Why a Bard can be part of an adventuring party without seeming out of place

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How can a bard form part of an adventuring party without seeming out of place?
I don't quite understand your topic and post. The way it is worded makes it seem to me that you are offering a reason, which you do not actually give.

I think that you meant to ask 'How can a Bard be part of an adventuring party without seeming out of place?'. Is that correct? Or something else?
I don't quite understand your topic and post. The way it is worded makes it seem to me that you are offering a reason, which you do not actually give.

I think that you meant to ask 'How can a Bard be part of an adventuring party without seeming out of place?'. Is that correct? Or something else?

Maybe he means to ask "Why can a Bard...?" But, I think "How" would be more appropriate.
The Bruce Campbell of D&D.
correct
I wish I knew the answer to this question, as well. It's a group of mercenaries... sellswords... killers for hire. Where does the fop rockstar wannabe come in? This is the question that keeps me up at night.

*ducks*
The Bruce Campbell of D&D.
Remember that bards and minstrels were the wandering newspapers of the day. A bard travelling with an adventuring party may be like a field journalist wanting to be at ground zero when the action happens. Like an embedded reporter, he'd better be good at taking care of himself when it all hits the fan.

After the party's triumphant return from wherever, he relates the adventure through song (made all the better for him being a participant and not just an observer), boosting the party's rep overall and getting jealous looks from other bards who are stuck singing about the queen's latest hairstyle.



BARD PC: ...and after banishing the demonic army back to the Shadowfell, we fought countless undead fiends all the way to the dragon's lair where [insert epic battle here] and then had to leave more than 90% of the horde behind because we couldn't carry it all. Then the townsfolk all came out to carry us on their shoulders and threw this huuuuuge party in our honor and named a park after us. So, what's new with you guys?

BARD NPC: Uh, the princess' cat is sick. We think its hairballs again.
Or maybe the bard sees himself as an adventurer first, bard second.

He's someone who can swing a sword and cast arcane magic...but it just so happens he can sing and play instruments as well.
D&D Experience Level: Relatively new First Edition: 4th Known Editions: 4th, 3.5 --- Magic Experience Level: Fairly skilled First Expansion: 7th Edition Play Style: Very Casual
OR he believes that this group, with the right inspiration and spin, can become famous, and with that, the bard who is there to record and tell their tales is also a part of history.

Or maybe he's just a buddy who came along for the ride and likes to sing and tell stories....
Some bards can be a cross between Indiana Jones and Louis Lane or would it be a scale between the two?

Back in 3.X edition I had a high int low cha & wis bard/human paragon/exemplar whose skills all revolved around symbols: history specalized into heraldry, Arcana specalized into arcane writings, religion specalized into holy symbols, decipher script specalized into symbology. He took every language as it came along as well as becoming a trophy collector, harpy feathers, any symbol of any tribe of monsters, he even once stole a generals star after he was defeated. :D
Did you ever see 300? You know the guy with the eye-patch wrap thing, who told the story?

Yeah, he was a bard.
I know about some bards, in fact I started another thread about famous bards. IT's just the image of a guy singing while his friends fight a demon.
Or maybe the bard sees himself as an adventurer first, bard second.

He's someone who can swing a sword and cast arcane magic...but it just so happens he can sing and play instruments as well.

In that case, though, it's more of a hobby than a class, innit?
In that case, though, it's more of a hobby than a class, innit?

Not necessarily. It just might involve renaming/refluffing several of the bard powers to make them less goofy, though, if they're anything like their 3E predecessors.

The 'musical adventurer' schtick was one of the reasons I never looked seriously at the bard in 3rd. It was just too dorky. The only time I played one, I did some major refluffing; his bardic song was oratory, defined as inspirational speeches and historical accounts of similar battles, selected spells based on battlefield uses (like Tactical Precision), and multiclassed with the crusader for some martial prowess.

In other words, I invented the warlord.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
I know about some bards, in fact I started another thread about famous bards. IT's just the image of a guy singing while his friends fight a demon.

That is not really happening in 4E.
well, he can now use songblades instead of instruments. But the description still says something akin to: "Fight to the compass of your singing"
a warrior skald who mixes skill at arms with thundering music,

Bards are one of my favorite classes in an adventuring party. While everyone else is running around, sweating and swinging swords, there's the bard, calm and collected, with a big smile on his face.

Orc: I smash you, pretty man!

Bard: Thanks but your not my type.

Orc: What? I no understand?

Bard: I didn't think you would. Oh, look, my friend's sword in your back!
OR he believes that this group, with the right inspiration and spin, can become famous, and with that, the bard who is there to record and tell their tales is also a part of history.

Or maybe he's just a buddy who came along for the ride and likes to sing and tell stories....

"...and spin..." This is the key part, especially if most of your campaigns end up with your party standing atop a pile of freshly killed nuns and/or orphans.

