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  1. #1
    Community Member Irinis's Avatar
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    Default The Diva's Bard Love Guide

    A N N O U N C E M E N T:
    Bards in update 9 Warchanters come out ahead again, Spellsingers are slightly hosed back to meh, Virtuoso still meh. Playing a caster Bard in u9 is not recommended. Reroll.

    A N N O U N C E M E N T:
    How to play nice with other Bards now that you're more likely to not be the only Bard in the party
    A N N O U N C E M E N T:
    Bards ARE subject to Arcane Spell Failure checks! We're not quite sure which way is bugged and which way is, well, WAI. Check this link for more information.
    Ok so you want to roll up a Bard. You're curious, fascinated, even. Maybe you've seen a Bard in action and though "hey I want to be a rockstar diva too" or maybe your guild would like one for raids. Well you've come to the right place! This is a free backstage pass to Bardiness. Next up, the Bard build spectrum!

    Further sections of this guide:

    1. So I have these songs now, what do they do?
    2. Prestige Enhancements, and Prestige Songs
    3. Other tips on building your Bard
    4. Some links to great builds
    5. How to play your beautiful bard
    6. Bard Bugs!

    The Bard Build Spectrum:

    You're going to get a lot of advice and most of it conflicting. Bards are very personal builds. Not like Barbarians or whatever... and there's still lots of discussion there.

    Before you roll ANY kind of Bard, decide what you want to do with it.

    1. Crowd control SPELLS
    2. Heal
    3. Fascinate and buff
    4. Melee THF
    5. Melee TWF

    Every Bard is good at #3. Now, the closer you get to either end of the spectrum I just posted, the harder it will be to do things at the other end of the spectrum well.

    If your first priority aim is the best Crowd Control spells, that's very specialized on a Bard. If your aim is two-weapon fighting at 5. that's really specialized and you won't be able to afford all the feats or stats to do 1. or 2. as effectively as a Bard that decides to specialize in 1. or 2.

    What's this? Specialization? On a Bard, the Jack of All Trades?

    Yes. Generalist doesn't work so well in DDO, it's a min-max environment. So we gotta build our Bards a little different than in pen and paper or other D&D games.

    1. or 2. you build a Spellsinger, max out Charisma, and only put enough in STR to not get enfeebled easily.
    3. The best fascinate is Enthrall, which is only available to Virtuoso (which doesn't get much love because it's special song is more oriented for soloing or 6-man parties than for raids)
    4. Two-handed fighting makes for a melee Bard that has room in the feat list for some feats to support healing.
    5. Two-weapon fighting takes a lot of investment into feats and starting stats, and doesn't leave you much room for much else.

    Some people build Warchanters with the same build stats as I'd build a for aims 1. or 2. but the Spellsinger gets extra DCs for spells over a Warchanter. So Warchanters are more suited to melee bards and Spellsingers for CC/healing bards.

    ~Aelunira the Diva~
    Last edited by Irinis; 03-28-2011 at 02:03 PM. Reason: More section links linked! Because this is getting loooooong!
    Please split the class forums into REAL subcategories this is a jumbled mess.

  2. #2
    Community Member Irinis's Avatar
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    SO I Have These Songs Now, What Do They Do?

    Oh! I almost forgot the Very Important Beginner Tip:
    Songs are NOT dispelled by Beholders or by other antimagic effects. So when you rock your group, you really rock your group! Be sure to sing before any Beholder encounter to give your party extra HP and fighting capability.
    At level 1, you get this cool song called Inspire Courage. It's your "free to pike" pass. You show up, you sing, they love you and go kill stuff. Right?

    At level 1, it gives a "morale" bonus (you'll need to remember that later to appear edumacated and shtuff) of +1 attack and +1 damage and +1 saves against fear to your entire party. How cool is that?
    Wait, it gets better. At levels 8, 14, and 20, the song automatically gets better by 1 on each of those.
    Then, when you're a good little Rockstar Diva and take FULL enhancements to Attack III and Damage III, you get another +3 to well, Attack and Damage for your song.

    Warchanters get an additional +1 attack and +2 damage, and +1 to saves against fear. We're gonna forget about the "saves against fear" bit for a while though, because it usually doesn't stack and gets overwritten by other bonuses from other stuff.

    All else equal:

    Pure 20 Warchanter 7/7 base + 1/2 Warchanter = 8/9 (attack/damage)

    Pure 20 Spellsinger/Virtuoso 7/7

    Splashed Warchanter (min level of 14) 6/6 + 1/2 = 7/8

    Splashed Spellsinger/Virtuoso (min level of 14) 6/6.

    At level 9, you get another song called Inspire Greatness and you want to sing that one too. It's very harmonious! It gives your party +2 attack from a "competence" bonus. (Which means it stacks with what you already sang. Yay!) It also gives your entire party extra hitpoints and I sometimes call it the Hitpoints Song.

    Pure 20 Warchanter 7/7 base + 1/2 Warchanter = 10/9

    Pure 20 Spellsinger/Virtuoso 9/7

    Splashed Warchanter (min14) 6/6 + 1/2 = 9/8

    Splashed Spellsinger/Virtuoso (min14) 8/6.


    Back to level 1 for a minute. You also got a song called Fascinate. That's the song you use on your enemies so they stop attacking you for a bit. Unfortunately, as soon as they get hit by anything, they'll snap out of their trance and start chasing you for putting them in one. But it's still really cool.

    At level 6, there's a song called Suggestion that allows you to make ONE enemy you've already Fascinated, into your personal slave and best buddy. I like this one a LOT.

    At level 18, you can sing Mass Suggestion and charm a whole lot of Fascinated enemies. But usually it's simpler to just cast the spell version if you're a CC Bard. You might use it if you're a melee kind of Bard.


    Back to level 3. One fantastic song you can give to individual party members is Inspire Competence. It's WONDERFUL for the party trapmonkey especially, giving a +2 "competence" boost to all skills. The only sad thing about this song is that you can't sing it to yourself to cheer you through troubled times.


