From PathfinderWiki
Lem, iconic bard.

Iconic character
Source: Core Rulebook (1E), pg(s). 34–38 (1E)
Core Rulebook (Second Edition), pg(s). 95 (2E)
A trickster bard.

An artist and a scholar, the bard uses performance and esoteric learning to bolster their companions and foil their enemies. Sometimes sneaky and quite often charming, the bard adventures with pizzazz and talent backed up by an impressive repertoire of occult magic.1 A bard might be a travelling minstrel, a conniving confidence man, a court jester, or a noble chronicler. One thing is for sure in Golarion—bards know a bit about everything, and have seen things most people only dream of.2


Bards are occult3 spellcasters,4 although even some educated folk surmise that bards, with their musical magic and more positive associations, could not possibly use occult magic, but rather some variant of the arcane.5 Bards draw upon magic from esoteric knowledge and infuse their performances with magic to create unique effects. Bards use magical performances to improve the chances of their allies success, confidently switching between attacks, healing, and casting useful spells as needed.4


Bards draw inspiration from their muses, who lead them to great things, and might be a physical creature, a deity, a philosophy, or a captivating mystery.4

On Golarion

Bards count on their reputation to pay their way. The most successful bards are known far and wide, and can count on drinks, meals, or even lodging at the cost of a few performances. As such, most bards prefer to make themselves known, usually by carrying a standard or mark, but sometimes by dressing lavishly or behaving uniquely.2

Bardic colleges across Golarion offer musical and magical education for those who want to become bards, or improve their skills.

The nature of wanderlust can arise in any being, and so bards can be found anywhere, from anywhere. They never seem to escape their upbringing, and a bard usually has some distinctive trait that belies his or her heritage.2

Bards are especially common in any population centre. Absalom, Oppara, Westcrown, and Egorian all have major bardic colleges which teach specific styles and techniques.6 In Avistan's north, bards fight alongside warriors while bolstering their spirits and immortalizing them in song and verse. In Kyonin, elven bards serve as repositories of racial lore and traditions while spending centuries mastering their craft, while in Katapesh or Qadira, bards can serve as wily courtesans who steal secrets or train in dance and swordplay as dervishes, who fly gracefully in battle.7

The Pathfinder Society's Envoy's Alliance and Grand Archive factions both attract many bards.8

Notable bards

See also: Category:Bards


There are no restrictions on the race of a bard, but goblin, catfolk, kobold, tengu, leshy, lizardfolk, aasimar, changeling, duskwalker, tiefling, fetchling, ganzi, suli, undine, kitsune, sprite, azarketi, poppet conrasu, gnoll, grippli, shisk and automaton adventurers often become bards. Humans, elves, gnomes, and halflings also seem to have a predilection for bardic ways. The more single-minded races often find the wandering life more difficult to adhere to.2


Bards, with their wandering, ostentatious lifestyles tend to worship chaotic or neutral deities. Traveling performers venerate Desna, great artists worship Shelyn, and bardic followers of Calistria are not unheard of. One faith has a special role for bards, and that is the church of Cayden Cailean, which utilizes them to share the teachings of the Placard of Wisdom with drunken revelers the world over. Their abilities to heal, inspire courage, and entertain in taverns and inns makes them a small but integral part of the faith.9

Irori's monk-priests often act as historians and chroniclers for a region, and the libraries of Iroran monasteries house ancient and occult knowledge, making them popular among bards.10


For additional resources, see the Meta page.

  1. Logan Bonner et al. (2019). Pathfinder Core Rulebook, p. 69. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-168-9
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Erik Mona and Jason Bulmahn. (2008). Gazetteer, p. 10. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-077-3
  3. Arcane in First Edition
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Logan Bonner et al. (2019). Pathfinder Core Rulebook, p. 95–99. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-168-9
  5. Rigby Bendele et al. (2022). "Magic". Travel Guide, p. 74. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-465-9
  6. Erik Mona et al. (2008). "Characters". Campaign Setting, p. 42. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1
  7. James Jacobs et al. (2011). "Adventuring". The Inner Sea World Guide, p. 274. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-269-2
  8. John Compton et al. (2019). Character Guide, p. 108–109. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-193-1
  9. Sean K Reynolds. (2008). Cayden Cailean. Children of the Void, p. 60. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-127-5
  10. Sean K Reynolds. (2008). "Gods of Golarion". Gods and Magic, p. 31. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-139-8