View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next College of the Macabre: a bard college for the dark-minded!(Looking for Balance help)

2016-06-09, 01:18 PM
College of the Macabre


The world can be a dark place. For every story of noble heroes or great triumphs there is a tale of terrifying monsters or senseless tragedy. While most bards like to focus on stories and entertainment that uplifts and inspires, some bards instead choose to shift their focus to much darker stories. While not a college in the traditional sense, the College of the Macabre is a term used to describe the varied and disparate group of Bards who focus their entertainment on the grim, dreadful and dreary. These bards are fascinated by the darker elements of the world, and often have a preoccupation with death and mortality. They are the singers of dirges who perform at funerals. They are the grim poets, playwrights and novelists who compose works of horror or tragedy. They are the tavern storytellers who spins gruesome tales of of monsters and murder on stormy nights. Through their songs and words, the souls of the dead wake, rising as undead for one last dance.

As a loose assemblage rather than a formal college, bards of the Macabre rarely meet and many times may go their entire life without encountering one of their peers. However, some more organized societies of bards with an interest in the macabre exist. Such societies often meet in graveyards or sites where murders, hauntings and other grim events transpired, seeking out new inspiration for their dreadful compositions. The most organized of such societies are even known to own funeral homes themselves, either to legitimately help people mourn their loss or as a cover for more sinister activities.

Grim Secrets

Your focus on the Dreadful and morose gives you access to dark magics beyond the scope of traditional bardic spellcasting. When you choose this bardic college at 3rd level, you add all Necromancy spells to the bard spell list for the purpose of selecting spells known. For you, these spells are considered bard spells if you select them.

Dreadful Words

At 3rd level you learn how to perform music or oration that fills your enemies with dread or sadness, breaking their spirits. As an action, you can spend 1 use of your bardic inspiration and roll an inspiration die. Choose a creature you can see within 60 feet of you that can hear your voice as target of your dreadful worlds. The target is dispirited and canít take bonus actions or reactions, and suffers a penalty on its next attack roll equal to the number rolled on your inspiration die until the end of its next turn. Creatures who canít hear you or are immune to being charmed are immune to this effect.

Stir the Departed Soul

At 6th level you learn how to stir the dead with your music or oration. You gain Animate Dead as a bonus spell known if you do not know it already. When you cast the spell Animate Dead you may target 1 additional corpse or pile of bones and create 1 additional skeleton or zombie as applicable. Additionally, when you cast a spell that creates undead (Such as Animate Dead or Create Undead) you can spend 1 use of your bardic inspiration to have all undead created by that spell gain the following benefits:

They add your bard level to their hit point maximum.
They add your proficiency bonus to their weapon damage rolls.
You may heal them with your bard spells and class features, ignoring any rules that would prevent you from doing so. They always count as "willing creatures" for your bard spells and class features.

Rule the Still Heart

At 14th level you learn how to perform a song or oration that binds the unbeating hearts of the dead to your will. As an action, you can spend 1 use of your bardic inspiration to target 1 undead creature within 30ft that can hear your voice; that creature must make a charisma save vs. your Bard spell save DC. On a failed save, that creature must obey your commands for 24 hours or until you use this feature again. On a successful save, this feature has no effect. Undead creatures whose CRs equal or exceed your Bard level are immune to this feature.

Once you use this feature, you cannot use it again until you complete a short or long rest.

So, anybody have any thoughts'/ideas on how to balance this out if it needs balancing at all? General thoughts are also appreciated!

2018-11-24, 02:23 AM
I believe that this is an excellent bard college that is far on the other side of the spectrum from the rest of bards. For Rule the Still Heart, I would allow them to use the feature as many times as they want, as Bardic Inspiration already has its own cooldown and Rule the Still heart uses that. With that said, I am not particularly experienced in balancing, so that is just reasoning, not playtesting or actual evidence.

2018-11-24, 06:47 AM
This college is actually outdated. Iíve been tinkering with it quite a bit, as itís kinda a pet project of mine, and the new version is much better. The new version/most current version be found here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?573713-College-of-Desecration-(Necromancy-focused-Bard-College-V-2)), if your interested.