Critical Role Wiki

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Critical Role Wiki
Critical Role Wiki

The Instruments of the Bards are the legacy of the seven legendary bard colleges named after them: Anstruth harp, Canaith mandolin, Cli lyre, Doss lute, Fochlucan bandore, Mac-Fuirmidh cittern, and Ollamh harp. All of them can endow the bard with the ability to cast the spells listed below.[1]


A bard can use an action to play the instrument and cast one of its spells listed below. Once the instrument has been used to cast a spell, it can't be used to cast that spell again until the next dawn. The spells use the bard's spellcasting ability and spell save DC. If the wielder uses the instrument to cast a spell with a Charmed effect, targets have disadvantage on the saving throw against it. This effect applies whether the bard is using the instrument as the source of the spell or as a spellcasting focus.[1]

A creature that attempts to play the instrument without being attuned to it must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or take 2d4 psychic damage.[1][2]


Canaith mandolin

Depiction of a Canaith mandolin from D&D: Dungeon Master's Guide, page 176.[art 1]

  • Available to all instruments: Fly, Invisibility, Levitate, Protection from Evil and Good, plus the spells listed for the particular instrument[1]
    • Anstruth harp (Very rare): Control Weather, Cure Wounds (5th level), Wall of Thorns
    • Canaith mandolin (Rare): Cure Wounds (3rd level), Dispel Magic, Protection from Energy (lightning only)
    • Cli lyre (Rare): Stone Shape, Wall of fire, Wind Wall
    • Doss lute (Uncommon): Animal Friendship, Protection from Energy (fire only), Protection from Poison
    • Fochlucan bandore (Uncommon): Entangle, Faerie Fire, Shillelagh, Speak with Animals
    • Mac-Fuirmidh cittern (Uncommon): Barkskin, Cure Wounds, Fog Cloud
    • Ollamh harp (Legendary): Confusion, Control Weather, Fire storm
Cyrus and Dorian by ElesirArt

Fan art of Dorian and his new instrument, by ElesirArt.[art 2]


Exandria Unlimited and Campaign Three[]

In their adventures after Orym, Fearne, and Dorian departed for Marquet, Dariax and Opal robbed Canaith, a performer traveling through Byroden, and took his heavy-looking, deep red mahogany mandolin. Dariax carried the instrument on his back until they reunited with Dorian in Kymal, where Dariax presented the mandolin to Dorian as a gift. The air genasi needed more than one attempt to attune to it, since the first try led to the instrument psychically harming him.[3] However, once he succeeded he gained access to its magic, including the Fly spell, which he used on Cyrus to flee Kymal with their friends.[4]

Dorian kept the mandolin as his main instrument after he gave his lute to Dariax,[5] and after he returned with Bells Hells and updated his outfit, he decided to modify the mandolin too: the instrument was painted blue with sunburst, and a small symbol of blades of grass was added to the back, as a tribute to the late FCG.[6]


  • The only instrument that has appeared so far, the Canaith Mandolin, belonged to a bard of the same name. This was an adaptation Matthew Mercer made, since "Canaith" is supposed to be the name of a bardic college that exists in the world of Toril, but not in Exandria.
    • Based on this, it is likely that, in Critical Role canon, other Instruments of the Bards are named after famous performers and/or their former owners.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 See D&D: Dungeon Master's Guide, 5th ed., p. 176.
  2. See "Exandria Unlimited: Kymal, Part 1" (E2x01) at 2:13:26.
  3. See "Exandria Unlimited: Kymal, Part 1" (E2x01) at 2:02:29.
  4. See "Exandria Unlimited: Kymal, Part 2" (E2x02).
  5. See "Bittersweet Reunions" (3x93).
  6. See "Shadows New and Old" (3x96).


  1. Depiction of a Canaith mandolin from D&D: Dungeon Master's Guide, page 176. This page contains unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Wizards of the Coast Fan Content Policy. Not approved/endorsed by Wizards. Portions of the materials used are property of Wizards of the Coast. ©Wizards of the Coast LLC.
  2. Fan art of Dorian and his new instrument, by ElesirArt (source). Used with permission.