Kali's Bard Swashbuckler melee/ CC+ Insta-kill caster hybrid build


Build Designer & Fun Lover!
Welcome to my build repository! I've been playing since 2006, and I play to have fun: I don't really care about 'the META'. I have 23 alts, so I actively play practically every class and race available in the game. I design all my builds fully from scratch. Hope you find them useful, and constructive comments/ suggestions are always welcome!

If you would like to contribute towards this effort, any donations will be greatly appreciated. If not, please don't worry: sharing is caring! Just sit back and relax, and enjoy the builds!

8. Kali's Bard Swashbuckler melee/ CC+ Insta-kill caster hybrid build
DDOBuilder file for this build. You can find and download Maetrim's DDOBuilder here.

Preface to the build

This thread aims to provide the very 'core' of the build:
  • show how it started: its key aims
  • indicate the key decisions that can be made to achieve those aims: stats, skills, feats, heroic enhancements, epic destinies
  • all numbers are based on what a first-lifer (or someone with minimal past lives) would have, unbuffed, outside of reaper mode (they do, however, include equipped gear and partially completed filigrees). They are real characters, and those are the numbers I can offer.
  • numbers are indicative of the potential minimum amounts that can be achieved with the investments that were proposed
  • provide a 'photo' of what your character could look like at endgame during quite a few lives of their 'TR hamster wheel' journey
  • show the 'foundations' to be built upon, if a player decides to embark on the 'TR hamster wheel' and go out there to hunt for rare bonuses
  • gear choices are NOT part of the core build, but rather one of the most important ways to invest in the key elements of the core build to make the aims work. It has been added here simply to suggest options/ inspire. No promises are being made towards keeping this updated upon the release of new content.

DISCLAIMER: nobody in real life has been injured on the making of this thread, and nobody will suffer injuries in real life if they try it. DDO is an awesome game, and trying-and-testing + making changes to suit your specific play style are a very healthy aspect of the game. It's how you learn and get better! Try not to stress too much about what some people have to say about how you play your game. Not everyone gets that this is a game, that people are not the same, and don't want the same things! The Mountain has many paths. Have fun!

Aims of the build

Primary aim(s):
1. Melee DPS

interweaved with Crowd Control:
> AoE spells/abilities:​
> Fatesinger​
> 'Cut the Strings [T5]'
> Bard
> 'Otto's Sphere of Dancing'
Perform skill
> 'Fascinate'

> 'Greater Shout'
> Single-target spells/abilities:
> Swashbuckler​
Perform skill
> 'Low Blow [T4]'
> Tiefling Scoundrel​
Perform skill
> 'Fiendish Arpeggio: Ash Imprisonment [T3]'

> Bard
NO save
> 'Otto's Irresistible Dance'
> 'Hold Monster'
> 'Guard' effects on being hit/missed:​
> Fatesinger​
> 'Intoxicating presence [C2]'
> Swashbuckler​
> 'Elegant footwork [T3]'
> Tiefling Scoundrel​
> 'Hellish Reverberation [T2]'
3. and with Insta-kills:
> AoE
> Fatesinger​
> 'Cut the Strings [T5]'
> Single target
> Swashbuckler​
Perform skill
> 'Coup de Grace [T5]'
Secondary aim(s):
4. Moderate offensive casting (mostly Sonic + some Fire):
> AoE spells/abilities:​
> Fatesinger​
> 'Echoes of Discord [T2]'
> Bard
> 'Greater Shout'
> 'Shout'
> Machrotechnic​
> 'Sonic Boom [T1]'
> 'Tonquin's Thunder Hammer [T2]'
> Single-target spells/abilities:
> Fatesinger
> 'Strike a Cord [T1]'
> Spellsinger
> 'Reverberation [T2]'
> 'Guard' damage on being hit/missed (scales Spell Power):
> Swashbuckler
> 'Sword dance [T2]'
> Tiefling Scoundrel
> 'Hellish Rebuke [T1]'
5. Moderate support healing the frontline:
> Fatesinger​
> 'Hear my Voice Friend [C4]'
> 'Majesty [T4]'
> Spellsinger
> 'Sustaining Song [T4]' for healing over time
> Bard
> 'Soothing Song' (auto-granted feat @lvl 8): heals twice with 'Majesty [T4]'
6. Finding & disabling traps + opening locks

Key stats & synergies

Key abilities toolbar (main rotation):

