The bard uses music and magic to support and inspire the rest of the party. Bards can specialize in the College of Lore, which allows for a more versatile character who can learn some spells and become proficient in the player's choice of skills, or the College of Valor, which makes the bard more martial and combat-oriented, or a number of other directions based on their focus.
Bard Leveling Table Edit
|Level||Prof Bns||Features||Cantrips Known||Spells
|—Spell Slots per Spell Level—|
|1st||+2||Spellcasting, Bardic Inspiration (d6)||2||4||2||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|2nd||+2||Jack of All Trades, Song of Rest (d6)||2||5||3||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|3rd||+2||Bard College, Expertise||2||6||4||2||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|4th||+2||Ability Score Improvement||3||7||4||3||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|5th||+3||Bardic Inspiration (d8), Font of Inspiration||3||8||4||3||2||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|6th||+3||Countercharm, Bard College feature||3||9||4||3||3||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|8th||+3||Ability Score Improvement||3||11||4||3||3||2||-||-||-||-||-|
|9th||+4||Song of Rest (d8)||3||12||4||3||3||3||1||-||-||-||-|
|10th||+4||Bardic Inspiration (d10), Expertise, Magical Secrets||4||14||4||3||3||3||2||-||-||-||-|
|12th||+4||Ability Score Improvement||4||15||4||3||3||3||2||1||-||-||-|
|13th||+5||Song of Rest (d10)||4||16||4||3||3||3||2||1||1||-||-|
|14th||+5||Magical Secrets, Bard College feature||4||18||4||3||3||3||2||1||1||-||-|
|15th||+5||Bardic Inspiration (d12)||4||19||4||3||3||3||2||1||1||1||-|
|16th||+5||Ability Score Improvement||4||19||4||3||3||3||2||1||1||1||-|
|17th||+6||Song of Rest (d12)||4||20||4||3||3||3||2||1||1||1||1|
|19th||+6||Ability Score Improvement||4||22||4||3||3||3||3||2||1||1||1|
Class Features Edit
As a bard, you gain the following Class Features.
Hit Points Edit
- Hit Dice: 1d8 per bard level
- Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier
- Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per bard level after 1st
Starting Proficiencies Edit
You are proficient with the following items, in addition to any proficiencies provided by your race or background.
- Armor: Light Armor
- Weapons: simple Weapons, hand crossbows, longswords, rapiers, shortswords
- Tools: three musical instruments of your choice
- Skills: Choose any three.
- Saving throws: Dexterity, Charisma
Starting Equipment Edit
You start with the following items, plus anything provided by your 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
Alternatively, you may start with 5d4 x 10 gp to buy your own Equipment.
Bardic Inspiration Edit
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 Inspiration 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, or 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.
You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier (a minimum of once). You regain any expended uses when you finish a Long Rest. Your Bardic Inspiration die changes when you reach certain levels in this class. The die becomes a d8 at 5th level, a d10 at 10th level, and a d12 at 15th level.
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 the list of Bard Spells in chapter 10 of the PHB for the general rules of spellcasting.
You know two Cantrips of your choice from the bard spell list. You learn additional bard Cantrips of your choice at higher levels, learning a 3rd cantrip at 4th level and a 4th at 10th level.
Spell Slots Edit
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 all 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 of 1st Level and Higher Edit
You know four 1st-level Spells of your choice from the bard spell list. You learn an additional bard spell of your choice at each level except 12th, 16th, 19th, and 20th. Each of these Spells must be of a level for which you have Spell Slots. 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 another spell from the bard spell list, which also must be of a level for which you have Spell Slots.
Spellcasting Ability Edit
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 Edit
You can cast any bard spell you know as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag.
Spellcasting Focus Edit
You can use a musical instrument (see "Equipment") as a spellcasting focus for your bard Spells.
Jack of All Trades Edit
Starting at 2nd level, you can add half your proficiency bonus, rounded down, to any ability check you make that doesn't already include your proficiency bonus.
Song of Rest Edit
Beginning at 2nd level, you can use soothing music or oration to help revitalize your wounded allies during a Short Rest. If you or any friendly creatures who can hear your performance regain hit points by spending Hit Dice at the end of the Short Rest, each of those creatures regains an extra 1d6 hit points. The extra hit points increase when you reach certain levels in this class: to 1d8 at 9th level, to 1d10 at 13th level, and to 1d12 at 17th level.
Bard College Edit
At 3rd level, you delve into the advanced techniques of a bard college of your choice, such as the College of Lore. Your choice grants you features at 3rd level and again at 6th and 14th level.
