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Thread: Polearm, OHE, Pure, THW Bard Information & Bard Guide

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    Default Polearm, OHE, Pure, THW Bard Information & Bard Guide

    Welcome to the second installation of GuidesbyWhirlin. This time I'll tackle everything I know about Bards.

    The style will be very similar to the wizard's guide that I wrote about a month ago. First, I will go into the Skills and spells that make the class unique, then go into different build options, racial selection & societies, and then a Q&A Section based on feedback/commentary from replies.

    I will require 5 posts for the guide for the logical separation of the guide... And it will likely be several days until complete. Please be patient!




    Welcome to my Second Profession Guide. This guide will cover Bards, including everything training, common archetypes, racial selection, and societal considerations.

    Bard: The Ultimate Quest to maximize Short Term Gains
    In my own experiences playing a bard, I've found that the bard class is a series of short term gains and considerations meant to maximize your current self, while putting off training that would widely be considered core required training.

    This is a new mindset for a large playerbase of Gemstone. A large group of us were playing back in the GS3 days, when training was done when you leveled, only when you leveled, and you could never go back in training to make up for things lost. This created an environment where gains may take a large time to achieve, and couldn't really be powered through at the temporary cost of training points.

    However, with the migration of GS4, and the revamped training point to level relationship, training point investments are much more temporary. The implications of this migration means that missing a level worth of training in X may be insubstantial in the long term, as long as you pick it up later.




    What training in stuff does, and why its important
    Lets go item by item...
    Physical Stuff
    Armor Use Reduces RT associated with heavier armor, Combat maneuver penalties, and spell hindrance from wearing armor (more on that later!)
    Shield Use Generates DS when using a shield... Derp
    *** Weapons Raises AS with a particular Weapon... Derp
    Two Weapon Combat Specifically to Two weapon styles... This is a bigger topic than a one line snippet.
    Combat Maneuvers +.5 Melee AS per rank. Plus all those shiney shiney special moves... This is the good stuff
    Multi-Oponent Combat Pretty good, I'll go into this a little more later on... allows mstrike, and Force on Force adjustments... overall good stuff.
    Ambush Nice to be able to aim... some posts say that a full 1x isn't necessary with proper Combat Maneuver training, but still pretty difficult to pull off without sacrificing elsewhere.
    Physical Fitness Core training, HP growth, Maneuver defense
    Dodging I think for most instances, it's the most TP efficient way of generating DS and general defenses.

    Magical Stuff
    Arcane Symbols Good if you have a pocket Sorcerer
    Magic Item Use Good if you have a pocket Wizard or Sorcerer
    Harness Power It's Mana!!! yay Mana!
    Spell Aiming It's like weapon training, but worthless for bards!
    Mana Control:Various Elemental and Mental are good for bards... but that's a bigger topic later on.
    Spell Research Core Training Get spell ranks, unlock new spells, make existing spells better.
    Lores Bigger Topic... Two types matter, mental and... air...



    Super Quick Overview of Bard Songs
    Buffing Songs: 1003 (DS), 1006 (Maneuvers, group), 1007 (AS, Group), 1010 (DS), 1019 (Dodge ranks (ie: DS))
    Equipment: 1009 (shield), 1014 (Armor), 1012 (weapon)

    Attack Songs
    1001: Warding, Reduces target's DS. Solid Opener
    1002: Warding, Turns target's weapon/shield into a vibrator, causing pleasure and difficulty to handle. Decent Opener for a swinger, amazing and cheap opener for a pure.
    1005: No Ward, puts a critter to sleep, or causes them to sit, or induces additional RT. Good Opener when you have difficulty warding
    1008: Warding, damage + knockdown. Meh
    1030: The most overpowered attack song in the history of everything. Play an instrument, explode heads. Stronger if you're good with an instrument, and using a two handed one.

    Miscellaneous Songs
    1004: Purify gems, make loot
    1013: Absorb the mana out of magic items
    1025: Animated weapon follower.

    Situational Room-Effect Songs:
    1011: Traveling Sanctuary
    1015: Warding for critters and additional slow effect
    1016: Critters forced into offensive, targeting bards. Equivalent of WOW taunt, FFXI Provoke, etc, etc... Making Bards more effective tanks than warriors and paladins! How's that for logic?
    1017: Makes it hard for anyone to cast spells in the room, INCLUDING SONG RENEWAL
    1018: Traveling mana node for your group
    1020: Basically like fogging to town, except, to an inn, and a pain in the ass to set.

    In a category of it's own:
    1035: Group Haste, Dodge buff
    1040: Get out of stun/jail/lying free

    How do they work?
    Normally, people sit in TSC or GC and beg for a wizard to cast them 4 hours of spells, and then they go on their way, prancing and slaughtering. Bards... not so much. Songs aren't quite like that. Songs have an initial cost to activate, and then a duration, then an upkeep cost. Initial cast is based on potency, like many spells, Duration is increased via Bard Song training, Mental Lore: Telepathy training, Logic, and Influence. The upkeep cost is dependent on the songs being sung, and are then influenced by a multi-song penalty.

    Multi-Song Penalty
    The multi-song penalty is still being researched. But, the basic gist of it is that there's a default of an additional 12 mana cost for every song that you keep up after the first. This is reduced by bard song ranks, Discipline, and Logic. This is a very steep cost. It also grants some preferential gaming of the system. For example: 1003 only costs 3 mana, 1 upkeep. So, 5 seconds before the renew cycle, drop 1003, do your renewal manually, and put 1003 back up: You just saved up to 10 mana.

