2.28.07 Bard Creation Guide

Bard Creation

by Changul

Archetype: Offensive Fighter
Primary Attributes: STR, DEX, VIT
Continents: All

Bards have traditionally required skill to play. In EverQuest, Bards had to be able to multitask and twist their songs. While there will be no twisting for Bards in Vanguard Saga of Heroes, multitasking and skillful play looks to be a prerequisite of the class. First and foremost, Bards are offensive fighters who rely primarily on their melee damage. Bards can also compose and name their own songs.

Strength, dexterity, and vitality are the Bard's primary attributes. Strength helps the Bard do as much damage as possible. Dexterity gives him a greater chance of landing critical melee hits. Vitality gives the Bard greater regeneration in combat so that he can use abilities more often.

Building a good Bard takes some careful planning at the character creation screen and requires you to learn a handful of tactics in the lower levels.

Selecting the Right Race

Bards of all races start with the same attributes, but the choice of race can affect how many points the Bard automatically gets placed into its prime attributes.

Starting attributes:


Each character gets 20 attribute points (AP) per level, starting at level 10. 6 of your AP are placed for you automatically--one per attribute (STR, CON, DEX, VIT, INT, WIS). 4 points are assigned to attributes based on your race if you are not a human (humans are kojani, mordebi, qaliathari, and thestran). You can place 10 (14 for humans) wherever you want to within soft caps of 5 per level.

Additionally, characters get racial bonuses to their soft caps. These are called preferred stats and allow characters of a race to flesh out in a way that reflects the traits of the race. Non-human races get 4 bonus points to soft caps (usually two or three attributes only) while human races get 6, 1 for each attribute. Thus, a human can be more balanced, while a non-human becomes more specialized.

The table below shows the attribute scores at level 50 before gear and buffs for the Bard based on the race selected. We've highlighted the best results for each of the primary attributes for you. It is possible to reach the soft cap for three attributes as a human, but those soft caps may be lower than those attainable by other races.

Racial Abilities

The other important factor to consider when picking the race for your Bard is racial abilities. With their short durations and long recasts, racial abilities are less important than attributes in the selection process, but they can be used to pick between races that are otherwise equal. The racial abilities are listed below.

Thestran: Inspirational Commands
You will have 3 inspirational commands at your disposal: Inspirational Presence, Inspirational Wisdom, and Inspirational Tactics. Each command is a group buff that will add either 2% to mitigation, a 3% reduction to mana cost of all spells, or a 2% increase in damage. You may only maintain one command at a time, however you may have all 3 effects active at the same time. Recast is instant.

Human Ingenuity: + 10 bonus to all weapon skills, and dodge.
Crafting: +10 Ingenuity
Harvesting: +5 Lumberjacking

Halfling: Pride of the Vael (WAR only)  or Shroud of the Vael (all but WAR)
Pride of the Vael: This ability will add a vast amount of hate to a single target, and apply a buff on the halfling for 30 seconds. All attacks during this time period will count for double aggro. Recast is 15 minutes.

Shroud of the Vael: This ability will remove 99% of aggro from a single target but keep the halfling in combat. Additionally, for 30 seconds afterwards, any spell cast or attack made will have its aggro reduced to 1% of normal as well. Recast is 15 minutes.

Small Race: 2% bonus to evasion
Crafting: +10 Reasoning
Harvesting: +5 Reaping

Kojani: Spirit of Jin
This ability will immediately restore 45% of energy and hit points to the target. This ability has a diminishing effect on any target that has benefitted from this ability (used by another player) in the last 10 minutes. Recast is 30 minutes.

Human Ingenuity + 10 bonus to all weapon skills, and dodge.
Crafting: +10 Ingenuity
Harvesting: +5 Lumberjacking

Half Elf: Symbol of Jin
This ability will apply a rune to every member of the group for 60 seconds, which will mitigate damage by 15%. Recast is 30 minutes.

Human Ingenuity: + 10 bonus to all weapon skills, and dodge.
Crafting: +10 Finesse
Harvesting: +5 Skinning

Raki: Planar Shift
While this ability is active, you will gain a 50% mitigation to all spell damage. Recast is 30 minutes.

Animal Reflexes: 10% bonus to run speed.
Crafting: +10 Reasoning
Harvesting: +5 Reaping

Wood Elf: Form of Nature
When this ability is activated, you become and okami and all movement impairing spells will be stripped from you, and for the next 30 seconds your run speed will be greatly increased. You will also be immune to all movement impairing spells during this time. Recast is 30 minutes.

Elven Wisdom: 2% reduction in energy cost
Crafting: +10 Finesse
Harvesting:: +5 Lumberjacking

Qaliathari: Swiftness of the Sands
For this next 10 seconds, you will evade all melee attacks and spells. Recast is 30 minutes.

