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Half-elf bard

Bard is a leader class in 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons. There are two bard subclasses: the original bard, an arcane leader,[PH2:66] and the skald, an arcane and martial leader.[HotF:54]

Class traits[]

The following traits are common to original bards and skalds.

1st-level original bards and skalds have hit points equal to 12 plus the bard's Constitution score, healing surges per day equal to 7 plus the bard's Constitution modifier, and a +1 bonus to Reflex and Will defenses. Bards gain 5 hit points per level.

Primary Role: leader, Secondary Role: controller

Class proficiencies[]

Original bards and skalds begin with cloth, leather, hide, chainmail, and light shield armor proficiencies, simple melee, longsword, scimitar, short sword, simple ranged, and military ranged weapon proficiencies, and wand implement proficiency.

Class skills[]

Original bards and skalds are trained in Arcana, plus any four skills from the bard class skill list:

Signs of Influence[]

At the DM's discretion, an original bard or skald may receive the Signs of Influence class feature. A bard with the Signs of Influence class feature gains benefits in places such as towns where bards are revered. A bard chooses two of the below options at 1st level, a third option at 13th level, and a fourth option at 17th level.[HotF:53]

Attract Attendants: "Whenever you are in a village, town, or other civilized location that reveres bards, up to three servants will attend to your needs while in that location. These servant run errands for you, help you with physical tasks (such as moving chests of treasure or cleaning), and carry out any mundane task that a servant could reasonably be asked to perform."[HotF:53]

Demand Audience: "Whenever you are in a village, town, or city that reveres bards, you can receive an audience with someone representing the ruling power within 24 hours, and you are guaranteed safe passage to that audience by the local authorities. You can use this ability no more than once a month in a particular settlement."[HotF:53]

Ritual Beneficiary: "Whenever you are in a village, a town, or some other civilized location where a person lives who is capable of casting rituals, once per day you can have any ritual cost for free if it normally has a component cost of 150 gp or lower, provided that the ritual caster is not hostile toward you. The ritual cannot by one that produces a permanent item."[HotF:53]

Travel in Style: "Whenever you are in a village, town, or other civilized location where horses, carts, and carriages can be obtained and where bards are revered, you can procure horses for you and up to seven of your allies, plus a single cart or carriage at no cost, from someone in that location. Before you can use this ability again, you must return the horses and cart or carriage, leave them at a predetermined location, or pay for them.
"At the DM's discretion, you can obtain other modes of transportation of a similar value when available. For example, when visiting Cendriane, you might be able to obtain griffons to carry you to the city of Mithrendain, provided that the eladrin valued the use of griffons similar to that of horses and carts in the mortal world."[HotF:54]

Welcome Guest: "Whenever you are in a village, a town, or a city that has a public inn where bards are revered, you can use your influence (and perhaps the promise of a performance) to obtain meals and a comfortable room for you and up to seven of your allies for the duration of your stay in that location."[HotF:54]

Skill Versatility[]

Original bards and skalds with the Skill Versatility class feature gain a +1 bonus to untrained skill checks.[PH2:67][HotF:57]

Song of Rest[]

Original bards and skalds with the Song of Rest class feature can sing or play an instrument during a short rest to grant extra healing to themselves and to allies that can hear them. A character can only be affected by one Song of Rest at a time. A character affected by a Song of Rest regains additional hit points equal to the Song of Rest user's Charisma modifier for each healing surge the character spends at the end of the short rest.[PH2:67][HotF:57]

Words of Friendship[]

Original bards and skalds with the Words of Friendship class feature gain use of the words of friendship encounter power, which adds a +5 power bonus to one Diplomacy check the bard makes.[PH2:67][HotF:57]

Original bard[]

Key abilities: Charisma, and either Intelligence (Virtue of Cunning), Wisdom (Virtue of Prescience), or Constitution (Virtue of Valor)

Bardic Training[]

Original bards gain Ritual Caster as a bonus feat. They have mastered one 1st-level bard ritual—that is, a ritual with bard as a prerequisite—plus one other 1st-level ritual of their choice, and possess a ritual book containing those mastered rituals.

In addition, once per tier per day, original bards can perform a bard ritual of their level or lower without expending components. They must still pay any costs other than components, and use any required focus.[PH2:67]

Bardic Virtue[]

An original bard chooses one of the following options and gains the corresponding triggered ability.

