Bard new player guide

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This is a page for the Bard specific page for the Newbie Help Guide. Whenever possible, overlap with the general guide should be minimized.

For details, rules, and the other pages involved, see Category:Newbie Guide Contest.

Introduction

So you think you might like to play a Bard, eh? Great choice! Bards in Elanthia are often referred to as the "Jack-of-all-trades" guild, and for good reason. Whether you envision yourself as a performer, a fighter, a crafter, a mage, or even just an alcoholic -- the skills and abilities that you will gain as you progress as a Bard will cater to any, or all of these paths.

This guide will try to help walk new Bards through some of their first steps as they learn the ins and outs of how to begin their journey in Elanthia. Most of the information provided here will cover only the most basic concepts surrounding the various skills and abilities, so please feel encouraged to follow the many links peppered throughout this page for a more thorough understanding of how they work, as well as options for alternate methods of pursuing your training.

Also, be sure to check out the Main Bard's Guild Page to familiarize yourself with some of the primary features that this fine guild has to offer.

Where is the Guild?

To locate the Bard's Guild in either Crossing or Riverhaven, use DIR BARD and follow the directions until you arrive.

To join, ASK <Guildleader> ABOUT JOIN twice.

STUDY the <Guildleader> for more help.

I joined the guild! Now what?

After the Guildleader finishes his or her initiation speech, they will suggest to you that you ask them about Magic to learn more. So let's start there...

Magic

You can use the SPELL command to bring up a list of the spells that you have learned, an indicator of how many spell slots you have available, as well as an assortment of other options regarding spell stances and other casting options. Let's just focus on the spells that you have and the amount of spell slots for now, though.

If you've just freshly joined the guild, you should notice that you currently know no spells, and have 1 spell slot available. This is a perfect time to ASK <Guildleader> ABOUT MAGIC.

Your Guildleader will provide you with a list of spells which are available to you. You may ASK <Guildleader> ABOUT <spell name> SPELL to learn more about any of the spells which they have listed.

Upon joining the guild, you should have the following spells available to you for learning: Caress of the Sun, Faenella's Grace, Eillie's Cry, Aura of Tongues, and Glythtide's Joy. Congratulations, you have your first major decision to make as a Bard. Which spells to choose?

Bards are fortunate enough to have one spell which will not cost you any spell slots, and will allow you to begin your magical training immediately -- Caress of the Sun. It is recommended that this be every young Bard's first spell, so when you are ready, head to your local Guildleader and CHOOSE CARESS OF THE SUN SPELL.

If this is your first time attempting to use magic in Elanthia, it is a good idea to play around with this first spell a bit, and get a feel of the timing and nature of your newfound magical abilities. To do so, all you need do is PREPARE CARE, wait until you feel fully prepared to cast your spell, then CAST.

It should be noted that there are several types of spells that you will encounter as you progress: standard, ritual, battle, targeted, and cyclic. Caress of the Sun is a cyclic spell, which means that once you cast it, it will last until you either RELEASE it, or run out of mana to fuel it. You can learn more about the various spell types through the General Magic Page.

As you move around with this spell active, you may notice that it will drain more or less of your mana depending upon your present location. You can use the PERCEIVE or CONCENTRATE command to take stock of how much mana is available to you in any given room. The higher the mana in that area, the easier the casting will be on your Attunement.

Okay, I get it, I can cast spells. Now what?

It is recommended that you take some time to read over the general magic and casting information via the Magic page. This will help you to further familiarize yourself with the basic tenets of spellcasting, the various spell types that you will encounter, as well as the options to utilize magical devices such as cambrinth in your training.

As for Bard-specific magical knowledge, let's move on to...

Bardic Spell Progression

If you haven't already, hop on over to the Bard Spells page to familiarize yourself with what spells are available to us, as well as the layout of our spell tree.

For your first twenty circles, you will receive 1 additional spell slot each time you advance within the guild.

Assuming you're still first circle, and have already picked up Caress of the Sun as your first spell, you should find yourself with 1 spell slot still remaining, and the option to choose between the following spells: Aether Wolves, Aura of Tongues, Eillie's Cry, Faenella's Grace, or Breath of Storms.

