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Original Credit to: User:Eleri

What this guide IS: This is an equipment guide for a Bard's normal role in an EXP party: buffing, debuffing, and pulling.
What this guide is NOT: This is NOT a guide for solo +Attack equipment, endgame HNM Mazurka-tanking equipment, or equipment for whatever other purpose you might want to twist your versatile, singing, happy self into serving.
My assumptions:

Priorities

First, let's get some things straight so that you can think for yourself and not just blindly follow a guide up through your levels.

  • Priority #1: Skill. Whether it's skill that corresponds to the appropriate instrument you're using (Wind Instrument Skill, String Instrument Skill) or just plain Singing Skill, skill items will help your debuffs stick harder and will increase the rage of songs played with String Instruments.
  • Priority #2: Charisma. In the same way that Intelligence helps stick Black Magic nukes and enfeebles without Resists and Mind helps stick White Magic nukes and enfeebles without Resists, Charisma helps a Bard land their four enfeebles: Lullaby, Requiem, Elegy, and Threnody. It does NOT help as much as skill, but it does help. Please be aware that outside of these offensive/debuffing songs, Charisma has very little use, but should absolutely not be ignored.
  • Priority #3: MP. In most situations in which you use White Mage or Red Mage subs, you will be helping the main healer with his or her cure duties. A well-placed Curaga after a fight can save a healer a lot of resting time, and you can split -na spell duties. For that reason, if you can't get a bonus to skill or to Charisma in a slot, but you CAN get MP, you should take the MP.
  • Priority #4: Evasion. If a Bard can learn the maximum possible distance of our offensive songs (~17.9 feet by the game measurements), he or she can often pull without being hit, even while subbing White Mage. Bards are excellent pullers in parties that require very little downtime, as our presence is simply not needed for the entire fight. Once our songs have been cast, we can leave while a mob is still alive, go find the next pull, and have it waiting at camp as the old mob dies. This is unlike a melee puller, who usually must stand there attacking until their current mob is dead. Evasion is good for pulling, because you WILL occasionally be within aggro or striking distance of your next prey.
  • Priority #5: Enmity. Like many jobs in the game, hate is a balancing factor of sorts for a bard. Spam too many songs with too little hate on the tank, and suddenly, you're the tank. You take hits like a four-year-old, though, and this isn't endgame, so we don't want that to happen; if you can get nothing else in a slot except for -enmity, definitely use -enmity.

Suggestions

Based on your race and function, you may find it helpful to make equipment sets for various times in your Bard career; an MP set for resting between fights (if you're lucky enough for that), a Charisma set for debuff songs, an evasion set for pulling. This guide will explore various equipment sets and note their purpose; you can choose from these notes what you'd like to use when, such as switching from a Minstrel's Coat to a Scorpion Harness for pulling and back again when your mob is safely at camp.

Please note: The HQs of my suggestions are ALWAYS acceptable. There are cases in which the NQ is not worth mention (for example, Noble's Ribbon); in those cases, I will link straight to the HQ piece. However, if you go to any of the other pieces of equipment I link to and find you want the HQ, go for it. ^^

Debuff/MP equipment

Main

Range (Instruments

Level 1: Flute +1 (Requiem +1)

  • This is your first Wind Instrument, and Requiem is a valuable assistance in low-level soloing. The NQ of this offers no bonuses and should not be considered, while the HQ2 only offers 5 additional HP and is generally not worth the price. This will last you until level 22.
  • Obtain by: Level 2 Woodworking synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Inexpensive.


Level 1: Maple Harp +1 (Minne +1)

  • This is your first String Instrument. Minne can be a helpful defense bonus in your early levels. The NQ of this offers no bonuses, but Minne is also rarely used in experience parties. This will last you until level 14.
  • Obtain by: Level 23 Woodworking synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Inexpensive.


Level 4: Cornette +1 (Minuet +2)

  • The Cornette +1 is a very worthwhile addition to your inventory; it will last you until a fully-upgraded relic horn, and Minuet is a very popular song for experience parties. The NQ of this instrument only offers Minuet +1, but given the shelf life of this instrument, the HQ1 is not optional. The HQ2 offers one addition point of AGI and is not worth its price.
  • Obtain by: Level 14 Bonecraft/Goldsmithing synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Inexpensive.


Level 9: Piccolo/Piccolo +1 (Threnody +1/2)

  • Threnodies are great to debuff an enemy with before a skillchain, and they have powerful uses in endgame as well. The Piccolo +1 will last you until level 70 if you decide to buy the Threnody +3 instrument at that time.
  • Obtain by: Level 20 Woodworking synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Inexpensive.


Level 14: Harp +1 (Minne +2)

  • The NQ of this instrument offers the same Minne +1 as the level 1 HQ harp. Again, Minne is rarely used in experience parties; its most common use is a second song for the back line until you get Etudes or Ballad II.
  • Obtain by: Level 27 Woodworking synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Inexpensive.


Level 14: Mary's Horn (Lullaby +1)

  • Mary's Horn is a very good instrument that would be considered absolutely necessary if not for its cost. It adds 3 seconds to the length of time a mob will sleep, which can save a party. However, due to its very prohibitive cost, it is not considered a necessary piece. Save up for this as you level. If you buy it, it will last you until the Level 60 harp or, if you dislike the decreased accuracy of String Instruments, until endgame.
  • Obtain by: Drop from Stray Mary. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very, very expensive.


Level 19: Gemshorn/Gemshorn +1 (Mambo +1/2)

  • Mambo, while not considered a vital song in most experience parties, is great to try to land on your low-level ninjas that rely most heavily on Evasion. This instrument will last until nearly your 70s.
  • Obtain by: Level 24 Bonecraft synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Inexpensive.


Level 20: Royal Spearman's Horn (Charisma +3, March +1)

  • This horn is useful for its Charisma bonus, not--until much later levels--its March bonus. March at level 29, when you can first obtain it, will provide a near-worthless ~2-3% haste in a song slot that could be much better occupied by a Minuet or Madrigal. Instead, this horn is most useful for macroing in on offensive songs that you have no specific instrument for, such as Lullaby if Mary's Horn was out of your price range. The synthed versions of this, San d'Orian Horn and Kingdom Horn, offer very small HP and MP bonuses over this item. Buy one only if it's cheaper than this item.
  • Obtain by: 2000 San d'Oria Conquest Points. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Inexpensive.


Level 22: Siren Flute (Requiem +2)

  • This replacement for your Flute +1 will last you until level 68-72. It's expensive, but it's also obtainable through an enjoyable series of quests, beginning with The Stars of Ifrit and ending with Lovers in the Dusk. The quests require, a good Reputation in Bastok, an Airship Pass, and three key items that come from dungeon chests, so will need help with them if you don't have a higher-level job.
  • Obtain by: Reward from quest Lovers in the Dusk. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Expensive.


Level 32: Traversiere/Traversiere +1 (Madrigal +1/2)

  • Madrigal will be your most popular song next to Minuet, and your melees will love all the extra accuracy they can get. Given the fact that you'll be casting this song well into your 60s and 70s, the HQ1 of this instrument is highly recommended. The HQ2 carries 10 extra MP and is unlikely to be worth the cost of its blue border.
  • Obtain by: Level 37 Woodworking synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Inexpensive.


Level 33: Military Harp (Finale +2)

  • Extremely expensive and for no good apparent reason; Finale is very rarely outright resisted and cannot be partially resisted. NOT recommended.
  • Obtain by: Level 30 Garrison. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very, very expensive.


