Sorry if this is Necro but I have a couple of questions based on the bard and this seemed the best place to post them.
I'm pretty new to DnD in general (something that I should be forthcoming about) but I like the idea of the bard, especially the Skald. However, the general consensis seems to be that they are underpowered. I like the idea of playing a class that inspires others with MBA's and I especially want to play as a CHA main class.
Err... What I mean ot ask is this: how do I make a Skald (real or fake)"worth it". Is it loading up on feats that allow MBAs away from my standard action? And if so, which ones are best to take?
Is an At-will like Eldritch Strike worth scalping through hybrids, or would being a bard/warlock diminish my leadership abilities too much?
The group is making characters for late heroic (level 8) but will be playing for a while.
I'm sorry if my ideas are all over the place, but any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
Bard|Warlock is pretty much the ideal way to play a skald-like character. Their problem is simply that they have sucky powers, but being a Bardlock completely fixes that and even opens up good leaderly options on the Warlock side.
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).
You can also pull Eldritch Strike in through Half Elf Dilettante -> Versatile Master, since you'll hit Paragon to make it a true At-Will fairly soon. Half Elf is also conveniently Cha/Con, perfect for Valorous Bards if you'd rather not Hybrid.
On the other hand, a Bardlock can be a War Chanter who gets to add Curse dice to his MBA (and Curse is 1/turn for off-action goodness). Chalock also gets sexy off action attacks for a close in fighter (Delban's Deadly Attention, Touch of Command) Only problem is a Valorous Fake Skald Bardlock War Chanter (that's a mouthful) would require quite a few feats to make it run (Skald Training, Hybrid Talent for a Virtue, Scale to fix your AC, taxes, etc.).
That sound awesome, actually. My only issue is that I'm nervous I'll have to spend my first few turns charging up my powers (minor to activate my skald aura, minor to activate song of serendipity, minor to curse, etc). But I think I can deal with it as this is exactly the kind of bard I've been itching to play. What warlock pact would you suggest, fey pact?
That said, it looks like my starting feats would be 1 Hybrid Talent (Valorous virtue) 2 Skald training 4 arcane implement proficiency 6 chainmail Proficiency 8 White lotus dueling expertise
I'm gonna snag white lotus riposte so I can take master riposte in paragon.
Also, I'm thinking about grabbing some polearm feats in paragon so I can knock enemies prone with my eldritch strike. Grizzled Sergeant background for a glaive, polearm momentum, polearm gamble and spear push. My only thoughts: are such plans too greedy?
Sorry, I mistyped last time, I meant Chain, not Scale. If you do take a 16/16/12/12/10/8 array, you can take Hybrid Talent for armor proficiency in Heroic, retrain it out for Chainmail prof once you hit Paragon and get the +1 to all, and then immediately retake Hybrid Talent as your L11 feat for Virtue of Valor to qualify for War Chanter. It's a bit cheesy, but it should keep you alive and gets you a second stat at 13 in Paragon to qualify for MC feats. Scale comes later if you feel the need for more AC (and no check penalty). You'll be depending on Chain + Light Shield for a while though. If you have to stay in Leather for a bit, Armor of Dark Majesty offers a nice +2 defense bonus agaisnt Cursed enemies.
Polearm Momentum tricks are sexy, but that's a really heavy drain on stats and feats. Chain prof wants 13 Str 13 Con, Polearm Momentum demands 15 Dex, 15 Wis and Fighter MC. Polearm Gamble and Spear Push both need STR 15. That's three tertiary stats that all have to hit 15 eventually, which means something like a 16/13/13/13/13/9 array (13/15/13/9/13/18 postracial for a Con/Cha race like Half Elf or Tiefling), and even then you only hit all those 15s in Epic without sacrificing your secondary (and that Con bonus to attacks is what makes War Chanter's AP feature so amazing). If you want to do that, you'll want to plan out the build to make sure you can make it happen and that you aren't cutting vital feats like Improved Defenses.
WLMR is pretty awesome with this, since you get another tap and hand out Skald goodies in the process. You'll still probably want off-action MBA enablers like Battle Awareness or similar for rounds where you didn't MBA. AIP is good, but if you don't care too much about your weapon enchant you can use a Songblade to put that off for a while in favor of more pressing matters like Expertise or your defenses. Take Battle Song Expertise over White Lotus Dueling Expertise if you aren't using it to get an Orb or Staff as an implement, since implement proficiencies mean that all your implements count as bard implements now (yay errata!), so BSE affects all your attacks, just like WLDE.
