Creating an Enabling Bard

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I want to build a Bard because I like the flavor, but since I dislike long combats I want to focus on enabling allies to make more attacks and make more accurate and damaging attacks. The class is pretty wide-open so I'm looking for advice on how to proceed.

The build has to meet these prerequisites:
- Human or human-like race (for example deva)
- Focus on ranged weapon and implement attacks (so no Valor and Warchanter)

This is what I've been thinking about so far:
- Virtue of Prescience for Rhyme of the Bloodseeking Blade, Karmic Shaper and an encounter feature that lets me save an ally from a hit (heroic) or turn a miss into a hit and grant a basic attack (paragon).
- Echoing Weapon and Staggering Note for a sort-of double attack opening move each fight.

Is this a good way to go, or are there better ways to create Warlord-like Bards?
That's basically the way, yeah.

The best enabling bard IMHO is the War Chanter, though, so Valourous all the way if you're expecting to last long enough to make that work.  +6/+6 for most of most combats >>>> granting attacks.  It's even better when you can do both.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
Echoing Songblade dagger gives you a ranged weapon :D

Bargle wrote:
This is CharOp. We not only assume block-of-tofu monsters, but also block-of-tofu DMs.
 

Zelink wrote:
You're already refluffing, why not refluff to something that doesn't suck?
Of course, Cunning Bards are great at enabling allies who have Agile Opportunist, but that's party-dependent.
A Half-Elf Valorous Bard MC Warlord/Sidhe Lord/War Chanter/Warmaster is pretty awesome. You mainly take Sidhe Lord for the amazing level 2 utility which lets you take an action point from an ally and grant that ally a standard action. Since you can spend 2 AP's per encounter and grant huge damage buffs and extra actions when you spend an AP thanks to War Chanter and Warmaster, this build is awesome for enabling starting at level 11+.
So I could basically be a Valorous bard for the PP, ignore all the melee powers in favor of ranged weapon and implement stuff, and just go nuts with War Chanter and attack granting every encounter? Feels a little silly, but then War Chanter is a silly paragon path so I guess it makes sense.
You're Valorous moral support, right behind the guys doing the heavy lifting.

Bargle wrote:
This is CharOp. We not only assume block-of-tofu monsters, but also block-of-tofu DMs.
 

Zelink wrote:
You're already refluffing, why not refluff to something that doesn't suck?
MUSH!  MUSH!  Also:  This if it'll help at all.  Had some help from some of the more brilliant minds here in CharOp over some Warchanter questions.
I've had a build I've been playing for a long time, never posted it:
Valor Bard/War Chanter/Eternal Seeker

MC Cleric, Warlord, Shaman

Dilletante for Magic Weapon (later for eldtrich strike)

Horde APs as much as possible (Heroic Interjection, Vistani Foresight, Symbol of Victory)

Then use Hail of Steel, Spirit of the Ram, and Valorous charge all the time for funsies. 
10/10 Would Flame Again: An Elite Paladin|Warlock The Elemental Man (or Woman): A Genasi Handbook The Warlord, Or How to Wield a Barbarian One-Handed The Bookish Barbarian Fardiz: RAI is fairly clear, but RAZ is different That's right. Rules According to Zelink!
I've had a build I've been playing for a long time, never posted it:
Valor Bard/War Chanter/Eternal Seeker

MC Cleric, Warlord, Shaman

Dilletante for Magic Weapon (later for eldtrich strike)

Horde APs as much as possible (Heroic Interjection, Vistani Foresight, Symbol of Victory)

Then use Hail of Steel, Spirit of the Ram, and Valorous charge all the time for funsies. 



Nice. I assume you're going to poach the lvl 24 Warmaster feature with Eternal Seeker?
Zelink: how did you take Novice Power more than once? Or did you retrain one power into the other?
Zelink: how did you take Novice Power more than once? Or did you retrain one power into the other?



It's not Novice Power. It's Eternal Seeker.
You do need Novice power to use Hail of Steel effectively, but yeah Eternal Seeker. Note this is best on a bard. Why?