Level 36: Faerie Piccolo (March +2)

  • As mentioned before in the note for the Royal Spearman's Horn, March gives very, very little haste in the early levels, increasing with your skill level. As such, this is hardly a requirement immediately. However, it is also the best March-enhancing item in the game, so you'll want one for when your parties transition into preferring March/Minuet over Madrigal/Minuet. In short, not an immediate concern, but do try to get one for later.
  • Obtain by: Reward from quest Wondering Minstrel. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Expensive.


Level 36: Rose Harp (Rose Harp +1) (Etude +1/2)

  • While Etudes are not commonly found in the world after level 55, before Mage's Ballad II it's common practice to put Ballad I and one Etude of choice on your back line jobs. This harp adds an extra 1 (or 2) points of bonus to your choice stat; quite handy. Consider selling it after obtaining Ballad II, but recommended for the 19 levels before then.
  • Obtain by: Level 53 Woodworking synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Inexpensive.


Level 40: Horn (Horn +1)


Level 48: Angel's Flute (Angel Flute +1)


Level 50: Storm Fife


Level 56: Crumhorn (Crumhorn +1


Level 58: Hamelin Flute


Level 60: Ebony Harp (Ebony Harp +1)


Level 60: Nursemaid's Harp


Level 68: Hellish Bugle (Hellish Bugle +1)


Level 68: Shofar (Shofar +1)


Level 70: Harlequin's Horn


Level 70: Mythic Harp (Mythic Harp +1)


Level 70: Sorrowful Harp


Level 71: Angel Lyre


Level 72: Requiem Flute


Level 75: Cythara Anglica (Cythara Anglica +1)


Level 75: Gjallarhorn

Sub

Level 40: Elegant Shield (MP +6, Charisma +1)

  • The Elegant Shield is one of very, very few shields a Bard can equip. It's also one of the only two useful ones. If you aren't using Monster Signa or another Staff, this is the only option.
  • Obtain by: BCNM 40, Undying Promise. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Expensive.

Level 75: Genbu's Shield (Evasion +10, Physical Damage Taken -10%)

  • If you're using staves, the Wind Staff will give you the evasion of this shield, while the Earth Staff will give you -20% Physical Damage Taken. However, if you find yourself using a Sword or Dagger, this shield is an excellent addition to your inventory.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex drop from Genbu.

Head

Level 1: Copper Hairpin (HP -2, MP +5)

  • A slight MP boost will be helpful if you choose to solo your first few levels with a mage sub. Otherwise, anything will do.
  • Obtain by: Level 7 Goldsmithing synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very inexpensive.


Level 10: Brass Hairpin (HP -4, MP +10)

  • An upgrade to your MP boost.
  • Obtain by: Level 17 Goldsmithing synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very inexpensive.


Level 11: Entrancing Ribbon (Charisma +2)

  • Your first Charisma option for your head. A decent investment if you'd like to put time and effort into your early parties, but may not be worth the time involved if you've got your next piece ready to go.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex drop from Sharp-Eared Ropipi.


Level 14: Noble's Ribbon (Charisma +3, all element resist +3)

  • Your absolute best Charisma option for a long time. Very popular and relatively inexpensive. A must-have. For the most part, this guide will not address further low-level Charisma options; this is the one you need.
  • Obtain by: Level 52 Clothcraft synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Inexpensive.


Level 20: Silver Hairpin (HP -6, MP +15)

  • Low-MP races such as Elvaan and Galka may wish to continue using hairpins when playing a backup healing role. This hairpin is the next logical step in the hairpin line.
  • Obtain by: Level 27 Goldsmithing synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very inexpensive.


Level 20: Trump Crown (HP +14~, MP +14~, Charisma +2)

  • While it does not offer as much Charisma as a Noble's Ribbon, the Trump Crown may be worth looking at for low-MP races as a bridge between CHR and MP. It is, however, extremely expensive for the small bonus it gives. The HP and MP bonuses scale up with level, reaching +27 each at level 75.
  • Obtain by: KSNM 30, Royale Ramble. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very expensive.


Level 40: Electrum Hairpin (HP -10, MP +25)

  • The next line of MP hairpins. By this point, though, you should be swapping in as much Charisma as possible for debuffs; Bard is not a main healer, and if you need the MP this badly, you may be better off stretching it with foods such as Rolanberry Pie.
  • Obtain by: Treasure Chest (Castle Oztroja). Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Inexpensive.


Level 41: Rain Hat (MP +20, Mind +2, Charisma +2, Rainy weather: Adds Regen Effect)

  • One less Charisma than the popular and desirable Noble's Ribbon, but a fair chunk of MP. An option, if you want to put hte time into camping this Rare/Ex piece.
  • Obtain by: Rare/Ex drop from Noble Mold.


Level 50: Gold Hairpin (HP -12, MP +30)

  • You should definitely have a Charisma headpiece by now, but this is the next MP hairpin if you have an MP gear set.
  • Obtain by: Level 58 Goldsmithing synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Inexpensive.


Level 54: Choral Roundlet (HP +11, Mind +3, Parrying Skill +5, Enmity -1)

  • Your AF mushroom topper. No real stats on this make it appealing. Even the Enmity down bonus is trumped by the Crow Beret if you find it really necessary. Get it to complete the set so you can store it.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex reward from Borghertz's Harmonious Hands (Crawlers' Nest Coffer).


Level 65: Opo-opo Crown (Strength +1, Dexterity +1, Vitality +1, Agility +1, Intelligence +1, Mind +1, Charisma -7)

  • If you don't know about this crown already, you'll be quite confused as to why it's suggested, but if you switch your food to Pamamas while wearing this item, the Pamama gives special stat bonuses, to include MP +30 and Charisma +14 (for a total of Charisma +7 when the negative from the original equipment is taken into account). You'll need help to farm some of the four Rare/ex items for this quest, but it's well worth it for both your CHR and MP setups.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex reward from The Opo-opo and I.


Level 70: Faerie Hairpin (HP -20, MP +55)

  • Aside from a Zenith Crown +1, this is the best MP item you can equip on your head, should you so desire.
  • Obtain by: Uncapped ENM, Bionic Bug. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very expensive.


Level 70: Maat's Cap (All stats +7)

  • Included solely for completion's sake; exceptionally hard to obtain, but a very nice piece if you happen to have it... of course, if you did, you wouldn't be likely to need this guide.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex reward from Beyond the Sun.


Level 72: Bard's Roundlet (HP +13, Charisma +5, Singing Skill +5, Enmity -3)

  • Your Relic (AFv2) head piece. Overall a very ideal piece for all of your priorities.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex drop in Dynamis - San d'Oria.


Level 72: Errant Hat (Strength -2, Dexterity -2, Vitality -2, Agility -2, Intelligence +3, Mind +3, Charisma +3, Enmity -5)

  • The combination of Charisma and Enmity here make this a better option than Noble's Ribbon and is much less expensive than Sha'ir Turban if you haven't been able to get to the crown or relic yet. However, I recommend you hold off until level 73 for the option there.
  • Obtain by: Level 92 Clothcraft synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very inexpensive.


Level 72: Sha'ir Turban (MP +9, Charisma +3, Haste +1%)

  • The Sha'ir set is a Bard's Job-Specific Equipment (JSE). The price tags are often hefty, though, and in the case of this piece, the bonuses don't compare favorably enough with cheaper options to justify purchase. NOT recommended.
  • Obtain by: Level 91 Clothcraft synth. Can by bought and sold on the Auction House. Very expensive.