Bardic Virtue option Triggered ability
Virtue of Cunning[PH2:67] Once per round, when an enemy misses an ally of the bard, and the ally is within a number of squares from the bard equal to 5 + the bard's Intelligence modifier, the bard can take a free action to slide that ally 1 square.
Virtue of Prescience[AP:6] Once per encounter, when an enemy hits an ally within 5 squares of the bard, the bard can take an immediate interrupt action to grant the triggering ally a power bonus equal to the original bard's Wisdom modifier to the defense targeted by the triggering attack, until the end of the triggering enemy's turn.
Virtue of Valor[PH2:67] Once per round, when an ally of the bard bloodies an enemy or reduces an enemy to 0 hit points, and the ally is within 5 squares of the bard, the bard can take a free action to grant temporary hit points to the triggering ally equal to 1 + the bard's Constitution modifier.

Level 11: 3 + Constitution modifier temporary hit points.
Level 21: 5 + Constitution modifier temporary hit points.

Majestic Word[]

Bards with the Majestic Word class feature gain use of the majestic word encounter power.[PH2:67]

Multiclass Versatility[]

Bards with the Multiclass Versatility class feature may take multiclass feats from more than one class.[PH2:67]


Skald is the subclass of bard introduced in Heroes of the Feywild. Skalds have a dual arcane and martial power source.[HotF:54]

Key abilities: Charisma and Intelligence

Deceptive Duelist[]

Skalds with the Deceptive Duelist class feature can use Charisma instead of Strength for both the attack roll and the damage roll when making a melee basic attack with a one-handed weapon.[HotF:56]

Master of Story and Song[]

Skalds with the Master of Story and Song class feature learn additional bard daily attack powers at levels 1, 15, 19, 25, and 29. The number of daily attacks the skald can use does not increase, and the skald cannot use more than one bard daily attack power of any particular level per day.[HotF:57]

Skald's Aura[]

Skalds with the Skald's Aura class feature gain use of the skald's aura power, which allows the skald and nearby allies to spend a healing surge, or let an adjacent ally spend a healing surge, as a minor action.[HotF:56]

Bard powers[]

Bard powers, having arcane or martial power sources, are also called spells or exploits.

At-will attack spells and exploits

1st level

Encounter attack spells and exploits Daily attack spells and exploits Utility spells and exploits

1st level

1st level

2nd level

3rd level

5th level

6th level

7th level 9th level 10th level
13th level 15th level 16th level

17th level

19th level 22nd level
23rd level 25th level
27th level 29th level
Unleveled spells and exploits

Bard feats[]

Heroic Tier Feats[]

Paragon Tier Feats[]

Epic Tier Feats[]

Bard Paragon Paths[]

Refer to the Bard section in the Paragon Path Page or the Bard Paragon Paths category.

Multiclass Bards[]

Characters who did not start as bards and who do not already have a multiclass feat of a type other than multiclass bard may multiclass as bards by taking one of the following feats.

Bard Multiclass Feat Prerequisites Benefits
Bardic Dilettante[PH2:196] Cha 13 You gain training in one of the bard's class skills. Once per day, you can use Majestic Word
Bardic Ritualist[AP:136] Int 13, Cha 13 You gain training in the Arcana skill. You gain the bard's Bardic Training class feature.
Master of Stories[HotF:129] Cha 13 You gain training in one of the bard's class skills. You also gain the skald's aura power and but the aura's healing benefit can be used only once per day.
Healing Song[AP:136] Any multiclass bard feat, paragon multiclassing as a bard You gain the bard's Song of Rest and Skill Versatility class features.

In addition, each bard multiclass feat grants all of the following benefits:

  • The character counts as a bard, in addition to his or her original class, for the purpose of meeting prerequisites for feats, paragon paths, etc.
  • The character gains training in bard implements and can use such implements for any implement power regardless of class
  • The character may take Novice PowerAcolyte Power, and Adept Power feats to exchange powers for barbarian powers.
  • If the character takes a multiclass encounter, a multiclass utility, and a multiclass daily feat (such as Novice, Acolyte, and Adept Power), the character can paragon multiclass in bard instead of taking a paragon path. Paragon multiclassed bards select additional bard powers instead of paragon path powers

Hybrid Bards[]

Any hybrid character can choose the Hybrid Bard class as one of its selected class.

Character Optimization[]


The bard was previewed in an Ampersand article. [Dr369:66] Half of the powers were listed, up to level 10. Of these powers, only Majestic Word had an issue as it contained the effect for Words of Friendship instead.