This guide provides a basic overview of the Bard character class.
The Bard character class is unique in many ways. All base classes may change into Bards, which can make for some very interesting characters. Bards also have abilities and gameplay mechanics that none of the other classes possess.
Bard are essentially support characters, playing their myriad of songs to bolster their teammates, hinder their foes, and summon allies to assist in combat. However, the role of a Bard also varies greatly according to their base class. For instance, a Fighter-Bard likely prefers to join her companions on the front lines of battle, while a Mage-Bard generally prefers to lob spells from a safe distance.
Bards only receive 1 Talent Point per level (the lowest value of all classes), and they are granted the following rotational bonuses when leveling-up:
- Hit Points, Speed +2, Strength, Dexterity, Talent Points +2, Evade +2, Spell Points +3
The Bard class has access to a wide range of skills, in addition to any skills they may have trained as their base class. However, while Bards retain the use of their former class' skills, be aware that the Bard class itself assigns its own skill caps. This means that any skills you wish to train beyond the Bard's caps must be achieved prior to changing into a Bard. For example, a Mage has a Magic Lore cap of 70, while a Bard has a cap of 50; you must train the skill to 70 before switching or else it will be capped at 50 (skills may still exceed caps through use).
The following list of skills highlights the Bard's caps. Skills that are not listed have a cap of 0 and are not permitted for Bards unless they were trained by the base class.
- 1H Blade 40
- 1H Blunt 25
- 2H Axe 10*
- 2H Blade 10*
- 2H Blunt 10*
- Ranged 10
- Staff 50
- Unarmed 30
*Note that despite having limited caps in these skills, gear restrictions prevent Bards from equipping 2H Blades, 2H Axes, and 2H Blunt weapons. Refer to the Gear section of this guide for more details.
- Determination 25
- Dodge 35
- Endure Elements 55
- Harden Up 30
- Identify 50
- Lock Picking 35
- Magic Lore 50
- Monster Lore 75
- Nimble 35
- No Escape 15
- Perception 75
- Repulsion 10
- Shield Bash 25
- Shoulder Bash 75
- Sneaking 55
- Sprint 40
- Taunt 95
- Bad Note 99 - pushes back and may stun one adjacent target
- Get Drunk 99 - strengthens subsequent bard powers but weakens fighting abilities and spells
- Mystical Bardsmanship 99* - modifies innate bard instrument powers (only while drunk; passive)
- Night Hymn 99 - increases recovery rate during resting (passive)
- Shake It Off 99 - can cure paralysis, stun, and sleep for all players/allies (range lowers chance)
- Summon Rats 99 - summons rats to your aid (number/strength depend on proficiency)
- Verse of Knowledge 99 - temporarily improves party's ability to sense the health of foes
*The Mystical Bardsmanship skill cannot be trained or increased through use. Instead, it raises with every second Bard level.
Bards are dabblers in the magical arts, even if their base class did not grant access to spells. The following list of spells highlight's the Bard's caps. Spells that are not listed have a cap of 0 and are not permitted for Bards unless they were trained by the base class.
- Armor Boost 30
- Disguise 40
- Fireball 10
- Haste 10
- Heal 20
- Hotspot 35
- Light 30
- Lightning Strike 30
- Magic Missile 30
- Poison Dart 20
- Resist Cold 25
- Resist Evil 10
- Resist Fire 25
- Resist Lightning 25
- Resist Magic 25
- Resist Poison 25
- Unlock 20
- Wizard's Eye 40
Instruments & Songs
Bards are the only class that may equip magical instruments (harps, bagpipes, etc.). Instruments are equipped in the trinket slot, so Bards are still permitted to wield weapons while an instrument is equipped. Each instrument usually grants access to a limited selection of songs at a time, and since instruments cannot be swapped during combat the Bard must carefully decide which instrument/songs to bring into battle. For example, if a particular flute grants access to Shadow Symphony and Taming Melody then only those two songs may be performed while the flute is equipped.
