent, IT’S GOING TO BE GLORIOUS.

Posted on 2013-11-17 at 20:50:07.
Edited on 2013-11-17 at 21:25:38 by Celeste

Finn Mac Cuel
Regular Visitor
Karma: 11/1
66 Posts

This is just tribute,...

EPIC! Now THAT's Doing it right!

My Gods there is so much Bard love going on right now I just wanna squeee!

Anyone got anymore Bardtacular tales?

Posted on 2013-11-18 at 06:13:33.
Edited on 2013-11-18 at 06:28:22 by Finn Mac Cuel

Eol Fefalas
Keeper of the Kazari
RDI Staff
Karma: 462/28
8497 Posts

Epic indeed!

Metal Bards FTW!

Couldn't help but think of the old "El Kabong" episodes of "Quickdraw McGraw" while reading that.

Posted on 2013-11-18 at 17:44:18.

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