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Howdy y’all, and welcome to the first installment of Build a Better! Today we’re going to be taking a look at one of the hardest classes to recreate in a plain ol’ vanilla Skyrim, the traditional Bard. Sure, you can throw around Illusion spells and swing a staff, but playing musical instruments? Wearing a funny feathered hat? That’s beyond Skyrim’s scope.

But not anymore!

* Become a Bard

           Requires: SKSE, SkyUI

            Performance Strain: Low

           MCM Menu: Yes

    Pick up a lute from Belethor and become Skyrim’s next great skald! Perform in taverns with a simple power to earn meager coin from patrons and get a room from the barkeep, free of charge. Advance your skill as a Bard by playing in shady taverns around Skyrim and earn Speech experience, and you could even end up playing for jarls and kings and they might give you a gift. If you’re worried about playing Ragnar the Red and sounding like Sven, don’t worry; the mod adds tons of new ditties and hummable tunes to help you draw in tips.

* Playable Instruments - Play and Bash

           Requires: Base game

           Performance Strain: Low

            MCM Menu: No

    Take your song to the streets or taverns to earn coin, or even dungeons. Buff your teammates like a real bard, with your awesome magical song! You can even distract your enemies with the beat of your drum, inflicting debuffs. However, undead are tone deaf and cannot appreciate the Illusion-based song magic of bards.

* Perseid’s Inns and Taverns

Requires: SKSE, SkyUI

           Performance Strain: Medium

           MCM Menu: Yes

    Enhances the tavern experience throughout Skyrim. Rent a room for a few days or week and expect to pay a little more than ten measly coins for a night in Solitude’s finest, but a good barkeep will appreciate a loyal customer and offer discounts. It also completely reworks the interiors of inns and taverns to make them reflect their locales, rather than generic game assets.

* Lively Inns and Taverns

Requires: Base game

            Performance Strain: Medium (Low option)

            MCM Menu: No

    Bring some more patrons into your inns! Fill Skyrim’s dull and lifeless taverns with the townsfolk who should actually be there, relaxing in the evenings with a bottle of mead and listening to your latest, greatest hit. It also brings in some ambient sounds to make the crowded taverns more lively, so it sounds like people are actually having some fun.

* The Rookery: Player house by Elianora

Requires: All DLC

           Performance Strain: Medium

            MCM Menu: No

    A small loft with a lived-in feel, plenty of static armors, and the crumpled up sheet music of a tormented artist, the Rookery overlooks Solitude’s courtyard and is ideal for a bard who calls the capital city home.

* Bard’s College Bedroom

Requires: Base game

           Performance Strain: Low

            MCM Menu: No

For the more studious-minded among you, this empty starter room in the Bard’s College has all the hallmarks of a slightly depressing college dorm room, except draped in green silks with antique noble chests for storage.

* Luddemann’s Armory

Armor: Light

Acquired: Crafting (Leather)

Compatible: Vanilla body; beast races ok; males+females

    Although having a few other cool-looking armors, the Bard Armor contains a poofy-sleeved shirt, rivet-studded vest, feathered hat, and clanking tankard for… water. Yeah. Water.

* Dreamburrows Regal Huntsman / Dreamburrows Regal Assassin

Armor: Light (optional Clothing for the Regal Assassin)

Acquired: Crafting (Leather)

Compatible: Vanilla body; beast races ok; males+females

    Layered armors with more of an Oriental flair and a threatening, “I can definitely beat you in a swordfight” feel to them, Dreamburrow’s detailed armors are definitely not to be missed.

* Grace Darklings Attire Packs

Armor: Clothing

Acquired: Crafting (Tanning Rack)

Compatible: Vanilla body; beast races ok; female only

    Finally! The Nexus has made a female dress mod that doesn’t make it look like she has cantaloupes in her bra. The long-sleeved, reasonable dress with over a dozen colour variations looks fit for both traveling on the road and performing in the humble inns along it.

* zzjay’s Wardrobe

Armor: 3 Light, 1 Heavy

Acquired: Crafting (Leather)

Compatible: Vanilla body; beast races ok; females only

    Each armor has a niche aesthetic that it works well for: Plate Armor looks regal and martially powerful, like a skald in the army; Huntress Armor fits the simple bardess, the humble Falkreath lutist; Pirate Armors are clean-pressed for even the staunchest Solitude soiree.

* Graduate at the Bards College v2

Requires: Base game

            Performance Strain: Low

            MCM Menu: No

    Take a major at the Bard’s College and follow through with assignments and exams if you want to get your degree. Attend lectures and delve into quests to fetch artifacts and enhance the College.

* Ordinator: Speech perk tree

Requires: SKSE, SkyUI

            Performance Strain: Low

            MCM Menu: Yes

    A full-blown perk overhaul, it focuses on adding more gameplay mechanics for different player classes, so expect to see it here a lot. For bards, the Speechcraft tree now includes things like battlesongs, a Perform mechanic to play for coin, with serious perks to improve them all -- a drumbeat that heals allies, performing for the opposite sex for double tips, force enemies to dance to your compelling song.

