Bard Defenders (Question about Builds)

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I was wondering if there were any Straight Bard (non-Hybrid) defender builds that people know about? I haven't seen anything in the build lists and these forums search features are a bit unavigateable.
Well, Bards aren't Defenders. They don't have any powers that mark a target themselves, and while they have a couple IAs that trigger off of an ally being hit, only 2 of them are offensive in nature, the rest are mediocre healing powers or terrible Reactions that suffer Dazing Rebuke syndrome.

So to gain marks, your only options are to be a Half-Elf (preferably with Eldritch Strike as the Dilettante Power) and take both Versatile Master and Defending Dabbler feat, which conveys no punishment, or to MC/Hybrid into a class that does have marking and punishment capability, likely Swordmage, Paladin, or Battlemind because of stat Synergy and having some generally useful PPs and Power Swap potential, Cleric is also half decent because of the Tactical Warpriest PP, all with being a Half-Elf again being most useful.
"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.
As bards are not a defender class you may have difficulty giving one defender functionality without using some defender in the build. Are you against Multiclassing also or just the Hybrid option? Also why not make a defender and multiclass bard?

Ioun stone grey marker is a fun build which I play a similar version and simply tell people I am a bard.
community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...
There's some interesting synergy in a Bard+Paladin combo. It's a workable hybrid, or you could MC in either direction.

It's not really a defender, but a vaguely defender-flavoured build that's quite effective would be to pick up either the Cavalier or Paladin MC feat, then take Devout Protector Expertise and the Blessed Psalmist PP. Your ability to "defend" will be a poor substitute for the real thing, but Blessed Psalmist is quite good, and you'll be buffing your allies' defences. BP gets you Divine Channeling , generates extra healing, and radiant vulnerability. It's no War Chanter, but it's nice.
Considering "Defender" is just a shorter way of saying "Controller Specializing in Attack Penalties and Off-Turn Attacks to Protect Allies and Survivability to make attacking me a bad choice for the enemies" the better way to play a Bard Defender is to embrace your Debuffing Controller powers as a Tiefling Cunning Bard, MC Wizard, Swordmage, and Warlock and take the Resourceful Magician Paragon Path in order to poach the best powers from those classes, use a Gith Silver Longsword with Psychic Lock
Non-hybrid Bards don't have the survivability to defend well, even if you manage to get a mark and punishment. I would suggest looking at a different class.
Non-hybrid Bards don't have the survivability to defend well, even if you manage to get a mark and punishment. I would suggest looking at a different class.


Patently false

As Cha/Int you can get away with wearing Hide (or Tacticians Ringmail!) + Shield and ECS puts you at L+18 or better for your career, Con tertiary makes surges not suck, background for HP, and of course Mantle of Unity, and of course Imperious Majesty, because I already said Tiefling, and why not have completely over the top defenses?

Cha/Con wears Chain and a Shield for basically the same AC (depending on when you get ECS), and already has the Con for HP/Surges

Cha/Wis MC's Cleric for BCL and uses an Xbow, but manages better AC (2 bad NADs though)
What Zathris said.  A paladin/bard or swordmage/bard hybrid seems the easiest way to me and what I would do if I wanted a bard defender.

You also have the advantage if going straight bard to MC into more than one defender class and if you can afford the wisdom somehow maybe cleric for BCL.  Pick a theme that helps toughen you up some.

Something like a cha/con Half elf with ardent strike for an at will mark, soldier of faith for the encounter mark, battle awareness with a different dilletante MBA power like eldricth strike, or maybe heavy blade opportunist + ardent strike.  You could also mc battlemind and then take psionic dabbler if you had boosted your con sufficiently.   Doing all that would stretch your stats a lot, but you could do a couple of them and still have a starting 16 con and 18 cha.  You would want to boost your defenses too.
I think the basic problem is that without spending a lot of feats, the Bard ends up being really subpar at being a Defender as opposed to being a Controller. And at that point, why not just be a hybrid Bard|Defender so you can skip a step or three?

I'd probably look to MC Paladin/Fighter and ways of picking up a lot of Sanctioning options. I'd probably look at a Poison Breath Con/Cha Dragonborn with Honorable Blade, Draconic Challenge, Toxic Breath and Hurl Breath. That'll get the build 2-3 mass challenges per combat, divine challenge, battle awareness, and the ability to weaken a hit target in paragon. In Epic, you get Weakening Challenge.

And as you can be a Con/Cha build(for the most part), you'll have the surges to survive doing this.
Play a Skald, and take the Guardian theme and the Battle Awareness multiclass to get 2 easy ways to punish enemies for not attacking you.

Patently false

As Cha/Int you can get away with wearing Hide (or Tacticians Ringmail!) + Shield and ECS puts you at L+18 or better for your career, Con tertiary makes surges not suck, background for HP, and of course Mantle of Unity, and of course Imperious Majesty, because I already said Tiefling, and why not have completely over the top defenses?

