Bards are possibly the most loved and most hated class in all of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D). Loved among bard players for their antics and charming ways, and hated by most Dungeon Masters (DMs) for the exact same reasons. The artistic class can bring a lot to a party. A whole lot. Too much, sometimes.
Whether your bard sings, dances, waxes poetic, or does a little of everything, they’ve most certainly gotten your party into a spot of trouble. If they haven’t, you’re either very lucky or have a very good leash. The following ten memes are sure to make you think of that special bard in your life – or the one that set fire to it. That’s “special,” in a way.
10 All The World’s A Stage
Shakespeare, a bard himself, put it best in As You Like It, and now dozens upon dozens of D&D players are taking his words literally. All the world’s a stage – including the battlefield, a dragon’s lair, this random NPC’s house, and the local tavern, of course.
Can you really blame them? After all, having the power to channel magic through music would make it very difficult for anyone to want to stop playing music. And when they can play it so well? You hardly even need that +10 Charisma with a trusty violin at your side. Though it certainly helps.
9 Everyone’s My Friend
So that aforementioned Charisma bonus is useful in other places. When playing music or reciting poetry doesn’t solve your problems (gasp), there’s always good old-fashioned charm. Or lying. Whichever works.
Bards have a reputation that defies borders when it comes to frustrating DMs. If their character is so likable that no one can deny them, then conflict peters out rather quickly unless you make a godly roll against a natural 13 plus another million or so for the bard’s ridiculous Charisma stat and proficiency. It’s possible that all bard players are trickster gods in the bodies of mortals.
8 Just Curious!
Another borderless reputation: bards really enjoy seducing things. Probably too much.
If there is a bard in the party, there is going to be a seduction of one of your major villains, important NPCs, or monsters. Those are just facts. Whether they do it on purpose or not (seriously, it happens), having a bard is asking for trouble. A very particular kind of trouble.
It’s not all bad, of course. It can be downright hilarious to watch a bard solo-flirt their way out of a tight spot (don’t laugh). But it can go sour very quickly if the ancient red dragon of the hour isn’t a receptive as the last one.
7 Music Gives You Life (Hopefully)
No cleric? No problem! Bards can do it all! Mostly.
Sure, they might only have access to a couple healing spells, but a couple is better than none, right? And a little inspiration goes a long way toward that successful hit. Everyone just be cool while they frantically play a jaunty tune on their fiddle. There are no downsides to this, and you’re all going to be fine. Who needs a god to heal them when you have something far better? Music. It does, after all, make the world go ‘round. It also makes you lose control. Which actually explains a lot.
6 The Great Charisma Casters
Warlocks, able to channel the powers of a great and ancient beings. They have made pacts with their lives and souls, in exchange for authority over the very material plane itself.
Sorcerers, born with that same awesome strength in their blood. They are wild and unpredictable, as ever-changing as the flow of magic in their veins.
And bards. With their… whatever it is they have. They can write a darn good poem, if you ask. They can also sing you a song if you like. And tell a good story…
5 Persuasion Check
Once again, tormenting the DM with the cursedly high Charisma stat, bards just can’t leave well enough alone. They were born to be wild and born to get wild with just about everyone they’re not allowed to or shouldn’t attempt to get with. It’s like telling a toddler not to do something – now they’re definitely going to do it, specifically because you said no.
There’s a chance you can punish them for overreaching by creating a counter-bard, someone with Charisma just as ridiculous so they can withstand the avalanche. Though that might encourage a seduce-off… You know what? Just accept it. The sooner the better.
4 Going Out with a Bang…
Bards often stick their noses places they don’t belong. Places they really, really don’t belong.
There’s nothing that’ll turn a friend into a foe faster than an extra-marital affair. Except perhaps murder. Worse when the bard happened to do both, which is an unfortunately likely scenario. It’s double worse when the NPC affected by said affair and/or murder was supposed to be an ally. And now look what you’ve done, bard. Are you happy with yourself? Are you proud of the chaos you’ve caused?
Actually, you know what? Don’t answer that.
3 “We Should Start A Bard Troupe!”
The first thing that happens when you get a bunch of like-minded musicians in a room is “Dude! We should start a band!”
Something similar happens when you get a group of like-minded D&D players in a room, except they all want to be half-orc bards and call themselves an Orc-estra.
The danger with an all-bard party is the sheer chaotic energy of so many high-Charisma characters in the same room might cause them to become demigods within the first five sessions. Or they’ll all die horribly. It’s a toss-up.
2 No One Said I Had To Be Clever
Just because your character has high Charisma doesn’t mean that you have high Charisma in real life. Sometimes you cast Vicious Mockery or Cutting Words and have to go, “Uh… Your mom.” It’s disappointing when the roll is bad, but it’s absolutely hysterical if the lich before you has to stagger in pain because you said, “Where’d you get your outfit? The lame store?”
For an extra 1d4 of psychic damage against everyone in the room, have a list of godawful puns on-hand to whip out and torture them with. It never fails.
1 The Ultimate Showdown
The joke is that the bard seduces the dragon, but no one ever expects them to get away with it, much less produce viable offspring from the “encounter.” Dragonborns have to come into the world somehow, but how are you going to explain that to your parents?
You’d be a legend, though. A god among bards. You’ve achieved the unachievable, done the impossible, fulfilled the long-held traditions of your people. Your tale will be spun through the ages, your wit and charm will go unmatched for centuries. And you’ll have bragging rights, too.