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Bard

Source Core Rulebook pg. 94
You are a master of artistry, a scholar of hidden secrets, and a captivating persuader. Using powerful performances, you influence minds and elevate souls to new levels of heroics. You might use your powers to become a charismatic leader, or perhaps you might instead be a counselor, manipulator, scholar, scoundrel, or virtuoso. While your versatility leads some to consider you a beguiling ne’erdo- well and a jack-of-all-trades, it’s dangerous to dismiss you as a master of none.

Key Ability: CHARISMA
At 1st level, your class gives you an ability boost to Charisma.

Hit Points: 8 plus your Constitution modifier
You increase your maximum number of HP by this number at 1st level and every level thereafter.

Roleplaying the Bard

During Combat Encounters...

You use magical performances to alter the odds in favor of your allies. You confidently alternate between attacks, healing, and helpful spells as needed.

During Social Encounters...

You persuade, prevaricate, and threaten with ease.

While Exploring...

You’re a font of knowledge, folktales, legends, and lore that provide a deeper context and helpful reconnaissance for the group’s adventure. Your spells and performances inspire your allies to greater discovery and success.

In Downtime...

You can earn money and prestige with your performances, gaining a name for yourself and acquiring patrons. Eventually, tales of your talents and triumphs might attract other bards to study your techniques in a bardic college.

You Might...

  • Have a passion for your art so strong that you forge a spiritual connection with it.
  • Take point when tact and nonviolent solutions are required.
  • Follow your muse, whether it’s a mysterious fey creature, a philosophical concept, a psychic force, or a deity of art or music, and with its aid learn secret lore that few others have.

Others Probably...

  • Relish the opportunity to invite you to social events, either as a performer or a guest, but consider you to be something of a curiosity in their social circles.
  • Underestimate you compared to other spellcasters, believing you are little more than a foppish minstrel and overlooking the subtle power of your magic.
  • Respond favorably to your social charm and abilities, but remain suspicious of your beguiling magic.

Initial Proficiencies

At 1st level, you gain the listed proficiency ranks in the following statistics. You are untrained in anything not listed unless you gain a better proficiency rank in some other way.

Perception

Expert in Perception

Saving Throws

Trained in Fortitude
Trained in Reflex
Expert in Will

Skills

Trained in Occultism
Trained in Performance
Trained in a number of additional skills equal to 4 plus your Intelligence modifier

Attacks

Trained in simple weapons
Trained in the longsword, rapier, sap, shortbow, shortsword, and whip
Trained in unarmed attacks

Defenses

Trained in light armor
Trained in unarmored defense

Spells

Trained in occult spell attacks
Trained in occult spell DCs

Class Features

You gain these features as a Bard. Abilities gained at higher levels list the levels at which you gain them next to the features' names.
Your LevelClass Features
1Ancestry and background, initial proficiencies, occult spellcasting, spell repertoire, composition spells, muse
2Bard feat, skill feat
32nd-level spells, general feat, lightning reflexes, signature spells, skill increase
4Bard feat, skill feat
53rd-level spells, ability boosts, ancestry feat, skill increase
6Bard feat, skill feat
74th-level spells, expert spellcaster, general feat, skill increase
8Bard feat, skill feat
95th-level spells, ancestry feat, great fortitude, resolve, skill increase
10Ability boots, bard feat, skill feat
116th-level spells, bard weapon expertise, general feat, skill increase, vigilant senses
12Bard feat, skill feat
137th-level spells, ancestry feat, light armor expertise, skill increase, weapon specialization
14Bard feat, skill feat
158th-level spells, ability boosts, general feat, master spellcaster, skill increase
16Bard feat, skill feat
179th-level spells, ancestry feat, greater resolve, skill increase
18Bard feat, skill feat
19General feat, legendary spellcaster, magnum opus, skill increase
20Ability boosts, bard feat, skill feat
Your LevelCantrips1st2nd3rd4th5th6th7th8th9th10th
152
253
3532
4533
55332
65333
753332
853333
9533332
10533333
115333332
125333333
1353333332
1453333333
15533333332
16533333333
175333333332
185333333333
1953333333331*
2053333333331*
* The magnum opus class feature gives you a 10th-level spell slot that works a bit differently from other spell slots.

Ancestry and Background

In addition to the abilities provided by your class at 1st level, you have the benefits of your selected ancestry and background, as described in Chapter 2.

