In the world of Dungeons & Dragons 5e, the Bard class is often hailed as the ultimate jack-of-all-trades, with the College of Creation subclass taking this versatility to new heights. In this detailed guide, we’ll delve deep into the College of Creation Bard and explore their role in the party, their unique features, strengths, weaknesses, ideal race options, skills, feats, backgrounds, and even multiclassing possibilities. By the end, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of how to unleash the full potential of this remarkable subclass.
Role in the Party
Bards are known for their adaptability, and the College of Creation doubles down on this trait by enhancing their Bardic abilities with a focus on creation and summoning. These Bards not only excel at inspiring their allies, but they also possess the extraordinary ability to manifest items seemingly out of thin air and bring inanimate objects to life as summoned companions. All of this, while retaining their full spellcasting prowess. Let’s break down their features and see why the College of Creation Bard is an intriguing choice for any D&D campaign.
College of Creation Features
The College of Creation introduces several unique features that set it apart from other Bard subclasses.
- Note of Potential (Level 3): As soon as you gain this subclass, Note of Potential enhances your Bardic Inspiration. This feature allows you to roll the inspiration dice twice for ability checks, enabling you to choose the better result. It’s an invaluable tool to ensure the success of critical checks, making you the go-to support for your party.
- Performance of Creation: This remarkable ability lets you create any non-magical item that comes to mind, subject to a few restrictions. The item’s cost cannot exceed 20 times your Bard level in gold. Additionally, it can’t be larger than Large until 6th level, and Huge until 14th level. The item persists for a duration equal to your proficiency bonus. The versatility of this feature is astonishing, as it enables you to produce a wide range of items, from weapons to tools, offering a free use with the option to replicate it by expending a 2nd-level or higher spell slot.
- Animating Performance (Level 6): At 6th level, the College of Creation Bard can target any Large or smaller object and animate it, turning it into a summoned companion for an hour. This companion boasts a competitive stat block, scaling hit points, a fly speed, and a Force damage-dealing attack. Importantly, it can be commanded as a bonus action, allowing you to direct it while using your Bardic Inspiration. Should your animated companion fall or expire, you can revive it by expending a 3rd-level or higher spell slot. This feature adds depth to the subclass and ensures that the Bard remains relevant in combat situations.
- Creative Crescendo (Level 14): At 14th level, the College of Creation Bard can have a total of Animated Objects equal to their Charisma bonus (up to five). One of them can be Large, while the others must be small or smaller. While the size varies, their stats remain consistent, with additional utility benefits. This feature empowers you to create a personal army of animated companions, making it incredibly potent in both combat and exploration.
The College of Creation Bard leverages its strengths in two main areas:
- Enhanced Bardic Inspiration: This subclass supercharges Bardic Inspiration, making it even more effective. With Note of Potential, you can roll the inspiration dice twice for ability checks, ensuring success in crucial moments. This feature is particularly useful, given that Bardic Inspiration can be used frequently throughout the day.
- Summonable Companions: The College of Creation transforms the Bard into a pet class, offering a summonable pet that rivals, or even surpasses, other class options like Animal Companions or Undead summons. The summoned companions are a significant addition to the party’s combat prowess, and the best part is that they don’t consume the Bard’s existing resources.
In addition to these strengths, the College of Creation Bard retains the classic Bard abilities of in-combat control spells and out-of-combat utility. Moreover, the subclass’s unique abilities, such as Performance of Creation, make it incredibly flexible, allowing you to adapt to various situations and challenges.
While the College of Creation Bard boasts a wide range of abilities, it also comes with its own set of weaknesses:
- Toughness: Bards are traditionally not known for their resilience. They have light armor proficiency and a D8 hit die, which leaves them vulnerable, especially when faced with hordes of enemies. The Bard spell list lacks some defensive options available to other classes, making teamwork and evading damage crucial.
- Lack of High Damage Spells: The Bard spell list primarily features buffs and debuffs, but it lacks high-damage spells. To compensate for this, you may need to invest in Magical Secrets to access potent damage-dealing spells. However, the summonable pets provided by the College of Creation can help mitigate this limitation by acting as additional sources of damage in combat.
Best Race Options
Choosing the right race can further enhance your College of Creation Bard’s abilities:
- Fairy: The Fairy race provides a choice of stats and extra spells per day, but the standout feature is the ability to fly, unhindered by medium or heavy armor, which Bards typically don’t wear.
- Protector Aasimar: This race offers bonuses to your main casting stat, darkvision, resistance, and free healing. However, the real gem is the once-a-day ability to fly for one minute, which pairs excellently with your spellcasting abilities.
- Dispater Tiefling: Any Tiefling is a solid choice due to their stat bonuses and bonus spellcasting. Dispater Tieflings, in particular, provide a secondary bonus to DEX and a selection of spells that excel in subterfuge and misdirection, aligning well with the Bard’s versatile skillset.
Choosing the Right Skills
As a Bard, you have the luxury of selecting from a wide array of skills. Key choices include:
- Performance: This is an essential skill for Bards, and taking it is practically mandatory.
- Social Skills: Skills like Persuasion and Deception are natural choices, as they play to the Bard’s charismatic strengths.
- Adaptability: Depending on your party’s composition and campaign requirements, consider selecting skills that address gaps in your group’s skillset. Bards are adept at skill use, and your versatility allows you to fill multiple roles effectively.
