History: Back during the Luskan War, bards within Neverwinter and the surrounding lands found themselves under increasing pressure to abandon their traditionally free-spirited lifestyles and ally themselves to one of the sides in the conflict. Those that took up sword and mail in support of the invading Luskan forces became Knights of Dark Inspirations, shunned by their brethren and treated with extreme caution by their new Luskan allies. Instead of the joyous songs that left friend and foe alike in thrall of the bard's voice, they sang mournful dirges of war and death which paralyzed their enemies with fear and panic, leaving them helpless before the Luskan footsoldiers.
Build Description: This build aims to attain the song, inspiration and spellcasting ability of a pure bard while maintaining decent melee damage and abilities with Legionnaire's March and Divine Might, as well as with the ability to wear medium armor with no arcane spell failure through Battle Caster. Not only will this build be able to raise the whole party's BAB to the highest in the party and give everyone +4 to hit and damage through Inspire Courage, he will also be able to severely affect enemies' saving throws and attack rolls through the combined effects of his Aura of Despair and his crippling Curse Song.
Though this build is playable at low levels, and able to still have a significant impact on combat, it really kicks off at epic levels, first with Chorus of Heroism to boost the whole party's AC, saving throws and hitpoints, and then with Song of Requiem, which basically turns the Knight of Dark Inspirations into a walking boom box of death by sonic damage.
A good strategy with this build is to belt out a quick Haven Song, run into a room filled with enemies (leaving the rest of your party behind), then throw out songs left and right before bringing in the other members of your party (due to the fact that singing is not considered a hostile action, including Curse Song).
- Full level 6 Bard spells
- Playable from start to finish, with no XP penalty
- Aura of Despair, Divine Might and Divine Shield
- UMD for class/race-specific equipment
- Full Bard songs and inspirations:
- Legionnaire's March for respectable damage
- Curse Song to ruin enemies' saving throws, AC, etc.
- Haven Song allows for singing with impunity
- Chorus of Heroism for great combat bonuses
- Hymn of Requiem for massive damage and healing per round
- Inspire Courage for tons of bonus damage
- Inspire Regeneration for 3 free regeneration between battles
- Useless without other party members
- Only medium AC at level 30
- Low health considering only medium armor and AC
- Requires buffing and songs to stay alive
- Divine shield very late
|Base attack bonus||24|
- Race: Human
- Classes: Bard 22, Blackguard 5, Divine Champion 2, Fighter 1
- Cleric Domains: --
- Build Nature: PvM
- Alignment: Chaotic Evil
- Deity: any/none
Skillwise, this build does pretty well, even with the negative INT modifier due to 6 skill points per level as a Bard (extra 1 from human). You should aim to end up with 15 Tumble, 30 UMD, 30 Perform, 30 Diplomacy, 30 Concentration, and 30 Spellcraft, making sure that any time you don't take a Bard level you save a skill point for Perform, which must be maxed out at 30 for Hymn of Requiem.
Variations: The Knight of Dark Inspirations has a couple of alternate build options:
1) You can choose Drow as an alternate race for the attribute buffs (the -2 CON has little effect, and the added CHA is great), but unless you want an xp penalty, you need to drop the level of fighter (replace with 3rd DC for Smite infidel). If you choose Drow, not only will you sacrifice Spellcasting prodigy (which will be made up for by the attribute adjustment anyway) but you will have to drop Toughness for Cleave to meet the prereqs for Blackguard. Overall, this is a good alternate path choice as those attribute buffs are nice and darkvision is always good.
2) If you are one of those people who don't mind fiddling with alignments in the console, you can always drop the level of Fighter and one level of Blackguard for 2 Paladin, giving you Divine grace for an impressive boost to your saving throws. However, since you have to be evil to level up in Blackguard and non-lawful for Bard, this would take a lot of consoling to achieve the required alignments. If you do choose this option, you also open up the possibility of being an Aasimar for that desirable +2 CHA modifier, since their favored class is Paladin. You would also make the feat adjustments described above with the Drow.
3) Finally, if you want to get a bit more weapon focus in your chosen 2h melee weapon, you can replace the final level of Blackguard with the second level of DC and take a second level of Fighter at 28 for bonus feat Greater Weapon Focus, followed by Epic Weapon Focus for the second level DC bonus feat.
|1||Bard 1||Battle Caster, Spellcasting Prodigy||Bardic music, Bardic knowledge, Countersong, Fascinate, Inspire courage +1||Hide 4 ranks|
|2||Bard 2||Inspire competence +2||Hide 5th rank|
|3||Bard 3||Curse song||Haven song|
|5||Bard 5||Inspire defense +2|
|6||Fighter 1||Power attack, Cleave|
|7||Bard 6||Cloud mind|
|8||Bard 7||Use Poison||CHA+1,|
|9||Bard 8||Toughness||Inspire regeneration +1|
|10||Blackguard 1||Inspire toughness +1, Inspire courage +2|
|11||Blackguard 2||Smite good x1/day, Dark blessing, bull's strength x1/day|
|12||Blackguard 3||Divine Might||Aura of Despair, Turn undead, create undead x1/day||CHA+1,|
|13||Bard 9||Ironskin chant 5/-|
|14||Bard 10||Inspire defense +3|
|15||Bard 11||Lingering Song||Inspire slowing 15%, Inspire competence +4|
|16||Bard 12||Song of freedom, Inspire regeneration +2||CHA+1,|
|17||Bard 13||Inspire toughness +2|
|18||Bard 14||Weapon focus (2h weapon)||Inspire jarring, Inspire courage +3|
|19||Bard 15||Song of heroism, Inspire defense +4|
|20||Bard 16||Inspire slowing 30%||CHA+1,|
|21||Bard 17||Chorus of Heroism||Inspire regeneration +3|
|22||Bard 18||Legionnaire's march, Inspire toughness +3|
|23||Bard 19||Great Charisma +1||Inspire competence +6|
|24||Bard 20||Inspire courage +4, Inspire defense +5||CHA+1,|
|25||Bard 21||Song of Requiem|
|26||DC 1||Lay on Hands x1/day|
|27||Bard 22||Hymn of Requiem||Inspire regeneration +4|
|28||DC 2||Blind-fight||Sacred defense I||CHA+1,|
|29||Blackguard 4||Divine Shield||Sneak attack +1d6|
|30||Blackguard 5||Summon fiend x1/day|