A bard casts arcane spells (the same type of spells available to sorcerers and wizards), which are drawn from the bard spell list. He can cast any spell he knows without preparing it ahead of time, the way a wizard or cleric must. Every bard spell has a verbal component (singing, reciting, or music). To learn or cast a spell, a bard must have a Charisma score equal to at least 10 + the spell level (Cha 10 for 0-level spells, Cha 11 for 1st-level spells, and so forth). The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a bard’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the bard’s Charisma modifier.
Like other spellcasters, a bard can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. His base daily spell allotment is given on the Bard Table. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Charisma score. When the Bard Table indicates that the bard gets 0 spells per day of a given spell level (for instance, 1st-level spells for a 2nd-level bard), he gains only the bonus spells he would be entitled to based on his Charisma score for that spell level. The bard’s selection of spells is extremely limited. A bard begins play knowing four 0-level spells (also called cantrips) of your choice. At most new bard levels, he gains one or more new spells, as indicated on the Bard Spells Known by Level table. (Unlike spells per day, the number of spells a bard knows is not affected by his Charisma score; the numbers on the table are fixed.)
Upon reaching 5th level, and at every third bard level after that (8th, 11th, and so on), a bard can choose to learn a new spell in place of one he already knows. In effect, the bard “loses” the old spell in exchange for the new one. The new spell’s level must be the same as that of the spell being exchanged, and it must be at least two levels lower than the highest-level bard spell the bard can cast.
For instance, upon reaching 5th level, a bard could trade a single 0-level spell (two spell levels below the highest-level bard spell he can cast, which is 2nd) for a different 0-level spell. At 8th level, he could trade in a single 0-level or 1st-level spell (since he now can cast 3rd-level bard spells) for a different spell of the same level.
A bard may swap only a single spell at any given level, and must choose whether or not to swap the spell at the same time that he gains new spells known for the level.
As noted above, a bard need not prepare his spells in advance. He can cast any spell he knows at any time, assuming he has not yet used up his allotment of spells per day for the spell’s level.
For example, at 1st level, Gimble the bard can cast two 0-level spells per day for being 1st level. However, he knows four 0-level spells: detect magic, ghost sound, light, and read magic (see the table below). Thus, on any given day, he can cast some combination of those four spells a total of two times. He does not have to decide ahead of time which spells he’ll cast.
BARD SPELLS PER DAY