    Level 12 gives you the Song of Freedom, which acts like the Break Enchantment spell - just only on a single ally not on Area of Effect spells.


    At level 15, you finally get the song all the tanks want. AC Song, also known as Inspire Heroics.
    It gives a +4 "morale" bonus to all saving throws and a +4 "dodge" bonus to Armor Class. (Dodge stacks with Dodge, only thing in the game that does.)


    Through enhancements, any Bard can also take two very special songs that fascinate Undead and Constructs, respectively: Music of the Dead and Music of Makers. But it costs a LOT of Action Points and most Bards can't afford everything we want. It's tough work to be a Rockstar sometimes.

    When you choose your Prestige, you get more special songs. I'll describe those more fully in the Bard Prestige Enhancements section, coming right up!

    Rock on,
    ~Aelunira the Diva~

    PS: For more specific numbercrunching info on all Bard songs check out Bardic Music on DDOWiki. The new PrE songs may not be up there yet.
    Last edited by Irinis; 09-22-2010 at 01:40 PM.
    Please split the class forums into REAL subcategories this is a jumbled mess.

  3. #3
    Community Member Irinis's Avatar
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    Please no Stormarchering....

    A N N O U N C E M E N T:
    For further information and feedback on Bard Tier 2 Prestige Enhancements please check THIS THREAD on Bard PrEs, and THIS ONE asking the devs about Update 7 Bard Changes.

    A N N O U N C E M E N T:
    The way skills are named CHANGED in Update 7. It's no longer "Bard Skill I" but "Improved Skill I" and etc. You will need to reset your enhancements.
    Bard Prestige Enhancements

    We're lucky that we are getting Tier 2 enhancements in Update 7. (Although Bards really do need some good offensive spells and an equivalent to Mass Heal, plus a look at DCs for enchantment and sonic compared to Wizards. Really I'd have preferred to see the T2 songs be available to pick and choose, not each locked to one PrE... and have the PrE increase personal viability according to the usual role of that type of Bard.)

    The three we have are War Chanter (used to be Warchanter and I like it better all one word), Spellsinger, and Virtuoso. Because the Warchanter has better songs for the group, they are MUCH desired in raids. These are the schmoozing rockstars who drink a lot and join a lot of different indie bands. Spellsingers are rarer, but the arcanes love their special song so they have their place in raids as a healer and buffer even though NONE of their CC works in raids. They're like those New Age stars who make music that makes you feel the world could be a beautiful place after all. Virtuoso is that embarrassing star who has great chops for solo but doesn't play as nicely with others because he just doesn't care and follows his own artistic vision. They are the flamboyant individualists and can be built with many different aims, so you never really know what you're getting in your group.

    You can only pick ONE prestige class at a time.

    Warchanter I

    Ironskin Chant is a huge perk to being this type of rockstar. 5/- damage reduction. It's pretty cool!
    You also get +2 to Intim just for being a Warchanter, and if you have Barbarian Rage (from a level of Barbarian), you get one extra Rage.

    Prerequisites:
    Level 6 Bard
    Feats:
    Power Attack
    One of: Weapon Focus: Bludgeon, Pierce, or Slash
    Enhancements:
    Attack I, Damage I, Bravery II

    Warchanter II

    By taking this you personally gain another +2 bonus to your Intim, for a total of +4. You also gain +10 maximum hit points, medium armor proficiency (and the ability to cast arcane spells in medium armor without arcane spell failure) and gain access to purchase a single martial weapon proficiency you possess Weapon Focus in already. SUPERSWEEET!

    Two new songs for the new Tier. Song of Heroism is pretty cool, you can buff your entire group with Greater Heroism as an undispellable song effect and it doesn't cost you sp! (I want this for ALL my Bards, grrr....)
    Song of Recklessness is a bit messed up, because it both buffs AND debuffs your party at the same time. It grants a +5% morale bonus to double strike chance and -10% fortification to all nearby allies for 1 minute plus 6 seconds per level. (This effect will be removed if the target enters combat expertise, defensive fighting, or a defensive stance.)

    Prerequisites:
    Level 12 Bard
    Enhancements:
    Bard War Chanter I
    Bard Inspired Attack II, Bard Inspired Damage II, Bard Inspired Bravery III

    Spellsinger I

    Spellsong Trance makes you the new best buddy of the nearest Arcane or Divine caster. It grants 10% "morale" bonus to discount the cost of casting spells, AND a +1 "morale" bonus to the DCs of all spells, to everyone in your party.
    Just by choosing Spellsinger you personally get 100 more SP, and a boost of 2 to your UMD and Concentration skills. (Note: Pale Master is immune to Spellsong Trance as they already get +1 DC from their form. Not sure if this is WAI.)

    Level 6 Bard
    Feats:
    One of Spell Focus: Enchantment, Mental Toughness, Maximize Spell, Heighten Spell, Empower Spell, Magical Training, Greater Spell Focus: Enchantment
    Enhancements:
    Bard Energy of Music II, Bard Song Magic II, Bard Lyric of Song I, Bard Concentration II

    Spellsinger II

    You personally receive another +2 bonus to your Concentration and Use Magic Device skills for a total of +4 to each. You also gain another +100 maximum Spell Points for a total of 200.
    Any time you finish playing a bard song, you now have a chance to restore a small number of spell points to yourself and all nearby allies. Now that's an ability worthy of a Diva!

    The two new songs for Spellsinger are Song of Arcane Might, which gives a +1 "morale" bonus to caster level for spells cast by you and all nearby allies for 24 seconds plus 6 seconds per level, and Spellsong Vigor which applies an effect to one target that restores spell points over time. (NOTE: The spellpoint regeneration does not work on WF at this time, we don't know if it's a bug or intended.)