    Multi-song penalty becomes a non-issue over time. The known part of the equation is that each bard rank provides -.5 renewal cost on the multi-song penalty. However, the upkeep costs for songs also increases as bard ranks increase:
    1006 grows at +.125 upkeep
    1010 grows at +.1 upkeep
    1019 grows at +.1 upkeep

    So, if you're keeping those three up, you're losing out on .325 upkeep gains on the multi-song penalty... Meaning each rank is only decreasing mana costs by .175 mana per rank.




    Lores: Dafaq?
    5 Mental Lores: Divination, Manipulation, Telepathy, Transference, Transformation. Divination, Transference, and Transformation have nothing to do with anything, so we're gonna ignore them outright and just talk about the remaining two:

    Telepathy
    Telepathy is good for two ends: A physical Bard, and a low level bard.
    For Physical builds, the two main things from Telepathy training are additional AS from 1007, and additional duration on 1035. The AS increase is by the Seed 3 calculation, and 1035 the duration is +1 second for the first 20 ranks, and then 1 second per 2 ranks after that.
    For Pure builds, it furthers the TD pushdown of 1015... but, for mental builds, Manipulation is better.

    Manipulation
    Manipulation effects 1002, 1004, and 1030.
    1030 is the biggest influence. Basically, at 75 ranks, it makes it so that it's as though you're actively playing a two handed instrument... without having one. With gradual increases up to that point.

    Elemental Lore: Air
    Air Lore is great. For 1035 and Sonic gear.
    There's no reason for a bard to train any other elemental lore. If you see a bard with Fire Lore, punch them and insult their mother, they deserve it.
    I'll have a whole other section on sonic gear... right now!




    Sonic Gear: Why Bards always have money!
    1009 and 1012 has a base of 2x, growth of 1/2
    1014 has a base of 3, growth of 1/2
    All have a max of 7x

    Sonic Shields
    Air Lore is pretty badass with sonic shields... at 20/50/100 ranks of air lore, the shield is effectively -1/-2/-3 sizes for penalties. This means at 100 air ranks, a tower shield reduces evasion like a small shield.

    Sonic Weapons
    This is why people want to be bards. ALL sonic weapons have air flares. With air lore, you're increasing the chance of a second flare. This increases at 3% per seed 3 summation, with continuous, rather than discrete growth.
    So... Continuous Growth means that 1 rank in air lore may yield that additional 1%, rather than needing to land nicely on a seed 3 number.
    Sonic weapon double flares are what draw a lot of people to bards... Although, it should be noted, they cannot be ensorcelled!

    Sonic Armor
    I'm a bigger advocate of Sonic Armor than the other two pieces of gear... The main reason is that you choose what ASG you want your armor to be... So as you're training up your armor, and you reach that point between double leather and leather breastplate, no reason to go out any buy new armor. Just use a different number when you sing. Nice and easy
    Ohh... and it deflects elemental magic based on air lore ranks... which would be nice, but we have song of noise... so it's not REALLY a huge issue, just a nice-to-have

    The real deal with Sonic Gear
    Don't get me wrong, Sonic gear is badass as all hell... but it's not THAT amazing until LATER in your bard career. I'm talking 60/70+. This will be a major sticking point in my guide, and one of my major points that I will be making right now.
    Lets first look at the next best alternative to non-sonic equipment.

    AS Implications:
    I was able to pick up an elegant 4x lance for about 30k from a player shop. So that's the equivalent of about a +22 weapon. I'll need 24 ranks in bard circle before I get the same AS bonus. If you take the Minor Elemental Path, that's level 52... That's 40 levels of using the song while not utilizing a maximum AS. And realistically, at those levels, critters don't really live long enough to worry about the additional flare damage, you're being more restricted by your DS

    Mana Implications
    The multi-song penalty is putting the cost of that spell at 14 mana per renewal cycle. Which is a lot at lower levels!
    Furthermore, even once you do get up to 65, when you have both 430 and 1035... That just further incentivizes keeping that mana and converting it into damage output via 1035.

    Training Implications
    This is my last argument against instant use of sonic equipment until later. If you are NOT using sonic equipment, you don't need as much Air Lore Training. This can allow you to train more freely in other, discrete training options. It can allow you to unlock 425 and 1020 in a more expedited fashion, unlock hinderanceless ASG15 earlier on, and focused MStrike if you want that path. There are a lot of things that Bards can train in... Dedicating 8 MTPs a level towards a lore which you won't be using til later is really limiting your potential.



    The Bard Versus MnE Spell Circle Debate
    Man... Just to make sure I put myself on the corner of every ledge ever with this guide, I'm gonna go ahead and chime in on the ongoing debate of emphasizing Bard Circle or Minor Elemental Spell Circle first.

    I recommend Bard to 20, then Minor Elemental to 30. Then Bard back up to X level. Lets go into my justification
    • Unlocking Sonic Armor (1014) is incredibly powerful before you're fully trained in Armor to keep yourself in the highest ASG you have available.
    • 1035 is incredibly mana intensive. If you unlock 1035 at level 35, you will not have the max mana pool to support utilizing the spell to the full potential.
    • The Non-Lore AS component of Kai's Triumph Song (1007) maxes out at 17 Bard Ranks.
    • The 20th rank of Bard gives +2 DS total due to rounding on 1010 and 1014... So its worth picking up the 20th rank after song of Mirrors
    • The first 20 bard songs are simply better than the MnE counterparts, and should be prioritized first.


