[RPG] How to explain Bard getting College education suddenly


I'm a new player who decided to play as a Bard, but I noticed that once you reach level 3, you get to choose a college.

How should I explain my character suddenly getting a college education in the middle of the game? Are there any special preparations I should do in my character sheet, like adjusting my background for it?

Best Answer

Bardic Colleges are not modern Colleges.

A "college education" means something specific in the modern world: it means that someone has gone to a specific kind of educational institution to get a specific kind of education.

A bardic college is not a modern college. Instead, it's basically a club (PHB 54):

Bards form loose associations, which they call colleges, to facilitate their gatherings and preserve their traditions.

Consider the most learned-sounding college, the College of Lore:

The college’s members gather in libraries and sometimes in actual colleges, complete with classrooms and dormitories, to share their lore with one another. They also meet at festivals or affairs of state, where they can expose corruption, unravel lies, and poke fun at self- important figures of authority.

Notice how the first sentence draws a distinction between the bardic college and "actual colleges"?

Your character's progression through levels is how you explain "getting a college education". As they spend time hanging out with people in their college, they learn more and more and gain better and better abilities, which is represented game-wise by your class levels.

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