Bard, Alternative Variant (5e Class)

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Bard, Alternative Variant[edit]

Alternative Universe[edit]

Welcome to the universe where every class is alternative. Each class has alternative features and ability to mimic its switched counterpart. Warlocks are divine spell casters granted by Gods. Clerics are eldritch spell casters created from deals with higher powers. Barbarians are calm and strike at perfect type. Monks are brutes that charge into battle. Fighters are dirty fighters and rogues are master of the blade. Druids are arcane casters meanwhile sorcerers tap into nature. Wizards use music to charm people and bards are masters of magic and skills. Paladins become more in tuned to nature and rangers follow a strict oath. Artificers sacrifice their magic for blood power and blood hunters gain magic through forbidden technology.

Nerd Bards[edit]

Bards from the alternative universe are very similar to wizards with bard features. Bards spend alarming amount in skill. Learning new magic spells and new skills. Their handy book of spells helps to keep track on new spells that they learn.

Creating a Bard, Alternative Variant[edit]

Creating a bard character demands a backstory dominated by at least one extraordinary event. How did your character first come into contact with magic? How did you discover you had an aptitude for it? Do you have a natural talent, or did you simply study hard and practice incessantly? Did you encounter a magical creature or an ancient tome that taught you the basics of magic?

What drew you forth from your life of study? Did your first taste of magical knowledge leave you hungry for more? Have you received word of a secret repository of knowledge not yet plundered by any other wizard? Perhaps you’re simply eager to put your newfound magical skills to the test in the face of danger.

Quick build

You can make a Bard, Alternative Variant quickly by following these suggestions. First, Intelligence should be your highest ability score, followed by Constitution. Second, choose the Sage background. Third, choose <!-elaborate on equipment choices->

Class Features

As a bard, alternative variant you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d8 per bard, alternative variant level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + Constitution modifier per bard, alternative variant level after 1st


Armor: Light armor
Weapons: Simple weapons, hand crossbows, longswords, rapiers, shortswords
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Intelligence
Skills: Choose any three


You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

Table: The bard, alternative variant

Level Proficiency
Features Cantrips Known —Spell Slots per Spell Level—
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1st +2 Spellcasting, Bardic Inspiration (d6) 2 2
2nd +2 Arcane Tradition, Song of Rest (d6) 2 3
3rd +2 Jack of All Trades, Expertise 2 4 2
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement 3 4 3
5th +3 Bardic Inspiration (d8), Font of Inspiration 3 4 3 2
6th +3 Countercharm, Arcane Tradition feature 3 4 3 3
7th +3 3 4 3 3 1
8th +3 Ability Score Improvement 3 4 3 3 2
9th +4 Song of Rest (d8) 3 4 3 3 3 1
10th +4 Bardic Inspiration (d10), Magical Secrets, Arcane Tradition feature 4 4 3 3 3 2
11th +4 4 4 3 3 3 2 1
12th +4 Ability Score Improvement 4 4 3 3 3 2 1
13th +5 Song of Rest (d10) 4 4 3 3 3 2 1 1
14th +5 Magical Secrets, Arcane Tradition feature 4 4 3 3 3 2 1 1
15th +5 Bardic Inspiration (d12) 4 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
16th +5 Ability Score Improvement 4 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
17th +6 Song of Rest (d12) 4 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1 1
18th +6 Magical Secrets 4 4 3 3 3 3 1 1 1 1
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement 4 4 3 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
20th +6 Superior Inspiration 4 4 3 3 3 3 2 2 1 1


As a student of arcane magic, you have a spellbook containing spells that show the first glimmerings of your true power.


At 1st level, you know two cantrips of your choice from the wizard spell list. You learn additional wizard cantrips of your choice at higher levels, as shown in the Cantrips Known column of the Bard, Alternative Variant table.


At 1st level, you have a spellbook containing six 1st-level wizard spells of your choice. Your spellbook is the repository of the wizard spells you know, except your cantrips, which are fixed in your mind.

Preparing and Casting Spells

The Bard, Alternative Variant table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your spells of 1st level and higher. To cast one of these spells, you must expend a slot of the spell's level or higher. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a long rest.

You prepare the list of wizard spells that are available for you to cast. To do so, choose a number of wizard spells from your spellbook equal to your Intelligence modifier + your bard, alternative variant level (minimum of one spell). The spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots.

For example, if you're a 3rd-level bard, alternative variant, you have four 1st-level and two 2nd-level spell slots. With an Intelligence of 16, your list of prepared spells can include six spells of 1st or 2nd level, in any combination, chosen from your spellbook. If you prepare the 1st-level spell magic missile, you can cast it using a 1st-level or a 2nd-level slot. Casting the spell doesn't remove it from your list of prepared spells.

