The Glorious Bardic Skill-Master (Bard 26 / Rogue 13 / Assassin 1)

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      This character pushes skill usage off the charts by combining Bard and Rogue class skills, Human and Int 16 (408 skill points).

      These are then further boosted by a level 21 to 26 Bard Song for +9 to skills (+11 with Perform 60, or +14 with Perform 75).

      This means a character with no items using Level 21 Bard Song:

      • Traps (including Epic Traps) with DC 76 can be disabled
      • Locks with DC 79 can be picked (80-81 with Cat’s Grace)
      • Set Trap DC 74 (more than enough for Epic Traps, requires rogues with disable trap skill 54 to disable)
      • Listen skill of 51 (71 with Amplify, 81 if you also cast Clairaudience/clairvoyance)
      • Discipline skill of 53 (54-55 with Bull’s Strength)
      • Spellcraft skill of 55 for +11 to saves against spells
      • Search skill of 46
      • Lore skill of 38

      And it gets even better with higher level Bard Song, and items of course.

      And there are even more superb features, which includes:

      • Undispellable (apart from Mord) Level 6 Bardic Spell Casting (ie Darkness/Ultravision/Silence, GMW/Haste, Improved Invisibility, War Cry, Dirge, Summon VI),
      • Craft Wand
      • UMD 30 to use any scroll without failure.
      • Lasting Inspiration (at level 30) and Curse Song
      • 8d6 sneak attack + death attack (DC 14), Evasion, Uncanny Dodge (synergises well with Darkness/Ultravision available from Bard)
      • Epic Dodge at Level 36
      • Melee mundane AB 37, Ranged mundane AB 34 – which is boosted by Bard/Curse song and the ability to cast Cat’s Grace / Greater Magic Weapon +5.
      • Knockdown/Expertise/Blind Fight

      The Fortitude and Will saves are weak. But this seems managable. Enemies with Dev Crit may struggle to land critical hits with high AC (Expertise, Bard Song adds +10, then add a shield) combined with Curse Song / Epic Dodge / 50% concealment from improved invisibility. Traps can be easily found and disabled. Effective spellcraft 55 provides +11 to saves against spells and Protection against Evil provides simple mind immunity for evil enemies (which covers most PvM situations).

      Encumbrance is a challenge for all Dex builds.

      I also made a Halfling version. It gets AB 39 but has less skills and doesn’t have knockdown.

      There is a Bard 26 / Rogue 13 / Shadowdancer 1 build in the ECB archives called “Support in a Small Package” by rafa10pj in 2007. I drop AB a little (Bards can manage with less) and don’t invest in Stealth or Shadowdancer (for HiPS).

      I thought about using Ranger 1 as the third class for the bonus feat which also opens up Animal Empathy. Epic Dodge would have to be at level 39 though to near max the disable trap / open lock skills. Also thought about Blackguard 2 for Dark Blessing but that cost a bit including dropping Bard to 25.

      Build Details:

      Bard(26), Rogue(13), Assassin(1), Human

      STR: 12
      DEX: 14 (26)
      CON: 12
      WIS: 8
      INT: 16
      CHA: 14 (16)

