D&D 5e 10th Level Bard Hack

I’m a big fan of the Bard in D&D 5e. Recently, while playing around with different builds, I discovered a pretty silly hack to make them a very powerful (arguably overpowered) choice for ranged combat by level 10. If you already know about Bards, feel free to scroll past my general overview to see how it works.

However, for those who don’t have the new PHB yet, here’s a short list of some of the nice perks the Bard gets to give you a little background:

  • Full caster class: Bards get the same number of spells as Clerics and Wizards. This is nice because it gives them a core competency to build off of, something they lacked in 3.5 and previous editions, where the bard was okay at everything but not particularly good at anything.
  • Inspiration: In place of bard songs that all do wacky things and have always felt a little awkward to actually use, bards have inspiration dice. They can pass these to allies, who can use them to add the die as a bonus to attack rolls, ability checks, and saving throws. Sub classes allow them to be used in other ways, such as reducing an enemies attack roll, adding to AC, or adding to a damage roll.
  • Jack of all Trades: Super fun ability that gives bards half their proficiency bonus to skills they aren’t proficient in. It’s a great thematic ability, and it encourages Bard players to try things outside their character’s normal areas of expertise.
  • Song of Rest: Grants extra healing when the Bard or allies regain hit points during a short rest.
  • Good Melee/Ranged Subclass: Bards get to choose from two options for subclasses. The College of Lore emphasizes the “jack of all trades” aspect of the bard, granting extra skills and extra cross class spells, along with some other very solid perks. However, I am more attracted to the College of Valor, which legitimately makes the Bard a solid melee or ranged combatant, granting proficiency with martial weapons, medium armor, and shields, along with a bonus attack at level 6 and a nice perk at 14 to allow casting a spell and making an attack as a bonus action. So this means by level 6, the Bard is basically on par (or close enough) with all the other melee/ranged classes, such as the Barbarian, Fighter, Ranger, Paladin, and Rogue.
  • Magical Secrets: The bard spell list is pretty focused. It has a lot of stuff you might expect from a bard: charms and enchantments, some utility spells, and good options for travel, along with a healthy mix of “fun” spells you’ll certainly enjoy playing around with. It also sports healing spells, which are always going to be useful. However, at 10th level and again at 14 and 18, you get to choose two spells from ANY class to round out your list a bit. The only requirement is that the spell level is one you can cast. This is very cool. For example, you could pick up fireball (which can be cast at higher spell levels for more damage) to add a nice AOE spell to your list, since Bards don’t normally have any.

The “Hack” Explained

This might be my favorite picture in the entire PHB.

What I realized when reading over the Magical Secrets description of the Bard class is that they can pick a spell from ANY class as long as they can cast spells of that spell level. This means that when they first get the ability at 10th level, a Bard can pick ANY 5th level spell.

Normally this would be pretty straightforward and balanced. After all, Clerics and Wizards get 5th level spells at 9th level anyway, so who cares if the Bard picks a couple off their list at 10th level?

However, Rangers and Paladins get 5th level spells at 17th level, and they will only ever be able to cast two of them a day. Most of these spells are spells that Clerics, Druids, and Wizards already have at 5th level, but a few of them are unique, and it turns out that those are pretty powerful.

The Paladin’s Banishing Smite is pretty tempting. You can cast it as a bonus action, and it makes the next attack you make do 5d10 damage and BANISH a creature back to its native plane if it is reduced to 50HP or fewer.

My favorite choice, though, is Swift Quiver from the Ranger spell list. Cast as a bonus action, it gives your quiver an endless supply of ammunition and allows you to make two extra ranged attacks per turn as a bonus action for one minute. What that means is that when you cast that spell as a Bard with College of Valor, you’ll get to make 4 ranged attacks per round with a bow or other weapon for basically an entire combat.

Considering that a Ranger or Fighter can only make two attacks a round with a bow or other ranged weapon (unless they dual wield), this arguably makes the Bard one of the best ranged attack builds. Of course, the Fighter can make 3 attacks by level 11, but the bard still maintains an edge until level 17 when the Ranger gets Swift Quiver themselves.

