Guide to Building a Bard College of Creation: DnD 5e

In Dungeons and Dragons 5e, Bards of the College of Creation tap into the Song of Creation, the resonating creative force of the first dragons and gods.  Therefore, I’ll build a character with charm, enhanced Bardic Inspiration, item creation and the ability to bring inanimate objects to life.  This character will have a whimsical flair—less ferocious and warlike, yet highly capable.

When building a bard College of Creation in DnD 5e, consider the following:

Try a dragonborn or aasimar character.

For this build, I’ll need a race that gives some sort of Charisma bonus.  I’ll make Charisma my highest ability score, followed by Constitution.  This may be a character that benefits from a balanced ability score list.  However, Charisma should be at the top.

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Dragonborn gain a +2 Strength/+1 Charisma ability modifier, granting a bulky yet charming character.  This scaly bard comes complete with a Breath Weapon, which deals a cone or line of 2d6 elemental damage.  The element is based on my scale color, which offers my inherent element and damage resistance.  Scale colors range from red, blue, green, black, white and a whole collection of metallic shades.  Each color corresponds with an element such as fire, acid, cold, lightning and poison.

Protector aasimar reflect a cosmic, angelic presence and a +2 Charisma/+1 Wisdom bonus.  These cosmic beings fall into the typical angel-of-light tropes, gaining ethereal wings that help me fly for 10 minutes.  Plus, I’ll gain extra radiant damage on attacks equal to my level.  Healing Hands offers me inherent healing capabilities for my party, and Celestial Resistance gives me resistance to necrotic and radiant damage.  Finally, I can act as the party’s flashlight with the light cantrip.

Basic build, Bardic Inspiration, Song of Rest, Jack of All Trades…

Naturally, I’ll want this bard to be a support character—hanging back from the danger, enhancing my allies, confounding enemies and healing.  Therefore, I’ll start with a shortbow or hand crossbow for a few ranged options.  I can also use a longsword or rapier depending on my Strength or Dexterity ability score.  I’ll have a choice of several instruments to use for my abilities.

Bardic Inspiration is a key ability for the class, offering 1d6 to an ally and adding to a saving throw, attack roll or ability check.  I gain an amount of Bardic Inspiration dice per day equal to my Charisma modifier.  Plus, this college, in particular, enhances these effects depending on the kind of roll.

I’ll also gain Jack of All Trades at level 1, giving me half my proficiency bonus to any skill check that doesn’t already use my proficiency bonus.

Then, level 2 gives me Song of Rest, which offers my party 1d6 health points on a short rest.  This ability comes in handy in the midpoint of a dungeon crawl, giving my friends an HP boost.

Expertise comes soon after at level 3, doubling my proficiency bonus for 2 proficient skills.

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College of Creation abilities: Mote of Potential, Performance of Creation

When I enter the College of Creation at level 3, I’ll gain 2 key abilities: Mote of Potential and Performance of Creation.

Mote of Potential enhances my Bardic Inspiration, creating a glowing orb that surrounds those I inspire.  I can then add the inherent magic of the orb to affect the Bardic Inspiration roll.  The magic effect depends on what type of roll my ally is performing.

  • Ability Check: Roll the 1d6 twice and choose the highest number.
  • Attack Roll: The mote thunderously shatters.  Target and each creature within 5 feet must make a Constitution saving throw or take thunder damage equal to the die roll.
  • Saving Throw: The mote disappears in soft music and adds temporary HP to my ally equal to the die roll.

Performance of Creation gives me the ability to create a nonmagical object within 10 feet of me.  The GP value can’t be more than 20 X my bard level, and the item must be Medium or smaller.  Also, the item disappears after a number of hours equal to my proficiency bonus.

