Like a wily shape-shifting sprite, the Changeling Bard possesses a natural talent for mimicry, effortlessly slipping into various guises to suit their whims and desires.
Their mutable nature is their greatest strength, allowing them to adapt to any situation and become the catalyst of wonder wherever they go.
It is their musical prowess that truly sets them apart. The Changeling Bard plucks at the heartstrings of reality itself, wielding an instrument with the finesse of an ancient sorcerer.
Behind their masks and playful façades lies a cunning intellect. The Changeling Bard possesses a keen mind, skilled in the art of deception and manipulation.
Their words are as potent as their music, capable of sowing seeds of discord or uniting fractured realms with the power of inspiration.
Creating a Changeling Bard
Changelings are shapeshifters, often shifting their forms with only a thought. Most Changelings use this gift as a form of emotional or artistic expression.
Others, such as spies or grifters, see this as an invaluable tool for deception, which has caused many people to treat Changelings with more suspicion than other races.
Below is the description of a Changeling’s true form (most facial features of a Changeling’s true form are quite unnerving):
|Skin||Usually pale white or gray|
|Hair (Including their Beard)||Silvery with the occasional pink or green tint|
|Eyes||Black or pale white|
Persona – Changelings don’t usually go into their true form for others to see, as they mainly put on disguises they call personas, which will become their identity.
Note: These features can be slightly changed or modified if some variations don’t fit your character.
Changelings have one other subrace, which comes as an alternative to the traditional Changeling race.
Changeling (UA) – Changelings described by the Unearthed Arcana are more devious than traditional Changelings, specifically with their Unsettling Visage and Divergent Persona features.
Beyond their abilities, everything stays more or less the same compared to traditional Changelings. It’ll be up to the player from this point on to make their Changelings different than the rest if that’s even a good idea!
Bard Class Features
|Hit Dice||1d8 per Bard level|
|HP at level 1||8 + Constitution level|
|HP at Higher levels||1d8 (or 5) + Constitution modifier per Bard level after level 1|
|Weapons||Simple weapons, Hand Crossbows, Longswords, Rapiers, Shortswords|
|Tools||Three musical instruments you choose|
|Saving Throws||Dexterity, Charisma|
|Skills||Choose any three|
Once you reach level 3, you’ll be able to unlock the techniques of different bard colleges; choosing one will give you specific features, so try optimizing your choices with your subrace.
Creation – College of Creation Bards are obsessed with the cosmos, believing it is a work of art, a creation of the first dragons and gods.
You can often hear them sing the Song of Creation, filling those around them with deep emotions.
Eloquence – College of Eloquence Bards are master orators, using persuasion, reason, and a well-spoken argument to solve most problems. These Bards are experts at plucking the heartstring of those listening and even winning over skeptics.
Glamour – College of Glamour Bards learned their craft in the Feywild, using their magic to enlighten and captivate those who listen to their song. There are tales of these Bards successfully lulling powerful dragons with their song and speech.
Lore – College of Lore Bards knows something of everything, having diverse knowledge about almost any matter. They are experts at unraveling lies, exposing corruption, and telling the truth in the most compelling manner.
Spirits – College of Spirits Bards study fiction, histories, and legends in search of great power. They use magic to call upon forces to once again change the world, just as in their books.
Swords – College of Swords Bards entertain through weapon prowess – swallowing swords, jugglings knives, and mocking combatants. They are skilled with weapons and often combine them with powerful magical effects.
Valor – College of Valor Bards tells the tales of legendary heroes, both in the past and in the present. They usually travel to these great events to catch a firsthand experience, which is why their songs are so emotional and detailed.
Whispers – College of Whispers Bards seem like ordinary Bards, singing and dancing as usual, but their motives are as dangerous as their teachings.
These Bards are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They uncover secrets and turn people against each other using threats and extortion. In most cases, these Bards claim to follow a different college, only revealing their true college when it is absolutely necessary.
Note: Watch out for College of Whispers Bards in royal courts and among the highest echelons of society, as they can worm themselves into any situation.
