top of page

The 5e Bard Class Reorchestrated

Performers, musicians, and explorers. Bards use magic, martial skill, and inspiring performances to support the other members of the party.

This version of the bard class follows the baseline 5e concept closely, but we gave abilities quality of life improvements, replaced the 20th level ability, and allowed bards to integrate musical performance with their spellcasting. Existing 5e subclasses will all work mechanically with this form of the bard class. Click here for a summary of changes.

Navigation

Progression Chart

Ability Scores

Hit Points

Proficiencies

Items

Multiclassing

Class Features by Level*

1: Bardic Inspiration

1: Bard Spellcasting

2: Expertise

2: Song of Rest

3: Bard College

3: Jack of All Trades

4: Ability Score Improvement

4: Feat

5: Counterpoint

6: Bard College Feature

6: Magical Secrets

10: Bard College Feature

14: Bard College Feature

19: Superior Ability

20: Limitless Inspiration

*For abilities that appear at multiple levels, only the first case is listed. eg. Ability Score Improvement is only listed at level 4.

Spell Slots

Ability Scores
Hit Points
Proficiencies
Items

Level 1 Bards

When you create a level 1 bard, follow these steps to add the following to your character:

Ability Scores

You can take one of these recommended ability score arrays, or you can roll or assign them yourself. You can switch any two ability scores, but you do not add any further bonuses (they're already included).

Strength: 8   Dexterity: 16   Constitution: 14   Intelligence: 10   Wisdom: 10   Charisma: 16 

Strength: 8   Dexterity: 14   Constitution: 14   Intelligence: 12  Wisdom: 12   Charisma: 16  

Hit Points

At First Level: 8 + Constitution Modifier

At Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + Constitution Modifier

Hit Dice: 1d8 per bard level

 

Proficiencies

Armor: Light Armor
Weapons: Simple Weapons, Hand Crossbows, Longswords, Rapiers, Scimitars, Shortswords
Tools: three Musical Instruments of your choice
Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma

Skills: three of your choice

Items

Multiclass Characters

Instead of leveling up in your original class, you can take a bard level when you level up. When you do, you gain only a portion of what first level bards gain.

Hit Points

Per Level: 1d8 (or 5) + Constitution Modifier

Hit Dice: 1d8 per bard level

 

Proficiencies

Armor: Light Armor
Weapons: Simple Weapons, Hand Crossbows, Longswords, Rapiers, Scimitars, Shortswords
Tools: three Musical Instruments of your choice
Skills: one of your choice

Multiclass Bards

Class Features

Class features here are sorted by level. When you reach a level as indicated by the icons on the left, you gain all feature or feature improvements listed between the red lines. For example, at first level bards gain the Bard Spellcasting and Bardic Inspiration abilities.

Class Features
1.jpg

Inspiring Performance

You can inspire others through stirring words, music, or other performance. When you enter combat, your spells, words, or music take on an inspiring quality, allowing you to empower your allies at crucial moments.

Bonus Action - 1 Round - Magical

While the performance is active, you can use other bardic abilities, such as Bardic Inspiration.

 

Bardic Inspiration

You inspire an ally at a critical moment, pushing them to succeed rather than fail.

No Action Cost - 1 Ally (60 ft.) - 2/Short Rest* - Magical

While your Inspiring Performance is active, you can inspire an ally when they miss an attack roll, fail a saving throw, or fail a skill check. The ally must be able to hear you. When you inspire your ally, you can roll a d6* and add the number to the total, potentially turning the failure into a success.

Regardless of whether you succeed or fail together, you expend a use of this ability and your performance ends until you use this ability again. If you have the Counterpoint feature, you don't expend a use or end your performance when the roll fails.

 

*Your Bardic Inspiration die changes from a d6 to larger dice and you get more uses of this ability when you reach certain levels in this class, as shown in the Bard Progression Table

Bard Spellcasting

You've learned to untangle and reshape the fabric of reality in harmony with your words and music. Your spells are part of your artistic repertoire, magic that you can tune to different situations.

