Dex Bard

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fading
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Dex Bard

Post by fading » Fri Jul 23, 2021 7:19 pm

I've never really played a bard before, the idea appeals to me, but I'm not quite certain how to make something that works properly. I am mainly interested in pve, and I'd like a build that is able to go through most of the game's content, making use of leadership recruits, etc.
Someone once told me that swashbuckler and bard work well together, though I believe this might have been before the bard song update, which leads me to wonder if this would perhaps work better as 25/5 instead? Otherwise the high perform sorta goes to waste. Any advice would be appreciated!

Bard (20), Swashbuckler (10), Lightfoot Halfling

STATS
STR: 6
DEX: 17 - 24
CON: 10 (12)
WIS: 8
INT: 16 (18)
CHA: 16

1: Bard:01: Expertise
2: Bard:02:
3: Bard:03: Curse Song
4: Bard:04:
5: Bard:05:
6: Swashbuckler:01: Weapon Focus (One Handed Edged)
7: Swashbuckler:02:
8: Swashbuckler:03:
9: Swashbuckler:04: Blindfight
10: Bard:06:
11: Bard:07:
12: Bard:08: Improved Critical (One Handed Edged)
13: Bard:9:
14: Bard:10:
15: Bard:11: Improved Expertise
16: Bard:12:
17: Bard:13:
18: Bard:14: Toughness
19: Bard:15:
20: Bard:16:
21:Swashbuckler:05: Armor Skin
22:Swashbuckler:06:
23: Swashbuckler:07:
24: Swashbuckler:08: Epic Weapon Focus (One Handed Edged)
25: Swashbuckler:09:
26: Bard:17:
27: Bard:18: Epic Skill Focus (Perform)
28: Bard:19:
29: Swashbuckler:10:
30: Bard:20: Lasting Inspiration

Good Character
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Re: Dex Bard

Post by Good Character » Fri Jul 23, 2021 8:28 pm

As a DEX bard you won't be doing a lot of damage, so that's something to keep in mind. Assuming a 20 bard split, that you used a Dale Sword, and you somehow maxed out your Strength, you'll be doing an average of 23~24.

Based on your description and what you want done, I say stick with either a STR 27 bard split so you can cast or 20 bard/10 knight. The latter is a massive party buffer with bard song and the knight's abilities, but can't realistically cast without being dispel bait. Both are great in a group setting, but lack serious solo potential.

Try Jack's STR bard if you want to solo more easily: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... edit#gid=0

AstralUniverse
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Re: Dex Bard

Post by AstralUniverse » Fri Jul 23, 2021 9:23 pm

Dex bard lacks damage but if your interest is only in pve, you will be clearing slow but quite safely, and you'll be /very/ useful to any party because you can take the frontline with very high AC. The main problem with a 20/10 split is that you should never use your spellbook because your spells will be very weak against high level dispels, even in just PvE. For situations like this I recommend taking a look at the Invisible Blade class. It is very much designed around what you want to do as a low damage high defense dexer, especially in PvE. It is only 3 levels of invest mean so you will be sufficiently resistant to dispels and it will give you the little extra damage. You will need to invest a feat to meet requirement and you will be walking around with, likely, short-sword and empty off-hand (which means investing 30 ranks in Parry) but it's an idea to consider.
a shrouded figure wrote:
Thu Sep 02, 2021 9:45 pm
[Edited to cut back on sarcasm]

Ordo.Lupus
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Location: Denmark

Re: Dex Bard

Post by Ordo.Lupus » Sat Jul 24, 2021 8:56 am

Swash can be nice but I don't see it add that much.
You'll gain +1 ab, +1 reflex and at most 10 damage (given Int is buffed like nuts). The gain is even lower if you increase the bard levels.

Also since you do heavy bard then you get 20% ASF reduction. So you could use a large shield (15% ASF) since your Dex will probably be high enough to have you wear Cloth. Swash lose abilities if using shields larger than small.

