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?


1 Answer 1


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
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 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\$ Commented Oct 11, 2017 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
    Commented Jan 23, 2018 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\$ Commented Jan 23, 2018 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
    Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 17:25

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