It is said that music has a special magic, and the bard proves that saying true. Wandering across the land, gathering lore, telling stories, working magic with his music, and living on the gratitude of his audience - such is the life of a bard. When chance or opportunity draws them into a conflict, bards serve as diplomats, negotiators, messengers, scouts, and spies.
A bard's magic, entirely Arcane, comes from the Weave, but specifically manifests through an instrument, be it their voice or a physical object. Some, however, believe that their magic comes from their heart. If their heart is good, a bard brings hope and courage to the downtrodden and uses their tricks, music, and magic to thwart the schemes of evildoers. If the nobles of the land are corrupt, the good bard is an enemy of the state, cunningly evading capture and raising the spirits of the oppressed. But they say music can spring from an evil heart as well. Evil bards forego blatant violence in favour of manipulation, holding sway over the hearts and minds of others and taking what enraptured audiences "willingly" give.
Bards see adventures as opportunities to learn. They practice their many skills and abilities, and they especially relish the opportunity to enter a long-forgotten tomb, to discover ancient works of magic, to decipher old tomes, to travel to strange places, to encounter exotic creatures, and to learn new songs and stories. Bards love to accompany heroes (and villains), joining their entourage to witness their deeds firsthand - a bard who can tell a marvelous story from personal experience earns renown among their fellows. Indeed, after telling so many stories about heroes doing mighty deeds, many bards take these themes to heart and assume heroic roles themselves.
A bard brings forth magic from sheer willpower, not from a book. They can cast only a small number of spells, but they can do so without selecting or preparing them in advance. Their magic emphasizes charms and illusions over the more dramatic evocation spells that wizards and sorcerers often use.
In addition to spells, a bard works magic with his music and poetry. They can encourage allies, hold their audiences rapt, and counter magical effects that rely on speech or sound.
Bards have some of the skills that rogues have, although bards are not as focused on skill mastery as rogues are. A bard listens to stories as well as telling them, of course, so they have a vast knowledge of local events and noteworthy items.
Bards are wanderers, guided by whim and intuition rather than by tradition or law. The spontaneous talent, magic, and lifestyle of the bard are incompatible with a lawful alignment.
Bards revere many gods, but most often ones with the Travel portfolio. They sometimes camp near wayside shrines, hoping to earn some coin from the travelers who stop to leave offerings for the gods. Bards tend to spend so much time on the road that, while they may be devoted to a deity, they are rarely devoted to any particular temple.
An apprentice bard learns their skills from a single experienced bard, whom they follow and serves until they are ready to strike out on their own. Many bards were once young runaways or orphans, befriended by wandering bards who became their mentors. Since bards occasionally congregate in both formal and informal "colleges," the apprentice bard may meet many of the more prominent bards in the area. Still, the bard has no strong allegiance to bards as a whole. In fact, some bards are highly competitive with other bards, jealous of their reputations and defensive.
Bards are commonly human, gnome, elf, or half-elf. Humans take well to the wandering life and adapt easily to new lands and customs. Gnomes have a sense of humor and trickery that lends itself to a bardic career. Elves are talented in music and magic, so the career of the bard comes naturally to them. A bard's wandering ways suit many half-elves, who often feel like strangers even when at home.
Half-orcs, even those raised among humans, find themselves ill suited to the demands of a bard's career. There are no bardic traditions among dwarves, or halflings, though occasional individuals of these races find teachers to train them in the ways of the bard. Bards are exceedingly rare among the savage humanoids, except among centaurs. Centaur bards sometimes train the children of humans or other humanoids.
A bard works well with companions of other classes. They often serve as the spokesman of the party, using their social skills for the party's benefit. In a party without a wizard or sorcerer, the bard contributes their magic. In a party without a rogue, they use their skills. A bard is curious about the ways of more focused or dedicated adventurers, so they often try to pick up pointers from fighters, sorcerers, and rogues.
The bard is perhaps the ultimate generalist. In most adventuring groups, they work best in a supporting role. They can't usually match the stealth of the ranger or the rogue, the spellcasting power of the cleric or the wizard, or the combat prowess of the barbarian or the fighter. However, they make all the other characters better at what they do, and they can often fill in for another character when needed. For a typical group of four characters, the bard is perhaps the most useful fifth character to consider adding, and they can make a great team leader.
*Denotes modification from vanilla NWN.
