You know, the Bard was never the best healer in the party, and that’s okay because he did other stuff. You know what I miss about the Third Edition Bard? That happy plus-one bonus to attack rolls. Now you can have that (and a plus-one to saves)!

Here’s the Heroic Minstrel class:
Download: Essentials Minstrel (Bard) v.1

This began when I opened up my copy of the Third Edition Player’s Handbook and looked at the Bard. I wrote the Bardic Music power because I wanted something resembling the Skald’s Aura but provided the effect of Inspire Courage.

Then I wrote the Countersong feature. The first version had about half of what you see now — and I wrestled with how to make the feature both relevant and effective. I wanted the Bard to grant some kind of bonus against Thunder damage, ’cause duh.

I ultimately decided against that in favor of something that was a little more niche, but also provided a decisive advantage when dealing with Charm and Fear effects. I later added the encounter-use version to round out the feature. Niche but useful.

I worked on Fascinate at the same time I was worked on Countersong, and it was technically after I finished the one that I went back and finished the other. I can’t say exactly how I came up with Fascinate other than, “it just sort of came to me.”

One of the more interesting uses of Fascinate I didn’t realize until one of the guys in my gaming group pointed it out — the wording allows the Minstrel to move allies in addition to enemies. While I originally wrote the power with the intent of it affecting enemies, I don’t think pulling (and eventually sliding) allies is overpowering.

I’d thought about Sound Burst on and off through the development of the other features, and after double-checking the 3.x spell, wrote this version. I think it’s this power, plus Fascinate, that really makes the Bard a Leader-Controller.

While Sound Burst may only be an encounter power — it is an area-effect power and it has a clearly debilitating effect on those it hits in addition to dealing damage. It’s useful against a small group of clustered enemies, OR a lone enemy like a boss.

Like the Captain, the Minstrel lacks a leader-heal power. With the Inspiring Ballad feature however, allies within the Bardic Music aura gain temporary hit points when they spend a healing surge. These THP increase as the Minstrel advances in level.

Game of Roles: Revised Captain (May 13, 2013)

Now the last feature — Bard Implements — like the Wayfarer’s Implement Mastery before it, is something of a mystery itself. Implements don’t have a proficiency bonus or a damage die, but this feature will allows a Bard to add an Implement bonus to attacks and such. I’m honestly trying to figure out what that means.

Just ’cause I wrote it doesn’t mean I necessarily understand it. I’m sure it’ll go through a couple iterations while I try to figure out what the implications of a basic attack having the Implement keyword is. I’ll get back to you when I know.