    I created an Excel Spreadsheet that analyzes AS, DS, and CS for MnE/Bard Ranks.
    I assume 1012 or 411 is used... whichever has the superior AS bonus
    I assume 1014 is used, but not 1013... which could skew results.
    I haven't really messed with google docs too much... but if it worked, the spreadsheet is here... because there's no way in hell I'm reformatting it as a table:

    MeasurementTimes when Bard 35 First is highestTimes When MnE 30 is HighestTimes when Bard20 - MnE 30 - Bard35 is Highest
    AS314738
    DS272243
    CS303136
    Total:88100117
    Note: Ties were counted for both winners.

    Note: Emphasizing Minor Elemental before 1035 is also 100% dependent on being a SOLO player. If you have a pocket wizard, mana battery, and all other sorts of helpers available, the gap diminishes to a point of pure subjectivity. Multi-account builds can be VERY different than solo builds to maximize performance of a group. This guide is really only dealing with solo builds.

    Also... as I mentioned early on, and feel like re-emphasizing... This is all about short-term gains. Everything evens out at the same after you have the 65 spell ranks.


    Last edited by Whirlin; 06-18-2013 at 03:25 PM.


    >forage for snapdragon stalk
    d100(Open): -251
    You stumble about in a fruitless attempt at foraging.

    1/6/2014: Setheve completes the promotion ritual and says, "Congratulations, Whirlin, for achieving Guild Master status! We trust you'll serve your guild well."
    1/11/2014: Grandmaster Alchemist
    1/14/2014: Capped, and got Loralaii killed by a GM.
    7/11/2016: Founded the Hand of the Arkati
    9/20/2016: T5 on my bow (Thanks to Isola)... Managed as far as T4 myself.

  2. #2
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    Bard Builds
    I'm going to use the same terms I used in my wizard guide for the different training plans, and differentiate between core training and discrete training
    Core Training is everything you're going to train in every level... forever. No exceptions.
    Discrete Training is stuff that you will max out, and never need to worry about again.
    Discrete Training Prioritization This will be my subjective measurement of which to max out first, and why... Of course, entirely up for debate and prioritization by the player.


    With that in mind, lets get it started!


    The Polearm Bard
    Why Polearms?
    A lot of support for polearm bards actually lies within racial selection, which will be later on in this guide. Polearms have the highest Damage Factors at the cost of the highest DEX/AGL to use them without hindrance. Since they're also fairly heavy weapons in terms of poundage, the Sonic alternative is enhanced by offering the near weightless alternative. Given the eventual potency of tonic song, you're looking at swinging the highest DF weapon available in the minimum amount of time possible. It's basically an iWin button. Ohh... and the flares are nice too.

    Polearm Bard Core Training
    Very light, all things considered:
    1x Combat Maneuvers (8/4)
    2x Polearm Weapons (18/3)
    1x Physical Fitness (4/0)
    1x Dodging (6/6)
    1x Harness Power (0/5)
    1x Spell Research (0/17)
    Total: (36/35)... which leaves a bit of wiggle room for additional training

    Polearm Bard Discrete Training
    1x Air Lore
    60 Ranks in Armor Use
    1x Perception
    25 Ranks Mental Lore - Telepathy
    Elemental & Mental Mana Control (subjective goals)
    50 Ranks Climbing
    50 Ranks Swimming
    30/55 Multi-Opponent Combat Ranks
    MIU

    Polearm Bard Discrete Training Prioritization
    Why didn't I just go in the order and add these notes above? Because screw you, that's why.

    I recommend starting with the 25 ranks of Telepathy. Telepathy will increase spellsong duration by 3 seconds a rank. At level retarded, your spellsong duration is gonna suck... this is gonna make it not suck a little more quickly. Ohh... and 1007 AS boost, that's why we're stopping at 25.

    But since you can only single in Mental Lores, you need something else to work on! While working on this, I recommend doing Armor Use up to 60 ranks. Having studied WAY too much about the damage equations, the impacts of armor, and therefore becoming an all around interesting guy at office parties, having good armor early on is the best thing you can do for yourself. 60 ranks in Armor will train off as much as you can for RT, Maneuver, and Bard Hinderance for Augmented Chain (ASG15). Also, it adds a LOT of potential for you to spend money on good armor ASAP, and settles down any variables for putting 1014 on yourself.

    This will take you to your 40s or so on training. After this, I'd recommend powering in spell research until you unlock both 1020 and 430... These will likely be the highest return you can do for these levels for TPs.

    At this point, training branches subjectively depending on your weapon, where you're hunting, and what you'd like to do.
    If you don't have a good weapon, and you're using sonic gear, start on the Air Lore
    If you're hunting in Rivers Rest, or Solhaven's tower, you may want to pick up Climbing/Swimming a bit earlier
    If you're hunting things with maneuvers, it's probably a good time to start working on Perception
    Multi-Op is fun... but it's more of a nice-to-have rather than a major training requirement.




    The Sword and Board Bard
    Why Sword and Board?
    Much higher DS than a THW Build! Plus, Bard's Sonic Shield, even if we don't have shield maneuvers, are some generally overpowered, awesome shit. Tower Shield's blocking, but with the evasion reduction of a small shield (eventually)... that's badass.
    A single weapon gives you the ability to do a small main hand weapon, and pimp out of air flares for the real damage.

    Sword and Board Bard Core Training
    1x Combat Maneuvers (8/4)
    2x Edged Weapons (9/3)
    1x Shield Use (5/0)
    1x Physical Fitness (4/0)
    1x Dodging (6/6)
    1x Harness Power (0/5)
    1x Spell Research (0/17)
    1x Air Lore (0/8)
    Total: (32/43)

    Sword and Board Bard Discrete Training
    60 Ranks in Armor Use
    25 Ranks Mental Lore - Telepathy
    1x Perception
    Elemental & Mental Mana Control (subjective goals)
    50 Ranks Climbing
    50 Ranks Swimming
    30/55 Multi-Opponent Combat Ranks
    MIU

    Sword and Board Training Differences from Sword/Board and Polearm
    Most of the training is similar. I still recommend the same overall prioritization in the Discrete training... However, 1x Air Lore made Core Training due to the relative strength of sonic shield's air lore mechanic, and the reliance on air flares from a weapon for kill speed. Therefore it will take longer for the telepathy ranks relative to other builds.




