Bard (Expertise- Insight)
Quote- “Among all men on the earth bards have a share of honor and reverence, because the muse has taught them songs and loves the race of bards.”
Homer, The Odyssey
- S. Can do a lot of different things, high influence over people, knows a lot of random knowledge, works around structure, politically savvy
- W. Lacks staying power, not specialized, seeing projects/tasks through to completion.
- O. Can fill in for most weaknesses in a team, can assemble a path from incomplete information.
- T. Direct confrontation, structured environments.
Bards are traveling minstrels, entertainers, storytellers, and muses. They capture the fables and truths of the people, and regale those who would give an ear… and a coin or two for the chance.
Bard pick up a lot of tricks and even more lore across their adventures. They can pick up just about any weapon, tool, or armor and use it with some degree of competence. They also know a little bit about a lot, which is often enough to get them by and gives them a clear advantage on subjects outside the specialty of others.
All of this pales in comparison to their performance ability, which is the bard’s real outstanding feature. Bards have the innate ability to captivate groups and hold them spellbound. They can use this unusual ability to sway opinions, instill confidence, and even inspire heroic action. A bard is a welcome addition to any organization looking to raise morale and increase overall performance.
Despite their amazing versatility, bards lack the staying power of other classes. The time other classes devote to mastering their disciplines, the bard spends dabbling in many areas, using their powers of observation and mimicry to quickly get the basics. This means that bards are at their best when working others instead of trying to do it all on their own.
In direct confrontations, bards often don’t have the force of personality to overcome martial classes, the depth of knowledge to keep up with wizards, or the expertise developed enough to go toe-to-toe with pirates.
As a result, bards tend to be more of a hit-and-run character. Bards influence others to help them accomplish their goals and prepare the battlefield ahead of time so the odds become stacked in their favor. They will go to great lengths to avoid getting pinned down in a direct confrontation with any class.
1. Jack of all trades
The bard is extremely varied in his knowledges and skill-sets. Bards travel far and wide and pick up useful- and non-useful- skills along the way. They pick up these traits quickly, learning from masters in the discipline. This gives them enough control over the basics and enough vocabulary to sound like one of the group.
2. Bardic knowledge
In their travels, bards see shows, attend lectures, listen to bar-room gossip, and entertain at court. you will never know what odd bit of knowledge they have picked up. Bards will often have right answer or unexpected insight simply from ‘pure luck.’
3. Virtuosic performance
Bards are master performers. They enjoy the stage and easily captivate audiences. Their natural ability working with crowds allow them to intuitively create moods and shape opinions. Bardic performances will always be effective and entertaining. The magnetic charisma they exude will draw people from all walks of life.
In line with their performance skills, bards are also adept to adapting to almost any situation. They are adept at reading the interpersonal subtext of a situation, such as tone, mood,and body language, and will consider the political and hierarchical factors in an organization. They adapt quickly to the needs of others. This makes them easy to be around and able to influence people over time.
5. Court Jester
Bards fit into a very odd category of both pauperism and privilege. This gives them contacts and influence in both circles.
As entertainers, they spend a great deal of time around powerful people. They schmooze with patrons, entertain at court, and at the same time sing songs in the tavern with tradesmen, gypsies, and farmers.
As the ultimate generalists, bards can fill a lot of roles in an organization. They make great salespeople, trainers, or people managers. Bards love to interact and inspire. This is a true source of strength for bards and will be something they will gravitate toward no matter what role they are currently playing in the company.
Their intuition makes them great at solving problems with a creative component such as workflow improvement or advertising. Be careful with assigning them repetitive tasks that to not take advantage of this creative process, however. Bards are constantly seeking discovery all areas of their work such as: new processes, people, and places ; they find “mindless” repetition both distasteful and boring and avoid it if at all possible.
Bards have a symbiotic relationship with their audience, and they will spend time with people, either putting energy into them or getting it out of them in the form of attention. Not all bards are gregarious and outgoing, but they will all influence people in some way. Bards are passionate about people, their stories, and their future. They love being part of the saga of others lives.
