TorilMUD Bard Guide

By: Aldira

Bard Guide

Bards are a very unique class on Toril, one that can fill many roles but is master of none. They are mainly a combination of Rogue and Illusionist. Playing a Bard well is all about knowing the situation, your own abilities, and the skills of your teammates. This guide is intended to put you on the path to becoming a master Songsmith in the Realms.


  1. Starting Out
  2. Class Abilities
  3. Exping
  4. Zoning
  5. Style, Tips & Tricks

1 - Starting Out

The Newbie Guide has great general info for people starting out, and this guide assumes you already know all the tips and such mentioned in it.

Rolling a good Bard character can seem a daunting task at first. We need varying stats to fill the roles of both mage and rogue, and we need to stay alive and look good while doing it!


Only the Good Races of Faerun can be Bards. If you want to be an Evil Race Bard-type, you'll have to be an Orc Battlechanter. Much of the advice in this guide would be the same for them, except they have different spells.

Bards have 5 race choices: Human, Half-elf, Grey Elf, Dwarf and Halfling. Many people consider Halfling to be the ideal choice for this class, with Dwarves in second, and Grey Elves, Half-elves and Humans about tied for third.


This race has super high Dexterity and they're pretty darn cute, even if they are a bit short! On the scale of things, they're probably tied for second place in the Charisma department. Halflings have the same HPs as Humans, have Infravision and can also Hamstring an opponent to start combat, which can stun them and put them on the ground for quite a few rounds. Their hometown, Beluir, is quite a bit of a maze, but the trip to Waterdeep isn't very difficult once you've managed to get out. Halflings are tough, quick and pretty darn good Bards.


The strongest of any race that can be a Bard, Dwarves make good hitter types even if they don't have the best Dexterity. They can drag and carry a lot, and they also have the highest HPs. They live way up north in Mithril Hall, which can take quite a trek to get all the way down to Waterdeep, but it won't seem nearly as bad once you've got Song of Travel! Dwarves are the least Charismatic, but mana isn't as necessary as you might think once you get to high levels. They have Infravision as an innate. Being so strong and sturdy, they make excellent Battle Bards.

Grey Elves

Starting out in Leuthilspar, these noble Elves have a rough time for their first 20 levels. Confined to the island of Evermeet thanks to their xenophobia, they have to kill in places like the Kobold Village and Elder Forest to get anywhere in life. There are plenty of other Elves willing to lend a helping hand, though, so sending tells to higher level Greys will likely find someone to pull you out of a scrape if need be. Especially high level Druids, since they have moonwell and can get to you quickly. Other races are outcast from the city, which makes finding a newbie group difficult. As a reward, Grey Elves have the most Agility, Intelligence and Charisma, and the second highest Dexterity, getting the highest mana. They have the least HPs, but still enough to keep them competetive if you get high Con and Agil. Their high Agility makes for powerful Evasion which will also help keep them alive in large battles. Overall, this magical race makes a frail yet powerful Ballad Bard.

Half-Elves and Humans

It's been argued a lot about what exactly the differences are between these two races. Since both can start in Waterdeep, they have an advantage thanks to the ability to be part of a large community and the ease of finding good newbie areas to level in. They're both somewhere in between Greys and Dwarves in Charisma, have nearly the same stats in everything else, with Half-elves having slightly higher Int, Dex, and Agil, and Humans having better Str and Con, but the added Con doesn't give Humans a notch over Half-elves. Half-elves have Infravision as an innate and are welcome in Leuthilspar, able to use gear specific to Humans and Grey Elves alike. These races are easiest to start as although not as specialized to the Bard strengths in later life, making them decent Social Bards.


Bards need all kinds of stats to be effective. Most important of all is Charisma! Not only will you be incredibly handsome/beautiful, but your songs will be more powerful, and you'll end up with higher base PSPs (mana).

Dexterity is the second most important stat for bards. For Grey Elf and Halfling Bards, a high dexterity means an extra attack in combat. For all Bards, it gives better hitroll, which Bards really need if they want to be effective hitters, and it's also the stat which all instrument skills are linked to. It might help with stutter rates, and help you utilize your songs more effectively.

Constitution is needed for every class in the game, but Bards need good HPs if they want to survive area damage spells, and a high Con is the first step toward that. You only need so much, though, before hitting the max 'notch' for your race. If you have more current HPs than max HPs after entering the game, then you've got con notches above where they're useful.

Agility, Strength, and Intelligence all help too, but to lesser degrees. Agility makes you dodge better and improves your AC, Strength gives you more damroll and allows you to carry more, and Intelligence is what our spell and song skills are linked to. Int might also help with song quality. You don't need Power or Wisdom, luckily. Have enough to roll for already!

After you've got your stats, you just have to pick a stylish name that fits your race, and you're done. Once in the game, the first thing you should do is type 'display psp' and 'display maxpsp', so you can see how much mana you've got left and how much you have total.


You can check out a list of all the Bard skills, spells, and songs by typing 'help skill_bard' while in the game. I'll cover how useful most of these are, but you should still read the help files. Most of the Rogue applied skills can't be used while singing, like backstab, circle, sneak or hide.

