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To Bard or Not to Bard

Dungeons and Dragons BardI recently got invited to a new Dungeons & Dragons group and I was eager to make a character that would be useful with their existing group dynamic. I was told they could use frontliners and a healer, so – since I already play a Cleric in my other D&D group – I decided to go with a paladin.

However, after a quick chat with their DM, I discovered that a paladin would find it rather difficult to fit in with this group of, as the DM called them, ‘murder hobos’.

The campaign is set in Ravnica, the cityscape from Magic: The Gathering, a world I have absolutely no knowledge of. So what do you do when you need a character with a limited sense of right and wrong, in a world where you don’t know the various factions?

You make a conwoman Bard and tell the DM to decide which guilds she has pissed off by swindling them out of their money.

Kindra Sinclair – likely a fake name – is my first Bard character, but all my characters across races, classes, and even tabletop systems, tend to end up with a tendency to cheat at card games, so when I noticed the Charlatan background in the Player’s Handbook, I figured I might as well write it into the character from the beginning. I picked College of Lore to get a few handy healing spells and then I padded my spell list with spells that would allow me to cheat, charm and swindle everyone in my path.

I have a feeling this character might not survive for long…

I also went with a rapier and a dagger with the intention of being a melee attacker, but I spent most of the first session casting Vicious Mockery, hurling insults at the enemies, before hurriedly running away from them. It was low on grace, but since the bard is the one to compose the stories after the battle, I’ll be the brave hero in the retelling.

11 thoughts on “To Bard or Not to Bard

  1. […] the trading card game, but lots of my friends are obsessed with it and some of them invited me to join a Dungeons & Dragons campaign set in the MTG world […]

  2. […] tie-in novels while waiting for the fourth game. And I recently became part of a Ravnica-themed Dungeons & Dragons party, but I have never played Magic: The Gathering, so I need to study some lore, so I know who all the […]

  3. I’ve never played a bard myself, and have only had one bard NPC as a GM, but judging from a detailed analysis of my players, it’s clear that the main combat role of the bard class is to screw with the GM. Optimum play seems to see them ignore their allies entirely and only interact with the enemy enough and in such specific was as to completely derail the GM’s plans, then begin composing rock ballads for the rest of the battle. As long as you’re doing that, you’re serving your party well.

    Ritual casting tiny hut and rocking out inside of it in the middle of the enemy’s lair during a stealth mission is also acceptable bard behavior.

    1. Seeing as I chose to focus on healing, I could actually be semi-useful to the group without being totally chaotic during the first session. But that session was mainly centered around combat, so I fear for what will happen once I get a chance to test her out during roleplaying parts…

  4. Murder Hobos. I laughed out loud… this reminds me of some my groups. Ha ha. Some things are so universal in D&D… the great bringing together of people of all races and tongues.

    1. And making them all into chaotic misfits!

      1. Speak for yourself. I’m neutral good… half elf… Ranger.

        Okay, probably a thief. With a rubbish stat line.

        1. Chaotic neutral is the only way to go!
          And steal E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. You can be law-abiding in real life, no time for that in tabletop games.

          1. Ha ha. Remind me never to lend you my bag of holding.

            1. It’s a mistake you’ll only do once.

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