Level 73: Demon Helm (Intelligence +5, Mind -5, Parrying Skill +5, Singing Skill +5)

  • Skill will help your songs land more than Charisma will; as such, the Demon Helm, ugly though it may be, is a very good piece for a Bard.
  • Obtain by: Level 91 Bonecraft synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very inexpensive.


Level 74: Choral Roundlet +1 (HP +11, Mind +6, Charisma +6, Singing Skill +5, Enmity -2)

  • Another all-around excellent piece of gear, and much more useful than its NQ Artifact counterpart. The upgraded relic head would seem to be the only piece that would suit this equipment slot better than this.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex upgrade. See Artifact Armor +1. Requires access to Limbus (completion of The Warrior's Path).


Level 75: Bard's Roundlet +1 (HP +13, Charisma +6, Singing Skill +5, Enmity -4)

  • The upgrade to the overall ideal piece for Bard heads all over Vana'diel. If you're able to upgrade, lucky you. ~.^
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex upgrade. See Relic Armor +1. Requires access to Limbus (completion of The Warrior's Path).

Neck

Level 7: Justice Badge (Mind +3)

  • In the low levels, most people subbing a mage job can do rudimentary enfeebles. The added MND will help them land, and the defense will help you solo.
  • Obtain by: Truth, Justice, and the Onion Way!. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very inexpensive.


Level 15: Bird Whistle (HP +5, Charisma +3)

  • Bards get an excellent Charisma piece very early on. Don't miss it!
  • Obtain by: Drop from Vuu Puqu the Beguiler. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Inexpensive.


Level 26: Holy Phial (MP +9, Mind +3)

  • If you're really hard-up for an MP option, this will serve you well. However, it's a minimal MP gain at a loss of 3 Charisma; I don't recommend it.
  • Obtain by: Drop from Ge'Dha Evileye. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Expensive.


Level 27: Flower Necklace (Charisma +3)

  • The same Charisma bonus as the Bird Whistle. Less HP. Upgrade if you simply don't like the fact that you're still wearing level 15 gear or if you could use the bit of money from selling the whistle, but in the long run, this doesn't matter.
  • Obtain by: Reward from A Candlelight Vigil. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very, very inexpensive.


Level 59: Star Necklace (Charisma +3, Convert HP to MP +15)

  • The S.O.B.s contribute another good necklace to us Bards; Charisma and MP in one nice package. A very worthwhile item to use, but difficult to obtain.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex reward from Crying Over Onions.


Level 65: String Torque (String Instrument Skill +7)

  • An absolutely stellar, piece of gear for your collection when it comes to String songs. This will help your songs cast using stringed instruments stick more than any other piece for the neck, and comes when you need it with items like the Nursemaid's Harp.
  • Obtain by: BCNM 60, Amphibian Assault. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Inexpensive.


Level 65: Wind Torque (wind Instrument Skill +7)

  • Due to the popularity of wind instruments, this torque is much, much more expensive than its counterpart, but its cost reflects its greater utility. To be the best Bard you can be, you'll want to farm for one of these eventually.
  • Obtain by: BCNM 60, Jungle Boogymen. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very expensive.


Ears

Level 10: Onyx Earring (MP +2)

  • Bards get little in the way of job-specific earrings and are relegated to MP options for a long time. This is the first. For added length of use, look into getting one of the HQ varieties.
  • Obtain by: Level 25 Goldsmithing synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very inexpensive.


Level 31: Black Earring (MP +4)

  • The next in the line of MP earrings.
  • Obtain by: Level 45 Goldsmithing synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very inexpensive.


Level 35: String Earring (String Instrument Skill +3)

  • Like a mini-String Torque for your ear, this will help immensely with landing string songs.
  • Obtain by: ENM 30 ENM Reward Exchange. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Inexpensive.


Level 35: Wind Earring (Wind Instrument Skill +3)

  • Like its string counterpart, this will aid in landing wind instrument songs. However, due to its rarity and its extremely prohibitive cost, no bard but the extremely well-to-do should be expected to have this while leveling. Instead, seek to add it to your collection for endgame activities.
  • Obtain by: ENM 30 ENM Reward Exchange. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Extremely expensive.


Level 35: Singing Earring (Singing Skill +3)

  • Since Singing skill is used in all songs, no matter which instrument is used, this earring could be considered more useful than the other two +skill earrings. If you only buy one, this would likely be the best option.
  • Obtain by: ENM 30 ENM Reward Exchange. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very expensive.


Level 40: Enhancing Earring (HP +5, MP +5)

  • Your next MP option. Rare, so you can only buy (and equip) one.
  • Obtain by: BCNM 40, Steamed Sprouts/The Worm's Turn. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very inexpensive.


Level 49: Heims Earring (Strength +1, Vitality +1, Intelligence +1, Charisma +1)

  • An excellent Charisma piece for a Bard. Difficult to obtain unless bought, but will last you for a long while unless you decide to replace it with a Melody Earring.
  • Obtain by: Rare appraisal of ??? Earring from Golden Salvage (Ilrusi Atoll Assault). Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very expensive.


Level 50: Antivenom Earring (MP +15, Enhances Resist Poison Effect, MP Recovered While Healing +1)

  • The best reasonably affordable MP option until the end of the game. Rare, so you can only use one. A good pair to this would be the next option, Insomnia Earring. However, your first Charisma option is coming soon, and it is very cheap; you may wish to put this on your to-get list for the hMP.
  • Obtain by: 3000 Assault Points from Mamool Ja Training Grounds. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Expensive.


Level 50: Insomnia Earring (HP +15, MP +15, Enhances Resist Sleep Effect)

  • The second best reasonably affordable MP option until the end of the game. ~.^ A good pair for Antivenom Earring.
  • Obtain by: 3000 Assault Points from Lebros Cavern. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Expensive.


Level 52: Melody Earring (Charisma +1, Latent Effect: Evasion Skill +5)

  • Very cheap Charisma option. The HQ is far more expensive, but will never go out of style. Buy two. The latent effect is activated whenever a Bard's song or a Corsair's roll is in effect on the wearer, so you may want to suggest these to your Ninjas (or remind them to equip them if they own some).
  • Obtain by: Level 57 Goldsmithing synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very inexpensive. (HQ is very expensive.)


Level 65: Relaxing Earring (MP Recovered While Healing +2)


Level 70: Musical Earring (Evasion +5, String Instrument Skill +5, Wind Instrument Skill +5)


Level 72: Beastly Earring (Charisma +2, Evasion +5, Axe Skill +5)

  • I really wouldn't recommend choosing this earring if Bard is your only job, as you never know what you'll want to do in the future and this earring is very specific to two jobs; however, if you're a die-hard Beastmaster as well, it's worth a look.
  • Obtained by: Rare/ex reward from Divine Might.


Level 75: Loquacious Earring (MP +30, Enhances Fast Cast Effect)

  • Bards are often tasked to pull for merit parties, but in order to sustain high chains while still keeping their party fully buffed, some Fast Cast gear becomes necessary. Combining this with a Sha'ir Manteel or Yigit Gomlek and a pair of Rostrum Pumps will decrease your songs' cast times signifigantly, allowing for more time focused on pulling, curing, or debuffing the enemny.
  • Obtained by: Rare/ex reward from Sagheera's Ancient Beastcoin purchases. Requires access to Limbus (completion of The Warrior's Path).

Body

Level 1 - 18: Light melee/mage armor.