Bards are sometimes identified simply because they don’t easily fit into any other class. They may look like a wizard because of their varied knowledge, but its not as deep as that of a specialist. They may come across as a pirate because of their diverse expertise, but their skills will be widely varied rather than thematic.
Bards can do just about anything you need them to for a period of time. They can assume the manner, communication style, and output of other classes. This makes them extremely useful in all types of organizations as the ultimate “stand in the gap” figure when a role must be filled temporarily. This amazing flexibility has a fixed duration, however. It is important to get specialists in place for any long term processes that need to be sustained.
2. Able Learner
Bards learn new material extremely quickly. They are faster than any other class to 40%-60% mastery of most subjects. If they don’t know how to do it now, they can learn it over the weekend well enough to make it seem as though they have had years of training. Bards will appear like miracle workers for problems requiring this level of insight and ability.
3. The Muse
Absorbing so many skills and information allows bards to make innovative and unexpected connections. They are spontaneous, creative, intuitive, and some would say just plain lucky. A bard’s suggestions may seem to come out of thin air and be poorly supported by factual evidence; he simply has the right answer, although he might not have the slightest idea how or where he got it. If a bard has a strong gut feeling, it is wise to carefully consider it.
Bards like to do things with flair and personality, and they will want to make their work products unique to themselves. This means that their reports will be prettier, customers will be happier, and presentations will certainly be more dramatic. They want to be noticed for their unique contribution and will become frustrated if forced to conform to standards that prevent them from using their personal voice.
5. Moving Caravan
Bards will always seek new adventures and opportunities for growth. They quickly grow tired of repetition, and they will strike out to find new things to captivate their attention if they feel like they are in a rut. This class will likely lose focus on isolated tasks in favor of social interaction. Your best use of the bard is to let him do what comes naturally, communicate with others. A social bard is a happy bard, and he thrives on establishing and maintaining communication across the various activities within your organization.
Working in Groups
1. Inspire heroics
Bards intuitively know what is important to people and what makes them tick. Furthermore, bards are born diplomats: they know what to say and how to say it in order to inspire others to act. Excellent advisors, they are able to give people perspective to deal with difficult situations, the courage to try something new, and pride to produce their best work every time.
2. Fascinating suggestion
Bardic presentations captivate others. There is something about the way they hold themselves, turn of phrase, and interact with an audience which makes them absolutely riveting. They give captivating and entertaining presentations that can affect organizational change. There is almost always subtext behind what the bard is saying that will affect the way his audience feels about the situation.
3. Universal Solvent
Bards tend to make fast friends in organizations. They quickly learn how each group or clique communicates and finds allies within each to create a strong social network. This network not only allows the bard to perform within each group, but also allows groups to work with each other. Bards are excellent at translating what one group means and convey it to others in a non-threatening way.
Though bards like to be the center of attention, they also enjoy creating harmony within organizations. They love to take the dissonance and strife characterized by strong disparate personalities and create complementary and high-functioning teams. They carefully consider everyone’s input and value opposing opinions. From these things they enjoy creating something great.
5. Einspringen (jumping in)
Groups are unlikely to always have all the skills needed to overcome new obstacles. The bard will happily jump into these spaces and will do a fair to good job at keeping the group afloat. They will have the greatest difficulty with tasks requiring specialization… but that won’t prevent them from trying. Bards are happiest when the whole group is successful and cheerfully insert themselves wherever they are needed.
Management and Motivation
1. Prima Donna/Primo Uomo
Bards are delicate, diverse, and creative creatures. They will need your attention and reinforcement for you to benefit fully from their talents. Unlike more steady and intrinsically motivated classes a bard’s battery is charged by others telling them how great they are; they thrive on your appreciation and applause.
Bards are masters at coordinating talent. They automatically see people’s inner strengths and how their distinctive skills would best help the group and company. Bards make excellent people managers, consultants, or teachers. They have a knack for optimizing groups and multiplying the team effectiveness. While bards can make excellent strategic decisions, they are more inclined to help others to achieve their individual and collaborative potential.
