Very few Dungeons and Dragons classes are as versatile as the Bard 5e. Since they’ve got access to a vast range of skills and expertise, they can take on nearly every role in your party.
Moreover, Bards are able to heal wounds, motivate allies, manipulate minds, and demoralize enemies.
How? Well, they infuse magic into their music and words, using their sharpened wits to outwit their foes.
But what are the core class features of Bards? What kinds of spells can they cast? Are there any Bard colleges 5e? Also, which races would be the best for these characters?
In answer to all of these questions and more, we’ve prepared this 5e Bard guide for you to check out whenever you need it. Read on!
5E Bard Guide: Class Features
- Hit Points:- The Bard hit dice is 1d8 per Bard level, which is excellent! At the 1st level, you get Hit Points equal to 8 added to your Constitution modifier. So, your Hit Points equal a combination of your Constitution modifier and 1d8 or 5 at every subsequent level.
- Saves:- You can avoid fireballs by using Dexterity, but you won’t get many Charisma saving throws.
- Any plain weapon, a Rapier, or a Longsword
- A musical instrument, such as a lute
- Either an entertainer’s pack or a diplomat’s pack
- A dagger and leather armor
- Armor: Light armor
- Tools: Any three musical instruments of your choice
- Skills: Choose three skills as per your wish
- Weapons: Hand Crossbows, Shortswords, Rapiers, Longswords, and plain weapons
- Bardic Inspiration 5E:- As a bonus action on your turn, start inspiring others by using music or moving words. All you need to do is single out a creature that can hear you and is within 60 feet of you. Consequently, this creature will gain a d6 Bardic Inspiration dice, which it can roll once in the next 10 minutes. On doing so, the dice will be lost. Thus, the number of times you’re allowed to use the F feature equals your Charisma modifier. Finish a long rest to regain all spent uses.
Your music can get powerful enough to be able to change the very fabric of reality. Therefore, the best Bard spells 5e include Healing Word, Sleep, Detect Magic, and Heroism.
- Spellcasting Ability:- For each Bard spell, your spellcasting ability is Charisma. This means that every time a spell focuses on your spellcasting ability, you need to use your Charisma. In addition, when you make an attack roll with a Bard spell, you’ll be using your Charisma modifier. The same goes for casting a Bard spell after setting the saving throw DC.
- Spell Slots:- If you want to cast a spell, you have to spend the slot of that spell’s level. So, finish a long rest to regain all the Spell Slots that you’ve spent already.
- Spells Known:- Right at the 1st level, you’ll have access to any four Bard spells you like. However, each spell you choose must be of a level corresponding to your Spell Slots. On attaining higher levels, you’ll be able to select any spell you already know for replacing it with another spell.
- Cantrips Known:- From the list of Bard spells, you can choose any two cantrips of your choice. As you level up, you’ll keep learning even more Bard cantrips.
- Spellcasting Focus:- For your Bard spells, focus on any musical instrument of your choice.
- Ritual Casting:- If a particular Bard spell is tagged as a ritual, you can easily cast that spell.
- Spell Attack Modifier:- This is a combination of your Charisma modifier and your proficiency bonus.
- Spell save DC:- It’s equal to your Spell Attack Modifier added to 8.
- Song of Rest:- Starting from the 2nd level, you can help heal your wounded allies using oration or music to soothe their wounds. Furthermore, this feature gets enabled during a short rest. If you or any of your partners who can hear you spend one or more Hit Dice to regain Hit Points after the short rest, each of these allies will regain bonus 1d6 Hit Points.
- DND 5E Bard Colleges:- You can pick any of the 5e Bard colleges of your choice at the 3rd level. Also, on choosing one of the Bard schools 5e, you’ll obtain features associated with the selected college at the 3rd, 6th and 14th levels.
- Font of Inspiration 5E:- Finish taking a long or short rest to regain all the uses of Bardic Inspiration that you’ve spent already. You can start doing this from the 5th level.
- Jack of All Trades:- If you make any ability check, you can add that to half your proficiency bonus. But that ability check shouldn’t already include your proficiency bonus. So, this feature is available from the 2nd level.
- Superior Inspiration:- When you don’t have any more Bardic Inspiration uses left, you can regain one such use by rolling initiative. Superior Inspiration gets enabled at the 20th level.
- Countercharm 5E:- Some of your enemies might try to influence the minds of your party members or your allies. In that case, you can disrupt such effects with the help of powerful words or musical notes. It’s available as an action at the 6th level, lasting till your next turn ends. Moreover, in that time, you can’t be charmed or frightened, as you’ll have an advantage over saving throws. If any of your allies are within 30 feet of you and can hear you, they’ll also have this advantage. But if your enemies silence or incapacitate you, the Countercharm feature will end earlier.