A. Charisma for melee combat:
> To- hit via Feydark Illusionist's 'Familiar Flourish [T1]'
> To damage via Swashbuckler's 'Smooth Flourishes [T3]'
> High Perform skill: DCs for insta-kill + some CC abilities​
> SWF with bucklers: Swasbuckler's 'Skirmisher [T3]'​
B. Attack speed = 45%
Combat style bonus
> +30%: 'Greater Single Weapon Fighting' (feat)
Enhancement bonus
> +15%: Haste spell
> Attack speed boost = +30% (total 75%)
[Rogue Acrobat 'Haste Action Boost [T2]']

C. Doublestrike = 56%

Weapon Critical profile 15-20/ x3:
[Bard's 'Swashbuckling [C3]' + 'Improved Critical' (feat)]​
> Crit profile boosts:​
+1 Insight Bonus to Critical Threat Range (stacking) until successfully critically hit
> Swashbuckler's 'Exploit Weakness [T5]'​
+1 multiplier on 19-20 rolls
> Fatesinger's 'Blade Song [T5]'​
> Increased Vorpal threat range = +1:​
> 'Perfect Single Weapon Fighting' (feat)​
E. 8 imbue die: Sonic dmg (scales Spell Power)
> Tiefling Scoundrel's toggle 'Bloodsong I [C1]'
Imbue die breakdown:
+3 die Feats
+3 Scion of Feywild (@lvl 30)​
+1 dice Augment​
+1 Emerald of Arcane Empowerment​
+4 die Filigrees​
+2 Reverberation (set bonus: 2 pieces)​
+2 Long Shadow (set bonus: 3 pieces)​

= total 8 die, sustainable 100% of the time

F. 5 Sneak Attack die
SA die breakdown:
+1 die Feats
+1 Rogue (auto-granted feat @lvl 1)​
+4 dice Epic Destinies​
+3 Shadowdancer (C1-3)​
+1 Shadowdancer (T2)​

= total 5 die, sustainable 100% of the time

G. Extra melee damage:
> Ability modifier to dmg = 1.75x:​
> Full SWF combat style line of feats​
> Extra Weapon dmg = +0.25{W]:
Airship Buffs
> +0.25[W]: 'Ninja Assassin'

> Sonic dmg on weapon attacks (can only occur once every 10 seconds, scales Sonic Spell Power)​
> Fatesinger's 'Mantle of Sound and Fury [T2]'​

> Extra Melee Power:​
> 'Arcane Warrior' (feat)​
H. Burst damage:
> Fatesinger's 'Turn the Tide [T5]'​
I. De-buffs:
> Inflict Sonic vulnerability
> Fatesinger's 'Harmonic Resonance [T1]' (up to 30% extra dmg, procs on melee + spell casting)
> Will save de-buffs:
> Bard spells
> 'Crushing Despair'
> 'Mind Fog'
> Rogue Acrobat
> 'Sly Flourish [T1]'
> Improved Destruction on all melee attacks​
> Swashbuckler's 'Battering Barrage [T4]'​
J. Main Spell DCs:
> Enchantment
> Evocation​
(Numbers will be added when I acquire all the gear I have planned for. It's hard work feeding and clothing 23 alts!)

K. Main Spell Powers:
> Sonic
> Positive​
(Numbers will be added when I acquire all the gear I have planned for. It's hard work feeding and clothing 23 alts!)
> Extra Spell Power:​
> 'Arcane Warrior' (feat)​
> Extra damage on offensive spellcasting:​
> 'Mantle of Sound and Fury [T2]'​

L. Survivability (after all, soul stones do zero dps):
> Max DEX bonus to armor: = 39 / Dodge cap = 30%
> Dodge chance = 30%
> buffable to 55% with 'Uncanny Dodge' (feat)​
> Concealment = 50%:​
> 'Displacement' (spell)​
> Deflect arrows (1 projectile every 6s):
> Swashbuckler's 'Deflect Arrows [T2]'​
> Hit Points bonus = +30%
Competence bonus
> +20%: Swashbuckler's 'Second Skin [T5]'​
Legendary bonus
> +10%: Winter set (4 pieces)​
I share some strategies for general defensiveness and survival in this thread. Come visit if you feel it could be useful to you!