There certainly are limitations to having to use a spell to get half your attacks. You can’t use it every fight, for example, which is huge, and even then it is using up a spell slot you could have used on something else. Also, the spell requires concentration, which means a few good hits from the enemy can mean losing its benefit. Finally, it uses up your free action, which means you can’t give out inspiration during battle (though with careful planning, you could still pass it out to folks before battle starts since they can spend it within 10 minutes). Overall, however, I think it’s a very powerful option and allows the Bard to deal out some serious damage during battle. Furthermore, as the Bard levels they can use it more and more often, even substituting higher level spell slots if they feel like it.

I actually think doing this is pretty cheap and probably not what the designers had in mind. Furthermore, it robs the Ranger of some of its uniqueness at higher level. While I don’t think it breaks the game, I’m not sure I would allow it as a DM.

What do YOU think, dear readers? Should the bard be able to use Magical Secrets to cherry pick off the Paladin and Ranger spell lists? Or should the Bard not be allowed to take a spell if the only class that gets it can’t even cast it yet?

 

28 Responses to “D&D 5e 10th Level Bard Hack”

  1. pfooti says:

    Disclaimer: haven’t read the 5e rules yet. So, there’s that.

    The magical secrets ability for the bard seems like a pretty lazy design decision. Rather than deal with providing a limited set of customization choices, the designers say: ‘pick one of anything’. This has the same problems that Polymorph has in 3e, or the Archivist class from the Heroes of Horror supplement.

    When you say, “pick one of anything”, you’re explicitly including future supplements. That means that the class with a wildcard feature like that just keeps getting better and better as time goes on. The polymorph madness ended with Pun-Pun, but even without that, each new monster manual gave the clever wizard new ways to change shape. The Archivist’s ability to learn *any* divine spell from any caster list lead to plenty of caster-level abuse (similar to what you do here, cherry-picking half-caster spells into a full-caster spell slot loadout), and each divine-based special prestige class ended up adding more and more spells for the Archivist to abuse.

    Then again, it’s not tooo hard for a DM to make an exception for the bard’s thing – half-caster spells count as 2*N level spells for bards or whatever. Still, good catch.

  2. paul says:

    @pfootie: I agree – and I’ll throw the cleric in there with the archivist as problem classes.

  3. Matt Gordon says:

    I like the idea of half caster spells counting as twice their level. I may have to use that to prevent bards from once again becoming the uber bad a## class they were when originally introduced (remember having to get so many levels of fighter and thief before being allowed to pursue bard? It was the first and most munchkin of prestige classes. *sigh* those were the good old days)

  4. 1d30 says:

    How about two more ridiculous circumstances:

    1: An NPC wizard invents a weird spell, memorizes it, and then destroys his spellbook. He believes he will be the only one to ever cast that spell, and then only once. The Bard goes up a level and can pick a spell. Why can’t he pick the wizard’s unique spell that he has never shared with anyone else in the world? No restriction against it is contemplated in Magical Secrets.

    2: An evil high priest of a forgotten god exists in the game world. He is the god’s only worshipper. He never speaks and has never cast the special spells granted by only this one god in all the multiverse – that is, no other entity can possibly exist that can cast this spell because this god will never grant it to anyone but his priest, and the priest will never cast it or come into contact with any being whatsoever. Again, according to Magical Secrets, any Bard can snap up the spell.

    I think the answer to all three circumstances is that if the DM wants a game that isn’t pointless, he needs to put the kibosh on any 100% stupid shenanigans.

    Another answer is that the special class-restricted spells for semicasters should have been class features instead. They forgot that a spell’s power must be linked directly to the spell level and not the required caster level.

  5. x says:

    So I just converted my two 6th level playtest groups this week and we’ll see how it turns out at 10th. I did convert a Ranger and a Barbarian though – A Barbarian Path of the Berserker at 5th level gets 3 melee attacks, all at advantage, for 1 minute (ten rounds) four times per long rest which is pretty strong. If he was dual wielding he’d have 4.

    Our Ranger is already a duel wielder with horde breaker, so she gets 3 melee attacks every turn, and if she has any other target in range, she gets a bonus attack.

    Our Fighter is still working on the tactical path but I didn’t see anything out of her yet that approaches that.