- College of Glamour
- College of Lore
- College of Satire
- College of Swords
- College of Valor
- College of Whispers
At 3rd level, choose two of your skill proficiencies. Your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make that uses either of the chosen proficiencies. At 10th level, you can choose another two skill proficiencies to gain this benefit.
Ability Score Improvement Edit
When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two Ability Scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can’t increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.
Font of Inspiration Edit
Beginning when you reach 5th level, you regain all of your expended uses of Bardic Inspiration when you finish a short or Long Rest.
At 6th level, you gain the ability to use musical notes or words of power to disrupt mind-influencing effects. As an action, you can start a performance that lasts until the end of your next turn. During that time, you and any friendly creatures within 30 feet of you have advantage on saving throws against being Frightened or Charmed. A creature must be able to hear you to gain this benefit. The performance ends early if you are Incapacitated or silenced or if you voluntarily end it (no action required).
Magical Secrets Edit
By 10th level, you have plundered magical knowledge from a wide spectrum of disciplines. Choose two Spells from any class, including this one. A spell you choose must be of a level you can cast, as shown on the Bard table, or a cantrip.
The chosen Spells count as bard Spells for you and are included in the number in the Spells Known column of the Bard table. You learn two additional Spells from any class at 14th level and again at 18th level.
Superior Inspiration Edit
At 20th level, when you roll initiative and have no uses of Bardic Inspiration left, you regain one use.
Bardic Colleges Edit
College of Glamour (UA 11/14/16) Edit
The College of Glamour is open to those bards who mastered their craft in the vibrant, deadly realm of the Feywild. Tutored by satyrs, eladrin, and other fey, these bards learn to use their magic to delight and captivate others.
The bards of this college are regarded with a mixture of awe and fear. Their performances are the stuff of legend. The bards of this college are so eloquent that a speech or song that one of them performs can cause captors to release the bard unharmed and can lull a furious dragon into complacency. The same magic that allows them to quell beasts can also bend minds. Villainous bards of this college can leech off a community for weeks, abusing their magic to turn their hosts into thralls.
Mantle of Inspiration Edit
When you join the College of Glamour at 3rd level, you gain the ability to weave a song of fey magic that enthralls your allies with vigor and speed. As a bonus action, you can expend a use of Bardic Inspiration to grant yourself a wondrous, otherworldly appearance. When you do so, choose a number of allies you can see and who can see you within 60 feet of you, up to a number of them equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum of one). Each target gains 2d6 temporary hit points.
When a target gains these temporary hit points, it can also use its reaction to move up to its speed toward you, without provoking opportunity attacks. It must take the shortest, safest path to you. The number of temporary hit points increases when you reach certain levels in this class, increasing to 2d8 at 5th level, 2d10 at 10th level, and 2d12 at 15th level.
Enthralling Performance Edit
Starting at 3rd level, you can charge your performance with seductive fey magic. If you perform for at least 10 minutes, you can attempt to inspire wonder in your audience by singing, reciting a poem, or dancing. At the end of the performance, choose a number of humanoids within 60 feet of you who watched and listened to all of it, up to a number of them equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum of one). Each target must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw against your spell save DC or be charmed by you.
While charmed in this way, the target idolizes you, it speaks glowingly of you to anyone who speaks to it, and it hinders anyone who opposes you, avoiding violence unless it was already inclined to fight on your behalf. This effect ends on a target after 1 hour, if it takes any damage, if you attack it, or if it witnesses you attacking or damaging any of its allies. If a target succeeds on its save against this effect, the target has no hint that you tried to charm it. Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.
Mantle of Majesty Edit
At 6th level, you gain the ability to cloak yourself in a fey magic that makes others want to serve you. As a bonus action, you take on an appearance of unearthly beauty for 1 minute. During this time, you can cast command as a bonus action on each of your turns, without using a spell slot. This effect lasts for 1 minute, and any creature charmed by you automatically fails its saving throw against the spell. Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.
Unbreakable Majesty Edit
At 14th level, you gain an otherworldly aspect to your appearance that makes you look more fierce and lovely. In addition, through this feature, you can cast sanctuary on yourself. If a creature fails its saving throw against the spell, you also gain advantage on all Charisma checks against the creature for 1 minute, and it has disadvantage, on any saving throw it makes against your spells on your next turn. Once you cast sanctuary using this feature, you can’t do so again until you finish a short or long rest.