    Prerequisites:
    Level 12 Bard
    Enhancements:
    Bard Spellsinger I
    Bard Energy of Music III, Bard Song Magic III, Bard Lyric of Song II

    Virtuoso I

    You personally receive a +2 bonus to your Diplomacy, Listen, and Perform skills, 3 extra uses of Bardic Music per rest, and the ability to extend the duration of your beneficial songs by an additional 10%.
    But here's the REAL reason people go Virtuoso: the Enthrallment song. It's like Fascinate, but better and different! It gives a chance that the target won't break out of Enthrall on being hit, and debuffs for -2 to attack and -2 to Will saves. Excellent for soloing and nice for Epics.
    You can also get Music of the Dead and Music of Makers without grabbing Extra Songs IV first.

    Prerequisites:
    Level 6 Bard
    Feats: Either Skill Focus: Perform, Negotiator, or NONE
    Enhancements:
    If you didn't take a feat, you will need Extra Songs IV to qualify for Virtuoso in addition to the following:
    Bard Charisma I, Bard Extra Song II, Bard Perform II, Bard Lingering Song I

    Virtuoso II

    The info is in and it's sad. Another +2 bonus to your Diplomacy, Listen, and Perform skills, for a total of +4 to each. You also gain 2 more extra uses of Bardic Music per rest for a total of 5, and the ability to extend the duration of your beneficial songs by an additional 10% for a total of 20%. NEW! The Devs have added song regeneration to this, making it a little better.
    New songs: Sustaining Song applies a temporary fast-healing effect to all nearby allies. It lasts for 24 seconds plus 6 seconds per level. (Kind of okay, we'll have to see how fast the fast-healing actually is.) (NOTE: The hitpoint regeneration does not work on WF at this time, we don't know if it's a bug or intended. ALSO, very important: Sustaining Song currently overwrites Spellsong Vigor from Spellsingers. IF THERE IS A SPELLSINGER IN YOUR GROUP DO NOT SING SUSTAINING SONG because it wastes all the individual songs they just sang for all the healers and arcanes and themselves and you! Please and thank you.)
    Song of Capering makes a single enemy dance helplessly and it won't break on damage. A successful Will save negates this effect. (DC is equal to a Perform check - Otto's Nearly Irresistable Dance.) What a super lame idea, Otto's singletarget in a SONG. Virtuosos already get MUCH less love. *headdesk*

    Prerequisites:
    Level 12 Bard
    Enhancements:
    Bard Virtuoso I
    Bard Charisma 2, Bard Lingering Song II, Bard Extra Song III
    At least the prereqs aren't useless.
    Last edited by Irinis; 01-15-2011 at 04:26 AM. Reason: Updated for Update 7 - patch 1
    Please split the class forums into REAL subcategories this is a jumbled mess.

  4. #4
    Community Member Irinis's Avatar
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    Other tips on building. (Please note this will be VERY much more fleshed out later on.)

    1. How to choose your Bard
    2. Conventional Build Advice
    3. Unconventional Build Advice
    4. Bastard Child Bards
    5. OMG Spells


    HOW TO CHOOSE WHAT KIND OF BARD TO BUILD/PLAY?

    Quote Originally Posted by Akas View Post
    Anyways, here's the way I see it: Think back to the character creation screen. Notice there's 3 types of classes right? Melee, magic, and specialist. Think about which one you associate with the most (whether it's creating those characters, or what you like to play, etc.)

    Like melee? Go Warchanter.
    Like magic? Go Spellsinger
    Like specialist? Go Virtuoso.
    Not completely accurate, but a good way for a new player to intuitively choose what to start with. Bards are very versatile and you can build them in various different ways. You can even splash Rogue for trapskills and evasion, making it a true Specialist.

    CONVENTIONAL BUILD ADVICE:

    Warchanter = Melee, can be splashed
    Spellsinger = CC, must remain pure
    Virtuoso = don't bother...

    This advice makes it easy to get into raids. People know what to expect from your build, YOU know what to expect from your build as you're building it, and all's good.

    But hey, don't mistake "conventional" for boring, this is BARDS we're talking about!

    It's deeply satisfying to kill stuff as a melee Warchanter, and to Mass Charm stuff as a CC Spellsinger so they fight to the death for you.


    UNCONVENTIONAL BUILD ADVICE:
    Have a look at THIS THREAD by Samadhi for some ideas. A melee Spellsinger, a CC Warchanter? That's unpossible... well, it's not min/max but in the right hands a more generalist build CAN work.

    As for Virtuoso, I've personally had the pleasure of running a raid or two with a max CHA, low STR pure 20 Virtuoso who uses a pair of Epic Dynastic Falcata to actually melee. o.O


    BASTARD CHILD BARDS:

    The less Bard levels your Bard has, the less respect you get from other Bards! But these can be fun and viable characters. You just have to be ready to step aside and let the Bard with more powerful songs do the singing.

    Deep Splashes and Arcane Archer. Coming soon!


    OMG SPELLS!

    Will flesh this out more later. For now, just the most essential spells.

    Level 1:
    Focusing Chant is a must for all Bards. Super awesome, +1 to skills and attack rolls
    Master's Touch is a must for Pure Bards, as it gives proficiency with whatever martial weapon(s) you hold while you cast the spell (if you splash another class, you may not need it)
    Utility: Feather Fall is nice to have at a low level, great for melee bards who will never land Charm Person
    CC: Charm Person can be useful for a maximum CHA build, but remember to put "dismiss charm" on your hotbar!
    I like to take Expeditious Retreat unless I have wands stockpiled, being faster is always more fun!