    The Druid can knock out 3d10 a round with Call Lighting at range, in a decent radius, for 1 minute (save for half) – she was miffed that she got nerfed from 4d10, but I think we’re okay since she can turn into an Allosaurus now 😉

    and both my wizards have the 8d6 fireball up to 3 times a day…

    And none of these guys are really trying to twink or anything

    The issue with the playtest bard was that it was obviously not in the same league. We’re all stoked to see the bard powered up a bit.

    Specifically for mysteries, it might be a cool plot point to lay out the bits of the spell before hand, actually making it a quest for the player to complete this unknown spell – then when the player actually unlocks it at 10th give them a selection of spells they can pick from.

    I wouldn’t be adverse to the semicasters spells being off limits if it turns out too broken, but I don’t see it yet.

    And yes, the 6th level groups can deal a LOT of damage very quickly.

  6. Justin Willcox says:

    I am relatively unconcerned; an 11th level Ranger can make attacks limited only by ammo supply against targets within a 20′ wide circle, with Volley.

    As far as robbing the ranger, a ranged ranger’s attacks on the Hunter Archetype are qualitatively better due to other class features like Archery Fighting style and Colossus Slayer. This isn’t an apples to apples comparison, and I don’t begrudge the Bard a little cleverness here.

  7. Jonathan says:

    I say on par as well. Fighters can drop more than double that number of attacks in a round. Rangers have better damage per hit. If fighting smart opponents, four attacks will draw much attention.
    Fluffwise:
    I assume the same research conducted by a caster could be pursued by anyone with magical ability to get the same result. For divine casters, a back door or similar concept would suffice. There is always a way and for a class so associated with luck and broad mindedness, there always should be. I see the ability as a direct expression of the bard’s theme.

    Also, I can’t imagine shutting down a bard for breaking a game. The few people I meet that enjoy playing them regularly could give a rip about four attacks. They would grab every RP spell that wasn’t on their list.

    I mean no disrespect of either rule set at all and I would seriously recommend fourth edition for a player who created a bard only for mid-late game combat ability. I think it says something about what that player enjoys about d&d and what is the game without getting a bunch of what you enjoy. 4e has all the elements of a design engine for combat monsters.

    Thanks for the post and comments as always. Good brain food.

  8. Oalin says:

    I wouldn’t call it game breaking but it is monumentally cheeky that bards can pull spells from any spell list. But I’d worry less about Rangers and rather spare a thought for healing Clerics having their lunch eaten by bards. Our group is rocking a bard healer PC that’s gotten her mitts on the Paladin’s Aura of Vitality spell. Short story, it’s a duration spell that generates a heal every round. Great for Paladins because they can’t spam it but in the hands of dedicated caster, well, suffice it to say that including the bards Song of Rest ability (extra healing during a short rest) the group get’s topped up after each encounter at very little cost.

    And just to add insult to injury, she’s riding around on a Paladin’s mount (the acquisition of which is now a 2nd level Paladin spell not an inherent ability).

  9. Delasara says:

    I’m not sure what the problem is. D&D has always been about the DM providing guidlines for the players. What is too powerful in one world is underpowered in another. I love the fact that 5thE finally got back to giving the DM absolute power. The PHB states on multiple ocasions now that the DM may rule something out, or make alternate rules. The only time something is truelly “broken” is when a DM loses control and allows his players to break it. 3E allowed the DM to get lazy, 5thE is trying to fix that while still keeping many options open. All the classes have the same chance to get OP and this is just one example. It’s finally up to the DM to real it back in. Thanks for the article! Have a good one guys

  10. Pyrion says:

    I don’t think it’s really that powerful. Concentration by level 10 is still very hard to maintain. The Bard most likely, if Half Elven, will have +2 Con mod. Very easy to lose the spell mid-fight. If they have Warcaster they’ve given up +1 hit and damage on their ranged attacks or +1 to their spell DC.

    As for the argument that Magical Secrets will just get better over time, who said we are getting more spells? Even the psionics teasers in the Monster Manual have the abilities replicating spells in the PHB. New spellcasters can just have lists made with the spells already printed. I really do not see Wizards creating a lot more spells, just like they won’t be creating a ton of new classes. Instead we will see archetypes who probably make changes to existing spells in a clever way.

