Elf Bard - how well should he perform

How much CHA do bards really need to cast all their spells? 16? Then you can go elf bard.
I plan to do elven bard playthrough on hard. But I don’t know should she be in middle row as reach bard/DD or as snipper in the back.

stats:
str10
dex18
con8
wis13
int14 - non negotiable
cha16
feats -> skill focus trickery, persuasive, spell focus enchantment (hideous laughter, hypnotism, etc), what else?
what do you guys think?

Yes 16 cha is enough, 8con could be a issue.

Bow? The issue with bow/crossbow atm in WotR is monsters DR, you will basically do 0 damage all game long except versus human. There are some cold iron quivers but i think they are limited and Lann use them well.

More strength/constitution and less dex with a cold iron weapon (reach or any) will be a better choice in my opinion for the current alpha. Or if you really want to use a bow then try to increase it to 14str by reducing wisdom.

Edit: I think there is a holy crossbow that can bypass monster DR. So you could use that one…

Yeah, 16 CHA is the minimum you need. To learn a spell, you need a CHA score of 10 + the spell level, and since bards go up to 6th level spells, 16 will let you learn all of the spells you need. Extra CHA just helps with DCs and maybe getting some extra spells per day, but depending on your build and spell choice that may not be super important.

Archery may have some trouble with DR in the early game, but there are ways around it. There’s at least one feat that will let you total your damage for the round before applying DR, and once you get to +3 weapons then all magic weapons count as silver/cold iron and +5 weapons count for alignment-based DR. Until you get to those weapons, buffs, specific weapons with stuff like Holy or Bane or special ammo, and feats like Deadly Aim will be important to help get around DR.

In my opinion, bard’s should have either 12 or 19 starting Charisma.

If you go for 12, you’ll never invest points in Charisma, focus on strength or dexterity, and rely on finding a belt or headpiece item with an enhancement bonus by lvl 5 to access your 3rd level spells and then using enhancement bonuses on items throughout the game to hit 16 Charisma. This sort of bard will be a summoner and/or buff boy who will also have enough points to start with an 18 in strength or dexterity and have a good enough to-hit chance, but you’re giving every bard spell with a DC. Like all 3/4 BAB classes, you should avoid two weapon fighting, but have options. You can sword and board in light armor with weapon finesse and a dexterity build to be a pretty solid offtank with mirror image/blur/displacement and your summons. Similarly, you can invest in strength, have a bit less armor class, but invest heavily into dazzling display and the strength to dazzling feat (intimidating prowess, iirc). You won’t do much damage, and will just be a buff/debuff/summon machine. Or you can invest in strength and a 2-handed reach weapon and rely upon attacks of opportunity. Or grab a bow and be a decent archer.

Alternatively, you start with 19 charisma, out 4 of 5 of your attribute growths in Charisma, and focus heavily upon casting. You’ll want a bow to keep you out of harms way, not that you’ll deal any meaningful damage with it. I like pairing this with Thundercaller because the charisma helps the DC of thundercall.