Untold wonders and secrets exist for those skillful enough to discover them. Through cleverness, talent, and magic, these cunning few unravel the wiles of the world, becoming adept in the arts of persuasion, manipulation, and inspiration. Typically masters of one or many forms of artistry, bards possess an uncanny ability to know more than they should and use what they learn to keep themselves and their allies ever one step ahead of danger. Bards are quick-witted and captivating, and their skills might lead them down many paths, be they gamblers or jacks-of-all-trades, scholars or performers, leaders or scoundrels, or even all of the above. For bards, every day brings its own opportunities, adventures, and challenges, and only by bucking the odds, knowing the most, and being the best might they claim the treasures of each.

Role: Bards capably confuse and confound their foes while inspiring their allies to ever-greater daring. While accomplished with both weapons and magic, the true strength of bards lies outside melee, where they can support their companions and undermine their foes without fear of interruptions to their performances.

Alignment: Any

Hit Die: d8

Skill Ranks Per Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Class Skills: The bard’s class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (all) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Pilot (Dex), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Stealth (Dex), and Use Magic Device (Cha).

Table: Bard Spells Per Day
Level BAB Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
1st +0 +0 +2 +2 Bardic knowledge, bardic performance, cantrips, countersong, distraction, fascinate, inspire courage +1 1
2nd +1 +0 +3 +3 Versatile performance, well-versed 2
3rd +2 +1 +3 +3 Inspire competence +2 3
4th +3 +1 +4 +4 3 1
5th +3 +1 +4 +4 Inspire courage +2, lore master 1/day 4 2
6th +4 +2 +5 +5 Suggestion, Versatile performance 4 3
7th +5 +2 +5 +5 Inspire competence +3 4 3 1
8th +6/+1 +2 +6 +6 Dirge of Doom 4 4 2
9th +6/+1 +3 +6 +6 Inspire greatness 5 4 3
10th +7/+2 +3 +7 +7 Jack-of-all-Trades, Versatile performance 5 4 3 1
11th +8/+3 +3 +7 +7 Inspire competence +4, inspire courage +3, lore master 2/day 5 4 4 2
12th +9/+4 +4 +8 +8 Soothing performance 5 5 4 3
13th +9/+4 +4 +8 +8 5 5 4 3 1
14th +10/+5 +4 +9 +9 Frightening tune, Versatile performance 5 5 4 4 2
15th +11/+6/+1 +5 +9 +9 Inspire competence +5, inspire heroics 5 5 5 4 3
16th +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +10 5 5 5 4 3 1
17th +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +10 Inspire courage +4, lore master 3/day 5 5 5 4 4 2
18th +13/+8/+3 +6 +11 +11 Mass suggestion, Versatile performance 5 5 5 5 4 3
19th +14/+9/+4 +6 +11 +11 Inspire competence +6 5 5 5 5 5 4
20th +15/+10/+5 +6 +12 +12 Deadly performance 5 5 5 5 5 5

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the bard.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A bard is proficient with all simple weapons, plus the longsword, rapier, sap, short sword, shortbow, and whip. Bards are also proficient with light armor and shields (except tower shields). A bard can cast bard spells while wearing light armor and using a shield without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance. Like any other arcane spellcaster, a bard wearing medium or heavy armor incurs a chance of arcane spell failure if the spell in question has a somatic component. A multiclass bard still incurs the normal arcane spell failure chance for arcane spells received from other classes.

Table: Bard Spells Known
Level 0th 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
1st 4 2
2nd 5 3
3rd 6 4
4th 6 4 2
5th 6 4 3
6th 6 4 4
7th 6 5 4 2
8th 6 5 4 3
9th 6 5 4 4
10th 6 5 5 4 2
11th 6 6 5 4 3
12th 6 6 5 4 4
13th 6 6 5 5 4 2
14th 6 6 6 5 4 3
15th 6 6 6 5 4 4
16th 6 6 6 5 5 4 2
17th 6 6 6 6 5 4 3
18th 6 6 6 6 5 4 4
19th 6 6 6 6 5 5 4
20th 6 6 6 6 6 5 5

Spells:A bard casts arcane spells drawn from the bard spell list. He can cast any spell he knows without preparing it ahead of time. Every bard spell has a verbal component (singing, reciting, or music). To learn or cast a spell, a bard must have a Charisma score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a bard’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the bard’s Charisma modifier.

Like other spellcasters, a bard can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. His base daily spell allotment is given on Table: Bard. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Charisma score.

The bard’s selection of spells is extremely limited. A bard begins play knowing four 0-level spells and two 1st-level spells of the bard’s choice. At each new bard level, he gains one or more new spells, as indicated on Table: Bard Spells Known. (Unlike spells per day, the number of spells a bard knows is not affected by his Charisma score.

Upon reaching 5th level, and at every third bard level after that (8th, 11th, and so on), a bard can choose to learn a new spell in place of one he already knows. In effect, the bard “loses” the old spell in exchange for the new one. The new spell’s level must be the same as that of the spell being exchanged, and it must be at least one level lower than the highest-level bard spell the bard can cast. A bard may swap only a single spell at any given level, and must choose whether or not to swap the spell at the same time that he gains new spells known for the level.

A bard need not prepare his spells in advance. He can cast any spell he knows at any time, assuming he has not yet used up his allotment of spells per day for the spell’s level.

Cantrips (Sp) Bard's learn a number of cantrips, or 0-level spells, as noted on Table: Bard Spells Known under "Spells Known." These spells are cast like any other spell, but they do not consume any slots and may be used again.

Bardic Knowledge (Ex): A bard adds half his class level (minimum 1) to all Knowledge skill checks and may make all Knowledge skill checks untrained.

