Role: Leader. Your spells inspire and invigorate your allies. Your spells also include significant control elements, making controller a natural secondary role.
Power Source: Arcane. You channel magical power through words and music, studying long and hard to master the power contained in the lore and sagas of old.
Key Abilities: Charisma, Intelligence, Constitution

Armor Proficiencies: Cloth, leather, hide, chainmail; light shields.
Weapon Proficiencies: Simple melee, simple ranged, military ranged, longsword, scimitar, short sword.
Implement: Wand
Bonus to Defense: +1 Reflex, +1 Will.

Hit Points at 1st Level: 12+ Constitution Score.
Hit Points per Level Gained: 5
Healing Surges per Day: 7+ Constitution Modifier.

Trained Skills: Arcana. From the class skills list below, choose 4 more trained skills at 1st level.
Class Skills: Acrobatics (Dex), Arcana (Int), Athletics (Str), Bluff (Cha), Diplomacy (Cha), Dungeoneering (Wis), Heal (Wis), History (Int), Insight (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Nature (Wis), Perception (Wis), Religion (Int), Streetwise (Cha).

Build Options: Cunning Bard, Prescient Bard, Valorous Bard.
Class features: Bardic Training, Bardic Virtue, Majestic Word, Multiclass Versatility, Skill Versatility, Song of Rest, Words of Friendship.

Bards are artists first and foremost, and they practice magic just as they practice song, drama, or poetry. They have a clear sense of how people perceive reality, so they master charm magic and some illusions. Sagas of great heroes are part of a bard’s repertoire, and most bards follow the example of many fables and become skilled in a variety of fields. A bard’s artistic ability, knowledge of lore, and arcane might are widely respected, particularly among the world’s rulers.
Art and magic share a sublime beauty, and, as a bard, you seek the place where the two meet. You might be a naturally talented wanderer who casts impressive spells almost instinctively, a student of a bardic college who learned ordered systems of magic and epic poetry, a warrior skald who mixes skill at arms with thundering music, a dashing performer known for putting on a good show even for your enemies, or a perfectionist who seeks the consummate formula that blends art and magic into a higher force.
A steady rhythm beats in the back of your mind as you brandish your sword. Your eyes and ears pick up the motion of the villains that surround you, and one glance tells you everything you need to know to defeat them. You whistle three staccato notes, letting your allies know the symphony of battle is about to begin.


Your choice of ability scores, class features, and powers suggests one of two builds based on the storied virtues of cunning and valor. All bards use Charisma for their attacks. Intelligence increases the effect of tricky attacks, and Constitution is best for powers that inspire allies.


The heroes of the past whom you hold as exemplars overcame adversity and escaped danger using their wits, by tricking their foes and concocting cunning stratagems. You seek to emulate those heroes, combining your winning personality with a keen intellect. You use Charisma for your attack powers, so make it your highest score, followed by Intelligence to improve the effects of your tricky powers. Constitution is a good third score. Look for powers that let you put your cunning to work. Most cunning bards focus on ranged attack powers, using a wand from a safe distance to orchestrate the flow of battle.
    Class Feature: Virtue of Cunning
    Suggested Feat: Advantage of Cunning
    Suggested Skills: Arcana, Bluff, Intimidate, Perception, Streetwise
    Suggested At-Will Powers: misdirected mark, vicious mockery
    Suggested Encounter Power: blunder
    Suggested Daily Power: stirring shout


You have the foresight to navigate the twisting roads of luck and fate, emulating those heroes who were able to sense the truths beyond mere reality. By manipulating luck and glimpsing the future, you help your allies exploit every advantage, attacking your enemies’ weakest defenses and avoiding mishaps in combat. You wield a ranged weapon, with which you can cast spells at enemies from a distance while inspiring allies. As with other bards, you use Charisma for your attack powers, so it should be your highest ability score. Choose Wisdom as your second-highest score, since it enhances the effects of powers that use the Virtue of Prescience. A decent Intelligence score is useful for improving your Armor Class and Reflex defense, as well as boosting the knowledge skills that you often use.
    Class Feature: Virtue of Prescience
    Suggested Feat: Extended Prescience
    Suggested Skills: Arcana, Diplomacy, History, Insight, Perception
    Suggested At-Will Powers: guiding strike, jinx shot
    Suggested Encounter Power: prophesied strike
    Suggested Daily Power: arrow of warning