    Level 2:
    Blur, Rage, Invisibility
    Glitterdust can blind even undead and can be used to gain aggro in some situations (TOD shadow kiting)
    Cure is nice to have until higher levels, then swap it out

    Level 3:
    Haste, Good Hope, Displacement
    Cure is good, even later on if you need a quick cure on someone while something else is on timer

    Level 4:
    Freedom of Movement, Dimension Door, Cure Critical Wounds

    Level 5:
    Greater Heroism, Mass Cure Light Wounds

    Level 6:
    Mass Cure Moderate Wounds, Otto's Irresistible Dance

    Scrolls to carry:

    Heal, Reconstruct, Heroes Feast, Greater Restoration, True Seeing... um... will add more later once I check my inventory!
    Last edited by Irinis; 10-27-2010 at 04:14 PM.
    Please split the class forums into REAL subcategories this is a jumbled mess.

  5. #5
    Community Member Irinis's Avatar
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    Great Bard Build Links! - Now with (some) actual links!

    UTILITY BARDS
    These builds often splash Rogue to get traps, and are most often Warchanters, although you'll find the occasional Virtuoso here as well.

    Axesinger
    28pt Dwarf Warchanter
    Bard15/Fighter2/Rogue3 TWF
    *****
    Comments: One of the highest recommended Bard builds ever. Ok for newbies, even more powerful with 32pt, gear, and tomes.

    Rabidly
    32pt Halfling Warchanter
    Bard14/Fighter2/Rogue4 TWF
    ****
    Comments: Proof that very powerful things sometimes come in small packages!

    Twiddler
    28pt Human Warchanter
    Bard18/Rogue2 THF
    ****
    Comments: Good trapper Bard for new players, keeps option open for Warchanter III in the future.

    Phonograph
    32pt WF Virtuoso
    Bard16/Fighter1/Rogue3 THF
    ****

    Whanasyng
    Drow Warchanter
    Bard16/Fighter2/Rogue2 TWF

    UnlocksYourHeart
    Drow Virtuoso
    Bard18/Rogue2 TWF
    Comments: *CRAZY BUILD ALERT* Requires epic items to be effective in melee.


    WARCHANTERS
    The phattest beatdowns and the most builds.

    Revisiting Paths Warchanter
    Any build pts, any race
    Bard18/Fighter1/Barb1 THF
    *****
    Comments: Very newbie friendly build

    Valindria's Generalist Drow
    Valindria's Generalist Human
    Bard20 TWF
    *****

    Elizabella
    Human
    Bard20 CC/Heal/THF
    ****

    Roq Star
    Human, Half-Orc
    Bard20 TWF
    ****

    Classic Rocker (Human)
    Robot Rock (WF)
    Half-Orc version
    Bard20 THF
    *****

    Ghengis Khan
    Human
    Bard16/Fighter2/Barb2 THF
    ****

    Ghetto Blaster
    WF
    Bard16/Fighter2/Barb2 THF
    ****

    32pt Human TWF
    Bard20 TWF
    ***

    AnnaTezla 3.0
    32pt Halfling
    Bard16/Fighter2/Rogue2 TWF
    ****
    Comments: No trapskills but Open Locks

    New Beefcake
    28/32pt Dwarf
    Bard14/Fighter4/Rogue2
    *****
    Comments: Less deep a splash than the Original Beefcake, for GH and slightly better songs

    Epic Powerhouse
    36pt (TR2) Half-Orc
    Bard16/Fighter2/Barb2 THF


    SPELLSINGERS
    These mesmerizing Divas usually focus on Crowd Control and stay pure 20, but not always.

    NOTE: It is not recommended to roll a caster type Bard in update 9, especially as your first Bard. Melee Spellsinger is still viable, especially for a new player without greensteel yet.

    Mississipi Queen Hagglebard
    32pt Human
    Bard20 CC
    ****
    Comments: Very talked about build capable of CC as well as high Haggle

    Aelunira the Diva
    32pt Human
    Bard20 CC/Heal/THF
    ****
    Comments: A good Spellsinger for new players, can melee a little bit as well as CC, shows what's capable with standard attainable gear and with Epic gear.

    Diamonds Are
    28/32pt Human
    Bard20 CC/Heal
    ****
    Comments: No melee at all, built as a Hagglebard with good CC/Healing that shows how to convert to pure CC/Heal build

    Revisiting Paths Spellsinger
    Any build pts, any race
    Bard20 CC
    ****
    Comments: Very newbie friendly build, most expert Bards recommend Maximize over Empower Healing though, and Toughness over Mental Toughness

    The Golddigger
    Bard20 Human or Half-Elf Spellsinger 32pt TWF
    Note: This is NOT a CC build! MELEE, MELEE, MELEE!

    <<Need more example builds>>


    VIRTUOSOS
    With more songs than any other Bard, and the ability to Enthrall, these are very versatile charmers.

    Virtuoso of the Khopesh
    32pt Human TWF Melee
    Bard20
    *****

    Melee Virtuoso
    28pt Human TWF Melee
    Bard20
    ****
    Comments: Build needs adaptation for Virt II, probably good to read the thread. It uses rapiers. Good Virtuoso for new players if you can read and adapt.

    Enthralle
    28pt/32pt Human CC/Healing
    Bard20
    *****
    Comments: Good Virtuoso build for new players.

    Segovia
    Dwarf TWF Melee
    Human version also
    Bard20
    *****
    Comments: Inspired by Andres Segovia, mapped out two TRs (because the REAL Segovia definitely had extra build points as a musician!) as well as Human and Dwarf versions.

    Renaissance
    Human TWF Melee/CC
    Bard20
    ****
    Comments: *CRAZY BUILD ALERT* Requires epic items to be effective in melee.


    BARD ARCANE ARCHERS
    AKA Elf Only Inn (that actually IS Elves Only for once! (Half-Elves can join the club too it seems!))

