Pure Bard Support Build?

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Dijhin
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Pure Bard Support Build?

Post by Dijhin » Fri Feb 14, 2020 5:48 am

Hi all,

Im not very good at building things myself, and looking in the cookie cutter thread didn't show anything I'm interested in for a Bard.

I thought I'd ask here to get some insight on what I'm looking for and if its viable at all.

I'm wondering if a pure Bard or atleast a majorly Bard build is viable that focuses on its spells and songs for party support. Something that isnt really a fighter but kind of like a caster Bard I guess? Thanks in advance.

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Drowble Oh Seven
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Re: Pure Bard Support Build?

Post by Drowble Oh Seven » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:20 am

It's doable, for sure. I'm currently playing a CHA-based pure bard. The only real trick to it is making sure to pick up enough perform to hit 100 with items. GSF: Enchantment is your friend (it gives +4 perform now!), and dominate person'll help a little bit with soloing when you get it. Your spell DCs won't ever be brilliant, but between the curse song debuffs and mind fog, you can get your hold monsters and dominates to stick if you pick your targets.

It's not anything like optimal and you'll be a hardcore support character (almost to the exclusion of all else), but that does free up some options for fun utility like potion brewing, teleportation, and illusion projections (since you won't really survive combat anyway). Trickier to level these days, since you can't just use summon creature scrolls all the way through like I did - but it's a fun enough character in its way.

You'll be an asset to parties. Investing in appraise is also wonderful fun. With bard song, some items, and a modest INT, you can get close to 80 appraise - which can double the sell price on a lot of loot. You'll also be able to deal with traps and locks with a very modest skill point investment and use of items/song. In addition, you'll have a disguise that's about as close to unbreakable as it's possible to get.

Not optimal, or anything like suited to solo PvP. But fun, provided you don't go in expecting that.

I can post up my build if you're interested, but as long as you wind up with that 100 Perform you're pretty much good to go. You can also build for a good deal less then that, and use one song to boost your perform up above 100 before singing for other people. You won't get the benefit of the level 30 song that way, but they will. I'm not a fan of that setup, because I personally find it weird and janky, but it can be done.

Edit: Wuthering's right, below. I've been playing pure bard for too long, and completely forgot about multiclassing. Blackguard or Paladin dips will improve the class tremendously, particularly if you're CHA based. An extra +14 across the board to your saves (if you've got 38 CHA) is nothing to sneeze at. The extra 1 AC and 3 Skill Points you get from the level 30 bard song really don't compare, particularly with how the higher perform requirement will restrict your gear. I highly recommend the dip, unless you're particularly set on not taking divine classes.
Last edited by Drowble Oh Seven on Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:47 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Wuthering
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Re: Pure Bard Support Build?

Post by Wuthering » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:29 am

Truthfully the cookie cookie builds are dated anyway. They are a good starting point but they're based on 2018 Arelith and don't take a lot of changes into account. It's probably good to ask about any build in them before committing.

A pure bard is fine if you want to be pure support. You won't be soloing much at epic levels or winning 1 on 1 PVP but you'll be popular in groups. The thing is bard song gives you diminishing returns after level 25 or so and the amount of perform skill you need to get the highest tiers is really difficult to reach (like, you need 100 perform to get the 30 bard song.) It's possible but difficult to pull off and you don't really get a song that's much better than a level 27 bard who dipped another class would have. So do it if you want but adding a dip in another class could bring some different benefits to the table. If you're "good" then 3 or 5 levels of paladin or harper adds a lot to the bard class, if you're evil a blackguard dip.

But if being "pure" interests you, sure, it's totally viable for support. You get some OK spells and you probably also want to try to get lore to 80 so you can help out a group with 9th level scrolls-- or be able to use gate and summon 9 scrolls when you have to solo.

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The1Kobra
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Re: Pure Bard Support Build?