Since all of these spells have a learning cost of only 1 spell slot, you are able to choose whichever one you prefer. As you weigh your options, there are three primary factors to keep in mind:

  • What is the spell's function, and is this something that I want/need?
    • This is the most important part of planning your spells. Your magical abilities will help to define your character's strengths and weaknesses, potentially ease every day activities within the realms, and can help to shape and enhance your roleplaying opportunities as well.
  • What other spells will this grant me access to down the line?
    • Once again, refer to the spell tree on the Bard Spells page to plan out which spells you may also want as you progress. While one spell may not be your cup of tea, it could be the key to unlocking access to a much more desirable one in the future.
  • What skill(s) does this spell train?
    • This is something that will only need to be taken into consideration at lower levels, as eventually you will have enough spells to cover every type of magic. There are five major magical skills that you will utilize in your training, Augmentation, Warding, Utility, Targeted Magic, and Debilitation. Caress of the Sun will train the Utility skill, so it is a good idea to pursue spells that will encompass the other four types at early levels.
Examples

These are not intended to be outlines of how to shape your character, but rather are provided as simple illustrations of a Bard's potential spell progressions through their first ten circles.

The list on the left outlines a somewhat balanced spell build, providing good access to combat spells and general buffs, while opening up many options on the spell tree beyond the 10th circle.

The center table would be an example of a Bard who might be attempting to maximize their fighting potential at early ranks, focusing on damaging and debilitating spells, and also leaving themselves open to a wide variety of options as they further progress.

The final example on the right shows a Bard who looks to be focusing on lore and crafting right away, but perhaps is not as enthusiastic about pursuing serious combat just yet.

Circle Spell Slot Cost
1st Caress of the Sun 0
Faenella's Grace 1
2nd Breath of Storms 1
3rd Aether Wolves 1
4th Glythtide's Joy 1
5th Eillie's Cry 1
6th
7th Hodierna's Lilt 2
8th Whispers of the Muse 1
9th
10th Eye of Kertigen 2
Circle Spell Slot Cost
1st Caress of the Sun 0
Faenella's Grace 1
2nd Whispers of the Muse 1
3rd Aura of Tongues 1
4th Eillie's Cry 1
5th
6th Hodierna's Lilt 2
7th Redeemer's Pride 1
8th
9th Drums of the Snake 2
10th
Circle Spell Slot Cost
1st Caress of the Sun 0
Breath of Storms 1
2nd Aether Wolves 1
3rd Glythtide's Joy 1
4th Faenella's Grace 1
5th Eillie's Cry 1
6th
7th Demrris' Resolve 2
8th
9th Hodierna's Lilt 2
10th

Outfitting Your Bard

It is important that you have the proper gear needed to safely begin your adventures in Elanthia. Though every new character begins their journey in Elanthia equipped with some form of basic armor and a crude weapon, these should not be considered as ideal protection, and you will want to pursue other options as soon as possible.

In most cases, if you simply find other adventurers and ask around, most will be willing to lend their assistance, and you can often end up fully outfitted for free.

There are several other options, however. A good place to start is inside your nearest Bard Guildhall. Every guild is equipped with a donation shelf for new adventurers. Though there is no guarantee that you'll find what you need on these shelves, it never hurts to look. Everything is free, and you are welcome to take as much, or as little as you feel you need -- but always remember to be considerate of those who may come after you and who may be in need as well.

You may also wish to attempt to track down the grizzled old war veteran in Crossing, or Sir Robyn in Riverhaven. These two will provide you the option of trading them your starting armor and/or weapon for your pick of some slightly better gear.

If you prefer the old-fashioned method of earning your keep, there are some basic chores that you can assist with around town to earn yourself some starting coin. In the Crossing, your best bet will be to find the firewood peddler Mags, and in Riverhaven you'll want to seek out Old Maisie. These characters will provide you with some basic tasks, and offer payment in return for the successful completion of these tasks. Always remember to head directly to the bank and deposit all of your earnings at the teller's window! Thieves can and will rob you blind if you make a habit of wandering the streets with heavy pockets.

You may also wish to refer to the General Newbie Help Guide's gear section for additional information.


As a Bard, there are three main bases that you will want to have covered:

Armor

First things first - get yourself a shield. This is an essential form of protection, and you can always toss it aside down the line if you decide that it doesn't vibe well with your character for some reason. There are three sizes of shields available: small, medium, and large. Bards are able to wear small shields on their arm, but medium and large shields must be held in the left hand to utilize their protection. For this reason, most Bards opt to use a small shield, and that is the recommended choice for young Bards.