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  12. Flintlock says:

    How would this hack apply to dual wielding hand crossbows?

  13. jjf46n2 says:

    Bonus actions DO NOT STACK. You get ONE per round, no matter what level or class you are. so when a spell gives you extra attacks as a bonus action, and your class feature does the same, you have to choose between them.

  14. Eddie says:

    I like the idea of being able to pick “Any Spell”, but I also like to play in character. So for sure, if you’re playing a nature-oriented Bard he can be a “jack of all trades ranger”, etc. but My first bard I played music, so I couldn’t pick spells like Minor Illusion, or prestidigitation. It needs to fit a theme.

  15. Piper says:

    Well, what about when said bard is also an under control werewolf and basically impervious to damage. Being able to take some of the semi caster spells is going to make an invincible bard completely ridiculous. >.> thank you for telling me, I totally won’t misuse this, bards honor;)

  16. xyn says:

    If you as a DM are fool enough to let your players become lycanthropes, you are just asking for douchy shenanigans.

  17. itrick says:

    You’re also giving up a known spell to get that ranger spell, which is also concentration meaning you cannot maintain some of the other good bard spells.

    In some ways I think you’re better off as a bard stealing spiritual weapon, and getting a 1 minute non concentration 1d8(scalable) + Chr attack (using your bonus action) and then being able to maintain your other concentration spells.

    Then you can go melee, hold person/hold monster (guaranteed crit within 5 feet of target) and get 3 attacks.

    Another great spell to steal is actually counterspell (as bards get jack of all trades, and if you’re going lore bard like myself you can use an inspiration dice on any/all ability checks at level 14) – making it fairly easy to counter high level spells using lower level spell slots.

    Of course you could always just steal fireball and do a larger initial spike damage on multiple targets, presumeably wearing them down faster than a couple extra bow shots each turm. (of course that depends on whether you’re facing one opponent or many).

    Either way I don’t think this is game breaking. The ranger will be able to use hunters mark at that level which will give them an extra 2d6 damage presumeably, and the ranger may also have sharpshooter to give the +10 damage for a – 5 to hit, longer range, etc.

    Either way it’s a viable option for a bard that’s focusing on martial combat, aka the valour bard. There are drawbacks to focusing on ranged attacks. If someone gets in you’re grill you’ll be attacking at disadvantage too.

  18. Me says:

    Another good bard hack, drop one level Cleric Live domain and steal the goodberry spell from Druid at 6th lvl Lore Bard. You’ll be able to use a spell to heal 30 hp + 10 hp per spell level + extra d6 for each person that uses it during a short rest due to song of rest.

  19. Shawn says:

    jjf46n2 – College of Valor Extra Attack states “Starting at 6th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.” Swift Quiver states “On each of your turns until the spell ends, you can make two attacks with a weapon that uses ammunition from the quiver.” The first makes two attacks with an Attack action, the later two attacks with a Bonus action. I don’t think we’re stacking bonuses; one is an enhancement of the Attack action, the other is a Bonus action. They don’t overlap, IMO.

  20. Jacky Thunder says:

    I played up to level 17 with a Bard and have run a few campaigns in 5e since its release and wondered how broken it wound be for a Bard to have access to every spell list in the game. The short answer it feels like it would be but isn’t. Spells have found a nice curve to the game and are not as devastating as they once were in 3.5.

    With the removal of save or die spells, the Bard can’t cheat his way through the battle fields because no one has access to that kind of power anymore. Spells are now supplemented heavily by class features that manipulate magic: Wizard gets to choose a school and cast from that school better than anyone. Sorcerer has metamagic feats from pathfinder and 3.5 to bolster his effectiveness with spells. Warlock ALWAYS casts from his highest spell slot level. Cleric gets features that modify his spells based on his domain. Land Druid has terrain benefits to spells. Ranger and Paladin are the odd ones out, but honestly they are combat oriented classes with spells to compliment their style. That is unique in it’s own right.

    The bard doesn’t have anything that he can apply to his spells. His unique thing with magic is he knows a lot of it. He is the jack of all trades, having access to a little of everything, but never being the best at any of it. So what if he can cast fireball? He will never be able to deal as much damage as a sorcerer or an evocation wizard casting the same thing. So what if he casts eldritch blast as a cantrip? Warlock can manipulate it in so many ways that it pales in comparison.