If I am to suggest anything then I would do 5'ish levels of EKD instead. Then pick Iron stance and Mounting resistance 1. That'll give you +2 ab, +4 ac, +4 uni save, bunch of more HP, 2/- DR, +3 regen, immun to flanking (sneak attack).
Damage will be a tiny bit lower but well worth the added boni.
"To every man is given the key to the gates of heaven. The same key opens the gates of hell" - Richard P. Feynman

fading
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Re: Dex Bard

Post by fading » Sat Jul 24, 2021 10:41 am

AstralUniverse wrote:
Fri Jul 23, 2021 9:23 pm
Dex bard lacks damage but if your interest is only in pve, you will be clearing slow but quite safely, and you'll be /very/ useful to any party because you can take the frontline with very high AC. The main problem with a 20/10 split is that you should never use your spellbook because your spells will be very weak against high level dispels, even in just PvE. For situations like this I recommend taking a look at the Invisible Blade class. It is very much designed around what you want to do as a low damage high defense dexer, especially in PvE. It is only 3 levels of invest mean so you will be sufficiently resistant to dispels and it will give you the little extra damage. You will need to invest a feat to meet requirement and you will be walking around with, likely, short-sword and empty off-hand (which means investing 30 ranks in Parry) but it's an idea to consider.
So, I know virtually nothing about Invisible Blades. You mention wielding a shortsword and empty off-hand, but the wiki says "Additionally, class abilities require dual-wielding class weapons (kukri, shortsword, or dagger)or a combination of those weapons (like dual-wielding shortsword and dagger)." Is the wiki wrong in this case or am I missing something? 30 parry is not an issue, 18 intelligence (originally intended for swashbuckler damage) gives a good amount of wiggle room, I do wonder how much my front-lining capabilities would be hampered though, without a shield?

(Also, just noticed, but it'd actually be 2 feats necessary, since, without swashbuckler, you don't get free weapon finesse, this might actually be an issue? Toughness can be sacrificed, but what else really? It seems counter-productive to get rid of improved expertise on a character like this.)

Aside from that, I could see this being quite fitting and functional, seems like it'd add an extra layer to combat that would make solo grinding more fun.
Ordo.Lupus wrote:
Sat Jul 24, 2021 8:56 am
Swash can be nice but I don't see it add that much.
You'll gain +1 ab, +1 reflex and at most 10 damage (given Int is buffed like nuts). The gain is even lower if you increase the bard levels.

Also since you do heavy bard then you get 20% ASF reduction. So you could use a large shield (15% ASF) since your Dex will probably be high enough to have you wear Cloth. Swash lose abilities if using shields larger than small.

If I am to suggest anything then I would do 5'ish levels of EKD instead. Then pick Iron stance and Mounting resistance 1. That'll give you +2 ab, +4 ac, +4 uni save, bunch of more HP, 2/- DR, +3 regen, immun to flanking (sneak attack).
Damage will be a tiny bit lower but well worth the added boni.
That was the idea, swashbuckler for extra int damage, among other things, to buff up the damage a little.

While earthkin defender is something I hadn't considered, and sounds potentially pretty neat, it unfortunately requires lawful alignment, which although available to bards in arelith, I wanted to avoid for RP reasons.

Ordo.Lupus
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Location: Denmark

Re: Dex Bard

Post by Ordo.Lupus » Sat Jul 24, 2021 11:13 am

fading wrote:
Sat Jul 24, 2021 10:41 am
So, I know virtually nothing about Invisible Blades. You mention wielding a shortsword and empty off-hand, but the wiki says "Additionally, class abilities require dual-wielding class weapons (kukri, shortsword, or dagger)or a combination of those weapons (like dual-wielding shortsword and dagger)." Is the wiki wrong in this case or am I missing something? 30 parry is not an issue, 18 intelligence (originally intended for swashbuckler damage) gives a good amount of wiggle room, I do wonder how much my front-lining capabilities would be hampered though, without a shield?
Invisible Blade used to only need single weapon but after the recent rework it now requires dualwielding. So the wiki is correct.
"To every man is given the key to the gates of heaven. The same key opens the gates of hell" - Richard P. Feynman

AstralUniverse
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Re: Dex Bard

Post by AstralUniverse » Sat Jul 24, 2021 11:16 am

fading wrote:
Sat Jul 24, 2021 10:41 am
So, I know virtually nothing about Invisible Blades. You mention wielding a shortsword and empty off-hand, but the wiki says "Additionally, class abilities require dual-wielding class weapons (kukri, shortsword, or dagger)or a combination of those weapons (like dual-wielding shortsword and dagger)." Is the wiki wrong in this case or am I missing something? 30 parry is not an issue, 18 intelligence (originally intended for swashbuckler damage) gives a good amount of wiggle room, I do wonder how much my front-lining capabilities would be hampered though, without a shield?