    The Brawlin' Bard

    I know they exist out there... I see little value in a brawling Bard over alternative builds.
    With the introduction of so monk and rogue UAC specific CMANs, and Minor Mental spell, neither of which Bards can directly access, I see the relative benefit greatly deteriorated for this class / weapon combination.
    Don't get me wrong... feel free to play however you want to... but I don't really want to write up a section that I'd find little value to.




    The Archer Bard
    Why Archery?
    Archery is one of the most overpowered attack forms in Gemstone at the moment. Maybe you have a badass 7x enhancive Longbow, maybe you need one that I happen to be selling. Or maybe you just want to be a little different. Archery Bards do lose out on a few bard-specific tools, but that doesn't completely diminish from being effective Archers. Is it the strongest Bard build? Probably not. Is it viable? Sure!

    Archery Bard Core Training
    2x Ranged Weapons (12/6)
    1x Ambush (4/4)
    1x Physical Fitness (4/0)
    1x Dodging (6/6)
    1x Harness Power (0/5)
    1x Spell Research (0/17)
    2x Perception (0/9)
    Total: (26/47)

    Archery Bard Discrete Training
    60 Ranks in Armor Use
    25 Ranks Mental Lore - Telepathy
    Elemental & Mental Mana Control (subjective goals)
    50 Ranks Climbing
    50 Ranks Swimming
    75 Ranks of Air Lore
    1x Combat Maneuvers
    MIU

    Archery Differences from Other Physical Builds
    You're spending a lot of MTP each level, from the 2x Perception, more on the weapon training, and more MTP from Ambush relative to Combat Maneuvers. The big differences in this build really falls in the Air Lore and spell training.
    You're also not utilizing the double flaring potential of sonic weaponry. You WILL need to worry about disarming at a later level, and Air Lore is ONLY going to be beneficial for your 1035 roundtime reduction (ok, and maybe sonic armor deflection). Since aiming shots adds 1 RT, you'll need to eventually get 75 ranks of Air Lore for the maximum 1035 RT potency. However, this build is already VERY MTP intensive, its not going to be easy to balance all of the necessary training without sacrificing stat placement, or doing so much later in your bard career.

    Since 1007 caps out it's AS benefit down at 17 ranks in Bard Circle, the only way to further your AS growth at a competitive rate will be investing heavily into Minor Elemental. You'll be trading .5 Dodge and .5 DS for .5DS, .5TD, .5AS from MnE.
    However, 1040 is pretty overpowered in terms of keeping songs up, so gotta go that far, which at 1x spell research, will get you to 62 ranks in MnE. But hey, room for growth post-cap, right?




    The Two Weapon Bard
    Pardon me... I've never actually played TWC... but I've done some research, and I'm on a podium. Lets see what I can do.
    Why TWC?
    You know what's better than one sonic weapon that can flare twice in a hit? Swinging a sonic weapon and another ensorcelled flaring, awesome weapon AT THE SAME TIME. Seriously, you could be a whirlin dervish of death. It's pretty much as many flares as Brawling, but with more awesome and less setback. It's pretty much spamtastically awesome.

    TWC is a more expensive build than Polearm in the pure TP aspect... and you still have the same additional training. Overall, this path opens up less additional training options, and it will take you much longer to reach all your training goals. However, have fun!

    TWC Bard Core Training
    2x Two-Weapon Combat (9/6)
    2x Edged Weapons (9/3)
    1x Combat Maneuvers (8/4)
    1x Physical Fitness (4/0)
    1x Dodging (6/6)
    1x Harness Power (0/5)
    1x Spell Research (0/17)
    Total: (36/41)

    TWC Bard Discrete Training
    1x Air Lore
    60 Ranks in Armor Use
    1x Perception
    25 Ranks Mental Lore - Telepathy
    Elemental & Mental Mana Control (subjective goals)
    50 Ranks Climbing
    50 Ranks Swimming
    30/55 Multi-Opponent Combat Ranks
    MIU



    The Pure Bard

    Why Pure?
    Melt... faces... With Instruments. Imagine playing the intro to Dragonforce: Through the Fire and Flames in a room of 50 Ithzir in OTF... BAM, their heads explode... Yes... that can be YOU! Also, the heavy training in Manipulation lore to be able to achieve this build without an instrument has the fringe benefit of bolstering the effects of 1004... Longer purification sessions for more silvers! Why not!

    Pure Bard Core Training
    2x Shield Use (15/0)
    1x Dodge (6/6)
    1x Physical Fitness (4/0)
    1x Harness Power (0/5)
    1x Spell Research (0/17)
    Total: (25/22)

    Pure Bard Discrete Training
    75 Ranks Mental Lore - Manipulation
    60 Ranks in Armor Use
    Moar Spell Research!
    75 Ranks Elemental Lore - Air
    25 Mental Mana Control (subjective goals)
    50 Ranks Climbing
    50 Ranks Swimming
    1x Perception
    2x Brawling
    Magic Item Use

    Pure... Shield versus Runestaff
    Alright, simmer down. I read quite a few threads here about Shield versus runestaff. If you want to use a Runestaff, you can, but you'll need more magical ranks per level to make it comparable. The best training/TP would be obtained through MIU and AS. However, you're going to be training heavily into mental stuff, so you're looking at running an MTP deficit. One rank of Arcane Symbols, and 1 rank of MIU is gonna end up costing 16/0. It's cheaper to get 2 ranks in shield use by 1 PTP. Additionally, from the pure bards I've talked to, while runestaff flares are nice and badass, the high crit-kill rate of 1030 renders the flares less effective.