* Immersive Speechcraft

Requires: SKSE

            Performance Strain: Low

            MCM Menu: No

    With all these silent NPCS (... Have you been to the Cloud District?), it can sometimes feel a little lonely to be a bard. Have a conversation with them, trade or gift them, fight, or beg for help in a fight.

Treebalance - Speech Tree

            Requires: Base game

            Performance Strain: Low

            MCM Menu: No

    When bards demand your money or your life, as a well-off silver tongued bard, you should be able to say, "Alrighty, then." The new yielding mechanic is balanced and kept simple in gameplay terms with a slight buff to vanilla perks and addition of Shouting ones.

* Vilja in Skyrim: New bard companion and quest line

Requires: SKSE

            Performance Strain: Low

            MCM Menu: No

    Made by an absolute legend of follower mods, Vilja is a young alchemist from Solstheim and feels more alive than any of Bethesda’s NPCs. Not only is she better scripted to be a companion, she grows with you from a crap archer and meager healer into a powerful warrior. She can craft, spar, create potions from single ingredients, cook, make torches, and lead other followers. For the bards, she can play music or you can invite her to perform with you for coin.

* Bard Instrumentals Only

Requires: Base game

            Performance Strain: Low

            MCM Menu: No

    Now, the bards of Skyrim understand exactly how shit they are and unless anyone asks them to sing, they will provide some ambient string or flute music only.

* Craftable Vanilla Instruments
            Requires: Base game
            Performance Strain: Low
            MCM Menu: No
    Do you really want to loot your lute from a filthy draugr nest? Who knows what those ancient Nords have done to it. Craft them yourself at a tanning rack and use them like you would those filthy bandit flutes.

* A lute from Witcher 3

Requires: Base game

            Performance Strain: Low

            MCM Menu: No

    A simple texture replacer, it makes the lutes more detailed, with fine engravings and a nice polish to the wood. It would better fit the high end bards of Solitude than the toe-tapping lutists of Whiterun, though.

* Realistic Instruments

Requires: Base game

            Performance Strain: Low

            MCM Menu: No

    Another texture replacer, this one replaces the lute, drum, and flute with more historically accurate textures that make them look less like they belong in a children’s book.

In the mood to test some of these mods out on a new playthrough? Instead of browsing the Bard tag over at Character Building, take a look at our favourites.

* The Songbird by Zach

  • An Illusion-based spellsword with some amazing lore behind him.

* The Bard by Ponty

  • A bard reliant on magic items, a little roguish nature, and powerful staffs.

* Traveling Bard by Orangedragan

  • A support character that follows his followers to write the tales of their adventures.


That’s all, folks! Leave a comment with your favourite bard mods or a recommendation of what archetype we should spotlight next!

Tags: Bard, Build a Better, Elysium, Skyrim

Views: 1553

Replies to This Discussion

Damn, that is cool. Thanks for bringing it to your attention, man! I'll add it as soon as I get home.

Gorgeously presented! Lovely screenshot at the end, and the lute is gorgeous. Is that the Witcher 3 lute mod?

Thank you so much for including Performance Strain!

Yep. And the armor the guy is wearing is Luddemann's bard armor. Performance is always a huge consideration for me, in terms of mod choice. I have a good rig but not supreme and I used to play modded Skyrim on my MacBook Pro. Teccam, on the other hand, which I'm sure will come up at some point in some threads, has the Rig of the Gods and is all about dem 12k tundra cotton retextures.

I play skyrim on a laptop with integrated graphics card and a Intel i3 processor (basically a potato ) it runs surprisingly well as long as you don't install uber hd graphics mods or a large number of scripts.

Most mods run well on most computers. I mean, Skyrim was released 5yrs ago and it wasn't super intensive back then. Just use mods in... Moderation.

Or get a god tier computer. 

My rig's pretty close to Teccam's in performance, and yeah, it's been great ever since I got an ENB up and running.  You've just gotta try god tier, it's amazing

Script-heavy mods break Skyrim no matter the computer, but graphics can go to extraordinary levels.

I just got a new computer, man. 980 Ti, i7 6700, EVO 850. It's gonna be soooo sweet. Screenshots for days. 

Nice!

this is amazing can you please make a lich or necromancer build?

Anyone know what happened to become a bard? doesn't seem to work for a bunch of people.

also, in the playable instruments mod, are the bashing ones good for combat? or am i better off with a war-hammer? should i use a fine flute, or a battle lute? I'm more of a fighter than a character who supports allies.

Doesn't work as in you can't get it to function in game, or the download disappeared?  You can still get it off his website if you have the URL to the file; I lost the link but a bit of googling might direct you to it.

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