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panaikhan
2011-01-05, 08:09 AM
Our group got a subtle hint over xmas. One of the players, who had been going on about Pathfinder for months, bought each of us the PF core rulebook.

Now, being a long-time player of D&D, and never really bothering with Bards in 3/3.5, I thought I might give a PF Bard a go (aiming for the Chronacler prestige class). I'm guessing the campaign is going to start at L1.

My ideas so far, are a half-Orc Bard that wanders the land without weapons to speak of. My thought process is to take the "Caught By Surprise" or whatever the feat is, to allow improvised weapons, and use the "Summon Instrument" cantrip to hit people with violins, or whatever.

First question - is this stretching the cantrip a bit far?
Second question - if it is allowable, what's a good damaging instrument to wield?

Yora
2011-01-05, 08:15 AM
It's stretching the rules a bit, so check with your gm.

However, I think there's no reason to not allow it for balance reason. (However, I wouldn't allow it in my campaign for sillyness reasons, but to each his own. :smallwink: )
Damage would probably be 1d4 or 1d6. You could also carry a club that doesn't cost anything for the same effect. You just don't gain any advantage by using your method, so I don't think it's problematic.

panaikhan
2011-01-05, 08:46 AM
Well, I do gain one advantage - always having a weapon to hand (so to speak) unless I'm somehow prevented from casting cantrips.

The cantrip says it allows for two-handed instruments, and it does say 'summon' - not 'ghostly' or 'phantasmal' or 'illusionary'. It just says no-one else can play it, so I'm assuming I can't let go of it (no thrown flutes etc)

warmachine
2011-01-05, 09:10 AM
I might copy this idea with a half-orc bard wearing Elton John style glasses if it can be argued that small pianos can be summoned and wielded.

Gabe the Bard
2011-01-05, 10:28 AM
I would say you could probably throw the summon instrument or do anything else with it. It just won't produce music when it's held by someone else.

It's a disadvantage in other ways, since you will always have to use a spell slot to summon your weapon, and it still takes a standard action if you're caught by surprise.

Salbazier
2011-01-05, 10:33 AM
Whoa, nice idea! I always want to make a bard that beat people with musical instrument :smallbiggrin: (this not exactly what I have in mind but it is a step toward) Consider it stolen :smallcool:

Lifeson
2011-01-05, 11:11 AM
Bass Guitars, Cellos/Upright Basses, Tubas, and other large instruments will be your friend.

Actually, this reminds me of the bard in my group who beat people to death with bagpipes. He also has ranks in Perform (Warcry), so yeah.

Gabe the Bard
2011-01-05, 11:14 AM
I can't remember if it was on these boards or somewhere else, but I recall a suggestion of using a drum as a weapon and rolling Perform: Percussion Instrument checks every time you hit someone with it.

Morquard
2011-01-05, 11:27 AM
Just one thing: Catch Off-Guard (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/catch-off-guard-combat), as the feat is actually called, only works for melee weapons, so throwing them would still give you the -4 penalty.
You would need Throw Anything (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/throw-anything-combat---final) for ranged weapons, or later Improvised Weapon Mastery (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/improvised-weapon-mastery-combat---final), which has some additional benefits.

Otherwise I don't really see why this idea shouldn't work.
Yeah as long as you can cast Cantrips you can never be without weapons, but a) it takes a standard round to get them and b) it costs you a feat to even make it work. And the weapons wouldn't be overpowered either I guess, 1d8 or so maybe max for a twohanded weapon.

Loren
2011-01-05, 11:45 AM
I'd also be concerned that most sting instruments have thin walls and therefore would break on any decent hit. That said, I've heard of reenforced flutes from Japan that were used by spies pretending to be street preformers (Possibly the shakuhachi flute). It was said that these flutes could be used as a weapon.

panaikhan
2011-01-05, 12:02 PM
I might copy this idea with a half-orc bard wearing Elton John style glasses if it can be argued that small pianos can be summoned and wielded.

Dual-wielding harpsichords sounds like an epic Master of Ceremonies!

Mark Hall
2011-01-05, 12:56 PM
So you're planning on making El Kabong?

panaikhan
2011-01-05, 07:02 PM
I'd never even thought that it may have been done before... but, I guess, yeah.
Playing down the character's intelligence may even work in my favour...

Thanks everyone for their ideas, input, and rules lawyering (said in a complimentary way).

Morquard
2011-01-05, 07:21 PM
I'd also be concerned that most sting instruments have thin walls and therefore would break on any decent hit. That said, I've heard of reenforced flutes from Japan that were used by spies pretending to be street preformers (Possibly the shakuhachi flute). It was said that these flutes could be used as a weapon.
Hm, that's a good point... I guess technically you're right.
But are there any rules about weapons breaking when used, even improvised ones, unless they're the target of a sunder?

