Bard Colleges

Art demands an audience, and bards are nothing if not gregarious. To perfect their art, bards seek others out to swap songs and stories, boast of their accomplishments, and share their knowledge. Bards often form loose associations—their colleges—to facilitate their gatherings and preserve their traditions.

Whatever your background, this chapter introduces a variety of colleges for you to choose from. Define your bardic traditions and perfect your art.

Choose Your College

Choose your college from one of the following options:

  • College of Lore: You are a gatherer of knowledge and a seeker of truth, spinning little rumors into world-changing stories.

Creating a College

To create your own Bard College (or to convert an existing college from other sources), follow these steps:

  1. Create 3 Pledges: A bard college pledges to do three things. These pledges should be relatively open-ended and act as a roleplaying hook for your players.
  2. Create a Collegiate Inspiration: Bard colleges grant a unique way of using the Bardic Inspiration die at 1st-level. This should be a thematic part of your college's overall identity.
  3. Create 3rd and 6th-level Features: Bard colleges grant features at 3rd and 6th-level.
  4. Create a 10th-level Capstone: At 10th-level, bard colleges grant a unique capstone feature that is the pinnacle of your college's theming.

And that's it, your college is complete!

College of Lore

You are a bard of the College of Lore and you know a little something about almost anything. From scholarly tomes in ancient ruins to peasant tales in dingy taverns, you collect fragments of knowledge from all corners of the world and spin local rumor into world-changing truth.

1Collegiate Pledges

You—and other bards of your college—are guided by the following collegiate pledges:

  1. Find the Truth: Inside every rumor hides a little truth. Collect stories wherever you go and assemble little truths into big discoveries.
  2. Fight Corruption: Corrupt authorities are known to obscure truth and suppress knowledge. Expose and subvert these authorities so that the truth can shine.
  3. Create History: You are not an archivist, trapping lore in books to hide on dusty shelves. You are a bard. Use your knowledge to change the world.

1Collegiate Inspiration

You learn how to use your wit to distract, confuse, and otherwise sap the confidence and competence of others.

Cutting Words

Class Feature (Bard)

When a creature that you can see within 60 feet of you makes (a) an attack roll, (b) an ability check, or (c) a damage roll, you can use your reaction to spend one point of composition and unleash some Cutting Words.

Roll your Bardic Inspiration die and subtract the number rolled from the creature's roll. You can choose to use this feature after the creature makes its roll, but it must be before (a) the GM determines whether the attack roll or ability check succeeds or fails, or (b) the creature deals its damage.

  • I'm Not Listening: The creature is immune if it can't hear you or is immune to being charmed.

3Diverse Education

You gain proficiency with three skills of your choice.

6Hidden Lore

You learn two spells of your choice from any class. The spells don't have to be from the same class, but they must be a cantrip or of a level that you can cast—as shown in the Class Features (Bard) table.

The chosen spells count as bard spells for you and don't count against the number of bard spells you know.

10Peerless Skill

When you make an ability check, you can spend one point of composition to inspire yourself. Roll a Bardic Inspiration die and add the number rolled to your ability check result.

You can wait until after you roll your check before deciding to use this feature, but you must decide before the GM says whether your check succeeds or fails.