    The Air lore is for Sonic Shield's size reduction to maximize dodge training.

    When to Pure
    I get asked this a lot... Here's what I would recommend...
    Once you have the TP to have 1030, 430, 60 ranks in Armor, while also being up to level in the core training and lores, you're probably good to convert over. If your stats are placed for mid tier growth (like, start to max out around 50-60 range), you can likely pull it off as early as level 40. Be warned though... your mana pool is gonna suck... big time.

    The Mental Mana Control will help you last a little longer by utilizing Song of Unraveling (1013) on some magic items for more mana. But it makes a low level wizard look like a mana mine. Plus, not too many others besides Empaths would be trained in MMC, so finding a battery may be difficult.

    Probably safest to wait til 60.

    Pure CS Calculation and MnE versus Bard
    Up to your level, Bard circle grants +1 CS
    +1 to +20 over your level Bard circle grants +.75 CS
    From +21 to +60, Bard Circle grants +.5 CS

    425 adds +.5 CS Per rank up to 75 ranks.
    Up to 2/3rd your level, and before 75 ranks, MnE grants .83 CS (.33 CS + .5 from 425)
    From 2/3rd up to your level, MnE grants .6 CS (.1 CS + .5 from 425)


    Simplified Maths Time
    IF Bard Ranks < Level Then train Bard
    If Bard Ranks = Level & MnE < 2/3 level Then train MnE
    If Bard Ranks =< Level + 20 & MnE =2/3 Level, Then Train Bard
    If Bard Ranks => Level +20 & MnE < 75, then train MnE
    If Bard Ranks >= Level + 20 & MnE = 75, Then Train Bard.

    That's all for this post!
    Last edited by Whirlin; 08-12-2016 at 12:59 PM.


    >forage for snapdragon stalk
    d100(Open): -251
    You stumble about in a fruitless attempt at foraging.

    1/6/2014: Setheve completes the promotion ritual and says, "Congratulations, Whirlin, for achieving Guild Master status! We trust you'll serve your guild well."
    1/11/2014: Grandmaster Alchemist
    1/14/2014: Capped, and got Loralaii killed by a GM.
    7/11/2016: Founded the Hand of the Arkati
    9/20/2016: T5 on my bow (Thanks to Isola)... Managed as far as T4 myself.

  3. #3
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    Bard CMAN Selection
    For Melee Bards
    There are a few offensive CMANs that are kinda built for the different builds:
    Polearms can use Charge
    Sword and Board can use Shield Bash
    TWC could benefit slightly from Spin Attack...?
    Brawling Bards really don't get much benefit in the CMAN department offensively, all those good mastery skills are monk/rogue.

    After capping out your best offensive CMAN, there's a lot of points to put towards defensive ones:
    Bandits use Cheapshot, Tackle, Hamstring, Feint, Subdual Strike, Sweep...
    Of course, Defensive CMANs include:
    Combat Focus (+2 TD)... Effect relatively weakened due to Song of Noise to prevent spells.
    Combat Movement (+2 DS)
    Cunning Defense (+3 Combat Maneuver Defense)

    Then of course, if you're a group hunter or MA'er, there's always Side-by-side... which is basically AS/DS boost when in groups.

    For Ranged Bards
    Mfire sucks... don't use it. You don't aim with Mfire, and it's not roundtime advantageous. It's a waste of CMAN points.
    You WILL need to train in Disarm, unlike your melee counterparts. Since you don't have a sonic weapon, you're not immune to it, and getting disarmed WILL hurt you (lots).
    Other than that, refer to the defensive CMANs to fill out any additional points.


    DS Calculations
    Alright, because there are a lot of options for Bard builds, I wanted to do some analysis of your defenses with the varying weapon types.


    Calculation Assumptions and methods
    • For the sake of simplicity, and extrapolation, I'm going to highlight the equations of each build, and do a comparison of levels 20, 40, 60, 80, 100. (21, 41, etc ranks in skills)
    • I will not take into account any societal or spell bonuses, and for simplicity, I'm going to assume fully trained ASG15 for all calculations, even if it's impossible at level 20.
    • All unenchanted stuff.
    • I'm ignoring all stat bonuses in all equations, because I'm a lazy jerk.
    • All training will be in alignment with the aforementioned builds... so 1x Shield use on sword/shield, 1x Dodge on everything.
    • For which shield to use, I'm going to use the max available at your level, assuming that you're 1x in air lore, so -1 at 20, 50, 100
    • For TWC, I will assume a DS offhand like a Sai or Maine Gauche




    By the Numbers: Calculations
    This is kinda a dumping ground of formulae: (what kinda pretensions jerk writes it like that?... ohh wait... I'm Whirlin)
    Dodge DS:
    Dodge Rank + AGL bonus + Trunc (Int bonus/4) = Base Dodge
    ((Base Value * Armor Hindrance * Shield Factor) - shield size penalty) * Stance Mod = Dodge DS
    Shield Factors:
    SizefactorPenalty
    Small.780
    Medium.700
    Large.625
    Tower.5410
    Stance Mods:
    StanceMod
    Offensive.75
    Guarded.95
    Defensive1
    Aug Chain, ASG 15 Hindrance Factor: .92