Unlike skills and spells, Bard songs cannot be trained or increased through use. A song's proficiency is entirely determined by its equipped instrument. Songs do not use mana. However, once a song is performed it enters a cooldown period for several rounds before recharging, during which time a Bard may perform other songs, make attacks, cast spells, or attempt other actions.
There are 16 songs that a Bard may perform:
- Ayden's Ayre - chance to put enemies to sleep (damage awakens); stronger if closer
- Call of Valor - boost to offensive stats for all allies in a 2 tile radius
- Cascading Song - temporary speed boost to all players
- Chilling Chant - conjures a cold storm that deals damage over time to all enemies
- Dancing with Tables - summons animated furniture (number/strength depend on proficiency)
- Disrupting Discord - chance to dispel a few random combat effects
- Harmonic Prayer - inflicts minor damage to all undead and boosts resist evil for all players
- Heavenly Plea - invoked repeatedly, one angle ally may appear (max one at any time)
- Hypnotic Rhythm - renders the bard and one opponent immobile for a while (2 tile range)
- Mystic Shielding - short term boost to evasion and armor for the Bard (self-only)
- Orcish Warsong - summons orcish allies (number/strength depend on proficiency)
- Shadow Symphony - summons undead allies (number/strength depend on proficiency)
- Song of Fortune - shelters players from critical hits and slightly boosts evasion and accuracy
- Soothing Sonata - improves health regeneration of players over a period of time
- Taming Melody - summons animal allies (number/strength depend on proficiency)
- Thunder Clap - inflicts force damage and stun against enemies in an 8 tile radius
Bards gain access to a wide selection of gear. However, despite the character's base class, the Bard class itself dictates what items may be equipped. Unlike skills and spells that transfer and may still be utilized after the class change, gear proficiency of the base class does not carry over to the Bard class!
Primarily, what this means is that you need to carefully consider which weapon skills you want to train prior to changing into a Bard. Even though Bards possess a skill cap of 10 for 2H Axes, 2H Blades, and 2H Blunt weapons, they cannot equip these weapons once they become Bards, not even if their base class permitted their use. For example, if you create a Barbarian that trains to 65 in 2H Axe before switching to a Bard the skill will be entirely wasted since 2H Axes can no longer be equipped.
1H Blades - Bards may equip daggers, short swords, long swords, broad swords, mystic swords, artisan swords, spirit swords, swiftblades, janbiyas, forcestrikers, and shadow blades. They cannot equip falchions, vorpal blades, ceremonial knives, dirks, or serpent blades.
1H Blunt - Bards may equip maces, flails, sceptres, morning stars, nightballs, and judicators. They cannot equip sunmaces, giant sceptres, twin stars, meteors, or death stars.
2H Axes/Blades/Blunt - Bards cannot equip any of these weapons!
Amulets - Bards may equip almost all amulets. They cannot equip fireflakes.
Armor - Bards may equip leather armor, ring mail, brigandine, chain mail, cloth robes, mage tunics, silk tunics, hellskins, and nightshells. They cannot equip scale mail, plate mail, war plate, krusts, titanfleshes, noderobes, rockskins, turtle shells, eggshells, ether harnesses, templar mail, or stellar plate.
Belts - Bards may equip all belts.
Boots - Bards may equip leather boots, leather shoes, hard boots, elven boots, gloom shoes, mystic greaves, asskickers, and frost boots. They cannot equip plate boots, mage shoes, or globetrotters.
Capes - Bards may equip all capes.
Gloves - Bards may equip gloves, elven gloves, nether gloves, air gloves, and magi gloves. They cannot equip gauntlets, war gauntlets, forcescales, fatehands, gore gloves, pacifiers, or claws.
Helms - Bards may equip leather caps, chain coifs, crowns, nightfaces, demoncaps, hellbands, star circlets, lich crowns, and desert caps. They cannot equip full helms, winged helms, Ranger's caps, tuskhelms, witchhats, magi hats, or usurpers.
