Posted by : David Guyll July 01, 2009

A friend asked about making a good multiclassed rogue/bard, or bard/rogue, whichever works. I think that they can both work extremely well since both classes use Charisma in some capacity. Rogues can get a lot of mileage out of it with the Artful Dodger class feature, and bards are entirely dependent on it, so there's a lot of room for synergy.

I was considering what race to use, and wanted to default to the half-elf since they are great iconic rogues and bards, not to mention their multiclassing affinity. That seemed waaaaaaaaaay too easy and I dont really care for half-elves, so I quickly discarded it in favor of a more...unique race: the kenku.

Kenku made their debut in Monster Manual 2, and was something I was going to kick around as a Charisma-based paladin of the Raven Queen in an "oriental setting" part of my Points of Light campaign, where I called the Raven Queen something else entirely. However, thats neither here nor there, so for now I'll just stick to the plan.

I decided to start out with the rogue as a good foundation, since my friend wanted to have the built excel at melee stuff. This works out well since the bard has plenty of brutal melee spells at its disposal, but being as we only get one feat at level 1 to play with, we wont be seeing any of that at the start.

It was a simple matter of immediately slapping 16's in both Dex and Cha. I need Cha anyway for Artful Dodger, and once I actually get around to learning bard spells it'll be doubly useful. I put some pips into Strength, since I wanted to reflect a rough upbringing on the mean ol' streets as viewed through the eyes of China Mieville. I almost never seem to put Con at 8, so I did just for that reason, chalking it up to chronic malnourishment while growing up.

At any rate, here is the finished level 1 product.

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&DI Character Builder ======
Kara, level 1
Kenku, Rogue
Rogue Tactics: Artful Dodger

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 13, Con 8, Dex 18, Int 10, Wis 11, Cha 18.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 13, Con 8, Dex 16, Int 10, Wis 11, Cha 16.


AC: 16 Fort: 11 Reflex: 16 Will: 14
HP: 20 Surges: 5 Surge Value: 5

TRAINED SKILLS
Stealth +11, Thievery +9, Acrobatics +9, Intimidate +9, Bluff +11, Streetwise +11, Diplomacy +9

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana, Dungeoneering, Endurance -1, Heal, History, Insight, Nature, Perception, Religion, Athletics +1

FEATS
Level 1: Bardic Dilettante

POWERS
Rogue at-will 1: Sly Flourish
Rogue at-will 1: Piercing Strike
Rogue daily 1: Handspring Assault
Rogue encounter 1: Fox's Gambit

ITEMS
Leather Armor, Adventurer's Kit, Dagger, Short sword, Shuriken
====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&DI Character Builder ======

I prefer to advance a character in a more organic fashion (ie, actual play), but I advanced Kara up to level 10 to see how well she plays with groups. Basically it ended up with me taking a bard attack and utility, which was easy since bards are leaders and thats their thing: work with the group.

Speaking of bards, lets see how she looks as a bard-multiclassed-rogue.

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&DI Character Builder ======
Karasu, level 1
Kenku, Bard
Bardic Virtue: Virtue of Cunning

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 10, Con 8, Dex 18, Int 13, Wis 11, Cha 18.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 10, Con 8, Dex 16, Int 13, Wis 11, Cha 16.


AC: 17 Fort: 10 Reflex: 15 Will: 15
HP: 20 Surges: 6 Surge Value: 5

TRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +6, Diplomacy +9, Acrobatics +8, Bluff +11, Streetwise +11, Thievery +8

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Dungeoneering +1, Endurance -1, Heal +1, History +2, Insight +1, Intimidate +5, Nature +1, Perception +1, Religion +2, Stealth +6, Athletics

FEATS
Bard: Ritual Caster
Level 1: Sneak of Shadows

POWERS
Bard at-will 1: War Song Strike
Bard at-will 1: Guiding Strike
Bard daily 1: Slayer's Song
Bard encounter 1: Inspiring Refrain

ITEMS
Ritual Book, Hide Armor, Short sword, Spiked gauntlet, Adventurer's Kit
RITUALS
Glib Limerick, Silence
====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&DI Character Builder ======

I think that this build better compliments the flock mentality that kenku emphasize. The problem I ran into is that none of the bard virtues rely on Dexterity, where the rogue/bard combination readily uses both high ability scores. In this case, the Int of 13 ensures that Virtue of Cunning gets something, but not much. On the chance that most melee powers synch up to Virtue of Valor, its a simple manner of swapping Int with Con. In the end, its a minor benefit at best, at least until paragon tier.
Now, you could drop Dex a bit and take the bard multiclass feat that causes all multiclass powers to rely on Charisma. This basically sidesteps most of the mess and lets you get away with having a Dex of 16 and an Int of 14-15. Your damage is slightly lower (by one whole point, yawn), but I think its a worthy tradeoff.

Both builds work out very well and are thematic in their own way, and this actually makes me want to run an all kenku urban campaign...

{ 2 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. Nice builds! It's good to see Kenkus getting some love.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Of course, they are dirty birds.

    ReplyDelete

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