    Shield Melee DS
    I'm not doing more calculations for ranged DS, bite me.
    Base Value: Shield Ranke + Trunc (STR Bonus/4) + Trunc (Dex Bonus /4)
    ((Base Value* Size Modifier * Stance Modifier)/1.5)+20 + Enchant Bonus

    Shield SizeShield Modifier
    Small.85
    Medium1
    Large1.15
    Tower1.3

    Shield StanceMod
    Offensive.5
    Guarded.9
    Defensive1

    Parry
    Base Value = Weapon Ranks + Trunc (STR Bonus /4) + Trunc (DEX Bonus / 4) + (Weapon Enchant /2)
    *THW and Polearm use Weapon Enchant (not halved)
    Main Hand DS = (Base Value * Stance Mod) + Stance Bonus + weapon type bonus
    Offhand DS = TWC Ranks + Trunc (STR Bonus/4) + Trunc(Dex Bonus/4) * Stance Bonus + 15


    One/Main Hand StanceModBonus
    Offensive.20
    Guarded.640
    Defensive.750

    Off Hand StanceModBonus
    Offensive.115
    Guarded.315
    Defensive.3515

    Polearm StanceModBonus
    Offensive.2715
    Guarded.8167
    Defensive.9480

    THW StanceModBonus
    Offensive.30
    Guarded.9040
    Defensive1.0550
    (for completeness... I'm sure I'll copy/paste this for other guides)

    Ranged
    We're assuming Bow
    Ranged Parry Melee DS: trunc([(Ranged Skill + trunc(perception ranks/2) + trunc(ambush ranks/2)] * Stance Modifier)) + Enchant Bonus + Stance Bonus.

    Ranged StanceModBonus
    Offensive.150
    Guarded.3940
    Defensive.4550



    By the Numbers: The End Result!
    I'm not showing my work... honestly, it's a massive excel file... Feel free to recalculate any values, and have fun doing it!

    Offensive:
    BuildLevel 20406080100
    Polearm40.8365.4390.03114.63139.23
    TWC42.0967.8993.69119.49145.29
    Ranged39.4964.2988.09112.89129.69
    Sword/ShieldMedium 46.70Medium72.13Large 100.61Large 127.04Tower 158.52
    PureMedium: 38.30Medium 55.73Large 76.21Large 94.64Tower 118.12

    Guarded:
    BuildLevel 20406080100
    Polearm119.37169.25219.13269.01318.89
    TWC111.15164.63218.11271.59325.07
    Ranged125.35169.83215.31259.79285.27
    Sword/ShieldTower 112.96Tower 163.40Tower 218.10Tower 269.94Tower 328.83
    PureTower 47.75Tower 74.20Tower 104.90Tower 132.74Tower167.63

    Defensive:
    BuildLevel 20406080100
    Polearm138.8194.8250.8306.8362.8
    TWC128.42188.82249.22309.62370.02
    Ranged146.32196.72246.12296.52323.92
    Sword/ShieldTower 129.58Tower 186.32Tower 247.55Tower 305.76Tower 371.41
    PureTower 50.18Tower 78.92Tower 112.15Tower 142.36 Tower 180.01

    DS Analysis
    Holy crap, that took a while...
    Ranged DS is so low, because you can really only afford 1x Ambush, otherwise it'd pretty much be +1/2 additional level to DS.
    I'm a bit surprised at how beneficial Polearm DS is compared to THW. Superior across the board.
    Pure DS is low! But it needs to be considered that as a pure, you'll be in Guarded/Defensive all the time, and offensive never/rarely.
    I'm actually really impressed by the TWC DS theoreticals. I feel like years ago, it appeared to be lower than a TH build, but it's actually quite nice.
    Sword/Board is always gonna be massive DS... but you're really just plinking critters to death. I mean, everyone would use a shield if DS was all that mattered.
    Last edited by Whirlin; 05-02-2014 at 12:58 PM. Reason: Riltus'ed


    >forage for snapdragon stalk
    d100(Open): -251
    You stumble about in a fruitless attempt at foraging.

    1/6/2014: Setheve completes the promotion ritual and says, "Congratulations, Whirlin, for achieving Guild Master status! We trust you'll serve your guild well."
    1/11/2014: Grandmaster Alchemist
    1/14/2014: Capped, and got Loralaii killed by a GM.
    7/11/2016: Founded the Hand of the Arkati
    9/20/2016: T5 on my bow (Thanks to Isola)... Managed as far as T4 myself.

  4. #4
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    Race and Stat Allocations
    The following is a wonderful copy/paste job from my other guide, and will be referenced going forward!

    RaceStrength Constitution Dexterity Agility Discipline Aura Logic Intuition Wisdom Influence
    Aelotoi -5051050550-5
    Burghal gnome-15101010-551050-5
    Dark elf0-5105-1010055-5
    Dwarf10150-510-10500-10
    Elf00515-15500010
    Erithian-510005050010
    Forest gnome-101051050505-5
    Giantman1510-5-50-5-5005
    Half elf00510-500005
    Half krolvin10100500-100-5-5
    Halfling-15101510-5-55100-5
    Human5000005500
    Sylvankind00105-550000

    RT and YOU!
    Alright, so roundtime is simple! (kinda) There's the whole strength and encumbrance thing, which everyone knows, but then there's a DEXAGL thing. Basically, the sum of the bonuses of your Dex and Agility bonuses help reduce roundtime? How much? Well lets make a table!
    RT ModifierDexAglSum
    -18 - 22
    -223 - 37
    -338 - 52
    -453 - 67
    -568 - 82
    -683 - 96
    -798 - 112
    -8113
    Note: It's not plagiarism from Krakii if I change the column order!