But a large disadvantage for later is obviously that your instruments won't be magic weapons, ever.

Yora
2011-01-05, 07:33 PM
Hm, that's a good point... I guess technically you're right.
But are there any rules about weapons breaking when used, even improvised ones, unless they're the target of a sunder?
No. Not in the standard rules. Or any published books for my knowledge.

Golden-Esque
2011-01-05, 10:31 PM
Our group got a subtle hint over xmas. One of the players, who had been going on about Pathfinder for months, bought each of us the PF core rulebook.

Now, being a long-time player of D&D, and never really bothering with Bards in 3/3.5, I thought I might give a PF Bard a go (aiming for the Chronacler prestige class). I'm guessing the campaign is going to start at L1.

My ideas so far, are a half-Orc Bard that wanders the land without weapons to speak of. My thought process is to take the "Caught By Surprise" or whatever the feat is, to allow improvised weapons, and use the "Summon Instrument" cantrip to hit people with violins, or whatever.

First question - is this stretching the cantrip a bit far?
Second question - if it is allowable, what's a good damaging instrument to wield?

Wow, he bought all of you and your friends the Core Rulebook? Wish he was in my D&D group xD.

I would say "no" to whether you are stretching the cantrip. The spell does not say that the item can't leave your hands; only that it vanishes after the duration ends.

To answer your second question, here's how I would calculate the instrument's thrown damage. Luckily, the Barbarian establishes a precedent for throwing improvised objects in the Pathfinder Advanced Player's Guide. According to that class, the weapon deals damage equivalent to a falling object of it's size. Under this system, most instruments are going to be Tiny objects, which is 1d6 points of damage on impact; not broken at all, especially when you consider that while you'll never run out of ammunition, your thrown weapons will have no enhancement bonus and no special properties. I'd also rule that throwing the summon instrument destroys it impact, ending the spell's effect.

EDIT: For larger instruments, I'd say go with Small sized (1d8). This would include tubas and larger guitars. However, I would be inclined to say that because of those objects's size, their weight makes them cumbersome to throw at enemies, causing you to take the normal penalty for wielding weapons not sized for you. Naturally, you would shift the damage and the maximum instrument size based on your creature's size. However, if you were to take levels in Barbarian and take the Lesser Hurling rage power, then I'd say throw that tuba, sir!

Salbazier
2011-01-06, 03:01 AM
Ask for custom magic item that can give enhancement bonus to your 'instrument' attack? An Amulet of Musical Beating.

panaikhan
2011-01-06, 08:11 AM
I #should# get to talk to the prospective PF GM this weekend, and that will get me my 'yes/no' on whether he will allow it.

Expanding on the idea a little (and semi-stealing from various sources), I plan on going down the 'catch off-guard', 'throw anything' and 'improvised weapon mastery' chain. The idea of a Bard killing bad guys by throwing flutes and braining them with violas has definate appeal for me.

At later levels can I commission reinforced actual instruments (I was so tempted to put 'weapon-grade' instead of reinforced, but that seemed wrong somehow), and possibly enchant them as weapons?

As far as the cantrip goes, is there a way for me to 'speed up' the casting? Change it to a move-equivalent (or quicker) action?

Morquard
2011-01-06, 09:26 AM
Expanding on the idea a little (and semi-stealing from various sources), I plan on going down the 'catch off-guard', 'throw anything' and 'improvised weapon mastery' chain.
From how I understand it you only need catch off guard OR throw anything to qualify for improvised weapon mastery, which then includes the benefit of the other feat as well, in addition to increasing the damage die and crit range.
However of course it needs a BAB of +8, which for a bard means level 11.

So guess it comes down to if you want to have the -4 penalty removed from melee and ranged attacks early on or safe the feat. If your GM allows you to retrain feats later you might get rid of the now useless extra feat though. (Not sure that is part of official PF though, I think its from the PHB 2)


As far as the cantrip goes, is there a way for me to 'speed up' the casting? Change it to a move-equivalent (or quicker) action?
Quicken Spell metamagic feat. But that turns it into a 4th level spell.
Yes, quicken works in PF for sorcerers and bards.
Rod of Quicken Spell works too, but costs a huge amount of money.

Probably a magic item that can cast the spell? But I don't think that speeds up the casting, would still be a standard action.

panaikhan
2011-01-10, 08:35 AM
OK, I've spoken with the prospective GM, and he loves the idea!
Looking at multi-classing into Barbarian - would Rage automatically disallow the 'free action' upkeep of Bardic Performance? If so, I guess I could simply Rage to bean an enemy if he gets too close, or if the music isn't needed any more.
Mainly looking to go Barbarian for the rogue-like abilities tho (and in keeping with the original idea of a non-too bright performer hitting people with instruments).