Composition Spells

You can infuse your performances with magic to create unique effects called compositions. Compositions are a special type of spell that often require you to use the Performance skill when casting them. Composition spells are a type of focus spell. It costs 1 Focus Point to cast a focus spell, and you start with a focus pool of 1 Focus Point. You refill your focus pool during your daily preparations, and you can regain 1 Focus Point by spending 10 minutes using the Refocus activity to perform, write a new composition, or otherwise engage your muse.

Focus spells are automatically heightened to half your level rounded up, much like cantrips. Focus spells don’t require spell slots, and you can’t cast them using spell slots. Taking feats can give you more focus spells and increase the size of your focus pool, though your focus pool can never hold more than 3 Focus Points. The full rules for focus spells appear on page 300.

You learn the counter performance composition spell (page 386), protecting against auditory and visual effects.

Composition Cantrips

Composition cantrips are special composition spells that don’t cost Focus Points, so you can use them as often as you like. Composition cantrips are in addition to the cantrips you choose from the occult list. Generally, only feats can give you more composition cantrips. Unlike other cantrips, you can’t swap out composition cantrips gained from bard feats at a later level, unless you swap out the specific feat via retraining (page 481). You learn the inspire courage composition cantrip, which boosts your allies’ attacks, damage, and defense against fear.

Initial Proficiencies

At 1st level, you gain a number of proficiencies that represent your basic training. These proficiencies are noted at the start of this class.

Muses

As a bard, you select one muse at 1st level. This muse leads you to great things, and might be a physical creature, a deity, a philosophy, or a captivating mystery.

Muses can be found here.

Occult Spellcasting

You draw upon magic from esoteric knowledge. You can cast occult spells using the Cast a Spell activity, and you can supply material, somatic, and verbal components when casting spells (see Casting Spells on page 302). Because you’re a bard, you can usually play an instrument for spells requiring somatic or material components, as long as it takes at least one of your hands to do so. If you use an instrument, you don’t need a spell component pouch or another hand free. You can usually also play an instrument for spells requiring verbal components, instead of speaking.

Each day, you can cast up to two 1st-level spells. You must know spells to cast them, and you learn them via the spell repertoire class feature. The number of spells you can cast each day is called your spell slots.

As you increase in level as a bard, your number of spells per day increases, as does the highest level of spells you can cast, as shown on Table 3–6: Bard Spells per Day on page 98.

Some of your spells require you to attempt a spell attack roll to see how effective they are, or have your enemies roll against your spell DC (typically by attempting a saving throw). Since your key ability is Charisma, your spell attack rolls and spell DCs use your Charisma modifier. Details on calculating these statistics appear on page 447.

Heightening Spells

When you get spell slots of 2nd level and higher, you can fill those slots with stronger versions of lower-level spells. This increases the spell’s level to match the spell slot. You must have a spell in your spell repertoire at the level you want to cast in order to heighten it to that level. Many spells have specific improvements when they are heightened to certain levels (page 299). The signature spells class feature lets you heighten certain spells freely.

Cantrips

Some of your spells are cantrips. A cantrip is a special type of spell that doesn’t use spell slots. You can cast a cantrip at will, any number of times per day. A cantrip is automatically heightened to half your level rounded up, which equals the highest level of spell you can cast as a bard. For example, as a 1st-level bard, your cantrips are 1st-level spells, and as a 5th-level bard, your cantrips are 3rd-level spells.

Spell Repertoire

The collection of spells you can cast is called your spell repertoire. At 1st level, you learn two 1st-level occult spells of your choice and five occult cantrips of your choice. You choose these from the common spells from the occult list (page 311) or from other occult spells to which you have access. You can cast any spell in your spell repertoire by using a spell slot of an appropriate spell level.

You add to this spell repertoire as you increase in level. Each time you get a spell slot (see Table 3–6), you add a spell to your spell repertoire of the same level. At 2nd level, you select another 1st-level spell; at 3rd level, you select two 2nd-level spells, and so on. When you add spells, you might add a higher-level version of a spell you already have, so you can cast a heightened version of that spell.

Though you gain them at the same rate, your spell slots and the spells in your spell repertoire are separate. If a feat or other ability adds a spell to your spell repertoire, it wouldn’t give you another spell slot, and vice versa.

Swapping Spells in Your Repertoire

As you gain new spells in your repertoire, you might want to replace some of the spells you previously learned. Each time you gain a level and learn new spells, you can swap out one of your old spells for a different spell of the same level. This spell can be a cantrip. You can also swap out spells by retraining during downtime (page 481).