If you are looking to preserve your coin, a good option to begin with is a target shield. These can be purchased cheaply from your local armory (DIR ARMOR for directions), or you can ask another brave adventurer to assist you in retrieving one for free from the corpse of a goblin (do not attempt to do this alone).

Once you have a shield, you will need to consider your options for armor. There are four trainable armor classes available: light armor, chain armor, brigandine armor, and plate armor.

Armor is not a Bard's specialty, therefore we have a more difficult time than some of the other guilds when attempting to wear heavier armor types such as brigandine or plate armor. The majority of Bards rely on either light armor, chain armor, or a mixture of the two. If you wish to be a stealthy Bard, you will likely want to stick with only light armor. Likewise, if you wish to stand in the open and be able to absorb more blows, chain armor will likely be a better option for you.

A common armor setup for a Bard wishing to utilize both light and chain armor would be as follows:

  • Light armor protecting the legs, abdomen, back, chest, and arms.
  • Chain armor protecting the hands, neck, eyes, and head.

That being said, if you envision yourself as a Bard in full plate armor or brigandine, you should not let these suggestions dissuade you from pursuing that path. All armor types are viable, but be aware that your combat training may prove to be more difficult if trying to utilize the heavier and more hindering armors.

Weapons

Bards are required to be proficient with a minimum of two different weapon types in order to advance within the guild. While two will be sufficient for pleasing your Guildleaders, if you wish to truly shine in combat, it is best to give yourself as many options on the battlefield as possible.

There are four distinct classifications of weapons that you will find, and a well-balanced Bard should attempt to embrace at least one weapon type from each of these groups:

You may also wish to utilize the offhand weapon skill if you wish to dual-wield your weapons, or attack with your left hand.

There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to picking which weapons you would like to train. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks, and Bards are perfectly capable of excelling with any, or all of them.

You can use DIR WEAPON to find your local weapons shop.

Instruments

Every Bard needs an instrument, no exceptions. Music is the backbone of our guild, and it is impossible to advance without one. As your performance skill grows, you will find yourself able to play a wider array of more difficult instruments, but when you first begin, you will need to hone your skills with one of the more basic tools of the trade.

The absolute best and most convenient option for any young and inexperienced Bard are the copper zills sold by the Tall Human Peddler who wanders Riverhaven. He tends to meander rather aimlessly through the town, so you may need to explore the city a bit to track him down. Once you have managed to find him, you will need to ASK PEDDLER ABOUT WARES to obtain a list of his products.

There are two very important distinctions which set this instrument apart from others. The first is the ability to wear them on your fingers, allowing you to keep your hands free for other tasks while playing. Even more importantly, however, is the zills' sturdy construction and their ability to resist breakage from wet climate conditions.

Every instrument that you will come across in Elanthia is subject to some form of damage, whether it be from dropping it carelessly rather than lowering it down gently, or from adverse weather such as rain or snow accumulating on the surface of the instrument and causing it to warp. Most are quite fragile, so something like this can occur even if you are wet, and just happen to drip some water onto your instrument accidentally. You must exercise great care for your instruments, otherwise their damage could ruin your performance or render them too decrepit to be played at all. While zills are still capable of sustaining damage from being dropped, they can endure any amount of moisture, which will save you from a great deal of headaches in this respect.

While the zills may be the most convenient for beginners, they are certainly not your only option. Other potential starting instruments to consider include the lyre, ocarina, bones, or tambourine.

When making your first instrument purchase, be sure to also buy a cleaning rag or cleaning cloth from the merchant who sold you their wares. Whether using the zills or any other instrument, you will need one of these to CLEAN dust and grime from them to ensure the best possible sound. In the case that you are not using zills and your instrument becomes wet, you can also utilize the cloth or rag to WIPE the instrument until it is fully dried, then WRING the cloth/rag dry for further wiping. Don't forget that casting Caress of the Sun is another effective means to prevent weather damage, or to dry a moist instrument.

In the event that one of your instruments should become too damaged to play, you will need to either purchase a new one, or attempt to find a skilled Bard with a repair kit to assist you in restoring the instrument to its former state.

It is good practice to both APPRAISE and ASSESS your instruments each time before playing them to inspect both their cleanliness and their current state of repair.

Most any of these purchases can be made by either seeking out the Tall Human Peddler in Riverhaven, or by utilizing DIR MUSIC to guide you to your general music store in either Riverhaven or Crossing.