  21. Rory Rory says:

    Good feedback, Jacky! Did you give Swift Quiver a try? It does seem like when you first get it, it could give you a huge edge in longer combats (if a combat is just 2-3 rounds, the bard doesn’t gain as much since they don’t get to use it round 1). Of course, by level 17, I the ranger has unlocked the spell anyway, but it is a little silly the bard can take it by level 11!

    In general, however, I agree there’s nothing wrong with the bard getting access to a wide array of spells, such as fireball; it’s only when they get a spell BEFORE everyone else, that it’s weird.

  22. Jacky Thunder says:

    The spell… is alright, and I think it makes sense that a master of knowledge could grab it before a ranger who spends more time learning combat maneuvers than reading books and scrolls. The spell is great for longer combat scenarios but it eats up a 5th level spell slot to do something other classes do better and for free but it does help the Bard hold his own if he wants to go combat outside of solid support. Let’s crunch some numbers though so I can explain what I’m getting at.

    We have a lore bard that has one attack and 2 bonus attacks from a bonus action due to swift quiver. We are shooting for maximum damage potential and have 2 options as a lore bard. We want to maximize our potential so we will be using a one-handed crossbow that deals 1d6+DEX (The highest damage ranged weapon the bard is proficient in). His other options are a dart and a sling but they lose 2 potential max damage. Let’s assume he has maxed his dexterity for sake of argument since he is trying to maximize his ranged damage for this spell.

    At level 10, The bard takes magical secrets and gets swift quiver. He bust out his loaded one-handed crossbow and fires with his attack action. He goes to fire again with his bonus actions and he fires once. Not twice.

    Here is a the loading property as described in the phb.

    “Because of the time required to load this weapon, you can only fire one piece of ammunition from it when you use an action, bonus action, or reaction to fire it, regardless of the number of attacks you can make.”

    The spell lets you get all the ammunition that you want, but the weapon limits you.

    So the Bard takes the Crossbow expert feat which lets you do the following:

    ———————————
    Crossbow Expert, PHB p. 165:

    • You ignore the loading quality of crossbows with which you are proficient.

    • Being within 5 feet of a hostile creature doesn’t impose disadvantage on your ranged attack rolls.

    • When you use the Attack action and attack with a one-handed weapon, you can use a bonus action to attack with a loaded hand crossbow you are holding.

    ———————————–

    We can now fire our 3 shots.
    We deal 3 shots of 1d6+5 for a damage potential of 18-33.

    Let’s look at the ranger. The ranger has the ability to use martial weapons. He also decides he is going to use crossbows, but bump it up a notch and use the heavy crossbow and the crossbow expert feat. He also has max dexterity but can attack only twice at level 10. He however has a natural ability called colossus slayer which lets him add 1d8 damage to any creature that is not at full. He attacks with his weapon, hits, his second attack adds the damage.

    With 2 hits each doing 1d10+5, and 1 dealing colossus slayer damage of 1d8, the damage range is 13-38. Pretty close there, I’d say.

    The fighter trumps them all flat out. Same setup as the ranger but no colossus slayer and he uses his action surge. 4 attacks at 1d10+5. 24-60.

    ——

    Fast forward to level 20 and we have a fighter shooting 4 times normally for 24-60 and 8 times with action surge for 48-120.

    We have a ranger that attacks 4 times with the swift quiver spell and 1 colossus slayer for and deals 25-68.

    And IF we went Valor Bard, for 1 more attack, he could potentially hit 24-44 with his one handed crossbow while using swift quiver.

    Now, let’s not forget the bard could multiclass and could take a higher damaging weapon. Sure. You lose your capstone and it takes a level longer to get the spell. You also need to pour dexterity into him to make him viable. He either A. Loses out on charisma (unlikely) or B. Loses out on CON… the stat he needs to maintain this very expensive 5th level spell. Seriously. One save per hit, DC minimum of 10. In addition, you don’t get to use bardic inspiration when you use this spell. You also can’t cast haste, can’t cast pretty much any good bard spell because most of them require concentration.