3…Master of None
With all the praises sung about bardic versatility, it is important to also understand the potential downside of this feature. Although excellent as stop gaps in times of need, bards do not keep pace with the more specialized classes after the ramp up period. Project work is more suited to bards than operational work.
The bard will keep your stories. They happily retell all the epic adventures that the company went through in order to get where they are. They will help keep your company culture strong and will further its values. Bards are great at crafting pleasant work environments and strive to make everyone at home.
5. Nimble Feet
Bards avoid direct conflict at almost all costs. They won’t be able to go toe to toe with most classes in direct combat for long. As a result, they tend to use indirect means such influencing others and leveraging environmental factors to get what they want. This can cause problems with bards in a management role because they dislike confronting peers.
The fire crackled softly in the background. Buxom tavern wenches swiveled between tables, delivering ale and adroitly dodging the wandering hands of the more lascivious patrons. The savory smells of smoked pork and pungent cheese filled the air, and only the sound of an occasional crashing dish disturbed the pleasantry of the evening.
“Milords and ladies. Come one, come all, and hear the wondrous tale of the Broken Band. Discover how the broken few managed to overcome the ghoulish hordes of the twisted necromancer, Grumush.”
A figure dressed in brightly colored garb stood on the oak table in front of the hearth. His cape was lined with gold thread and had a lion rampant embossed on royal blue velvet. Small coins hung off his neat black tunic and made small tinkling sounds, reflecting the firelight as he moved.
“So, there they were at the mouth of the dreaded Kodroth Valley. They had fought wave after wave of putrid undead. Dismembered limbs of skeleton, zombie, and ghast lay all around them; many still twitching and clawing the air as though to protest their horrific fate.
“ None would ever be able to say that the band did not fight bravely or with great honor, yet with each wave of the horde, the heroic band grew weaker. The wind carried with it the necromancer’s dark words of power over the valley, a valley which had run red with the blood of armies in battles long since forgotten.
“ The dead made hollow, dusty groans as the necromancer’s unseen power compelled them to rise out of their ancient graves, and with mindless ferocity, they set themselves against our heroes.”
“The party was all but defeated. They knew it was only a matter of time before they too were overcome and doomed to a fate worse than death; aye, the fate of the Unliving, to be raised in unlife to serve the necromancer in his evil schemes.
“It was then that the minstrel Berto sang. His voice rose up above the clamour and the beauty of it filled the hearts and minds of the broken band. It was simple song, a song which told of green fields and good friends. It spoke of the bond that held them together, and at that moment, each of them knew he would last long past this cold night.”
“Aeryn the cleric knew that her god had not abandoned her. She no longer had the doubt that had prevented her from healing her comrades and protecting camp with light.”
“Elyonna the gladiator discovered new tactical insight. There was a way for them to win, they just needed to fortify their position.”
“Leonis the wizard remembered a counterspell that would allow him to unravel the curses of Grumush.”
“Brandish the barbarian discovered his courage to rejoin the battle…”
A loud bang sounded as a large mug of ale slammed against the table. “What a load of swine slop!” Brandish bellowed. “That isn’t what happened!”
Berto grinned. “My lords and ladies! I swear to you, every word is true! You can see by the bulging muscles and strapping shoulders on our friend here that he made it through alive!”
“That argument doesn’t make any sense at all!… and how come you are always the hero in your own stories, Berto?’’ Leonis muttered over the tome he was studying in the corner, seemingly ignoring the performance.
“Because that’s the way I choose to remember it, my dear Leonis!” Berto replied, winking broadly at his audience. “And now, my lords and ladies, if my tale has amused you and brightened your evening thus far, please do me the honor of your patronage. I will resume the story after a small break and regale you with what happened next in our adventures, the terrible encounter with Grumush himself!”
Berto bowed deeply and extended his elegantly feathered cap. Applause erupted in the tavern and a shower of shiny golden coins rang on the stage.