  • At this early level, there aren't any stat bonuses you can get from armor, so just get whatever tickles your cosmetic bone for defense. Please don't wear Tunic-type equipment, as it blocks your ability to equip hairpins or other good headgear. If you need a progression path, perhaps go for Bronze Harness -> Leather Vest -> Doublet -> Bone Harness/Lizard Jerkin.


Level 18: Garrison Tunica (Dexterity +1, Charisma +1)


Level 25: Ea's Doublet (Mind +1, Charisma +1)

  • One of three very rare Salvage drops used to create Marduk's Jubbah. If you happen to have it, there's no reason not to use it, but there's no way to obtain this without a job at 65+ and a lot of free time or luck, so don't stress too hard.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex drop in Salvage. Requires level 65+ and access to Assault.


Level 33: Hume only Custom Tunic/Custom Vest (HP +32, Vitality +3, Intelligence -1, Charisma +1)

  • Hume Bards get a good Charisma option in their RSE body piece; quest or buy it if you can.
  • Obtain by: Reward from The Goblin Tailor. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Inexpensive.


Level 33: Galka only Elder's Surcoat (MP +32, Intelligence +1, Charisma +1)

  • Galkan Bards get the best RSE option as far as Bard is concerned. Quest or buy it if you can.
  • Obtain by: Reward from The Goblin Tailor. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Expensive.


Level 33: Mithra only Savage Separates (HP +32, Strength +1, Charisma +1)

  • Mithran Bards get another good option in their RSE. Quest or buy it if you can.
  • Obtain by: Reward from The Goblin Tailor. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Somewhat expensive.


Level 35: Enlil's Gambison (Mind +1, Charisma +1, Enmity -1)

  • One of three very rare Salvage drops used to create Marduk's Jubbah. As with Ea's Doublet, don't worry about this unless you've got a Jubbah collection started already and happen to have it; it you do, there's no reason not to use it.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex drop in Salvage. Requires level 65+ and access to Assault.


Level 45: Brigandine +1 (HP +15, Strength +1, Dexterity +3, Vitality +3, Agility +1, Intelligence +1, Mind +1, Charisma +1)

  • With Paladin-worthy defense and vitality and Thief-worthy dexterity, plus a strength bonus and an impressive list of jobs that can use it this is a good investment for many jobs. I wouldn't recommend it if Bard is your only job due to prohibitive cost, and the NQ has no Bard-relevant bonuses, but if you have other jobs that would benefit from it and a good source of income, this may be worth a second look.
  • Obtain by: Level 57 Leathercraft synth (with subcrafts). Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very expensive.


Level 50: Crow Jupon (Evasion +8, Enmity -8)

  • There is a good and readily available Charisma option at this level; you may wish to purchase a Crow Jupon specifically for curing and macro your Charisma in for offensive songs, as its Enmity bonus will help avoid pulling hate.
  • Obtain by: Level 68 Clothcraft synth (with subcrafts). Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Inexpensive.


Level 50: Gaudy Harness (Charisma +3, Latent Effect: Adds Refresh Effect)


Level 50: Tactician Magician's Coat (Intelligence +1, Mind +1, Charisma +1)

  • If you've been unable to get any of the +Charisma pieces so far--all have been either rare, race-specific, time-consuming, or expensive--the TM Coat is the first piece of equipment that should really come with a high recommendation.
  • Obtain by: 16000 Windurst Conquest Points. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Inexpensive.


Level 58: Choral Justaucorps (HP +13, Vitality +3, String Instrument Skill +3, Enmity -1)

  • Your Artifact body piece. Very little of the stats on this item are particularly appealing unless you're casting a string song; macro it in for strings, otherwise wear Charisma here.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex reward from The Circle of Time.


Level 58: Justaucorps (HP +10, Strength -1, Dexterity -1, Vitality -1, Agility -1, Intelligence +2, Mind +2, Charisma +2)

  • It may look a bit silly, but this is a stellar option to replace a Bard's AF body, especially if you can't get any of the surrounding Rare/ex pieces (i.e. Gaudy Harness or Mistrel's Coat). The HQ of this item is highly recommended, as it gives an extra point of Charisma that makes it equal to the Gaudy Harness in all respects but the Refresh.
  • Obtain by: Level 56 Bonecraft synth (with subcrafts). Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Inexpensive.


Level 59: Vermillion Cloak (MP +10, MP +1%, Evasion -10, Adds Refresh effect)

  • This is potentially the highest cost/benefit ratio item recommended here; it is a very expensive cloak, but it offers a good MP bonus and while wearing it, its user has a consistent extra 1 MP/tick refresh which aids immensely in a Bard's usual role of backup healer. I leave it to you to decide whether you feel the price is worth it, but know that it is very effective when used properly; macro your charisma/skill gear back in on offensive songs, this does absolutely nothing for helping them stick.
  • Obtain by: Level 70 Clothcraft synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very, very expensive.


Level 62: Minstrel's Coat (HP +15, Evasion +3, Wind Instrument Skill +3, String Instrument Skill +3)

  • An excellent all-around piece. This fulfills your priority skills on both sorts of instruments, and makes it pointless to carry your AF body around as a macro piece. It can be difficult to obtain, as the item is a Rare/ex drop from a heavily camped NM, but often the people camping it are after its other drop and will give you the coat if you ask nicely.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex drop from Novv the Whitehearted.


Level 72: Errant Houppelande (Strength -7, Dexterity -7, Vitality -7, Agility -7, Intelligence +10, Mind +10, Charisma +10, Enmity -3, MP Recovered While Healing +5)

  • Whatever you were wearing before is something you're almost certainly tired of by now; no worries. The Errant Houppelande offers an absolutely staggering amount of Charisma, along with very good bonuses like -3 Enmity and +5 hMP, but the fact that it's low-defense mage gear with huge penalties to melee and tank stats may lead you to want to macro in another piece of equipment for pulling.
  • Obtain by: Level 96 Clothcraft synth (with subcrafts). Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Expensive.


Level 72: Sha'ir Manteel (MP +14, Charisma +7, Haste +2%, Song Spellcasting Time -12%)

  • Short of the Marduk body discussed below, this is potentially the best all-around piece you will ever be able to equip. It is also, due to its synthesis requirements, by FAR the most expensive piece of (non-HQ) gear you will ever look at buying in your entire career as a Bard. Most people's only hope to obtain this comes from HNM shells that kill Vrtra on a regular basis, as this wyrm is the enemy that drops the most expensive parts of the synthesis.
  • Obtain by: Level 95 Goldsmithing synth (with subcrafts). Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Extremely expensive.


Level 72: Yigit Gomlek (Evasion +7, Magic Attack Bonus +5, Song Spellcasting Time -10%, MP Recovered While Healing +5)

  • Offers nearly the same song casting time reduction as the Sha'ir Manteel with none of the other bonuses. However, as Charisma IS only useful for your four debuff songs, this is actually a very good piece to use while buffing your party. If you have no other immediate Assault priorities, this piece is highly recommended; make Periqia your home for a few weeks. Oh; the piece also has a set bonus that gives you a latent refresh effect, but if I ever see a Bard wearing full Yigit just for refresh while forgoing the bonuses from other pieces in other places, well... just no. ~.^
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex reward requiring 20000 Periqia Assault Points.


Level 73: Dalmatica (Magic Defense Bonus +5, Adds Refresh Effect, Enhances Resist Paralyze Effect, Convert HP to MP +50)


Level 74: Bard's Justaucorps (HP +19, Attack +18, Military Parade)

  • Your relic body piece. Offers very little for EXP stats; very much a melee/solo piece. Military Parade grants you +8 to all melee stats while subtracting 8 from all mage stats while your weapon is drawn. Not recommended for EXP.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex drop in Dynamis - Beaucedine.