2.1 - SKILLS
2.2 - SPELLS

People often overlook the fact that Bards get spells, and we can cast them while singing. They're mostly utility, but all are incredibly useful to everyday mud life. We don't need to pray or mem to get them back after casting, and we don't need to scribe or have books to get them in the first place. They refresh automatically every 24 minutes (1 mud day). At level 50, maximum spells/day: 5 2nd, 5 4th, 4 6th, 3 8th, and 2 10th circle spells.

2nd Circle
4th Circle
6th Circle
8th Circle
10th Circle

Songs and instruments are the staple of the Bard class. Song effects are either constant, like hitroll bonus, or happen every 'verse', like healing and renewal. When you start singing, it will be one round (4 seconds) before the first verse takes effect, and every verse is spaced exactly 3 rounds apart after that.

After the second verse of a song, many of them can be re-targetted without stopping the song, if you want to, like switching Offensive Disruption from room effect to a specific mob. Not all songs can be targetted at one player/NPC, and have to be room effect. A few have to be targetted. Songs only affect those that are in the same group as you, or in the case of offensive songs, only NPCs.

Singing requires mana (PSPs), or you won't be singing for very long. Every verse of a song, there's a chance that you'll 'stutter', or fail to sing the song correctly. Whenever this happens, the song will take away a certain amount of your mana to keep going. If you don't have enough, you stop singing. Things that affect stutter rate are: whether you're holding an instrument or not, whether you're in combat or not, the stutter bonus on the instrument, your skill level in the song type and instrument, maybe Intelligence/Dexterity, and how long you've been singing. The longer you keep up a song, the more often you'll stutter, but the effects will also be more powerful. There are three base rates of stutter, Low, Medium, and High, for the various songs.

There's no way to tell which type of instrument a certain item is except by holding it and trying out certain songs, unless it's named as its instrument type. For instance, lutes are often flagged lyre. Instruments have three stats unique to them: Quality, Stutter, and Min Level. The higher the Quality/Stutter, the better the instrument.

Quality affects the power of all songs sung with the instrument, and Stutter helps to offset the normal difficulty of songs. If you use the instrument below its minimum level, then the bonuses won't be as high, but still better than no instrument at all.

The newbie yarting has 5 Quality and 75 Stutter. The highest stats I've seen on anything other than the yarting are a 15/0 lyre and a 9/3 two-handed harp. Currently, most instruments are 0/0. Anything better than that tends to require a huge world quest that spans dozens of areas, or is an uber rare from an incredibly hard zone.

Mana costs are constant and I tested the stutter rates extensively, so they aren't guesses. Here's a list of the songs and how I use them:

1st Level
11th Level
21st Level
31st Level
41st Level
46th Level (Quest)

Three words: Song of Regeneration. Keep this song up as often as you can while exping, unless you're in a group that has a cleric or other good healer. With this song, you'll be able to solo quite a bit that other classes have trouble with, too. Self-healing is the prime ability needed to do anything solo, and bards are pretty good at it. This song is extremely efficient to keep singing for long periods of time thanks to its low stutter rate and low mana cost. Until you get song of renewal, though, don't worry about having enough mana to keep singing it and just try to use your normal roguish melee to deal with mobs.

AC (Armor Class) is also key. Keep phantom armor up on yourself, and ask a friendly druid or ranger for barkskin if they aren't too busy. Most bard races can have a high agility, which makes for great base AC, Grey Elves having the best of any race. High agility and low AC will reduce the number of attacks that land on you considerably, and lower the number of crits you take.

Practice your instrument skills during downtime. If there aren't any groups around and you don't feel like trying to solo anything, you should be singing a song and holding the right instrument. Keeping your song and instrument skills at max for your level will make you much more desirable for groups, and allow you to do better while solo. The effects aren't immediately obvious, but skill is extremely important. Practicing hide/sneak is also a good idea after instrument skills are maxed.

For exp groups that have adequate healing and stoning, song of offensive harmony is the best way to go. It's low cost/stutter rate allows you to keep it up for a very long time, and it will greatly speed up all your killing. Not only will the rangers and rogues thank you, but the enchanter or elementalist that doesn't have to haste!

Keep track of when verses are going to land. Sometimes it's better to dual-wield instead of hold an instrument. Swap between them if you have verse timing down, for max effect. If you remove a drum right after the verse that gives your group haste from song of offensive harmony, it will stay up until your next verse. This can give you at least 2 rounds of dual wielding and song at max effect before you have to switch back.

There's a somewhat hidden toggle available to bards called 'tog mana'. Check 'help manaburn' for how to use it and what exactly it does. While exping, try not to go below 2/3rds or 1/2 your total mana. When in zone, try not to go below 1/4th your total, unless the group requires song of healing for a really tough fight that keeps going. Dropping below those amounts can take too long to regen the mana, even with song of renewal. When practicing songs, it's a good idea to tog mana to 100 below your max, then renewal it back again and repeat the process.


Know the zone, your group, and yourself. Make a note of the number of hitters and the number of magical damage dealers in the group. Scan before fights to see the number of mobs you're fighting, and know what race and class they are. Information is crucial to performing well as a Bard.

