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The 10 Best Weapons For Bards in D&D 5e [Ranked]

The 10 Best Weapons For Bards in D&D 5e [Ranked]

The world of D&D lets adventurers pick and choose between various ranged and melee weapons.

However, some weapons stand out above the rest, fitting an adventurer’s background, build, roleplay, and simply giving more useful stats for that character.

In the case of Bards, their backstories mainly focus on light, one-handed weapons they can use in their off-hand (some can also be used for two-weapon fighting if they want to), easy-to-use ranged weapons and staffs.

Bard Weapon Proficiency

  • Simple weapons
  • Specific Martial weapons (hand crossbows, longswords, rapiers, shortswords) 
  • Scimitar (College of Swords) 
  • All Martial weapons (College of Valor)

Best Weapons for the Bard in 5e

10. Greatsword

Cost: 50 GP

Damage: 2d6 Slashing

Weight: 6 lbs

Properties: Heavy, Two-handed


The Greatsword is a very far-fetched weapon that can be picked up by a Bard if they so wish.

It deals high average damage and serves as a great weapon if a Bard wants to go Strength for whatever reason. 

Greatswords don’t particularly fit with the persona of a Bard, but it can be made to work if the Bard goes all out with their build.

It is by far one of the strangest weapons a Bard can wield, but it still allows you Bard to cast spells. But now he’ll also be able to deal some great melee damage.

9. Flail

Cost: 10 GP

Damage: 1d8 Bludgeoning

Weight: 2 lbs



Flails are similar to Longswords in one-handed damage and can be used if you want to play a Bard that has higher AC, as it should be combined with a shield.

In all honesty, this would be the one-handed counterpart of the Greatsword, but it forces you to either leave the shield or get War Caster if you want to continue casting spells.

Flails aren’t the best weapons for Bards, but they can be made to work if you really want them to.

8. Longsword

Cost: 15 GP

Damage: 1d8 Slashing

Weight: 3 lbs

Properties: Versatile (1d10)


Longswords are a lot like Rapiers, only worse, especially for a Bard.

You’ll get the most value out of using a Longsword with a Shield, as it gives you extra AC and allows you to also dip in and out of combat as a College of Valor or College of Swords Bard.

Beyond that, it becomes pretty useless, as it doesn’t have Finesse, so there’s no extra damage, and you’ll have to either throw down your shield when you want to cast a spell or take War Caster.

Longswords shouldn’t be used if you think of your build optimally, only if you really like Longswords and want to use it as a Bard.

7. Shortsword

Cost: 10 GP

Damage: 1d6 Piercing

Weight: 2 lbs

Properties: Finesse, Light


Bards don’t usually undertake any two-weapon fighting, as they’re not exactly good at it if you’re not choosing to go into the College of Valor or the College of Swords.

It’ll work best with Dexterity since it has Finesse, but you could build it with Strength if you wanted to (it would be a waste since Dexterity is better on the Bard anyway).

Note: You can also go with a Scimitar instead of a Shortsword if you want to go into the College of Swords. Then, you can choose the Two-Weapon Fighting Fighting Style to get even more out of it.

6. Handaxe

Cost: 5 GP

Damage: 1d6 Slashing

Weight: 2 lbs

Properties: Light, Thrown (20/60)


Handaxes are basically Shortswords, but they are easier to dispose of if you need to cast a spell.

They deal the same amount of damage as Shortswords when taking the dice into account, but with Finesse, Shortswords beat them by a long shot.

However, if you want to continue casting spells while with two weapons in your hand, you’ll have to get War Caster, but with the Handaxes, you can simply chuck it at an enemy’s head instead.

Not only will this deal damage, but it will allow you to avoid getting War Caster if you want to focus on getting other Feats.

5. Shortbow

Cost: 25 GP

Damage: 1d6 Piercing

Weight: 2 lbs

Properties: Ammunition, Range (80/320), Two-handed


A Shortbow can actually be really good on a Bard, especially if you want to focus on dealing damage from range, but also cast utility and supportive spells for your party.

It allows you to still keep up with your team’s damage, as you’ll benefit from taking Sharpshooter, but since you’ll only need to two-hand the bow when firing, you won’t need War Caster.

Note: Bows are very viable on Bards, but unfortunately, Crossbows outperform Bows in the long run, especially if the one using them isn’t a Ranger.

4. Quarterstaff

Cost: 2 SP

Damage: 1d6 Bludgeoning

Weight: 4 lbs

Properties: Versatile (1d8)


Quarterstaffs are great one-handed polearms for the Bard and can be combined with a shield if you really want to (but that would require you to get War Caster).

It’ll be best to take a Quarterstaff if you want to use its Versatile damage and use it to bash in the skulls of enemies who come close to you.

On its own, the large damage die helps you deal higher damage than most Simple weapons, but the Quarterstaff also lets you focus more on being a spellcaster than using weapons.

3. Dagger

Cost: 2 GP

Damage: 1d4 Piercing

Weight: 1 lb

Properties: Finesse, Light, Thrown (20/60)


Daggers are my favorite weapon on the Bard, especially the College of Whispers.

Daggers work best as a weapon in your off-hand or as a backup when you’re playing a ranged Bard.

You can even throw them, so if you don’t have any damage-dealing spells, you can always chuck a Dagger at an enemy’s head to inflict some damage.

2. Crossbow (Light)

Cost: 25 GP

Damage: 1d8 Piercing

Weight: 5 lbs

Properties: Ammunition, Range (80/320), Loading, Two-handed


The Crossbow (Light) is your best option as a ranged Bard, especially if you want to get the Crossbow Master and the Sharpshooter Feats.

It has all of the bonuses a Shortbow gives you but with more damage in the long run.

1. Rapier

Cost: 25 GP

Damage: 1d8 Piercing

Weight: 2 lbs

Properties: Finesse


The Rapier is, without a doubt, the Bard’s best melee weapon option.

Not only does it deal a lot of damage on its own, but when used as a Dexterity-based Bard, it becomes even better because of its Finesse property.

It can be used with a shield or without one and leaves a Bard with a lot of freedom.

Final Thoughts

For the most part, each class in D&D has its most used or beloved weapon that is both iconic and functional.

Though some of these weapons might not be the best D&D weapon overall, they remain the best option for that character at the moment.

A good example would be the Rapier, Crossbow (Light), or Quarterstaff decision Bards need to make if they want the most reliable weapon for a Bard. 

In the end, whether you decide to take a conventional or unconventional weapon, as long as you like it and it fits your playstyle, you should roll with it!