Bard Class Color Guide For D&D and Beyond
Welcome to the class colors series, a series where I will be covering and assigning colors to each of the classes from dungeons and dragons fifth edition. In a recent article of mine I presented the idea of using the Color Pie instead of the D&D alignment chart when it comes to building and expressing your characters. In that article I made the statement that any Class can be any color, as it has more to do with the motivations of your characters than anything else, and while that still holds true, much can be learned from picking and discussing the colors that fit these classes more easily from a thematic standpoint. So let’s do just that, beginning with the colors chosen for the Bard in the MTG set Adventures in the forgotten realms. Alright get your harps, lutes, and flutes ready, and let’s discuss the colors and combinations of the bard.
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The Bard is an interesting type of class, in that it is a performer, a charmer, a warrior and a masterful weaver of magic. It takes both dedications to hone craft and requires some latent skill to master the bardic arts. The Bard is many things depending on how it is played but there are key components that are seen across every version of the Bard. The Bard is clever, intelligent, and charming. It utilizes its deft hands and even more potent tongue to control, manipulate and bolster. Because of these traits there will be a few colors that tend to pop up time and time again, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, I want to first take a look at the class card provided to use by Wizards of the cost in the set Adventures in the Forgotten Realms in order to build a basis for our discussion.
Interestingly enough the Bard class card was given the colors Red and Green, and it was a choice I saw a lot of contention surrounding, possibly more than any of the other classes in AFR, but I do see their intentions here and I think it works, but only as a basis or a single version of a Bard. So why Green, well Green is in fact a color that fits very well with the type of Bard who collects stories through song, which when it comes down to it is at the core of many bards. It’s a love for the tales of old, of songs passed down from generations and of magic that mimics the words which breathed the multiverse into existence. As we can see the Color Green fits into the Bard’s identity very well, in fact, I see the basis of most Bards containing Green, but not all, remember this is only one side.
The magic of song can be found in more places than these. So, what about the red side of this combination, well Red on the other hand displays the side of the Bard that is a performer, someone who exudes passion, charisma, and joy in everything pertaining to their craft. You see, when it comes down to it Red is a color you will find in many performers, because performance is very much the expression of our emotions and of bringing out of the emotions of others. The Bard simply takes this performance and use of story to another level, weaving magic out of words and sounds to create something new.
When I think of what core mono color fits the Bard the most, I believe that I will always come back to Red, as Red is the passion, emotion and the driving force that sets someone on the path of performance. Now let’s take a step back and see what it means to be a Red, Green Bard. This type of Bard is a classic weaver of tales, of old magic, someone who takes what has been passed down to them and breaths life into it. Their magic is old, it is wild, and it is fun. A Red Green Bard is the kind to sit under a tree and weave magic that even a fairy would envy.
So now we come to the point where we decide on what other colors could fit the bard, and to do that I want to drop Green out of the equation and add in White. With a White Red Bard, we move away from the use of old magic into the realm of Bardic inspiration. The songs of deeds done are still present, but it is now a tool to breath inspiration into a new generation of heroes. This type of bard is one that utilizes their abilities to rally others, to uplift latent abilities and bring out the true potential hidden within us all.
This Bard marches out into battle with bow at its back and horn in its hands ready to rally armies into action, inspire heroes into acts of valor, or strike fear into the enemies who approach. With Red still present in this Bard they continue to act in a manner that is expressive and enthusiastic, it’s just with White’s influence their focus is now on how they can push others into acts of bravery that are worth their own stories. White becomes a strong presence in this Bard, a focal point of its motivations. As it is less listless and more driven into action, guided by its moral compass. The White Red Bard not only is a witness to courage it is right there helping create the stories it will later tell.
What really sets a Bard apart from its contemporaries in the performing arts is its mixture of pure talent merged with its immense training. Anyone can learn to string words and tunes into a song, but to truly take the echoes of creation and turn them into magic that influences others, it takes a lot of training and will to learn. Because of this a Bard can often find elements of Blue in their personality. So, lets now remove the white from our Bard and add blue and black to the mix to see what happens.
The Blue-Black-Red Bard is now a minstrel who obsesses over the perfection of their craft and of personal success within that craft. This Bard might be one who won’t use its abilities so overtly, as a war cry for others, but will instead use its guile, charm, and ability to persuade and manipulate. Once again, we still see the presence of Red, a major part of its charm and empathy. Take note of that empathy though for in the hands of this Bard it becomes something else. By understanding the emotions of others, it is more able to manipulate them, and that charm is a product of that empathy as well.
As you can see this Bard has a lot of tricks up their sleeve already but let’s continue. The Blue mana within them is what drives them to learn all that there is to learn, and as we know when matched with Black this desire to learn is also tied to personal gain as well. It’s ambition that facilitates a level of pride which is unmatched, as they are confident in their skills and will use them to their advantage. This ambitious, clever, and resourceful Bard will then use their skills to influence others, as this is still the core of a Bards skillset, but instead of carrying on tradition and stories, or using it to uplift others, it is instead used to influence the mind of others. To make their target more malleable when it comes time to make important decisions, or to charm them into making decisions that are against their interests. This Bard walks the fine line between hero and villain but to them no songs were ever sung about those who fell into obscurity.
The final version Of the Bard I want to cover is one that removes the Black from our previous example. Here we still have someone who is dedicated to perfecting their craft, and yet is wild about it, is willing to do it for the fun of creating. This Bard might take less inspiration from the songs of others and would instead bread new songs into creation or take two spells and mash them together in a new way. The Red-Blue Bard is one that makes music for the sake of it, for the joy of creation, and the amazement found in the art of it all. This Bard reminds me of the college of Prizmari at the school of Strixhaven. For that I tend to think of this quote to describe the Red-Blue Bard from the card prismari apprentice. “No one ever created great art by playing it safe!” If you want to play this type of Bard, you have to be willing to see all of your hard-earned progress be swept up and away with your passions. You are excitable and enjoy each new spell song you add to your repertoire, for if you don’t gain something from your own songs then what’s the point.
As we can see from these four versions of the Bard, Red is often at its core, as no matter the style it does take charisma and passion to be a Bard. Where the interesting skews come from, are the other colors that are paired with it. In Green it can utilize the echoes of creation to pass on ancient wisdom, to tap into magic that is pure and old. With white it uses those songs to inspire other, it sees its role as one who uplifts a new generation of heroes and aims to be right there at their side when their song is written. The Blue side of the Bard takes to mastering its craft above all else.
I can honestly see this color in the Bard almost as much as I see Red within it, as it takes more than a love of music to be a Bard, you must be skilled and dedicated, that’s why there are so few true magical Bards in existence. Finally Black adds a level of personal satisfaction and gain to the Bard and grants it the allowances that make getting its hands dirty a little easier. This type of Bard would fit right in with rogues or within the king’s court, where manipulation is key. However, you play your Bard it is up to you, what’s important is that you hold on to the passions that make performance what it is, as what’s a Bard without an audience.
Well I hope this inspired you to create a Bard of your own. If this sort of thing interests you then be sure to check out my many other articles here on the site or join me over on Youtube. With that friend, I will catch you in the multiverse bye!
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