Offhand Weapons - Bards may only equip main gauches. They cannot equip swordbreakers, carnwennens, or daishos.
Ranged Weapons - Bards may equip slings, elven slings, rune slings, long bows, short bows, battle bows, composite bows, elven bows, sky bows, guardian bows, strikers, bloom bows, arc bows, and boomerangs. They cannot equip heavy crossbows, light crossbows, war crossbows, or phoenix bows.
Rings - Bards may equip all rings.
Shields - Bards may equip bucklers, winddiscs, and aura shields. They cannot equip round shields, tower shields, war shields, bone shields, crystal shields, gold shields, storm shields, demonwards, dragonscales, imperial shields, glyph shields, centaur shields, warden shields, svalinns, nethermists, dubans, ironbarks, penta shields, prism shields, or eagle shields.
Staves - Bards may equip staves, gnarly staves, contestor staves, and redeemer staves. They cannot equip mage staves, voodoo staves, arcane staves, gothic staves, sacred staves, bone staves, canes, thunderwands, or ziphors.
Unarmed Weapons - Bards can equip cestuses and knuckles.
Since all of the game's base classes can change into Bards there are lots of strategies for developing bardic characters. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when planning each of the different base classes.
The Fighter-Bard makes a strong melee combatant with good weapon skills (preferrably 1H Blades, 60 cap) and Military Training (70 cap). This Bard will have lots of hit points and can definitely help your main front-liners dish out damage.
The Barbarian-Bard is similar to the Fighter but has slightly better caps for some weapons (remember to avoid 2H varieties), even more hit points, and access to Rage (55 cap) and higher Shoulder Bash (85 cap). This Bard will be the most survivable option and will have higher burst DPS when raging.
The Ranger-Bard should focus on 1H Blades (50 cap) and/or Ranged (42 cap); if going Ranged also be sure to pick up Marksmanship (99 cap). Nature's Ally could also prove useful (90 cap), but it is less of an advantage since the Bard can already call upon a variety of summoned creatures via songs.
The Archer-Bard makes a very good combo with a strong Ranged skill (65 cap) and Marksmanship (99 cap), plus Bards are able to equip almost all ranged weapons besides crossbows and phoenix bows. The Flame Arrows (40 cap) and Determination (55 cap) skills might also come in handy.
The Rogue-Bard may wish to focus on 1H Blades (45 cap) or Unarmed weapons (45 cap), Dodge (60 cap), Shadow Shift (30 cap), and of course, Backstab (50 cap). Several of the Rogue's other skills also exceed those of the Bard, so it may be a good idea to max those before switching: Nimble (40 cap), Lock Picking (60 cap), and No Escape (45).
The Monk-Bard is perhaps the jack-of-all-trades character, being able to fight, heal, and cast with good proficiency all around. Definitely go for either Unarmed attacks (65 cap) or Staves (55 cap), as well as Dodge (70 cap), Holy Chant (30 cap), and Exorcise (1 cap). The Bard's spell caps already exceed most of the Monk's, except for Healing Aura (1 cap), Holy Smite (40 cap), and Holy Plasma (10 cap).
The Cleric-Bard is an interesting mix that can provide the best healing and anti-undead abilities. With a solid Heal spell (55 cap), better divine skills than the Monk, and the Bard's repertoire of songs this combo can serve as a powerful support character and perhaps even as the main healer for the group.
The Mage-Bard has considerably higher caps for most spells (except Heal, Resist Evil, and Lightning Strike) and access to a wider range of spells, including some AoE varieties. Definitely make sure to max Magic Lore (70 cap) and Mana Overclock (30 cap) before switching.
The Druid-Bard gains a solid mix of improved offensive and defensive spells, such as Heal (30 cap), all of the elemental resists (60 caps), Lightning Strike (57 cap), and Hotspot (65 cap), just to name a few. This character always has something to cast when songs are on cooldown, either by supporting the team with heals and buffs or by nuking enemies.