I was wondering since the Bard has a lot of spells that don't seem to have him using his instrument to perform, are there 2 different types of spells for the Bard, Normal magic spells and Instrument Spells? Or is the Bard really using an instrument to cast those spells but it just doesn't say?


Bards can use musical instruments as their spellcasting focus (PHB 53). A character can use a spellcasting focus to replace Material components needed for a spell (with some restrictions, PHB 203). Thus a bard only needs to use an instrument when he casts a spell with a Material component. Whether he has to play the instrument is a different question, though.

As Miniman pointed it out, you can forego the use of instruments even on these spells if you use a component pouch.

  • \$\begingroup\$ @Miniman Thanks, added the info to the answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Szega
    Oct 11 '17 at 11:48
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ One funny thought for houseruling: The bard can use the instrument in place of M component. Then he should be able to play the instrument in place of the V component. And finally wiggle around the instrument during their performance in place of the S component. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mindwin
    Oct 11 '17 at 17:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mindwin Interesting. Using the instrument in place of V would be an interesting way for bards to bypass being silenced, as long as they aren't restrained too. I'm sure a skilled bard can insult people with just music. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kapten-N
    Jan 23 '18 at 14:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @kapten-n a silenced bard cannot produce any kind of noise or sound. It is different from muted (a non-existent condition) where he could only speak. He could not provide the V anyway, even if the houserule I proposed were in place. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mindwin
    Jan 23 '18 at 17:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, so silenced doesn't just prevent verbal communication? I did not know that. I was thinking of writing "muted or gagged", but I wasn't sure those were actual conditions, though I had heard that silence is a common way to counter magic users. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kapten-N
    Jan 23 '18 at 17:25

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