You want bard for the ability to go with a Con/Cha array to use Half-Elf, and for the fantastic utilities (some of the best in the game), and all around solid powers
You want the War Chanter PP for temp generation, extra use of AP/enc, and of course, the buff
You want Warlord for the MC feat, perhaps Avenging Spirit (entirely DM dependent, and honestly not that needed), Relentless Assault, and Hail of Steel.
You need MC cleric for BCL
You need Shaman to atually use Spirit of the Ram and ultimately Fury of Athas (seriously, thats probably the best leader capstone, especially if you can turn that MBA into a standard ;)). Plus, MC shaman opens up the spirit companion 1/enc OA, one of which grants a BA, and I've had that triggered in 95% of the combats I've been in. It also opens up an additional 1/enc heal.

Oh yeah, for true shenanigins, take both Martial Mastery and Divine Mastery (Seriously, thats 5/enc uses of "everyone attack", and it seems excessive.

So yeah, best on a bard who can MC a bunch and grab eternal seeker. There is one glaring hole. At level 24, the typical AP sequence (optimally), goes like this.

1st round
Standard
AP--> Standard

2nd Round
Standard
(APed last round)--Standard
AP--> Standard

I'm not there yet, but I'm not sure what to do with 3 standard actions given the free action limit.
10/10 Would Flame Again: An Elite Paladin|Warlock The Elemental Man (or Woman): A Genasi Handbook The Warlord, Or How to Wield a Barbarian One-Handed The Bookish Barbarian Fardiz: RAI is fairly clear, but RAZ is different That's right. Rules According to Zelink!
How about we parse this per tier? 

It's pretty obvious that for Epic tier, the enabling Bard is solved. Thanks for the ideas Zelink!

For Paragon tier, War Chanter is head and shoulders above all the other stuff you could be doing as an enabling Bard. If your goal is to end combats quicker, take this and don't look back. 

For Heroic tier, it's a little less clear. I think the best way to grant multiple attacks per round is to choose Blunder, Echoing Weapon and Rhyme of the Blood-Seeking Blade as your encounter powers. With Staggering Note and an AP, you can make+grant 6 damaging attacks in the first round (2 from Blunder, 1 from Echoing Weapon, 2 from RotBSB including the missed attack and one from Staggering Note). Wis or Int make good secondaries here, but it's not like Blunder and RotBSB aren't good with Con as your secondary.  
I find this very interesting as I've never played a bard myself.  I've been in groups with some but they weren't optimized to do what you plan to do here. 

I am playing with a bard right now however, who is trying to figure out how to build.  I'm playing a revenant githrezai avenger with power of skill and the other goodies of the race.  So if I could convince him to get some enabling going I could really rip stuff up hehe.  The rest of the party could definetely benefit from a build like this as well !  (and no I am not abusing revenant cheese and I do have a fully developped back story and no I will not be using the belt of cheese even though my DM was nice enough to actually trust me with that item)

SO with all that said, keep up the good work here and if someone wants to post a build or something I wouldn't mind checking it out.  I'll see if my bard is open to suggestions for his build and the notes about combat speed up (we're a group of 7 players !).  I'm sure the DM would enjoy faster combat rounds too hehe.
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

This is my concept build for an optimized enabling Bard for heroic, looking ahead to paragon where you take War Chanter. The only thing I'm not too sure about is the level 9 daily. 

The feats are solely chosen for combat, but I can see delaying one or two for other cool feats like Bardic Knowledge. 