    ———Conclusion———-
    Is the spell a hack for the bard or broken? Not even close. Just to make use of it, the Bard has to sacrifice so much that other classes aren’t sacrificing for. They are actually benefiting.

    Is down right awesome? Well sure! Being able to take two attacks while saving your action to let’s say…. cast fireball then fire two bolts? Take the dodge action while shooting enemies? Disengage (Literally run away and shoot pursuers with no attacks of opportunity against you)? This is a lot of variety, but in no way makes the spell broken any more than how the ranger would be able to use it. Bard just gets it a little earlier.

  23. Rory Rory says:

    Jacky, there are a few items missing in your analysis that make swift quiver a lot more powerful:

    -Both High Elves and Wood Elves get Longbow proficiency. Since they also get +2 to Dex, they are already decent choices for a Bard looking to specialize in archery. So you avoid having to take an extra feat and use a better weapon to boot.

    -College of Valor is probably the better choice for a Bard planning to use Swift Quiver. They get Martial Weapons proficiency, so they don’t need to be Elves. They also get a second attack at 6. The downside? They need to wait until level 10 to take Swift Quiver, but that’s still 6 levels earlier than the ranger gets it.

    -The Fighter only gets action surge once a short or long rest (twice at level 17). That’s great for burst potential, but in a longer combat it won’t be as relevant.

    -The feat every ranged combat character should be taking at mid to high levels is Sharpshooter. Since attack scales higher than AC (just look at the monster manual), it often becomes worth it to take a -5 to your attack roll to get +10 damage. This rewards taking multiple attacks, and Valor Bards are taking 4 attacks a level 10, while Rangers and Fighters are only taking 2 (fighter jumps up to 3 attacks at 11, however).

    At level 10, a Valor Bard is taking 4 attacks per round after the first round. 1d8+5 X 4 = 24 – 52 damage (assuming they hit every round). If they have the sharpshooter feat and take a -5 to their attacks, the damage potential goes through the roof, but of course, they’re only going to do that versus low AC opponents.

    A ranger at level 10 is doing 13 – 34 (or 13-38 if they take the Crossbow feat instead of Sharpshooter). WAY lower.

    A fighter at level 10 is doing even less damage since they don’t have colossus slayer. However, they do have a +2 to hit and possibly other combat tricks, depending on their build. At level 11, they’re doing a respectable 18-39 damage, still less than the Bard. The +2 to hit means they definitely want to pick up Sharpshooter, since they’ll be using it more often, so they have some good explosive potential versus low AC opponents, though note they are still only taking 3 attacks a round versus the bard’s 4.

    The HUGE caveat here is if a combat only lasts 3-4 rounds, the math looks a lot better for the Ranger and Fighter since they front load their damage, where as Swiftquiver doesn’t start paying dividends until round 2. However, if a combat is 5-10 rounds long, the Bard pulls way ahead. Honestly, most D&D combats are actually pretty short in my experience, so it might be okay, but the Bard is already a super sweet class, so having this ace in the hole seems pretty attractive for those marathon fights.

  24. Jacky Thunder says:

    Well yeah, you can. But that still doesn’t eliminate the issues of a bard using the spell. So let’s make a pro/con chart of using swift quiver as an Elf bard:

    Pros:
    • Gets 4 attacks before any class.
    • With Elf, can use longbow for 1d8 damage with longbow instead of 1d6 with one-handed crossbow.
    • Variety with spell early on: Can attack twice with bonus action and use action for offensive spells or defensive maneuvers.
    • Don’t have to take the crossbow expert feat to get access to more damage from crossbows, so you have a stat boost or another feat of choice.

    Cons:
    • Taking Elf doesn’t give you access to crossbows so you lose out on potential damage.
    • Taking Elf doesn’t give you a bonus to Charisma needed for your spells.
    • Have to spread your stats away from Charisma because you need Dexterity for damage and Constitution for concentration.
    • You only get to cast the spell twice before you’re out. 3 Times max at 18th.
    • Have to maintain concentration to keep the spell up.
    • Fighter will best you at level 16.
    • Ranger will best you at level 17.
    • You can’t cast Bardic inspiration because you’re using your bonus action to attack.