    Violin
    28/32pt Warchanter THF
    Bard14/Fighter4/Ranger2
    *****

    Bardcher link 1
    Bardcher link 2
    Bard16/Fighter2/Ranger2
    *****

    Theletha, the Singing Elven Ranger
    32pt Warchanter TWF
    Bard12/Fighter2/Ranger6
    ****

    Stringsong
    32pt Virtuoso THF
    Bard14/Ranger6
    ****

    YABAAB
    32pt Spellsinger
    Bard14/Ranger6
    ***


    BARD DEEP SPLASHES
    These builds concentrate on personal DPS and are usually Warchanter so their songs don't suffer too badly from the Deep Splash.
    Although they can be quite fun to play raids will often prefer more levels of Bard and you may have to give the spotlight up if another rocker with more powerful songs joins the party.
    Bard levels usually range from 6 to 12.

    Original Beefcake
    28/32pt Dwarf Warchanter
    Bard12/Fighter6/Rogue2
    ****
    Comments: New 14/4/2 version listed in Warchanters.

    The Lip Sync Stinker
    32pt Human Warchanter
    Bard8/Rogue6/Ranger6 TWF
    ****
    Comments: Warchanter... plus Tempest and Assassin


    BARD BUILDERS LIST
    We disagree - a LOT. Some of us actually prefer Virtuoso or Spellsinger to Warchanter. Most of us have a LOT of Bards. But we love building them and discussing them, and helping other people learn to rock hard! I'm not going to list every Bard build on the forums, but the build lists of the following have many more Bards for you to look at.

    AltheaSteelrain
    Anthios88
    bartosy
    BoBoDaClown
    geezee
    Irinis (Aelunira)
    LeslieWestGuitarGod
    Madmatt70
    Samadhi
    Unbongwah
    Valindria

    Not sure if the above all have build lists, but they've played a lot of Bards and I always look to their advice BEFORE throwing it out and doing my own thing like the true Diva I am.

    Note: I'll be linking to the build lists of these people first. If I forgot anyone who really should be on this list please send me a PM!
    /needcoffee
    Last edited by Irinis; 03-28-2011 at 01:17 PM.
    Please split the class forums into REAL subcategories this is a jumbled mess.

  6. #6
    Community Member Irinis's Avatar
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    Default Tips on Playing your Beautiful Bard

    Tips on Playing your Beautiful Bard

    A N N O U N C E M E N T:
    For further information and feedback on Bard Tier 2 Prestige Enhancements please check THIS THREAD on Bard PrEs, and THIS ONE asking the devs about Update 7 Bard Changes.
    1. For All Bards
    2. Melee Tips
    3. Healing Tips
    4. Fascinate
    5. Class-specific tips

    For a start, Valindria posted her personal guide to Bards a little further down this thread. There you can find info on what songs and spells stack with each other, and some other great advice. I'll be incorporating some of that here for later.

    FOR ALL BARDS

    A good thread about what scrolls to carry. I agree with Emili's list.

    Melee Bard Spells for Leveling - 16 Bard levels worth of spells in order taken - see the rest of the thread also for more info, and the build guide above for more info on spells.

    A N N O U N C E M E N T:
    Bards ARE subject to Arcane Spell Failure checks! We're not quite sure which way is bugged and which way is, well, WAI. Check this link for more information.

    MELEE BARD TIPS

    For the most part, it's pretty simple. Buff, sing, go smash!

    Since most melee Bards don't have very high charisma, make sure you get gear to up your UMD, so you can toss the occasional heal scroll on yourself or another party member.

    The most important thing to know as a melee Bard, is when NOT to melee. If the healer goes down, you might need to step up to the plate, heal a few, raise some others, and then get back to swinging.


    HEALING BARD TIPS

    Buy reconstruct scrolls as well as heal scrolls and hotbar them. If the tank is WF, you'll be able to help out that much better. You can buy them from the Portable Hole.

    Speak up on being a healing bard, and make sure you take a healer spot in the raids you join, if that's what your build is about. It's difficult for pugs to trust that a bard can heal but if you don't put your foot down the group may not have enough DPS.


    FASCINATE

    Fascinate is the most overpowered ability Bards have. (Which is why it doesn't work on red, purple, or Raid bosses.) It makes the mobs stop what they're doing unless they're hit to break them out of it. And they have pretty blue music notes floating up from their heads!

    The Fascinate will hit while you're partway through playing the song (the timing may change for Update 7). So if you're a new Bard, it's good to go out in an explorer area and practice with some slayers to get the timing down.

    The DC for Fascinate is your Perform skill + a d20. To get a higher DC, you can use Perform items, and boost your Charisma. (Ranks in perform + charisma modifier + perform skill items gives you the Perform skill listed on your character sheet.)

    From Renegade66:
    If you hover your mouse over the Fascinate icon, you will see what the DC is for your spell. Now, take your mouse off it and then hover again. See how it changed? You can use this to get a very high DC before you hit the button. The DC won't change while the mouse is hovering over the icon.

    CLASS-SPECIFIC

    To deeper understand the capabilities of the PrE you chose to pursue.

    Warchanter

    A good discussion of song of recklessness, upcoming in Update 7.
    Last edited by Irinis; 04-09-2011 at 07:25 AM. Reason: Added spell list for melee bards
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  7. #7
    Community Member Irinis's Avatar
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    Default Bard Bugs

    Bard Bugs

    Creepy crawly nasties - any news on whether these are fixed for u9 or not?

    • Warforged: Neither Spellsong Vigor or Sustaining Song work on WF. At. All. (Burst will work but not tick.)
    • Sustaining Song overwrites Spellsong Vigor
    • Stormsinger Cloak's Anthem property (song regen) doesn't work properly
    • Spellsinger TOD set removes 2 songs if you unequip part of the set, and will continue to remove songs if you equip then unequip
    • Bards get Arcane Spell Failure in Light Armor while using certain scrolls. (Warchanters do not get ASF even in Medium armor, supposedly as an extension of the basic Bardic ability, so this is a bug.)
    Last edited by Irinis; 04-09-2011 at 07:25 AM.
    Please split the class forums into REAL subcategories this is a jumbled mess.