Show
====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======

level 10
Half-Elf, Bard
Build: Valorous Bard
Bardic Virtue Option: Virtue of Valor
Half-Elf Power Selection Option: Dilettante
Theme: Elemental Initiate

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 11, CON 20, DEX 13, INT 10, WIS 8, CHA 20

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 11, CON 16, DEX 13, INT 10, WIS 8, CHA 16


AC: 24 Fort: 23 Ref: 20 Will: 26
HP: 77 Surges: 12 Surge Value: 19


POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Elemental Initiate Attack: Disciplined Counter
Bard Feature: Majestic Word
Bard Feature: Words of Friendship
Artificer Attack 1: Magic Weapon
Bard Attack 1: Staggering Note
Bard Attack 1: Vicious Mockery
Bard Attack 1: Blunder
Bard Attack 1: Arrow of Warning
Bard Utility 2: Moment of Escape
Bard Attack 3: Rhyme of the Blood-Seeking Blade
Bard Attack 3: Echoing Weapon
Bard Attack 5: Song of Discord
Bard Utility 6: Revitalizing Incantation
Bard Attack 9: Counterpoint
Bard Utility 10: Mantle of Unity

FEATS
Level 1: Ritual Caster
Level 1: Ki Focus Expertise
Level 2: Combat Virtuoso
Level 4: Superior Implement Training (Accurate ki focus)
Level 6: Improved Initiative
Level 8: Superior Will
Level 10: Improved Defenses

ITEMS
Ritual Book
Rain of Hammers Ki Focus +2 x1
Longsword
Time Link Chainmail +2 x1
Amulet of Protection +2 x1
Longbow x1
====== End ======


ok so you dropped the echoing weapon in favor of the ki focus route.  Nice build, I'll show it to the bard in my group and see what he thinks

edit: You're missing the level 7 encounter power i think
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

This build would be better off with a Songbow instead of a Songblade, but it doesn't really matter all that much what you use.

I didn't think there was a better level 7 power than Echoing Weapon or RotBSB, so there are 2 level 3 powers.
just wondering but if you go ki focus doesn't that mean that powers like your dilettante, arrow of warning, etc (basically any power that doesn't have the implement keyword) lose out on your expertise bonuses etc ?  Right now, at level 10, from what I'm seeing you would only get +12 when using arrow of warning for example vs +14 if you were using a power with the implement keyword.

Basically my questions is, is it worth the accuracy loss when you think that it's only going to get bigger as you level ?
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

Not to be rude, but if you read the ki focus expertise feat you see that the attack bonus is for both implement and weapon attack rolls
Counterpoint is even more fun if you've got ways to ensure the creature misses.

Bargle wrote:
This is CharOp. We not only assume block-of-tofu monsters, but also block-of-tofu DMs.
 

Zelink wrote:
You're already refluffing, why not refluff to something that doesn't suck?
nevermind the builder wasn't taking the ki focus but just the bow ^_^;
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

This may be a bit dated, but this is a character that never got a chance to be played. Originally, I built him for 3rd, but I've been trying to adapt him for 4th.

Anyways, this bard specializes in a certain way which makes him incredibly versatile. He's a Human Bard, featuring quickdraw and Two Weapon fighting, wielding daggers. Two weapon fighting improve both of their damage rolls, and quickdraw allows them to be drawn freely. They also count as a ranged weapon, so I can use Ranged bard attacks/powers, and I don't need an implement to use my bard implement powers(they sing, after all). Choosing Virtue of Cunning, I augment myself with Advantage of cunning and Battle Song Expertise, in order to further increase push/pull/slides, improve my attack roll on bardic weapons/powers, and since I wield two weapons, I get two basics whenever I get the opportunity from one of my powers(or of course, I can give a free melee basic to a conveniently placed ally with a big weapon, heh heh).

Blunder and Staggering Note serve well in giving my allies or myself free melee basics, while Cutting Words and Impelling Force draw them in ever closer to the big scary PCs. I took Rhyme of Fire to load up on per hit bonus damage, and Burdening Dirge to slow up anything that'd squash me or our Warlock. Moment of escape is handy for allies caught up in the front lines, or to help them reach the front lines. And as always, Majestic Word comes in handy to heal and pull back, or heal and position better.
 since I wield two weapons, I get two basics whenever I get the opportunity from one of my powers



I don't think you understand how two weapon fighting works.

 since I wield two weapons, I get two basics whenever I get the opportunity from one of my powers



I don't think you understand how two weapon fighting works.