Cha/Con wears Chain and a Shield for basically the same AC (depending on when you get ECS), and already has the Con for HP/Surges

Cha/Wis MC's Cleric for BCL and uses an Xbow, but manages better AC (2 bad NADs though)



Almost everyone uses their background for HP unless they have a good Con score, so that argument is irrelevant.

Why bother with trying to twist a tiefling Bard into a defender when you can just play a Swordmage, Swordmage|Warlock, Paladin or Paladin|Warlock, or even Paladin|Bard?

I can't think of any situation where having a Bard pseudo-defender is better than having a natural defender (except crap-tier defenders like the Cavalier of course).
Because he likes Bards, and/or needs to have Leader capabilities as well, for example. I would still make different choices for a Defender|Leader hybrid, but who knows what's behind the question?
How does a stright Chaladin not do "defender bard" better than a bard?  LoH+ social skills + defender mechanism (which admittedly, starts off weak, but becomes the best at actual defending by epic) + hospitaler + plate and shield = a healing defender without having to jump through all the hoops.
Because Paladins are a Purple option at best, the ResMag Bard suggestion is better than Paladin.

I guess we gave legitimate answers to the OP too quickly instead of asking our stereotypical "Why do you think a Bard Defender is what you want to play? we'll probably be able to point you toward a better character if we knew what you were trying to accomplish"

But since it's me, I guess I'm supposed to word it "Bards are Leaders, not Defenders, trying to build one as a Defender is pretty stupid; there's ways to do it, of course, but none of them involve anything that the Bard does, maybe you should read the PHBs and choose a Defender if you want to play one."
"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.

Patently false

As Cha/Int you can get away with wearing Hide (or Tacticians Ringmail!) + Shield and ECS puts you at L+18 or better for your career, Con tertiary makes surges not suck, background for HP, and of course Mantle of Unity, and of course Imperious Majesty, because I already said Tiefling, and why not have completely over the top defenses?

Cha/Con wears Chain and a Shield for basically the same AC (depending on when you get ECS), and already has the Con for HP/Surges

Cha/Wis MC's Cleric for BCL and uses an Xbow, but manages better AC (2 bad NADs though)



Almost everyone uses their background for HP unless they have a good Con score, so that argument is irrelevant.

Why bother with trying to twist a tiefling Bard into a defender when you can just play a Swordmage, Swordmage|Warlock, Paladin or Paladin|Warlock, or even Paladin|Bard?

I can't think of any situation where having a Bard pseudo-defender is better than having a natural defender (except crap-tier defenders like the Cavalier of course).



Nitpicking, but I dont think either HP boosting background is LFR legal so its not completely irrelevant

They are allowed.
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!

Patently false

As Cha/Int you can get away with wearing Hide (or Tacticians Ringmail!) + Shield and ECS puts you at L+18 or better for your career, Con tertiary makes surges not suck, background for HP, and of course Mantle of Unity, and of course Imperious Majesty, because I already said Tiefling, and why not have completely over the top defenses?

Cha/Con wears Chain and a Shield for basically the same AC (depending on when you get ECS), and already has the Con for HP/Surges

Cha/Wis MC's Cleric for BCL and uses an Xbow, but manages better AC (2 bad NADs though)



Almost everyone uses their background for HP unless they have a good Con score, so that argument is irrelevant.

Why bother with trying to twist a tiefling Bard into a defender when you can just play a Swordmage, Swordmage|Warlock, Paladin or Paladin|Warlock, or even Paladin|Bard?

I can't think of any situation where having a Bard pseudo-defender is better than having a natural defender (except crap-tier defenders like the Cavalier of course).


I mentioned the HP background to cover all the bases in disproving your statement that bards don't have survivability. They have good enough HP, good enough Surges/Surge Conservation, good enough mobility/forced movement (QED), good enough defenses, access to enough IAs and control powers to be indistinguisable in effect from a Defender.
If 'in effect' isn't good enough, 3 of the top races for Bards have marking options AND bards can MC as much as they want to pick up powers and PPs that include both marks and punishments.

I didn't suggest a different defender because he said Bard, and he said no Hybrids. I understand the CharOp kneejerk is either "Play a Fighter/Warlord/Ranger!" or "Play this build I made that vaguely looks like what you want /egostroke", I figured I'd actually honor the OPs request because it's not a wrongbad choice. Which brings me to ... really? You'd actually suggest a Warden, or Paladin to someone wanting a Defender? Ugh, maybe in Epic.
Paladins are terrific defenders if done well. Wardens are pretty bad except in a small level range.
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!
My first thought was similar to MwaO's: Dragonborn CHA/CON w/ Guardian Background and multiclassing.
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