The Ultimate Bard 5e Guide to Dungeons and Dragons

Posted by Ted Cory on

Table of Contents:

Bard Class Abilities and Spell Selection

Your bread and butter, as a bard, will be in skill-modifiers. Bards are proficient with essentially every skill, and you’ll be the go-to party member to volunteer (or be volunteered) for almost any non-physical check. Take specific language or lore knowledge to get information from NPCs or otherwise help advance the story.

Work with the DM to determine if your character would already have education or innate knowledge within the world they created and remember to ask about those skill checks regularly.

Be mindful of typical spells like Cure Wounds (or Healing Word if you’d rather use the bonus action to heal for less but be able to attack).

You should give some situational spells serious consideration here, too. Faerie Fire is great for finding invisible enemies (provided they fail the Dex save), and the spell gives the party advantage against afflicted creatures. Etherealness offers you mobility and works as a ‘get out of jail free’ spell. Bards really have no shortage of utility power, but much of your utility toolkit will be situational.

Keep Ritual Casting in mind, however, to cast some of these spells without them taking up a spell slot. Ritual casting forces you to use the lowest rank and takes an extra 10 minutes to cast. Some of these non-combat or situational spells won’t lose luster cast this way.

Optional Bard Features

In Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything every class got a set of optional features that act like a sort of upgrade patch to fix issues and improve things that needed improving. These features are technically optional, but assuming your DM allows them, make sure to include these class features with your new bard character:

New Spells

Using the optional features, the following spells have been added to the bard spell list:

1st Level

Color spray

Command

2nd Level

Aid

Enlarge/reduce

Mirror image

3rd Level

Intellect fortress 

Mass healing word

Slow

4th Level

Phantasmal killer

5th Level

Rary’s telepathic bond 

6th Level

Heroes’ feast

7th Level

Dream of the blue veil 

Prismatic spray

8th Level

Antipathy/sympathy

9th Level

Prismatic wall

 

Magical Inspiration

As a pretty major change players can now spend the bardic inspiration die to add to the points of damage dealt or healed by a spell. This makes granting bardic inspiration to spellcasters a much more viable option. It also seems to apply (as far as we can tell) to multi-target spells, so adding in that bardic inspiration to a fireball applies that extra damage to each target, not too shabby. You’ll probably find that saving bardic inspiration for saving throws and attacks will still be the best option but charging up a fireball or a mass cure wounds is a nice added utility.

Bardic Versatility

Like the other “versatility” features that many classes got boosted with, this new feature lets you reselect your expertise skill and a cantrip every time you gain an ability score improvement. This isn’t so much a buff as it is a smoothing down of the messy mechanics of retraining skills. If you’ve found a selection you made in the early levels isn’t cutting it anymore, simply swap it out at an ASI level.

In Conclusion - Bards Rock

If you want to be a good ally and a strong, multifaceted force of boosted skills for the whole party, consider rolling a bard at the start of your next campaign with our DnD Bard Dice. The bard’s biggest strengths are in helping make the whole party stronger when they need it most.

And not just a combat-savvy class, a good bard can help the party overcome traps, puzzles, and even that tight-lipped NPC holding out on giving the group that one important, missing piece of lore for your quest. Bards are natural leaders - a balanced class with wits to match the sharpness of their blades.

If you liked this article, please share it with your friends, and comment below! We're looking to keep the legend alive stories of how you've adventured and lived to tell about it.

We would be remiss if we didn't give at least one example of a Bard who properly demonstrated their true abilities.

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