What's a Bard?

Humming as she traces her fingers over an ancient monument in a long-forgotten ruin, a half-elf in rugged leathers finds knowledge springing into her mind, conjured forth by the magic of her song-knowledge of the people who constructed the monument and the
mythic saga it depicts.

A stern human warrior bangs his sword rhythmically against his scale mail, setting the tempo for his war chant and exhorting his companions to bravery and heroism. The magic of his song fortifies and emboldens them.

Laughing as she tunes her cittern, a gnome weaves her subtle magic over the assembled nobles, ensuring that her companions' words will be well received. Whether scholar, skald, or scoundrel, a bard weaves magic through words and music to inspire allies, demoralize foes, manipulate minds, create illusions, and even heal wounds.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d8 per level
Hit Points at 1st level: 8 + Con mod
Hit Points at Higher levels: 1d8 + Con mod per level above 1st.


Armor: Light armor
Weapons: Simple weapons, hand crossbows, longswords, rapiers, shortswords.
Tools: Three musical instruments of your choice.
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Charisma.
Skills: Any three.


  • Choose: a rapier; a longsword; or any simple weapon
  • Choose: a diplomat's pack; or an entertainer's pack
  • Choose: a lute; or any other musical instrument
  • Leather armor and a dagger

Alternatively, buy gear using gold (5d4x10 gp; avg. 125 gp)

Quick Build

Put your highest score in Charisma, followed by Dexterity. Second, choose the entertainer background. Third, choose the dancing lights and vicious mockery cantrips, along with the following 1st level spells: charm person, detect magic, healing word, thunderwave.

Lvl Proficiency Bonus Features Cantrips Known Spells Known1 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1st +2 Spellcasting, Bardic Inspiration (d6) 2 4 2
2nd +2 Jack of All Trades, Song of Rest (d6) 2 5 3
3rd +2 Bard College, Expertise 2 6 4 2
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement 3 7 4 3
5th +3 Bardic Inspiration (d8), Font of Inspiration 3 8 4 3 2
6th +3 Countercharm, Bard College Feature 3 9 4 3 3
7th +3 3 10 4 3 3 1
8th +3 Ability Score Improvement 3 11 4 3 3 2
9th +4 Song of Rest (d8) 3 12 4 3 3 3 1
10th +4 Bardic Inspiration (d10), Expertise, Magical Secrets 4 12+2 4 3 3 3 2
11th +4 4 13+2 4 3 3 3 2 1
12th +4 Ability Score Improvement 4 13+2 4 3 3 3 2 1
13th +5 Song of Rest (d10) 4 14+2 4 3 3 3 2 1 1
14th +5 Magical Secrets 4 14+4 4 3 3 3 2 1 1
15th +5 Bardic Inspiration (d12) 4 15+4 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
16th +5 Ability Score Improvement 4 15+4 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
17th +6 Song of Rest (d12) 4 16+4 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1 1
18th +6 Magical Secrets 4 16+6 4 3 3 3 3 1 1 1 1
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement 4 16+6 4 3 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
20th +6 Superior Inspiration 4 16+6 4 3 3 3 3 2 2 1 1


Cantrips: You know two cantrips from the Bard Spell List. You learn an additional cantrip at 4th and 10th level.

Spell Slots: The Bard table above shows how many spell slots you have to cast 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 slots when you finish a long rest.

Spells Known of 1st level and Higher: You know four 1st level spells of your choice from the bard list. The Spells Known column on the 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.

In addition, whenever you gain a level in this class, you may choose one of the bard spells you know and replace it with another bard spell, which must also be of a level for which you have slots.

Spellcasting Ability: Charisma is your casting ability for bard spells. Your magic comes from the heart and soul you pour into the performance of your music or oration. When a spell refers to your spellcasting ability, you use Charisma. In addition, you use your Charisma to determine the save DC of any bard spell which requires one, 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

Ritual Casting: You may cast any bard spell you know as a ritual if it has the ritual tag. A spell cast as a ritual takes an additional 10 minutes to cast, but does not require you to expend a spell slot.

Spellcasting Focus: You may use any musical instrument as a spellcasting focus for your spells.

Bardic Inspiration

You can inspire others with stirring words or music. You may use a bonus action to grant a Bardic Inspiration die to one creature within 60 feet. This die is a d6. At 5th level, it is a d8; at 10th level it is a d10; and at 15th level it is a d12. This die lasts for 10 minutes or until expended.

A creature with a Bardic Inspiration die can expend it to roll the die and add the result to any one ability check, attack roll, or saving throw it makes. The creature may use this before or after the d20 is rolled, but only before the DM announces whether the roll was a success or failure. A creature may only have one Bardic Inspiration die at a time.

This ability may be used a number of times equal to your Charisma mod (min. 1). You regain expended uses when you finish a long rest.

Jack of All Trades

At 2nd level, you can add half your proficiency bonus, rounded down, to any ability check you make that doesn't already include your proficiency bonus.

Song of Rest

At 2nd level, you can use your music to revitalize wounded allies during a Short Rest. When you or any friendly creatures who can hear your performance regain hit points at the end of a Short Rest, they regain an extra 1d6 hit points. The amount of extra healing increases to 1d8 at 9th level, 1d10 at 13th level, and 1d12 at 17th level.

Bard College

At 3rd level, you delve into the advanced techniques of one of the below bard colleges. This choice grants you features at 3rd, 6th, and 14th level.


At 3rd level, choose two of your skill proficiencies. Your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make that uses either skill. At 10th level, you gain this benefit with two additional skill proficiencies.

Ability Score Improvement

At 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or increase two ability scores by 1 each. As usual, you cannot increase an ability score above 20 using this ability.

Alternatively, you can choose to gain a single feat of your choice. You may choose from this list, and potentially more depending on the individual campaign; ask the DM for more details.

Font of Inspiration

At 5th level, you regain all expended uses of Bardic Inspiration whenever you finish a short rest, in addition to long rests.


At 6th level, you gain the ability to use music or words of power to disrupt mind-influencing effects. As an action, you can start a performance that lasts until the end of your next turn. During that time, you and any friendly creatures within 30 feet of you gain advantage on saving throws against being frightened or charmed. A creature must hear you to gain this benefit. The performance ends early if you are incapacitated or silenced, or if you voluntarily end it (no action required).

Magical Secrets

At 10th level, you plunder magical knowledge from a wide spectrum of disciplines. Choose two spells from any class, including this one. These spells must be of a level you can cast, or a cantrip. The chosen spells count as bard spells for you. You learn an additional two spells at 14th level and again at 18th level.

Superior Inspiration

At 20th level, when you roll initiative and have no uses of Bardic inspiration left, you regain one use.

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