View Full Version : I'm startin' a band. [3.5]

2010-05-28, 10:19 PM
Here's the background, if you're interested. It's spoilered to prevent tl;dr syndrome.
It started innocently enough. I saw a movie with one of the hammiest actors ever (he chewed more scenery than a teething puppy chews rawhides), thought of it in D&D terms ("he adds Charisma to EVERYTHING!") and drew up a skeleton build loosely based on the character. Rather than your stock-standard CHA-gish, I went for a Killoren Bard with Charming the Arrow/Smite/Snowflake Wardance/etc. It was mostly made for laughs, especially since I didn't have any ongoing games I could use him in, so I just stored the build away, keeping it in the back of my head for later.

So, months pass, and I hear about another 3.5 game getting started. I was going to play another character, but I heard that the DM made some remark or another about bards being underpowered, so I decided to dust off the aforementioned build. So far so good.

Then I hear that another player, whom I've never met, is going to play a bard. Huh. Well, bards are versatile as hell, and I'm sure that we can have two in the party as long as we don't try to use too many bonuses of the same flavor. I'm sure you know where this is going by now, but hush and let me tell my story.

So, I'm helping a friend who'd never played before make a character, and after creating and discarding a few, he decides that he wants to have a lot of abilities based off of his voice. I ask how he feels about bards, he says he thinks they're cool, and now we've got three bards in the party.

By this point I'm giggling incessantly at the thought of a party of bards, so I ask the last member of the group what she's planning on playing, and how she feels about bards. She says a bard would fit her character concept perfectly, and agrees to be the drummer the fourth bard in the party.

It was all I could do to tell the GM this with a straight face, especially because I only heard of this game through a friend and I've never met the GM before. To his credit, he didn't freak out, and I'm now living the dream of being in an all-bard party, a concept which I've always found hilarious.

Now that the backstory's out of the way, let's get down to business. Since I'm the player with the most system mastery and we have two first-timers, I'm pretty much in charge of setting up the characters so that we don't just trip over each other. I was originally thinking of having a melee bard, a skill bard, a buff bard, and a caster bard, but those roles are pretty broad... and I'm not the only one playing, so there's that. A few things to consider:

-We're level 3. (I had to talk the GM out of playing at level 1, because level 1 simply is not the same game as, say, level 3-8.) That means that most of the good stuff simply isn't online yet.

-The one who wants to be the skillful bard is adamant about playing a Changeling. She's convinced the GM to give her Handle Animal for a feat, so she's using Handle Animal and Wild Cohort to get a bunch of Inspire Courage targets animal friends. We're currently trying to find the happy medium between "useless bunch of squirrels" and "Bubs."

-One of the first-timers has declared that he wants to be a halfling debuffer. This one has me a little concerned (since the good debuffing tricks are a lot harder to come by at level 3... they exist, but they're more difficult to find), especially since I don't want to make this TOO hard on the newbie, but I think I can do it. (I'm leaning towards Inspire Awe, since it's not like the party will lack Inspire Courage.)

-The other first-timer has decided he wants to "light things on sonic" with a sonic-flavored DFI, which I heartily endorse. He's considering going Dirgesinger simply for the mental image of "an emo bard with zombie amps," which I have to approve of just for flavor alone, but level 6 is a long way off (and the level at which he actually gets zombies is even FARTHER), so I'm not sure what to do in the meantime.

-I was planning on focusing on getting Charisma to as much as I could, along with your vanilla Inspire Courage optimization (Inspirational Boost, Badge of Valor, Song of the Heart, that sort of thing. Nothing fancy.) for myself and for the party, but since I'm no longer the only bard (and since I'm suddenly low-level), there's a lot that has to be changed about that. (For example, I can no longer get all those nice CHA-to-X dips. A Bardadin of Freedom would have been nice, but I'm not high enough level to want to sink four levels into Pally. I want to be a bard first and foremost.)

-We have a first-time GM and two first-time players, so I'm walking a tightrope between making things boring and making them too complicated. These are all intelligent and capable people, so I'm not worried about them not getting it or freaking out and being scared off, but it's just rude to hand a newbie a build that requires a six-page instruction manual, and I don't want the GM to have to deal with too much at once.

-I think that we don't need more than one Dragonfire user. Yes, they stack and we could be slinging around terrifying numbers of d6s, but that's really not what I would want to see as a first-time GM, and I'd like to get some variety. We've already got one person all set up with some Sonic-flavored DFI, so that should be nice.

I'm not sure where to go from here. I'm trying to decide what tricks are worth pulling versus what should wait in the wings; what should have some healthy overlap as a fail-safe and what should be made specifically not to get in each others' ways, and other such things. The real one I'm kind of worried about right now is the debuffer, since level 3 bards just don't get that many debuffing tricks (sure, Grease is a godsend, but he'll only have two per day), and it's not nice to give a newbie a "you'll suck now, but you'll be awesome later" build. He wants to play, so I want to let him play.

So, does anyone have any thoughts for a low-level rock band?