Bards are a companion-oriented class with no particular focus on one of the three major offensive approaches (melee combat, ranged combat and magic). Rather, they gain various powers that benefit all three fields and focus on making the best of the current situation. An additional class-exclusive feature—random starting skills—further cements the unpredictable nature of the class.

Bards are poorly equipped and suffer from a difficult early game (which can be somewhat offset by smart companion use), but pick up the pace towards mid- and late-game, getting extremely proficient in multiple areas. Their powerful class powers favor fast-leveling races, while a potentially high number of starting skills and good skill modifiers synergize with high-Learning races.

Bards get minor bonuses for all stats and a medium boost to Charisma and Appearance. They get an additional starting talent, which increases the chances to successfully pursue the Heir line; taking the necessary talents is a widely accepted approach as Bards receive a pair of blessed seven league boots, widely regarded as the best Heir gift of all classes.

Bards start the game with an animal (for all races except Grey Elves who start with an intelligent fairy dragon) companion to cover for their lack of defense and offense in the early game.

Basic Information[]

Base Stats[]

Statistically average stats for each race are listed below. Male Bards can be expected to have an extra point in Strength, female Bards — an extra point in Dexterity.

Race St Le Wi Dx To Ch Ap Ma Pe
Human 12 16 13 14 14 14 14 13 12
Troll 23 8 10 12 24 10 9 9 9
High Elf 12 17 11 21 11 13 18 16 17
Gray Elf 11 18 12 18 10 11 23 19 17
Dark Elf 11 13 14 19 13 10 16 19 16
Dwarf 15 14 14 12 18 12 12 12 13
Gnome 11 15 11 15 15 16 13 17 13
Hurthling 7 13 12 19 16 16 14 10 12
Orc 16 10 12 13 18 11 10 8 10
Drakeling 15 13 15 13 18 13 11 13 11
Mist Elf 11 20 11 18 9 11 28 24 19
Ratling 12 12 11 17 19 9 8 12 16

Starting Skills[]

Unlike any other class, Bards do not have a fixed starting skill set. They are guaranteed only to start with Music and the usual common and racial skills. For every other skill (except Necromancy, Tactics, Bridge building, Law and Courage) there is a 25% chance to appear on the starting list. There are no lower and upper limits for random skills—it is possible to start with no extra skills or all extra skills; however, both of these outcomes are incredibly rare.

On average, every random skill will start at proficiency level 25, while Music will be trained to level 80.

Crowning Gifts[]

Bards' possibly great skill set and superb class powers are somewhat offset by the lack of a good crowning gift. Of possible artifacts, only the boots of the divine messenger and the cloak of Oman are notable thanks to almost non-existent variation in artifacts of their respectable item types.

HP, PP, To-hit Growth by Level[]

HP: Low
PP: Medium
Melee to-hit: Medium
Ranged to-hit: Medium

Special Abilities[]

Class Abilities[]

  • Heir gift: blessed seven league boots.
  • Bard's luck: As stated in the in-game manual, Bards possess the "knack to stumble upon strange items". In practice, Bards will find more variation in item modifiers: to-hit/to-damage bonuses in weapons/missiles and DV/PV bonuses in armor.
  • Bard's charm: Bards cannot harm companions by running into them in the dark. Companions do not randomly become uncaring when out of sight.
  • Extra skills: Bards receive two additional skill increases on level-up.

Class Powers[]

  • Level 6: One additional skill increase on level-up.
  • Level 12: Receive 1d3 levels in 6 randomly chosen weapon skills.
  • Level 18: Receive spell knowledge in 4 randomly chosen spells. The exact value of spell knowledge is determined by the following formula: 80 + 10 * Le + 20 * Ma. Drinking potions of boost learning and potions of boost mana or equipping stat-boosting items right before the level-up is considered a useful tactic. Note that the PC is not guaranteed to get knowledge in 4 different spells (in case of the same spell is chosen twice or more times, the spell knowledge will stack).
  • Level 25: Receive/improve 6 random skills.
  • Level 32: Hit point regeneration is doubled. This does not decrease the number of turns between natural HP gain, but gives 2 hit points on each gain. Maximizing natural HP regeneration with potions of troll blood will significantly increase the effect of this class power.
  • Level 40: Power point regeneration is doubled. This does not decrease the number of turns between natural PP gain, but gives 2 power points on each gain. Maximizing natural PP regeneration with potions of raw mana will significantly increase the effect of this class power.
  • Level 50: Receive a one-time permanent boost of +6 to all attributes.

Starting Gear[]

Human Troll High Elf Grey Elf Dark Elf
Dwarf Gnome Hurthling Orc Drakeling
Mist Elf Ratling

Starting Pet[]

Race Pet
Human Silver wolf
Troll Cave bear
High Elf Cooshoo
Gray Elf Fairy dragon
Dark Elf Giant spider
Dwarf Cave bear
Gnome Giant raccoon
Hurthling Big dog
Orc Dire wolf
Drakeling Giant lizard
Mist Elf Mist wolf
Ratling Gargantuan rat