D&D How-To: Tips to Play a Bard in 5e

If you’re looking for tips for playing a bard in D&D fifth edition, I’ve got you covered. I based this article on the advice I’ve given to new players looking to play the bard class over the years. At the bottom, I have some information on how you can create a fun and interesting bard backstory with the click of a button. First, you should play a DND bard if you want to play a consummate performer. Bards are pretty cool in that they can do things like play magical instruments with great skill and proficiency. Bards are a jack of all trades type of character because of their ability to be proficient in so many things. If you’re looking for a character who will be able to have some magical abilities, but also kick butt in combat, a bard is a good choice.

Bards are also very good for players who want to use their charisma stat a lot. Charisma is one of the most important stats for a bard, and it’s very unlikely that you’ll be able to play a bard without using it. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a character who has the ability to do a lot of damage with magic, a bard might not be your best bet. Bards rely more on their skills and abilities to get through a fight. The two most important things to know about playing a bard are that they can use their music to inspire allies, and they can cast spells. They can do both of these things while also taking part in combat.

Bards are kind of situational in that they shine when they’re in a group of allies. If you’re looking for a cantrip-based character who can cast spells occasionally, a bard might not be the best choice and you might be better off building a sorcerer or a wizard. But if you’re looking for a character who can be a little more hands-on during a fight, a bard might be perfect for you. When it comes to choosing a subclass, I’d say the College of Lore is a really good bet. The other subclasses are all very highly specialized, and if you’re looking for a character who has more options, read up on the other options available.

Bards for Fun and Profit

Here’s a look at what we’re going to be talking about in this article.

Best Races for Bards

Bards are a fun class, and they’re very versatile. They’re my second favorite class to play. I’ve been playing them for years. They’re fantastic. Of course, choosing the race of your character is important, especially when you’re playing a bard. Here’s a list of some of the best races for bard characters.

  • Changeling
  • Halfling
  • Dark Elf (Drow)
  • Tabaxi
  • Satry
  • Human

In most cases, you want a race that will give you a bonus to your charisma and/or dexterity.

Picking a Bard’s Instrument

Not all bards will have a musical instrument, but if yours does, you’ll want to get a really good one. The options for musical instruments are quite limited. There are woodwinds, strings, and a single percussion option. Here’s a look at the different options you’ll have for instruments.

  1. Flute
  2. Lyre
  3. Horn
  4. Pan Flute
  5. Drum
  6. Lute
  7. Bell
  8. Gong

There are a few things to keep in mind when looking for a musical instrument for your character, but you shouldn’t spend too much time worrying about this aspect. It might be that your character frequently changes heir preferred instrument during their adventures.

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Bardic Colleges

This is an important part of considering what kind of bard you’d like to play. Each college has a very unique and distinct focus.

College of Lore

The College of Lore is all about knowledge and knowing a lot about a lot of things. This is the best choice if you’re planning on playing a multiclass bard.

College of Valor

The College of Valor is really good if you plan on playing a fighter/bard. Similar to the College of Swords, you’ll want to take a close look at each to see what’s a best fit for your playing style.

College of Swords

This college is great if you’re planning on playing a rogue/bard that likes to tank or take part in combat. You’ll get a lot better with your sword than other types of bards.

College of Whispers

If you’re looking for a sneaky bard, the College of Whispers is the choice for you. This bardic college is all about psychic powers and hurting enemies with the power of your mind.

College of Glamour

The College of Glamour is very interesting for a bard. These bards are all about charming and beguiling their opponents – or even their friends.

College of Spirits

Bards who go this route will be experts at telling spooky stories. While not as common these days, it’s an interesting play style to adapt.

Extra Tips for Playing a Bard

Here’s some extra tips for playing a bard character.

  1. Find a way to keep your spell casting ability high. If you’re going to be using a lot of magic, make sure you’re spending your time working on a way to keep your spell casting ability where it needs to be. Spell casting ability depends on your intelligence stat, so that’s a great way to ensure that your spell casting ability is as high as it needs to be.
  2. Bardic Inspiration can be used once per short rest or long rest. This is a great way to buff your party members and other characters in your group. Make sure you use this power as much as possible.
  3. Pick the right bardic college. The colleges are very different, and each one has great spells. Since your abilities depend on your choice of college, it’s important to pick one that’s a good fit for your play style. The College of Lore is a good choice for most bards, but most bards will probably want to avoid the College of Whispers.
  4. Don’t forget to use your spells. Most bards will start out with a small number of spells, but you can pick up additional spells by taking the spellcasting focus feat. In most cases, you’ll want to be careful about using a lot of your spells, but it’s a great way to enhance your role as a support character.
  5. Make sure you’re using your inspiration dice. As I mentioned earlier, these dice will be used to help your allies with key attacks. It’s important that you use your inspiration dice as much as you can.
  6. Be careful when using your instrument. Many bards will have a very strong instrument, but there are some characters who will use a weaker one. If you have a really good instrument, it’s a good idea to use it early in a fight. That way, you can deal more damage at the beginning of a fight and have more spells left for the end.
  7. Remember to have fun. This is the biggest thing about playing a bard – they’re fun. They can be an inspiration to other members in your group, so always remember to support those in your adventuring party.

Bardic Backstories

If you want to have a lot of fun with your character, consider creating a fun backstory for them. I’ve got a simple tool that lets you create a backstory for your bard in just a few minutes. You can create a Bardic Backstory at LitRPG Adventures today. Members can create backstories for over 800 race and class combinations. Additionally, members get access to our growing library of RPG content.

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Paul Bellow

LitRPG Author Paul Bellow

Paul Bellow is a LitRPG author, gamer, RPG game developer, and publisher of several online communities. In other words, an old school webmaster. He also developed and runs LitRPG Adventures, a set of advanced RPG generators powered by GPT-3 AI. Here at LitRPG Reads, he publishes articles about LitRPG books, tabletop RPG books, and all sorts of DND content that's free to use in your personal tabletop campaign - i.e. non-commercial use. Enjoy your stay and reach out on Twitter or Discord if you want to make contact.

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