We haven’t talked about Bard’s bardery since his introduction way back when. From where I’m sitting, the same problem still applies: Your badass character concept never survives contact with a sniggering table full of gamers.

Let’s face it, guys: The trope of battle-performance is inherently goofy. So much so that it sees play all across my line of work. From Elan of The Order of the Stick to Flynn the Fine of Gamers fame to this poor bastard, the imagery of a dude strumming his guitar during life-or-death combat is patently ludicrous. How you overcome that little difficulty is down to personal taste.

“I only sing ,” says the practical bard. “No instrument required. Plus it’s got literary precedent!”

“I use an instrument, sure,” says the DIY bard. “But it’s one of those harmonicas with a holder. That way I’m still hands-free!”

“I do a battle dance,” says the dervish bard.

“I crack witty one-liners,” says the orator.

“You know that dude from Critical Role?” says the critter. “I just do that. Because I took improv classes and I’m gonna use them. And if it’s goofy and ridiculous, then you’re welcome.”

If all else fails, the serious-face gamer can always fall back on, “I’m not literally performing. It’s just a way I hold myself that draws on my bardic training. It’s a commanding presence, not a literal song and dance routine. Ya bunch of Philistines.”

This of course draws us to our question of the day! When it’s your turn to roll up a song-and-dance man, what do you imagine that they’re doing in battle? Are they literally strumming a guitar in a sword fight? Or do they just apply their two years ballroom, two years tap to swordplay in a skill synergy sort of way? Sound off with your own takes on bardic battle music down in the comments!


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