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    Community Member Irinis's Avatar
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    If I've forgotten anything or said something dumb (yes it happens!) please let me know! Thanks.
    ~Aelunira the Diva~
    Please split the class forums into REAL subcategories this is a jumbled mess.

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    HUGE +1 for the bard ability spectrum in the first post. That's exactly the way to put it - every bard can do #3 well but the further you lean on the melee end of that spectrum the more you lose from the casting end. You can TWF as a bard but you give up most of your healing. You can cast CC spells as a bard but you give up most of your dps (and can arguably even lose the ability to heal effectively if you go crazy with the CC focus). I'd say all are viable but if you're trying to do #1 or #5 you have to be willing to give up the other.

  10. #10
    Community Member Valindria's Avatar
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    Here's my guide that I made but never posted here. I always intended to but never got around to it. Maybe you can take some of the links or quotes. I haven't added the new PrEs in yet but there you go:

    Making a Bard:

    When making a bard you first need to figure out the play style you are looking for. Generally speaking your play style will help shape your bard.

    What is most important:
    - Personal Damage
    - Party Damage
    - Healing
    - Support
    - Crowd Control (CC)
    - Buffing
    - Solo Play
    - All/Most of the Above

    If personal damage is #1 look for a mulitclass WC Bard. If Party Damage/Support is #1 look for a pure WC build. If CC is #1 look for a Spellsinger build. If healing is #1 look for a Cleric or FvS build (or Spell singer). Virtuosos work well for solo play due to the enthrallment song.


    Race:
    For the most part each race has it's own benefit. A good bard can be any race but choosing the ideal race can make your bard even more powerful. Dwarfs, Humans, and Warforged make good melee focused bards. Drow, Humans, Halfings, make good spell casting or buffing bards. Elfs are generally a poor choice due to the lower CON, but they fill the roll of Arcane Archer (AA) Bards.

    Skills:
    Skill usage can vary depending on the build. Generally speaking every bard should max Perform and Use Magic Device (UMD). Haggle is another great choice for pretty much every bards. Hide and Move Silently can work very nice with fascination/enthrallment. Concentration is needed if you are going to be casting. Diplomacy/Tumble can be nice to get out of danger. More Jump/Balance is never a bad thing. Bards get plenty of skill points and class skills so there is some room for personal preference.

    Buff Songs: This is break down of some of the bard songs. The best thing about the bard songs is they can not be stripped by beholders or other anti magic effects.

    Inspire Courage: This is the bread and butter song of bards. The goal of every bard should be to make this song the best it can be via levels and enhancements. This song adds +1 to attack, damage, and saves vs fear. They stack with everything in the game.

    - Bards gain +1 at level 8, 14, and 20.
    - Action points can be spent to give another +3
    - The Warchanter PrE (WC) will give another +1 attack and +2 damage

    This means a level 20 WC's Inspire Courage will add +8 attack and +9 damage to the entire party!

    Inspire Greatness: This song gives +2 attack(Competence), +1 Fort saves, +20 temporary Hit points (HP). The bonus stacks with everything except bonuses of the same type. There are some unique items that give competence bonus to attacks, but for the most part if you are singing Inspire Courage you should sing greatness too.

    Inspire Competence: Target other ally gets a +2 competence bonus on skill checks with all skills. This can not be cast on yourself. This has situational uses. Typical uses include using on a rogue to help with traps or a tank to help with intimidate.


    Inspire Heroics (AKA AC Song): Grants +4 to saves (does not stack with Greater Heroism) and a +4 to AC to a single target. Called the AC song since by the time you get it (15 bard) most people use GH (Greater Heroism). This songs has an advantage over GH in anti-magic situations (Beholders, etc).

    New:

    Virt II:
    Song of Capering - Single target dance. Has a chance to break with damage. Fast cast and Huge range.
    Sustaining Song - Heals small amount ~ every second

    SS II:
    Song of Arcane Might - Increases Caster Level by 1 (basically makes spells last longer and increases spell pen)
    Spellsong Vigor - Gives 2 spell points ~ every 2 seconds

    WC II:
    Song of Heroism - Gives GH to anyone in range
    Inspire Recklessness - Adds 5% chance to double strike with a 10% penalty to fortifcation. Can be canceled with defensive stance.



    Attack Songs (so to speak):These are songs that target the enemy. The basic options of songs make an enemy stand in place and take no action. There are also songs to make the fascinated enemy charmed (the same as the suggestion song).

    Quote Originally Posted by Gorbadoc View Post
    Fascinate/Enthrall/Music of the Dead/Music of Makers are a set of insanely powerful crowd control abilities. Learn to use them. Learn to abuse them.

    A few notes on their use:
    - They do not break stealth or invisibility.
    - They get way better DCs than any spell cast by any player character.
    - They ignore spell resistance.
    - They make a noise when the music first starts; that can attract monster attention, but it won't automatically make them see you.
    - There is a long casting delay; it's near the end of the song that the effect actually goes off. Learn the timing and area of effect.
    The typical tactic of starting the song before running towards the enemy, running in circles, and stealth all work nicely for fascinate.

    Spells:

    Generally speaking the spells you choose will depend on the goal of your build. There are spells that are great no matter the build.

    Level 1: Focus Chant, Expeditious Retreat, Masters Touch
    Level 2: Blur, Rage, Invisibility
    Level 3: Good Hope*, Haste, Displacement
    Level 4: Freedom of Movement, Dimension Door, Cure Critical Wounds
    Level 5: Mass Cure Light Wounds, Greater Heroism, Mass Suggestion**
    Level 6: Mass Cure Moderate Wounds, Otto's Irresistible Dance, Heroes Feast

    * A tip with good hope is to always cast and if you see the icon pop up you know your inspire courage has warn off and it's time to sing again.
    ** may not be helpful for all builds, but the best thing is its a mass charm and the enemies do not get a re-roll after they save. Casting in a large group and hoping 1 sticks could even work for a melee focus WC, though there are probably better uses for SP.


