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This question: How to complement my party in a world overrun by undead says one of their players is:

A Human Bard - does singing and buffing (somehow gives us +7d6 of sonic damage)

What spell or effect, available to a seventh-level bard, grants people +7d6 of sonic damage? If there is no legal spell or effect that does this, what misreading of the rules might be causing the bard to think they can do this?

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Damage bonuses of this scale can be achieved by a Bard using Inspire Courage with the Dragonfire Inspiration feat (Dragon Magic). This feat provides +1d6 energy damage to allies' attacks for each +1 bonus provided by a Bard's Inspire Courage class feature. By default, the bonus damage is fire damage, but the energy type can be changed via the Draconic Heritage feat, or by being a half-dragon (though that's probably not on the table for an ECL 7 character).

A level 7 Bard only has +1 Inspire Courage, but this can be increased by various things:

  • The Inspirational Boost spell (Spell Compendium) provides +1.
  • A Badge of Valor (Magic Item Compendium) provides +1.
  • The Song of the Heart feat (Eberron Campaign Setting) provides +1.
  • The Words of Creation feat (Book of Exalted Deeds) doubles your Inspire Courage bonus.

These are all available by ECL 7; with all of them, you'd end up with +7d6 using a conservative reading of Words of Creation (since Badge of Valor is applied after activating Inspire Courage, it may not be doubled by Words of Creation).

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That's likely from Dragonfire Inspiration modifying Inspire Courage, optimized to a SIGNIFICANT degree to get the bonus that large.

Relevant Bonuses

  1. Bard 7(SRD, PHB) grants Inspire Courage +1 as a base.

  2. Lute(Complete Adventurer, item) gives +1 bard level, hitting the critical breakpoint for +2 to Inspire Courage.

  3. Badge of Valor(MIC, item) gives +1 to Inspire Courage

  4. Song of Heart(ECS, feat) gives +1 to Inspire Courage

  5. Inspirational Song(Spell Compendium, a Bard 1 spell) gives +1 to Inspire Courage

  6. Words of Creation(BoED, feat) doubles our Inspire Courage bonus

  7. Dragonfire Inspiration(Dragon Magic, feat) converts your +X Inspire Courage bonus into a +Xd6 energy damage on attacks, based on your ancestral dragon.

  8. Draconic Heritage(Complete Arcane, feat) allows you to control your ancestral dragon, which controls your energy type.

Based on the bonus, it is most likely that the DM ruled Words of Creation to only apply to the Bard's base IC bonus from levels, which Vest of Legends still modifies, giving us the quoted +7d6 damage.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ In my answer, I assumed a level 7 bard couldn't afford a Vest of Legends, which costs 16000 out of a 7th level character's WBL-expected 19000 gold. However, this is also a possible calculation if the character is unusually rich or spent an unusually high proportion of their wealth on a single item. \$\endgroup\$ – A_S00 Apr 25 '17 at 22:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ What math are you using to get to +7, though? Both assumptions I can make(Words of Creation before or after non-base mods) fail without Vest of Legends. Your answer either gets +5(WoC before mods) or +8(WoC last). \$\endgroup\$ – godskook Apr 25 '17 at 23:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ And....I found a different way that doesn't require Vest of Legends. \$\endgroup\$ – godskook Apr 25 '17 at 23:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was assuming that Words of Creation doubles the bonus provided by Inspire Courage at the moment you activate Inspire Courage, but that Badge of Valor (which modifies an existing, already-activated Inspire Courage) doesn't get doubled. This is the reading suggested in the third post of this thread, for instance. That said, other readings of order-of-bonuses are also valid here, and get different results; the one in my answer isn't a hill I would die on as a DM. \$\endgroup\$ – A_S00 Apr 25 '17 at 23:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ And nice find on the lute! \$\endgroup\$ – A_S00 Apr 25 '17 at 23:12

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