Bard help

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Howdy folks...Long time D&D player but brand new to 4e. Finally bit the bullet and decided to give it a shot. I'm a little overwhelmed by some of the changes though and thought I'd come here for some build help/advice. Not looking for some uber min/max build as I like my character's mechanics to reflect his RP and such. 

The type of character I'm hoping to make is probably a half-elf, cunning bard, though possibly open to other suggestions. I want to make him extremely strong in social interactions, but also not useless in combat. I definitely am not looking for a front line fighter...I envision him more as a character with a large bag of tricks, so definitely open to multiclass options as long as they fit with the character. As I said I'm 100% new to 4e, so my grasp of it is still tenuous at best. I understand what I'm posting here may be a bit vague so if you're interested in helping out, feel free to also ask me questions about what I'm looking for to help narrow things down.
Bard handbook.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

Howdy folks...Long time D&D player but brand new to 4e. Finally bit the bullet and decided to give it a shot. I'm a little overwhelmed by some of the changes though and thought I'd come here for some build help/advice. Not looking for some uber min/max build as I like my character's mechanics to reflect his RP and such. 

The type of character I'm hoping to make is probably a half-elf, cunning bard, though possibly open to other suggestions. I want to make him extremely strong in social interactions, but also not useless in combat. I definitely am not looking for a front line fighter...I envision him more as a character with a large bag of tricks, so definitely open to multiclass options as long as they fit with the character. As I said I'm 100% new to 4e, so my grasp of it is still tenuous at best. I understand what I'm posting here may be a bit vague so if you're interested in helping out, feel free to also ask me questions about what I'm looking for to help narrow things down.



Welcome to 4e

First, what mellored said; the bard handbook by litigation has a lot of to the point information.

My own experience with Bards (which is somewhat limited, I'll admit), is that their implement powers are generally better than their melee attacks, so staying at the back is a fairly good option. And being really good at the social checks is what you're naturally good at by being a charisma-based class. Skillwise on social skills, diplomacy by itself gets you through most things and is the most versatile and widely used one. Combine it with bluff and you should be able to ace everything. Training in more than 2 social skills seems like a waste of trained skills. Also, streetwise is extremely narrow in its use and intimidate is prone to produce unfavorable NPC reactions.
Thanks for the link...Skimmed through the handbook and there seems to be a lot of good info. That said I still wouldn't mind some input from people who play these types of characters.
Unless you have a more specific idea, that's all the advice we have.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

Valor trumps Cunning by a lot, and Half-Elves have the stats for that anyway.
"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.
Tiefling, Cunning Bard, Resourceful Magician, Sage of Ages

mc Wizard for Wizard powers
mc Warlock for at-will teleporting and either Eldritch Strike or Eldritch Blast

Power selection lets you do pretty much anything you want as it's very flexible.

This is the best bag of tricks Bard I've seen.  Can pick up other mc feats for even more options but you start to spread yourself thin.

 
Valor trumps Cunning by a lot, and Half-Elves have the stats for that anyway.



Is this true if we remove War Chanter from the equation (for example, if you're playing in Heroic, or if you have another PP in mind)? I know that War Chanter is a true beast of a PP, but beyond that, it seems like Cunning has the edge. No?
If you are new to 4e, please know a few things.

Specialisation rules. Do not try to be good in melee and at range, but pick a decent implement, grab yourself a superior implement feat, and perhaps some mobility, and stay more or less at range.

A bard is a healer has the power to heal; in heroic almost all healing is ranged 5, so do not walk away too far from those who might need it.


The effect lines in your powers are much more important than whatever slight amount of damage you can do yourself. Leave the damage dealing to your buddies, focus on getting those effects imposed. That includes working on your to-hit factor, so start out with at least an 18 after racials (ideally 20) in your main stat, and look at getting an expertise feat fairly early.
Valor trumps Cunning by a lot, and Half-Elves have the stats for that anyway.



Is this true if we remove War Chanter from the equation (for example, if you're playing in Heroic, or if you have another PP in mind)? I know that War Chanter is a true beast of a PP, but beyond that, it seems like Cunning has the edge. No?



Remove one of the best PPs in the game from the equation? Thats like saying Taclords are pretty meh if you take Battle Captain out of the equation. Builds don't exist in a vacuum.
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!
Valor trumps Cunning by a lot, and Half-Elves have the stats for that anyway.



Is this true if we remove War Chanter from the equation (for example, if you're playing in Heroic, or if you have another PP in mind)? I know that War Chanter is a true beast of a PP, but beyond that, it seems like Cunning has the edge. No?


What edge? The only significant draw is AgOp enabling ... which is also Paragon. Entirely my unhumble opinion:
Cunning:
Virtue: Slide an ally missed by an enemy 1/round. Useful for stopping a multi-attack and rarely meaningful for positioning.
Feats: Advantage of Cunning isn't bad, it's just not that good as a Feat slot. I'm not aware of any Int MC's that are worthwhile in heroic (Swordmage?).
Riders: Blunder is pretty good, Cunning Ferocity is good but puts you in melee, Distracting Shout is bad.
Reflex: Of the defenses, it is the least important despite the decent Superior feat.
Skills: Arcana! History is meh, but Religion is solid.
AC: You wear Heavy Armor, and even switching to Hide (or feat for Ring) doesn't actually net you AC in Heroic, just Speed.