I'm really new to 4th, and I came straight from 3rd...
It says in multiple places that wielding 2 weapons doesn't give you 2 attacks. A power has to say you get to attack more than once for you to be able to do so, and it's very often irrelevant how many weapons you hold (Rangers, Tempest Fighters, and Whirling Barbarians are the exception)

You also do not get to make Opportunity Attacks on your own turn.

And Push/Pull/Slide Never, under any circumstances, provoke Opportunity Attacks.

You absolutely *should* get an implement to use your implement powers, otherwise your attack bonus will be complete crap, you need both the Enhancement Bonus of Magic Implements, and the feat bonus from Expertise feats, on top of a high Charisma (18+ at chargen) in order to reliably hit.

You are not your own Ally, so Staggering note cannot be used to grant yourself a melee basic.

You *should* be bad a Melee Basic Attacks anyway, since Bards are Charisma + Con(Valor), Int (Cunning), or Wis (Prescient), while Melee Basics are a Strength based attack, which you need at most a 12 in at chargen. Unless you take the Melee Training: Charisma feat, which is frankly a waste; or cheated rolled really good stats instead of using point buy.
"Invokers are probably better round after round but Wizard dailies are devastating. Actually, devastating is too light a word. Wizard daily powers are soul crushing, encounter ending, havoc causing pieces of awesome." -AirPower25 Sear the Flesh, Purify the Soul; Harden the Heart, and Improve the Mind; Born of Blood, but Forged by Fire; The MECH warrior reaches perfection.
community.wizards.com/joobles/go/charact...

Well, here's the character, if you want to look him over. Also, if you refer to the Bard class, we don't actually require focuses to cast, though they help. Also, I didn't mean opportunity to attack as "Opportunity attack", I meant by the powers I have which allow myself or an ally of my choice a free melee basic attack against the target. I wasn't saying that I was provoking OA's by push/pull/slide, I have abilities which grant melee basics on use, as well as pushing or sliding. Battlesong Expertise grants me an additional square worth of Slide/Push/Pull to my Bard attacks, as well. This sheet doesn't reflect a few things I've picked up in game, including designing a 2d6 burst fire weapon out of my Adventurer's Kit, Crowbar, rope, and several other things(including a Stirge's probiscis).

I'm planning on saving up for a songblade, but at the moment I thought a set of Skald's Armour would work better. As for my stats, my DM had me roll 'em at the table, 4d6, eliminate lowest, repeat, then entered them in on the PC sheet generator. That 20 is thanks to placing a 17 in CHA, topping it up with my Human bonus, and then adding one more point when I leveled up.

But yeah, I took a few feats which help with keeping my attack rolls fairly decent, like Battlesong Expertise, and Two Weapon fighting. I also got myself a set of Skald's Armour, which won't show up there, and a Domination Circlet. So my Diplomacy/Bluff/Intimidate places me as the party face.
Your melee basic attack is plain awful. Never use Blunder to give yourself an attack. Give the attack to an ally with a good basic attack instead. 

Quick draw and two-weapon fighting are wasted feats on this character. I recommend getting feats that actually does something relevant instead. Improved defenes and improved majestic word springs to mind.

The songblade plan is a good one. In particular if you take a light blade and pair it with the feat Nimble Blade. 

Honestly, not to sound facetious, or anything, but I suggest you actually read the rules.  Most of what you're saying is quite simply wrong.

Nobody absolutely requires focuses (Implements) to cast,f or instance, but not having one means your Expertise doesn't work, and you don't get your enhancement bonus to hit.  This puts your attacks even at second level at -2 compared to what they should be (according to the intended maths of the game) and this gap will only widen at higher levels to a maximum of -9 at high epic, which is basically 'you don't hit unless you crit'.

Two Weapon Fighting does not affect your attack rolls, it affects your damage rolls.

esigning a 2d6 fire burst weapon with an adventurer's kit and some other stuff is pure house rule.