Post by The1Kobra » Fri Feb 14, 2020 1:51 pm

If you really want to make a pure support bard, it's doable but not nessecarily optimal. The high powered song can be very nice, but again, it's difficult to make the perform requirement. You need 100 perform to get the L30 song, and 75 to make the L25 song, which is a much more manageable target. Here's how the math looks:

33 (Ranks) + 6 (Gift of Stardom) + 3 (Skill focus) + 10 (Epic Skill Focus) + 14 (CHA Mod) + 22 (Gear) = 88

And that's with a gift, two feats, maxed CHA mod, though you can get it higher, and +2 in every gear slot. While there are some items that have higher perform, you are already having to devote everything and then some to your song just to make it.

My recommendation would be to simply go 26/4 Bard/Something else. Want to be pure support? Here's some splashes that can help:
Paladin or BG: With divine Shield + Divine Might you suddenly go from being pure support to a viciously powerful frontliner. Not as directly strong as the Bard/Fighter/Pal combo but you're going to be trucking out support and damage output and be strong defensively.
Rogue: Not optimal for combat, but hey, now you have open lock/disarm trap/search as class skills so you can unlock all those pesky doors and find many of the server's secrets. Just be sure to grab enough INT because this build will want every skill point it can get.
Archer Ranger: Well now you can track, also with 4 ranger levels you can chuck out missiles like you wouldn't believe while your buddies clean out the front line. Trust me, having archer ranger makes being ranged support /so/ much easier.
Fighter: Not as mechanically strong as the paladin/BG splash, but it has less RP stipulations. It might not be optimal, but it's plenty workable.

I'd probably recommend one of the above options, depending on what you'd like.

Anyways, if one of those above appeals to you, I can try to put a build together for you.
Last edited by The1Kobra on Sat Feb 15, 2020 1:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Pure Bard Support Build?

Post by Shadowy Reality » Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:19 pm

For a pure support bard I would actually go more Con than Cha.

You can pretty much fit BG/Paladin for saves and Divine Shield and the three EDR feats. Your role is not to actually hit things, you just have to stay alive to cast spells, taunt and refresh curse song when necessary. The tankier you are, the longer you can do this for.

It will probably play more similar to the sorc/paladin build than the typical melee fighter.

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Opustus
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Re: Pure Bard Support Build?

Post by Opustus » Fri Feb 14, 2020 7:22 pm

Bards are certainly a support class, but they're never just a support class. Whichever direction you take, remember that your song makes literally any build capable of melee, including yourself, so it's always worthwhile to follow your party into the fray--who love you even more for it.
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R0GUE
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Re: Pure Bard Support Build?

Post by R0GUE » Fri Feb 14, 2020 7:55 pm

I highly recommend investing heavily into Parry, getting yourself a nice keen rapier (you'll need to add a martial/rogue class or take the Martial Weapon Feat though), and adding Improved Crit 1HE. When you crit on a parry, if you have a high Parry score (in the 50+ range) and then add in your bard song, you can riposte with 100+ damage on crits, and of course a keen rapier + Improved Crit. gives you a nice fat crit range.

This may not help you in PvP (I dont know I never have tried it) but in PvE it's quite effective, unless you are surrounded by a dozen enemies.

Dijhin
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Re: Pure Bard Support Build?

Post by Dijhin » Sat Feb 15, 2020 5:14 am

The1Kobra wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 1:51 pm
If you really want to make a pure support bard, it's doable but not nessecarily optimal. The high powered song can be very nice, but again, it's difficult to make the perform requirement. You need 100 perform to get the L30 song, and 75 to make the L25 song, which is a much more manageable target. Here's how the math looks:

33 (Ranks) + 6 (Gift of Stardom) + 3 (Skill focus) + 10 (Epic Skill Focus) + 14 (CHA Mod) + 22 (Gear) = 88

And that's with a gift, two feats, maxed CHA mod, though you can get it higher, and +2 in every gear slot. While there are some items that have higher perform, you are already having to devote everything and then some to your song just to make it.

