The Silvery Pools of Briarvale
“Bards are artists first and foremost, and they practice magic just as they practice song, drama, or poetry. They have a clear sense of how people perceive reality, so they master charm magic and some illusions. Sagas of great heroes are part of a bard’s repertoire, and most bards follow the example of many fables and become skilled in a variety of fields. A bard’s artistic ability, knowledge of lore, and arcane might are widely respected, particularly among the world’s rulers.”
”...As Mike states for the 4E bard, the concept of a trickster loomed large. “It isn’t that a bard is a jack-of-all-trades. It’s more that he always has a trick up his sleeve. It was important to reflect that in his powers and in how you can build your bard.”
As an example of the trickster, Mike can still recall his own 2E bard: “I remember scaling a wall to jump down upon an ogre when it entered a room. I played a warrior-minstrel, based loosely on the character Fflewddur Fflam from the Chronicles of Prydain. Like Fflewddur, he had a penchant for stretching the truth, though I can’t remember if his shortsighted bravery (jumping on an ogre’s back is a good way to start a fight but maybe not a good place to stay) was all me. I remember getting in trouble, a lot, and always trying to find ways to trick and scheme my way out of danger.
“I think that in 4E, the bard might still leap on the ogre’s back, but as a leader he might convince the rest of the party that it’s a good idea.”” -excerpts from WotC PHB2