PC: Okay, Elvis! You're up! Make this look good!
I mean... you could ask that question of any character/class in the game. People don't adventure because of their profession or particular talents. They do it because they want to. And they want to for many reasons.

Why does the rogue fight monsters in cramped dungeons when he can be robbing everyone blind and live comfortably in some city?

Why does a wizard risk getting eaten alive in some dank catacomb when he could be studying safely amongst brothers in some old tower?

Why does the fighter cross swords with demons and giants when he can be patrolling the relative safety of a city street keeping an eye out for lowly cutpurses?

It could be for any number of reasons.

For the bard in particular, it can be as others have suggested. He seeks stories and epics to tell, heroes to immortalize and such. He could be seeking that adventure himself, and all of his tales and songs and historical retellings can be a mask for that personal desire to go down in history as a hero himself. Maybe, as a leader class, he sees something in his allies; a greatness that he believes he can help them achieve.

The sky is truly the limit.
Because D&D bards don't have access to LSD for inspiration. duh



Adventuring: It is my drug.
You spoony Bard!
The Bruce Campbell of D&D.
Not necessarily. It just might involve renaming/refluffing several of the bard powers to make them less goofy, though, if they're anything like their 3E predecessors.

Sure, but "adventurer who happens to also sing" makes the singing sound more like a hobby than anything, was all I was saying.

The 'musical adventurer' schtick was one of the reasons I never looked seriously at the bard in 3rd. It was just too dorky. The only time I played one, I did some major refluffing; his bardic song was oratory, defined as inspirational speeches and historical accounts of similar battles, selected spells based on battlefield uses (like Tactical Precision), and multiclassed with the crusader for some martial prowess.

In other words, I invented the warlord.

Yeah, that's pretty much what I did, too; my bards took perform oratory and "inspired" through shouts and commands and tactical advice. Further, I used the Bardic Sage variant from UA and made the Bard the font of tactical knowledge, information on vulnerabilities, and so on.
You spoony Bard!

<3 Edward and Tellah
Dark Sun DM starting October 18th 2010 Level 4 Tiefling Orbizard Level 3 Tiefling Telepath Psion

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Looking For Group has a bard that is not at all out of place in an adventuring company.
A bard could easily be a fighter type who knows loads of old stories, and relates them to his companions every chance he gets, to the point where they find inspiration in their fights while mimicking deeds long dead heroes have accomplished.

Co-author on AoA 2-3 and 4-1.

I don't imagine that an absurdly powerful psychic and aural mage with an inherent font of knowledge would be very happy just playing a random tavern, whether they channeled their power through song or not.
Sig to be rebuilt soon The Descendants-- the webserial that reads like a comic book! World of Ere-- A campaign setting that puts style to the fore.
Did you ever see 300? You know the guy with the eye-patch wrap thing, who told the story?

Yeah, he was a bard.

You don't have to be a bard to tell a story...
I've always Liked the motivation that the bard them self wants to be immortalized, If they knows of the stories that make heroes, how Amazing would it be to be in one of them, known for Generations.

Or maybe they're more of Verifiers, Going along with the party to make sure they actually do what they say they do, collecting proof that they aren't a bunch of Crazy Homeopathic killer Wannabes.

It really depends on how creative you are, Don't worry about how the Class can be an adventurer, worry about how the Character can be one.
Try this one on for size:

A dwarf valorous bard. He sings his songs to the tempo of his warhammer crushing his enemies, and sings songs of heroic deeds while felling mighty foes. The group of adventurers he travels with often look to him for a lead, as a conductor of battle. Combat is part of his presentation, and he wants to create a epic saga of honor and valor, in homage to Moradin. At the same time, he also protects the weak, as Moradin demands the strong do. Someday, he intends to create a work that will be remembered forever as a inspiring story of friendship, determination and triumph. His friends all assist him in this, knowing that--just as the writer of the song--their accomplishments will never be forgotten.
"...and spin..." This is the key part, especially if most of your campaigns end up with your party standing atop a pile of freshly killed nuns and/or orphans.

PC: Okay, Elvis! You're up! Make this look good!

Well, I'm glad someone feels that way too!
There are actually traditions of singing while fighting, chanting and singing in unison in battle, in parts of pre-medieval Europe among Germanic tribes in particular. Meanwhile in Maori culture, haka chants/dances are performed before and after battles (not cutesy, really intense and scary). People used to generally sing a lot more often and in more contexts than they do today.

Remember, no one said bards were performing pop songs. Even a drummers marching with rifleman in the 19th century are performing music with a practical purpose (setting the tempo for the ranks to march and fire in coordination) and doing it while under fire. Now take that concept and extend it into a world with magic, and you start to see how musical accompaniment could be used to influence a party's performance.

Music is serious business.
I think in a low magic campaign it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. But in a setting with high magic content it makes perfect sense.