Level 74: Choral Justaucorps +1 (HP +20, Vitality +10, Charisma +10, String Instrument Skill +6, Enmity -3)

  • The upgrade of your barely macro-worthy Artifact body piece becomes something that combines the good parts of Kirin's Osode with a hefty amount of string skill and the Enmity bonus of the Errant piece. An excellent choice, should you choose to upgrade.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex upgrade. See Artifact Armor +1. Requires access to Limbus (completion of The Warrior's Path).


Level 75: Bard's Justaucorps +1 (HP +19, Attack +20, Military Parade)

  • The upgrade of your relic piece... still useless for EXP purposes, and barely even an upgrade at all. Included simply because it's relic +1; please don't ever upgrade this unless you have too much time and gil on your hands with no other jobs to work on. ~.^
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex upgrade. See Relic Armor +1. Requires access to Limbus (completion of The Warrior's Path).


Level 75: Kirin's Osode (MP +30, Strength +10, Dexterity +10, Vitality +10, Agility +10, Intelligence +10, Mind +10, Charisma +10)

  • Highly desirable by Bards; the Osode's good defense and Vitality bonuses are less likely to get you killed on a pull, while it still offers very high Charisma. You may still wish to have an item such as Yigit body or Marduk body, though. The general consensus toward Kirin's Osode among the Bard community is that it's not worth spending money on unless you have multiple jobs leveled that can equip it; otherwise, there are many perfectly good Rare/ex pieces that can be equipped, along with simply Errant.
  • Obtain by: Drop from Kirin. Cannot be bought and sold on the Auction House, but can be Bazaared and Traded. Very, very expensive.


Level 75: Marduk's Jubbah (HP +3%, MP +3%, Mind +12, Charisma +12, Enhances Fast Cast Effect, Adds Refresh Effect)

  • An absolutely stellar piece for Bards requiring an absolutely staggering amount of time and money; drops from Salvage are hard to come by, and the requisite Ingots and Gold pieces can break a bank easily. However, if you can get it, there's nothing better; the Fast Cast bonus will act similarly to the spellcasting down on Sha'ir and Yigit, and there's no better source of Charisma. On top of that, the MP and refresh will aid in any backup healing you need to do. The only way this piece would be better is with +skill, but come on, how overpowered would that be?
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex purchase from Ghanraam. Requires the ability to participate in Salvage (completion of Aht Urhgan Mission 18).

Hands

Level 1 - 10: At this early level, there aren't any stat bonuses you can get from armor, so just get whatever tickles your cosmetic bone for defense. If you need a progression path, perhaps go for Bronze Mittens -> Leather Gloves.


Level 11: Zealot's Mitts (MP +5, Intelligence -2, Mind +3)

  • In the low levels, most people subbing a mage job can do rudimentary enfeebles. The added MND will help them land, and the MP will help you throw out an extra Valkurm-saving cure.
  • Obtain by: Drop from Hoo Mjuu the Torrent. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very inexpensive.


Level 25: Ea's Dastanas (Mind +1, Charisma +1)

  • One of three very rare Salvage drops used to create Marduk's Dastanas. If you happen to have it because you're starting up a Marduk's collection, there's no reason not to use it.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex drop in Salvage. Requires level 65+ and completion of Aht Urhgan Mission 18.


Level 27: Galka only Elder's Bracers (MP +32, Intelligence +2)

  • A very hefty chunk of MP. Recommended until level 60; quest or buy if possible.
  • Obtain by: Reward from The Goblin Tailor. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Expensive.


Level 27: Elvaan only Magna Gauntlets/Magna Gloves (MP +24, Dexterity +2, Intelligence +1)

  • Again, a very hefty chunk of MP. Recommended until level 60; quest or buy if possible.
  • Obtain by: Reward from The Goblin Tailor. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Gauntlets (male) are generally much cheaper than Gloves (female).


Level 27: Mithra only Savage Gauntlets (MP +16, Vitality +4, Mind +2)

  • Not as much MP as the other RSE options, but still better than anything else equippable at this level or immediately beyond. Quest or buy if possible.
  • Obtain by: Reward from The Goblin Tailor. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Somewhat expensive.


Level 27: Devotee's Mitts (MP +8, Intelligence -4, Mind +5)

  • The logical next step up from Zealot's Mitts if you are Hume or Tarutaru with no good RSE hands. Small stat increases, but better than nothing.
  • Obtain by: Level 84 Clothcraft synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very inexpensive.


Level 35: Enlil's Kolluks (Mind +1, Charisma +1, Enmity -1)

  • One of three very rare Salvage drops used to create Marduk's Dastanas. As with Ea's Dastanas, don't worry about this unless you've got a Marduk's collection started already and happen to have it; it you do, there's no reason not to use it.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex drop in Salvage. Requires level 65+ and completion of Aht Urhgan Mission 18.


Level 50: Crow Bracers (Evasion +5, Enmity -4)

  • With no good Charisma options and the benefits of Devotee's Mitts wearing thin (small MP bonus and no good use for the min, as you aren't likely to stick enfeebles anymore), the Crow Bracers with their -Enmity are recommended for Hume and Tarutaru. Other races should stick to their RSE, as the MP bonus is considerably higher.
  • Obtain by: Level 62 Clothcraft synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Inexpensive.


Level 50: Storm Gages (MP +22)


Level 53: Silken Cuffs (HP +12, MP +12)

  • Just another unremarkable MP option for races without RSE or Storm Gages who don't want to stick with Crow Bracers. Your AF is approaching at level 60, so this is just another option to fill in the levels if you want it.
  • Obtain by: Level 71 Clothcraft synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Inexpensive.


Level 60: Choral Cuffs (HP +14, Charisma +4, Singing Skill +5, Enmity -1)

  • Your Artifact hands are a great piece for a long time. Great stats all around, and recommended until well into the 70s; Hume and Elvaan have decent RSE2 options at level 62, but they're debateable; Hume Marine M Gloves/Marine F Gloves have MP and Charisma but no skill, while Elvaan Wood Gauntlets/Wood Gloves have a large amount of MP with no Charisma or skill. The choice to replace your AF is yours, but it isn't recommended until the 70s.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex reward from Borghertz's Harmonious Hands.


Level 72: Sha'ir Gages (MP +12, Charisma +5, Song Recast Delay -2)

  • The JSE Sha'ir hands have no singing skill like the AF hands, but higher Charisma, some MP, and takes 2 seconds off the recast delay for your sometimes painfully long delay songs; by 72, any Bard should know the frustration of needing back-to-back Finale with a 20 second recast in the way. They may be a good piece to macro in for Finale, if not to wear full time.
  • Obtain by: Level 96 Leathercraft synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Somewhat expensive.


Level 73: Bard's Cuffs (HP +16, Evasion +5, Enmity -3, Wind Instrument Skill +3)

  • Your relic hands offer a little something for everything, but do not stick out as an excellent piece overall; the Wind instrument skill is trumped by AF's larger and more general singing skill, and the enmity is decent, but Sha'ir or AF come more highly recommended than this piece.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex drop in Dynamis - Bastok and Dynamis - Qufim.


Level 74: Choral Cuffs +1 (HP +14, Vitality +7, Charisma +7, Singing Skill +10, Enmity -1)

  • Bard Artifact +1 continues its tradition of being outstanding with the Choral Cuffs +1. Lots of excellent bonuses to most everything you could want, offering an addtional +2 Charisma and +5 Singing skill on top of extra Vitality for taking hits while pulling (or other activities). A great choice for an upgrade.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex upgrade. See Artifact Armor +1. Requires access to Limbus (completion of The Warrior's Path).


