How to tie in a bard?

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Hello everyone!  I've been playing for a little while (3.5), but am pretty new to DMing.  I'm running a campaign soon.  It is set in a generic D and D setting, where many of the worlds kingdoms are involved in a large war (Human/Dwarf/Elf/Halfling Alliance vs. Human/Drow Alliance).  Much of the campaign revolves around the war, so I need a way to tie all the characters into the war.

There are five PCs.  The warmage, the cleric, and the paladin are already affiliated with the military (self-enlisted or conscripted).  I already have plans for the ranger.  My main problem is the bard.  I need to find someway to affiliate him with a military special force.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!
I suppose it all depends on how the bard is portrayed.  For example, a singing and dancing bard won't fit quite as well as a poet or writer.  Heck, the bard could be a writer that is adventuring in order to someday write a book on the experiences.
Just because his class is 'bard' doesn't mean he can't be a soldier.  His talents may be unusual if he's a traditional bard, but there's no reason whatsoever he can't sign up with the military.  Just the fact that he's got regular PC levels, as opposed to NPC levels, is sufficient for anybody to want to bump him into a special forces unit.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
My google-fu is lacking at the moment so I don't have any specific links but in many ancient militaries music played a large role.  I remember hearing/reading about how spartans would have music as they marched to battle.

A more recent example would be how in the American Civil War they used bugle calls to signal retreat, charge, etc...

Now I'm not familiar with 3.5's bard but with the 4E Bard its pretty easy to flavor it as someone not playing music.  I saw someone create Malcolm Reynolds from Firefly as a snarky, insult and one-liner spouting bard.

 

Now I'm not familiar with 3.5's bard but with the 4E Bard its pretty easy to flavor it as someone not playing music.  I saw someone create Malcolm Reynolds from Firefly as a snarky, insult and one-liner spouting bard.

 



Significantly harder; all bard spells require somatic (spoken) components, and several prime Bardic abilities require ranks in, and the use of, the Perform skill.  I did manage to pull it off once, though ... I took my Perform skill as Oratory, and didn't take any 'music' spells, just buff spells and spells that were tactical like Dispel Magic or Tactical Precision that made my allies work together better.

In other words, I invented the Warlord. ;)
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Spy.
Tolkein was a jerk. Seriously, what DM sends 9 Wraith Lords at a Lvl 2 party of Halflings. The only 'correct' way to play D&D is by whatever method is making the group you have at that session, have the most fun.
Spy.

I'd say spy or faceman of the unit, with a bit of scholar. The units information gatherer and infiltrator. Likewise for combat itself other than being the magical support of the unit, the bard could also be the moral centre for the group (scottish pipers were a morale aid to units in the napolionic era) as well as information transfers for the unit.

Also a rousing battle song was also used to boost morale in the napolionic era as the unit moved into battle, likewise with rousing speeches, so the bard could still use his capabilities.

I can see a lot of scope for the bard in this scenario, using disguises, sneaking into enemy villages and unlocking important gates to allow the group in for the assault. Using his fascinate and suggestion to get past the gate guard with the 'jedi mind trick'. Lots of bardic options.

GOT IT!!! Military Intelligence and unit Support. The SAS have specialists like this, same for Delta Force like in The Unit series. To be honest the bard character has a ridiculous amount of applications for a unit.

Historically, the bard of ancient\celtic britain did move from court to court gathering info as he attended noble courts to entertain, then pass the information to parties he is allied to.
Well, let's see.  Bards are skilled melee combatants.  Not as good as fighters, of course, but at least as skilled and deadly as your typical soldier, all other things being equal.

Bardic spells cover a wide range of support, offense, and utility.  Even the "mundane" ability to magically close a wound instantaneously via Cure Light Wounds is a miraculous and rare power to have on your side in a war, and is more than enough to qualify you for a higher pay grade.  And bards have far more potent spells than that.

And depending on which skills and spells they focus on, bards likely simultaneously better at diplomacy, stealth, infiltration, general knowledge, military history and tactics, healing, general knowledge, and intelligence-gathering than any other rank-and-file, NPC-classed soldier. 

And finally, bards are excellent front-line leaders since their bardic music ability (which doesn't actually have to be "music") makes every of your soldiers within earshot better than their soldiers.  Bards are the type of characters that are remembered in the history books for the legendary leadership abilities.

Soldier, spy, doctor, assassin, scout, diplomat, scholar, leader.  I'm not seeing the problem here.  Are you having an issue narrowing down which military special force the bard could belong to?
Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
The USO travels to military bases to entertain the troops. Something like that maybe? Or depending on his perform skill, make him the morale officer. He could recite tales of heroism and glory the night before a battle.
A musician, be they a horn blower, a drummer or something less common have been used in war. 
And any user of magic can be forgiven for being eccentric, that is expected to a degree from your average fantasy spellcaster, you just tolerate it because it is far, far better than that mad necromancer who razes your villages while plotting for world domination. 

Warlord.jpg
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The pen is mightier than the character builder. Copy this to your sig if you like 4e but don't use the CB.
   I suppose it all depends on your player's vision for the bard.

  The Bard is a natural born leader, inspiring her men to fight with efficiency and longevity.  Her charasmatic demeanor makes her ideal for batlefield leadership roles.  Her propensity for study of ancient sagas, folklore, and military lore all make her an exceptional tactician.  The ring of steel during battle is her melody, chanting or singing ancient warsongs that inspire her men to fight bravely in honor of ancient warriors.  Her fighting prowess is unquestioned, her voice menacing and terrifying to opponents, able to call up magics from within ancient stories so eloquently sung.  Proficiency with many musical instruments only increases the power of her ability to relate sagas and turn them into magical energies from years gone by.  Outside of combat the Bard is equally talented.  Her skills in diplomacy or intimidation can open doors for the Bard and her companions that might otherwise remain closed.  Her thirst for knowledge love of history makes her a driven ally, and nearly any adventure can inspire the Bard in her quest to uncover the mystery of ancient sagas.  Her exceptional martial skills, diplomacy, and leadership ability have placed her in a very special group of soldiers.....

-and/or-

  The Bardic Order supplies the immediate honor guard and de-facto advisors to the King.  They must be equally comfortable in diplomatic and militaristic pursuits.  Bard's serve many years under the tutelage of the elders, and must serve mandatory terms in the military to gain the skills needed to fulfill the entirety of their duties.  Bard's are few, requiring keen understanding of history and diplomacy, exceptional charisma/leadership/people skills, and martial prowess as final line defenders of their King.  The training is rigorous and not for the feint of heart, drafted into units that see lots of combat to best use their unique abilities. 

a couple ideas anyway.
A bard could fit in very well as an excellent asset.  They can enhance the combat abilities of everyone within about 30', alter combat conditions with grease/glitterdust/illusions/etc, and can do some healing while still being able to fight moderately well.  Alternately they are versatile enough that they could be very valuable in a small strike team.  The party could potentially run into one (the pc) operating on their own on a mission and team up. 

You might also want to take a look at the Variant Bard in the Book of Eldritch Might 2 and the Knight of the Chord PRC.  I think these are kindof cool myself.