One thing to remember with a Bard, especially a caster one, is that you don't need to get anywhere near 63 base UMD to use scrolls. You need spell level + 25, so 34 for level 9 spells. If you assume 60 or so for Charisma, that's a 25 modifier right there (since UMD is a charisma-based skill). So a few points, plus Bard Song, should be plenty.
I'm personally taking 40 on my dex Bard, because he'll have less Charisma, and also because 40 UMD opens up some different gear options I wouldn't normally have. 60 would open up even more options, though none that I've found necessary.
So basically the moral of this story is if you're short on skill points, but want to cast from scrolls, you could spend 40 points in UMD and be fine most everywhere. I believe the biggest skill point hit from Hells penalties is in Nessus with 1x demi pens, and I think that's -20 to skills. So if you have base 40 + 25 (from 60 Charisma) = 65 - 20 (pens) = 45 = more than enough for casting level 9 spells from scrolls (again, requires 34 UMD). So you could technically lower that to 29 base, and always be able to cast spells from scrolls, without your own song, if I'm not mistaken.
I believe pure caster bards provide overall better value to the party.
A bard was my 2nd character on this server, based on the original Sheinja's Muse. At one point about 60% of all my hell runs had been as playing a bard. I reincarnated about 4 months ago dropping to 62 cha (had two free epic feats, and 62 is another possum) and 6 epics (adding healing spirit and cloud). Barding can be a very exhausting, and I understand some people’s dislike of playing a caster bard. However, I still feel this min/max HG world caster bards are the best. The added value to the team from having more epics (number of epics as well as ticks/range of each), more spell slots (everyone needs to have clang/disp, etc) and a dedicated support role, is more valuable than any amount of melee damage done by a bard.
Of course, increasing str/dex for KD checks and overall durability may have some value, particularly in Ely where you can’t afford to run UUU all the time, however I almost never find my bard KD’d in hells.
If you can’t find yourself almost completely occupied during each spawn from curse/song, uuu placement (and pt2, which I use as a bard), taunt, cure scrolls (stf, mindblank, gust), wail of doom, bestow curse, mass cure serious, mind fog, and looting (in order of importance) then you’ve figured out something about barding that I haven’t. Sure you can end up with some extra time at end the end of a heavy pf/male spawn, but not that much. If you’re bored start playing with dirge (spell not epic) and rainbow pattern.
UUU/dirge placement: This is really one of the most vital parts of barding. With the past changes to add the inner circle, you need to position this properly. Most of the time this is using sidestep to stand right behind the primary tanks, so you can cover tanks and casters, or cover two melee fronts in the battle. If you are melee’ing a mob, chances are that you don’t have the most optimal placement.
Just my opinion.
Also, I know Kleb has a max DC bard that uses Phantasmal Killer, Dirge, RP a lot to add to overall party value. That’s another option that might be worthwhile. Currently, I like the 6 epic build more.
Of course, none of this touches on the players’ actual enjoyment of playing a bard, which might be higher with a melee type bard, but that’s a completely different conversation…the word ‘selfless’ comes to mind. =P
After playing in nessus, I'd thought I'd add a few notes.
1) In nessus you can not afford to be running UUU every spawn in the coil. Instead, wait a few seconds until the first jump, or right before it(takes practice to anticipate) before triggering UUU. This rule is best only followed after 1x or 2x demi, as there is a still a small chance of getting kded yourself until then.
2)Don't use UUU for single PFs that are going down fast and are under control by your tanks. If party is dex heavy do this for malebranches instead.
3)Bestow EVERYTHING with SR above 74, keep in mind each level of paragon adds +4 SR to a mob.
4) Follow up bestow with a wail of doom, especially on groups of trash mobs or on pitfiends/male/serpent/ichor/cornugon/osyluth after being bestowed.
5) Once epics are up, move on to taunting non trash mobs, priority given to the one your tanks are attacking. You can taunt and cast other spells at the same time, so feel free to combine taunt with bestow and wail of doom
6) USE PT2 before your kded party member has a chance to say 'kded' by watching where everyone is standing in relation to where PF/male are. If you see one jump, immediately target the nearest kded person with PT2.
Rules 1 and 2 can be ignored outside of the serpent's coil, I find that everywhere else I run out of songs and spells before epics most of the time.
Last Edit: Apr 30, 2009 8:38:52 GMT by mishimayukio
I started reincarnating my bard and was thinking about what spells this bard would have compared to a normal caster bard, mish. You can drop most DC spells from the list, right? you have a list of the spells you are using? I guess it would be really good to play a caster bard with 139 ac and 75% conceal. btw, is that armor an echoes of creation?
I'm currently going to recommend dropping parry and UMD to 40, and putting 46 points into lore, so you easily hit well over the 127 cap. Also take Ice storm instead of spell mantle and any other useful evo spells.
Looking for suggestions in regards to fitting in Legendary Artist feat: specifically, what to drop in order to get it.
Looking at the Legendary Level feats, you have 3 options I can see. Leg. Spell Pen. - You'd take a hit to spell pen for wail, know vulnerabilities, and amplify mostly. Those are probably my main 3 SP important spells on my bard ( I use this build also )
Leg. Spell Focus Illusion - You'd lose 2% conceal from Ethereal Visage, this is a possibilty because you're at 83% conceal (73% with Breach boots)
Leg. Hardened Soul - You lose +5 to Will and Fort, to gain +1 bard song level and a toggable second song/bard config. Not worth it in my opinion.
In all honesty, I'd either take Leg. Artist over LSF Illusion, or not at all. The build really does pretty handy without it so far.