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Starving Artists & Masters of Performance

The Bard character class within the Dungeons & Dragons RPG tends to come with a lot of stereotypical baggage. And somehow many of those stereotypes revolve around Bards being seen as oversexed, "love-'em-and-leave-'em," one-night-stand, type characters. While this stereotype may apply for many Bards currently being played, this same stereotype can also be applied to numerous other character classes as well, depending on how the player chooses to play them.

So, for the purposes of this prompt, we are going to primarily focus on your character being a Bard and not just some dragon-obsessed sex fiend.

First off, just like we did with the Rogues and Wizards, let's take a look at some pop-culture examples of Bards that you may or may not be aware of.

  • Jaskier / Dandelion (The Watcher)

  • Allison Hargreeves (The Umbrella Academy)

  • Peter Quill / Star Lord (Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel Comics)

  • Bill S. Preston, Esq. & Ted "Theodore" Logan (Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure)

  • Dewey Finn (School of Rock)

  • Chaucer (A Knight's Tale)

  • Jake & Elwood Blues (The Blues Brothers)

  • Gabrielle (Xena)

  • Alan a Dale (Robin Hood)

  • Scanlon Shorthalt (Critical Role: Campaign 1, played by Sam Riegel)

  • Jareth / The Goblin King (Labyrinth)

As we can see, Bards don't have to be shoved into any one particular template or stereotype. They can actually appear in many different variations. The various Bardic Colleges within the D&D RPG help to inspire the many different variations that your Bard might attempt to imitate.

Now that we have some examples of Bards, let's see if we can figure out who your Bard is and where they learned their skillsets. A Bard's character backstory may often be filled with plenty of joviality, plenty of tragedy, tons of excitement, and maybe even all of those at the same time.

Here are a few things to possibly consider while artfully crafting your Bard's backstory:

  • If any, were there any life events or particular individuals that inspired your character to become a Bard?

  • Did they teach themselves a particular Bardic skillset or did they attend a particular educational institution to learn their trade?

  • What is your Bard's particular specialty? Musician, singer, actor, poet, author, trickster/prankster, fighter, comedian, dancer, etc.?

  • Have they performed with any famous . . . or not-so-famous . . . bardic troupes?

  • Did they come from a bardic family or community?

  • Have they written any songs, poems, books, plays, etc.? Have they choreographed any dances, stared in any plays, performed with any well-known musical groups?

And then for those Bards who happen to also perhaps take part in the previously mentioned stereotype:

  • Are there any previous relationships or sexual encounters that might possibly become relevant at some point in the future? Such as a past partner or maybe an unknown (or known) child with that past partner.

Crafting the backstory for a Bard character can be a lot of fun, especially for those players who happen to have some of those bardic skills themselves. As you continue to investigate your character's past, it is important to remember that their past will also, in many ways, affect their future as well. And I am quite sure that your DM/GM will have a ton of fun using your character's backstory to further enhance and enchant the game's storyline with a specific focus on your incredible Bard.

And never be afraid to try romancing that ancient red dragon!!!

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