As for Pacts, most of them are open to you, especially if you drop 16s into both Con and Cha. If you take Twofold Pact in Paragon, you gain the At-Will, Boon and riders of the second pact, but you'll only ever get the riders and feats on the first pact. Regardless, take a look at the Warlock handbook. Note that many Pact riders depend on Intelligence to make them good.
Cha Based Fey Pact: Solid control effects. The At Will sucks, the Boon is decent but since it's unreliable you won't miss it. Needs Int to make most of the riders good. Dark Pact: More damage oriented. The At will blows, the Boon is useful but doesn't scale well past Heroic. Again, you're not here for the Boon. Sorceror King Pact: Runs on Cha, and most powers are both Melee touch and Range 5. Very Lead-Strikery Pact, great feats (Mindbite Scorn!). I'm not familiiar enough with it to tell you how much lacking the Boon hurts it, or even if you get Fell Might with it if you don't Twofold into it.
Cha/Con Based (some powers in both) Infernal Pact: Again damage oriented. The Boon's good but it's THP, which you're already getting from War Chanter (admittedly, the Boon gives a lot more THP), but the At Will is good if your Con is a co-primary (it's not a basic attack, so no Skald goodies though). Star Pact : The At Will is again no great shakes (but it is Radiant). The Boon is great, a cumulative one shot accuracy booster. It's Con/Cha like Infernal (though not as much, leans toward Cha), and the powers lean towards control over DPR. Again, many riders depend on a solid Int mod. Elemental Pact: This needs a class feature that you can't get via RAW as a Hybrid Warlock. Don't think you can even select it.
Con Based Vestige Pact: Requires substantial investment in Con to hit with anything (but you were going to do that anyway, right?). It's a wierd pact, again fairly Lead-Strikery. The At Will is good and the boon depends on what Vestige you're aligned with (told you it was wierd). Probably best Twofolded into, since a lot of the fun with Vestige Pact is abusing the various Vestiges, which you can't do without the Boon and At-Will.
The Pacts that seem most appropriate to a melee range Cha/Con character are Infernal, Sorceror King (especially if your DM rules you get Fell Might), and Vestige (as a second choice for Twofold Pact). Dark and Fey mainly have "and do X equal to your Int mod" riders and are are mostly ranged powers. Elemental just doesn't work at all with Hybrid. However, your starting Pact doesn't matter that much except for feat qualifications, since most riders add your Intelligence modifier to something, so if your Intelligence sucks all you're getting is feats. The exception is Sorceror King if you get Fell Might, since it has some high level powers that give your allies attacks and then add your Warlock's Curse dice to their damage (and of course, your Int mod to their attacks. . .)
Helf, dilettante Magic Weapon, Theme: Yakuza, Background: Akanul, Powers: Staggering Note and Jinx Shot, Shout of Triumph, Stirring Shout, Life's Losing Hand, Blunder, Song of Discord, Revitilizing Incantation, Echoing Weapon, Arrow of Warning, Mantle of Unity, PP War Chanter, Earthquake Strike (drop Shout of Triumph), Whispers of the Dream King (drop Stirring Shout), Haste, Hail of Steel (Drop Blunder), ED Warmaster. I don't feel like looking at Epic Powers, you take Valorous Charge at 27 though. Feats: Improved Defenses, Resourceful Leader, Battle Song Expertise, Novice Power, Versatile Master, Combat Virtuoso, Blade Initiate, Superior Implement (Accurate Dagger), Superior Will, Bardic Wayfarer, Majestic Rescue, Multiclass Mastery (I forget which Daily and Utility you take with this, something to grant saves at level 2?), Quickened Spellcasting, MC Cleric, stuff?. Items: Accurate Radiant Dagger, Radiant Shard, Benefactor's Armor, Raven Cloak, Vistani Buzuq, Helm of Able Defense, Ring of Retreat, Belt of the Witch King, Planestrider Boots, Demonskin Tattoo, Symbol of Victory, various utility items like salve of power.
"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.