Bard FeatsLevel 2

At 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter, you gain a bard class feat (page 99).

Skill FeatsLevel 2

At 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter, you gain a skill feat. Skill feats can be found in Chapter 5 and have the skill trait. You must be trained or better in the corresponding skill to select a skill feat.

General FeatsLevel 3

At 3rd level and every 4 levels thereafter, you gain a general feat. General feats are listed in Chapter 5.

Lightning ReflexesLevel 3

Your reflexes are lightning fast. Your proficiency rank in Reflex saves increases to expert.

Signature SpellsLevel 3

Experience allows you to cast some spells more flexibly. For each spell level you have access to, choose one spell of that level to be a signature spell. You don’t need to learn heightened versions of signature spells separately; instead, you can heighten these spells freely. If you’ve learned a signature spell at a higher level than its minimum, you can also cast all its lower-level versions without learning those separately. If you swap out a signature spell, you can choose a replacement signature spell of the same spell level at which you learned the previous spell. You can also retrain specifically to change a signature spell to a different spell of that level without swapping any spells; this takes as much time as retraining a spell normally does.

Skill IncreasesLevel 3

At 3rd level and every 2 levels thereafter, you gain a skill increase. You can use this increase either to increase your proficiency rank to trained in one skill you’re untrained in, or to increase your proficiency rank in one skill in which you’re already trained to expert.

At 7th level, you can use skill increases to increase your proficiency rank to master in a skill in which you’re already an expert, and at 15th level, you can use them to increase your proficiency rank to legendary in a skill in which you’re already a master.

Ability BoostsLevel 5

At 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter, you boost four different ability scores. You can use these ability boosts to increase your ability scores above 18. Boosting an ability score increases it by 1 if it’s already 18 or above, or by 2 if it starts out below 18.

Ancestry FeatsLevel 5

In addition to the ancestry feat you started with, you gain an ancestry feat at 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter. The list of feats is in your ancestry’s entry in Chapter 2.

Expert SpellcasterLevel 7

Your proficiency ranks for occult spell attack rolls and spell DCs increase to expert.

Great FortitudeLevel 9

Your physique is incredibly hardy. Your proficiency rank for Fortitude saves increases to expert.

ResolveLevel 9

You’ve steeled your mind with resolve. Your proficiency rank for Will saves increases to master. When you roll a success at a Will save, you get a critical success instead.

Bard Weapon ExpertiseLevel 11

You have become thoroughly adept with bardic weapons. You gain expert proficiency in simple weapons and unarmed attacks, plus the longsword, rapier, sap, shortbow, shortsword, and whip. When you critically succeed at an attack roll using one of these weapons while one of your compositions is active, you apply the critical specialization effect for that weapon.

Vigilant SensesLevel 11

Through your adventures, you’ve developed keen awareness and attention to detail. Your proficiency rank for Perception increases to master.

Light Armor ExpertiseLevel 13

You’ve learned how to dodge while wearing light or no armor. Your proficiency ranks for light armor and unarmored defense increase to expert.

Weapon SpecializationLevel 13

You’ve learned how to inflict greater injuries with the weapons you know best. You deal 2 additional damage with weapons and unarmed attacks in which you are an expert. This damage increases to 3 damage if you’re a master, and 4 damage if you’re legendary.

Master SpellcasterLevel 15

You’ve mastered the occult. Your proficiency ranks for occult spell attack rolls and spell DCs increase to master.

Greater ResolveLevel 17

Your unbelievable training grants you mental resiliency. Your proficiency rank for Will saves increases to legendary. When you roll a success at a Will save, you get a critical success. When you roll a critical failure at a Will save, you get a failure instead. When you roll a failure on a Will save against a damaging effect, you take half damage.

Legendary SpellcasterLevel 19

Your command of occult magic is the stuff of legends. Your proficiency ranks for occult spell attack rolls and spell DCs increase to legendary.

Magnum OpusLevel 19

You have tuned your spellcasting to the highest caliber. Add two common 10th-level occult spells to your repertoire. You gain a single 10th-level spell slot you can use to cast one of those two spells using bard spellcasting. You don’t gain more 10th-level spells as you level up, unlike other spell slots, and you can’t use 10th-level slots with abilities that give you more spell slots or that let you cast spells without expending spell slots.