Mythical musicians will inspire D&D players to create bard characters

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Dungeons & Dragons players looking to build PC Bard can draw inspiration from these mythical heroes, masters of magical songs and secret lore.

The Bard class in the Dungeons & Dragons Role-playing is a master of music and mystical traditions, frequently featured in reference books as a magical version of a European minstrel from the Middle Ages and Renaissance. There are, however, not a small number of heroes from myths and epics around the world. D&D players can pay tribute when designing their bard characters. Celtic satirists, lyre players who descend to Hell and prophetic poets – the sky is the limit when it comes to forms of “magical musicians”.

In the first editions of Dungeons & Dragons, the Bard class was a bit of a weird duck. In 1st edition D&D, the Bard was a prestige class that players could only access after clearing multiple levels in the Fighter and Rogue classes. Later editions of D&D took different approaches in how they presented the bard as a jack-of-all-trades archetype – with the skills of a thief, wizarding magic, and social abilities that allow them to charm and gain trust NPCs.


Related: Unique D&D Backstories and Builds for Bards

From the 5th edition, the Dungeon & Dragons The bard, at the lore level, explicitly creates magical effects and enchantments through the performing arts, whether playing a musical instrument, singing, whistling, reciting poetry or to dance. They can awaken their allies with inspiring words and annoy their enemies with a well-placed insult. They are decent with many skills, and the spells at their disposal focus on enchantment, illusion, healing, talking with animals, and shapeshifting. This presentation of bards to magical artists recorded in ancient myths and romantic epics is truer than one might think.

D&D Bard Inspiration – Väinämöinen


Mythical bards to inspire dungeon bards and Väinämöinen dragons

There are many heroes in the Kalevala, the national epic of Finland, but the most iconic hero of this compilation of mythical songs is Väinämöinen, described as a wise old man with a magical singing voice created by the goddess Ilmater during the founding of the world. This hero of Finnish culture – sometimes a god, sometimes a mortal mystic – is known for many acts of magic and intelligence. This includes singing out enemies in the Bogs, stealing a powerful artifact called the Sampo, and crafting the first Kantéle zither from the bones of a giant pike that he killed.

D&D Bard Ideas From Myth – Taliesin


Mythical bards to inspire dungeon bards and Taliesin dragons

Taliesin, the chief bard of several kings of Great Britain during the Dark Ages (including King Arthur in some tales), has many myths associated with his name. After accidentally swallowing three drops of a brewed wisdom potion, he runs away from a vengeful witch, transforming into a rabbit, a fish, a bird, and then a single grain which is swallowed by the witch (who is was turned into chicken). After the witch gives birth to Taliesin, now a beautiful girl with radiant white eyebrows, she places him in a leather bag and throws him into the sea. Effin, a Prince of Wales, fishes Taliesin out of the water; after becoming the bard of Effin’s court, Taliesin guides the prince’s realm to prosperity with his prophecies. This strange tradition might well work as a D&D story for a bard.

D&D ideas for bards РAmergin Gl̼ingel


Mythical bards to inspire dungeon bards and dragons Amergin Glúingel

Towards the end of Book of invasions, mythologized story of the beginnings of Ireland, the Milesian people, ancestors of the modern Irish, invaded the lands ruled by the fey Tuatha Dé Danann. After some strife, the leaders of the Tuatha Dé Danann asked the Milesians to retreat to their ships as part of a three-day truce, then conjured a magical storm to drive them away. Amergin Glúingel, a bard and druid for the Milesians, weathered the storm singing a song to the spirit of Ireland itself.

D&D Bard Backstories From Myth – Orpheus


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Orpheus, a musician from Greek mythology who appeared in games like Underworld, is best known for his beautiful singing voice and lyre-playing skills, able to calm even the wildest creatures. To save his love, Eurydice, from death itself, Orpheus traveled to the underworld, his songs of pain winning the sympathy of Hades and Persephone. Orpheus’ epic journey ended in tragedy when he broke the rule of “don’t look back”, but his descent into a chthonic space of magic and monsters has timeless parallels to the epic of the start dungeons Dungeons & Dragons and other old school RPGs.

Next: Why D&D Barding Class Is So Popular


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