College of Lore Edit
Bards of the College of Lore know something about most things, collecting bits of knowledge from sources as diverse as scholarly tomes and peasant tales. Whether singing folk ballads in taverns or elaborate compositions in royal courts, these bards use their gifts to hold audiences spellbound. When the applause dies down, the audience members might find themselves questioning everything they held to be true, from their faith in the priesthood of the local temple to their loyalty to the king.
The loyalty of these bards lies in the pursuit of beauty and truth, not in fealty to a monarch or following the tenets of a deity. A noble who keeps such a bard as a herald or advisor knows that the bard would rather be honest than politic. The college’s members gather in libraries and sometimes in actual colleges, complete with classrooms and dormitories, to share their lore with one another. They also meet at festivals or affairs of state, where they can expose corruption, unravel lies, and poke fun at self-important figures of authority.
Bonus Proficiencies Edit
When you join the College of Lore at 3rd level, you gain proficiency with three skills of your choice.
Cutting Words Edit
Also at 3rd level, you learn how to use your wit to distract, confuse, and otherwise sap the confidence and competence of others. When a creature that you can see within 60 feet of you makes an Attack roll, an ability check, or a damage roll, you can use your reaction to expend one of your uses of Bardic Inspiration, rolling a Bardic Inspiration die and subtracting the number rolled from the creature’s roll. You can choose to use this feature after the creature makes its roll, but before the GM determines whether the Attack roll or ability check succeeds or fails, or before the creature deals its damage. The creature is immune if it can’t hear you or if it’s immune to being Charmed.
Additional Magical Secrets Edit
At 6th level, you learn two Spells of your choice from any class. A spell you choose must be of a level you can cast, as shown on the Bard table, or a cantrip. The chosen Spells count as bard Spells for you but don’t count against the number of bard Spells you know.
Peerless Skill Edit
Starting at 14th level, when you make an ability check, you can expend one use of Bardic Inspiration. Roll a Bardic Inspiration die and add the number rolled to your ability check. You can choose to do so after you roll the die for the ability check, but before the GM tells you whether you succeed or fail.
College of Satire (UA 01/04/16) Edit
Bards of the College of Satire are called jesters. They use lowbrow stories, daring acrobatics, and cutting jokes to entertain audiences, ranging from the crowds in a rundown dockside pub to the nobles of a king’s royal court. Where other bards seek forgotten lore or tales of epic bravery, jesters ferret out embarrassing and hilarious stories of all kinds. Whether telling the ribald tale of a brawny stable hand’s affair with an aged duchess or a mocking satire of a paladin of Helm’s cloying innocence, a jester never lets taste, social decorum, or shame get in the way of a good laugh.
While jesters are masters of puns, jokes, and verbal barbs, they are much more than just comic relief. They are expected to mock and provoke, taking advantage of how even the most powerful folk are expected by tradition to endure a jester’s barbs with good humor. This expectation allows a jester to serve as a critic or a voice of reason when others are too intimidated to speak the truth.
For the duchess with a taste for strapping young laborers, such tales might serve to warn the targets of her affections and force her to change her ways for lack of willing partners. Striking back at the jester only ruins her already damaged reputation, and might provide the best evidence that the jester’s satires have hit their mark. But if she is kind and generous to her conquests, the jokes and stories cast her as a kind of folk hero, while drawing even more potential partners to her.
Jesters are loyal to only one cause: the pursuit and propagation of the truth. They use their comedy and innocuous appearance to break down social barriers and expose corruption, incompetence, and stupidity among the rich and powerful. Whether revealing a con artist’s treachery or exposing a baron’s plans for war as driven by greed and bloodlust, a jester serves as the conscience of a realm. Jesters adventure to safeguard the common folk and to undermine the plans of the rich, powerful, and arrogant. Their magic bolsters allies’ spirits while casting doubt into foes’ minds. Among bards, jesters are unmatched acrobats, and their ability to tumble, dodge, leap, and climb makes them slippery opponents in battle.
Bonus Proficiencies Edit
When you join the College of Satire at 3rd level, you gain proficiency with thieves’ tools. You also gain proficiency in Sleight of Hand and one additional skill of your choice. If you are already proficient with thieves’ tools or in Sleight of Hand, choose another skill proficiency for each proficiency you already have.
Tumbling Fool Edit
At 3rd level, you master a variety of acrobatic techniques that allow you to evade danger. As a bonus action, you can tumble. When you tumble, you gain the following benefits for the rest of your turn:
- You gain the benefits of taking the Dash and Disengage actions.
- You gain a climbing speed equal to your current speed.
- You take half damage from falling.
