Editable Codex
Magic Ability: 1/2
Bonus: big DEX

The Way of the Bard

The bards of Britain are known for their entertaining tales and wonderful ballads, but are also unopposed to performing deeds of valor and daring on their own right. Found throughout the land, they are often encountered in a pub or royal court, where they might entertain with a well-strung lute. Through their countless hours devoted to enlightening the souls of those who would hear their tales, the bards greatly further the cause of Compassion. The weapon of choice for bards has long been the sling or bow, although many a fine bard employs the crossbow.

The armour choice of those who follow the way of the bard has long been leather, for the harsh clang of metal offends their sensitive ears; although, many have been willing to make more practical choices when the situation requires. Their profession requires that they be skilled in almost every trade imaginable including, but not demanding: singing, playing musical instruments, fighting, and even casting spells. They make a fine companion on a long journey.

In Ultima IX, the bard receives +5 Karma, a target bow, and a map of Paws as a starting bonus.



The Bards of Britain entertain the people with their ballads and tales of heroic deeds. Bards not only chronicle the deeds of valor, but perform them as well. The weapon of choice for a Bard is the sling, but they may use a crossbow at times. All armour save that of Leather is shunned by these minstrels, for they find metal harsh and too noisy for their sensitive ears. The Bard also dabbles in magic and makes a fine companion on a long journey.

- from The History of Britannia (Ultima IV)

Bards excel in dexterity and poise. They rightly choose professions that make good use of their talented hands and agile bodies; minstrel, archer, locksmith, and tinker are just a few. Fearless in battle, bards are often as quick of mind as of hand and their magic abilities are keen, although their power is half that of mages. Britain is a favorite gathering place of many bards. Others, especially tinkers, are based in Minoc.

- from Book of Lore (Ultima V)

Poet and minstrel, tinkerer and athlete, user of magic and noble adventurer. These all describe the multi-talented bard. Though not as physically imposing as the fighter, the bard is usually more dexterous and agile, being both quick of mind and of foot. Sure hands and nimble fingers serve the bard well as he untangles knotty puzzles and picks "unpickable" locks.
Often an accomplished archer, the bard is also acquainted with the ways of magic, making him a most versatile gladiator on the field of battle. He often chooses to apply his combative skills from the rear of the melee where he can let his arrows and fiery magic missiles fly toward beleaguered targets in the front. Whether in the heat of battle or in the quagmire of a wizard's mischievous riddle, the well-rounded bard is an indispensable ally in the adventurer's quest.

- from Compendium (Ultima VI)


Minstrels with bright songs and inspiring tales might relieve our bleak existence, and our Colony is worthy of a new tale or two. Bards considering the journey to Avatar Isle must be prepared to perform deeds of valor, not just chronicle them! Many bards are greatly skilled with sling and crossbow, not to mention the arcane arts - these are talents always needed here.

- from Memoirs of Sir Cabirus (Ultima Underworld)

A true jack-of-all-trades - a trickster, a minstrel, a battler, a spellcaster; the bard possesses all of these skills. Physically, the bard falls somewhere between the brawny physique of the fighter and the delicate frame of the mage. The bard is dexterous and agile. He tends to be more clever than intelligent. He also possesses a presence and charm that come in handy in all manner of situations. The bard has a natural gift for missile weapons and a mind for riddles. The bard also plays an important part in society by recording local history in such a way that it is well remembered, through rousing tale and song.

- from The Book of Fellowship (Ultima VII)

Bards travel the land, learning of brave and extraordinary deeds (often committing a few themselves along the way) and preserving their memory in song. Not only are they learned and quick-tongued, but anyone who travels on foot as much as they do should be able to hold their own in a fight, and perhaps hurl a spell or two when the need arises.

- from A Safe Passage Through Britannia (Ultima Underworld II)

Warrior, singer, story-teller and sage: the bard is all of these and more. Quick with wit or crossbow, bards have their place in the adventuring world. Fighters seek them out for their attention to detail and their ability to recall daring exploits in vivid imagery. And we mages tolerate them for their charismatic skills of diplomacy, which we so often lack from too much time spent in solitary pursuits. I have recently heard a saying that best sums up all that is a bard: A bard's value to society is measured in how well history is retold.

- from Beyond the Serpent Pillars (Ultima VII Part Two)


  • Richard Garriott has stated in an interview that he initially wanted Ultima IV to have a thief, but that profession is in conflict with the virtuous theme of the game. He said that a bard is the closest thing, and if he had something better, he'd have used it.

The Major Professions
The Professions Mage Bard Fighter Druid Tinker Paladin Ranger Shepherd Avatar