Level 75: Bard's Cuffs +1 (HP +16, Evasion +5, Wind Instrument Skill +5, Enmity -4)

  • The hefty Enmity bonus is the only real draw to this mediocre upgrade of a mediocre piece of relic gear. Not highly recommended.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex upgrade. See Relic Armor +1. Requires access to Limbus (completion of The Warrior's Path).


Level 75: Marduk's Dastanas (MP +2%, Mind +6, Charisma +6, Adds Regen Effect, Enmity -4)

  • The hands of Marduk's set are good, but compared to the Artifact upgrade or even Sha'ir hands, not your best option, especially considering the time and effort involved in getting them. The only real reason to get this piece if Bard is your only job would raelly be to complete the set, and even then, there are better options you should be using to EXP.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex purchase from Ghanraam. Requires the ability to participate in Salvage (completion of Aht Urhgan Mission 18).

Rings

Level 1-13: Anything.

  • Like earrings, there are no "good" options for a Bard until later. Starting nation rings, Empress Band, etc. will serve you well filling these slots until level 14.


Level 10: Astral Rings (Convert HP to MP +25)

  • Like many very expensive items, this is not recommended if Bard is your only job, as you won't be using them for long and they offer minimal amounts of help for their level and price--you still only have Cure 1, for goodness sakes. However, if you have them, you can really help a flailing early Valkurm party or an easy small party with friends by equipping these.
  • Obtain by: BCNM 20, Wings of Fury or BCNM 50, Treasure and Tribulations. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very expensive.


Level 14: Opal Rings (Charisma +1)

  • The first Charisma option. Get used to just buying whatever the best Charisma rings are. The HQ, Hope Rings, are highly recommended, as the cost increase is small for double the Charisma.
  • Obtain by: Level 35 Goldsmithing synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very inexpensive.


Level 36: Pearl Rings (Charisma +2)

  • Simply the next step up. The HQ, Loyalty Rings, still aren't overly pricey; if you can handle it, get them.
  • Obtain by: Level 55 Goldsmithing synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very inexpensive.


Level 40: Vilma's Ring (Intelligence +1, Mind +1, Charisma +1, Convert HP to MP +25)

  • 1 Charisma with a free Astral Ring attached... but you're not very likely at all to find the attached NM up, as it requires a mob in Yuhtunga Jungle having been left untouched for a full 9-12 hours.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex drop from Rose Garden and Voluptuous Vilma.


Level 49: Kshama Ring No. 6 (MP +6, Charisma +3)


Level 54: Moon Rings (Charisma +3)

  • The next step in the goldsmithed gemstone rings. The HQs begin to get very pricey at this level, but are still worth looking in to.
  • Obtain by: Level 75 Goldsmithing synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Inexpensive.


Level 69: Serene Rings (Intelligence +2, Mind +2, Charisma +2, Convert HP to MP +15)

  • Another decent all-around ring. Not recommended as it's not much MP, but not a terrible alternative, especially if you have other mages jobs that can use it. However, it's very pricey, and only decent.
  • Obtain by: Uncapped ENM, Follow the White Rabbit. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Extremely expensive.


Level 72: Angel's Rings (Charisma +4)

  • You're going to have to start shelling out more gil if you want these, but they're the next step in Charisma rings. The HQs and Heavens Ring, are very expensive and belong more on a wishlist than an immediate priority list, but do what you can to get the NQs.
  • Obtain by: Level 95 Goldsmithing synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Expensive.


Level 74: Light Ring (HP +20, MP -20, Strength -1, Dexterity -1, Vitality -1, Agility -1, Intelligence -1, Mind -1, Charisma +5)

  • Your final option for Charisma rings; very, very pricey, and it's up to you to decide whether -40 MP on a pair is worth the lowered price from Heavens Ring.
  • Obtain by: Level 102 Goldsmithing synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very, very expensive.

Back

Level 1-38: Varies; MND, Evasion, or Defense.

Level 39: Tundra Mantle (MP +5)

  • Finally, a little bit of MP. Nothing else that really sticks out about this back piece.
  • Obtain by: BCNM 40, Tails of Woe. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Inexpensive.


Level 42: Lucent Cape (HP +7, MP +7, Charisma +3)

  • A very nice MP and Charisma combination that'll last until level 54, should you grab it.
  • Obtain by: Drop from Ereshkigal. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Expensive.


Level 44: Aurora Mantle (MP +10)

  • Your next MP upgrade if the Lucent Cape was too pricey for you.
  • Obtain by: Level 88 Leathercraft synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Inexpensive.


Level 50: Storm Cape (MP +30)

  • An awesome MP option for the Assault frequenter, though it'll only really last you four more levels.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex; rare appraisal of ??? Cape from Lebros Supplies (Lebros Cavern Assault).


Level 54: Jester's Cape (Charisma +7)

  • The Jester's Cape, especially its high quality version, is typically used through endgame as a Bard. It offers, until the 70s, the single largest Charisma boost available in a single gear slot. The HQ is highly recommended, as it gives not one, but three more Charisma than its NQ version. If you can't get it right away, you really need to put it on your to-do list.
  • Obtain by: Level 74 Clothcraft synth (with subcrafts). Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Inexpensive.


Level 70: Bard's Cape (Charisma +7, Accuracy +7, Evasion +7)

  • This is the relic "accessory" that was added with the Dreamworld Dynamis zones. The Jester's Cape +1 offers more Charisma, but the Evasion and, when meleeing/soloing/skilling up, Accuracy on this piece may make it situationally more attractive. By this point, though, you should really have the Jester's Cape +1.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex drop in Dynamis - Valkurm and Dynamis - Buburimu.

Waist

Level 1-13: Unimportant.

  • You have very, very few options here before level 14, none of which particularly matter. There's Lizard Belt or a Heko Obi for 1 Defense, or a Talisman Obi if you can find one and you're willing to use up the enchanments, but until 14, it doesn't quite matter what, if anything, you have here.


Level 14: Friar's Rope (MP +5, Mind +1)

  • A bit of MP that'll last you until level 30, when you can put on a little Charisma.
  • Obtain by: Reward from Undying Flames. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very inexpensive.


Level 30: Mercenary Captain's Belt (Strength +1, Dexterity +1, Vitality +1, Agility +1, Intelligence +1, Mind +1, Charisma +1)

  • Your first Charisma option for the waist slot.
  • Obtain by: 4000 Windurst Conquest Points. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very inexpensive.


Level 40: Corsette (Strength -2, Agility -2, Charisma +5)

  • An excellent Charisma option that will last you 20 levels. Pick one up.
  • Obtain by: Level 48 Leathercraft synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very inexpensive.


Level 50: Galka only Desert Stone (MP +40, Dexterity -5, Intelligence +3, Charisma +2)

  • With 3 less Charisma but quite a bit more MP than the Corsette, this item may be worth it to a Galkan Bard, particularly if you can make up the loss with another HQ item.
  • Obtain by: BCNM 50, Hostile Herbivores. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very, very expensive.


Level 60: Gleeman's Belt (Charisma +6, Accuracy +8)

  • A cheap Bard-specific item with as much Charisma as the HQ Corsette. Recommended.
  • Obtain by: BCNM 60, Wild Wild Whiskers. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very inexpensive.


