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Is there any reason I couldn't just play a bard with a bow and use the Blade flourishes?

I'm pretty sure I missed a word somewhere, because after reading through the whole thing, I came to the conclusion that the only time the word "melee" came up was in the fighting styles and the use of a melee weapon for a focus (the latter of which doesn't matter with bows, since you can free a hand to cast).

Some of the effects aren't valuable to a range-specific character, but I'm strictly talking semantics.

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Ranged Works!

As you surmise, the only requirement for the Blade Flourish is (my emphasis):

Whenever you take the Attack action ... and if a weapon attack that you make as part of this action hits a creature, you can use one of the following Blade Flourish options of your choice.

If you've taken the Attack action, then you can Flourish. There is no requirement for Melee weapons, so Ranged works just as well

Ranged weapons for Bards

Do note that a single-classed Bard is only proficient in the following ranged weapons:

  • Hand Crossbow
  • Light Crossbow
  • Sling
  • Dart
  • Short Bow
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    \$\begingroup\$ The fighting style is also useless for ranged attacks \$\endgroup\$ – András Aug 24 '18 at 16:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @András Yup - but whether or not this is optimal isn't the question :) \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Aug 24 '18 at 16:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ The D&D beyond link does not have Blade Flourish visible without purchase. \$\endgroup\$ – Sir Cinnamon Aug 24 '18 at 19:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SirCinnamon Feel free to add the physical book citation (I don't have my books with me right now) - although that's behind a pay wall if you haven't bought the book :) \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Aug 24 '18 at 19:16
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Strictly speaking, of course. You can take College of Swords and never make an attack, it's legal, just not a very good idea.

Practically, only some features will benefit ranged attacks. In particular, Blade Flourishes only require an Attack. It doesn't matter what you use for your Attack, it will get the benefit of the Flourishes. Melee, Ranged, it doesn't matter.

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