Questions regarding the Bardadin build

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Lasos
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Questions regarding the Bardadin build

Post by Lasos » Mon Oct 07, 2019 4:28 pm

Hi all,

I was thinking about throwing myself into something new, and the Bardadin build looks really interesting. I have a few questions about the mechanics related to some of the feat- and skill-choices of the Cookie Cutter build though. I've posted the build here so people don't have to look it up themselves if they want to contribute.

Attributes (6 Str, 1 Cha on level up):
STR 18 (16 + gift) --> 24
DEX 8 --> 8
CON 14 --> 14
INT 14 --> 14
WIS 8 --> 8
CHA 17 (15+gift) --> 18

Race: Human

End Bard 20/Fighter 6/Paladin 4
1 Bard: Expertise + Improved Expertise
2 Bard:
3 Bard: Curse Song
4 Fighter: Weapon Focus
5 Fighter: Power Attack
6 Fighter: Blind Fight
7 Fighter: Weapon Spec
8 Bard:
9 Bard: Toughness/knockdown
10 Paladin:
11 Paladin:
12 Paladin: Divine Shield
13 Bard:
14 Bard:
15 Bard: Still Spell
16 Bard:
17 Bard:
18 Paladin: Divine Might
19 Bard:
20 Bard:
21 Fighter: Epic Weapon Focus
22 Fighter: Epic Weapon Spec
23 Bard:
24 Bard: Improved Critical
25 Bard:
26 Bard:
27 Bard: Armor Skin
28 Bard:
29 Bard:
30 Bard: Lasting Inspiration

Skills: Discipline (33), Perform (33), Spellcraft (33), Taunt (33), Tumble (30), Concentration (20), Heal (17), UMD (7).

So questions are the following:
  1. Concentration (20): I understand that this is to better resist things like taunts. But will 20 be enough for that to properly help against it? I get that the bard song will raise this by +8, and Con modifiers will help. How often is this used to merit diverting 16 points from let's say Heal?
  2. Still spell: Having never played a bard before, I am unsure what the use of this is. I understand that this would essentially allow you to cast your spells one spellslot higher while wearing armor (idea being you can do it in battle). Considering how "few" spells the Bard can cast per day, I thought most spells would be used preparatory, and especially coupled with only 20 concentration, how usefull is it to be able to cast spells in combat? Also, this does not affect level 6 spells, since they are the last tier of spells (so no Mass Hastes without removing armor and shield, which you can't do during battle). I thought perhaps Extend Spell (or another combat feat), would have more use here? But I am sure there is something I am missing.
  3. Toughness/Knockdown: In the build notes it states that the Knockdown feat can be gained through the Ring of the Ram. I find knockdown incredibly useful, and I was just wondering if it is reliable to count on using the ring for most of the game (if you can acquire one). Not knowing the specific properties of the ring, this probably means less Str, Con or Cha since I imagine it will be hard to enchant with anything other than what it comes with. The build definetely seems light on HP considering it is a tanky build, so Toughness would be great, but I am unsure how viable this build strategy is.
Any insights would be much appreciated!
Last edited by Lasos on Tue Oct 08, 2019 6:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

Sea Shanties
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Re: Questions regarding the Bardadin build

Post by Sea Shanties » Mon Oct 07, 2019 7:23 pm

If you don't take still spell you can only reliably cast between fights and only when taking your armor off. It's doable but it's a really clunky way to play.

Some people take create wand instead and only use that for buffs --not casting spells in combat at all (but as above you could do it between fights when you can take armor off.) Then you also have a commodity you can sell, though this can be an expensive way to play too since making wands does cost gold and xp and wands don't necessarily sell quickly. This also limits you to level 4 spells and under and means you can't cast anything like hold person or confusion with a DC.

I'd probably just take still spell myself. The fact that you have to wear armor but your spells are screwed by wearing that armor is why I never got the hang of bards. They're real fiddly to play especially at lower levels.

Rings of the Ram are out there but can be difficult to find, I found three on one character who didn't even need them and never saw a single one on the character who did need it. If being able to knockdown is important to you I wouldn't rely on finding that ring. I'm not even sure if they're still in the loot matrix and if they are that doesn't mean they always will be. The 30 HP from toughness is nice to have but not a dealbreaker.