Fool’s Insight Edit
At 6th level, your ability to gather stories and lore gains a supernatural edge. You can cast detect thoughts up to a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier. You regain any expended uses of this ability after completing a long rest. If a creature resists your attempt to probe deeper and succeeds at its saving throw against your detect thoughts, it immediately suffers an embarrassing social gaffe. It might loudly pass gas, unleash a thunderous burp, trip and fall, or be compelled to tell a tasteless joke.
Fool’s Luck Edit
Jesters seem to have a knack for pulling themselves out of tight situations, transforming what looks like sure failure into an embarrassing but effective success. At 14th level, you can expend one use of Bardic Inspiration after you fail an ability check, fail a saving throw, or miss with an attack roll. Roll a Bardic Inspiration die and add the number rolled to your attack, saving throw, or ability check, using the new result in place of the failed one.
If using this ability grants you a success on the attack, saving throw, or ability check, note the number you rolled on the Bardic Inspiration die. The DM can then apply that result as a penalty to an attack or check you make, and you cannot use this ability again until you suffer this drawback. When the DM invokes this penalty, describe an embarrassing gaffe or mistake you make as part of the affected die roll.
College of Swords (UA 05/01/17) Edit
Bards of the College of Swords are called blades, and they entertain through daring feats of weapon prowess. Blades perform stunts such as sword swallowing, knife throwing and juggling, and mock combats. Though they use their weapons to entertain, they are also highly trained and skilled warriors in their own right.
Their talent with weapons inspires many blades to lead double lives. One blade might use a circus troupe as cover for nefarious deeds such as assassination, robbery, and blackmail. Other blades strike at the wicked, bringing justice to bear against the cruel and powerful. Most troupes are happy to accept a blade’s talent for the excitement it adds to a performance, but few entertainers fully trust them.
Blades who abandon lives as entertainers have often run into trouble that makes maintaining their secret activities impossible. A blade caught stealing or engaging in vigilante justice is too great a liability for most troupes. With their weapon skills and magic, these blades either take up work as enforcers for thieves’ guilds or strike out on their own as adventurers.
Bonus Proficiencies Edit
When you join the College of Blades at 3rd level, you gain proficiency with medium armor and scimitars. If you’re proficient with a simple or martial melee weapon, you can use it as a spellcasting focus for your bard spells.
Fighting Style Edit
At 3rd level, you adopt a style of fighting as your specialty. Choose one of the following options. You can’t take a Fighting Style option more than once, even if something in the game lets you choose again.
- Dueling. When you are wielding a melee weapon in one hand and no other weapons, you gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with that weapon.
- Two-Weapon Fighting. When you engage in two-weapon fighting, you can add your ability modifier to the damage of the second attack.
Blade Flourish Edit
At 3rd level, you learn to conduct impressive displays of martial prowess and speed. As an action, you can make one melee weapon attack, and your walking speed increases by 10 feet until the end of the current turn. Whenever you use this action, you can also use one of the following Blade Flourish options as part of it.
- Defensive Flourish. You spin your weapon in circles, creating a hypnotic display. You can expend one of your uses of Bardic Inspiration, rolling a Bardic Inspiration die and adding the number rolled to your AC until the start of your next turn.
- Slashing Flourish. If the attack hits its target, you can expend one of your uses of Bardic Inspiration to cause the weapon to damage each creature of your choice, other than the target, that you can see within 5 feet of you. The damage equals the number you roll on the Bardic Inspiration die.
- Mobile Flourish. If the attack hits its target, you can expend one of your uses of Bardic Inspiration to push the target up to 5 feet away from you, plus a number of feet equal to the number you roll on the Bardic Inspiration die. You can then immediately use your reaction to move up to your speed to an unoccupied space within 5 feet of the target.
Cunning Flourish Edit
Beginning at 6th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you use the Blade Flourish action on your turn. You can, nevertheless, still use only one Blade Flourish option when you take that action.
Master’s Flourish Edit
Starting at 14th level, whenever you use a Blade Flourish option, you can roll a d6 and use it instead of expending a Bardic Inspiration die.
College of Valor Edit
Bards of the College of Valor are daring skalds whose tales keep alive the memory of the great heroes of the past, and thereby inspire a new generation of heroes. These bards gather in mead halls or around great bonfires to sing the deeds of the mighty, both past and present. They travel the land to witness great events firsthand and to ensure that the memory of those events doesn't pass from the world. With their songs, they inspire others to reach the same heights of accomplishment as the heroes of old.
