Why Bard is the Greatest Class Ever

Table of Contents

Bards are awesome 

Bards are unpredictable – this one always bring a barrel on adventures just to mess with the DM’s mind.

Here at Dungeon Mastering we try to foster a community where we can engage in intellectual discussion and all views are respected, even if not agreed with. One of the points of disagreement around here is the value of bards. One of my colleagues has a well documented anti-bard bias. Another has a less documented opinion that bards are crunchy and delicious. Well I intend to settle the argument right now, bards are the greatest class in D&D and if you don’t agree your opinion is wrong.

Let me break it down for you:

Bards are Indie: For many years and many editions the charisma attribute was cursed to joke status among gamers. One of the sole devotees of this underestimate stats were the bard class and they were ridiculed for it. Now that charisma has gone mainstream everyone is jumping on the bandwagon – we’re looking at you  4e Warlord, is 4e Warlock, and 4e Rogue. It’s okay though, charisma sold out so bards are not that into it anymore, they have a new ability score. They would tell you what it is, but it’s pretty underground, you wouldn’t have heard of it.

Bards Make Great Come-With-Guys: In an earlier article my bard-hating colleague asked the question “Do you really want me to ask a fighter surrounded by 6 orcs if he’d rather have back-up or hear a tune?”. Allow me to phrase that another way, how often in your life have you wished you had a soundtrack? If you were slicing up orcs left and right, wouldn’t someone shredding on a lute really get your blood pumping? I’ve never slaughtered monsters before, but I know I take my MP3 player every time I go to the gym. Lets say you get overwhelmed and can’t handle it, that bard is going to write a great song about you. He will embellish a bit, throw in a damsel in distress and a few dragons to the story and suddenly people will be singing your praises for years.

Bards are Selfless: So much of a bard’s power is tied up in making his friends look good. When you only dealt that dragon a killing blow due to the bard’s +1 bonus or just barely made that tumble check to avoid looking like an idiot thanks to some inspiring music, everyone just assumes it was your natural talent winning the day. The bard isn’t greedy, he doesn’t take credit for your victories or tries to steal your kills, he just helps you be the best you can be. Plus there is no better person for talking you up to guys or ladies you are interested in.

Bards Can Do Anything They Set Their Minds To: There’s a wonderful quote from the science fiction author Robert Heinlein “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” Except for programing a computer (they’re taking night classes) that sounds like it could be the resume of a bard. Bards might not be able to do a particular thing as well a specialist, but they can fill in any skill you are lacking and provide valuable assistance to your specialist in that field, two d20s are better than one!

Bards Annoy Your DM: Bards are a wonderful class if you like to frustrate your DM while he tries to tell a story. They excel at seducing the barmaids, prying info away from the DM with bardic knowledge, running afoul with the law and just generally mucking about the plot. Alternatively, if for some strange reason you don’t like raising your DM’s blood pressure, bards make great characters for progressing through a plot. Bardic knowledge allows your DM to pass along important information in an organic way and bards have the social skills to converse with tavern drunks or court nobles without causing a brawl at either setting. Regardless if you use the powers for good or evil, bards make fantastic roleplaying characters.

Don’t think bards are the greatest class to ever fill a character sheet? Feel free to express your (incorrect) opinion in the comments.

57 thoughts on “Why Bard is the Greatest Class Ever”

  1. You are delusional if you think bards are the greatest class ever from any mechanical standpoint, and all the things you’ve listed which are roleplaying-based can be done by any other character.

  2. Pretty weak break down. While, some of what you say is true. I would rather play a factotum than a bard. I had a factotum who actually had theme music and I just hired some minstrels. Bards annoy the DM? Thats a role playing aspect, NOT a class aspect. Any class can annoy the DM…the only thing another class cant do on your list is bardic knowledge. A fighter can get bar maids or a rogue can run afoul the law. Thats all role playing not class…..Bards still suck. I can even play a another class and be a skilled performer if i want.

  3. I think bards are wicked, but thats because i play as one. BUT, i have the biggest kill count as well out of my group of four, mainly because of the diversity of the character. I think to truly appreciate a bard you have to play with a small group, since that “Jack of all trades” status means a lot if you need a fighter/healer/mage in a pinch and your out of buddies to throw at the situation.

    not to mention its pretty funny when you convince a king that your a famous lute playing god who needs rations for the mission he’s sending you on, but only eats gold because your so amazing at the lute.

  4. I know I’m a bit late in the game with this post, but I just have to applaud this. I have always loved playing a bard. The guys in my group like to poke fun at me and say it’s because I like to play girlie characters because I’m a girl. Truth is? I love helping them do better and being the face of the party.

    Also, for anyone playing a bard, the feat Melodic Casting is a must. Forget Combat Casting. Melodic Casting.