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Dr. B
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Re: Questions regarding the Bardadin build

Post by Dr. B » Mon Oct 07, 2019 7:39 pm

Still spell is important. It's extremely handy to be able to supply your own zoo buffs, haste, silence, and improved invisibility, especially since yours will last longer than those cast from potions or wands. There may also be occasions on which you will need to cast ethereal visage.

Wrips
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Re: Questions regarding the Bardadin build

Post by Wrips » Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:21 pm

Personally, I'd take Still Spell and Toughness.

The Heal skill is purely QoF, I'd probably shore up Concentration, in the case you need to reapply some buffs during battle. The Lesser Moonblade is always a good option for a weapon, so I'd consider UMD investment, too, for that.

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Re: Questions regarding the Bardadin build

Post by Shadowy Reality » Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:55 pm

Why would you want to cast your own spells with CL20 though?

That just opens you for a massive set back when anyone sneezes a dispel your way.

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Re: Questions regarding the Bardadin build

Post by Wrips » Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:38 pm

It's just convenience, plus War cry. If you don't want to cast in battle and just use wands, you can still have Still Spell for convenience

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Re: Questions regarding the Bardadin build

Post by Shadowy Reality » Mon Oct 07, 2019 10:29 pm

I think one would be far better served moving that Improved Critical to where Still Spell is and netting Epic Prowess in Epics, or an Epic Save feat.

Sure, War Cry is nice, and so is haste and improved invis, but the last two can easily be had from wands. In fact, you should not be casting at all, and just be using wands for 100% of your buffs.
The build does not even have Extend Spell to really make use of that duration.

And again, any dispel from high level mobs or in PvP is going to strip you of all your buffs, I dont think that convenience is actually that convenient.

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Dr. B
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Re: Questions regarding the Bardadin build

Post by Dr. B » Tue Oct 08, 2019 4:20 am

Look, feel free to forego Still Spell. I'll be content knowing that you'll be miserable for having ignored my advice.

You don't need Epic Prowess. With Bard Song, Curse Song, and Taunt your functional AB is extremely high. It's a waste of a feat on this build. So is an epic save feat. With Divine Grace and Bard Song your saves are more than sufficient.

Forget War Cry; it's not the primary reason to take Still Spell. I played one of these to level 30 and can definitively tell you I'd have been miserable without Still Spell. "Convenience" is putting the benefits mildly; a free, two minute haste is much more preferable than a 60 second one I have to pay money for. (Similar considerations apply for zoo buffs, improved invisibility, and silence, mutatis mutandis). Not to mention, you cannot cast Ethereal Visage from wands or potions. I cannot emphasize how useful it is to be able to pop an Ethereal Visage and Silence Aura, then vanquish enemy caster mobs. They won't be able to dispel you if they cannot cast, and by the time they manage to cast your silence aura will have reached them.

Ethereal Visage is also extremely useful in PvP. It prevents someone from screwing you over with a Silence wand. The "Yes but it can be dispelled" argument ignores the fact that dispelling someone is an action, which takes time--an entire round if it's cast from a scroll--during which time you're doing other things, like killing the person who is dispelling you, or better yet, getting your Bard Song up before they have a chance to silence you. Did mention its use in PvE?

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Re: Questions regarding the Bardadin build

Post by Shadowy Reality » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:26 am

You are not wrong, it is very useful for PvE and most day to day activities.

But it is a trap for when PvP arrives. IIRC the way your CL works is that if you never cast a spell from a spellbook your CL for buffs cast from wands and potions is considered to be your level (CL30 at level 30). That is not impossible to dispel, but it is hard. If you cast a spell from your spellbook, both your cast spells and spells from wands and potions will be your bard level (CL20) as well.

Dispel is more often than not the first action everyone does in PvP just because of how useful it is. Mord's will breach you of useful buffs, and in your case leave you butt naked. It doesnt much matter if you get Bard Song off, you already lost the zoo buffs, the invisibility, the haste, the ethereal visage and everything else.

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Dr. B
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Re: Questions regarding the Bardadin build

Post by Dr. B » Tue Oct 08, 2019 6:36 pm

Shadowy Reality wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:26 am

Dispel is more often than not the first action everyone does in PvP just because of how useful it is. Mord's will breach you of useful buffs, and in your case leave you butt naked. It doesnt much matter if you get Bard Song off, you already lost the zoo buffs, the invisibility, the haste, the ethereal visage and everything else.
There are ways to counter being dispelled. One is by turning invisible. Another is by using Curse Song to gimp your enemy's UMD so that they cannot use mord scrolls.

