13 Ways To Make An Overpowered Bard In Dungeons & Dragons
Ah, Dungeons & Dragons, also known as D&D. The tabletop, roleplaying game that brings math nerds and theatre nerds together, with the promise of incrementing digits and an endless supply of interesting characters to create. The myriad of spinoff games and supplemental materials that have been developed in the years since the game first appeared
Bards are hilariously known to wreak the most havoc in D&D campaigns, either by messing with the party dynamic or vexing their DMs with a myriad of abilities that are tough to pin down. From building your character from the ground to the choices to make when you’re in the midst of your campaign, here are the ten best ways to make your bard the most overpowered of them all.
Updated by Kristy Ambrose on February 11th, 2021: The Bard class has come a long way since they were introduced along with eight other classes in the original D&D games. They weren’t exactly the most respected class and were often relegated to support roles that Clerics or Rogues could fill anyway. Thanks to some creative players, a whole lot of supplemental materials, homebrew ideas, and resources like Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, the Bard has come into its own. Today, they could fill virtually any role and be totally overpowered while doing it.
13 Sub-Class: College of Lore
You already have your class, but by level three you’ll have the opportunity to pick a subclass, or college. Out of so many choices, including Glamour, Lore, Swords, Valor, Whispers, an ideal choice is College of Lore.
Not only do you automatically learn Cutting Words when you join this college, but you also get three bonus proficiencies of your choice and two Magical Secrets at level six. In addition to the ones you already get. Even more, at level 14 you gain the Peerless Skill ability, which allows you to add a Bardic Inspiration die to any of your ability checks.
12 Race: Half-Elf
There are a lot of races in D&D. The list is only growing as you read this, and the possible list for character combinations is functionally infinite. Which race is the best fit for the most over-powered bard in your arsenal?
The Half-Elf has a racial bonus that lets you bump your Charisma +2 and two other skills +1 for an Ability Score Increase, you’ll be at maximum Charisma in no time. You’ll probably be able to get a few other skills higher up there, too, which will only increase the over-powered-ness.
11 Background: Entertainer
Most bards have a background of Entertainer. You gain skill proficiencies in Acrobatics and Performance, and you have tool proficiencies in Disguise Kits and one in a musical instrument of your choice. Your equipment consists of a musical instrument of your choice, hopefully, the one you’re proficient in.
Other benefits include the favor of an admirer, a costume, and 15gp. You also gain the feature “By Popular Demand,” which means you can always find a place to perform and gain free food and lodging as long as you play there each night. Overall, a good choice for a bard, and fits seamlessly into the OP build we’re trying for.
10 Background: Charlatan
A Charlatan background for a bard seems like it would go against the goal, but the Charlatan is a surprisingly good choice for a bard. With skill proficiencies in Deception and Sleight of Hand, you can play a sneakier kind of bard, maybe you’re secretly a bard that can’t carry a tune to save your life. You still get tool proficiency in Disguise Kits, but you gain Forgery Kit as well, maybe to falsify some documents that prove you’re the greatest performer in the land?
The most you can do with this background is with the feature False Identity. Your bard can have an entire second life, complete with proper documentation, acquaintances, and a ready disguise that lets you become that person whenever you want.
9 Feat: Resilient (Constitution)
There are a lot of useful feats, and one of the most useful is Resilient. Resilient allows you to increase one ability of your choice by +1 and gain proficiency saving throws for that ability, too. If you take Constitution, you gain a bonus to your those saving throws, which means you have a higher chance of succeeding when you have to make a Concentration Check for spells you have active. With all the Concentration spells at a bard’s disposal, Resilient goes a long way to keeping them relevant to your playstyle.
8 Background, Urchin
If you’re keen on making the Rogue in your party feel useless, by all means, choose the Urchin background. It gives your character many of the tools a Rogue might need, like a disguise kit and abilities like Sleight of Hand.
Regarding your character’s personal history, the story of a resourceful orphan that makes their living as an entertainer is open to a lot of possibilities. Starting equipment depends on your module and DM, but can include materials like a pet mouse or a token to remember your dead family members.
