Fern Kali wrote:I've never played a Bard but always wanted to: I'm always talked out of it by the other players who have never yet actually explained why I can't play a Bard, just been pains about it ("oh, a Bard's really a fifth character and there's only four of us" "I think a Bard would draw too much attention/isn't hard-hitting enough/some other stupid reason that turns out to be wrong because we actually need someone who can talk and has knowledge").
Part of what appeals to me is that I'm not much good at fast-talking, am not especially eloquent and can freeze up in a lot of the circumstances where Bards excel, so it's wish-fulfillment for me. And practice/training.
Icarus Anne Riley replied:+Fern Kali - I've found most players like action and specialization. Specialization allows some really spectacular stunts, and also prevents overlap between roles. By that, I mean if I'm playing the healer, and no one else can do healing, then no one else will steal my thunder or dramatic moments of healing.
Bards are such a mashup of so many things, they can easily blur into the territory of other players, ruffling feathers.
The specialization of bards is non-combat related, and so they can be mediocre in fights, which can leave the specialists feeling (right or wrong) like they have to protect the bard and compensate for the bard.
I've found bards work best to "buff" the other characters - use the morale boosting class features, use the attribute boosting spells, be the secondary healer, have a bunch of skills and use Aid Another, etc. It can be hard on the ego to lack specialization, but can also be very funny when your character isn't around helping make everyone look good, and people start to realize they've become dependent on said aid :)
Basically, bards, as with any character - figure out the character you want to play, and strike the balance of that against any holes or weak spots in the party lineup.
As far as diplomacy and epic singing - that really only works if you have a GM and other players who can enjoy that kind of side-story stuff.
It's amazing how distracting a musical event in the park can be, forcing the city watch to muster around the mob, instead of maintaining their normal patrols thru the business district :)