Valor:
Virtue: 4-5 THP for your Striker or Defender each round, even with 3 round combats that's an extra Surge+.
Feats: Strength of Valor really doesn't seem worth it to me unless you have a Blaster as a Striker. Scale Proficiency is worth it.
Riders: Shout of Triumph is great, Charger's Call is good but situational, and Scorpion's Claw Strike is mediocre. (Edge: Valor because Shout of Triumph has a unique effect for Valor's while Blunder is still good without Cunning)
Fortitude: A lot of movement based control is Fort attacks, but the weak Superior feat keeps it down.
Skills: Endurance! Yeah, that's it, but it's still the 3rd most useful skill to have.
Surges: 50% more in Heroic (7-8 vs 11-12)

Yeah, there's powers with Int or Con riders that aren't Virtue Based, I'm sadly too exhausted to search through for them. Really wouldn't matter though, the Power layout is pretty much going to be Your Virtue's 1st level, Echoing Weapon at 3, and one of the IAs at 7 because that gives you the best damage loadout.

And, Combat Virtuoso lets you abuse Half Elf Dilettante (Magic Weapon) which is really only a trick that works for Valor or Prescient.
"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.
Half-Elves being the perfect race to grab a dilletante and make up for sucky bard at-wills helps too.
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 can think of a few reasons why Cunning is best for the OP:

1.
I definitely am not looking for a front line fighter...



2. He wants to be a skill monkey.  While endurance is useful, it doesn't make you feel skillful - it just makes you feel tough.  Cunning with an MC in something like wizard sounds exactly like what he wants.

3. He's new to 4e.  It's unlikely he'll be in Paragon any time soon, so yeah PP's are out of the equation.  It's extremely unlikely that one's first game is going to be a long haul to 30.

Bottom line OP, you can be the best bard possible, or you can be a bard that's still quite good and happens to be what you want to play.  CharOp will try to sell you on the first option every time because that's what this forum is about.  But ultimately it's your choice.
Of course scatterbrained, which is why Zath and I only interceded in response to Ray's post. If you're looking for an implement ranged bard, cunning is best. Although the combination of some items and themes makes even a Valor Bard amazing at skills. My ValBard's lowest skill at 18 is a 17 athletics (I put an 8 in Str)
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!
Bards of any flavor can be exceptional skill monkies with a low investment cost, even in Heroic.  The feat Bard of All Trades gives you a +3 feat bonus to all untrained skills, on top of your Skill Versatility class feature.  That puts untrained skills at only -1 compared to trained skills.

If your game is in Paragon levels, then as mentioned, Cunning Magicians are basically the best poachers around.  You can cherry pick pretty much anything you want.

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?
Yeah but without investment, +4 to skill you have a -1 to +1 stat bump to is going to fall behind scaling very quickly
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!
Is that at-will zelink, or with 1/enc substitution powers? What theme / items are you using? I've been waiting for the opportunity to play a Valor bard with Sidhe Lord, but social skills never get much attention with my group (roleplaying is encouraged, but skill use is mostly relegated to non-social skill challenges), and the build I made doesn't seem to contribute much skill-wise
at will. The combination of Ioun's Revelation, Skill Master, Bard of all Trades, and the Sensate theme.

It gives an effective +2+1+3+3, or 9, to all untrained skills. 
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!
Thanks, I had not seen the Planescape themes before.
The main reason I grabbed it was temps to fuel the spellscarred healing feat. +3 to skills was just gravy
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!
There is this: if+when the campaign DOES get to Paragon, all the melee types who are in a party with a Cunning Bard really should take the Agile Opportunist feat.

Because the Cunning Bard is the absolute master square-dance-caller of D&D, sliding his allies around like crazy. And that feat really takes advantage of it. 

And it just ties up one feat per melee character. No paragon paths for anybody.

(Oh, and an int-based multiclass that is worthwhile in Heroic? Easy. Wizard. Beguiling Strands. Bards in lower Heroic suffer a shortage of "each enemy in" area-of-effect powers, a large share of the ones that do exist are dailies, and some are close bursts which aren't really great for the character who wants to stay out of melee. Beguiling Strands as an encounter power is a good addition. Particularly if there's someplace nearby that the enemies would rather not go.)
"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
And when it gets to Paragon, War Chanter is better
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 have no problem with agreeing that a paragon path (War Chanter) is better than a feat (Agile Opportunist).
"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
Which belies the greater point that Valor > Cunning
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!

Because the Cunning Bard is the absolute master square-dance-caller of D&D, sliding his allies around like crazy. And that feat really takes advantage of it.


No they're not, Presvokers are the top Ally Sliders by a long shot, which puts the Flameswitch Preservation variant as probably the top build (since Slick Concoction rules that aspect)
"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.

Because the Cunning Bard is the absolute master square-dance-caller of D&D, sliding his allies around like crazy. And that feat really takes advantage of it.


No they're not, Presvokers are the top Ally Sliders by a long shot, which puts the Flameswitch Preservation variant as probably the top build (since Slick Concoction rules that aspect)



^ Love that build right to death.
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