Frankly, I struggle to picture what people are describing in many of these theoretical discussions about PvP. It is they conceive of PvP as turn-based rather than something that happens in real time, where one party stands there obliviously while the other party does things to them, and then vice versa. These discussions often overlook the fact that people have different levels of competence and that, in many cases, they may not be carrying tools like mord scrolls, etc. They ignore the fact that people may make gambits like throwing up a Silence aura and then charging at you. They ignore the fact that people often will put little roleplay into their interactions before doing things like the latter. They ignore the fact that people may arrive at these encounters with different levels of preparation.

If you're truly concerned about being dispelled, Still Spell does not prevent you from casting your buffs from items, on occasions where you think it would be a better idea.

There is a reason that the cookie cutter Bardadin build has Still Spell, and that's expert consensus. If it weren't better than the alternative, experts would not be recommending it. Feel free to ignore that advice at your own peril.

It's also worth reading my signature.

One more thing: I've updated this build to include Knockdown instead of Toughness, since Rings of the Ram were removed from the loot matrix recently. Between the two, Knockdown is vastly more useful, especially in synergy with your Bard Song and Curse Song. If you're feeling lucky and think someone out there still has a Ring of the Ram and will sell it to you, then feel free to take Toughness instead, but there are no guarantees.

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Re: Questions regarding the Bardadin build

Post by Curve » Wed Oct 09, 2019 4:45 am

talking about experts, and badges, and saying things like “ignore at your own peril” is a bad look. It is silly. You make builds, she makes builds, they make builds, we all make builds. I don’t care what the discord experts say, I am agreeing with SR based on my own years and years of experiences, even though I don’t know what a git good badge is. Take that for what it’s worth, OP.

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Peppermint
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Re: Questions regarding the Bardadin build

Post by Peppermint » Wed Oct 09, 2019 6:20 am

Still Spell can be great on a bard. War Cry and Wounding Whispers are very useful. Access to the rest of your spellbook at a longer duration and on a 3 second cast (with Haste) is very useful. Many players swear by Still Spell on their bards.

On the other hand, neglecting spellcasting entirely nets you more resistance to dispels and saves you a feat. This option is viable, too.

AFAIK there is no consensus on which is "better". It's a matter of taste.

Lasos
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Re: Questions regarding the Bardadin build

Post by Lasos » Wed Oct 09, 2019 6:42 am

Pepptermint wrote:AFAIK there is no consensus on which is "better". It's a matter of taste.
It would seem so. At least I've had my mind made up about both Still spell and Toughness/Knockdown. Still curious about why 20 skill points in Concentration would be consideret enough for anything, really, like resisting taunts and casting spells mid battle.

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Re: Questions regarding the Bardadin build

Post by monkeywithstick » Wed Oct 09, 2019 9:30 am

Lasos wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 6:42 am
Pepptermint wrote:AFAIK there is no consensus on which is "better". It's a matter of taste.
It would seem so. At least I've had my mind made up about both Still spell and Toughness/Knockdown. Still curious about why 20 skill points in Concentration would be consideret enough for anything, really, like resisting taunts and casting spells mid battle.
23 concentration (20 +3 from con mod) is enough to defensive cast level 5 spells which is all you will be casting in combat (because still spell) that prevents the AOO. It's unlikely it'll save you from damage disrupting the spell cast but in PvP damage is often high enough that this is mostly moot I imagine. Also Bard song will boost it higher.
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Peppermint
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Re: Questions regarding the Bardadin build

Post by Peppermint » Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:36 pm

20 concentration would help with a junk taunt investment in PvP, but that's so niche I wouldn't build for it. Either maximize comcentration for spellcasting or maximize heal. Don't try to do both.

Alternatively, reduce your starting intelligence to 13 and take neither. Then also reduce your starting charisma by 1 and put an extra point into strength. Put all level ups into strength (i.e. none into charisma), netting +1 AB at the cost of 2 charisma.

Worth it? Depends. But it's an option.