Training Advice

Though every Bard is free to define his or her own path, your Guildleaders will require that you meet some general overall requirements to advance within the guild.

You may wish to refer to the Bard Circle Requirements table to gain a better understanding of how many ranks in each specific skill you will need per circle.

Combat

To hone your combat skills, you will need to go out and hunt creatures that are a challenge to your current skill level. For beginners, the best options in the Crossing area are either the ship's rats found in the Crossing Shipyard, or the sleazy louts located just outside of the East Gate. In Riverhaven, you will want to start by hunting the heggarangi frogs which are found outside the East Gate and down the boggy path.

As your skills increase, you will find that you may not learn as efficiently from creatures that once taught you well, and will need to move along to a more difficult opponent. You may wish to refer to the hunting ladders to help guide your decisions based upon your current skills.

Before entering any hunting grounds, always ensure that you are properly outfitted and equipped with all of your armor, weapons, and your shield. Remember to ADJUST SHIELD if you wish to wear it on your arm as a valid form of protection, or to hold it in your left hand. You should also check your STANCE to make sure that you are both ready to properly defend yourself, and to attack with your full potential. You can type STANCE HELP for a more detailed description as to how this works. Keep in mind, if you have set your stance to parry attacks, but are not wielding a weapon or wearing a parry stick, you will be unable to parry and will be relying solely on the points allocated to either your evasion or shield skill. You will also be unable to parry attacks while training an aimable ranged weapon such as a bow, crossbow, or sling. Likewise, if you have defensive points allocated towards shield, but are not wearing a shield on your arm or holding one in your left hand, you will not be able to protect yourself with those defensive points.

You should play around with these stances a bit while in combat to get a better feel for how they work, and what mixture works best for you personally. You will have a total of 180 defensive stance points to split between evasion, shield, and parry, as well as a separate 100 offensive points which should always be fully allocated into your attack stance. Assuming you are entering combat for the first time with a shield and a weapon in hand, the following defensive stance is recommended:

  • STANCE EVASION 100
  • STANCE PARRY 40
  • STANCE SHIELD 40

This combination will help you to begin learning all three of your primary defensive skills at once. It will also help to satisfy three of your guild requirements right away, training your specific Parry requirement, your general Armor requirement (shield), and one of your general Survival requirements (evasion).

Since your Guildleaders will require a minimum of two Weapons to be trained, you will need to go on the offensive as well. For melee and pole-ranged weapons, you can use the ATTACK command to dish out damage. If you are training thrown weapons, you can either LOB, THROW, or HURL your weapons. Be advised, however, that if you THROW or HURL your weapons, they may become lodged in your opponent and will be difficult to retrieve until you have slain the creature entirely. For this reason it is recommended that you use the LOB command, and remember to GET or STOW your weapon immediately after each throw to prevent losing it to the Janitor. If you are training an aimable ranged weapon, you will want to LOAD the weapon, AIM until you feel that you have your best possible shot, then FIRE or SHOOT. Once again, always remember to GET or STOW your ammunition once you have killed your foe. You should refer to the General Combat Page for a deeper understanding of how hunting and fighting works in Elanthia, as well as a list of the more advanced combat maneuvers.

One of the other most important combat skills that will be required for your training is the Tactics skill. You can BOB, WEAVE, CIRCLE, or SHOVE your opponents to increase your knowledge of this technique.

Beyond training just your weapon and defensive techniques, there are many other skills that you can potentially be learning while in combat. Depending on what you're hunting, you may be able to SKIN the creature after it has died if you have an edged blade handy, thereby teaching you Skinning. Remember to always LOOT your fallen foes as well -- though this will not train any skills, you may find valuable treasure hidden among their remains. You can HIDE and STALK the critters if you wish to enhance your Stealth skills. Once you have gained 10 ranks in Appraisal, you can begin to APPRAISE <creature> to gain a better understanding of how you may fare against it. The HUNT command will help provide details of who or what else is in your immediate vicinity, while granting Perception experience. You may also wish to utilize your Bardic Lore skill by using SCREAM HAVOC, SCREAM CONCUSSIVE, and WHISTLE PIERCING once these abilities are available to you.