Combining Class With Race
Determining Your Subclass
Choosing your ideal subclass is subjective, but if your objective is optimization, try understanding what your character wants to do and what stats fit best with their subclass.
|College of Creation||Support|
|College of Eloquence||Face/Support|
|College of Glamour||Support|
|College of Lore||Face/Librarian|
|College of Spirits||Support/Utility Caster|
|College of Swords||Striker|
|College of Valor||Defender/Striker|
|College of Whispers||Face/Striker|
Changelings have a bonus to their Charisma (2) for both races. Normal Changelings then leave it up to the player to choose one ability score to increase by 1, and UA Changelings get to increase either Dexterity or Intelligence by 1.
Bards mainly use Charisma and Dexterity, which both races either obtain or get to choose. The main difference will be if you want to use tools or skills like Deception, Intimidation, and Persuasion.
If you want your Bard to use tools, then choose the UA Changeling, but if you are more focused on the abovementioned skills, choose the normal Changeling.
Note: The UA Changeling has proficiency, as well as a few other benefits, with a specific tool, while the normal Changeling has proficiency with Deception, Insight, Intimidation, and Persuasion skills.
Your Changeling Bard needs a unique background that will affect its choices, as well as the way it sees the world and what it wants to achieve.
Start by asking yourself some basic questions: Where were they born, and where did they come from? Do they have any goals, bonds, or ideals, and what are their flaws? Where do they belong in social circles and society as a whole? What inspires them?
Place of Birth
Think of the environment a Changeling Bard grew up in and how it affected them physically and emotionally and eventually shaped their view of the world.
Try to make their place of birth and upbringing correspond with their personality traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws – this will truly bring their character alive.
Note: The birthplaces of races are usually mentioned in the Player’s Handbook or some of its expansion books.
Characteristics and Personality Traits
(Short outline of characteristics; are they proud, violent, or angry, and how does their class affect their personality).
Changeling Bard Examples:
- I make sure always to have a plan prepared for when things go wrong.
- I use flattery as my preferred trick for getting what I want.
Ideals, Bonds, and Flaws
Ideal – Express one ideal that is a driving force in a Changeling Bard’s life – their conviction, ethical principle, and moral standing.
I am a free spirit – no one will tell me what to do.
Bonds – Think of a single bond that your Changeling Bard has to an event, person, or place. Bonds will tie them to their background and can inspire bravery or stimulate memories driving them against their ideals.
I pursue wealth to secure someone’s love.
Flaws – Choose a single flaw for a Changeling Bard – their unhealthy compulsion, greatest fear/weakness, or most vile vice.
I’m a sucker for a pretty face.
Inspiration can be used by the DM to reward you for playing according to your bond, personality traits, ideals, and flaw.
Even though I love someone else, my instincts force me to flatter those I find beautiful, even if it’ll be disadvantageous for me.
Note: If you’re struggling to create your background or just don’t want to think, the Player’s Handbook has well-thought-through backgrounds that you can use for your character or use as a mold.
Supplies and Gear
Bards start with the following equipment, together with the equipment from their background. Choosing equipment based on your situation and your character’s proficiencies is the easiest way to go about things.
- (a) Rapier, (b) Longsword, or (c) Any simple weapon
- (a) Diplomat’s pack or (b) Entertainer’s pack
- (a) Lute or (b) Any other musical instrument
- Dagger and leather armor
You can decide how your character came about these goods – whether they stole, inherited, or purchased them some time back – adding to your character’s background.
Note: By using your starting wealth, you can buy your own equipment (5d4 x 10 GP for Bards).
In most cases, you won’t know you’ve spotted a Changeling unless they either tell you they’re a Changeling or you figure it out yourself. These creatures are exceptional at deception and become some of the most talented Bards because of this.
Their skills, always including Charisma, make them a natural talent for speech but be aware that to be discovered as a Changelings is a fate worse than death because of their suspicious nature.
If you’re playing as a Changeling Bard, have a strong party to back you up, and never expose yourself. Your cunning and charisma are what you should use to win the hearts of those who undermine you, just as a Bard should.
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