Lasos
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Re: Questions regarding the Bardadin build

Post by Lasos » Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:52 pm

Peppermint wrote:20 concentration would help with a junk taunt investment in PvP, but that's so niche I wouldn't build for it. Either maximize comcentration for spellcasting or maximize heal. Don't try to do both.
I agree with this. I feel like Concentration is a "nice to have" on this build, and the way I see the build work, I feel like one could manage just fine without. This opens up an interesting possibility of putting a total of ~25 points into UMD (+5 modifier should be easy to reach with 18 base Cha), and then sink the rest into Heal (~20 Heal or something). This would allow me to wield the Lesser Moon Blade, essentially getting +1 AB (and other stuff) compared to the Damask weapon I would otherwise be wielding, while keeping the 18 Cha (for +1 Uni saves).

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Dr. B
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Re: Questions regarding the Bardadin build

Post by Dr. B » Wed Oct 09, 2019 4:06 pm

Peppermint wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 6:20 am
Still Spell can be great on a bard. War Cry and Wounding Whispers are very useful. Access to the rest of your spellbook at a longer duration and on a 3 second cast (with Haste) is very useful. Many players swear by Still Spell on their bards.

On the other hand, neglecting spellcasting entirely nets you more resistance to dispels and saves you a feat. This option is viable, too.
I should point out here, as I did in a prior post, that these options are not mutually exclusive. I'm not attributing the latter claim to you, although this piece of advice might lend itself to the false impression that dispel DC is a good reason not to take Still Spell, which other people in this thread appear to be under. But Still Spell doesn't deprive you of the option to cast your spells from items at times where you think it would be a better idea.

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Re: Questions regarding the Bardadin build

Post by monkeywithstick » Wed Oct 09, 2019 5:09 pm

When does the CL reset to 30 after casting from a spellbook?
Isn't it on server reset?
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Sea Shanties
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Re: Questions regarding the Bardadin build

Post by Sea Shanties » Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:07 pm

Guess I never considered this but if you drop spellcasting altogether on a bard you'd really have no need to bother with Charisma at all would you? Assuming you aren't taking divine class levels the only loss would be to perform-- which would hurt but isn't impossible to overcome.

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Re: Questions regarding the Bardadin build

Post by Dalenger » Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:20 pm

I've heard of 16bard/7WM/7Fighter builds with dump char that only casts from wands. No lasting inspiration, but great short term undispellable buff potential. I'd guess that this build could eat standard WMers for breakfast, but between songs would just be a shittier WMer.
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Peppermint
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Re: Questions regarding the Bardadin build

Post by Peppermint » Thu Oct 10, 2019 1:04 am

Dr. B wrote:I should point out here, as I did in a prior post, that these options are not mutually exclusive. I'm not attributing the latter claim to you, although this piece of advice might lend itself to the false impression that dispel DC is a good reason not to take Still Spell, which other people in this thread appear to be under. But Still Spell doesn't deprive you of the option to cast your spells from items at times where you think it would be a better idea.
I disagree.

Once you've cast a spell, your effective caster level versus dispels is set until the next reset. Meaning that unless you have some kind of divine foresight that PvP will be taking place in X hours, you will never have the opportunity to 'choose' whether to cast--or not to. By taking Still Spell, you are committing to being a caster.
Sea Shanties wrote:Guess I never considered this but if you drop spellcasting altogether on a bard you'd really have no need to bother with Charisma at all would you? Assuming you aren't taking divine class levels the only loss would be to perform-- which would hurt but isn't impossible to overcome.
Correct, but with a qualifier.

Divine builds still want charisma for divine buffs.

Bard/PDK (Valiant) builds still want charisma for PDK buffs.

Pure support bards still want charisma for spellcasting (i.e. they have solid CL).

There are some unconventional builds that could benefit from dumping charisma (e.g. a Bard/WM), but most bard builds will invest regardless.

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Dr. B
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Re: Questions regarding the Bardadin build

Post by Dr. B » Thu Oct 10, 2019 2:47 am

That is a convincing point, or would be, if it were not for the fact that the majority of people who forego Still Spell on a Bard are probably going to be lazy and use its spells most of the time anyway, removing and replacing their armor to do so.

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Re: Questions regarding the Bardadin build

Post by Peppermint » Thu Oct 10, 2019 2:56 am

Sure. And the average player will play a mage really suboptimally, too.

