Last Updated on January 22, 2023
Going through magic items isn’t easy for players. Many magic item descriptions sit in the books held by DMs, not players. So, how are you supposed to know what magic items you want for your Bard?
The good news is that Bard doesn’t need a large amount of stuff to operate. Some basic armor and an instrument tend to be enough for the stereotypical Bard. However, if there were some sweet items you could get over the course of your adventures that expand on what the Bard already does, that would be even better! So, let’s look at what the best magic items for Bards are and why you’ll probably want something off this list.
What Makes a Good Bard Magic Item?
Bards are a great class for someone who wants to dabble in a little bit of everything. Considering how the Bard was built for D&D 5e, the class has come a long way from the mediocrity the class carried with it in previous editions.
Most of this comes down to the change of Bards becoming full spellcasters in 5e. Access to high-level spells and at the quickest rate possible means that the Bard doesn’t run out of magical resources as a Paladin or Ranger does. The Bard spell list also has a great selection of spells, covering almost any kind of magic you would want, save for damage spells.
Add to this that Bards have Bardic Inspiration, have iconic support ability, and are a Charisma-based spellcaster, which means that you have a class that can support and heal allies, can debuff or control enemies, and provides numerical support to your acting party’s negotiator and smooth talker.
So, when looking at items for the Bard, you have to consider three things:
- What can the Bard use?
- What items will improve the Bard’s strengths?
- What items will shore up weaknesses inherent to the class?
First of all, Bards that don’t pick up subclass like College of Valor or College of Swords don’t get optimal armor or weapon proficiencies. Most Bards go through the game with a 14 or 16 Dexterity score, meaning they never fill out their light armor. Likewise, most of their weapons are finesse, which is great in that it relies on a better stat for Bards, but it’s still not an ability score most Bards want to max out.
Also, for the early levels, Bards love a magic item that fills out their spell options. Items that grant free castings of spells mean a Bard’s spellcasting can go farther on any given adventuring day. In the future, these items can be great for adding spells to the Bard’s options since Bards can only learn so many spells through their class levels.
Finally, if you can, finding a magic item that adds a damage option for your Bard will go a long way. The Bard list severely lacks damage options, meaning you have to spend precious Magical Secrets choices to get a damaging spell. A magic item with these spells instead lets the Bard choose other spells with Magical Secrets while maintaining their range of options.
What Are the Best Magic Items for Bards?
While there are plenty of magic items that work well for the Bard, these three are my favorites for Bards of all kinds.
1. Instruments of the Bards
A Bard without their iconic musical instrument would be like a Fighter without their legendary blade. The difference here is that, while the Fighter’s weapon will allow him to slice through foes with much more ease, the Instruments of the Bards expand on what the Bard already can do.
First of all, these instruments range in rarity from uncommon to legendary, meaning you won’t have to wait a long time to possibly get your hands on one of them. Depending on the DM of your table, you might even be able to upgrade over time through some quests or NPC interactions.
Also, the benefit of these instruments is that they give you extra spells that you can cast out of the instruments. Each spell can be cast once per dawn using your Spell Save DC, and all of the instruments have seven or eight spells on them. The four spells on all versions of this instrument are fly, invisibility, levitate, and protection from evil and good.
From there, each instrument has three or four more spells, ranging from animal friendship and entangle in the uncommon versions to control weather and fire storm in the legendary version.
While you do need to attune to these items, adding seven or eight spells to your repertoire means that you can emphasize the Bard’s versatility in and out of combat.
2. Reveler’s Concertina
For the Bards seeking power over versatility, this instrument bolsters the Bard’s spellcasting while also giving them a free casting of a powerful spell.
First, this concertina is a rare magic item that requires attunement. While attuned, the bearer of this instrument gives you a +2 to your Bard Spell Save DC. Additionally, you can cast Otto’s irresistible dance as an action once per dawn.
Before Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, the book that this item came out in, items that boosted the Bard’s Spell Save DC didn’t exist in any official format. Since this book came out, all spellcasting classes have had at least one item that grants this amazing benefit.
A higher Spell Save DC means that the control and debuff spells the Bard wants to cast will stick more often, preventing the Bard from wasting their spell slots and actions not doing anything productive.
Plus, Otto’s irresistible dance is a great 6th-level spell to get a free casting of each day. The spell forces a creature to dance without a save and requires the creature to take their action to make a Wisdom save rather than just granting it at the end of the turn. This spell uses your Spell Save DC, including the boost from this item!
3. Tome of Leadership and Influence
As we see with the Bard class, Charisma is important to its class features. Their spellcasting, Bardic Inspiration uses, and social skills all rely on Charisma. So, if you could get a permanent boost to your Charisma, wouldn’t that just improve your capabilities across the board?
