I've been working on this for months. and I keep running into walls because I'm trying to find out what clicks.

Here's what I know I want:

  • 6 levels in bard enough for suggestion
  • going through levels 10-20 as heartwarder
  • A focus on Enchantment and Illusion magic
  • Being the party face, while being a thief and Intel gatherer
  • Having as many of my abilities be fueled by charisma as possible so I'm SAD
  • use of slippers of battle dancing

Because of this I know I need these feats: Dodge, Mobility, Spring Attack, Spell Focus(Enchantment) and Elusive Target — and before anyone asks Slippers of Battle dancing can only be used to their potential on move actions, so things like travel Devotion will not work. Yes I know about humans — I'm still deciding if I should run a half-elf or a silverbrow — and yes I know about flaws, this build wouldn't be possible without them.

And I know I will probably need improved trip to make the most of it, but if there is a way to get it without combat expertise (which I honestly consider useless) it would be greatly appreciated.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Remember that we don't handle idea-generation questions, like “does anyone have any good ideas”. We can probably accept a question about how to get Improved Trip with a Bard without Combat Expertise (by what level? 6?), but you'd have to edit your question to be asking only that, and remove the requests for idea help. (Meanwhile, maybe take our tour. It explains the site's design, and what the site's intended use is.) \$\endgroup\$ Sep 30, 2016 at 6:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ok how does this look? \$\endgroup\$
    – Masakan
    Sep 30, 2016 at 6:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ That looks good! Thanks! It has been reopened. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 30, 2016 at 6:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ An aside: I've found the bard's bardic music suggestion rarely usable in actual play because using it requires foes first to be the subject of the bard's fascinate bardic music, which is nearly impossible in combat. I understand wanting the ability, but it's not required for the prestige class heartwarder and the spell suggestion is much more versatile (and only a 2nd-level bard spell). \$\endgroup\$ Sep 30, 2016 at 10:42

4 Answers 4


You can take the feat Improved Trip without meeting its prerequisites by first taking either the Forgotten Realms regional feat Hyena Tribe Hunter (Shining South 20) or the feat Wolf Berserker (Unapproachable East 45), but this latter feat's prerequisite includes that you have the ability to rage.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site. Take the tour. Although it's probably unlikely that the character can afford a different feat instead of Combat Expertise to meet the prerequisite of Improved Trip, these are, indeed, viable alternatives, even if they'll require reskinning for a non-Realms campaign. Thank you for participating and have fun. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 10, 2016 at 19:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Both of these feats also obviate the (often quite onerous) Int 13 requirement on Improved Trip, and therefore could be extremely valuable to the right character. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Nov 10, 2016 at 19:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan That would be a product of my limited imagination preventing me from considering a low-Int bard, this despite probably the game's most popular bard (no offense, Devis and Gimble) being Elan. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 10, 2016 at 20:02

Yes, there are at least a few ways for a Bard to get Improved Trip without Combat Expertise.

You can get Improved Trip without having to take Combat Expertise by dipping two levels of Wolf Totem Barbarian. This is the least costly (in terms of class levels) way I know of to obtain Improved Trip without taking Combat Expertise as a feat that your character inherently knows.

The Staff of Mighty Sweeping (Magic of Faerun, p. 145) will grant you the Improved Trip feat. However, using items to qualify for stuff opens a confusing bag of better-ask-your-DM worms in terms of how it works, including what happens if you cease to meet the requirements (e.g., if your staff is ever lost, sundered, or disabled by an Antimagic Field).


Improved Trip without Combat Expertise

As far as I can tell, there are two classes that offer Improved Trip without needing the Combat Expertise prerequisite:

  1. Monk

At 6th level, she may select either Improved Disarm or Improved Trip as a bonus feat. A monk need not have any of the prerequisites normally required for these feats to select them.

  1. Wolf-totem Barbarian

A 2nd-level wolf-totem barbarian gains Improved Trip as a bonus feat, even if he doesn't meet the normal prerequisites.

The latter definitely looks more useful to you as a 6-level dip into Monk doesn't fit your build. The dip into Barbarian is also strictly better than dipping into Fighter for two feats (and picking up Combat Expertise) because you get Rage and Fast Movement.

  • \$\begingroup\$ @Masakan Again, this site isn't a discussion forum. If you really do want to get some ideas, and then have a back-and-forth discussion with the people who bring the ideas, this site does not work for that and you almost certainly should be taking advantage of a forum instead. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 30, 2016 at 15:20

There is also Lasher, a 3.0 prestige class from Sword and Fist: A Guidebook to Monks and Fighters


To Qualify to become a lasher, a character must fulfill the following criteria.

  • Base Attack Bonus: +5
  • Rope Use: 2 ranks
  • Craft (leatherworking): 2 ranks
  • Weapon Focus: Whip.
  • Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Whip.
  • Special: The lasher must own a whip or whip dagger (see Chapter 5). Usually, a lasher owns both types of whip (and, if wealthy enough, mighty versions of both types).

Sword and Fist pg. 25

Improved Trip: At 2nd level, the lasher gains the Improved Trip feat, if using a whip or whip dagger to perform the trip. She need not have taken the Expertise feat, normally a prerequisite, before this.

Sword and Fist pg. 26

I currently play a bard with a two level dip into lasher. Improvisation spell plus inspire courage makes for some mean trip attacks from the little gnome

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Could you expand on this? Answers should be able to stand alone - you should explain what this feature is and why it solves the problem. \$\endgroup\$ May 8, 2021 at 1:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hope that is better \$\endgroup\$
    – Watson
    May 8, 2021 at 1:12

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