My recommendation would be to simply go 26/4 Bard/Something else. Want to be pure support? Here's some splashes that can help:
Paladin or BG: With divine Shield + Divine Might you suddenly go from being pure support to a viciously powerful frontliner. Not as directly strong as the Bard/Fighter/Pal combo but you're going to be trucking out support and damage output and be strong defensively.
Rogue: Not optimal for combat, but hey, now you have open lock/disarm trap/search as class skills so you can unlock all those pesky doors and find many of the server's secrets. Just be sure to grab enough INT because this build will want every skill point it can get.
Archer Ranger: Well now you can track, also with 4 ranger levels you can chuck out missiles like you wouldn't believe while your buddies clean out the front line. Trust me, having archer ranger makes being ranged support /so/ much easier.
Fighter: Not as mechanically strong as the paladin/BG splash, but it has less RP stipulations. It might not be optimal, but it's plenty workable.

I'd probably recommend one of the above options, depending on what you'd like.

Anyways, if one of those above appeals to you, I can try to put a build together for you.
I dont mind dipping into paladin (or even Harper version if I'm fortunate enough). Something that helps a small team out and is still decently effective at being up with the big boys in the front could be fun in itself. I'd appreciate any build advice when it comes to that.. The comment about the cookie cutter stuff being somewhat out of date makes me a bit nervous on carbon copying whatever is on there in 2020. :D

R0GUE wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 7:55 pm
I highly recommend investing heavily into Parry, getting yourself a nice keen rapier (you'll need to add a martial/rogue class or take the Martial Weapon Feat though), and adding Improved Crit 1HE. When you crit on a parry, if you have a high Parry score (in the 50+ range) and then add in your bard song, you can riposte with 100+ damage on crits, and of course a keen rapier + Improved Crit. gives you a nice fat crit range.

This may not help you in PvP (I dont know I never have tried it) but in PvE it's quite effective, unless you are surrounded by a dozen enemies.
Ive heard about Parry and Ive been told by some that its a somewhat broken mechanic in nwn that works sometimes and other times fails horribly. Is that still the case?

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R0GUE
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Re: Pure Bard Support Build?

Post by R0GUE » Sat Feb 15, 2020 6:40 am

It works well enough for me, like i said, unless I'm surrounded by many enemies. It's biggest limitation is that you can only parry a number of attacks up to your number of base attacks in a round. So if you have 3 attacks/round, and you are surrounded by 15 enemies, you'll only parry 3 attacks and then must have high AC to evade the rest.

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The1Kobra
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Re: Pure Bard Support Build?

Post by The1Kobra » Sat Feb 15, 2020 12:10 pm

So you want a bard/paladin (or bard/BG) build? Right, so, here's the level spread:

Pre-epic: 16/4 Bard/Paladin(Or BG)
Epic: 26/4 Bard/Paladin(Or BG)

I'm going to assume a human base, but you can make adjustments for other races.

Stats:
16/10/14/14/8/14
18/10/14/14/8/16 (GIFT STR/CHA/Stardom)

Pre-epic Feats(8): Power Attack, Blind Fight, Weapon Focus, Divine Might, Divine Shield, Curse Song, IMPR Crit, Still Spell
Epic Feats(4+2B): Lasting Inspiration, ESF Perform, Great Charisma 1, Epic Weapon Focus, Armor Skin, Epic Prowess OR ESF: Listen

Ending Stats: 22/10/14/14/8/20

Note that if you want to adjust your STR/CHA some, you can. You can in theory get by with just a 16 CHA but since your divine might and divine shield depend on CHA, it might be a good idea to pump those. Just keep in mind divine shield is dodge AC, so with mage armor, haste, song, that already gets +10-11 dodge AC, so you'd need +10-9 to hit the dodge AC cap. You could go anywhere from 16 STR/26 CHA to 26 STR/16 CHA, to anywhere in between. Just be sure the stats even out.

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