You can also work your magical skills while you hunt as well. It can be a good idea to give yourself an edge in combat by buffing up with such spells as Rage of the Clans, Harmony, and Manifest Force once you have access to them, though any spells can be cast while you hunt for general training purposes. The hunting grounds are also where you will have the opportunity to train your Debilitation and Targeted Magic skills. Please refer to the General Magic Page for a more detailed explanation of how to utilize these types of spells in combat.

Non-Combat

Performance will be the most important skill for a Bard to train thoroughly outside of combat. You can type PLAY HELP for assistance with understanding how to create sweet, sweet music from your instruments. When you first begin, you will want to PLAY SCALES OFF-KEY ON <instrument>. This is the easiest type of song to perform, and the best for those who are just starting out. As your performance skill progresses, you will be able to move along to more advanced melodies. For optimal training, you will want to try to find songs that you can play "with only the slightest hint of difficulty." If the style of song is too easy or too complex for your skill range, you will not learn as well, and you may find that some instruments prove to be more challenging than others.

You will need to train at least 3 additional Lore skills to satisfy your Guildleaders' requests, and while Performance and Bardic Lore will not count towards these, Tactics, Scholarship, Appraisal, and all of the general crafting skills will. It is a good idea to APPRAISE almost anything to begin learning the skill, though you will find that items of high value, bundles of skins, and gem pouches will tend to grant the most experience. Scholarship is easily learned at low ranks by either teaching or listening to classes. Where groups of adventurers are gathered, there is almost always a class already going, or somebody who is willing to listen to one. If you wish to see if there are any teaching sessions active in the room you are in, you can ASSESS TEACH, or you can also use TEACH HELP to learn how to start your own class. Please refer to the General Crafting Page for further information pertaining to the various disciplines and methods of training for Forging, Engineering, Outfitting, Alchemy, and Enchanting. You may also wish to FORAGE GRASS or FORAGE VINE and attempt to BRAID them to train the Mechanical Lore skill (Note: this method of training will only be available until the crafting split has been fully completed). If you wish to work your Bardic Lore outside of combat, the most reliable methods include either WHISTLE PIERCING, or utilizing one of our special PRACTICE techniques once you have been deemed worthy to learn these abilities.

Survival skills should not be overlooked, as your Guildleaders will require that you have some proficiency with at least 4 skills from within this category. While you can cover evasion, skinning, stealth, and perception in combat, you may wish to utilize others outside of combat as well. You can FORAGE or COLLECT items to train both the Outdoorsmanship and Perception skills simultaneously. Common forageables include rocks if you are outdoors, or dust bunnies if you are indoors (though remember to use the singular subject in your syntax, e.g. FORAGE ROCK or COLLECT DUST BUNNY). You can train Locksmithing by attempting to DISARM and PICK boxes that you may find when you LOOT the bodies of creatures you have killed. Remember that you will need a lockpick to do this, and there is a chance that you may sustain injury if they are booby trapped and you fail to disarm them properly. First Aid can be trained by TENDing bleeding wounds on yourself or others, and also by STUDYing various Anatomy Charts. You can train Athletics by either CLIMBing or using CLIMB PRACTICE to attempt to scale challenging obstacles, or by simply moving directionally through bodies of water. Lastly, you can attempt to train Thievery if you are willing to risk the consequences. Be aware though, stealing from others is a good way to get yourself arrested, killed, or both. You have been warned!

Magic training is the final category that you will need to focus on. You will be required to train at least 4 magic skills initially (Elemental Magic not included), and eventually a 5th once you have passed the 30th circle. Though basic casting techniques were touched upon earlier in this guide, it is highly recommended that you reference the General Magic Page for all of your specific needs regarding spellcasting. Just be sure to always cast your spells at challenging mana levels, and if you are training with cyclic style spells, remember to RELEASE them and re-cast them when you notice that they are no longer granting fresh experience gain. Additionally, for Bards especially, cambrinth usage can be immensely helpful in terms of reducing the strain of mana usage upon our attunement, so it is highly recommended that you attempt to utilize the Arcana skill in your training.

Additional Resources

There is a plethora of helpful information for Bards throughout this Wiki, so here are some quick links to help ease the search:

General Newbie Help Guide

Bard-Specific

Main Bard's Guild Page

Bardic Mojo

Bard Guild Abilities

Bard Spell List

Performance Skill

General Magic

Main Magic Page

Using Cambrinth

Magical Feats

Analogous Patterns Spells

General Combat

Main Combat Page

Bestiary Level List

General Crafting

Main Crafting Page