Monday, June 21, 2010

Critical Playtesting #1 The Bard

Playtesting different classes and races so you'll give them a shot.

I could be horribly wrong but I feel that the Bard is one of the most overlooked classes of Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition. I find it hilarious since the Bard was well received in 3.5 and yet it was crap back then. Here it is, fixed, redesigned, repackaged, half the number of calories, the same great taste, and not many people are giving it a second look.

Some of the reasons people aren't playing a Bard:
The Cleric is a better healer.
The Warlord is better at dishing out the hurt.
The Shaman is able to summon.
The Ardent is psionic and new and shiny.
They don't know what the Bard does differently from other classes with a Leader role.

Some of the reasons people SHOULD play a Bard:
1) Multi-class master. Thanks to this, you can fill in almost any role.
2) You are the king of positioning allies and enemies.
3) You get almost every skill in the game.
4) You're the best Leader at debuffing thanks to being a secondary controller.
5) You're almost as good at enabling second attacks as the Warlord is.
6) You can lead from any position.

So let's get into details shall we? Some of these could use elaboration.

1) Other classes can only multi-class once. You laugh at them. You can multi-class as much as your heart desires and possibly the hearts of your friends if they really want you pulling off certain roles that they need for their team. Gotta love peer pressure right? The funny thing is, even the simplest idea of multi-classing with the other Leaders means you can gain access to better healing abilities. Normally the Bard is only average at healing but after multi-classing with the Cleric or another Leader, you can heal giant gaping wounds with the best of them. Another really nifty thing is, you can multi-class with different Defender classes and after grabbing some feats and other things, you can actually be a secondary defender. So you can be a Leader, Controller (right out of the box without much help), or even Defender. You are some kind of swiss-army sword my friend. Don't try to build a Striker version though. Better people have tried. Give up on it. You excel more at Leader and Controller though than Defender, just to make sure we're clear on this. Kapish?

2) You can literally move allies around to enemies that they might not be able to reach otherwise. There are so many strategic advantages to this you wouldn't believe. Anyone who has played Chess or a Tactics game will get this instantly. You can position allies out of tough spots like if they're surrounded and you can even position enemies. This always turns into fun when you can throw enemies into fire, pits, traps, their grandma, or whatever.

3) Who doesn't like getting skills? More skills means you get more street cred. Now that 4th edition has skill challenges (make sure your DM is implementing those, they're fun) you are ready for just about anything they can throw at you. You can also use skills in clever ways in or out of combat.

4) Some say that you could literally replace a Controller in the party. Other Leaders can't say that. You're just that good. Show off your stuff. Controllers weren't originally defined as primarily large scale debuffers when 4th Edition first came out. The design team realized that controllers would need to do more than just AoE (area of effect) spells and so they passed this little present on over to them to add to their repertoire. Being a Leader, you already can buff and heal while still having better HP than a controller normally would.

5) Warlord's are the masters of adding critical bonuses and generating second attacks for your allies. You're the second best at this and your allies will always appreciate you for this. Go you. Be ready for a lot of high fiving later.

6) Some Leader classes are forced to lead from certain positions. Whether it be from behind or in the front. Innuendos aside, not only can you use a large variety of weapons but you have different powers for those weapons as well. You can either focus on a specific range, like being a swordsman or archer, or you can learn all the tricks of the trade and use different weapons for different powers.

So there you have it. Those are some of the reasons the Bard deserves a second look and possibly a cookie. So start learning how to bake now.

This is Kylak signing out.


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