Animating Performance and Creative Crescendo

Animating Performance comes at level 6 and brings a Large or smaller object to life.  This object has AC, HP, the ability to increase or decrease speed and a Force-Empowered Slam.  Essentially, I’ll gain a tank for myself or the party.  Plus, the tank can affect enemies and allies.  My Dancing Item’s stat block looks like this:

  • AC: 16
  • HP: 10 + 5 X bard level. At level 6, this equals 40.
  • Speed: 30 feet, Fly 20 feet (hover)
  • STR: 18 (+4)
  • DEX: 14 (+2)
  • CON: 16 (+3)
  • INT: 4 (-3)
  • WIS: 10 (+0)
  • CHA: 6 (-2)
  • Damage Immunities: poison, psychic
  • Condition Immunities: charmed, exhaustion, poisoned, frightened.
  • Immutable Form: The item is immune to any spell or effect that would change its shape.
  • Irrepressible Dance: When a creature starts its turn within 10 feet of the Dancing Item, I can increase or reduce the creature’s speed.  Therefore, I can speed up allies and slow down enemies.
  • Force-Empowered Slam: my spell attack modifier to hit with a reach of 5 feet. 1d10 + proficiency bonus damage.

Finally, Creative Crescendo comes at level 14.  Now, I can create a number of items equal to my Charisma modifier when using Performance of Creation.  However, only one of these items can be larger than Small.  Plus, I’m no longer limited by GP value when creating an item.

Remember Higher-level bard abilities: Font of Inspiration, Countercharm…

Now that I have my Song of Creation abilities down, I can add basic bard abilities to fill out my character’s abilities.

Font of Inspiration comes at level 5 and gives me full recovery of Bardic Inspiration with a long or short rest.  Essentially, I can take a midday break, heal my buddies and regain my Bardic Inspiration.  Let’s just say I’m all about nap time.

Countercharm (level 6) allows me to play a song as an action, granting allies within 30 feet advantage on saving throws against fright and charm.

Magical Secrets (level 10) gives me 2 spells from any class.  I can cast these spells up to a level of spell I already know.  This is a perfect way to implement other summons into my spell list—summon elemental, summon fey.

Finally, level 20 gives me Superior Inspiration.  Now, when I’m all out of Bardic Inspiration, I can regain 1 use when I roll Initiative.

Bard Spell choices: vicious mockery, cure wounds, mage hand

For my basic spell choices, I want to complement my College of Creation play style with some damage-dealing and adventuring choices.  I’ll need to pay attention to tactical spells that will keep me alive and not get so caught up in the fighting.  However, I’ll have plenty of options to throw down damage.

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  • Mage Hand: An ethereal hand stretches out 30 feet to manipulate far away objects, carry small items or set off traps from afar.
  • Blade Ward: I’ll gain resistance against piercing, slashing and bludgeoning damage until the end of my next turn.
  • Minor Illusion: Create an illusory effect like a soft sound, small animal or effect.  This can be used to creative effects—especially for distraction.
  • Vicious Mockery: Target must make a Wisdom saving throw or be dealt 1d4 psychic damage and have disadvantage on attack the next turn.  This is a little damage, a little defense.

1st-Level Spells

  • Cure Wounds: On touch, I can heal 1d8 + Charisma modifier HP.  This spell is a go-to for support characters of all kinds.
  • Dissonant Whispers: Target must make Wisdom saving throw or take 3d6 psychic damage and run away as far as possible.  This spell is like vicious mockery on steroids.
  • Unseen Servant: I can generate an invisible being of magic to perform simple tasks for me.  Yet again, this spell isn’t so much a combat feature but a creative adventure option.
  • Thunderwave: Target makes a Constitution saving throw or take 2d8 thunder damage and be pushed 10 feet away. Naturally, this is a great spell to ward off enemies who come too close.

2nd-Level Spells

  • Cloud of Daggers: I create a 5-foot cloud of floating daggers on a spot I can see within range. Creatures who begin or end their turn in this space take 4d4 slashing damage.
  • Lesser Restoration: Heal the effects of blindness, deafness, paralysis and poison.
  • Invisibility: Magically turn invisible until you attack or lose concentration.
  • Locate Object: I can locate items within 1,000 feet of me if I can imagine them.  I can locate an item I’ve seen before without this boundary.  Plus, I can tell which direction an item in motion is going.

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