 

Spell Slots

The Bard Progression 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 Charm Person and have a 1st-level and a 2nd-level spell slot available, you can cast Charm Person using either slot.

Cantrips

Cantrips are the simplest and weakest of spells, and can be casted without expending Spell Slots. You know two cantrips of your choice from the bard spell list. You learn more cantrips at higher levels, as shown in the Bard Table.

Spells Known of 1st Level and Higher
You know four 1st-level spells of your choice from the
bard spell list. The spells known column of the Bard Table shows when you learn more bard spells of your choice. Each of these spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots. For example, when you reach 3rd level in this class, you can learn one new spell of 1st or 2nd level. 

Switching Spells

When you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the bard spells or cantrips 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. If you learn a spell from Magical Secrets at higher levels, you can exchange that spell for one that meets the same restrictions as the one you are replacing.

 

Spellcasting Ability

Charisma is your spellcasting ability for your bard spells, since your magic draws on powerful emotion as you speak or perform music.

 

You use your charisma score whenever a bard 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

Spellcasting Focus or Instruments

You can use an arcane focus, component pouch, or musical instrument for casting bard spells. To do so, you need a free hand to hold your focus or access your components, or as many free hands as your instrument requires. Your arcane focus or component pouch replaces the need for you to have specific material components to cast spells, unless that material component costs 1 gold or more, in which case you must use the specific component instead. If you use a musical instrument as your Spellcasting Focus or you choose to sing, the music you make replaces your spells' normal somatic or verbal components (though some spells require you to speak or perform specific gestures).

Bardic Inspiration
Spellcasting
Inspiring Performance
Expertise
Song of Rest
2.jpg

Expertise

Choose any two of your skills. You have expertise (you add double your proficiency bonus) with checks made with these skills.

Song of Rest

During a Short Rest - 6 Allies (120 ft.) - Magical Ability

You can use soothing music or poetry to help revitalize yourself or your wounded allies. If you or your allies regain hit points at the end of the short rest by spending one or more Hit Dice, each of those creatures regains additional hit points equal to one roll of your bardic inspiration die.

3.jpg

Jack of All Trades

You can add half your proficiency bonus, rounded down, to all skill checks with which you are not already proficient.

Bard College

Your choice of bard college represents which advanced techniques you learned to control the magic of language, performance, or sound. Your choice grants you features at 3rd level and again at 6th, 10th, and 14th level.

Bard Colleges published elsewhere are compatible with this version of the bard class, though most of them will gain a feat instead of a feature at level 10.

Bard College
Jack of All Trades

College of the Jester

The college of the jester is a bard college new to Elkan 5e. Those who join a college of jesters learn to relentlessly mock their enemies, driving them to suffer failure and even psychic pain. They are sometimes stereotyped to be less sophisticated than other bards, but their wit bites harder than their most esteemed peers.

College of the Jester: Cutting Words

You demoralize an enemy at a critical moment, pushing them to fail rather than succeed.

No Action Cost - 1 Ally (60 ft.) - Magical

While your Inspiring Performance is active, you can demoralize an enemy when they hit with an attack roll or succeed a skill check (but you cannot use this ability on saving throws). The enemy must be able to hear you. When you demoralize your target, you can roll your bardic inspiration die and subtract the number from the total, potentially turning the success into a failure. 

Regardless of whether you succeed or fail together, you expend a use of Bardic Inspiration and your performance ends until you use this ability again. If you have the Counterpoint feature, you don't expend a use or end your performance when the roll fails.

College of the Jester: Devastating Mockery

You learn the Vicious Mockery cantrip, or a different bard cantrip if you already know it. When you cast Vicious Mockery, it uses your bardic inspiration die for damage instead of a d4. For example, at level 5, your Vicious Mockery ability deals 2d8 psychic damage.

