Xanathar’s Guide to Everything: Bards

Xanathar’s Guide to Everything: Bards

By Chris Booth Twitter  Instagram  Website

Since Xanathar’s Guide to Everything was released a couple of weeks ago I’ve been reading over the new class options included, thinking about the kind of characters I could make… In today’s article, I’m going to look at the new bard options, which I would say are a bit more sinister than the bards in the Player’s Handbook.

College of Glamour

The idea with bards from the college of glamour is that they’ve learned to perform in the Feywild. While our globalised culture might think of fairies as small and cute, traditionally they’ve been a lot more sinister. Before we had the small, cute fairies we had fairies who would kidnap you and trap you in their own realm. If you ate any of their food while you were there you could never return. In fact, you might never want to because of their enthralling magic.
Glamour bards weave their performances with fey magic, which basically makes them the rock stars of a medieval fantasy world. If you’re making a bard from the college of glamour, have a think about how these abilities would shape their character. Do they use their abilities for the good of their fans or are they a bit creepy? How will other characters who observe this power at work feel about it?

College of Swords

A bard from the college of swords tends to be a travelling performer who might entertain others with performances of swordplay or sword-swallowing. However, I had an idea for a variation: what if you used the college of swords option to make a bard who cooks to entertain (basically a celebrity chef) and uses kitchen knives in combat?

College of Whispers

Bards from the college of whispers are very secretive about their practices. They use their magic to seed doubt and fear in their opponents. I’m picturing this kind of bard as a sneaky and eloquent courtier undermining their political rivals.
However, a specific ability (which the college of whispers doesn’t grant until 6th level) gave me another idea. The mantle of whispers ability allows this variety of bard to capture the shadow of someone who has recently died and use their shadow to take on their appearance. The obvious way to use this ability would be to impersonate them and gain access to their secrets and possessions. However, impersonating the dead could be used to haunt the living too, so this ability would couple well with the ability to instil fear.


I’m an illustrator and dungeon master living on Wurundjeri land, in Melbourne, Australia. I like RPGs as an opportunity to bring people together to tell a story. Currently training to be a real-world cleric.

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