He uses music to cast magic. He uses music to tap into arcane formulas that increase your strength and agility.

He... brain dump. Totally forgot the rest of my point.
One of my best characters that ran in a game that lasted over two years was a bard... of course that was back in the days of THAC0 (Anyone remember that?) and toward the end of the second edition. (Hey! Where did THAC0 go?)

My bard wanted to travel, see the world explore absolutely everything, seek more adventure then anyone could possibly imagine, and oh, yeah, make a fortune while doing it! Where else is a bard going to find things to brag about, tell stories about, and sing songs about if they don't go adventuring?

Bard's also can fit into any party small or large, they make a great versatile character when the party is small, and a great back-up character for the rest of the player characters when the party is large!

(Though I have to admit I really disliked the 3.5 version of this class.)
Here, let me give you an example.

In this one 3.5 campaign I'm in, one of the players is a Human/Abyssal Heritor Bard. When he "sings", he chants in Abyssal, and usually chants threats towards the enemy (whether or not they can actually understand him).

There's nothing goofy about his bardic music.

And while I wasn't in this game, I've heard stories of this one campaign where a guy played a half-fiend bard...and managed to convince Graz'zt's daughter to lower her guard so he could cast a "beneficial" spell on her. He dominated her and used her to get the party into Graz'zt's throne room so they could kill him.

There are plenty of ways to make a bard seem serious.

You just have to look at it right.
D&D Experience Level: Relatively new First Edition: 4th Known Editions: 4th, 3.5 --- Magic Experience Level: Fairly skilled First Expansion: 7th Edition Play Style: Very Casual
I was able to play a bard as a second-string everything else. I could fight, but not well (unless I had a string of good rolls). I could magic, but the wizard outshone me. I could even swim - and had I been thinking clearly, Unseen Servant is waaay better than Tenser's Disk to get salvage from sunken ships. What did work out was when we needed to get some petty cash fast and legal - I could put on a performance streetside and leave my hat out, while the rest of the group waited for the police / thieves guild / hoodlums to show up. Somebody always remembered to pick up the hat full of sp, while I talked my way out of trouble, so we could get a room for the night.

As mentioned elsewhere, bards get to be famous, personally or by reputation. My 3e bard became my 4e warlock's grandfather; by now everybody has heard The Ballad of the Emerald Princess, which is the bard's masterwork and also happens to be a description of his first adventure.

Best complements I have yet received:

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Making it up as I go along:

{BRJN} If I was writing the Tome of Lore, I would let Auppenser sleep. But I also would have him dream. In his dreaming he re-activates the innate powers of (some) mortal minds. Or his dreaming changes the nature of reality - currently very malleable thanks to Spellplague &c. Or whatever really cool flavor text and pseudo-science explanation people react positively to.

{Lord_Karsus} You know, I like that better than the explanations for the Spellplague.

 

{BRJN} If Bhaal approves of The Joker, does he approve of Jack Nicholson's portrayal or Heath Ledger's protrayal more?

{Stigger} That question is utterly classic, and completely on target.

 

Prepped ahead of time:

I started the 4e thread "1001 Failed Interrogation Results" (now lost in that great electronic goodnight, alas)

{ADHadh} These are all good and make sense! I just can't come up with something that's not covered here and is not completely ridiculous.

 

(News bulletin: Updated thread to be posted after I review the 5e DMG)

 

My 5e characters:

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Active:

none yet - gotta find a group !

Character Ready-to-go:

Erevyn Meliamne, Wood elf Monk1, inspired by "Radar O'Reilley" from M*A*S*H

Concepts I'm kicking around:

Barbarian w/Tough feat, to be nearly indestructible

"Truenamer" cleric - all spells are Verbal

"Buggy" Wizard - insect flavor on everything.  His DMPC / BBEG version is going to become a Lamia.  Because lichdom is so cliche.

Basically there's no better inspiration than actually being there. Kupo~



Yes, I've been playing FFTA2 waaaay too much.
A bard can make perfect sense in an adventuring party.

Haven't you guys ever heard of Hunter S Thompson, the journalist? I know someone already mentioned journalism, but he is an especially good example. He travelled with the infamous biker gang the Hell's Angels for around a year, just to get the scoop on a dangerous world that few people would ever know, and pass thier Strange and Terrible Saga on to others.

Sounds like a bard to me.

And although he was no gang member himself, and just a weird hippy writer, he wasn't foppish or a pansy. He was a loose cannon, and a complete gun nut.

You can easily take that attitude to the gaming table and play a realistic bard. Someone with a lust for danger, an artistic talent, and someone who surrounds themselves with adventerous types to get the biggest thrill he can
Just for yucks, I'd have him followed by invisible bats. ;)
The thing to remember with Bards is that they're more then just wandering singers with magic tricks. They're Storytellers and Word-weavers, adept at the art of talking to people, and more importantly of convincing people.

