I've always been a sucker for Eilistraee, and she's basically the elven goddess of bards. Ironically, the only one really dedicated to it, despite the cliche of elves and music. There's lots of gods who like art, but only the Dark Maiden actively encourages bards in her followers, and exploring the world through dance and song. High elves can keep their wizardly bladesingers - Bards know the real way to mix it up with sword dances!
I don't really have a bard character at the moment, but they've always been one of my go-to classes for a game (the others being paladin, warlock and druid). Its just been something that's always appealed to me. The last one I played was a snake character in a different system (think yuan-ti, but snake tail instead of legs), and served as princess of a noble house, leading an expedition into a new world. No weapons, no instruments, just a folding fan that she used for battle signals and the occasional wind-style magic. Sometimes, it gets a bit frustrating, because people forget the bard bonuses, but she was a fun character. A few times, she crawled up on another character's summoned elemental after battle, and took a nap in the sunlight. And liked to give hugs. Lots of hugs. People didn't like receiving them for some reason.
One of two current characters I'm running is a lightfoot Halfling lore bard, an 18 year old girl who is absolutely self-absorbed and entitled with a nice line in throwaway one-liners and put-downs. She has BS-ed the party out of too many bad situations to count, (Deception +13 at 10th level; most recently saved us from four hugely OP undead ogres who were guarding a giants tomb by claiming to be a tourist looking for the gift shop facilities, eventually the ogres just begged her and the party to leave) and uses major image to distract enemies using what we call the 'Bugs Bunny Routine' (large tentacled dungeon monster distracted by sexy female version of itself, lipstick, wig and all). The homebrew campaign we're playing has our party trying to save the world from annihilation by the gods themselves (kind of an old testament "the world has become impure and must be started over" deal) and my bard is composing an epic opera about the groups adventures (wherein, naturally, she is the hero). Last session we had a face to face encounter with one of the few gods on the side of saving the world thanks to a RIDICULOUS "Divine Intervention" roll by our cleric, and we were each granted one question, so naturally, after a series of deep and meaningful questions from the others my bard asked the god of hope "Is that your natural hair colour? I think a little blonde would really bring out the gold in your eyes..." and we were quickly deposited back to the prime material plane.
tl'dr My bard is basically a character from Mean Girls, but don't call her out on it or she'll fireball your face off.
Bards to me are people who stand in the back and watches their friends do most of the work in a fight while showing off a thumbs up and shouting "You got this!" and most of the time... they don't got this. I am proud to be a bard.
If I were to roll myself as a character I would be a bard. Musical Theater bard, who keeps trying out for the Best Friend rather than the Lead characters. Skipping from party to party in the long tavern crawl of life.
When I play a bard I do it because I want to be able to do whatever I want and roast the f*** out of people with vicious mockery and cutting words :)
Plus I also get to do amazing on skill checks :)
Honestly, I've never played with a group that didn't love having me, they thought I was hilarious and clever.
The best thing I have ever done is taken over for a jewelry shop owner that had been stabbed previously that day and tricked everyone into thinking I was the shopkeeper (I then looted the place at the end of the day and got away with 3000+ g).
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Taliesin Andrelus (Half-Elf Bard/College of Lore)
Finlan the Bare (Hafling Barbarian/Primal Path of Ancestral Guardians)
Eldon Weatherbee (Hafling Wizard/School of Divination)
My current bard is a Half-Satyr Half-Human hybrid who was born after his birth mother cheated on her husband. He was given to the satyr who returned him to the fey wilds where he grew up. He is incredibly cocky and loves showing off which has got him in a bit of trouble in the past. For obvious reasons he falls in the stereotype of sleeping with whatever is down, which eventually lead to him discovering he was the father of the orphaned high elf fighter in his party.. Whoops..
Now, I'm really more of a DM than a player, and Bard (probably) isn't my favorite class, but a Bard played well is truly a sight to behold. I just got finished with a campaign that had a bard that was essentially an angsty teen (disguised as a 20-something) who ran away from home and started sassing absolutely everyone she met. While everyone else in this campaign had tragic backstories, this was just the story of a gal sick of living a restricted noble lifestyle who learned to play the banjo and recorder and set off to do what she felt like, and the player played her fantastically. She is one of my favorite characters to ever have been in a campaign of mine, and has inspired me to consider a College of Swords bard for a campaign I'm playing in soon.
My favorite bard ever is Maya, a Half-Elf bard who can easily calm any amount of tension with just a few jokes. Her short, red hair and blue green eyes can disarm any amount of anger. Her round, but sharp cheeks covered with freckles makes it hard to stay mad at. Her smile can kill just as much as her words and sword. Due to Maya's light body structure, and all her physical features, so she attracts many men, and even a few women. But she rejects all of them politely. She has the Folk Hero background, which means she performs nightly and has almost everybody take an instant liking to her. Her elvish songs sing of utopia, and her Orcish songs sing of death and pain. None of it matters, because of her deep story.
She was born in and raised in an Elvish family, but since Maya was a half-elf, her parents gave her a name in Elvish that's not so pleasant in Common. Maya had always loved music, no matter what kind. Elvish was her favorite. Her parents, seeing her natural talent in singing, dancing, and playing music, got Maya her very own flute, forged in the elvish forges. To her, this was the greatest gift ever. She was never found without her flute. For her love for music, sometimes, the less rude elves would get her some songs that she could play on her flute. Maya had learned Elvish by age 15, when her name really stuck out to her. After that, she despised her parents. Her 15-year-old brain was saying 'Get stronger and murder them for a bad childhood. She started training. By age 22, she had built up formidable strength. She was preparing for the nefarious deeds. Due to her light build, she had snuck into the armory and stolen a few weapons. Maya snuck into the main room where her parents slept, and she stopped... She couldn't find herself to do it. She wanted to for 7 years, and she couldn't do it now. She was furious. She raised the dagger, but it stayed there. She started crying lightly. It got worse and worse. Eventually, she started weeping loudly, and her parents woke from their trance. Noticing the dagger, they shouted for the guards! Several guards ran in. Maya had no clue what to do. She threw her dagger with deadly accuracy, just at the right angle that it broke the window hinges in the north-west corner of the room. She started running and vaulting different tables and desks, and finally got to the window. She looked down, and saw the raging river below. She held her sword in one hand, her flute in the other, shut her eyes and jumped.
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"Just because I'm Lawful Good doesn't mean I'm Lawful Nice".
"If you judge a fish's ability to climb a tree, they'll never get anywhere in life."
"If you look at what you have in life, you'll always have more."
"You are enough just as you are."
"Happiness is not by chance, but by choice."
"It isn't where you came from. It's where you're going that counts."
I'm about to start playing my fallen Aasimar Sword Bard, Salazar the Sword. He will be a sword swallowing, sword jugger. He will be a duel wielding sword beast. Urban bounty hunter with a knack for persuasion. He'll dress like a persian immortal warrior with face plate to cover face.
I plan on taking lots of sword spells even if they are not always BIS (or metal orientated, heat metal, steel wind strike)