Bonus Proficiencies Edit
When you join the College of Valor at 3rd level, you gain proficiency with medium armor, shields, and martial weapons.
Combat Inspiration Edit
Also at 3rd level, you learn to inspire others in battle. A creature that has a Bardic Inspiration die from you can roll that die and add the number rolled to a weapon damage roll it just made. Alternatively, when an attack roll is made against the creature, it can use its reaction to roll the Bardic Inspiration die and add the number rolled to its AC against that attack, after seeing the roll but before knowing whether it hits or misses.
Extra Attack Edit
Starting at 6th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.
Battle Magic Edit
At 14th level, you have mastered the art of weaving spellcasting and weapon use into a single harmonious act. When you use your action to a cast a bard spell, you can make one weapon attack as a bonus action.
College of Whispers (UA 11/14/16) Edit
Most folk are happy to welcome a bard into their midst. Bards of the College of Whispers use this to their advantage. They appear to be like any other bard, sharing news, singing songs, and telling tales to the audiences they gather. In truth, the College of Whispers teaches its students that they are wolves among sheep. These bards use their knowledge and magic to uncover secrets and turn them against others through extortion and threats.
Many other bards hate the College of Whispers, viewing it as a parasite that uses the bards’ reputation to acquire wealth and power. For this reason, these bards rarely reveal their true nature unless they must. They typically claim to follow some other college, or keep their true nature secret in order to better infiltrate and exploit royal courts and other settings of power.
Venomous Blades Edit
When you join the College of Whispers at 3rd level, you gain the ability to magically make your weapon attacks toxic for a moment. When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can expend one use of your Bardic Inspiration to deal an additional 2d6 poison damage to that target. You can do so only once per round on your turn. The additional damage increases when you reach certain levels in this class, increasing to 2d8 at 5th level, 2d10 at 10th level, and 2d12 at 15th level.
Venomous Words Edit
At 3rd level, you learn to infuse innocent seeming words with an insidious magic. A creature that hears you speak can become plunged into fear and paranoia. If you speak to a humanoid alone for at least 10 minutes, you can attempt to seed paranoia and fear into its mind. At the end of the conversation, the target must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw against your spell save DC or be frightened for the next hour, until it is attacked or damaged, or until it witnesses its allies being attacked or damaged.
While frightened in this way, the target is paranoid and tries to avoid the company of others, including its allies. The target seeks out what it considers the safest, most secret place available to it and hides there. If the target succeeds on its save, the target has no hint that you tried to frighten it. Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a short rest or long rest.
Mantle of Whispers Edit
At 6th level, you gain the ability to adopt a creature’s persona. When you slay a creature with an attack or a spell or a creature dies within 5 feet of you, you can magically capture its shadow using your reaction. You can capture only the shadow of a creature that is your creature type, such as humanoid, and your size (you can capture a Small or Medium shadow if you’re Small), and you can have only one shadow captured at a time.
After you capture a creature’s shadow, you can use your magic to weave it into a disguise that allows you to take on its appearance and gain access to its surface memories. As an action, you take on the creature’s appearance for 1 hour or until you end this effect as a bonus action.
During that hour, you gain access to all information that the creature would freely share with a casual acquaintance. Information includes general details on its background and personal life, but does not include secrets. The information is enough that you can pass yourself off as the creature by drawing on its memories. Another creature can see through this disguise by making a Wisdom (Insight) check your Charisma (Deception) check, though you gain a +5 bonus to your check. The disguise and the knowledge it grants disappears when this ability’s duration ends.
Shadow Lore Edit
At 14th level, you gain the ability to weave dark magic into your words and tap into a creature’s deepest fears. As an action, you magically whisper a phrase that only one creature of your choice within 30 feet of you can hear. The target must make a Wisdom saving throw against your spell save DC. It automatically succeeds if it doesn’t share a language with you or if it can’t hear you. On a successful saving throw, your whisper sounds like unintelligible mumbling and has no effect.
If the target fails its saving throw, it is charmed by you for the next 8 hours or until you or your allies attack or damage it. It interprets the whispers as a description of its most mortifying secret. While you gain no knowledge of this secret, the target is convinced you know it. While charmed in this way, the creature obeys your commands for fear that you will reveal its secret. It won’t risk its life for you or fight for you, unless it was already inclined to do so. It grants you favors and gifts it would offer to a close friend.When the effect ends, the creature has no understanding of why it held you in such fear. Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.
- ^ Crawford, J., Mearls, M., Wyatt, J., Schwalb, R. J., & Cordell, B. R. (2014). Player's Handbook (5th ed.). Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast LLC.