Bardic Performance: A bard is trained to use the Perform skill to create magical effects on those around him, including himself if desired. He can use this ability for a number of rounds per day equal to 4 + his Charisma modifier. At each level after 1st a bard can use bardic performance for 2 additional rounds per day. Each round, the bard can produce any one of the types of bardic performance that he has mastered, as indicated by his level.

Starting a bardic performance is a standard action, but it can be maintained each round as a free action. Changing a bardic performance from one effect to another requires the bard to stop the previous performance and start a new one as a standard action. A bardic performance cannot be disrupted, but it ends immediately if the bard is killed, paralyzed, stunned, knocked unconscious, or otherwise prevented from taking a free action to maintain it each round. A bard cannot have more than one bardic performance in effect at one time.

At 7th level, a bard can start a bardic performance as a move action instead of a standard action. At 13th level, a bard can start a bardic performance as a swift action.

Each bardic performance has audible components, visual components, or both.

If a bardic performance has audible components, the targets must be able to hear the bard for the performance to have any effect, and such performances are language dependent. A deaf bard has a 20% change to fail when attempting to use a bardic performance with an audible component. If he fails this check, the attempt still counts against his daily limit. Deaf creatures are immune to bardic performances with audible components.

If a bardic performance has a visual component, the targets must have line of sight to the bard for the performance to have any effect. A blind bard has a 50% chance to fail when attempting to use a bardic performance with a visual component. If he fails this check, the attempt still counts against his daily limit. Blind creatures are immune to bardic performances with visual components.

Versatile Performance (Ex): At 2nd level, a bard can choose one type of Perform skill. He can use his bonus in that skill in place of his bonus in associated skills. When substituting in this way, the bard uses his total Perform skill bonus, including class skill bonus, in place of its associated skill's bonus, whether or not he has ranks in that skill or if it is a class skill. At 6th level, and every 4 levels thereafter, the bard can select an additional type of Perform to substitute.

The types of Perform and their associated skills are: Act (Bluff, Disguise), Comedy (Bluff, Intimidate), Dance (Acrobatics, Fly), Keyboard Instruments (Diplomacy, Intimidate), Oratory (Diplomacy, Sense Motive), Percussion (Handle Animal, Intimidate), Sing (Bluff, Sense Motive), String (Bluff, Diplomacy), and Wind (Diplomacy, Handle Animal).

Well-Versed (Ex): At 2nd level, the bard becomes resistant to the bardic performance of others, and to sonic effects in general. The bard gains a +4 bonus on saving throws made against bardic performance, sonic, and language-dependent effects.

Lore Master (Ex): At 5th level, the bard becomes a master of lore and can take 10 on any Knowledge skill check that he has ranks in. A bard can choose not to take 10 and can instead roll normally. In addition, once per day, the bard can take 20 on any Knowledge skill check as a standard action. He can use this ability one additional time per day for every six levels he possesses beyond 5th, to a maximum of three times per day at 17th level.

Jack of All Trades (Ex): At 10th level, the bard can use any skill, even if the skill normally requires him to be trained. At 16th level, the bard considers all skills to be class skills. At 19th level, the bard can take 10 on any skill check, even if it is not normally allowed.


Arcane Duelist

A master of the martial applications of steel and spell, the arcane duelist blends both into a lethal combination.

Arcane Strike: Arcane duelists gain Arcane Strike as a bonus feat at 1st level. This ability replaces bardic knowledge.

Bardic Performance: An arcane duelist gains the following types of bardic performance.

  • Rallying Cry (Su): At 1st level, an arcane duelist can use performance to rally dispirited allies. Each round he makes an Intimidate check. Any ally (including the bard) within 30 feet may use this check in place of his own saving throw against fear and despair effects. Those already under a fear or despair effect can attempt a new save each round using the bard’s Intimidate check. Rallying cry does not work on effects that don’t allow saves. This is a mind-affecting ability that uses audible components. This performance replaces countersong.
  • Bladethirst (Su): An arcane duelist of 6th level or higher may use performance to grant one weapon, one natural weapon, one end of a double weapon, or 50 items of ammunition of the same type within 30 feet a +1 enhancement bonus. This enhancement bonus increases by +1 for every three levels after 6th (maximum +5 at 18th level). These bonuses stack with existing bonuses and may be used to increase the item’s enhancement bonus up to +5 or to add any of the following weapon properties: defending, distance, ghost touch, keen, mighty cleaving, returning, shock, shocking burst, seeking, speed, or wounding. If the weapon is not magical, at least a +1 enhancement bonus must be added before adding special abilities. This performance replaces suggestion.
  • Mass Bladethirst (Su): An arcane duelist of 18th level or higher can use his bladethirst performance to enhance the weapons of as many allies as desired within 30 feet. The bonus provided by this power is +4 if conferred on two allies, +3 for three allies, +2 for four allies, and +1 for five or more allies. The power granted to each weapon must be identical. This ability replaces mass suggestion.

Bonus Feats: An arcane duelist weaves might and magic in his combat style, gaining the following bonus feats at 2nd level and every four levels thereafter:
2nd level—Combat Casting
6th level—Disruptive
10th level—Spellbreaker
14th level—Penetrating Strike
18th level—Greater Penetrating Strike.
This ability replaces versatile performance and well-versed.

Arcane Bond (Ex): At 5th level, an arcane duelist gains the arcane bond ability as a wizard, using a weapon as his bonded item. He may not choose a familiar or other type of bonded item. He may use the hand holding his bonded weapon for somatic components. This ability replaces lore master.

Arcane Armor (Ex): At 10th level, an arcane duelist gains Medium Armor Proficiency and can cast bard spells in medium armor with no chance of arcane spell failure. At 16th level, he gains Heavy Armor Proficiency and can cast bard spells in heavy armor with no arcane spell failure. This ability replaces jack of all trades.

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