The Improvised Weapon Mastery puts a cap on damage from improvised melee weapons - 1D8 1H, 2D6 2H - so I'd say without the feat (which improves the damage) I'd say 1D6 1H and 2D4 2H, with the standard 20/x2 critical.

onthetown
2011-01-10, 12:01 PM
My ideas so far, are a half-Orc Bard that wanders the land without weapons to speak of. My thought process is to take the "Caught By Surprise" or whatever the feat is, to allow improvised weapons, and use the "Summon Instrument" cantrip to hit people with violins, or whatever.

First question - is this stretching the cantrip a bit far?
Second question - if it is allowable, what's a good damaging instrument to wield?

I once used this to drop a piano on an enemy -- since the spell says that it has to be for a held instrument, I hugged a piano and said, "See? I'm holding it." So the DM allowed me to Summon it from 50 ft above the goblin raiding party and squish them for one time only. :smalltongue:

Violins are pretty lightweight, so that wouldn't be the best instrument for it. However, I know that my mandolin here at home is pretty heavy for its size -- I don't know why -- and the wood on them seems to be a bit harder and sturdier. Another idea would be to homebrew a weapon that's like a bladed flute of some sort; you can play it one minute, and stab somebody in the eyes with the end of it the next.

MightyIgoo
2011-01-10, 01:12 PM
First off, welcome to Pathfinder! Here's a reference document (http://www.d20srd.com) and a super-nice guide to bards (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/extras/community-creations/treatmonks-lab/test2).

Second, I hate to do this to you, but keep in mind that summon instrument takes a full round to cast. So that first round of combat is going to be you taking damage and making concentration checks until you can get your instrument / improvised weapon summoned. Might I suggest, for a weaponless bard concept, anyway, Improved Unarmed Strike and a perform skill that doesn't require an instrument (singing, dancing, oratory, funny walks)?

EDIT: Of course, if handwaving is a given, have you considered using a stringed instrument as an improptu short- or longbow? Keep a stash of arrows on you, and smile and wink when someone asks where your bow went.

Sarakos
2011-01-10, 04:37 PM
I had an idea for an eerily similar bard that I had drawn outing paper but never sadly got to play so I can't say how effective it is.

The bard was a venerable Nordic skald type bard who played like a crochety old manalways going on about the failures of the current generation (particularly his fighter/barbarian cohort who was his grandson) and took every opportunity to humiliate his enemies using trickery and his spells.

Anyway, He had a crazy amount of random odds and ends of equipment. Portable rams, ten foot ladders, masterwork manacles... All left over from his younger adventuring days. I gave him catch off guard and his favorite method was when he disliked someone or some people were getting in his face he'd (move action) draw an iron pot from his handy haversack and brain them with it as a standard

edit: keep a real REINFORCED instrument with you. No one is likely to take it away from you or consider it a dangerous weapon so you can keep it out most of the time ready to whack someone. Or at least spend a move to draw it from your (cheap!!!!) handy haversack and still beat them in the same round. Use summon instrument as a last resort (i.e. tossed naked into a dungeon)

panaikhan
2011-01-11, 08:35 AM
Skimming through the start of the bard guide (link kindly provided by MightyIgoo), I am gradually fleshing out my idea.
I've decided on Oratory as my primary perform (for Chronicler prestige class later on). No need for an instrument.
I am deliberately avoiding actually being good in playing an instrument, to be closer to the 'El-Kabong' image.

A reinforced instrument is a good idea, if there is a precident for damaging non-weapon items in combat or actual rules for making one (short of saying it's masterwork).

On the unarmed combat track - doesn't Catch Off-Guard cover that? I only have to be holding something, anything, in order to be 'armed'. Ooo look. I'm wearing a couple of nice rings. ~punch~

Sarakos
2011-01-11, 09:30 AM
There us no precedent for reinforcing instruments that I know of so it will likely be up to the DM to make up a cost. The most likely answer being that you masterwork your instruments.

The ring idea seems to stretch it a bit. Definately the way the rule was intended was for you to be holding weapons in your hand, not on the hand. Although you could argue that the rings work like an improvised gauntlet making your unarmed strike lethal

panaikhan
2011-01-12, 08:11 AM
Here's an idea for the stranger members out there, who like the idea of a Half-Orc Bard (I may or may not work it into my build, depending on a lot of things including DM fiat, monetary issues and enchantments)

Especially for the Half-Orc Bard - a mandolin that, when commanded, sprouts a Brilliant Energy Greataxe.

Mojo_Rat
2011-01-12, 11:57 AM
if you are going to multiclasss might consider monk. if your dm has the apt one of the monk archetypes replaces all the monk weapons with improvised weapons and let's you flurry with them. though between cha fir bard and monk stats that's a bit hard to do.