  5. Ever since I started playing DnD way back 12 years ago I looked at the possible character classes and knew that the Bard was the best. Here is a character that can fight, cast, sneak, and heal. I have played various sized groups and my fellow players laughed at my first bard… (Circu the Pirate/Bard. )….
    At first they didn’t say anything cause most were first time players as well as myself but when I taught them all how to role-play versus hack and slash a game and how to earn extra experience without killing everything you come into contact with they started to really like to have me around.
    It’s not all about the stat bonuses and the diversity of skills. A bard is THE GUY/GAL in the party that can change everything.

  6. I totally agree!!! I played a bard 3 times and loved it and would play it again in a heartbeat! it’s a great class to just adventure without having any reason or the need for backround, u save the days many times, although u never get any credit. But it’s ok. other players might think i am a joke, cause i choose to play a funny bard, but i know that a) i make the game more interesting and fun and b) i saved their asses hundret of times. and they are always happy when they get my bonuses, or cast haste on them or even heal them when necessary.They killed many monsters cause of my +1/+4 dmg and attack roll and it satisfies me just that i know it, even though they never thank me. Bards are the coolest guys. THEY ARE THE SOUNTRACK of the game. of the adventure movie. have u seen a movie with no music? try it. ITS DULL!!!

  7. LOL I love the bard at lvl ten we were doing this adventure I think it was a bumped up version of the Howling Horde. We headed out and I decided with my human bard to start playing and singing as we head to this lair and what not, I cast like a translation spell and I go all out, Diplomacy, Bluff, Performs string instrument and sing, Spellcasting all the way to the max I actually was able to get like 12+ goblins to party rock. Then the massacre came… The dwarf barbarian just had to rack up his kills.

  8. lol awesome. The way i introduced my character to the group amused me, but ended up getting me not to be trusted yet… as well as thrown into a lake, lol. But considering I have +23 bluff (4e changleing bard, so natural +5 to bluff and a disguise kit to help) & hedgewizard gloves, I’ve decided to go about selling a rock for about 12,000 gold using illusions & a sack to make them think it’s a precious gem)

    this was brought on by countless perception check done by the barbarians asking “what do I see?” to which the DM replies “… you find a rock”

    I’m seliing it & making money then!

  9. wow, u inspired me lots!!!!
    i’m on a D&D party as a bard…and i’m always the subject of jokes and the reference for the word “useless” ¬¬
    I read ur words carefully and now, i feel stronger! i feel lots better and i think i’m ready to shut up my party friends with my awesome character!!
    Thanks a lot!!!

  10. If I might add as well. I tried a lv 1 bard once a while back when my group and I were just starting things out. Mostly game play consisted of hack & slash & an occasional puzzle. Since then we’ve had a few different continuous games & our gameplay has evolved. Now we’re playing the game to a much fuller extent & I’m considering switching out a lv 3 shaman for a lv 3 bard because we need someone a bit more well rounded to kick ass at skill checks.

    I will say this though, if you’re with a group that’s just beggining to learn to play the game & are just going about hack & slash, bard isn’t the most exciting. But I’ll be damned if I’m not excited about re-rolling a bard to help open backdoors to story & gathering info while decieving the lawful good longtooth shifter monk into thinking it was a good idea conning the villagers for an extra 100 gold to help with their local monster problem. :D

  11. I’ve been playing my Bard for only 3 sessions so far. I’ve managed to get knocked out once each time. This is not due to any fault of my own, except for the time I tryed to kick the giant lizard that landed right beside me… That being said I’m enjoying my class. It definitly takes creative thinking and more then the ability to roll some dice. I find the best part is that it gets the other players in the same mind set as yourself. That eliminates the sterotypical play and gets everyone thinking. Sometimes for the best, sometimes just the oppisite. Either way it’s always entertaining.

  12. WhyLater how are you getting that? What kind of bard are you playing lol! That sounds so great. Sure you’re not destroying tons of baddies but you’re certainly making the party better that’s for sure!

  13. First of all, my comment applies to 3.5, because 4.0 is simply… well, not D&D as far as I’m concerned.

    I won’t even go into how fun Bards are to roleplay. That should be a given. I will merely throw out two sets of statistics that are from my little 9th level bard.

    1) After two rounds, the monk and the fighter in the party will have a +12 to attack, a +7 to damage, 4d10 + CON of temporary HP, a +7 to Will saves vs. fear, and a +5 to all Fort saves. Everybody else in the party will have a +7 to attack and damage and Will saves vs. fear. This is all from me. After 2 rounds and a little bit of resource management.

    2) +22 to Diplomacy checks.

    Now, I don’t know about 4.0, but anybody who’s played 3.5 with me while I’m playing a Bard knows that they’re supremely awesome when munchkined out correctly.

  14. As a follow up: with my paragon path, I gain Eldritch Blast (an extra at-will), Wizard Cantrips, Swordbond, and the ability to take encounter and daily powers from the Wizard, Warlock, Swordmage, and Sorcerer class. Take that, naysayers.