College of Lore

The college of lore has been revised for Elkan 5e, many of its abilities having been replaced. Those who join a college of lore are extremely versatile and harness the magic of legends to empower themselves and allies.

College of Lore: Extra Skills

You learn three additional skills, which you are now proficient with.

College of Lore: Voice of Legend

No Action Cost - 1 Creature - 1/Short Rest - Magical

Your tales are legends in the making. When you use bardic inspiration to inspire a creature other than yourself, you can use voice of legend to reroll the die.

College of Noise

The college of noise is a bard college new to Elkan 5e. Those who join a college of noise learn to wield sound like a weapon, whether through artful performance or screaming and banging pots and pans together.

College of Noise: Blasting Volume

You blast nearby creatures with magical and extremely loud noise.

Action - 20 ft. Cone - Magical Ability - 1 Round

You expend a bardic inspiration die to use this ability.

Constitution Save (DC Equal to Bard Spells)

  • Failure: sonic damage equal to three rolls of your bardic inspiration die and target is deafened.

  • Success: Half damage.

College of Noise: One With the Noise

You have the raging sound within you, always. You can now use any object capable of creating noise as a spellcasting implement (even if it isn't meant to be an instrument). Additionally, you are resistant to sonic damage and cannot be deafened (unless in a zone of silence), as your magic controls the flow of sound around you and into your mind.

Other College: Level 3 Feature

Choose this option if you'd like to use a Bard College that comes from a source that isn't Elkan 5e. Your chosen Bard College grants you one or more features at this level. 

4.jpg

Ability Score Improvement

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, and 16th 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.

Feat

At this level and every level you gain an ability score improvement, you also gain a feat of your choice. You are eligible for general feats and bard feats by default.

Ability Score Improvement
Feat
5.jpg

Bardic Inspiration Improvement

Your Bardic Inspiration die becomes 1d8, and you can use Bardic Inspiration three times per short or long rest. 

Counterpoint

When things go awry, you are quick to pick up everyone's spirits with a word of encouragement or a musical shift. When you roll your bardic inspiration die and your inspired ally still fails, you do not expend a use of bardic inspiration, and your inspiring performance doesn't end.

Counterpoint
Magical Secrets
6.jpg

Magical Secrets

You have learned magical knowledge from a wide spectrum of disciplines. Choose two cantrips or 1st level spells from any class spell list, including bard spells. The spells can be from different classes. The chosen spells count as bard spells for you, and they count as extra known spells, meaning they don't count against the number of spells you know.

Bard College Feature

Your chosen Bard College grants you a new feature.

Bard College 6

College of the Jester: Inciting Remarks

No Action Cost - 1 Creature (60 ft.) - Magical

Whenever you roll a bardic inspiration die for any reason, you can make comments inciting one creature against another. Choose one creature within 60 ft. of you. That creature must succeed on a wisdom saving throw against your spellcasting DC or be goaded towards an ally of yours that is within 60 ft. of you and the target until the end of your next turn. If a creature hears your words, they magically understand them even if they could not otherwise.

College of Lore: Peerless Skill

You know how to use your magic to build your own legend. You can now use Bardic Inspiration on yourself.

College of Noise: Echolocation

You become so in tune with the ambient noise of your surroundings that you can tell where things are without looking at them. You gain blindsight with a radius of 60 ft., and you have advantage on any perception check where you can use your hearing within 60 ft. Note that when you have advantage, your passive perception increases by 5. This feature does not function in a zone of silence.

Other College: Level 6 Feature

Your chosen Bard College grants you one or more features at this level. 

7.jpg

You gain no new class features at this level. As always, see the Bard Table to see new spell slots and spells known.

8.jpg

Ability Score Improvement

You increase one ability score of your choice by 2 or increase two ability scores of your choice by 1, to a maximum of  20.

Feat

You gain a feat of your choice.

9.jpg

You gain no new class features at this level. As always, see the Bard Table to see new spell slots and spells known.

 

10.jpg

Bardic Inspiration Improvement

Your Bardic Inspiration die becomes 1d10, and you can use Bardic Inspiration four times per short or long rest.

