The challenge here is creating a bard character that has to be some flavor of pure blooded elf and utilises that to help in its melee abilities.

I was thinking Valor with maybe High Elf for booming blade?
A dip in hexblade?

Objective: Decent competitive damage output.

What spells and feats would be optimal to take to do so?


It should

  1. Be able to come online before level 15 as the campaign probably won't go on for that long
  2. Be able to deal decent damage while utilising elf racial abilities and not rendering them useless or obsolete.
  3. Multiclassing is allowed but bard should be the dominating class.

Ability scores at level 1

(rolled) 12,16,16,10,15,17. (These rolls can be assigned to stats in any order, though I think the current order they are in is optimal (for Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis, and Cha respectively).)

  • \$\begingroup\$ So there are two kinds of character optimization questions we do here: “What are the best practices for making an X?” where X is something pretty general, or “What is the best way to create this specific character, with all of these parameters?” I’m not sure “elven melee bard” is a great fit for the former kind of question, though it might be OK. But for the latter kind of question, we need a lot of information: the basic rules of the game, such as the relevant level range and ability scores, but also what exactly you want from the character, what does “elven melee bard” mean to you? \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 20:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hopefully, that reformatting makes this easier to parse, but you may want to add a bit more detail on what you are optimizing for. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 21:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ I am not sure elf that hits things is narrow enough really. I have at least 5 builds in mind depending on what else you want. We could do with knowing for example why barr? What parts of bard are non-negotiable? What do you mean by pure blood elf? Just high elf or do drow count? How about shadar kai? \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 21:35
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan I can definitely put together a "best practices" sort of general answer here in my mind, though I think I agree that this sort of question may not be the best fit for that framework. But I think we've got plenty to go off here for that second type of question. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 21:50

2 Answers 2


If you just want "decent" output, there is no need to hyperoptimize

You can take a normal Bard without multiclassing, I would recommend maybe a College of Swords, which gets a free figthing style in dueling for +2 to damage in melee and has Slashing Flourish on level 3 to add some more extra damage from his Bardic Inspiration to attacks, and like College of Valor gets the crucial Extra Attack on level six. (You mention Hexblade and Booming Blade, so I assume no limitation to core rules.)

For race, a high elf or wood elf works well. If your DM allows spells from the non-core rules (which would seem likely if they allow College of Swords), then High Elf with Booming Blade is a reasonable cantrip to pick up and help. Wood Elf with increased speed is also useful for a melee build. For more exotic options, a Shadar-Kai or Eladrin will give you a misty step equivalent for free, which can help with maneuvering in close combat.

You can pick up Hunters Mark or Hex with one of your magical secrets on level 10 to help with damage output.

If you want extra help with AC, consider picking up two levels in Bladesinger, which fits nicely to the elf theme (in that case, put more into Int and dump Str, you can use Rapier as your weapon of choice).

  • \$\begingroup\$ Wouldnt Booming Blade conflict with multi attack? \$\endgroup\$
    – Alex Sash
    Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 7:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AlexSash there are times when both will be useful, especially if warcaster becomes part of th build for example. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 8:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GroodytheHobgoblin what is the Shadowdancer (sub)class? is this in a published book für dnd-5e? \$\endgroup\$
    – Urknecht
    Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 8:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AlexSash Booming Blade would conflict with multi attack. See this answer \$\endgroup\$
    – Urknecht
    Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 8:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Urknecht I meant Bladesinger, mixed up the nsmes, fixed it \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 8:47

Tashas variant race ability score increase rules

High elf, Bard 3 (college of swords), Cleric 1 (forge domain)


Str 12 (+1) Dex 18 (+4) Con 16 (+3) Int 10 (+0) Wis 15 (+2) Cha 18 (+4)

Hp 46 ; HD 4d8 Init +5 ; Speed 30 ft.

AC 16 (scale mail 14, Dex +2)

Rapier. Melee : +6 (1d8+4 piercing ; finesse)

Spells that matter

Spellcasting Ability Charisma ; Spells Save DC 14 ; Spells Attack Bonus +6 Slots 4 / 2 Known Spells (2) / 5 / 1

  • Lvl 0 : booming blade
  • Lvl 1 : healing word, command, searing smite
  • Lvl 2 : mirror image

(others are your choice)

  • Blessings of the forge for either better damage or better AC
  • Tough feat for that extra health.

Now just a reminder, bard is built to be a support class despite their versatility. So you will never be on par with the other attackers. But, you have a pretty nice piece of HP, +6/7 to hit, and seeing as how most monsters have about 14-15 AC at this level, you are going to be hitting on anything more than an 8. on average, you are doing 8.5-9.5 damage on each hit. and your blade flourishes are going to be quite strong if you use them correctly.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Why is this an optimized build? YOu don't tell us, you just give us the build. Additionally...bard is just a support class? You're going to want to support that as well because I absolutely disagree. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 14:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch, the reason that i think that bard is a support class is because: cbr.com/best-support-classes-in-dd/…. Dungeons & Dragons: Best Classes For A Support Characterhttps://www.thegamer.com › Lists. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 14:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ why do u think its not a support class? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 14:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ So, your reasoning is that you have experience from a very specific type of character. then you tell me to not look on the internet from people that have done actual research. seems like a white room. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 14:51
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I think absolute statements like "bard is a support class" are probably not defensible. The bard is one of the most flexible 5e classes, I've played all sorts of bards; full support caster with healing and battlefield control, a melee bard that could keep up with the fighter, a martial focused ranged bard that did better than the ranger, a blaster caster that competed with the wizard, and a sneaky striker that kept up with the rogue. The bard can fill most roles if you build it right. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 14:54

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