(Also, just noticed, but it'd actually be 2 feats necessary, since, without swashbuckler, you don't get free weapon finesse, this might actually be an issue? Toughness can be sacrificed, but what else really? It seems counter-productive to get rid of improved expertise on a character like this.)

Aside from that, I could see this being quite fitting and functional, seems like it'd add an extra layer to combat that would make solo grinding more fun.
You might need to give up toughness.

30 ranks in parry means you get +6 shield AC when you hold nothing in the off-hand.

It is my understanding that you dont actually have to dual-wield with this class, and that it is enough to have Two-Weapon Fighting feat, use a class weapon on main hand and a class weapon or nothing at all on the off-hand. That part I'm only 99% sure about but it's easily testable on pgcc.

It's just too bad there's no 4th level to this class. A 27/3 bard cannot get 4th base apr.
a shrouded figure wrote:
Thu Sep 02, 2021 9:45 pm
[Edited to cut back on sarcasm]

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ZombieDuck
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Re: Dex Bard

Post by ZombieDuck » Sat Jul 24, 2021 12:28 pm

27 Bard/3 Invisible Blade also can only reach 4AC(Shield AC) from Parry, since you need 21 Base Attack and 30 Parry for 6 AC(27/3 only getting 20).http://wiki.nwnarelith.com/Skill_changes

If you wanted bit more stable dmg/ac/feats. You could try 24 Bard/6 Fighter(Or 25/5 if you didin't need the extra feat from 6th fighter)
Weapon Specilization and Epic Weapon Specilization give +6 dmg and Fighter gives bonus feats at 1,2,4,6(and so on).
If you went 16 Bard/4 Fight pre-epic you'd also get 16 Base Attack, reaching 4 natural Attacks Per Round and enought Base Attack to get 6 AC from 30 Parry at level 30(Or could just use a shield that you remove to cast spells).
5th Fighter level gives you +1 AC to your armor(On top of what your armor/cloth already has).

You'd probably want Extend spells on a bard, for extending Haste and Improved Invisibility(Maybe extended War Cry aswell).
Forever a duckling.
Character: Typically some Orog in UD

fading
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Re: Dex Bard

Post by fading » Sat Jul 24, 2021 1:48 pm

3 attacks per round instead of 3 is quite a turn off for me, unless there's any way to make a decent invisible blade with 4 apr, I don't think I'd go for that. 25/5 bard/fighter could certainly work, I suppose. Why is that better than 25/5 bard/swashbuckler though? 5 levels of swashbuckler means +5 damage already from intelligence. I don't technically need any other feats, I have all the essentials, as far as I know.

So.. Since 27/3 is a no-no, I guess the question ends up being which is the better class for those 5 levels. Fighter seems like a solid choice, swashbuckler seems good to me? EKD looks very nice, but the alignment restriction is a bummer.

Would a 25/5 bard/swash struggle in pve? Is there a better option for a bit more damage, or is this decent enough?

Thanks everyone for all the replies.

Ordo.Lupus
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Re: Dex Bard

Post by Ordo.Lupus » Sat Jul 24, 2021 2:25 pm

If I had to choose between fighter or swash then I would go for fighter.
Gives you more feats and the Int damage bonus from swash requires both swash levels + Int modifier and is capped by either. With fighter you get +6 with just 4 levels although 5-6 levels is adviced.
Alternatively you got go for some ranger levels for the BAB for the 4th apr and swap the FE feat for gSF: Transmutation. Even gives you +1 dodge AC if you plan on dualwielding stuff. The fighter bonus AC at level 5 is Armour and I don't think it stacks.
"To every man is given the key to the gates of heaven. The same key opens the gates of hell" - Richard P. Feynman

fading
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Re: Dex Bard

Post by fading » Sat Jul 24, 2021 2:40 pm

Speaking of ranger, how terrible would it be to go 24/3/3 bard/ranger/invisible blade. Make use of the free dual wielding feats to competently dual wield, and benefit from the damage boost of invisible blade.