    Buffs and Stacking: I have mentioned Songs and Spells, and a common question that comes up is what stacks. Freeman explained it well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Freeman View Post

    Inspire Competence seems to stack with everything, including items, morale bonuses, and luck bonuses. Rage is a Morale bonus, but it increases you Strength and Constitution. Since it buffs your stats directly, it works side by side with any of the other songs/spells you mention. Focusing Chant, the 1st level bard spell provides a +1 Circumstance bonus to attacks and skills. To my knowledge, no other item, spell, or effect gives a circumstance bonus, so it should stack with everything. However, it is self only, so I don't include it in the discussion below, as this is focused mainly on what you can buff others with.

    Now, as to Inspire Courage, Heroism, and Good Hope, it is a bit more complicated. You also need to throw in Greater Heroism in there as well, since it is also a Morale bonus. Since they are all Morale bonuses, none of them stack. However, they can overlap to give you better bonuses than they would individually. For example, a level 4 bard(No enhancements) can cast Heroism for +2 to attack, skills, and saves. If he also sings Inspire Courage, it becomes +2 attack, +1 damage, +2 saves, +2 skills. The attack bonus doesn't stack, but Inspire Courage adds damage.

    At level 7, you'll gain access to Good Hope, which provides +2 to attack, damage, skills, and saves to the entire party. At this point, there's no point in having Heroism anymore, since it is either 15sp to cast Heroism on one person or 20sp to cast Good Hope on the whole party. At this point, the best your Inspire Courage song could be is +2 attack and +3 damage with all the enhancements. While slightly better, the difference is negligible. However, at 8th level, Inspire Courage gets its base bumped up to +2/+2, and with enhancements, you can now reach +4/+4, which is better than Good Hope. However, if you both cast Good Hope and sing, you now have +4 attack, +4 damage, +2 skills, and +2 saves. Again, you'll get the most benefit by using both.

    Once you gain access to Greater Heroism (+4 to attack, skills, and saves), the same idea is still true. Since it doesn't add damage, your bard songs will still give you added benefit. At level 14, Inspire Courage will increase in power again to +3/+3 base, and enhancements will increase as well. With all the enhancements, Inspire Courage will give you +6/+6 attack and damage. You can gain even more than that as a Warchanter. At 20th level, all bards gain another +1/+1 to Inspire Courage, bringing the total up to +7/+7, +8/+9 for a Warchanter.


    Oh, and for those who are still interested, here's what any bard can buff someone with:
    - Inspire Courage: +7 attack(Morale), +7 damage(Morale) (+8/+9 for Warchanters)
    - Inspire Greatness: +2 attack(Competence), +1 Fort saves, +20 HP
    - Inspire Heroics: +4 Dodge AC, +4 Saves(Morale) (Single Target Only)
    - Inspire Competence: +2 Skill checks (Single Target Only/Not Self)
    - Greater Heroism: +4 skill checks, Fear Immunity, +16 HP (Single Target Only)
    - Haste: +1 attack, +1 AC, +1 Reflex

    Combined, you'll get this:
    +10 attack(Warchanter can be +11 attack)
    +7 damage(Warchanter can be +9 damage)
    +4 Will save
    +5 Fort save
    +5 Reflex save
    +36 HP
    +6 Skill checks
    +4 Dodge AC
    Fear Immunity
    Add to that +1 attack for Focus Chant spell +1 attack for Rage (+2 STR = +1 attack) if you are self casting.

    Stacking: http://forums.ddo.com/showthread.php?t=137171
    Stacking Chart: http://compendium.ddo.com/wiki/Bard_Buffs

    Spell DC/Spell Pen:
    - Spell DC = 10 + Spell Level + Casting Stat Modifier + Items + Feats
    - Spell Pen = 1d20 + caster level + spell penetration bonuses (include feats, enhancements and items)


    Armor and Weapons: First off most people will tell you it is too hard to make a bard with High AC. Things to remember a bards armor is generally:
    - AC (whatever you can get)
    - Stone Skin (via UMD wand)
    - Blur and Displacement.


    Arcane Spell Failure:
    Bards get no ASF (Arcane Spell Failure) for bard spells cast in Light armor or lower. However what people seem to forget is they are still subject to ASF when casting an arcane spell using UMD from a scroll. The only time it has been an issue for me is with Reconstruct Scrolls to keep those pesky WF alive. Generally you can just use another charge if you happen to fail to do ASF.


    UMD - stuff i like to umd:
    - Heals (Scrolls of Heal, Reconstruct, Mass Cure Moderate)
    - Fire/Cold Shield
    - Protection from Elements (mass if Ii can find them) Helpful for short man/solo situations.
    - Stoneskin (wands)
    - False life (wands)
    - Teleport
    - Divine Power


    Weapon Style Discussion (post U5): http://forums.ddo.com/showthread.php?t=252008 or http://forums.ddo.com/showthread.php?t=259852



    Multi-Class Break Down: For the most part it is never a good idea to do less than 14 levels of bard. Anything less then 14 levels and I would not call it a bard.

    - 20 Bard - Best for Spellsingers, (in some cases WC or Virt)
    - 18/2 WC - Typically unseen these days. In theory if WC III came out would be a good split
    - 16/2/2 - Pretty popular. Still gives access to AC song and level 6 spells (OID)
    - 15/3/2 - Also popular. Losses some spell casting but gains personal DPS. Still has AC song.
    - 14/6 - Pretty rare. Allows for a PrE I in the class with 6 levels. Loses AC song. Still makse a solid bard.


