I am trying to decide which ability score to put my half-elf +2 bonus into: Charisma or Intelligence. It seems like Charisma is important for a bard, but Intelligence governs the many Knowledge skills a bard is skilled in. Which is more important for an arcane duelist bard, Charisma or Intelligence?

  • \$\begingroup\$ would you care sharing the rest of your ability scores and your starting level? do you have a particular playstyle/niche/role you are trying to fill? \$\endgroup\$
    – Colin D
    Jun 25, 2014 at 16:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ After talking to my GM and being a new player he said to not use an archtype \$\endgroup\$
    – Kpt.Khaos
    Jun 25, 2014 at 16:21
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ That's kind of silly-- archetypes just change a few minor details of a class, while largely retaining at least about 80% of the base class' content and mechanics. For casters (and the bard is one), this may seem like a lot of different material, but it doesn't really boil down to much change. Archetypes, in my opinion, add flavor, if nothing else. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 25, 2014 at 19:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ The difference archetypes make in a class is minimal. A complex class (like Wizard) is leagues and orders of magnitude more difficult change from a simple class (like Barbarian) than any archetype. I have yet to see an archetype that significantly changed a class. \$\endgroup\$
    – user2754
    Jun 26, 2014 at 2:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Charisma is fairly important for a bard, but remember that they’re not a full caster. 16 is all you really need until later levels. I would actually recommend Str or Dex for the Arcane Duelist If you’re bothered about skills then the vanilla bard is probably a better choice. The AD sacrifices a lot of utility for a boost to combat. Bards are my specialty, if I can see the rest of your build I can give more specific advice. \$\endgroup\$
    – Macona
    Jun 26, 2014 at 8:23

1 Answer 1


Strength or Dexterity

And Dexterity only if you are using Dervish Dance.

Neither Charisma nor Intelligence are incredibly important for the Combat Bard.

Intelligence governs Skills, but a Bard has a lot of them anyway. Arcane Duelists loses a lot here. Skills are not your primary concern anymore if you take that Archetype. Since you lose Bardic Knowledge, your Bard does not specialize in Knowledge at all.

Charisma mostly governs Spell DCs, and a small number of bonus spells per day. If you stay clear of anything that allows a save and focus on buffing yourself (Heroism, Haste, Feather Step, etc.), that is not your concern. Honestly, you will never reach the DCs needed to effectively use some of the spells, since you are dependent on STR, DEX, CON and CHA.

I play a melee bard in PFS with 19 STR at level 8, INT 10 and CHA 14. He is a good skillmonkey, and just Power Attack Cleave Arcane Strikes with his longsword wielded in two hands, and it works wonderfully. I don't have the (or any) Archetype, and I can't say I miss it. I would miss Versatile Performance, though.


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