You can change your list of prepared spells when you finish a long rest. Preparing a new list of wizard spells requires time spent studying your spellbook and memorizing the incantations and gestures you must make to cast the spell: at least 1 minute per spell level for each spell on your list.

Spellcasting Ability

Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for your bard, alternative variant spells, since you learn your spells through dedicated study and memorization. You use your Intelligence whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Intelligence modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a wizard spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.

Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier

Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier

Ritual Casting

You can cast a wizard spell as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag and you have the spell in your spellbook. You don’t need to have the spell prepared.

Spellcasting Focus

You can use an arcane focus as a spellcasting focus for your wizard spells.

Learning Spells of 1st Level and Higher

Each time you gain a bard, alternative variant level, you can add two wizard spells of your choice to your spellbook for free. Each of these spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots, as shown on the bard, alternative variant table. On your adventures, you might find other spells that you can add to your spellbook.

Bardic Inspiration[edit]

You can inspire others through stirring words or music. To do so, you use a bonus action on your turn to choose one creature other than yourself within 60 feet of you who can hear you. That creature gains one Bardic Inspiration die, a d6.

Once within the next 10 minutes, the creature can roll the die and add the number rolled to one ability check, attack roll, or saving throw it makes. The creature can wait until after it rolls the d20 before deciding to use the Bardic Inspiration die, but must decide before the GM says whether the roll succeeds or fails. Once the Bardic Inspiration die is rolled, it is lost. A creature can have only one Bardic Inspiration die at a time.

You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier (a minimum of once). You regain any expended uses when you finish a long rest.

Your Bardic Inspiration die changes when you reach certain levels in this class. The die becomes a d8 at 5th level, a d10 at 10th level, and a d12 at 15th level.

Song of Rest[edit]

Beginning at 2nd level, you can use soothing music or oration to help revitalize your wounded allies during a short rest. If you or any friendly creatures who can hear your performance regain hit points at the end of the short rest by spending one or more Hit Dice, each of those creatures regains an extra 1d6 hit points.

The extra hit points increase when you reach certain levels in this class: to 1d8 at 9th level, to 1d10 at 13th level, and to 1d12 at 17th level.

Arcane Tradition[edit]

When you reach 2nd level, you choose an arcane tradition, shaping your practice of magic. Your choice grants you features at 2nd level and again at 6th, 10th, and 14th level.

Arcane Tradition features

Jack of All Trades[edit]

Starting at 3rd level, you can add half your proficiency bonus, rounded down, to any ability check you make that doesn't already include your proficiency bonus.


At 3rd level, choose two of your skill proficiencies. Your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make that uses either of the chosen proficiencies.

Ability Score Improvement[edit]

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Font of Inspiration[edit]

Beginning when you reach 5th level, you regain all of your expended uses of Bardic Inspiration when you finish a short or long rest.


At 6th level, you gain the ability to magically generate a field to disrupt mind-influencing effects. As an action, you can start the magical field that lasts until the end of your next turn. During that time, you and any friendly creatures within 30 feet of you have advantage on saving throws against being frightened or charmed. A creature must be able to hear you to gain this benefit. This ends early if you are incapacitated or silenced or if you voluntarily end it (no action required).

Magical Secrets[edit]

By 10th level, you have plundered magical knowledge from a wide spectrum of disciplines. Choose two spells from any class, including this one. A spell you choose must be of a level you can cast, as shown on the bard, alternative variant table, or a cantrip.

You learn two additional spells from any class at 14th level and again at 18th level.

Superior Inspiration[edit]

At 20th level, when you roll initiative and have no uses of Bardic Inspiration left, you regain one use.

Arcane Traditions[edit]

The study of wizardry is ancient, stretching back to the earliest mortal discoveries of magic. It is firmly established in the worlds of D&D, with various traditions dedicated to its complex study.

The most common arcane traditions in the multiverse revolve around the schools of magic. Bards through the ages have cataloged thousands of spells, grouping them into eight categories called schools. In some places, these traditions are literally schools; a bard might study at the School of Illusion while another studies across town at the School of Enchantment. In other institutions, the schools are more like academic departments, with rival faculties competing for students and funding. Even bards who train apprentices in the solitude of their own towers use the division of magic into schools as a learning device, since the spells of each school require mastery of different techniques.

Wizard Subclasses

Bard, Alternative Variant's subclasses are exactly the same as normal Wizard subclasses except the following;

Whenever you gain light armor proficiency, instead you gain medium armor and shield proficiency.


You cannot multiclass into or out to a class with Arcane Tradition (like wizard)

Prerequisites. To qualify for multiclassing into the Bard, Alternative Variant class, you must meet these prerequisites: Intelligence 13

Proficiencies. When you multiclass into the Bard, Alternative Variant class, you gain the following proficiencies: light armor and 1 skill proficiency.

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