Level 63: Enthralling Brocade Obi (Enchantment: Charisma +10)

  • Very rare to see one up on the Auction House, and only a 10-minute charge. Not for your average exp party; more useful for endgame activities, perhaps, but as mentioned, very, very rarely for sale due to low demand.
  • Obtain by: Level 83 Clothcraft synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Expensive.


Level 71: Dorin Obi (Gain Full Effect of Day/Weather Bonuses - Earthsday/Earth Weather)

  • What this obi's cryptic description boils down to is that during Earthsday or Earth Weather, wearing this obi will help your Elegy land more often. Since it's so song-specific, if you're going for Bard obis, this should come second to the Korin Obi below.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex reward from In the Name of Science. Requires access to Al'Taieu (completion of The Warrior's Path).


Level 71: Korin Obi (Gain Full Effect of Day/Weather Bonuses - Lightsday/Light Weather)

  • Like the Dorin Obi, this obi helps light-based spells stick more often and harder. However, with the nature of certain endgame activities (constant double light weather inside Temenos), the nature of your songs (Lullaby and Requiem are both light based), and the nature of your secondary duties (Cures and Curagas also gain a bonus from this obi), the Korin Obi should be your first priority if you want one for your Bard.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex reward from In the Name of Science. Requires access to Al'Taieu (completion of The Warrior's Path).

Legs

Level 1-19: Light melee/mage armor.


Level 20: Baron's Slops (MP Recovered While Healing +1)

  • The NQ of this item, Trader's Slops, offers no bonuses. However, this HQ piece is considered very good for mages of all types; invest in it if possible.
  • Obtain by: Level 24 Clothcraft synth (with subcrafts). Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Inexpensive.


Level 25: Ea's Brais (MP +1%, Charisma +1)

  • One of three very rare Salvage drops used to create Marduk's Shalwar. If you happen to have it because you're starting up a Marduk's collection, there's no reason not to use it.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex drop in Salvage. Requires level 65+ and completion of Aht Urhgan Mission 18.


Level 31: Hume only Custom Slacks/Custom Pants (MP +32, Strength -1, Mind +3, Charisma +1)

  • A great piece for Hume Bards; a large chunk of MP with a point of Charisma. You'll be wearing this until AF. Quest or buy if possible.
  • Obtain by: Reward from The Goblin Tailor. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Expensive.


Level 31: Galka only Elder's Braguette (MP +20, Agility +2, Intelligence +1, Charisma +2)

  • Again, another great piece until AF, with both MP and Charisma bonuses. Quest of buy if possible.
  • Obtain by: Reward from The Goblin Tailor. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Expensive.


Level 31: Elvaan only Magna M Chausses/Magna F Chausses (HP +12, MP +12, Dexterity +2, Agility +2)

  • There's nothing particularly special about these except the MP. Unfortunately, there simply aren't enough options up until AF; this is still the best to offer for Elvaan until Frog Trousers. Quest or buy if possible.
  • Obtain by: Reward from The Goblin Tailor. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Expensive.


Level 31: Mithra only Savage Loincloth (MP +32, Vitality +1, Mind +1)

  • Again, quite a load of MP for one piece of armor; these are recommended until AF. Quest or buy if possible.
  • Obtain by: Reward from The Goblin Tailor. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Expensive.


Level 35: Enlil's Brayettes (MP +1%, Charisma +1, Enmity -1)


Level 40: Magic Slacks (Intelligence +2, Mind +2, Enchantment: Restore MP)

  • Nothing particularly special here except for the fact that you're almost certainly tired of Baron's Slops (or whatever else you've filled in the levels with) if you're a Tarutaru Bard. The enchantment on this piece may be helpful, since Bards have so few MP anyway.
  • Obtain by: Drop from Intulo. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very expensive.


Level 42: Frog Trousers (HP -5, MP +20)

  • Just another MP option for Tarutaru and Elvaan.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex drop from Fyuu the Seabellow.


Level 50: Crow Hose (Evasion +5, Enmity -5)

  • And again, another option to hold Tarutaru or Elvaan over until AF.
  • Obtain by: Level 63 Leathercraft synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Inexpensive.


Level 50: Ophiuchus Subligar (Charisma +1)

  • If you have this, you're either quite lucky and got two, with the first one becoming your Gaudy Harness, or you really need to turn this in as soon as possible. Either way, if you've got the subligar and are waiting to be able to turn it in, it's not a bad piece--if you can stand the sight of your own legs. Elvaan-only hidden effect: Charisma vs. players -10.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex drop from Fomor Beastmaster inside Phomiuna Aqueducts and Sacrarium.


Level 56: Choral Cannions (HP +12, Strength +5, Wind Instrument Skill +3, Enmity -1)


Level 62: Luna Subligar (Charisma +3; During Full Moon Dexterity +2, Agility +2, Charisma +7)

  • Extremely situational, but if you can remember to check the moon before your parties, you may find this piece interesting to experiment with.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex drop from Unut.


Level 70: Clown's Subligar (Charisma +4)

  • May be worth buying to macro in for String songs, since your AF does little for them.
  • Obtain by: Level 74 Bonecraft synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Inexpensive.


Level 72: Errant Slops (Strength -5, Dexterity -5, Vitality -5, Agility -5, Intelligence +7, Mind +7, Charisma +7, Enmity -3)

  • A good enmity bonus and a lot of Charisma, though not extremely special when compared to the readily-available Sha'ir Seraweels at this level. The price difference should be the only reason these interest you; the Sha'ir is definitely better.
  • Obtain by: Level 94 Clothcraft synth (with subcrafts). Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very inexpensive.


Level 72: Sha'ir Seraweels (HP +2%, MP +1%, Charisma +8)

  • A nice piece focusing on most of a Bard's primary needs, and much cheaper than most of the rest of the Sha'ir set due to ease of synth. Recommended.
  • Obtain by: Level 93 Clothcraft synth (with subcrafts). Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Somewhat expensive.


Level 73: Zenith Slacks (Mind +4, Charisma +4, Evasion -3, Convert HP to MP +50)


Level 74: Choral Cannions +1 (HP +12, Strength +8, Dexterity +8, Wind Instrument Skill +8, Enmity -2)

  • Another great upgrade to your Artifact with a huge amount of +skill and some -enmity. VERY useful; another high recommendation for an upgrade.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex upgrade. See Artifact Armor +1. Requires access to Limbus (completion of The Warrior's Path).


Level 75: Bard's Cannions (HP +17, MP +42, Courtly Measure)

  • Doesn't look like a great piece at first glance, but Courtly Measure is the polar opposite of the Bard Justaucorps' Military Parade, giving +8 to all mage stats (including Charisma) while subtracting 8 from all melee stats while your weapon is not drawn. Comparable to Sha'ir Seraweels. Recommended, but not over AF+1.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex drop in Dynamis - Xarcabard.


Level 75: Bard's Cannions +1 (HP +26, MP +42, Courtly Measure)

  • A very minor upgrade; not worth the currency and items involved unless you happen to have the Cannions -1 laying around and you have nothing better to do.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex upgrade. See Relic Armor +1. Requires access to Limbus (completion of The Warrior's Path).


Level 75: Marduk's Shalwar (MP +3%, Charisma +10, Healing Magic Skill +5, Wind Instrument Skill +5, Summoning Magic Skill +5, Set: Enhances Fast Cast Effect)

  • As with most of Marduk's set, this is a great piece for a Bard; lots of Charisma, some essential +skill, a decent MP bonus (though relic or Zenith pants are better for MP). Other pieces are nicer, but of course, if the drops you get in Salvage are for this piece, it can't be helped.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex purchase from Ghanraam. Requires the ability to participate in Salvage (completion of Aht Urhgan Mission 18).