  15. The 4E bard: literally indomitable. The fighters take the big guys, the rogue darts behind, but the bard? He does anything that he wants. Whirls around a battlefield like a madcap barn dance. Give him a sword, and he’ll take names. Give him a bow and he’ll pepper the enemy with cover fire. And skill challenges? Piece of cake. Take the right feats, and you’ve got a higher athletics then a barbarian. Bards are pure awesome. And the best to roleplay with.
    And all that’s without even mentioning “Vicious Mockery.” Seriously. A d6 for making fun of some goblin. Now that’s my kind of character.
    – Falco Goodbody, Level 11 Halfling Bard

  16. My first DND character was a bard. Nothing was more entertaining than playing epic guitar solos [Axe guitar ftw] and manipulating villagers into giving me stuff. The bard is an amazing class, and even though the people I played with wanted me to be something else, they never mentiont it when I again and again saved their lives by lying to the guards and telling tales of their glory rater than their incompetence. BARDS ROCK!

  17. The thing about being a Bard is that it’s all about being the middleman. Your main job is to -try and make things happen-, while it falls on everyone else to actually get the deed done. And yes, it’s natural for almost everyone to want to play as the “deed do-er”.

    Manipulation (events, situations, -people-, etc) is a very “sensitive” issue, which is why truly successful “bards” rarely make themselves known. Sure you can make a character who does the most damage, or who can cast the most protections, or who generally kills everything in 1 round, or has who has really insane stats, resistances and AC, etc etc. Sadly, none of that matters if the Bard still -knew- how to beat you. Roll up an epic Bard and use your maximized knowledge to look into device that can wipe anything out of existence if you just pointed it at someone, whydontcha. Chances are, if the DM was slack enough to allow things like plus twelves and whatnot, you’ll succeed.

  18. I’m currently playing a human bard, he’s low level but awesome. In the game I’m in there is only me and my friend who plays a tiefling rogue, so I’m the close combat guy and healer, and he sneak attacks. Even though neither of us is a pure combat class we have really good luck, at level 2 the rogue used darkness on a dire wolf who was charging us, the wolf missed, we both made attacks of opportunity and rolled criticals I was using a scythe and he was using a mace so it died after one attack (scythe=x4 critical). I also used suggestion to steal horses, and used my street smarts to get us safely through a bad part of sigil (see planescape) after we fell through a planar portal in someone rosebushes.

  19. i played eq1 for 7 years.

    From about october 2000 to 2007

    The great thing about bards as posted above,is that they are dabble in a little everything.

    They may not be the best in any category but they can do more things than any class,making them unique and powerfull.

    I still love my bard ranlron swiftsong of everquest.

    The problem with everquest 1 is during the late years when soe designers nerfed our solo capabilities forcing us to group in the already limited groups but powering us up even more for groups.

    I still consider the bard one of if not the most fun class to play.

  20. Okay, we’re in a city in a magical forest.
    No day has passed for 160 years.
    There I meet my grandfather: an old, grumpy samurai.
    I also found out that I have a twinbrother and we where born because our mom paniced when she found out my dad was gone. From things I heared it sounds like my twinbrother is not a very kind person. And I found out the forrest wanted my mom and dad 29 years ago, and it wanted us too.
    We could get away with the help of a mysterious person, and now, my twinbrother and I are both back into the forrest.
    Let’s see what the forrest thinks about that.
    I hope it doesn’t want to kill me.

    Another weird thing that happend to me:

    I dreamed about a bird and when it was singing, the forrest was dying.
    The bird woke up, saw that everything was dead and then the bird died.
    The second time I dreamed I was the bird and when I was singing, a lot of insects came to me and I ate them. (I ate worms, flies, sow-bugs and roaches!!)
    No wonder I wasn’t that hungry when I woke up that morning…

  21. Ha ha ha!!! Bards ARE the best!!! The resto f my group hates it when I play a bard… But I love ’em!!!

  22. Nobody can call bards useless anymore if you’ve seen my bard.
    With some spells and items I can give a +10 on attack rolls and damage.
    Because of this bonus we (kinda sorcerer, barbarian-cleric, rogue and me) got a young-aduld white dragon down in one turn. Later, the barbarian-cleric got an icegiant down in almost the same time, and an old white dragon too.

    It seems like weird things happen to my bard, yesterday I was kidnapped by busytails(squirrels with human hands and feets) because I speak sylvan

  23. “Bards? Leaders? It sounds weird…”

    Well, bards have a high charisma and they are usally good in diplomaty.
    But if I was the leader of our party, we would get in big trouble.
    You see, I bluff a lot, my bluf is a +11 or something

  24. i LOVE bards,they are awsome.the best race for 3.0 e is gnome for 4e a dragonborn is a sweet combination.

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