    So... that's a pretty interesting table, especially when paired up with the stat table above it. But... Lets break it down a little more. Each race has a theoretical maximum DEXAGL before enhancives that they can achieve. And that is below:

    5 RT Reduction4 RT Reduction3 RT Reduction
    HalflingAelotoiErithian
    Burghal gnomeDark elfHuman
    ElfForest gnomeDwarf
     Half-elfGiantman
     Sylvankind 
     Half-krolvin 

    Ok... so... what?

    Basically, weapons have a minimum RT, and a base RT. Take the base RT, subtract out your DEXAGL, and BAM, you're at your new RT (assuming unencumbered).

    So... Lets apply this... To the best weapons out there.

    Weapon TypeWeapon NameBase RTMin RT
    THWClaid85
    THWBattle Axe85
    PolearmLance95
    PolearmAwl-Pike95
    So what? Basically, if you want to use a Lance with minimum RT, you can't be a Human, Dwarf, or Giantman, unless you're a secondary character, and dropping a ton into enhancives and/or using fusion stuffs rather than sonic.

    You can grow into a lance if you're in the middle column... but your stats aren't really gonna be placed for growth, so, you're looking at fixstating.

    Now onto Strength
    Strength provides melee AS (If you didn't know that... welcome to Gemstone!). So lets take a look at each race that can have a decent DEXAGL, and compare their STR mods.

    5 RT ReductionSTR Mod 4 RT ReductionSTR Mod
    Halfling-15 Aelotoi-5
    Burghal gnome-15 Dark elf0
    Elf0 Forest gnome-10
       Half-elf0
       Sylvankind0
       Half-krolvin10


    Multi-Song Stats
    Review the first post for more info on the multi-song penalty. Picking a race specifically on multi-song penalty stats is stupid, as training in bard songs will naturally overcome multi-song penalty racial shortcomings. The only reason I'm including it is because I already did it, and I don't want to delete it.

    DIS and LOG bonuses:
    +15: Dwarf
    +10: Aelotoi, Erithian, Forest Gnome
    +5 Burghal Gnome, Human
    0: Halfling
    -5: Sylvan, Half-Elf, Giantman
    -10: Dark Elf, Half Krolvin
    -15: Elf

    Pure CS
    Aura, just like wizards.
    Dark Elves with +10 Aura
    Burger Gnomes and Elves with +5
    Aelotoi, Erithian, Forest gnome, Half elf, Half krolvin, Human with 0
    Giantman and Halfling with -5
    Dwarf with -10
    Last edited by Whirlin; 06-13-2013 at 01:28 PM.


    >forage for snapdragon stalk
    d100(Open): -251
    You stumble about in a fruitless attempt at foraging.

    1/6/2014: Setheve completes the promotion ritual and says, "Congratulations, Whirlin, for achieving Guild Master status! We trust you'll serve your guild well."
    1/11/2014: Grandmaster Alchemist
    1/14/2014: Capped, and got Loralaii killed by a GM.
    7/11/2016: Founded the Hand of the Arkati
    9/20/2016: T5 on my bow (Thanks to Isola)... Managed as far as T4 myself.

  5. #5
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    Societies

    3 Societies to choose from! That which must not be named (and definitely not the Council of Light (COL)), Voln, and Guardians of Sunfist (GOS).
    Each offers unique bonuses... blahblahblah, lets dive in.

    COL
    COL is the society for people that love hard maths. The society offers very little outside of the core AS/DS benefits... But those additional benefits are pretty nice mechanically.
    Sign of staunching stops all bleeding for 1 mana
    Sign of Healing is full Health for 2 spirit
    Sign of wracking is full mana for 5 spirit
    Sign of darkness is a teleport back to town for 6 spirit... can't use while stunned though.
    We're talking about an overall gain of 35 AS, 35 DS, 20 Ranged/Spell DS, 15 TD.
    Here's the catch... Keeping these signs up cost spirit. Here's the anti-catch... COL sign duration is 10 seconds per level. So at cap, we're talking about a duration of 16 minutes, 40 seconds. Even a dark elf could stagger his signs enough to regen the 3 spirit you use for AS/DS/TD, and still remain static (Barely). Although, a dark elf can't really do that before level 90.

    Elves don't have good spirit regen... any of them. If you're a non-Elf, you're golden for the COL.

    Overall, COL offers great abilities, low upkeep cost, but spirit can be burdensome for some race, and make it a non-attractive option.

    GOS
    Sunfist is an awesome competitor for society.
    While less AS/DS than COL, at only +30 max. more TD than COL at +20, which Bards lack. Additionally, Heavy crit weighting on weapons towards hated foes... You know... whatever hated foes are.
    On the defensive side, while they get -5 relative to COL, they also get Heavy Crit padding, which can either pimp out your physical armor even more, or make your sonic armor that much better.

    For Bards, Crit Padding is a godsend, and here's my justification. You're likely not going to be in a situation where you're going to be plinked to death as a bard, because we have our 1040 get-out-of-jail-free card. So what's left that can kill us? Death Crits? What diminishes the changes of death crits? Crit padding.

    Sigil of Power converts 50 stamina to 25 mana. Not bad... Overall, I've found CMAN points to be well spent in defensive maneuvers, so your stamina is free to be spent on things like this.

    Sigil of Escape provides protection against Stun/web/binds/etc. It's a nice alternative to 1040.

    Warcamping is badass, especially as a bard. Song of Noise can help protect you against the casters, and some of the other area-effect songs don't invoke the shroud. If you're 1x Perception, 1x Dodge, and 1x PF, with song of luck and song of noise, you're pretty good on the defensive side.