Enter the Tome of Leadership and Influence. This tome requires 48 hours of reading over six days to get the benefits from it, but the benefits are huge. Once done, the Bard who reads this tome receives a permanent +2 to their current and maximum possible Charisma score, allowing a Bard to potentially reach a 22 Charisma. The tome then loses its magic for the next century, meaning you can’t keep stacking this benefit without a long lifespan.
This boost gives a Bard a higher Spell Save DC, an extra use of Bardic Inspiration, and a bonus to all of their Charisma ability checks.
This magic item is very rare, meaning you might find one only once you reach high-level adventures, but if you can secure one of these items for yourself, especially with a Reveler’s Concertina, you’ll have a Bard with one of the highest Spell Save DCs possible for player characters.
Other Bard Magic Items (at Every Tier of Play)
Here are some other fantastic magic items to look out for your Bard during their daring escapades:
4. Cloak of Many Fashions
Part of blending in with a crowd, or standing out from it, is the right garment. This cloak can take the shape and color of any other cloak you wish, so long as you don’t alter the shape past what a reasonable cloak looks like.
Since this common magic item doesn’t need attunement, you can combine this item with other tactics like disguises and deception to play yourself as another person. Whether you do this for performances or something more nefarious is up to you, though!
5. Glamoured Studded Leather Armour
Another way to alter your appearance, this rare armor set of glamoured studded leather has two benefits. In addition to the +1 AC it grants to the wearer, you can also use a bonus action to have the armor appear as another set of clothes or armor of your choice. While you choose the color and appearance of the glamour, your studded leather takes up the space and weighs what it normally does while this is active.
6. Gloves of Thievery
Bards aren’t proficient in thieves’ tools, but their use of Dexterity and Jack of all Features class ability put them in a position to fill in for a Rogue if needed. These uncommon gloves are invisible when worn but give the wearer a +5 bonus to Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) checks and Dexterity checks made to pick locks. So, if your party needs someone to break and enter, the Bard can pick up the slack with this set of gloves.
7. Hat of Disguise
As another way to change your appearance, the uncommon hat of disguise might seem redundant with the other options on this list. However, this hat lets you cast the disguise self spell, allowing you to change not just your clothes or armor’s appearance but also your facial features.
This hat requires attunement, but it’s the most complete disguise item on this list. The spell uses your spellcasting ability too, meaning you get to use what might be a higher value than most of the other uncommon magic items.
8. Ring of Spell Storing
Sometimes the best option to expand your spellcasting options is to borrow some power from your allies. When you attune to this ring, any creature can cast a spell from 1st to 5th level by touching the ring. From there, the spell is stored in the ring and can be cast as an action later by the wearer. The ring can only store a total of five levels of spells, divided up as you want.
9. Staff of Charming
Bards are well known for their enchantment spells, so why not use this rare magic item to get more? When attuned, you can use the 10 charges in the staff to cast command, charm person, and comprehend languages. The staff also lets you turn your failed saves against enchantment spells to success and successes into redirection of the spell back at the caster.
10. Staff of Healing
Bards have a collection of healing and restorative spells on their spell list, making them unique among the default arcane casters. This rare staff lets a Bard fill the role of combat medic by gaining extra castings of cure wounds, lesser restoration, and mass cure wounds with its 10 charges once attuned. Given that this is the lowest-rarity magic item that restores hit points without being consumed, this is a great pickup for Bards looking to keep their allies up and inspired.
11. Stone of Good Luck
Sometimes, a simple magic item is the best. When you attune to this uncommon item, it grants the user a +1 bonus to their saving throws and ability checks. It’s not flashy, but remember that Bards will often make a lot of ability checks, especially in social encounters. Plus, the bonus to ability checks works on things like initiative rolls, spellcasting ability checks, and concentration checks when maintaining a spell.
12. Wand of Fireball
Audiences love pyrotechnics for a reason! This rare wand has seven charges that an attuned spellcaster can use to cast fireball, upcasting the spell by using more charges if desired. However, the best option tends to be using one charge at a time to deliver 8d6 fire damage as desired. Bards don’t get damaging spells, making this item a worthwhile one to have when something just needs to go down.
With all of the official books and adventures out there, you won’t be hurting for magic items to choose from for your Bard. Still, these 12 are what we think will be the best for most Bards in most circumstances since they boost the numbers and choices many Bards make.
Still, if you want some more help deciding on magic items that would be worth your while, check out our complete guide to magic items.
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Rich is an avid D&D player and DM. He has been playing since the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st and 2nd editions. He has run campaigns of various editions with family and friends for over 20 years. Playing DnD 5th Edition in person at local game stores and online with VTT’s over the past 10 years has provided a consistent connection to how the game has grown. He strongly believes in understanding the source material, but catering the games to your individual players. Feel free to ask anything in the comments or drop him an email: [email protected].