    Example Builds:

    Warchanters:
    - Valindria's Generalist (20 WC TWF): http://forums.ddo.com/showthread.php?t=211613
    - Axesinger (TWF 15/2/3 Bard/Fighter/Rogue): http://forums.ddo.com/showthread.php?t=195289
    - Classic Rocker (20 bard WC THF Generalist): http://forums.ddo.com/showthread.php?t=249865
    - Khan THF (16/2/2); http://forums.ddo.com/showthread.php?t=242633

    SpellSingers:
    - Haggle - Don't do it. Don't build a bard specifically to haggle. Any bard can max haggle as they level and still maintain a decent score. If you must have the most haggle possible at least take the feats at 15 and 18. I recommend NEVER taking Skill focus: Haggle and only take Negotiator if you want to for Virtuoso. It is my opinion that unless you plan to never take your bard out of town, haggle should be a bonus to make the best bard possible. http://forums.ddo.com/showthread.php?t=168293

    - 28 Point SS: http://forums.ddo.com/showpost.php?p...59&postcount=2

    Virtuosos: They are around. I don't really have an example because there are tons of ways to do it. Pretty much any WC or SS could be a Virt depending on what you are looking to do. A nice thing about Virts is they can be taken with out feats needed. This takes a decent amount of AP but it can be done if you are feeling like swithing it up.

    Elf AAs: This is kind of new territory. If you are going to make a AA Bard a good split is 16/2/2 Bard/Fighter/Ranger or something close.
    - Violin (WC): http://forums.ddo.com/showthread.php?t=250963
    - SS/ Virt: http://forums.ddo.com/showthread.php?p=3258279
    Last edited by Valindria; 10-11-2010 at 03:30 PM.

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    Great beginner's guide.

    I would like to add that ranged dps is also an option for bard. Although it does less damage than melee, it has its advantages. I've seen some good players use this style to great effect. Just thought I'd add this because you did such a good job of covering all the other basics.

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    For a virtuoso build I like something very close to the Classic Rocker referenced as a Warchanter build. Just swap your Weapon Focus feat for Negotiator or Skill Focus: Perform. The rest of the changes are to AP. I like doing the Virtuoso as a melee-focused THF character (Classic Rocker) since you can do so with minimal feat usage (Power Attack and Improved Critical) and get good enough personal dps to kill almost everything you enthrall before it hits you as you level up.

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    Community Member protokon's Avatar
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    excellent breakdown for people not familiar with this class.
    Proud member of Renowned, Thelanis server.

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    Community Member Irinis's Avatar
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    Thanks Valindria! +1 to you, will definitely put a lot of that in the appropriate sections.
    Please split the class forums into REAL subcategories this is a jumbled mess.

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    Community Member AltheaSteelrain's Avatar
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    Where's the 12 bard / x / y class? and the pocket 8 bard / x /x class splits? o.O

    I think they qualify as well as bard builds since they can also fascinate mobs, UMD heal/reconstruct scrolls, bring back the dead (rez scrolls) and bring respectable bard songs for the group (except on epics of course).
    Quote Originally Posted by TitoJ View Post
    I've never spent more than 5 minutes in a character generator. But I've spent countless hours talking about myself, and how great I am.


    The Most Gimpiest Bard Build Ever!
    Before you start a bard, please read:
    Diva's Bard Love Guide / Genghis Khan by LeslieWestGuitarGod / Rabidly Halfling by Madmatt70

  16. #16
    Community Member Irinis's Avatar
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    Althea, I will add a bit about those too. Do you have any favorite builds for the deep splashes?
    Please split the class forums into REAL subcategories this is a jumbled mess.

  17. #17
    Community Member Valindria's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Irinis View Post
    Thanks Valindria! +1 to you, will definitely put a lot of that in the appropriate sections.

    Glad I could help. It started with me keeping a personal log of helpful links. Then I just kinda threw it together as a guide but I didn't think it was good enough for everyone. This way you can take the good parts (links) and make hopefully improve your guide.

    Quote Originally Posted by AltheaSteelrain View Post
    Where's the 12 bard / x / y class? and the pocket 8 bard / x /x class splits? o.O

    I think they qualify as well as bard builds since they can also fascinate mobs, UMD heal/reconstruct scrolls, bring back the dead (rez scrolls) and bring respectable bard songs for the group (except on epics of course).
    They don't qualify. My guide has a lot of personal opinion in it. IMO 14 is the min level for bard. Now to contradict myself, I do have a build specced up with only 8 levels of bard. I just haven't posted it anywhere and I would not call it a bard. I have never seen a build with 12 levels of bard that I would recommend. Which is why there is no link in my guide.
    Last edited by Valindria; 09-22-2010 at 09:46 AM.

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    As a brand new player in the midst of planning his first character (a Bard of course!), this thread is HUGELY helpful.

    I look forward to reading it as it develops!

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    This is mint! +1

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    Community Member AltheaSteelrain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Irinis View Post
    Althea, I will add a bit about those too. Do you have any favorite builds for the deep splashes?
    My current bard for U7, anticipating the obsolete melee prowess of my Minionette, I rolled up her heir...

    Theletha, the Singing Archer <- 12 Bard 6 ranger 2 Fighter Elven AA War Chanter, Str Based, Falchion/Scimitar(dual wield) masher while manyshot is in cooldown, max AA/Bard song Enhancements at level. I'm not getting Warchanter II though unless U7 live changes the new War Chanter Song or else stick to Warchanter I w/ 8 AP's open for Warchanter II spec.

    Beefcake, the Bard I drew my inspiration for my Theletha < - 12 bard 6 fighter 2 rogue Dwarven War Chanter, same concept as above only more dwarfier and melee oriented.

    I can't find the other build, the pocket bard with the level 12 kensai. :| but I was really interested in rolling one of those just for fun.
    Last edited by AltheaSteelrain; 09-23-2010 at 05:53 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by TitoJ View Post
    I've never spent more than 5 minutes in a character generator. But I've spent countless hours talking about myself, and how great I am.


    The Most Gimpiest Bard Build Ever!
    Before you start a bard, please read:
    Diva's Bard Love Guide / Genghis Khan by LeslieWestGuitarGod / Rabidly Halfling by Madmatt70

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