    The downside to Sunfist is that their durations and costs are static. You're going to be spending a large amount of mana/stamina to keep sigils up throughout a hunt, and that's never really going to change. For the AS/DS boosts, you're looking at 22mana/27 Stamina per minute. Compared to the 6 mana for COL for 15 minutes. Thats a nice bajillion times the mana cost... Bards are basically converting mana into damage with 1030 or 1035... so the more mana we can keep, the better.

    Voln
    Voln was recently redone. It now offers +26 AS to all critters, +39 against undead, +26 DS, +13 TD.

    Blessing is kinda worthless to us bards... Sonic weapons are perma-blessed... and although they're a low enchant, why bother lugging around an alternative?

    Their Symbol of mana is attractive... 50 mana every 3 minutes. For a Dark Elf, you would need a mana pool of 417 before wracking is a better alternative. For a halfling, you'd only need a 208 mana pool.
    (1 spirit per 5 minutes = 25 minutes for 5 spirit. Symbol of mana every 3 minutes = 8.33 symbols per 5 spirit = 416.66 mana...)

    Symbol of dreams is nice, health/mana/spirit/stats recovery. Good to use post-death along with Symbol of Recall, which restores your spells after you die.

    They have a lot of weird other abilities, like crazy 'standard success resolution' attacks.

    Symbol of Return is like Sign of darkness... so kinda nets out there.

    Additionally, Voln has some backdoor teleporting type system thingy where the back of their society is basically pocket portals to everywhere. One of which is the Rift. That's pretty cool... if you want to hunt in a scary scary place.

    Voln's symbols work off favor, which you accumulate through hunting undead. This can be a pain for melee builds, as it either forces carrying around a new weapon, or reduces our AS. As a pure, favor doesn't matter. Most undead are the easiest things to hunt, and are really weak to magic, including songs.


    By the Numbers
    As a pure bard, I would recommend either COL or Voln, given the mana recovery capabilities, and Voln also has +CS against undead.
    As a melee Bard, honestly, they're all good options
    Last edited by Whirlin; 06-13-2013 at 03:46 PM.


    >forage for snapdragon stalk
    d100(Open): -251
    You stumble about in a fruitless attempt at foraging.

    1/6/2014: Setheve completes the promotion ritual and says, "Congratulations, Whirlin, for achieving Guild Master status! We trust you'll serve your guild well."
    1/11/2014: Grandmaster Alchemist
    1/14/2014: Capped, and got Loralaii killed by a GM.
    7/11/2016: Founded the Hand of the Arkati
    9/20/2016: T5 on my bow (Thanks to Isola)... Managed as far as T4 myself.

  6. #6

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    This space is worthless, move along.

  7. #7
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    This space reserved for future praise or condemnation.
    You had better pay your guild dues before you forget. You are 113 months behind.

  8. #8

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    www.twitch.tv/3piecesofbread
    Quote Originally Posted by time4fun
    No, actually, Back is not an idiot.
    Quote Originally Posted by Back
    I am a retard. I'm disabled. I'm poor. I'm black. I'm gay. I'm transgender. I'm a woman.

    Methais highlights & sound configs: https://www.dropbox.com/s/6l4kyu7gqm...thais.rar?dl=0
    Methais sounds: https://www.dropbox.com/s/kajxe7wbgr...ounds.rar?dl=0

  9. Default

    Thanks for spending the time to put this together, Whirlin. It's extremely well-presented and extremely helpful. This month I'm returning after a two-year break (which is the latest in a succession of multi-year breaks [you think you're done for good and then one day ...]) and have been using this guide as my main resource while building up my bard from scratch.

    I've got one question for you. In the polearm build section you say:
    60 ranks in Armor will train off as much as you can for RT, Maneuver, and Bard Hinderance for Augmented Chain (ASG15). Also, it adds a LOT of potential for you to spend money on good armor ASAP, and settles down any variables for putting 1014 on yourself.
    Would you explain what you were saying in the second sentence? The first half of it sounds pro-physical armor while the second half sounds pro-sonic armor.

    Thanks again!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by oneillseanm View Post
    Thanks for spending the time to put this together, Whirlin. It's extremely well-presented and extremely helpful. This month I'm returning after a two-year break (which is the latest in a succession of multi-year breaks [you think you're done for good and then one day ...]) and have been using this guide as my main resource while building up my bard from scratch.

    I've got one question for you. In the polearm build section you say:Would you explain what you were saying in the second sentence? The first half of it sounds pro-physical armor while the second half sounds pro-sonic armor.

    Thanks again!
    Both are pro-Armor!

    While you're still working on armor training, the maximum armor that you can wear will vary on a level per level basis... So at 18 Ranks, you can wear Cuirbouilli Leather with minimal hindrance, but then 6 fast levels later at 23 ranks, you can wear Studded Leather with minimal hindrance. Reaching the 60 ranks ASAP calms that down. You won't need to continue to monitor your armor use versus maximum potential armor. No more buying a new set of 4x armor every 6 levels to keep your AvD and protection maxed.

    This means you can settle down and buy that nice piece of physical Augmented chain, or you will just ALWAYS be using sing 15 after prepping 1014. It just removes a variable that you need to monitor. It's one more thing to completely check off the list.


    >forage for snapdragon stalk
    d100(Open): -251
    You stumble about in a fruitless attempt at foraging.

    1/6/2014: Setheve completes the promotion ritual and says, "Congratulations, Whirlin, for achieving Guild Master status! We trust you'll serve your guild well."
    1/11/2014: Grandmaster Alchemist
    1/14/2014: Capped, and got Loralaii killed by a GM.
    7/11/2016: Founded the Hand of the Arkati
    9/20/2016: T5 on my bow (Thanks to Isola)... Managed as far as T4 myself.

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