AstralUniverse
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Re: Dex Bard

Post by AstralUniverse » Sat Jul 24, 2021 3:28 pm

ZombieDuck wrote:
Sat Jul 24, 2021 12:28 pm
27 Bard/3 Invisible Blade also can only reach 4AC(Shield AC) from Parry, since you need 21 Base Attack and 30 Parry for 6 AC(27/3 only getting 20).http://wiki.nwnarelith.com/Skill_changes

If you wanted bit more stable dmg/ac/feats. You could try 24 Bard/6 Fighter(Or 25/5 if you didin't need the extra feat from 6th fighter)
Weapon Specilization and Epic Weapon Specilization give +6 dmg and Fighter gives bonus feats at 1,2,4,6(and so on).
If you went 16 Bard/4 Fight pre-epic you'd also get 16 Base Attack, reaching 4 natural Attacks Per Round and enought Base Attack to get 6 AC from 30 Parry at level 30(Or could just use a shield that you remove to cast spells).
5th Fighter level gives you +1 AC to your armor(On top of what your armor/cloth already has).

You'd probably want Extend spells on a bard, for extending Haste and Improved Invisibility(Maybe extended War Cry aswell).
-Thank you for the correction about the Parry. I completely forgot the cap is tied to BAB as well.
-I dont think a functional melee bard build has the luxury to select extend spell at any scenario anyway.
-For PvE, 24 CL vs dispels is okay, for PvP it is utterly bad, especially for bards. If it's a dex bard, 5 swash is objectively better than 5-6 fighter but both are quite okay PvE builds, with clear and very exploitive weaknesses in pvp.

I changed my mind and I think 5 swash 25 bard is the least bad builds from all the options discussed here. Probably pretty fun in pve too but again, I just want to clarify that this build is fast food in pvp against anyone with a decent dispel check, which is a lot of classes.
a shrouded figure wrote:
Thu Sep 02, 2021 9:45 pm
[Edited to cut back on sarcasm]

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ZombieDuck
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Re: Dex Bard

Post by ZombieDuck » Sat Jul 24, 2021 4:08 pm

STATS
STR: 6
DEX: 17 - 24
CON: 10 (12)
WIS: 8
INT: 16 (18)
CHA: 16
Are the numbers in (brackets) after Gifts? If so, you should use gifts to boost your highest stats(Nets you the most total amount of stat points that way).
I'd also suggest lowering int a bit, going with starting these starting stats:
Str: 6
Dex: 17+2 Gift
Con: 14
Wis: 8
Int: 14+2 Gift
Cha: 16

Even without the +2 Gift to Int you'd have enought to max out dmg from 5 Swashbuckler with Fox's Cunning potion and +1 Int from gear.
If you go Swashbuckler, I'd also suggest taking the first 3 levels in it, to get Weapon Finesse and Int Mod to Dmg.

I have very little experience from Invisible Blade, so can't answer on that beyond what little I've tested the class on the test server.
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Ordo.Lupus
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Re: Dex Bard

Post by Ordo.Lupus » Sat Jul 24, 2021 4:14 pm

ZombieDuck wrote:
Sat Jul 24, 2021 4:08 pm
STATS
STR: 6
DEX: 17 - 24
CON: 10 (12)
WIS: 8
INT: 16 (18)
CHA: 16
Are the numbers in (brackets) after Gifts? If so, you should use gifts to boost your highest stats(Nets you the most total amount of stat points that way).
I'd also suggest lowering int a bit, going with starting these starting stats:
Str: 6
Dex: 17+2 Gift
Con: 14
Wis: 8
Int: 14+2 Gift
Cha: 16

Even without the +2 Gift to Int you'd have enought to max out dmg from 5 Swashbuckler with Fox's Cunning potion and +1 Int from gear.
If you go Swashbuckler, I'd also suggest taking the first 3 levels in it, to get Weapon Finesse and Int Mod to Dmg.

I have very little experience from Invisible Blade, so can't answer on that beyond what little I've tested the class on the test server.
Swap Cha and Int since you want to start with as high Int as possible at lvl 1. And with such a low Str you're gonna have a hard time carrying anything until you get some +1 Str gear and Zoo buffs.
"To every man is given the key to the gates of heaven. The same key opens the gates of hell" - Richard P. Feynman

fading
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Re: Dex Bard

Post by fading » Sat Jul 24, 2021 5:34 pm

Thanks everyone for your input, I believe I've gotten a pretty good idea of what kind of build I want to go for.

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