Some thoughts on how I want my bard shaped before I forget.
The bard has been a lot of things in D&D history! She’s been the very first prestige class, requiring careful multiclassing to opt in. She’s been a subclass of rogue (and, in the late 2e era with the Player’s Option series, the Songmage beneath wizard!). She’s been a half-wizard, a half-druid, and in 4e, an arcane leader. In late 3e, she was a updated psuedo-illusionist in the 1e style — pseudo because, of course, she only got 6th level spells.
And in 5e, she’s a full caster. Welcome ab(o)ard!
Her spells focus on illusion and charm, though I feel like there’s a few druidic throwbacks in there. Her powers focus on aiding her allies with the gift of dice. The college of lore has a snazzy “neener neener” reactive use for their bardic die, more skills and more spells.
I suggested earlier I’d add subclasses for Ecstasy and Shadows. I don’t necessarily love those names yet, but I’m not sure what’s better. Let’s talk about themes and see what pops out.
I want Ecstasy to be the focused on healing and enemy denial; to whit:
When you join the college of Ecstasy at 3rd level, you get Graceful Defense (when unarmored and not using a shield, you can calculate your AC as 10 + dex + cha)
Also at third level, as a bonus action a character with one of your bardic inspiration dice may expend it to gain that many hit points. If they have the Second Wind feature, they may take advantage of both with one action.
Shield of Innocence
At 6th level, when you roll for initiative you automatically gain the benefits of a sanctuary effect on yourself as a free action. This is not a spell.
At 14th level, you may give yourself a charming gaze. Each round as a bonus action, select one creature within 60 ft which can see or hear you; if it was not already charmed by you, it gets a wisdom save against your spell DC to negate (with advantage if you or your companions are fighting it). If it fails, it is charmed by you for one round or until it takes damage. The target regards you as a friendly acquaintance and, when the effect ends, will not recall being charmed by you.
Meanwhile, I want Shadows focused on illusions and tricks. This is a good way to build a 1e illusionist or a cleric of trickery:
At 3rd level, when you select this college, you (or anyone with one of your inspiration dice) gain the ability to expend a die of bardic inspiration to take the hide action as a bonus action, and add the result of the bardic die to your stealth check when they are in an area of dim light or darker.
Also at 3rd level, you (or anyone with one of your inspiration dice) may spend a die to gain darkvision 60 ft for one minute. While they are using this darkvision, they may roll and add the inspiration die to all wisdom(perception) and intelligence(investigation) checks they make in areas of dim light or darker.
At 6th level, you may grant your illusion and enchantment effects inspiration dice when you are in an area of dim light or darker. When you cast an effect from one of these schools, expend some number of inspiration dice; you may expend those dice as penalties on saves and checks made by creatures making saves or checks to resist or interact with your effect.
At 14th level, when you are in an area of dim light or darker you are invisible. Additionally, as a bonus action while invisible, you may expend an inspiration die to create a shadowstuff illusory double; it behaves as a mislead copy but ignores the first [inspiration die + cha mod] hit points of damage taken from any source; areas of bright light deal it 10 points of radiant damage at the end of each round.