Something that I recently have been puzzling over in my choices for my character has been the decision to give him character high strength (18), despite being a bard. I like the idea, but I'm having trouble finding a way to use it effectively as a character that doesn't have much health or AC, due to the lower investment in dexterity. An event that happened in the third session (lvl. 1) was a fight with a yeti which was aided by five guards, who tanked the aggro and hits (mostly). My bard ran to the front (an especially dangerous choice due to the 25 ft movement speed), shoved the yeti to knock it prone, and attempted to leave, only to get nearly one-shot by an opportunity attack. Websites like rpgbot.net have been really helpful for understanding mechanics, optimization, and perspectives with more experience, but it continually addresses classes from a min-maxed perspective, rather than my less-than-ideal setup. Bard's are a support class, which to me means they are supposed to help the other characters be better at what they do, whether that's surviving, doing damage, or succeeding in general, but I find it difficult to reconcile my class - which is long-ranged, squishy, and support-oriented -, my stats - which are face/bruiser oriented-, and my race - which is stealthy, semi-mobile, and burst/damage oriented -.
Lastly, since my character has a small size, he has constant disadvantage with Heavy weapons, which are more commonly used in strength heavy builds, though certainly not the end-all-be-all.
Please limit your response to official material only, and any uses of class abilities in the answer besides those in Artificer (no subclass) and Bard (College of Creation) will be mostly unhelpful, since I'm pretty set in the class decisions I've made.
Putting the question differently, how do I fulfill my role as a bard without neglecting the high strength of my character?
Relevant and Requested Stats:
|Stats||(4d6, drop lowest # method)|
Outlander - Athletics & Survival Proficiency, awareness of surrounding geography, comfortable lifestyle via foraging/hunting
Athletics, Medicine, Performance, Persuasion, Stealth, Survival
Lv. 1 Chef - WIS 13->14, Cook's Utensils Proficiency, snacks
Race: Homebrew (Grung + Bugbear)
- ASI +3, Tasha's-Style - +2 & +1 OR +1 (x3)
- Amphibious - Breathes air and water
- Common & 2 or 3 languages - Common, Goblinoid, Halfling
- 25 ft walking & climbing
- Darkvision 60
- Stealthy - Gain Stealth proficiency
- Powerful Build & Long Arms - Functions as a medium character for all intents and purposes of reach and carrying/lifting/pulling/pushing capacity
- Fey Ancestry - Resistance and advantage on saving throws against charmed condition, but excludes immunity to magical sleep
- Standing Leap - 25 long, 15 high
- Poison and Poisoned Immunity
- Can't Swim
- Not-Squeeze Tiny - Small size + Bugbear Stealthy = Don't have to squeeze in a tiny space, but can't squeeze into a smaller space than tiny(DM ruled as much, at least).
- Water Dependency - 1hr of submersion in water per day, else +1 exhaustion level
- Surprise Attack - +2d6 to attacks in the first round against creatures who haven't acted this combat.
Notable Equipment (High magic setting):
- My DM's Homebrewed Mizzium Apparatus
- Amulet of Proof Against Detection and Location
Of note, I intend to take College of Creation at lvl. 3, followed by a two level dip into Artificer on levels 6-7 for Infusions, which would give me proficiency in Medium Armor and Shields. I also planned to take the Telekinetic feat at level 4 to get the +1 to INT for multiclassing into Artificer. We haven't had many sessions yet, so my character hasn't done much, but so far he's been a traditional bard, casting from the rear and generally being uninvolved in combat, with the occasional instance of flexing his athletics in sports and being left behind often because of how slow he is (I didn't realize 5 ft. would make such a difference). His schtick is a Southern-style country hick who's set out on an adventure after growing up with a halfling bard adoptive father in the forest.