[RPG] Optimizing a spellsword bard


I recently rolled a bard for a new game set in a low fantasy world. It's a halfling bard, with 17 CHA and 16 DEX and +0s or +1s elsewhere. In the party there is also a defensively minded Paladin, a gunship rogue with a crossbow, necromantic offensive warlock and a fighter inspired by 4e warlords.

The party lacks a bit in healing and utility spellcasting I would like to fill in that niche while still having a considerable presence in combat. To accomplish that I wanted to embrace a Spellsword approach.

I would like to be able to combine spellcasting (buffs and debuffs, preferably as cantrips or low level spells) with DEX-based combat opportunities. I know that College of Valor has some options, but it seems like a huge waste (I have high Dex and therefore prefer light armor, I will not use non-finessable martial weapons, and Extra Attack doesn't seem to fit well with eventual Battle Magic). I would like to have a "cast and slash" battlefield presence, but if I had opportunities to use my bonus action for added awesome I would consider it gladly.

Is it possible to optimize the character to accomplish those gameplay goals and if yes, how?

I am limited to PHB and I need a very good arguments to be allowed to multiclass. I briefly I mentioned possible MC into a Paladin and had a mixed response.

Best Answer

Do you have access to "Xanathar's Guide To Everything"? If so, you should also consider the College of Swords, which is another weapon-based bard college option. It offers the ability to use a melee weapon you are proficient in as a bardic spell casting focus, which works well for bards who want to use melee weapons in one or both of their hands.

However, keep in mind it does not offer the same "Battle Magic" feature as the College of Valor does, which means you will likely be casting and slashing on different turns.