One of my memorable personal quotes is “stuck between a rogue and a bard place,” and if I remember correctly, I coined it during a session of Dungeons & Dragons in either late 2008 or early 2009, during the original Rumors of War campaign. It’s one of my favorites that I like to spout here and there, and it’s one that I’m proud of, what with its cleverness and originality and yadda yadda.

“I’m stuck between a rogue and a bard place.”

In Dungeons & Dragons Third Edition, the rogue and bard character classes fill two sides of the same character niche: the rogue fills the sneaky, back-stabbing, trap-finding role and the bard fills the jovial, hide-in-plain-sight, inspire-others-with-hilarious-antics role. Both fall easily into the ecological niche formed around the lovable rogue concept, though they can still go in wildly different directions.

The main difference between the two seems to be in the rogue’s ability to stick a knife between a person’s ribs, and the bard’s ability to inspire people to stick knives between people’s ribs better. I mean, obviously there are a variety of other things bard do, but I think that’s the key difference that carried over to Fourth Edition. Bards also help keep their fellows on their feet so they can keep up the knife-between-ribs routine.