- Expertise:- You’ll be able to pick two skill proficiencies, once you reach the 3rd level. However, if you make any ability check that uses either of the selected skill proficiencies, it will double your proficiency bonus.
- 5E Magical Secrets:- By the time you reach the 10th level, you must have already achieved a massive amount of magical knowledge. You can now choose one spell from the Bard class, and another spell from any other dnd class. But the chosen spells must correspond to a Spell Level that you can cast. Therefore, this feature is available at the 10th, 14th and 18th levels. On attaining each of these levels, you’ll learn two additional spells from any DnD classes, including the Bard class.
Lore Bards and Valor Bards
5E Lore Bard Guide
- Cutting Words 5E:- After joining the College of Lore, you’ll learn how to confuse and distract your opponents by relying solely on your wits. Cutting Words gets enabled at the 3rd level. But you can use this feature only on foes that are within 60 feet of you, can hear you, and can be charmed.
- Bonus Bard Proficiencies:- Along with Cutting Words at the 3rd level, you’ll also become proficient in any three skills that you like.
- Additional Magical Secrets 5E:- You’ll learn any two spells from any dnd class, once you reach the 6th level. But the chosen spell must correspond to a Spell Level that you can cast.
- Peerless Skill:- You can spend one Bardic Inspiration use while making an ability check, starting from the 14th level.
Your 5E Valor Bard Guide
- Combat Inspiration:- As soon as you join the College of Valor at the 3rd level, you can start motivating others in combat. If you grant a Bardic Inspiration dice to an ally, they can roll that dice. Subsequently, if that ally has just made a weapon damage roll, they’ll be able to add this roll to the dice number that they just rolled.
- Bonus Proficiencies:- At the 3rd level, you also become proficient in wielding martial weapons, medium armor, and shields.
- Extra Attack:- On your turn, every time you take the Attack action, you can no longer attack only once, but twice. This feature gets enabled from the 6th level.
- Battle Magic:- By the time you reach the 14th level, you’re able to use weapons as well as your spellcasting ability at the same time. As a bonus action, you can make a weapon attack while casting a Bard spell.
D&D 5E Bard Abilities, Skills, and Feats
No matter which of the Bard archetypes 5e your character belongs to, their skills, feats, and abilities all remain the same.
- Charisma:- Charisma is what makes up a Bard, for most of their abilities depend on your Charisma modifier. So, try to gain as much Charisma as you can.
- Dexterity:- Since Bards don’t have any shields and practically no armor, they need to improve their AC with the help of Dexterity.
- Constitution:- It gives your Bard dnd 5e bonus Hit Points, which they desperately require.
- Wisdom:- Go with Wisdom if you want to gain bonus skills, as well as extra saving throws.
- Intelligence:- This ability is going to be of use to you only if you take skills based on Intelligence.
- Strength:- Bards rely on Charisma and Dexterity for most of the time. So, it’s better to dump this stat.
The Best Skills
- Arcana (INT):-Bards require knowledge skills, of which, this is one of the most crucial.
- Intimidation (CHA):- A dnd 5e Bard who’s a Face? Intimidation is the first skill you need to pick.
- Perception (WIS):- Most Dungeons & Dragons players roll to select this skill.
- Religion (INT):- One of the most vital knowledge skills, it’s similar to Arcana.
- Persuasion (CHA):- If you don’t choose Persuasion, your Bard might as well not be a Face at all. Additionally, face characters need to persuade their allies for doing things that are beneficial to the whole party.
The Best Feats
- Inspiring Leader:- With a large number of temporary Hit Points, your party doesn’t need healing abilities during combat anymore!
- Defensive Duelist:- This feat helps enhance your AC, which is especially useful if you’re a Valor Bard. That’s because Valor Bards depend mostly on Finesse and Dexterity weapons. But if your enemies outnumber you, all the benefits from this feat will fall apart fast.
Bard DND 5E: The Best Races
Choose any of the races listed below for incredible 5e Bard optimization:-
- Elf:- The Eladrin Elf Bard (dungeons & dragons) has a strong Fey Step ability, besides gaining bonus Charisma and Dexterity.
- Half-Elf:- With its Vanilla variant, you get +2 Charisma as well as two skills for free!
- Human:- Humans are a versatile race, with the Variant Human race having remarkable feats and a free skill up for grabs. Furthermore, you can gain useful cantrips with the help of Magic Initiate. For instance, Lore Bards can get Eldritch Blast, while Valor Bards can access Green-Flame Blade.