Sure, that might not seem vitally important in most Dungeons, but all Adventurers need to get back to town sometimes, and that's when you need a "Face" to convince the Villagers that the rest of the well-armed, fierce-looking bunch of PC adventurers are actually Noble Heroes to celebrate, not Bandits to Fear!

And the best way to do that is to have the Bard step in and introduce the PCs, much the same way Paul Bettany's character of Chaucer the Herald did in "A Knight's Tale"...
Chaucer: You're good. You're very good. My lords, my ladies, and everybody else here not sitting on a cushion!
[crowd roars]
Chaucer: Today... today, you find yourselves equals.
[crowd roars]
Chaucer: For you are all equally blessed. For I have the pride, the privilege, nay, the pleasure of introducing to you to a knight, sired by knights. A knight who can trace his lineage back beyond Charlemagne. I first met him atop a mountain near Jerusalem, praying to God, asking his forgiveness for the Saracen blood spilt by his sword. Next, he amazed me still further in Italy when he saved a fatherless beauty from the would-be ravishing of her dreadful Turkish uncle.
[crowd, boo]
Chaucer: In Greece he spent a year in silence just to better understand the sound of a whisper. And so without further gilding the lily and with no more ado, I give to you, the seeker of serenity, the protector of Italian virginity, the enforcer of our Lord God, the one, the only, Sir Ulllrrrich von Lichtenstein!
[crowd roars]
Chaucer: Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week.

Now that's what a Bard is for!
While somewhat OffTopic, and almost certainly redundant, I couldn't find a real answer to this question:

Is there any clue when Bards will be in 4th edition? Are they going to be in a PHB2 or somethig?

Does anyone have a decent link to a fan-built Bard or Druid? Sorry again if this is an old question, but I don't frequent the boards too much, and through searching have been unable to find any answers to this.

just a few weejs ago i started a 3E campaign with a rogue, bard and druid. Now I want to upgrade them to 4th, but have no way of doing that for 2/3 of the party.

Thanks for the help ,ladies and gentlemen.

Also, I love the invisible bats idea.
I thought it was pretty concrete that they will be in PHB2, but I could be wrong.

There's a 3rd party book out called Forgotten Heroes: Fang, Fist, and Song that has a fantastic Bard that I loved. They are based around "Hit something and you can start a song that gives buffs for a round" and sound like a lot of fun to play, while giving a lot of strategy beyond just what power to hit something with.

The book also has a Druid, Monk, and I think some others.
You don't have to be a bard to tell a story...

True, but if you expect to move people with that story then it certainly helps.

Another orator-ing bard here. A gambler by profession who has some magical talent and a penchent for telling stories during games to keep attention away from his hands ;). It just happens now that his stories have garnered a greater reputation than his status as a card dealer. The adventuring party met up by accident and coincidence and they adventure together because they are friends, , and said bard appreciates the story fodder. ;).

I don't think bards stick out in an adventuring party for the most part (foppish bards might, but then, I'd blame that on the 'fop' part). A singing or speaking bard can also swing a sword at the same time, and plenty of legedary bards have magical or supernatural seeming abilities, and depending what sort of cultures are in the game, perhaps not bringing a bard along on an adventure might be considered bad luck ;).

Are you walking in slow-motion so you still look awesome?

We're all mad here.

Some historic examples of what "Bardism" was, particularly in Great Britain (more specifically Wales) can help in placing a Bard character in an adventuring party.

Bards were well-educated and were granted vast amounts of freedom in comparison to other people of the time. In fact, in the laws of Hywell Dda, it was illegal to train a non-freeman in the ways of the Bard because they would then become free and could not become slaves/servants.

So, a Bard could be a well-educated scholar who is searching for more knowledge (and like any grad student, FUNDS for finding that knowledge). Bards were also hired by lords and kings to write about their family's exploits, rights to rule, etc. They were also made to prosyletize this information throughout the countryside. So, a bard could be on an errand from his employer and having adventures along the way. In fact, a bard's mandate from his lord could be a quest/side-quest for the party.

Other bards grew in popularity due to their skill and other factors like their political ties and cunning. Taliesin was a bard who transcended the boundaries of a single court and has been vaulted into the status of national hero. Hundreds of years later, he's still venerated as a champion of Welsh culture and identity. In many respects, people regard him as a sage and freedom fighter - fighting with the quill moreso than the sword - but in any case, he is a heroic figure.

Granted, D&D isn't about history, but it has drawn on history and the archetypal figures in history for its class designs. There is a lot of great information about bards from the "real world" that would add an awesome amount of flavor in a D&D setting. It also would help in understanding how bards fulfilled important roles in their own particular settings. From there, you could develop your own rationale as to how and why bards travel with other adventurers.
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