If your group has a large number of hitters in it (5+ not counting yourself), then song of offensive harmony is likely worth it for clearing smaller grids or doing one mob at a time luring. If your group has a large number of magical damage dealers (3+ invokers, etc), it's a good idea to sing song of sorcery during combats if you're not needed to do other things.

When in areas full of hard hitting races like giants, demons, effreeti, or anything that has a very large number of melee mobs in the room (6+), offensive disruption with room slow can often make the fights a piece of cake. This is especially true in places like Jotunheim, Muspelheim, Brass, Avernus, etc.

Fighting dragons and liches, a Bard really has some power. Song of Healing can bring people back from the -5 HPs that a lich proc will put them at, and breath attacks aren't quite as deadly with a constant song going. Unfortunately, wing buffet from a dragon will often stun you, causing you to stop singing. Try to start singing again as quickly as possible! You should also wear as many HPs and sv_breath as you can when fighting anything with dragon breath, and if possible, escape out when you're below 150 HPs. A dead bard doesn't do any good, and staying in 'just one more round' to get another heal song proc will likely have you back in your guild hall. Always sing song of healing for dragons and liches!

Use an instrument unless you're being accompanied. With a high skill bard accompanying you, an instrument won't add very much to the song strength so it's better to wield weapons for added damage. Group haste and room slow will be very easy to keep up even without an instrument. However, if you're singing song of healing you should stick to using a lyre. Every bit helps when your group needs ghealing.

Although bards aren't very good at sneaking and hiding, these skills are powerful enough to make it worthwhile to try and use them in zones when a rogue isn't readily available. If your zone group is spanking (everyone is dying), and the zone only repops if there's nobody in it, escape out of the fight and hide. This is called 'holding the pop', and can make the CR much easier, saving zone progress for the group. If you're required to scout or drag a pcorpse out of an aggro room, put up sneak, then hide. Ask your group if you're hidden, move in a safe direction, then ask again. If sneak failed, you won't notice until after moving. Once you're sneaking and hidden, you can safely move around for quite some time. There are many commands that break hide that you should be aware of, too many to list, but the non-obvious things to avoid are group, glance, nhc, and acc.

Whenever someone gets ressed, immediately switch to song of recovery (after you've quested it) unless you're told otherwise, and stick with the recently deceased. If the leader resses someone while in the zone, then they intend to take a short time out anyways. Otherwise, it's quicker to press the corpse and come back to it later. After losing about 200 mana from the last time someone was ressed, stop singing, since they're probably out of fatigue by then. Note that after you get ressed, you'll be at full mana, so you can start recovering yourself right away.


Be stylish! Bards can wear the equipment from both the Mage and Rogue restriction sets. This means if an item is Anti-Warrior/Mage/Cleric, a Bard can use it just as easily as she can an item that's Anti-Warrior/Cleric/Rogue. There are even some items designed specifically for Bards, aside from instruments! Equipment that adds to mana can be useful, especially if it has HPs, hitroll or damroll on the side, but I've found that I can make do with my base mana quite easily as a Grey Elf.

For songs that only have an effect on the verse, there's a little trick you can pull. The ability to change targets can allow you to get some extra verses now and then. Start singing the song, watch the first verse, then immediately after the second verse, start singing again with the same target as before. Since the first verse only takes 1 round, and every other verse takes 3, this cuts off 2 rounds every 3 verses. It's small, but sometimes it can really help keep someone alive. If you've got another bard in the group, they have to start accompanying you after each time you start again.

Make a trigger to start accompanying any other bards that start singing in the room with you. You should also make a trigger to stop singing if the person you're accompanying stops and you pick up the song. Since only one person can be singing a song in the room at any time, they won't be able to switch songs if you keep singing the old song after they're done! This can kill people if they need to be singing heal, and you're singing offensive harmony. Anything that causes them to stop singing when they want to keep going will usually stop you from singing too, so there's little loss, and it's best to have a trigger so you don't miss it in spam.

You can keep up a song after being bashed or blinded, and can even switch instruments while blind if you have them in your inventory, but being stunned is a bard's worst enemy You can start singing again after the song timer allows you to, but if you're still stunned, then you'll stop again when the first verse should take effect. Watch for 'Your senses clear' to let you know when you can start singing again. Silence and paralysis are other things that can stop a song, and if a singing bard walks into the room with another singing bard, one of them will overwhelm the other, causing them to stop.

Don't go AFK! Pay attention to what's going on around you! I know that singing the same song for a long period of time can get boring, depending on the zone. Believe me, I've even been surprised by my screensaver once! (To any group leaders reading this: those days are behind me, I swear!) It doesn't help anybody if you go AFK, then suddenly something comes up, or you run out of mana, or a million other things that could go wrong. Try to entertain the group! Compose a few songs, or insult the dwarf's beard! Being social and interacting with your group is what makes Toril really fun.

Guides | Maps | Top | Contents

Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!

Last Updated: April 29, 2006
Art ©Blind Guardian, Page ©2003 by Todrael