    • You can’t cast any of these spells because they require concentration: Animate Objects, Bane, Bestow Curse, Compulsion, Confusion, Crown of Madness, Detect Magic, Dominate Person, Faerie Fire, Fear, Greater Invisibility, Heat Metal, Heroism, Hold Monster, Hold Person, Hypnotic Pattern, Invisibility, Major Image, Phantasmal Force, Polymorph, Silence, Stinking Cloud, Suggestion, and Tasha’s Hideous Laughter.

    “There are more, but these are only from the Bard spell list, 5th level and under, and spells you’d more than likely use in combat. Most of them are quite good providing crowd control, with a couple of them so powerful they can shut down some of the most terrifying creatures with minimal effort. (Polymorph)”

    ——————————-
    Speaking of animated objects:
    It’s also a 5th level spell. If you get 10 small objects to fight for you, they each deal 1d8+2 damage and each have 25 Hp. With a single casting you can deal 30-100 damage a round and add 250 effective HP on field. You don’t have to fight and can go somewhere safe to maintain concentration while your spell does the work.
    ——————————-

    I’m not saying that swift quiver isn’t good. I’m saying that the Bard has to sacrifice a lot to make it work, and at the end of the day, the fighter and ranger will beat him out come end builds… In a game of min/maxing anyways. Frankly if a Bard wants to be an archer, by all means he should be able to and this spell makes him able to. That’s pretty cool in its own right but something that takes this much away from a character is far from a hack.

  25. Rory Rory says:

    Jacky, I’ll note anyone looking to take Swift Quiver probably will just take College of Valor and take whatever race is a good fit for their stats and preferences since that gives you proficiency with all martial weapons. You would only take elf if you were going for college of lore and still wanted to use swift quiver.

    I’m not clear why a fighter would best you at level 16. They don’t get their 3rd bonus attack until level 20, which is a long ways to wait and frankly a lot of campaigns don’t even make it that far.

    Also, it’s worth noting that by the time rangers get swift quiver, the bard can still cast it more times!

    Anyway, the rest of your points are quite sound. I do tend to forget that concentration is a lot more limited than in previous editions and easily disrupted.

    Also, it’s my personal belief that the conjure and animate line of spells are some of the most busted in D&D :). Even conjure animals, a 3rd level spell, gets you 8 wolves to work with, which each do an average of 7 damage on a hit. Basically, casting one of those spells is throwing down the gauntlet and demanding that your enemies hunt you down and break your concentration. So in light of spell like that (and things like Polymorph that can positively wreck a single enemy), swift quiver doesn’t look quite so busted.

  26. Jacky Thunder says:

    I stand corrected, you are right. The Fighter does get their 3 extra attack at 20.

  27. Crim Crysari says:

    At level 17 a Bard would be able to cast it 6x not 3. You can always use a higher level slot. Let me be clear, however. A Bard may not always be a strictly better Archer than a Ranger. Tho there are points in which the light can shine in his favor to be the better Archer. This is WHILE being also really good at several other things such as being a burst mage, and healer, and fighter, and support. Bard is now more than ever a journeyman of all trades.

  28. Harlequin says:

    Now there is the road @jack – Animated Objects, same goes für the rest of the “summoning Spells”
    as pointed out here: http://www.tribality.com/2015/11/16/dd-5e-character-optimization-conjurer-handbook/

    Summon Woodland beings gives you access to SOOOOOO many great options:
    8 Pixies
    – 8x diff terrain through entangle where u need it
    – Big Buffed Enemy Caster? -> 8x Dispel(though low +mod) to the rescue
    – 8x Polymorph your Buddies into T-Rexes (that alone tanks SO much dmg the awsome T-Rex Attacks seem like icing), or just chain cast this or your tankteam to hold that chokepoint without them ever loosing a personal HP (view new polymorph rules)
    – the utility of Polymorph alone is breathtaking
    and at higher lv ? how about 16Pixies or 24 ?
    Your Imagination is the limit with this spell.

    Drawback?
    yes … 1HP Pixies need protection as those Spells are concentration meaning 1 good enemy AOE and its over.
    Still, THE best magical Secrets Options for a Bard IMHO

    I forgot … the Best … you get to play with Pixies/Satyrs/Dryad for an hour … now there is your PartyTime 😛

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