Feats can significantly enhance your College of Creation Bard. Here are a few recommendations:
- Magic Initiate: Since Creation Bards lack consistent damage-dealing options, Magic Initiate is an excellent choice. It grants access to the Warlock spell list and the potent Eldritch Blast cantrip, which scales with your main casting stat. You also gain a once-per-day casting of another Warlock spell, making it a versatile option. Consider taking Hex to add extra damage against important foes.
- Inspiring Leader: This feat amplifies your support capabilities by providing substantial scaling temporary hit points to your party each morning and after short rests. The role-playing potential of this feat is also enticing, allowing you to flavor your character’s inspirational speeches and motivation.
- Metamagic Adept: The Bard spell list contains numerous single-target debuffs and potent area-of-effect spells that can benefit from Metamagic. You can twin spells, use Careful Spell to protect allies, and even select out-of-combat Metamagic options like Subtle Spell for subterfuge.
Choosing the right background can enhance your role-playing experience and provide useful tools for your College of Creation Bard. Here are some backgrounds to consider:
- Pirate: This background grants proficiency in Perception and Athletics, making you adept at spotting hidden threats and navigating challenging terrain. Additionally, you gain Navigator’s Tools and proficiency in Water Vehicles. The ability to produce a full-sized canoe from thin air at 6th level is both practical and entertaining.
- Guild Artisan: This background offers proficiency in Persuasion and Insight, enhancing your social skills. You also gain proficiency with one type of Artisan’s Tools, which can be a valuable addition to your skillset. The background’s theme aligns well with the Bard’s versatility and creativity.
- Criminal: The Criminal background provides proficiency in Stealth and Deception, which are valuable for subterfuge and skulduggery. It also grants proficiency in Thieves’ Tools, enabling you to excel at lock-picking and other stealthy endeavors. The ability to create any tools you lack through your subclass abilities adds further utility.
Multiclassing can diversify your abilities and add unique twists to your character. Here are some multiclassing options to consider:
- Hexblade Warlock: A single level dip into Hexblade can be beneficial if you wish to use your own weapon in combat. This grants you proficiency with one-handed weapons and access to Warlock spells not typically available to Bards. Further levels offer invocations and other advantages, but be mindful of the potential impact on your spell level progression. Limit your investment to no more than 3 levels.
- Clockwork Soul Sorcerer: Multiclassing into Sorcerer, specifically the Clockwork Soul subclass, complements the Bard spell list with potent damage-dealing spells. It doesn’t hinder your spell level progression, making it an attractive option. The Clockwork Soul’s unique ability to manipulate advantage and disadvantage for allies can significantly benefit your team.
- Rogue: A one-level dip into Rogue can turn your College of Creation Bard into the ultimate out-of-combat character. You gain additional skills and expertise in four of them, making you exceptionally skilled. While Sneak Attack may not perfectly align with your Bardic abilities, Cunning Action at 2nd level provides a valuable bonus action. Alternatively, consider delving deeper into Rogue by choosing the Arcane Trickster or Swashbuckler subclasses, allowing you to fight alongside your animated weapons.
Mastering the College of Creation Bard
To truly master the College of Creation Bard, you must harness the power of creation to the fullest and be prepared to take on any challenge that comes your way. Here are some advanced strategies and tips to make the most of this unique subclass:
- Mastery of Performance: With Performance of Creation, your ability to manifest items is virtually limitless. To optimize your use of this feature, keep a mental list of potential items that could be valuable in different situations. Whether it’s a rope to escape a dangerous situation or a weapon to face an unexpected foe, your creativity can be a game-changer.
- Item Crafting: The ability to create items can extend beyond immediate use. Consider crafting items that can be useful in the long run, such as healing potions, caltrops, or even disguises. This not only helps your party in specific scenarios but can also be a source of income or influence in the game world.
- Tactical Summoning: Animating Performance allows you to bring objects to life as companions, and this can be a strategic advantage. Position your animated companion strategically to control the battlefield, block enemy movements, or provide flanking opportunities for your allies. Be mindful of the companion’s abilities, such as its Force damage-dealing attack, and use it to maximum effect.
- Party Coordination: Your summoned companions can interact with the rest of your party in creative ways. Coordinate with your team to exploit the full potential of these animated allies. For instance, use your companions to trigger traps, carry objects, or even provide cover in tight situations.
- Creative Crescendo: At level 14, your ability to control multiple animated objects becomes extremely potent. Consider giving your companions specific roles based on their size or attributes. For example, a Large companion can serve as a front-line tank, while smaller ones can act as scouts, distractions, or damage-dealers. Flexibility and adaptability are key.
- Versatile Spellcasting: While the focus of the College of Creation is on creation and summoning, don’t neglect your Bard spellcasting abilities. Bards have access to a wide range of spells that can further enhance your versatility. Consider spells that offer crowd control, healing, and utility to complement your class features.
- Communication with the DM: The College of Creation is incredibly open-ended, which can lead to creative and unconventional solutions. Work closely with your Dungeon Master to discuss the possibilities and limitations of your creation abilities. This collaboration can lead to memorable and engaging gameplay experiences.
The College of Creation Bard is a unique and versatile subclass that offers a wide array of creative and strategic options. Whether you’re enhancing your allies with powerful Inspiration or conjuring animated companions to aid in battles, this subclass provides a dynamic and engaging gameplay experience.
With the right strategies and a dash of creativity, you can become a master of creation, adapting to any situation and leaving a lasting impact on your D&D adventures. So, consider enrolling in the College of Creation and embark on a journey filled with limitless possibilities, where your imagination is your greatest asset. Embrace the role of the bard who brings worlds to life, and enjoy the magic of creation. Your party will thank you, and your adventures will never be the same.
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