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Why Bards Don't Suck

Author: 
Rutaq of the Broken Skull

Rutaq's Verdict: "Dem Bards…deys gud peepul if yas gets ta knows 'em!"

Alaric had to think fast.

Since his most recent capture by the ogres, he was sure to end up in the cooking pot this night. Certainly, his halfling companion had fallen to a similar fate the previous night, and he was not about to end up as some foul-smelling creature's evening meal. Unable to reach his mandolin, Alaric started to sing. Not just a song to calm his mind, but to capture the ogre guard's attention. He sang as best he could in ogre (one of the less romantic languages he knew) and weaved a song exalting the exploits of great ogre champions. The guard soon came back to join in on Alaric's fine vocalizations, and the quick-thinking Alaric poised a slight suggestion in his music that it might be better for the guard if this obviously harmless human was allowed out of his cage that the two could share a tankard or two whilst they sang.

It sounded a bit more like an oxen trying to yodel, but Alaric was not going to waste this opportunity as his captor opened his cage and clopped Alaric hard on the back. Alaric weaved a spell of Sleep into his singing and the guard was soon slumped, tankard in hand, across the small table outside Alaric's former cell.

Taking a few minutes to gather his gear, Alaric used stealth and agility to slip out of the ogre cave and into the freedom of the night.

Ah, the melodic strains of the songweaver we lovingly call the "Bard." This class has evolved through myriad incarnations as DnD has progressed, but all manifestations kept the same feature: the bard is truly the man for all seasons. Skilled in deception, combat, charm and wit, the bard is amply armed to handle almost any situation. With the ability to cast arcane spells without the use of a spellbook and access to a vast array of spells, the bard is able to fill the roles of sorceror, wizard and cleric at different times. Few classes have the magical ability to damage and heal others.

While the bard does have a great magical aptitude, lets not take away the bard's physical combat ability. While he's not a great combatant, he can hold his own with a variety of weapons. In addition, the bard gains a martial weapon proficiency of his choice. Further, the bard can wear light armor, allowing him to be far more protected than most spellcasting classes, but still retain the ability to toss spells about when necessary.

One of the key aspects of the bard is his ability to fascinate, inspire and manipulate those around him with the simple turn of a tune or instrumental arrangement. Skilled with many forms of performance, the charismatic bard can ensorcel almost anyone and have them begging to be duped again.

Add to these qualities the bardic knowledge ability and you have the bard poised to be the central figure in any roleplaying story. Not too long ago, I read a post that said, "our DM pretty much tells us everything anyway." Now, on behalf of all the DMs out there who actually grasp the objective of telling a great story and providing some air of mystery for your players, I cordially invite any DM so weak as to basically hand everything to their players on a silver platter to get back to playing Ultima Online and leave those of us who enjoy actual roleplaying to Neverwinter. The bard's ability to identify (and possibly lie about) the nature of magic items, unusual people and places, mythic legends and any other plot device or significant situation gives the party life, ingenuity and creates dynamic intra-party communication.

The bard is a key player in any group, able to handle any situation with charm, grace and perhaps a little guile, making the bard a character class that truly does not suck.

Thanks to the great guys over at Black Orc for Rutaq's orc logo. Visit them at www.blackorc.com

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