This build creates a crossbow-using support spellcaster with excellent people skills (Appraise, Persuade). Persuasion is used whenever possible to avoid battle. In combat the henchman is relied on to do the major damage while you support them with buffs and hinder enemies with debuffs. The spells are all about debuffing the enemy while the henchman does the real damage. This build is conversion of my Baldur’s Gate 2 Defensive Bard build for 3rd edition rules and Neverwinter Nights 1.
Class: Bard (20)
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral – This one is really up to you. Bards can be any non-lawful. Pick whatever you want for your roleplaying.
Strength – 12 +0 = 12
Dexterity – 14 +2 = 16
Constitution – 12 +0 = 12
Intelligence – 14 +0 = 14
Wisdom – 10 +0 = 10
Charisma – 15 +3 = 18
Hitpoints: 140 max
Charisma is pushed up to 18 for the bonus to Perform as well as the people skills. Having a high Charisma score also adds a few bonus spells for the Bard. The other primary stat is Dexterity, starting at 14 but increased to 16 by the end of the game. Dexterity adds some Armor Class for survivability and Attack bonus for the crossbow.
Total Skill Points: 138
Perform is the primary skill in this build and for the most part, with all Bard builds. I also make sure the spellcaster skills are pretty high (Concentration, Spellcraft). The remaining skills are the typical Bard skills of Lore, Persuade, and Appraise.
Skill focus (Perform)
Total Feats: 7
The feats simply complement the skills with Bardsong bonuses (Lingering Song, Curse Song), Perform bonuses (Artist, Skill focus (Perform)), and Persuasion bonuses (Silver Palm, Courteous magocracy). The one exception is Rapid Reload which I took so my character can get the normal number of attacks per round with a crossbow. Crossbows limit you to one attack per round without this feat.
Level 0: Cure Minor Wounds, Resistance, Daze, Flare, Light
Level 1: Cure Light Wounds, Sleep, Charm Person, Balagarn’s Iron Horn, Lesser Dispel, Grease (bonus spell)
Level 2: Cure Moderate Wounds, Blindness/Deafness, Hold Person, Sound Burst, Silence, See Invisibility (bonus spell)
Level 3: Cure Serious Wounds, Confusion, Fear, Haste, Slow, Gust of Wind (bonus spell)
Level 4: Cure Critical Wounds, Dominate Person, Hold Monster, Neutralize Poison, Dismissal, Improved Invisibility (bonus spell)
Level 5: Ethereal Visage, Greater Dispelling, Healing Circle, Mind Fog, Summon Creature V
Level 6: Dirge, Energy Buffer, Mass Haste, Summon Creature VI
I won’t go through all the spells here except what I think are the core ones. I take the “Cure X Wounds” line to heal my henchman during combat. The lower level ones won’t help all that much, but there are times where it can make the difference between running back to town or not. Some places you can’t rest either, so healing is the only way to get hitpoints back.
The other core spell is the “Summon Creature” line. They are an excellent way to keep some damage off of your henchman and let your character stay at range. You should only have one of these spells at any time, because you can’t summon more than one and they last for a full day ingame time. Take the best Creature spell you can get every time you level up. Whenever you get a new one, that same level you can replace the old one with a different, more useful spell. Changing spells can only be done on level up, so don’t wait until level 20 to get rid of low level Creature spells.
The rest of the spells all fit the theme of “control”. The idea is to control the enemy as much as possible with spells while my henchman and summoned creature do the damage. My character still attacks with the crossbow, but it’s not enough to kill bosses. Make sure you get a melee henchman with good damage.
Bow instead of crossbow – Instead of taking the Rapid Reload feat, you can take the Weapon Proficiency (Martial) feat. This will give you Bow proficiency. Bows automatically get the full number of attacks per round without the need for Rapid Reload.
Constitution for Dexterity – If you don’t care about your ranged fighting much, you can lower Dexterity to 12 base and put those points in Constitution instead. The choice is between +20 hp or +1 AC, +1 attack. Dexterity is the more balanced option, and Constitution is pure survival.