Medieval fantasy settings have bards. It’s something that many players or Dungeon Masters might not even note anymore, especially as the class has been a staple of Dungeons & Dragons for so long now. It’s been my experience, in fact, that the class really only comes up – in regards to how it fits the game – when the subject is “How do the various classes balance against eachother?”
Like any other class, however, there is a ton of potential there for character backgrounds and conflict to be found if you just go digging around enough.
Bards as presented in most fantasy games may be more than a mere performer, just as a fighter is something more than a soldier and a wizard more than a hedge-mage, but looking to their mundane origins can be very useful. So let’s start with the traditions.