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<u>My Bard and his Signature Weapon</u>

Does the idea of a bard picking a signature weapon mesh with the ideal of what a bard is supposed to be? A bard is supposed to be (reletivly speaking) alright at everything, but best at nothing. That is, a character who chooses a signature weapon invests time money and resorces in developing that weapon and his skills with it. A generalist character such as a bard is "supposed" to be a broad and versitile character, who even if concentraton on developing their combat skills more than then the other aspects of the class, is generally 'assumed" to take feats and skills that would apply to the widest range of available weapons (give the +1 to the most things), as opposed to feats such as weapon focus which uses a feat slot only for a single weapon. Also, using feat slots for something personal like the development of a signature weapon detracts from the bards role as a basic support character in that those slots could have been used for a feat or skill that helps your adventuring party at large. The heal skill, or subsonics(feat) for instance.

It gets worse. The signature weapon I have chosen for my bard is a quarterstaff. This is a dual/double weapon. Therefore, it requires three feats and a masterwork (or +1) staff to even use without penalty, let alon to use as a signature weapon. Note, my interpretation of signature weapon is one in which you have special skill and training in the use of that makes you better than the average man at weilding that particular weapon (hence the problem with the bards supposed mediocrity in all things [balance by actually having access to all things]) This is usually expressed via feats such as improved critical, and similar feats which grant bonusus to rolls dealing with the use of your weapon, as well as the cost of enchanting your weapon with special abilities that suit your character. The use of a double weapon costs three feats (ambidexterity, two wepon fighting, weapon focus) and the +1 bonus granted by masterwork or enhanced status to even wield without penalty.

So, why have I chosen to have a signature weapon at all, yet alone a double weapon? Well, first off, my bard doesn't wan tto kill anyone. Yup. I like to take my enemies alive, and so use only subdual weapons in combat; You can wield any weapon subdual at a penalty or enchant one with the mercy special ability, but I think it defeats the purpose to become proficient with a sword or axe then only use the broad side in combat. The choice effectivly limits my weapons selection list to the quarterstaff, sap, sling, bolas, mayby whip, but that is out of character for me, etc. The sap is to intimate. That means it requires me to be too close to the enemy for comfort, and is more likey to be used for sneaky knocking outs of prison guards (or undead when that disruption enchantment becomes affordable). I'm no good with ranged weapons (poor dex plus other reasons listed below). That only leaves the quarter staff (or 3 sectioned staff? [two much like nunchucks for my taste]) on the list for primary and thus signature weapon.

The question then becomes, how can I most effectivly compensate for my use of a signature weapon without seriously compromising the otherwise open ended versitile feat progression the bard would have used, or the feat progression for making a bard that is in fact best at being a bard as oposed to a suplement for a missing monster food group in an adventuring party (more on that in subsequent posts)

The new book Unerthed arcana, or is arcana unerthed. whichever one is the d&d version provides solutions.

Have to sign off now, more later.
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