Opportunity Attacks are NOT the same thing as granted attacks from enabling powers.  You can;t grant YOURSELF attacks with enabling powers that refer to allies.  Almost no Bard powers allow you to grant yourself attacks.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
Would a Bard be able to take the Agile Opportunist feat, or is it unavailable to their class? Or maybe I could access it by Hybridizing?
Please tell me you took the Skald's Armor as Chain. And that you have a Shield. You should be at level+15 AC at the minimum.

The Songblade kalil mentioned is pretty much ideal for the average bard; I cannot stress it enough to people switching over from 3.x - you NEED to hit, accuracy is everything unless you're hitting on 2s.

This isn't like previous editions where stacking your save DC was easy and monsters often sucked at them to begin with, Monsters have roughly level+12 non-ac defenses (NADs), at level 5 with 20 cha and no implement, you have a total of +7 to hit their NADs, which are a 17. That's only a 55% chance to do something on your turn.
Would a Bard be able to take the Agile Opportunist feat, or is it unavailable to their class? Or maybe I could access it by Hybridizing?


It's a paragon feat that anyone *can* take. You absolutely should not take it, since it's completely useless to you. Your allies on the other hand, once they hit paragon should all take it if they have a good melee basic attack (which means hitting on a 5 and dealing at least their level*2 damage on a hit)
"Invokers are probably better round after round but Wizard dailies are devastating. Actually, devastating is too light a word. Wizard daily powers are soul crushing, encounter ending, havoc causing pieces of awesome." -AirPower25 Sear the Flesh, Purify the Soul; Harden the Heart, and Improve the Mind; Born of Blood, but Forged by Fire; The MECH warrior reaches perfection.
Would a Bard be able to take the Agile Opportunist feat, or is it unavailable to their class? Or maybe I could access it by Hybridizing?


1. Why do you think anything is stopping you from taking it? The only prerequisite is being level 11.

2. More importantly, why do you think it will benefit you? You cannot slide yourself with Virtue of Cunning.
See? This is why I'm throwing this all out here, determining what I'm doing right or wrong. It'd be a pretty sad day to only be able to use Agile Opportunist on myself whenever I use Majestic Word on myself. A thorough waste.
I'm glad you're going about this the right way

Anyway, Agile Opportunist grants you the attack as an immediate reaction. Unfortunately, you can't take immediate actions during your own turn. So even with Majestic Word it doesn't work.
I'll just have to let my party know. I'm sure our Tiefling Warlord and Minotaur Barbarian will enjoy something like that... Especially if I park said foe directly between them.
Very good. Agile Opportunist is a Bard's best friend in the right party.
You want Warlord for the MC feat, perhaps Avenging Spirit (entirely DM dependent, and honestly not that needed), Relentless Assault, and Hail of Steel.



Are bard powers that much worse that you need to spend 3 feats (for power swaps and Combat Virtuoso) for warlord powers in epic?
It's not that Bard powers are bad, it's that Warlord powers are amazing.
It's 2 feats, Multiclass Mastery is fantastic And really, it's just 1 Feat, it's not like Resourceful Leader and Bravura Leader are remotely bad feats for any leader to begin with.

"Invokers are probably better round after round but Wizard dailies are devastating. Actually, devastating is too light a word. Wizard daily powers are soul crushing, encounter ending, havoc causing pieces of awesome." -AirPower25 Sear the Flesh, Purify the Soul; Harden the Heart, and Improve the Mind; Born of Blood, but Forged by Fire; The MECH warrior reaches perfection.
Yus Plz +15 to damage rolls on APs..
10/10 Would Flame Again: An Elite Paladin|Warlock The Elemental Man (or Woman): A Genasi Handbook The Warlord, Or How to Wield a Barbarian One-Handed The Bookish Barbarian Fardiz: RAI is fairly clear, but RAZ is different That's right. Rules According to Zelink!
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