O. Party buffs
via songs:
> Spellsinger​
> 'Inspiration Melody: Spell Song trance [T3]​
> 'Arcane Aid [T4]'​
> Epic feat​
> Inspire Excellence​
P. Trapping:
> High INT:​
> Search + Disable traps​
> Reflex saves: 'Insightful reflexes' (feat)​
> Improved Evasion:​
> Rogue lvl 2 (feat)​
> Shadowdancer's 'The Darkest Luck [C3]'​
The 'core elements' of the build

Class(es): Bard (12)/ Rogue (2)
Race: Tiefling Scoudrel
Alignment: Chaotic Good (Non-Lawful because Bard restriction)
Main stat: Charisma (level ups here)
Starting stats (36 pts): STR: 08/ DEX: 12*/ CON: 16/ INT: 14/ WIS: 08/ CHA: 20
* +1 DEX tome req for Precision feat
> Search/ Disable Device / Open Lock​
> Perform/ Heal / Use Magic Device/ Spellcraft/ Balance (req for Single Weapon Fighting feats)/ Tumble*
* min 7 points req for Greater Single Weapon Fighting feat
Weapon type(s): Short swords, Rapiers, Daggers, Light Picks (light piercing weapons)


Heroic enhancements: 83 = 80 + 2 (Racial tomes) + 1 (Universal tome)

N.B: Multi-selector choices:
> Swashbuckler​
> T3: 'Smooth Flourishes' (CHA) + 'Skirmisher' (Buckler)​
> T4: 'Low Blow'​
Epic Destinies: 65 = 61 + 1 (Tome of Fate +3) + 2 (Fey & Dread tomes) + 1 (Historic tome)

N.B: ED multi-selector choices:
> Fatesinger​
> T1: 'Strike a Cord'​
> T2: 'Echoes of Discord'​
> T3: Evocation DCs​
> T4: 'Martial Resonance'​
> Shadowdancer​
> T3: 'Shadowstriker' + Enchantment DCs​
> Machrotecnic​
> T2: 'Tonquin's Thunder Hammer'​
> T3: Speed Drive​


Suggestions for gear
(not part of the core build: choices based on what supports the main aims of the build best, with the intention to suggest/ inspire)

Gear Set bonuses:

(PS: Some choices ref gear cater to a much larger personal scheme/tetris where items need to get shared between several alts at endgame, where I normally play in reaper mode 6-10 skulls).



Most important augments to slot:
+10 Melee Power/ +1 Imbue dice
+10 Dmg/ +20 To-hit
+1 except All Ability scores
+5 insight Charisma
+5 insight Intelligence (for the trapping gear)
+2 festival Charisma & Constitution
+6 equip Evocation DCs
+2 enhanc Enchantment & Evocation DCs
+139 Positive Spell Power
+19 Perform skill
Invisibility guard/ Quickdraw
+48 Hit Points/ +100% Fortification
+10 resist All Saves / +6 insight Saves & AC
Eye of Mabar / Feareater

(Suggestions for where to slot them in the DDOBuilder file for this build).

Main Filigree Set bonuses:

Filigrees: 14 = 10 (weapon) + 4 (artefact)

Filigree master plan:
  1. Primarily invest in Spell DC and Charisma.
  2. Imbue Dice goes as a secondary aim, if/when possible to squeeze in
  3. other effects get the least priority

I am always happy to read, consider and respond to constructive comments/ suggestions / feedback that are provided in a polite and friendly manner. I welcome discussions with anyone who is capable (and willing) to do this. Some discussions may lead to both parties simply agreeing to disagreeing - that's absolutely fine, everyone is entitled to their opinion after all!
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Build Designer & Fun Lover!
Hi @Panda. Thanks for your message.
You are correct: Precision requires DEX 13, and my char does use a tome. I've added a note to the main post to clarify this for others (particularly new players): thanks for pointing this out.

Since tomes cost real money, my suggestions would be:
1) use one of the +8 ability scores available via levelling towards DEX (@ level 12, so @15 you qualify for Precision)
2) upon reaching 1750 favor, you could take a +2 DEX tome, and if you TR and still use the build, in all future lives you can use all +8 points for CHA, as you will have enough for DEX
3) or take a +2 CHA tome, since its the main stat, and just make do with 1 less point to CHA from level ups for this life. Then, if you TR and still use this build, do suggestions 1+2 above

All these should incur no costs to anyone's pocket (also thinking of new players here).

Hope this was useful


Well-known member
maybe in "all" your insta-kill builds you should write the DC of your instant kill spells: noone will blindly follow a build without knowing those values.


Well-known member
Hey Kali, hope your doing great! Could you please tell me how you got a total of 45 percent bonus to attack speed? Great layout of the build and thanks for the time and effort to posting it.


Build Designer & Fun Lover!
Hey Kali, hope your doing great! Could you please tell me how you got a total of 45 percent bonus to attack speed? Great layout of the build and thanks for the time and effort to posting it.
Hey @Thulsadoom I"m doing great, thanks! Hope you are ok.

