Dungeons & Dragons
Hit Die: d8
Primary Ability: Charisma
Saving Throw Proficiencies: Dexterity & Charisma
Skill Proficiencies: Choose any three
Armor and Weapon Proficiencies: Light armor, simple weapons, hand crossbows, longswords, rapiers, shortswords
Tool Proficiencies: Three musical instruments of your choice
An inspiring magician whose power echoes the music of creation. Bards start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by their background:
- ( a ) a rapier, ( b ) a longsword, or ( c ) any simple weapon
- ( a ) a diplomat’s pack or ( b ) an entertainer’s pack
- ( a ) a lute or ( b ) any other musical instrument
- Leather armor and a dagger
Bards hold a special place of responsibility and respect in the Forgotten Realms. They are bearers of news, gossip, and messages in their travels from place to place, in addition to being living storehouses of history and folklore. Bards know a great deal, and they tend to be willing to share what they know, or at least barter for it.
The arrival of a renowned bard is a special occasion, akin to the visit of a dignitary. A bard can reasonably expect at least a hot supper and a clean place to sleep from a local landlord or inn in exchange for a few songs or stories. A noble might host a bard in fine style—while also being careful to guard any secrets the noble’s household doesn’t want retold or sung across Faerûn.
Not all wandering performers are true bards, nor are all bards inclined to sing for their supper, although most will, given the need. Bards literally have magic to them, and the powers they command through their performance and lore earns them additional respect.
In the Savage North, singers and storytellers called skalds are keepers of the history and great legends of the Northlanders and the Reghed. These warrior-poets are the singers of the songs and sagas that fire the blood of warriors in battle, and composers of the new songs and sagas relating the mighty deeds of heroes and villains. However, spellcasting is taboo among Reghed and Northlanders unless it is considered a gift of their gods. Characters with the bard class who rise to prominence among these folk must align themselves with their clan’s priests and shamans or risk being outcast. Most skalds are members of the College of Valor, as described in the Bard College class feature in the Player’s Handbook.
Bards in the North and the Dalelands benefit from the existence of the Harpers, that legendary society recruiting bards and other independent agents to struggle against the forces of evil. Even though most bards in the region aren’t Harpers (and many who are don’t advertise that fact), common folk in the North often behave as if all bards are legendary wandering heroes, and are as likely to ask a bard for the solution to a problem troubling their community as they are a wandering fighter or wizard. This reputation cuts both ways, however, as some enemies of the Harpers suspiciously assume any humble minstrel might secretly be a Harper agent.
In addition to the tradition of apprenticing with a master bard, the Sword Coast has some bardic colleges where masters teach students the bardic arts. They hark back to the great bardic colleges of the distant past, particularly the seven elder colleges: Fochlucan, Mac-Fuirmidh, Doss, Canaith, Cli, Anstruth, and Ollamh.
Long ago, bards who sought the rank of master bard attended each of the elder colleges, seeking to learn its musical and magical secrets. Traditionally, the colleges were attended in the order given above, starting with Fochlucan. That tradition fell when the colleges went into decline, but some bards dream of restoring it.
College of Fochlucan
The original College of Fochlucan once stood on the northeastern edge of Silverymoon. Many years after it closed its doors, the site was reopened as Ultrumm’s Music Conservatory. The conservatory later moved to Southbank, and the House of the Harp occupied the college’s original location under the guidance of Master Bard Foren “Flamebeard” Luekuan, who sought to revive the ancient traditions and teachings of Fochlucan. Years of cultivation and support from Silverymoon, as well as the Harpers, yielded a faculty able to revive the college, and the House of the Harp adopted the Fochlucan name once again. Most of its bards study and practice the methods of the College of Lore.
The College of Fochlucan is naturally allied with the Harpers, although its master bards are careful to stress that its mission is separate from that of the Harpers.
College of New Olamn
Housed in two Cliffride villas overlooking the sea near Waterdeep, the College of New Olamn is a prestigious bardic college established in the Year of the Staff (1366 DR) by wealthy Waterdhavian patrons and named for the old College of Ollamh. Students of the college undergo training in their chosen instruments, along with rigorous practice in memorization and the study of ancient songs, sagas, and history. Most bards of New Olamn belong to the College of Lore.
The Cliffride, a gravel path up Mount Waterdeep’s northern spur, is used to bring goods to the college, but most visitors and students use the Mount Melody Walk—a tunnel through the mountain itself—to reach it. The tunnel regularly resounds with music, thanks to the Neverending String of Pearls, an ongoing concert where bardic students perform in a small alcove in the tunnel, which carries and echoes their music.
College of the Herald
Based at the great lore—house of Herald’s Holdfast, northwest of Silverymoon, the College of the Herald is dedicated to the preservation of ancient history and legends. The Heralds are charged with collecting and organizing bodies of lore, which they make available to all of good and peaceful intent. Established by the Harper Aliost Oskrunnar in 922 DR, the Heralds are allies of the Harpers but remain neutral in most conflicts, dedicated to preserving knowledge above all else.
The College of the Herald is less concerned with musical performance (although it contains a considerable library of songs) and more with history, heraldry, and folklore, making it a key center of learning for bards of the College of Lore.
You have learned to untangle and reshape the fabric of reality in harmony with your wishes and music. Your spells are part of your vast repertoire, magic that you can tune to different situations. See chapter 10 of the Player’s Handbook for the general rules of spellcasting and chapter 11 for the bard spell list.
Cantrips: You know two cantrips of your choice from the bard spell list (select from the list below). You learn additional bard cantrips of your choice at higher levels, as shown in the Cantrips Known column of the Bard table.
Spell Slots: The Bard table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your spells of 1st level and higher. To cast one of these spells. you must expend a slot of the spell’s level or higher. You regain ali expended spell slots when you finish a long rest. For example. if you know the 1st-level spell cure wounds and have a 1st-level and a 2nd-level spell slot available, you can cast cure wounds using either slot.
Spells Known: You know four 1st-level spells of your choice from the bard spell list. Select from the Bard list in Chapter 11 of the Player’s Handbook.
The Spells Known column of the Bard table shows when you learn more bard spells of your choice. Each of these spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots, as shown on the table. For instance, when you reach 3rd level in this class, you can learn one new spell of 1st or 2nd level. Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the bard spells you know and replace it with anolher spell from the bard spell list, which also must be of a level for which you have spell slots.
Spellcasting Ability: Charisma is your spellcasting ability for your bard spells. Your magic comes from the heart and soul you pour into the performance of your music or oration. You use your Charisma whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Charisma modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a bard spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.
Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier
Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier
Ritual Casting: You can cast any bard spell you know as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag.
Spellcasting Focus: You can use a musical instrument as a spellcasting focus for your bard spells.
You can inspire others through stirring words or music. To do so, you use a bonus action on your turn to choose one creature other than yourself within 60 feet of you who can hear you. That creature gains one Bardic lnspiration die, a d6. Once within the next 10 minutes, the creature can roll the die and add the number rolled to one ability check, attack roll, ar saving throw it makes. The creature can wait until after it rolls the d20 before deciding to use the Bardic Inspiration die, but must decide before the DM says whether the roll succeeds or fails. Once the Bardic Inspiration die is rolled. it is lost. A creature can have only one Bardic Inspiration die at a time.
For Bard abilities higher than level 1, consult the Player’s Handbook.