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In Dragon Age Origins, the rogue character class can specialize in one of four different areas of expertise. The bard specialization is an interesting sub-class because they use music to motivate their own party or to throw off enemy units. Bards are especially helpful to a group because some of their talents will affect everyone, so they are good to have around in a fight. Bards are part of the rogue class because their abilities to distract an audience work just as well to distract enemy opponents during combat. All of the bard’s benefits are based off their cunning score.
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How to Become a Bard
There are two ways to get the training you need to specialize in a bard. The easiest way is to convince Leliana to train you. She’s the rogue you pick up in the village of Lothering early on in the game. You have to speak to her and give her some gifts in order to get her approval rating up to at least +32 before she’ll offer to teach you.
If things don’t work out between you and Leliana, the only other way to become a bard is to buy the training manual from the Alimar character in Dust Town, which is part of Orzammar. You probably won’t get to this point until you’re pretty far along in the game, so it is much easier to get your bard training from Leliana. She’s also a good romantic interest for your character, if you’re so inclined to explore that aspect of the game.
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Bards gain a +2 to their willpower and a +1 to their cunning.
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In addition to the four sets of rogue talents, the bard also gets their own tree with these four new talents. I think your bard should pick all four of these up as soon as they come available to your character, because they have so much potential benefit to the party.
Song of Valor
- Requirements: 7th Level
The bard sings an uplifting song about warriors and victories from the past, and it motivates the party so well that it boosts their mana and stamina regeneration. The amount of the boost depends on the bard’s cunning score. Be sure your party is together when you activate this one, because the other members must be within range of the bard to get the benefits.
- Requirements: 8th Level
With this talent, the bards plays a song that messes with the enemy’s head and disorients them. As a result, the enemy target must pass a mental resistance check. The cool down for this one is 30 seconds. This is a good one to temporarily incapacitate an enemy so that they can be finished off.
Song of Courage
- Requirements: 10th Level
This talent is like an upgraded version of Song of Valor in that the bard plays a song so powerful that the party gets bonuses to their attack and damage, plus their critical hit chances are boosted. This is a talent you should use before every fight, because the benefits are so great. The amount of the bonus is dependent upon the bard’s cunning score, so if you have a lot of points in cunning then you are really going to help out your party. It has a 30 second cool down time.
- Requirements: 12th Level
Playing a Captivating Song is a little different from the Distraction talent in that your bard must stand still while playing. The benefit is that it has an area of effect that can stun enemy units unless they pass a mental resistance check. This one is great to have your bard step into the middle of a fray and burst into song, then watch the opponents go into a daze while the rest of your party takes them out.