View Full Version : Variant bard: Military Bard(3.5, PEACH)

2009-06-04, 11:34 PM
This is a variant bard Idea I've been having, it's more of a military style bard than an "adventurer" bard, more for fighting and making troops march and fight better than anything else.

Military bard


Any nonchaotic

Hit die


class skills
Lose disguise, slight of hand, and appraise, gain ride and intimidate

Class features
Lose weapon proficency(rapier, whip, sap), gain weapon proficency (bastard sword, greatsword, handaxe)

Spellcasting: Lose summon instrument, lose flair, lose magic mouth, lose hidious laughter, lose hypnotic pattern, gain ray of frost and touch of fatigue as cantrips, gain shield as a first level spell, gain flaming sphere as a second level spell.

Special, enhanced march:

You're words inspire you're comerades to march onwards, they gain 5ft. to their movement speed and are immune to fatigue. The affect works on 1d4HD of creatures per level, and lasts for one hour per level.

A Military bard loses his bardic knowledge ability in the place of enhanced march.

So, thoughts?

2009-06-05, 12:41 AM
Well, i'd say in keeping with Military style, the Military Bard should also receive basic military training. That i think amounts to Shield and Martial Weapons Proficiency. As for the Inspire the March thing, i think you should make that a new inspiration, maybe substitute Inspire Courage for that. Then, i think you should key the advancement of the bonuses to the perform skill, like with the already-existing bardic inspirations. Then, as a trade-off for Bardic Knowledge, give them a bonus combat-related feat(As fighter) at 1st level. As for the spells, there's a really good cleric one, Battletide, that fits to a tee. Also, i bet there's good spells on their list that would be great to substitute some of the spells the bards have.

2009-06-05, 09:44 AM
Inspire Courage is awesome in large groups. Giving it the axe seems overtly silly to me. Why not just have Inspired March replace Inspire Competence or Fascinate? That makes more sense to me, really.

Zeta Kai
2009-06-05, 10:36 AM
I like this. It reminds me of a skald (or, if you prefer, a viking-war-bard), but with a more regimented, disciplined flavor. Rather cool.

2009-06-05, 12:01 PM
I think giving up bardic knowledge and fascinate for march, and proficency in shields and/or another weapon proficency would be fairly balanced. What do you think?

2009-06-05, 01:27 PM
Great idea overall.

For skills: a Military Bard should also gain Intimidate (flavor: he would talk about his squad or his party and what they will do to the target. "What you have here is a diversified team of specialists, all itching for action, and I can't reasonably promise I can stop them from killing you, even if you and I manage to come to an agreement.")

Fascinate is a very powerful bardic ability (Perform v. Will save!!), and it by itself is an even trade for gaining March AND martial weapons proficiency. March is good flavor, but it is not nearly as significant to gameplay as Fascinate. It would be more balanced to trade March for Inspire Competence, and switch shortbow and whip for longbow (not the entire martial weapons list). Bards would fit in just fine in a military camp with a longsword and a longbow.

Also, so much of history and politics is driven by military action and merely threat of action, it would be a shame (and strongly against the flavor) if the Military Bard had no such information.

2009-06-05, 01:36 PM
Consider whether Enhanced march should affect movement (tactical speed) or overland movement (miles per hour or miles per day, like the druid spell Wind at Back (SpC 239)). It would be more flavorful for troop deployment, and have less need for balancing, if it were a bonus to overland movement and had no effect on tactical speed in combat.

2009-06-05, 06:27 PM
Don't have SPC, And I think I'll add intimidate to the list as well as add halberd proficiency tonight.

2009-06-06, 04:04 AM
On PHB p162, the movement section distinguishes between tactical movement and overland movement. IMO, Enhanced March should definitely affect Overland movement. Whether it also affects tactical movement is a seperate question, and I recommend, 'no.' Without an effect on tactical movement, it is an even swap for Inspire Competence.

2009-06-06, 06:10 AM
I wholeheartedly agree that Enhanced March should be overland, rather than tactical. It should also last for as long as the bard plays, instead of one hour. Most armies march for more than 1 hour at a time.

Furthermore, it should affect a lot more than 1d4 HD / lvl. Typically, you'll find one piper/drummer assigned to a company. A company is formed of 3 platoons (on average), each of which has 3-4 squads of 8-10 individuals each. So even assuming that everyone in the company is 1st level (which the NCOs and Officers won't be), you're looking at 72-120 HD in a company.

On another topic, why are they losing summon instrument? I would think that ability would be critical to the Military Bard. A small group of adventurers depends on their bard for bonuses in combat. An army depends on their bard less for bonuses, but more critically for coordination that is essential to the effectiveness of the army. Without the drumming/bugle calls/whatever to signal what action the army is to take at any given moment, it deteriorates from a cohesive fighting unit into a group of individuals.