Hey &MAG! I was recently looking at a load of sources, including both the Monstrous Manual Online, issues of &MAG, and many blogs. I found about a month or two ago many bloggers were talking bards;talking a lot of smack too. One thing that I found none really focused on was that bards are the minute-takers, the ones who map, write down contacts, research things. They also write down what the group learns from encounters! I mean, sure, knowledge skill aside, they know stuff; but knowing the weaknesses of the H'Calos (immunity to gas, fire) that the party fought way back when might come in handy some day! Or that strange silver cup with elven AND Dwarven runes in its hoard might be valuable information to someone. I think a player, playing a bard, needs to be working on a wiki (or binder with tabs, or some sort of data notebook! Sure, its not as glorious as the mage / fighter in combat, but the GM will be glad of the help, knowing that her players have the opportunity to know beforehand (or quickly the bard can recite!) how to identify and fight a lurker in darkness or some big ugly worm thing...Their magic can be in the song-storage of these facts, or whatever! I don't know, but it seems like something that &MAG would remind us of with a bunch of great ideas!