Bard College: College of Swords

Bards of the College of Swords are called blades, and they entertain through daring feats of weapon prowess. Blades perform stunts such as sword swallowing, knife throwing and juggling, and mock combats. But though they use their weapons to entertain, they are also highly trained and skilled warriors in their own right.

Their talent with weapons inspires many blades to lead double lives. One blade might use a circus troupe as cover for nefarious deeds such as assassination, robbery, and blackmail. Other blades strike at the wicked, bringing justice to bear against the cruel and powerful. Most troupes are happy to accept a blade’s talent for the excitement it adds to a performance, but few entertainers fully trust them.

Blades who abandon lives as entertainers have often run into trouble that makes maintaining their secret activities impossible. A blade caught stealing or engaging in vigilante justice is too great a liability for most performer troupes. With their weapon skills as their greatest asset, these blades either take up work as enforcers for thieves’ guilds or strike out on their own as adventurers.

Bonus Proficiencies

When you join the College of Blades at 3rd level, you gain proficiency with medium armor and with scimitars.

Fighting Style

The College of Blades emphasizes mastery with weapons, granting you access to a few Fighting Style class options.

Two-­Weapon Fighting. When you engage in two-­weapon fighting, you can add your ability modifier to the damage of the second attack.

Dueling. When you are wielding a melee weapon in one hand and no other weapons, you gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with that weapon.

Defense. While you are wearing armor, you gain a +1 bonus to AC.

Blade Flourish

At 3rd level, you learn to conduct impressive displays of skill with your weapons. When you use the Attack action on your turn and attack with a dagger, longsword, rapier, scimitar, or shortsword, you can attempt one of the following flourishes.

Defensive Flourish. You spin your weapon around you in swift circles, creating a hypnotic display. As a bonus action, you expend one use of Bardic Inspiration, rolling a Bardic Inspiration die and applying the number rolled as a bonus to your AC until the start of your next turn.

Trick Shooter’s Flourish. This favorite trick of knife throwers allows you to expend one use of Bardic Inspiration as a bonus action. Roll a Bardic Inspiration die and apply the number rolled as a bonus to the next ranged attack roll you make with a dagger this turn. If the target of the attack is an unattended, inanimate object, the bonus equals double the die roll.

Unnerving Flourish. Your deadly display of combat prowess unnerves your opponents, leaving them cowering in fear and at your mercy. Whenever you reduce a creature to 0 hit points with a melee attack, you can use a bonus action to expend one use of Bardic Inspiration, and instead leave the creature at 1 hit point.

The creature is frightened of you for a number of minutes equal to your Charisma modifier. It must also make a Charisma saving throw with a DC equal to your spellcasting DC + a bonus equal to the roll of your Bardic Inspiration die. If the creature fails this saving throw, it answers truthfully any questions you ask it and obeys your direct orders while it is frightened by this effect.

Extra Attack

Beginning at 6th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.

Battle Magic

At 14th level, you have mastered the art of weaving spellcasting and weapon use into a single harmonious act. When you use your action to cast a bard spell, you can make one weapon attack as a bonus action.


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This originally appeared in the Wizards Unearthed Arcana: Kits of Old listed as the College of Swords.

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