7 Feat: Lucky
Lucky is one of those feats that’s a good idea for everybody to take because it’s just such a good deal. Taking Lucky gives you three “luck points,” to use every long rest. With them, you can re-roll any d20 you don’t like as long as it’s an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw.
It’s your choice which d20 you take, so there’s no commitment to taking the one you roll second. You can also use those luck points to make anyone who attacks you roll to hit again. Again, you choose which die they take.
6 Magical Secrets (lvl 6): Counterspell, Fireball
Magical Secrets kick in at level six instead of level 10. Truly, Magical Secrets can be used to round out a party very efficiently. No cleric? Take Revivify. Not enough magic buffs? Take Haste. If your party needs little to no rounding, though, the go-to spells that all OP Bards should have are Counterspell and Fireball.
Counterspell can counteract any spell as long as you roll high enough, which is a massive advantage to anyone with a lot of bonuses. Fireball is a great choice, too, because a lot of spells on the bard’s list don’t have a lot of huge damage ability. This rounds you out, as well as rounding out any party that could do with a little more firepower.
5 Magical Secrets (lvl 10): Banishment, Wall of Force
You’d be ridiculous not to take Banishment as soon as it’s offered to you. You can make any problem disappear with a single failed Charisma saving through, which the creature will most certainly fail, due to your superior buff and bonuses.
Wall of Force is less obvious, but it’s still a powerful choice. It gives you an invisible wall with a range of 120 feet, which allows for some pretty serious crowd control and awesome spell combos with your resident spellcasters.
4 Sub Class, College of Valor
The College of Valor is similar to the College of Swords but more about finesse and honor than straight swordplay. Adherents of this college can also wear medium armor. Maybe you’re building a pirate-like character, or you played a Swashbuckler in Pathfinder and really enjoyed it. Perhaps you’d like to show up the Paladin or Fighter in your group with some martial knowledge and dueling process, such as the Extra Attack ability. Either way, this is the college for you.
3 Magical Secrets (lvl 14): Simulacrum, Chain Lightning
If you want to take it easy on your DM, don’t pick Simulacrum. If you don’t want to take it easy on your DM, definitely take Simulacrum. Who doesn’t want a friendly snow creature of their choice to help them out in a tough spot? A snow creature that can be repaired in an alchemical laboratory, no less!
Chain Lightning is another good spell to help your round out your damage. It does a ridiculous amount of damage (10d8), and still takes half on a successful dexterity save.
2 Race, Dragonborn
Gone are the days when a Bard had to stand on the sidelines. On the other side of that coin, just because a race is generally six feet tall doesn’t mean they always have to be fighting classes. Dragonborn make excellent Bards, and when you look at the stats and lore, the build makes more sense.
The race is generally well-traveled and well-read, which fits with the Bard aesthetic as an entertainer and keeper of legend. Regarding the stats, it’s not just the Charisma bonus, it’s also the +2 Strength if you want to build a tougher or more aggressive Bard and take some of the spotlight away from the other damage-dealing classes.
1 Magical Secrets (lvl 18): Clone, Wish
Clone is a risky one, but it gives you the chance to be completely immortal. You can create a clone of yourself to host your soul if and when you die, and as long as you can get the stuff off your dead body (wherever it may be), you can continue with your Bard as if they’d never died at all. You have reached demigod status, congratulations.
Wish is the very definition of an OP spell. This is truly a DM’s nightmare. With this single spell, you can shift reality to your will, and there’s nothing more OP than that. Go forth mighty bard, and seize your destiny.
NEXT: A Dicey Situation: Truck Spills Dice, Deals 216,000d6 Bludgeoning Damage to Atlanta Freeway
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Annika Ellis is a writer of many genres, with a BFA in Creative Writing from Full Sail University. When she’s not writing for TheGamer, she’s writing prose, poetry, and ever her own games, giving back to the things she loves. In her free time, she enjoys doing ballet in her living room, after 13 years of performing on stage.
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