Quick Question on Bards

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Howdy Guys,

I'm thinking of playing a bard in a buddies upcoming game and after looking through all my options I've decided to go Half-elf and MC into swordmage so that I can use heavy and light blades as my implements. My question however, is this; Most of the abilities I've taken are Ranged X abilities which, to my understanding, will grant OAs to any adjacent enemies when I use them in melee. Is there a feat to mitigate this without going pure implement build and picking up White Lotus Dueling Expertise and Staff Expertise? Or am I better off going the Skald route and changning up my character a bit?

Thanks for the help 
You don't even have to MC swordmage (wasted skill), you can use a songblade.

Your ranged implement attacks will provoke, but experience tells me ranged bards are rarely in a situation where they have to provoke, and when they do, it's intentional to trigger mark punishment. I haven't seen it become a big issue. 

If it does become an issue, you can just MC Psion for Dishearten or Dimensional Scramble and a good trained skill, and grab Staff Expertise instead.
Your ranged implement attacks will provoke, but experience tells me ranged bards are rarely in a situation where they have to provoke, and when they do, it's intentional to trigger mark punishment.



This, basically. There are two things you can do to mitigate the OA issue.

1) Position yourself so that you aren't adjacent to an enemy, if at all possible. Your Defender is responsible for helping with this, among other things.

2) Since you have a sword anyway, take a handful of melee attacks so you always have an OA-free option. Your encounter and daily melee attacks basically suck until level 7, but War Song Strike and Guiding Strike are both decent enough at-wills.
And if you're going half-elf, you could always Dilletante for something like Eldritch Strike or Virtuous Strike.  Not only does it give you a melee attack, it gives you something you can use for an MBA if necessary (and you can take it from encounter to at-will in Paragon).

Out of curiosity, since you're looking at half-elf are you planning on going Valor Bard?
You don't even have to MC swordmage (wasted skill), you can use a songblade.

Your ranged implement attacks will provoke, but experience tells me ranged bards are rarely in a situation where they have to provoke, and when they do, it's intentional to trigger mark punishment. I haven't seen it become a big issue. 

If it does become an issue, you can just MC Psion for Dishearten or Dimensional Scramble and a good trained skill, and grab Staff Expertise instead.



Using a songblade is kind of a bad idea because it costs you your weapon enchant though. It's much better to just pony up a feat for Arcane Implement Proficiency.
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
And if you're going half-elf, you could always Dilletante for something like Eldritch Strike or Virtuous Strike.  Not only does it give you a melee attack, it gives you something you can use for an MBA if necessary (and you can take it from encounter to at-will in Paragon).

Out of curiosity, since you're looking at half-elf are you planning on going Valor Bard?



General best bet for a Half-elf bard is Magic Weapon
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!
And if you're going half-elf, you could always Dilletante for something like Eldritch Strike or Virtuous Strike.  Not only does it give you a melee attack, it gives you something you can use for an MBA if necessary (and you can take it from encounter to at-will in Paragon).

Out of curiosity, since you're looking at half-elf are you planning on going Valor Bard?



General best bet for a Half-elf bard is Magic Weapon

Well, that would go under "something like...."

Combo'ing Eldtrich Strike with the level 1 encounter Lesser dimensional step creates an interesting repsotioning trick
Your ranged implement attacks will provoke, but experience tells me ranged bards are rarely in a situation where they have to provoke, and when they do, it's intentional to trigger mark punishment.



This, basically. There are two things you can do to mitigate the OA issue.

1) Position yourself so that you aren't adjacent to an enemy, if at all possible. Your Defender is responsible for helping with this, among other things.

2) Since you have a sword anyway, take a handful of melee attacks so you always have an OA-free option. Your encounter and daily melee attacks basically suck until level 7, but War Song Strike and Guiding Strike are both decent enough at-wills.




Slayer's Song is a good melee daily for comboing with staggering note (especially if the mba ally is a rogue) but in generally without the skald aura, you have few melee daily choices and most arent that good. Melee Cunning Bards have some chalenges in this department in general...
Close Burst dailies work fine, and most of the heroic dailies are meh anyways.
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!
This might be worth looking at to change to if you like the ranged powers.

community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758... 
And if you're going half-elf, you could always Dilletante for something like Eldritch Strike or Virtuous Strike.  Not only does it give you a melee attack, it gives you something you can use for an MBA if necessary (and you can take it from encounter to at-will in Paragon).

Out of curiosity, since you're looking at half-elf are you planning on going Valor Bard?



I haven't entirely ruled out Valor Bard as we haven't started playing yet but I am more drawn to Cunning as my virtue as was attemtping to make a Cunning Fake Skald (hence the MC Swordmage Feat so that I could pick up heavy or light blades as my implement and make MBAs with them) when I realized that all the powers I was looking at taking were ranged. I'll take a look at the options you cause have given to me here. There's always the possibilty I may just go full on Skald as well but, like I said, there is just something about the Virtue of Cunning that really appeals to me. Well, I also really like Advantage of Cunning for posistioning.

Also, you guys are just plain awesome for answering so quickly. I've been on a couple other forum for a few other games I play where its taken almost a month to even get one response to a question.


Thanks for being awesome!
Shimmering Armor flat out negates OAs for using ranged and area attacks.  However, it is a cloth-only enchantment, so you'll almost definately want to pair it with the Unarmored Agility feat if you have any plans of staying in melee range.  Requiring both your armor enchant and feat is a pretty steep cost, but can be worth it depending on your playing style and build.
Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
Close Burst dailies work fine, and most of the heroic dailies are meh anyways.



And that's why you power-swap for Thicket of Blades.
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
We're way overblowing the risk of OAs IMO.
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!
You could also MC Swordmage through Heart of the Blade so as to not waste a skill (CON 13/INT 13) and use a Longsword or Rapier Farbond Spellblade.
We're way overblowing the risk of OAs IMO.


I agree with this. Tactics, Tactics, tactics will win out here. Shift move to use a Ranged power and then the only thing you need worry about is your Immediates while adjacent. Hopefully you've positioned yourself near your defender, and they are competent, and a striker buddy. They should both have ways to retaliate against any enemy who wishes to smack you with an OA. 
I've swapped out a few of my powers to use different ones but I eventually came to the same conclusion as Ezrider in that as long as I am not standing right next to the enemy, which I can probably achieve most of the time by shifting before using my powers, I can just avoid them by then using my ability to slide enemies and allies both into posistions that better benefit the party and keep me safe as well. Plus, once we get to 11 I'm basically going to strongly reccommend that at least our strike and probably our defender take Agile Opportunist so that they can really start beating faces.

I do have another question, not totally bard related but since I am asking about my bard I'll put it here. I've chosen eldritch strike as my dilletante power for half elf. I know right now that I can only use it once per encounter so its not as strong as it will be at paragon tier but since it "counts as a melee basic" does this mean it would trigger things like Lesser Dimensional Step or Lesser Flash of Distraction? 
It does.
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.
I wouldn't prioritize Versatile Master as a Bard though, unless you have multiple encounter powers that trigger off of making a basic attack. I mean, how many basic attacks are you making now?
Is this a H-elf Cunning Bard?
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!
Yes, it is
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