By the time you've backpedaled to the position of "choice X is bad because some players will play it badly", you've already conceded the argument.

Mechanics should be discussed at a level of competency, not at the level of the lowest common denominator.

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Dr. B
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Re: Questions regarding the Bardadin build

Post by Dr. B » Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:22 am

The decision to armor-swap and cast shouldn't and needn't be attributed to incompetence. Players will do this simply out of habit and convenience, and because it's easier than the hassle of buying constant potions and wands. Convenience is also a hugely relevant factor in build decisions. So, no, I haven't conceded the debate here. Not taking still spell is likely to result in a comparatively tedious experience. Only if you're willing to *never* cast from your Spell Book is the above advice about dispel DCs really applicable.

But even then, I've mentioned other benefits of taking Still Spell besides convenience; it can negate silence (and can be cast while silenced), which can disable your Bard Song. Could you carry around Ethereal Visage scrolls and silence wands? Sure. Each of those will take full round to use, of course, and will not last as long. It also gives access to Wounding Whispers, as mentioned.

I find the claim that "these things are a matter of taste" only goes so far, or, even if true, is misleading. First, builds are about determining what's useful, and what's useful is not a matter of taste, but a matter of fact. Second, even if what's useful is fixed by a goal, and even if different players may have different goals with their builds, I'm going to aver here that the variation in these goals is probably overstated. Generally, most of your mechanical experience on Arelith involves killing spawns, and overall, Still Spell is far more useful to that effect. Most players would probably also prefer to save money and not have to constantly replenish potions and wands, in some cases searching around in vain for a player shop that sells them. Still Spell is also the more preferable feat here. Most Bard players are probably not toting Ethereal Visage scrolls, or are not friends with someone who crafts them. Again, still Spell can give you access to that. Most players would probably prefer a two-minute haste to a one minute one, especially when fighting monsters. Still Spell. You can counter level 6 spells and lower if you prep Greater Dispel. Still Spell.

I could go on here. Forego Still Spell only if you're extraordinary.

Edit: Oh, and one more thing--I cannot believe I forgot to say this earlier:
Peppermint wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 1:04 am
I disagree.

Once you've cast a spell, your effective caster level versus dispels is set until the next reset. Meaning that unless you have some kind of divine foresight that PvP will be taking place in X hours, you will never have the opportunity to 'choose' whether to cast--or not to. By taking Still Spell, you are committing to being a caster.
Here is my retort: in many ways the Bardadin is an endgame build, even though it is quite powerful before level 30. But level 30 is when you get Lasting Inspiration and thus when the build really comes into its own. Moreover, once you hit level 30, you will no longer need to kill spawns. At that point, if you want, you can stop using your spells. That means that if PvP strikes, you can cast your spells from items. PvP is generally when you should be most worried about dispels. Spawns cast them, but spawns are *stupid* and you can find many ways to avoid their dispels (I suggested one in this thread, though it requires Still Spell!).

In this case, would it therefore have been a waste to take Still Spell? I think not--it will make the experience of getting to level 30 vastly more breezy, and the feats that people are suggesting as alternatives (Epic Prowess, Toughness, Epic Saves) are not really necessary on a Bardadin anyway, for reasons that I explained in response to one of Shadow's posts. You will already be quite formidable without them.
Last edited by Dr. B on Thu Oct 10, 2019 5:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Questions regarding the Bardadin build

Post by Peppermint » Thu Oct 10, 2019 4:21 am

You seem to be mixing up Still Spell and Silent Spell. Still Spell does nothing against silence.

Using consumables on a bard is no more difficult than using them on a weapon master, rogue, barbarian, or other mundane class.

I do not consider the Bardadin an "end game" build. It's a build that spikes early with divine feats. It's very easy to use buffs in advance in PvE, or either turtle with Improved Expertise or cherrypick the ones you need in PvP (e.g. you're not going to Divine Shield into a mage).

Every point of AB counts on every meleer. There is no point at which you have "enough" AB. You have four attacks. The final ones (with lower AB) count too.

I've played a bardadin up to mid-epics. I played Qirovva. I know where bards spike. I also cast because the meta favored it at the time, but I can assure you I didn't have to. There were plenty of longer ventures where I relied primarily on item buffs--just like any mundane would.

Have you ever played a bard?

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