Alignment Restriction: Any Non-Lawful
Hit Die: d8
Proficiencies: Armor (light, medium), Shields (light & heavy), Weapons (rogue & simple)
Skill Points: 7 + INT Modifier
Class Skills: All Knowledges, Barter, Bluff, Concentration, Craft Trap, Decipher Script, Diplomacy,
Primary Saving Throws: Reflex & Will
Base Attack Bonus: +3/4 Levels
Spellcasting: Arcane (spell failure from armor is a factor), charisma-based (a base charisma score of 10 + the spell's level is required to cast a spell, bonus spells are based on modified charisma, and the charisma modifier affects spell DCs), and spontaneous cast (no spell preparation required).
Level Progression / Spells per Day / Spells Known
Bardic Knowledge, Bard Song
Arcane Spell Failure Reduction (20%) [Light Armor Only]
|14th||+8/+3||+4||+9||+9||Practiced Prowess I||7||3||3||3||3||1||-||5||4||4||4||4||3||-|
Bonus Feat, Practiced Prowess II
- Bardic Knowledge: Applies Skill bonus to all "Knowledge" skills.
- Bard Song:
- AC bonus from Bard Song is now Deflection.
- Save bonuses do not stack with Protection vs Alignment.
- Duration is now 10 Minutes (+5 With Lingering Song). All other songs remain rounds.
- Curse Song: 1d4 / two Bard levels Sonic damage instantly on cast. All other effects removed.
- Practiced Prowess: Grants skill bonuses of Craft Trap, Handle Trap, Perception, Search and Stealth +1. Also provides a bonus of Perform +3. At level 18 Craft Trap, Handle Trap, Perception, Search and Stealth increase to +2 and Perform increases to +6.
- +Spell Slot for 1, 2, and 3 spells.
- +Spell Slot for 4, 5, and 6 spells.
- Arcane Armor Training: -50% Arcane Spell Failure
- Bard Song Feats:
- Song of Fortitude: When the Bard uses Bard Song, it grants Temporary HP of +1d2 / ½ Bard level and +2 Fortitude to allies affected by Bard Song.
- [Below are NEW Songs, they are separate from normal bard song]
- Pavane [Curse Song]: Enemy Movement Speed Reduced by 25%
- Capriccio: Movement Speed +10%, +1 Reflex, +1 Dodge AC.
- Madrigal: Elemental Resistance 25%, +2 Saves vs Spells to allies affected by Bard Song.
- Intermezzo: Regeneration +1 to allied affected by Bard Song. Cannot be taken until level 12.
- Blade of Songs: Use one Bard Song to grant Sonic damage for 1 Turn per Bard Level. (Self-Only)
- Song of Deception: Spend one Bard Song to grant 25% Concealment for 1 Round / Bard Level. (Self-Only). Cannot be taken until level 12.
- Curse Song.
- Extra Music.
- Lingering Song.
- Arcane Defense.
- Spell Focus in the desired school remains a pre-requisite.
Bard Song Progression
|Cantrips||1st Level Spells||2nd Level Spells||3rd Level Spells||4th Level Spells||5th Level Spells||6th Level Spells|
|Cure minor wounds||Amplify||Blindness/deafness||Bestow curse||Cure critical wounds||Ethereal visage||Dirge|
|Daze||Balagarn's iron horn||Bull's strength||Charm monster||Dismissal||Greater dispelling||Energy buffer|
|Flare||Charm person||Cat's grace||Clairaudience/clairvoyance||Dominate person||Healing circle||Mass haste|
|Light||Cure light wounds||Clarity||Confusion||Hold monster||Mind fog||Conjure creature VI|
|Resistance||Expeditious retreat||Cloud of bewilderment||Cure serious wounds||Improved invisibility||Conjure creature V||Spell Breach|
|Mage Hand||Grease||Cure moderate wounds||Dispel magic||Legend lore||Lesser Mind Blank|
|Identify||Darkness||Displacement||Neutralize poison||Mordenkainen's Sword|
|Lesser dispel||Eagle's splendor||Fear||Conjure creature IV||Phantasmal Killer|
|Mage armor||Fox's cunning||Find traps||War cry|
|Magic weapon||Ghostly visage||Greater magic weapon||Dimension Door|
|Protection from alignment||Hold person||Gust of wind||Freedom of Movement|
|Sleep||Owl's wisdom||Invisibility sphere|
|Conjure creature I||See invisibility||Keen edge|
|Tasha's Hideous Laughter||Silence||Magic circle against alignment|
|Remove Fear||Sound burst||Remove curse|
|Color Spray||Conjure creature II||Remove disease|
|Cause Fear||Tasha's hideous laughter||Slow|
|Ultravision||Conjure creature III|