Magical Secrets

You now choose two more spells from any class spell list. The spells can be from different classes, but this time they must be a cantrip or a spell of 3rd level or lower, as opposed to the previous limit of 1st level. The chosen spells count as bard spells for you, and they count as extra known spells, meaning they don't count against the number of spells you know.

Bard College Feature

Your chosen Bard College grants you a new feature.

Bard College 10

College of the Jester: Jester's Aspersion

Cutting Words now deals psychic damage equal to one roll of bardic inspiration die if your target misses their attack roll or fails their skill check.

College of Lore: Student of Ages

You can read all written language. You can also cast Detect Magic and Identify at will without expending a spell slot.

College of Noise: Improved Blasting Noise

Your Blasting Noise feature improves. Now, when you use this ability, you end the silenced condition on yourself, and dispel any magical zones of silence in the area that are eligible to be dispelled by Dispel Magic. Additionally, the ability now deals damage equal to four rolls of your bardic inspiration die, rather than three.

Other College: Feat or Level 10 Feature

If your chosen Bard College has a level 10 feature, you gain it at this level. Bard colleges designed as part of baseline 5e rules don't have a level 10 feature, so if that applies to you, you can instead choose a feat at this level (consider a bard feat).

11.jpg

You gain no new class features at this level. As always, see the Bard Table to see new spell slots and spells known.

12.jpg

Ability Score Improvement

You increase one ability score of your choice by 2 or increase two ability scores of your choice by 1, to a maximum of  20.

Feat

You gain a feat of your choice.

13.jpg

You gain no new class features at this level. As always, see the Bard Table to see new spell slots and spells known.

14.jpg

Magical Secrets

You now choose two more spells from any class spell list. The spells can be from different classes, but this time they must be a cantrip or a spell of 5th level or lower, as opposed to the previous limit of 3rd level. The chosen spells count as bard spells for you, and they count as extra known spells, meaning they don't count against the number of spells you know.

Bard College Feature

Your chosen Bard College grants you a new feature.

Bard College 14

College of the Jester: Harmless Act

When you use Vicious Mockery and your target fails their save or you deal damage with Painful Remarks, you can choose to charm the creature until you damage them or until the end of your next turn. Note that this charm does not protect your allies from the target.

College of Lore: Foretold Victory

No Action Cost - 1/Long Rest - Magical

After rolling a bardic inspiration die, you can ignore the result and instead add the maximum possible roll on the die.

College of Noise: Drown Out the Voices

When a creature fails their save against your Blasting Volume feature or a spell of yours of 1st level or higher that deals sonic damage, they are additionally muted until the end of your next turn as your control of the ambient noise in the air prevents them from making any sound.

Other College: Level 14 Feature

Your chosen Bard College grants you one or more features at this level. 

15.jpg

Bardic Inspiration Improvement

Your Bardic Inspiration die becomes 1d12, and you can use Bardic Inspiration five times per short or long rest.

17.jpg

You gain no new class features at this level. As always, see the Bard Table to see new spell slots and spells known.

16.jpg

Ability Score Improvement

You increase one ability score of your choice by 2 or increase two ability scores of your choice by 1, to a maximum of  20.

Feat

You gain a feat of your choice.

18.jpg

Magical Secrets

You now choose two more spells from any class spell list. The spells can be from different classes, but this time they must be a cantrip or a spell of 7th level or lower, as opposed to the previous limit of 5th level. The chosen spells count as bard spells for you, and they count as extra known spells, meaning they don't count against the number of spells you know.

19.jpg

Superior Ability

You increase one ability score of your choice by 2, to a maximum of 22.

Superior Ability
Limitless Inspiration
20.jpg

Limitless Inspiration

You can use any ability that requires you to expend a bardic inspiration die without expending a die. When you do so, your bardic inspiration die is considered a d6, and the ability only lasts until the end of your next turn.

bottom of page