      Human: (Quick to Master)
      01: Rogue(1): Toughness, Expertise
      02: Rogue(2): {Evasion}
      03: Bard(1): Weapon Finesse
      04: Bard(2): DEX+1, (DEX=15)
      05: Rogue(3): {Uncanny Dodge I}
      06: Bard(3): Blind Fight
      07: Bard(4)
      08: Rogue(4): DEX+1, (DEX=16)
      09: Bard(5): Craft Wand
      10: Bard(6)
      11: Rogue(5)
      12: Bard(7): DEX+1, Knockdown, (DEX=17)
      13: Bard(8)
      14: Rogue(6)
      15: Bard(9): Weapon Focus: Rapier
      16: Bard(10): DEX+1, (DEX=18)
      17: Rogue(7)
      18: Bard(11): Curse Song
      19: Bard(12)
      20: Rogue(8): CHA+1, (CHA=15)
      21: Bard(13): Epic Weapon Focus: Rapier
      22: Bard(14)
      23: Rogue(9)
      24: Bard(15): CHA+1, Great Dexterity I, (DEX=19), (CHA=16)
      25: Bard(16)
      26: Rogue(10): Improved Evasion
      27: Bard(17): Great Dexterity II, (DEX=20)
      28: Bard(18): DEX+1, (DEX=21)
      29: Bard(19)
      30: Bard(20): Lasting Inspiration
      31: Rogue(11)
      32: Bard(21): DEX+1, (DEX=22)
      33: Bard(22): Great Dexterity III, (DEX=23)
      34: Rogue(12)
      35: Bard(23): Great Dexterity IV, (DEX=24)
      36: Rogue(13): DEX+1, Epic Dodge, Defensive Roll, (DEX=25)
      37: Bard(24)
      38: Bard(25)
      39: Assassin(1): Epic Prowess
      40: Bard(26): DEX+1, Epic Skill Focus: Perform, (DEX=26)

      Hitpoints: 320
      Skillpoints: 408
      Saving Throws (Fortitude/Will/Reflex): 17/19/32
      Saving Throw bonuses: Spells: +9, Traps: +2
      BAB: 25
      AB (max, naked): 37 (melee), 34 (ranged)
      AC (naked/mundane items only): 26/30
      Spell Casting: Bard(6) – 5/4 (cantrip), 5/5 (level 1), 5/5, 5/5, 5/4, 5/4, 4/4 (level 6)
      Alignment Changes: 0

      Disable Trap 42(47), Discipline 43(44), Hide 8(16), Listen 43(42), Move Silently 8(16), Open Lock 42(50), Perform 43(56), Search 34(37), Set Trap 35(45), Spellcraft 43(46), Tumble 40(48), UMD 27(30)

      01: Disable Trap(4), Hide(4), Listen(4), Move Silently(4), Open Lock(4), Search(4), Set Trap(1), Tumble(4), UMD(4), Save(15),
      02: Disable Trap(1), Hide(1), Listen(1), Move Silently(1), Open Lock(1), Search(1), Tumble(1), UMD(1), Save(19),
      03: Discipline(6), Hide(1), Listen(1), Move Silently(1), Perform(1), Spellcraft(6), Tumble(1), UMD(1), Save(9),
      04: Discipline(1), Hide(1), Listen(1), Move Silently(1), Perform(3), Spellcraft(1), Tumble(1), UMD(1), Save(7),
      05: Disable Trap(3), Hide(1), Listen(1), Move Silently(1), Open Lock(3), Search(3), Tumble(1), UMD(1), Save(5),
      06: Discipline(2), Listen(1), Perform(3), Spellcraft(2), Tumble(1), UMD(1), Save(3),
      07: Discipline(1), Listen(1), Spellcraft(1), Tumble(1), UMD(1), Save(6),
      08: Disable Trap(3), Listen(1), Open Lock(3), Search(3), Set Trap(4), Tumble(1), UMD(1), Save(2),
      09: Discipline(2), Listen(1), Spellcraft(2), Tumble(1), UMD(1), Save(3),
      10: Discipline(1), Listen(1), Perform(3), Spellcraft(1), Tumble(1), UMD(1), Save(3),
      11: Disable Trap(3), Listen(1), Open Lock(3), Search(3), Tumble(1), UMD(1), Save(3),
      12: Discipline(2), Listen(1), Spellcraft(2), Tumble(1), UMD(1), Save(4),
      13: Discipline(1), Listen(1), Perform(3), Spellcraft(1), UMD(1), Save(5),
      14: Disable Trap(3), Listen(1), Open Lock(3), Search(3), UMD(1), Save(6),
      15: Discipline(2), Listen(1), Spellcraft(2), UMD(1), Save(8),
      16: Discipline(1), Listen(1), Spellcraft(1), UMD(1), Save(12),
      17: Disable Trap(3), Listen(1), Open Lock(3), Search(3), Tumble(5), UMD(1), Save(8),
      18: Discipline(2), Listen(1), Perform(3), Spellcraft(2), UMD(1), Save(7),
      19: Discipline(1), Listen(1), Spellcraft(1), UMD(1), Save(11),
      20: Disable Trap(3), Listen(1), Open Lock(3), Search(3), UMD(1), Save(12),
      21: Discipline(2), Listen(1), Spellcraft(2), UMD(1), Save(14),
      22: Discipline(1), Listen(1), Perform(3), Spellcraft(1), Tumble(5), UMD(1), Save(10),
      23: Disable Trap(3), Listen(1), Open Lock(3), Search(3), Set Trap(1), UMD(1), Save(10),
      24: Discipline(2), Listen(1), Perform(2), Spellcraft(2), UMD(1), Save(10),
      25: Discipline(1), Listen(1), Perform(6), Spellcraft(1), Save(9),
      26: Disable Trap(3), Open Lock(3), Search(3), Set Trap(1), Save(11),
      27: Discipline(2), Perform(3), Spellcraft(2), Tumble(5), Save(7),
      28: Discipline(1), Perform(1), Spellcraft(1), Save(12),
      29: Discipline(1), Perform(1), Spellcraft(1), Save(17),
      30: Discipline(1), Perform(1), Spellcraft(1), Save(22),
      31: Disable Trap(5), Open Lock(5), Search(5), Set Trap(9), Save(10),
      32: Discipline(2), Perform(2), Spellcraft(2), Tumble(5), Save(7),
      33: Discipline(1), Perform(1), Spellcraft(1), Save(12),
      34: Disable Trap(3), Open Lock(2), Set Trap(19),
      35: Discipline(2), Listen(2), Perform(2), Spellcraft(2),
      36: Disable Trap(2), Listen(3), Open Lock(3), Save(4),
      37: Discipline(2), Listen(1), Perform(2), Spellcraft(2), Tumble(5),
      38: Discipline(1), Listen(5), Perform(1), Spellcraft(1),
      39: Disable Trap(3), Listen(2), Open Lock(3),
      40: Discipline(2), Listen(2), Perform(2), Spellcraft(2),