To your mind, the ancient heroes most worthy of emulation are those whose courage in the face of overwhelming odds carried them to victory. Your own fortitude and forceful personality inspire similar valor in your allies. Your highest ability score should be Charisma, since you use it for attack powers, followed by Constitution to improve your powers of inspiration. It’s a good idea to make Intelligence your third score. Choose powers that emphasize valor and endurance in the face of adversity. Most valorous bards focus on melee and close attack powers, wielding a sword in the thick of battle and leading by example.
    Class Feature: Virtue of Valor
    Suggested Feat: Strength of Valor
    Suggested Skills: Arcana, Athletics, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Perception
    Suggested At-Will Powers: guiding strike, war song strike
    Suggested Encounter Power: shout of triumph
    Suggested Daily Power: slayer’s song


Each bard has the powers majestic word and words of friendship.

You gain the Ritual Caster feat as a bonus feat, allowing you to use magical rituals. You own a ritual book, and it contains two rituals of your choice that you have mastered: one 1st-level ritual that has bard as a prerequisite and another 1st-level ritual.
    In addition, you can perform one bard ritual per day of your level or lower without expending components, although you must pay any other costs and use any focus required by the ritual. At 11th level, you can perform two bard rituals per day of your level or lower without expending components; at 21st level, you can perform three.

Bards praise many virtues in their stories, telling tales of people whose particular qualities set them above common folk. The valor of dauntless heroes and the cunning of great minds are among these virtues, and a bard can choose to emphasize either quality.
    Choose one of the following options. The choice you make gives you the benefit described below and also provides bonuses to certain bard powers, as detailed in those powers.

Virtue of Cunning
Once per round, when an enemy attack misses an ally within a number of squares of you equal to 5 + your Intelligence modifier, you can slide that ally 1 square as a free action.

Virtue of Prescience
Once per encounter as an immediate interrupt, when an enemy hits one ally within 5 squares of you, you grant that ally a power bonus equal to your Wisdom modifier to the defense targeted by the triggering enemy until the end of that enemy’s turn.

Virtue of Valor
Once per round, when any ally within 5 squares of you reduces an enemy to 0 hit points or bloodies an enemy, you can grant temporary hit points to that ally as a free action. The number of temporary hit points equals 1 + your Constitution modifier at 1st level, 3 + your Constitution modifier at 11th level, and 5 + your Constitution modifier at 21st level.

The arcane power of a bard’s voice can heal allies. You gain the majestic word power.

Bard Feature Majestic Word

You utter words laden with preternatural inspiration, restoring your ally’s stamina and making wounds seem insignificant.

Encounter (Special)        Arcane, Healing
Minor Action      Close burst 5 (10 at 11th level, 15 at 21st level)

Target: You or one ally in the burst

Effect: The target can spend a healing surge and regain additional hit points equal to your Charisma modifier. You also slide the target 1 square.
Level 6: 1d6 + Charisma modifier additional hit points.
Level 11: 2d6 + Charisma modifier additional hit points.
Level 16: 3d6 + Charisma modifier additional hit points.
Level 21: 4d6 + Charisma modifier additional hit points.
Level 26: 5d6 + Charisma modifier additional hit points.

Special: You can use this power twice per encounter, but only once per round. At 16th level, you can use this power three times per encounter, but only once per round.

You can choose class-specific multiclass feats from more than one class.

You gain a +1 bonus to untrained skill checks.

When you play an instrument or sing during a short rest, you and each ally who can hear you are affected by your Song of Rest. When an affected character spends healing surges at the end of the rest, that character regains additional hit points equal to your Charisma modifier with each healing surge. A character can be affected by only one Song of Rest at a time.

You gain the words of friendship power.

Bard Feature Words of Friendship

You infuse your words with arcane power, turning even the simplest speech into a compelling oration.

Encounter        Arcane, Charm
Minor Action      Personal

Effect: You gain a +5 power bonus to the next Diplomacy check you make before the end of your next turn.


Bards use wands to direct and control their spells. When you wield a magic wand, you can add its enhancement bonus to the attack rolls and the damage rolls of bard powers and bard paragon path powers that have the implement keyword. Without a wand, you can still use these powers.
    Songblades and some magic musical instruments (see Chapter 3) can be used as implements for bard powers and bard paragon path powers. Bards treasure these magic musical instruments not only for the power they offer, but for the wondrous melodies they produce in the hands of a skilled musician.

Published in Player's Handbook 2, page(s) 66.