Human Ingenuity + 10 bonus to all weapon skills, and dodge.
Crafting: +10 Ingenuity
Harvesting: +5 Lumberjacking

Dark Elf: Spawn of Haelufir
This ability allows you to summon forth a small drake for a short duration. The type of drake you summon will be based on class and level. Each type of drake will have a variety of effects at their disposal, ranging from group auras, to breath attacks. The higher level drakes will also learn spells that are sympathetic with their associated class. Recast is 30 minutes.

Elven Wisdom: 2% reduction in mana cost
Crafting: +10 Finesse
Harvesting: +5 Skinning
Mordebi: Curse of the Ancients
This ability stuns the target for 8 seconds, and reduces the aggro range to 0. The target will not assist/aggro while stunned, and the effect does not generate any aggro. Recast is 30 minutes.

Human Ingenuity + 10 bonus to all weapon skills, and dodge.
Crafting: +10 Finesse
Harvesting: +5 Reaping

Level 1-10 Tactics

A Bard is able to solo efficiently from level 1-10, providing you use the tools given properly. One of those tools is your ability to compose songs that increase your health, vitality and speed. Another is the ability to use Ranged Attacks. A Bard is considered a Light Offensive Fighter but has the capability of wearing Medium Armor, and equipping very nice weapons as well. From Level 1-10, you will do your best soloing against any mob at your same level, + or - 2 levels, providing it is not a named mob. Grouping will certainly make things go faster and better, but it is always best to know how to solo as well.

A few things will help you with this: Songs, Weapons, and your choice of Instruments.

Music Soothes the Savage Beast
Bard Songs are going to save your life and those of your group. While some are not as effective as others, or are more costly in Energy, there are some that will make you wonder how you ever did without them.

At level 1, you are given Mellarien’s Anthem of War, Weirlaun’s Minim Rest, and Emboldening Embellishment. It is best to play around with your songs, add embellishments, lyrics and rests to find what you like. At this point, it is not really important to worry about costs. Each melody, lyric and embellishment costs energy, but your rests can reduce that cost to zero. You want to watch the use of moves that cost Endurance, such as Striking the Mountain (level 2). At level 8, you have some very nice moves and songs available, and with the proper setup of your toolbar, you will find yourself slaying with ease, or running away, which can save your life and the lives of your group. Not running away when appropriate will cost you dearly in experience points.

Bards can use many weapons, such as axes, swords or daggers and knives (even dirks), but don't be fooled. A dirk will not help you cause damage; in fact, it will not help you at all. Since you can dual wield, a nice short sword and dagger are your best bet—and a good bow. It doesn't matter whether you choose a crossbow or regular bow. The advantage lies in the ability to pull your target away from the other targets. You want to be careful about pulling more than one or two mobs at a time, because you cannot regenerate or heal fast enough should you get ganked from all around. But do not despair! Even should that befall you, there are a couple of options available. A song that increases Health Regeneration can be played at no cost and is useful. Or simply run away.

You will level 1-6 quickly doing the newbie quests in your starter village. Be sure you check your Bard trainer for new moves and songs every 1 or 2 levels. At level 8 you will gain your first Chain ability, Hewing the Mountain. To use this attack, you must first gain a critical hit; then you will see the ability light up, and you have 10 seconds to use the attack. Hewing the Mountain deals 400% weapon damage and stuns your opponent for 3 seconds but only can be used after a critical strike, so it is important to watch and have that button handy when it lights up.

A good opening move for Bard is Ranged Attack, followed by Eaon's Blasting Bellow, Hinder, Razor Parts Silk, and Sever the Tie. Add in Striking the Mountain (Or Hewing) when you can, as these do good damage.

Run, Forrest, Run! (Instruments)
As a Bard, you can't heal yourself, so getting attacked by more than 2 monsters can put you in a spot. If your health falls too low, RUN. Casting a speed song and at the same time equipping an instrument will dramatically increase your movement speed, enough to outrun just about anything at this level even if your health is at 25%. A good macro will help. For example:
/cast "Tynen’s Melody of Acceleration"
/wear "Redcap Drum"
You do not actually need to equip an instrument to use a song, even if the song says "Percussion" or "String", but equipping the correct instrument will dramatically increase the buff of the song, be it speed, damage, health, or vitality. Several NPC's stock instruments, and they are free, but looted instruments carry better bonuses. Tip: Right now, the general consensus is to only equip instruments for movement buffs.

Other Bard Resources at Ten Ton Hammer

About the Author

Karen is H.D.i.C. (Head Druid in Charge) at EQHammer. She likes chocolate chip pancakes, warm hugs, gaming so late that it's early, and rooting things and covering them with bees. Don't read her Ten Ton Hammer column every Tuesday. Or the EQHammer one every Thursday, either.
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