- Tabaxi:- Offering two free skills and great bonuses to your abilities, it’s the perfect race for your Bards.
- Tiefling:- There’s a lot of room for Bard optimization 5e, as you can choose from multiple Tiefling subraces. The Variant: Winged gives you the ability to fly, which is useful if yours isn’t a Valor Bard. With the Glasya Tiefling, your Bard spell choice expands by integrating many illusion-based spells. Moreover, if you choose the Dispater Tiefling, you’ll get additional spells focusing on utility and trickiness. You can access Vicious Mockery if you go with the Variant: Devil’s Tongue instead.
- Triton:- Stuff like innate spellcasting and fantastic ability increases for Valor Bards are what Tritons as a race can offer you.
- Verdan:- It gives you free Persuasion, along with Charisma and Constitution, which will help with your Spellcasting. Also, if your Bard is the Face of your party, the Telepathic Insight of the Verdan race can assist you in overcoming linguistic barriers.
- Yuan-Ti Pureblood:- On choosing this race, you’ll get a bonus to your Intelligence, but you won’t find much use for it.
- Satyr:- You can extend your skill proficiencies with the unique skills that come with choosing the Satyr race. No matter what your Bard build is, you’ll get bonuses to both Charisma and Dexterity.
DND Bard 5E, The Best Backgrounds
We’ve listed each best Bard background 5e below, so that you find it simpler to choose one for your Bards.
- Courtier:- Your 5e Bard can use your two new Face skills with two languages.
- Urchin:- If they are about to replace a Rogue in your party, this background is fantastic.
- Faction Agent:- You’ll be able to optimize your Bard’s strengths and customize the character to a certain extent.
- Criminal:- Taking a Rogue’s place in your party won’t be tough for your Bard in this background.
- Urban Bounty Hunter:- You can choose from a ton of options to customize the Bard. What’s fantastic is that you won’t have too many restrictions while customizing your character.
Starting Gold Based on Backgrounds
Your Bard’s starting gold can also depend on the background you pick for them. Therefore, we’ve listed the Starting Gold Points (gp) below that correspond to each background for the Bard 5e.
|Bard Background||Starting Gold Points|
|Urban Bounty Hunter||20gp|
|Far Traveler||5gp with 10gp jewelry|
|Knight of the Order||10gp|
|Uthgardt Tribe Member||10gp|
|Clan Crafter||10gp with 5gp gem|
Bard Guide 5E: Weapons
- Rapier:- There can’t be a better option than a Rapier, if you want to start a melee attack. Even rogue guide 5e is of two types, and one of them is melee. They are an expert at two-weapon fighting; therefore, they could also come in handy if you choose it.
- Light Crossbow:- Since you won’t get any Extra Attacks, you’d have to do with ranged weapons. That’s where the Light Crossbow will be of help!
- Hand Crossbow:- It has less range and deals less damage than a Light Crossbow does.
- Shortsword:- This is useful for characters that are adept at two-weapon fighting. But since such characters don’t include Bards, you’d better dump this.
- Longsword:- Also, it helps the Bard 5e to deal the same damage to your foes as a Rapier does.
The DND Bard 5E Table
|Level||Spells Known||Cantrips Known||Proficiency Bonus||Features|
|1st||4||2||+2||Bardic Inspiration (d6), Spellcasting|
|2nd||5||2||+2||Song of Rest (d6), Jack of All Trades|
|3rd||6||2||+2||Expertise, Bard College (College of Lore): Bonus Proficiencies and Cutting Words|
|4th||7||3||+2||Ability Score Improvement (CHA 17 – >19|
|5th||8||3||+3||Font of Inspiration, Bardic Inspiration (d8)|
|6th||9||3||+3||Bard College feature: Additional Magical Secrets, Countercharm|
|8th||11||3||+3||Ability Score Improvement (DEX 16 – >17, CHA 19 – >20)|
|9th||12||3||+4||Song of Rest (d8)|
|10th||13||4||+4||Expertise, Bardic Inspiration (d10), Magical Secrets|
|12th||15||4||+4||Ability Score Improvement (CON 14 – >16)|
|13th||16||4||+5||Song of Rest (d10)|
|14th||17||4||+5||Bard College feature: Peerless Skill, Magical Secrets|
|15th||18||4||+5||Bardic Inspiration (d12)|
|16th||19||4||+5||Ability Score Improvement (CON 16 – >18)|
|17th||20||4||+6||Song of Rest (d12)|
|19th||22||4||+6||Ability Score Improvement (CON 18 – >20)|
Spell Slots per Spell Level