Feet

Level 1-28: Light melee/mage armor

  • Bards get VERY little selection in footwear. You can wear just about anything until your RSE, including Leaping Boots or Light Solea if you care to show off, but it's mostly cosmetic. The only options that offer you MP (in very minimal amounts) will be Bastokan Leggings at 15 or San d'Orian Clogs at 25. Otherwise, as usual, go for a defense progression and you can't go wrong.


Level 29: Hume only Custom M Boots/Custom F Boots (HP +4, MP +12, Dexterity -1, Agility +3, Intelligence +3, Mind -1)

  • The only great thing about this piece of RSE is the MP. However, it's better than any option you've had until now, and better than most options you'll have for a long while. If you don't have Mannequin Pumps or Crow Gaiters, you'll be wearing these into the 70s; Quest or buy it if possible.
  • Obtain by: Reward from The Goblin Tailor. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Expensive.


Level 29: Galka only Elder's Sandals (MP +12, Agility +3, Intelligence +2)

  • Like Hume RSE, this is worth it for the MP alone. Wear these until your RSE2 feet at level 62. Quest or buy if possible.
  • Obtain by: Reward from The Goblin Tailor. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Somewhat expensive.


Level 29: Elvaan only Magna M Ledelsens/Magna F Ledelsens (MP +20, Agility +3, Intelligence +2)

  • Again, the best option due to the MP. Wear until RSE2 at level 62 or until the 70s. Quest or buy if possible.
  • Obtain by: Reward from The Goblin Tailor. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Somewhat expensive.


Level 29: Mithra only Savage Gaiters (HP +16, Strength +3, Charisma +2)

  • A very, VERY nice piece for Mithran Bards. Lucky! You can expect these to last you a long, long time; get them.
  • Obtain by: Reward from The Goblin Tailor. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Expensive.


Level 35: Mannequin Pumps (MP +12, Intelligence +1, Mind +2)

  • Another MP+12 option. Good for Hume and Galka, particularly after they've retired the rest of their RSE and would like to store the set; also good for Tarutaru, who have no magic-oriented RSE. However, it requires you to complete the Mannequin quest It's Raining Mannequins, which can be expensive and/or time-consuming.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex reward from Behind the Smile.


Level 41: Inferno Sabots (MP +10, New Moon: Intelligence +1, Dark Magic Skill +3)

  • Nothing more than an MP option for Tarutaru Bards who can't get Mannequin Pumps.
  • Obtain by: Level 89 Bonecrafting synth. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Inexpensive.


Level 50: Crow Gaiters (Evasion +4, Enmity -4)

  • Not a bad piece if you'd like to retire your MP gear or store your RSE.
  • Obtain by: Level 56 Leathercraft synth (with subcrafts). Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Inexpensive.


Level 52: Choral Slippers (HP +10, Agility +3, Evasion +5)

  • Your first piece of AF. No stats on this really make it appealing, but Bards get little in the way of appealing footwear. Not recommended.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex reward from The Requiem.


Level 53: Silken Pigaches (HP +12, MP +12)

  • Just another option for MP.
  • Obtain by: Level 71 Leathercraft synth (with subcrafts). Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Inexpensive.


Level 62: Galka only Dune Sandals (HP -20, MP +45, Vitality -3, Charisma +4)

  • A great option for Galkas, and typically low in cost due to supply and demand; Galkas are less likely to level mage jobs this high. No excuse not to grab these!
  • Obtain by: BCNM 60, Brothers D'Aurphe. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Inexpensive.


Level 62: Mithra only River Gaiters (MP +35, Dexterity -3, Intelligence +4, Mind +4)

  • If you want to make up the Charisma from your RSE1 feet elsewhere, these offer a large chunk of MP to help you out in backing up your healer. However, they're extremely pricey due to their great use to Black and Red Mages; RSE1 would still seem best here.
  • Obtain by: BCNM 60, Brothers D'Aurphe. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very expensive.


Level 62: Elvaan only Wood M Ledelsens/Wood F Ledelsens (MP +30, Strength -3, Agility +6, Intelligence +3)

  • Better MP than anything else you've got so far. Supply and demand makes the price on this piece vary, so it may or may not be worth it to you.
  • Obtain by: BCNM 60, Brothers D'Aurphe. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Price varies by gender.


Level 70: Volunteer's Nails (Charisma +5)

  • An excellent piece. If you can convince some friends to camp the NM with you, they're recommended.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex from from Merrow No.5.


Level 71: Bard's Slippers (HP +12, Parrying Skill +3, Enmity -2, String Instrument Skill +3)

  • Your relic feet actually present you with a decent Bard-centered stat. Good stuff if you can get your hands on them. Recommended.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex drop in Dynamis - Jeuno.


Level 72: Sha'ir Crackows (MP +11, Charisma +4, Haste +1%)

  • If you haven't been lucky enough to be Galka for RSE2 or land some relic or Volunteer's Nails, this is an excellent piece of well-rounded gear.
  • Obtain by: Level 92 Leathercraft synth (with subcrafts). Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very expensive.


Level 73: Zenith Pumps (Intelligence +2, Charisma +2, Convert HP to MP +50)


Level 74: Choral Slippers +1 (HP +10, Dexterity +5, Agility +5, Evasion +5, HP Recovered While Healing +2, MP Recovered While Healing +2)

  • Every other piece of the AF+1 has been excellent, but this one falls short. Useful only for a healing macro; not recommended.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex upgrade. See Artifact Armor +1. Requires access to Limbus (completion of The Warrior's Path).


Level 74: Spagyric Nails (Charisma +4, Enhances Resist Silence Effect, Enhances Resist Virus Effect)

  • A potential alternative for Bard feet, though the price is comparable to Sha'ir with none of the small amounts of MP or Haste.
  • Obtain by: Drop from Southern Piranu, Northern Piranu. Can be bought and sold on the Auction House. Very expensive.


Level 75: Bard's Slippers +1 (HP +12, Parrying Skill +4, Wind Instrument Skill +3, Enmity -3)

  • Still a good piece overall, but no REAL upgrade from NQ relic feet. NQ will serve you just as well.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex upgrade. See Relic Armor +1. Requires access to Limbus (completion of The Warrior's Path).


Level 75: Marduk's Crackows (MP +3%, Mind +10, Enfeebling Magic Skill +5, String Instrument Skill +5, Summoning Magic Skill +5, Set: Enhances Fast Cast Effect)

  • Given how seldom String is used, it's debateable whether this, Rostrum Pumps (for Fast Cast), or Relic are the best gear position in this slot. It's a matter of personal taste in the end, but the appeals to this piece are the MP and String skill, and if you have the full set, the Fast Cast. However, Rostrums give fast cast on their own, and full Marduk is difficult to obtain to say the least. Additionally, some pieces are better not equipped by a Bard.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex purchase from Ghanraam. Requires the ability to participate in Salvage (completion of Aht Urhgan Mission 18).


Level 75: Rostrum Pumps (HP -30, MP +30, Intelligence +3, Mind +3, Enhances Fast Cast Effect)

  • Many Bards swear by this piece of gear for the MP and Fast Cast, while others prefer Sha'ir or Relic. It's up to you to decide; foot gear, as you've surely seen, is diverse at this level and no single piece rises above the competition as the one shoe to rule them all. This NM is often killed as an event from HNM/Sky/Endgame linkshells.
  • Obtain by: Rare/ex drop from Alastor Antlion.
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