Glad you like the layout, and happy to clarify :)
The Single Weapon Fighting (SWF) line of heroic feats progressively grants more attack speed, culminating at +30% with Greater Single Weapon Fighting. Then, there's 15% from haste/speed item, which stacks with the combat style bonus, totalling 45%. As long as you qualify for the requirements of SWF, the speed stays on.
N.B. the swashbuckler tree has an enhancement 'Skirmisher [T3]' that allows bucklers to benefit from SWF style

Hope this helps!
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Build Designer & Fun Lover!
Extra suggestion to make the most of this thread:

I do recommend having Maetrim's DDOBuilder open while looking at my threads, as this will enable you to:
- hover over the abilities listed and learn more about them
- experiment with changing things and seeing if they would work better for you, before doing it in the live game
- get a general overview of the key aspects of the build

I arrange my DDOBuilder screen as per the image below (not this build in the image), as it helps me view the key aspects of my builds far more easily than opening and closing a bunch of windows. Just thought I'd share, in case its useful:

Maetrim's builder is really amazing, I highly recommend it!
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Build Designer & Fun Lover!
Updated the Starting Stats to include how many points the build has (in brackets).
Hopefully this helps avoid confusion :)


Build Designer & Fun Lover!
Epic Destinies updated to include an extra point gained from unlocking Machrotecnic.

N.B. At this point in time, my builds will NOT include the +1 Universal Tree (Morgrave) bonus.
Unfortunately, for those of us who actively play several alts, the
Ultimate Bundle offering bank space that is useful to one character only is, frankly, not an offer that adequately supports and incentivises playing with alts. Storage is still a massive issue (particularly for multi-alt players like me), that I sadly feel is still not being addressed in a fair and efficient manner. Since the Ultimate Bundle does not support my playstyle, I sadly chose not to support the game in an ultimate manner on this occasion.

Down the line, this tome will be acquired with DDO points (when I can combine double point sales + tome sale), and the builds that depend on universal trees will be the ones to receive suggestions on where to spend it first.


Build Designer & Fun Lover!
I'm currently testing replacing Fury of The Wild for Machrotechnic, to see if it is a more suitable 3rd tree option in general terms, but particularly if the tier 2 Sonic hammer feels better overall than Primal Scream. I do not intend to replace the buckler for a rune arm (at least not at this point).

At a first glance, the plans are:
> using the AoE 'Sonic Boom' epic strike (no save!) from Machrotecninc instead of the single-target one from Fatesinger​
> keeping Fatesinger's 'Echoes of Discord' spell (rather than the melee attack option), as it also heals AoE because of Fatesinger's core 4​
- I would no longer engage with the mechanics of building charges via the epic strike (it was very annoying to me personally)​
- and no longer benefit from releasing the charges to stun enemies (which rarely worked because its hard to keep track of charges)​
> using Machrotecnic's T2 'Tonquin's Thunder Hammer' spell, rather than Primal Scream​
> the first 2 cores from Machrotecnic would grant more bonuses (i.e. Hit points, spell points, spell power, melee power), in comparison to Fury of the Wild (mostly HP and melee power)​

This looks promising, testing begins!

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Build Designer & Fun Lover!
Main thread updated with Balance adjustments made in U61
Swashbuckler Changes:
- Battering Barrage now costs less, so this build can take rank 2 and gain Improved Destruction on all melee attacks.
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Build Designer & Fun Lover!
As several people have requested/suggested this (particularly in Discord), I am working towards sharing the DDOBuilder files for all my builds, since I use that program to do all my planning. Hopefully they will be valuable for using in conjunction with their respective forum threads.

The main thread for this build has been updated to include this, under the main title:
8. Kali's Bard Swashbuckler melee/ CC+ Insta-kill caster hybrid build
DDOBuilder file for this build. You can find and download Maetrim's DDOBuilder here.

Do let me know is anyone has issues downloading the file from Goggle Drive (fingers crossed I got all the settings right!)

Very hopeful this will be a useful addition to my threads: thanks to everyone who suggested this.

I arrange my DDOBuilder screen as per the image below (not this build in the image), as it helps me view the key aspects of my builds far more easily than opening and closing a bunch of windows. Just thought I'd share my experience, in case its useful:

Maetrim's builder is really amazing, I highly recommend it!
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Build Designer & Fun Lover!
The main post has been edited to include buttons to click and expand info.
I used the spoiler tool, as it provided the effect I desired: there are no spoilers, though :)

The aim was to reduce potential visual overload, as well as the overall length of the main post. This creates potential to include more breakdowns.

I'd be keen to hear feedback from anyone who frequently visits my threads: do you prefer this layout?
I am working slowly towards doing the same for all other builds: hope this enhances everyone's experience when visiting and exploring!

Some breakdowns included:
> imbue die
> sneak attack die