Heck yeah, bards! I’ve always dug the musical dudes as a conceit.  They’re all like, “Magic is its own kind of music, strange and wild. Wizards and their dusty tomes are deaf to it. Clerics can only beg some higher power for aid. But a musician can tune the cosmos like a mandolin, and play the hearts of men like a tambour. Listen well now, for you’ll not hear the like of me again.” Of course, it never goes like that in game. Bards have an image problem, and your badass character concept never survives contact with a sniggering table full of gamers.

More than anything, I think people undervalue bards for the same reason they revile the utility cleric. Alpha striking for ridiculous damage or casting some big, flashy spell can seem a lot more appealing than buffs. But at the end of the day I think that keeping the party alive or laying down that big fat haste + inspire courage is a pretty cool move. You’ve just got to make sure and do like the man said and keep yourself semi-competent with a weapon.

Or you can just be an archaeologist. It’s hard to argue with that imagery.