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Bard Love Guide
 Aelunira the Diva's Bard Love Guide <3
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!
 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.
- Crowd control SPELLS
- Fascinate and buff
- Melee THF
- 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.
- you build a Spellsinger, max out Charisma, and only put enough in STR to not get enfeebled easily.
- 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)
- Two-handed fighting makes for a melee Bard that has room in the feat list for some feats to support healing.
- 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~
- Original thread here at the DDO Forums: http://forums.ddo.com/showthread.php?t=275472
 Bard Songs
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!
- ~Aelunira the Diva~
PS: For more specific numbercrunching info on all Bard songs check out bardic music here on DDOWiki. The new PrE songs may not be up there yet.
 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.)
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.
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 starting at level 6. 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.
- Level 6 Bard
- Power Attack
- One of: Weapon Focus: Bludgeon, Pierce, or Slash
- 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.)
- Level 12 Bard
- 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.
- Level 6 Bard
- One of Spell Focus: Enchantment, Mental Toughness, Maximize Spell, Heighten Spell, Empower Spell, Magical Training, Greater Spell Focus: Enchantment
- 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.)
- Level 12 Bard
- 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.
- Level 6 Bard
- Feats: Either Skill Focus: Perform, Negotiator, or NONE
- 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.) 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*
- Level 12 Bard
- Bard Virtuoso I
- Bard Charisma 2, Bard Lingering Song II, Bard Extra Song III
At least the prereqs aren't useless.
 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
 Great Bard Build Links!
Now with (some) actual links!
For now, please use the original thread here: http://forums.ddo.com/showpost.php?p=3279431&postcount=5
There are bards of all types and reading the different builds will help you choose what you want to roll up, or help you understand how to build your own.
 Tips on Playing your Beautiful Bard
- For All Bards
- Melee Tips
- Healing Tips
- Class-specific tips
 Future Miscellany
If I've forgotten anything or said something dumb (yes it happens!) please let me know! Thanks.
- ~Aelunira the Diva~