        I like this! And I am usually not a fan of skills in general 🙂

        In the spirit of going all-in on skills, you could drop 2 Great Dexterity for of ESF: Discipline and Listen, for instance. Not necessarily better but very impressive.

        Is the Assassin level there just to get 1d6 more on SA? That is very clever. And Bard 26 just seems extremely strong overall. 10 minutes level 26 song+curse song is crazy.

        Be careful with your undispellability though: both Ultravision and Silence have CL 0 in any dispel check, allowing level 10 Dispel Magic to dispel them every time. This does have the advantage that you can remove your own silence with a wand in order to start casting again, at least.

        According to the wiki, the concealment effect from Improved Invisibility should also be dispelled with ease, but I think this is contrary to my experience so I don’t know what is going on there.



          Thanks for commenting! I wrote the post just before work and was a bit of a rush. I added a bit to the original post.

          I played it a little. It reminded me leveling a low level dex rogue requires a much more thoughtful playstyle. The bardic feats (such as Shield Proficiency) bard song and spells do help to make it easier.

          If I drop Epic Dodge (need 25 Dex for it, so if I drop two great Dex feats I won’t be able to take it), then I can get three ESF feats by dropping Defensive Roll, Improved Evasion and Epic Dodge. This provides six ESF feats!

          So six ESF feats vs 1 ESF: Perform and Epic Dodge +2 Dex becomes a much more difficult question. I think the skills are enough as you say!

          You are correct – the Assassin level is there for 1d6 death attack and the skill dump at 39. I try to get a third class if I can.

          I could have gone Rogue 14, which grants +4 skill points and allows me to take 16 skill points from hide/move silently elsewhere … so 20 extra skill points. I dont think I need it but I will think about it.


            You are very right, I missed the Epid Dodge prerequisite. I think it is worth taking ED and skills are enough indeed.

            Good job!

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