I will be playing a new campaign in a bit, which will have the characters start at Level 1, presumably going up to about 11 or 12 before it ends. I have only single-classed so far, but with Xanathar's Guide to Everything out, I have thought about making a Multiclass character, specifically a Rogue/Bard, using the Swashbuckler and College of Blades archetype respectively.

The general idea behind this is for him to be the main Damage Dealer for the group, who uses Flourishes, Bardic Inspirations, Fancy Footwork and Cunning Action to outmaneuver his opponents, all while telling elaborate Pirate Stories.

How viable would such a build be? I'm currently looking into starting off as a Bard, dipping into Rogue once I hit Level 5 (so I get better Bardic Inspiration), then going straight to Level 3 as a Rogue to get Cunning Action and Fancy Footwork, then back to Bard again for the last few levels. Naturally, I'd go for a high Dexterity and Charisma to get the best of both worlds.

Is such a build viable or would I pull down my group simply for my love of Swashbuckling talltales?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Sounds like a decent idea to me, thematically and regarding gameplay. However, what exactly do you mean by viable? As it stands, this question seems quite broad to me, hence I don't know how I'd expand my comment into an answer. Can you provide a more specific definition of viable? Do you mean optimal vs single-class Rogues or Bards? Do you mean compared to other classes? \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Apr 11 '18 at 7:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Apologies if the wording was unclear. By "viable" I mostly mean if this combination can pull off what I intend it to be capable of, i.e. being highly mobile and dishing out enough damage to pull their weight in an encounter designed to be at least challenging for characters that are Level 11-12 in total. \$\endgroup\$ – Just some Guy Apr 11 '18 at 8:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ I can see that the question has acquired a close vote for being "opinion based". If it's possible to update the question with the information in your comment, but reworded such that it sounds like a measurably objective question (although I'm at a loss as to what I'd suggest directly.... hopefully someone else can chip in and help) it might be better received. All I can think of is whether it can compare against single-class Bards or Rogues, as I mentioned before... \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Apr 11 '18 at 9:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think you can inspire yourself, unless it is a feature of the blades college. \$\endgroup\$ – SeriousBri Apr 11 '18 at 9:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri It is and you can \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Apr 11 '18 at 12:55

It is valid

With standard point buy the highest you can start is 16 in Dex and Cha. As main damage dealer you have Dex as a primary, for AC, attack, and damage. This means at level 12 with 3 ASIs you have 20 Dex and 18 Cha.

Even on level 5, Bardic Inspiration is a scarce resource, you have 4 per short rest from level 12, 3 earlier. You can't rely on that for damage output, but the Sneak Attack will help a lot.

Some changes are needed

Extra Attack on level 6 icreases your damage output significantly, so does the ASI on level 4 of the Rogue.
So I would go like this:

  • Levels 1-6: Bard
  • Levels 7-10: Rogue
  • Rest: Whatever you want

This way on level 11 you have the same damage output as a sword and shield Figter with Extra Attack (2) but your AC is 2 lower

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    \$\begingroup\$ You might want to discuss the choice to multiclass at level five versus level six, in re the extra attack. Or not, since it has been closed. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Apr 11 '18 at 12:56

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